Saturday, December 31, 2016

Feel Good Friday: Truth in advertising

It's Saturday, but whatever. This is my favorite ad of the year, and a good chuckle seems like a good way to end 2016. Happy New Year! May your 2017 be full of things that make you happy and fill your life with peace.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Spending time with our people

We are so very thankful for our extended family and are so fortunate to have had some quality time with them this holiday season!

Christmas Eve with most of the Wainscott clan

Grandaddy loves messing with the kids

Playing a shocking game

Working on building circuits with Papa

Road tripping in style between family gatherings

Clay loves his baby cousin Slade

Clay and his cousin Victoria are inseparable

Watts gathering in The Woodlands

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Day of Dates

Yesterday, Jeff and I took advantage of the boys being off at the ranch with Grandpa and Ruth being in a cyber security camp by having a whole day of dates. Well, first we took care of some necessary grow-up business, like vehicle inspections and taxes. But, then we got down to the fun stuff. We did a little shopping in an actual indoor shopping mall, which kind of felt like a throwback to one of our very first in-person interactions way back when. When the shopping was done, we found a Japanese restaurant for lunch and filled up on delicious sushi. After that, we grabbed some coffee before heading over to our first-ever painting class. It was fun and funny and a great way to spend a couple of hours. Yay for date days!


Painting with a Twist

Friday, December 16, 2016

December Fun

Yesterday morning we had the opportunity to go to the UIL 2A high school state football playoff game to support Iraan (that town you've been hearing about in the news because their cheerleader bus was hit by a semi a couple of weeks ago on the way home from the quarter-final game and one of the sponsors was killed). This is the hometown of Jeff's parents and his entire extended family. And, even though Iraan didn't come away with the victory, it was so fun to be with family to cheer the team on and rally behind this small town that has endured so much heartache recently.

Supporting the Iraan Braves at the state playoffs at AT&T Stadium

After the game, we got together with family and friends for Mexican food at Mariano's. And, then our boys hopped in the car with Mimi and Grandpa and headed off for a ranch adventure.

Lunch at Mariano's

The rest of our immediate family spent the afternoon running a few errands and resting before heading over to the Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine to catch up with Jeff's cousin and her family, who were in town for the game and who we definitely don't get to spend enough time with. Our time with them was precious, and we also had a wonderful dinner at Old Hickory's Steakhouse and enjoyed gawking at the spectacularly decorated resort.

While running our errands, we came across a few bottles of Republic Tequila,
signed by my MIL's cousin's husband, who is one of the co-founder's of the company.
This bottle is from their very first barrel. Very cool.

Some of the beautiful and unique Christmas trees at the Gaylord

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gift Giving Guide

Q. What do you get the minimalistic nomadic family in your life that just wants to get away from it all?

A. 96 square feet of road-ready freedom, with a bathroom, a kitchen, and beds for everyone.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Breakfast (for dinner)

A few years ago, when I was really active on Pinterest, I was inspired to make a "winter breakfast" for my kids to celebrate the first day of winter. They have remembered it fondly and have asked a few times when we could do it again. Jeff and I had been planning to put it together next week, on the winter solstice, but then we looked at our calendars and realized it just wasn't going to happen on that day. In fact, if it was to materialize at all, it would have to be today, and then only at dinnertime. So, Jeff got the kids out of the house this afternoon on a mission to do some good in the world, and I was able to put it all together while they were out. It was so much fun to watch the kids' faces light up with surprise and delight when they returned home and realized what was happening! We're a little early, but happy winter everyone!

Winter Breakfast

Brioche Wreath

Egg Muffin Christmas Tree

Pancake Snowman

White Hot Chocolate

Celebrating Winter

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Equestrian Weekend

Ruth had back-to-back horse shows in Tyler yesterday and today, so we headed down Friday night and spent a couple of nights in a cute little cabin in the woods. Many things were different about these events compared to other events we've attended. First of all, these were much bigger shows and therefore lasted much longer than other shows we've attended. These were also held in a fancy indoor arena, which offered protection from the drizzle of today but almost seemed to magnify the extreme cold of yesterday. And, while spectators could huddle together in the stands instead of building little camping chair villages, the noise of the crowd and the metal bleachers really seemed to spook some of the horses and kept many of them on edge. Over the course of the two days, Ruth got to ride four different horses, and she performed beautifully. As a bonus, all of her grandparents got to be there at various times to see her ride. She came away with four colorful ribbons (a blue, two reds, and a yellow) of her very own, and her team came in second in today's show. We are so incredibly proud of this girl and absolutely love to see her do what she loves!

Little cabin in the woods

Ruth and Gizelle were a beautiful match in the walk/trot/canter (WTC) class yesterday and secured first place.

Calica was spooked in the arena, but Ruth kept her under control and won 2nd in the walk/trot class yesterday.

This girl was on fire despite the cold!

The official roster described Roxy as "witchy on the flat," but Ruth managed her perfectly and got 2nd place in WTC.

Agnes and Ruth got 3rd place in the walk/trot class this afternoon.

So proud of this beautiful equestrian!

Thursday, December 08, 2016


Just 15 minutes from our house lies the charming downtown of Grapevine. At this time of year, it's all decked out in its Christmas finery, so we were thrilled to take the kids over on Tuesday night to see the lights and to view one of our favorite movies of all time, A Christmas Story, at the historical Palace Theatre. We had so much fun that Jeff and I snuck back over to Grapevine last night for a much-needed date night. We will no doubt be exploring more this this delightful little neighbor city in the future.

Charming downtown Grapevine, all decked out for the season

One of Grapevine's large outdoor Christmas trees

The Palace Theatre, which was first opened in the '40s

Always a favorite!

Clay and Jeff shared one of the double seats in the theatre
(And, there might have been just a little silliness!)

The Palace is mostly used for live shows, but they also have special movie events

A relaxing date night in Grapevine

A fun, bubbling adult beverage at Mi Dia

Date night ended with coffee and dessert at Buon Giorno Coffee Shop

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Exploring Cowtown

The boys and I had an opportunity to join some other members of our CC campus for a field trip to the Ft. Worth Stockyards yesterday. We had never been, and we had so much fun and learned a lot. We started with the cowpen maze, which was just challenging enough to be fun but so so difficult as to frustrate us. Then, we had a guided tour, which allowed us a quick peek into the auction room to hear and see the proceedings. The boys were especially fascinated with the auctioneer. We also got to view the second-longest burning lightbulb in the world, which has been burning in Ft. Worth for 108 years, and we got to visit the original stock barns and some of the animals housed there. After that, we witnessed one of the twice-daily longhorn cattle drives. After lunch, we visited the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and then ended the day watching a cowboy demonstration. We are definitely interested in returning with the rest of our people when we have the chance.

Cowpen Maze

Proud finishers of the maze

The beautiful stock exchange building

The cattle drive takes places on the street
that was part of the original Chisholm Trail.

Cowboy Max

Clay is practicing his roping while posing with the cowboy statue

Friday, December 02, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Dear Weston,

It seems so odd to say that you are 11, but 11 you are. You have changed so much in the last year--in your physical appearance as well as your overall maturity--and I can truly tell you are starting to leave some of the trappings of childhood behind as you stretch towards manhood. You have grown taller and thinner in the last year, and you've decided to start wearing your hair longer, because you determined a buzz was a haircut for younger kids. On a recent grocery shopping trip, I spied a man out of the corner of my eye coming up the aisle beside me. I tried to ease out of his way, but when he kept coming toward me, I took a closer look and realized it was you all along. It was a shock to register my mistake because I still sometimes think of you as my little boy, as mothers are wont to do I suppose.

You loved our RTW trip and often talk about things you enjoyed or observed while we were traveling. You definitely have the travel bug and are willing to go just about anywhere...when it isn't football season! You even came up with the term "awaysick" to describe your wanderlust. We'll be doing some traveling in the U. S. next summer, and you are really looking forward to it and are already helping us plan some of our stops.

Speaking of football, that is still your overriding passion. You were fortunate to get onto a great team this fall, where you were encouraged to push yourself harder than you have before. But you were rewarded with the opportunity to play both defense and offense in every game, and you helped your team out with everything from sacking quarterbacks to scoring touchdowns. Not only was your team undefeated in the regular season, but it was also never even scored upon until the championship game, where you suffered a heartbreaking one-touchdown loss in overtime. You and your team worked so hard this season, and your progress as an athlete was observable even to my untrained eye. You are so excited that we now live in a place that has a spring football season as well as a fall season, and you are gearing up to play again in a couple of months.

You are kind of obsessed with logic, having entered an early stage of dialectic learning, and you are enjoying doing logic puzzles and studying logical fallacies in school this year. You also love to point these fallacies out in discussions with those around you, and I'm pretty sure you would be willing to argue with a fence post. I'll admit, sometimes this is maddening for your parents and siblings, but it's also super cool to watch you learning how to use some great tools that will help you better process information and learn to make more of your own decisions. As far as other school subjects go, you still love and excel at math. You are even planning to participate in two different PSIA math contests in the spring. Probably the most surprising class you are enjoying is writing, as this has been your nemesis in the past. You are loving the structure of the IEW program we are using in our CC Essentials class and are especially enthralled with the awesome application of alliterations. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Despite the proclivity to argue about just about anything, you are still a very sweet guy. You are always quick to give hugs, generous with compliments, and careful to show appreciation for gifts and kindnesses. You are thoughtful and sensitive and an all around nice guy. You also love to tell jokes and to make others laugh, which, combined with your sweet, fun-loving nature, makes you loads of fun to be around.

We happened to be at the ranch on your birthday, and you were beyond thrilled that you got to shoot both a turkey and a buck on your special day. Throughout the course of the weekend you also shot a couple of dove, a quail, and a skunk, though this last was not exactly a hunter's delight. You love being outdoors and certainly don't mind getting your hands (or shirt or anything else) dirty to stock the freezer. Clearly, Dad and I chose wisely when we decided to get you a grill for your birthday.

Weston, I am so very proud of you and the young man you are becoming. You are smart, sweet, funny, handsome, hardworking, and curious about the world around you. It is a joy to have you in our lives, and we are so thankful for you! May this next year be filled with millions of happy moments for you, and may you continue to grow into your awesomeness! I love you so much!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Perot Museum

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Weston's a big fan of The Periodic Table

Creating Dinos

A skeletal puzzle


The Water Cycle

An interesting weather report

Our little engineer was in heaven!

Battle Bots

Starting a building project

You know this boy wasn't leaving without a picture with the frog statues!

Musical Max

The end of a very fun day