baby shoes

Scout just discovered shoes. She spent the first 10 or 11 months of her life wearing just socks (the shoes never fit; they would fall off, and why does an infant need shoes anyway?) and she's been more or less barefoot ever since. The barefoot thing was totally working for us, too, but now that she's started walking a little more freely, I decided it was time to give shoes another try.

In my past experience with Catcher shoes at this age were a nightmare. If you went for the user-friendly velcro kind, well, toddlers find them just as easy to use as adults and you end up with missing shoes (or your kid comes home from school with his shoes duct-taped shut and a note saying "Please provide shoes that tie for your child."). The only problem with shoes that tie is that toddlers are not known for sitting still and it can take 15 minutes of wrestle-mania to get them secured. And then there are no guarantees that the little one won't attack the shoes anyway, so you end up with a knotted mess or tripping toddler.

This time around, the shoe effect is opposite. Scout is the first child I've known who wants you to put her shoes on, and she doesn't try to take them off herself. She brings her shoes to me, holds them in the air and does this little whine-scream thing until I put them on her feet--even before bedtime! She's also known to get a little nasty if you take them off without her consent, and the other day she didn't like the pair I picked out for her and threw one at me before scampering off to bring me the shoes she wanted to wear. Having a boy, this behavior is all new to me. Is this where it begins?

Scout in her shoes relaxing on the sofa before bedtime. *I did manage to remove the shoes before putting her down in the crib.


gaga for babuska

I came across this picture while looking at decorating ideas for girls' rooms, and it totally rekindled my obsession with Russian matryoshka dolls.

Tangle Tree Interiors

Now I'm kind of sorry that I let this Thomas Paul pillow go for $5 at our yard sale in Charlotte:

I know the pillow freaked Alex out, but I really liked it. Lucky for me, though, Thomas Paul created these limited edition art prints (images from artthatfits.com):

Then on etsty, I found this adorable iPad sleeve...


...and another piece of art (which is totally cute and more affordable than those mentioned above)



best friends

I'm documenting this so that some day--when Catcher and Scout are 15 and 13 respectively and hate one another--I can show them how they were once best friends.


living in central time

This isn't the first time that I've lived outside of the Eastern time zone. I spent a semester in Spain and following college graduation I traveled and lived in Europe for six months; however, those moves were never permanent, and I always knew I'd come back East. My move to Texas, on the other hand, has catapulted me into the middle of the United States the Central time zone. I told Alex recently that the hardest thing about this move has not been the heat or learning of a new city or moving to a place where everyone is a stranger (or even trying to get my driver's license) but leaving the Eastern time zone.

At first my game was totally off. The kids were waking up at 5:30 every morning, and how was I supposed to remember that the evening news comes on at 5:30pm and Survivor starts at 7:00? While watching the Today Show, I felt like I was already missing out on the big news of the day. But then I started discovering the nice things about Central time. Like Saturday Night Live starts at 10:30, so I can actually make it to Weekend Update instead of nodding off during the opening monologue. And tonight I'll be able to stay awake through the entire game of Monday Night Football.

I'm sure there are other nice things, outside of television, that are nice about Central time. I'll let you know when I figure out what they are.


happy fall!

Today is was a breezy 92 degrees in Austin, and the 10-degree change in weather almost convinced me that it is, in fact, a new season. I didn't break out my boots just yet, but I did celebrate the chilly morning (67 degrees) with a pumpkin latte (from Coffee Bean, not Starbucks). Yum!


a sister for scout

The secret is out: today we learned that we're expecting another girl! I never considered myself a girly-girl but ever since hearing the news this afternoon, I've had visions of pink and purple and decorating, oh my! The bad news for Catcher is that he'll have two little sisters bossing him around, but the good news is that he'll no longer have to share a bedroom...eventually. There are so many different ways you could go with designing a girls' bedroom, here's a look at some cute options:






this little piggy

I don't know what it is, but when it comes to decorating, I have a weird(ish) obsession with animals.

Exibit A: the cow chair

Exhibit B: the snakeskin table

Exhibit C: the elephant side table

My latest animal love comes in the form of this little piggy that I just spotted on Lonnymag.com:


I mean, he has to be the cutest little piggy I've ever seen and he's available in orange chrome (pictured), pink, teal, black, white, silver, gold and purple. The bad news is that owning him would set me back $220, but the good news is that he can hold up to $10,000 in dollar bills. I guess if I had $10,000 in dollar bills lying around I wouldn't mind spending $220 on a piggy bank.


from drab to fab

Today was a remarkable day. For the first time in our almost seven-year marriage, I cooked Alex meat for dinner (I hope my mother-in-law isn't reading this). It's no secret that I'm not big on the whole cooking thing, and now that I don't have Trader Joe's to rescue me, I'm kind of at a loss. How many pasta combinations can one family eat? So today Catcher and I cooked up a pot roast--recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law, in fact--and by cooking, I mean that we threw a few ingredients into a roasting pan (is that what it's called?) and let it sit in the oven all day.

Catcher with the potatoes.

Yummy? Not so much. I was a little skeptical before it went in the oven.

A few hours in and Scout checks our progress.
(*Scout isn't wearing a shirt because she was sick today and had thrown up; I'm not a total redneck.)

The end result: not too bad for my first time.

The real testament to my cooking experiment being a hit was 1) Catcher ate everything on his plate (he never does) and 2) I ate everything (I'm not a big meat-eater). Alex always eats everything, so he doesn't count, but I know his inner Texan-Midwestern was saying "it's about time the woman cooked a man some meat."


tiny art

Some day when I have a house that has a drawer--or more likely closet--full of children's art work that I can't bear to part with, I hope I remember this amazing idea that I saw courtesy of Jan Eleni (via Home by Novogratz):

What is it? A print of your children's work, which has been miniaturized and organized into one giant collage. Ingenious, right? I'm not exactly sure of the technicality involved, but this probably isn't an afternoon at Kinko's project. Logistics aside, I love how the end result is personal and quirky and way more appealing than a refrigerator covered in construction paper scribbles held on by alphabet magnets. I don't know if I'm quite crafty enough for this project on my own, but perhaps someday my future home-owning, dinner-making, Martha Stewart-embodying self will figure it out.


the reading corner

When we moved into our apartment in Austin, one of the first things I did was create a reading corner for myself in the living room. Here's a look:

I loved the idea of my reading corner, where I pictured myself curled up reading Wuthering Heights for the 10th time with a glass of wine (after the baby, of course) perched on the table beside me. But in real life, maintaining a household and keeping track of two kids all day doesn't really lend itself to the quiet reading time I had imagined. By the time the kids are in bed and all my chores are finished and it's "reading" time, the sun has set and the harsh light in the living room is not conducive to a relaxed reading atmosphere. So instead I find myself using my chair mainly for sitting in and checking my email or blogging while Catcher is watching Wow Wow Wubzy or Dora or some other kids' television program I'm trying to tune out.

Catcher, too, has found a great use for the chair. Since we no longer have a dining room table and haven't purchased stools for the island in our kitchen, Catcher has been eating dinner at the coffee table while sitting on the floor. The other night he came up with this novel idea (spaghetti night...excuse the red face):

Not one to be left out of the action, Scout also put her mark on the reading corner when she decided it would be a great resting spot for toys:


rocking chair front porch

Alex is working in North Carolina this weekend, and his travels just happened to take him through Charlotte. Of course he was going to swing by the old house and see how it looks. Although we no longer own it, I'm happy to report that it looks as if the renters are taking care of it. If nothing else, they've turned it into a true "rocking chair front porch" like they love in the Carolinas and our first realtor suggested. It also looks like they've made a nice little entertainment area in the backyard--another suggestion of our first realtor--so I'm glad they're enjoying the place. But I'm more glad we don't own it anymore.


basement trolling

When I lived in New York, I relied on dumpster diving a time or two to furnish my apartment. Now that I'm older and more sophisticated (haha) on occasion I go basement trolling at my mother-in-law's house in Milwaukee. In her basement is where I found the inspiration for one of my all-time favorite projects, the "cow chairs:"

We found them a little broken and a little water-damaged. The upholstery had seen its last day, but with a little imagination--or "vision" as I like to say--the chairs have weathered my decorating storm over the past six years.

Today my mother-in-law texted me these two pictures:

She's in the midst of de-cluttering and thought I might be interested in this little gem she came across in the aforementioned basement. I love it, and the fabric is fantastic! I'm sure I could find the perfect place for it in my distant future home. I hope it doesn't mind hanging out in a Milwaukee basement for a little while longer.


miss-ed out!

I'll tell you where I was not today. I was not lined up in front of Target at 4:00am a la Black Friday waiting for the doors to open. I was not one of the thousands (or perhaps millions) on the Target website causing it to crash. So I missed out on the Missoni collaboration that is rumored to be sold out. I guess that's okay because #1 I'm pregnant and #2 I don't want to run around looking like everyone else anyway. Except those flats were really cute...


just another manic monday

Two remarkable things happened today:

1) I drove to (and through) downtown Austin alone (and on purpose).
2) I didn't get lost along the way.

Monday mornings at the Austin Children's Museum are the perfect remedy for long weekends with the kids. The museum opens early for tots three and under, and there's a Jo's Coffee one block away for mid-morning (mom) rejuvenation. The kids get to run around and play for a few hours and, although I have to suffer through a never-ending chorus of Wheels on the Bus during music time, I get to enjoy the fact that I won't be cleaning up any of the mess later. You'll know where to find me on Monday mornings.

Grocery shopping for the essentials: watermelon, eggplant, cauliflower

Man at work

Woman at the wheel

Building a city

Trashing the city

The city: before the destruction


never forget


I've told the story a hundred times, but I've never written it down. I can't imagine I will ever forget the day, and ten years later it still burns in my memory. I remember my confusion, the sinking feeling in my stomach, the acrid smell of the air enveloping my West Village neighborhood. But to tell my story of September 11, 2001, I have to start with the evening of September 10.

It's remarkable how the mind works. I can't remember what I did this morning, but I remember the evening leading up to the morning of September 11. On Monday, September 10 I left work around 6:00pm and, feeling a little under the weather, headed straight for my apartment. I fixed myself an unremarkable dinner as per usual and tucked myself into bed by 8:00pm. I heard my roommate come in shortly thereafter, and although I wasn't quite asleep I pretended to be because she kind of bugged me and I didn't feel like sitting up having some inane conversation.

I slept well that night and awoke feeling (surprisingly) refreshed. I stayed in bed for a while debating whether or not to go for my usual morning jog on the west side highway, and by the time I made up my mind not to go, I had to get moving to get to work by 9:00am.

The weather was amazing that morning. It was unseasonably warm for a New York September morning, so I dressed myself in a grey a-line skirt from Banana Republic, a white short-sleeve blouse and pink and purple faux snakeskin, open-toe kitten heels (they were cute at the time). I rode the subway to work and got off a stop earlier than usual because it was such a lovely morning and I had skipped my run, so I figured I could use the extra steps. It was around 9:00 when I emerged from underground. I was late for work yet the streets of midtown seemed a little off for morning rush hour. I noticed--and I never noticed things like this while living in New York--a woman on the corner of Park and 50-something crying. I remember thinking, "I wonder what she's crying about." You become so jaded walking the streets of New York that a homeless person peeing in the street seems like nothing, but a woman crying on the still sidewalk of what should be a busy street corner gives you pause. However, like a true New Yorker, I continued on my journey and didn't stop until I reached my office at 60th and Madison.

There was no one in the usually crowded lobby or elevator, but I attributed this to the fact that I was 10 minutes late, so I rode up quietly to the 14th floor. When I opened the door of the hallway leading to my office, I knew something was amiss. Every single office on the floor was empty (they couldn't all be late) and when I walked into my own office, I noticed my message light blinking. As I reached for my phone, my coworker Megan rushed in from the conference room to tell me two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. My first thought was "What?!" Followed shortly by, "This isn't an accident." Torn between checking my voicemail and rushing into the conference room where my coworkers had gathered around the TV, I dropped my things and joined the group. Both buildings were already burning, and I found myself in a conference room full of "whys, who did this, what is going on, do I know anyone who works there..."

It's here where details become fuzzy and things run together. At some point we learned that flights had been hijacked, that the Pentagon had undergone an attack, that there was another (and maybe another) plane out there, and that the world was coming to an end (at least that's how it felt). I remember seeing people who had made their way up to the observation deck of the twin towers hoping for a helicopter rescue, we saw bodies falling--and later learned jumping--from the burning floors. My boss's boss lit a cigarette and began pacing frantically around the tiny room. My boss, who was pregnant at the time, went white when she made the connection that her husband's flight from Boston was leaving for New York that morning (his plane was grounded before he even took off and he was safe, but now stuck, in Boston). Emotions were flying. Theories were abounding. I sat quietly in the corner, unable to avert my eyes from the television coverage. And then the first tower crumbled to the ground. My heart sank--for those trapped inside, for the symbol that it was, for the lonely tower still standing and for the soul of New York. Still unable to comprehend the enormity of the situation we were in, I was finally able to reach my sister on the phone--she lived in Arlington, VA--and that is when my first tears fell.

We stayed holed up in the conference room until noon when the CEO of our company decided it was time we all go home and reach out to our loved ones. Both towers had fallen. The bridges and tunnels were closed to traffic. Manhattan was  a sheltered island. We were all alone yet together in our aloneness. Trapped about 60 blocks north of where I lived in the West Village, I opted to join my friend Megan at her cousin's apartment that was several blocks northeast of our office. Walking out to the street, I felt that we had suddenly become extras in a SciFi movie. There was no traffic on the streets of Manhattan, and I watched as a sea of bodies crossed over the Queensboro bridge. If you looked south, even from this distance, there was no question regarding the damage that had been done as a sea of black smoke spiraled into the skyline.

Late in the afternoon, after pizza and beer and hours of CNN, Megan and I left her cousin's place, and I walked 80 blocks home to my apartment in the West Village. Due to it's proximity to ground zero (were they calling it that yet?) I had no power, so I talked on my cell phone--to my mom, my sister, my brother--until it died and I was forced to try sleep. I drifted off still wondering what had happened and when we would recover. The only thing I didn't question was the spirit of New York and the strength of the greatest city in the world.


opening doors

Alex will kill me for this, but I just saw a great piece on elledecor.com about how stylish and intriguing door knobs can be--that's what I've always said! That's why I went scouring through the bins at Anthropologie to find the perfect "old" doorknobs when we moved into our house in Charlotte. I was slightly obsessed with finding the right knob for each door. Knobs that would effortlessly blend together yet not match one another. Knobs that could possibly have been original to the house. Knobs that were more form than function, which Alex painstakingly configured into our existing doors with 60 year-old hardware. The end result was a bit humorous. I wish I had counted the number of times I had to tell a guest in our house to be careful when closing the bathroom door because sometimes the knob would stick ("but don't worry--you can't get locked in"). Alex would give me a look and a slight roll of the eyes, but I got a lot of compliments on those knobs. And I'm not going to guarantee that I won't do the same thing if/when we ever find another house to call our own. Especially with these fabulous options (images from Elle Decor).