the search is on

I think I've had my fill of apartment living. It was fine when I was single in New York and didn't mind if I cooked a mouse--I'll have to tell you the story one day--every now and again but things are different with three kids. Groceries are heavier when you have to lug them from the parking garage with preschooler, toddler and infant in tow. Noises are louder at night when you're worried a boisterous group of drunk kids outside of the building is going to wake the baby. Garbage is smellier when you have to walk by the trash shoot on your way to the car.

So we're embarking on our next challenge: finding a house to rent in Austin. Our lease is up at the end of July but we just started taking this seriously. Last week we found two places we liked, and one was rented within eight hours while the other rented before our scheduled appointment to check it out. Although the logistics of moving are a nightmare, I welcome the change. I'm excited for a new place--maybe I'll actually hang something on the walls this time--and I secretly love the de-cluttering that moving forces upon you. It took me three moves with Alex, but we finally got rid of his posters from high school last year. Maybe this time we can work on the baseball card collection (kidding...sort of).


summer days

Today is the official unofficial start of summer--Memorial Day. Although it's been summer--officially, if you ask me--in Texas since April, this weekend is always a reason to celebrate in the Wheat household since it's Alex's birthday. When he got home this morning from his travels to Knoxville, everyone was ready to party.

First stop: Torchy's Tacos to properly celebrate Alex's first Texas birthday since returning to his home state.
Next on our list: gobbling up the cupcakes that the kids and I made for the birthday guy. We used the recipe from Magnolia Bakery, and although their looks don't do them any justice, the cupcakes (almost) tasted like the real deal. Besides, making them was just as much fun as eating (see below):

After a belly full of taco and cupcake, Scout was ready for an afternoon snooze. Alex had a conference call, so Catcher and I entertained ourselves with a little Tillie photo shoot. Photos below courtesy of Catcher:

By 4:00 we were out of ideas on how to wear out the kids, so we fell back on the old standby: the pool. Bad idea. Memorial Day. Young professionals. Crowded pool. Loud music. Cigarette smoke. Sunburned faces. Debauchery. Adult party. Not for kids.

After building up a trip down to the pool and the cosmic letdown that turned out to be ("Pool! Pool!" Scout cried as we headed back to the apartment) Alex and I came up with a pretty ingenious idea. It went a little something like this:

After all that fun, a naked Catcher and Scout retreated to our bedroom to ransack the fortress constructed earlier in the day. I just hope Scout didn't pee in the bed...at least on my side (wink!).


beep beep it's my sit

Scout has her own sense of style and her own emerging language. Tonight she said to me "beep beep it's my sit," when she wanted me to give up my seat on the sofa for her. Other words and phrases recently added to her vocabulary include:

Cat-saaaaar = Catcher

boo me = where am I?

I get snack = I just peed in the potty, so give me a treat.

shirt = shirt...or dress

boo my Dora = where are my pull-ups?

all done sleep = good morning!

Another way Scout likes to show off her budding vocabulary is by naming everyone in the car. For example: "Car. Dad. Cat-saaaaar. Mom. T [Tillie]. And me! Yeah!"


birthday 'rita

This Saturday is Alex's birthday. He'll be celebrating in Knoxville, TN at the Women's College Softball World Series Super-regionals (I know...exciting!), so we drank a toast to his 36 years last weekend. Not only did I get a chance to sample another one of Austin's fine margaritas, but I got to put on fancy shoes, mingle with hipsters and crash* a rehearsal dinner after-party. Oh, and I got to enjoy some adult time with my husband.

We started the evening at the Hotel Saint Cecilia, which is tucked away on a quiet street just off of busy South Congress Avenue. If you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't know it was there. We arrived at the bar just after dusk as the bartender was lighting candles to create a little ambiance. We were the first ones there. [Dorks.] 

"Are you staying with us?" The bartender asked after Alex made a [bad/dumb] joke about us being the first losers in the place. It turns out that they only serve guests of the hotel, or at least that was the line she fed us before mixing up a pair of signature margaritas priced at $15 each. I have to admit that the line worked because I felt cool (like "Ooh, she's serving us and she's not supposed to") until we heard her say the same thing to a table of women who looked like they just walked off the set of Sister Wives.

After two rounds of New York (circa 2002) priced cocktails, we decided to venture to Saint Cecilia's sister hotel, the San Jose. It was there that we crashed a rehearsal dinner after party and drank too much considering we have a three year-old who wakes us up at 6:00 in the morning. But it was great pretending we were young again...even if I did have to take off the fancy shoes that killed my feet and walk barefoot down Congress Avenue.

The birthday boy: everyone looks good in candlelight.

Signature margarita: siembra azul tequila blanco, grand marnier, fresh squeezed lime, homemade simple syrup; salt rim: granulated sugar, salt and cayenne pepper

*not our first crash


pool party

#48: Roll in the deep

We can check off another "thing" on our list of 112 fun things to do in the summer. On Friday afternoon we took a dip in Deep Eddy pool, and I came away wondering why in the world I didn't discover this place last summer. It's way cooler than the pool at our apartment--unless you enjoy the cigarette smoke and young professionals rehashing their weekend escapades--and I don't have to manage three non-swimming children without lifeguards on duty. Another plus: it wasn't super-crowded on a hot and sunny afternoon. Perhaps that will all change when temperatures reach 110 degrees later this summer, but in the meantime I know we'll be revisiting #48 on the list.


(not) the best burger

Once upon a time in a city called New York I introduced Alex to the best burger he'd ever had at a little place called the Corner Bistro. This was before the Corner Bistro sold tee shirts and opened an outpost in Long Island City. It was before the city-wide smoking ban when the bistro's famed hamburger cost $4. They sold more than two beers, but if you ordered anything other than a McSorely's dark (or light) the giant (literally) behind the bar would give you a look. A look like you didn't belong--like you read about the place in some "off the beaten path" guidebook and somehow managed to find your way to the corner of Jane and West 4th and 8th Avenue.

Since declaring victory in the best burger competition--I eventually tried Alex's pick at a greasy spoon in Milwaukee (no competition!)--the issue has been laid to rest. Until a recent trip that Alex took to Southern California resurrected the dispute. It was there that he indulged in In-N-Out burger four times in three days. I was somewhat disgusted by this arguing that it can't be that good. Yes, he swore, it's that good. Little did we know that one week later while visiting Dallas we would be faced with not one, not two, but three different In-N-Out burgers from which to settle this clash. I guess it's not a West Coast thing anymore.

The burger and the verdict: it's good, but it's not that good. I'll admit when I'm wrong, but this time I'm not wrong. It is better than McDonald's and Burger King, but let's consider the competition. I wouldn't seek it out, and I definitely wouldn't eat it four times in three days.


summer hair

It's not on the list of 112 fun things to do in the summer, but it is a summer necessity: the haircut. Last week was long and rainy, so it presented the perfect opportunity to get Catcher and Scout summer-ready. Here's the "before" (taken just after Catcher declared it was "shirts off time"):

Scout had trouble sitting still during the actual haircut (see crooked bangs, below) but I did manage to get an "after" shot of the new hair. Catcher wouldn't pose for me, but his 'do is pretty much the same as before with the exception that he is able to see now.


reading corner re-do

The reading corner needed a new look. Although I was psyched about the deal on the Osborne & Little fabric that I used to recover a mid-century eBay find, this color scheme doesn't work with the future me. I'm going through a bit of a grey period, so the the look was no longer working:

The first change I made was the fabric. I purchased a yard of DwellStudio's Batavia Ikat (another eBay score for me!) and it was more than enough to breathe life into the new reading corner. Check it out:

This is the new reading corner. I painted the side table/stool thing white--along with the two others we own--because it seemed like the right thing to do. Now I'm obsessing over new pillows for the sofa to make my transition to a new color scheme complete.


a cow town

Before we moved to Austin my sister-in-law gave the kids a book called This is Texas. Today we visited Fort Worth, and for the first time I felt like this is Texas. Although it's a little bit theme-parky with the Cowboy Hall of Fame and daily cattle calls, getting that close to actual longhorns--I think I violated the "stay back 20 feet" rule--made me feel wild-westy. The dirt roads and 85 degree morning also helped.

Scout and I waited while Alex and Catcher attempted the Cowtown Maze. They made it out in 19 minutes, which felt like a long time to me, but the woman who awarded Catcher his prize at the end said 12-20 minutes is average. Nice work, guys.

Check out the size of those horns. The way they curl around reminds me of that guy in the Guinness Book of World Records with the longest fingernails [shiver!].


water play

It's not on the list of 112 fun things to do in the summer, but maybe it should be. Today Catcher and Scout found time to play around in a giant--but currently dry--fountain behind Ruta Maya. The only problem was Scout still doesn't understand that "we don't throw rocks," and Catcher found (and subsequently dug up) the power cord attached to the lights in the would-be working fountain. Other than that, I see this as a totally fun and safe way to keep the kids entertained for a few minutes.


kidding around

Remember the 112 fun things to do in the summer? We knocked another one off of our list today. I probably shouldn't count this one since we're at the children's museum practically once a week anyway. But it was on the list, so I'm checking it off.

#34: Act like a kid again

The exhibits haven't changed over the past six months, but the kids find it exciting anyway. At least it gives them some place other than our apartment to tear up every Monday morning for three hours. And it gives me another check on my list...only 110 to go!


things we didn't do

This past weekend was a pretty exciting one. Not for me and the three little ones, per se, but there was a lot going on in which I (or we) didn't participate. Here's a look at the things we didn't do:

We didn't see Mario Lopez as the Grand Marshall at the annual Apple Blossom Festival (or "The Bloom" as the locals call it) in my home town of Winchester, VA. My brother did, though, and he got this picture as his car rolled past my parents' house. Go Bayside!

We didn't bet real money on the Kentucky Derby, but we should have because my horse won--that never happens! Catcher chose his horse (Alpha) based on the color of the jockey's outfit, Scout chose her horse (Optimizer) based on the only number (2) she knows, and I chose my horse (I'll Have Another) based on name alone. We forgot to pick one for Tillie, but Catcher and I had a little Abbott and Costello routine going while discussing our picks:

Catcher: What horse did you pick?
Me: I told you, I'll Have Another
Catcher: I want another one, too.
Me: No. That's the horse's name, "I'll Have Another."
Catcher: That doesn't sound like a name.

kxan blog

We didn't see the super moon. I looked for it (sort of) but it turns out that it was too cloudy in Austin to really see it anyway. Even if it was super.

culturemap AUSTIN

We didn't celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this guy (or any guy, for that matter). But we did manage to avoid the crowds and the craziness, which is a plus for my first Cinco in Texas.


me three

Since I've given the other two monsters (oops! I mean children) their moment in the spotlight this week, I would be remiss to leave Tillie out of the talking posts. She has a couple of things to say, too--specifically "ah-goo" and "gaaaa." She'll be three months old this weekend, and I know it's just a matter of time before I hear her chanting "ice, ice baby" as her older sister is fond of doing.


buddha my?

Not to be outdone by her older brother, Scout is quickly developing a language of her own. Her favorite phrase, which just emerged over the past week, is "Buddha my?" At first I thought she was exploring a new religion, but after several incantations I figured out that "Buddha" means where or where is [fill in the blank]. So now everything is Buddha this and Buddha that: Buddha Dad? Buddha Tillie? Buddha my sit sit?


the tough questions

Why do elevators have elevator doors?

Do working men have lunch at home or where they work?

What are ponytails for?

Does Declan know spicy stuff is in spicy stuff?

How do you make queso? You don't have to tell me you put cheese in it.