Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dinner Conversation

Ruth: You know what sounds good to me? Wedge Salad.

Weston: Wedgie Salad?! Who would want to eat a wedgie salad?

Max: Actually, I am having a wedgie right now.

And that's dinner at our house, folks.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Watts Boys Visit the Doctor

At 2:00 am, Max woke up SCREAMING that his ear hurt, followed almost in the same breath as, "Oh, and I had a bad dream about bad guys whispering bad words in my ear." He had no fever and calmly submitted to my middle-of-the-night mommy doctoring. Only after I got him drugged up and back to bed did I stop to think that his ear pain may have been completely bad-dream induced. When he woke up this morning, he mentioned again that his ear was hurting, but he wasn't upset and didn't seem to really feel bad. I took his temperature, which was exactly normal. After a short debate with myself about whether or not to send him on to school, I decided to let him tag along with Weston and Clay, who were already scheduled to see the doctor this morning. My main objective was to have her tell Max he was fine, so I could go ahead and take him to school after the appointment. That's not exactly what happened. The doctor took one look in his ear and jumped backward, proclaiming it the worst ear infection she had ever seen.

Weston was there for his six-year check-up, where we talked about his hearing (which Jeff and I are a bit concerned about), found out he has a Staph infection in his nose and gathered up his yearly stats. He weighs 74 pounds and is 53 inches tall. How is it even possible for me to have one son who is so far off the charts on the top end and another who can't even seem to get his dot on the chart in the first place?!

Speaking of whom, Clay had his weight checked again while we were there. I was certain his weight would have jumped up in the past two weeks, since he has made peace with the spoon and is heartily eating a wide variety of foods. There was an increase (about 5 ounces), but it was slight--not enough to put him on the chart. The doctor still isn't really concerned, but she does want to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't start dropping.

So, three prescriptions, one audiologist referral, and another scheduled weight check later, we left the office to do our time at the pharmacy and run some errands in the soupy weather. It wasn't my idea of a perfect morning, but Wendy's was giving away free Frosties with the purchase of a combo meal, so there was definitely a silver lining. So thankful I didn't send Max to school today, and thankful that both Max and Weston will now be on the road to recovery under the influence of the antibiotics.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


We had lots of fun this weekend. It started Friday afternoon with Ruth attending a neighbor friend's birthday party and Jeff and Weston taking advantage of the lift on the burn ban by burning a huge pile of dead cedars. As evening approached, we all got ready to go out. Jeff and I dropped the big kids off at Ruth's martial arts school, where they were having a parent's night out. Jeff and I (along with Clay) took this opportunity to have a date night. We made our way over to Johnson City, where we had dinner at the Silver K Cafe. The food was good, not great, and the service was so-so at best. However, we had a great time anyway. This was a much-needed night out for us, and one of the things we talked about was how we could make that happen more often. After dinner, we headed back to Marble Falls to pick up the kids. They had been hoping to stay until midnight, but at 10:00, we were out of activities and frankly, rather tired, so we went ahead and called it a night.

On Saturday, everyone slept in until at least 9:00, which may be the first time in about 10 years! We brunched on Texas-shaped waffles and then took care of some household chores, before heading over to Llano to pick up the kids' deer meat. From there, we made our way back over to Johnson City. We shopped, looked around in an art gallery and tasted some wines. The amazing thing was, I tasted a wine that didn't make me want to gag. In fact, I actually liked it. So, Jeff bought a bottle on the spot. He has been waiting for me to grow up for a long time, so that we can enjoy the occasional glass of wine together. It was truly a red-letter day. We had an early dinner at Pecan Street Brewing, which we all enjoyed very much. The service was excellent and the food was delicious. I suspect that will not be our last trip there. Jeff and I had planned the trip back to Johnson City after our date night, when we saw the impressive light displays and the carriage rides being offered. It just seemed like something the kids would enjoy, and that was certainly the case. We were finishing up our dinner when the carriages began their routes, and the kids just about exploded with excitement, as they watched through the window. The line was long, but the wait was pleasant. The weather was perfect and there was plenty of grass to run around in. After our carriage ride, we headed home for hot chocolate and a movie.

This morning, we got up and went to church. Then, we had lunch at Long John Silver. It was the kids' first time there, and it may now be Weston's new favorite place. After lunch, we made a stop at Lowe's and a stop at Wal-mart, before heading home to work on some projects around the house. It was a really fun and relaxed weekend.


All bundled up

Carriage ride

Millions of white lights

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dear Weston,

Once again, I am behind in getting you your yearly birthday letter. I would say that your birthday just falls at a busy time, but really, all the time seems to be busy, and I just need to slow down and put down my thoughts for and about you before the time slips away completely.

You are six, which just amazes me! I often have to remind myself that you aren't as old as I sometimes think. You are such a big guy, and excelling so much academically, I sometimes forget your real age.

Speaking of academics, you are constantly blowing your dad and me away with you amazing gift for working with numbers. You just get Math. Your reading is also pretty phenomenal. You are currently reading The Swiss Family Robinson Great Illustrated Classics book, with 16 chapters and over a hundred reading pages. You sometimes still struggle with motivation, but never with ability.

You thoroughly enjoyed the process of watching our house being built. And, you followed countless contractors around, asking countless, thoughtful questions. I have no doubt that you could build your own house, if you were so inclined. In fact, "builder" is still in your top three job choices. Also included are engineer and president.

You started Cub Scouts in September, and you absolutely LOVE it. You enjoy the activities in the book, but even more than doing the activities, you enjoy checking them off your list. You are a very goal-oriented person, who likes to follow the rules. And you really appreciate structure. This makes you a really hard and good worker, which we all appreciate. Your contributions to the household are truly a great asset. And you are always so proud of yourself when you can help out in some way or accomplish some task that is set before you. Some of your chores include: taking out all the trashes in the house and taking the big trash can up to the street on trash day, emptying the dishes from the dishwasher, putting napkins out for meals, and keeping your room and bathroom straight. You almost always tackle these tasks, and any others we give you, with enthusiasm. And you are always asking if there is something you can do to help.

You started losing teeth this year, but that hasn't slowed you down much on eating. You truly enjoy food. And some of your favorite things include: cheese enchiladas, shrimp, crawfish and other seafood, oatmeal, smoked sausage and pretty much any carb-heavy foods. You are not big on veggies, but you will sometimes eat them to impress your sister, who is a big veggie eater and whose opinion you value more than anyone else's. Sometimes when I watch you eat, I think we should have put three fridges in the new house for your teenage years, rather than just two.

You recently learned how to shoot a gun, and you bagged your first deer at the ranch just a few days after your birthday. You have also become interested in trapping. You got a couple of live-traps for your birthday, and you have caught a cat and several coons. You love to go out and check your traps first thing every morning. You are not afraid to get your hands (or your shirt, jeans or face) dirty, so these activities suit you just fine.

Besides hunting and guns, you are also interested in football and have watched many games with Dad this fall, trying to learn all the rules of the game. You also like to cook and are helping out more and more in the kitchen. You like taking pictures with your camera. And you still love long-neck dinosaurs.

You like playing punching games with Dad and wrestling with Max, but truly, you are a gentle giant. You are always writing letters, drawing pictures and coming up with neat gifts for the people you love. You give the sweetest hugs and compliments. And you pray from your heart in the most sincere way. Your heart is as huge as your body. And it is a blessing just to know you. I am so thankful that I get to be your mom!  These last six years have been some of the most fun of my life. I love you so much!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Boys in My House

Boys in my House

Author: Erin Jo Kilmer
There are boys in my house – and Spiderman shoes
And 200 papers in various blues.
There's Bob (he's a builder) and Thomas the Train,
There's a fireman coat to wear in the rain.
They have cars on their shirts and frogs on their hats
There's a glove and a ball and a red plastic bat.
There's dirt on a face and a smudge on a nose;
Grass stains on knees and sand between toes.
There's bathtime at night with bodies to scrub,
And when we're all done there is dirt in the tub!
There are bandaids and bruises and curious bumps,
There are smiles and laughter and sometimes there are grumps.
There are odors most icky; there are boogers so green
There are more yucky things than I'll ever get clean.
There are piles of laundry; there are stories at night;
There's bedtime and bathtime and dinnertime fights.
There are cars and there are trains and there are books about trucks
There's Scoop, Lofty, Dizzy, and Travis, and Muck.
Sometimes there are bugs, and sometimes there are frogs;
Sometimes they are lions, or dinos, or dogs.
There are cute little vests and darling neckties
Dragged right through the mud – oh what a surprise!
There's running and climbing and jumping and falling
And laughing and crying and hugging and brawling
And rolling and losing and finding and creeping
And whining and stealing, and sometimes there's sleeping.
There are tantrums and time outs and extra loud noise –
There's love in my house shaped like two* little boys.
*I didn't write this, but I found it on Crystal's blog and thought it was absolutely perfect! And, of course, we have three boys in our house, but the little one isn't quite in this category yet--though I know it's coming.  I just love my boys so much, dirt and all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Favorite Things

It's been a while since my last "favorite things" post, and I think it's time for another. So, without further ado, I give you a few [more] of my favorite things:

My new favorite chair, as you know. Bought at Evridge's, made by Mayo.

Yes, I have a favorite trash can.
That little lip, where I can tie the bag so it doesn't slip, makes me happy.

Hands-off shower cleaning. Now that's awesome.

Many a fun hour has been spent playing this game.

A new favorite in our household. Light and crunchy.
Delicious by themselves or covered in your favorite dip.

Made the inside of my dishwashers shiny again.

Perfect addition to coffee, chai or simply a glass of ice.

I'm not really an app person, but this one makes life so much simpler.
Emily (Google Maps navigator) has replaced Lee (my former stand-alone GPS).

Watts Homeschool language program, and, in my opinion, the easiest way to learn a language. 

This writing program constantly impresses me. 

LOVE Junior Brown. Hoping to see him live soon.

So proud of my hubby for all his hard work on this.
Can't wait for classes to begin, hopefully in the fall. 

I have gotten some great deals here, and everyday
I look forward to seeing what the deal of the day is.

So many good ideas, all in one place. Seriously addictive.
I only let myself look at it on weekends.

This is another app I really enjoy having on my phone.

My new favorite book. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

We have a kitchen full of stainless steel appliances.
These are my new best friend.

These have seriously saved my sanity.
No more toothpaste squeezed out on every surface of the boys' bathroom.
*I'm not getting any advertising bucks out of this. Just sharing my thoughts. Please leave a comment, telling me about some of your favorite things. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Squealing, Clapping, Smiling

My new furniture arrived today! Woohoo!

A place for everyone to sit

My husband loves me THIS much! If you need me, I'll be right here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

7 Months

The little guy is seven months old today. And he's still little. He weighs 14 pounds and 15 ounces, putting his dot just below the lowest curve on the percentile graph (which is the 3rd percentile). He is better on height, almost a giant, really, at the 25th percentile. He has recently started solid foods, in a manner of speaking. Actually, when anything comes in the direction of his mouth on a spoon, he works himself up to a very theatrical gag, and very few spoonfuls make it across those pursed lips. However, he has agreed to occasionally munch on Baby Mum Mum rice crackers. The doctor isn't really worried about Clay's weight, because he is generally healthy and is hitting all the right milestones at all the right times, but she does want to keep an eye on him, so we'll continue going in for regular weight checks and keep trying to shove the food in. Clay is still wearing 3-6 month size clothes and size 2 diapers. He is sitting up really well on his own and is still army crawling and inch-worming along, but not performing a proper crawl yet--though he definitely has no trouble getting where he wants to go. He is just the cutest thing ever, with his sweet smiles and oh-so-happy belly laugh. We love this adorable little bundle!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Adventures in the Wild West

Our adventure begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving...

Unable to resist the Siren song of Black Friday, Jeff began his shopping around 6:00 am. Of course, his only destination was HEB, and his only goal was to buy milk, so we could hit the road. So, with the milk purchased and the Thanksgiving leftovers packed up, we headed west. Our first stop was Evridge's furniture store in Brady, where we purchased a sofa and the coolest chair ever. They will be delivered on Tuesday, so check back later for pictures. Having done that, we made our way to our ultimate destination: the family ranch. We got there in time to don our camo, set out some live traps and track down a javelina for Weston to take a shot at. He hit the pig, but it ran off in the brush where we couldn't find it.

tiny hunter
camo boys

baiting Grandpa's trap

the mighty trapper

getting it set

unsuspecting javelina

taking aim

Saturday was Weston's birthday, so we let him set the program for the day. His first priority was to check the traps. Sure enough, he had caught a coon, which was probably the best birthday present he could have gotten. After checking the traps, we decided to head for the house for breakfast. With temperatures dropping and moisture levels rising, we urged my father-in-law to get us home quickly, especially since we were all piled up in the open-air Ranger. He found a relatively smooth patch of dirt road and hit the gas. With two adults and a kid in the front seat and three adults, each with a child on her lap in the back seat, we were probably overloaded. My attention was turned to keeping myself and my seat partner warm and dry, and the next thing I knew, Max and I were sailing through the air and landing in the brush. My knee was hurting, but my main concern was for Max. The rest of the group was there with us almost instantly, and my father-in-law took quite a tongue lashing from a scared-but-not-seriously-injured Max about driving too fast. While Jeff checked Max for broken bones, my sister-in-law was checking on me. After I caught my breath, I was ready to get up. She and Jeff flanked me and helped me up, which I declared made me feel dizzy. And then the world went black. I passed out right there in the middle of the pasture and woke up 10 seconds later, completely confused about where I was or what I was doing and wondering why on earth my stomach was so cold. (Jeff had raised my shirt a little hoping the cool air would revive me, which I guess it did). It was a crazy experience. They finally got Max and me loaded back up in the Ranger, and I then spent the rest of the day with my left knee iced and elevated. And we did go on to have a nice little birthday celebration for Weston.

before the accident, with my little camo buddy 
Weston's birthday coon

birthday breakfast

deer hunting toy

Weston loves longnecks

Sunday was uneventful. It was cold, so we spent most of the day inside, playing games and drinking warm drinks. The kids went out hunting with Dad and Grandpa, but didn't see much. At 6:00 am on Monday morning, Ruth entering our bedroom, saying she had just thrown up upstairs. She then went on to throw up several more times in our bathroom. Just as I got her settled on the couch, Max entered the room, following her example. Max was back in the game very quickly and spent much of the day playing outside. By the afternoon, Ruth was feeling better, too.

log rolling 
fun in the sandbox

feeling good and looking good

Tuesday was Ruth's half-birthday, so it was her turn in the limelight. She went walking with her aunt, and found a lucky horseshoe, and while hunting with her dad, she shot a little six-point buck. While she was walking and Clay was napping, and with the rest of the group otherwise occupied, Jeff and I got out the hand guns for a little target practice. After practicing for a little while, I finally got a bullseye, which I was very proud of. I have shot the guns before, but this was the first time I really felt confident about what I was doing, and it made a difference.

a-hunting we will go

lucky girl

happiness is walking a dirt road with your brother


playing with the spent casings

half-birthday buck

horse lights for the half-birthday girl

beautiful west Texas sky

On Wednesday, Weston followed Ruth's hunting example and bagged a six-point of his own. He was so very proud of himself. Needless to say, we should have plenty of meat to eat for a while. During lunch, Jeff and the biggest kids were entertaining themselves by working math problems. Ruth and Weston were enjoying it so much, they didn't want to stop, so after lunch Ruth started giving Weston lessons in division. It was so cute to watch. Later in the day, we decided to see if we could spot the little elk family that has taken up residence on the ranch. Last year, my father-in-law had shot a bull elk, thinking there weren't any cows around. But, it has since been discovered that there is, in fact, a cow, and she now has a calf. They are all usually pretty elusive, but we managed to see all three of them within an hour. They are such beautiful creatures and seem to know instinctively that they are more majestic than the other deer on the ranch. There is a strict no-kill policy on them right now to see if they will continue to breed, so the only shooting we did was with the camera.

hunting with Grandpa

Weston's buck

division lessons


mama elk

big daddy

The big event for Thursday was a trip into Marathon. We shopped in both of the stores in town, before having drinks at the White Buffalo bar and dinner at the 12 Gage restaurant, both inside the historic Gage Hotel.

Gage Hotel 
Gage decor

unlikely bar patrons

12 Gage

Inside the 12 Gage
Friday was cold and wet, so we spent a bit more time inside. However, the kids still found some time to play outside and even help Grandpa with some backhoe work.

reading with Mimi 
backhoe business

good helpers

On Saturday, the tummy bug caught up with me, so I spent most of the day in bed or curled up on the couch, sleeping and reading. I felt pretty lousy, but I did manage to finish an excellent book, which I highly recommend: Unbroken. It's the amazing, true story of Louis Zamperini, a one-time Olympian and WWII soldier and POW. You must put this book on your to-read list--near the top.

This morning, we gathered up all the traps and buttoned up the hunting cabin. We stopped by Granny Wanda's on our way through town and then pointed our little convoy toward home, stopping twice for lunch (at my boys' request) and once at the deer processing place. Even with the few illnesses and accidents, we had a wonderful time out west.

all hunted out 
visiting Granny Wanda

Watts out west