Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Memory Master

Today, Weston entered the elite ranks of what is known in the CC world as a Memory Master. What that means is that he memorized every single piece of information he was presented with in CC this year! The list of memorized facts consists of over 500 pieces items, including the following:

  • 161 events and people in a chronological timeline (from Creation to 2001)
  • 24 History sentences, spanning from 800 AD to 1994
  • All 44 presidents, in order
  • Over 100 locations and geographic features in Europe, Asia and other select parts of the world
  • 24 Science facts, including biomes, planets, laws of motion and laws of thermodynamics, etc.
  • Latin verb endings of the 1st conjugation
  • English Grammar facts covering the eight parts of speech to varying degrees, with an especially heavy emphasis on the different types of pronouns
  • Multiplication tables (skip counting) up to 15 x 15, common squares and cubes, basic geometry formulas, unit conversions and four mathematical laws
This is a HUGE accomplishment, and we couldn't be prouder of Weston and the hard work he put in to earning this honor! He is also the youngest student on our campus who received the award this year! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pre-teen Party

When Ruth realized we were going to be at the beach on her birthday, her only lament was that she wasn't going to be able to have a party with her friends. So, we got out the calendar and found exactly one weekend in which it would be possible to have a party with her friends before we left: this one. Thankfully, all four of the girls she wanted to invite were available. We met the girls at Starbucks this morning, where we fortified ourselves with caffeine for a day of shopping, ice skating, cow sitting, ice cream eating and a whole lot of giggling. These are delightful girls, and we had a wonderful time! Personally, I'm glad for the opportunity to ease into 12. I need some time to get used to the idea, since it doesn't even seem like it should be possible that my baby girl is already that old.

Starting the day at Starbucks

The girls take on the Galleria

Shopping Success

Lunch at Fuddrucker's

Skating in style

Ruth has been enjoying the Arboretum cows since before her first birthday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Because laughter truly is the best medicine...



Why do cows have bells?


Because their horns don't work!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Some thoughts about money and the government from Ayn Rand in honor of Tax Day

  • The money will go into channels that will carry it, not to the most productive, but to the most corrupt. By the standards of our time, the man who has the least to offer is the man who wins. 
  • Therefore, we must control men in order to force them to be free. 
  • If people are in need, we've got to seize the things first and talk about it afterwards. 
  • You want me to provide the jobs, and you want to make it impossible for me to have any jobs to provide.
  • Money is made--before it can me looted or mooched--made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced. 
  • …the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
  • Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich--will not be rich long.
  • Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they have passed a law to disarm them.
  • Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed.
  • There is no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws…But, just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted--and you create a nation of lawbreakers--and then you cash in on guilt.
  • The public may curtail my profits any time it wishes--by refusing to buy my product…Any other method of curtailing profits is the method of looters--and I recognize it as such.
  • When robbery is done in open daylight by sanction of the law, as it is done today, then any act of honor or restitution has to be hidden underground.
  • After all, it doesn't make any difference to the poor whether their livelihood is at the mercy of an industrialist or a bureaucrat.
  • Who are you to stand against the government? Who are you, you miserable little office rat, to judge national policies and hold opinions of your own? Do you think the country has time to bother about your opinions, your wishes or your precious little conscience?
  • Our modern laws are elastic and open to interpretation according to…circumstances.
  • There's no surer way to destroy a man than to force him into a spot where he has to aim at not doing his best, where he has to struggle to do a bad job, day after day. That will finish him quicker than drink or idleness or pulling stick-ups for a living.
  • …money inside a man's pocket had the power to turn into confidence inside his mind.
  • Are you thinking that death and taxes are our only certainty, Mr. Readen? Well, there's nothing I can do about the first, but if I lift the burden of the second, men might learn to see the connection between the two and what a longer, happier life they have the power to achieve. They might learn to hold, not death and taxes, but life and production as their two absolutes and as the base of their moral code. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Finished Project

Some of these are very similar to other pictures I've posted, but I wanted to show the whole finished project together in one place. The tour will take you from the front, all the way around the house, moving around to the left.

front walk

front walk, from the "parking lot"

stone work

lower patio



upper patio

grill area

upper patio, from the other direction


the "beach"

bed on the kid's side

less glamorous but very important slab for future well house

after dark

all lit up

Sunday, April 13, 2014

And, the winner is...

After SEVEN hard-fought games (three yesterday and four today, played back-to-back and partially in the rain), the Marble Falls Athletics came out as the tournament champs! There is one little boy in this household who will be beaming all week, and a couple of parents who couldn't be prouder! Way to go A's!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Baseball Mom (and her soapbox rant)

I did not choose to become a "baseball mom." To tell you the truth, I don't even like baseball. (Apologies to all the family members and Americans I just offended!) What I do like are two boys named Max and Weston, and what they like (right now) is baseball. So, I took on the role of "baseball mom" willingly, if not whole-heartedly--I admit, I did not order t-shirts from the MLB teams, which my boys' teams are named after, to wear to all the games, and I have not had any desire to create a cute accessory out of an actual baseball. But, I have been to every game (save one, when I had to work, and one, when they were playing at the exact same time, and Dad and I had to divide and conquer), including FOUR games just today. And, I am washing uniforms at this very (late) moment, so we can do it all again tomorrow. And, I do get my voice a little out of whack yelling for my boys. For my boys. Not at them. Not at the umpire. Not at the other team. Not even at the guy in the parking lot who accidentally left his lights on, shining in the face of the batter. I will be the first to admit that I have my flaws, but I do constantly try to check what is coming out of my mouth at games (especially given my own competitive nature), and I would like to encourage all the other Little League parents out there to attempt to do the same (regardless of the sport). This game, this tournament, this season isn't going to make or break your child's future, in the rare event that he (or she) even has a future in this sport. And, it isn't going to redeem your past, as much as you might like it to. They are just little boys (and girls). Let them play and have fun. Let them learn a little about the game and about teamwork. These are valuable lessons. But, don't be overly critical. Or obnoxious. Or competitive. Or act like something really important is on the line. It isn't. To be fair, most of the parents are very supportive and encouraging, which I certainly appreciate. But, there are a few who could use a slight adjustment in their minds (and mouths) about how important this is in the grand scheme of things. [End of rant.]