but I found him about 30 seconds later. And since he was wearing a yellow shirt, that really shouldn’t have been hard.
Unfortunately, though, it was school-field-trip-day and there was a whole gaggle of kids wearing the same color of yellow shirts. So really, it felt like 30 minutes. Especially since I had rounded a corner and gone all the way down the aisle before I realized he wasn’t with us and was immediately struck with the image of his precious face plastered across the 5 o’clock news with shots of the cowboy search crews combing the rodeo grounds while his mother commenced with the wailing and gnashing of teeth at the horror of losing a child on her own watch.
The scream. It was rising up fast and strong into my throat.
Ever wondered how fast you could push a double-stroller carrying 45 pounds worth of toddlers, with an additional 5 year old in tow, who, if she didn’t keep up, would also be the subject of the 5:00 news?
Well, I found out.
The answer is REEEEEALLY fast!
By the time we made it back to our previous stopping point, where I knew he was last with us, I could see him, beyond the line of yellow shirts, running back and forth, looking for us through the openings of the mutton-bustin’ tent.
I began yelling his name (so loudly and urgently, in fact, that several people turned to see the crazy lady behind the mad and frantic booming voice), while simultaneously thinking, “Why is he looking in there? Does he really expect me to be riding sheep? Without him?”.
Finally. FINALLY. He heard my voice above the
annoying mutton-bustin’ announcer and the roar happy chatter of the devil incarnate yellow-shirted school children. who couldn’t wait until spring break next week to come see the rodeo? Really? Don’t they have a TEST to study for? And as his eyes found me, we both breathed a sigh of desperate relief, and then he trotted over for his welcome-back hug.
It was a miracle!
A Rodeo Miracle!
And then we went on with the rest of our day, which, surprisingly enough, we managed to get through without any major meltdowns AND without the aide of a particular pacifier, that we discovered was lost upon our arrival to the big Rodeo Center. Thinking that it surely was covered in a variety of farm animal poo, with strands of hay and saw dust, I quickly scouted out all exit points, gift shops, and snack stands so as to find either a colorful and noisy object or a satisfying and edible particle to substitute if it became necessary (and I also began to mentally scout out the location of the back up pacifier at home, upon which we are surely forced to rely, now, or face a multitude of sleepless afternoons and nights). Thankfully, there was no need for any emergency food distractions or toy purchases, and fun was had by all throughout the day.
Except for about the above mentioned 30 seconds.
And now, a few shots of our day at the Always Grand, Always Fun, Always Educational
and sometimes over-crowded with school children who really do have a big test coming up and who really should be at school studying for it, but I guess they’re entitled to some fun and educational off-campus experiences, too, Houuuuuston Livestock Shooooow aaaaand Rodeoooooooo!!
P.S.—If you stick through our boring pictures and my lame commentary, you’ll be rewarded with news of a second Rodeo Miracle. One that’s actually more miraculous (though not as heart-stopping) than the first!
(via the Blackberry…please forgive)
We learned where the milk we (sometimes) drink comes from…Elsie, the Borden Spokes-Cow of course!
And Beauregard, Elsie’s sweet little calf, reminded us how important it is for us to drink our milk.
And also that calves are cute.
But they still smell.
But we also learned that Borden has done some cool things with milk, like add our favorite flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, and even orange!
They had a special going on the Orange Milk…2 for $1 and free cookies. So we thought we’d give it a try. We (I) decided it tasted like an Orange Creamsicle. Yum!
But a better thing they have done recently is offer organic milk for those of us trying to avoid artificial hormones and drink milk from cows that eat real grass.
We like that, and our bodies will thank us many years from now for making that healthy choice.
(Well, for choosing it MOST of the time…let’s just keep it real here.)
The mama cows were ready to pop, to say the least. All were due the day we were there, and one was over due.
They looked much like I felt during the last 2 months of each of my pregnancies.
I feel your pain, Bessie!
(Wow, look at that udder! That’s gotta hurt!)
Oh, to have been able to lay around and eat all during labor, like you, Meg. You don’t know how lucky you are!
Your previous calves have all grown up and left the farm, so alls you have to take care of is yourself.
Plus some humans to help. Yep. You’re a lucky gal, cow.
Hmmp. I’ll bet you’re back in your pre-first pregnancy jeans the next day, too, huh? Psshhh!
Moooooove on with your hay eatin’ self.
Well, helloooo, Dolly!
Could you please turn around, Dolly?
Who do you think I am, Dolly?
Your bovine midwife?
Tilly and the Honkytonkers:
(somebody is soooooo creative **eye roll**)
Oh my goodness! They were just born early that morning, so you’re looking at
future bacon baby piglets not even 12 hours old.
Here’s hoping they live a life worthy of Wilbur!
Just in case you were wondering:
Twin sheep, Patch and Penny (a boy and a girl), 10 pounds each,
which couldn’t have been an easy birth!
Little Tyler, born that morning, was up and running around already.
My kids had fun imagining a baby being born to us who is able to run around the first day.
I’m so glad I’m not a sheep! (for many, many reasons, not the least of which is a new baby running around while I’m still recovering from labor and delivery!)
This little chickie broke free from the chickie warmth huddle to check out my little chickie.
They couldn’t get enough of each other!
Tom the Turkey.
This poor bee colony was kind of stuck over to one side, and wasn’t included in any particular section like the Hatchery, Birthing Center, or Milking Parlor, even though they lay eggs that hatch and they also produce the other half of the Glorious Heavenly Food.
(You know…milk and honey. As in the land of milk and honey?).
But who can blame the organizers? I mean, do bees really have friends outside the colony? They’re really kind of abrasive and are known to act rashly and out of fear and anger. Which is foolish, because then they just die, and how is THAT productive?
A lesson for us all.
The queen bee (marked with the white dot on her back) is the big one surrounded by her loyal servants. She does absolutely nothing but lay eggs all day. And all the other bees are busy bringing her food, cleaning her, painting her nails, giving her facials and massages, etc.
(I might have even seen some sort of tropical drink being brought to her on a silver platter).
Every woman deserves to be the queen bee. Especially if she’s expected to bear all the children in the family. (I’m just sayin’!)
You go, girl!
I had no idea there were so many different varieties of rabbits.
I mean, I should have known. I’ve been to the Rodeo before and seen them with my own two eyes. I even took biology! So, expert I should be, right?
Here are some of the most adorable creatures on the face of the earth, petting and observing a few others that are pretty cute, too.
In fact, they are close seconds (in my book).
Here are a couple of my favorites!
The English Lop
Look at those ears!!! Floppy-Loppy ears! Love them!!
Oh soooo cute and cuddly!
He turned around for an over-the-shoulder-shot. He’s muggin’ for the camera!
Your basic English Lop bio:
The Flemish Giant
Aptly named, wouldn’t you agree? He’s a big ol’ boy!
Wow. I want one of my very own. And I will hug him, and squeeze him, and call him ‘George’.
George’s The Flemish Giant bio:
Things that go “vroom-vroom” are always a hit with our kids.
Especially if it has buttons.
And a big ol’ wheel to turn.
(Thank you, Rodeo organizers, for not offering real tractor rides. My faintly beating heart truly thanks you.)
After a busy morning, we took our party outside.
A Rodeo Picnic (with our Borden Orange Milk)
Rodeo Carnival Rides
The Human Airplane
(yes I am making these names up, but you get the idea)
The Dragon Coaster
(Why do the rides that kids are attracted to seem a little creepy to me?
Sure! I want to climb aboard a fire breathing dragon and go for a spin!)
Flying Pink Elephants
(Can I interest you in a scary dream?)
Aladdin’s Carpet Ride
(yet another sweat-inducing dream sequence)
The Piece de Resistahhhnz-uh!
The Looong Awaaaited-uh, Mmmuch Anticipaaated-uh, Sure-Fire-Crowd-Puuhleeeasin' Event….
thuuuu Houuuuston Liiiivestock Shoooow and Rooodeoooo’s very ooooown....
Aaaand they’re off!
Racing out of the start gate,
for one Olympic effort around the loop,
hoping to be…
the first little piggy to get the Oreo on the other side.
And while we beat OU and Texas Tech by a whole hog, once again the t-sips win and our beloved Aggies trailed by little piggy nose. It made us all a little bit sad.
Except that everyone was thrilled. THRILLED. that Uncle Seth and Aunt Lara’s team won. Again.
MAROON! We bleed maroon, kids!
And if you don’t, then your Daddy and I can’t make any promises about paying for your college.
We are not raising you up in the righteous path, only to have you wear the head of a dead cow on your shirts.
That, and the fact that I kept you
all completely safe and secure at my side at all times while we were at the Rodeo. And your pacifiers, too.
Which brings me to our Second Rodeo Miracle.
We had arrived at the Rodeo gates at 9am, whereupon the Rodeo Parking Pass Lady explained to me that we had to be gone by 3pm to make way for the Night-Time Rodeo Crowds (different tickets, apparently), and in my mind I said, “Won’t be a problem. I’ll be lucky to make it until noon.”
Well, lo and behold, we had a great day, full of education and fun, with no meltdowns or tantrums. And the next thing I knew, it was 2:30 and time to head out. With a final stop at the restrooms, first.
But then I realized just how far we had to walk from Rodeo Center, past Rodeo Stadium, and through the Night-Time Rodeo Carnival grounds to get to the Rodeo Parking Lot.
It was at this moment that I became the Exit Nazi, pushing the 100+ pounds of toddlers and stroller and gear at break-neck walking speed, yelling over my shoulder for the big kids to run to keep up and to stop looking at the sights and you dropped the map? Don’t worry about it, and I’ll tell you later what your bee bio cards say, and no you cannot trade your consolation prized-dragons from the ring toss—you get what you get and you don’t get upset--and LET’S GO, ALREADY! WHY??? SO WE DON’T HAVE OUR CAR TOWED AND ARE LEFT TO SEARCH FOR ANOTHER VEHICLE EQUIPPED WITH 4 CAR SEATS OF THE RIGHT PROPORTIONS JUST TO TAKE US TO THE CAR IMPOUND, AND THEN GET STUCK IN TRAFFIC BECAUSE SURELY THAT LITTLE DETOUR WOULD EAT UP A GOOD TWO HOURS SO THAT WE LEAVE DOWTOWN AT RUSH HOUR!!!!!!
“I’ll explain what car towing is on the way home. Now, stop stopping! COME! ON!”
“But Mom, I…”
“NO! No talking! I said ‘GO’!”
“What?” (stopping dead in my tracks)
“I found the pacifier! He must have dropped it here, on our way in this morning!”
I look around. We’re just outside the carnival grounds, a hundred yards from the Rodeo gates, right in front of Rodeo Stadium.
“He dropped it HERE??? Right by the entrance? On the unadulterated, un-pooed sidewalk? This WHOLE time, it was HERE??? All day?? And it’s STILL here???”
A second, blessed Rodeo Miracle.
(that was promptly tossed in the Rodeo Trash Barrel).