Thursday, August 28, 2014

Since Monday

We officially put our house on the market. Within 24 hours we had an offer.
It was a ridiculous offer, but getting the house ready to show and
thinking about the repercussions of a quick sale,
as we waited for it to come in, certainly got our blood pumping.
If you know anyone looking for a beautiful custom home in the Texas Hill Country
(or if you'd just like to see photographic evidence that this house has ever been clean),
please tell them to check out MLS #129052 in the Highland Lakes MLS 

This stud had his first scrimmage on Monday

First Grade is exhausting

Dad made dessert

The boys and I have been reading the delightful Stories of Don Quixote for History,
to go along with our study of Spain. We have decided to add the region of La Mancha
to our list of places to visit in Europe, in hopes of putting ourselves in Don Quixote's very shoes.

Someone gave himself a haircut

 This child has become completely obsessed with using
his magnetic scoop to pick up any and all magnets.
It has given us many hours of unprecedented and much appreciated silence.

Our Aggie contingent, ready for the first game of the season

Max came in and reported that our trampoline was missing.
And, sure enough, it was certainly not where we had left it.
It had been mysteriously relocated at least 100 yards toward the back of our property--
from where it sits in the picture to the furtherest stand of trees.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

On Friday, Jeff and I had our sixteenth wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a weekend get-away to Grandbury. Neither of us had ever been there before, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We stayed at the Inn on Lake Grandbury, which was a lovely little bed and breakfast, with beautiful grounds and a fantastic breakfast both mornings. The package we bought also included a gift card for dinner at Eighteen Ninety Grille, where we enjoyed everything we put in our mouths; a show at the Grandbury Opera House, which turned out to be a very funny show called Is He Dead? by Mark Twain; and dessert delivered to our room on one of the nights, which included an amazing homemade cheesecake with raspberries, coffee, and assorted chocolates and a rose left on our pillows. 

On Saturday, we spent the day exploring the area. We started off with a peaceful hike at the Acton Nature Center. Then, we went in search of something we saw in a welcome brochure in our room: a large sculpture of a dung beetle. We just couldn't believe someone had actually created a statue of a dung beetle, but we found it at a pick-your-own farm, and can verify its existence. Additionally, this farm also housed sculptures of a praying mantis wrapped in Christmas lights, a large grasshopper and a humongous armadillo. There were also live llamas wandering around. All in all, an excellent find, even though they weren't open and we didn't get to pick any fruit. From there, we moved on to Revolver Brewing, where I managed to choke down my first full beer, which I considered a real victory. The atmosphere was very fun, with food vendors and live music rounding out the beer tasting. After that, we made our way over to the Barking Rocks Vineyard and Winery, for a taste of some alcoholic beverages a little more to my liking. The owner recommended a visit to his neighbor's newly opened Pemberton Cellars, so we took that one in as well. We enjoyed one last tasting and a nice cheese platter at Farina's Winery and Cafe on the old Grandbury square. The lady who helped us really knew her wines and worked hard to discover what we really like in a wine, because she didn't want us to "waste" the tasting. After that, we decided to head back to the inn for a nap. When we woke up, we soaked in the beautiful evening with appetizers by the lake. Finally, we were ready for an authentic German dinner at Ketzler's Schnitzel Haus and Biergarten, which we enjoyed very much. 

This morning, we slowly made our way to my parents' to pick up the kids, who had a wonderful weekend of their own. I'm so thankful that Jeff and I found each other all those years ago and that we have had the opportunity to spend the last sixteen years doing life together in our own special way!

16 years of marital bliss

Lake Grandbury

The Inn on Lake Grandbury

Eighteen Ninety Grille

The Grandbury Opera House

Acton Nature Center

Nothing says "romantic get-away" like a giant dung beetle

Bring on the beer

Little ol' me in a big ol' chair

Barking Rocks

The beautiful vines at Pemberton Cellars

ready to taste at Farina's

What's German for "yummy?!"

a special treat

As you can see, the kids really missed us!

Monday, August 18, 2014

House never cleaner, hubby never happier

Today, my daughter said to me, "I love when we are trying to sell a house, because it is always so clean!" And, my husband fairly squealed with delight when he saw that I had removed all the appliances from the counters in the kitchen and toiletries from the counters in the bathroom. (This reaction is, of course, an exaggeration, but not all of you know my husband personally, so I thought I should clarify. He does not, under any circumstances, "squeal with delight.")  Technically, we have not put our house up for sale yet. We are simply trying to get some pictures taken that look like we don't really live here. Which is super hard. Because, we do, in fact live, here. And, work here. And, school here. We are here all the time, except when we are running kids around to various activities. Southern Living, it's not, folks. I do truly wish I could produce this level of joy in my family members all the time. (The ones that care, I mean. Because there are those, it seems, that actually prefer the mess. Or, at least, they work extra hard to ensure that the messiness is a constant.) But, as there are still only 24 hours in a day, and as I can only do so much, I guess we can simply be thankful that we move as often as we do, so that there are a fair number of days that the house is truly clean and clutter-free.

Friday, August 15, 2014

7th, 3rd, 1st and Pre

We survived completed our first week of school and can officially say we have students in 7th, 3rd, and 1st grades and a preschooler! It was not an unflawed week, but I'd say it actually went remarkably well. You'll notice an abundance of electronic devices in the pictures, which hasn't ever been our normal MO, but we're practicing this year for the "roadschooling" to come during our upcoming round-the-world travels. We sent all of our textbooks to a company called 1 Dollar Scan and had them digitize everything and send us back the pdfs, which we then downloaded to all our devices. It's not a perfect schooling system, and it takes a little getting used to (especially if you are a lover of actual books), but so far, we are very pleased with the quality and convenience and feel it will serve us well while we are traveling. Don't worry, we are still trying to work in some real books and some hands-on stuff so we don't turn into complete screen zombies.

Here are the schedules for this year's students:

Ruth (7th grade)

  • Math (Algebra I)
  • Latin
  • History
  • Spelling/Vocabulary
  • Literature/Writing
  • Italian
  • Logic
  • Science
  • Music (Voice)
  • Ruth is also participating in Challenge B classes, which is the 8th grade level of CC. She will engage in weekly discussions with other students and a trained tutor, and they will cover topics in Math, Science, Logic, Latin, Literature/Writing, and Debate. She will get to put together a large science fair project and participate in a mock trial, among many other interesting and educational activities. 
Weston (3rd grade)
  • Math (working in the 5th grade book)
  • Grammar/Writing
  • History
  • Spelling
  • Latin
  • Science 
  • Reading
  • Weston will be in the 8-9 year old class at CC, where he will gaining knowledge in the areas of Math, English Grammar, Latin, History, Geography, Science and a chronological timeline of the world, as well as participating in weekly science experiments, presentations, and fine arts projects. 
Max (1st grade)
  • Math (just about to start the second grade book)
  • Reading 
  • Writing
  • Spanish
  • History
  • Science
  • Max will be participating in a CC class for 6-7 year olds, which will cover the same topics I mentioned for Weston. 
Clay (preschool)
  • Pre-reading skills
  • Numbers
  • Pre-writing skills
  • Sitting in on any class with older siblings he can get away with and spending lots of time being read to by his teachers.

Spanish--first day of school

This boy LOVES to read!

electronics everywhere

ooey gooey science

proud of his blue non-Newtonian fluid

young scientist

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

And just like that, summer's over…mostly

We arrived home on Sunday afternoon, thinking we were the masters of a perfect endless summer, only to be met EARLY yesterday morning with a heaping dose of reality, as summer came to a screeching halt. Even though it was my birthday, it was also the first day of school for us, the first day of football practice for the boys, and the last meeting of Ruth's summer youth Bible study. For good measure, we also threw in a doctor's appointment, a trip to the mechanic shop to pick up our now-cooler (only in the temperature sense) van, a business meeting for Jeff in Austin, an attempt at healthier eating, and a little exercise. (But I'm not complaining, because the day also brought happy phone calls, abundant social media birthday wishes, gooey brownies, gorgeous flowers, tasty sangria, sweet birthday cards, spendable gift cards, and many heartfelt hugs! Not to mention a party with my favorite people on Sunday.) So, unless you count Jeff and I camping out in the air conditioned upstairs storage closet on the air mattress, due to our main air conditioner being out downstairs (yes, it seems to be epidemic amongst our possessions), as some kind of wild and crazy summer sleepover, I'd say summer is really and truly over. Except downstairs. There, it certainly seems to be the summer that never ends.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Campmeeting and The Ranch

That's our cabin up top, on the left. Don't let the fanciness overwhelm you.

These little visitors were plentiful

Rain, glorious rain

I couldn't post that last one without posting this one. 

Flying baby

dirty, adorable face

Lots of love

Max and Victoria enjoying the homemade dollhouse

Getting in some porch time with Mimi

The girls

So much sweetness

Knocking them dead with his stand-up routine at the talent show

The Davis Mountains

Pirates like tea parties, too

Sharing some of the history of the Burnet Camp with the rest of the campers,
to commemorate the 125th year of Bloys Campmeeting

The gang's all here

family photo op

Setting up the free farmer's market on the last day of camp

Quirky Quail

Watching Grandpa and Uncle Alan shoot the guns

driving lesson

Trying to escape

There is nothing like the west Texas sky!

Full Moon

swapping tales and cooking s'mores around the fire pit