Important! Subscribers! The Critters And Crayons Blog Has Moved!

Hi, everyone!  I’m posting this here to let everyone know that The Critters And Crayons Blog has moved!!!

The new URL is:

http://crittersandcrayons.com/

It looks the same but it’s on a different site-  I will no longer be updating this one.

If you are an email or WordPress.com Subscriber, Thank YOU so much for following the blog.

If you’d like to keep following new posts, like the one that I put up earlier today at the other site, please go to the new site and click “Follow This Blog” on the Networked Blogs box in the right hand column.

Thanks, again, guys.  I really appreciate all the subscriptions and support.

C&C Community Round-Up: 9/23/2011

Here are the Critters And Crayons Community-Related Announcements for this week!

Check out family activities and businesses in Laredo on the new ”Where To Take Your Kid In Laredo” Page!

Many, many thanks go to all of you have helped to gather this family event information each week! Thank you so much!

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COOL STUFF AROUND TOWN THE PAST WEEK:

Last Saturday, we went to Chick-Fil A (On Mcpherson Rd) for the Family Breakfast.  The kids enjoyed the cupcake craft and seeing the big cow, as you can see:

The gigantic cow was a little scary for some tiny ones.

But, the other kids had a grand time.  Check them out!

We also went to the Imaginarium’s “Eat Well. Play Well.” Event!

(Photos courtesy of Imaginarium of South Texas and Laredo Martial Arts Center)

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FAMILY EVENTS THIS WEEKEND:

Friday, September 23rd, Celebrity Chef Gala

Via Pro8 News Morning Chat: 9/12/11 Celebrity Chef Gala
Story Created: Sep 12, 2011 CDT
Story Updated: Sep 12, 2011
Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra Director, Brendan Townsend, talks about the exciting Celebrity Chef Gala that aims to raise funds to sustain the arts in Laredo. The event will be held at the Laredo Country Club on September 23 and will include food from restaurants around Laredo. There will also be silent and live auctions taking place. Funds raised will benefit the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra and scholarships

For more information or to purchase tickets you can call Brendan Townsend’s office at (956) 326-3042 or (956) 326-3039.

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South Texas Collector’s Expo
http://southtexascollectorsexpo.com/
Largest collectibles expo in Laredo’s History on Sat, Sep 24th at the Laredo Civic Center Ball Room from 10 AM to 6 PM. Admission $3.

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Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC) Nature Hike

Please join us this Saturday for our latest nature walk! The Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC) invites you to our 3rd outing in the Loving Laredo Hike Series. We will be visiting the “Lost Lakes” – the old gravel pits – at the famous bend of the river, just south of LCC.

This is a gorgeous trail – some of us scouted it yesterday. Expect to see migrating birds this time of the year – warblers, hummingbirds, sandpipers, ducks, and hawks…just to name a few. We will also make a stop at Pebble Beach.

Saturday, September 24.
Meet time 7:30 a.m.
Parking lot of San Francisco Javier Church
2502 Zaragoza Street **

RGISC is doing this hike in partnership with the Monte Mucho Audubon Society (birders) and Big River Foundation (kayakers). Big River will offer kayaking on one of the lakes afterward, around 9:30 a.m., for those of you who wish to stay and kayak this tranquil body of water.

A few notes:
· This is an intermediate hike. Recommended ages 12 and up.
· Please bring 1-2 bottles of water.
· Sunscreen and hat. Sunglasses okay.
· Dress appropriately. NO street clothes, street shoes, or purses.
· Tennis shoes or hiking shoes, long pants, T-shirt is okay but long-sleeve cotton shirt is better.
· Small rucksack or fanny pack to dispose of your trash. We will recycle empty bottles after the hike.
· If you have binoculars, please bring them. Great opportunity to see migrating birds. We will have a few available, first come-first serve basis.

If you have any questions, please call (956) 721-5392.

** Directions:
To avoid the standing train at the tracks by the church, please consider this route.
1) Take I-35 South. When the highway ends, stay on your far right lane on Santa Ursula. Bridge II will be on your left side.
2) Take Santa Ursula all the way down until it takes you onto the road that runs parallel to the river. The street changes names from Santa Ursula to Pedregal. On this road, you will see the river on your left side, and La Posada/downtown on your right.
3) About ½ mile later, when you see the train bridge in front of you, take a left onto San Francisco Javier Street. Keep your eyes open for this street sign!
4) You will soon enter into a residential area. Take a left onto Zaragoza St.
5) Church parking lot will b

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Voelcker Homestead in San Antonio!

If you’ll be in San Antonio over the weekend, check out the Voelcker Homestead to learn what life on a farm is like! Very inexpensive activity! Check out the Free is Fantastic blog for more details! http://freeisfantastic.com/2011/09/21/voelcker-homestead.

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The Kids BoOkstore Book Reading on Saturday

Join us this SATURDAY LIVE SHOW 24th @ 2:00pm “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” Live sketch performed by KIDS! don’t miss this show… admission $7 per child, if you buy There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” $ 16.99 book cost, you will get 1 child admission free. Ages 4-12 Act will be perfomed by Roses Drama Studio owner Carol Rosales. Don’t MISS THIS EVENT! See you Saturday @ The kids BoOkstore.

Highly Recommended for younger children
The story of the old lady who swallowed a fly is a classic, there are many different versions but this is the best. The repetition is great for early readers and younger children. The student/children can learn but repeating the “chorus”. This book is also great for prediction. You can ask the class what should come next after each animal this old lady swallows. There are also great puppets and other manipulatives to use when reading to children.

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The Imaginarium of South Texas

The Imaginarium has Wild Critters at 1PM where they will explore some creepy crawly little critters and Puppet Palooza at 3PM with home made puppets to inspire budding puppeteers and a creative activity to follow. At 5PM we set up a giant chain reaction so bring your ideas or use some of ours!

From Lisa C.

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saturday morning

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The Laredo Public Library Saturday Story Hours

Saturday Story Hour for ages 3 to 8 at the Laredo Public Library is held from 2 to 3 PM.  Here’s the schedule from now through December.  Don’t forget that the library also hosts Toddler Story hours on Tuesdays at 1030!

September:

  • 10-School
  • 17-  Animals
  • 24-Math

October:

  • 1-Colors
  • 8- Llama, Llama, Red Pajama
  • 15- Food
  • 22- Robots
  • 29- Halloween

November:

  • 5- Reading
  • 12- Money
  • 19- Careers

December: 

  • 3- Weather
  • 10- Sports
  • 17- Christmas

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TAMIU Planetarium

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OPEN ART!

Every Saturday. One of the best ways you can spend 10 bucks an hour. Very developmental for kids and they love it. It’s amazing to see what they can create! Open Art is located at the intersection of Guadalupe and Logan Streets! Thanks for the flyer, Anna P.and Victoria!

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Chick Fil A Family Breakfast

Saturday Morning with arts & crafts, surprises, story time and the Chick-Fil-A Cow from 9 to 10:30 AM at 5118 McPherson. Arts & Crafts, Storytime and that gigantic cow!!!

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Mundo Montessori Trike-A-Thon For St. Judes

Mundo Montessori will host a Trike-A-Thon the morning of September 25th. Proceeds go to support St. Judes Children’s hospital. We went to this event last year and it was a blast for the kids. Bring your kids and their wheels (bicycles and other contraptions are fine too- one kid brought his toy lawn mower last year), and enjoy healthy snacks, races and bike safety lessons. More info will be put out on this event as we get closer. It’s a great cause and even better that we can get our kids involved in helping others! It will be held in the parking lot of 1701 Peaceful Meadows (the area near Scholar’s Cafe off of Del Mar near Marble Slab Creamery). This is a pic from last year’s event:

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Laredo Public Library “An Afternoon With Dr. Carmen Tafolla”

On, September 24th at 2 PM, the public is invited to meet Dr. Carmen Tafolla, writer, screenplay author, poet and children’s work author! For more info about Dr. Tafolla, go here: http://www.carmentafolla.com/

From Elenisa V.

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Lowe’s Build And Grow Kids Workshop

September 24th at Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshop they are having a fire truck project for the kids to build. The Lowe’s here is VERY busy but they have great projects, and the children get their own apron and patches for each project to sew on the apron. If you register online you will see that they are already full, but they take walk ins. We were a walk in to the police car project last Saturday and had to wait for a little while to get all the registrants through to see if there were any extra projects. It starts at 10AM. Be sure to go early and the best part is that it is FREE!! http://lowesbuildandgrow.com/

From Anna P.

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NEW UPCOMING AND RECURRING EVENTS:

Laredo Rio Fest Coming in October!!!

Laredos RioFest is Laredo’s premier Kayak Race. It has now grown to include multiple events, including a fun fest, bike races and recreational kayak race among other events.

Laredos RioFest is taking place October 15 and 16, 2011. in Laredo, Texas. Join us for a 33 mile kayak race down the Rio Grande, a family expo, kids fun run, rhythm on the rio, and other special events.

http://www.laredosriofest.com

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2ND ANNUAL  KICK ASPHALT RACE &
ROCK FEST – OCTOBER 23, 2011 8AM
@ THE LAREDO E
NERGY ARENA.

http://www.runstronglaredo.com/

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EVENTS & NEWS FEATURED IN PREVIOUS C&C COMMUNITY ROUND-UPS.

(AS INFO BECOMES OBSOLETE, IT WILL BE DELETED. HERE ARE THE UPCOMING AND ONGOING EVENTS!)

THANK YOU, AMY G. FOR NOMINATING CRITTERS AND CRAYONS FOR THE PARENTS.COM BLOG AWARDS FOR TOP LOCAL MOM BLOG! To Vote for Critters And Crayons, click the link! They’ll ask you to register- one vote per email address. Right now, I’m getting my butt kicked. haha! Votes are appreciated! :) Thanks, again, Amy!

Best_local_mom_blog

You can vote here: http://blog-awards.parents.com/blog-awards/mom_blogs/759-critters-and-crayons

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Dia Del Rio 2011 Proclamation and Interfaith Service Kick-Off Event
Dia Del Rio is a celebration that has united the two Laredos for 17 years. This year’s event promises to be rich in cultural and scientific activities, with hundreds of students from both countries involved in projects that we are sponsoring.
We would like to invite you to the Dia Del Rio 2011 Proclamation and Interfaith Service Kick-off event on Friday, September 30th, 2011. The ceremony will be held at the entrance of the Paso Del Indio Nature Trail behind the Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Center at the Laredo Community College campus. We will begin the festivities at 11.30am sharp and conclude with a lunch catered by the Laredo Jobs Corps Culinary Arts Program. For further information please call Gail (DDR Coordinator) at 956-721-5392.
From The Rio Grande International Study Center

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The Laredo Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Looking For Volunteers

The Laredo Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is currently recruiting volunteers for the 2012 tax season. Please call Dial 1+956-320-0016 or http://www.laredofesc.org to sign up.

The Laredo Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is a local coalition of public and private groups, credit unions, banks, and the IRS that takes people from the community, certifies them as tax preparers, and places them in a VITA site to help people file their federal tax returns. Volunteers help thousands of taxpayers every year. Training is free. Tax preparation is free.

From Rafael T.

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Home Depot Kids Wood Working Workshop!

October 1st at The Home Depot will be Safety Awareness Day. At their Kid’s Workshop that day they will be building a helicopter. They told me that they will have fire trucks, police cars, etc. outside the building for the kids to see. I think she also mentioned a bouncehouse, face paint, etc. I hope I heard all of this right because I was chasing my two little ones while she was explaining it to me but at the very least go out and make a helicopter, it is worth the trip!! They give your child an apron and a pin to put on the apron for the completed project. It is free and starts at 9AM. I am not sure if you have to register online with The Home Depot for their projects…the time we went we just walked in…we noticed that it is less crowded than the Lowe’s workshops. You also get to paint your project upon completion!! =)http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ContentView?pn=Kids_Workshops&langId=-1&storeId=10051

From Anna P.

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Movie and Ice Cream Bargains

Just have to share- You all might already be tracking some of the good family fun deals around Laredo, but here’s a good Tuesday option. Go to Cinemark 12 (the movie theater by Kohls off of I-35 S) and watch a kids’ show on Tuesday (1 buck a person all day or 3 bucks per person for 3D) and then go to Marble Slab Creamery where you pay for one original cup or cone and get one free. For our family of four, we spent four bucks at the theater and then went to Marble Slab and enjoyed ice cream for the price of a single. That was one cheap day (7 bucks). Here’s a breakdown of deals for these two places:

Cinemark 12:

  • Mondays- Family Day. Parties of 3 or More pay $.75 or $2.75 (3D) each
  • Tuesdays: $1 all day per person or $3 for 3D movies per person

Marble Slab Creamery:

  • Tuesdays: Buy 1 original cup or cone, get one free.
  • Thursdays: Buy 1 kids cup or cone, get one free.

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Rosa Barocio’s “Disciplina Con Amor” (DIscipline With Love) Conference is Back!

I attended this conference last year. It was life changing. It’s a gentle discipline method that focuses on the different temperaments within each child. To read more about last year’s conference, see here.

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Lrd Martial ArtsCenter

Laredo Martial Arts Academy Offering

Free Anti-Bullying Workshop To Bullied Kids!

To learn more about the project, check out their site:http://www.laredomartialartscenter.com/Blank.html

And to read more about the initiative, you can read their Facebook Note at:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/lrd-martial-artscenter/how-to-defeat-the-bully/111474178955703

From Claudia P.

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HEB Plus Reading Program Schedule

Don’t forget the monthly reading program where characters come, too! (see flyer below!)

From Ruben

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YogaKids! Now at the Kids BoOkstore! Check the flyer for details!

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. sponsors FREE kayak outings for teachers and their students. Go to http://www.BigRiverOutfitters.org for contact info and to learn more!

From Eric E.

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From Liz T.

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I know it’s early but look who’s coming to the Laredo Energy Arena on December 28th!!!! Woot! For more info: http://learena.com/events/

PhineasandFerbOnSaleNow.PNG

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Have a great week! If you have something to share for next week’s Community Round-Up, feel free to leave a comment here! Flyers and info can also be sent to crittersandcrayons@gmail.com!

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I GAVE UP MY SMARTPHONE AND I OWE WHAT???!!!

A month ago, I started down the oxymoronic path of technological regression.  I became a blogger without a smartphone.  I gave it up.  Threw it away. Relinquished the unlimited data plan I’d been grandfathered into.  Spit in the face of instant gratification with a defiant and very self-righteous “Buh-Bye!”.

My metropolitan techie mainstream friends accused me of being insane.  My alternative tree-hugging friends lauded my enlightened decision.  My kids no longer pretended to be mommy by saying “Wait a sec.  After I finish reading this email.”

Like I said, it’s been a month.  I was really looking forward to this month’s cell phone bill.  I was actually expecting a $30 credit. My husband and I unwittingly paid our cell phone bill twice.  I had given up my $30 a month data plan so that should’ve meant more money for me.

You can imagine my surprise when I opened the bill:  that bill that I’d actually anxiously awaited, the piece of paper that would be the physical embodiment of a good decision, the confirmation of my moral superiority over other data-sucking automatons, the incontrovertible proof of real savings and the vision of literal-in-written-words-that-I-gave-up-unlimited-data-forever commitment to being smartphone-less, and saw THIS:

After copious swearing and a desperate attempt by my husband to subdue (with the Sam Adams Black Lager he’d been drinking) the spontaneous flames emanating from the lava-belching hole where my head should’ve been, I called the cell phone customer service number.

After clicking through the menu for just a few minutes and nearly melting the phone with the heat of my volcanic temper, I actually got to a breathing person.  Wanting to appear rational, and with the self-knowledge that I was not, the conversation started like this:

Technician:  (Insert Cell Phone Company Name Which I Promised To Not Divulge Unless They Fail To Resolve This Debacle As Promised Here) Customer Service.  How Can I Help You Today?

Me:  Um.  I have a problem with my cell phone bill I hope you can help me with.  Before I explain, I want you to know that I am going to try very hard to keep my composure…..

Technician:  Okaaaaayyyyy…..Why don’t you tell me about the problem?….

I explained that a month ago, I gave up my smartphone which had been covered under a 30 dollar a month unlimited data plan.

When I switched to a stupid phone, I eternally gave up my grandfathered rights into that plan and had absolutely NOT accessed a single megabyte of bandwidth since.

It made absolutely zero sense that I was covered for a majillion-hemptillion megabytes of bandwidth which I’m certain I utilized before giving up my smartphone for 30 dollars a month and now, after not even being able to email a crappy pic to myself, I now have a friggin’ thousand-plus dollar bill.

I told him I even blogged about the fact that I would not be accessing the internet.  He laughed.  He took down my blog link.  I might have mentioned to him that I’m also in the running for Top Local Mom Blog at Parents.com and he could vote for me after he got off the phone.

(Nah.  Not really.  But, YOU can vote for me.  Toddlin’ Around Chicagoland is gaining on Critters and Crayons.  I’m like the vagrant on the corner holding up a sign that says “Who Am I Kidding?  I want a BEER.”  So they want your e-mail so they can offer you great Parents.com products.  You can unsubscribe after the first one. Heh. Heh.  Shameless, I know.  It’s hard to sleep at night.)

Anyway, the cell phone customer service technician, to the company’s credit, was probably the absolute best person I could have happened upon in the sea of carotid-slash-inducing customer service technicians out there.   He was attentive.  He was helpful. He laughed and put  me at ease.

But, most importantly, he saw the error immediately.

Apparently, when I switched from my genius-phone to a moron-phone on the 19th thereby giving up my data plan, the giving-up-ness of it all was backdated to the first of the month.

All of that fabulous virtual banter about no-fail crockpot recipes and lamentable potty-training moments that transpired between the first and the 19th was not only uncovered but egregiously billable.

At his level, he couldn’t just give me a $1000+ credit.  This problem would need several levels of approval.  He assured me that it would be fixed.

I am choosing to believe him. He was decent.  He was funny.  Plus, he’s checking my blog regularly to see what I write about him.

To be safe, I got his name and customer service number.  Then, recorded the Date-Time-Group of our conversation so we could recall any taped conversations and promised repairs.  I  then made my own little Memorandum For Record and am blogging about it all JUST in case my next highly anticipated cell-phone bill opening ceremony doesn’t go as planned.

If I still owe over a grand after downgrading to a dim-wit of a phone that takes me, no joke, an ENTIRE minute to text “Gr8, C U L8R” and which can receive a grand total of 5 photo messages because of its substandard memory, you might not see any posts for awhile.

No amount of Sam Adams Octoberfest is gonna be able to put those flames out.

C&C Craftless Series: Crayon Leaf Imprinting

The Critters And Crayons CRAFTLESS Series isn’t about showing you the beautiful things we can make.  It’s about showing how much fun we have together despite my total lack of artistic ability.  My 2 and 4 year old put me to shame in the arts department.  When you’re CRAFTLESS, crafting with your kids is about the experience and the laughs.  Anything beautiful is a happy coincidence.  We try to recycle, re-purpose and re-use the things we have around the house.

It’s now Fall.  It’s still really hot.  We’ve been wanting to walk around the little pond by our home after pre-school for many days now, but it’s still hovering over a hundred.   The good news (sorta) was that today, we were three minutes late past the 15 minute grace period and were locked out of our Montessori classroom.

It doesn’t matter why we were late.  I knew the rules when I signed up.  Those are the breaks, sometimes.

But, for the record, the truckers on the road didn’t cooperate with my hasty timeline.  And my son had been up all night unable to swallow because he’d contracted Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, probably on a playground somewhere.  The canker sores on his mouth had spread to his throat.  A rash had assaulted his bum and the bottoms of his feet.  There were other unpleasant things I won’t describe.   He was generally without much joy until the symptoms subsided.

The good news is that we had made it through the worst, most restless, too-painful-to-breathe-or-swallow night and he was feeling better.  So, on the day my daughter was locked out of school because I failed to leave the house on time to avoid waking him from the sleep I knew he needed, he was pretty functional.  This would be a good day together.

So, we went to the pond in the morning, when it was a cool 90 degrees.  Yes, I mean that.  Ninety degrees is a veritable cold front around here.  Homeless people wear blankets, I swear.

They took their baskets to collect leaves that they would press and imprint:

We had a lot of fun looking at all the patterns.  We tried our best to find leaves that had already fallen but that weren’t too brittle to color over.

And, we came home and spread out our fare.

The kids helped to lay the leaves in pages of heavy books for pressing.

We ate lunch.  We went to see the doc about my son’s Hand, Foot and Mouth ailment.  We rushed back to change into a leotard and make it to gymnastics.  And, then we rushed home for dinner.  When we got back, the kids darted for the books to see if the leaves were flat now.  They were.

All we needed now were crayons (in that nifty travel roll my friend made for us.  You can buy one here), and some tracing paper.  If the work area you’re using is uneven like ours is, it’s a good idea to also put a coloring book or something under the leaf you will imprint so that it’s resting on a smooth surface.)

And that was it.  We just colored back and forth over the leaves and watched the outlines and veins and seams emerge like magic.  (See how that crayon roll opens up.  These things make awesome gifts.)

This is a very simple activity that helps our kids learn to appreciate the beauty and diversity of nature.

She did that all by herself!

Here are some of the other things we made:

This craft took us the whole day to finish with all the steps.  There are special bonding and teachable moments during each phase.

The kids were excited to move to the next task each time we completed one.

I think I was supposed to feel punished for not getting my daughter to school on time, but I’m thinking of framing one of these babies and attaching a Thank You note for giving us such a wonderful chance to get to the pond in cool sunlight hours.  :)

Some people might say our imprints came out too well to be craftless, and I respond that we got pretty lucky with this craft experiment.  This is a really hard craft to mess up.  The leaves are already so beautiful and you don’t have to color in the lines.  It’s the perfect craft for The Craftless.

Happy Crafting!  I hope it’s good.  But, if it’s not.  That’s okay.

If you do something like this, go ahead and shoot your photos to crittersandcrayons@gmail.com.  We’ll add them to the C&C Fan Craftless Craft and Hopeful Cooking Photo Album on Facebook!

WHERE ARE MY KEYS???!!!!

I was running late, as usual.

The kids were fed, watered, personal hygiened and dressed. The diaper bag was packed. Snacks were bagged and canteens were full. Sunblock was applied, pets were fed, plants were watered and all of us had shoes on. The right feet. We were ready to go.

I couldn’t find my keys.

I stood at the door with my two kids, laden with all my mom stuff, ready to twist the doorknob open with the free second and fourth fingers of my right hand, and I realized I couldn’t find my keys.

I remembered hearing a jingling and seeing a flash of metal in my peripheral vision about three tasks earlier as I checked the diaper bag to make sure I had wipes. They must have been my keys! My son had played with my keys! They’ll be easy to find.

Surely he’ll remember where he put them.

He’s two and a half. He talks now. His pronunciation may be adorably off, but he really communicates. He might pronounce Chuckee Cheese “Punty Teefth”, but we understand what he’s talking about.

Finding my keys would be harder than I thought. Alas, a toddler’s ability to speak is not necessarily matched with reasoning skills or willingness to cooperate. It was hard.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Sweetie, where’d you put my keys?

My Son: You missin’ you keys?

Me: Yes, Sweetie. Momma’s missing her keys. Did you play with momma’s keys?

My Son: Yes.

Me: Where’d you put them?

My Son: Right Dere!

He pointed to the TV. I looked under the TV LCD screen and on top of the DVD player. I saw nothing.

Me: They’re not there, Sweetie. Where’d you put the keys?

My Son: Under Dere!

He pointed under the chest the TV rests on. I got on my hands and knees and put my cheek on the tile floor to see. I saw a cluster of power cords, a bunch of dustbunnies, the missing “H” magnet that had been driving me nuts for the past month and a petrified gummy bear.

Me: Momma doesn’t see any keys, Honey. Tell Mommy where you put the keys.

My son got down on all fours, and pressed his cheek to the floor opposite me. He pretended to assess the situation. He looked me in the eye and said, ‘Dey not under dere?”

I started to become slightly bothered, but decided it was best to stay calm and entertain him because we would never be on time to my engagement now. At this point, I’d be happy to just get out of the house. I tried a new approach, the direct approach.

Me: Son, You had my keys. WHERE did you put them?

My Son: In dere.

He pointed to the guest bedroom. I followed him. He pointed under the bed. I was back on my hands, knees and cheeks looking under the queen bed. It looked a lot like the underside of our TV trunk. I found the missing “A” magnet.  Soon, I’d be able to spell the word “HAT” but  still no keys.

Now,I was starting to get mad. I raised my voice slightly to convey my anger.

Me: SON, The keys are not under the TV. And they aren’t under the bed. WHERE DID YOU PUT MOMMA’S KEYS???!!!”

My Son: [looking up at me with his sweetest face] You cannot find you keys, momma?

AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I didn’t say it but I was thinking it.

Me: SON, I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS! YOU HAD MY KEYS! WHERE ARE MY KEYS???!!!!

My Son: I’m a look for you keys.

Upon saying this, he started to pretend to look in earnest. He looked behind the door.

He looked in the refrigerator. He opened the pantry door. I was starting to boil.

I yelled, “Why did you take Mommy’s keys!”

He yelled back, “Becauth!”

I yelled, “Becauth Why??!!!”

He yelled back, “Becauth I wost them!”

Okay, that went nowhere. I decided to try the mean approach.

Me: Son! If you don’t bring me my keys right now, I’m taking away all of your monster trucks! And your Batman! And Spider Man, too!

My Son: Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!! DON’T TAKE DEM AWAY!!!!!!!

He stood in front of me and looked up with a single, perfect tear sitting on top of his pouted cheek. He looked pathetic and heart broken, like he was a kid just trying to help his momma so hard and she was being so mean to him.

I was determined to not back down. .

Me: Son, GIVE ME MY KEYS!

My Son: [crying] I don’t know where you keys are, momma! I want you! I want you!

When he says that, it means he wants to be cuddled. It’s what he does when he thinks he is in trouble. I normally can’t resist such a desperate attempt for reassurance. He’s baby koala cute when he does it. And it normally makes me feel really bad. But, I said,

“No. You can’t have momma until we find momma’s keys.”

He looked around and pointed to the most unlikely of places, maybe out of desperation that I might let him off the hook. He pointed to the ceiling light above our heads. He said, “Up dere.”

I started to worry that maybe he really had no idea where my keys were.

Had I put both of us through this, accused him of losing the keys, missed my appointment, made my son cry and feel horrible…and I was wrong? I had only heard the jingling and I never actually saw them in his hand. Maybe it was some toy. I started to feel terrible.

I said, “Okay, kids. Take your shoes off. We can’t go anywhere. Momma can’t find her keys. Momma lost them.”

I grabbed my son by the waist and picked him up and smothered him with kisses. I wiped his little tears away. I hugged and hugged him. I told him mommy was sorry for being so mean.

He looked at me and said, “We not going?”

I told him we couldn’t because I couldn’t drive Momma’s van without the keys.
He pushed me away and hopped down excitedly.

He ran over to the dining room table. He crawled under it. He reached behind one of the thick ironwood legs of a chair. He pulled out my keys.

He brought them over to me and said, “Here ya go!”

He ran to the door, twisted the doorknob to open it and waited for me next to his side of the mini-van.

“Come on, Momma! Let’s Go Starbucks! I wanna cake pop!”

Our kids.

They are smarter than we think.

And we are dumber than we know.

The Real Housewives of Laredo. In Kayaks.

Today, a fearsome group took over the Rio Grande.

Eleven women with paddles committed to a day out in nature free of worries, free of kids, free from the pressures of the PTA, laundry, non-profit committee and work obligations. We took to the river in a caravan of kayaks. We had a grand time.

Led by two guides from Big River Outfitters, Steve and Ky and outfitted and resourced by Stephanie- we set out on a four-mile trip through mild eddies, creeks, and beautiful scenery full of egrets, cormorants, alligator gar, goats, cattle and free-roaming horses.

If anyone was apprehensive about the safety of the Rio Grande, we were reassured by the sight of law enforcement on land, in the air and on the water.

It was a great day for old friends and new ones. It is something we’ll have to do more often. And, we will. Many thanks to Big River Outfitters and to all the adventurous ladies who came out today!

This is how the Ladies of Laredo let loose. Last Fall, we all went to the pistol range to let off some steam.

And today, we kayaked.

We’re already planning our next Ladies Out.

Paintball, anyone?

I could write more, but I think pictures tell the story much better than any words I could use.

Thanks, again, Ladies! It was a beautiful day!

Now, THAT was a Ladies Day Out! Until next time!

C&C Community Round-Up: 9/16/2011

Here are the Critters And Crayons Community-Related Announcements for this week!

Check out family activities and businesses in Laredo on the new ”Where To Take Your Kid In Laredo” Page!

Many, many thanks go to all of you have helped to gather this family event information each week! Thank you so much!

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COOL STUFF AROUND TOWN THIS WEEK:

HEB Plus Literacy Event!!!

HEB Launched Its Early Childhood Literacy Program! The event was fantastic! The Cat in The Hat was there. Children and volunteers read to all the kids. They had craft tables and face painting tables out. It was a really fun time! Here are some other aspects of this month-long campaign!

  • Bring new and gently used books to donate to kids in need
  • Look for Combo Loco deals where you get free kids’ books with purchase!
  • Look for the book of the month deal with discounts up to 40%!
  • Look for the Buy One/GIve One deal! Buy a select title and one is donated to the First Book Non-profit to get kids books!

H.E.A.L Fitness Festival!

Before we went to the Cat In The Hat Literacy Event at HEB Plus, we went to the H.E.A.L. Fitness Festival at North Central Park! It was a beautiful morning and the atmosphere was full of healthy living. People were walking and riding bicycles (a friend actually won a bike in one of their bike-the-park-to-enter events.) The 5K walk/run happened earlier that morning. The kids played games, played in the bounce house, got their faces painted, ate Italian ices and danced. There were healthy food stands (and thank goodness, good coffee- that’s healthy, right?!!). Throughout the park, people did yoga in groups, spin classes, aerobics, the rowing machine and more). I hope this event keeps growing every year.

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FAMILY EVENTS THIS WEEKEND:

El Centro De Laredo Farmers Market And Cilantro Fest!

Saturday, September 17 · 9:00am – 2:00pm at Jarvis Plaza.

NOTICE: Extended Market Hours!

Cilantro Recipe Contest Categories:
Salsa
Salad
Main Dish
Dessert
Beverage
Value Added Item

Call 956-523-8817 to become a vendor and enter into the contest! (You also need to register your recipe with Alli Hrncir at artsyalli@gmail.com).
**All food vendors must obtain a $20 food handling permit the Health Department 795-4904- Mr. Cisneros or Mr. Garcia.

From Laredo Main Street

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The Circus Is Coming!!!!

Shrine NEW WEB.jpg

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TAMIU Planetarium

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OPEN ART!

Every Saturday. One of the best ways you can spend 10 bucks an hour. Very developmental for kids and they love it. It’s amazing to see what they can create! Open Art is located at the intersection of Guadalupe and Logan Streets! Thanks for the flyer, Anna P.and Victoria!

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Lrd Martial ArtsCenter

Laredo Martial Arts Academy Offering Presentation on Bullying

For children, personal protection and self-defense begins with knowledge. Knowing how to avoid potentially dangerous situations is a child’s first line of defense. As part of our Stop Bullying Now project we would like to invite everyone to a free, 30-minute presentation on bullying which will be made Saturday, September 17 at 10:00am at Laredo Martial Arts Center and Leadership school. Seating is limited so please call to confirm space.

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Chick Fil A Family Breakfast

Saturday Morning with arts & crafts, surprises, story time and the Chick-Fil-A Cow from 9 to 10:30 AM at 5118 McPherson. Arts & Crafts, Storytime and that gigantic cow!!!

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Eat Well, Play Well Exhibit Grand

Opening Celebration at The Imaginarium of South Texas

The Imaginarium of South Texas together with the Laredo Medical Center will celebrate the grand opening for the Eat Well, Play Well exhibit on Saturday, Sep 17th from 10:00am-8:00pm and Sunday Sep 18th from Noon – 6:00 pm. All activities are free with admission. This is an event you won’t want to miss!

For more info: http://www.imaginariumstx.org/exhibits.html

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The Kids BoOkstore Reading, Saturday, September 17th from 1230 to 3:30 PM

Take your kids to The kids Bookstore and let them enjoy a reading of the book ” Take me out to the ball game” from author Jack Nortworth.

Featuring jaime Martinez @ the guitar and Oscar our Dragon of Knowledge hosting this 40 min event! Spaces are limited and the cost is $7 dlls per child. If you buy the book one children admission it’s free! The book cost is $17.95 +tax.

Get out the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and get ready for fun with America’s national sport! The unofficial anthem of baseball has never sounded or looked better than it does in this joyful edition, complete with a CD featuring the inimitable Carly Simon.

The store is located at 2715 E. Del Mar. For more info: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-kids-BoOkstore/168318923217427

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NEW UPCOMING AND RECURRING EVENTS:

Chick-fil-A North (by HEB Plus) College Football Night

Upcoming event on September 22, 2011 from 6-8pm.  Chick-fil-A North (by HEB Plus) is hosting a College Football Night please wear your favorite College Football shirt or jersey receive a Icedream Sundae.  Please forward the attached to all your contacts and spread the word for a fun event.  Thanks and enjoy your week.

From Ashley P.

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Mundo Montessori Trike-A-Thon For St. Judes

Mundo Montessori will host a Trike-A-Thon the morning of September 25th. Proceeds go to support St. Judes Children’s hospital. We went to this event last year and it was a blast for the kids. Bring your kids and their wheels (bicycles and other contraptions are fine too- one kid brought his toy lawn mower last year), and enjoy healthy snacks, races and bike safety lessons. More info will be put out on this event as we get closer. It’s a great cause and even better that we can get our kids involved in helping others! It will be held in the parking lot of 1701 Peaceful Meadows (the area near Scholar’s Cafe off of Del Mar near Marble Slab Creamery). This is a pic from last year’s event:
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Laredo Public Library Story Hours Back!
Toddler Story Hours with crafts and even puppet shows on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1030!
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Dia Del Rio 2011 Proclamation and Interfaith Service Kick-Off Event
Dia Del Rio is a celebration that has united the two Laredos for 17 years. This year’s event promises to be rich in cultural and scientific activities, with hundreds of students from both countries involved in projects that we are sponsoring.
We would like to invite you to the Dia Del Rio 2011 Proclamation and Interfaith Service Kick-off event on Friday, September 30th, 2011. The ceremony will be held at the entrance of the Paso Del Indio Nature Trail behind the Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Center at the Laredo Community College campus. We will begin the festivities at 11.30am sharp and conclude with a lunch catered by the Laredo Jobs Corps Culinary Arts Program. For further information please call Gail (DDR Coordinator) at 956-721-5392.
From The Rio Grande International Study Center

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The Laredo Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Looking For Volunteers

The Laredo Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is currently recruiting volunteers for the 2012 tax season. Please call Dial 1+956-320-0016 or http://www.laredofesc.org to sign up.

The Laredo Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is a local coalition of public and private groups, credit unions, banks, and the IRS that takes people from the community, certifies them as tax preparers, and places them in a VITA site to help people file their federal tax returns. Volunteers help thousands of taxpayers every year. Training is free. Tax preparation is free.

From Rafael T.

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Laredo Public Library “An Afternoon With Dr. Carmen Tafolla”

On, September 24th at 2 PM, the public is invited to meet Dr. Carmen Tafolla, writer, screenplay author, poet and children’s work author! For more info about Dr. Tafolla, go here: http://www.carmentafolla.com/

From Elenisa V.

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Home Depot Kids Wood Working Workshop!

October 1st at The Home Depot will be Safety Awareness Day. At their Kid’s Workshop that day they will be building a helicopter. They told me that they will have fire trucks, police cars, etc. outside the building for the kids to see. I think she also mentioned a bouncehouse, face paint, etc. I hope I heard all of this right because I was chasing my two little ones while she was explaining it to me but at the very least go out and make a helicopter, it is worth the trip!! They give your child an apron and a pin to put on the apron for the completed project. It is free and starts at 9AM. I am not sure if you have to register online with The Home Depot for their projects…the time we went we just walked in…we noticed that it is less crowded than the Lowe’s workshops. You also get to paint your project upon completion!! =) http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ContentView?pn=Kids_Workshops&langId=-1&storeId=10051

From Anna P.

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Lowe’s Build And Grow Kids Workshop

September 24th at Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshop they are having a fire truck project for the kids to build. The Lowe’s here is VERY busy but they have great projects, and the children get their own apron and patches for each project to sew on the apron. If you register online you will see that they are already full, but they take walk ins. We were a walk in to the police car project last Saturday and had to wait for a little while to get all the registrants through to see if there were any extra projects. It starts at 10AM. Be sure to go early and the best part is that it is FREE!! http://lowesbuildandgrow.com/

From Anna P.

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Laredo Theater Guild International Plans Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

Open Call Auditions Friday September 16 and Saturday September 17 at TAMIU

Laredo Theatre Guild International (LTGI) is once again preparing a great classic to present to Laredo audiences, Shakespeare’s shortest and arguably most powerful play, “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Commonly called “Macbeth,” this most famous of Shakespeare’s tragedies is known for its ghosts, witches, and murderous bloodiness, which have combined with its central story of royal lineage and succession to make it a timeless favorite. “Macbeth” will be presented by LTGI in cooperation with Texas A&M International University (TAMIU.) Open auditions for this production are set for Friday, September 16th from 7PM to 10PM, and Saturday, September 17th from 3PM to 6PM at TAMIU’s Sam Johnson Experimental Theatre in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA.)

Directed by Vernon Carroll and produced by Joe Arciniega for a two week run beginning February 2, 2012 in TAMIU’s CFPA Theatre, “Macbeth” will feature Joe Arciniega as Macbeth and Teena Arciniega as Lady Macbeth. Additionally, the cast is comprised of 20 men from youth to very mature and 6 adult women, including the famous “toil and trouble” witches.

 “For any actor, the chance to speak Shakespeare’s glorious words in any of his works is a true privilege,” states producer and lead, Joe Arciniega, “but this play is a true populist thriller set to iambic pentameter. It is complete and total edge of your seat fun. Seriously, if you have ever thought about trying Shakespeare, and if you are an actor you simply must, then this is the one to do!”

Classical theater familiarity and/or experience is sought, but not required. Those that audition will be asked to read scenes from the play and may bring a prepared monologue, though that is not required. Prior to the rehearsals, which will formally begin mid December, there will also be additional orientation and instruction provided on the material, as well as in stage combat as necessary.

According to director Vernon Carroll, “Murder, mayhem, magic, treachery and deceit, this has them all. It is one of Shakespeare’s most exciting plays, and not only for the actors in it. Audiences like it for the action. You can’t beat a good sword fight onstage to grab a crowd’s interest. We see a powerful, intelligent man who has a nation’s unquestioned support and admiration degenerate into a killer without a conscience. His death is inevitable and he knows it, but he goes down fighting. This is Shakespeare at his best!”

For more information call LTGI at (956) 319-8610, email LTGI atlaredotheaterguild@gmail.com, or visit LTGI on the web at www.laredotheaterguild.com

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EVENTS & NEWS FEATURED IN PREVIOUS C&C COMMUNITY ROUND-UPS.

(AS INFO BECOMES OBSOLETE, THEY WILL BE DELETED. HERE ARE THE UPCOMING AND ONGOING EVENTS!)

THANK YOU, AMY G. FOR NOMINATING CRITTERS AND CRAYONS FOR THE PARENTS.COM BLOG AWARDS FOR TOP LOCAL MOM BLOG! To Vote for Critters And Crayons, click the link! They’ll ask you to register- one vote per email address. Right now, I’m getting my butt kicked. haha! Votes are appreciated! :) Thanks, again, Amy!

Best_local_mom_blog

You can vote here: http://blog-awards.parents.com/blog-awards/mom_blogs/759-critters-and-crayons

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Just have to share- You all might already be tracking some of the good family fun deals around Laredo, but here’s a good Tuesday option. Go to Cinemark 12 (the movie theater by Kohls off of I-35 S) and watch a kids’ show on Tuesday (1 buck a person all day or 3 bucks per person for 3D) and then go to Marble Slab Creamery where you pay for one original cup or cone and get one free. For our family of four, we spent four bucks at the theater and then went to Marble Slab and enjoyed ice cream for the price of a single. That was one cheap day (7 bucks). Here’s a breakdown of deals for these two places:

Cinemark 12:

  • Mondays- Family Day. Parties of 3 or More pay $.75 or $2.75 (3D) each
  • Tuesdays: $1 all day per person or $3 for 3D movies per person

Marble Slab Creamery:

  • Tuesdays: Buy 1 original cup or cone, get one free.
  • Thursdays: Buy 1 kids cup or cone, get one free.

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Rosa Barocio’s “Disciplina Con Amor” (DIscipline With Love) Conference is Back!

I attended this conference last year. It was life changing. It’s a gentle discipline method that focuses on the different temperaments within each child. To read more about last year’s conference, see here.

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Lrd Martial ArtsCenter

Laredo Martial Arts Academy Offering Presentation on Bullying

For children, personal protection and self-defense begins with knowledge. Knowing how to avoid potentially dangerous situations is a child’s first line of defense. As part of our Stop Bullying Now project we would like to invite everyone to a free, 30-minute presentation on bullying which will be made Saturday, September 17 at 10:00am at Laredo Martial Arts Center and Leadership school. Seating is limited so please call to confirm space.

The presentation will cover 5 keys:

1. What is a bully?
2. Why do people bully?
3. How do bullies choose their victims?
4. What can you do?
5. Invitation to Stop Bullying Now!

The presentation is designed to be engaging and fun. It imparts useful, no-nonsense information that your child will be able to put to use immediately. Before leaving our studio, children will be given the opportunity to have a Q&A with an expert in Verbal Self Defense and personal safety; and receive a “Stop Bullying Now!” postcard with the information that was shared in the presentation. They will then be challenged to review the presentation and show it to their family and friends.

If everyone in our community commits to the Stop Bullying Now project, we will have done our part to lend a hand and take a stand to stop bullying now!

Again, this presentation will inspire our children to make a massive difference in the world by participating and becoming a part of our Stop Bullying Now! Project.

If you would to be a part of this program or host this presentation for your organization/school, please call Claudia Perez Rivas at 956-744-0725 or e-mail crivas@laredomartialartscenter.com.

Laredo Martial Arts Academy Offering

Free Anti-Bullying Workshop To Bullied Kids!

To learn more about the project, check out their site:http://www.laredomartialartscenter.com/Blank.html

And to read more about the initiative, you can read their Facebook Note at:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/lrd-martial-artscenter/how-to-defeat-the-bully/111474178955703

From Claudia P.

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HEB Plus Reading Program Schedule

Don’t forget the monthly reading program where characters come, too! (see flyer below!)

From Ruben

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YogaKids! Now at the Kids BoOkstore! Check the flyer for details!

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. sponsors FREE kayak outings for teachers and their students. Go to http://www.BigRiverOutfitters.org for contact info and to learn more!

From Eric E.

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From Liz T.

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I know it’s early but look who’s coming to the Laredo Energy Arena on December 28th!!!! Woot! For more info: http://learena.com/events/

PhineasandFerbOnSaleNow.PNG

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Have a great week! If you have something to share for next week’s Community Round-Up, feel free to leave a comment here! Flyers can be sent to crittersandcrayons@gmail.com!

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How Dancing A Tango Can Help You Avoid A Bully Beatdown

I had a pretty happy childhood.

There were the normal ups and downs.  I worried about whether or not I had Keds in the 80s, whether or not my doubled and tripled up socks were cuffed properly over my pegged acid-washed jeans.  I fretted over my inability to achieve any notable bang height in my quest to mimic Woody Woodpecker’s coif, a common infatuation amongst adolescent girls back then.

Those were my bangs on a “flat” day.

I also remember Sandra.

She was a girl.  I’m pretty sure about that.  I always considered myself a “Tom Boy”, a term that has really lost all meaning with this generation of liberated young girls engaging in all kinds of sports.  But, Sandra.  Sandra was more than a “Tom Boy”.  Sandra was a swarthy beast.

She had been held back at least a couple of years.  That means, in the 8th grade, she was fifteen to my then self-questioning thirteen.

Sandra had long, thick black hair that ratted up at the ends and settled in the small of her back.  She had a mullet.

She had honest-to-goodness sideburns and a hairstyle that split down the middle with a feathered Farrah Fawcett look that curled forward where her sideburns started.  She was the youngest and a girl behind five burly boys.  Her brutishness had been forged, no doubt, through years of being picked on herself and having to fight her way out.

She was wide and her arms were solidly thick.  She wore button up shirts and tight jeans.  She rolled her shirtsleeves up so that they wrapped around the thickest part of her bicep.

One nondescript morning, I sat at my middle-of-the-road round table, in the cafetorium (that’s a cafeteria with a stage in it so that the room can also double as an auditorium).  We always did that  after we offloaded the buses, went into the crowded bathroom where we fought for counter space to re-check our poofy bangs and re-plaster them with economy-sized bottles of Aqua Net, and then waited for the first period bell.  I had just finished increasing my petrified bang height by an inch when I sat down.

I heard Sandra walk from behind and address me for the first time in her deep voice.

I’d never interacted with her before.  I wasn’t entirely sure why she was talking to me.  My table was one of the many faceless tables in that junior high.  We weren’t the popular table that always sat across the room.  We weren’t the jocks.  We weren’t the outcasts or the burn-outs.  We were practically invisible.

I turned around and saw her hovering over my chair.

“Hey.  You.”

“Yes?”

“You bumped into me back there.”  She turned and pointed.  “That was rude.”

A crowd started to form behind her.

“I did?  I don’t remember that.”

“You did.  Over there.”  She turned and pointed again, at the entryway where the busses had dropped us off.  I knew I had not bumped into her.  I would have remembered bumping into a wall of a person.  Especially one as notoriously mean as this one.

“Now, you didn’t apologize for that.  And that was rude.  I’m going to have to kick your ass for that.”

A bigger crowd started to form.

I said, “I really don’t remember doing that.  But, I truly am sorry if I did.”

And she smiled and responded, “It doesn’t matter.  You were rude.  And now I’m going to have to deal with you.”

Sandra removed her boyish denim jacket.

She was a few inches taller than me and many inches wider.  I thought I was pretty tough. I was a fledgling athlete.  But, I hadn’t been in many fights before, at least none as potentially catastrophic as this one promised to be.

I was pretty sure my face would make the cafetorium floor sparkle by the time she was done with me.

She started to adjust those tightly cuffed shirt sleeves on her meaty biceps to increase her range of motion as she stretched and bounced back and forth on the balls of her feet.  Sandra was ready to rumble.

The crowd had fully formed.  We were completely encircled.

My invisible table-mates sat quietly, careful not to make eye contact with my aggressor lest they incur the wrath, too.  I think back and wonder how it was possible  that I became trapped by all those blood-lusty spectators given the usual presence of cafetorium monitors who were nowhere to be found.

My heart beat a little faster as it sank in that this was just for Sandra’s amusement.  I know I hadn’t bumped into her. She was smiling.  Her entourage was smiling. She had probably told her friends that she was going to put on a show.  They probably randomly picked me.  It was probably another part of their silly game.

I had to think quickly.  I knew I couldn’t take her head-to-head.  She was a lot stronger than I was.  I had no self-defense training.  She’d been in a lot of fights, and not just with girls.  She was famous for her attitude and general nastiness.  I would have to use my brain.

I scanned the crowd.  In the front row of giddy people, anxious for the bloodsport to begin, I saw something.  A curly-haired, sadistically grinning girl named Melicia.  She was about my height.  She had really long hair.  I don’t think it had ever been cut.  It was curly and still nearly reached the backs of her knees.  She was taking pleasure in my impending destruction.

She, with that long curly mane,  would be my salvation.

very long hair

Believe it or not, Melicia’s hair really looked a lot like this photo.  Just a foot or so shorter.  It WAS the Eighties, you know.

As Sandra taunted me about “just getting this beating over with, already”, I turned to Melicia and shouted, “WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT?”

And, thank goodness, she bit.

She gave me the back and forth head shake full of attitude and said, “I’M LAUGHING AT YOU!”

Awesome.

Sandra stopped hopping from side to side like a prize fighter.  She stepped back and looked at the two of us.  She looked a little shocked, but still rather amused.

I retorted, “WHY DON’T YOU COME OVER HERE AND DO IT IN MY FACE?”

And, little long-haired Melicia did.

She marched into the center of the circle that her body had helped form just moments earlier and jutted her underbite in my face.  We were nose to nose now.

The deflective maneuver appeared to be successful.

The grinning person that had been standing behind Melicia dutifully stepped into her spot to plug the potential escape hole.  He did it instinctively, like a trained Roman soldier in an ancient Phalynx formation after the warrior in front of him took a pike to the face in battle.

We stared at each other.  And with near simultaneous precision, our hands went for the most logical target:  the other’s long hair.

“Alright!”  That was all I could think!  “I’m now wrapped up with a girl I can take!”

Melicia and I danced back and forth for a minute or two.  Neither of us actually ever got a punch off.

It’s hard to do that when you have a death grip on the end of your opponent’s hair with one hand, and you’re holding onto the roots of your own hair so they aren’t ripped out with the other one.

I imagine it looked a lot like a same-sex tango except both our heads were cocked back at grotesque angles following the direction of the yank.  The only way to make it a more perfect teen drama fit for TV would have been for some kid to bust out his violin and start playing that song from Moulin Rouge while someone thrust a long-stemmed rose into each of our mouths.

Now envision this image but replace that dude with another unnaturally flexible lady doing the same pose, only facing the opposite direction.  That was us.  And, for the record, neither one of us was that flexible, either.  But you become very bendy when your hair is being yanked to the floor.

The missing cafetorium monitors showed up and broke up the dance-melee.

Sandra had stood there and watched the whole thing.

The monitors hauled Melicia and me off to the Principal’s office.

She and I sat next to each other in In-School Suspension (ISS) for four days where we did our school work in silence.

Neither Melicia nor I were victorious in that fight if one were to do a punch-for-punch analysis.  If the metrics were to be based on hair-pulling rigor, I think I might have pulled it out (no pun intended).  If looking at it from a dance competition standpoint, we were probably highly synchronized and would have ranked decently in the Amateur Category.

But, in terms of personal survival and the pursuit of the right of basic human preservation.

I won, Baby.

The androgynous beast with a mullet didn’t take this girl down.

You might think that my hasty plan was kind of mean.  You might think that it might even make me out to be a bully of sorts.  But, I disagree.

When someone sees a kid about to be bullied, and they not only enable it by forming that entrapping ring around the certain victim,  but they also laugh and cajole and encourage the taunter, they are not faultless. They are not guiltless.  It’s not like I picked on the kid quietly eating his Ho-Ho in the corner while all this was going on.

I don’t necessarily advocate the approach I took for the kids being bullied today.  And before anti-bully advocates want to flay me (with words) for advocating violence to avoid violence, even with possibly ill-conceived humor, I am not saying that any of it was right.  I am only saying that it’s what happened.  The morality of the decision was not a factor in that hasty survival plan.

But, the good news is that there are resources out there now for kids, and an awareness about bullying that has gained momentum so kids don’t have to resort to such low measures as picking a smaller fight to avoid a much more painful one.   What is sad is that this new focus on bullying awareness has been forged through stories so unfortunate it is heartbreaking.

In closing, I just want to re-iterate that I don’t condone fighting to avoid fighting.

I will only offer that it never hurts to survey your surroundings when cornered.

Also, these days, a bald head can be considered rather stylish and statement-making.  (It will definitely give you the upper hand).

And, it’s not a bad idea to invest in some self-defense classes.

Because, if your fight is going to look like a scene from Dancing With The Stars, it would be better to channel a Brazilian Capoeira fighter doing spinning kicks and side body flips, than a distorted couple jacking up the Argentinian Tango.

That is all.

So, if you or your kid ever have to face a Sandra.  I wish you luck.

And, if you scan the crowd and can’t find a Melicia, then I wish you even more.

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For folks in Laredo, there’s a new program in town specifically designed for children who are being bullied and it’s put on by the Laredo Martial Arts Center.  The classes are free and you can get more information about the program or sign up here.

The center also offers free, no-commitment martial arts classes for kids to test out the program!

The Laredo Martial Arts Center will be doing a free 30 minute anti-bullying presentation at The Laredo Martial Arts Center on Saturday, September 17th at 10 AM.  If you’re interested, call 956-744-0725 or email crivas@laredomartialartscenter.com

And you can see them this weekend at the Imaginarium’s Eat Well. Play Well Exhibit on Saturday, the 17th at 4 PM!

Lrd Martial ArtsCenter

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Image Credits:

Bang Photo:  www.crittersandcrayons.com

Mullet Photo:  mobuck.com

Long Hair Photo:  http://photopostcards.blogspot.com/2008/01/extra-long-hair.html

Tango Dancers:  http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.tangotango.org.uk/tango%2520dip&imgrefurl=http://www.tangotango.org.uk/info&h=334&w=453&sz=60&tbnid=0GqochMDZh4MBM:&tbnh=88&tbnw=120&zoom=1&hl=en&usg=__T-wehJJD_P_WEAd7akOLZad0FGs=&sa=X&ei=CG9xTrXZIeeGsAL8ooS8CQ&ved=0CCEQ9QEwAg&dur=215