Swimming in the Gulf on the First Day of Winter

Four years ago we went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico on the first day of winter. Adrian wanted to repeat that this year with his little siblings.

And so we did. I didn’t think the kids would actually get in the water (it was 52* on Solstice this year) so I didn’t pack bathing suits for them, just shorts.

I was wrong. They went in the water and played for thirty minutes. They all ended up soaking wet and covered in sand. They had the best time ever.

Afterwards we went back to our AirBnB so everyone could get a shower. I can’t imagine they were very comfortable for that thirty minute drive.

Texas sand is kind of a fine powder and it sticks to absolutely everything. We definitely need to vacuum out our rental beast because otherwise it will be forever sandy.

There were a few other people on the beach, mostly riding up and down the beach in gulf carts. Swimming in the Gulf in December isn’t the most common activity.

One guy gave the kids a little boogie board that was slightly broken but my kids didn’t care. That led to a lot more falling in the water and getting even wetter and sandier.

There was one old guy living on the beach in an Airstream attached to a pickup truck. He was very nice and enjoyed watching the kids playing and having fun.

When we tried to leave we discovered we were a little bit stuck in the sand (you park on the beach). So the guy in the Airstream towed us out ending our adventure with a little extra adventure.

December Owlcrate

Honestly every month Owlcrate seems to get even better. The books and dust jackets are just amazing and the stuff included in the box are such high quality and useful things. I just love Owlcrate.

This month we got this hanging thing with three pouches to put stuff in. I kept that because I really like anything I can put other things in.

These paper these bookmarks were made of just felt really nice. Ani took them home because I have about a bazillion bookmarks already.

Of course I kept the luggage tag pin. I love my luggage tag pin collection. I also kept the metal straws because Ani and Haley already have bazillion metal straws. They are heart shaped which makes them extra fun.

Ani took home these salt and pepper shakers. They are getting a lot of use. Salt and pepper shakers are one of those things you don’t realize just how much you need them until you haven’t had them and get them.

This crescent moon shaped tea bag holder and tea bag for putting in loose tea is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Haley claimed that. She drinks a lot of tea so it’s perfect for her.

The book this month is The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford. As always it sounds really good. Check out the cover of the book. How gorgeous is that?

The inside of the dust jacket is absolutely gorgeous, too. (You’d think Nicky is looking at the dust jacket, but he’s actually looking at Haley who is by far his favorite sibling.)

Marble Falls Walkway of Lights

Every year we drive up to Marble Falls to go through the Walkway of Lights. The lights are so beautiful. It’s mostly the same every year but it’s still worth going.

We accidentally made going there a tradition when we went to Main Street Bethlehem in Burnet and stopped in Marble Falls on the way home six years ago.

We’ve taken the twins to the Walkway of Lights in Marble Falls four times now. The rest of The Six have gone three times.

This year included complete sensory overload for one kid and an autistic meltdown for another. The lights really are very bright.

As usual we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home for Blizzards. Everyone loves those. Maybe we’ll be able to take a leisurely stroll through the lights again when the twins are about 12. But in the meantime we’ll keep going every year because the kids love that trip every year.


At the dance showcase in May I was surprised to see the adult dance classes are not for young adults who have been dancing and want to keep on dancing. They are for adults who want to dance, with or without experience.

So in August I started taking jazz classes once a week with my mom and daughter. None of us had ever taken dance before. The ladies in the class, and the instructor (who always says have fun and don’t do more than you can), have made it fun.

I’ve had a rough fall. First I was rear-ended by stupid texting girl. This left me with a back/shoulder/neck injury. Then I got RSV followed by bronchitis followed by pneumonia. Through it all I kept going to class as much as I could.

Just under a month ago I coughed so hard I pulled my ligaments in my back (yay EDS) and then just when they were getting better I sneezed several times in a row and reinjured myself just days before the winter showcase. I was determined to dance anyway – I could make it through two minutes – so armed with several medications and a heating pad I did indeed get up on that stage and dance.

We danced to Celebration by Kool and the Gang and we wore these outlandish costumes (that, honestly, looked really good up on the stage under the lights). I am so proud of myself for pushing through (and once again I am healing well). Tey are planning a tea party theme for the spring show. I’m hoping that means our dances will be all related to Alice in Wonderland!

This Week’s Lunches and Snacks

Mayci spent Sunday night with her big sisters so they packed her lunch for Monday. We ran out of time Wednesday night to pack everyone’s lunch for Thursday so Zeke, Mayci, and Anthony bought lunch (Zeke had actually asked to be able to buy lunch Thursday so he was very happy with being told to get a tray). Nicholas asked us to please pack him a lunch since he much prefers packed lunch to buying lunch.

Winterfest 2022

A couple weeks ago Mayci performed at the Winterfest at a hospital near us. We decided to take Zeke, Anthony, and Nicholas and also Ani and Haley along with us.

Adrian volunteered for the afternoon getting 3 1/2 of the 25 hours he needs this school year out of the way. Nicky’s favorite thing to do was the obstacle course Adrian was helping to run. He went through it so many times.

All four kids loved the ferris wheel. All but Nicholas went on it twice (he was too busy going through the obstacle course over and over).

We should’ve sent Anthony and Nicholas on the spinning ride together. I bet they would’ve had it going real good. Both Mayci and Zeke actively worked to slow down the speed of the spin Anthony and Nicky tried to get them to.

Nicholas declared the swings “too scary” but Anthony, Mayci, and Zeke, liked them. Anthony was very excited to ride them with a little girl who was in his class last year at school.

We don’t get much snow in Texas so they make some for the Winterfest every year. The kids all quite liked going down the snow slide and having a snowball fight in the snow pit.

Mayci was the only one who wanted to try the rock climbing wall. This is about how high she got. She’s definitely my kid. I once went rock climbing and that’s about how high I made it, too.

This slide was another one they all liked. We could hardly keep Nicholas off it. He slid down so many times. One time the line had cleared out and he literally ran up the stairway to get to the top (not an easy thing to do).

Seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus was the highlight of the day for all the kids Nicky got a little nervous once he was face to face with the big guy, but relaxed once he was in his big sister’s lap.

November Owlcrate

November’s Owlcrate box was another totally awesome one. We got lots of totally cool stuff. The bookish trinkets seem to get better every month!

We got another Lord of the Rings bowl. This one was from Gondor. Now we have three of those bowls up on the bookshelf.

We got a handwarmer. It’s the type with a metal bit inside it and when you click the metal bit it starts a reaction that solidifies the liquid in it and makes it hot. The heat lasts for hours and then you just boil it to make it return to liquid all ready for next time you need it. Ani took that home with her.

There was a sweet leaf soap dish. Ani and I use liquid soap so we gave it to my parents. They are very happy with their new soap dish and their soap is happy to be able to air dry between uses.

We got a wooden toothbrush and travel case to put it in and a new literary luggage tag pin. I kept both of those.

I’m very excited about the reading planner (I kept that as well). It’s so nice and I can’t wait to start using it (planning to beginning in January).

The book this month was The Luminaries by Susan Dennard. It sounds like it’ll be another good one. So far all the ones I’ve read have been.

The inside of the Owlcrate dust jackets are always so well done. The inside of this one was no exception. If you love books and bookish stuff, check out Owlcrate. You won’t regret it.

Family Pictures

We got our family pictures done a few weeks ago. This year I decided to just use bright colors for our shirts and though I worried a bit that they wouldn’t look right with the natural background, they turned out great. Jacqueline Eldredge always does an amazing job with our photos! (Pictures from 2020 and 2021, part 1 and 2021, part 2)

All of Us: (Back Row) Fritz, Cameron (Middle Row) Ani, Haley, Noah, Heather, Joel, Jamie, Nicholas, Elaine, Frank (Front Row) Mayci, Anthony, Zeke, Adrian

My parents, Frank and Elaine (76 and 77 years old)

Us, Jamie and Heather (44 and 46 years old)

Haley, age 23

Ani, age 22

Cameron, age 21

Fritz, age 16

Adrian, age 14

Zeke, age 7

Mayci, age 6

Anthony, age 5

Nicholas, age 4

Noah, age 3

Joel, age 3

Our traditional walking in a line picture! Ani, Zeke, Adrian, Nicholas, Jamie, Joel, Heather, Mayci, Cameron, Anthony, Haley, Noah, Fritz