Friday, November 24, 2006

The Thanksgiving Holidays - A Mega-Post

I am thankful for my wonderful daughters and my husband.

I am also thankful that I had this whole week off of work to be Mommy, although it is getting hard to know that our island of time together is coming to its end, in the sense that we must all go back to our respective schools on Monday. Just the weekend left and it has gone very, very fast! Still, I am thankful.

On Monday of the week, the girls collected acorns from our neighbor's yard (we have a standing invitation) in the Lone Star Baby's little bucket and made little twig-and-acorn wreaths to hang on tree and bush for the squirrels. We talked with the Lone Star Baby about how it will be getting cold soon (theoretically) and we need to take care of the animals. The next day they painted pine cones with peanut butter and rolled them in birdseed and hung them also from tree and bush for the birds. It was so sweet to watch them. It may not be truly useful to the little critters but I think it helps the Lone Star Baby develop a sense of stewardship and so is worthwhile.

On Thanksgiving, I cooked a bunch of food and we took it over to the house of another Quaker family who invited us and had a lovely meal, although the Lone Star Baby was in a sulky mood. I miss the Dallas family we did not go visit this year, but I love spending holidays with this family as well. We have lively discussions about things like police brutality and all sorts of pressing issues.

And now it is on to Christmas! Tonight we decorated our "tree" and all about the living room for the holiday season so our busy lives will not be able to delay us later. The Lone Star Baby was delighted to be hanging stuff on the tree like a Big Girl and the Lone Star Girl wore a Santa hat and Christmas apron and sang Star Trek Christmas carols of her own devising. I am excited about starting the yearly trek of our little Magi down the vast hallway to the Bethlehem bookshelf and reading our nightly story bit from the Advent calendar and doing Christmas crafts and such once December creeps in later next week. There are no objects, besides the children's photographs, I guess, more precious to me than the rather large myriad of Christmas ornaments hand-made by the Lone Star Girl over the years with a few additions starting to come in from her baby sister. I love to see our tree all hodge-podge full of them.

I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lone Star Ma Magazine seeks submissions for Issue #9

That's right, Mamas! My insanity has struck again! It's not like I really have the money OR the time, but...I must! I must! I am shooting for a deadline of New Year's Day, for an issue to come out in April-ish time. I'm trying to be realistic but we'll see!

If you are not familar with Lone Star Ma please go to (see sidebar link) to get the feel of it. Also, please read our submission guidelines there. Submissions should be e-mailed to, though. Be aware that I am pretty much through with how-to-ish is always hard for me to turn one from a talented real-life mama away, so I've included some over the years, but it really isn't what we are about. For features, I want personal essays on the mothering life and I especially want parenthood-is-political advocacy pieces. Things with a Texas emphasis are always best, but the universal is also fine. If the old submissions I accepted for this issue are still mine to use, this is what I still need:

1-3 feature articles

2-3 mama-poems

1 mama fiction story

Yellow Rose Reviews: a review of a great, out-of-the-mainstream baby/children's book, toy, etc.

Longhorn Lactation: a kick-ass breastfeeding advocacy piece

Vegetarian Vittles: family-friendly vegetarian recipes, resources and stories for veg. families.

I'd also like listings for Texas parenting groups, LLL and API meetings, playgroups, regularly-scheduled anti-war-toy demonstrations, etc.

I know you have some brilliant stuff for me, mamas! Let's put it out there! Thanks and lots of Love,
Lone Star Ma

Friday, November 17, 2006

We Are Really, Very Big

Forty-one of the counties in Texas are each larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

National Children's Book Week

I am a very bad book-loving mama-blogger to not have told you sooner but this is it. Quick! Go read some great children's books before the week is over! Maybe some Thanksgiving ones? I find it very hard to find good Thanksgiving books, but there are two that I really like: Molly's Pilgrim, sort of a classic, and 'Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving, with its subversive vegetarian themes. Enjoy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Many Happy Returns

Election Day went pretty well in a lot of ways. Charter Amendment One failed so we Corpus folk still get open access to our beaches. We gained a democratic seat on our delegation in the Lege. We won some small stuff. Plenty good.

We did have some bad stuff that was significant - most of our local races went to Republicans which is very new for our part of the state...and, of course, we are still stuck with Governor Hair, thanks to Kinky and Strayhorn taking away Democratic votes from Bell - yuck. Double yuck, even.

The big news is on the national front, though, with both the House and Senate back in the hands of the Dems...yay! I am too excited that we are going to get our first ever woman Speaker of the House!! All in all, I think things went pretty well considering this rather dark era of history that we are inhabiting.

Lone Star Facts on Friday: We Really Are Big

Texas has more counties than any other state - it has 254 of them.
Lone Star Ma commentary: I plan to visit them ALL.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Candy Land

I don't remember playing Candy Land with the Lone Star Girl at the apartment where we lived before we moved to this house. We moved here just under three months before she turned four years old so we must not have played Candy Land with her until she was almost four or four. Once we started to play, however, it became a very frequent occurrence. The Lone Star Girl loved Candy Land. We played it and played it until Lone Star Pa and I felt like puking everytime it was mentioned. It was a great jumping off point to lots of other board games and card games, though, and playing games together as a family quickly became one of our chief joys. It is a joy that I must admit to really missing since the Lone Star Baby has joined us. We do not get in much family game time anymore.

That could change soon, though.

The Lone Star Baby is not even two and a half yet, but she has discovered Candy Land with a passion. She loves it and "Play wif me" has become a frequent refrain. Enough time has passed since the glut of Candy Land with her sister that we are happy to play, too, and I am excited at the prospect of some soon-in-the-future resumption of family game nights. Yay!


I found myself on the eighth grade hallway the other day, looking for some emergency contact numbers from the school nurse. One of the eighth grade teachers had set up a beautiful bulletin board of cinquains that the kids had written. A disturbing number of the poems were deeply affectionate paeans to various kinds of firearms. Nice.

More Baby Wonders

I know that a lot of people look right down their noses on these kinds of baby book posts and consider them the lowest common denominator in communication among women, but I quite disagree. Motherhood, in all its minutiae, is, in my opinion, a powerful common denominator, not a low one. So here are some amazing things the Lone Star Baby did recently:

When we were talking about her sister's upcoming birthday being on Halloween, she said:
"My birthday is to Daddy's birthday."
Her birthday is the day after her Daddy's birthday - in June. How she remembered the connection, I cannot imagine.

When we were at the grocery store yesterday, on the paper products aisle, the Lone Star Baby pointed at the Charmin (a word we don't use as we buy generic) and clearly said "Charmin". Hmmm...

Politics Makes Strange Bedtime Stories

Going back in time a bit, last Sunday Lone Star Pa and I took advantage of early voting and cast our ballots, with the Lone Star Baby in tow. She was quite interested. Her sister has been discussing the beach access issue with us a good bit and she has noticed.

The Lone Star Baby frequently approaches her sister with an imperious: "Charter Amendment One!", which seems to mean that she wants her sister to expound upon the issue. Her sister tells her that evil hotels want to close the Green Water ( the LSB's name for the beach) and that we have to vote against Charter Amendment One to stop them. Now, the Lone Star Baby likes her Green Water, to be sure, but she doesn't seem fully convinced about this beach access issue. She may just be on the side of the developers...I don't know.

On a somewhat related note, my dad and I actually agree on the beach access issue. Armageddon may be nigh

Halloween Festivities

Although the Lone Star Girl's birthday quite overshadows it, we still enjoy Halloween quite a lot at our house. This year, we spent much less time decorating, playing in the pumpkin patch, baking and doing crafts than I like, but things have been crazy and we just have to deal with the year we have. The Lone Star Baby did get to have some fun coloring on little mini-pumpkins and on little wooden pumpkins and making jack-o-lantern refrigerator magnets out of craft foam, so all was not lost:)

The Lone Star Baby had a multicultural parade at her school on Halloween and Lone Star Pa was able to take off of work and go. They had to dress up as real cultural icons. We sent the Lone Star Baby as Juliette Gordon Lowe, founder of the Girl Scouts, who shares her sister's birthday. For trick-or-treating, the Lone Star Baby wore her Spider-Man (she doesn't like my insistence that it is Spider-Girl) pants and hoodie again and carried her Spider-Man candy bucket. The Lone Star Girl made her own Star Fleet uniform, complete with aluminum foil-fashioned communicator and pips, and had me paint her with trill spots so she could go as Jadzia Dax. Yes; she's eleven. Our neighborhood kids go trick-or-treating together and it is always very nice. This was the first year that the Lone Star Baby went along and she quite enjoyed it. She was very intense about it, unlike her sister who just wants to go to a few houses and be done. You could tell that the Lone Star Baby would have happily kept trick-or-treating forever. It was a very nice night.

My Eleven-Year-Old Girl

Halloween is the Lone Star Girl's birthday and so she turned eleven on Tuesday. Eleven.

We woke her in the morning with a piece of orange yarn to follow to her presents and a tasty breakfast. Lone Star Pa was able to take that day off of work and had lunch with her at school. He also took her and the Lone Star Baby out for an early dinner at the cafe at the H-E-B Plus (her choice) before I got home to help prepare them for trick-or-treating. After trick-or-treating, my dad and my stepmom came over and we had cookie cake and ice cream. Her slumber party is this night, the following Saturday, and I am typing this as the big girls finally seem to be slumbering in the living room a few yards away. Eleven.

The Lone Star Girl was born at 7:40 in the morning on 10-31-95. I had gotten to the hospital on the 29th so that was a little bit later than I had expected, although she wasn't due until November 10th. I had a slow labor that began sluggishly after my water first broke and was probably further stalled by an epidural that I finally accepted 24 hours or so into the hospital waiting. I barely missed getting sectioned towards the end and would have gotten cut with most any doctor but the one I had, probably, given the long period of time after the water breaking and all. It was a fairly difficult and scary experience that convinced me that I did not want to spend so much time in the hospital the next time around, but there was no arguing with my results. The Lone Star Girl was an entirely delightful baby who was never a problem as long as she was being carried. I am grateful for her babyhood and her childhood. Raising her has been my most important purpose. It does not seem that the raising of her could be so close to completion as it is.

She has been the very center of my life. Eleven.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Aquarium Sleepover and Moral Ambiguity

Last weekend, the Lone Star Girl had a sleepover in the Texas State Aquarium with the Girl Scouts and she had a lot of fun. I'm glad she got to go. I have been straddling the moral fence by having her attend group functions and field trips there, which we don't pay for, even though we no longer visit the Aquarium on our own anymore.

Shortly after the Lone Star Girl was born, we got a family membership to the Aquarium and we spent absolutely huge chunks of her babyhood and pre-school years there. We were there almost every weekend to look at the fish and we loved it. We saw shark eggs squirming with fascinating embryos, gorgeous jellyfish and the ever-popular cownose rays, otters, tortugas, eels and nurse sharks. It was a great place to spend time with a child and was arranged to be highly educational as well as pleasant. Once the Lone Star Girl was pushing three, we started going to their sea-schoolers programs which were also great. Then, the place changed.

Exhibits began to get very commercial and to be arranged much more sensationally than educationally. They started talking about getting dolphins. You could stand inside the gates of the Aquarium and watch the wild dolphins dance in the bay at any time, but apparently that wasn't enough. They decided to build an area for "rehabilitated" and captive-bred dolphins. They did it. They started having shows like a certain place in San Antonio and Florida. I couldn't go back.

I want to, though. I want to take the Lone Star Baby, who has never been, and show her the parts that are still humane and educational, while avoiding the others. I don't, but it is very disappointing.