Monday, April 28, 2008

Our Little Cowgirl

About 6 weeks ago, our family got to experience something truly "Texas". We spent the day at the Houson Livestock & Rodeo--the largest rodeo in the world! Yep, these yankees pulled out the denim and most of us (except a few protesters) wore cowboy boots. The show was fantastic and so entertaining the Drewy was literally on the edge of his seat the whole time. We spent alot of time checking out the many, many different breeds of cows, getting up close to the longhorns, and watching chicks hatching out of their eggs right in front of us. It seems these city folks couldn't get enough of the baby farm animals and most of our time was spent in the two petting zoos. They also had some atypical farm animals to see, including baby kangaroos and an adorable 3 month old zebra. It was here that I realized Kaikee is a true Texan. How many of us ever get close enough to pet a zebra let alone actually sit on one? Not many! Well, this baby zebra was being walked thru the convention center and we all surrounded her to take pictures. The handler pointed to Kaitlyn. "You, only you're small enough to sit on her," and up she went for a once in a lifetime experience. We were all so excited. "Kate, you rode a zebra! Did you like it?" Her lip puffed out and eyebrows furrowed, " I wanted to ride a pony!!" Perhaps someday she'll appreciate it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Bodysuits

Most busy moms are familiar with the phrase "wearing a hat" to depict a certain persona she is portraying based on the task at hand. I've come to realize that I never really take off a "hat" and set it down. I more or less tip one hat to the side of my head when another is front and center. My "hats" flip-flop so frequently that it isn't worth taking them off. A perfect example is when I'm preparing dinner (cook hat), then I am called to attend a bathroom emergency for Kaikee (mama hat), then realize I need to rotate the laundry (maid hat), go back to stirring the pot on the stove (cook hat again), suddenly look at the clock and realize Michie needs to be at the Gym NOW! (chauffer hat), home again to finish the cooking (cook hat again). Just a typical day. I am definitely beyond the " Which hat are you wearing now" symbolism!

I find these days I am wearing different "bodysuits". Not to say I don't have my own life or that I am only living thru my children, but being so involved in their lives and connected emotionally to their personalities, I often feel I am experiencing their joys and frustrations while they carve out their life experiences. A great example happened over the course of 12 hours last weekend. It all started Friday night when I got to share the triumph of Brian earning a Ranger pin for his Cadet uniform. I got to experience the fruit of months of grueling physical exertion, being pushed to limits of stamina otherwise unheard of, and enduring situations of survival of the fittest. He had previously shared with me the labor, anxiety, and struggles required while performing for this group and I always felt a heavy hearrt while bearing it all with him . Wearing my "Cadet Bodysuit" was sweet that night!! A mere 6 hours after returning home, it was up early to put on a "Swimming Bodysuit" while getting Kyle ready to race in his first ever USA sanctioned long course meet. He shared the great results with me and positive words the coach graciously poured on him and my heart swelled with Success! At the same time, Reid was in military-mode as I donned my "JROTC Bodysuit" to participate in a physical training competition. The outcome was not as pleasurable as hoped, but his smile showed that he didn't care and my heart felt pleased.

Wearing layers is in style, luckily, cuz I also had on my "Gymnastics leotard Bodysuit" while Michie pushed her muscles in the hopes of achieving the last required skill needed to move up to the next competitive level, and my heart swelled with determination. Lastly, I put on another "Swimming Bodysuit" only this one was small enough to fit a 6 year old and it was full of nervous energy. Drew-bear tried out for the local swim team and made it!! What joy and excitment I got to experience with this little bundle of boy-energy! My heart swelled with pride!

It is finally evening when I can peel off each layer and once again find myself. Yes, I'm still in there, but I sure am much more well rounded and accomplished than I ever could be on my own!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What is a Catholic Yankee?

Howdy, Hi Y'all, & How Yous Doin?!

Welcome to my site. I finally decided the best way to share my life and all the random thoughts that pass thru my brain was to set up a blog. It has been two full years (Yikes!) since our family made the transition from life-long Philadelphia 'burb Yankees to Southwestern Texans! We've had many adventures that I wish I'd shared along the way--but better late than never! I'm sure I'll be remembering some of our more unusual experiences to tell ya about and there'll be new inspirations as our family continues to adjust and learn about the culture of TX.

Thought I'd give a little background on the title of the blog. Never, ever when I lived in the northeast did I consider calling myself a "Yankee". That to me meant you were a fan of the NY baseball team and being from Philadelphia (Go Phillies), I was not! My first experience with meeting neighbors here in our Houston suburb was a little different. Here we were, four moms standing on the corner on a chilly March morning, waiting to send our kids off on the local school bus. One mom (me) anxious, excited, nervous to finally meet my new neighbors. "Where ya from?" I was asked. "New Jersey," I repliled eagerly. Surely these people would want to know all the interesting facts about the only state that I had ever claimed as my home. "Yankess!!! We got YANKEES movin' in!" the battle-cry went out. (What???? This was not what I expected) I smiled warily, but inside something in my gut sank. "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," was the thought that entered my mind. It was then that I realized life was about to change.......drastically! Strike One--I appeared to be seen not as an interesting curiousity that my fellow neighborhood moms would want to know inside-out, but as a member of a former enemy group trying to squeeze into their private lines. I felt like a lost puppy "hi ,will you accept me into your home, I'll be good, I won't chew your furniture, I promise to be happy all the time, pleeeeeease like me!" Update: Two years later, if I were out shopping and bumped into my immediate neighbors in the store, there are a few (3-4?) that I'd actually recognize and say hello to. NJ you were pretty much assumed to be of the Catholic religion unless proven otherwise. Whether you were actively practicing your faith to the fullest was more of the issue than whether or not your parents had you Baptized in. Celebrating sacraments, especially First Holy Communions, often meant taking out a second mortgage on your home! And if you happen to be of a protestant faith in NJ, that's fine too, although there may be times when your kids feel like they're missing out on some huge opportunities to fatten their bank accounts. Okay, here I am in the Bible Belt. There are some nice aspects. People DO talk about being Christian alot..... all the time! It is perfectly acceptable to have Easter egg hunts in the public school and to have the school office adorned with wrought iron crosses hung on the wall. I've never in my life been invited to more bible studies or asked "have you found a church yet?" as in the first 8 weeks of moving here. Strike Two: Catholics are not the religion of choice! Downside: In some circles, we are actually viewed as negatively as the whole Yankee thing! Upside: plenty of opportunities to defend our faith, beliefs, origin of our religion (ever heard of the apostle, Peter, y'know, the FIRST POPE?). So.... myself, my husband, and all my older kids have been challenged to explain our faith and in some cases justify it! So far, we've done a pretty good job! Update: Two years later, I have sought out and found many wonderful families from our two, local Catholic churches who share my fire to live the Catholic faith to the fullest! I am so enriched by their friendship. Unfortunately, I have to get on a highway to visit any of them! (and I do, often!)

Are you still with me? Thanks! Now you know the origin of the title for this blog. Signing off now....... I am the Catholic Yankee in Texas! Suzi