to the races

Alex is working from home this week. Usually when I refer to Alex as "working from home," I mean he's spending his afternoons on conference calls drinking free coffee in our building's community room (or whatever you call it). But this time I mean he's working for the Longhorn Network here in Austin. He's working 15 hour days, which means he's out of the apartment by 7:00am and doesn't make it home until I'm curled up in bed watching TV, but at least I have a fresh pot of coffee waiting for me in the morning and the dishwasher is unloaded.

Another plus is that I'm able to take the kids to see Alex during his lunch break. We missed all the exciting track and field events (yes, there is such a thing) but Catcher and Scout got to hang out in the TV truck and wear fancy credentials...definitely more exciting than story time at the library.



Next Wednesday the Wheats' episode of My First Sale is finally airing. This time it's for real. Or maybe. That's what we've been told. If you want a sneak peek, check the video I posted here. After watching the DVD again (Alex made me do it this time) I take back the part that it's the worst episode of the show ever. The content may be boring, but at least we're cute. That's cute compared to your average HGTV couple, not your average Hollywood couple. 

Although I promised not to blog about the show during the filming of the show, I feel like the statute of limitations has run out on that deal, so here are a couple of things they don't tell you:

- We were with our first realtor for 18 months and the house never sold.
- We did take some of her advice--granite counter tops, anyone?--but I don't think putting out a bowl of fruit in your kitchen is going to sell your home.
- The first day of shooting lasted about 12 hours, and it felt like the longest day of my life. I think labor was more enjoyable. [Remember, this was all my idea].
- There were entire days worth of shoots that never made it into the show.
-The "comp" house that we go to check out in the show was in a sketchy neighborhood. Seriously, I would have been afraid to unload my groceries after sunset on that street. But they have a nice backyard.
- Our second realtor sold the house in 3 months and worked some incredible magic to make the deal go through as we were driving from Charlotte to Austin.

I did learn a couple things from this whole experience, though. Like the next time I'm on TV I want to be totally in charge (i.e. hosting my own decorating show). But before that I need to work on this weird southern draw that sometimes comes out when I'm on camera.


coffee break

I love it when you rediscover something you had forgotten. Like when you find a five dollar bill tucked away in the back pocket of your favorite jeans. Today, post walk around the lake with the girls and pre-morning coffee, I was struggling between my two best options for instant caffeine satisfaction. One choice (Coffee Bean) involved parking, unbuckling Scout from her car seat and lugging her along with Tillie in her car seat inside to order a small black coffee. The other way to go (Starbucks) offered a drive-thru that happens to be on my way home. The only problem with choice B is that I'm currently on an anti-Starbucks kick. I don't know why; they just annoy me. And then I remembered something...

The local burger joint P. Terry's serves organic coffee from (our neighbor) Ruta Maya. Even better? A small coffee at P. Terry's is $.75 less than the same coffee at Ruta Maya, and P. Terry's is a drive-thru. This little discovery is more exciting than a random five dollar bill; it's the gift that keeps on giving.


does anyone work?

Of Austin, I've often found myself asking "Doesn't anyone here work?" Congress Avenue is constantly swarming. In the mornings you'll find hipsters lined up at Jo's Coffee followed by afternoon crowds undulating between Hopdoddy and Guero's. The shops spill over with an armies of browsers, and on virtually every corner you'll find a musician playing for spare change. Until I got to know the city, I confined myself to these surroundings and thought perhaps this nonworking phenomenon was unique to the South Congress (or SoCo as the locals say) landscape. It turns out that on any given day the rest of Austin is bustling, too, especially on those not-so-rare days when the mercury climbs above 80 and the sun is deliciously sunny.

I count myself among Austin's nonworking. Although I don't have that cool distinction of being a struggling--or up-and-coming--musician or recent college grad done wrong by the flailing economy, I can still enjoy a lazy afternoon (even with three kids in tow). Last Friday my mother-in-law was in town for a quick visit and we took advantage of the best Austin has to offer: weather and margaritas.

A preschooler and a toddler saddled up to the bar at Hula Hut--they can't argue that I never let them do anything. Catcher asked for a daiquiri. I'm guessing that's a throwback to our vacation in Mexico when we both enjoyed virgin tropical drinks poolside, but I thought lemonade was a better option. It paired beautifully with the free chips and salsa. Side note: the "two scoops" of guacamole we ordered? Not free and not tasty.


pajama day

Today was pajama day at Catcher's school, so I kept the trend going this afternoon when he got home. I had a busy morning (without coffee!) so I was happy to stay home and chill...if you can call watching three kids "chilling."

Catcher's been asking a lot about mixing colors (what do purple and orange make?) lately, so we decided painting would be a good activity. I even found an unopened canvas in Catcher's closet from a project that was in my head but never made it out, so I told him to go crazy and create a masterpiece. "What's a masterpiece?" he asked.

The artist at work half-singing, half-humming My Favorite Things.

Get a look at that grip on the paintbrush.

Scout wanted in, so she pulled her chair--which she calls a stool--over to the counter for a closer look.

When I caught her hand in the activity box she made a run for it.

The finished product. Apparently the right side has something to do with "the blue coming in to fight the bad guys," but I got lost in that train of thought.



This is Scout. She'll be two in July. She loves stickers. I think one of the reasons she loves them is because she can actually say the word "sticker" (and be understood). Either way she loves putting stickers on her belly and lifting up her shirt, saying "Ah...sticker!" "Ah sticker" can also be confused with another one of her favorite phrases, which is "Ah...stinker!" Use your imagination to figure out when she uses that one. Other favorite words/phrases of Scout's include: all aboard, say that, stool, I that, sock, snack, I snack, eat, Tillie, go go go, and uh-uh.

Of course most of these words don't actually sound like these words, but if you hang out with a 20-month old long enough, you start to understand her language. And then you start to use her language. And then it becomes an inside joke between you and your husband. And then you can't remember when you first started saying "pone" instead of "phone" or "fremote" for "remote," but at least you're entertained.


what's in a name

When I started this blog I was a working mother with [only] one child and another on the way. Alex and I were trying to sell our house in Charlotte, NC and I imagined that this blog would chronicle the ups and downs of that process. In addition I had a vision in my head that, after the sale, we would purchase a fixer-upper and turn it into the home of our dreams. Redoing a fixer-upper is what inspired the "shack" portion of this blog's name, and sassy comes from me fancying myself a bit sassy. Thus you have the birth of sassyshack.

Since May of 2010 my life has changed. For starters, I now have three children and I'm no longer working (at least not in the conventional sense). We've also moved 1700 miles and don't own a home of our own. Our apartment is bigger than our house in Charlotte, but parking on the second level of a dark garage isn't the best trade off. Yet life in Austin far outshines living in North--almost South--Carolina. Which brings me back to my point that life has changed, and so the focus of my blog has changed. It's taken me a while to reach, or rather admit, this point but I'm writing more about my day-to-day life as a mom because that's what I know. Maybe my trips to the Coffee Bean aren't entertaining, but forgetting to lock my daughter in her car seat and finding her standing on the console beside me is. Because we all make mistakes, and we can find solace--or more importantly, humor--in knowing that we aren't the only ones. It's okay to drink champagne in the hospital following your delivery and it's okay to tell your three year-old the parking garage monster is going to get you if you don't get in the car.

I guess for now I'm just a mom blogger, but I hope I'm not just another mom blogger. Stay tuned.


i'm just sayin...

Mom, do you have parts inside of you?

Is it the weekends?

You weren't in anyone's tummy.

Maybe Scout will go to sleep while I'm watching a show, and that will be my halftime.

The teachers don't teach us anything. All they do is talk.

Only mommies can say bad words.
[Disclaimer: I'm not one to use a lot of bad words, but I'm happy to know that it's allowed]

Scout's not having any dessert because she's being a bully today.

Kids like working things.

I love you 60 pounds.

Me: Dad is my friend.
Catcher: He's not a friend. He's just a guy. He doesn't even have a name.


juice box

Catcher wanted Jamba Juice. I like to support local, so I drove around until I found Juicebox & Soup Peddler. After reading about it in Austin Monthly a few issues ago, I had a vague idea of where it was located but that didn't stop the impatient three year-old questioning me from the back seat: "Do you know where you're going? Really? Is this the way? Really?"

Alas I found it--way cooler than Jamba Juice, I might add--and the whining stopped as soon as Catcher heard "smoothie place" and saw the toy trucks scattered about the front lawn.

Scout: simple smoothie, strawberry banana

Catcher: simple smoothie, mango orange

The driver: green monster -- broccoli, peanut butter, coconut water, banana, spinach 
(sounds weird, but you don't even taste the green stuff)


another texas first

I lived in Texas for seven months and nine days (approximately) before tasting my first margarita. Obviously that's what happens when you move to a new city and you're three months pregnant, but I have been dying for one. So this weekend Alex and I braved the credential-wearing SXSW crowd downtown for a night out at La Condesa. I don't want to say that I put a lot of pressure on this margarita to be the best I've ever tasted since it had been so long, but I almost over-thought the big moment.

The Passion Fruit & Spiced Mango Margarita sounded devine, but then I wondered if it would be considered the Cosmopolitan of the margarita world. Another choice was the Alma Blanca, which consisted of some type of habanero-infused tequila, but I think it was the fresh corn that threw me off on that one. Finally I went with Alex's sage advice and ordered the Margarita la Clasica: el jimador silver, patron citronge, lime juice, agave nectar, cactus and lemongrass-infused salt rim.

photo from Austin ModHouse

This could be the nine months on the wagon talking, but I seriously think it was the best margarita I've ever had. I'm not going to stop there, however. I promise to spend the next few months seeking out Austin's best margarita (in my humble opinion). Or is that just an excuse to drink?


jeep! jeep!

Tomorrow morning Alex is flying out of San Antonio, and his rental car to get him there is a Jeep. Catcher and Scout found this totally fascinating and went out into the parking lot with Alex to play in it this evening. It reminded me of the days when we used to roll the windows down on my dad's Toyota and play Dukes of Hazzard. Being the older one, my sister always got to play Daisy Duke (of course!) and I had to be the "visiting cousin," but I don't hold a grudge or anything...


afternoon delight

I'm a sucker for a good fro-yo. Hello, Berry Austin! Maybe better than the actual yogurt at this local spot is the kitschy decor that keeps the kids entertained long after the frozen treat has melted:


i love austin in the springtime

Seriously. Is there anything better than sunny, breezy (non-humid) 75-degree afternoons? I guess this is why we love Austin and why we put up with the hot hot hot summers.

Our latest (new) outdoor adventure was exploring Laguna Gloria along the shores of Lake Austin. [Side note: I've already decided that one of the girls has to get married here. When I told Alex he said, "You're talking about one of our girls, right? The ones that are 18 months and 4 weeks...just making sure." I always said I wouldn't be one of those moms, but I'm really good at planning weddings.]

Unfortunately my pictures don't really do the grounds justice, but it is another reason to love Austin.

Scout: strike a pose

Throwing rocks in the water

Photo by Catcher 
(I was going to crop myself out, but I complain that I never have pictures of myself with the kids).

Another one by Catcher (for real!)

Looking into an old-fashioned wishing well


primary seating

We weren't always heathens. There was a time when Catcher actually sat down at proper* table to eat his meals. Scout was too young to join him, but her high chair was saddled up next to the table and we enjoyed quiet conversation and baby babble over sweet potatoes and chicken nuggets. Our dining table was one of the last things to go before moving to Austin, but because I was pregnant at the time and it only seated four, we knew that our soon-to-be family of five would eventually outgrow it. That left us with no where to eat once we arrived. It was fine--yet not ideal--at first when Scout would still cooperate in her high chair and Catcher would sit still at the coffee table for his meals. But eventually toddlerhood took over and Scout became a wandering tornado of PB&J and apple bits (not to mention sticky fingers) and Catcher would get up from his otherwise peaceful meal to tell me that Scout had knocked over his milk or Scout had stolen his taco or Scout was smashing Cheerios into the floor. Vacuuming three times a day and spritzing down the coffee table with non-toxic cleaning agents ten times more than that was getting old.

Then we got a surprise from my mother-in-law--the Avery table and chairs--that arrived at our door last week (we're still waiting on the red chair but we couldn't wait to get started on a new project).

Catcher "organizing" (his word) the boxes before we open them to begin assembly.

After carefully reading the "constructions" (again, his word), losing (and then finding) a spring washer in the carpet, the table was complete. 

Catcher testing out the first chair to be assembled. I had the legs on backwards the first go-round and then discovered the little arrows pointing you in the right direction.

Sixteen screws, eight legs and four Allen wrenches later we were ready for a real test drive. First order of business: Catcher assigned chair colors to everyone. He's blue, Scout's yellow and Tillie is green.

Mmm...dinner never tasted so good.

*proper meaning dining table, not coffee table like we've been doing for the past six months


let's go fly a kite

If there's perfect weather for kite flying, then I guess yesterday afternoon would have been the definition. I don't know who first organized the Zilker Park Kite Festival in Austin, but someone 84 years ago knew more about the weather than our local meteorologist today. We didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into when we embarked on this journey with three kids in tow, but (to quote Alex) "next year we're really going to do it up." 

Step one in "doing it up" would be to actually have a kite to fly in the park. For some reason I had it in my head that this was some sort of kite flying competition put on by professionals (is there even such a thing?). Not so: amateurs welcome; watch out for diving kites. We saw Disney characters and sharks and dragons, kites stuck in trees and kites with broken strings. Scout got closelined by Tinkerbell, and I got tangled up with Lightning McQueen. But the weather was amazing and the kids were entertained, and when's the last time you had the opportunity to fly a kite anyway? Next year we're bringing a kite, a blanket and a cooler.


you're not my boss...

Dad is my boss, and Scout is your boss, Mom.

Tillie still looks like a boy.

Does Daddy know everything about hands?

Just worry about yourself.

I don't have any thinks left in there.

Pretty soon I'm going to start feeding Tillie myself.

Coco and Moppy made you a cake.

I smoked Scout up.


living large

I've been pregnant since 2007. When you have three kids, and the oldest is three, you finally understand those women who've said things like, "I've been pregnant for four years." Yes: it does feel like that. So this spring--after I rid my closet of everything legging-like, stretchy and empire-waisted--I want to shop. I feel slightly out of touch with the fashion world, but I figure it's a good time to embrace life in a new city with my new job (as a full-time mom). Of course the only thing(s) prohibiting my shopping spree are lack of time and money, both happen to be side effects of aforementioned job, but a girl can dream. Here's what I want:

Current/Elliott bell bottom jeans. Now that I live in a laid back Texas town, these jeans are a must-have for my casual wardrobe. And since this is a wish list, I might as well add something a little crazy. Yellow makes me happy!

Current/Elliott the stiletto neon

Wait. Is it too late to change my mind? I just saw these jeans from one of my favorite designers:

Rag & Bone Goetz print skinny

I could never have enough blouses from Tucker by Gaby Basora. They are effortless, put together, timeless and go with everything. Here's a cute print that would fit into my wardrobe:

I have a thing for purple shoes. I want these from Balenciaga! The wedges are practical for a mom, right? And the $935 price tag shouldn't be a problem. I never said I was actually going to buy any of these items, did I?

Since I've already blown the budget at this point, I might as well include this little number from one of my all-time favorites, Gary Graham. Welcome, springtime in Austin!