Monday, December 31, 2007
We spent the last day of our visit in Denton with Lone Star Pa's mother and she took us to a cool place called Lavender Ridge Farms, a u-pick place. It wasn't the time of year for lavender, but the owners showed us their horses and pigmy goats and donkeys, including a sweet baby donkey named Zinnia. It was great. We also got to spend some time at Talon, a comic book store run by an old friend of Lone Star Pa.
Last night, we made the long ride back. Real life starts again...far too soon.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
On Christmas Eve, after dinner, we went driving around to look at Christmas lights. Then we came home and read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas and the story of Jesus' birth from the Gospel according to Luke. We read the last little book in our Advent calendar and hung it on our little Advent Tree. We placed Baby Jesus in our Nativity scene and moved the Magi a little closer to Bethlehem. We put out milk and cookies for Santa and the girls went to sleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, or at least something similar.
When we woke in the morning, the girls looked at what Santa left in their stockings and under the tree and then opened the presents from us. We had breakfast and my dad and stepmom and a great-uncle came over for a bit. Then we went to see my Grandad. We came home and hung out for awhile and I cooked dinner and we ate and played some more before bed. A very nice holiday.
Blessings to you and yours.
Monday, December 24, 2007
When the cookies were done, we set containers of them on doorsteps of near neighbors, and set out containers of oranges and grapefruit from our trees for the neighbors we thought would like that better. It was fun, and a nice way to be together and outside. One of my favorite holiday traditions.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Yesterday, we went there for a Christmas potluck. We took salad and bean tamales and there was quite a spread there. It was so nice to get to be with everyone. It is a wonder to me that our tiny Meeting now seems overflowing with children. Not so many years ago, when our Meeting was mainly myself and three other women, I had "First Day School" with the Lone Star Girl at home alone and tried to run her to Austin a couple of times a year so she could actually see other Quaker children at their Friends Meeting. Then our Clerk's family moved to town less than five years ago and their daughter, then nine, joined my seven-year-old Lone Star Girl as my first real "class". Now we have the Lone Star Baby and another three-year-old girl and that little girl's new baby brother! I used to think that, as the only woman of child-bearing age in our tiny Meeting, it would be completely up to me to re-populate it, but thank heavens that is not the case anymore! All these children are such a blessing!
We stayed yesterday until the Lone Star Baby, after spending the afternoon running all over the place with her friend, started melting down. Then it was home again, with tears and ragged tantrum-nerves. A good day still, though.
How does your faith community bring warmth to your winter holidays?
Saturday, December 22, 2007
My Lone Star Girl is at a birthday party for a friend we have known since kindergarten, one of the Girl Scouts from our troop's first days as Daisies. They have rented a hotel room for the girls and one for the parents in a hotel with an indoor pool. This is definitely a first and the Lone Star Girl wasn't sure I would let her go, but I completely trust the parents and am not worried. I hope they are having fun.
Time with our babies is the shortest day, I think. You blink, and night has fallen...they are grown. What are your thoughts on the passages of childhood?
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Mother of all Zines is Back!
Mamaphiles #3 - "Coming Home"
Mamaphiles returns for its third issue (November 2007), with the theme "coming home." The newest installment includes 25 contributors, including our first papa zinester. Check in with your favorite parent zinesters and discover some new favorites as you learn about the many mama-made zines that have come out since #2 was released in 2005. In addition to fabulous essays, poems, artwork, and photos, #3 includes comprehensive ordering information about each contributor's zine. This is all new material, no repeats of the pieces in previous issues. (73 pages, half size)
The beauty of Mamaphiles is how each and every writer interprets the theme. Similarly to the previous themes “Birth” and “Cutting the Cord,” writers wrote about what coming home means for them today, how it is for them now. Topics range from squatting in a dilapidated house when two pink stripes showed up on a pregnancy test; the difficulties of returning home to a parent’s house, no matter what our age; mosaicing the words “Love” on the kitchen floor while tying to mend the hurt from infidelity; visiting a father recently released from prison; desperately trying to make a place feel like a home when renting from a slumlord; feeling we aren’t home enough; and helping a grandmother leave her beloved home when she is no longer able to live on her own. Just like parenting and writing, coming home can be complicated and difficult. But it can also be tremendously rewarding.
To order #3 directly from the mamas:
* Send $4.00 (well-concealed cash only - no checks, please!) to
PO Box 4803, Baltimore, MD 21211
For more information: www.mamaphiles.com
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Even last week, we went to the Lighting of Lamar Park, which was nice. It's an event at a little shopping center here that they have every year, where the shops put out lights and choirs come and sing and there are snacks in all the little stores. It's mostly about the snacks for us.
Yesterday, for the first day of Advent, we read the part of the Christmas story on the first day of our Advent calendar and hung the little book on our Advent calendar tree. The Lone Star Baby then moved the Magi a few inches down the hall for the first time this year. Tonight, the first Sunday in Advent, the Lone Star Girl lit the first calendar in our Advent Wreath and we had dinner with it lit in the middle of the table. It was nice.
I also took the girls to St. Nicholas Day at the museum. The museum used to celebrate St. Nicholas Night every year on the actual St. Nicholas Night with Santa and Christmas crafts and such. Now they have moved it to the Sunday afternoon before, and frankly, it was nowhere nearly as magical as the nights when we took the Lone Star Girl when she was little. It was still nice, though. The Lone Star Baby got her picture taken with Santa and got to make a Christmas cracker and a glittery pine cone ornament for our Christmas tree, as well as a Christmas-stamped bag to carry them in. She had fun. We actually had not planned to go, as we would normally have gone to First Day School and Meeting today, but Lone Star Pa was feeling very poorly and I did not want him to have to mind the Lone Star Baby while I had First Day School with the big girls and Silence later, so we skipped it. The Lone Star Baby doesn't do so well with situations in which she is expected to be quiet or patient. I wanted to get the girls out of the house, though, so Lone Star Pa could sleep and it seemed a good way to spend the time. He's still cough-y but somewhat better.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
We set up the 'tree" that Lone Star Pa has had since he was a little boy and decorated it - girl-made ornaments on the front and the others on the back to keep it from falling over. I get all swoony over the ornaments the girls have made every year without fail. They are so wonderful! They make me so happy!
We hung paper chains of red and green construction paper that the Lone Star Girl and I made together years ago, as well as stockings and wreaths. We put up the Advent Calendar and put the Advent wreath on the kitchen table. We put out various small decorations and Christmas toys and the seasonal storybooks. We started reading Madeleine L'Engle's The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas. The Lone Star Baby had fun playing with Christmas toys and seeing each new thing come out.
We set up our little plastic Nativity scene, with Baby Jesus tucked away until Christmas Eve and the Magi starting their long journey way back at the end of the hall (already, they are being trailed by a pink plastic dragon). A short while back, I had bought a Playmobil Nativity set also, and we took it out and assembled it. I let the Lone Star Baby know that she could arrange it and play with it as much as she wants.
We set aside the pumpkins that were on the porch and stuck up a few old Christmas decorations in the yard. We don't have an outside outlet out front, so we don't put up lights, but we try to do our part just the same.
This was a very nice day and our hearts are as festive as our living room. I hope we can keep up the Christmas Spirit when we are back to work and back to school...which starts tomorrow...
Friday, November 23, 2007
Acorn Squash, 1 for every two people who are dining
Apples, peeled and chopped, equal in number to squash
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds and pulp, creating a little hollow where the seeds and pulp were. (The seeds grow very satisfyingly in most parts of Texas if thrown into the yard.) Place squash halves with the flat, cut sides down on baking sheets and bake for approximately 30 minutes.T urn baked squash halves over as best as you can – it takes a little balancing against the others to set them upright on their uncut sides – and sprinkle the hollowed out parts liberally with sugar and cinnamon. Place a little butter in the hollows and stuff with chopped apples. Return to oven and bake for approximately fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and add more butter, sugar and cinnamon to the top. Return to oven and bake for 15 – 30 more minutes or until tender.
The long and short of it is that we found two living creatures in her hair, one each on Saturday and Sunday and more of what seemed to be dead debris. We treated all of us with one OTC product on Saturday and, after hearing that it wasn't a particularly good one, another on Sunday. I had reservations, of course, but the OTC stuff seemed like the lesser of semi-reliable evils. I certainly couldn't bring myself to use the lindane. The pediatrician was frighteningly ignorant and casual about prescribing potent neurotoxins which have caused death in people under 110lbs to be rubbed all over my 28-pound toddler's head. No.
Anyway, we combed and combed. We found three of what looked like dead ones in my hair, or possibly like dirt - it's hard to say. We found white flecks on all of our heads but never white flecks that clung to the hair shaft as nits are supposed to do. We are itchy scalp, dandruffy folks at the best of times, so I was a little panicky at when I should decide we were clean when we always have white flecks, but people who should know tell me that I will know the difference. We never found anything living after Sunday, though an we spent our evenings for the next week combing for hours to check and washing bedding and the couch cover in hot water daily. The school said she was clear that first Monday, too.
On the next Sunday, we did the follow-up treatment and checked everyone's heads again. Found nothing but a little dandruff. So I am considering us clean and hoping we are done. Of course the couch or the mattress could hatch in a week and infest us all over again, I suppose, but it seems unlikely and I sure hope not. This has not been fun.
And Lone Star Pa cut the Lone Star Baby's beautiful hair to facilitate the difficult hours of combing. Into a very short bob. With bangs. Sniff.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
The girls made english muffin pizzas and had ice cream cake (another one). Now they are watching movies. While we live in a perfectly nice neighborhood, we do have a small house and that makes the sort of getting-away-from/getting-out-of-the-hair-of kids thing that one might like to do at sleep-overs hard. The girls always bed down in the living room, where the TV is and where there is room to lay out sleeping bags and blankets. Lone Star Pa was not understanding when I explained that, after I got the baby to sleep, he would want to retire and leave the girl-minding to me this year, even though that is what he always does anyway. I explained that the girls are too old now for him to be around once they are in their jammies. He was offended, even though we both knew he would want to go to sleep by then regardless. I offered the analogy of me hanging around in a room of unrelated 11- and 12-year-old boys in my nightgown to help him understand, but his feelings were still hurt. I don't think he has any idea how things are changing...major Daddy Denial. And as it turns out, none of them really changed into jammies anyways. And he's asleep, of course.
For awhile, the girls were so quiet watching the second Fantastic Four movie that I thought I might go on to bed. Then they wanted popcorn, though. And then they started doing something with duct tape to the girl who had fallen asleep first. In a bigger house, I would never have known. In my house, I put a stop to such things. Now one is asleep, two are quietly watching Zoom! and one is still pretty wired. I think I'd better stay up a little longer.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
After dinner, the Lone Star Firefighter suited up again and her sister applied blue make-up and a tiny plastic skull to become Mystique. She really did look like an evil mutant. We went trick-or-treating with the neighborhood kids, though their numbers are sadly dwindling. This was the first time the LSG really took charge of her sister house-to-house and that was sweet. It only lasted a few houses, though, as the LSG really only likes to trick-or-treat for a few. Then she went home and Auntie Jazz and I helped the LSB keep up. The Lone Star Baby loves trick-or-treating. She also really loves giving out candy to trick or treaters. She is so cute.
Candy for lunch tomorrow...
Now she is twelve years old. She is a bold an beautiful young woman. I can't truly remember her little baby face without mixing real moments with photos....it is amazing how fast it goes, until the years are like a fuzzy dream gone by.
This morning we woke her with a yarn to follow to her presents as is our custom. We gave her a couple of DVDs and books and a spiderweb pillowcase and a small giftcard and a towel for drying your hair. She was very excited about the Kiki Strike book I got her as she had not known the second one was out.
The Lone Star Girl is having a slumber party this weekend. Today, I stuffed her lunchbox with cards and stickers and Lone Star Pa, who took the day off, had lunch with her at school. I picked up her favorite fast food on the way home from work, and Auntie Jazz, my dad and stepmom came over for ice cream cake after trick-or-treating. It was nice.
Happy Birthday, Baby. My Grown-Up Girl.
Monday, October 29, 2007
There is one fingerplay that is almost always done at the PJ storytime we go to, about a baby taking a nap. The index finger is used as a baby...everyone, including the librarian, has always used the index finger. Except my Lone Star Baby. She always holds up her pinkie finger for the baby and gives me a superior look. Occasionally she mutters something about that being the baby finger. She just knows she is right. It is so cute.
In the evening, the four of us went to a multicultural Halloween/Day of the Dead festival at the local Unitarian Church which was very nice. I keep trying to convince the Lone Star Girl that the absence of nice Quaker boys in our city means that she will need to meet some nice Unitarian boys eventually (there being no Mennonite or Brethren boys around that I know of either). She says she plans to meet boys at Star Trek conventions. Sigh. The joys of the season.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
LSB: We are bears.
Me: We are bears?
LSB: Yes. We are bears. Rahr.
LSB: I am the Baby Bear and You are the Mama Bear and Daddy is the Daddy Bear and Sissy is the Sister Bear.
But there's a catch. The Lone Star Baby will start to look a little worried. Then she asks the all-important question:
LSB: Do bears drink mama milk?
Me: Yes, bears are mammals.
LSB (relieved): We are bears.
It is different animals on different days. Bats. Giraffes. The dinosaur thing didn't work out for obvious reasons. The whale and dolphin things really tickle her funny bone since she knows that actual fish are not mammals. Monsters were complicated.
LSB: We are monsters.
Me: We are monsters?
LSB: Yes. We are monsters.
LSB: That's what bears and dinosaurs say!
Me: And Monsters. Rahr.
LSB: I am the Baby Monster and You are the Mama Monster and Daddy is the Daddy Monster and Sissy is the Sister Monster. Rahr.
LSB: Do Monsters drink mama milk?
Me: Well...gila monsters don't. They are reptiles. Some monsters don't. Maybe furry monsters can, since mammals have fur. Are we furry monsters?
LSB: Yes! And we have milk!
Now she uses the word mammal herself as she asks the all-important question (Are antelopes mammals?), and every day there is another mammal family into which to transform ourselves. A parade of mammals. Rahr. It's fun.
The Lone Star Baby likes them.
For the last couple of days we have been collecting them in envelopes and buckets and using them for art projects and botany lessons. The Lone Star Baby is all about the lovely little pods. She is a joy to behold in the cool, crackling outdoors with the sunshine on her hair, talking about how boooo-ti-ful the pods are.
Our first "cold" snap of the year (cold enough to wear long sleeves anyway!) came on Monday and we have been trying to enjoy it as much as we can. It feels so nice outside and everything is so beautiful.
On Monday, when I got home from work, there was a message on my answering machine from someone at Good Morning America saying that she had read one of my articles and wanted to know if I could help her with a story she was writing. I called back and after a little phone tag, she got back with me (during storytime!). It turned out that I really couldn't help her with what she needed but it was a little exciting just the same!
I also spent some time running around this week acquiring things the Lone Star Girl needed for a skit in her theater arts class on Friday,and things for her upcoming birthday party. They are sort of at an awkward age for goody bags but the child mentioned them and I aim to please - I got little nail polishes and lip glosses and emory boards and candy to put in skull bags for them. These are the contradictions of Twelve.
On Friday, I took a half-day off work to take the girls to get their flu shots in the afternoon. A friend from Meeting had her baby boy and I got to go pick up her daughter who is the Lone Star Baby's age from daycare and keep her with us Friday night. It was a fun visit and the little girls made pictures for the baby by gluing seedpods to paper and coloring. They also colored pumpkins for the baby. Mostly, though, they liked to roll all over the front yard - very cute to watch!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
It took about all I had in me not to go over and whisper to the mom that I nursed there all the time and that it was perfectly fine to do so. If I had felt certain that doing so would have made the woman feel supported and confident about doing what she doubtless wanted to do, I would have. I thought it all too likely that it would have made her feel more scolded than just the experience she was having probably already made her feel, though, so I didn't. The baby fretted his skinny self to sleep and the grown-ups got their school work done.
What was going through the mother's mind, I wonder? That she should have kept him home and not tried to be part of a study group? That she'd have to start him on formula so she could get stuff done without starving him? When she was tutoring the men, she had seemed confident and strong. When it came to feeding her baby, though, our crazy culture had her cowed into thinking it was inappropriate to meet her baby's needs in public. It made me feel sad. It's so wrong that nursing mothers have to put up with so much shit that we start second-guessing ourselves.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
We still could use some submissions for Issue Ten, as we are going for a big one. Here is what we need:
Maybe 1 mama-poem
1 mama fiction story (we would really like to get this department started!)
Longhorn Lactation: a breastfeeding advocacy piece
Submissions should be e-mailed (body of the e-mail) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks! More information is available under submissions at www.LoneStarMa.com.
Here's a little run-down of the last week for our family:
Baby shower at Meeting for a Friend who is having a baby. They have a little girl the age of the Lone Star Baby and, since they joined the Meeting this past year, I am no longer solely responsible for physically producing new Friends. A good thing, considering the Lone Star Girl's negative attitude about religion in general lately.
My storytime night with the Lone Star Baby. We have now moved on to pumpkins and Halloween themes, which is always fun. September was bug month at the library and Ms. Linda brought her pet cockroach to storytime every Monday night. The kids loved it. They petted it. I politely declined to pet it, although I was happy enough to let the Lone Star Baby do so. She loved it. Yuck. Pumpkins, ahoy.
Got a flu shot after school from the district at a high school near my school - I can't get the kids in for one at their doctor until the 26th. Lone Star Pa got his Monday at school. The Lone Star Baby's school had a potluck in the evening to celebrate its sixth birthday. We all went and my sister and dad and stepmom (not my sister's parents - things are complicated for my generation that way) also attended. It was a lot of fun for the little kids and the Lone Star Baby was very excited about her aunt and grandparents meeting her teachers.
Worked very late at school. After I got home, showed my sister where the Lone Star Girl's school is and where the Sears meeting place for their caravan to camp on Friday would be as she is assisting with getting her to the meeting place. I have time to get from work to the meeting place if I leave as soon as I'm allowed to after school, but not time to pick up the Lone Star Girl and get there, so my sister is picking her up from school and getting her there and I am meeting them all. Frantically supervised camping packing. Watched Bionic Woman on tape with Jazz and the Lone Star Girl - our new vice.
Worked very late at school. Got rain poncho and last minute camping toiletries. The Lone Star Girl got her laptop at school!!! Saw Jazz.
Met up with Girl Scouts and Jazz at Sears after work. Jazz and the Lone Star Girl had no trouble with getting there. Saw the Lone Star Girl and her troop off. I feel bad about not going, but the Lone Star Girl is more ready to be camping without me than the Lone Star Baby is ready to be overnight without me. This is a camp we've never been to that is way down in the Valley and it is one of those wobbly-mommy things to let her go so far "alone". I am so silly. I tried not to embarrass her. I utterly trust her troop leader's supervision, of course. They come back Sunday.
Also, the Lone Star Girl got her first report card of middle school. She got a high B in math and A's in science, social studies, reading, language arts, P.E. and theatre arts. I am very proud of her, especially as she is taking Pre-Algebra as a sixth grader and with a very tough teacher. I have been hard on her about school work lately and she has felt rather pressured, I'm afraid. She's a brilliant girl, but very...ah...internally motivated, and has rarely prioritized her school work, since she can get by well on natural ability. In elementary school, I was mostly okay with that, as childhood is about so much more than the stuff they get at school, but she really must develop better habits now if she is to reach her full potential. It sounds a bit nutty, I guess, but I feel a responsibility to the world not to let her intellect go to waste. I worry about the future of humanity and think that the best young minds must be made to see the need that there is for their talents to be used in the service of humanity's needs.
Lone Star Pa is helping at the rummage sale at the Lone Star Baby's school. I am soon going to take the Lone Star Baby to the pumpkin patch at the church where she used to go to daycare as a baby. Then we will probably get some lunch and go to the museum. We also need to squeeze in grocery shopping and maybe some birthday shopping for the Lone Star Girl this weekend. And I have to fit in a grading session as well. And pay the bills. And get some articles finished. Busy, busy!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
If ever a veto needed to be overturned - this is the one.
Below is the list of the way Texas Congress folks voted. EVERYONE call Cornyn and let him know he needs to change his vote or get the hell out of dodge because ALL Texas mamas want this bill to pass! If your Representative is also on the idiot list or didn't vote, please call them and urge them to come to their senses and over-ride the veto. Meanwhile, everyone tell your Congress folks who did vote right to stay strong and fight for our kids, okay?
Other U.S. Mamas:
Google your Congress folks and find out where they stand. If they need convincing, convince 'em. I know you Ohio mamas are as shocked as I am about your boy...I shook the man's hand once and the Lone Star Girl went around with one of his stickers on her school binder...please talk some sense into his my-way-or-the-highway head fast.
Now, mamas...now. We don't have much time.
Friday, September 28, 2007
On Tuesday evening, I went to a meeting at the Lone Star Girl's old elementary school (yes - it was nice to be there!) on the International Baccalaureate program that our school district is applying to gradually become part of over the next few years.
At our school district, kids test for the "gifted" program, called Athena, in kindergarten (kids in private kindergartens like the Lone Star Girl attended can also elect to be tested, but they have to score higher to get in). Kids who test in attend a special school for elementary school, and they all attend the same middle school together, although there they are a "school within a school". The program is quite good in terms of advanced academics and enrichment, but there is really nothing set up for the kids in high school - at that time, they just scatter and make do with the somewhat questionable honors classes that are offered. This International Baccalaureate program would provide a strong high school component as well. It is supposed to be inquiry-based , very community service focused and is supposed to focus on making sure kids understand global cultures as they will be living in a global world. It sounds good to me, but we didn't really get any hard information.
A number of parents seemed...concerned....about that whole global cultures component. Sigh. Could we be any more xenophobic in this country? I really don't think they need to worry about it. Considering.
Does anyone have any experience with this program they would like to share?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
It's time to turn away from the warm fruits of summer and inward to what we've stored - time to eat pomegranates, apples, pumpkins, squash, beans and corn and to prepare for winter. Today we are all dressing in autumn colors and, at breakfast, I lit a candle and read a story about Persephone's journey as we ate apple pie and pumpkin empanadas. We have a birthday party to attend for a little girl in our Meeting today and then we will have a supper of beans and cornbread. My life is all too hectic and I rarely take the time to connect with the earth, but that is not the harvest I want for my girls, so I am trying harder.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
First I went to the Peace Walk at the Labyrinth at All Saints Episcopal Church, which I am sure I mentioned last year. Walking the Labyrinth last year was such a good experience for me that I intended to do it often, but, of course, did not make it back for the full year. It was wonderful again, though - very much the introvert's paradise in a lot of ways even though one is not truly alone...it rather feels like the gathered Meeting to me. My meditations kept coming up with a very feminine image of meiosis. I am sure that understanding will come.
I then went home to meet the family and we all went to Cole Park where there were speakers from a number of faiths and other representatives on peace topics and a choir and candlelight vigil. It was very nice.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
We bear the responsibility for our ignorance when we build a mothers' movement that makes mothers who are not middle class and white feel excluded. We should know better and it is wrong when we do not. I hope that you will choose to correct this mistake, as I am trying to correct my own ignorance. We could take this opportunity to open a dialogue about what sort of logo and communication would make all mothers feel represented in the work of MomsRising.org. I hope we will do so. I can see that I have a lot to educate myself about and hope that the mothers' movement can resolve together to be the inclusive movement that we all need.
Yesterday we saw a family on a walk with two pygmy goats! Strangely enough, I have often wondered about having a pygmy goat as a pet. They were way, way adorable and she said they were very sweet and affectionate and got along well with her two-year-old and were fine in the backyard (they can't get over a fence like kittens can). She said their only drawback as pets is that they really don't potty-train. I asked her if they need as much attention as dogs do, because we work and all, and she said to get two and it would be fine. She said she has friends who are getting out of goat farming and have babies to sell cheap.
The girls loved them. I'm intrigued. What do you think?
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I frequently grade papers at a large corporate monolith of a bookstore on weekends and the Lone Star Girl usually accompanies me to wander its vastness and read. Today when we went, we took a friend of hers, too, and had dinner in a restaurant across the parking lot. I had originally intended to stay at the corporate monolith myself, give the girls some money and (gasp) let them walk over and have an early dinner alone. Lone Star Pa's expression was uncomfortable when I discussed, this, though, so I went to the restaurant, too, but sat alone in the patio-seating area while the girls got to be big, independent girls alone inside at their own table. Then they wandered the bookstore while I graded stuff in the bookstore's cafe.
I am almost at the point, I think, where I would be comfortable dropping the Lone Star Girl and a friend off there for a bit in the daytime, except that I always need a place to grade anyways, my home being under the thrall of a certain demanding small person. I remember such an independent night out to dinner and a movie with a friend when I was much older than the Lone Star Girl, probably sixteen even, and what an extravagant privilege it seemed to me...I want my girl to have some fun in her life.
I have another clear memory of sending a nine-year-old Jazz into a convenience store with money to buy the slushy drink she wanted while I waited in the car with a sleeping toddler of a Lone Star Girl. I clearly remember my uncertainty as to whether nine was really old enough to let her go in alone with me in the car and thinking that I was about nine when my mom started sending me into stores while she waited in the car with sleeping babes. I was unsure, though, and relieved when my sister returned calmly.
Deciding on when the right time is for various small freedoms is no easy or clear-cut task. I continually stress to the Lone Star Girl that she must demonstrate more responsibility to gain more independence, but our perceptions of these things are often different. I almost always feel she should show more responsibility than she does show and she always feels that my constraints are unjust. Creepingly, though, we make our way. One day I will look up, and she will be out on her own, and it will still seem like yesterday that she was a petal-soft baby...
The bus thing is working well for the Lone Star Girl and I am starting to calm down about it. She is doing well with the beginning of middle school in terms of seeming to have plenty of friends to hang around with at lunch and P.E. That would have been my main worry about middle school, so I am pleased for her. She is still discontented, however, as she does not much like most of her classes and it is not in her nature to accept the whiff of prison that is somewhat necessarily in the air at large middle schools.
After a happy week or so in her new class at school, the Lone Star Baby started having some very rough mornings at drop-off. Although I know she loves her class, being with all those "big kids" all day is doubtless a bit exhausting still and she wants her mommy. She has been mostly placated now by a program I call Better Mornings Through Hashbrowns - I am stopping for papas at the Whataburger drive-through on the way to her school and that happily absorbs her.
I am teaching at the same place as last year. I kind of frittered away my summer trying to find a better way...but we are just not there yet. I came rather close to accepting a pay-cut of half of my salary to take a para job working with parents at the Lone Star Girl's school on the principal's expressed hope of the greater funding they expect for next year...but I had to face that we really don't have the money...and I really don't think they will next year, either. I am teaching two grades instead of one this year, which means even more work, although I find that I really enjoy the sixth graders best after all. I so prefer Texas History that I thought I would always want to teach seventh out of the three middle school grades but, if I had a choice of just one, now I would pick sixth.
Lone Star Pa is as enthusiastic as ever about his seventh graders in a small neighboring town. His only adjustment is that having us around means he cannot immerse himself in his job the way he naturally would if he could.
Auntie Jazz is getting used to college life and having her here is the best of all the adjustments we have had to be sure...she adds great richness to our lives with her presence!
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Submissions should be e-mailed (body of the e-mail) to email@example.com.
For features, I am looking for essays on the mothering life and advocacy pieces on family and children's issues. Things with a Texas emphasis are always best, but the universal is also fine. I still need:
1-2 feature articles
Maybe 1 mama-poem
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 breastfeeding advocacy piece
Thanks! More information is available under submissions at www.LoneStarMa.com.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Lone Star Girl started middle school on Monday. I cannot tell you how hard it was to pack up the Lone Star Baby and head off to drop her off and get to work on time, trusting that the Lone Star Girl would get to her bus stop on time alone, that the bus would show up, that she would be able to get her schedule at school by herself...all of it alone. She was excited to be so independent; I was a basket case.
The bus went fine, coming and going, but she was much less excited when she got home (alone!). The hectic and crowded hallways and the difficulty finding classes were hard on her and she found the teachers scary. On the upside, her best friend, who never went to school with her before, is in four of her classes and she has lunch with her and a bunch of friends. Her elective is theatre arts, which I think she will like. It's a big adjustment, though. Huge. My baby....
Saturday, August 25, 2007
This is why people should go to nurse-midwives instead of obstetricians for normal pregnancies, or direct-entry midwives, even. Midwives do not tell you that you need a c-section because the baby is "too big", something which is really never a valid reason. Midwives do not encourage you to get epidurals and other interventions which stall labor and lead to increased incidence of fetal distress leading to more c-sections. Midwives do not decide that they are busy and it is time for your labor to be over, so how about some major abdominal surgery because this labor has just dragged on "too long".
Ironically, it is often the fear of malpractice suits that cause OBs to engage in this very gross malpractice...a vicious cycle. They feel that if something goes wrong, they must look as if they tried to "do something" so they do the things that actually cause things to go wrong. Midwives, however, are rarely sued by their actual clients. It would serve doctors well to learn from their example and treat women with the sort of respect and care that makes them not want to sue you. It would serve women well if doctors would stop killing them to cover their own asses.
I did run.
You did tell me to do that.
Do you remember when I did go to school and I did do that trabajo with the stickers?
Sissy did tell me no!
The best thing that has happened in the midst of all of our bustling is my baby sister's presence here in town. I love having her here and the girls are having a blast with their Auntie Jazz. Last weekend, Jazz took the Lone Star Girl out shopping and to check out her dorm room. It was great for them to have some one-on-one time. The Lone Star Baby is Auntie Jazz' constant shadow whenever she is here. One time, on an earlier visit, the Lone Star Baby saw her auntie wrapped up in a towel after a shower. Ever since, she has insisted on wrapping herself up in a towel wrapped under the arms like she saw, rather than the hooded, baby-burrito wrap we used to use on her after the bath. She preens around in her towel saying I'm Auntie Jazz! She is besotted.
Friday, August 24, 2007
We are interested in essays, photos, cartoons, or anything else you can come up with! (Feel free to interpret the theme wildly.)
Because of space limitations, written submissions should be 1500 words or less. Please include a short bio and ordering information for your zine (these will not be part of the word count).
Contributors are asked to edit their own work. Submissions may be spellchecked and reformatted for consistency. Contributors are given the chance to okay any proposed changes before production.
Mamaphiles is a friendly and inclusive project whose goal is self-expression and mutual support. All submissions are accepted. All contributors are invited to join in the collaborative effort, and are asked to assist with marketing and/or production of the zine when possible.
Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2007.
Written submissions: email as a Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Visual submissions: email high-resolution images (300-600 dpi) in .jpg, .tiff, or .gif format to email@example.com
For all submissions, please indicate that it's a Mamaphiles submission in the subject line of your email message.
Mamaphiles website: <www.mamaphiles.com>
Questions? Email jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Corpus Christi is without water, though, as the state has put us under another Boil Water Advisory - this time the whole city. It has been this way since Tuesday and the Water Superintendent has resigned - ick. I always get worried about formula fed babies at times like these. Wish us clean water, please and an end to these water problems in our otherwise sparkling city by the sea. Thank you!
School starts both in my district and in Lone Star Pa's on August 27th, but mine is back to work this week and Lone Star Pa doesn't go back until next week. I am busy with staff development trainings and preparation this week. The Lone Star Girl is having one last fun week home with dad!
My baby sister moved to town! Jazz and my stepdad drove in on Monday and moved her into her dorm room on Tuesday. She is now at "Fish Camp" and will be back Friday evening. She starts classes next week. I already feel like I have three kids, now - in a good way. A great way!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Today, she wore her new purple dress and her new purple bow and her new Dora backpack and I took pictures of her on our porch, in front of her school and on the playground at school. Her first day in the children's house! She went to school from 9am - 11 am for orientation and will do so tomorrow and Friday as well. I got teary-eyed, of course. I couldn't help it! I feared that she would, too, as she has at home when we talked about going back to school, but she went bravely into her classroom and didn't cry at all. When we went to pick her up, she proudly told me about the work she did and fell back into Spanish as if she had not been mostly away from it for a couple of months. She ran out to play on the playground with the other kids, a dramatic pretend game about sharks, holding hands with two other little girls at the same time. It was hard to get her to leave. It was wonderful to see her so happy at school and so in her element there...my big, big girl...even if I do get teary-eyed about how very fast she is growing up!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Books Ink is a small, used, half-priced bookstore of the crammed-up and crowded type, with meandering stacks in which one could find almost anything...in a word, heavenly. Obviously a place with excellent priorities, it squeezes in a small children's play area and coffee shop in the front and a tiny regional newspaper office in a back corner. Every available space is spilling over with books, including nooks that are stacked and covered with books that still need to be sorted. It was a great place. I chose three cool-looking finds after looking around while the Lone Star Baby played contentedly with toys and when I went to pay for them, the bookseller nodded in the Lone Star Baby's direction (the Lone Star Girl looks to be around 14, although she's just 11) and told me that kids get one free book every week. Wow! As the Lone Star Baby chose a picture book, the bookseller told me that they give kids 12 and under a free book every week and that kids who are older can bring in their report cards every grading period and get a free book if they showed imprvement since the last grading period. Wow! What cool folks! Books Ink was a wonderful find.
We didn't have much luck finding any cool cafes for lunch, but we found a unique place called Expresso.Com, which was pretty cool in other ways and had lunch there. It was an internet cafe with pretty bland fare but it was neat watching the gamers enjoy all its little gaming rooms and we got to eat on some comfortable couches in a relaxing atmosphere. It was a neat place.
Portland was a fun place for a mini-adventure. We'll have to go again.
Friday, August 03, 2007
At first, I had squirted dots of finger paint onto a paper plate like a palette so she could take paint from it to use on her big papers, but she preferred rubbing the paint around on the plate to make a picture, so then I just squirted the paints directly onto her papers. She, in squishy glory, painted two big poster papers and the paper plate. Then, we spread the papers out on tables in the backyard, weighted down by little wrenches, to dry. Yesterday, she took two of the paintings to her swim lesson and gave one to her teacher and one to the teacher she had last session. She was very excited to be giving them. My ittle sweetie-pie.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
When I was a school-aged kid in Dallas, my mom and the neighbor-women belonged to a co-op for buying produce at the Farmer's Market in Dallas. Now that is a Farmer's Market. It is enormous, with rows and rows of trucks selling all kinds of produce..I love going there. My mom and the neighbor-women would take turns buying a bushel of produce for all the women each week. It was very cool.
The Farmer's Market here is now open on Saturday mornings, so I got up early yesterday morning and convinced the Lone Star Baby to go on An Adventure with me to visit it. The Lone Star Baby was very excited about the Adventure, but pretty grumpy when we actually were there. There were only four trucks - two with a pretty limited assortment of lovely vegetables, one with herbs, and one with a very slightly bigger assortment of vegetables as well as beans and some melons. Small though it was, I still really liked it. There were quite a few young moms and pregnant girls there buying produce with their WIC coupons - smart girls getting a good start on things, I'd say. We bought two lacy, white squash from one farmer, and we bought a ziplock bag of pinto beans, three tomatoes, some small red potatoes and a cucumber from another. The Lone Star Baby was well and truly done by then, and not even cheerful about my suggestion that we take a little walk around the area, so we left soon after that. Tonight, I am going to try to get her to help me cook and eat some papas y calabaza - wish me luck. It was a nice little adventure and I hope to go again soon.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Fortunately, we happened to go to Barnes & Noble on Thursday night to look around. There were several people camped out in front already. With some apprehension, I asked them if that was going to be necessary. They explained that people were supposed to come to the store Friday morning at 9am and line up to get a ticket that would say what their place in line was to get their reserved book at midnight. They were camping out because they wanted the first tickets - ah. The Lone Star Girl, of course, immediately wanted to camp out, too, but I nixed that idea. I did take her over there at 8:30 the next morning with drive-through breakfasts. The line was already around the building. We did pretty well, though, as our ticket was a pink group C ticket. Apparently, pink tickets would be called alphabetically in groups A-Z, then some other color A-Z, then the folks without reserved copies with white tickets A-Z, if books were left for them. So a pink C ticket seemed pretty good.
We returned at 8pm for the festivities, although the Lone Star Girl acted too cool for most of the activities, opting mostly to just read. It was fun to see all the kids in their costumes, though. As midnight approached, they started announcing that pink groups A & B should line up, etc. The crowding was pretty intense and I had the Lone Star Girl hold on to me so we wouldn't get separated. There was a countdown until midnight like on New Year's Eve and lots of cheering. The actual selling was very organized and, although I had heard there were fifty people in each letter group, we were out of there by 12:15. I am letting the Lone Star Girl read it first, loving mother that I am.
It is still cool to see that kind of frenzy about a book.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Lone Star Pa won't have an indoor cat anymore, even just for a bit - he is quite firm on this - as past attempts have wrecked havoc with his allergies and this itty guy is too small to have the run of the yard yet as something (likely a possum, if not a big rat) would definitely eat him. As a temporary solution, we put him in a great, big, two-level rat cage in the garage by a fan, which he wasn't very thrilled about but which is bigger than the cages that cats get boarded in at vets and kennels. On Wednesday, we took him to the vet and he checked out okay and at around six weeks old. We then were going to just block the door of the big playhouse out back and let him have the run of that when we weren't out there with him until he's a little bigger, but he climbed up the wall and out the window immediately, so he's back in the cage until we feel he's tough enough to be safe on his own. He does not like it, but it seems a better fate than the street, given his lack of car-sense, and the girls take him out into the yard to play.
He's a sweet kitty who never scratches or bites, although he is very active and agile. Lone Star Pa wanted to name him a comic book name (Cap), the Lone Star Girl wanted to name him a Star Trek name (Neelix) or Thor, the Lone Star Baby wanted to name him a Dora name (Swiper or Tiko) and I wanted to name him a Harry Potter name (Dumbledore, Muggle or Hufflepuff). We settled on Loki, in keeping with our tradition of naming pets after characters in mythology. He's a cutie.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The Lone Star Girl is a Mermaid Girl with a seine of hair and a gleaming, fish-twisting body. The Lone Star Baby is a Shore Child, digging and burying and running and squealing.
The waves were big and breaking everywhere. There was little chance to float in silence on the billows between the breakers without going out far too deep...the Sea could not decide on a pattern and changed its waves and twisted, huge and moving and cheerful. The water was cold and the breeze was cool...it was a little overcast so the sun was not harsh. All in all, a gorgeous day.
My friends used to call me Celebrian Crab-Rescuer when I was young and would rescue beached crabs. Lone Star Pa tried his hand at man o'war saving yesterday. He found a small one washed up on the sand and put it in a bucket of water so we wouldn't step on it or float into it in the water. When it was time to go, he tried to get it out in the water, but the tide kept beaching it and some folks came over to laud his efforts. He dug a little water-filled hole near the tideline in the hope that it would wash out when the tide was right, but it washed back up by the time he got in the car. We decided to wish it well and hope the tide would be favorable to it soon enough, not knowing what else to do. But...then a young man grabbed it and crushed it when we were out of reach. Lone Star Pa almost ran out to try to stop him, but he could not get there in time. The Lone Star Girl wanted to go give the guy a piece of her mind, but we explained that a beach brawl would solve nothing.
It was still a great day, though.
It's that time! The deadline for Issue 10 is August 15th! Please submit things! If you are not familar with Lone Star Ma, please go to www.LoneStarMa.com to get the feel of it (but you are!).
Submissions should be e-mailed (body of the e-mail) to email@example.com. For features, I am looking for essays on the mothering life and advocacy pieces on family and children's issues. Things with a Texas emphasis are always best, but the universal is also fine. I also need:
2-3 feature articles
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 breastfeeding advocacy piece
Vegetarian Vittles: family-friendly vegetarian recipes, resources and stories for veg. families.