Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stiff necked and twinkle toed

On Thursday, Nana picked up Clay to take him with her as the Watts' representative at the Wainscott Reunion. He was thrilled to have the grandparents and great-grandparents all to himself for a few days!

Ruth spent the evening with her friends on Friday, so the rest of us had dinner at Chili's and then came home to watch a movie.

Apparently, Jeff slept crazy Friday night and woke up yesterday morning with a terrible crick in his neck. He has tried ice, heat, massage chair, peppermint oil, Advil and rest, to no avail. It just continues to plague him. If you have any sure-fire helps for that sort of thing, please pass them along.

Yesterday morning was also consumed with sports. Max and Weston had football games in Marble Falls, and Ruth was playing volleyball in Burnet. We had to divide and conquer, since the volleyball game was at the same time as one of the football games. Because I hadn't yet seen Max play football, and since the volleyball season lasts a little longer, I was Football Mom and Jeff was Volleyball Dad.

Since Clay had other engagements, we decided to spend some time this weekend doing things that are less fun when a toddler is involved, so after the second football game, we headed over to the movie theater to see "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2," which we all thoroughly enjoyed. When it was over, Ruth and I went shopping and got matching pedicures. Ruth says I always pick the same two or three colors, so I let her pick our color, which is a delightful sparkly gold. I'm so glad I have people in my life to push me to get out of my ruts! Meanwhile, the boys went back to the house to watch football and play video games. Ruth and I made it home just in time to watch the Aggies play. It was an unnecessarily stressful game, but we were glad to see the Aggies gather up another "W."

We had planned to climb Enchanted Rock today, but with all the rain yesterday and the predicted rain for today, we thought it might be a bit slippery and wet. It was just as well, though, because the kids were able to finish up their weekly chores, and then watch a movie, and I was able to get some work done.

Our weekend ended with dinner with my parents in Lampasas and the retrieval of our little Claycito. All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The cure for anything

Long before I saw this quote written down, I knew it to be true. Virtually any problem seems less significant after a good cry, a good workout or a good trip to the beach. And, with the booking of our 2014 beach vacation, I feel like I will most certainly make it through the rest of 2013. 

We have talked forever about an extended beach trip, and next summer, it's going to happen! We have already booked the first part of the trip, which will take us to a neat resort in North Carolina, with a condo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The second part of the trip will likely land us on the Gulf side of Florida, though we have not yet finalized those plans. We are beyond excited! The kids were even talking at lunch about how driven they are to get finished with their school work by the end of April, so they might be free to enjoy the adventure unencumbered. We are certainly not above extrinsic motivators around here. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sleepy Student

I got Max set up with a writing assignment today and then left his room to help another student. When I came back to check on him a little while later, this is how I found him:

I believe this is the first time I have had a student fall asleep during class! And the fact that it was this particular student is simply amazing!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First day of fall

We slept in this morning and woke to the glorious cool air rushing through our open windows and the smell of homemade pumpkin bread filling the house. That's the perfect way to wake up on the first day of fall! Mid-morning, we decided to invite Mimi to join us for brunch at the Iron Cactus in Bee Cave. What an amazing brunch buffet! And, just a table away, there sat a lady doing face painting! And, a charity 5K was just finishing up right outside the patio where we were sitting, and they had four balloons they needed to dispose of as part of their clean-up, and we had four kids, so it worked out just great. When we finished eating, Ruth and I visited a couple of shops in the Hill Country Galleria, while the boys frolicked in the amphitheater area. Finally, we rejoined and took the show down the road a piece. Our next stop was the Hamilton Pool Preserve, where we hiked and took in the breathtaking scenery and refreshing weather. When the smallest among us began to get tired, we headed back to the house to get in some Sunday football and naps. It was truly a lovely day (which we desperately needed after some of the preceding days)! How did you celebrate the first day of fall?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Batty Field Trip

We had a two-part field trip to Austin today. During the first part, we visited the Austin Nature Center, where we had an opportunity to learn about bats, see a live one close up and play some fun games, as well as enjoy some of the other features of the Nature Center. The second part consisted of a bat cruise on Lady Bird Lake (formerly, Town Lake) to watch the Mexican Free-tailed Bat colony fly out from under the Congress Bridge for their nightly bug-based feast. We learned a lot and had a really good time!

Getting batty at the Nature Center

Blind as a bat, playing "Bats and Moths"

Taking a closer look at a leaf-nosed bat

Ready to cruise

Congress Bridge, home of 1.5 million Mexican Free-tailed mamas and babies, but no daddies

Here they come!

*In case you're wondering who the extra kid is in some of the photos, that's my nephew, who we were excited to have with us for this outing!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Things I love

We just ordered this gorgeous bedroom set, and I cannot wait until it arrives!

In my seemingly endless battle with ants in the house, this has been my most effective weapon.
(Plus, the automatic trigger is really fun to use!)

A useful and stylish little device.

We are always listening to or singing this happy little song.
And, while this was the first Train song we fell in love with,
it certainly wasn't the last.

This dress from Loft might be the perfect LBD.
Super-comfy, great fit and can be dressed up or down.

This is the amazing writing program Ruth is doing in her Challenge class.
But, instead of just teaching writing, it actually teaches deep thinking.
I wish I would have been taught to write (and think) this way when I was Ruth's age!

A more calorie-conscious (and non-alcoholic) version of one of my favorite drinks.

Quite possibly our favorite vacation to date!

One of these opened in Marble Falls this summer,
and I think we have been at least once a week since that time.
(And, we still haven't tried all the different combinations of sandwiches!)
Everything is so tasty, and there are lots of healthy options.
I laugh until I cry. Every. Single. Time.

These lids are incredible and super cute!
(We have the sunflower and two banana leaves.)

My quest for the perfect set of sheets has been long and mostly unproductive.
Until now. These Tencel sheets are soft and cozy, don't pill and stay in place!

Monday, September 16, 2013

When I grow up...

During lunch today, the kids wanted to go around the table and tell the top three things they want to be when they grow up, in order. I pray they will always have varied passions, and that they would know that I believe they can be whatever they want to be. Here is where their employment desires lie right now:

  1. Spy
  2. Interior Decorator
  3. Horse Trainer
  1. Professional Football Player
  2. Secret Service/Spy
  3. Chemical Engineer
  1. Lemonade Stand Operator
  2. Inventor
  3. Spy
  1. Mickey Mouse

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Are you ready for some football?!

ready for action

Number 99 (Whoop!)

head to head

break through that line

I haven't actually seen Max play a game yet.
I snapped this pic last week, before leaving for my writing seminar,
and this week's game was cancelled.
But, he does look cute in his (oversized) uniform!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's Cursive to me

I speak to my children, asking them to do this or that, and they nod their heads and say "Yes, ma'am," as if they understand the words coming out of my mouth. But, then, there is absolutely no follow-through (without further prodding) and seemingly no memory of my ever have spoken. This happened last night while we were getting ready for dinner, and I turned to Jeff and announced, "It's as if they almost understand English." Weston immediately retorted, "Well, maybe you're just speaking in cursive!"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I was just barely 24 and was using the time while I was trying to "find myself" to volunteer at a local hospital. On Tuesdays, I helped at the information desk--delivering flowers to patient rooms, placing magazines in the waiting rooms, showing people where to go, and answering the phone and a multitude of random questions. The following week, I would find out I was pregnant with my first child, and I would question the wisdom of bringing a child into such a crazy world. 

That Tuesday started out just like the rest. With my red apron and my happy-to-help smile firmly in place, I loaded my arms with a stack of newly donated magazines, and began making my rounds to the waiting rooms. When I got to the ER, things seemed strange. Everyone was glued to the TV, and the volume was louder than normal. I completed the task I had come for and then joined the crowd by turning my attention to the blaring television as well. It was reporting a plane crash in New York City, right into the side of one of the World Trade Center buildings. "How sad," I thought. And, I began to pray in my heart for the families of this unfortunate accident. Bu,t then, something truly strange and incomprehensible happened as I continued to watch: another plane hit the other building. And, immediately I knew it couldn't have been an accident. But I couldn't really wrap my brain around what it could be. I just knew that everything within me was rejecting the reality of what I'd just seen. I kept hoping maybe it was a glitch in the the playback of the first crash. It wasn't. My body seemed to be shaking and my head seemed foggy as I made my way back to the information desk. And, I could barely form the words to tell my co-volunteers what I had just seen. The rest of the day is a complete blur. Of course, the reports only got worse and the death toll kept rising. My heart is heavy with the sadness of that day, and the days that followed, even now.

Where there is great tragedy, there are also great heroes. And, many ordinary people became extraordinary heroes that day. I commend those who put aside their own fears to allay the fears of others; those who showed astounding bravery in the wake of a cowardly attack; those who helped the helpless and hoped for the hopeless. Today, I remember. And, my thoughts are with those who lost their lives that day and those who live on, some of whom are still feeling the pain of that day as if it were only yesterday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dinosaur George: helping a mom win some little boy brownie points

Dinosaur George talks about a giant sea turtle

little monsters

prehistoric rhino (Coelodonta)

longneck love

T-Rex and the gang

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Old Soul

While we were at Campmeeting this summer, Weston spent a portion of his time with some of our friends, playing "Forty-two" and talking about all the things that make his life great. After a few days of chatting with them, our friend declared Weston to be an "old soul." We had never put it in those words, but since then, we have come to see that that is a perfect description for Weston. He might even be an old English soul. He loves British names, and he asked for a top hat for his half-birthday back in May. When we were shopping for school clothes, he picked out a pair of shoes, which I think I have probably seen only at a nursing home. Recently, he was making a list of things he wanted for his birthday, and we were so surprised to see "handkerchiefs" on the list. I immediately ordered him a monogrammed set. I can just see him sitting around in a small town coffee shop, talking about the weather, with a bunch of bifocaled and bald headed men.

Friday, September 06, 2013

I got the beer-in-the-headlights look

When you are five, and you are still learning your letters and how they work together to make words, some things are a little confusing--especially when you are dealing with the English language, and the rules keep changing. One of the things that all the five-year-olds I have taught to read have struggled with is the difference between a lowercase "b" and a lowercase "d." People with fancy letters after their names call it "letter reversal," and from what I understand, it's a very normal thing for new readers to do. But, sometimes, it can be quite comical. Like today, when Max was reading a book entitled "Deer." The "beer" had a big body, and the "beer" was a good swimmer. The "beer" left a scent behind to keep other "beer" away. Like a puerile adolescent, I got completely tickled. I just kept having these visions of wasted frat boys and their ridiculous antics, but narrated in a itty-bitty, five-year-old voice.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Missing the pretty stuff

Besides this blog, I also have a photo blog, which I used to faithfully post pictures to, in an effort to capture some of the "pretty stuff all over the world." Over time, my posts on that blog have become more and more sparse, as my life has become more and more hectic. It seems like I rarely take the time to pull out my camera these days, and if I can give a more honest assessment, I tend to get so caught up in the day-to-day that I rarely take the time to even notice the pretty stuff in the first place. This week, though, Ruth had a Science research paper to write on wildflowers. Her paper was specifically about the Firewheel, or Indian Blanket flowers, and she wanted a picture of one to take with her to class as a visual aid for her presentation. I knew I had posted a picture of one on my photo blog, so I went there to look it up, since I thought that would be infinitely easier than searching through thousands of picture files saved on my computer. I felt such joy and peace as I scrolled through my pretty stuff, and I realized the pretty stuff has been missing in my life lately. It's not that the pretty stuff isn't there. But, I haven't been making an effort to see it, much less preserve it. That's not acceptable. I need the pretty stuff. I'm a better person when I stop to smell (and photograph) the roses. So, if you're looking to add some pretty stuff to your life, feel free to hop on over to my other blog and take a look around. Help keep me accountable to my resolution to try to be more consistent in noticing and documenting some of the pretty stuff.

Pretty Stuff sneak peak
(Indian Blanket)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

  • Lunch at Gumbo's
  • Real estate papers signed, making the sale of our house in Austin official
  • Mega shopping trip to Sam's
  • Movie Night
  • War waged on fire ants, after they invaded Max's bed in the middle of the night and bit him repeatedly on the chest and back
  • Pedicure, haircut and a little shopping for Mandi
  • First Aggie game of the season, and first Aggie victory
  • Diet stuck to, even during multiple football games and the accompanying game day munchies
  • Ruth's friend spent the afternoon with us
  • Laundry washed
  • First Sunday potluck, also known as Weston's favorite church day of the month
  • Naps
  • Laundry folded and put away
  • Last-minute prep for the first day of CC on Tuesday
  • Potential landscaper here to take measurements
  • Pinterest piddling 
It's been a wonderful blend of productive and relaxing. Happy Labor Day, everyone!