Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mexico and A Very Decent Proposal

Sometime during my second semester of my sophomore year at ACU (spring of 1998), I made the decision to transfer back home and prepare to go to nursing school.  Brandon and I were dating, and we both knew by this point that someday we would be getting married.  No time soon, we were both 19 years old for crying out loud, but I was so done with being 3 hours away from him.  I was a biology major at ACU, and I knew that if I was going to marry a youth minister, I may need to be able to find a job whether we lived in a big city, or in the middle-of-nowhere South Dakota.  Thus the decision to pursue a nursing degree.  So I transfered and moved back in with my parents.  I still lacked a bunch of prerequisites I needed, so I was officially on the 5 year college plan.

In the summer of 1999, I was getting ready to start nursing school in August and was short a few elective hours.  The school of nursing I had been accepted to was offering 6 hours of elective credit for a "Cross-Cultural Nursing Experience" that summer.  We would go to a couple of classes, then spend 2 weeks in San Miguel, Mexico attending Spanish language and culture classes and completing an independent research project loosely related to the field of nursing.  Actually, my research partner was a pre-dental student, and we did some kind of project related to dentistry in Mexico.  I have no idea what the project was.  I have vague memories of wandering around a dentist office in San Miguel.  But I'm sure I learned a lot about dental practice south of the border.  

This was my first experience of "college culture" since my ACU days (the year of nursing prerequisites at the local community college doesn't really count.)  I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore when our professors hosted a cocktail party for us students on our first night in Mexico.  I'm pretty sure that never happened at ACU.  At ACU, my organic chemistry study partner got expelled for being seen drinking at a party.  I think he's a doctor now.  

The students stayed in pairs with host families in San Miguel.  Interestingly enough, my roommate was another former ACU student.  We were the same age, and had lived in the same dorm our freshman year before she transferred out and got married.  The family we were staying with had a college-age son, with several college-age friends.  

We went with our host family to Mexico City one weekend for a soccer game.  I didn't understand why they had hired a chauffeur to drive all of us to the game that day, until I watched everyone except for my roommate and I consume vast quantities of beer at 9 am in the suburban.  Apparently, they did not consider breakfast the most important meal of the day.  It never occurred to them to drink, I don't know, MILK with their breakfast that morning.  Or perhaps a "Dane Mimosa", which is made up of OJ and Sprite.  A morning favorite in our house.  

I also watched as my roommate cheated on her husband with a random guy from Mexico, and get herself invited on a beach vacation with him.  She almost didn't get back on the plane to come home.  Seriously.  I am not kidding.

Needless to say, it was a long 2 weeks in Mexico for me.  I could not wait to get home, sleep in my own bed, and eat regular food.  I had to eat an avocado covered with tuna fish one night in Mexico, and with the help of therapy and a lot of chips and salsa, I have almost recovered.  It was very traumatic.  There was also an unfortunate incident related to me going to a "discoteque".  Nothing noteworthy happened at the discoteque, but nerdy white chicks like me who can't hold their liquor and have no rhythm, have no business in a Mexican nightclub.  I also really missed my super-hunky boyfriend, Brandon.  I woke up that final day in Mexico, and put on the last clean clothes I had.

By the way, did you know there are places in Mexico that will do your laundry, ALL of your laundry, for just a couple of bucks?  They even iron and fold everything, and it just takes them a couple of hours or so.  You just drop off your laundry bag in the morning, then pick up your clothes after lunch, and they're all clean and folded for you.  The one thing I miss about that trip.

Anyway, I land in DFW and am greeted by Brandon and my parents.  I am tired, HOT, sweaty, and wearing the last thing I had clean, which was a blue hawaiian-type print shirt (but a little cuter than "hawaiian print") and navy blue shorts with tennis shoes.  I was smokin'.  We all get to my house and I proceed to tell a hundred little stories about Mexico while sitting in the kitchen drinking a coke and dreaming about non-avocado-tuna food, like my mom's calzone (pronounced cal-zoney).   It was SO GOOD to be back home, and have the rest of the summer ahead of me to work and play and hang out with Brandon, with no weird college-in-Mexico classes to attend.

As I'm talking, my mom has interrupted me several times to ask me if I want to go upstairs to see the cat.  Random!  It was weird.  I'm very busy telling you all about my trip, thank you very much!  Brandon was just sitting listening to me ramble on very patiently.  

Finally, I decided to go upstairs.  Brandon followed me.  On the stairs, there was a trail of Hershey kisses, so I followed it.  It led into my bedroom where it formed the shape of a heart, then led through the bedroom to the bathroom.  I thought it was a sweet thing to do for me since I just got back.  What a good boyfriend I have.

In my bathroom, the shower/tub has one of those sliding doors.  The doors are shut, but I can see something in the tub.  So I open the door, and this is what I saw:

Holy smokes, that's way more flowers than usual in my bathtub.  Usually there's just a couple of flowers in there.  I was a bit speechless.  And still had no idea what was coming next.  After all, I was still wearing the sweaty hawaiian print shirt and smelled like a Mexican airport.  Above all the flowers, on the wall of the tub, was a sign, written by Brandon, complete with colored illustrations.  The sign read:

Now that I have kissed the ground you walk on,
And showered you with flowers,
Turn around.

When I turned around, there was Hot Brandon.  On one knee in my bathroom.  With a beautiful ring in his hand.  And me in my sweaty hawaiian shirt.

I always thought that when Brandon proposed, I would probably see it coming.  I figured there would be something "planned", and I would have cute hair and be wearing an outfit I loved with little sandals and freshly painted toenails.  And here was my favorite person in the world on one knee in my bathroom.  And have I mentioned the weird hawaiian print shirt?

I couldn't have planned it better myself.

To say he caught me completely by surprise would be like saying my children are just a little energetic.  Understatement of the century.  Brandon and I had been talking about marriage since our first Christmas together, but he still had a year of college left, and I was about to start 2 years of nursing school.  We had discussed getting married the following year, and I thought maybe we would be getting engaged that summer, but I had no idea he had that in mind.

He later told someone that he had proposed next to the toilet so he would have somewhere to vomit just in case I said no. 

Always prepared, that boy.
After I had taken a much needed shower and changed clothes (I did not shower in the flower-tub), we took a bunch of pictures and went to his house to show his family my BEAUTIFUL RING.  Unfortunately, in all the pictures, I am wearing all the clothes that I didn't like well enough to take to Mexico with me.  But I know it's hard to see what I'm wearing, because all you can see in any of those pictures is a huge smile on my face and my BEAUTIFUL RING.  There's nothing like that look on a girl's face who has just gotten engaged.  That alone makes the ring worth every penny.  

Brandon's changed a lot since that picture, hasn't he?  I think his hair's a little longer.

The roommate?  She's still married.  Her and her hubby worked it out.

And the hand-illustrated sign?  It is framed on my bedroom wall.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This Child

...looks so sweet when he's playing with his bubbles.
...talks nonstop
...loves his big brother
...puts on chap stick and calls it "makeup"
...will only wear his fake-Croc shoes almost completely potty-trained :) full of drama
...has some seriously long and skinny legs that he must have gotten from his Mommy
...will cost us a fortune in orthodontics someday longer screams nonstop like he did when he was a baby a big boy now.
And he fills the toilet with ducks, turtles, lobsters, and rectal thermometers while his mommy is watching The Greatest Show on Television (aka Law and Order).
What a punk.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Trivial Pursuit with a Bunch of Smarty Pants

A word to the rise:  Do not ever play Trivial Pursuit against my father-in-law.  Or his brother.  Those men know a crazy amount of virtually useless knowledge and they're not afraid to use it.  Not only did they know about 90% of the questions asked in Trivial Pursuit, they also knew the situations and background related to the question involved.  Frightening.

We spent a couple of days with my in-laws and assorted family members this past weekend, and we ladies showed just how little we know about pre-1982 Entertainment and Geography.  It was pretty pathetic.  There was rarely a question asked that the gentlemen did not have a correct answer to.  

We played boys vs. ladies, and it was real ugly.  It didn't help matters much that they were getting crazy-easy questions that even I knew the answers to (answers like "fallopian tube").  They even got random teeth questions for my brother-in-law, who just happens to be in DENTAL SCHOOL.  Meanwhile, we were getting an overabundance of baseball questions relating to the 1920s.  

And that's just right up my alley.

One of the highlights of the evening, was when the guys had to guess what a man who has "gynophobia" (I'm not making this up) is afraid of.  It's not what you think.  Or what they thought.  

Put the dictionary away, John.

On a brighter note, it's obvious to me who wins the "Who Can Pick A Smarter Spouse" Contest.  


The boys got to play with their cousin, Joel (who Dane accurately described as "a lot bigger than baby Zane").  We got to all meet sweetie-pie baby Stephanie on Saturday when she and her mommy dropped by to play.  Dane spent the better part of Saturday afternoon digging up his grandparents' grass on a weekend-long quest for bugs.  I think he found a few snails and a spider or two.

They also frolicked in the back yard whilst blowing bubbles in matching shirts.  What?  They always do that.

I'm still learning my new Photoshop, and I know these pictures are too bright.  But now they're on the blog, and I do not possess infinite amounts of patience, so they will just have to be too bright for now.  Sorry.

I like this shot of Joel and Aidan...Aidan's not so sure he wants to share his bubbles with the little guy.

Check out Joel's mohawk.  Add 15 years, a facial piercing and a pasty girlfriend, and he's the guy that works at our video store!
Here's me and the Sistas.  I didn't get the black-shirt memo.  Look how smiley we are!  We are pretending that none of the half-naked boys running behind us are ours.  

Well, that's what I was pretending, anyway.
I don't know why I love pictures of Hot Brandon reading to our boys...Joel is a bit distracted.  He's just not into ABC Dinosaurs, yet.
Hope your weekend was just as fun!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another Picture Post

I know there have been an overabundance of picture posts lately.  My favorite brother just equipped my little Mac with big Photoshop, and I've been trying it out.  I promise there might be an actual post with content coming soon...

Maybe next week.

We have spent the last couple of days at my parents house, and meeting Baby Zane (so cute), and, as usual, the boys have had way too much fun at their grandparents' house.  

When we're at home, the boys like to have granola bars, or cereal, or fruit when they wake up in the morning.  Sometimes at my parents' house, they get the cereal that comes in the little individual-size boxes for a special treat.  Or pancakes.  And sometimes bacon, if Pappy is making beans.
Here's what Dane and Aidan had for breakfast yesterday, courtesy of Pappy:
Yes, it is a giant trash bag full of various kinds of Hershey kisses.  What, doesn't everyone have that in their laundry room?

Aidan continued with the fun a few hours later, when he tried out some of Andy's cough drops.  One found its' way to his curls:
He looks so distraught by it, doesn't he?  I think he was still on his Hershey-kisses sugar high when this picture was taken.

As usual, Andy was a highlight of the trip for the boys.  I think they all three look pretty comfortable.  Andy was really enjoying watching Dora.
We also got to meet Baby Zane for the first time this week.  He is super-cute, and very snuggly.  He was a good sport and put up with a lot from his older cousins.  They were a little disappointed that he was not up to wrestling quite yet, and Dane was quick to inform Zane that "Joel is a lot bigger than you."
Here is Baby Zane meeting his cool Aunt Mandy for the first time.  Aidan was fascinated with the smallness of Zane's feet, and put his shoes on the baby right after this picture was taken.
More pictures of the cousins:

Brandon met Zane last night.  I can see the wheels turning in Brandon's head now...Don't even think about it, big guy.  I've almost stopped buying diapers completely for the first time in 4 1/2 years.  I finally don't have to pack a giant bag of diapers, clothes, bottles, and toys just to go to Wal Mart.  And I'm thoroughly enjoying actually sleeping at night.  See this baby?  He's not yours.  Enjoy him as much as you want, then give him back to his parents for the stinky diaper changes.

But there are few sights more precious than my hot husband holding a teeny tiny baby.

Especially when it's someone else's. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Aidan and the Air Compressor

Hey, Andy!  Whatcha doin'?  Oh, you're building the new shelves for Mommy?  Wow!  They look awesome!  Thank you so much for making the new shelves for us.  We are so excited about having somewhere new to put all of our toys.  Sometimes my Pappy builds shelves, but it's pretty cool to have an architect build them!  What do you have in your hand?
That looks like fun!  An air compressor, you say?  Is that like a vacuum cleaner?  Sometimes my Daddy vacuums my hair and makes me look like a Who from Whoville.  But this air compressor feels like just the opposite of the vacuum cleaner.

Can I try?  I'm very responsible for a 2 year old and I promise not to point it directly into my eyes and blind myself.  I'll just point it at you and laugh gleefully.
Mwaaaahaaahaaaaa!!  We love coming to MoMo and Pappy's house to see Andy!  WHAT?  What do you mean you're not going to be living here forever?  Who are we supposed to wake up at the crack of dawn now?  Who are we supposed to watch Ninja Turtles with?  Will you leave your toys here for us to play with?  You're the best NQUA* we've ever had!
*NQUA=Not Quite Uncle Andy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Last Weekend

Last weekend was so eventful, I am still blogging about it.  So many pictures.  

It's springtime!  In Texas!  And I have little kids!  And a blog!  So I guess this means I have to sit my kids in bluebonnets and take pictures of them.  Even though I am on the fence on whether or not it's too girly to plop little boys in rolling hills of wildflowers for the purpose of picture taking.

So here's our 2008 Bluebonnet Picture:
What?  You can't see the bluebonnets?  Look, they're right HERE:
Now isn't that just precious.

Here's a cute picture of Aidan.  He's smiling, so Dane must still be napping.  Someday Aidan will not have cute white curls on top of his head, so I feel the need to document their presence now.
Dane is at the park just before we started the Diego Adventure trying to share with me his yogurt-dipped dried cranberry.  Um, no thanks.
This was at the park, also.  This big green tube looks kind of like a slide, but you are actually supposed to climb down it using the big holes for your hands and feet, because it is really steep to just slide down.  But no one told Aidan.
Sunday afternoon our church had a family picnic at, yes, another PARK!  (This is my 3rd park day in 5 days, and I am tired.  I just want to stay home and do laundry, already.)  Brandon was painting a Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, actually) on Dane's face.  The ladies there realized that Brandon is especially gifted in the face painting department, and Brandon was recruited for about half an hour.  
I'm in the middle of a little 12-day hiatus from work (woo hoo!!), and we will be going up to DFW area tomorrow for several days.  I finally get to meet my nephew Zane!  Brandon is in Orlando at a convention/Disney fun time/eating out a lot.  I think he's supposed to be learning stuff.  Or something.  But when he calls, he's always on the way to a restaurant (not the kind with a drive thru) or in "Downtown Disney".  Maybe next time I'll leave the kids at home and go learn with him...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Brandon's Birthday Weekend

Brandon turned 30 yesterday, and while we had planned to have a very low-key family celebration with just the 4 of us, everyone else had other ideas.  This is what was waiting for Brandon at his office on Thursday:
This morning at church, I was told by one of our youth leaders to get the boys and bring them outside at the beginning of 2nd service, which is usually when we have high school class.  I went out there to find about 50 of our kids and youth leaders waiting to surprise Brandon with matching shirts and a birthday cake.  He was VERY surprised.  He had absolutely no idea.  Here is his "I'm VERY surprised an I had absolutely no idea" face:
The shirts everyone had on were black, the front said "Brandon is 30" with a likeness of Brandon as a bobble-head, and then it had the Bible verse that says "I was young and now I am old".  Here are some of our girls modeling their new shirts:
The back of the shirts say:
And what kind of cake does my very mature 30-year old husband need?  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, naturally.  
Here is me and the oldest husband I have ever had:
After the impromptu party, we went back inside and the kids roasted Brandon.  There seemed to be a lot of stories about Brandon accidently breaking kids' arms, as well as a couple of "weird things our youth minister has said after he takes his Ambien" stories.   Hmmm...  Thanks wonderful youth leaders for such a memorable birthday!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

Today is Brandon's 30th birthday.  He is still in bed.  Because it's his birthday.  In honor of his birthday, I thought I would continue my little walk down memory lane...

When I finished this post, Brandon and I had dated all through the summer of 1997, and I was headed back to ACU.  We had both decided that we just didn't want to date anyone else.  I had dated my fair share of mediocre boys, and just didn't want to waste my time with them.  Brandon was head and shoulders better than any other guy I had ever dated.  And I am the only girl Brandon has ever dated, and he had no desire to repeat awkward silent dates with anyone other than me.  Abilene is about a 3 hour drive from our hometown, and we both got to know that drive very well over the next 9 months.  Doing the "long distance" thing was pretty miserable.  

My freshman year at college, I had a great time.  It was spent making new friends, creatively trying to have fun while not spending any money, dorm life, and dating.  I think I went to class sometimes, too.  We took road trips to random places like Denver City, TX and Taos, NM.  One weekend I loaded up 4 of my guy friends in my suburban and took them home for the weekend.  Our friends would host their own themed parties like the "White Trash Grub" (super fun, by the way, and great costumes).  There were bonfires at the lake and endless trips to Sonic, and Sadie Hawkins Week.

My sophomore year was a completely different story.  The place was the same.  The people were even the same.  I had moved to an apartment "on campus" with 3 of my girlfriends.  But instead of fun road trips, I was driving back home to see Brandon every chance I got.  We used to e-mail back and forth about twice a day.  These were times before the laptop computer had taken over college campuses, and I would go to the library computer lab twice a day to do e-mail.  Brandon and I soon realized that we could not go more than 2 weeks without seeing each other or we would lose our minds.  

That year was shaping up to be a very lonely year for me.  I was isolating myself from campus life at ACU.  All of my friends were doing their own things on the weekend, joining social clubs and spending time with friends, and I wasn't part of it, because I was never there.  And when I was there, I was completely distracted and boring people by talking about Brandon all the time.  I'm sure I drove everyone there crazy, because it would drive me crazy to see someone so wrapped up in her long distance boyfriend and talking about him incessantly.

One weekend in November, Brandon had driven to Abilene.  Back in these days, Brandon was driving a little bitty Volkswagon Rabbit convertible.  It, too, had no A/C, and his head would touch the ceiling when the roof was down.  So he usually had the roof off when he drove.  This particular weekend, it started to rain on him somewhere around Ranger, and he just kept driving though because there was no way of putting the roof on without stopping and doing it manually.  So he arrived, soaking wet, freezing cold, in west Texas in November.  I think it was that weekend that we finally said "I love you" to each other.  We had been dating for about 6 months at this point, and I had to be the one to say it first.  Of course.

By Christmas break, we were talking about marriage and pretty much knew that we would never have to worry about dating anyone else ever again.  We were 19 years old, sophomores in college, and we were absolutely certain.  I had gotten Brandon's Christmas gift a few weeks back.  I had a hard time figuring out what to get him.  We had only been dating a few months.  So I got him a long sleeve button up shirt.  He had worn these when we were dating in the summer, and had worn them during the fall as well.  I thought it was the perfect gift. 

Until I opened the Christmas gift he had gotten me.  

Diamond earrings.  

Okay, that was the perfect gift.

I got him a shirt, he got me diamonds.  Little did I know that this would be our gift giving pattern for many years to come.  Hey, I'm not complaining.

This has gotten long enough, for now.  But there's way more to the story.  Here is a random picture of Brandon and I in San Francisco last summer with about a thousand seals.  I'm off to Lowe's, now.  Because when it's your husband's birthday, you don't make him go to Lowe's to get fence posts and blinds.  Happy Birthday Brandon !

Friday, April 18, 2008

Diego Adventure

The hubby has a gig on Sunday mornings, every Sunday, and so it is considered a work day for him.  Thus, he takes one weekday off every week to spend with the family.  We try to take advantage of perfect weather, as it does not typically last very long in our neck of the woods.  So we packed a picnic and headed off to a local park and arboretum for some play time and an adventure.  Little did we know, we would be taking a full-on adventure, Go Diego Go style, through the trails in the woods to find animals and stuff.  The trails may not exactly have been my idea, since I had worn my cute little flats to the park (I just cannot pull off the whole tennis-shoes-with-capri-pants thing.)

But before embarking on our adventure, we had to make sure we were sufficiently prepared.  We figured making the boys climb fake rock walls would help build their endurance:
We wouldn't let them eat until they had made it to the top.  No wimps allowed on the Diego Adventure.  We also had to make sure our bellies were full.  After all, what if we got lost in the jungle and we couldn't find our way back?  (Dane kept calling the trees a "jungle".  We didn't want to break it to him)
This picture was taken right before Aidan licked the picnic table:
And, we had to unload extra "baggage" that we didn't want to take on our little hike.  Any experienced hiker will tell you that even the slightest bit of extra weight feels a lot heavier by the end of an adventure.  Aidan has talked to many experienced hikers, and he felt compelled to do this several times throughout the day:
He's light as a feather, my friend.  Now we're ready.  Do we have everything a good Diego Explorer needs?  Diego undies?  Check.

Diego socks?  Check.
Rescue Pack?  (Do NOT call it a backpack.  It is so clearly not a backpack.  It is a Rescue Pack.)  Check.
We must consult the map.  Otherwise, how will we know which muddy path surrounded by trees to take?  And according to the map, we should keep our eyes peeled for butterflies, armadillos, and snakes.  I just love nature in Texas.  It did not tell us that the only animals we would actually see in abundance would be squirrels and ants.  And one butterfly.  And Brandon thinks he saw a snake, but I'm trying very hard to block that image from my subconscious.
Any armadillos in here?  Possibly...Definately lots of mud and ants.  These mud and ants have been thoroughly examined by the explorers here.
Our tired explorers were worn out after a long day of squirrel-counting, tree-marking, and sandwich-eating so we headed back home for a couple of extra long naps.  But not before buying 12 ribeye steaks for $20 from a guy on the side of the road with a cooler in the back of his truck.  I'll let you know how those turn out.  More pictures of our Family Day at the park later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Scenes from a Park

It's Wednesday and I'm not at work, so that means its...Park Day!  I've mentioned several times that we live several minutes away from this big, cool park that is vacant during the week (except on Good Friday).  It is well equipped with picnic tables, several playground areas, swings, slides, walking trails, mazes, etc.  And here's what Aidan decided to do at the park:
They have a big fishing pond out there, and there were not enough pine cones and sticks in it when we first arrived.  Well, there's enough now.  Aidan was a man on a mission.  And yes, I have been playing with my Photoshop Elements, in case you were wondering.  He also took advantage of being in the Great Outdoors by peeing on about 11 different trees.  

He does love variety.  

When he was done throwing sticks and pine cones in the water, he decided to try the swings:
Dane, on the other hand, decided it was a perfect day for dolphin-riding.

Quick story:  Last fall, a photographer came to Dane and Aidan's school and took the best pictures that exist of my boys.  Other than the semi-cheesy pumpkin props and "fall-themed" background.  They were looking at the camera, smiling real smiles, and not off-center.  

I have very high standards indeed when it comes to pictures of my children.

I asked Dane what the photographer did that made him and Aidan smile so good.  Dane's answer: "He had a frog in his pocket.".  Well.  Of course.  

The Frog photographer came back yesterday for the spring pictures.  I got the boys dressed in some blue and green "spring shirts" and sent them off for picture day.  I was a little concerned about the possibility of bunnies and flowers in the background, and my two strapping boys having to hold a delicate basket filled with pansies.  So yesterday after school, I go about my twice-weekly exercise of pumping Dane for information.  According to very reliable reports, no bunnies appeared in the pictures, but there was a bridge with white flowers on it.  (Inward moan).  "But mom, me and Aidan got to hold baseball bats and baseball stuff for the picture."

Ah.  Nothing says spring at our house more than dressed up little boys, holding (hopefully fake) baseball bats while standing on a flowered bridge.  (Can you imagine if someone had given Dane a REAL baseball bat to hold?  In a room with other people in it??) 

But they have to be better than the school pictures of Dane last year.  It had all the makings of a cute-kid-picture.  Plain background, cute gender-neutral red wagon for precious children to sit in, no flowers.  And smiling Dane, with hair going every direction and wearing a hand-me-down pale blue t-shirt with the words "New Orleans" and a skyline across the front.

We might have forgotten it was picture day that year.  And lest you think we regularly send our children to school like that, it was an especially difficult morning at our house that day.  Multiple meltdowns were had because Dane refused to wear this shirt or that one, and he finally Just Put On A Shirt So We Can Leave Already And We're Already Late.  I did recall hearing something about picture day when I dropped him off at school that morning.  Little Susie looked so cute in her hair bow and curls and matching smocked dress.  And look at that kid, in his button-up and coordinating sweater vest.  The other parents probably thought there was a new boy in class who unfortunately had lost his home in Hurricane Katrina and was forced to stay with his great-aunt in Houston, and no one had bothered to buy him a new shirt for school. 

That poor child.