Sunday, October 01, 2017

It seemed like a good idea at the time

So, I know it's been a while. I've been in a place where I haven't had the time to sit down and write. Why, you ask? Because every spare second of every day that I have that isn't spent at my actual paying job or parenting (including but not limited to, explaining to my six year old that he's about to flunk first grade if he doesn't stop torturing his teacher) has been spent cleaning up pee. Lots and lots of pee. PEE wee's Playhouse over here. Because there are 9 dogs here this week, three of which are puppies and one that's just really really dumb. It's a little long to get into but I can tell you that number was not intentional and hopefully SHORT-LIVED.  If you're not familiar with the sensation of having nine dogs in your living room at one time, let me give you a visual. And no, you probably won't be able to actually count nine bodies in any of these because if they're not moving, they're probably out of frame eating toothpaste somewhere. The number starts dropping TODAY through this next week, when hopefully by Saturday we'll have a reasonable number of animals again. You know, like.. five. heh. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Battle of the Ponds, Farm Days 5-7

The last post was farm days 1-3 and this is days 5-6. There was a day 4, but it was spent huddling under blankets as it poured rain most of the day, which doesn't sound like all that much fun, but when you've been living in Austin where it's so hot that rain evaporates before you even see it, it was downright tolerable.  After the rain, we had to get to bidness and get on over to Mass MoCa where the docents are always glad to see Rowan because he really knows how to appreciate art.

We got to see some pretty cool exhibits (Nick Cave, Laurie Anderson), and Sam and Hop got to see do this virtual reality exhibit that I have no photos of because even the room that it was held in gave me motion sickness. 

The museum was still standing when we left, so I count it in the "Win" column.

The next day we had Battle of the Ponds. We spent part of the day at Tom's pond, which you may recognize from past years. It's only about a mile away from the OTHER pond, but it's much colder which is both good and bad, I guess. Good on hot days, not so good on days when you're already wearing a sweater over your bathing suit. Also, there's no dock jumping, only island jumping, which has it's own charms. 

But we moseyed on over to the Other Pond (Leuridan's Pond) later that afternoon for a Full Moon Picnic. There was fire.... eventually. 

We did not actually see the full moon til a bit later after we were all on our way home because when you have four children under 8 years old, one of whom goes to bed at sundown, another who is afraid of walking through the fields in the dark (oh wait, that was me), you suspend action early. Not pictured, my perfectly carbonized marshmellows. 

Monday, August 07, 2017

Farm Days 2017, Days 1-3

The boys have been at the Farm since Mid-July. I know. I would have written some sort of celebratory post featuring pictures of me in a hottub eating lobster tails and drinking champagne, but it turns out, I spent most of my kid-free break cleaning up puppy pee and I don't really care for lobster.
At any rate, Sam and I came up on Thursday and.. we brought the only dog we have that qualifies for in-cabin travel on the airplane. Our first three days at the farm have included lots of jumping off the dock into the pond. This is pretty much the same thing they did last summer, only this year there has been a lot more rain and Hopper has discovered new ways to execute a belly flop.

Mamie likes rolling in the grass a lot more than she likes swimming. In fact, I put her on a raft and she went full on Pasha- Mode. 

Our other adventures have included lots of cooking on Sam's part, some questionable spring roll construction on my part and lots of cousin time. 

And then of course, no vacation is complete without at least one trip to Grafton Lakes State Park when it's completely freezing and about to storm. (ok, fine, it was mid 60's, close enough). 

Upcoming: Mass Moca, Full Moon Picnic and Jiminy Peak!

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Joys of Bubble Clay and Exploding Shrimp.

So, there's this stuff called Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask that over 5000 reviews on Amazon will tell you is GREAT for your pores. Also good for when you're waiting on Hopper and Sam to get back from the Asian Market and it's taking them over 5 hours (because apparently someone got lost). 
We were a little hesitant because the directions are all in Chinese, but in a nutshell--just smear it on your face. 
Rowan was not about it at first, but then when he saw how much it bubbled, he wanted me to give him just a little. And it was fun for like, the first five minutes until my face started looking like this and I may have scarred him a little (ok, for life). 

And then, after all that, Sam and Hopper came home with this, which Sam says are like little chips that explode into shrimp when you put them in a fryer. Good times at the Farm.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Things I left in Arkansas, part 1

The boys and I spent most of last week visiting relatives in Arkansas. We got back yesterday evening, so I'm still figuring out what's missing, but here is an incomplete list of the things I left in Arkansas:

**my gigantic swim bag which includes approximately 17 pairs of little boy swim goggles that I have lovingly collected over the years

**100 dollars somewhere (am now considering it a gift to the Universe)

**at least 3 tubes of kid toothpaste 

my beloved yurt 

any qualms I had about peeing in a bucket 

The safety and security I felt before my child learned how to make fire.

**My "Killing My Liver While Floatin' the River" shirt, which I am pretty sure is in the swim bag, or stolen by someone who was just really jealous. 

A microSD Card (Blue) that contains pictures from our "float" trip. Seriously, if you find my microSD card, mail it to me!  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's Day

This is my eighth Mother's Day as a mother. I gotta say, the first five were pretty great and then. Well, then my mom died three days before Mother's Day in 2014.  I spent that Mother's Day driving eight hours  back to Texas from my mom's funeral.  That one probably ranks as one of the crappiest days of my life. After that, Mother's Day just seems to be a bit of a mixed bag for me.  On one hand, I love being a mom. I love these two monkey boy children beyond all reason and I am happy to be reminded that even though they've started trying to fart the alphabet, they've made my life immeasurably happier and I am incredibly grateful to be their mom. But I'm not sure I'll ever truly be able to enjoy Mother's Day again.

I don't mind so much the wall-to-wall pink in all the stores. I can ignore that, mainly because my eyesight is not what it used to be and as long as I'm not wearing my reading glasses, I can just pretend it's all one big super sale on Pepto Bismol. It's just...right when everyone is reminding you how much you should love and appreciate your mom, I don't have mine anymore. And it hurts. Still hurts.

 I had my mom for 42 years, but it wasn't enough. I didn't call and talk with her enough. I didn't ask her about her childhood enough. I didn't ask her for advice enough.  My boys didn't get enough time to get to know her. They won't remember her, they were just too young when she died. How do I make sure they know who she was? I show them pictures and they recognize her as my mom, but they won't ever know her as "Grandma Donald" like all the other grandkids did. Sometimes I get irrationally angry at myself for waiting as long as I did to have children. If I had them ten years sooner, they would have known her better. I know it's a stupid thing to think, but grief doesn't exactly help things make more sense. That's what Mother's Day does to me: simultaneously makes me be grateful for what I have but regretful I didn't do more. I have yet to be able to strike some sort of balance or find peace with it.

But this year, I've decided that it's ok to give myself a little bit of time to be sad and to cry about how unfair it is that I won't be able to hug my mom on Mother's Day. I'm going to let myself... MISS her. And then I'm going to take my boys to Schlitterbahn for their very first time ever. We're going to spend the day running around the water park, riding water rollercoasters that are probably going to make me want to vomit (but I won't because I plan on not eating for 12-16 hours before we go), we're going to get hellaciously sunburnt and exhausted and I'm sure pretty hoarse from screaming with delight. Because I don't know how many Mother's Day those little guys have with me, but I'm going to make every single one of them count.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Have yall met Mamie? No? You should meet Mamie. She's our new dog. Specifically, she's Sam's new dog. She was my new foster til Sam told me that she was his new dog (about 12 hours in) SO, now she's our new dog.

What happened was:  I was at the shelter picking up another dog. (I feel like this is how every dog hoarding story you see on Animal Planet probably begins), but I was at the shelter picking up this other dog who was in the small dog cages. If you've never been to the Austin Animal Center (which is very nice, by the way and whose staff and volunteers do a kick ass job),  there are buildings for big dogs, cats, a little section for rabbits and then these built in little units for small dogs with two rows. The dog I was picking up was on the bottom row. Mamie was on the top. I noticed her because she kept trying to throw herself onto the bars and trying to kiss me. This is a photo of our first meeting, it's blurry because she wouldn't stop moving. 

So, I took her out for just a little walkie so she could get a break from the cage and the volunteer who was working there trying to walk all the little dogs would have one less to worry about. This was my fatal mistake. Because she gave me this face.   

And so I asked her if she could maybe make a little effort to look
like a cocker spaniel so I could take her home with me and she gave me this face.

And I was like, "Good enough. Let's go home." 

Once we got home, I had to explain to Sam  how I had gone to pick up one dog and came home with two, but apparently, Mamie and Sam stayed up late together that first night chatting and watching cooking shows and he told me the next day that he thought we should keep her. I mean, it's not like you can resist this. 

The questions people seem to ask the most are:  What is she?  (no clue, but I did just order a DNA test kit. I have a theory..) 
Also, how old is she?  She's five. We think. She was actually in the shelter earlier in the year and was adopted and was "guesstimated" to be five then. So, give or take? She's certainly not a puppy, though I wouldn't blame you for thinking that. 

People also want to know how big she is-- well, she was listed in her paperwork as "overweight" at 13lbs. I don't know that she was so much overweight as she is "built like a small keg with fur."  She has no neck to speak of. She did lose a bit of weight when she had the major barf/poosplosion event the week before Easter, so at her last vet visit, she was around 11.5lbs. 

Personality wise--well, she's a mutt of indeterminate origin who loves to eat
and let it all hang out at the beach. In other words, she fits right in. 

We really really like her. 

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Lessons Learned

Last Summer, I was having a bit of a hard time getting Rowan to brush his teeth. I mean REALLY brush his teeth, beyond sucking the bubblegum flavored kid toothpaste off his toothbrush and doing a cursory once over with the brush. So, in a moment of frustration, I made a bad parenting decision. I googled. Specifically, I googled "bad teeth" and then I showed the results to Rowan and I told him, "If you don't brush your teeth, this is what they're going to end up looking like." I know. I know. It wasn't the smoothest mom move. And might I highly recommend that you NEVER ever do this, unless, of course, you never want to eat again.
What happened as a result of the Bad Mom Move was that Rowan became OBSESSED with brushing his teeth. I mean, he would brush his teeth for like 10 minutes and then come show me, teeth clenched, lips open wide, "HOW ARE THEY MOM?" He'd ask. And then about 20 minutes later, ask again. "ARE MY TEETH STILL OKAY?" And then after every single meal. And also, if he happened to eat a raisin or, I dunno, breathe air that he thought smelled funny. "STILL OKAY MOM?" And then when I wasn't around, he started asking his teacher after lunch til she sent me a concerned text and I explained that he was really into dental hygiene. This went on for MONTHS til it finally petered out in late Fall. And then, I told him the night before that he had a dentist visit and he panicked, "I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO BRUSH MY TEETH, MOM." I know. I'm sure  he will be bringing this up in therapy when he's older. But: point is, his teeth are lovely.
The toenails on the other hand.. JESUS CHRIST. I really don't know how people handle cutting toenails of little boys. I'll be honest, I stopped really making an effort when they were like, 3 and 5. I was getting kicked in the face every time. I think part of me understood that I was complicit in the fact that they were probably just gnawing on them when I wasn't looking, and chalking that up to a WIN for the IMMUNE SYSTEM. But tonight I looked and it was like something out of Rip Van Winkle. Twenty years of toenail growth on a six year old's foot. So, I brought out the clippers. Holy. Hell. There was kicking and screaming and writhing around. I managed to cut 3 out of 10 nails before there was blood and then I just gave up and dealt with the next 10-15 minutes of sobbing about how I "cut off the good toe." (which is totally false, it was like, the middle toe, which I hardly think qualifies).
But I want you to know that I learned my lesson and am not googling "overgrown toenails" and showing it to them because all of us need to sleep between now and sometime when they're 30 years old.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bluebonnets Redux

When the boys and I were on our way out of town for Spring Break, I saw some pretty bluebonnets and made/forced/bad-mommed them into stopping on the side of the highway to take photos. In those pictures they look like they're having to sit on active fire ant beds and freezing to death...which they sort of were because it was like 55 degrees and raining. I also got a thorn in my leg from kneeling in a briar patch on that photo shoot that caused an infection on my lower leg which did not resolve itself til this week, so you know: instant karma and also, eww: gross.

BUT TODAY. Today is about as beautiful as Austin gets--it's 80 degrees and sunny and the wildflowers are just out of this world.  Snakes are moving, but, you know, AWAY from me... so that's ok. This time no thorns, just a lot of chiggers (it's like 3 hours later and I'm about to douse myself in rubbing alcohol). But I'll do anything for a great bluebonnet shoot...

For their last picture, I let them pose however they wanted to do. Rowan went with doing the Twist and Hopper went with "Public Restroom Squat"-- it's a keeper.