Monday, May 31, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sweet Ruth:

Today is your birthday, and you are eight! I can't believe it! Seems like just yesterday we were meeting you for the first time and starting to get to know you. What fun we've had since that day! You are growing and learning and maturing everyday, and your dad and I are so very proud of the person you are and the person you are becoming! You are funny, smart, thoughtful, generous, kind, determined, motivated, beautiful, and absolutely amazing! It is a true blessing to have you in my life!

I thank the Lord for you every single day, and ask Him to mold you and shape you, to lead you and guide you, and to give you your own experiences with Him that will help you become all that He wants you to be. I want you to know that I love you more than just about anything I can think of , but the Lord loves you even more than that! You are a treasure, not only to me, but also (and more importantly), to Him.

This past year has been full of new experiences and opportunities for you. You swam on a swim team, learned to play hand chimes and performed publicly, played basketball, took piano lessons, learned to knit and to sew (In fact, you sewed the dress, kerchief and purse pictured above with only minimal help from Mimi), spent a lot of time cooking, participated in academic contests and even won a gold medal at the state meet. You took some neat vacations, made some new friends, set financial goals for yourself, took on the household laundry (for pay) in order to meet those goals and hosted a tea party for some of your friends. Obviously, that's just a small sampling of what this year held for you. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

Thank you for being you! Daddy and I love you so much and want to wish you a very happy birthday!

All my love, 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Party Time

Tomorrow is Ruth's birthday, but today, she celebrated with a few friends at Build-A-Bear. The kids enjoyed picking out their animals, naming them, stuffing them and dressing them. And then, we took the party up to the food court in the mall, where we had chicken nuggets, fries, ice cream and a cookie cake. It was a fun party to kick off Ruth's birthday season.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

4 1/2

There is a little blonde-headed boy in my life who loves dinosaurs and giraffes but doesn't care for lions. Who prefers to wear his shirts, pants and underwear backwards and sometimes wrong-side-out. Who always has a hug and a compliment ready for his mom. Who is learning to read. Who helps around the house. Who likes to "take his privacy." Who still takes a nap most days. Who thrills at the sight of a parcel post truck. Who likes to "take a massage." Who has a knack for working with numbers. Who makes my days special just by being a part of them. And who had a half-birthday today. We're so proud of our big guy and can't believe how quickly he is growing up!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Best Laid Plans

Do you ever make a plan, like, oh let's say, to make sure this is the day you sit down with your four-year-old and help him learn how to read? Or that you will definitely get serious about potty training your two-year-old this minute? And then get to the end of the day only to realize that what you actually did today was make haircut appointments, and schedule car repairs and lawn services and a visit from a plumber, and run to the bank and post office (twice), and work on exchanging part of your Mother's Day gift, and pay bills, and plan a birthday party? Or do you ever make a plan to tell your faithful blog readers something really important, and then realize that with all your vacationing, you have completely forgotten to mention it? Well, don't worry, it happens to me, too.

So here it is: we currently have our house for sale! Put the sign in the yard at midnight the night before we left on our trip, hoping against hope that someone would come by and see it (and want to buy it) while it was as clean as it's ever going to be while we live here. And we did have some lookers, I guess, but no serious interest. So, now I'm just hoping someone will come along who thinks sticky floors are a "feature."

"And what are those crazy Watts up to now?" you ask. Well, let me start by saying that we really love Kingwood and have enjoyed our time here immensely. But, there is one thing that we do not like, and that's the distance between us and our families. (You only have to hear your kids ask if Grandpa is on that plane to come see us or if Nana can come live with us so many times before you get the hint). So, we are attempting to bridge that gap. We don't know for sure where we will ultimately end up, but we are currently thinking about the Marble Falls area. We would like to find a nice piece of land and have a house built to our specifications--if we can agree on just what those specifications are. It will, no doubt, provide tales to tell. And I'll be telling them here, if all goes according to plan. Hope you'll stick with us through this next chapter of our lives. (And if you know of anyone looking for a house in the Kingwood area, please let them know about ours).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Last Stop: Louisiana

The final stop on our multi-state vacation was Louisiana. We visited the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, where we were able to see many interesting animals up close and personal and even feed some of them. From there, we made our way to New Iberia, where we ferreted out some yummy Cajun food at a true local joint. And, this morning, we spiced things up a bit with a visit to Avery Island for a tour of the Tabasco factory and a sampling of their wares, including pepper soda, pepper ice cream, pepper jelly and a variety of hot sauces. While we were at Avery Island, we also visited the Jungle Gardens, a beautiful natural area on the grounds of a former sugar plantation.

Thank you so much for following our journey. We had a blast and hope you had fun right along with us! We made memories that will last a life time. And, we'll try to dwell on those fun times as we attempt to make our way through the massive pile of laundry we brought home.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Last Day in DC

We kind of took it easy today, because we were all a little tired. We still had plenty of fun, though, hanging out with my parents, visiting the zoo, and having dinner in Chinatown. Tomorrow, another adventure begins, as we hit the road again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another Fun Day in DC

  • National Aquarium
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Hot Dog Vendor
  • Funny little picnic
  • Merry-Go-Round on the Mall
  • Roses
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Natural History Museum
  • Subway ride
  • Naps 
  • Indian food

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adventures in DC

Today, we walked many miles, got sunburned and rained on, rode the subway and generally had a fabulous time. We saw most of the major memorials and important buildings in DC. And during the boys' nap time, the girls paid a visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Journey, So Far

On Friday, we left Kingwood and made our way up to Oklahoma City, where we met up with family for a wonderful meal at a nice restaurant. From there, we moved on to Stillwater for the night. We spent the day on Saturday just hanging out. Then, on Saturday night, we had the privilege of watching our sister-in-law/aunt officially become a doctor of veterinarian medicine. We are so proud of her accomplishment!!

On Sunday, we slowly crawled out of bed after a short night--made shorter by nightmares, accidents and illness. But, we finally pulled ourselves together enough to hit the road again. My mother's day celebration consisted of long hours behind the wheel and convenience store food. But, I was with my little darlings, and they behaved wonderfully in the car (and they gave me chocolate covered strawberries, new pajamas and a promise for a really good meal another time). We saw the Gateway Arch on our way to our ultimate destination for the night, which was Lafayette, IN, where we had a much-too-short visit with some dear, dear friends.

On Monday morning, we slept in, and woke refreshed and hungry. But, since we missed the hotel's breakfast, we sampled the wares at the nearby Cracker Barrel, and were quite satisfied, as always. Then, we were gone again, finally stopping in Madison, PA for the night. We stayed at a beautiful and fun KOA, and enjoyed their jumping pillow and playground, and a gourmet picnic in the freezing cold.

This morning we hopped up bright and early to prepare for another day on the road. I have always claimed that my brain doesn't function until I've had my morning shower, and I proved that once again this morning by forgetting to take my towel with me to the shower room and not realizing it until halfway through my shower, when my brain finally turned on. I finished my shower, threw back on my pajamas, made a mad, soaking dash through the chilly PA air back to the cabin for a towel and then a return trip to properly dry off and put on my regular clothes. That is NOT a great way to start the day, folks, and I don't recommend it.

So, a few more hours in the van put us in Hershey, PA, where we stopped for a tour of Chocolate World. We had a blast learning about Milton Hershey and the chocolates he invented and how they are made. And we also enjoyed all our free samples and the world's greatest chocolate milkshakes!

When we left Hershey, we intended to meander through Amish country, but with the rain and the faulty directions and the desire to just get out of the van, we ended up adjusting our plan and making a Mother's Day dinner stop in Baltimore, MD at a place known to us for it's crab cakes. We have never actually eaten there before, but have had the crab cakes elsewhere. The place can only be described as a Vegas casino that is past its prime. However, what it lacked in atmosphere, it made up for in taste. Possibly the best crab cakes I have ever eaten.

A short 45-minute drive later, we found ourselves at our ultimate destination: Washington, D.C.  This is where we have been trying to get all along, and here we will stay for the next four days. My parents are in town, too, so it should be a fun time we won't soon forget.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Summer Break

Ruth had her last piano lesson this week. The boys had their last day of preschool. We finished up our school semester today. And we road trip tomorrow. It must be summer break! Though that seems fairly impossible. How did we step into a warp zone without me noticing it?! I simply cannot believe the crazy speed of life.

I know some of you enjoy (or at least are semi-interested in) our school updates. This one will be very brief, since I still have about a million things to do tomorrow before we can hit the road.

  • Ruth and Jeff worked their way entirely through the third grade math book and will begin the fourth grade book when classes resume. They have also begun working on some pre-algebra, just for fun.
  • Ruth finished 4/5 of her third grade grammar book.
  • In history, she finished "The Story of the World Volume 2: the fall of Rome through the rise of the Renaissance," along with several projects, activities and extra reading about notable historical figures and the times in which they lived. 
  • She is part-way through her fifth spelling book. She also advanced to state in spelling for PSIA, though she did not place in that event at state. 
  • She won first place at state for Creative Writing. (You already know this, of course, but I couldn't help an extra brag)
  • She completed this year's study of astronomy, especially enjoying her trip to the planetarium earlier in the semester and Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" videos the last few days of class. 
We are very excited to announce that we have added a new student this semester. 
  • Weston has started work on the first grade math book and will start an official kindergarten curriculum when school is back in session. He can already count to 100, by ones, twos, fives, and tens.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Our Daily Mess

  • bubbles spilled all over the kitchen floor (and a slippery, soapy little boy to go along with it)
  • a bowl of salsa pulled off the counter (with broken glass and tiny, bleeding feet to go with it)
  • a hole poked in the ceiling (and few explanations to go with it)
  • black sand scattered on the vanity (with profuse apologizing to go with it)
  • orange ink dribbled down the stairs (and an orange boy to go with it)
  • conditioner poured out in the bathroom (and an hysterical sister to go with it)
  • clothes laid out in every room (and suitcases to go with them)
  • most of an enchilada dumped in the booth (and a fun Cinco de Mayo celebration to go with it)
  • chocolate-covered children (and chocolate-covered strawberries--an early Mother's Day gift--to go with them)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Best in Texas

The state PSIA competitions were held today at TCU in Ft. Worth. If you'll remember, Ruth advanced to state in Creative Writing and Spelling. Well, she added another gold medal to her collection today for Creative Writing, and we couldn't be more proud of her!! Ruth decided not to wait for the results of her Spelling competition, because she was anxious to get to a graduation party for her aunt, who is graduating from vet school next weekend. We should find out the Spelling results in a few days. But for now, please enjoy some photos of the STATE CHAMPION and her proud parents.