Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Beach Boys

My older two kids don't enjoy sandy beaches, and if I didn't have vivid memories of pushing them out of my body, I would seriously wonder if they actually shared my genetics. But, my little guys love the beach. They get excited about the sand, the water, the rocks, the shells--all of it. And they are now big enough to play without me having to hover over them, which makes it fun for everyone. What a joy it was to spend several hours at the beach with them this afternoon! We got there when the tide was way out and stayed until it reached its predetermined stopping place on the shore. And for most of that time, we were the only souls in sight. It was a wonderful way to spend a gorgeous afternoon!

The tide was way out, which created a treasure trove of
tidal pools, unexplored rocks, and a lovely layer of pure sand.

These boys have been talking about digging all week!

The beach is my happy place!

Building a dam

Max manufactured a waterfall and then waited for the tide to fill it up

Here comes the water

A bonus treasure: seaweed connected to a rock!

Perfecting his technique

A great skipper

The rare beach rhino

Know what's better than finding an intact shell?
An intact shell with a tiny critter inside!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Port Seton, Scotland

On Friday, we left Wales and made the eight-hour drive to Port Seton, Scotland. We are staying in another caravan park situated on the Firth of Forth, which is just cool to say. We spent Saturday just resting and relaxing, and enjoying many of the fun amenities this holiday park offers. Yesterday and today, we've been working on some school work, and whiling away our evenings in the presence of Harry Potter. We also caught the Aggie game, which was honestly more stress than I need in my life. We had to wait a full 24 hours from game time for the privilege of that heart attack, which meant we kept ourselves off social media to avoid having it spoiled. In hindsight, it might have been better to be warned. But, thankfully, it ended with jumping around and cheering loud enough for all the neighbors to hear, instead of big, fat sad faces.

A beautiful welcome

We love the Seton Sands Holiday Park!

Hanging out on the beach

The Firth of Forth

Little Diggers

Dancing Machine

Kings of the playground

Scooter Boys

An amazing sunset over the firth

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rugby World Cup

Today was the day Weston has been looking forward to for two weeks, and that Jeff and I have been anticipating for months. Having been warned repeatedly about heavy traffic and possibly ridiculous parking situations, and knowing we had a two hour drive ahead of us, we gave ourselves a good early start, leaving right after lunch, even though the game didn't begin until 4:45. Everything turned out to be super easy, so we got to Millennium Stadium in Cardiff well ahead of the bulk of the crowd. That gave us an opportunity make the first of many bathroom stops, get drinks, take selfies and watch the teams (Fiji and Australia) warm up before the match. We all chose to cheer for Australia, since we will be living there for about a month in the spring. Though the match was pretty brutal, it was very interesting to watch, and we all had a wonderful time! All the more, since our team won. I'm so glad we had an opportunity to do something so unique, and I'm especially glad we could give Weston a gift he appreciated so much.

Joining the crowd for the walk to the stadium

The perfect birthday gift for our lover of all sports

Before entering the stadium, we picked up these free signs to assist us with our cheering.
A "try" is a score in rugby, in case you, like me, need a little education in this game.

Rugby World Cup Selfie

The teams entering the pitch in a blaze of glory

The team from Fiji always performs a war dance, called the cibi, before international matches


Executing a "maul"

The scrum is our favorite thing!

This scrum got out of hand and turned into a bit of a brawl.

Final score: Australia 28, Fiji 13
(Check out the bloody gash on this guy's arm!)

Millennium Stadium 

This is actually a football (soccer) statue, but Clay didn't mind.
He was just happy to have his picture made with any statue.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dyfed Shire Horse Farm

The Shire horses are huge and very sweet.
The big guy pictured in the bottom center and top right measures about 17 hands.

Pedal Go Karts

You know it's going to be a fun day when there is a tractor involved!

Other Diversions

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Game Day

We are still supporting our Aggies, even though we are on the other side of the world. And, we're not being Two Percenters about it, either. Gig 'Em!

Game Snack: Potato Pile
Delicious layers of "chips" (French fries),  Mexican shredded beef, black beans,
cheese, homemade salsa, and homemade guacamole

Game action on two screens

Friday, September 18, 2015


Our youngest student has a fountain of academic enthusiasm welling up inside of him and bubbling over into his little blue notebook. He eagerly engages in every class and has been working on numbers and letters like a boss. He picks things up very quickly and is always so proud of his work. The other day, I was helping another student, and Clay was busy writing something in his notebook. When I looked up, he proclaimed that he had drawn a compass. It was a fairly decent reckoning, and I asked him where he had learned about compasses, because I knew I hadn't taught him. He quickly responded that Watta JJ had taught him, and, as it was a day that I was struggling with my own confidence in my ability to teach my kids everything they need to know (or anything, for that matter), I almost cried tears of joy. I have never been so thankful for an imaginary friend and was so glad to know that Clay had someone reliable to teach him all the important things in life.

Our history story today mentioned bows and arrows, which reminded Clay of what he wants to be when he grows up: a cowboy in a doublewide rocketship, shooting a bow and arrow. While I was trying to help the other two boys write summary paragraphs about our lesson, Clay kept asking me how to spell words, and I kept spouting off letters in between delivering instructions to and answering questions for the other boys. When everyone was done with their writing, Clay proudly turned in his paper, which said, clear as day, "Cowboy in a rocketship." I'm going to recommend Watta JJ for Teacher of the Year.

Working on numbers and problems from the green book


It's important to write out your goals

So proud of this sweet boy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Picton Castle

Today was another day off for us, and boy did we need it! After a hard week of school, a few of us feeling just a little under the weather, fluctuating hormones, and several days of rain and chilly temps, we were very ready for a pretty day to get out and about. We decided to visit Picton Castle, which is about 30 minutes from our house, and we enjoyed a lovely day there. The grounds are amazing, with several different garden areas, a fantastic playground, and lots of secret paths to explore. We all feel refreshed now and are so thankful for this day to recharge in this beautiful place.

Picton Castle 

Taking the Jungle Path

Among the giant gunnera plants

Mushroom Man

The wall was built to carry people horizontally, but, of course, this one went vertical.

The first to make it to the center of the hedge maze. 

Our first time to visit a lawnmower museum

All the outlaws in the stocks

The race is on!

This giant Western Red Cedar provided a great deal of entertainment for these silly monkeys!

I love how these two love each other!


A small selection of the gorgeous flowers in the gardens