it's getting spooky here

Here's what you need for a successful pumpkin carving:

- Mosquito repellent (it's still 85 degrees here, people, we are in prime mosquito time)
- Beer
- A knife
- A "face" outlined in Sharpie on said pumpkin

Here's what you do not need for a successful pumpkin carving:

- A toddler wielding a rusty butter knife that she found lying on the ground in the backyard (although such a scenario makes for a great photo opportunity).

You might find this surprising (or else you won't if you have children) but kids tend to lose interest in projects--even carving Jack-o-Lanterns!--in very short periods of time. Thus, our afternoon family pumpkin carving extravaganza turned into Alex gutting (Catcher didn't like the "feel" of the pumpkin guts) and carving our 2014 family pumpkin himself while I set the stage for the perfect pumpkin Pinterest carving experience...no one bought into that one. The blanket laid out on the stone "patio" (for lack of a better word) with the wooden fence in the background was all part of my plan to show how totally cool and artsy and Pinterest-worthy our pumpkin carving family is, but it turns out that we aren't that cool and artsy. Instead of sifting through pumpkin guts, Catcher turned himself into a human target and begged the knife-wielding toddler to throw tennis balls at him. Meanwhile the artsiest (thus far, at least) of our children, Scout, didn't even participate in the spectacle. She was too busy inside making sculptures out of cardboard boxes she had fished out of the recycling bin. That, my friends, is childhood.


finally fall

With the temperatures dipping down to the 60s in the mornings and reaching highs of mere mid-80s in the afternoons, it's finally starting to feel like fall around here. This afternoon we shook pecans down from the tree beside our house and posed with pumpkins--a purchase from Trader Joe's this morning when the "crisp" fall air was pumping into my brain like oxygen through a Casino.

Even though Tillie was less-than-thrilled with the whole sit-on-the-porch-beside-a-pumpkin idea, I'm all in for autumn! If this weather continues, I might have to take the plunge and enjoy my first pumpkin spice latte of the season.


from football to football

This morning Catcher had a football (in the international sense) game followed by a football (American) game. I don't have pictures from the first sporting event of the day because Catcher spent the first half in tears--of the blotchy, hysterical variety--on the sideline after having left his shin guards at home. When he finally recovered his composure and made it into the game, his little sister (pictured below) was storming off on a temper tantrum run of her own. It was approximately 9:00am. And that's approximately 2 1/2 hours into my day. Buckle up--it's going to be a bumpy ride.

When my son was finally speaking to me again (I think the post-game juice box helped), I hustled the gang into the car to drive to the far Northeastern corner of Austin for our inaugural flag football game. Now it was Scout's turn to pitch a royal fit, and it was 10:15am. Thank goodness we had brought an arsenal of books with us (as per usual) so I was able to catch a few minutes of the game in between reading to Scout and sending her back to my bag to fetch a new book.

Somehow we--or rather, I--made it through the game (both games) and routed the troops to our next destination: a family luncheon celebrating Alex's stepmother's mom's 13th wedding anniversary. (Is that confusing enough for you?) There was cake. Kids love cake.



I'll admit it. I was slightly freaked out when Catcher casually approached me in the kitchen this afternoon wearing his plastic, glow-in-the-dark fangs. Perhaps I was slightly more than slightly freaked out...I almost dropped the smoothie I had made for him on the floor. He must get his knack for frightening folks from his dad.


my eight-legged friend

We've been busy this week with Columbus Day (no school for Catcher...more "work" for me) and back-to-school night, which included another book fair at Catcher's school, so I've been slacking on the blog. During my down time, however, I did manage to snap a picture of my new spider friend who reconstructed her web that I destroyed with my big human head. The photos would be much cooler if I had a macro lens for shooting tiny buggy things, but that web was pretty stunning either way. And the spider is totally cute when she isn't creeping through my hair.


don't touch my nut butter

Alex was in Hawaii last week. As I was taking the children to get flu shots and dealing with an extraordinarily grumpy, feverish Tillie and a bossy Catcher with a rained-out soccer game (no problems to speak of from Scout), Alex was running on the beach at sunrise and drinking Mai Thais by sunset--at least that's how I imagined it. All was forgotten, however, when he showed up with the one thing that I specifically requested return with him from the tropical isles: macadamia nut butter. The challenge was not impossible considering Hawaii is the land of macadamia nuts, but sometimes husbands get the instructions wrong. For example, I'm grateful he texted "Macadamia Nut Oil?" from the Island Naturals store--the third store on his butter hunt, he reminds me--in Kona so I could respond "Butter. Macadamia Nut Butter" and avoid a potential crisis. We're approaching our ten-year anniversary, so his training is still underway (winky face).

But back to the butter...this stuff is phenomenal. It tastes amazing on anything. And by anything, I mean straight out of the jar and on the fresh baguette I smeared it all over for lunch today. I ate the whole baguette and almost 12 oz. of nut butter. I'm trying to savor this $15 jar of pure deliciousness, but that's pretty impossible. I gave Alex the evil eye when he dipped into it this afternoon. I know he had to smuggle it past TSA--just kidding, he checked his bag--but sometimes I become possessive of such things. Besides, it's the least he could do after touring volcanoes and sitting around on the beach drinking Mai Thais all week.


this was in my hair...

Bug Guide

This afternoon I took the trash out and walked right into a spider web. This is the spider that I found crawling in my hair (IN MY HAIR!). I think he--or probably more accurately she--was more scared than I was, but...no, maybe not. I was pretty freaked out. It looks all cute and happy-faced here, but I was convinced this spider was 1) poisonous 2) had bitten me and 3) left fragments of web and half-eaten flies throughout my tangled mess of a wig. Luckily I was wrong on all accounts. After I Googled "yellow and black spiky spider," this is what I discovered. Its name is was too complicated to pronounce for the non-entomologist community, but they also call it a crab spider. Thank you, crab spider, for being cute when I thought you were a menace.