Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Quote of the entire weekend, overheard at the soccer fields by a mom with relatively big hair for Austin (which wouldn't have even earned a second look in Dallas):

"Did y'all have trouble gettin' through 'Buddah'? We sure did. Apparently they're havin' some kind of wild animal festival {imagine flailing, blingy hands for emphasis}, and there were critters runnin' around all over the place when we were tryin' to get here!"

Dear Out-of-Town Visitor -
Ummm, first of all, it's pronounced /'bew duh/, and second of all, those are chihuahuas, not critters. That is all. -Me 

What a weekend! Every April, my sweet little town hosts an event called The Wiener Dog Races which is exactly as exotic and awesome as it sounds - long dogs with short legs being celebrated (ad nauseum), released from chutes, raced among the nation's finest, and awarded for their steadfast running skills...while Great Danes and Mastiffs turn up their grandiose noses and roll their eyes in sheer disgust at the lackluster excuses for bedtime snacks, as if to say, "Please try harder to adequately provide for us at next year's reaping, won't you, fine people?"

It's a county fair of sorts, and even the retired racers are still honored in grand style. This one, for example, made an appearance in a box with a legit turny thing and working pop-up lid. This was one of many, but I loved how pleased the dog and the owners were with this particular contraption.

It's kind of like the Mardis Gras of Buda (without beads), and it is, without a doubt, Jay's Super Bowl. Some of us like to people watch, some of us like to sports watch; Jay prefers to dog watch. She oooo's and awwwww's and begs for new puppies -- each year with a newly mustered zeal that completely overpowers that of the last.

A big event like this was also a great opportunity to fund raise for our amazing DI teams. They have been working so hard to earn money to go to Globals at the end of May. When your ex-husband's parents buy a lot smack dab in the middle of the Wiener Dog fun, what better thing to do than to plop a lemonade stand on it? That's exactly what we did, and even though, in true Texas fashion, the weather went from cool and misty to steamy hot, back to misty, and finally straight to broil (all in a matter of 36 hours), we persevered. We endured. We raised money. We made sure none of it...not even the $1's...were counterfeit.

These kids worked so hard! Their moms are some of my dearest friends, and I feel lucky that we are all in this together. The beauty of a small town is that everyone brings their kids and their kids' friends, and the kids want to help, and the kids are your neighbors and some of them are your previous neighbors (and how is Lauren already in 7th grade?), or they were in Mrs. So-and-So's class together last year, and it truly becomes everybody's goal to sell lemonade and all those delicious, buttery sweet treats that Roxie made.

And in the end, you remember exactly why you wanted to make sure to move away from Austin and into the small town life before your children started school because of all this. 

All of it. 

Small town charm is one of my most fond memories growing up, and I wanted this environment so badly for my girls. This weekend, I realized, for maybe the millionth time this year, that we are smack dab in the middle of every wonderful bit of it!!

As if all of this weren't enough to officially call a great weekend a great weekend, no Wiener Dog Weekend would be complete without a pot-bellied pig sighting, and no pot-bellied pig sighting would be an official one if I didn't invite it (and it's owner) into the lot that my ex-husband's parents bought for said ex to plop a BBQ stand up and sell sandwiches while his daughters sold cold glasses of sugary lemonade and oodles of Roxie's sweet treats.

Obviously there would only be one reason (and a very important reason at that) for me to inconvenience a man and his very tired pot-bellied pig (named Lulu) enough to come all the way into the lot for a simple photo opportunity, and obviously I am still giddy and thrilled with the sheer awesomeness of the final image.

Here it is, in all of its glory.

While the pig photo was hands-down the pinnacle of my weekend, there was also one other quote that almost topped the list, was beat out by the critter comment, and instead received the high nod of honorable mention.

"Honey, git in here. They've got beer! Let's stay for awhile, okay?" 
~Lulu's owner, to his wife (who proceeded to eat a pulled pork sandwich right in front of Lulu)

In case you're interested in supporting my daughter and her fabulous team, we have a Go Fund Me page that is helping us finance this trip!

Pigs, pork, and peace, y'all...

Burning Questions

Friday, April 18, 2014

Why is there a meal worm named Mae living in my house right now, and why did Cee tell me it's going to turn into a rather large green beetle and then explode and look like salsa?

Will that really happen?

Why does Browning still find new ways to break into his food supply?

And if he's smart enough to continually keep me on my toes in the dog-food-rationing department, why does he flip out when the bag of dog food gets stuck on his head?

What causes some people to have OCD? I don't have it, and it's difficult for me to understand. A little girl in my class told me yesterday, "Ms. Henry, my CDO is in overdrive right now." I said, "What is CDO?" She said, "Oh, most people call it OCD, but I like to keep things alphabetical." Love her for that.

Why is it that Lent gets the best of me every single year? Congrats to everyone (not me) who fulfilled their penance!

Why does Jay chronically quote "Elf," and will she ever stop doing that (I hope not)?

How have I never heard of Robert Sabuda until today? We are going to try our hand at his craft tomorrow.

Why am I just now learning about using plants as a natural insect repellent? Suddenly, I can't get enough marigold, geranium, catnip, rosemary, and citronella in my life. It feels so much better to send the girls outside surrounded by plants than covered in DEET.

And speaking of OCD, how does a non-OCD mom help her 100% OCD child? While we were shopping at Lowes for more insect repelling plants today, Jay thought aloud, "This place sure would be a lot easier to deal with if they would just put the stinking plants in alphabetical order!"

This makes so much sense. 

And speaking of alphabetical order, why is it that my garden is not in alphabetical order? Soon we'll have two varieties of squash, a pinot grigio plant, tons of tomatoes, and some strawberries. Some people have garden gnomes; we have a garden ugly doll (which Santa brought to Jay when she was one, Browning quickly took it over as his own, decided to abandon it, and now it's just a run-of-the-mill garden orphan...oh, the evolution of stuffed toys).

Did you know spring and fall are my two favorite seasons? I love, love, love being outside all day long without having to worry about much. A Good Friday, indeed.


Fabulous Four!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

{Spoiler Alert: Proud mom, sister, daughter post...stop now if you aren't up for that!!}

The last four days were absolutely fabulous!

My amazing little(est) sister was in Austin for Arcade Fire on Thursday, and we met up for dinner and drinks. It was so fun to catch up, and the girls and I were in hog heaven!

I received a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers in the most perfect container from my little ladies, too.

Cee's DI team had a royal send-off for their State DI competition, and Jay was the very proud younger sister through it all!

The DI teams had a Pin Trade Mixer, and my sweet girl collected quite a few keepers.

Each one had a special meaning to her and/or reminded her of someone important to her. The pig one was for my dad (it says, "If it doesn't say you can't, then you can," and it couldn't be more perfect for him!).

The Flappy Birds one was for her other grandparents and pays homage to the fact that they don't play it 24/7.

The competition lasted all day on Saturday, and the kids were troopers. The day ended with an awards ceremony to a packed-house at the Travis County Expo Center.

There was no A/C, no booze, no back stage passes, and I don't really do well in large crowds. The excitement from about 900 very stoked kids kept me from being completely overwhelmed by the size of the crowd and lack of necessities. I had no idea what to expect from the evening other than chaos.

This is Texas - everything's bigger, including competition. I knew the kids had done a fabulous job, but I wasn't sure what to expect as far as how they stacked up against other teams from across the state. Somewhere in the midst of high-decibel screaming, flashing strobe lights, seizures, and heat stroke, a couple of my friends started talking about "globals," which is the next step of the process. But it's only for teams who qualify, they kept reinforcing (they're veteran DI moms, I'm a newbie).

Before I knew it, Cee's group - "Laugh Art Loud" - was up for awards. The awards started with an announcement of teams who earned a High Instant Challenge nod. I didn't even know that was a thing. But the next thing I knew, our school was being called to the stage to receive their medals.

My kid. On this stage, in front of that crowd comprised of people from all around the state, receiving her honors. I was beside myself. I was so glad they were recognized for their hard work.

You know, this really puts them in a good position to medal, my friend whisper-shouted at me. Where are globals again? I whisper-shouted back. Knoxville, she yelled. That can't be cheap, I shouted. It's not!! she yelled.

We'll cross that bridge when we get there, we shout-agreed at each other.

The next 2 hours really were a blur, and not because of the heat. Both Cee's team and my friend's daughter's team placed!!! 3rd for our team, 4th for hers. GLOBALS!!!!  We hoarsely shouted and high-fived and hugged and jumped up and down and cried and sniffed and sweated. GLOBALS!!!!!  We were absolutely those moms, but we were surrounded by other people just like us so it didn't even matter.

The kids were completely ecstatic, and they were on a ridiculous adrenaline high for 10 pm at night after a very long day. I will never get over what an amazing experience this was for all of the kids. Three of the global qualifiers also play soccer on Cee's team, and I feel so blessed and lucky to be surrounded by such an incredible group of ladies who are also my dear friends. We have a fun road ahead of us!

This little lady has racked up some hardware in the last couple of months!

And this little lady racked up some chocolate over the weekend. The one she has in this picture is chocolate with a cherry almond filling (be still my beating heart!!), and this is the first time I ever realized that there may actually be such a thing as too many manners (minus the fact that she doesn't have a plate underneath her food).

And after all of Saturday's excitement, the fun continued when we nearly "caught" a chocolate lab. Yes, another one. It was a stray, and it was so scared, but the girls were determined to have him as our own. I think if you looked up the definition of pining in the dictionary, this is what you'd see.

And as if the last four days weren't already filled with enough awesomeness, we got to spend three of those days with my dad!! I can't say enough how lucky I am to be his daughter and that the girls have him as their grandpa. We love our Papa Sam!!

I know this post seems like it's mostly about Cee, so you should know that my adorable nephews came to visit Jay in the midst of the craziness of the weekend. She loves those boys to pieces, and we all drove to Killeen today for soccer. Soccer? Please...there are schemes to be devised. They don't have time to stop to watch a game. But they did make time to check in on the score every 10 minutes or so. Then it was back to business and scheming as usual.

After a busy weekend, the 90 minute drive back home alone after a win was a very welcome rest for my weary mind.

The girls will be home in another 90 minutes, and I have just enough time to get started on my next class. Political Science and Constitutional Law were hands down my two most favorite classes in college (thanks to Whit and Dr. Emmert), so I am off-the-charts excited about this class!!!

Case studies! The Constitution! And Precedents, oh my!

Alright, I have managed to procrastinate more than I normally do. It's time to get this reading done and mark the last four days as "filled with some pretty phenomenal memories."

Lucky, lucky me!!!


Birds and Turtles {Updated}

Monday, April 7, 2014

They're back! I knew for a while that our resident birds had rejoined our family, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out where they'd decided to re-nest.

For the last month, every time we've walked into the front yard, there has been a bird ready and willing to swoop at us. Yesterday the girls showed me where our birds decided to nest and I'm beside myself with how quintessentially wholesome it is!

From the drive way, it looks like a normal-ish door (whose wreath desperately needs some new raffia or perhaps a new cousin bestowed in burlap).

However, upon closer inspection, they found something amazing!

I can't wait for our new little guests to hatch, and I also can't wait for the mom to stop diving at our heads whenever we walk through our front door. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our feathered friends...

I do love how the Indian stories from my dad's side of the family weave into the most unexpected places in my life.

And speaking of Indian stories, the girls and I were on the way home from a perfectly enjoyable dinner with family and friends Saturday evening when Cee announced that the three of us are all like turtles.

Before I could ask for clarification, I remembered that my dad's mom was part of the turtle clan. I know for the average person that probably sounds extremely odd. However, in Native American culture, the women are kind of the ones who carry the lineage (I'm not sure I'm explaining this entirely correctly...). My grandmother was born into the turtle clan, and so her daughters were automatically in the turtle clan, too, as are their daughters, and so on and so forth.

Basically, men get the luxury of carrying on the surname, and women get the honor of carrying on the clan name to their female descendants. If you have a piece of paper and you kind of map it out, you will see that the surnames and the clan names are a big part of what kept the elements of this culture in place so long, even as the radius of the population spread.

Back to turtles: In an ideal world, my dad would have married someone who was also a Creek Indian, and I (assuming "I" was still "me" at this point - I frequently play the "what if..." game when it comes to matters of impeccable timing), would have become part of that person's clan, which would not have been the turtle clan because that would be considered second worse to being inbred.

Which I am not.

Since my dad married a gringo non-Indian instead, then I kind of missed out on the clan-age fun. Therefore, I am sort of considered part of the turtle clan (almost entirely by default because possibly nobody was sure where to place me, and my sweet aunts and grandmother probably sighed and said, "Okay, fine, she can be a turtle...").

Why does all of this matter?

Because Cee posed the possibility that we are all three like turtles...

In what way? I asked on our drive home from that fabulous dinner.

Well, you and Jay are mostly the real turtles of the family because you both are totally comfortable in your own shells. Sometimes you like to stick your head, hands, and feet out to see what's going on in the world around you and scratch around for a little bit, but most of the time you could just be tucked all cozy inside of your shell with a good book or a good movie or staying away from drama and conflict because you two don't like drama and conflict, she explained.

Seriously - a nearly spot on assessment of Jay and me as compared to introverted turtles.

What about you? I asked.

Me? I don't even need a shell! I'm all, 'No shells here!! The more, the merrier!! Let's have some fun, old friends! Let's have some fun, new friends! Hey, new friends - did you meet old friends?' I get out in the world with no shell on my back and usually I'm moving so fast, the rest of the world is going at turtle speed alll around me.

Seriously (again) - a nearly spot on assessment of her extroverted nature compared to our introverted natures from the perspective of turtle-speak. Obviously you can tell she's comfortable in her own "shell," too!

It isn't at all unusual for people to compare her level of energy to that of the Energizer bunny, and don't even get me started on the allegory of the Hare and the Tortoise.

We were absolutely in stitches during her assessment of our personalities! Five minutes later, I realized the laughter had subsided. I looked in the backseat and they were both sound asleep.

Love those sweet girls.

And I love birds and turtles.

(And rabbits.)


Updated - April 8, 2014, 8:49 pm
Spoiler Alert: Things don't necessarily end well...

In a tragic change of events, it turns out I'm almost as grateful for two speckled eggs as I was for four. After hearing an alarming thunk against my front door, I dashed to the front of my house and opened the door. The scene on the ground and the flash of white fur darting away told me all I needed to know.

I imagine this is kind of how Florida and Wisconsin felt after Saturday's games.

This. Is. Why. I. Am. Not. A. Fan. Of. Cats.
(This, plus the fact that Cee is crazy allergic to them.)

Le sigh majeure. 

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