Sunday, October 27, 2013

An otherwise lovely weekend

Jeff and I got to have a Date Night on Friday. We've been making an effort to make this a priority this school year, and it has been so good for us in so many ways! We tried a new-to-us steakhouse over in Spicewood, which was absolutely excellent. Then, we spent a couple of hours wandering around Barnes & Noble in Bee Cave. We managed to get out without doing too much financial damage, but that store is truly dangerous.

The three big kids had sports in three different towns on Saturday morning, which was fun to juggle. We all left the house at 7:00 am. Ruth and Clay and I dropped Jeff and the big boys off at Starbucks in Marble Falls on our way to Burnet for the 8:00 volleyball game. They waited there for one of Weston's coaches to pick them up. Jeff and Max were then dropped off in Canyon Lake, and Weston went on to Bandera. When Ruth finished up her game, we made haste to pick up Jeff and Max and then hustle over to Bandera, where we got in on the second half of Weston's game. His team had their biggest win of the season and secured their place in the playoffs. Woo-hoo!

Since we were so close to San Antonio, we decided to just make a mini-vacation of it. Our first order of business was to track down some yummy Mexican food, which we found at La Fogata, a new-to-us, off-the-Riverwalk, super-fun place. The next stop was the San Antonio Children's Museum, which is one of our kids' all-time favorite children's museums. And, we've been to a whole bunch of children's museums in several different states! They played hard until closing time. We then loaded everyone up and headed to the nearest Nissan dealership to try out the NV van. We aren't really in the market for something new just yet, but we had seen one of these the other day and wanted to get a closer look. After a quick test drive and a stop at Walmart (because what's a weekend away without a stop at Walmart?!), we stopped by the hotel, before heading down to the River for dinner at yet another new-to-us, yummy Mexican food place. I'm not sure how we've missed this place on our previous trips to San Antonio, but we won't miss it again! After a long day of fun, we were all ready to hit the hay back at the hotel. (All of us except for Clay, who was over-tired and wound up and didn't go to sleep until almost 11:00!)

Friendly HEB checker

True-to-life shopping experience
(You can tell it's true-to-life by the overflowing shopping cart!)

life-size tinker toys

from the farm to the table

pig farmer

milking this experience for all it's worth

We headed home after a late breakfast, so that we could get a few things done around the house before Ruth's piano recital this afternoon. She played three songs, including a duet and the song she wrote. And even though she was a bit nervous, she did great!

Unfortunately, in the midst of all this frivolity, we received word that Jeff's grandmother passed away on Saturday evening. She had not been in good health for a while, but no one really realized how serious things were. Regardless, the death of a loved one is never really something a person is truly prepared for. This was obviously a somber note in an otherwise lovely weekend. Granny Wanda will definitely be missed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Local Luau

Getting our aloha on at Tea Thyme Cafe

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Trying to recover from another wild weekend


  • We celebrated Jeff and Weston's November birthdays with Jeff's parents on Friday night, since they will be out of the country when those birthdays roll around. 
  • The usual sporting events: Max playing flag football, Ruth playing volleyball and Weston playing tackle football. The boys' teams were victorious, and Ruth's had a very narrow loss. However, Ruth played her best game and had much to be proud of. 
  • Ruth had a social outing to Sweet Berry Farm with many of the other CC Challenge students. She got to do a huge corn maze, paint a pumpkin, jump around on a giant air pillow and (most importantly) hang out with her buddies. 
  • The rest of us had lunch with Mimi and Grandpa after the football game at Which Wich.
  • I spent a couple of hours shopping all by myself, while I waited to pick Ruth up. 
  • When Ruth and I made it back to the house, we all gathered around for our weekly heart attacks, this time ending in a sad defeat for the Aggies.
  • We had four extra kiddos for several hours on Saturday evening, two of which stayed all night. 
Letting the creative juices flow

  • The boys and their friends were up at 6:30, ready for waffles. Thank goodness Dad was also up and willing to play chef.
  • We participated in the Phoenix Center's first annual Fun Run. 
  • After lunch and naps (for some of the younger ones among us), we decided to let Weston cash in his birthday present from Mimi and Grandpa, with a trip over to Jumpoline Park and Golden Corral in Austin. 
  • After dinner, we decided to check out the relatively new Trader Joe's store. We love Trader Joe's so much and found several interesting things to bring home!
At the starting line for the Fun Run

Speedy Gonzales and his medal

Weston executing a nice flip

A bouncer's paradise


*Picture disclaimers: When I remembered to take pictures at all, I took them with my phone, so they aren't super-awesome. Clay was with us all weekend, but doesn't show up in any of the pics. Lighting was low and action was high at the Jumpoline Park, which is why those are all a bit fuzzy. Shout out to my friend, Jeanette, who took the picture of Ruth painting a pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gotta brag

Ok, people. This is a brag post. I'm not even gonna try to candy-coat it: my children are absolutely brilliant and completely amazing. Let's go youngest to oldest, shall we?

Clay is starting to speak in sentences. Clear, understandable, grammatically incorrect, adorable sentences. He can yammer on about almost anything. He has also recently starting pretending, and he has an imaginary friend named Jibba. And, he is learning (by listening to his older siblings practice their CC memory work) several conjugations of Latin noun endings, his favorite being Imperfect Tense.

Max is doing a great job in all his school subjects, and he knows most of the first six weeks worth of CC memory work (which includes skip counting through the 12s, European geography, Latin conjugations, different types of pronouns, 42 timeline cards, Science (Ecology) facts and some Medieval History facts). He is using some of his free time to learn the U.S. presidents and to work on some inventions, because he hopes "to be a famous inventor, like Da Vinci, someday." And, today at CC, he really wanted to carry the soccer ball in from outside, but offered it to a younger child instead, without being prompted.

Weston is on track to finish his 3rd Grade Math book by the end of the semester (even though he's just in 2nd Grade). He is reading really long chapter books, like Hardy Boys, in just a day or two. And, he has the CC memory work down pat. Today, he was also nominated as one of CC's kids of the week, for his "willingness to work with a cheerful heart and his enthusiasm for the material." This was his second time to be nominated this semester!

Ruth is excelling in her CC Challenge class and is ahead in most subjects. We are having to come up with new challenges for her, and, better yet, she is coming up with some for herself. Having finished the Challenge writing assignment early, she came up with her own assignment today, which was a very logically and clearly written critique of a non-fiction book she is reading for Challenge. It was clear she had given it a great deal of thought and that it was a subject she was fairly passionate about. And, for music class today, she finished composing a waltz she has been working on. She did this, not while sitting at her keyboard experimenting with different sounds, but while sitting in the silence of the library. She said she just heard the music in her head and knew which notes would make it sound right. She couldn't wait to get home to play it for Jeff and me. And, I'd be lying if I told you my jaw didn't drop. I'm still completely in awe! She calls it "The Waltz Fantasy," and I may be biased, but I think it's absolutely beautiful!

Jeff and I are so very proud of all our kids! They constantly amaze us, and we feel so blessed to be here everyday to watch them learn and grow and discover! They have so much to teach us and we are trying to pay close attention so we don't miss anything.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Watts Weekend

  • The kids and I participated in a fun field tip to Longhorn Cavern with our CC group. 
  • The boys and I ran errands, while Ruth attended her art class.
  • We closed on our Kingwood house!!! Finally, the albatross is lifted.
  • We had breakfast for dinner and watched "Tangled."
  • It was early to bed due to early sports the next day.
  • Ruth had a volleyball game at 8:00, which ended in her team's first victory of the season.
  • Max played football at 9:00, and his team was also victorious.
  • Weston's football game was at 10:00, and his team came away with a win as well. 
  • Ruth and Jeff each took a turn in the concession stand during the football games.
  • Mimi came to all the games and spent the afternoon with us.
  • We had lunch at Tea Thyme after Weston's game, which is a place with lots of healthy options that we all just love. 
  • We visited a life-size Old Testament Tabernacle replica, which will be set up in Marble Falls all week. It was very well done, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 
  • I found somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand acorns in my washing machine and still don't know whether that was courtesy of just one boy or a concerted effort by all three. It was a good reminder to check pockets before throwing the clothes in.
  • Weston, along with the rest of us, got to watch his beloved Longhorns take home a win.
  • Ruth cleaned out and organized both refrigerators, which just makes happy. The cleaning part was one of her assigned chores for this week, but the organizing was her own idea. She's a girl after my own heart. 
  • We set up a pizza bar, and everyone got to create their own culinary masterpieces for dinner. 
  • I had several strokes while watching the Aggies try to eek out the victory over Ole Miss. I do not need that kind of stress in my life!
  • The rain came down all night long, making beautiful music to sleep by, as it tapped on the metal roof. 
  • Clay slept all night, which he has not been in the habit of doing lately.
  • Clay slept in until 7:30, which he also hasn't been in the habit of doing lately.
  • The Dish Network service guy was at our house at 8:00 am to work on our satellite, on a Sunday, on a ladder, in the pouring rain. It was a pretty amazing customer service experience.
  • Everyone else also slept in, as the rain continued to soak our little part of the world. 
  • There were waffles and omelets for breakfast.
  • I got all my CC prep work done before noon.
  • Pinterest put the idea of a full-size milk carton igloo in my head, and now I'm trying to figure out how to save enough milk cartons to make it happen. I think my kids might be able to overlook some of my parenting uncoolness if I could make this appear in our loft. Jeff figured out that at our current rapid rate of milk consumption, it would take me about two years to save up enough, which kind of put a damper on my enthusiasm.
  • Jeff tapped our surplus of sweet potatoes and made a delicious sweet potato and chicken curry for lunch and a yummy crustless sweet potato pie for dessert.
  • A flock of wild turkeys wandered through our property and were just right outside our living room windows, causing all manner of excitement on the other side of the glass.
  • Jeff created a web page for us to post articles we come across that help build vocabulary. We are trying this new contextual approach to learning vocabulary in our homeschool. Ruth reads an article or two during a particular class time, writes down and defines any words she doesn't know, and then discusses the article and the unknown words with either Jeff or myself. The web site is a way for us to gather our resources together and even share them with others. 
  • Weston got to go to a birthday party for one of his football teammates at Pizza Hut, and I got to flex my socializing-with-people-I-don't-know muscles.
  • I made the unfortunate choice to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, but now we have plenty of everything, so we should be good for a while. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Happy Thursday

I began my day by fighting with a cow over our garbage. The same cow I fought with over the garbage yesterday afternoon. The large, horned, gray cow, who insisted on knocking our trash receptacles over and scattering our trash all over the street and front end of our property and the neighboring property. Again. I think I won, but it was hard to tell when I was elbow deep in slobbery trash and super-fresh cow patties. I did feel pretty good about nailing her in the nose with an empty milk carton, though.

The rest of the day was tremendously better. Obviously. My high school friend/college roommate/bridesmaid and her hubby, who live in Michigan now, were passing through and stopped in for lunch and a very nice visit. I keep up with Katie through her blog and Facebook, but it was so, so good to have a long overdue face-to-face meeting.

A special friend
Ruth and Weston had their music lessons today, and Ruth came out bubbling about all the things she learned and the good feedback she received from her teacher and the things she was going to work on in the coming weeks. This was certainly exciting for all of us, since last week she came out with an I-don't-really-care-if-I-ever-go-back attitude.

Horse riding was canceled for today, which meant that Ruth and I got to join the boys at the homecoming parade. Weston and Max both felt pretty big riding on those floats and throwing candy just like the high school boys. And, Clay learned the art of smiling and waving at pretty girls to get what he wanted. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this new skill.

"The Big Show" Number 99

Mighty Number 5

Max's painted sign

Ready for some candy

After the parade, I got to go to my once-a-month Mom's Night Out, with several very sweet ladies from our CC group. We enjoyed delicious food and wonderful (grown-up only) conversation. And, after that, I got to go grocery shopping all by myself, which in Mom Land is sort of like going on a mini vacation.

Aside from the early morning cow incident, it was a truly lovely day! I hope you had a happy Thursday as well!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

It's a sign

Tomorrow my boys will join with the rest of our small town in the participation of the homecoming parade. They will get to sit on floats and throw candy at the multitudes (and probably snitch a few pieces for themselves). They will don their uniforms and display their handmade signs. And, really, it's those blankety-blank signs I'd like to talk about. Last year, I drew the letters for Weston, but otherwise let him decorate his completely on his own, with whatever markers he could find that still had ink. When we got to the parade, I saw that all of the professional sign maker moms had done the work for their boys and had stepped it up with glitter and rhinestones and ribbons and dozens of other cute craft implements I'm sure I don't even know the names of. I wasn't ashamed of Weston's sign, and he was very proud to have done it himself, but this year, I thought I'd at least get out the Crayola paints so the boys' posters would show up better amongst all those professional ones. (My boys still did all the decorating themselves, because that's how we roll around here). A few minutes into the project, I remembered why that paint lives on a high shelf in the storage closet and why we don't really do painting projects in the Watts' home. The kids' school desk and several articles of clothing, including those of a child who wasn't even involved in the project, were covered in purple "washable" paint, which I know perfectly well is just a label they put on that stuff to dupe weary, gullible, guilt-ridden parents into buying it. I can only thank God that I didn't have the ridiculous notion to pull out the glitter!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Weekend Pics

Serving for the Apache

Playing a duet with Nana

Sporting their Sunday best

Indulging in a cupcake at First Sunday potluck

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Full and Fun

At about 8:00 this morning all the boys left our house for the football field. Ruth and I left about 8:45, so we would have time to stop at Starbucks (for a Java Chip Frappuccino for Ruth and a Pumpkin Spice Latte for myself), before heading to the gym for her volleyball game. After the completion of her three sets, we connected with the boys and many of our extended family at the football field, to watch the fourth quarter of Weston's game. It was blazing hot, but Weston was pumped because he got to play on the offensive AND defensive lines AND be the ball carrier on one play! Max was thrilled to have been one of his team captains. When the family was gathered back at the house, soaking in the glorious air conditioning, we enjoyed a fabulous lunch of pulled pork tacos. Then, the men settled in to watch some football (with a nap or two thrown in for good measure), while the kids played outside and the ladies went shopping. Late in the afternoon, the party broke up, as everyone headed home. The baby sitter arrived at 6:00 and Date Night commenced. Jeff and I had dinner at the wonderful Buenos Aires Cafe in Bee Cave. We sat on the patio, as the chilly wind blew around us, and marveled at the major change in the weather during the course of just a few hours. Just as our appetizers arrived, the umbrella from the next table inverted, took to the air, and then lodged itself between our own umbrella and the side of the building. That was enough to send us to an inside table to enjoy the rest of our meal. And, enjoy we did! Every bite we put into our mouths was absolutely fantastic! After dinner, we walked down to the movie theater to see "Captain Phillips." Wow! What a movie! You simply must see it. It was a very full day, but oh so much fun!

Friday, October 04, 2013

To furnish or not to furnish? That is the question.

Our new bedroom furniture was supposed to be delivered the day after tomorrow. (Yes, Sunday. Weird, I know.) But the delivery company called today to say that they routinely open the crates to make sure nothing is damaged before they make the final stop. From a business standpoint, this seems like a good move, as it saves them from unnecessary travel and keeps them from having to have a personal interface with a disappointed or angry customer. Unfortunately, some of our pieces were damaged, so they won't be delivering them on Sunday after all. I was looking forward to having the new furniture, but the real bummer is that I have spent much precious time this week unloading the two night stands and dressers we already had in the room and moving them to new, much less convenient locations (like the attic). And, all of our clothes and micellaneous stuff is camping out in suitcases and bags in our closet. The original shipping estimate was 4-6 weeks, so I'm wondering if that's what I should expect for the replacement furniture. Is it worth it to press the old furniture back into service only to have to go through all of the unloading and moving again, or do we just pretend like we're on sort of a ghetto vacation and live out of haphazardly prepared suitcases, in a sparsely furished room, until the new furniture gets here?

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Case of the Mysterious Face Pain

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I don't want to be a whiner, but one of the reasons they've been so sparse is because I have been drained of all creativity, and even mundanity, by this throbbing pain in my face that just won't quit. I cannot tell weather the pain is coming from my tooth, gums, upper lip, nose or sinus cavity, but the left side of my face feels pretty much like it's been 10 rounds on the losing side of a boxing match. And Jeff even noticed this morning that my cheek and lip seemed a little swollen. I have no other symptoms and can think of no event that would have led to this condition. Pain meds and ice don't seem to help much, so I'm off to the doctor this afternoon to see if this mystery can be solved.