Busy Bee

It’s fall!!!  Well, not really, since I live in Texas, but it’s been below 100 here and THAT’S worth celebrating.  I love this time of year.  A few years ago I couldn’t really tell you what my favorite time of year was, but now, I can say fall, without a doubt.  We wait ALL YEAR LONG for football season.  We love football around here and we’re already knee-deep in Aggie football and pretty much any football that is televised.  As much as I love fall for the football, cooler temps and holidays, it’s also the time when my life seems to get back in swing.  Everything I’m involved in starts up around this time.  It’s busy, but that’s the way I like it.  Until I don’t.  Then I’ll proceed to whine to the Hubs and complain about it here. 🙂

A started back to school last week.  And quickly proceeded to contract what seems to be Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.  At least, that’s what Dr. Google and I are diagnosing her with.  It’s either HFM or chicken pox.  I think the pox is out since she doesn’t seem to have enough sores popping up.  So she’s house/bed-ridden for a few days.  I also joined MOPS this year at the church where she attends preschool and our first meeting was last week.  I was invited by the mom of A’s little bestie and I’m so glad she extended the invite.  I’m really excited about MOPS and looking forward to our meetings, playdates, service projects and holiday parties.  We also enrolled A in Zoo Preschool this year which is 1 afternoon, once per week.  Her first class was this past Monday.  Among other ridiculously cool things, she got to meet a penguin named Jack.  Apparently he was walking around on the table.  I’m only slightly jealous of Zoo School.    I’m also a member of a women’s service organization and my placement is in full swing, as well as my yearly obligations (meetings to attend, hours to complete at fundraisers, etc.) to the organization.  I also decided to sign up for an additional placement this year, so there’s that.  I may have over-committed.

That’s all my stuff outside the house.  Around here I’m making a more diligent effort to clean house on a regular basis and keep up with the laundry.  And I should probably start exercising.  I pretty much took the last year or so off from house duties and exercise and I’m ready to start holding myself accountable.  I’m also still making a concerted effort to see my mom friends when I can, take some time for myself (NOT HAPPENING.  AT ALL.) and spend one-on-one time with Baby C while her big sis is otherwise occupado.  I also want to take more pics.  I’m getting better and better and I don’t want to stop now.  I’m trying to help where I can, mostly administratively, with Hubs’ business then there’s that whole issue of starting my own business.  Plus, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (I host at least 2 family parties each year) and all the travel in-between for football and to see family.  I may have forgotten to mention one other teeny-tiny detail…I have baby fever.  We’re not acting on it, but the itch is definitely there.  I have nowhere to put a third child, physically or mentally, but that doesn’t seem to matter to my crazy brain.

I complain a lot that there never seems to be any down time in our lives.  If I’m being honest, I’m not sure we’re meant to live that way.  We bring this kind of stuff into our lives, willingly, and we always have.  And because we don’t have quite enough to do, I’ve decided I want the entry way and hallway repainted.  Like, yesterday.

Growing up Aggie

WM rings 3.20.09 065I just got home from C’s 2 month check-up and left realizing just how much I like our pediatrician.  Not just as a Pedi, but on a personal level.  She happens to be an Aggie, but I liked her before I found out that little gem.  Once I found out though, it was like, well duh, no wonder I like her!  It got me thinking about this Aggie family though…

I didn’t grow up in an Aggie family, most Aggies do.  I can clearly remember the person that turned me on to A&M though.  It was my mom’s boss, an attorney who graduated from A&M with a degree in Business Administration and attended Baylor for Law School.  For years I was going to follow in his footsteps, wanting to be an attorney and everything.  While those dreams faded and eventually disappeared, my love for and desire to attend A&M didn’t.  I worked hard, but not hard enough and wasn’t accepted to A&M right out of high school.  I worked my butt off at a community college before finally being accepted and transferring to A&M where I graduated with a BS in Psychology.  It’s always been in my blood, and to this day, I consider my graduation one of my greatest accomplishments.  You see, it’s part of my identity; part of how I define myself.  I don’t view “Aggie” as simply a noun, it’s also a verb.  When I meet a new person, it always comes up.  I’m proud of it, like to tell people, and almost everyone knows someone or has a family member that has also attended.  We have a stigma though, a certain air about us.  If you’ve met one Aggie, you pretty much know what to expect from another.  There’s a saying and it’s true:  From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it.  From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.

We love our families, love to have fun, respect our elders, have a strong appreciation for our military personnel, love our country, expect hats to be removed at the dinner table, men to hold the door open, use “sir”, “ma’am”, “please” and “thank you”, and most of us expect our children will follow in our footsteps.  There is no family like the Aggie family and there is no network like our network of Former Students.  To start with, pretty much all graduating Aggies will purchase and proudly wear their Aggie Ring.  The Association of Former Students eats a lot of the cost to ensure most if not all Aggies get their ring.  To us Ags, it’s a symbol no matter where you are in the world.  My husband has traveled the country and has had his ring commented on numerous times.  Most people guess he’s from Texas based on his use of “sir” and “ma’am”, but that’s a different post.  I’ve heard story upon story of Aggies traveling abroad only to be approached by a fellow Aggie that noticed the Aggie Ring.  More than that though, it has always seemed to me that the Aggie family is made up of a certain type of person.  We seem to be stitched together with the same thread; cut from the same cloth.  I’ve yet to meet an Aggie that didn’t share very similar morals, family values, similar political views and a love of beer (joking, kind of).  It really is true that we’re almost cult-like in our traditions.  We take them very seriously and they’ve been sustained for decades.  There seems to be a “mold” for an Aggie, if you will, and not everyone fits in it.

We’ve indoctrinated our girls from the very beginning.  A is particularly enamoured with Kyle Field and the Aggie Band.  She knows who Reville is and has attended a few football games, tailgates, wandered around campus and went to her first Yell Practice last year.  We took Baby C to her first football game (it was a scrimmage) and toured the new MSC just a few weeks ago.  We have 529’s for the girls (well, I’m still working on setting up C’s) and we tell people all the time our money is only good at A&M.  They smile and laugh then turn serious and question us, “Well, what if they want to go somewhere else?  You won’t actually make them go to A&M will you?”  We emphatically reply that if they want their college paid for, they’ll attend A&M.  Most people think we’re being unreasonable.  The truth is, neither Hubs nor I have ever really worried they’ll want to go elsewhere.  Why would they?  Maybe if one of them is really into the Arts in someway, but I doubt that will happen.  A&M is such a big part of our lives.  Our fall is spent focused on Aggie football.  We still have our season tickets and plan to attended as many games as possible.  We have a group of friends that we keep in touch with throughout the year, but really spend time with during football season.  There’s a camaraderie that we feel, especially during football season.  As we’ve all graduated and moved away, we can still come together during football weekends and reminisce.  Our family has grown over the years and so have the families of several of our friends.  We just pack up the kiddos and take them with us, they’re just expected to be there and they fit right in.  Outside of our small group of friends, you’re surround by about 90,000 of your closest friends.  From college freshman to old Ags that have long since retired but love their school just the same.  It’s awesome to stand in the stadium and look around at all these people who are so passionate about the same things.  It’s amazing to see the really old Ags, the ones that most likely fought in wars and lived through a time none of us can ever imagine.  A lot of them still wear their rings, most of them worn down to a smooth gold band after years and years of working hard, usually with their hands in some way.  A&M produces a lot of farmers and ranchers.  The truth is, it’s not REALLY about the football for most of them, but about remembering the good old days and putting yourself in a place where you’re surrounded by “family”.  So yes, our girls will grow up Aggies in every sense of the word.  They will love A&M with the same passion the Hubs and I do.  It will be part of their identity and they will be proud to tell everyone who will listen where they are going to school.  And when they get that acceptance letter, their father and I will be overjoyed.  I will immediately buy an Aggie Mom car decal, t-shirt and coffee mug.  We will move them into a dorm/apartment hours away from home in the sweltering August heat.  We’ll help them choose what decal they’ll put on their car.  We will visit them on weekends, take them out to eat, take them to Target, to the mall and send their dad to fill up their cars with gas.  I will stock their kitchen and fridge with food and drinks.  We’ll encourage them to get involved on campus, and to find a church in College Station.  We will encourage them to LOVE their time in college; to understand that 4-5 years is a long time, yet oh, such a short time.  Tell them to have fun at the concert at Hurricane Harry’s featuring the latest Texas Country music star.  Tell them to have fun at the Tap and tell them to have fun shooting pool at Yesterday’s, but to be careful driving home.  We’ll tell them we hope they have a great time at Northgate.  We’ll tell them to enjoy their wings at Wings ‘N More and their burrito at Freebirds.  If they meet a boy, we’ll want to meet him, to get to know him, and we’ll encourage the relationship so long as it’s a good one; we don’t believe college is too young to meet your spouse.  We’ll go with them to the Dixie Chicken to dunk their rings and we’ll pretend we don’t know what they’re up to on a Friday night in College Station.  We’ll pretend we think they attend all their classes, they never turn the alarm off and go back to sleep skipping class.  And when they graduate, we’ll be there to see them walk across the stage and to help them apply their Association of Former Students decal to their car.  And we’ll do all of this because that’s what Aggie families do.  They live and breathe A&M…it’s a family affair; a lifestyle.  So yes, our kids will go to A&M too.  And anyone who doesn’t believe that isn’t an Aggie because it means they don’t really understand what an Aggie is.  Gig ’em.

A’s Aggie Overalls

I don’t think I have any fellow Aggies following along here, but if I do, a special welcome and Howdy! to you!  This one’s for you…

I feel slightly bad that my post last night was such a downer.  Only slightly though, because after all, this blog is pretty much my only therapy.  And I’m really trying to remain honest here.  Nothing is more frustrating than a blogger that only writes about the good times.  Nobody’s life is perfect, and if it is, well, the rest of us prefer not to know about it.  We want the muck and the mire to help us realize we’re not alone out here.  Keep your fantasy life to yourself.

Now, let’s discuss what I’ve been up to the past few weeks.  At one of the football games earlier this season I spotted a young girl in Aggie overalls.  The term “Aggie overalls” defines something very specific.  You want to be educated?  Well great!  I was planning to do just that.  You see, the little girl was sporting her overalls complete with the required class year painted on her rear-end.  I immediately texted my sis-in-law, whose seats are in a different part of the stadium and told her A needed some Aggie overalls for Thanksgiving and was she interested in helping me.  She of course responded with yes.  The other thing you have to understand is that we (Hubs and I, and well, I suppose all our extended family) are totally, completely and 100% dedicated to Texas A&M.  We save monthly for A’s college and put a portion of her bday and Christmas money gifts into her college fund also.  One of the first things we did was determine what class year she was.  Class of 2031…we’ll get to that.  We’re not joking when we say that our money is only good at one place.  We’ll pay for her school, so long as that school is Texas A&M.  A lot of people have given us flack about it, but to be honest, there is no doubt in my mind she’ll want to go as badly as I did and as badly as we want her to.  It’s in her blood.  She’s been surrounded by it since day one.  The first thing I ever purchased for her (before she was born, heck, even before we knew she was a girl) was a maroon blankie…she still carries it daily and sleeps with it always.  If you ask her what color it is, she’ll tell you maroon.  She has A&M toys and books and knows when the Aggie Band comes on Hubs’ iPod and recognizes them in the background noise when we’re watching a football game on tv.  She LOVES to watch the band performances too.  This time of year is particularly full of Aggie spirit and tradition because we play the t-sips from Austin at Thanksgiving each year.  Except next year.  And the year after that.  And who knows for how long; since the Aggies are joining the SEC, tu has decided to take their toys and go home and refuses to play us in any sport.  Just let the record show it was their call, not ours.  But I digress…

I’m not a crafty person.  This task that lay before me was daunting.  Even tracking down plain denim overalls was a huge ordeal.  After quite the goose chase, I scored big time at the resale shop…happened upon a pair in the boy’s section for a mere $4.99.  Nice.  Anyways, it’s taken all my creative juices, lots of glue and very minimal stitching (because I can’t sew) to create these overalls.  I love them, Hubs adores them and A can’t wait to wear them.  And now, behold, A’s Redass Aggie Overalls!

Here’s the front:
Here’s the back:
Close-up of front top side:
front tabs
Front pocket:
front pocket
Front pant legs:
front legs
Close-up of letters and maroon dots:
Backside, the ruffles are my absolute favorite:
back legs
c/o ’31, proudly displayed!
HOWDY! The official Aggie greeting:
Back straps – I’m sure her hair will cover this but oh well:
back straps
And the required Saw ‘Em Off!
leg close up

Now, in other news, I seem to have damaged my camera. It fell out of the stroller several weeks ago while we were at Hubs’ half-marathon and took a nice bounce on the concrete. And it kind of feels like I’ve lost a limb. Or perhaps a vital organ. For months I’d been planning to buy a prime lens with my birthday money and now I have to replace my crappy kit lens, (which I realize isn’t a terrible thing, but just really poor timing) and I will most likely have to send my camera body off for some repairs. There’s something moving inside the camera body and I don’t think that’s supposed to happen. I’m beyond upset. That leaves me basically camera-less for Thanksgiving and if the body can’t be repaired, well, higher-end camera bodies aren’t exactly cheap. My camera still functions, but if you look at the pictures I just posted, the focus is off. I can use my macro lens to get me through the weekend, just won’t be able to capture any great candid shots. My macro lens doesn’t have image stabilization and it makes clearly capturing any movement next to impossible. Sigh. It’s really got me bummed out. There’s a large part of me that wants to march down to the camera store, buy the Canon 60D or the 7D, a few new lenses and be done with it. But there’s this whole “be fiscally responsible” thing that’s (barely) keeping me from doing it.  And just because I’m choosing not to do it doesn’t mean I’m not pissed about it.  Blah.