November 30, 2018

Christmas Letter 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Watts family! We hope you have had a good year and hope you will have an even better 2019. We stayed close to home this year, especially when we got hit with a big snowstorm in January!

The temperature got down to the single digits, which is rare for Nashville. We enjoyed having some unscheduled family time.

Through the winter and into the spring, we toured and applied to middle schools for Adam. (Middle school starts in the fifth grade in our county.) We realized in the process that things sure have changed... we toured more middle schools than either of us did colleges for ourselves. We finally arrived at a decision to go with Valor Collegiate Academy in early May.

At the end of May, it was time to say goodbye to Granbery Elementary. The faculty and staff there loved our whole family so well for five years. Patrick’s parents were able to come to town for the graduation, and so Adam had all four of his grandparents in attendance.

Summer was busy with day camps and church activities for Adam. He went to Camp Invention, Vacation Bible School, and Music Arts Camp. Patrick’s sister, Allison, her husband Dave, and their daughter Abby came to visit in June, and Adam enjoyed showing her around the house and the neighborhood. Patrick, Adam, and the Greenes trekked up to Ohio to visit Patrick and Allison’s grandparents, who despite being in their late nineties, still are sharp as tacks and love to love on us.

In August, Adam went to two days of “Culture Camp” to learn all about his new school and get to know his new classmates. He started fifth grade on August 7th, and quickly started making friends and learning the ropes of middle school. It’s been an adjustment for all of us with new teachers, more homework, a new schedule, and no more school bus.

Adam made his own Halloween costume this year, and he was an iPhone! He made the phone out of a big cardboard box, and the charger was a small styrofoam cooler.

Lydia has been busy crafting and being the mom of a middle schooler. Some new medicine has helped her this year, but she’s still adjusting to some side effects.

Patrick’s job at LifeWay is still going well. They’ve been in
the new building for a year now, and he’s already moved from the fifth floor to the eighth floor. He’s now been trained to be a certified scrum product owner. He primarily works on web-based software for churches.

We love hearing from our friends and family at Christmastime. Please keep us with us on Facebook or email us at patrickandlydia(at)


Patrick, Lydia, and Adam

August 8, 2018

Stuck in the Middle School with You

Yesterday, for the first time since 2013, our boy's first day of school was not at Granbery Elementary. I knew this in my head, but it really hit my heart yesterday. I saw the buses coming from there as I went to middle school pickup, and I thought about all the days we put our precious cargo in the care of awesome bus drivers. (I also miss him being picked up and dropped off at the end of our driveway.) I missed the excitement of all the smiling faces we got to know and love during our years at Granbery. The faculty and staff loved our family so well, and we miss them.

We are so grateful for the elementary teachers and staff who got us this far. I feel like I have a new job learning a whole new system. Hopefully, yesterday was our last first day at a new school as this school continues through high school. The faculty and staff at the new school is amazing and have been so helpful. I've already gotten several early morning and late night texts. 

The great thing about Nashville is that there are lots of options, and we took our time figuring out which one would be the best for our boy. We looked at more middle schools for our kid than we did colleges for ourselves. We are hopeful his new school will meet his needs and nurture him as well as his elementary school did.

May 29, 2018

It's Elementary, Watts

"Love is at the root of everything. 
All learning. All parenting. All relationships. 
Love, or the lack of it." 
-Fred Rogers

Kindergarten was just five years ago, but in many ways, it seems like it was a different lifetime. We've faced so many challenges along the way. I'm so glad I didn't know what was ahead when we put our tiny five-year-old on the giant school bus that morning in August of 2013.

Fast forward to last week's fourth grade graduation. Adam's wonderful fourth grade teacher got choked up as she read the names of her students. I wish every student could experience the love and concern she shows her students and their families. While I couldn't be as involved at school as I would like to be, the times I observed her interacting with students were nothing short of magical. She made each child feel important and special and created an environment where the students were excited to learn. We went up to the school to vote after classes were over on the last day, and Adam gave her a big hug. He's not a big hugger, and so this was a huge deal.

His teacher this year was just one of the fantastic staff and faculty who have loved us so well over these past five years. We truly had a team at Granbery that has walked beside us and loved us through many challenges and triumphs.

March 26, 2018

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

How to Make Rolls

I’ve been making the same Betty Crocker roll recipe with my bread machine for several years now. Rolls are one of the few things our kid will eat consistently. I’ve refined the process so that it takes as little of my limited energy as possible. They really are easy! If they weren't, I wouldn't make them! 😊 

I’ve shared the recipe with lots of people, but I thought I would document exactly how I make them for anyone who is interested.

The Ingredients (in the order they go into the bread machine pan):
1 cup water – Using hot tap water will give the best results. 


2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened – I put two tablespoons of margarine in a coffee cup and microwave for five seconds to soften. Then, I cut it into fourths inside the cup and put in in the pan with the water.


1 egg – Add the egg to the water and margarine already in the pan.

3 ¼ cups flour – Use bread flour for best results.

¼ cup sugar – If you leave out the sugar, the rolls won’t brown.


1 teaspoon salt – After adding the salt, use the end of the measuring spoon to make a little pocket for the yeast. This is more important when using a delay cycle, but I still do it with this recipe. It keeps the yeast from getting into contact with the water too soon.

3 teaspoons yeast – I get the best results from Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Instant Yeast. 

Put the pan in the bread machine and start the dough cycle, which is an hour and thirty minutes on my machine (enough time for a quick nap 😃💤 ).

The Magic

When the dough cycle ends, put the dough on a lightly floured surface to rest for ten minutes. (I set a timer.) While the dough is resting, turn the oven on to “warm.”

After the ten minutes is up, turn the oven off. Divide the dough up into 28-30 rolls. I use a pastry blade. I grab the dough and tuck the ends under with one hand.

Put the rolls on a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper.

Put a clean dish towel over the rolls and put them in the oven (which is still off). Set a timer for 30 minutes and let those little yeasties burp some more.

 After the timer goes off, you’ll have big, beautiful rolls that are ready to bake. Take off the towel, turn the oven on 375, and set a timer for 13 minutes. The oven will be preheated about halfway through, which is okay.

When the timer goes off, you’ll have big, beautiful, golden brown rolls!

After you take them out of the oven, pull them off them pan with the parchment paper onto a wire cooling rack.

Freeze any rolls you aren’t planning to serve in the next day or so.

December 31, 2017

Book review

River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with HopeRiver of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope by Naomi Judd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The social stigma of panic disorder may be even worse than the social stigma of depression, and Naomi Judd was brave to tell about her experience with both in this book. Her upbringing and background would make a great country song, except it would be too sad to be believable. So many people admire her, and I'm glad that she has been open about her struggles both past and present. No one, not even a celebrity, has a life free of hardship and struggle.

However, unlike most people, Naomi has the time and resources to get the very best mental health treatment available. Sadly, even under the best care, people die from depression every day, but I think if more people had access to mental health care, many lives could be saved.

View all my reviews

December 22, 2017

Christmas Cards

I decided at the last minute (for me) to send out some cards. I wanted to make sure the far-flung relatives who aren't on social media knew they were in our thoughts, and I wanted them to enjoy some fun pictures of Adam. I had this dream of having a professional picture taken that would be like so many of the cards we receive, but between school, work, chronic illness, and all three of us having pneumonia, it didn't happen. Anyway, I had the cards printed, Patrick picked them up from Costco, and both of my guys stuffed the envelopes. (We're all about teamwork here.)

I'm always a little conflicted about sending out Christmas cards because I don't want to give the impression that everything is awesome for us and that we somehow have it together. I feel like our cards should have a disclaimer that says, "These happy pictures don't necessarily represent the reality of daily life." The fact is no one's Christmas cards, Instagram, or Facebook posts represent real life. We all struggle. We're all just doing the best we can. I'm saying this to remind myself and sharing because maybe someone else is opening a stack of beautiful cards and feeling like he or she doesn't measure up. You aren't alone. Hang in there.