Texas Tradition

Anyone living in Texas who is not a Native Texan can tell you that Texas is a unique place. It's no secret that many Texans take special pride in simply being born here. Texas soaps, cheese and dishes made into the shape of Texas are readily available at the 7-11 or HEB. You can even grill Texas shaped Bubba burgers on a Texas shaped grill. It doesn't matter if you were born in Houston or El Paso; Lubbock or San Antonio, you are a full-blooded Texan and always will be. Anyone else is a transplant if you've come to your senses and are now living here, or just plain unlucky or ignorant if you're not. There are also certain Texas traditions one is expected to participate in once living here in order to gain full acceptance. I don't advertise that I have yet to eat dinner at the Salt Lick, a venerable Austin institution. Nor have I applauded the sunset at the Oasis. Knowledge of these failures on my part might cost me more than one friend. We have been to Eeyore's Birthday Party which really should count as extra points in our favor.

By far my favorite Texas Tradition is the annual bluebonnet photo. Of course the flowers are pretty and it is nice to see all the wildflowers blooming in fields and along the roadside. What I love best about this tradition is that it takes place about the same time every year and has become a wonderful way to see how much Big E and Little A change from year to year. I love looking at Little A's first bluebonnet picture as a fat little baby laid on his white blanket among the blue flowers compared to the mischeivous boy we have to physically restrain from crushing through the patch like a steamroller. Or Big E's first bluebonnet pic shortly after we moved here when she was only 18 months old. I remember taking that picture in a churchyard along Ranch Road 12 leading into Wimberley as cars streamed into the small town for Wimberley Market Days.

While visiting Bubble Boy's relatives in Belgium a couple of years ago I noticed several photos of his aunt and uncle's three children on the wall. Each photograph showed his cousins costumed for Three Kings Day and spanned about 15 years. Seeing those small children grow into big kids and then young adults makes one appreciate how brief childhood really is. Now I'll have a wall like that some day and it makes me so happy.

We're Boozy Friends

Yesterday started out as one of those days stay-at-home-moms the world over know as "sick days". Not me...No, that might mean that I could rest and recover. No guarantees on that but at least the possibility would exist. Little A woke up at 2 am, comes to loom over my bed (do you recall the mattress on the floor?) with the fateful "my tummy hurts" immediately followed with wretching sounds (remember how he's looming OVER me?). It's a sad testament to say that it could've, and has, been much worse as these are not the glamorous pictures motherhood was advertised to be when I was being recruited.

I decided to make the most of the situation and get caught up, dare I say, ahead of the game by tackling those neglected tasks that stack up but just never seem to get completed. I've come to realize that these feelings are merely part of many myths that have been well propagated by the likes of Martha Stewart and Kelly Ripa who prey upon the inadequacies they conjure in those of us who can't keep up. But I was sleep-deprived just enough to be lulled into a false sense of competence and wrote out a list of things to accomplish so I could cleverly and smugly check things off said list as they were completed.

As 4 pm rolled around and one task sported the happy little check mark, I sat amid the piles of other uncompleted jobs and started wondering what I could possibly feed the family for dinner. Surely I couldn't sneak oatmeal by them again without at least one comment from Bubble Boy along the lines of "Breakfast for dinner...again...how clever!".

Then I got The Call. The Call that comes only rarely for if it came more often than say, every 10 years or so, it would lose it's special status. But of all days, it came yesterday. Those of you who check out my recommended reading list or have listened to me snort and laugh about some of my favorite books may know that I have grown to loooove David Sedaris. I share this love with my friend and neighbor, KT. Lucky for me, she is a paper-reader. The stars lined up, the cards fell into place, some good deed from the past paid off a hundred-fold. A sold-out show for David Sedaris had TWO SEATS available! TWO SEATS! Not just any two seats, but right up there looking into the whites of his eyes. I don't recall being so excited to see a show EVER and he was just as funny, witty, precious and clever as I could have dreamed. My tear-streaked cheeks hurt from laughing. Plus, after stammering over myself actually SPEAKING to the man (I actually said WORDS to him and I think he spoke back), I came home with a signed copy of NAKED and I am honored to say that I am now officially David Sedaris' "Boozy Friend".


Fun Tidbit

The FDA allows an average of 30 or more insect fragments and one or more rodent hairs per 100 grams of peanut butter.

Given that peanut butter & honey sandwiches sustained me for a good couple of years while my kiddos were toddlers, I'm guessing I've eaten enough cockroaches and mice to start a new sewer colony. Yum!


Ready, set, ADD!

Last Saturday morning.

6:30 am. Wake-up. Agony.

7:30 am. Frantically load family into car. Drive across town to activity center inexplicably built in the middle of the middle of nowhere.

9:00 am - 2:00 pm. Me: Supervise Ramrod. I know what you're thinking and it's not like that at all - remember this is a FAMILY event. Get your mind out of the gutter. It is, instead, a Math Pentathlon game that I was roped into supervising at the all-day Math Pentathlon tournament in which Big E was a participant. It was actually not the Death by Torture I'd been expecting and was much better than sitting around all day on bleachers (have they always been made out of harder-than-steel composite material?).

9:00 am - 2:00 pm. Big E: Busy winning every game she played. By the end of the day she'd earned herself a spot in the 2007 Math Pentathlon Hall of Fame. It will look great on her college applications, I'm sure. Way to go, Big E. Although, I don't know how the Math Pentathlon Powers That Be think they're ever going to get television coverage without a swimsuit competition. Slackers.



Pictured here as the lovely Carole Keeton McKlellan Strayhorn, former Texas Comptroller and 2006 candidate for governor (also mother to Scott McKlellan, former press secretary under GW). TRACEY JACKSON is also known as "my friend who doesn't cook much", for whom I made the batch of scones and prompted me into my L'il Brunchy thing. TRACEY JACKSON never forgets anything, provides witty and intelligent commentary on a multitude of subjects, can always be counted on for current home values in the 'hood and among the rich and famous in Austin, and is a deadly Trivial Pursuit opponent. A Trivial Pursuit Samurai, if you will. TRACEY JACKSON brought to my attention that I had negligently overlooked a post dedicated to her and I thank her dearly for giving me the opportunity to right such wrong! Thank you TRACEY JACKSON!

Butterfly Kisses

Little A joined his class on a field trip to Wild Connections Butterfly Farm today and had great fun exploring nature and feeding a butterfly up close and personal. We DO really like this preschool and I have to keep reminding myself that it has a great and unique curriculum because his teacher (she was also Big E's preschool teacher), to put it in classic Ms. T style (meaning 'blunter than a crack on the head with a mallet'), is abrasive. I know that's too many parentheses in one sentence, but cut me some slack; I'm just venting here- Punctuation shouldn't count, against me: when I'm just trying to pour out! my feelings/

It's a long story that I won't try to recount, but the one recurring theme in all her communications to me about Little A, basically boils down to her suggestion that he needs more hugs and love at home. Little A receiving more hugs will solve everything in Ms. T's life apparently. Now, I agree, for a lot of kids, hugs and love will accomplish a lot. But first off, Little A is by no stretch of the imagination a problem kid. He's actually quite easy-going and has typical 4 year old boy issues (remember the Stunt Man entry a couple of days ago?). Secondly, he's the Lover of the family. Always up for a cuddle, a squeeze, a lap sit, a hug or a kiss, the kid rarely goes 3.5 minutes without some sign of affection given or taken. If he got much more love at home, someone would probably turn us in for other issues. So, that leaves me believing, especially after today's field trip, that it is actually Ms. T who needs more hugs and love. Any volunteers?


Fütball Mom

It sounds so much more chic, glamourous and oh-so-European to say "Fütball Mom" as opposed to the über cliché, "soccer mom", so I'm going to go with that. This is our first spring of having both Little A and Big E on soccer teams so our Saturdays (and the occasional Sunday) have been filled with running from here to there getting the kids to the right field at the right time in the right uniform (trying....not always succeeding - sorry, Coach C).

Big E's team, the Firebolts (one of the few girl's teams that isn't the "Pretty Ponies" or "Princesses are Pretty" teams), has a great line-up and the games have gotten much more exciting in the past couple of seasons. They are actually starting to realize that this is a Team sport, as opposed to a mass of girls fighting each other for a chance to land a ball in a net. She's come a long way since she was the girl standing on the opposite side of the field from where the action was happening watching her doggy-ears bounce up and down in the shadows and picking flowers.

Little A really wanted to be on a soccer team starting about, oh, four years ago. He's never met a ball he didn't love and feel the need to master. So, when we got the notice they were taking 4 year olds, we were all over it. He's a Jaguar now and the only 4 year old on his team. Smaller and not quite as fast as the other kids (they're all 5 going on 6!), he holds his own. He can stiff-arm and foul inconspicuously with the best of 'em. I especially love it when he's slightly bumped how he throws himself on the ground as if he's been knocked down by a Pittsburgh Steeler. Dramatics get the ref's attention. Next season they'll start working on the Fake and Take where one kid fakes a seizure while the other kids score goal after goal. It's all about strategy people.