Saturday, April 20, 2019

Liz and Prom Pictures at the Mill

Liz joined a group of girls going to a private school prom near the abandoned mill that she loves to explore. She and two of the girls took the official prom pics there. I don't know how they got in without tearing up dresses and stockings, but they did it. And I'm especially proud of this girl for finding a dress for only $32!! That's my girl! 

She looks like a princess and I love her. 






Spring in San Antonio is Summer Everywhere Else

It's been so gorgeous lately. I could do without all the bugs that are showing up (curse the non-freezing winter that doesn't kill the bugs!). The cool winds, the wild flowers, the walks in the sunshine. I'm loving it.

A citrus farmer from down in the Valley blesses us with citrus whenever Mimi and Papa come to San Antonio. Lots of fresh squeezed orange juice and sliced oranges come from this. I also decided to try some dried orange peel and dried citrus slices this time around. The dried citrus is sweet and chewy ~ almost like natural candy. Very yummy.



Harrison accompanied me to the Library park and a walk up the hill. This is us taking the path less traveled. Or the path we'd never taken before anyway. 


We have so many evening primroses in our backyard this year! They only open in the evening, and one day while I was walking back there, I thought I spied a hummingbird buzzing around. It turned out to be a large moth - the banded sphinx moth to be exact. I was so excited for our yard to be graced with such an exotic insect. 


Phoebe's 13th Birthday

Phoebe turned 13 in all its glory. 

We have three teenagers in the house now. How different this stage is than the child/toddler/baby stages were. Phoebe is a delightful young lady ~ tall and beautiful. She lives on the edge of emotion ~ silent and brooding at times, demonstrably excited or angry or hyper at others. She's so talented with her art and sewing projects. She always asks what we ladies are discussing in our Educational Get-Togethers and has firm opinions about the topic and wants to know what we decided when I get back from the group. 


Dad and I took her to the art museum as her birthday activity and then had Rosella's cafe for a snack. Elizabeth made a Boston Cream Pie for her cake. 





These were some of the paintings and drawings she's done for Art Class at Co-op. 






"What?! What's so funny?"

What she said as she stuffed her mouth ~ popcorn in one hand and strawberries in the other. She can't wait to have a boyfriend who dumps her so she can binge on a whole gallon of ice cream while dramatically crying and watching chic flics. I think that's what she was pretending in this scene here. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Seattle Visits San Antonio

Tonya and Cory, my younger sister and brother, made the flight from Seattle to San Antonio to visit us for my birthday and get the cousins together. Had we ever had all the "Clouse" cousins together? I think not. This was a first. Cory, as a matter of fact, hadn't met our youngest, Harrison. 


They stayed at a hotel with a nice windowed elevator. Jordan, Tonya's oldest, is autistic and he LOVES elevators. I didn't get all the pictures of him in all the elevators he went in while he was here. But he went in quite a few. :-) It gave us time to talk while he was zooming up and down and making them stop at every floor and getting out to watch them from a balcony to observe their mechanics. 

Standing around the hotel figuring out plans for our weekend. 

The Alamo was at the top of the list of places to go. 

The fountain at the Alamo. I can't believe they moved all the canons. They tipped them upright and made them into part of the fence lining the waiting area. I don't know why they did that. A hostess said it was because everyone was touching them too much. But they won't touch them if they're a part of a fence? That doesn't make sense. 


We walked some of the Riverwalk after the Alamo. Ate at Rita's on the Riverwalk. Mexican food, of course. Their homemade guacamole was especially good. 

We didn't get any pics from Saturday ~ that was hanging at home, flying kites, having coffee and dessert at Elizabeth's Avocado Cafe, park play, back home to hang out.


Sunday was church, In-N-Out Burger (a first for Tonya and the boys and maybe for Cory too), and Cory took me out to Pappadeaux's to celebrate my birthday! We knew we wanted seafood and I had always thought it'd be fun to try Pappadeaux's since it was Cajun. We ordered so much food! I ate on the leftovers for three meals. But we got lots of seafood. Alligator (tastes like a mix of chicken and calamari), crab cakes (the best tasting dish, imo), boudin' (Tonya's favorite of the night), gumbo, crawfish, salmon..... And then Cory ordered Cheesecake. We brought half of that home and the kids finished it off. 

Monday was our last day together. We visited Hemisfair Park downtown and discovered there was much more to it than we've ever explored. 

There are all the rope/climby features that the kids head straight for. 


And we played corn-hole, ping pong, checkers and chess.
And then we drug the kids away from climbing things and headed toward other parts. We discovered butterfly gardens, hula hoop fields, splash pad, large sand area, restaurants and coffee shops. You could spend all day there, for sure. We might try that sometime....

Jordan is feeding the birds. They enjoyed him, he enjoyed them. Unless one squawked too close to his ear. Then he chased them. 

Seeing the cousins together and enjoying each other's company was especially a joy for me. Jordan is often off on his own, but he would tease the girls sometimes and give me hugs and ask lots of questions and go on the elevators with the kids. Joshua played games, and connected with H and Phoebes on Roblox, and helped Jon build a fire in the backyard. 


Mimi and Papa stopped by on their way back to Missouri. We ate at Cracker Barrel (Liz' choice). I tried their fried chicken livers and I was mightily please with them. I wouldn't order them all the time as a favorite, but they knew how to cook 'em. 

At the mall ~ Lego store, Apple store, Kate Spade ~ ooo, get out of there! $300 for a dress! 

Jonathan ~ since he's taking violin lessons, we have him play a piece for whatever family comes around to hear. 

I was honored that Cory and Tonya spent their vacation time and money to come visit us. It was truly a joy ~ a great time of getting to know one another anew and reminiscing. Love you all! Mimi, Papa, Nana and Aupa, siblings and nephews.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

King Ranch and Kites

We met up with Mimi and Papa in Kingsville to celebrate Papa's birthday. The last few years we have talked about touring King Ranch, but then Papa would say, "We'll do it next year." So this year we finally said, "Let's do it!"

It's quite the story of a guy who grew up poor but went on to make a fortune. He wanted the railroad to come near his ranch, so he built a town. He started a printing business and newspaper. He had almost a little village on his ranch so that his "Kinenos" (ranch hands) could live with their families and have school for their children. They bred a better cow. They bred a better horse. They made their own saddles and wove their own saddle blankets when they couldn't find such that were good enough. I was pretty impressed by the time the tour was over. Lots of vision and business sense. 




That there is a javelina. 
It's supposedly a different family than the wild hog; they run all over King Ranch.



Ah, my precious Phoebe. 
She is getting ready to go to a Murder Mystery Birthday Party right here. She was playing the part of a snobby actress. She couldn't wait. 

And do you see that book shelf? Phillip bought me a new bookshelf for all our school and personal books. It doesn't hold them all, of course, but we now have a place for all our current books so they aren't stacked up in weird places in the garage. I love the look of books on shelves! 

Phillip made this trench run set for Harrison and his Star War ships. He drew up the plans on the computer and figured out how to make the trench so it could be torn down and put away. Pretty ingenious and super fun for H. 

This was so pretty! Phoebe is going through Discovering Density and this was the first experiment using different kinds of liquids and figuring out how to layer them without them mixing (the densest liquids must be put in first, etc.)

Neighbor friend and Harrison heading to an empty field to fly the kite for the first time this year.




We've been working hard on the homeschool scheduling app that Phillip built. We've got lots of bloggers reviewing it and an online convention and google ads and spiffing up the website.... Lots going on in that area. The kids and I have been using it every day since last August and it definitely makes my homeschool life easier. Phillip is doing great work.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Lots of Field Trips

Or at least those are the pictures I took..... field trips. 

February blah's are a real thing. I've read about other homeschoolers having them. I'm sure school teachers do as well. I didn't think it pertained to me. But alas, I find this year that it does! You just don't want to do anymore school! But you must press forward if you're going to finish before summer. 

And my kids have become sticklers for their summer. They want to have ALL Of It. And they always do, no matter if we finish the end of June or the beginning. We do 36 weeks of school ~ no more. Their breaks were had throughout the school year if the summer happens to be a shorter one. I guess it's the living in a neighborhood full of kids knocking on your door that makes them aware of any loss of summer.

Anyway, we're pressing through the blah's.

We joined a couple of families to celebrate the birthday of one of their boys. He wanted to celebrate at this park called Mud Creek. 

We've had our own doin's with Mud Creek and they weren't pretty. They were hot and creek-less. I decided that place was a bust and never went back. 

But there is so much more to Mud Creek! You just have to take the path less traveled. The path that I didn't realize was a path. It leads to caves! And woods and trails and this cool hole in the ground that probably would be an excellent place to explore and get into trouble if it wasn't capped by an iron cage. 

Our kids total a dozen. I met the moms through a facebook homeschool something-or-other. We meet together every couple of weeks now to discuss educational related items and chapters from a book called The Great Tradition, edited by Richard Gamble. I read Plato and Clement of Alexandria and it's awesome.

And then we joined one of the families atop the parking garage near Scobee Planetarium and we watched the Lunar Eclipse. The Super Blood Wolf Moon to be exact. There were hundreds of people there and IT WAS COLD! So cold. We had blankets and our box of hats and gloves, but we're pansies with cold weather since we've been in the South these past 10 or so years.

There were quite a few telescopes there and we looked through several high-powered ones to see the moon. 


I take a picture of our water tower every so often. Why do I love it so much? It makes me happy for some reason. Liz said it reminds her of a benevolent robot watching over us. Like from the When the Tripods Came series. 

On the way to Mid-Winter Camp we stop at Bon Ton Meat Market and get snacks. And they have these yummy little pies. I took a pic to ask Phillip which one he wanted. He chose cherry. He wished he had chosen peach. I wished I had chosen one of my own. 

On the way to Mid-Winter Camp we also always pass by Bastrop State Park. This year we left a few hours early and spent some time hiking the trails. There was a fire there in 2011 and then a flood in 2015. The Park is recovering from the fire ~ it's really neat to see the new growth and watch how a habitat recovers from a large forest fire. The first year we went to camp we could see that there had been a recent fire, so every year we get to watch the progress of growth as we drive through the Loblolly Pines. 


Liz.

A dew-laden dandelion puff from a walk in the neighborhood.