Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ranch Rodeo

Our good friends out at The Ranch were organizing and working at the Dripping Springs Wild West Fest so the Wee Ones and I went out to watch the Ranch Rodeo portion of the event.  Having never been to one I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

No expectations is a great way to start out with an event like this.

Wild Cow Milking
Double Mugging
Trailer Loading 
Ride the Hide...just for fun

So the cowboys all take a turn around the arena for a warm up

And the fun begins

 Okay so maybe not everyone is having fun

Super Son even found a grasshopper.  Maybe it liked his green cast

In all seriousness though.  Really shouldn't be drinking and driving.  This is a family event after all.

Wild Cow milking was my second favorite of the events.

Oh the suspense of waiting to see if a drop of milk would fall out of the bottle.

Trailer Loading was my favorite and particularly hilarious. The idea is that the cowboys (or girls) have to rope the steer, get it into the trailer and locked up, get all of the cowboys into the truck with the doors shut and honk the horn. All of this and still not break any of the rules that I haven't been able to figure out.  Still photos just didn't do the whole crazy debacle justice.  Especially when one (or two) cowboys would get turned around during the actual trailering process and then all try to load into one door and one seat at the same time.  It was very much like the Chinese Fire Drills that we used to do in high school.

So I videoed one of them for you.

You're welcome.

Next year we are going to have to go earlier in the day so the kids can participate in the events geared for their ages.

Maybe one of us will get sponsored to Ride the Hide next year.

Hero Husband you want to come with us right?  There is nothing sneaky about my motives.


Friday, October 29, 2010


A few weeks ago I had a little encounter with a marshmallow that happened to still be on fire when it landed on my face.

Long story...

that ended with 2nd degree burns, blisters and little black bits of burnt sugar that I couldn't scrub out because...well ouch.

I spent the first night with an aloe leaf stuck to my chin popping ibuprofen and slowly but surely it has healed.

In an effort to minimize the scarring I have been really diligent with protecting it from the sun and keeping it moisturized.

Now that the worst part is over and the bandages I was wearing to protect my pillows are no longer necessary I have graduated to "scar creams".

I did some shopping around and this one seems to be the most widely used and generally well reviewed.

I bought some and started using it when I realized that the first ingredient (next to water) is Aloe Barbadensis otherwise known as aloe vera.

Yeah, like the plant I have in my front yard.

and I spent $14 on a tube of it that is smaller than my lipstick.

I am a sucker of the highest order.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Things you can't do when you are 8 and wearing a full arm cast

Super Son is frustrated.

I can't say that I blame him.

The list of things that you can't do with a full arm cast that happens to extend to just over your knuckles includes:

buttoning your pants
buckling you belt
tucking in your shirt
pulling up your pants*
tying your shoes
returning to a vertical position after falling down on a hill covered in very pokey stickers
washing your un-casted hand
washing your casted hand **
having a sleepover without cracking someone in the head
putting on your socks
carrying any two things at once

*it is noted that while difficult (except for sweat pants) this can be done.  The result of attempting without help is a very grouchy 8 year old who requires ice cream.  His mother does not object to this requirement and is happy to let him try.  Every day if necessary.  Practice makes perfect right?

** it is noted that this is probably achievable and certainly easier than washing your un-casted hand, however, the probability of a wet cast makes it forbidden

It is also not advisable to use a port-a-potty in the dark with a full arm cast on. While it can be done items 1-4 will certainly cause a problem and strange things happen.  You emerge requiring help, in public, and your mother finds her hand disturbingly damp after assisting.  Then she races to the hand washing station.

Some things purell just doesn't handle well enough.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Humiliation: An International Incident

After our wedding Hero Husband and I embarked on a blissful week on the beach in Mexico. With the exception of a day lost to Montezuma's revenge it was pure heaven.

We wandered into the little village one afternoon and after some serious haggling Hero Husband walked a way with a box of Cuban cigars at a nice price.

We sat in the hammock that night listening to the ocean as he smoked a cigar.

And so after a week the vacation was over and these two tan and sappy sweet newlyweds caught a flight back to Texas.

As we got close to the end of our flight the stewardess came by providing us with customs forms to declare our purchases and I dutifully filled them out.  Not missing any details.

Any details, including the fact that the cigars tucked snugly into Hero Husband's suitcase were Cuban in origin.

He tried to warn me.

"Honey" he said "I'd prefer you not write the cigars on our declaration form."

"But sweetheart" I replied "I swear I heard on NPR last week that some of the trade restrictions with Cuba had been lifted.  I'm sure it's fine and look" as I point at the form "it says right here to list everything we bought."

The kind newly wedded Hero Husband that he was said "Please don't. I am pretty sure I would have heard something about it."

"Just trust me babe, it will be just fine." I replied confidently and gave him a good kiss just to seal the deal.

Never you mind a little thing like 40 years of political history and a trade embargo that dates back to Eisenhower.  I was so confident that I had heard Carl Kassell correctly that I was willing to take my chances.

The customs agent was so nice.  He all but hugged Hero Husband in apology when he confiscated the cigars and gave us the option of watching cut them all up. "Buddy, I'm sorry" he said shaking his head "If you had just written cigars I could have let you keep them assuming they were Mexican, but you didn't just write cigars you wrote Cuban cigars"

We watched for a minute and then hustled to make our connection.  As we walked away the Agent continued to shake his head.

That was 11 years ago and with all of our travels I have not since then filled out a customs form.

Or lived it down.

The End

Thursday, October 21, 2010


In the history of the world there have been countless Grandmothers, Gramas, Grannies, MeeMaws and Nanas

but never before has there been a Popsy.

It has been 11 years since we began saying goodbye to her.

A few weeks ago I found myself at her bedside not sure where to begin or what to say.

It hurts to see her fade. To know that the time that we have with her is ending.
She has been gone for so long in so many ways but still this hurts.

And so I find myself telling her about the things that, as I have grown, found that she gave me and the litany of things that we have in common.

I am a wife now, like her,
I am a mother now, like her,
I too have a son and a daughter, like she did.

I told her of her great-grandchildren who know who she is and what she looks like, but never had the chance to know her, or eat her pimento cheese sandwiches.

I laughed and told her that her sewing lessons weren't a complete waste.  That the dresses I sew for Miss Thing are simple, but she loves them.

I told her that I had found the most perfect shade of red lipstick and that every time I wear it I think of her.

And today this long goodbye has come to an end.

She was an exceptionally intelligent and educated woman who in her life knew a great and abiding love.

She raised the man who became my Dad.

She gave me an Aunt who truly sees me.

She was a sister,
a daughter,
a mother,
a wife,
a grandmother,
a great grandmother.

She was a lady.

She survived the unimaginable and buried a daughter.

She did all of these things with grace and with all of her heart.

Even in these last days she and Carl were busy at work teaching us all a thing or two about how to love.

And if, by some chance, there is another Popsy somewhere out there. Never will there be another who can measure up to ours and the touch she had on our lives.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Out in Oklahoma

Growing up my Grandmother was the fanciest person I knew.

She had these fancy napkins that she kept in a special drawer that felt like they were made of butterfly wings.

She had gold canisters on her bathroom counter that covered up untidy things like her hairspray bottle.

She had an honest-to-goodness parlor in her house where she would proudly display a white and crystal Christmas tree every year. It was and still is the sparkliest thing I think I have ever seen in my life.

She was born and raised in Perry, Oklahoma. Her grandparents participated in the Oklahoma land rush. I never knew her before she was completely silver haired, but in pictures, with her dark hair I swear she was the image of Judy Garland.

She hosted tea parties in her parlor and insisted that you not only have manners but use them in front of her friends.

She was all things refined and with everything that I have forgotten from my childhood I can still hear her voice, smell her Chantilly lace perfume and remember which tree in the yard we could count on for the tastiest cherries.

Miss Thing would have loved her.

Last summer we went hiking up Enchanted Rock and while we were walking along the trails the kids started kvetching about being tired blah blah blah.

I suggested we sing a song. A good hiking song... hmmmm

My repertoire largely consists of Disney musicals and lullabies so I wasn't really surprised when Hero Husband shot me the "Please God not here in public" look.

Then I remembered. The Oklahoma Song!

Anyone in my family knows exactly what you mean when you say the Oklahoma song. Grandmother taught it to all of us.

It's short, catchy and hard to sing too badly. And always a deal sealer you get to sing about cowboys and sing loudly the phrase "highfalutin rootin' tootin'".

And so I taught my children the Oklahoma song.

We sang it for a really long time.

It was a long hike.

They are now experts at the Oklahoma song.

My heart swells with pride just thinking about it.

Here is Miss Thing singing it on the way to school the other morning.

It got me wondering. Where did this gem of a family treasure come from. Did Grandmother make it up, is there some musical genius somewhere in my family tree?

Of course in search of anything vague I start with Google. Song title, first line of lyrics.


And so I got adventurous. I keyed in every line of the song as I know it.

What I got was a song called Rag Time Cowboy Joe about a "Son-of-a-Gun" from Arizona.

Wait a minute. Arizona?

Apparently this song has been commandeered by several universities over the years and even the Muppet's and the Chipmunks. So my Grandmother, or as I like to imagine it, My Grandmother and her well coiffed rag-tag band of renegade western women made Joe a "son-of-a-gun" from Oklahoma. As they say well behaved women rarely make history. Boy did she ever make history for me.

And so, to me good old Joe will always be from Oklahoma.

That is after all where the bad men are.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt part II or What my children do to scare the daylights out of me

I have a sweet son who is strong and is brave

Loves being outside and'd be happy to live in a cave.

Yesterday Super Son's bravery limits were tested

Playing soccer with friends the sneaky ground got the best of him.

Off to the ER for some drugs, maybe a cast

Meds doing their job, this little warrior fell asleep fast.

So Mama could look, take pictures and cringe

His little arm wasn't meant for that hinge.

So time for a cast to set it all straight

Great to be 8 and have such a healthy growth plate

Those bones will be healthy and you'll be good as new

Now we know you're all right Mama & Daddy need a nice brew.

A long night indeed, but so glad you're okay

I should have known you wouldn't do even this thing only half way.

Now go get better you handsome little stinker



Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Hi Ho Silver

There is a place that provides Pony rides for birthday parties.

Hallelujah and Amen

Oh and she brings horses for Moms who envy their children

or Nana's who are game to try something new.

Happy Birthday Party Day Miss Thing even with some of the fun things we have done for birthdays I understand why you are sure that "This was the best birthday ever"

It was so awesome that we all took a nap afterwards.

Thanks for that by the way. I was really tired.

Wish there was something I could do to grant your wish of having another one in three more days, but I'm totally on top of the next one 362 days from now.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The secret to peace

I think I may have found the secret to peace in the Middle East

okay maybe not there

but definitely in my house.

Lamenting to a friend how the volatile nature of housework and children brings out my inner harpy she suggested I look at a chore system. Turns out she had been using one and was pretty happy with it.

So I checked out a few online and decided that my friend's recommendation would work best for us.

And so I give you...I did my chores!

please ignore the crumbs on my counter. I obviously didn't do my chores.

The idea is the kids decide what is of value to them, you do the setup and they do their chores while you sit back and relax.

So maybe it's a bit much to say you just sit back and relax, but pretty darn close. At least no more harping...well, not as much

We used a bunch of the ready made chores such as brushing teeth, turning your lights out, combing hair and putting away toys. I added my own custom made No Whining, Flush your Toilet for heavens sake, No Thumb sucking and Sorting Laundry chore cards.

The stickers are placed on the color coded by the time of day plastic hangers. For example you have multiple tooth brushing chore cards. One in the morning (yellow) and bedtime (blue). We made a No Whining for each time increment in the day making it more of an attainable goal. So each chore earns a token. Some of our trouble spots (no whining) or big once a week chores (putting away laundry) have more value.

So once your board is all set up the kids commence with chores moving their cards to the "I did it" box as they are complete.

The kicker, if I have to remind them to do a chore, they don't get the card. Even if they do it. This is where the independence (aka me not harping) comes into play. I occasionally remind them to check their charts when they are bored or wanting TV time, but I don't chase them around the house asking, begging, reminding, nagging, harping.

Each of the kids has a tube. The tokens that they earn go in the tube. They each provided me with a list of the things that were of value to them. Renting a movie, staying up 15 minutes late past bedtime, a date with Mom or Dad, extra computer or wii time, or in the case of Miss Thing a manicure or time playing with my makeup.

We add the tokens each day when everything is done and I get to watch them save up for what is the most important to them.

I loved watching them come up with their lists. Most of their choices had to do with extra time with Mom and Dad. There are some items that cost money, but with one or two exceptions it was not about buying toys or earning money.

Voila. Peace

It has required of me consistency and a few small nudges and they are sticking with it.

My favorite part I get to do more of this

and when the kids fight it is because they can't agree who gets to set the table or empty the dishwasher.