can i have a snack?

By trade I'm neither a food photographer nor a chef, but today I pretended to be a little of both. Knowing I would have to come up with some entertaining indoor activities to sustain us this long, hot Labor Day weekend, I jotted several cooking projects down on our family calendar (we don't have a family calendar). Today we embarked on cooking project #1: Cauliflower Popcorn.

Let me begin by saying that I do not like cauliflower by any stretch of the imagination. But when I found this recipe for cauliflower popcorn on My Whole Food Life and saw the author claim she also hates cauliflower, I figured it was worth a try. Plus the ingredients/method were super-simple--my favorite way to "cook." My goblins weren't as gaga over cauliflower popcorn--Scout thought it should be crunchy, which ours wasn't--as they are over kale or zucchini chips, but it got me over my hating cauliflower hump.


car parts

Remember that 2010 Buick Enclave we bought last year when our 2003 Ford Explorer decided to die in front of our house one Sunday morning? Well...it turns out that GM had some issues with a few of their products, and our car's make and model was issued two safety recalls this summer. One was for airbags and the other for seat belts, so you can't really ignore those. But what does all that have to do with this picture?

The aforementioned car has been at the dealership for the past week and a-half getting itself all fixed up. In the meantime I've been driving a loaner mammoth Tahoe, which I secretly grew to love, and this afternoon it was time to reclaim our recall. With absolutely no hint of sarcasm (I know, shocking) I say bless those guys at AutoNation Chevrolet on Research Blvd. for giving my children popcorn as I sweated it out in the late afternoon August sun, moving three car seats from the mammoth Tahoe to the slightly-less-than-mammoth Enclave. Without the popcorn, this situation could have turned out much less favorably than it did. And in case you're wondering how long it takes me to un-install then re-install three car seats, I can do it in just under the amount of time it takes these three to down one bag of popcorn (each).


the (second) first day of school

And today we sent this little lady off to her first day of Pre-K. She's giving me her "excited" look above. I'm not sure what's going on in the photo below. I think she was worried that there wouldn't be enough books in her classroom. Or maybe she was stressed about snack time not coming early enough in the day...

Finally I perched her on a rock for a Sears Portrait Studio moment. At this point she was second-guessing her butterfly shirt as appropriate first-day-of-school attire and wondering what her friends would be wearing.


the first day of school

Today it's first grade. Tomorrow it will be driving. And the day after that this guy will be going off to college. At least that's how the wise old folks with children older than mine have said it feels. I believe it, though. It wasn't so long ago that this little fella looked at me cross-eyed in the hospital with his tiny thumbs held up to his lips. He was hungry (and he still is, for that matter...I can't believe how much boys eat!).

Last year I thought starting kindergarten felt like a big deal, but today first grade felt like the actual big deal. I left the school this morning--no tears, if you can believe it--feeling like last year was a practice year. This is it.


the last day of summer

This year the last day of summer [vacation] just happens to coincide with my birthday. That means the little tornadoes are able to tear up the house today, and I turn a blind eye. Catcher is tearing up the beds while making forts; Tillie is jumping on those beds...Scout is whining because Tillie is jumping on her bed.

Although there's no better present than sending your children back to school, Alex and I are celebrating with a low-key dinner out with friends tonight. I wanted to get rowdy to ring in 38 but, you know, no one wants to be hungover on the first day of school. At least not when there's a new principal to impress. Cheers to a new year!


rocket arm blaster

We're getting pretty desperate around here. There are exactly two days--who's counting, right?--left to this summer vacation. I'm all tapped out; my energy is drained. Why don't they go to school year-round? 

With lack of a better idea, today I gave the kids scissors, tape and access to the recycling bin. I told them to let their imaginations go wild. Catcher made a gun, of course. Correction: it is a rocket arm blaster. Not too shabby, though. It made it through the whole day intact, which is more than I can say for my sanity.


shady days

Today was our last pool day before school starts next week (but don't tell the kids that). Yes, Scout is wearing a leotard. She put it on while I was helping Tillie get into her suit, and I couldn't come up with a justifiable reason why she couldn't wear a leotard to the pool. At least she wasn't trying to wear a bikini, and the covered arms mean less sunscreen to apply. That's a win-win.


the last week of summer

It's the last week of summer vacation. It's 102 degrees outside. It's my birthday week.

Although I tend to be somewhat dictatorial--okay, maybe more than somewhat--when it comes to the children and screen time, with Tillie still drained from her weekend tummy virus and no imagination left in this old noggin of mine, I gave up this afternoon and popped Frozen into the DVD player. Before melting our brains in front of the television; however, we did cash in on our summer reading program through the Austin Public Library. Everyone met their reading goals and was rewarded with a paperback book of his or her choice from the "prize cart" at our local branch. Tillie went straight for Frozen (which, incidentally, gave me the idea to watch the movie later) while Scout and Catcher debated over Lalaloopsy vs. Fancy Nancy and Ninjago vs. Transformers respectively. Life's big decisions.


show time

This evening Scout's class from last week's improv camp put on a show at our local comedy club, ColdTowne Theater. Hanging out in the lobby before the show began, Catcher and Tillie were more interested in the popcorn than anything, but that shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who knows our (hungry!) children. Scout's class, the Instant Drama crew, was the youngest and first up on stage. Scout cracked up the audience as "a piece of flat bread" lying in the produce section of the grocery store during their first skit. If none of this makes any sense, don't worry. I was there and none of it makes any sense. The older classes that followed Scout's were funny, in a kid-improv-camp kind of way. Catcher was in stitches the entire time; however, Tillie was rolling around on the floor screaming because she couldn't "see the monkeys." Get it?


the tillie frown

Little Miss T, we call her. There's also T-Bone, Tillie the Hun, Sweet Tillie A and The Devil, depending on her mood. She's the one with the sweetest disposition who will turn on you in a heartbeat. Before you know what you did wrong, she's kicking and screaming on the floor. Seconds later, she's running to you for a hug and making you laugh with her goofy personality. Her frown, and its many incarnations, is a part of our daily lives. There have been many times with this one that I've wondered who took my sweet child and replaced her with a demon. And then she's a sweetheart again. (Future boyfriends, watch out: she's the one who will launch at plate at your head from across the room.)

Last night Tillie, our Sweet T, was attacked by a rotten stomach bug. It started around 8:30 and there was vomiting/diarrhea every hour until around 2:30am. I'll spare you the graphic details (too late?) but I felt that the two of us really bonded over the repeated middle-of-the-night showers (or hose downs) and changing of the sheets. I felt so sad for this tiny little person with this big nasty bug. I slept downstairs on the sofa to be closer to her room so I could hear her when she woke up with another round of bodily fluid expulsion (TMI?). Early this morning she whispered, so sweetly, into my ear that she was feeling better. She asked me for some water, and when I returned from the kitchen with a glass, she sat up in bed, gently took it from my hand and then screamed at me "Get out of my room!" True story. Were you wondering why we call her The Devil?

In case you're a grandparent and worried about her (you know who you are), Tillie is feeling better today. And I know she's really an angel at heart.


dancing queen

The other day as I was shuffling the soaking children out of the children's museum, Scout paused in front of this lovely red backdrop to showcase a few of her signature ballet moves. Note: she is not classically trained, but her moves are kind of catchy. There was singing also.


photo of the day

Yep. There it is: Tillie picking her nose, Scout trying to bring the gang together by holding hands with both her brother and sister, and Catcher conscientiously objecting. If the children appear somewhat waterlogged in this photo it's because they are. Faced with another hot Texas afternoon, we put our Thinkery membership to use, and these three got crazy in the Splash Zone. There was also an incident with Tillie tumbling ten feet down an outdoor netted playground structure (no one was injured in the fall), but I don't have footage of that.


tunic tuesday

One thing on my summer to-do list (note: this is a list in my head because it's summer, and who has time for writing lists down?) was to take an over-spilling bag of clothes to my favorite children's consignment store, SparkleKids. Of course I never walk away with any cash in hand when we go because their stuff is way too cute, but the girls walked away with these adorable tunics. And they also walked out in a pair of Salt Water Sandals (obsessed!); there were also sparkly Tom's for Scout and a new pair of tennis shoes for Catcher (why do everyone's feet grow in the summer?). After all that shopping we were tuckered out but not too tuckered out to stay away from the library one block from the store. So we stopped in and checked out 15 books to keep us busy until school starts in two weeks (hurray!).

When we finally made it home, the girls insisted they try on their new things, and then I insisted we go outside in the 98-degree afternoon for a photo shoot because I'm like that...