November 2017

I was a little late getting my caramel apples made, but I eventually did make a batch to share with friends and neighbors.



One evening Clara and Malana sat the table for dinner and added a special touch with place cards for everyone.


We made it to the Buddy Walk this year at the Sam Houston Race Park to walk with Justin and his family in support of the Down Syndrome Association on Houston.





Clara loved her violin Christmas ornament I got for her this year. :)


I helped Robert’s teacher with their classroom thankful party. Robert was not very thankful to have me there. This was the best picture I could get.


Trevy-Ann celebrated her 15th birthday right around Thanksgiving as well, so her mom threw her a little party and invited some family friends over for cake and ice cream. The little one seems to be fascinated by the chandelier.



The next week was Thanksgiving and Robert’s birthday and we went to Temple to spend the holiday with Dan and Linda. When we got back, our friends’ house was getting close to completion. The toilets and showers had just been installed and their kitchen was close to being finished, so they decided to move back into their house at the end of November. They were all itching to have their own space again and get back into a routine. They lived with us for 80 days and were one of the first families back in their neighborhood, which was 100% flooded. We celebrated their new home with dinner with dinner out the night they moved home.


Chris and I have had people live with us on several occasions, but never a family. Having houseguests for that long and in such stressful conditions was not without it’s difficulties, but Chris and I both agree that we were overjoyed to be in the perfect position to be able to share God’s blessings with their family and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We fully believe that God puts people in our path that we can be a blessing to. We just have to keep our eyes open and be willing to step out in faith, have our routines disrupted a bit and make some sacrifices. Through the act of sharing our blessings, our faith, family and marriage is always blessed and stronger because of it and we pray that Clara and Robert will learn to listen when God nudges them to step out in faith.

Halloween 2017


Trevy-Ann and Malana had never carved a pumpkin, so obviously we had to carve a pumpkin. Robert insisted that a reluctant Trevy-Ann stick her hands inside the pumpkin.


I’m pretty sure there was some disagreement about how the jack-o-lantern should be carved, but in the end Jack Skellington won out.



Halloween night was a drizzly, soggy mess, so I didn’t get very good pictures. We pulled out the umbrellas and went around to a few houses in the neighborhood. The kids didn’t last very long before they were ready to call it a night and come back to the house to gorge on candy. I had hoped to get them back in their costumes the next day to get some good pics, but they did not comply with my request. Robert was the Kai from Ninjago.





This was during Clara’s owl phase, so I made her this snowy owl costume and did her makeup. Malana was Moana. Robert stripped out of his costume before I got a group photo of them all.




Happy Harvey Times

After getting set up at Vance and Jenna’s, we picked up groceries and then Jenna and I headed to Gallery Furniture with one of her teacher friends. Mattress Mack had opened up both of his furniture stores for displaced people, so Jenna wanted to go paint kids faces and read stories to the kids. They had gathered up a bunch of books to leave there as well.

We came in through the back loading and warehouse area that housed lots of dog crates and pens with pets in them. There was a steady stream of people dropping off donations and volunteers sorting everything coming in. People were interacting with their pets and taking them for walks out behind the store. Mack was also feeding the national guard and giving them a place to sleep those first few days, so the entire store was filled with guardsmen and civilians milling around. They were all welcome to make themselves comfortable and sit on all of the display living room furniture. A long atrium area was set up with tables running down the middle and individual stalls each with mattresses lining each wall. It was so cool to see him open up his businesses like he did during Harvey. He really is an amazing person.

Anyway, to say I’m not an artist is a massive understatement, but I did attempt to paint some faces. Jenna had a book with some ideas, so that helped. Sorta. Thankfully most people had the understanding that it’s the thought that counts. :) We even had a few adults come up and ask to have their faces painted. It was nice to put some smiles on people’s faces. I think a balloon artist had been there right before us, so the kids really were getting to have some fun amidst the chaos.

Once we got back to the house, the body painting marathon began. Oh my goodness, they painted themselves and each other all week long!


I was impressed with Robert’s Yoshi he painted on his own arm.


Clara was a really good sport all week and let Zoe paint necklaces and a crown on her on this particular day.


They found a frog that they passed around for a while, made lots of paper airplanes, ran all over the backyard and had a picnic with the neighbors. We spent a lot of time on the back porch when Chris was there because they have cats. I seem to remember the weather was pretty pleasant, so it wasn’t bad.









We spent Sunday night back in our own house and it felt really nice. On Monday, we went back to get the camper because we needed to get it to our house and cleaned up for our houseguests that we invited to move in while we were at church on Sunday. :) We were so grateful for Vance and Jenna’s hospitality that week.

Robert’s 7th Birthday

Robert had a race car birthday party here at the house this afternoon to ring in his seventh year. He invited a few of his classmates and one boy who rides his bus, so four of the six boys at his party I met for the first time today. Two of the moms I met a few weeks ago and they stayed for the party, so I was able to get to know them better. Elijah was in Robert’s class last year and is in a different school now and Ethan is in Kinder and rides the bus with the kids.


Lauren and Emily are Ethan’s big sisters, so they brought him over and hung out with Clara and helped out a bit with the party.



The party was very informal and my plan was to just let them race with all of Robert’s different tracks. We pulled the Mario Kart slot car track out of the closet earlier in the week and one of the controllers was broken. Chris worked all week cutting and soldering and was finally able to get it fixed.



Um, yeah, lots of sugared up 6 and 7 year old boys running around my house in a blur.


Looks like the kindergartners didn’t make it into many pictures. Ali was very shy and enjoyed playing upstairs away from these crazies. Thankfully he and Ethan are in the same class, so I think that probably helped. All of the boys were very polite and they all got along very well. Elijah found Chris’ Skipper hat and wore it around for a while.















Ali had to leave a few minutes early, so I didn’t get him in the group shot. And Javier doesn’t like smiling for pictures, it seems :)







I forgot to get a picture of the whole dining room decorated before the party so I snapped a quick one before clean up.


As the party was ending and guests were starting to leave, we got a special delivery at the door. Chris snuck it to the garage and put it together. It’s a little big for him, but I think he likes it.




I’m just going to go back and take a look at my calendar to do this summer re-cap to get caught up once and for all.

— The kids got out of school on June 2nd. My friend Becky’s brain surgery was the day before and we kept Emily overnight if I’m remembering correctly. I really thought we’d have her overnight for a week or more while Becky was in the hospital and recovering at home those first few days, but her dad took a bus from out of state to be here with her for those first few weeks after surgery. I’m so glad he was here otherwise I would’ve been completely overwhelmed.

Becky was released from the hospital a mere 2.5 days after an all-day brain surgery and her recovery at home was awful. I took Emily most days for at least a portion of the day for those three weeks post-surgery and dinner most nights. It was a pretty stressful few weeks.






— Adding to the stress was Max. He was nearing the end of his time here with us and it was weighing pretty heavily on me. I just couldn’t decide if it was time to put him to sleep or not. He started having lots more bad days where he couldn’t get up on his hind legs, even with help and was having multiple accidents every day and just didn’t seem to be happy any longer. We made the tough decision and put him down on June 7th. I started a blog post about Max but never finished it; maybe I’ll get it up eventually.


— During that week, Robert had been coughing at night. He coughed so much that he threw up multiple times one night. He sounded fine during the day and wasn’t acting sick, but he was going to be staying with Grandma and Grandpa later that week, so I made a doctor’s appointment for him the day after Max died just in case. Of course the next two nights before his appointment he didn’t cough a bit, but I kept the appointment. The doctor ordered a chest x-ray after he listened to his lungs and he saw a spot that was concerning to him and he thought it was walking pneumonia and prescribed an antibiotic. (The radiology report would later show that it wasn’t pneumonia so I’m not sure what it was.)

— We finished reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe around that time and then the kids got to watch the movie. Chris ordered some turkish delight off of Amazon and we put it in a fancy candy dish and served it up as we started the movie. They loved it! They wanted so badly to finish it off, but forced themselves to save a couple of pieces. They wanted to eat it during the scene when Edmund requests it and eats it with The White Witch :)


— That next weekend Clara went to church camp for K-4th graders. Robert wanted to go at first but then had second thoughts when he found out I wouldn’t be there. And because I know my son, I knew he would regret his decision at the last minute and be devastated, so I arranged for him to Temple while Clara was at camp.

So Robert loaded up all the red things he owns and had a whole week with Grandma and Grandpa all to himself.


— It ended up being a whole week because the following weekend we decided to go visit Dan and Linda for Father’s Day weekend. They were getting a new cabinet bed for their guest bedroom and offered their old set to us. Since we didn’t have a footboard or headboard and our mattress was super old, we took them up on the offer. So we took two cars and rented a U-Haul and Chris brought the furniture home while I headed west with the kids to Pecos.

— I actually don’t remember much about our Pecos trip and I don’t have any pictures. This was supposed to be a restful week after being so stressed for the previous weeks. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Clara started feeling sick on the drive to Pecos. By the next day, she felt awful and spent 3 days in bed. I was trying to quarantine her so she wouldn’t spread her cooties to all the cousins. Poor girl didn’t even feel like watching movies most of the time.

I ended up trying to get her into the doctor the morning of the parade. I called and called and called the clinic and no one was answering. I eventually loaded her up and went up there. Lo and behold it was closed until after lunch because of the rodeo parade. Argghhh! It’s the only clinic in town! I forget sometimes that things run a bit differently in a small town. I was able to get her in that afternoon. She had zero energy and had eaten almost nothing for the past couple of days and cried when the dr. mentioned a strep test. Her rapid strep test came back negative but the PA was just certain that’s what it was so I went ahead and got the antibiotic. I had to personally walk the order in to the hospital lab across the street, dragging Clara with me while she sat and waited for the 10 minutes it took to enter her into the system. This was a Wednesday and we didn’t get the test results back until Monday. It was negative. She was feeling mostly better by Friday morning though.

So Friday morning we went with Myrt and took all the kids to the little car museum. I started feeling a little woozy and then ran to the bathroom and dry heaved. Then I told some kid (don’t remember which one) to tell my mom I had gone to lay down in the car. The dizzy nauseous spell passed after a few minutes, but I was not feeling well at all, so I went on back to the house. I would feel sorta okay and then horrible and then so-so and then horrible again for the next day or two. By Monday I was down for the count. I went to the doc and she thought it was just viral since Clara’s strep test came back negative. I went back two days later when I wasn’t feeling any better and she agreed I should have been feeling better by then and so she prescribed me an antibiotic. I was supposed to leave to go back home on Wednesday, but it ended up being Saturday before I felt I was up for the long drive home. So much for my restful week.

— My main reason for wanting to get back home was because we were supposed to have a 4th of July party at the house. Chris went ahead and canceled it, but then asked if I would be ok with having only a couple of families over. I told him that was fine as long as I didn’t have to lift a finger :) Because of a little change in plans, we ended up having one family over on Sunday and the other on Monday, so two days of entertaining guests.

— The week after that: more Emily, VBS, removal of a bee hive from inside our second story eave, and then we left for my family reunion.

— Clara went to another weekend church camp with area churches the following weekend. She rode with the kids from Bammel and got to see some of her old friends. While she was gone, Chris’ co-worker offered us tickets to the circus because his whole family got sick and couldn’t go. They were supposed to go with a group of friends and had box seats.

We went down and looked at the animals and then watched some of the performers during the pre-show.



Robert had no interest in any of the clowns milling around. He could not be persuaded to take a picture with any of them. I guess ’cause clowns are creepy.




So turns out, private box seats are kinda the pits for a circus. A more accurate description might be “the nosebleeds”.


See? I told you. Proof that clowns are creepy. Yikes. I’m like the clown from your nightmare.




Here’s Robert and “Giggles” the clown :)


— The kids got back from camp after church on Sunday, so we drove up to Bammel for church and then joined the DeCarlos for lunch when we got Clara and Travis back.

That brings us to the beginning of August. Some things happened in August I’m sure, but this is the end of this post because that’s all I have pictures of :)

Church Family Retreat

Ok, I have to do something here. I’m just getting further and further behind and I cannot just skip blogging about the last few months. I’m going to work my way back.

I have been looking forward to our family retreat for a while now. This church places high value on strengthening families and does so in a variety of ways. There have been several father-child Saturday events, Chris attended a dad’s class on Wednesday nights during the summer, there is a yearly marriage retreat, a marriage conference last weekend and a father/daughter retreat coming up.

We’ve met some people at church, but I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know people better. We went to Pine Cove Crier Creek, which is a facility designed for family camp with individual cabins for lodging. We got lucky and our family got to stay in their new building that was just recently built. This was on the porch of our cabin, overlooking the lake. We were definitely not expecting such luxurious accommodations.








These pictures are all out of order, so bear with me. These are Clara’s friends Mackenzie and Malana.


There was foosball and ping pong on the front porch of the dining hall, so Robert enjoyed getting a game or two in every time we gathered to eat. That’s his friend Colton next to him. I enjoyed rocking in the numerous rocking chairs lining the porch.

This picture came out really dark, but this is Robert’s friend Owen. The small lake had canoes, stand up paddleboards and kayaks.


And here is Clara and Mariah, who is in her same grade. Clara is a giant. And apparently has lots of church friends whose names start with “M”.




The kids swam at the pool yesterday. Robert and Colton went down this slide together in different positions probably 50 times, maybe more.










We had to pay a small fee when we registered if we wanted to do the zipline. I signed the kids up since they enjoyed their first zipline experience this summer. I put Robert’s harness on him and thought it was a bit loose but figured they’d tighten it up at the top. Well, he got harnessed up, helmet on and then sat and waited about 15 minutes for his turn. He made his way to the top and it turned out the harness was too big and couldn’t be cinched any further. He was so disappointed. He doesn’t handle changes in plans nor disappointment well at all. Throw in being hot and tired and I was ready for some waterworks as he came down. He did really well though and held it together. We let him choose a little something from the camp store since he was being so good about it. He chose a bright green harmonica.




This was called the lagoon. This slide was huge! Both kids went down it without a moment’s hesitation. There was also an inflatable rock climbing wall in the middle and a floating dock to spar on.




It started raining late Saturday morning and into the afternoon, so we had to be flexible during our planned activities. For a while it looked like our afternoon free time was going to be spent in our rooms, but thankfully the sun came out just in time and we had the entire afternoon to do things as a family. I voted for a nap but was outnumbered :(


We had a couple of family activities and devotionals each day. We tried our hand at pickle ball and the kids played gaga ball. There was also horseback riding, frisbee golf, a baseball diamond and basketball court. We had smore’s over the campfire last night and the kids watched The Peanuts Movie outside. There was something fun for everyone from preschoolers to teenagers. It was a lovely weekend all around. When I told Robert we would be leaving after our morning outdoor church service, he started crying. I think it’s safe to say they’re both looking forward to next year’s retreat.

Huntsville State Park

The weekend following the flood, a mere 48 hours after Chris was diagnosed with strep, we left to go camping. The Couringtons and Chris’ co-worker Andy and his wife Jenny joined us. The water was chilly, but that didn’t stop the kids from venturing into the lake. It did take them quite some time to fully submerge themselves though.










The kids took turns going out on the kayak. Chris and Robert were the only ones to spot a gator while on one of their excursions.




I wanted to try and recreate this picture from 2012, but got them out of order. Weren’t they so cute? This is one of my favorite camping pics ever.






Kate didn’t want to sit in the sun to eat her lunch, so she found a comfy spot in the shade.











The year is in full swing and as usual, I’m having a hard time getting a handle on everything :) We’ve had a busy month so far but not much has been “blog-worthy” and I’ve taken zero pictures so I’ll just do a little re-cap.

The day after Christmas, Chris slipped in mud and was able to catch himself before falling. In doing so, he twisted his knee and was in a lot of pain for a couple of weeks. When the pain didn’t subside, he got into his doctor who also specializes in sports medicine. He thinks it’s a really bad sprain, but he did mention that his quadriceps are really weak, probably because of genetics, and that causes the knee cap to continually be pulled to the side, causing a lot of wear. He will probably need surgery on that knee as well. We’re now wondering if that contributed to the wear on his other knee that he had surgery on. It’s doing better now and he has exercises to do to try and strengthen his quadriceps so hopefully surgery is far, far away.

The next day we visited Bammel for church and to see old friends. It was fun catching up with a few people. We had lunch with the DeCarlos and got to meet their newest little one, Ryan.

Clara had her oral surgery at the end of December. She was the perfect patient as always and went right in without a bit of hesitation. She looked a little nervous this time since she knew what to expect but she put on a brave face. The surgery went really well and thankfully there was no damage done to her permanent teeth and he was able to extract the ankylosed tooth without taking out her molar. I’m really glad because she would have been left with only one molar to chew with on that side for the next few years :) She recovered very quickly and only needed pain meds for the first two days. Much different from her surgery last year where she was still needing it a week later.

We headed up to The Woodlands on New Years Day to hang out with the Couringtons. It was a relaxing afternoon of chatting, games and pizza and was way over due.

We re-entered reality the next week when the kids went back to school and Chris to work. It’s so sad when Christmas break ends. Later that week, Danielle and the kids came to hang out for the day. Justin had an appointment near us, so I watched a couple of the kids during his appointments and then they had lunch with us and played until the kids got home from school. They stayed through dinner so they could avoid rush hour traffic. If the state of the upstairs at the end of the night was any indication, the kids had a grand time playing all afternoon.

Clara’s extra-curriculars started back up the week after. She had extra choir practice and auditions for a special performance that took place last week. Their choir was invited to perform during the school board meeting and because of limited space, only 25 could go. They learned two new songs just for this performance.

They rode together on the bus to the meeting but parents could attend as well. Oh my goodness the place was packed! They had another elementary choir performing too. The public portion of the meeting was supposed to start at 6:30, but the closed portion went long so it didn’t start until 7:30! It was 8:00 before they performed and then we all skedaddled out of there as fast as we could. We couldn’t just take them from the meeting though; we had to meet the bus back at the school. I picked up a friends’ kids too because her hubby was running late and her four other kids were asleep so by the time we got home it was close to 9:00. Clara had been at the school since 7:25 am. She had choir before school and then Read Deed Run right after school, so I brought her choir clothes to change into and a quick dinner to eat on the playground before she was off to the school board meeting. So glad those kind of days are few and far between.

And then on Thursday she had a pep squad performance at the high school. It was a town pep rally where they introduced all of the spring sports. It was kinda fun. The junior high cheerleaders were there, along with mascots from all three schools, the high school cheerleaders and dancers and Clara was enthralled with every bit of it. She was in her element. Their routine was a little rough though. Because of the MLK holiday, they only had one practice where they learned their routine. I guess they didn’t do too bad considering.

Robert was supposed to appear on the school’s video announcements today. The assistant principal is awarding a dog tag to him. When kindergarteners learn their 100 sight words, they make a big deal about it and take their picture to put on the wall. He’s known them for several months now so I guess they just now tested them. He said he’s the first kindergartner this year to learn them all. Proud mommy over here :)

I just started reading Magic Tree House books to him. He really fought me on it at first for some reason, but after only a couple of chapters of book one, he was hooked. I’ve read the first three to him and when we have to stop, he begs and pleads for me to keep reading. I told him that if he practices his reading that he’ll be able to read them at his own pace very soon, so hopefully that lights a fire under him. I don’t think he will be quite as big of a bookworm as Clara, but he is most definitely interested. I just hope his interest doesn’t wane.

I was in the work room a couple of weeks ago and Robert’s teacher came in to make some copies. I told her that that morning Robert had asked me which half of the world we lived in. I told him that we lived in the northern hemisphere. He said, “That’s the good half, right?” I told him I wasn’t sure what he meant and that there wasn’t a good or bad one. He said, “No, it’s the good one because the people on the bottom half have to be upside down.” :)

She got a kick out that and made a mental note to clear some things up in class. She said that they had just been discussing numbers in class and the conversation moved to the kids debating which number was the biggest. Several kids said it was infinity and then Robert said, “No, it’s a googol.” I guess they went back and forth for a while with one boy in particular not willing to give in. Sure enough, his teacher went and googled it and was shocked to see that the biggest named number is a googol. Ha! She was just amazed at this conversation taking place in her kindergarten class. (It’s actually a googolplex but mathematical stuff makes my head hurt, so I won’t try to explain.)

Robert was pretty proud when I asked him about it and it was nice to talk to him about the fact that even adults learn new things all the time. You never stop learning and even kids have valuable things to teach others. Chris was pretty proud too. The math and science stuff is all him. I told him I knew how he felt. He was probably feeling about like I did when Clara took the AR test for Little Women in K or 1st and only missed one question. My little bookworm.

Speaking of bookworm, their school does a reading program to promote the Texas Bluebonnet award nominees. There are 20 nominees and if the kids read at least five, they are invited to a popcorn party with a special guest (last year it was a magician) and they get to vote on their favorite. Well, I mentioned to Clara that it would be cool to read all 20. She took it and ran and set the goal to read all 20. About half of them were shorter picture books, poetry or graphic novels, but the rest were chapter books. The deadline was last Friday and she wasn’t going to finish because the school and public libraries both didn’t have the books in that she needed. I had put them on hold and they weren’t available a week later. She was so set on reaching her goal that we went to the bookstore and purchased the final two. Come Thursday she wasn’t finished with the last one so I asked the library asst. if she could go ahead and turn in the paper saying she read them all and then finish it this weekend.

She knows Clara so she said yes and said that Clara was the only one to read all of them this year. It wasn’t easy; it really forced her out of her regular genre (which is why I threw the suggestion out there). There was a sci-fi and a couple of scary ones but she’s discovered new authors and loved almost every fiction book she read and plans to read the entire series of most of them. There is one problem. The one she didn’t finish? She still hasn’t finished it. She is terrified to read it :) The book is The Night Gardener. She showed me one page and the main character is asleep in her room having a nightmare. She wakes, feeling uneasy and sees a muddy footprint on the floor by her bed and feels a leaf in her hair and more leaves on the floor from an open window. Yikes! I told her not to read it right before bed. Ha! I may end up having to finish reading it with her. During daylight hours of course.

Well, I guess that really wasn’t a “short” re-cap, now was it? I hope everyone’s new year is going great!


I had been planning to take Clara to see Matilda the Musical since I found out it was coming to town months ago. We invited her friend Cianna to join us as a gift for her birthday. She had never been to a live performance, so it was a real treat for her. We had dinner at Chili’s with Chris and Robert before we headed downtown.



I gave myself ample time to get to the theater. By my calculations, we should have been arriving 45 minutes prior to the start of the show. As it turns out, we sat down with about 1.5 minutes to spare! I’m not real familiar with downtown, but I can get to the theater which is right off of the interstate. As luck would have it, my exit ramp was closed so it added several minutes to get turned around. No biggie, still doing ok on time. At this point I was slightly turned around, but was pretty sure the direction I needed to go. I got going the right way and saw streets blocked off near the theater. ALL THE STREETS are blocked off! They were breaking down a festival of some sorts that was very near the theater and had so many streets blocked off. So I’d go a block and see an entrance to a parking garage, but it would be on a one way street and I couldn’t get to it. So I figured I’d go up a block and come back around. Only to find the next street blocked off! I was soooo mad! I circled around those few blocks for 30 minutes. I couldn’t tell where I could park on the street and was afraid of getting towed. I eventually found a parking garage and got parked up on the 8th floor and started walking. I eventually called Chris to give me directions to the theater. We were like 6 blocks away! We had to walk through the closed off streets where they were packing up the festival. The sidewalk all around the theater is also torn up due to construction so we had figure out how to get to the door. When we got up to our seats I asked if we had time to use the restroom. She said if we hurried. Thank goodness because I couldn’t have made it until intermission. We got sat down and the lights went down. Oh man, I was a mess. I couldn’t even enjoy the show because of how stressed out I was. I’m guessing we weren’t the only ones completely blindsided by the downtown mess. They were allowing people to be seated for the first few minutes after the show started.



Part of the reason I couldn’t shake my distraction was because I was worried about getting back to the parking garage. The way we had walked it was just getting dark and we didn’t pass anyone except one security guard until we got to the festival area. The parking garage was vacant and was reserved below the 8th floor, so I knew I would be uneasy going back by ourselves after 10:00 p.m. I talked to Chris during intermission and he gave me directions to get back to the garage quicker (it was actually only a couple of blocks away; we had just taken the scenic route), so that eased my fears a little and allowed me to enjoy the second half more. I kept telling him, “That’s it; I’m getting a smart phone!” He knows me though and knew I didn’t mean it. He just needed to talk me down :) And buy me a map to downtown Houston.



So our walk back was much quicker. There were still several police officers at street corners because there was a little festival cleanup still going on, so their presence was a big relief for me. The garage wasn’t too bad either and we just quickly made our way to the car. There was a sigh of relief when the car came into view. Then I had to call Chris again to get me back on the interstate because there were so many detours due to construction and I was so turned around. Oy. Let me tell you, I was so glad when I finally got on that ramp. For the first time all evening, I could finally relax.

As for the show, it was okay. I guess I may have enjoyed it more if I had been in a different state of mind. The kids spoke with such heavy English accents that it was tough to understand them. There were a couple of fun parts, but there just wasn’t anything too memorable about the show. The songs were just so-so and I could’ve done without Matilda’s mom’s competitive dance partner Rudolpho and all the innuendo surrounding that. I’m pretty sure that character wasn’t even in the book or movie. The only saving grace was Miss Trunchbull. She was played by a man and he was outstanding. All in all though, I don’t think I would recommend it. I had high hopes for it given the fact that it’s been touted as the best musical since The Lion King. Oh well, they can’t all be amazing.

But, the girls enjoyed it, we made it to the theater in time and I successfully managed to get us all home safely, so I’m gonna call it a win.

Lake Livingston State Park

Our September camping trip was at Lake Livingston. Despite the fact that it’s relatively close, that was our first time to visit and it was a very nice park indeed.

We’d had a kinda rough week. Nothing too spectacular, but Chris’ phone broke and it was a major ordeal trying to get a replacement since the contract is through his employer. He was having to work late for the last week or so and worked most of the Labor Day weekend. The Jeep broke down at work and had to be towed to a shop. It rained cats and dogs for a few days and then Thursday night as I was coming downstairs, I noticed our ceiling had a leak. Joy. You can see here where it is peeling at the seam. We knew we were going to need a new roof in the next year or two, but we had it inspected before we bought the house and we also filed a claim after a storm a few months ago when we found a piece of a shingle on the ground and they said they didn’t see a problem. Sigh. So no one has been out yet but a new roof is on the agenda.



And then on Friday it was still raining. The kids’ bus skipped our stop while we were waiting in the rain (we were in the car at least, not so with other students). They saw the bus come into the neighborhood from the wrong direction and then turn before getting to our stop. So after waiting for 20 minutes at the bus stop, I then get in the car to take my two kids and two of their classmates to school. Because of the downpour, the car line was backed up about half a mile. They were trying to keep everyone dry which meant 3 teachers helping unload at the covered area. So we inched forward three cars at a time. That line took 20 minutes, so the kids were 10 minutes late to school. By the time I started back home, the road was starting to flood and not 5 minutes later it came up as a flood advisory and cars were getting stuck. It was a mess. Turns out the bus driver was a sub and kids tried to tell him that he missed our stop but he wouldn’t listen.

I wasn’t feeling the whole camping vibe at this point. It rained all day which made it difficult to pack the car and I would have just canceled but Jason was meeting us there, so I soldiered on. We wanted to leave right when the kids got home so we could get through Houston before rush hour. Well, the road near our house was still flooded after raining most of the day. The sub was late to school and so the bus was 20 minutes late leaving the school. Of course I didn’t know this until I see an email come out five minutes after they should have been home. They usually get home right at 4:00. It was 4:40 before they showed up! And I wasted almost that whole time waiting for them at the bus stop because I didn’t want to chance the driver not letting Robert off without an adult there. Oy. It ended up being after 5:00 before we got out of town.

So had we known that we would be needing a new roof this week, we most certainly would not have purchased this new toy the week prior:




Chris is in heaven. We’ve talked about getting a kayak for a while so when he started researching them, he came across this sailing kayak. He’s missed sailing and I figured this was a nice compromise and could fit in the garage and go on top of the car, so I wasn’t too hard of a sell :) You can put the outriggers on with trampolines that each hold 200 pounds and sail it or you can use it as a normal kayak without the outriggers and it also has pedals. It’s perfect for our family because all four of us can comfortably be on it at the same time. The pedals are adjustable so the kids can even pedal it.

While Chris was getting it set up for it’s maiden voyage, I spotted this spider web glistening in the sun. Robert has recently decided that spiders are his favorite animal, so I knew he’d be all over this thing. We stirred up some bugs in the leaves as we approached, so we got to watch them get caught in the web and then watched as the spider ran over and rolled ’em up for later. It was neat to watch and it was a really cool looking spiky polka dotted spider which made it even better.




The kayak has removable wheels for transporting it to the water, so Chris pulled it to the boat launch. This sucker is heavy so it’s a good thing we were camped pretty close to the water.



We had Chris test out the waters first and get a feel for it, so the kids were ancy waiting for their turn.



And we’re off!




After a few minutes of pedaling around the bay, we headed out to open water. The trampolines are very comfortable and Clara even fell asleep for a few minutes.






Here’s Clara, lovin’ life :)




I let Robert sit in front of me and pedal for a little while and Chris put the sail up for a bit. We got to going pretty fast. The kids wanted to go out to a little island but it was several miles out and I did not want to go that far and then be too exhausted to get back.



So instead, we moseyed on around to the main boat launch and docked at the park store. Chris got us into the little slip perfectly. We probably gave two older couples sitting there watching us quite the show as we tried to figure out the logistics of getting us all out of the kayak. I wouldn’t describe it as graceful. They (along with everyone else that saw the boat this weekend) were very curious about the kayak so we spent several minutes talking to them as the kids ran around a bit. Robert made friends with a little boy whose mom was fishing on the dock and he kept yelling “Roger!” over and over when he wanted Robert’s attention. Clara and Robert told him half a dozen times that it was RoBERT, but he was set on calling him Roger.



We had lunch after we got back to the campsite and then Chris and JDog took the boat for a spin. I wanted a nap so badly, but my children were not interested :( I did doze off a couple of times, but I think that only made me even more tired. We kept an eye on Zef while Jason was on the boat and took him for a little walk down to the water to check on the boys after they’d been gone a lot longer than I thought they’d be. With JDog as an unwilling hostage, Chris ended up sailing out to the island. It took them a very long time and were on the water for over three hours (and 10 miles)  if I remember correctly.




While they were gone, we had a scare at camp. Robert was eating a snack and asked for some of mine. He had one tiny bite of my trail mix crunchy snack things (cashews, pistachios and almonds) and about 10 seconds later started acting strange. He said his throat hurt and was just sitting there looking queasy. He couldn’t really explain how he was feeling or whether or not his throat was swelling. I realized at that moment that I forgot Clara’s epi-pen in my purse at home. I went searching for benadryl and couldn’t find any and was starting to panic a little. I had about a 1/3 of a pepsi I was drinking and had him down the rest hoping the caffeine would help. He was feeling better and acting more normal and I didn’t see any signs of swelling, so I just kept a close eye on him hoping Chris would be back at any minute.

After the guys got back, Robert started acting weird again so we gave him more caffeine. He crawled up in my lap and no sooner than I got him up there and situated did he lean forward and puke all over the ground and his shoes. Over and over again. He was right as rain after he got it out of his system and spent the rest of the day running around playing.




The kids played Old Maid and Crazy Eights while I chilled in the hammock, lamenting the fact that I couldn’t take a nap. At one point I heard Robert say, “I love you so much, Clara”. Awwww, melts my heart. They are such sweethearts. Sometimes.



We had planned on taking the boat out again Sunday morning before packing up, but sleeping in felt more better :) Instead, I took the kids for a hike to the park store to let them pick a little something to buy. Clara was eyeing a strap for her glasses so she wouldn’t lose them while on the boat and we found the perfect thing for Robert–a laminated field guide to the spiders of Texas. He loves it and has been drawing pictures of the spiders and writing their names and we looked up the spiders we had seen during our stay.





Once we got back to camp it was time to finish packing up and say goodbye to JDog. Robert was in a mood and refused to smile for a picture which made JDog sad.




So when he finally decided to muster a smile, JDog didn’t want to smile. Children can be so difficult :)