Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Environmental Reader

When the Lone Star Girl was in kindergarten, her teacher liked to talk a lot about "environmental reading".  She meant stuff like recognizing the logo of certain golden-arched colonialist establishments and things of that nature when out and about.  She was disturbed that the Montessori-preschooled LSG's immediate label for a letter was its sound rather than it's name (but she can read, I'd say).  I was a little underwhelmed by the teacher's enthusiasm for "environmental reading" as the Lone Star Girl entered kindergarten reading at around second-grade level and left kindergarten reading at "right where she should be for the end of kindergarten".  I mean, that's a fine place to be at the end of kindergarten, of course - right where you should be - but not if you went backwards to get there.  Fortunately, by the end of first grade, she had discovered those saccharine Magic Treehouse books and she was hooked on reading again.

I am seeing a whole different kind of "environmental reading" with the Lone Star Baby and I love this kind.  Suddenly, over the past few weeks, she has started reading everything she sees around her - signs, labels, every piece of writing in her path.  She read "a world of opportunity" on a sign at the credit union the other day.  She took the (Spanish!) storybook her teacher was reading and finished reading it for the class on another day last week when her teacher had to take care of something.  I see her little finger tracing words and hear her voice sounding them out everywhere we are.  It's so exciting!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Opting Out, Please!

Today, the news has been saying that the Big Controversial Public Option that Senator Reid has boldly included in the merged heath care reform bill...allows states to opt out.  

Great.  Just great.

Our governor is what we here in South Texas like to call batsh*t-crazy and often suggests that Texas just may secede from the Union (can you say "treason"?) to avoid federal laws, so...that's just going to be great for us here in the Lone Star State, I bet. 

Did I mention that we have more uninsured people in Texas than in any other state in the Union?

Pitcher Plant

We've been plagued by flies and mosquitos lately.  This weekend at the store, I saw a little display of carnivorous plants.  There were, alas, no venus flytraps, which look the coolest, but I got a pitcher plant for the Lone Star Baby and brought it home.  She is watching it closely.

Long Day

Our school was without lights from around 12:15 through the end of the school day yesterday in the storms - and there are not a lot of windows in the floor plan. It was dark.  Exciting stuff.

Then last night we had our first Cadette Girl Scout field trip of the year - to dinner at a restaurant and to a bookstore.  Their choice for their rededication "ceremony".  It was fun.  I kept hounding them  to "stay with their buddy" and I asked them if they needed first aid in the bookstore (just to be silly).  Not exactly camping, but fun and they did get some practice managing their troop money.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sewing Machine!

I finished paying for the sewing machine that the Lone Star Girl is getting for her birthday this weekend!  I've had it on layaway since the summer - my first experience with layaway.  I'm so excited!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Horrors

Know what's really scary in Corpus Christi this October?  The prospect of Las Brisas being built on our port.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Seed Science

The Lone Star Baby and I spent some time outside looking at butterflies and collecting rain tree seed pods and such early this evening.  It seems to be the time of year for butterflies and moths around here - even the mariposas monarchas, as the LSB says, which are migrating through today.  We ended up on our porch steps picking apart seed pods from our young mimosa tree and looking at the seeds.  Some seeds had holes in them and the Lone Star Baby was sorting the seeds into piles depending on whether or not they had holes in them.  Picking apart one seed pod, I found our likely culprit - a patch of webbing and a tiny spider inside one pod.  We determined that the spider was making the holes in the seeds, either eating through them or laying eggs in them.  The Lone Star Baby then hypothesized that the seed pods with holes in them were the ones that would contain seeds with holes in them.  She then opened only seed pods with no holes in them and, sure enough, the seeds inside were all whole.  Ah, learning.


Our days have been crazy-busy lately.  Today looks especially packed:
  • Dropping the Lone Star Girl off at a sewing lesson (thank heavens Jazz is picking her up for me)
  • Soccer game at 10am
  • Drive-through H1N1 vaccine for Lone Star Baby at Health Dept. after soccer and before 1pm
  • Daisy Girl Scout pumpkin patch field trip (first Daisy field trip!) at 2pm
  • Taking Project Undercover donations to Child Protective Services at 4pm
And the girls somehow have to eat lunch before the field trip.  And there's probably something wrong with my car ...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pet Cemetary

There's a new little concrete slab next to the old one that marks the final resting place of erstwhile hermit crabs Io and Titan.  This one marks the resting place of the two mice Psyche and Iris, who the LSG found dead in their cage a short while ago today (Iris mostly eaten - yuck).  The Lone Star Girl is sad.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lone Star Baby Day

I sort of avoided the Lone Star Baby as much as I could this past week, because I was sick with what seemed to be a miserable cold (no fever), but ... you never know these days, right?  One worries.  So much of her care was given over to Lone Star Pa as I kept my distance.  I missed her.

I felt significantly better by Thursday and was ready to consider myself well on Friday, so we had our lovely Daisy Girl Scout meeting.  Then, today was very much a Lone Star Baby day.   She had the first part of the Athena test (the Naglieri part) this morning at 8am so we were up and out early.  That went well and we came home and got ready for soccer.  We had team pictures at 11 today and a game at 12.  The Lone Star Girl and I went out for lunch after soccer while she went home with LSP for a bit but then the Lone Star Baby and I went to see Where The Wild Things Are ( the LSG had a movie of her own to see with friends who came over afterward).  After the movie, we came home and made pomanders and painted little pumpkins.  Then she ate dinner and we tried to play some Sleeping Queens but she was in a rather too silly mood for much of that.  Then it was bedtime and Charlotte's Web.  

Doesn't exactly make up for a week, but it was nice.  I still owe her a raspa tomorrow, too, either before or after First Day School.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Little Reader

This morning, the Lone Star Baby saw a sign I had prepared for the Daisy GS meeting tonight and I heard her sounding it out and then.... she read the words "Project Undercover"!  I was really surprised to hear her reading such big words.  I'm so proud of her!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Social Studies TEKS Revisions

Have I mentioned that the State Board of Education thinks that our schoolchildren do not get enough about dead white guys in the social studies curriculum?  I mean, there are a few, like, women and minorities in the TEKS and do you know there is not even a mention of Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh?  I know... shocking. 

I kid you not, people.  The SBOE really seems to think that way.  Because apparently teaching the kids even more about dead white guys is really going to get them excited about being citizens and learning and stuff.  Forget about Cesar Chavez ... they'll relate to Rush.  Right....

This topic is going to take a whole article.  Look for it soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Red Tide

Blech.  Algal blooms sounds so nice...

October Preschool/Primary Pick: One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin

This month's pick for the picture book set is Kathryn Lasky's One Beetle Too Many:  the extraordinary adventures of Charles Darwin.  This book, filled with charming illustrations, gives a much-simplified, but still extremely long and detailed, overview of Mr. Darwin's life from his youth as a messy little born naturalist to his old age, still messing around with bugs and barnacles.  The book does not shy from controversy, even as it simplifies.  It is an inspring story for the little naturalist in your life.

Monday, October 12, 2009


The Lone Star Baby's school had a half-day on Friday, so Lone Star Pa took the day off so he could pick her up at 11:30, and he spent the morning while she was at school at the health department, registering her to get one of the first 500 doses of H1N1 vaccine that are expected to be available there soon for kids aged 2-5 who are not in the public schools.  We have all had our regular flu shots already.  Lone Star Pa showed up an hour early and there were already quite a few people there, he said.  He got her registered, though, and they are supposed to call us to tell us when to come in.  Schoolchildren and staff are supposed to be vaccinated in the schools, but we don't know when.  I hope it's soon.  So many people are sick already.  I have a "cold" that I hope (as I pack everyone's lunches) is just a cold - no fever, so that's promising.  Actually, I still suspect that the LSG and I may have had the swine flu last spring when we had that terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-month-long illness, and we didn't have fever then either.  Who knows? 

I also hope that the schools will have a non-live injection version of the vaccine as well as the mist kind.  It is my understanding that the attenuated mist is not good for people with asthma like the Lone Star Girl, although it is more effective.

Someone apparently recognized Lone Star Pa on Friday from his days as a production guy in local news, because the news channel he used to work for back in the day called him and they are in our yard interviewing him about the vaccine now.  Interesting. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pumpkin Patch!

The Lone Star Girl says this one needs someone to love it:


Pumpkin sisters:

This one!

 Gourd Baby!

So tiny!

Beautiful pumpkin girl:

Pumpkin wagon:

Home again:


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Apple Doll

The Lone Star Baby and I finished the apple doll (dried and carved apple face, craft sticks, yarn, felt, stickers) for our nature table. It was fun.

Monday, October 05, 2009


We are finally getting some rainy days around here. I am afraid we have fallen predictably behind on checking our rain gauge and only remember sometimes, but it is still fun!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Daisy Girl Scouts

We had the first meeting of our Daisy Girl Scout troop on Friday evening. Those little Daisy Girl Scouts are so much fun! (And our Cadette Girl Scout helped, with a friend from her troop.)

Texas Familes Go Hungry But Texas May Lose Food Stamp Program Due To Inadequate Staffing

Texas has the highest rate of hungry children in the U.S., but one third of Texas families who apply for food stamps do not receive their benefits on time. Errors in processing are seen in 1 out of 6 applications, according to Texans CARE For Children. The Health and Human Services Commission simply cannot keep up with the state's need for food stamps during this economic downturn. The Health and Human Services Commission has requested 650 more staff members across the state to meet the need for services by our state's impoverished families but the Legislative Budget Board says no. Even though the feds say that Texas may lose its food stamp program if the delays and errors in the application process are not corrected.

Please contact Governor Perry's office at (512) 463-2000 and ask him to approve the staffing request and to have the Health and Human Services Commission change the eligibility period from six months to a year, to decrease the paperwork in this time of extreme need.

The hungry children of Texas need us to speak for them.

Zonas Polares

Out of the blue of her swirling little bright mind, the Lone Star Baby looked up at us today and said:

There are two zonas polares - the North Pole and the South Pole. And there is no land to really walk around on at the North Pole but there is land at the South Pole. Two zonas polares.

Indeed. I wonder that no kid has piped up about Santa yet during that lesson...

Friday, October 02, 2009