Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Snack mouse

This year, my second-grader's class learned about the circle of life with Edna the ball python. Personally, I was a little sicked out by it all, but the kids loved it. At one point, we took a term bringing Edna a "snack mouse." It was a tiny little thing and I felt kind of gross buying it to feed to the snake. Here are the kids checking out the snack mouse.
Hot Rod gets a turn holding Edna. Everyone in the class got to hold her before she fed.

Here is the class watching. You can see the snack mouse in the far right top of the cage. Edna unfurled and took her time getting ready to strike.
Poor little mouse didn't know what hit it. Edna grabbed it and squeezed the life out of it. She gave it a good shake to make sure that it was dead before she started to dine.

Then, she grabbed it by the tail and flipped it around to swallow it head first. It was over pretty quickly at that point.

The last thing we saw was the poor critter's back legs and tail. The kids thought it was cool. Me and a teaching intern were pretty sicked out. I almost puked while watching the mouse foot twitching as it was dying. Ick. Army of Dad wants me to get the child a snake like this for a pet. I don't think so. I have bad dreams about snakes and have ever since I was a kid. Don't think I could ever sleep again if there was one - voluntarily - in my house.

Danke shein

Last month, Army of Dad and I celebrated our German heritage by taking our children to Germanfest in a neighboring community. I look at these pictures and I sometimes wonder if I'm a cross between those stupid slide shows we used to watch of vacation pictures when we were kids and the scary and questionable antics of Bad News Hughes. We have a bonding moment over a Shiner for dad and Zemer's root beer float for Hot Rod . This second photo could have a caption that reads: A father and son moment at GermanFest when AoD explains to young master Hot Rod why he is in line for the good beer - Shiner or Widmer - and not the horse piss stuff of Miller or Bud Lite. I love the guiding hand on his back, too.

Then, what German Fest would be complete without the traditional German attire and dancing. This poor teenager must really love his family to do this.

Then, there is the gorgeous grin of my handsome son while he was climbing some monkey bars. The festival was spread out over a large city park, so the kids loved getting to play along the way. It really broke up the monotony for them.
Nagelschlagen is a German competition where a nail spike is hammered into a tree stump by each contestant. Each contest takes turns to see who can hammer the spike into the stump with least amount of hits. The winner goes to a finalist competition until there is only one Grand Champ. The dude in the yellow hat was ahead of the guy in the black shirt until black shirt smacked that nail in with one hard drive.
There was a carnival there, too. Typically, I don't let the kids do the carnival rides or games, but AoD was feeling particularly happy on this day. So, he bought the kids $20 worth of tickets and we spread out. Dad and Hot Rod to the scary rides worthy of making me recite the rosary while I took Little Bit to the safer and less scary rides. We did the carousel and she drove the cars, too.

This was a favorite shot of mine in honor of my sister-in-law, who was "conceived by carnies" (her birth parents met while they were both working at a carnival.) It makes me giggle. Although, it was a wee bit disconcerting to me that this guy was making sure my daughter's ride was safe. Not sure if it shows in the picture, but he was having a smoke during this ride.

Way up high, you can see AoD's head shining in this octopus of death ride.

Here they are again at the bottom.

One of the highlights of the day was the Side Street Circus. They were very entertaining for both the young and the old. There was music, magic, juggling and comedy. The kids enjoyed themselves, as did mom.

Hot Rod really enjoyed the juggling. Oops was a very entertaining juggler.

Little Bit enjoyed modeling my cowboy hat toward the end of the day.

Then, we have the redneck parents. This butthead kept belittling his son - in a drunken half-ass joking manner - that he could throw him higher than the boy could climb the wall. It didn't seem like a great motivator to me, personally.
Hot Rod wanted to climb the wall really badly, so we finally let him do it. He was doing great until he looked down and realized he was up really high.
This was about the point when he started to freak and wanted help getting down. Notice him looking down instead of up? We had a great time and I think this may become an Army of Mom and Dad family tradition for years to come.


Princesses on ice

Disney on Ice: More fun than you can shake a $12 snow cone at. That should be the new slogan. While we love Disney on Ice, I use my discount card from my mom's Fort Worth Star-Telegram subscription to buy the half-price tickets to the show. I couldn't afford to go otherwise. Plus, I always buy souvenirs and snacks at the dollar store or Wal Mart and take in my backpack to deliver to my children when they see the other kids with their stupid hats (that will either be discarded in a day or broken in two days) that come with the $12 cotton candy.
But, I digress. Princesses on Ice came to town this spring and I had to take Stinkerbelle. Pickle even came along for the ride since he likes the skating and, of course, there are princesesses. That means hot chicks in tight outfits skating around showing their legs and asses. What better show for a 12-year-old boy? Stinkerbelle is quite a fan of Ariel, which makes me happy since she's my favorite princess, too.
Of course, skating Ariel was hot. But, I loved Flounder, too.

Beauty and the Beast is another of my favorite Disney movies. Lumiere was one of my favorite characters.
Stinkerbelle is a giant fan of Mickey and Minnie, too. How horrible is Minnie's dress, by the way? Ewww. I do recommend taking your kids to Disney on Ice when it comes to town. It can be lots of fun and it can be economical if you find the bargain tickets and get your own 88-cent glow in the dark bracelet or necklace at WalMart to take with you.

Where is Noah?

I've only got a moment as I need to resume the ark building.

After several years of drought, it is nice to have the rain and see the lake levels rise back to normal, but enough already.

Wait, was that two pelicans that just flew by my office window? Oh my, there went two flamingos, as well. I've goofed off long enough. Back to the ark building.

Is it a wee bit ironic that Hot Rod went to spend the day with his friend, Noah? Swear to God. I guess if he isn't with me during the flood, at least he's with Noah. That is comforting.

Gees, two blue herrons just landed in the back yard. Enough of this ... where is that hammer and the water sealant?


Soccer superstar

Sweet Little Bit started soccer practice about a month ago and has her first game this coming Saturday. I'm sure it is going be comical. I just have to make sure and take an antacid or a Prevacid or something. It is hard to watch - as a parent AND a coach - the way 4, 5 and 6-year-olds play soccer.

At practice, she says her favorite part of it all is scoring goals. I hope she gets to do that on Saturday.

If not at least she'll be cute, right?

Remember today and always

Memorial Day is a day to honor our fallen heroes and they deserve their honors for dying so we could be free. Cox and Forkum always have eloquent ways to honor Memorial Day. And, one of my favorite posts ever on my blog is from Memorial Day 2005 with pictures of past Memorial Days or other special occasions to honor soldiers and veterans of all branches.

Get out the hankies before you watch this one, because I dare you to make it through with a dry eye. It is called Remember Me and it is a tribute to our fighting men and women.

Take a moment to pray for the families left behind, too. They have sacrificed much for their country, too. Thanks to those still serving and those who live without their loved ones because they serve. You ALL are treasures to us.

Sgt. Hook wrote a wonderful account of honoring a fallen hero with full military honors at his funeral. I couldn't finish reading it before I started to have teary eyes. It is a wonderful thing to do for a soldier. Army of Dad wants a funeral like this when he dies. When we went to the moving wall in 2003, one of the local VFW guys presented each of my boys with a casing from a military funeral they had done earlier in the week. I saved those casings for the boys and I hope to, again, try to explain the meaning behind them and why they are so important to me and, should be, to them. I don't think they understood the significance then, but it is my duty as their mother and an American to help them value them.

Happy Memorial Day.


The death of a Baylor legacy

A part of Baylor history died last week. The man who served as president of the university during my years there in 1987-1991 died Friday. I remember a shirt that I wanted and never bought. It was something along the lines of the Three Hs of Baylor: Herb, HEB and Humidity. We had the HEB grocery chain there and the humidity was icky. Great shirt.

Here is part of Herb's obit. The rest can be found on the Baylor site. He will be sorely missed.

Baylor University President Emeritus Herbert H. Reynolds, the 11th president of Texas' oldest continuously operating university, died suddenly May 25 in Angel Fire, N.M. He was 77.

Funeral services for Reynolds will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 30, at First Baptist Church of Waco, 500 Webster Ave. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.

Dr. Reynolds' body will lie in repose at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home, 6101 Bosque Blvd. in Waco, until 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 29. His body will lie in repose later Tuesday from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Paul Powell Chapel at George W. Truett Theological Seminary on the Baylor campus.

Baylor officials are working with the Reynolds family to finalize plans for a campus-wide celebration of the life and contributions to Baylor University of Dr. Reynolds. Those plans will be finalized in the coming days.

In lieu of flowers, the Reynolds family has requested that memorials be made to the Baylor Alumni Association, One Bear Place #97116, Waco, TX 76798-7116.

Funeral services for Reynolds will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 30, at First Baptist Church of Waco, 500 Webster Ave. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.


Purple Belt

The stressful and dreaded belt test passed with ease for Pickle. He is getting this stuff down. I got the thumbs up once the parents were allowed back into the gym. And, that smile says it all, too.
My sweet Pickle got his purple belt last week. He studied hard and even had to write an essay as part of his requirements to move on. He was very proud of himself.

I laughed when his instructor popped the belt. When I was a kid, that sound made my blood curdle because it meant I was getting my butt whipped. Fortunately, my Pickle doesn't recognize that sound as anything but a promotion in the belt ranks.

He had his tournament a few weeks before. Bless his heart, he lost this one. It was only his second defeat and he has been doing this for a few years now. He got flustered when he had to change groups. He was an advanced blue belt, but he was moved over to the blue belt group because there weren't enough big kids to spar over there. That just freaked him out and he couldn't get ready because he couldn't handle the shift. He was fixated. It is one of his problems in life and one reason he struggles with peers and in general. When things don't go as expected, he melts down.

But, hopefully this will be a learning experience for him. Uzz took the tournament pictures. My camera can't take anything that nice and sharp. My kiddo is with Uzz this weekend and I miss him already. Good work kiddo.

SPF: Sugar and Spice

In honor of the birth of a pretty little baby girl, the lovely Kristine at Random and Odd made our assignment for Stuff Portrait Friday this week in honor of sugar and spice and everything nice. The assignment, should we choose to accept it: something pink and little.
My pink and little selection are the lovely begonias I have in pots on my front porch. I love these flowers. For mother's day, I got two big hanging baskets of begonias with the brassy colored leaves and the darker red blooms. Gorgeous. So, did you play?


Day from hell, but with an angel on my shoulder

My guardian angel was working overtime today. I was running a little behind to get Pickle to the specialist this morning and while trying to merge from Interstate 35 onto Interstate 30, I ran over something in the road. I heard clicking and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Then, I looked in my sideview mirror and saw something circular fly off the tire - then, I heard a loud pa-pow and I feared that I blew the tire. Thank God, I was in the right hand lane. I pulled over, but the overpass is so tight, I couldn't even open the door if traffic was going by. So, I timed it, got out and saw that the tire was completely flat. I was terrified. I had the 12-year-old and 4-year-old with me on the itty bitty shoulder of the overpass. I don't even know how to change a tire.

I wanted to panic, but knew I couldn't. I knew Army of Dad was in no position to help on the other side of the Metroplex at work. So, I knew who to call: Daddy. He was on the golf course, so he wasn't going to be there any time soon. Then, I called the Kia roadside assistance line. While on the phone with them, a Fort Worth police officer pulled over. He said if I'd get someplace safe - i.e. off the overpass - he'd change it for me.

So, there I am. Driving on the rim of the almost 2-year-old car. All I could think was that Army of Dad was going to kill me for ruining the rim, but what choice did I have? I knew we weren't safe. Officer Henderson was awesome. He did it all - with sweat pouring off of him because of the humidity. He admonished me for stopping on the overpass and cautioned me to value my life more than the rim of the car. He knew what I was thinking. He reminded me that AoD would want me and the kids home safely more than he is worried about the car.

I was panicked, but had to keep it all together for the kids. Once we were all safe, then, I sort of lost it. I was thinking about the Carrie Underwood song, Jesus, Take the Wheel, and how it was a close call. And, maybe it wasn't, but it was real freaking scary. I've done stories on whole families being wiped out from a tire blowing while driving down an interstate. Suddenly, getting to the doctor on time didn't seem so important. I was so proud of my kids. They were taking it all in stride like we do this all the time. Pickle thanked the officer several times and he was very gracious. He has helped improve my opinion of cops right now. There are some honorable ones left.

Here's to you, Fort Worth Police Officer Henderson. Oh yeah, thank you Guardian Angel and Jesus, too.

Angel of God, my guardian dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day/night be at my side
to light and guard, to rule and guide.


Joy and sadness

I got an unexpected paycheck in the mail yesterday, so I was taking care of things that I have been putting off like a trip to Sam's to pick up goodies in bulk (and get some new shorts and capri pants - I have found the best clothes there and they actually fit!) Best part of my last five clothing purchases ... they are a size smaller than I have been wearing. Woo hoo.

I also went to Office Max to buy the pretty stationary and matching envelopes to print out the invitations to my parents' 50th wedding anniversary reception. I called a few select aunts and uncles to get addresses. I spoke with one aunt who I haven't seen or talked to since my grandpa died back in 1999. She told me that my uncle has Alzheimer's. I'm so sad right now I could cry. I just saw him a few months ago at my mom and dad's. I was surprised when he forgot that I had Stinkerbelle; now it makes sense. I'm just so sad for my daddy. This was my Uncle BoBo, who was good to us. He is one of the few uncles on my dad's side that I care about and who my dad cares about, too.

Probably not the best timing to hear this news while I'm PMSing. Worst part: my parents didn't know. I had to call and tell them.

Easter Eggstavaganza

Ok, so I'm almost two months behind on half my posts. I've been really busy. This is a picture of the kids before the egg hunt with the real eggs they colored for Easter back in early April. We have told the children that we color the eggs and fill the plastic eggs and leave them out for the Easter Bunny to hide, otherwise he'd be weighed down with all those eggs. It has worked thus far.
Here is little bit finding an egg in Elmo's mouth. We had to improvise this Easter because it was so cold. It was literally freezing at Easter time this year. In 2006, the kids hunted eggs outside in their shorts.
Pickle with his haul. I have a feeling this child will hunt eggs for the rest of his life without fail.
Hot Rod and his haul.
The very unhappy face of Little Bit being forced to try a bite of a real egg.

Happy children dying the eggs the night before Easter.
More egg coloring. That is the best part of the eggs to me. Pickle colored eggs with his dad and then brought them to the house Easter morning.

New zoo revue

Long, long ago in the boonies of BFE, I accompanied Hot Rod's class on a field trip to the zoo. Fun was had by all, I must report. Hot Rod was grateful that mom remembered the Kasey Kahne hat because the sun was pretty bright.
During part of the field trip, the kids were treated to a behind the scenes up-close show with some of the animals. One of the critters was a "frilly" from Down Under. The girls reacted less than pleased when they saw it.
A cute little hedgehog for Pickle since he's such a Sonic fan.
This screech owl was beautiful. They only get about eight inches tall, so it was really beautiful and very small.
Then, a bunch of squirrels ... wait, that is Hot Rod and the bunch of boys his teacher gave me to keep up with. I'm not sure if that is a sign of trust or that she doesn't like me. No, really. They were good boys. All of these boys are very polite with good manners. The bushy-haired white kid, (third from the left) has some issues, but he could be worse.
The zoo had a great gimmick at giraffe feeding time. For a buck per kid, they could feed a big piece of lettuce or whatever it was to the giraffes. So, I coughed up a few bucks for the boys who wanted to do it. It was over, though, before I could get my camera up!
The zoo had a very cool statue near the entrance and I had to take a shot of it with the boys.

Hot Rod's little gal-pal is a cutie and very sweet. Then, we had to get a group picture of the class. We were missing a few kids who went to the restroom, but it was a good field trip.