down on the farm

On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, Alex's aunt hosts a proper Texas barbecue on her farm that's an hour outside of Austin. This year we sent the big kids on Friday to spend the night with their grandma and cousins, and we drove down to fetch them this afternoon. 

Things got a little silly yesterday while we were packing for the night, and Tillie tried to escape down the sidewalk with her lamb while insisting that she, too, was going to the farm.


greetings from austin

The famous Greetings from Austin mural painted on the side of Roadhouse Relics on South 1st Street is, to state the obvious, an Austin icon. The mural recently underwent an extensive renovation, so we stopped by to take a look when the sun finally returned to us earlier this week. My idea of a photo shoot with the kids was quickly squelched when A) Tillie fell asleep in the car on the way over and B) several other families also thought it would be a great idea to take pictures in front of the sign.

Below are pictures from the first time we visited the sign two years ago followed by two days ago. After I snapped a few photos of the kids, I amused myself by taking pictures of others taking pictures...


family tradition

Since moving to Austin, we have made it our family tradition to feed those in need on Thanksgiving morning. Today we bundled ourselves and ventured downtown for Operation Turkey. There were a few tears (Tillie, not to name names) but Catcher made a new friend, and I think they're starting to understand the meaning of the holiday. Tonight when I tucked Scout into bed, she reminded me that Thanksgiving has the word "thanks" in it. And then she thanked me.


'tis the season for cleaning

Today was day three of this crazy cold front in Austin. By 1:00 this afternoon, cabin fever had set in and I had to do something. It's generally our MO to clean out the kids' toys prior to Christmas, so I figured today was as good a day as any. Catcher was still in school, but the girls were eager to help. It was very exciting for them to go through all the books and toys that we had decided to donate, and they were especially encouraging when deciding that most of Catcher's toys should go. Afterward the girls enjoyed the fruits of their labor by guzzling hot cocoa and noshing pumpkin bars (while I returned some of Catcher's toys slated for Goodwill to their proper home in his room).


christmas card spoiler alert!

My friends and relations back home on the East Coast are laughing as I complain about the cold front that hit Austin this weekend. With highs hovering in the 30s--not to mention a cold, steady, drizzly, sleeting rain--we've locked ourselves inside to escape the harsh conditions. In addition to running (or rather sneaking) to the store on Saturday morning for hot chocolate and marshmallows, I took the cold snap as an opportunity to dress the littles in their festive pajamas for this year's Christmas card photo shoot. Spoiler alert: outtakes following...


alex as banksy

He may not be the world's best, or best known, graffiti artist, but Alex corners the market on sidewalk chalk art in our household. Yesterday he enlisted Scout's help as his assistant to create a remarkably lifelike chalk portrait of her (sarcasm implied). It was cute, though. And my favorite part was Scout examining his work and then deciding she needed to add gloves to her hands and "fix the shoes."


watching you, watching me

This morning, just as the girls and I were walking into the house after taking Catcher to school, I got a text from my friend reading "You're on HGTV right now!!!!!" If you're a follower of this blog, you may remember that once upon a time--it feels like eons ago--I roped my family into shooting an episode of HGTV's My First Sale (if you need a refresher, you can check out the story here and here...and here).

This whole ordeal started way back in North Carolina when Scout was only three months old (I was pregnant with Tillie by the time we wrapped shooting, but that's another story). Scout is now three years old--you can do the math on that one. I never thought I would see the episode air on HGTV since they switched the dates on us so many times (sorry to my FB peeps for all the false social media alerts) although we received a DVD copy, and I heard rumors from others that it did make air. Well...now I've seen it for myself during HGTV's regular scheduled programming. Being taken by surprise this morning, I actually didn't mind listening to my annoying voice on TV, and watching the girls watch us was a trip--here are snippets of conversation from the surprise showing:

Tillie (to the TV, when Alex was talking onscreen): No. No. I don't like that daddy.

Scout (to herself, talking about us): That family is cool.

Scout (to me): Why is Alex painting the walls white?

Scout (to Tillie, while rubbing her back): It's okay, Tillie. You're not in this family. You're in mommy's belly.


tillie and the doors

Tillie's favorite new pastime is doors--opening them, closing them, instructing others to open and/or close them. This afternoon Catcher had a friend over while Scout was at her friend's house, so Tillie and I hung out in her bedroom reading books...and opening and closing doors.


my morning coffee

This morning I was able to enjoy something that I often do in my dreams but never in real life--take my coffee on the front porch *with no kids around. Alex, who arrived back in Austin last night at 10:00pm, was taking Catcher to school this morning when Scout piped up with "I want to go," shortly followed by Tillie's "me too!" Generally if/when both of us are home we divide and conquer--one goes to school, one stays home on girl duty--but today both the girls were dressed and eager to dash out the door. They must have thought Alex had lollipops in his pocket (or maybe he did) because I've never seen such a rush of enthusiasm in taking Catcher to school.

Thus, after the gang left and I got dressed all by myself, I took in the peace and quiet of this pleasant morning on our front porch. I listened to the birds; I sent a few texts; I drank my coffee slowly. When Alex and the girls made it home, there was enough time for a group shot of the ladies (where's my head?) and a quick gardening lesson from Dad before it was time to buckle up the car seats and take Scout to preschool.