Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Today was baaaad. No, like, FOR REAL. Like, get me a straw for my (invisible) bottle of wine BAD. And it started way back at the very beginning of the day at a time I'd like to call "during the night when I was asleep" but except I WASN'T asleep at that time since a certain little baby girl was up every two hours. I'm not even kidding. It was worse than the newborn days. Every even hour since 10pm last night, Vivian was awake. And not any happier about it than we were, from the sounds of it. So there was sleep deprivation from the get-go. Then there was the morning nap refusal game (Miss V for the win!), a little boy crying about this and that and everything in between, naps cut short by the afternoon storms, more crying and whining and general discontent from A that makes me think he's coming down with something since he pretty much licked every toy in the children's museum yesterday, power outages that made the house alarm beep and the Mister cry (AGAIN! DEAR GOD MAKE IT STOP!), dead internet, an unfortunate text message overage that left me feeling kind of socially isolated .... and a big fat headache to end it all. And kids who went to bed at 5:40pm and 6:10pm because, well, they were crabby and tired and so was I. ((Update: Vivian's been up twice already. By 9:00pm. Dy.Ing.))

In conclusion, it was not a very fun day. (Though, Tuesday, I'll forgive you if you bring the arrival of Baby B who is STILL not here and come on, enough is enough already!)

Tomorrow will be better. Because I say so!

Yesterday was better. For me. Maybe not so much for Miss V, who tried her first taste of solids and had this to say about it:
You know what I love? How her little strawberry mark has taken on the shape of a heart. Fitting for our little Valentine baby, no?

I went back and looked at A's 'first solids' pictures to compare. (In typical first time parent fashion, there were about 100 to choose from.) Everyone is always saying how much they think the littles look alike. I don't know. They do ... but to me, somehow, they don't. What do you think?

Miss V, 4.5 months:

Mister A, 4 months:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

anniversary : perfection

You know how you know the little people in your life have really stolen your heart? You wake up (at 9am!!) in your fancy schmancy bed at the fancy schmancy downtown hotel you stayed in to celebrate your 6th anniversary and look out your 7th floor wall-to-wall window at the sunlight sparkling prettily off Lady Bird Lake just below ... and think "looks like a splash park kind of day!" And splash parking is just what you do. AFTER you lounge around in that fancy schmancy bed a bit longer, admire the lake views a little more, and thoroughly enjoy a lunch/movie combo date with your beloved at Alamo Drafthouse. (We saw Cyrus. See it! And don't breastfeed your kid 'til he's six, because you'll wake up in your forties alone and socially awkward and cradling your weirdo 21 year old son in his bed and dating unfortunate looking men, THAT'S what will happen.)

So anyway. We lounged, admired, Alamo'd, and headed home to pick up the babies and their awesome Grandma who was BEYOND sweet in arranging that whole anniversary eve get away. (Thanks again for taking care of the babies! You are so great!) Mister A donned his super cool surfer dude shades ...

... and a'splashing we went.

pretty girl, keeping a close eye on big brother.

Vivian Jenae and her middle-namesake,
Grandma Jenae.
Who left today.

The happy anniversary couple ... six years and two babies later ...

A perfect anniversary, indeed.

Word for the Austin mamas (southies, particularly): the Ricky Guerrero Park splash pad is a winner! I liked Pease Park, too, but Guerrero is a lot shadier. And it's got a fence and short wall around most of the park, so your crazed toddler is less likely to dart out of the splash park and into, oh, I dunno, an ant bed that will leave his legs pocked and red and bloody when he scratches the red pocks all day long. Go! Your little people will likey.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Six years ago today, on a Friday afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin, the two kids in that picture made the jump from college besties turned sweethearts to husband and wife. My J became the original Mister. For six years we've been a team. We've moved - me from Madison and he from DC - to come together at our very first home in the northwoods of Wisconsin, a cedar sided place with leafy views and deer in the driveway and ten feet of snow on our roof. Where we learned marriage meant love and fun, but it also meant give and take and pretending you like your wife's cooking even if it sucks/came out of a box/is burnt. Later we packed up and U-Hauled it to Austin, a strange new city (chosen sight unseen for this northern girl!) where we learned to keep it weird overlooking SoCo in our shoebox apartment. Then to our new house, all fresh and brand new with sun filled bedrooms waiting to be occupied by babies. Rooms we did fill with babies, and wow, are we learning a lot NOW.

We've seen fortune and faced hardship and held hands tightly through love and loss. We've grown, we've changed, we've found our way, side by side. And today, on our sixth anniversary, I admire more than ever this man of honor and integrity and thoughtfulness and kindness. I admire him for holding his head high through tough times, through adversity and challenge, and emerging stronger than ever. I admire him for his dedication and sacrifice and drive to be the best at whatever it is he's doing. I appreciate the way he knows instinctively how to handle a fussy baby at 3am or a crying wife at the end of her rope by noon or a skittish new shelter kitten hiding under the bed. I adore him for the way he loves our babies, the gift he is giving them by being an attentive and involved daddy, the way he plays like he's a kid himself and makes the real kids giggle like nobody else can. For the way he loves me - wholly, patiently, selflessly. Perfectly. Not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that I met this man, that he was brave enough to make that first awkward move over a case of Bud Light in his Warehouse apartment, and that I listened to everyone who told me "HE'S A KEEPER!" He sure is.

Happy Anniversary, Jonathan. I will love you forever and ever.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

weekday love, too

It wasn't just the weekend. Turns out this week has continued with a whole lot of greatness. There's summery weather that's hot but not hellishly so, and sweet natured little people, and best of all - there's my MOM visiting. My Bachelorette watching buddy, the champion lasagna-maker, the doting grandma keeping A entertained with walks and park trips and snuggling Miss V at every opportunity. We're all so glad she's here.

On Monday, she took charge of the babies and sent me off for a day of me. I think I may have peeled out of the driveway, so excited was I. I rocked out to Ke$ha and headed for downtown to get my hair did. I met The Lisa for lunch, I strolled through Anthropolgie then up and down South Congress without a stroller or Bjorn to weigh me down. Bliss, people, it was BLISS. I looked around at the river and the skyline and the eclectic friendly people all around me and felt so proud to be an Austinite. And vowed to leave my suburbia bubble a lot more often and eat cupcakes served out of an Airstream trailer as any good Austinite must do. Yesterday, there was a fun trip to the Pease Park splash pad, a place I knew Anderbug would love and had been itching to take him to when I had someone to sit in the shade with V. And he did love it (minus the part where he wandered off the splash pad and into an ant bed and had his legs attacked). Today, we chill. Tomorrow, we venture to the outlet mall. And Friday, my J and I celebrate SIX years of marriage. Holy schmokes. SIX YEARS. Our marriage could start KINDERGARTEN, that's how old it is.

For the record, it's pretty much impossible to get a cute picture of your almost-two-year-old at a splash park. The glaring afternoon sun, the water shooting a little too close to my Nikon, the way he was running 85mph and most certainly was not even going to entertain the idea of stopping to smile for the camera. But see? He had fun.

This picture's no better, but it melts my heart. Bug and I were at CFA waiting on our lunch in the drive through, and I looked back to see what he was being so quiet about. (Because any mom knows that quiet = something is about to be destroyed, probably something expensive and/or irreplaceable.) There was my boy, cuddling his sister's baby doll up to his face, giving it kisses and patting its back (and shielding and protecting its heart, KreepyKasey style!)


Saturday, June 19, 2010

weekend love

Oh, weekend. I love you already. You started off with the inaugural Dinner Club get together, which in reality is more about a bunch of mamas leaving the babies behind for a few hours of talking and venting and laughing our asses off than it is about anything dinner related. And that was just as I'd hoped it would be, because a cook I am not (proof positive: my cold veggie tray contribution last night). I think this is the beginning of a very good thing and that these are women who will be good friends for a good long time to come. And that makes my heart happy.

Then, weekend, you gave me today. I woke relatively unhungover despite having three generously poured glasses of wine last night. Miracle! (I did swing through Whataburger for the customary hangover curing bacon taquito though, just to be on the safe side.) Then the little people, while of course busy and needy as littles tend to be, were fun and smiley and happy to do whatever activity I put before them. We took a nature trail hike, we danced to Pandora with cucumber slices in our hands, we took good long naps, we colored with crayons.

He's having fun, don't let looks deceive you.
And yes, he drew that cat himself.
And wrote his sister's name in ROYGBV fashion.

While A and I colored, the pretty one supervised.
"Need more PINK! PINK, I SAY!"

And weekend, you're saving the best for last! Tomorrow is a day to celebrate my J, the baby daddy, the man of this hizzouse. Resident bug killer, master griller, our very own baby whisperer. And at the end of the super-special J day, my mom (or "Bah-ma!" if you ask A) arrives! On an airplane, as I was describing to the Mister just before I walked out of the playroom for a minute. I came back in to find him with his plane, pointing inside the plane and saying "Bah-ma!" GENIUS, I tell you!

In conclusion, it's a winner of a weekend, if you ask me. I couldn't ask for more ... except for Baby B, the soon-to-be firstborn child of my cousin-who's-like-a-sister to get OUT of his/her mommy ... that would be perfect. Come on, Baby, we're waaaaaaiting!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I've been wanting one of these for the playroom forever:

We have eleventy billion books scattered all around the playroom at any given time and no good place to store them, so they end up stacked in haphazard piles on the playroom table at the end of the day. Which drives this type-A sort a little nutters. So, we needed a bookshelf. But a traditional shelf wasn't going to do - I've read that having the books stored facing outward (as seen above) encourages a child's interest in reading because they can see the brightly illustrated covers and not just a row of boring book spines. So I wanted that PBK bookshelf thing. Problem #1? It doesn't come in black. Problem #2? It's PBK. Cha-ching!

My mission was to find a cheap book storage system that allowed the books to sit facing out AND that cost, like, not very much at all. (Because seriously? Toddlers are weapons of mass destruction. If it's in the playroom, it will eventually be destroyed. Fact.) And it had to look at least semi-cute. And match the black playroom shelving system we already had. So where does a girl go to find a solution? The internet, duh! I found a mommy blog with a very neat idea......

Can you tell what our new bookshelves are made of?

I'll give you a hint. We went to Home Depot, spent less than $20, and were in and out before anyone could have a temper tantrum OR poop their pants. (I'm infamous for my Home Depot temper tantrums, yall.)

It's a RAIN GUTTER! We bought a 10 foot plastic gutter, cut it into 3 foot sections, painted the sections black in the backyard, and J spent 15 minutes hanging our new bookshelves. Voila - the perfect child (and budget) friendly book storing solution for our playroom!

I found the instructions/idea here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

4 months

Princess Sparkles, four months old.
I'm not even going to do the whole "OMG my baby is 4 months and time is going so faaaaast!" thing because I think it's a given that I'm all "OMG!" about it. 4 MONTHS! HOW? TIME! FAST! GAH!

Oh, I love this picture. She's mid-sentence. She's a talker, my V.
Are you wondering if I planned the color coordination between outfit and sticker?
Yes. Yes, I did.

At four months, Vivian Jenae is 14 lb 10 oz.- a lightweight compared to big brother who was a chunky 17 lb at this point. She's in the 75th percentile across the board, though, so she's really no wispy little thing herself. She's rolling and babbling and smiling with contagious enthusiasm. She's working on her bottom two teeth. She's taking sporadic, fitful naps that often take longer to make happen than they last. She's snuggly and cuddly and her favorite place to sleep is right beside mama and daddy. And we don't mind. She's just little once, and we're all too well aware that in the blink of an eye she'll be a big, busy, willful toddler who shoves grapes in her ears. If she's anything like another toddler we know and love.

Though, I have a hard time believing a girl this sweet would shove grapes in her ears.

Happy 4 months, baby Vivi!

Mommy will try very hard not to chew on your edibly adorable tootsies.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

rule #1



Because if you do wake a baby from her morning nap that's stretching toward 90 minutes, even if you're doing so with the logical motive of preserving the appropriately timed afternoon nap, which in turn preserves the early bedtime that just MIGHT get you a five hour night stretch if you're very very lucky ... well, if you wake your baby from her morning nap she's going to get revenge. She's going to say "a'ight, crazy! You want awake? VIVI GIVE YOU AWAKE!" And oh, did Vivi give me awake. The girl was awake from 10:30am until about five freaking minutes ago (7:20pm-ish). Nearly nonstop. She took a fake nap in her swing around noon, but never really went to sleep, just sat there staring at the ceiling fan for as long as it took me to prepare a ham sandwich and take the first bite of that ham sandwich then it was SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM. Then she pretended to go to sleep around 6:00pm after cutting big brother's bath short by screaming her ever-loving brains out until I yanked poor Bug from the tub and went through the remainder of his bedtime routine in three frantic minutes as V screamed and screamed and screamed in her bouncy chair until I ran out to her, yanked a pair of pajamas onto her (because of course, she was naked), and rocked her with a bottle until I finally got her to sleep. For twenty minutes. SCREAM! She's back down now, but I know if I make a move toward the kitchen or turn on the TV or do any other thing that might be, you know, relaxing or enjoyable ... her baby radar will pick it up and then there will be screams. So I'm not moving just yet.


I'm tired.

In other news of the week ...

... Anderson draws on his face then eats crayons, the dog looks on with concern.
(He'll be a hit at preschool this fall, I'm sure. Teachers always love the crayon eater kid.)

... Vivian goes naked on our walks. (Minus the amber teething necklace- thanks, Tammy!) Because it's too God-forsaken HOT to wear clothes, that's why. Hell, I'd go naked if I didn't think someone would call the five-o and I'd end up on that Jail show my parents watch.

... Anderson has a new toy, and he's infatuated. Here he is trying to vacuum up the baby.

... we had company yesterday, the fabulous Miss C, my baby cousin. Who isn't a baby AT ALL, she's a dancing, hugging, ridiculously adorable toddler who will someday be Miss V's BFF. You know what's not easy? Getting a picture of a four month old and two two-in-Septembers. Here's my best effort.

All right, I'm going to get all brave and turn the TV on. Toddlers & Tiaras beckons, may as well cap a day full of crazy with some TV crazies. If you hear sobbing, that's me, Vivian woke up. Again. Send help in the form of wine and a night nanny.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

ordinary saturday

Today was an ordinary Saturday. We walked, we played, we read no fewer than 29 books about brown bears and dump trucks, we did bottles and snacks and lunches and naps and went through diapers at an alarming rate (sorry, Earth). And after the naps, this mama wasn't feeling it. "It" being the desire to get out and go somewhere, the motivation to do something creative, the supermom drive to somehow turn an ordinary Saturday afternoon into something educational or enriching. So, I just let it be. Ordinary. Lazy, if you will. We set up camp in the family room, me with my laptop, poking around Etsy. Vivi on a quilt cooing, gumming her fingers. The Mister digging to the depths of his toy box, bringing me this toy and that toy until every toy was piled in my lap or beside. When the box was empty and the boy was looking bored (and had unearthed a Sharpie from between the couch cushions that came thisclose to redecorating the console table), it was Baby Einstein to the rescue.

And then, this happened:

And this.

And this. Oh, I love this.

So there was all that, and suddenly, it wasn't so ordinary. Sure, it was ordinary in the way that it was something moms and children were doing all over the world right at that same moment - lying around the house watching cartoon shows - but absolutely unordinary in the way that means "of no special quality". Because can it be any more special than this?

Nope. I think not.

(I know. Anderson's half naked. You're shocked, I presume, to see that one of my children is without full attire. There had been a grape jelly showdown and grape jelly emerged victorious, and seriously, three shirts a day per kid is about my limit.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Dog, etc.

The brevity of my past few posts (and the length of time between postings) can be blamed on one thing: the fact that having a baby and a toddler and a husband who works a bajillion hours a week leaves no time for eating lunch, much less sitting down at the computer to blog. Not that you asked. But just FYI.

This week was bananas. BUH-nanas. It started with the dog. This dog:
"The Dog", he became to be known as (because a real name encourages bonding and I did NOT want any bonding going on). On Sunday, The Dog jumped into my car when I got out in the driveway, then followed me into my garage, then burst through the door into the house and covered Anderson with sloppy dog kisses like they were long lost buddies. Well, that did it, there was no kicking The Dog back onto the street after that little performance. I fed him, J brushed him, and we stuck him in the yard while I searched high and low for his owners. Signs, online postings, calls to shelters, neighborhood-wide emails, facebook spamming. Nada. It became very (sadly) clear that nobody was looking for The Dog, and if they were, they sucked at looking for their dog. So there he was, all cute and eager-eyed and desperate for love, needing a new owner who wasn't an asshole. Back to the internet I went, emailing and Facebook spamming and Craigslisting and badgering every friend I have in hopes of finding The Dog a happy new home. And oh, people, The Dog lucked out big time. Late Wednesday, The Lady pulled up in front of our house. The Lady had seen The Dog on Craigslist and was looking for a new doggie best friend because her old doggie best friend had just been put to sleep. She drove across the city to my house, where I was hoping and praying this would be a good match and The Dog wouldn't try to eat her shoe while it was on her foot like he did to me every other minute or so while he was here. And it was a good match! The Dog loved The Lady, The Lady loved The Dog, and after bonding for ten minutes in my front yard they drove off into the sunset together as I jumped cheerful jumps of joy all over the place. Really. I did.

So there was The Dog, and there were the children, and there were the pets and the dishes and the laundry and a pileup of long exhausting days and nights that are blurring together at the moment and leaving me without any good blog material because I'm too tired to even remember what all happened, much less say something inspired about it. Ooh - but there was today! The ILs came to play with the babies, and I hightailed it outta here for some me time. I had errands to run, and when those were checked off the list, I had a movie date. A friend, a crisply air conditioned theatre, SATC2, and a tub of popcorn so big and salty that my whole mouth is still kind of numb. Good stuff.

The bed beckons. Happy Friday, yall!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


mommybrain [mom-ee breyn]
the phenomenon known to mothers where their brains become useless piles of goo after being around their children for too long (per urban dictionary)

Here's how you know you've got a certifiable case of mommybrain:
You try to start your car with these.