Friday, July 31, 2009

July Preschool/Primary Pick: Runaway Marie Louise by Natalie Savage Carlson

I hesitate to choose this book, that we own second-hand from my younger siblings, as one of my picks because it includes a spanking and spanking is a practice of which I strongly disapprove. It is a sweet and funny book except for that, though, and the Lone Star Baby has recently declared it one of her Three Favorite Books, so I just had to pick it anyway. Marie Louise is a mongoose who gets a spanking from her mama after a day of rather extreme naughty hijinks. She decides that her mother doesn't love her anymore (See?! Spanking is bad!) and runs away to find a new mama. All the other animal mothers have their hands full, however, and she eventually realizes that her mother does love her (questionable discipline practices aside) after all after her mother runs away from a home that doesn't include Marie Louise. They run away home together for a happy ending. I clearly remember reading this book to my siblings and enjoy the nostalgia. My favorite parts are the peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches and Christophe's mother's tail tizzies. I also like the witch toad who says that runaways learn their lessons too slowly. The Lone Star Baby loves this book, but she thinks Marie Louise is very naughty. I think her mother is naughty, but none of us are perfect, after all.

Back To School Shopping: Check

I'm done. I got school supplies, a rolling backpack (for those two-mile walks home - thank you, Transportation), shoes and new jeans for the Lone Star Girl. All she still needs is a couple of the new school t-shirts, but they aren't for sale yet. The Lone Star Baby's Montessori charges a supply fee so she doesn't really need anything like that except for a new zipper folder for stuff to come home in and I got that. Her backpack and lunchbox are still good and she's good on shoes and clothes. Am done.

Of course, once the Lone Star Girl starts school, she will get another list, the one that includes the expensive calculator. But for that, we must wait...

Got Smooshed

Last summer when I went for my annual pelvic exam, the nurse-midwife I see suggested a baseline mammogram, as she likes to get a baseline on everyone sometime before 40 and I was then 36 pushing 37. I said okay but that the LSB was still nursing and I wasn't therefore sure that it would be a very good baseline. I had a mammogram about a decade ago when the LSG was a nursing three-year-old and I felt an interesting string shape in one boob - the long and short of it was that it was just one of those harmless mysteries of the lactating breast, but everyone from the OB/GYN to the radiology techs to the radiologist had no real clue how to interpret what they were seeing in a lactating breast (sad, just sad). My nurse-midwife agreed we should wait so when I went to this year's annual on Monday, I told her that the LSB weaned three or four months ago and she had me get scheduled for my baseline mammogram, which was today. I was a little worried that it might still be too soon for the mysteries of lactation to have fully wafted away, but the tech said she could see well. It's so weird not to be a nursing mother anymore. Making milk was my super-power. I almost don't know who I am...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July YA Pick: The Hoopster Triology by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

The Hoopster Trilogy by Alan Lawrence Sitomer is my July YA Pick (and it is definitely YA and should be read by only middle schoolers and older, not upper elementary kids, due to violence). This trilogy is made up of three books: The Hoopster, Hip-Hop High School and Homeboyz, all books which focus on different siblings in the Anderson family. In The Hoopster, Andre, the oldest, has things all together. He is a basketball legend in his neighborhood and has an internship in journalism. When an article he writes receives critical acclaim, he becomes a victim of racial violence and must overcome both his injuries and his fear and bitterness to reclaim his life. In Hip-Hop High School, Andre's little sister Theresa, or T.A., has matured into a young woman who prioritizes her education and works hard, but is still excited by the rhythm of high school. She finds a friend who supports her in pursuing her goals but has to help him when tragedy strikes. In Homeboyz, the smartest of the Anderson kids, Teddy, a true genius, coolly and methodically plots revenge when his youngest sister is killed in gang-related shooting. He has to decide if a young boy he meets, who is on the road to a short life in a street gang, is worth choosing another path. All three of these books are vivid and dramatic looks into obstacles and strengths of young people trying to find their way in a rough world.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Butterfly Project: Butterflies Away!

By Saturday evening, all five of our butterflies (wow!) had successfully emerged from their cocoons and were flying actively around the butterfly home. We wanted to encourage them to stick around our butterfly garden long enough to lay some eggs so we dipped some more red carnations in sugar water (which is we had been using to feed the butterflies, along with some orange halves) and scattered them around the butterfly garden.

Then we brought the butterfly home out to the butterfly garden and the Lone Star Baby unzipped the door and tried to coax a painted lady out on an orange half. They weren't interested in the oranges, but two flew out pretty quickly.

The other three took their time about leaving.

We put a branch of the Texas Lantana into the home to encourage them to leave into the plant. The kids lost interest before the last butterflies made their exit, and the painted ladies seemed to fly right away, so I don't know if we'll get any caterpillars, but we'll see. We did put the leaves that we had placed in the home with them into the garden in case they already had eggs on them and I did see one painted lady flying around later in the evening.

It was very cool.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cousin Camp 2009

The third annual installment of Cousin Camp proved difficult to schedule this summer, between bills and car problems and the various schedules involved. After several attempts at arranging transportation fell short, we all had to settle for a long weekend of Cousin Camp while transporting relatives frolicked at the beach, but we vowed to do better next year between us. Abbreviated it may have been, but Cousin Camp was still fun.

The Lone Star Niece arrived Thursday night and met the guinea pigs and the butterflies. We went out to dinner, read stories and went to bed. On Friday morning, the Lone Star Niece and the Lone Star Girl made muffins while the Lone Star Baby had her swim lesson. Then we all went to North Beach and the pool at the condos where the relatives were staying and to lunch with them before heading home. At home, after showers all around, las primas relaxed with guinea pigs, movies and games and backyard fun, then dinner and stories and bed.

On Saturday, we went out for brunch, then went to the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens to view the decorated lawn flamingos of Flamingo Fandango. The girls liked the mermaid one, the wedding ones and the butterfly catcher one. A staffer was also showing kids a snake to pet. The Lone Star Niece, who has veterinary aspirations, was game, but the Lone Star Baby declined by hiding behind her father. We then traveled on to the Science and History Museum for the Saturday Treasure Hunt and a leisurely afternoon of museum enjoyment. The Lone Star Niece even convinced the Lone Star Baby not to be scared of the dinosaur wing anymore. We then traveled home for playtime and dinner and released the butterflies (more on that later). Then we headed out to the seawall to take in the Voyage model of the solar system in the cool of evening, con raspas. After making it all the way to Pluto and back, we walked around the t-heads a bit and looked at the boats before heading home for stories and bed.

Today, after breakfast, we went to the beach, out on the island, and then came back and got cleaned up. The girls made their Cousin Camp t-shirts and we read some stories and they played inside and outside. They made little pizzas for dinner and cleaned up their toys. The little primas watched movies and played games at home for a bit with Lone Star Pa while the Lone Star Girl and I snuck out for our Sunday night sign-holding appointment and then we read some more after I got home and now they are in bed. Tomorrow morning, the Lone Star Niece goes home. We will miss her!

Mothers And Others Against Las Brisas

Another Sunday night protest - bit by bit the group grows. Lots of passers-by showed evident approval of our viewpoint and a couple of news stations came out. Join us next Sunday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Butterfly Project: Butterflies!

These painted ladies seem to be metamorphosizing more quickly than our kit led us to believe they would! Two butterflies have already emerged! The Lone Star Baby put some seeds from our Texas Lantana from the butterfly garden in the butterfly home in case they decide to lay eggs before we release them. She put some orange halves and red carnations dipped in sugar water in the butterfly home for them drink from. Very cool to see them in there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Upon getting out of the car:

Me: Please put the towel over your car seat, Honey.

LSB: It's like a curtain that opens and closes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Butterfly Project: Chrysalides and A Garden!

The caterpillars have formed their chrysalides. All five of them have made it this far. Our kit said that when they had all formed chrysalides, it was time to remove he paper disk at the top of the cup that they had attached themselves to and pin it somewhere on the bottom inside of the butterfly home, which we did. One of the chrysalides had fallen off of the disk already before they were all ready so we just set it on the floor of the butterfly home. It is still alive so we will see. Another looks kind of funny, so we'll see about that one, too.

We also planted a butterfly garden with plants that painted lady larvae eat. We are hoping that if we release the butterflies in the plants, they will lay their eggs there and we will be able to find the caterpillars and raise some more - we'll see if it works!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Today is the 40th anniversary of humanity's first steps on the moon. Exciting stuff. What vast distances will our little ones cross in the service of humanity and for the greater glory of God? Who can know?

Our explorations last week started with the beach day on Tuesday and ended with space on Saturday. We also did some exploring at the library on Friday when the Lone Star Baby played the annual Library Game, a scavenger hunt through the library of sorts, to celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Club.

On Saturday, the Voyage exhibit opened in our sparkling city, in honor of the moonwalk anniversary. Permanent (lovely) stanchions were erected along the seawall proportionately representing the solar system in size and distance. There were stanchions for the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, the asteroid belt (including Ceres), Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Each stanchion has a representation of its celestial body in proportion to the sun's representation and each stanchion includes a display with information about that part of the solar system. It's really cool. We went to the ribbon cutting and the first walking tour, led by an astrophysicist named "Dr. Jeff" from the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. He was quite fascinating and it was a great tour, but it was also really hot to be walking that far - we will have to go back in the evenings when it is cool. The sea wall is a very scenic vista for the exhibit, as well as long enough - it's rather perfect. There are soon going to be brochures available with challenges and activities that you can use the information on the stanchions to accomplish - it sounds wonderful! We are the fourth city to get this installation and I think ours is the prettiest.

After the tour, there were space activities at the Museum of Science and History and we explored the museum during its Saturday scavenger hunt. At night, there was another space lecture by Dr. Jeff at Flour Buff High School followed by telescope viewing in the parking lot. A very cool space day!

Beach Baby

Mothers And Others Against Las Brisas!

Last night's demonstration was the best attended one yet. Corpus Christi really doesn't want Las Brisas - if only our elected representatives would represent us!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Portuguese Man O' War To Nipple

I've had more fun at the beach, but I'm fine now. Could have been a lot worse. And before that was lovely.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Butterfly Project

The Lone Star Baby's caterpillars arrived in the mail today. We're going to raise painted lady butterflies!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Penelope - Guinea Pig #4

Yes, I am a sucker, but look how cute this baby guinea pig is! I have told the girls that four is our limit and am sticking to that. Honest.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sewing Camp

The Lone Star Girl is spending mornings this week at the Singer store where she and some other kids are learning some sewing. After this week's camp and taking next week off, she is going to have one two-hour class per week for three more weeks and then she'll have one per month on Saturday afternoons during the school year. She got all into it when her theatre teacher taught them sewing this past school year and now it is really her thing. I am very proud of her and excited that one person in this family will be able to sew!

First Day School Field Trip

Took the big girls to the local synagogue to visit with a Rabbi who kindly spoke with us about Judaism for an hour and half until we had quite run out of questions. He was so nice and informative.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Corpus Christi Parks And Recreation Budget

I am also quite concerned about this. Deep budget cuts have been suggested which could cause the elimination of programming that families depend on - especially summer programming which many working families need desperately when school is out.

Council Comment

Went briefly to today's City Council Meeting and spoke during the public comment period about how worried I am about the pollution that Las Brisas would cause hurting my daughter and the other children in our community with asthma and allergies. I found myself pretty emotional - not in an angry way or anything; I am really feeling the love for my adversaries lately - but just in a deep supplication. The Council was very polite and respectful - I hope they didn't just write me off as some over-emotional woman, as some people will. I am a very emotional woman but my depth of feeling comes from an informed place. I think they know that. Hope so. They all seemed to know me, which surprised me - it has been over three years since I worked for the City and I was only a low-level manager when I did. I wonder if they really remember me or if they have noticed my e-mails and writings on this issue. It would be great to believe that they have really been paying attention. Onward ho.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing you watermelon, red-white-and-blue berry shortcakes and the freedoms encompassed in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Comic Book Geek Adventure Day

Wednesday is generally Comic Book Day in this house, because Wednesday is the day that new books come out at the comic book stores, an important event in the lives of Lone Star Pa and the Lone Star Girl. One learns these things by living with them, people.

Today is an even bigger deal, though, because today is the day that Lone Star Pa's hero, Captain America, is supposed to be reborn (or re-reborn or re-re-reborn) - everybody say ooooooooooohhhh. The Lone Star Girl is actually more into the fact that a character in the Runaways series she favors
(not to be confused with the erstwhile pioneering all-girl rock 'n' roll band of the same name that she also favors) is also supposed to come back. So. A big day for them.

The Lone Star Girl had two medical appointment sorts of things today. I took her to the first one, but then came home and traded children with Lone Star Pa who took her to the next (just an allergy shot), and then on to get their precious comic books. They should now be en route to see that Wolverine movie at the discount cinema before swim practice.

I hope they are having a nice, geeky time. They deserve it.