Monday, September 12, 2011

49th Annual National Championship Indian Pow Wow

In our family, everything is a ritual. 
If we love something, we try to go back every year.
We love the Indian Pow Wow at Traders Village in Grand Prairie. 
And we go back every year. 

We have been going since my kids were 1, 3 and not even thought of yet!
I first heard of it when I was at Traders Village looking for a giant pinata for my daughter's upcoming 2nd birthday. 
The Pow Wow was interesting.  We walked around, and watched the dancers.  Then I tried the Indian Taco.  Right then I knew my life would be changed forever. 
They take their amazing Indian Fry Bread, which is, by the way, bread that has been fried.  My daughter just eats it covered in honey, and that's okay. 
But.... then they take ground meat, beans and Indian spices and put on top of the bread, then layered with lettuce and tomatoes.... oh...oh...oh.... it's wonderful!

So, we went back the next year, and the next. 

My neighbor, Lori, and her daughter Sara, would go with us each year. We would watch the ceremonial Indian dances, and always participate when they invited the spectators out to dance.  It's so much fun.  The kids would play in the tee pees and we would always eat the Indian Tacos and Fry Bread. 

But last October Lori passed away in her sleep, and Sara moved away to live with her dad.  The Pow Wow had been the last thing we had done together.  We were still eager to go this year, but things had changed.  My kids, now 11, 9 and 3, still had a great time!  My 3 year old watched one of the ceremonial dancers, authentically dressed in leather and feathers, and he then asked me if he was a bird.
I told him yes.  

Like every year, we walked through the Indian Marketplace, stopping and talking to the vendors.  I like to ask where they are from.  Many are from Texas, but some come from as far away as Arizona, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  They like to share their stories, how they make their arts.  We met one old man who traps skunks for their pelts and skulls.  He then cleans the skulls and paints the different Indian Nation colors on the skulls, and attaches them to staffs.  He sells lots of turtle shell music shakers and turtle shell purses and bags.  His teenage daughter tells me that her parents love dead animals, but she loves live ones, and is saving her money to buy a turtle at the petstore that she has a "connection" with.  She said that "if you look an animal in the eye, you know if you have a connection with that animal or not.  Some people never have connections with animals, because they never look them in the eye."  Wow!  I made a mental note to look each of our pets in the eye when I got home!

The kids wanted to play in the tee pees, which are authentically made but set out for the children to run around and play.  I chased after my little Leo, as he chased after his brother and sister, and their friends who met us there.  When the announcer invited everyone from the stands to join the dancers on the grounds, we gathered up and went out.  We laughed and danced together, and ran into friends who were dancing in the competition.  When it was over and we were walking out of the dance grounds, Cole, my 11 year old, asked if they could go play a little bit longer in the tee pees.  Sure, I told him.  I watched as they chased one another in and out, pretending to shoot a rubber band arrow gun I had purchased.  When it was time to leave, I heard Cole say to Leo that they could play again next year.  I thought to myself, I hope so.  I hope that in the next year things don't change.  I hope we are all still together, with the ability to spend the evening dancing and laughing.  Last year, we never would have imagined that Lori wouldn't have been with us. I hope that Cole doesn't change, and feel himself too old to run and play with his siblings.  He doesn't even realize that the change is coming.  But I do.  Maybe that is why I like our rituals, it helps me to gauge how much we have changed over the past year, and keep track of the time as it dances away. 

For more information on the National Championship Indian Pow Wow;

Monday, August 8, 2011

WOW! My daughter actually learned a lesson today!

I'm feeling a little excited, a little proud of myself, and a little ashamed that these feeling come at the expense of my 9 year old daughter. 
Her school offers pre-packaged school supplies, for about $40.00.  This is such a convenient option, but she didn't want me to do it, probably because everything wasn't PINK when it arrived!

But I got an idea!

Today I took her to Target, told her (and my 11 year old son, Cole) to each get a shopping cart, and I gave them each a $40.00 Target gift card and their school shopping list, told them where the school supplies were and sent them off, while I walked around the nearby aisles with my 3 year old. 

I instantly heard whining as I walked past.  "I can't find",  "Where is", etc.  Lesson #2 Learned (It's a huge, pain in the back, time consuming task!) 
Lesson #1 was being responsible for your gift card  -  and I'm happy to say, and a little surprised, that they both held onto them!

I had also instructed them to keep track of how much they were spending, because mom would not come to the rescue if they went over the amount on their gift card!

And then we went to checkout!  My daughter's basket was full, FULL!  She was bragging how she had money left over for a lunch box, and I explained to her that we would buy her a lunch box, and that any $ she had left over on her card she could use to supplement her school supplies as they run low later in the year.

The cashier was about 1/4 of the way through when she hit $30 - no joke!! I warned my daughter then to STOP the cashier, and felt helpless for my daughter as she stood there not knowing what to say to the cashier.  I knew I had to stand my ground.  Danielle had an additional $20 in allowances saved up, for her 6 Flags Season Pass in October.  We agreed that she would use that money, and she purchased an additional $20.00 worth of supplies - still leaving almost half of her list unpurchased. 
I stood my ground here (thankfully, I don't know when I became so strong), and told her that next week when she receives her allowance she can come back and buy some more of her needed supplies.  She nodded as tears rolled down her face.  The cashier, who had been very sweet although we occupied a ton of time in her line, congratulated me on being so firm!  I laughed because trust me, I am not FIRM!

Lesson #3 - Learned!  I was starting to feel a little like Nanny McPhee, except that I wasn't getting any prettier!  

Cole then began the checkout process, placing the items he knew he did not already have at home on the belt.  $15.72 was all he spent.  I glanced through his bag and we discussed that he had chosen Rose Art products over Crayola, plain black composition books over colored ones, etc. 

Lesson #4 - Learned!  How to be a smart shopper!  I explained to my daughter that she had enough money to buy SOME of the cute school supplies, but you can't buy them ALL!  At least, not if you want to go to Six Flags!

I was very proud of my Mommy skills today!
Even as my 3 year old took off his shorts and threw them across the store as we walked out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Perfect Library

This evening we went to the Arlington Central Library so that Cole and Danielle could hear a presentation by the Arlington Archosaur Association about the dinosaur fossils they are currently excavating.  Cole, at 11, is still certain that he wants to study palentology. 
Once they were signed in, I took Leo upstairs to the children's library to wait on them.  I love that the children's library is seperated from the rest of the library, because children are going to be loud.  Even their inside voices are loud. The room is decorated in bold, primary colors.   Literature-rich accents and pictures are everywhere.  A row of computers at little tables are available for young visitors, with every seat filled.
As soon as we got inside, Leo headed to the back to find a puzzle.  My kids love puzzles, and like reading and dinosaur research, I encourage it completely! Puzzles encourage problem solving and recognition, both early reading skills.  Perfect toys for toddlers and pre-schoolers in a library.  When the puzzles weren't in their usual place, we went up front and asked the very nice librarian where they were.  I actually made Leo ask, trying to encourage independence in him.  She told us that they were going through and getting rid of alot of the toys in the library, and the puzzles were probably gone.  She then offered a box of foam blocks to my sad faced little guy. 
We took the blocks to the tiered seating area where storytime is offered once a week.  Leo and his new little friends, who came running when they saw him walking with a tub of blocks, built towers and sorted them by colors and shapes.  I was leafing through an American Girl book, which the branch has a wonderful selection of, but not really given the chance to get involved because I needed to constantly remind them to keep their voices down and assure other parents that it was okay for them to do something besides read in the library.  I thought about libraries in general.  I found myself daydreaming about what I think would be the perfect children's library....
The children's library would be a place where children beg to be taken, and cry when it is time to leave.  Colorful and Inspiring in appearance, welcoming and comfortable for a long, relaxed stay.  Reading nooks, tents and forts are abundant.  Nature and animals books are found clustered among resident fish, turtles and maybe a family of hamsters, whose habitat intertwines through the bookcases.   Plants, leafs, rocks and other nature items are abundant, along with magnifying glasses for examination. The librarians encourage discovery by offering new items to be researched and identified in the available books. 
Smocks await children at tables set aside for daily art activities centered around a book or series.  Monets and Renoirs hoover about the walls, or float gracefully on wires suspended from the ceiling.  Rows of books pertaining to the arts abound. 
Dress Up clothes, tables and tea sets, a crudely painted mural of a castle, leaving much to the imagination; all are surrounded by books of fiction and fantasy!
Puzzles abound across the rooms, as do maniplitables. 
Storytime here is not done at a scheduled time or a place, but randomly when and where librarian and book and child meet.  He happily encourages the children to clap their hands and stomp their feet to a Banyard Dance when requested! She adorns a magician's hat, and reads a page or two of the escapades of Jack, Annie and their treehouse.   The child reluctantly leaves, clutching their borrowed treasure, anxious to return. 
 Is it really a daydream, or do such libraries exist that excite the senses and create a world where books come alive, and are never told to shhhhhhh?