Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pin of the Week

Thank you Pinterest and Ellen for this week's Pin of the Week.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eight is Great

Weston, I asked you last night when I put you to bed if you would mind just staying seven. You chuckled your good-natured chuckle and told me you didn't think that would work out. And, sure enough, you woke up this morning a big eight-year-old. I'm not even sure how it's possible that that many years have passed since I first met you. But, I do know that I fell in love with you that first moment and have been falling head over heels ever since. I love your buzzed blonde head and your gray-green eyes and your crooked, dimply smile. I love your bear hugs and your quick wit. I love your sensitive heart and your pensive mind. You are multifaceted and absolutely amazing!

You are still a huge sports fan. And you still love "all the balls." You played basketball last winter. You followed the Texas Rangers and learned a lot about baseball during the spring and summer. You graduated up to the tackle football team this fall, and your team made it to the playoffs. You are now looking forward to playing soccer this winter and baseball next spring. You also love to watch sports on TV and go to live sporting events, and you are rarely seen without a ball of some sort in close proximity.

In the past year, your reading and writing abilities have really blossomed. You are now reading even in your free time, for your own entertainment. You love mysteries and historical fiction, and you also still enjoy non-fiction. You have started learning to write in cursive, which has been a challenge but has actually helped you improve your penmanship. You also really get a kick out of Science. You have recently declared that you'd like to be a chemical engineer (in the off-season, when you aren't playing pro football) when you grow up, and you requested a chemistry set for your birthday. Your favorite subject, and the thing that probably comes easiest to you, is still Math. You are looking forward to competing in PSIA Math, Spelling, Writing and Storytelling contests in the spring. And, you are doing very well at memorizing your CC work.

You still have an insatiable appetite and are really passionate about food. You are particularly fond of carbs and almost anything that can be classified as junk food, but you are a good sport about following our family rule of half fruits and veggies.

You are well liked by your peers and are adored by adults. People of all ages seem comfortable with you, because you are just so easygoing. You have such a big heart and are always so willing to give and to help. You give sincere compliments and just seem to love freely and laugh easily. And, you have an excellent sense of humor. You are a delight!

These eight years have been such a blast, Weston! You have helped me learn so much about boys, and you have been a constant source of joy (even on the days we didn't see eye to eye)! I love everything about you, and I'm so glad I get to be your mom! Happy 8th Birthday!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

50 Things You Have Probably Not Been Dying To Know

So, I'm assuming you've seen all the "Things you might not know about me" posts floating around on Facebook. You've probably even seen my own 10 things I shared a little while ago. But I was challenged by another blogger to try to share 50 things, and since I tend to keep myself pretty closed off but feel that I should open up more, I thought it sounded like a good personal exercise. So, here we go, in no particular order:

  1. I rarely find profanity useful or appropriate, but when faced with the necessity of having to use a roll of plastic wrap (which I rarely do willingly), I notice obscenities bubbling up to the tip of my tongue repeatedly.
  2. I would not be opposed to dying of raw cookie dough consumption, but I don't believe I'll go that way or I probably already would have.
  3. Speaking of death, my first choice for what should be done with my body when I die is that all the useful parts would be donated and my skeleton set up in a classroom on some college campus. My last choice is to have it put in a box and then buried in the ground.
  4. I have a fake front tooth due to being thrown out of a speeding golf cart when I was about 10.
  5. I do not like for my head to get wet, unless I am in my necessary, scalding morning shower. 
  6. The first time I found out I was pregnant with a boy, I cried. A lot. And, not tears of joy.
  7. When I was a kid (and my last name was Pope), I petitioned my mom to change my name to Hope, because I thought it would be super cool if my first and last names rhymed. 
  8. I'm the only girl over the age of nine who struggles to use bobby pins. 
  9. So far, I have not ever had any broken bones. But when I was a kid, I used to wish so much that I could break something so I could get a cast.
  10. I fantasize about having "girls" I could have a Girls' Weekend with but have never had super close girlfriends. 
  11. I have a short, stubby tongue and short, stubby toes. 
  12. I don't believe in umbrellas and have not used one since college, when a high wind turned my umbrella inside out and the shaft broke in half as I tried to wrestle it into submission and sliced my hand open. I ended up soaked and bloody and swore I would not be lured by the false claims the umbrella offers for keeping one's head dry ever again. 
  13. I have only purchased a few birthday cakes for my kids. All the rest I have put together myself. Some of my cakes have included the UT stadium, the Millennium Falcon (from Star Wars), a robot, maracas, a turkey, a firetruck, a scene from Angry Birds, a hunting scene, a cowboy boot, a train (with several cars), and Tow Mater (from Cars).
  14. I love to attend and watch live sporting events of any kind, but, with the exception of Aggie football, I tend to watch televised sports "in my own way." (That is, with my laptop open and only half my attention or less given to the television).
  15. I have exceptionally wide hands (around my knuckles) and cannot wear slide on bracelets. 
  16. I love to shop but am sort of obsessed with thriftiness. Jeff is often impressed with the good deals I find. 
  17. I have visited Mexico, Canada, England, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Belize, Brazil, and Dominican Republic. Pretty much everywhere else is on my list. 
  18. I have visited all but seven of the states in the U.S. The rest are on my list.
  19. About two weeks after Jeff and I got married, he snuck up behind me and goosed my ribs. My reaction was to spin around and elbow him in the nose, sending him in the floor in a bloody heap.
  20. I am allergic to metal and can only wear 14K (or better) jewelry. Early in our relationship, I think Jeff thought this was a ploy, but my skin turns green and I break out in a rash, so I think I convinced him pretty quickly.
  21. I am super sensitive to onions and cry much more than the average person when I cut them up.
  22. I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper, particularly the Route 44 from Sonic, with a splash of vanilla and easy ice. My second choice is Diet DP in a can.
  23. I enjoy working crossword puzzles but only ever do the ones in in-flight magazines on planes. 
  24. I have reptile dry skin, which is worse in the winter or when I venture west of Llano, TX.
  25. I consider "winter" to be any temperature below about 70 degrees.
  26. One of my least favorite parenting chores is giving the kids a bath. 
  27. I'm a huge fan of sending and receiving snail mail. 
  28. As a senior in high school, I was allowed to scrub in with a surgeon and participate in a circumcision on a grown man. 
  29. I attempted to dissect a living frog in my driveway when I was in Jr. High. It didn't occur to me how inhumane it was because I was so fascinated that I could see its heart beating. 
  30. My home has no carpet and no wallpaper. (If you want to know the truth, I think wallpaper is a tool of the devil, both in hanging and removing.)
  31. I can quote the entire script of The Princess Bride and consider it to be the most perfect movie of all time. 
  32. I got food poisoning on my honeymoon and puked my way through a helicopter tour of Kauai.
  33. I have never worn glasses or braces. 
  34. Jeff and I were pen pals (in the days before email or texting) for about nine months before we ever had a face to face conversation. 
  35. I believe in orange juice and home remedies.
  36. I have an incredibly high pain tolerance, which helped me have all my babies completely naturally.
  37. All my babies were delivered by a different person.
  38. I made amazing first-year scrapbooks for my first two kids, the likes of which my second two kids will never know. 
  39. If you want me to think you are a good cook, just use garlic. My mouth will water as soon as I smell it. 
  40. I do not like to eavesdrop but sometimes find that my attention is inadvertently drawn to other peoples' conversations, especially in restaurants. 
  41. Jeff and I have planned, but not taken, trips to New Zealand and the Maldives. 
  42. I once took a time-release Actifed that released all its stuff at the same time, which made my entire body go completely numb. 
  43. I have been up close and personal with several tornadoes and so felt quite happy when Jeff suggested we a build a safe room into our current house.
  44. Some things I have wanted to be when I grow up have included the following: the Easter Bunny, a stewardess, a doctor, a flower delivery person, a writer, and a photographer for National Geographic.
  45. Ironically, I didn't ever think I wanted to be a teacher or a stay-at-home mom.
  46. I have hosted many themed Thanksgiving parties including a luau, a fiesta, a Brazilian feast, "Bacon, Not Bird" (with a potato martini bar and ham, instead of turkey) and "Baby's Thanksgiving," which we had at Luby's since I was expecting to give birth to my first son any minute.
  47. My movie theater snack of choice is either Reece's Pieces or giant soft pretzels, with a Diet Dr. Pepper, of course.
  48. I love thinking of the perfect gift for someone and then seeing their face when they open it.
  49. I'm a fierce believer in doing everything myself and struggle with asking for help, even when I really need it. 
  50. I love improv comedy shows. 
Whew! That's a lot of things. And, as a bonus, I'm going to throw in my original list from my Facebook post:

1. I sleep on my back 90% of the time or more. I even did so throughout all of my pregnancies.

2. I have a pre-med degree, but I think I might like to be a writer or photographer when I grow up.

3. I am unreasonably afraid of/disgusted by cockroaches. I am also terribly afraid of tornadoes.

4. I had very straight hair and very clear skin before I had kids. Now my hair is curly and my skin acne prone.

5. Unless I am in bed or walking in the surf, I have shoes on my feet. I do not go around barefooted or sock-footed, if I can help it.

6. I went to Zambia and Zimbabwe without my parents or anyone I even knew, for three weeks, when I was 17. My love of travel began then and has only deepened since.

7. I really love to have things organized, but have sort of suspended that part of my personality during this stage of my life to preserve some of my sanity.

8. I am reluctant to embrace change but love to try new things.

9. I love word games like Scrabble and Boggle. I get a kick out of Mab Libs. And, I enjoy the challenge of diagramming complicated sentences.

10. I have only learned to like coffee, wine and bananas (but not together) in the last five years.

I would also love to hear some of the little known things about you, if you'd like to share, either in the comments or in a blog or Facebook post of your own.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Party in the morning, party at night; party all day, 'til we all sleep tight.

We had Weston's birthday party this morning. Eight extra boys were here to help us celebrate the eight years of Weston's life. It was a sports themed party, complete with a soccer ball pinata, concession stand food, a UT football stadium cake and baseball rice crispy treat favors. Plus, the boys spent most of the day outside playing sports of various kinds, even though it was super-cold and a little wet. They seemed not to notice and had a wonderful time.

Most of the boys actually spent the entire day with us, since we were having our CC end-of-semester party at the house this evening and their parents were going to be joining us anyway. We had about 40 people here for a lovely little potluck. We love our sweet CC family!

And, while both parties were a great deal of fun, we are all now exhausted and will relish the prone position for the next several hours.

Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

A half-hearted, one-armed swing was all it took to break this heavy beast!

Weston told me the cake was "maybe a little bit better than what I was hoping for!"
That made the engineering, mess and UTness of it all totally worth it.

Rockin' out to "Happy Birthday"

A special gift for this sports' fan from Nana and Papa:
tickets to the high school football state playoffs in Cowboy Stadium next month

"Thank you for making my birthday party a hit!"

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fancy Friday

Cinderella and Prince Charming go to a fancy Strongpages dinner at Trio

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kitchen Love

I love home decor, but I've always been slow to decorate any house I've lived in. What it boils down to is commitment issues. A nail in the wall or purchasing new items just feels like a forever thing to me, so I need to be sure. And, by that, I mean I need to overanalyze until I lose interest in decorating altogether. But, last week, I was looking through some of my pins on Pinterest. The ones I create like a woman possessed, and then never do anything with. And, suddenly, I felt that I needed to do something productive with all those good ideas that other people had. So, I told Jeff I was thinking about doing a "Pin of the Week," and posting about it here on my blog, just for some accountability. And, then, before I knew what had come over me, I had ordered this wine/towel rack that I pinned eons ago, with the intention of turning it into a display rack for our rolling pin collection. It arrived, and Jeff hung it for me (using only one wall anchor!), and I love it! With that addition, the inspiration sort of started to run over, and the next thing I knew, I had bought baskets to organize a particularly rough-around-the-edges (literally!) cabinet that needed some serious organization. (You'll not be surprised to learn that it was the kids' cabinet, with all the plastic cups and plates, one of the doors of which had been broken off in an unauthorized game of hide-and-seek that got completely out of hand.) Then, while I was at it, I got out the wooden utensil collection we have been working on since we lived in Brazil. While there, we visited a museum that had the most amazing wooden utensil exhibit and decided we wanted a wooden utensil "exhibit" of our own. And, until today all the awesome wooden gadgets we've collected or been given from all over the world have been sitting in an unopened basket, waiting for me to get finished analyzing and never seeing the light of day. The decorating floodgates were already open, so it was time. And, now, my kitchen sink is flanked by wooden spoons and forks and things-I-don't-even-know-what-are-but-look-really-cool! And, it just makes me so happy to look at all the pretty little doodads. My kitchen has never felt so loved! And, I am in love with the way it all looks! I wish I would have taken the plunge years ago.

I am still going to try to do a "Pin of the Week," so check back in next week to see if I make good on that. I'm not promising it will be amazing, but it could be fun. And, it might just inspire you to take action on some of your long-neglected pins, as well.

This week's Pin of the Week: towel rack turned rolling pin display

Sanity saved, and it looks cute, too!

Wooden Utensil Exhibit

The (mostly) African Collection

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Decade Day

Guess which decade Ruth is representing for "Decade Day" in her Challenge class?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Another Watts Weekend

On Friday, we took the whole crew into Austin for lunch at the Estancia Churrascaria for a birthday/half-birthday bash for everyone celebrating this month. It was so nice to have a little (BIG!) taste of Brazil, both culinarily and culturally. There were so many Brazilians eating there, speaking in Portuguese and kissing each other on the cheeks, we could almost feel as if we were back in that beautiful country. The only things missing were the chicken hearts and cow hump, which I guess don't go over too big here in the States.

We set no alarms on Saturday morning, which was a first for us since the fall sports began! Ruth did have her last volleyball game of the season, but it wasn't until noon, so we didn't have to rush around to get there. Nana and Papa were able to make it to the game and then join us for lunch at Bella Sera afterwards. Later in the day, I went over to Bee Cave to do a little kidless shopping, which was blissful, if I might just be honest. It was also quite productive, as I bought several gifts I needed to get, a new organization system for a problem cabinet, and some fancy shoes for a fancy date night coming up this next week.

Our Sunday morning began with the first dip in the hot tub of the season. Then, we headed over to Bee Cave to partake of the amazing brunch at Iron Cactus. After that, we picked up a few (million) things at Sam's, which is one of the kids (and Jeff's) favorite places to shop. Jeff had a meeting scheduled with one of his new contractors for noon, so the kids and I dropped him off and then went over to Zilker Park to enjoy the beautiful day. A couple of hours later, with the van weighed down with our Sam's haul and some of the colder things started to lose their chill, we headed home. Three miles from the house, we had a blowout. We had to rearrange the groceries to get to the jack and spare tire, and then Jeff spent the better part of thirty minutes just trying to get the jack under the van. It was a no-go because of how low to the ground it was. A kind stranger stopped to offer assistance, thinking it was just the kids and I stranded on the side of the road. No progress could be made with his jack either, so eventually, Jeff asked if the man could just give him a ride to our house so he could get our bigger/better jack and Jeff's car, in case we needed to evacuate the kids and groceries. Jeff still couldn't make any headway with the other jack and was just about to give up, when a tow truck driver stopped, of his own accord, without expectation of being reimbursed. He had the right equipment and Jeff was finally able to get the tire changed. One of our neighbor's even happened to be driving by and stopped to see if we needed any help. There are still good people in the world, and I can't even tell you how thankful we were for all the help and how grateful I am that this didn't happen while I was by myself, driving home in the dark last night! We ended the day as we began it, since we were all in need of a little relaxation at that point.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mama needs a time-out…and a very strong drink

I don't know if it was the weather or having dad out of town or the approaching full moon or what, but my kids were extra-crazy today, and I was already in a bad mood because our Internet connection was non-existant on a day when I had a ton of emails to send. Here are a few highlights from the day:

My youngest child has entered a nakedness phase and absolutely refuses to wear clothing, except for the occasional pull-up or pair of underwear, sporadically paired with unmatched boots in various sizes. After chasing him around for a while this morning, I finally threw up my hands and let the child run wild and free. All. Day. That's right, on what will probably be our coldest day of the year, my baby wore no clothes. I'll be waiting by the mailbox for my Mother of the Year award. That same child also locked his bedroom door, before pulling it closed, no fewer than four times by mid-morning. While I was busy jimmying the lock each time, he was stealing I-don't-even-know-how-much candy from the pantry.

Meanwhile, the other children, who were supposed to be investing in their education, were running amuck and making ridiculously bad choices. Repeatedly. I will admit, I also gave in to temptation and made some bad choices of my own. By 11:00, I felt like I was losing control and sent myself to time-out in my bedroom. I wished I could have stayed forever. I would seriously love it if someone put me in permanent time-out. Eventually, though, I began to worry about those on the other side of the bedroom door setting the house on fire, so I came out. Reluctantly.

Around 8:30 this evening, Jeff texted to see if I had survived the day. I wisely and prophetically responded that I couldn't say for sure just yet. Almost the next thing that happened was that I checked in on Max in the bathtub and found that he had amassed, in the tub with him (from who-knows-where), a whole forest worth of paper, which he was desperately trying to coax out of the drain in large clumps when I walked in. I turned myself around and went straight to the kitchen for the alcohol.

I'm so glad we all get to try again tomorrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In addition to the normal chaos this week:

  • Our bedroom furniture finally arrived! The truck pulled up in front of our house at 8:30 pm and, after unloading and putting the bed together, the guys finally left just a few minutes after 11:00. We love it and are so proud to have grown-up furniture in our bedroom for the first time in our lives! (The furniture we had before was a combination of dressers and a nightstand my parents bought for me when I was a freshman in high school and a nightstand Jeff has had since he was about eight !)

  • It was Claycito's half-birthday! 2 ½--so unbelievable! He has recently discovered some Bob the Builder videos left over from Ruth's toddler years and has been completely enamored, so I searched online for Bob the Builder paraphernalia, which is apparently no longer very popular, and finally found a few videos packaged in what Clay calls a "lunch pack" and a construction zone play set. The truly awesome thing about the play set, and the thing I didn't notice before purchasing it, is that it speaks in a foreign language that we don't recognize. I guess Bob is still popular in some parts of the world! This doesn't bother Clay in the least. He loves his new Bob the Builder stuff so much. The big kids all also insisted on buying a little something for him with their own money. They are all so, so sweet!

  • Max showed off his pitching arm by throwing a rock through a window at the church where we meet for CC. 
  • Jeff left for an overnight business trip to Houston.
  • Clay wore underwear all day (except for nap time), including several hours away from the house, and only had one small accident. Dare I hope there is light at the end of this potty training tunnel?
  • The land clearing project we have had going on here for months finally wrapped up. Our land looks so amazing! Now, to get the actual landscaping done. 
  • We dropped our truck off at the mechanic to get it up to snuff so we can go about selling in in the near future. 
  • I had an early meeting at a local coffee shop with the other CC directors from the Marble Falls campus.
  • Jeff booked a flight to Bozeman, MT for next week to meet with a new client.
  • The kids and I participated in a CC field trip to the Johnson City Zoo, which is a place the kids absolutely love.

  • We called off school in the afternoon to head over to Aggieland. A game wasn't going to happen for us this season, but we've been dying to take the kids to Yell and show them around campus. We had dinner at Chicken Oil Company, which seems to be one of the few old school places still in business. Then we grabbed some FROYO, before heading over to our rented house for a pre-Yell nap. After our little rest, we joined the throngs at the soon-to-be renovated Kyle Field for the last Fightin' Texas Aggie Yell Practice of the season.

  • Weston had a playoff football game in Marble Falls, and I had an area CC director luncheon, both of which came up after we had planned our Aggieland weekend. Since it was too late to cancel the house reservation and get a refund when these activities came up, we decided to just let the crazy take over. So, we drove home after Yell, arriving home around 3:30 am, and then drove back to College Station after our obligations were met. Unfortunately, Weston's team did not advance to the next round of the playoffs, but he had so much fun this season and got a medal for being a semi-finalist, which helped to ease his disappointment somewhat. 

  • We got back to A&M at half-time and were able to watch the rest of the game in the student center and then see the yell leaders get tossed in Fish Pond and participate in the Victory Yell after the Aggie win. 

  • We had dinner in Bryan at Caffe Capri, another place Jeff and I enjoyed when we were students at A&M.
  • After a leisurely breakfast, we took the kids over to play at Research Park and then went to Freebird's for lunch. 
  • After lunch, we decided to spend a little more time on campus before heading home. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

First Crazy Weekend in November

Most weekdays I don't seem to have time to catch my breath, which is why I have only been showing up here occasionally (and often only in bullet-pointed lists) on the weekends. I would love to tell you that life will slow down soon and I'll be appearing more regularly and slightly more coherently, but that seems unlikely for the foreseeable future. We are in the middle of a football season that just won't end (yay, playoffs and pick-up games!) and have signed everyone of age up for the winter sports of their choice, which, of course, will not be the same for all the kids or played in the same city. I would say, "Well, at least it keeps us off the streets," but if there is one place we are for sure, it's the streets. Who was the woman that put the "stay-at-home" in stay-at-home mom, anyway? I'd like to meet her. The good news is, I'm here now to tell you all the fascinating details of our crazy weekend. (Try to contain your overwhelming enthusiasm!)

Jeff's birthday was on Friday. He says he's officially in his late thirties, but I choose to heartily disagree, since I am approaching that age myself within the year. Jeff wanted to celebrate by going to a local high school football game. Thirty minutes before it was time to leave the house, Clay was in full meltdown mode, and by the time everyone was ready to walk out the door, he was sound asleep. So, the plan was modified a bit, and just Jeff and the big boys went to the game, while Ruth and Clay and I celebrated in our own ways at home.

Doesn't look like late 30s to me!
Thankfully, our Saturday sports were not until 11:00, which meant a mostly leisurely morning. Max's football season was supposed to have ended last weekend, which he was ecstatic about. But his coaches were able to get in on a pick-up game in Canyon Lake, and Max couldn't imagine anything he'd rather do that play in that game. So, since Jeff hadn't seen a volleyball game in a while, he offered to take Ruth to her game along with the other two boys, and I took Max. Since the season was over, we had ceremoniously thrown the nasty mouthpiece in the trash following the last game. We (not me) had also neglected to put our jersey in any kind of location that made sense for actually finding it or wearing it. So, we (I) scrounged up Weston's jersey from last year and a spare (new) mouthpiece that didn't really fit in Max's mouth. Of course, no one bothered to tell me the mouthpiece was ill-fitting until we were many miles down the road. That's when things got a little redneck. I whipped into a dollar store, purchased a pair of scissors and snipped the ends off the mouthpiece until it would go in far enough for Max to close his lips. I don't want to think about how unsterile those scissors were. (Or the mouthpiece, for that matter). When we arrived in Canyon Lake, we found ourselves in the middle of a huge bike race that was taking place in the heart of a construction zone. The race seemed to span both lanes of traffic, and the cyclists, true to form, seemed completely oblivious to the motorized traffic on either side of them. Additionally, the road we needed to turn on to get to the football field was completely shut down "for maintenance." Not being familiar with the area, I was blindly trusting my GPS to get us there, and ended up going in circles forever, before finally figuring out the detour route. I was a nervous wreck, but we did finally make it to the field, where Max played the game and then enjoyed pizza provided by the other team. As we left the field, I asked Max if he had fun. He enthusiastically indicated that he did have a good time. So, I asked him if he was planning to play again next year, to which he replied, "No way! I just meant it was fun getting to have pizza after the game." So glad I risked my life and sanity for this Saturday morning outing. Max and I did get to have a lunch date, though, which was very special. I'm not so sure that he and I have ever really been alone like that. So, I guess the morning's antics were worth it after all.

A special lunch date
After a brief stint at home, trying to get a few things done around the house and overseeing a round of front porch haircuts, I had my second date of the day. This one was an adult-only affair, and the juice was less sweet and more alcoholic. This was Jeff's and my second visit to the Cabernet Grill in Fredricksburg, and we hope it will not be our last. The atmosphere is fun and the food is delicious! Mostly because we were unwillingly to end our date after dinner, we made our way over to Sweet Marley's for FROYO. The air conditioned building drove us outside, but the even colder temps there landed us in the van, where we turned on the heater and seat warmers and enjoyed our FROYO in all the glamour and romance you are picturing. Back at home, we tuned in to the Aggie game but quickly realized we are old (late 30s!) when we decided we'd just go to bed at half-time. Fortunately, the Ags pulled out the major victory without our help, and we avoided the heart attacks that almost always accompany Aggie games.

Texas Tempranillos 
Our treat for fall-back Sunday was having it be light out at 6:30, when Clay climbed into our bed, which meant there was no chance to go back to sleep. And, since I was up at such an enterprising hour, I decided to make these low-cal pumpkin muffins for breakfast. While the second batch was in the oven and the first batch was cooling, I hopped in the shower. All but two muffins had been devoured by the time I reentered the kitchen, and those were only there because Jeff forced the kids to save some for me. I guess they were a hit. They were surprisingly moist and very easy to throw together. I will definitely be making them again! (And, speaking of low-cal yummies, I made some birthday cupcakes--pictured above--for Jeff, using a tip I saw online to cut the fat: take any cake mix, add two egg whites and 10 oz. of any diet soda and bake as usual, in cupcake or cake form. We topped ours with fat-free Cool Whip, and they were scrumptious! We may have liked them better than the full-fat version.) The other highlight of the day was the First Sunday Potluck after church. The kids were all on the fence about whether they wanted to go to church or not until they realized they it was the most glorious of all Sundays. Holy zeal took over at that point and everyone couldn't wait to hop in the van. Since then, we have been enjoying a quiet afternoon/evening at home, with various people watching football, shopping for used cars, painting, napping, jumping on the trampoline, watching a movie, doing chores, blogging, getting some work done, and spilling large amounts of laundry detergent all over the utility room. I'll let you guess who's been doing what.

Football watching buddies
If you've stuck it out through this long, infinitely mundane post, thank you. Both of you. You should reward yourself with a special snack--maybe some low-cal cupcakes or muffins. Thanks for hangin' with the Watts through the mundanity and insanity.

Friday, November 01, 2013