no means no

Early estimations would say that I have a family of talkers. Catcher was an early talker "for a boy" (since everyone says that boys begin speaking later than girls); Scout was speaking in full sentences at two years (and she hasn't stopped yet...); and now Miss Tillie (turning 18 months next week) has a lot to say. Aside from the obvious no, which means no, and mine, which means mine, you would have to spend a great deal of time with her to understand most of what she's saying, but she knows what she's saying. Below is little lesson in Tillie lexicon. I can't wait for these three to all be teenagers at the same time (help!).

ah-bul: you might think at first glance that this word means "apple;" however, it means "open." She actually pronounces apple quite well.

clo: close

poppy: potty

poppa: popsicle (not to be confused with the aforementioned "potty")

bah-bah: once again, you might be fooled on this one. "Bah-bah" usually means blanket while "bah-bul" means bottle.

tah: ta-da!

cracky: cookie

khaki: cracker (and also Catcher)

poo poo: that one is what you think.

cow: Scout


summer part one

I know summer isn't over. Returning to Austin today we were greeted with a 100-degree afternoon (who would expect anything less in late July?) but weather aside, leaving Milwaukee this morning felt like the chapter was closing on our "summer of fun," as I have affectionately referred to it over the past several weeks.

But I'm happy to be home. I'm happy that I left our house clean, and everything was in order when we walked through the front door. I laughed when Scout ran into her room and exclaimed, "I do share a room with Tillie!" Tillie, who really came into her own over the past five weeks, spent the afternoon stomping around the house with a bravado that wasn't there before. Everything was new to her, and she was ready to conquer it all. Catcher darted in and out of the rooms remembering things he thought he had forgotten, "Oh, yeah," he recalled, "I remember that these chairs were really soft." It's great to be home, and it's great that we were able to spend the first part of our summer away from the hot, hot, hot of Texas.

So now I'm gearing up for summer, part two, I suppose. Before we begin, here's a look back at summer, part one:


scenes from sonoma

So many wineries...so little time. This is my favorite vacation. Before I forget, because that's easy to do when you taste 1000 wines in two days, these are the places I visited: Sabastiani, Roche, ImageryBenziger, Landmark, and Paradise Ridge. Landmark was my favorite because our tour guide Pat was the most interesting person I came across in Sonoma (this guy loves the land!) and the grounds were absolutely beautiful. I want to go back and play bocci on the lawn (see last photo, below).


mke - phx - sfo

On Mother's Day I reveled in the delight of having two hours to myself while the girls were napping and Catcher was at a birthday party with his dad. I spent the time relaxing on the sofa reading the New York Times T magazine. It was the travel issue, and Marin County, CA was featured. Little did I know that two months later I would be here. I kept the magazine, and it came in handy today as Alex and I explored Stinson Beach, Bolinas and Larkspur. This all happened after a 4:30am wake-up, a delayed flight connecting through Phoenix and the rental of a Chevy Impala.

I wish I could go into more detail about the incessantly winding road along the California coastline, the incredibly fresh air, the cool breeze and the perfection of spending an entire day with Alex, but my brain is serious mush (the downside of waking up at 4:30am to catch your flight out of Milwaukee).

Here is a glimpse into our day: