Sunday, August 28, 2011


      School started for the Lone Star Girl on Monday and she had a good week.  She's taking Swimming, Spanish 3, Algebra 2, World History, English, Chemistry and Sculpture.  Because Swimming is zero period, she gets the last period off, which should help with the homework load.  She has asked to help film the announcements and was told that she could.  This is the last year of the IB Middle Years Program.  Next year, she enters the IB Diplomate Program and the classes become more different than your normal high school classes.  We are proud of our sophomore girl, who is remarkably patient with her sappy, picture-taking mother.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Today's Pearls From My Awesome Girls

Lone Star Girl:  Ramses is a really bad name for a condom because Ramses the Great had over 160 children.


Lone Star Ma:  What's with all these wet tissues I keep finding?
Lone Star Baby:  I like doing...experiments.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Second Grade!

      Wednesday was the Lone Star Baby's first day of second grade.  It was also her first day at a new school.  That may be a surprise to some, as she started a new school last year for first grade and we adored it, so allow me to explain some recent and relevant events:

    From the age of 18 months through kindergarten, the Lone Star Baby attended a Spanish-immersion Montessori school.  It was a wonderful school, but only went through kindergarten.  Also, we would not have been financially able to keep her in a private school beyond kindergarten anyway - we were without car payments during all of her daycare years except the kinder year (when we finally had to replace Lone Star Pa's car) and that allowed us to just barely afford her school.  It wasn't something we would have been able to keep up even if the school had more grades, which it did not.

      For first grade, we got the Lone Star Baby into a (free) dual-language, Montessori charter school.  (Actually, the whole school is Montessori but only the Lone Star Baby's one classroom was dual-language.)  She had a simply wonderful year.  The teacher and assistant in her class were a perfect fit for the Lone Star Baby and she truly thrived under their instruction.  By the end of first grade she was reading at level 4.5 (fourth grade, fifth month) and multiplying fractions - and best of all, she was happy and confident.  The only slightly discouraging thing was that, with mornings in English and afternoons in Spanish, Spanish time was often interrupted by other worthwhile activities like art, music and P.E.  The school was very taken with the Lone Star Baby's Spanish fluency, but we could see that she was starting to lose some of it.  Lower elementary classes in Montessori schools are mixed-age classes of first through third grades.  One of the best things about her school was that she was to have the same wonderful teachers for second and third grade also.


At the end of the school year, the Lone Star Baby's teachers quit the school to start their own private Montessori school, one that would be sort of a home-schooling environment, located in a little house and having a maximum fifteen students ranging from kindergarten through the eighth grade.  One that would be about ninety-percent Spanish-speaking.  Well.  They told me to check it out and I did to be nice but I knew we couldn't afford a private school.  It was lovely, and they really wanted her there, but I knew we couldn't afford a private school.  It was a school that would allow her to hold on to her Spanish, but I knew we couldn't afford a private school.  I heard disturbing things like the charter school had replaced her teacher with a teacher who did not even speak Spanish and an assistant who did, but we still could not afford private school.  

And then...

I can't share the details, because our benefactor wishes to remain anonymous, but it turns out that she is now getting to go to the new private school with her wonderful teachers at no cost to us.  So she is going.  There are eleven kids there now and she is one of three second graders.  Several of her friends are there as well.  It is lovely.

Such blessings!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Starts On Fall Gardens

Although I started back to school with a staff development day today, the weather is still screaming SUMMER loud and clear.  I know that we still have at least a month of insanely hot temperatures to get through until things start to feel like fall - and probably more.  Nonetheless, fall vegetables are coming in at the nurseries and I know they will not linger long, so I am trying to get started on fall planting.  With lots of watering, hopefully I will have some success.  

I planted some begonias yesterday, for Love.  

This evening, I planted eating plants:  one cucumber plant in the erstwhile salad garden.  I will add two nice tomato plants I picked up on Saturday later this week and then I will really have a salad garden again.  I planted one zucchini in the vegetable garden.  I planted some more basil in my herb pot.

I love my tiny little container gardens.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moment of Sweetness

The Lone Star Girl and I were shopping for school jeans at our favorite thrift store last week (4 good pair for under $25 - yes!).  I noticed that a woman and man who were shopping together had some very pretty items in their cart.  They were seriously conversing about each of the items the woman found.  At first, I thought the husband might be some sort of weird control freak who had to pick out all her clothes for her, but I kept coming across them in the store and it seemed less and less likely that this was the case as I observed them.  He just was trying to be really helpful. 

I ended up waiting outside the fitting rooms for the Lone Star Girl to try things on at the same time that this man was waiting as the woman tried things on in the other fitting room.  The woman kept coming out and asking his opinion, which was always positive, on the clothes she was trying.  He enlisted my help to encourage her that the clothes looked good on her.  He was very sweet.

At one point, while the woman was in the fitting room, the man and I had the following exchange:

Me:  I never saw a husband help his wife shop the way you are before.  You're cool.
Him:  Thank you. (Pause.)  Actually, I'm still trying to convince her to marry me.
Me:  Oh.
Him:  (smiling) I'll be the same after we are married, though.  (Pause.)  There's already too much machismo in the world.  Thanks for the compliment.

I felt a warm and fuzzy happiness for humanity for like a whole five minutes.  It was nice.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

Flower Girl Duties & Fun

My middle brother married a lovely lady on Friday, the biggest reason for our journey to the wilds of North Texas.  I really enjoyed meeting her and getting to spend time with my brother, my other sister-in-law-to-be, my cousins, my sister, my oldest brother, my mom, my stepdad, my uncle, assorted relatives and friends of the family - you get the picture.  It was very wonderful to see them.  I am so happy for my brother - his new wife is sweet and smart and funny.

The Lone Star Baby and the Lone Star Niece and the Lone Star Niecelet (of Cousin Camp fame) got to be little flower girls and they were, as you can imagine, utterly adorable.  After stopping in at the reception, the Lone Star Baby got to have her first ever sleepover with her cousins and she had a blast.

It was a great visit and now we are all home safe, trying to get ready for the start of school.

Mas College Visits

On Wednesday, we loaded up the car and drove up to Austin for a tour of UT with the Lone Star Girl.  She was impressed with the libraries.  That night we drove on to Lone Star Pa's mother's house in Denton and, in the morning, toured Texas Woman's University with the Lone Star Girl.  She kind of didn't expect to be impressed with  TWU, but she was.  She liked that the campus was not so sprawling and she liked how much cheaper the dorms are than UT's dorms.  She has quite liked all three campuses she has visited so far, and there are more visits in her future.  So many options!