Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Parenting for the parent

As happens from time to time (which is to say, almost daily), a couple of my kiddos got crosswise with one another this afternoon. Then, it escalated, and, as happens with childish arguments, both parties became petty and ridiculous. In an effort to put an end to the fracas, I appealed to the older child's sense of maturity by saying, "If you lower yourself to arguing with an out-of-control six-year-old, you are no different than an out-of-control six-year-old." I literally almost choked on the second half of the sentence, as my entire day came into focus. The yelling, the ranting, the pettiness, the ridiculousness. What kind of example had I been? I had been no different than a twelve-year-old, an eight-year-old, a six-year-old and even a three-year-old, and I was supposed to be the adult. My own carefully selected words, hurled at someone I thought might benefit from my parental wisdom, boomeranged back to me, the fulfillment of that old adage about how when you point one finger at someone else, three are pointing back at you. I'm not sure if a lasting impact was made on the intended hearer of my words (though the disagreement soon came to an end), but I know for sure someone in the room benefitted from hearing them. Often, when one of the kids is acting in a way not befitting his or her age, I will ask them how old they are, in an effort to remind them that people their age don't act that way. I am 37. It's time I started acting like it. Thank goodness tomorrow is always a new day, with new opportunities to try to get it right.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The week the Watts ate out

Most of the time, we prepare our own meals at home, not only because it's a healthier alternative to eating out, but also because we are all total foodies and just love cooking up stuff in the kitchen. But, we aren't purists, and we do like to eat out on occasion, as well. This week the eating out may have been just a teeny bit out of control, though--as in, we ate out every day this week! Some of it was out of "necessity" and some was just plain fun. Our galavanting took us through a wide variety of cuisines and cut quite a swath through the Hill Country, as well.

Monday--Date Night. We were a little crunched for time but still wanted something that felt like a date (you know, nothing with a drive-thru), so we settled on Milano Cafe in Austin, which fit the bill perfectly. We were served quickly and every bite was delicious!

Tuesday--Running kids around night. Ruth was hanging out with some buddies in Burnet, so I popped into Whataburger, after I dropped her off. Ironically, Jeff and Weston also stopped by Whataburger (in Marble Falls) after Weston's football practice. (The little boys were out at the ranch with Grandpa, cooking hot dogs over an open flame and eating lots of other really fun stuff, I'm sure!)

Wednesday--Looking for an excuse night. Jeff received a birthday gift certificate to Russo's in the mail, and it just sort of seemed like a sign. We love Russo's and don't need much of an excuse to pop in. Our growing boy was still hungry after his "modest" portions of ravioli, garlic bread and two (shared) appetizers, so we decided to make a McDonald's run to get the poor boy a hamburger (and the rest of us coffee and/or dessert) after our really nice Texas-Italian meal. That's how we roll. And, we're o.k. with that. 

Thursday--Mom's Night. Once a month, the CC moms get together for a night out without the kids, to enjoy authentic grown-up conversation and not having to clean up after anyone. This time, we met at Ginger & Spice, in Marble Falls, which is always wonderful. Meanwhile, Dad had a little celebration with the kids by picking up Chicken Express, since Clay kept his pants dry the whole time he was at the ranch.

Friday--Birthday dinner night. Jeff's parents took us out to Hudson's on the Bend, for an early celebration of Jeff's birthday. Every single thing was absolutely fantastic! I got tickled when our kids begged for an order of escargot. It's not every group of 3-12 year old kids who know what escargot is, much less love it (especially if they know what it is). After the amazing dinner, we headed over to Amy's Ice Cream for some sweet treats. 

Saturday--You can't just not eat after a morning of football, especially when they were the last games of the season. And, we were close enough to one of our new favorite places that it only seemed right slip over to Milago's, just outside of Wimberley, to tank up on Tex-Mex. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


All date nights around here are eagerly anticipated and much appreciated, but last night's date may just take the cake. Jeff and I had tickets to a quote-along viewing of The Princess Bride. And, as if that wasn't perfect enough, Cary Elwes (Wesley) was in attendance to talk about his new book As You Wish, which explores what it was like to work on this epic movie. And, if THAT wasn't enough, we were given props for the quote-along, as well as copies of the book and commemorative pint glasses to take home! It was a hilarious and inconceivable night!

(Sorry for the poor quality of the photos. It was dark, and we were far from the stage, and I was snapping with my cell phone. But, this is for posterity's sake, so the pictures must be included.)

Twu Wuv

It is absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable
that they misspelled "inconceivable" on this slide!

Oh, my sweet Westley!
(Cary Elwes)

The take-home goodies

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Little Red Hen Vibe

For a while, we have been wanting to experiment with grinding our own wheat. Today, we finally found the time to do that. It was not only great fun, it was also a great workout! There was a serious Little Red Hen vibe going on around here, though we did stop short of growing our own wheat.

Who will help us get the wheat?

Who will... us...

...grind the wheat?

Who will help us eat the bread?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Big Day

The kids and I got up early this morning and headed to Sea World's homeschool day, where we met up with some of our CC buddies. We had a great time seeing the animals, enjoying the beautiful day and being in a totally different kind of classroom! (Did you know that baby Beluga whales are born dark gray, even though the parents are almost white, so that they can hide in their mothers' shadows as they swim along together?)

It was a good day for us to be away, since we had a showing for the house. One piece of feedback they left for us was that they "really didn't like that the house was so messy." All I could think was, "I can only imagine what you would have thought had you seen it yesterday before we cleaned up!"

When the field trip was over, we hustled back to our neck of the woods so the big boys could participate in the homecoming parade. This is always one of the highlights of football season, and for them, the parade IS homecoming. Clay and Ruth also love it because every person on every float throws bucketfuls of candy. In fact, I have a secret suspicion that the parade is surreptitiously sponsored by the local dentists.

Somewhere between Sea World and the parade, my credit card disappeared, and I had a mild heart attack. Fortunately, it resurfaced once we got back home.

I had to put off looking for it longer than I would have liked, because when we went to pick the boys up at the end of the parade, our vehicle overheated and was in no condition to drive. Thankfully, the parade ended just down from our regular mechanic shop, so we were able to leave the vehicle there, and our sweet, sweet friend was willing to come to our rescue and give us a ride home.

While I've had a (mostly) fun day, I am now completely pooped and ready to chalk this one up to history.

Sea World San Antonio

The view from the Splash Zone

Watching the whales jump was amazing

"Big Show" sporting his pink sign for breast cancer awareness
(Thank you breast cancer awareness month for making pink a cool color for tough football players,
since this was the last remaining piece of poster board in the house at sign making time!)

Mr. Max

Clay loves a good parade!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

RTW Packing Favorites

Even though our RTW trip is still months away, we have already started packing. You see, we are trying to do this trip with just a carry-on sized bag apiece, and that takes some planning--and a little practice. Jeff and I pretty much have our bags packed, though we continue to tweak the contents and make adjustments. We won't pack the kids bags until closer to go-time, since they are still growing, but we are already starting to figure out bags and toiletries and other things that don't depend on growth spurts. It's an interesting and, at times, maddening challenge. I will admit that I have shed real tears over things as silly as which toiletries to bring and which to leave behind. But, I have also discovered some really cool products that I might not have otherwise been introduced to. Here are some of my RTW packing favorites. If you have any tried-and-true travel must-haves or packing strategies that make your travel life easier (or more beautiful, comfortable, etc.), please feel free to share them. I am more than willing to learn from the experience of others. 

The pack. It's nice because it converts from backpack to handheld carry-on.
It has a laptop sleeve, which is accessible without getting into the main packing compartment.
And, it has tons of pockets. I'm seriously amazed at how much stuff fits in here.

Jeff got me a set of these Eagle Creek compression bags for my birthday,
and I loved them so much I bought myself another set.
They're like dresser drawers for your suitcase, and they make me happy,
in a place-for-everything, everything-in-it's place kind of way.
Plus, mine are semi see-through, so I can just go straight for what I need. 

Convertible dress/skirts. Cute and comfortable, and just plain fun.
Not to mention quick-drying and relatively wrinkle free.
I have the one from Exofficio, on the left.
Ruth has the Mountain Hardwear one, on the right.

I was skeptical about this powered toothpaste, at first.
But, I really and truly love it, and might even use it if I wasn't traveling.
There are a bunch of variations, and I haven't tried all of them,
but this fluoride-free cinnamon one is wonderful.

Convertible pants are pretty much a requirement for a trip like the one we are taking,
but I knew upfront that I didn't want zip-off pants. That led me down the path of roll-up pants.
I love these from Eddie Bauer. They are stylish, comfortable, quick-drying
and have zippered pockets to deter pickpockets.

This actually took some getting used to. The first few times I used it, I didn't like it at all.
But, the more I used it, the more I liked it, and now here it is listed among my favorites.
It lasts a surprisingly long time, smells nice, leaves my hair feeling clean and not tangly,
and can also be used in place of shave gel, as well. So far, I have only tried the original,
but there are a ton of other formulas, which I'm looking forward to trying.

These are seriously the most comfortable shorts I have ever worn!
I loved them so much, I bought the skort, too. I want to wear them every single day!

The Nano Puff not only has a cool name, it also looks good,
is quite warm, and folds up into it's own pocket to make it super packable.

I liked the concept from the get-go but must admit that
this has required practice and patience and being comfortable with my body.
I am still learning but am overall very pleased with this little device.

It's a long-sleeved shirt. It's a ¾ length shirt. It's a jacket. It has a hidden pocket.
And, it is incredibly comfortable. The Shirtigan is one of my favorite travel pieces. 

Another multi-tasker. This turkish towel can be used as a towel, beach blanket, shawl, scarf or whatever.
Plus, it's soft, quick-drying, looks cute hanging up and takes up very little space in the suitcase. 

It seemed that taking a diffuser on our trip
was going to be out of the question, which made me sad.
But Jeff found this one and gave it to me for my birthday,
and it may be my very favorite thing on the list!
Now, I just have to prioritize which oils to take with me,
because a quart-size bag of liquids isn't all that much!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Getting our Zen on

Earlier this week, the boys and I read about Japan during our History time. So, to finish off the week, we decided to make our own Zen gardens. Now, we're thinking we may need to add Japan to our RTW trip. If we don't quit studying about different places in the world, our trip may go on indefinitely. Happy Friday, everyone! 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

First Horse Show

It was the first show for both Ruth and Whiskey.
Whiskey decided he wasn't having it.

So, Ruth rode Fozi, a horse she had never even sat on before today.

Showing Fozi some love

Proud of a 3rd place ribbon from her first ride

Sitting pretty with another 3rd place ribbon

Dynamic Duo

Ruth's cheering section

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Homeschooling: I'm lovin' it!

A "desk" for every student, and a student for every "desk"

built-in toddler entertainment
unconventional classroom