Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Our Weekend

  • My MIL came over Friday afternoon and spent the night with us.
  • Max made Green Eggs and Ham, Grape Salad and toast for dinner.
  • A cow ran into our pressure tank, breaking a pipe in the process, and leaving us without water for about eight hours.
  • The kids all slept somewhere other than their own rooms.
  • We had a nice little thunderstorm during the night.
Green Eggs and Ham

  • Jeff was one of the first customers of the day at Home Depot, where he secured the appropriate plumbing parts to get us back in the water business.
  • I made homemade blueberry muffins and baked peaches for breakfast.
  • We got to meet our beautiful new niece/cousin, Victoria. 
  • We made a little road trip to La Grange for a 60th anniversary party at a fancy country club. My younger boys and I ended up in the van, watching a video, napping and reading for about half of it. 
  • We had dinner at a little dive in Austin we had seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. In all honesty, it wasn't one of our favorite Triple D places.
Catching some ZZZs on the way to La Grange

All out of anniversary party steam

  • Clay made his presence loudly known to the entire congregation of the Marble Falls Church of Christ, even from the furthest reaches of the building where I had him sequestered, with a toddler fit (for no apparently no reason) to rival all others. 
  • We had lunch at a local Thai place we love. 
  • While Jeff and Clay headed home for a nap, I took the big kids to see a wonderful live performance of "Willy Wonka" at the Hill Country Community Theatre.
  • Ruth and I spent some time at Walmart buying some necessities and some frivolous things for our upcoming trip to the Davis Mountains.
  • I made lists of things we need to remember to take with us and things I need to do before we leave.
  • I found someone to feed our cat while we're gone.
  • I started the packing process.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Okay, Moms, we need to talk

About four years ago, I was in the depths of an abysmal hole, and I couldn't see any way out. I was the mother of three small children (four if you count the twins "Max," which we're definitely going to count), who were needy and loud and messy and constant. There weren't any breaks or holidays, and even vacations felt like a chore. I felt trapped. And, I felt all alone. I didn't know how to ask for help. And, if I'm really honest, I didn't think I could ask for help, because every feeling I had felt "wrong." I mean, what kind of mother daydreams about just running away and never coming back?! What kind of person can feel overwhelmingly sad in the midst of a truly blessed life?! These are the kinds of thoughts you barely acknowledge to yourself, and they certainly aren't the kind of things you talk about in public. And, believe me, I spent a great deal of time berating myself for ever even letting these thoughts pass through my mind. Especially since the world around me, in the form of Internet memes mostly, seemed to be screaming, "The time is short, so embrace every moment with your children!" I wasn't interested in embracing these seemingly interminable moments. In fact, the only light in my days sometimes was the thought that these little people would eventually grow up and move away. Awful thoughts for a mom to have, right?! So, I worked overtime to try to hide the crazy during the daylight hours. But late at night, when I finally let the tears flow freely and silently, I stood face-to-face with these monsters and a few more besides. One time, I actually left the house in the middle of the day, telling no one where I was going, and I disappeared for several hours. I was a mile from my house, at a park, being eaten alive by mosquitoes and wishing I could just stay there forever. At the time, it was the only thing that made any sense whatsoever. Perhaps the hardest thing I've ever done was to drag myself back home and reinsert myself into my life. 

I wish I would have asked for help. I wish I would have not tried so hard to pretend that everything was fine. I wish I would have hired a sitter to come to my house once a week, so I could have a break. I didn't do any of those things. I just muddled through, and eventually, I started to figure some things out on my own, and I started to make some changes in my mind. But, it was a tremendously painful and lonely process. And, much, much later, I was able to pull out of it. There are still scars on my heart from that particular time in my life. Things have been better in the years since I figured some of that stuff out. But, this summer, without the schedule and structure of the school year, and with a fun, but demanding job, and with a part-time potty training toddler running around, I have had inklings of those old feelings. I'm so thankful to my brave and amazing friend, Katie, for reminding me that I'm not alone, and that it's o.k. to ask for help, and that it's necessary to talk about it. I have come to believe that most parents of young children (moms AND dads) feel some or all of these things, at least occasionally. It doesn't mean we're bad people. Or that we don't love our children. It just means that parenting is hard. We need to ditch the Pinterest and Facebook-inspired comparisons, that shout at us that we are failing as parents if we don't have a celebrity-style birthday party for our two-year-olds and build super-duper deluxe bunk beds by hand and share this meme "if we love our kids and never want them to grow up." We just need to be real and honest and vulnerable. Like, Katie, let's not be "above or beyond" help.

And, for those out there who actually do have your stuff together at this particular moment, try not to judge those of us who may not. And be the help, if you can, because there may be a person in your life who doesn't know how to ask for help or even if they can.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When the sunscreen doesn't work

At the beginning of the summer, I put swim days on the schedule as assurance for the kids that we would indeed log some pool hours and as a sanity saver for me, because I did not want to be asked every day, multiple times a day, if we could go to the pool. So, if we're in town, you can usually find us at the Marble Falls pool on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Now, I have always been a special shade of pale, and in my stupider younger years, I got enough sunburns to know that there is nothing glamourous about spending days and weeks walking around like a lobster who has already taken a dip in the boiling water. So, between that and the fact that everyone these days knows how dangerous UV rays can be, I use sunscreen religiously. And, I slather it on my kids, as well, even though they have all been fortunate enough to inherit some of the tan pigment from their father. This summer, we have been using Banana Boat's spray-on sunscreen, with excellent results. Until today. I sprayed us all down, as usual, but there must have been some sort of problem, because a couple of us ended up with pretty nasty sunburns anyway. So much for good intentions, huh?!

And, really, I feel this way about life sometimes. There are so many times when I feel like I'm doing all the right things, all the things I know I should be doing, but, still, the sunscreen fails and I don't get the results I'm hoping for. In fact, sometimes, even with all my good intentions and do-gooding, the only thing that registers at the end of the day is pain. And, I wonder why I ever even bothered in the first place. Do you ever feel like that?

The thing about the sting of the sunburn is, it rarely lasts more than a day or two. And, I am learning, ever so slowly, to not let the sting of a day (or week or year) get to me. I am learning to push through the pain and to soothe it in whatever ways I can. Because, even though the sunscreen didn't work this time, doesn't mean I won't ever be able to enjoy a day in the sun again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

School Schedules

We finalized our school schedules today for the upcoming school year. So exciting!

Kindergarten (Max)

2nd Grade (Weston)

6th Grade (Ruth)

*Tuesday is our CC class day, so that's why it doesn't appear on the schedule.

Friday, July 19, 2013

This Week:

  • Ruth was off at "Nana Camp," getting manicures and pedicures, watching movies, going ice skating, playing at the water park, and shop-shop-shopping.
  • Our ice machine developed a leak, which will hopefully be repaired next week.
  • We attended an event for youth football players, where Weston and Max got their equipment for the upcoming season and also got to run around on the high school football field.
  • We acquired a very cute and not-so-friendly kitten, who I have cajoled and chased and tried to keep alive at least long enough for Ruth to get to see it. (I was successful on that last item, by the way).

  • Our resident barber (Jeff) gave all the boys great summer haircuts.
  • It rained buckets! Glorious, beautiful, much-needed rain. In July. In Texas. It felt like a miracle.
  • With the rain, we have also been enjoying temps in the upper 80s. Another Texas July miracle.
  • The boys and I attended a three-day CC practicum (basically a homeschool pep rally), where the boys attended camps, and I did everything from getting participants registered to giving the welcome speech to facilitating training courses for some of this year's tutors. It was super-fun and utterly exhausting.
  • We attended a dinner party with Jeff's parents and their good friends from Hawaii.
  • I hosted a dinner party for all the directors attending the parent practicum.
  • Our beautiful new niece/cousin, Victoria Pearl Watts, arrived safely in the world. 

  • Clay spent a day seriously contemplating giving up potty training completely.
  • I spent a lot of time preparing for the close of CC registration (tomorrow) for this school year by answering a ton of questions, collecting paperwork and tuition and entering everyone's pertinent information in the right places on the computer. 
  • Clay got a cool pair of cowboy boots (hand-me-downs from his younger cousin), which he absolutely loves!

  • Ruth and I attended her CC Challenge Orientation. We just can't believe it's only a month until classes start!
  • I dropped off two huge bags of giveaway items produced by the collaborative closet culling efforts of Jeff and myself.
  • I accidentally spilled the contents of my wallet and found the dry cleaning ticket for some things I dropped off a month ago. Fortunately, the cleaners still had the items, and I was able to pick them up. 
  • The big boys had pre-football physicals done. 
  • We got our house in Austin listed for sale.
  • I displayed one of my greater acts of insanity by taking all four kids with me for six hours of errand running and school clothes shopping. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sent outside to play

Y'all. This day. It just almost did me in. To be fair, I think it was just because I was physically and mentally exhausted from spending three FULL days at the Marble Falls CC parent practicum, wearing a variety of hats, including teaching a training course, and having a stack of work to get through today (and hoping to do that with the fewest possible interruptions).

But, riddle me this: If we need to leave the house early to be somewhere, why do I have to push, poke, and prod the kids to wake up, have breakfast and put two shoes on their feet, regardless of whether they match or not, but if we have an opportunity to sleep in, everyone wakes early (on their own), banging dishes, yelling "MOMMA" at top volume over and over and over, and are completely dressed, including matching football cleats, by the time I exit the bedroom?

Multiple times, I demanded that the boys go outside and play, partly just to protect them from me. And, I would really love it if one of you could enlighten me as to how it is punishment to go outside and play if you are a boy who lives on a 10-acre property, with a multitude of toys and sporting equipment, on a gorgeous Texas day in July, where the high temperature is only 88 degrees. I just don't get it. Why all the crying and whining and coming back in so often?

In fact, I was so perplexed by this, that, at one point, I decided to send myself out to play, instead of sending the boys out, just to see if I would start crying upon crossing the threshold. To my surprise, I did not start crying or whining. In fact, it was absolutely lovely. Right up until ten minutes later, when the door swung open, and the boys bounded out, a ball of noise and energy, eager to play right there on the porch where I was sitting in peace.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Big fun in the Big Country

Old school merry-go-round in Haskell

Bongo Baby

Lots and lots of baseball

Abilene Zoo

Feeding the giraffes

Deadly Dolphin

Lovin' the splash pad

PJ Day at singing camp

best buddies

The Three Amigos

I went a hundred million miles on my Grandaddy's riding lawn mower when I was a kid.
I love that my kiddos are also getting to log some miles with Grandaddy!

cutie kitchen hand

Catalog shopping with Granny

Giant "Operation" at the Grace Museum

Driving the slug bug ambulance

Batman and the Dragon

Jammin' with Chuck E. Cheese at Max's half-birthday party

Hangin' with Horton in the Dr. Seuss garden

All dressed up

singing camp concert

Friday, July 05, 2013

4th Fun

Cowboy Cutie
Cowboy kisses
A late Father's Day gift for Papa
The boys had just as much fun as it appears at the parade
partying with Nana
Introducing the birthday boy
87 years young
patriotic desserts
beautiful braids, thanks to cousin Cassie
patriotic princess

Monday, July 01, 2013

Watts Reunion

Cruisin' the ranch in a full Ranger

Forty-Two in the house

Forty-Two on the porch

"This is not the day the ranch falls!"

"Keep your eye on the clays."

Skeet shooting in the "football field"
How many shotguns can you spot in this picture?
(Keep in mind that at least half of the guns are not pictured.)

"Easter egg hunt"
(picking up clays and shell casings)

Dirt clods make an awesome sound when thrown against metal

Ear protection for the "booms"

Target practice

Ready, Aim, Fire!

An afternoon dip in the tank