a deer thing

Every time I finish a project, I swear that it is my favorite project ever. However, I honestly believe that the deer head is my favorite project ever. And I'll stand by it (at least until I finish something better). I've tweaked it slightly since its last mention on the blog, so I wanted to show you a picture of the final final (if anything is ever actually final in my world). Remember how it all started?

As a reminder, click here for my DIY process. Oh yeah...then I painted the antlers pink. Since then, I painted the "shield" (or whatever the proper taxidermy term may be) around the head black, and I also sprayed it with a few coats of Shellac to make it shiny and bright.


pizza night

Friday night is pizza night. Catcher picked the crust (super thin) and Scout picked the toppings (cheese), then everyone sat patiently (or not so patiently) by the window to wait for Crystal to arrive with our pizza. Scout handed her two crumpled-up dollars from her pocket, and Catcher carried the pizza (two hands) into the kitchen.

It was the first time we've had pizza delivered since we moved to Austin, but all the excitement over the pizza tracker and looking out for the delivery truck (to Catcher, all delivery vehicles are trucks) didn't stop complaints from cropping up at the dinner table. The cheese was burnt (it wasn't); the pizza tasted weird (it didn't).

After dinner Catcher told me that even though he didn't like the taste of the pizza (Domino's, for the record) he still wants to order it again one day and he'll eat it. Maybe next time we'll try Papa John's.


target deal of the day

Today I found this rug on sale at Target for $10 (actually, it was $9.98). I've been looking for something to dress up the boring tile floor in the kitchen, so I couldn't pass it up even though Scout was yelling at me ("I need go potty!") and Tillie was about to launch herself out of the baby bjorn as I reached up on the shelf for it.

When I got it home and in place in the kitchen the first thing Catcher said was, "What's this?! Rugs don't belong in the kitchen."


old houses, small closets

Disclaimer: I'm a little--or, more accurately, really--embarrassed to publish the photos below. What's even more embarrassing is what you don't see: the pile of clothes sitting on top of a black trash bag on the floor (by the TV, ugh!) in our bedroom. I've been getting dressed from this pile since we moved in, but now that I've started on all these projects, I  decided this was one habit that had to be kicked. It's funny. No matter how organized or OCD I can be about straightening the bookshelves or sweeping the kitchen floor, I tend to let it go when it comes to my closet. I blame it on the fact that I never have a big closet, but even when I did while living in the apartment last year, I didn't take avantage of it. One of these days I might find myself with a Mariah Carey fantasy closet, but in the meantime I have to work with the rolling rack stashed away in our attic bedroom.

This is how the rolling rack looked on Sunday morning when I started. I bribed the kids with a TV show upstairs so I could work on my "dressing area" (that's what I'm calling it).

p.s. The floor is crooked, not the rolling rack (or camera angle).

After two days and a couple more bribes to allow myself some actual work time, here is the new--but is it improved?--dressing area. I have to admit that this is one case where the "after" isn't dramatically different from the "before."

It kind of looks like the clearance rack at TJ Maxx, but at least I can see my things when I get dressed in the morning. I also managed to save some space for Alex (space not pictured) since my newfound dressing area encroached on the "man space" I promised for him in the attic. I just hope his shoes don't fraternize with my shoes.


my project fund

I love a good closet clean-out--especially when it means money in my pocket. Now that I'm not pregnant for the first time in five years, I felt it was time to get rid of the things in my closet that fit not-quite-right because I bought them as "maternity wear" or else on the rebound after having one of the three. I have dresses worn once (see above) because I "hated" everything in my closet and legging jeans worn a thousand times that I can no longer stomach.

So that's how I came up with my next big idea, which is using eBay to fund my home design projects. It's no secret that I'm a fan of eBay--as both a seller and a buyer--so why not use it as a means to buy more stuff (wink!). But seriously, I won a vintage bar cart for $171 on eBay last week and sold five things out of my closet for $253. I spent the remaining $80 from my project fund at the Home Depot today buying painting supplies, etc. for a few of the things I have in the hopper...you'll have to check back for updates.


three kids on a bed

Sometimes, if the planets are aligned correctly, I find myself with three (somewhat) agreeable children in the afternoon. A few weeks ago I decided to take advantage of this situation in an attempt to get a cute photo of the triumvirate together. I may not have captured anything Christmas-card worthy, but I think we know the answer to the question: do you think these kids look alike?



mini picassos

One of my ideas for the new house was to do a kids' art wall in the kitchen behind their table and chairs. The great thing about the pieces they bring home from school is that they turn into modern art instantly--add mat + frame.

On the left is a picture that Catcher painted one cold and rainy day when we were trapped inside the apartment. I stashed it inside one of my coffee table books and miraculously remembered where it was after the insane move. The paintings on the right are older works that he did during his orange period when we were still in Charlotte. Check out the detail below--I think it has a certain Rothko quality to it.

Scout just started school in late August, so she hasn't brought home any masterpieces yet. To get her started, I slapped the New York Times down on the table in front of her and handed her a brush and six tiny paint jars. Pictured above is her work.

Thus our art wall has begun. We'll be able to add and subtract as the kids grow and their styles change. It's also fun for them to see their work displayed while sitting at the table chatting over Cheerios and orange juice.


we joined the club

Last week Alex and I had a very serious conversation and decided that with three children we can now justify a membership to the Sam's Club. This is a huge moment in our relationship. We've already committed to each other and to raising our children the best way we know how, but now we're committing to buying in bulk. With a house that's just over 1200 square feet we'll have to get creative with our storage--exactly where does one keep 24 rolls of toilet paper anyway?

Because today was our first time, I decided we should take it slow. I went in to the Club armed with a (very short) list and vowed now to stray from it. I will admit that I was the first one distracted when I saw two mammoth-sized bottles of Advil for $16.98, but that's not why we were there. Alex thought it was a good idea to split up, but I was nervous being left alone in a superstore. Then I saw the wine section. I knew I could spend a good 15 minutes there, so I sent him off with Catcher and Scout in search of cereal and goldfish. Wine wasn't on the list, per se, but I was thinking about it in the car on the way there (so that counts).

After I made Alex put back the party-sized box of pretzels (enticing, but not on the list) and we circled around the lady preparing a beer-battered shrimp brioche something or other--3 times!--the kids were done. And so was I. Alex really wanted that sample. (One of the "pros" on our list to join the Club was samples, but the five o'clock hour was quickly approaching...)

Another unforeseen pro of shopping in bulk was the enthusiasm displayed by Catcher and Scout upon our return home. Everyone was so excited to bring those boxes into the house--it was a party on the porch.


snapshots from the summer

Below is the reason my blogging was MIA for five weeks this summer while Alex was in London for the Olympics. It turns out that traveling from Austin to Milwaukee to Maryland to the beach in North Carolina (then back to Maryland) to Arlington, VA (and again back to Maryland) to Winchester, VA and finally back to Maryland to fly home to Austin--are you still with me?--left me a little tired at the end of the day.

However, here is the proof that we were actually doing things...even if I wasn't writing about them:

Finally back in Austin with Dad:


five shots

Examination rooms at doctors' offices have always felt small to me, but one never felt so tiny as on Wednesday when Alex, the three little ones and I got our flu shots. I've taken the three kids to see the pediatrician at one time, but perhaps it was the extra adult--not counting the guy who would come in to administer the shots--that made claustrophobia a real thing.

Catcher climbed on the table, then Scout climbed on the table. Then Catcher and Scout climbed on the table. Alex sat on the doctor's rolling stool after Scout tried to take it for a ride while the chair in the corner sat empty. Oh...and the reason Tillie is unclothed is that ten minutes previous to this photo (in the parking lot, to be exact) there was a major blowout. If you're a mom, you know what I mean. I'm always amazed at how surprisingly unprepared I am in situations such as these being a veteran mom, but I found myself with exactly three wipes, one diaper and no spare clothes for the baby. The cute denim romper Tillie had been wearing became an impromptu, on-the-spot wipe, and one of Scout's pull-ups, which I found hiding in the console, cleaned up the rest. After a quick douse of sanitizer--I actually had that in my bag--for the baby and the front seat, we were back in business. Except Tillie came to the party dressed like a little redneck baby.


remember me?

Alex's television travels have taken him to Charlotte for the weekend, and he managed to find his way back to our old home. It looks as if our former neighbors convinced the current owner to cut down the walnut tree in the front yard. The great walnut tree debate of 2010 is what caused our neighbors to stop speaking to us. They wanted us to cut it down because squirrels would gather walnuts from our tree, take them back to the giant oak in our neighbors' front yard, and drop tiny pieces of shell on their fancy cars. I said no. Apparently that made us dead to them (although having them not speak to us was no great loss).

I still like the house better with the tree.



When I was a kid, I remember a specific Family Circus cartoon that involved a "Not Me" ghost. Not Me was ever present in our house growing up (i.e. "Who ate the last piece of birthday cake?" "Not Me!"). I'm sure Not Me has appeared in many a home where siblings abound, but has anyone met the "Gnomey" ghost?


Scout introduced me to Gnomey. She's two, and whenever I try to help her do anything--like tie her shoes or buckle her car seat or pour her milk--the response is "no me." I've heard "no me, no me, no me" (it's usually said in threes) so many times that it's morphed into Gnomey in my mind. I think of a little garden gnome every time I hear the phrase now, and I wonder where in our house this Gnomey ghost is hiding. If you see him, let me know.


three-hour shelf

While I haven't found myself with a shortage of ideas/projects for the new house, I have found myself a little short on time and the necessary components to complete said projects. If the move itself weren't enough of a whirlwind, leaving town for five weeks right after we set up camp threw this organized Virgo into a tailspin. When we got back, things were even more hectic. I had to find my way around a new neighborhood, the [big] kids were starting preschool in two weeks, and I had no idea where I had put anything in my haste to unpack everything before we left. I still can't find one set of our sheets...I'm convinced I left them in the dryer at the apartment.

Two weeks into the school year, and after I finally made it home from the grocery store without getting lost, I was inspired to get to work this week. However, I don't have any completed projects to show off yet. Except one. It's a bookshelf. And it took three hours to arrange. I wish I were kidding.

P.S. It was finished on day two or three of the great move-in.

This is the living room on the day I first saw the house with the kids but without Alex (notice Tillie's feet in the foreground). The living room was by far the best looking space in the house at the time, and the fireplace is what sold me on it--not because you need a fireplace in Texas but because you need the perfect spot to hang your taxidermy in Texas.

I guess hanging the deer head above the fireplace was technically our first project since it went up the night we moved in, but I've since tweaked it (stay tuned for updated pics) so that doesn't count. My first actual project took place in the back right-hand corner of the room. Check out the built-in bookcase (another reason I loved the house) and my stack of books just waiting to be arranged...perfectly arranged.

Exhibit A: the bookcase that took no less than three hours to complete. This is my new reading corner, which I think is way more chic than the old reading corner at the apartment. Although actual reading has yet to take place here, I have enjoyed a glass of wine (or two) in this lovely spot.


back on the grid

Did you miss me? I've been off the grid for so long that I don't even remember what this blog is about. I found this picture and it kind of reminded me...

This is our house a couple days after we moved in and a few days before we abandoned it for five weeks. Alex was feeling particularly project-minded on this morning and decided to rip out the overgrown, unkempt bushes taking over the front of the house. But more on that--and other planned projects--later. In the meantime, what have we been doing with ourselves?

Like I said, I've been off the grid for so long that posting for the first time since July makes me feel like I'm starting this blog all over again. And I guess in a way I am. Moving into our new house this summer was the first time since before this blog even began that I felt like I was home. Having our house in Charlotte "staged" for selling for two years, thinking we were moving back to New York, having Scout, deciding we were actually moving to Texas, and then becoming pregnant with Tillie had me lose all sense of grounding. But now I'm back. I've come to terms with--and embraced--my Austin life as a stay-at-home mom (I even have plans of getting elected to the preschool board...no kidding). My creative side has been resuscitated with the move into a house, and I'm planning so many projects in my head that I should never be short on blog material (unless we're short on money...ha!).

All that being said, I feel like this post should really say something. Then again, I need to ease back into this, so I'll start at the beginning with some snapshots from moving day.

Note: Scout's outfits were entirely created by Scout.