Monday, April 30, 2012

Dos Fiestas

Holy cow! What a weekend! We had, not one, but TWO birthday parties at our house on Saturday, and boy were they fun! We started the day with a little party for our Claycito, who is turning ONE on Saturday, if you can believe that. Since he's our Cinco de Mayo baby, the theme was fiesta all the way. We had fajitas, carnitas, Spanish rice and guacamole on the menu. (And, we ran almost completely out of food, which is absolutely unheard of--and supremely embarrassing--for Watts. Jeff's dad may never let us live it down)! I set the kids' real Mexican sombreros around for decorations. There was a large cake with maracas on it for the guests, and Clay-sized maraca cake for the birthday boy. And, we had the teeniest, tiniest, most perfect pinata for our Little Bitty. We were so glad to be joined in our celebration by so many members of our extended family.


Getting our fiesta on

A cake to shake things up

"Happy Birthday to you!"

Sharing some cake

Trying to get every last bite

A Clay-sized pinata

When that party died down, we fired up a party for my mom, who turned 60 last Sunday. I had put together a little slide show of pictures spanning all those years (thanks in great part to my grandmother), which we all enjoyed watching. We ate the most tender and delicious ribs, homemade potato salad and a wonderful, creamy Jell-o salad, made by my sister. And then, we had Dulce de Leche cake for dessert. THE SHOES, with a few modifications, even made an appearance during the gift-giving time. And, at Mom's request, Ruth performed some of her piano pieces and her PSIA poem. It was so much fun to laugh and remember and visit and celebrate my incredible mom.

Birthday Buddies

Mom is supicious

Modeling her shoes, while a younger version of herself looks on

THE Shoes

A scrapbook with contributions from the whole family

Make a wish

Ruth performs...

...And entertains

We feel truly blessed to have such an amazing extended family, and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend this time together celebrating the lives of some of our favorite people!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hats I've worn this week

  • Teacher
  • Chauffeur
  • Nurse
  • Party Planner
  • Maid
  • Baker
  • Referee
  • Exterminator
  • Chef
  • Dish Washer
  • Laundress
  • Banker
  • Principal
  • Mover
  • Supervisor
  • Artist
  • Writer
  • Adviser
  • Photographer
  • Librarian
  • Historian
  • Gift Wrapper
  • Computer Tech
  • Plumber
  • Mail Carrier

Thursday, April 26, 2012

CC Field Day

Excellent form in the bolo toss

Washer toss (Obviously, Watts boys must raise a leg to toss an object.)
Parachute games

Clay found the whole day completely exhausting

Monday, April 23, 2012

Corpus Vacay

I do not have the energy to tell you all the details of our wonderful long weekend in Corpus, but I can give you some highlights.
  • a short visit to the Robstown library
  • swimming at the hotel
  • a few residual tummy issues for a few kids
  • abundant Mexican food and seafood 
  • Sand Fest
  • gigantic corndogs
  • playing at the beach
  • very minor jellyfish stings for a couple of kiddos
  • beautiful sunsets
  • the baby's first real steps
  • a visit to the U.S.S. Lexington
  • great fun at the Texas State Aquarium
  • a ferryboat ride
  • fruity little drinks
  • swollen "duck lips" for mom
  • a visit to the South Texas Botanical Gardens 
My little hermit crabs.

The big kids enjoying the surf.

The little guy ready to get a move on.

In the barber shop aboard the Lexington.
(Can you see Clay and Jeff reflected in the mirror)?

Visiting with the dolphins at the aquarium

Playing hard at the aquarium's splash park

My favorite sand sculpture at Sand Fest

Vying for king of the hill

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A story about a day

Our story begins at 12:30 am, when I was awakened from a much-needed deep sleep by death-is-upon-me screaming coming through the baby monitor. This NEVER happens, so I quickly made my way to Clay's room. Upon opening the door, I was hit square in the nostrils with a foul, foul odor. With only the hall light on for guidance, I reached for my sobbing Itty Bitty. He was soaked, and I could tell in the dim light that he had been vomiting in his bed. I spent the next thirty minutes getting him calmed down, cleaning him up and changing his bedding. He went back to bed without another peep, but I lay awake wondering what in the world I was going to do about CC. Since today was the last day of CC for the semester, I had some extra responsibilities and the kids had their hearts set on being there with their friends. I finally convinced myself that it could simply have been something Clay ate and that things would be better in the morning and I would make my decision then. Well, at 7:00 am it was clear that things were not much better. The only difference was the end that was producing the foul odors. So, I went through the process of cleaning up the child and changing the bedding once again. I knew I couldn't take him to CC and expose the other kids to whatever this might be, but I wrestled with whether to shirk my responsibilities and disappoint the older children. While stewing about what to do, I started packing lunches, reminding people to get their water bottles and backpacks, and loading an incredible amount of paraphernalia into the van--which included our regular massive amount of gear, as well as lots of last-day stuff: teacher gifts, three batches of cookies for various class parties and much, much more. Thirty minutes later, I was on the phone with my father-in-law, desperately asking if there was any way he and my mother-in-law would be willing and able to take on a sick kiddo for the day. They happily agreed, and soon arrived at the house to pick up Clay and take him to their house. I can't tell you how thankful I was! I then made another phone call to the CC director to let her know we would be a little late.

On the way, the cute little teacher gifts (potted plants) spilled their contents all over the floor under Max's feet. Ruth was close to tears, thinking her gift for her teacher was ruined. Max was close to tears as he realized he was going to have to step in that dirt in order to exit the vehicle. And I was close to tears because I had a sick kid, I was running late and now I had dirt all over my van.

We finally arrived at CC, where I single-handedly unpacked all the gear, so that the kids could go on in to the assembly time. It took For-Ever. Then, I had to set up my classroom, interrupting a class already in progress in order to procure another table. When everything was done, I turned my class over to a sub, so I could test two young ladies, individually, on all of the memory work from the whole year. I finally stepped back into my classroom five minutes before class ended--just in time to give out the participation certificates and special treats I had brought.

The afternoon was going along smoothly, until I had a chance to meet a mother visiting our campus with thoughts of joining us next year. We chatted for a while, and then I kicked in to "director mode," telling her I had registration forms, if she was interested. I walked her through the forms and explained everything as best I could, and she very sweetly listened and acted interested, and then said to me, "I actually designed these forms." Turns out, she was one of the very first directors in the state of Texas. And, she's going to be on my campus next year as I fumble my way through my first time to direct anything. Awesome.

I made it through the rest of the day just fine and then rushed Ruth over to piano lessons. It wasn't until Ruth came out of the lesson that I realized she had gone in without any shoes on. That was a first. And I still don't know what possessed her to do that. It was just another awesome aspect of the day.

Then, we were off to pick Clay up at my in-laws. Somewhere along the way I picked up a killer headache. Fortunately, my sweet father-in-law offered to make dinner for us, and I didn't put a fight. Dinner was obviously going to be way too hard for me to pull off tonight. Another bit of good news was that my in-laws reported that Clay had been happy and healthy all day and seemed to be completely over all his tummy troubles.

But, the minute we walked in the door at our house, he proved that the tummy troubles were not completely behind us. Even now, I seem not to be able to get the stench out of my nose.

I got him cleaned up and put to bed, and then turned my attention to the packing that needs to be done before we can leave on our trip tomorrow. And Jeff got home in the midst of that. Woohoo! Just the bright spot I needed. Unfortunately, I have yet to get back to the packing. Or to vacuuming up the spilled dirt in the van. Or to a million other things that need to be done before we leave. And, frankly, I'm thinking about just ignoring all that stuff. Though, I'm having a hard time ignoring the 4-year-old crying (still!) because he doesn't want to go to bed.

If you need me this weekend, I'll be on the beach. With a fruity little drink in my hand.

The End.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April's Agenda

Appearing on the April calendar:

  • Mom's Night Out
  • A lunch date with my mom, sister and nephew in Austin
  • Fiddle Fest in Llano
  • Marble Falls Science Fair
  • Jeff's spontaneous holiday
  • Sleepover at my in-laws'
  • A visit with my brother-in-law, who lives in Mozambique but is in the States for a few weeks
  • Jeff on the radio, promoting Strong Academy
  • Another boy in the mix for a day and a night, while his mama has surgery
  • Last day of CC for this school year
  • A beach vacation to Mustang Island
  • A very special birthday for my mom
  • CC Field Day
  • A birthday fiesta for Claycito
  • A birthday bash for my mom
I don't know if we could possibly squeeze any more fun out of this month!

Friday, April 13, 2012


At breakfast this morning, Jeff announced a holiday for us--no school, no work, just pure fun! (That's when he became the hero of the day)! He wanted to take the kids over to a place called Jumpoline Park, in Austin. It is a room full of trampolines of all different descriptions, and it is super-fun! We arrived right when they opened, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. A few other people came later, but since it was a school day, it remained fairly quiet. We stayed for about 3 hours, and all four kids had a blast! (And Mom and Dad had a pretty good time, too)! When everyone finally got hungry, we went over to Chuy's for some superb Mexican food. After we got home, Jeff took over kid-duty, while I went out for a pedicure. The holiday ended with a (living room) Movie Night and (bedroom) Campout. It was such a fun day, spent with my most favorite people on the planet!

Dancin' Machine
Having a ball

Ready for action

Dodgeball champ

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When you live with boys...

...You will find:
  • Body parts stuck in unlovely places--fingers in noses; hands in underwear.
  • Tee-tee on the bathroom floor (and maybe a few other places it doesn't belong).
  • Cuts, bruises, scrapes, bites, and other bodily injuries that have never been mentioned.
  • Dismembered action figures lying around.
  • A lingering unpleasant odor.
  • Water, when there should be no water.
  • Dirt. Everywhere.
  • Insatiable appetites.
  • Great acts of daring being performed constantly.
  • A trail of crumbs. 
  • Dirty socks.
  • Objects always being thrown in the house.
  • A great deal of noise.
  • Deadly weapons posing as everyday objects. 
  • Legos under your bare feet. 
  • A ridiculously large collection of things that go.
  • Toothpaste on the counters and sinks (and mirror and cabinets...).
  • A wide path of destruction.
  • Ripped clothes. (Probably lying on the floor).
  • Boogers on the wall. 
  • Smudgy fingerprints on almost every surface. 
  • The sweetest, most sincere hugs and kisses you can imagine!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Everything Easter is supposed to be

We did something a little different for Easter this year. We went over to Fiddle Fest in Llano for a sweet little service down by the river and some old-fashioned, country gospel music. It represented, to me, everything Easter is supposed to be: casual, peaceful, beautiful, and simple. It was a blessing to be there.

A sweet fragrance, filling the air

Peace like a river

Positioned on the rock

Thursday, April 05, 2012

11 Months

11 months. I just can't believe it. Our adorable little Claycito is 11 months old. This month has been huge--in terms of new things, if not in terms of Clay's physical size. He is wearing mostly 6-month clothes now, though they still sometimes hang a little loose. I always tell people that he's big for a six-month-old. His blood tests showed that he was pretty anemic, but everything else came back normal, so we're just pumping  him full of iron-rich formula and will keep an eye on his weight. I think he seems to be quite healthy and even seems a little chunky sometimes. He has added two new teeth this month, bringing the grand total up to six. This amazes me, since the other kids were just getting their first teeth at his age. He has started making more word-like noises, and has even starting saying "bye-bye" quite clearly while waving. He is also making an adorable raspberry sound, and a not-so-adorable squeal when he knows what he wants, but we don't. He is cruising around while holding on and has taken what can almost be called an actual step without holding on. It really won't be long before he takes off. He loves to play peek-a-boo, take baths, play with balls, and give kisses. He adores his siblings and enjoys hanging out with them, but is also quite happy to play by himself. And he is just the cutest thing ever, and we love him so much!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Not defined by what I'm not

  • I'm NOT a runner, but I run three times a week.
  • I'm NOT a trained teacher, but I teach--my kids on a daily basis and a classroom-full of other people's kids, once a week.
  • I'm NOT a morning person, but most mornings find me up and at 'em before the sun.
  • I'm NOT skilled in Latin, but I teach a high-school level Latin class to my nine-year-old, and I learn right along with her.
  • I'm NOT a gourmet chef, but I can serve my family a dinner that will make them smile.
  • I'm NOT a "country girl," but there are frequently cows in my yard.
  • I'm NOT a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy the occasional cup of joe. (Likewise with wine).
  • I'm, generally, "an Indian, NOT a chief," but I just took a job as the director of our CC campus for the next school year.
  • I'm NOT a saint, but I am saved by grace.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Things that go bump in the night (and the middle of the day)

From the moment the windows were installed in the house, we have had all manner of fauna crashing into them--from little bugs to little boys. The worst offenders, by far, have been the moths and the birds. The moths actually woke me up around 5:00 am the other day with their incessant pounding, and it took me quite a while to figure out that I wasn't hearing the steady downpour of a nice rain shower. Lots of small birds seem to have had an especially hard time navigating the windows in the living room and the window in the master shower. But, today, while we were having lunch, a fairly large bird came zooming into the kitchen window, with enough force to make an imprint. Dazed by the original impact, he bounced and hit again, but amazingly managed to stay in the air and continue on his merry way. I do not envy him the headache he must have taken with him. And I can't tell you how thankful I am that he didn't come all the way through the glass and land in my kitchen sink. 

Face plant

Winging it