some kind of artist

The balcony is my work space. Finishing the elephant jump started my desire to do something, so this afternoon I tackled another project that has been on my list for the past six months or so: the deer head. Battling the Texas afternoon sun while overlooking a parking lot, I asked Alex what people must think when they see me hanging out on the balcony working on some weirdo project. "They probably think you're some kind of artist," Alex said. Indeed: I'm some kind of artist. The kind who doesn't get paid or show her work in a gallery, but I enjoy the process.

In case you forgot what our little buck looked like, here's a reminder. I painted the cheesy wood mounting white last week while working on the elephant.

After careful consideration on what to do with this guy, I decided to go with the paper mache thing. The kids and I ripped up back issues of the New York Times magazine, and here is my bag of goodies that got this project started. It turns out that I was a bit over-zealous regarding the number of scraps I would actually need to cover the head, but it's always good to have options.

Here is the work in progress--I was a little surprised that the Mod Podge actually stuck to the deer fur...or whatever it is.

Three hours later my project was complete. I don't think it looks as freaky in real life as it does from the angle in this picture. 

I still need to figure out what to do with the antlers. Something inside of me is still saying to paint them pink, but we'll see. Maybe we should find a wall to hang it on first.


the elephant in the room

Given to myself as a birthday present back in 2010 (I found it here when we lived in Charlotte, NC) this little elephant has been on my list of things to do for...well, since I got it. It lived in the back of our Explorer for about a year while we were trying to sell our house, and I finally gave it a spot in our living room when we moved to Austin. Last week I was dying for a project and decided the elephant's time had come.

After a quick trip to the Home Depot for sandpaper and a quart of white glossy paint, I was ready to go.  During the sanding process I learned that this guy was from Mexico--who knew?

One coat down...only three (or was it four?) more to go.

The final product: I dig the white. After the first couple of coats I thought the gloss had been a mistake because it highlighted the imperfections. It might have been the paint fumes playing with my mind, but after four coats the look grew on me.


happy wednesday

It's not the best margarita in Austin, but it's not the worst (especially when you factor in the view of Lake Austin and super-cheap Happy Hour price tag). Alex was home with me this afternoon, and a trip to the Hula Hut made the transition from "what do we do for the next three hours" to "bath time" seamless. Chips and salsa with apple juice for dinner? A toddler's delight.


kids in a candy store

In its May issue Austin Monthly magazine features 112 fun things to do in the summer. Reading over the list this past weekend I realized we've already done quite a few, and I wondered if there's someone out there who will do all 112 things this summer. Or am I the only dork who reads lists like that and thinks, "Hey. We should try this. It looks fun." Even if we don't accomplish all 112 things on the list this summer--some activities aren't kid friendly--it might be fun to see how many we can do. Or maybe that's me being a dork again...

#43: Candy is Dandy

I'll admit that our trip to Big Top Candy Shop was as much for me as the kids (in fact, I scanned the list until I saw the word "candy"). We're no strangers to the shop, but I always find something new--like mango chili salt water taffy--when I go there. Maybe instead of doing 112 different things we'll just go here 112 times. Does that count as 112 fun things to do?


food of the day

Watermelon. These kids go crazy for watermelon. I held them off for a few months with my "watermelon is only for the summertime" excuse, but because summer seems to arrive in Austin in March I couldn't put it off any longer. I have nothing against watermelon, per se, except that it's a pain to cut. And really messy for kids to eat (hence we only eat it at the pool). 

Pictured above is Scout's stash this afternoon. Below is self explanatory. 


it only gets worse

Today I had a great idea. Unfortunately the "caretakers," if you will, of about 50 other kids in Austin had the same idea. We've been mixing up our routine the past couple of months and story time at Book People has been pushed to the back burner, but today I decided it was time for us to revisit. I picked the wrong day. It was the wrong day because today the Tiny Tails to You mobile petting zoo was hosting story time, and the place was a zoo (pun intended).

After Catcher patiently sat through story time and I chased Scout around with Tillie bjorned to my chest, I decided to treat the kids (and myself, really) to lunch at Whole Foods. That was a better idea than my first; however, it wasn't without adversity. Catcher was told by a group of older kids that he couldn't play with them on the playscape [frowny face]:

After Scout and I cheered him up and convinced him it was time to leave anyway, I ran into a mom whose three children were each approximately a year older than each of mine. She took one look at me with Tillie strapped to my chest while holding the hands of Catcher and Scout and said, "That was me a year ago. It only gets worse." Thanks for the vote of confidence, random mom. Up until this point I've been told that it will be hard at first with three kids so close in age, but it will be worth it in the long run. I know everyone has their own opinions, but sometimes you should keep yours to yourself. By the way, I think her older son was one of the boys who told Catcher he couldn't play with him.


word of the day

Photo from Yummy Books Blog

sticky |ˈstikē|
adjective ( stickier , stickiest )
1 tending or designed to stick to things on contact or covered with something that sticks : her sticky bubblegum | sticky tape.
(of a substance) glutinous; viscous : the dough should be moist but not sticky.
(of prices, interest rates, or wages) slow to change or react to change.

Before you have children, you're warned about the sleepless nights and car seat installations and countless visits to the doctor's office, but what they forget to tell you about is the everyday. Today--and almost every day for that matter--my pet peeve is sticky hands. They are everywhere! One preschooler and one toddler living together under one roof create quite a sticky senario. Those two even manage to make things that shouldn't be sticky (like cheddar bunnies) sticky. I feel like I have a roll of paper towels (sorry...I know that's not green of me) and a bottle of Windex (the green kind) attached to my hip.

Today I wiped down the kids' table after Catcher's breakfast and then again after Scout ate. I wiped it down while Catcher was at school Scout mucked it up with her cheese stick. After her lunch (peanut butter and jelly) I wiped the table down again along with all the chairs (she plays musical chairs during mealtime), the coffee table, the mirror in my room, Tillie's baby swing and the chairs in our living room.  Scout gets around while she's eating. When Catcher got home from school and Scout was napping, he wanted a cheese stick. Guess what: wipe again. I was in the clear for a couple hours in the late afternoon before one final wipe down after dinner--chairs included.

Although I can be a bit of a clean freak, some days it's too much even for me. I'm not complaining; I'm just sayin'...


daddy's girl

When I was pregnant with Catcher I was sure I was having a boy, and I wasn't completely surprised when the nurse turned to Alex and said, "What is it Dad?" His fist raised to the air answered that question.

When I was pregnant with Scout I was positive I was having another boy. The ultrasound brought the surprise of a lifetime. I freaked out: my mind jumped to the teenage years and cropped tops and sneaking out of the house and future wedding expenses. Girls are trouble.

Twenty one months (and two girls!) later I still believe they are trouble, but they also make you laugh and surprise you. Scout tackles you from behind but gives unsolicited giant bear hugs. She plays with trucks but insists on picking out her outfits every morning. Perhaps her greatest accomplishment, though, is turning Alex into one of those dads who is so cute with his daughters. This is the guy who lives and breathes sports and slept with a football when I met him, but he's also the one brushing Scout's hair after the bath and dancing with her to Adele's Rumor Has It in the kitchen. I know the next 18-20 years are going to be tough, but it's worth it.


look of the week

Catcher: I dropped my peppermint on the floor, and it's the end of the world! I can't stop crying.

Scout: Dude. Seriously?


the hunt

Tasting margaritas wasn't the only way I spent the past Easter weekend (although it was the tastiest). On Saturday Catcher's school hosted an Easter egg hunt on the Capitol grounds. It may not have been quite as fabulous as the Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn, but I bet it was close. Here's a recap of the afternoon:

Picnic lunch

"When do we get to look for the eggs" interrogation

Waiting patiently for the horn to sound

Trading eggs [*more importantly, check out the pose by sassy girl in the white dress in the background]

Discovering chocolate

Trading more eggs

Opening eggs while not posing for a picture with the Capitol in the background as I had requested


in other shocking news

Remember this house? In case anyone is keeping track, our show about selling it did not air on HGTV last week. What is they say? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Well...shame on me because for the second time I launched a social media blitz alerting all our fans (haha!) out there of an air date that wasn't. Coupled with the fact that the show isn't even good, this is the last time I will write about our brush with reality television. Or, more specifically, this is the last time I'll write about this particular brush with reality television. You never know if Alex and I will try out for The Amazing Race some day.



Being pregnant the first seven months that I lived in Austin left me with a lot of catching up to do on the margarita front. The first I tasted was documented here, and this past weekend turned out to be an excellent opportunity to continue my quest for the perfect margarita. My parents were in town for the long Easter weekend, and while others were attending services and filling baskets with imitation grass and jellybeans, I took advantage of sunny skies and my role as tour guide to throw back a few. Following are the tasty libations I sampled:

El Pepino, Contigo Austin: tequila, cucumber water, mint, lime

If I thought a margarita was refreshing before, I had no idea what a refreshing margarita could be. Part margarita, part mojito, part revitalizing drink offered at your typical spa, this is quite possibly the perfect summer drink. The only problem with it--if you could call it that--is that El Pepino might be a little too easy going down leaving you with el serious hangover in the morning.

Jalapeno Rita, RED'S Porch: Toro de Lidia Anejo, Paula's Texas Orange, 
Jalapeno agave nectar, fresh lime and Cassis

Like my brother says, you have to mix the sweet with the heat, and this little drink does that perfectly. Spice from the jalapeno cuts the sweetness of the Cassis and offers a nice little kick. I would honestly drink this when it's 110 degrees outside because sometimes the only way to deal with the heat is with more heat.

SoCo Rita, Guero's Taco Bar: Cazadores Reponsada, Cointreau and fresh squeezed lime juice

This concoction may be #1 in Mexico, but Guero's missed the mark. Feeling a little nostalgic for the days that Alex used to shake up this very recipe at our apartment in New York City, I ended up with an over-salted, slightly watery, mediocre drink. At least it was my first of the weekend, so things could only go up from there.


baby faces

As a mom, you can't help but smile when your baby looks at you like this:

But you also have to laugh a little when she looks at you like this:

First smiles and coos are part of the joy of parenting, but so are crossed eyes and quivering bottom lips. Those are the images that stay with me and remind me not to take myself--or life--too seriously.


pool party

It's April in Austin, so that can only mean one thing: time to hit the pool. This afternoon was our first foray into the overly chlorinated community pool. Get out the sunscreen...it's going to be a long summer.