time for a trim

This was Scout yesterday morning. She's "hiding" from me in this picture, but you can see through the lucite chair that her bangs were in desperate need of a trim. I hadn't seen her eyes in so long that I almost missed the whole pink eye episode last week.

After finally convincing her (through promises of lollipops) to go with Alex to get a haircut, Scout demanded that she add one more element to her outfit to make it complete.

Here she is putting purple leggings over her legwarmers. She's 2 1/2 and dresses herself every morning. Some of the outfits are a little out there, but she dresses herself every morning.

After the trim. Scout won't look at the camera for me, but you can see her eyes are no longer hiding.



This summer when I was visiting my brother and his family, we saw a diner featured on the Food Network that made a sandwich with a grilled cheese waffle (if you can follow that logic) inside. Anyway, my brother immediately brought out his waffle iron and attempted to make a grilled cheese waffle. On the fly he whipped up a little fancy sauce--I can't remember what he called it, something that sounded french--to give the mac n' cheese a more batter-y consistency, and it worked! I've never watched a cooking show and subsequently attempted to recreate what I just saw; however, the cooking segment during yesterday's Today Show inspired me.

Fried grilled cheese, anyone? While I was running on the treadmill--working up an appetite--yesterday, they made a fried grilled cheese (I said it again) sandwich on the Today Show. The ingredients were simple, and the method was easy enough for me to remember without going through the added pain of searching their website to find the recipe. All I needed for this dish was some sort of rustic bread [check], fresh mozzarella [check], flour [check], egg [check] and olive oil for frying [check]. Thank goodness I had just visited the grocery store two days earlier.

So this is how it went down: put some mozzarella (I sprinkled mine with salt and freshly ground pepper first) in a sandwich, cover the sandwich with flour, dip it in egg, drop it in a frying pan with hot oil. Cook it like you would a grilled cheese, and voila! Easy, right? On the Today Show they served their sandwich with some sort of rosemary butter or something, but I figured the fried cheese thing would be flavorful enough (it was). I made the sandwiches for Alex and me at lunch this afternoon and then tried them out on the kids at dinner. Catcher said it was "delish," and I knew I had succeeded. Next time I might try to sneak something green in them...


the longest short month

Poor February. Not only does it have the designation of being the shortest month of the year, but it also has a weird pronunciation. Sandwiched in between the excitement of the New Year and the arrival of spring, little February is undoubtedly the longest month of the year...every year. There's Valentine's Day and Fat Tuesday and President's Day (and Tillie's birthday for our family) to try and take our minds off of the fact that this month--although it looks short on the calendar--will drag on endlessly. But nothing seems to help. February also happens to be the coldest month in a lot of places. I realize for Austin that means highs in the 60s, so I have no reason to complain, but I can think back to my days in New York City when February brought record snowstorms and weeks of temperatures below freezing. February...are you over yet?

bueller? no, mueller

There's this Stepford Wife-like "community" in Austin called Mueller (pronounced Miller), which is great in concept but a little freaky in real life. Great because it was built on the otherwise neglected former airport site, but strange in that everything is fake...in a way. Fake ponds (where did they get the ducks?) fake trees (okay, not fake but young and small) and even a fake farmers' market on Sunday (okay, it was real, but pretty lame).

Ironically, I've found myself going back to Mueller every couple of months. Maybe I want to check in and see if any of the trees have matured yet. Actually, the truth is that sometimes it's nice to go to a place where I'm 90% positive I won't see anyone I know. This Sunday I was in that kind of mood, so the kids and I enjoyed a nice little picnic lunch--after a walk through the aforementioned fake farmers' market--and then fed our scraps to the ducks. Ah...the suburban life...

Scout takes a break from feeding the ducks to nibble one last bite of her sandwich before throwing the crust into the pond.

When Alex saw this picture he thought it looked like summer on the East coast. No...it's just winter in Texas.


oscar night

There was a time in my life when I watched every movie nominated for an Oscar that year (documentaries, short and foreign films not included). This is 2013, and I have not seen a single film that has been nominated. In fact, the last movie I saw--we're talking in the theater--was one of last year's nominees (The Decedents). They say when you have kids that going to the movies is the first thing to go, but I still love Oscar night.


airport shuttle

Alex and I have the same car. By same car, I don't mean that we're two people who happen to love Ford Explorers and each own one; by same car, I mean we drive the exact same car (read: we share a car). While this seems very cool and green and environmentally conscious in Austin, it also means that I'm at the airport--on average--about four times a week. Honestly, though, I don't really mind serving as the airport shuttle. It gives the kids and me something to do to break up our day, and it's funny how Catcher used to think--and now Scout sometimes thinks--that Alex works on an airplane.

Besides, there's always something marginally interesting going on during the 15 minute drive through the not-so-great part of Austin. One morning we saw a man with a wild mustache and slicked-back 70s hair (dressed in a cheap leisure suit, by the way) running with a suitcase--not a briefcase--to catch the bus. The suitcase was the kind people used to carry before some genius put wheels on them. It looked like it was from the same era as his clothing and hairstyle. But seriously...what was in that suitcase? It looked heavy. Alex and I made up our own story (hint: the suitcase was big enough that I could have contorted my body to fit inside). Use your imagination.

There's also a game that we often find ourselves playing called "What's in the Baby Stroller?" I don't know what it is about roads that lead to the airport, but in my experience there's always some group of shady characters pushing a baby stroller next to four lanes of traffic. When there isn't a baby in the stroller (sometimes it's "groceries," sometimes it's "laundry"), you should look for a bundle in the arms of one of the motley crew--that's probably a baby...or else just more laundry.

Alex's flight today didn't take off until 3:00pm. Generally, early morning trips to the airport are more interesting than mid-afternoon, but today I did learn that McDonald's is having a "hiring event" on February 25. Oh, and Rodeo Austin is coming up. (I didn't even know there was a Rodeo Austin.) Yee haw!


scout's sick day

Today Scout woke up with two pink eyes. There's a confirmed case of--guess what--pink eye in her preschool class, so we went to the doctor.

Scout passed out in the car as we pulled into the parking lot at the doctor's office. Literally. I let her sleep for two minutes, but I didn't want to be late for our appointment.

Two pink eyes and two minutes with the doctor was all we needed for an antibiotic eye drop prescription.

Waiting for her prescription at the CVS, Scout picked up every pack of gum on display. "What's this one," she asked again and again as she went meticulously through each row.

happy monday

Kids were home from school.
Tillie fell and bit her lip.
Alex got back after a five-day working spree.
81 degrees.
Cheers to that.


bird watchers

Yesterday I took the little explorers to the Austin Nature and Science Center (one of Catcher's favorite places) for some urban bird exploring. There was a bird thing going on; it was pretty dorky, but then again visiting the nature and science center is pretty dorky in and of itself. Before we went on a bird migration path exploration--or something like that--and before we made our own bird feeders, we had to stop by the old dino pit for some prehistoric digging.

Here's Scout scoping out the pits. She wanted the pink shovel that the three year-old boy next to her was wildly wielding. He wouldn't trade her for the blue one. Eventually she threw herself down in the sand in protest and demanded lunch. Thank goodness I had it in waiting.

Although Catcher has found dozens of "bones" in these pits, I guess the novelty hasn't worn off. He was primed for another big dig.

Tillie played with rocks and ate sand. After a picnic lunch and building our own bird feeders out of tangerines and some doughy-seedy mush, we were ready to head back home and catch some birds. Or at least feed them.

Back home, Catcher is showing off his tangerine bird thing. I thought we would hang them in the back yard, but he suggested the little tree in the front so he could keep an eye on it from his bedroom window.

Scout wanted to hang hers in the back yard until she heard the front yard was leading in the popular vote. Here she is showing us her masterpiece...

and here she is just being Scout.

After we got the feeders in place, we waited.

And waited and waited (under the tree) for the birds to come eat. We haven't seen one yet.


a picture is worth a 1,000 roses

Today is Valentine's Day, and Alex is in California (for work). This afternoon he texted me this picture, which is way cooler--and more thoughtful in an odd way--than having a dozen red roses delivered to my door. Funny how he gets me.


hanging lanterns

The girls' room, which we generally refer to as "Scout's room" around here, is an ongoing project for me. I've already re-arranged it four or five times, and last week I tried sprucing things up with a little $18 project that now hangs over Scout's bed.

This is how the nine paper lanterns that I ordered from some online oriental trading company arrived at my house. I didn't expect them to come assembled, but I did expect them to come with some sort of archaic assembly instructions. They didn't; I had to figure out how to get the wire thing-y in there myself.

After a couple of miscues, I figured out which way the wire thing-y was supposed to go. My next bit of magic involved keeping Scout away from the lanterns for fears of little hands ripping the delicate paper.

I had to bring out the (big) step ladder to screw the hooks into the ceiling. You wouldn't believe--or probably, you would--how many times I moved around my "random" placement of lanterns.

This is how it finally ended up...

...and here is a view from lying down (looking up) in Scout's bed.



The sun is back. Four days of drizzling rain, and I was starting to think we lived in Seattle.


(and more) cake

Before the statute of limitations on Tillie's birthday celebration runs out, here's one last look at the delicious cake that was (along with some other birthday fun).

Getting ready for the oven.

The cake was a big deal. I wore my apron.

It took me eight years--I know that because that's how long I've been married--to use these measuring spoons, but the "pinch" came in handy since the frosting called for a pinch of baking powder and a pinch of citric acid.

This is the general, everyday purpose of our fancy cake stand...

...and this is the fancy cake stand with the fancy cake on top. In case you're wondering, the sides are not supposed to be iced. It's a rustic, bespoke kind of thing.

The birthday girl waiting for her piece of fancy cake.

After a chorus of happy birthday...

it was time to finally eat this three-day cake.


Birthday cake coma...

...for everyone.


12 months of tillie

Tillie is one today! How did that happen so quickly...

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013