Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Weekend of All the Sports (plus a few other things)

Yesterday morning, Weston had his try-out for spring football. He felt good about his performance and had a good time, and he got selected by the same team he played for in the fall, which was exactly what he was hoping would happen. To me the most astonishing part of this try-out was the weigh-in, where he found out that he weighs almost exactly what I weigh! Wow! My little boy is definitely not so little anymore!

Shortly after the try-out, Ruth had a make-up riding lesson. And, as soon as she was done, we headed to Ft. Worth for a brief break in the sporting fun. We had a late lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and then stopped by the Ft. Worth Water Gardens to have a look around. What a unique park and a fun place to spend a nice afternoon!

Eventually, we left Ft. Worth and made our way over to the Big D, so we could catch a Mavericks basketball game. We had a blast cheering for the Mavs and watching them beat the Pelicans, while checking yet another item off our DFW bucket list.

Since we also planned to attend the Dallas Stars hockey game this morning in the same arena, and since we had quite a few hotel points saved up (and since the American Airlines Center frowns on overnight guests), we booked a room at a nearby Element hotel, which made the whole experience seem a little more vacationy and exciting.

After enjoying the hotel's fantastic free breakfast, we ran to Academy to outfit our little baseball players for the season, before heading back to the miraculously transformed American Airlines Center for the hockey game. Clay repeated several times, "But wasn't this a basketball court?!" The Stars didn't fair as well as the Mavs, but we had so much fun learning more about the game, being part of the excitement, and adding another check mark to our list.

When the hockey game was over, we stopped by Checkered Past Winery for a wine tasting and mid-afternoon meal, which the kids enjoyed calling "linner." After much eating and drinking and merry-making, we headed back to Flower Mound, just in time for Max's first baseball practice of the season--the perfect end to our (mostly) sports themed weekend.

Special treats at The Cheesecake Factory

The Ft. Worth Water Gardens

Dallas Mavericks Game
(If you look closely, you might be able to tell that we are on the second row from the very tip top!)

Dallas Stars Game
(Our seats were at about the same level, just a few sections over.)

Checkered Past Winery

P.S. In case you missed my Facebook announcement on Friday, I finally got the fourth Geography Explorer book, Explore Mongolia, published. All of my books wanted to get in on the party and put themselves on sale. If this interests you, you can check them out here or over on the right sidebar.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Feel Good Friday: I believe in you

"They'll say you're too little...that you're from nowhere, that you shouldn't dream big. But I believe in you. I think you'll do something great."

~ Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Monday, February 20, 2017

A little intrigue and a lot of Mexican food

So this morning, Jeff and I were sitting on our patio, drinking coffee and eating breakfast tacos, when these two guys came up the public beach access near our house with bulging grocery bags of produce and a dozen roses. They stopped at the water's edge and began to rub their entire bodies with what looked like bunches of cilantro. Then, they tossed the bunches into the sea. They then repeated that process with a half-dozen or so other produce items, including what looked to us like whole onions, apples, bananas, some things we couldn't identify, a small watermelon, and a larger watermelon. Each item they threw into the sea after rubbing it intact all over their bodies. Except the watermelons. These they threw down hard right at the waterline so that the melons burst open. When all the fruits and veggies were used up, they went through the whole ritual again with the roses. Then, they took something that might have been oil or honey or body wash, for all we know, and doused their heads and bodies and rubbed it in. Then, they waded out into the water, up to their waists, and stayed there for a few minutes and then came back to the shore and left as if nothing happened. We have no idea what they were doing, but our curiosity was certainly piqued. Jeff surreptitiously took a short video of what we were seeing, just so we wouldn't sound crazy when we tried to tell people about it later. If you know anything about this ritual, we would love it if you could shed some light on it for us.

The rest of our day was pretty low-key. We read our books and went into town for Mexican food and took a nap and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the sea. But, around 5:30, we started to notice a lot of traffic to the beach from that same public access point. Families and individuals kept appearing and staring down the beach. Some were pointing. Some were clearly taking photos with their phones. They were all chattering in Spanish, using words we couldn't make out. The next house over blocks our view down the beach, so we couldn't see what was going on, and, though we were curious, we didn't really want to snoop....until we saw the bomberos' (firemen) boat zip up to the beach. This brought us down to the sand with the other onlookers. There was no fire and no smell of smoke, but there was a bevy of police officers crowded around one of the fishing boats down the way. In very short order, the bomberos had tied a line to the smaller boat and were speeding away with it in tow. A couple of officers remained in the little boat as it was headed back toward Progresso. Our quiet little beach has certainly been a hotbed of intrigue today, and we have absolutely no idea what has been going on.

In other news, the Mexican food has been amazing!

Lunch on the beach yesterday. Our free appetizers included baby shark empanadas and an amazing calabasa dip.

One of my favorite beach things is coconut water out of a green coconut!

The atmosphere and food were full of personality at Maya-Ka, where we had dinner last night.
We had three kinds of kabobs in a flaming pineapple for our meal and a flan and a "Carlota" for dessert.

We love Progresso!

Lunch at Crabster's, consisting of a "Mexican-sized" margarita, shrimp guacamole, lobster tacos, and coconut shrimp

The bomberos towing off a fishing boat

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Jeff has always been a wonderful gift giver. And, the most recent gift he gave me only proves how well he knows and loves me. He presented me with the gift of travel--a couple's trip, anywhere I wanted to go, though he and I both knew it would be somewhere beachy. We settled on Mexico and found a house with a 180-degree view of the Gulf of Mexico, right on the beach. It is perfection! My eyes never tire of the view, and I absolutely love being lulled to sleep by the sound of the surf. We arrived late on Thursday night and have been having a blast ever since! We spent Friday exploring nearby Progresso, walking on the beach, and getting caught up in a Harley convention when we went out for dinner. Yesterday, we drove out to Chitzen Itza to explore some Mayan culture. We detoured through Merida for lunch and then headed back to our wonderful house to rest and read, before tracking down some more Mexican food for dinner. I am so thankful for this special gift and for the man who understands what makes me tick!

Our beautiful home on the beach and a view that never gets old

Breakfast in Progresso on Friday

Exploring Progresso

Harley Convention

Chitzen Itza

Lunch at Casa de Frida in Merida

Comida Autentico

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Lunch

Valentine's Day lunch at Savory Bistro with my loves

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekend Recap

We were so blessed to have Aunt Bekki and her girls here this weekend.
And, as an added bonus, Nana came over on Sunday to hang out for a while!

Clay insisted that we needed to take his cousin, Victoria, out to LLELA to see the little houses,
and Saturday was absolutely perfect for spending outdoors, so that's just what we did!

We worked up a thirst during our hike, so we headed over to Cobra Brewing Co. afterwards.

Ruth had her last regular season horse show on Sunday.
She and Nemo took care of business in the WTC class and brought home third.
She and Samson also had a great ride in the WT class and ended up with the fourth place ribbon.
Ruth scored enough individual points this season to advance to regionals in WTC, and we are so proud of her!

Sunday's horse show was by far the fastest show we have attended,
so we found ourselves with the afternoon unexpectedly free.
We took advantage of it and checked some more things off our DFW bucket list.
Our first stop was Las Colinas and the mustang statues at Williams Square.

Sticking with our livestock theme, we next visited Pioneer Plaza to see the cool cattle drive sculpture and old cemetery.

Then, we hopped on the M Line Trolley, which was a fun way to experience part of Dallas.
But our favorite part was probably the roundhouse that got us pointed in a different direction.
When we were ready to go again, the conductor selected Weston to blow the whistle.

Unable to drop the livestock theme, and working off a tip from Jeff's brother, our last stop of the day was Rodeo Goat,
where we enjoyed a "steaming pile" and some delicious burgers.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Improptu Field Trip

One of the places on our DFW bucket list was the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Ft. Worth. But since they are only open on weekdays until 4:30, we were having a hard time figuring out when we could go. Then, Ruth's riding lesson for this afternoon had to be rescheduled, so we took advantage of our opportunity and planned an impromptu field trip. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the money being printed and learning about the process, from beginning to end. Plus, we had the entire place to ourselves, which made it even more fun. Afterwards, we had dinner at a local Mexican food place, which is a great way to end any field trip, in my opinion!

Pre field trip flowers from this sweet boy!

The BEP is serious about security, so this is as close as I could get with my camera.

This is how you know it was a good field trip!

Putting the "fun" in queso fundido

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Weekend Entertainment

On Friday evening, Jeff and I snuck away for a little date at the Pocket Sandwich Theater, where we ate and drank and laughed at the silly melodrama unfolding before us. It was a fun night out, but I have no photographic evidence.

The boys had a "men's day" on Saturday, and Ruth and I spent the day doing girly stuff. Ironically, the boys started with breakfast at a place called Mama's Daughters' Diner. Then, they played at two different awesome parks, before heading over to Max's baseball tryout. Meanwhile, Ruth and I shopped and lunched and sipped coffee. Later, we all met up and headed to downtown Dallas to see the Family Friendly Improv Show at Dallas Comedy House. Some members of our group even got some stage time, which was super fun. Afterwards, we had dinner at All Good Cafe.

Coffee break at Trio Coffee 

Dallas Comedy House

All Good Cafe

Knowing we had several hours of snacks and sitting in our future today, we decided to spend the morning hiking at LLELA (Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area), after first having brunch at Tierney's. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed soaking up some sun and warmer temps, after several cold, cloudy days. Finally, we celebrated Weston's favorite holiday: Super Bowl. It was a great weekend!

Enjoying the great outdoors at LLELA

Super Bowl Party

Friday, February 03, 2017

Feel Good Friday: The less exhausting path

"Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things."         

~M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Favorites on the First

My nails (on both feet and hands) are a disaster.
This cuticle cream helps more than anything else. And, it smells like dessert!

I thought about featuring one oil or oil blend, but it was too hard to choose!
I love all my oils, but right now I'm especially loving Breathe oil and drops,
OnGuard oil, drops and toothpaste, Frankincense oil, Correct X ointment,
Lemon oil, and Serenity blend. Click the link to find out more about essential oils.

Most cleaners overwhelm me and some even give me a headache,
but this one smells heavenly and actually makes cleaning enjoyable. 

We absolutely love our 2016 Honda Pilot,
which is the first truly new car we've bought since we've had kids.! 

I thought it was a little ridiculous when we jumped on the Instant Pot
bandwagon on Black Friday, but I have to tell you, this little piece of
equipment is pretty awesome. In fact, it's kind of a game-changer. 

This is one of the things keeping my brain from turning to mush right now.
Es muy bueno.

At almost any time of the day, you can find myself or one of my family
members plopped down in the Seat of Happiness

These flip-flops are super comfortable, and the two-pack means instant variety.

Music: getting me through the endless meal prep that goes on around here.

Max and Clay are thoroughly enjoying the Around the World Stories.
They eagerly wait for new ones and sit entranced through each episode.
These stories are a good way to travel the world when you can't travel the world.