Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year and Resolutions!!!

Happy New Year! My hopes are that everyone has a super year in 2006. My prayers are for peace.

I am going to post my New Year's Resolutions below and then, if you like, you may post yours in the comments!

Lone Star Ma's Resolutions for 2006:

I will provide more structure for the girls: more family meals, more routines and traditions. Things have been kind of chaotic since the Lone Star Baby joined us!

I will be more patient with the Lone Star Girl.

I will cope with Lone Star Pa's school work needs gracefully until he finishes his certification and not go nuts over the fact that I am never able to work on my own projects.

When he is certified (late spring, early summer), I will finish at least one of the several books I have been writing in tiny installments.

Now, you!!!!!

2006 Mama Calendars!

The 2006 Mama Calendars are ready! To get yours, while supplies last, send $12 per calendar plus $2 for mailing costs to:

Coleen Murphy
PO Box 741655
New Orleans, LA

or via Paypal to
More details & images can be seen on Coleen’s blog:

These are some great calendars!!

Friday, December 30, 2005


Time is an interesting concept to ponder at the changing of the year. It means so many different things. Have you ever looked at those Madeleine L'Engle chronologies where she charts the overlapping characters of her books on Chronos and Kairos timelines? Pretty deep stuff.

I always set my watch fast. It started when Lone Star Pa and I were first together. I think it was something he did and that we applied to all of our shared timepieces. Eventually, I got into the habit of setting my watch ten minutes fast. Eventually, Lone Star Pa got annoyed by fast timepieces and stopped doing it. At some point, I added a little extra-fast to my watch so that it is now somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes fast...but I do not know exactly how much. So now I never really know what time it is if I only have my watch to go by.

The Lone Star Girl owns several watches but wears none of them. She prefers to ask me what time it is constantly until I become unglued.

Anyone who knows my husband at all well knows that his most frequently used Lone Star Pa-ism is "Age and other numbers are just establishment illusions."

I enjoy a silly series of books by Jasper Fforde that center around a character named Thursday Next who is a literary detective and a Jurisfiction agent. Her father is a member of the Chronoguard, the law enforcement outfit responsible for protecting the timeline, much like the temporal agents on Star Trek. I often call the Lone Star Girl chronoguard as a perjorative. It is truly her calling and may - who knows? - end up being her life's work. She is a real fuddy-duddy about changing the timeline. Disapproves of Hermione and all.

Time slips through my fingers...runs from me like a cheetah. There is never time enough to accomplish the things I want to do...not even the things I just should do. The Lone Star Girl is ten years old...I am 34...the baby is 18 months...where does it go? If I slowed it down, even just a bit, the Lone Star Girl would probably arrest me or something but it just goes too, too fast...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Newest Sentence From The 18-Month-Old

The Lone Star Baby kept exclaiming "Read it again!" the other night whenever I finished a reading of the potty book upon which she is currently fixated.


Our prayers for the people of the Oklahoma and Texas grasslands. Prayers for safety, prayers for rain....

Pray for rain....

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Fallen Leaves and Mother Guilt

Lone Star Pa told me a story about when he and the Lone Star Baby were playing outside while the Lone Star Girl and I were at the movie yesterday. He said that she noticed all the leaves on the ground and was talking about them, so he told her they had fallen off the trees. She then started exclaiming Oh, no! Oh, no! and trying to stick them back onto the trees. He explained that the brown and yellow ones were supposed to fall off and that only the green ones were supposed to be on the trees and she eventually settled down.

Lone Star Pa and the Lone Star Girl had few such solitary interludes when she was a baby. When I was not at work, she was always with me. I think I saw one movie without her (one of the Star Wars re-releases) before she was four years old. Many mothers have much more time with their babies than I am allowed, but when a mother must work away from them as much as I must, I do not think there is really any room for other separations in the earliest years. There just isn't enough time. And yet...the Lone Star Baby has spent several periods of time away from me when I was not at work, many it sometimes seems.

My feelings haven't really changed. It's just that I have two daughters, now. It's difficult. While I firmly believe that the early years are the very most crucial time in a person's emotional development and while that belief of mine causes the Lone Star Baby's need for time with me to trump everything else the vast majority of the time when I am not at doesn't really do to deprive a blossoming pre-teen girl of one-on-one time with her mother either, you know? So I have had to compromise, as we all have to all the time, I know...but still. It feels at those times when I carve out some alone time for my older child that while it is right and necessary for her, it is wrong and harmful for the baby. Children are resilient, of course. I am doing the best I can do, of course. It troubles me, really, really does.


Yesterday was the day I was given off of work for the Christmas holiday, so we were all home together, except for when I took the Lone Star Girl to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardobe. The movie was as well done as it could have been, I think. I liked Lucy and especially Mr. Tumnus. Also, Father Christmas. I could feel the Lone Star Girl stiffening beside me when it was getting to the part during which those sexist comments are made about girls and battles in the book...but the movie didn't make them. That gives me hope that the future movies will also avoid the rest of C.S. Lewis' bigotries. He was an interesting mix...such magic mixed with such old-fashioned ugliness. I missed all his prejudices when I read the books as a child, but they were very evident to me as an adult and they were very evident to the Lone Star Girl at just seven when I read the books to her. Still, the books are just so magical. I am glad the movies are starting with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When I was a child, boxed sets of the books began with that one, but the set that the Lone Star Girl received on the Christmas that she was seven had The Magician's Nephew first. It does come first chronologically, but I think The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is much more engaging and the proper place to start. Although I do remember seeking out numerous Smugglers' Coves after reading The Magician's Nephew as a child. We had a good time at the movie.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Very, Merry Christmas!

I hope you all are having a beautiful, peaceful holiday. We are certainly blessed.

Last night, we had dinner at the home of the "other-Quaker-family-with-children" in town. I just love them and it was so nice of them to invite us and we had a lovely time. Then we drove around a bit to look at Christmas lights on our way home. At home, the children opened their Christmas Eve pajamas (pink with monkeys for the Lone Star Girl, red with Spider-Man for the Lone Star Baby) and put them on. Lone Star Pa read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas and I read the nativity story from the Gospel of Luke. Then the Lone Star Girl read the story on the last book from our advent calendar, hung it on the tree and put the figure of Baby Jesus in our nativity scene. We let the girls open presents from far-flung relatives and put out milk and cookies from Santa before they went to bed.

This morning the girls let us sleep past nine. It was nothing like when I was a child and, as the oldest, had to sleep across the door in the same room as my five siblings to prevent any of them from escaping before 6am, the time my parents deemed the absolute earliest that it was acceptable to wake them. We had a good sleep! Then the girls pillaged their stockings, oohed over their Santa-presents and unwrapped their presents from us. We had a brunch of the Lone Star Girl's special scrambled eggs, sweet orange rolls and breakfast strips, talked to out-of-town relatives on the phone and watched a movie that the Lone Star Girl had received. After naps, we went to visit my grandad and his family and now we are snug at home, cooking Christmas dinner. Lone Star Pa does have a touch of what I call the male-holiday-malaise (is it only men in my family who invariably get sick on all family holidays?), but otherwise we are having a great Christmas together. I hope you are all snug and happy with your families, too.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Currently Reading...

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate
Gibbon's Decline and Fall by Sheri S. Tepper

Just Finished:
The Gate To Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
The Cradle Robbers by Ayelet Waldman
Singer From The Sea by Sheri S. Tepper

Next: Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich

She Blogs!!!

Mama's so proud! Check out why at:

Tales From Your Pre-Teen Writer

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Last Day...

More intense than all the activities going on at the Lone Star Girl's school yesterday, though, were the emotional good-byes that happened later at the Lone Star Baby's school. It was her last day at the day-care center where she has spent the last 15 months+, since my maternity leave ended when she was 12 weeks old. We are really going to miss her teachers! She is really, really going to miss them!

I feel so bad moving her to a different school. We have had nothing but excellent, amazing care where she is, but I think the babies are really their strong point at that school. If I could keep her with the wonderful, amazingly talented and caring teachers she has now, I would never, ever, ever move her, ever. But I can't. She was scheduled to move up to a different room this week if we had stayed; she would have had to leave her beloved teachers anyway. We don't really know the older rooms' teachers and so it is a good time for her move. Still.

It was hard.

The main thing I am looking forward to at the new Montessori school is that she will have the same teacher until she turns 3, then another teacher who she will have through her kindergarten year, ideally. I think it's better if she doesn't have to love people and then move on from them so often, and they change teachers like every six months in the toddler years at most day-cares. I think this will be better.

She will spend the rest of this week and next home with Lone Star Pa. Then I will take those first few days of January off with her and she will start her new school on the 5th! We keep talking about her visit and she seems excited about it. So much change!

Culture/Multi-Generational/Winter Party Day

Well, the Lone Star Girl's illness was just a fluke, I guess. Although she puked at school and the nurse said her temperature was 100.5 degrees, once she got home she never puked anymore, had no more fever, said she felt fine and spent the day badgering Lone Star Pa to let her go back to school. Yay. So we sent her back the next day, yesterday. I don't think she had truly been sick...probably just overheated.

Yesterday was the fourth grade's "Culture Day". The fourth grade studies Texas and they do a pilot project in which the kids are split into groups and each study one of several main cultures that immigrated to Texas and settled here. The Lone Star Girl is studying Ireland, where most of her maternal ancestors came from to escape famine. (She once asked me if there were any Celtic Queens or Princesses among our ancestresses. I told her no: just a bunch of starving people.) They move to different classrooms to study their chosen cultures, but have also learned a cultural dance in their homerooms. The Lone Star Girl's class learned a French folk dance. Yesterday, all of the children dressed up in the culture they were studying and had a parade in the morning. The Lone Star Girl wore a green and blue plaid dress with a thick sweater over it and a green hat...bit stereotypical perhaps, but she was cute. The different classes then each performed their dances for the rest of the grade and assorted parents and guests.

It was also the day for the class's senior citizen service project. I was in charge of organizing this for the Lone Star Girl's class. I am not good Room Mom material, as I have discussed in a previous post, but I did my best. I focused on activities that would allow kids and seniors to work together at something, rather than the typical kids doing-for thing, because I have learned from our City's Senior Community Services Division that it is important to break down stereotypes that seniors are helpless, etc. I wanted to have a chair volleyball game with the seniors and students, something local seniors from the senior centers do sometimes, but the teacher was really into a book group idea so we went with that. Several senior volunteers came and watched the children's dances, then came to our classroom. They broke into groups with the students and discussed a book they had read for the occasion, and books and reading in general, while having refreshments. Then they did a craft I had organized, making little beeswax ornaments together, so that each child and senior had a momento of the time they spent together. It went pretty well, I thought.

It was also the last day before Winter Break, so all the classes had their winter parties. Each child in the Lone Star Girl's class brought a food from the culture they were studying. It was fun. Busy day....

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bad News for Birthing

An article by Katherine Hobson in a recent issue of U.S. News & World Reports discusses an emerging but not yet common trend in obstetrics - the use of "OB hospitalists" or "laborists" to deliver babies in hospitals. These are OBs employed by hospitals who only attend labors and deliveries in hospitals, meaning that a woman's personal OB/midwife would oversee her prenatal care and this new professional, who she would not meet until she was checked in at the hospital, would attend her birth. The reasons for this trend's emergence stem from strategies being explored to alleviate the exhaustion and overwork that plague the lives of most OBs and that could potentially dull their reflexes in an emergency - good things to be trying to fix. I don't think this is a good way, though. The article quotes a large hospital system's regional administrator of women's heath services expressing that most women don't mind the model because most women see OBs in practices where any OB in the practice, and not the woman's own, might attend her birth anyway. This is sadly true, although in most such practices, a woman at least gets to meet the other OBs if she wants to do so. It is true, but it isn't good.

In more progressive practices, a midwife or OB will give their home number to a woman who expresses preferences about the sort of birth she wants to have so that the attendant can attend the birth whether she or he is on call or not. Also, if they are not going to be available, they will discuss the case with their back-up to see to it that the family's wishes can be respected in their absence. It does not sound like much of this would happen with the new system.

Most U.S. births today occur in ways that stress convenience and lack of legal liability for physicians and hospitals. They do not, unfortunately, stress safety for mothers and babies. Study after study has shown that midwife attended births, which usually are more personalized and occur in the context of a relationship between family and birth attendant and which emphasize natural methods of pain relief and labor progression, rather than over-reliance on less safe chemical and surgical methods, are actually safer births, with better outcomes for mothers and babies alike. Innovations that move mothers more into the hands of hospitals, which specialize in drugs and surgery, are not true progress. We are all glad that hospitals are there with their medicines and surgeries for emergencies, but natural methods, employed by attendants who know a laboring woman and her needs, should be the norm. This trend would just move the norm even further from that ideal.

Poor Left Behind Baby Sister!

I am the eldest of my siblings so that is usually my perspective. It was easy to see the Lone Star Baby's perspective today, though! Poor little thing! One of the Lone Star Girl's neighborhood friends came over to play and the Lone Star Girl ran off with her outside, shutting the front door behind her. The Lone Star Baby stood at the door, crying "Sissy! Sissy!"; it just broke her baby heart that the Big Girls left her behind!

The Lone Star Girl is really a wonderful big sister who spends lots of time with the baby, but not everything a ten-year-old does is conducive to including a baby, of course. Poor little sweetheart. She wants to be big, too!

Wonder Woman!

The Lone Star Baby is quite recovered. When she was feeling puny, I gave her a couple of pieces of modeling beeswax to amuse her. She fashioned one into a bracelet, so I made her a bracelet from the other one, also, and sang "Wonder Woman!" at her while she waved the bracelets on her wrists. I am a Wonder Woman fan myself, and it turned out she just loved this game. Now she goes around the house, with the beeswax on her little wrists, singing "Wonder Woman!" Her dad then played the WW song for her and she was thrilled. Although the Wonder Woman interest comes from me (Lone Star Pa is not into DC characters), my husband is a life-long comic book collector and we have Marvel stuff all over the place. The Lone Star Baby is a long-time fan of Spider-Man, sporting a Spider-Man lunchbox, jacket and new I bought before I realized she could not wear them to her new school!

In an ironic twist of fate, many of the Lone Star Baby's possessions will not be allowed due to the school's policy prohibiting "violent characters", and specifically naming Spider-Man and Hulk, among others. This is ironic because I am the most strict mother I know when it comes to violent media of any kind, including books. I do not allow my children exposure to any violent media before the age of 7, even very high-quality literature like The Chronicles of Narnia books, because I believe children's minds are very absorbent before that time and that they have no filters to prevent them from becoming what they are exposed to in those early years. I do not know anyone else who is as careful about this as I am, so it seems really weird that such a policy, which I fully agree with in principle, would be so inconvenient for us. The Spider-Man and Wonder-Woman that the Lone Star Baby knows are not violent, though. They come from Spider-Man & Friends books about playing frisbee and cuddly dolls and songs that do not show any fighting. Since the Lone Star Baby has never experienced them in a violent context at all and does not know that they are ever portrayed with such a context, I have no problem with them. I will have to comply, though. We'll just have to play dancing super heroes at home!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Coxsackie Christmas

One of the things that was not wonderful about Tuesday night was that, during the concert, the Lone Star Baby nursed right to sleep. I noticed that her cheeks were a bit flushed and her little hands felt a bit warm. Then, when she woke, she watched the whole rest of the concert quietly...very not like her. By the time we got home, she was quite feverish. Both girls have hands that get the hottest when they are feverish (not that the Lone Star Baby has had more than a couple of fevers but I see a pattern) and the Lone Star Baby was shaking her hands at me, saying "hot! hot! hot!" I took her to the doctor yesterday morning and the doctor showed me how raw her little throat was. Sad as it is, we working moms must hope these throat and ear infections are bacterial because that means an antibiotic will likely have them back at school within 24 hours. The swab was negative,'s a virus. The doctor said three or four days. Lone Star Pa and I are tag-teaming it, which we really have to do because of work responsibilities, but I feel terrible when it's my time at work because she wants me. Arar (sad seal sounds).

Choir Chimes Girl

The Lone Star Girl had her first choir chimes concert at the PTA meeting on Tuesday night. She was so excited. They all wore their fancy holiday clothes and looked so festive. Their music teacher had all the choir chimes ensemble in white gloves as well...fancy, fancy. They looked elegant. They played several songs, and the choir and percussion ensemble also played some songs. The Lone Star Girl has just adored being part of this choir chimes ensemble. Her music teacher is amazing...she has put in tons of extra time really developing their music program. It is wonderful. One of the reasons I caved and sent the Lone Star Girl to this GT school, even though I have issues with it being a GT school, is that they have both art and music every single week. Most of the schools have to share art and music teachers with another school and alternate weeks. Did I mention that the Lone Star Girl was excited? Really excited. It was wonderful.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I hung up our stockings last night and this morning. We don't have a fireplace, so we hang them over an interior doorway. Lone Star Pa & I share an "Our First Christmas Together" stocking that my mom gave us the first year that we lived together. The Lone Star Girl has a red and green felt stocking that I personalized for her years ago by cutting out the letters of her name in red felt and gluing them across the top of the stocking. Last night, I cut out glittery red felt letters for the Lone Star Baby's name and a glittery red felt heart and glued them on a small, standard red holiday stocking. I laid it out to dry and hung the other two, then hung the Lone Star Baby's up this morning. Our house is just getting more and more festive!

The Gift of Music: Carolling

We took the Girl Scouts carolling at a nursing home on Friday night. Everyone really seemed to enjoy their singing and when they were finished, the staff asked if they would sing in the Alzheimer's unit, also, so they went over to it and sang their songs again. When they were first-year Brownies and we first took them to sing at a nursing home, they were so shy and afraid. A few years and a few trips of carolling and pet parades later, and they are at ease and gracious. It is good to see them grow in confidence and caring.

School choirs come to sing (and even play recorders!) at City Hall this time of year. It is such a gift to hear their little voices brightening up the halls where public servants work so hard on things that often take so long to come to fruition. Music is one of the nicest things about the holidays, I think.

Monday, December 12, 2005

18 Months: Quantity, Color and Words, Words, Words!

Today, the Lone Star Baby insisted on holding both the leftover cups of milk I had packed for her day in the car on the way to pick up her sister from after-school care. When I went to unbuckle her at her sister's school, she jutted her chin at the cups in turn and said "Two."

The Lone Star Baby started talking about shapes at about a year, but colors have thus far eluded her. Just this week, though, she seems to have figured out pink and blue and likes to go around pointing at things saying "Pink!" or "Bueoooo..."

The Lone Star Girl was a very verbal baby, as well, but it is hard to remember clearly. I really don't think she talked as much as this one does by a long shot. It was fun to keep up with the baby's vocabulary for a few months, but now, I couldn't possibly. It seems to have grown geometrically and I would have to guess it at around 300 words, but I really have no idea. She says "Hestia" (our cat's name), "dinosaur", the names of everyone she knows and their pets if she has met them, she knows that "cold" and "frio" mean the same thing, as well as "wind" and "viento" and uses them correctly. She says not only "tree", but also "bark" and "leaf". She labels shapes, animals, animal sounds, body parts, just about everything she sees or ("airplane!") hears. She employs simple commands like "hold you!","walk!", "outside!", "down!", "all done!", "other one!", "cup!", "milk!", etc. and sometimes softens them with "please" and the occasional "thank you". I'm not being boastful, just...a little dazed, I guess. Life with these small ones is always such an amazement a minute and she is amazing me more than I expected. I thought I was an old hand, already, so she has to teach me different!

First Day Schools Connecting

At our last First Day School meeting, we had received a letter from the children of another First Day School asking us about ourselves. They were concerned for our well-being since we live on the Gulf Coast and wanted to know if they could help us in any kind! They told us about their Meeting and their First Day School and sent us some sunflower seeds to brighten our Meeting. We usually only meet on first and third Sundays, but we had the other child in our First Day School come over last night so we could reply to their letter. The girls thanked them, assured them that we were unharmed and fine and told them about our Meeting and First Day School. They sent them some marigold seeds, some seashells and one of the puzzle books they made. We also planted the sunflower seeds and had dinner. I love it when we get to spend time together like that. Now my head is also spinning with projects we might be able to do that involve more communication with other First Day Schools....

Goblet of Fire

We finally got to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday, as we had our first not-on-the-road, no-house-guest weekend since it came out. I took the Lone Star Girl and my little cousin who is her age. I really liked it. It has been ages since I read the book and I did not remember the story very well, so I had no continuity issues. The girls liked it, too. It was great to see it and great to see our cousin. A fun afternoon!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

First Visit

Today, I left work early and picked the Lone Star Baby up and took her to her first visit at her new school. She starts on January 5th, but I had told them that she is rather slow to warm up so they wanted her to visit her new teacher a couple of times first. It was 4pm, and the other toddlers were already in the after-school area, so she and the teacher had the classroom to themselves. She was more clingy than I had even worried about at first (and I had worried), crying "Mom! Mom!" if I tried to sit even a foot away from her and wanting to be right on top of me. She clearly got that there was something big going on. She did not, however, seem disturbed that la senora spoke to her only in Spanish, which she doesn't understand yet, and from the very beginning, she watched the teacher with intense concentration as she was shown how to feed the fish, water the plant and use several other of the materials in the room. It wasn't very long before she was hooked...there was just so much fascinating stuff in there! And then she warmed right up to her teacher. She became a busy little bee, exploring all the exciting materials. When it was time to go pick up her sister, she didn't want to leave!

Ah, Social Work...

Every year around this time, something happens that makes me question my choice of profession:

I get Christmas cards from the psychiatric hospitals.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Remember When We Believed In Freedom?

When I was a child, there was this nation that we called the Soviet Union. It was huge...spanning from the westernmost part of Eastern Europe into Asia at some places. I was just a kid at the time and I have no way of knowing what life was really like in that country, but I know what our leaders told us it was like. We were told that the government of the Soviet Union spied on its citizens, that people who disagreed with the government got kidnapped by the KGB (their version of the CIA) and "disappeared" to secret prisons. We were told that people were tortured. And you know what? We all agreed that those things were very, very bad. The Soviet Union was The Bad Guys in our estimation because they were thought to do those things which Americans, living in freedom and democracy, deplored. Who are The Bad Guys now? How can we be The Good Guys if we do those things which define Bad to a free people? Young people growing up now don't even remember back when Americans thought that we had a right to privacy and to fair trials. What has happened to us? Do you feel safer than you did four years ago?

Advent Wreath

This tradition is a holdover from my Catholic childhood. For those who are not familiar, it is a wreath with four candles, three purple and one pink, in it. On the first week of Advent, you light one candle every night, on the second week, two, etc., as you wait for Christmas. The pink candle is for the third week to celebrate being almost there! The Lone Star Girl loves to light the candles. Unfortunately, the Lone Star Baby seems to be afraid of fire this year, so I don't think it is going to get much use after all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Advent Calendar

We have a wonderful Advent Calendar that is another of our holiday traditions. It is sturdy enough and designed so that it can be used over and over again...I'm sure we've had it for five or six years already. Each day, you take a little cardboard book out of a recessed pocket in the calendar. Each book has a tiny part of the Christmas story printed and illustrated on its tiny day is about Mary, one about Joseph, one about the Angel Gabriel, etc., until the very last one, on Christmas Eve, is about Baby Jesus. Each little book has a loop of gold thread strung through a hole punched in one corner as well. Each night, the Lone Star Girl takes out the little book for that day and I read it to her and her sister, or she reads it to us, or Lone Star Pa does. Then, the girls hang it on a small "tree" on a little Advent Tree!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Great Books with Winter Holiday Themes for Children

Three Wise Women
by Mary Hoffman

Lone Star
by Barbara Barrie

A Dozen Silk Diapers
by Melissa Kajpust

Too Many Tamales
by Gary Soto

The Winter Solstice
by Ellen Jackson

A Full House
by Madeleine L’Engle

The Gifts of Kwanzaa
by Synthia St. James

What Child Is This?
by Caroline B. Cooney

The Winter Gift
by Deborah Turney Zagwyn

Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas
by Madeleine L’Engle

The American Friends Service Committee Calls for A Just Minimum Wage

The Magi

The Magi are one of our family traditions that the Lone Star Baby is just learning about this year, since she was too little to get around much last Christmas. We have a little Nativity scene that we set up on a bookshelf in the living room during the Christmas season. We set up the stable and put in Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and angels and sheep and a donkey and a cow. We save the Baby Jesus out and put Him in on Christmas Eve. The best part is the Magi, though. We set them up down the hall...Caspar with his camel, Melchior with his black horse and Balthazar with his elephant...and a weird little stuffed camel toy that doesn't really go with the set but which follows them like a stray (sometimes Spiderman and Hulk follow them, too, and then Lone Star Pa and I have to have a little talk). Every day, the Lone Star Girl (and the Lone Star Baby now) moves them one step closer to the bookshelf Bethlehem. They travel until the Feast of Epiphany, when they arrive to give the Christ Child their odd gifts. I love this tradition and so does the Lone Star Girl. Needless to say, there was a lot that the Lone Star Baby was loving about the Nativity scene today. The Lone Star Girl kept trying to take the pieces away from her and put them back in their right places but I let her play with else will she learn the magic? When I was nursing the Lone Star Baby to sleep tonight, Lone Star Pa poked his head into the bedroom and asked why there were only two Wise Men. I held up the Lone Star Baby's hand, in which she clutched Balthazar, and he smiled. They'll all make it to Bethlehem eventually.

Christmas House

We finally got the tree up and the house decorated for Christmas tonight. I am always afraid that we never will and that our busy schedules will rob the children of a festive holiday season. I feel better now...Lone Star Pa found the box that contained the ornaments the children have made...those are the Christmas decorations that matter to me...they mean an incredible lot to me, in fact. So much that I felt furious when he did not at first find them and overwhelmingly relieved when he did. So silly. The Lone Star Girl has made a lot of ornaments over the years and there are even a couple up from the Lone Star Baby now. I love all of the ones they have made. My favorite is the jellyfish ornament that the Lone Star Girl made in Sea-Schoolers class years ago from the bottom of a water bottle, some ribbon and lace. I also am floored by the tin heart that she cut out in art class and punched a design into...those are the very favorites among so many favorites. Now, we can proceed with the holiday traditions and maybe make some more...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

First Day School

The girls (all two of them, the LSG and a wonderful thirteen-year-old who is a marvelous influence on my wild child) finished up the puzzle books we've been making in First Day School today. We've been making them for like a year, because I am such a bad First Day School teacher that we've missed a lot of meetings. Each book has crossword puzzles, word-finds, a maze, a code-cracking puzzle and a word scramble in them, all on Quaker topics, that the girls made themselves. There are ten copies to share with our tiny Meeting and the girls made unique covers for each one. Today they were binding the books, the final step, by punching holes along one side and sewing the books together with yarn. It took longer than we had in the hour that is ours before Meeting starts, so I just had the girls keep sewing them up during Meeting on the other side of the room (our Meeting is so small that we meet in another church's Sunday school classroom instead of having our own Meetinghouse) and I sat and helped them. It was so nice, sitting there with them, the Silence punctuated by the soft clattering of their scissors and the rustle of their papers...the children were like a poem, working there, so quiet, but noisy in contrast to the other adults. I love them.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

School Excitement

I've had the Lone Star Baby on the waiting list to attend the Spanish immersion Montessori program in our town since before she was conceived. It starts at eighteen months, which she will turn in early December, and she is at the top of the waiting list. They had recently told me that she would have to wait to attend until fall as a child was not going to move up into the Children's House until then, but yesterday I got a surprise phone call and it was the Montessori program saying that a child was leaving over the winter break and they would have a space for her after all, if we want it. Now I feel sort of scared and rushed and excited. Changing our routine, expenses, etc. when I had adjusted to the idea of her starting in the fall is throwing me off a little and I would not want to do it if she could stay with her current teacher through May until Lone Star Pa is off for the summer. She would have to move up to a different room at her current school at winter break time anyway, though, so it may be the right time. I hate to think of upheaving her, but changing rooms will be an upheaval, too...I just don't know.