Cell Phones

There was a time, not so very long ago, that cell phones were meaningless to me.

Our first phone was 15 years ago, when I was pregnant with Lamb. Big D was working three jobs. Afraid that I'd go into labor while he was at one of the jobs, he got one for himself. We didn't have it much longer after Lamb was born.

Our second cell phone came after Big D was stranded on the interstate overnight thanks to a tropical storm. Not being able to get a hold of each other convinced us we needed one. Just one, though.

When I started working, we got one for me. The thing was hardly ever turned on. It was just for peace of mind in case of a traveling emergency.

Then Lamb started intermediate school. And texting became part of our culture. Because we had to leave before Lamb had to go to school, it gave me peace of mind for her to have a cell phone. She could text me when she arrived at her school so I wouldn't have to worry all day long. My cell phone started staying on more frequently.

And I started texting a lot more frequently.

Due to some circumstances of us not reading the fine print & a salesperson not giving full disclosure (long story), we found ourselves adding Bear to our plan & still paying less than we were. Do I think Bear needs a phone? Of course not. Truth be told, he only uses it as his alarm in the mornings. (University of Texas fight song. It's lovely bright and early in the morning. Tongue. Firmly in cheek.) And to text us (while we are right beside him) and play games with us.

Bear with a cell phone can be a dangerous thing. I'm sure my friend Lisa will never forget the day Bear learned how to use one. His first weekend as owner, Lamb & I spent our time playing a techno hide and seek. Bear would take a picture of Ty. Send it to us. And we had to text him back on where we thought Ty's location was. Pretty fun, except he also had to add sound to each message. Not as much fun.

He will need it next year, for my peace of mind. He'll be in intermediate school. Cell phones have given me much peace of mind lately.

It was my lifeline during a hurricane evacuation, an actual hurricane, and while Bear was away in DC. It keeps me in touch with my long distance family and friends.

I never thought my cell phone would be one of my favorite things. How my life turns...


Camera Critters #51

When Lamb was 5 and Bear almost 2, we went to Sea World in San Antonio for the first time. It was hot. Miserably hot.

I don't remember the specifics, but we didn't get to feed the dolphins. Apparently Big D told Lamb that the next time we went, we would. He promised. And Lamb has never forgotten.

When she went to DC, we took Bear to a mini vaca in San Antonio. He got to feed the dolphins.

So, while Bear has anxiously been waiting his turn for DC, Lamb has been waiting her turn for Sea World. We asked if she'd rather zip line in Austin. No, Daddy promised.

Promise fulfilled.

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He's Home

I found myself with a moment to write in between work and baseball. Bear had a wonderful time in DC. He's already planning our next trip. Crossing fingers & sending up prayers, the goal is to go next summer with Coastie Brother and his family.

Bear got to see so much. He got to see a part of his history. This is at Arlington Cemetery. The Columbia tragedy really affected Bear. For months, he talked about it.
He also got to see a steel tower from the 70th floor of the World Trade Center.
Part of the Berlin Wall. He enjoys learning about WWII so he could relate to this piece of history.
He even got to pretend to be the President.
He saw all the monuments/memorials including Lincoln, Jefferson, and FDR.
He got to imagine what it was like in a Soup Line during the Depression.
The Vietnam Memorial
and the Korean War Memorial.
He was able to tour Mount Vernon and see the tomb of George Washington.
And, of course, got to lay eyes on the White House
and capitol building.
Plus a myriad of other sights. And if you are wondering why he's not smiling in a lot of pictures, he informed me that he doesn't smile in front of memorials.

When he came home, a piece of my heart cracked. Oh, he was happy to see us but wasn't interested in hugs or kisses. He seemed a little distant. Not quite the boy who left us behind.

But then we came home. He pulled me into my room asking, "Mama, can I tell you something?", shutting my door. "It's ok if I tell you something disturbing, isn't it Babycakes?" And my heart was healed.

BTW, the disturbing thing? Disturbing to the mind of an 11 year old but nothing serious.


I Heart Faces - No Flash Edition

My favorite 14 year old girl in a picture without using a flash. :)


Camera Critters #50

Sea World, Spring Break 2009

We sat high in the splash zone thinking we wouldn't get all that wet.
We were wrong.

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Boy, Is it Quiet!

This is our 3rd day without Bear. Our school district has this thing where the 5th graders have an opportunity to visit DC with or without guardians. No worries, there is a school sponsor. Even if guardians go, the kids stay in the hotel room with other kids and not their parents. It's a fun experience for them! Bear is having a great time which I'll post about later (or let him guest blog).

When Lamb was in 5th grade, she desperately wanted to go. We wanted her to, but we didn't want her traveling alone. I trusted the school sponsor, but I wasn't ready to let Lamb go off into the world without a family member. However, we couldn't afford two tickets. In steps my mom. I was hoping she'd volunteer to pay for MY trip, but instead, she paid for herself.

Lamb is an independent, quiet, aloof girl so we didn't think anything of sending her off to DC with her G. There were over 30 kids in her grade level going and several of her friends. It was hard seeing her off, but I knew she'd love every minute of it.
And she did. Until that first night. She & G were riding in the elevator to their rooms when G asked Lamb what was wrong. Lamb burst into tears and wailed, "I miss my Moooommmmmyyyyy." Broke G's heart. Broke mine also when I heard. Luckily, Lamb had some great friends to cheer her up. And the next day, G found a Mama & baby stuffed snow leopard (my favorite exotic animal) to remind her of me. Lamb was fine after that.

There were several moments of that trip that my mom will always remember. While on the bus touring the different monuments, the kids spontaneously burst into The Star Spangled Banner upon seeing the Iwo Jima statue. The kids were incredibly respectful at the Vietnam Wall and other memorials. After viewing the children's portion of the Holocaust Museum, they had an interesting discussion at dinner. So, even though, there were a lot of kids, it was a good time.

Then there is this trip. Bear has been waiting for four years for his turn. Once again, my mom went instead of me. I'm not bitter, really, I'm not. It's a smaller group, only 10 kids. Only two of them boys. And five of those girls? Obnoxious. And it takes a lot for me to say that.

I was prepared for Bear's homesickness. He is a clingy child and doesn't enjoy being alone. I knitted him a scarf but stopped myself from packing Blue Bear and my his robe. Ha! The fates laugh at me. That child practically kicked his G out of his room the first night (& last night). When he talks to me, he's in a hurry & listens with ½ an ear. The phone is hung up before the word "bye" has stopped echoing in my ear. I'm happy about that. Really, I am. These kids of mine. Always keep me guessing!
However, I don't think my mom is enjoying the experience as much. She is having fun, but she keeps thinking about Lamb's group. She shouldn't. I mentioned ½ the kids are obnoxious. During the bus tour, they wouldn't even get off the bus to look at the memorials. They are only interested in the gift shops. At the American History Museum, my mom told the sponsor she was taking the boys to look around as they would not be interested in seeing what the girls want to see. About an hour before meet-up time, she saw them sitting around waiting for them. She ignored them & keep touring with the boys.

They are only ten/eleven so I understand the disinterest. It's just a shame, though. And they should still know better than to climb all over FDR and the Korean War soldiers. I'm just sayin'.


Mom Fail?

When we were discussing kids, Big D & I agreed. We both knew we wanted to 1.) provide a stable and loving family life, 2.) travel with them and show them there is more to the world than our little corner of it, and 3.) encourage & support them in all their endeavors.

I think even the kids would agree that while Big D & I do a lot of things wrong, those three things we do right.

In high school, Lamb has the option to opt out of PE and take dance. She didn't even have to think twice about it. I don't think she realized how much she'd love it. She is constantly dancing her routines at home now.

She took me by surprise when she announced she wanted to try out for the school's drill team. She fully admitted that she didn't expect to make it but she wanted the experience of auditioning anyway. I love and am so proud of that girl.

Part of my heart was crushed when she told me that, tho. I know that to get on the team, it tremendously helps to have taken dance since the age of 3. Lamb has never had true formal dance training. I would have loved to have provided lessons for her but one thing leads to another and you found yourself with a 14 yr. old who's never had lessons but has discovered that she loves dance.

Her daddy & I encouraged her in this. However, after the 1st clinic, Lamb realized that she's not ready yet. She plans to work hard, learn some more things, and try again next year. She's ok. I'm getting there. I know how in her heart of hearts she wanted this. I guess this is what is referred to as a growing experience. A life lesson. We've provided her a fun life with lots of opportunities. There's no way we can provide her with everything. Sigh.

It's not all sad, tho.

All four high schools put on a show for the parents last week. I was so excited to finally see what Lamb can do in the world of dance. Her daddy was able to take off work early so he could also see her. Her first words to us after the show: That was SO much fun!

Of course, I recorded it for all of you! ;) Sadly, it's not the best quality. The battery was near dead & I'm not sure if that caused it. Lamb will be on the front row, very end once the camera zooms in on the girls.



Camera Critters #49

A baby calf that was born the morning this photo was taken (3/8/09) at the Houston Livestock Show.


Shame on Me!

Every weekend, Big D & I go grocery shopping together. And every time we go, I ask the kids what they want for breakfast and in their lunches. It is so nice that they can stay home by themselves now, btw.

Anyway. This past weekend was no different. We were going. I asked. They told. Peanut butter sandwiches, animal crackers, and oranges (Lamb) grapes (Bear). We went. And I forgot. Well, not technically. I did forget the animal crackers but the fruit I knew I wanted to get at a different store.

I figured we'd get around to going at some point during the weekend. It will be Thursday tomorrow. They have had three days of lunches. I still haven't gone to the store.

And what makes it even worse for me? I have no idea what they've been putting in their lunches. I'm thinking my Pringles (Dill Pickles this week, yum!) but I'm not sure what else.

Good thing the week is almost over and Spring Break will be here! I'm a Bad Mama!

P.S. Look for a post within the next day or two about Lamb's dance show the 4 local high schools had for parents last night and tonight. Tomorrow Bear has a 6pm baseball game so I'm really thinking it'll be Friday before I get it up. Sorry!


Time Sure Does Fly!

Holy Moly. I did not realize it has been a week since I've blogged. I've visited all you so I guess I just forgot about me. Ya'll aren't tired of looking at Bear's game face, are you? ;)

Things have been busy with baseball. The Rangers won their game and Bear had a gorgeous hit right to left field. He was so happy! Sadly, I don't have a pic. I didn't realize that would be his only at bat. Seems they do things differently in the Majors. You are only in the batting line-up if you are fielding. We are used to everyone batting even if the boy sits out an inning. But, because Bear hadn't batted yet, he got to play 3 innings in a row. And as soon as his sub made it through the batting rotation, Bear was sent back out. Because they were in the lead, they didn't have another at bat. We figure he'll be lucky if he gets more than one chance to bat. That bites but at least he's in a starting position and not a sub.

Lamb has been busy getting ready for a dance show the high schools put on each Spring. That will be tomorrow & Wednesday nights. Sadly, Bubba's Sis & I won't be able to watch our girls together. We have four high schools and, as luck would have it, the parents of Lamb's high school are watching with another high school than BFF's school. Bummer. It'll still be fun to see what these girls can do. I've seen BFF dance many a time in her recitals. This will be my first look at Lamb. I can't wait!

And we've (as in Bubba's Sis & I) been busy taking our girls to a concert of a little group you may have heard of, The Jonas Brothers. That was a whole lot of fun! The girls should thank their lucky stars that they have such fun moms. ;)

So, there's my week in a nutshell. Working, messing up supper, baseball, dance, rodeo, and The Jonas Brothers.

Now, where'd my hour go? I seem to have lost it. :(

Here's a gift for all my Office buddies: Office Musical

Tis the Season

It's here. Baseball season. If you were around last season, then you know how unsatisfying it was for Bear and his parents. If not, you can read about it here, here, & here. I'll wait. You're back? Ok. We are determined to not have a repeat of that.

Bear was recruited up a division. Rather than having another season with the Minors, he's now in the Majors. Big D & I are of two minds about that. Big D is very excited. A coach who has expressed great interest in Bear told us that she planned on grabbing him. She advised us to have Bear "throw" the try-outs so no one would grab him first. Big D was afraid. That's not a sure thing and we didn't want to mess up Bear's chances. Plus, and even bigger, it's wrong. In the end, the decision was Bear's. He did not throw his try-outs and had one of his best yet. And he was drafted by a different coach. So being recruited to the majors was all Bear's hard work and dedication. Big D is thrilled! He feels that Bear will learn so much & improve playing with the big boys.

Then there's me. I agree that the potential for Bear to learn is there...if he has the right coach. My worry is that he's lost a year of baseball with the lousy coach & the hurricane. Big D will disagree in that Bear was able to focus on his batting and it paid off. I'm not disputing that. But, in the minors, Bear would have seniority which means prime playing positions. Of course, if he has the right coach. As we learned, there is no guarantee of that. Naturally, I'm proud of Bear and pray that this is a wonderful season for him.

I am cautiously optimistic as I remember last year all too well, but, it's starting out that way. Despite a couple of minor issues I have regarding practices, I'm not upset with the team or coach. Bear is the "baby" playing with 12, 13 year olds so he's in the outfield and sitting out a lot. The difference this season is that Bear hasn't paid his dues yet. I absolutely expect those things. Another difference is the coach. He is playing his 11 year olds fairly. They are equally on the field and off the field. He has publicly praised Bear. After the 2nd game, Bear came beaming off the field. While Bear was standing on third base, the coach told him that he was proud of him. Oh what a difference a coach makes! I pray this contines. I pray that Bears confidence continues to soar. I pray the Coach realizes what a difference he makes in these boys & their love for the game. I just pray.

And God hears. Bear was a nervous wreck batting against bigger boys.

And God gave him a boost. Bear now knows that while he may be a small fry right now, he can hang with the big ones. Ultimately, that's all I care about.

For the 2nd year in a row, I present to you Bear, a member of the 1st place team of the Majors in his Little League. His team is now the team to beat!

Way to Go, Bear! We are so incredibly proud of you & your team!

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