Finding Our Texas Summer Stride

As soon as we hopped off the plane back in Houston on Sunday, we did what our family does best: went out to eat! :-D

JB drove us straight to Happy Fatz for lunch (I caught Annelise off guard; this may be the only pic we have of her not smiling!!!) and we all enjoyed crazy custom hot dogs! [I'm almost afraid to tell y'all how I customized mine in the foreground. ;-) I promise it was heavenly: hot dog on pretzel bread topped with baked beans, tomatoes, & queso fresco. Baked beans instead of ketchup, y'all = salty/sweet perfection!!! Seriously. Trust me on this. (PS - beans & franks are a classic combo; I'm not the 1st to make this up! :-D)]

So back to Texan life!

Back to teaching Zumba Mondays & Wednesdays. I'm so thankful for the members who show up to my classes. They bless me every.single.time. Also, since my gym commute is almost half an hour, I'm so thankful our van a/c is FINALLY FIXED!!! (after over 3 months, 3 appointments, & a barf-inducing amount of $$$ :-P) [It was no big deal back in March, but over 100°F now is a bit much even for me, when the car is parked in the sun & inside is actually over 160°F!]

Back to summer reading. (For the kids. I have no books I'm obsessing about on the horizon; plus, I'm too busy reading what y'all write! ;-)) I went through the kids' suggested reading lists from school for their upcoming grades and put all those books on hold at the library. Of course, every other local parent did the same, so we're 30th in line for some of them, but hey - it'll spread the joy out over the summer. Will is decidedly *not* excited about reading...which stinks. He was so proud of himself last year for how much he had grown in his reading skills, but he "hates" most of the suggested reading books. He only happily chooses books with cartoons inside; favorites: Garfield & Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (Ugh.) I also see him falling into the exact same mind trap that ensnared me: instantly feeling overwhelmed when a book is reeeeeally long. Like so overwhelmed, you can't even bear to crack it to begin. (*shudder* Even just typing that, my heart raced w/ panic, thinking back to some of my school-year assignments.) I was hoping he would be like his daddy and just want to devour books 24/7. Sorry, Bud. One of the few areas I'm *not* proud that you take after me. :-( I don't tell him I also feel like that, though. I play up how manageable each book is: "You can read this in no time! It's just like reading two of that other series you finished in one." I've also been adding when we pray aloud together before bed, "God, help Will feel how powerful it is to love reading! Light a fire in him to help him love reading as much as he loves football, so that he can be extra strong in everything he does, in school & on the field." (The strength & power analogies speak to him.) My reading struggle w/ Annelise is finding level-&-age-appropriate stuff: everything on the rising 2nd grade list is sooooo beneath her. She's tearing through 3 books in 20 minutes. I've got to find something else, more substantial; maybe Judy Moody? But I don't want books full of questionable behavior, though, either. Just b/c she can read a year ahead doesn't mean she needs to be soaking up that extra attitude, you know? (This house has plenty; we don't need any more. ;-) :-D) Suggestions?

Back to the pool with friends. :-) I remember being completely bowled over last year that our neighborhood has 10 different pools; but we have our favorite two now and really just stick to those. Here's our crew (of Annelise's 1st grade BFFs & fams) patiently(?) waiting out adult swim Tuesday afternoon...

Back to finding special adventures! We went with Will's 3rd grade BFF & fam to the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land this morning:
Y'all *know* this stuff is "my thing!" :-D

Excited to see what else the Texan summer brings!


  1. Those custom hot dogs look amazing!! Sounds like y'all are having a great summer so far!

  2. I've never been good with graded reading levels because Abby has always been ahead. You might consider the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, "Little House on the Prairie." Maybe Beverly Cleary books? Good luck. It only gets harder the older they get ;-)

  3. I have the same issue with my daughter. She's going into 5th, but reads on a 7th grade level. (Talk about "questionable behavior", right?)

    In 2nd grade, we were tearing through the Magic Treehouse Books. Have you tried those? They are easy to read, have historical information, and some also have little study books that you can get to talk about the information (i.e. the Titanic book has a NONfiction book about the Titanic with pics and actual facts about the boat and the sinking!) My daughter LOVED those.

    Also...if you know her Lexile number, you can go to and search for books in her range. That way you can check them out online (Amazon reviews and synopsis) before getting it at the library.

    Hope this helps. If you find something other than Twilight and Hunger Games for my 9 year old.... let me know. :)

  4. Oh, yes - those hot dogs were SO YUMMY!!! I'm not even the biggest hot dog fan (so often too salty for me).

    We are actually having Annelise read Magic Treehouse right now! :-) I think they will be the best fit her current level. Will *hated* Magic Treehouse, though, so we only have the 1st 8 he got as Christmas presents a year & a half ago. :-P

    I will say, in Will's defense, after my post yesterday he told me how much he DOES actually like the book he's "having" to read now. :-P It's long (280 pgs!) & he dreaded starting it (just like I used to! :-D) but he hit pg 100 last night and couldn't stop telling me about the "cool parts". He's on 152 now - also just like me: I do well once I get going. ;-)

  5. RE: Annelise...I second Little House on the Prairie. There's also the Paddington books, Charlotte's Web/Stuart Little. Maybe even The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? I couldn't read until I was in first grade (I could do math before I could read!), but by the time I was in third grade, I was reading 300+ page novels, and by the time I finished elementary school, I was reading adult novels like Swiss Family Robinson. I guess the point I'm making is that a kid's interest can vary widely during those years. What helped me develop my love of reading is that my mom would read the books with me (separately, not out loud, once I could read on my own). We'd then talk about the books...have you tried to do that? It was then a "shared experience" with her. :)

  6. Yes! :-) And she's not quite there, yet, but I will definitely keep Little House, etc. on the radar!


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