Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I'm sure of it.

I have been blessed with 3 of the most easy-going, mild-mannered, compliant (mostly), soundly-sleeping children ever to draw breath. While friends struggled with toddlers who still had yet to sleep through the night, mine slept through between 8 and 12 weeks; while others had screaming tantrums of epic lengths, mine blew over relatively quickly; while others experienced what seemed to be never-ending separation anxiety, mine rarely looked back. But now? God is getting me back for all those easy times.

I have spent the entirety of 4 of the last 7 days in one of these two places: sitting on the floor in my sons' bathroom as they sit on their toilet seats or sitting on the carpet in my den watching my bare-bottomed sons like a hawk for 'the signs' of needing to go. "Helping" Elmo use the potty. Pulling down "big boy diapers". Singing every toddler tune known to man and making up several new ones no one but my sons will ever hear. Pushing liquids on these kids as if I were a drug dealer looking to hook a couple new customers. Reading aloud every single book in their library four frillion times. Playing untold number of games of "I Spy" and building more train scenarios than I care to remember. Getting NOTHING done around the house.

Willing these children to 'go'.
Wondering how much liquid a toddler can ingest before exploding or their eyes begin to float.
Witnessing not one single drop make it to the exit.

Except, of course, on the den rug during those 6 seconds I turned my back to answer the one phone call I had to take.

Elmo is mocking me.

If any of you have hints/tricks that worked for you PLEASE let me in on the secret. I understand that it doesn't happen overnight, nor do I expect that, but I really think that if we could get started, they would get the hang of it fairly quickly. They both are "ready" in the sense of all the signs. A positive: I don't think I've ever spent this many uninterrupted hours playing with them! We've had a lot of fun, and they should at least have good memories of that.

Monday, January 30, 2006

It was an experiment, really...

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you shoved a wedge of lemon in a 3 month old's mouth?

Little Bit has the answer: she will give the appearance of choking, turn a violent shade of red, spit the lemon wedge out, and then spew every ounce of milk she's ingested in the past twelve hours.

But really? He was just sharing what he considers a special treat with his little sister whom he loves dearly.

Friday, January 27, 2006

SPF: Showoff

Welcome to Stuff Portrait Friday! This is the day that the lovely Kristine asks us to scurry around taking pictures of specific things to post. Up this week: your eyes, your toys, and your secret.
My eye(s):

I'm only talented enough to get a shot of one...

My toys:

I 'play with' handbells every Monday night, and many Sundays in church.

My secret:

My stress exhibits itself in my skin, currently around my eyes. Redness, puffiness, flakiness, itchiness....

There you have it! Did you play ? Let me know so I can come see you show off.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Way Back Wednesday: Affliction

Welcome to Way Back Wednesday, the day where The Kept Woman asks us to find pictures from our past that fit in with a certain theme. This week she want to see us when we were sick. I can't find any of those, so I give you evidence of my most recent affliction.....from this morning after my shower:

Don't know what that is?

Come on, all you gals who've borne wee ones! YOU know what it is!

(humming the Jeopardy theme....)


Post-Pregnancy Hair Loss !

It started this morning. If I didn't know what it was I would be making an appointment with any doctor that would see me. The books all tell you that this is to be expected, but what they don't say is that you will lose enough hair during one shower that your husband will have to remind you to be sure to pick up the dead animal out of the shower drain when you're done. Yeah, that much hair. I guess it makes sense: I supposedly didn't lose any during the 9 months of pregnancy. I just hope my daughter appreciates that I will look like a candidate for Rogaine for the next several months.

That is my affliction.

Did you play? Let me know so I can come commiserate.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

15 Minutes

Kristine has had another fabulous idea! Check out the new button in the sidebar to the right for her Bloggers in the Spotlight site (that I figured out how to do all on my own with my recently-post-pregnant brain)
Go on and check it out; listen for that satisfying 'click' and be assured that if I can do it, so can you!

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm Back!

My weekend away is over, and it was fantastic.

I thoroughly enjoyed my ride to the camp, and listened to my iPod using the 'travel gift' iTrip Daddy McAustin got for me. He also left me the sweetest card in the front seat of the car along with a 'best of the '80s' cd. Isn't he fabulous?

The theme of the weekend was "Women: the Thread in God's Tapestry", and we had a speaker from Tennessee who was wonderful. I slept until 8:25 Saturday morning, was out the door in time to eat a lovely breakfast of migas and fruit. (My roomates had both gotten up, showered, and left without me even stirring:) Saturday afternoon we had free time, and we went hiking, and then cut friend A's hair. She's been needing a trim, and we convinced her she should donate her excess to Locks of Love. She has the most gorgeous hair to begin with, and now it looks twice as thick!

As with any gathering of women discussing sensitive issues there were a few revelations, many tears, and no shortage of laughter. At this point in my life, things are going fairly smoothly, but sometimes it takes hearing the heartbreaking stories of other women to make me remember to be thankful for that smoothness.

I came home to a clean house, and a family who was very happy to see me.
It's good to be missed, and to have someone to miss!

Have a great Tuesday.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Happiness Is...

...the sweet smile of this baby after a time away.
It's good to get away, but it's so good to be home.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Happy Friday!
Here's the drill: Kristine gives us a list...we do the photos....we post the pics....we stalk everyone else who played. This week.....le bain...

Your lotions
Your towels
Your toothbrush

The lotions: Lavender (doesn't really matter which brand, love them all); evergreen from Ten Thousand Waves; and basic Neutrogena. (I didn't show you the jar of Eucerin creme that sits in my nighstand...and the one in the console of the car....and the one in the drawer in the kitchen....and the one in my purse...., of which I SLATHER my hands MULTIPLE times per day, as Daddy McA. was sleeping and not feeling well...Yeah, I've got a 'thing')

The towels currently used by short people :

Said short people wearing the towels:
The towels we NEVER use:
The towels we use everyday:
My toothbrush:
The Sonicare original (bought as a sample at the dentist 2 cities ago...)

Did you play? I would love to come see your "stuff" and maybe I will after my weekend. I wish everyone as restful a Fri-Sat-Sun. as I will have!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


"... life is only in the days that make up a year, in the moments that make up a day. We have to live them as fully and well as we can — nothing else makes any sense."
-Catherine Newman

That said, let me just say how happy I am that I will be leaving my children in the capable care of Daddy McAustin for the days of this weekend while I "recharge".

That's right! I'm escaping here for the weekend to attend my church's annual Women's Retreat. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to miss my family. I'm looking forward to getting to chat with actual adult women about things other than potty training, preschool waiting lists and infant feeding schedules. I'm looking foward to being alone in the car listening to whatever I want to - or simply the silence - on the drive up. I'm looking forward to having multiple times over several days to go to the bathroom without an audience. The fact that there is only the very remotest of possibilites that someone will vomit on my clothes excites me.

Yes, there will be 'spiritual development' and 'bonding', but I'm pretty sure the highlight of my retreat experience will be the 2 consecutive nights of uninterrupted sleep and eating meals that someone else will prepare and clean up.

The reason?
I need to recharge periodically for these 4 people. They deserve a wife and mother who's truly "in" those moments, days, and years that make up life, not just a woman who's "getting through" them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

WBW: What Was I Thinking?

Welcome to Way Back Wednesday, the day where Mama Duck asks us to dig through the past to find pictures of ourselves in compromising positions. Well, not always, but today she wants to see:
"pictures of you doing something stupid or alternatively something that you thought was cool at the time but you look back and think WTF?"

I must say that being a child of the '80s I have TONS of fodder in the fashion category. So much so that I couldn't pick just one, so I will instead go with something from my more recent past.

Daddy McAustin's co-worker's wedding in 2000. Daddy McAustin's co-worker's wedding for which the groom didn't think he needed to hire a caterer. I, being a girl and loving all things matrimonial, could not stand to see this poor girl's reception turn into the sad, disorganized, embarrassing spectacle which it would have become had we not stepped up...that afternoon...when we arrived at the wedding....AS GUESTS.

Behold, the "catering" team:

All guests, all friends of the groom.

We were so tired, and just as we were getting ready to leave (and leave the cleanup to someone else), the mother of the bride came up to me and stated that there weren't anymore forks for the cake. I looked at her blankly. She proceeded to suggest that I dig through the trash to retrieve some, and then wash them up quickly so the GUESTS would have something to eat their cake with. I replied that maybe she should ask her daughter's attendants (who were supposed to be handling the reception) to complete that task, and then walked out the door. We didn't even get any cake.

I will say that it turned out fine, and that we got a very nice thank-you gift from the happy couple later.

Moral of the Story: Mind your own business and let the chips fall where they may.......and ALWAYS hire a caterer. (In reality though? I would do the same thing over again.....No one deserves to have their special day ruined if there's something that can be done:))

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Baby McAustin, version 3.0

Princess Lulu at 10 weeks.
The eyelashes are the 'tell'.

That will be how we distinguish her naked baby pics from her brothers'.
(Because otherwise? It's just the same baby that keeps getting cranked out! )

Monday, January 16, 2006


'If Martin Luther King were alive today, I would tell him that he paved the way for a little girl of 10 to perceive a future day . . . If Martin Luther King were alive today, I would tell him that he proved the way for our people to strive on and work out their destiny . . . MLK showed us today that together we stand. And we need each other in every step of the way. From all that I've learned, it seems to be this way! That divided we fall and there is no unity!'

— Alenzia McKinney, 10
1st place winner MLK Day Oratory Contest, Austin, Texas

Friday, January 13, 2006

SPF: Friday the 13th

Happy Friday! Welcome to this week's edition of Kristine's Stuff Portrait Friday, where she gives us a list of things to photograph and we post them. Up this week in honor of it being Friday the 13th:

1. Something you're afraid of.
2. Your Lucky Charm.
3. Something Friday the 13th ish (get creative)

What I'm afraid of is big spiders, especially if they jump. I didn't have any pictures so I did a search. I can't even begin to express how much looking at all the options creeped me out.

This is a shot of camel spiders and if you want to know more about them go here.

My lucky charm would have to be the this. Not so much the actual piece of jewelry, but the idea behind it: my faith in God and Jesus Christ. Prayer has gotten me through some of the toughest times of my life, helped me to see past the immediate need of my own existence, and given me peace when there was none to be found in this world.

The full(ish) moon this morning when I got up looked Friday the 13th ish.

Remember, it's National Delurking Week, and there are still a few of you out there who haven't said hello! Leave me a comment if you played so I can come check out your "Stuff".

Have a great Friday.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

So Proud...

In Sam's.

Our party of 4 passes a display with toy dumptrucks.

Little Bit: "Look Mama! A dumbfuck!"

My boy....

(To be fair, the kid is EXTREMELY verbal, and has decent enunciation. Those darn blends just trip him up horribly!)

Isn't It De-Lovely?

I've been super-busy with a church volunteer project that Daddy McAustin and I are heading up, and haven't had time to do much computering not relating to "brochure development" or org charts in excel. Other than the few surreptitious moments I can browse my blogroll whilst feeding Lulu, not much goin' on. But, alas, one-handed typing is definitely not my forte, so I am not able to comment as much as I would like.

But in honor of National Delurking Week I will comment on every single blog I visit today. Won't you also? I would love to hear from all you folks who stop by but don't comment regularly. (I know you're there....yeah, YOU! You can't hide from the Statcounter....)

Now, more on the topic of the day....Responding.
As I mentioned above, we are in charge of a large event in the life of our church, the Annual All Church Retreat. Our church is fairly large, and there will be anywhere from 350-600 people attending this event the last week in April. As you can imagine, an event of this magnitude requires a sizable team of people to organize it. I started recruiting Steering Committee members waaaayyy back in May of last year. These early invitations went to 25+ people who had stated they would be willing to help with the event on last year's eval form.

Response? Zero.

We attrubuted the lack of interest to end of the schoolyear/summer vacations ahead/ etc. We then sent out another round of invites (to the same list with added names) in September and again in October.

Response? One.

Now, I have had my fair share of volunteering, as well as more volunteer organizing than I care to remember. I understand how it works: the people who volunteer are always the ones being asked to do the work for everything. I get that it gets old to be on everyone's list of 'people to contact'. But here's my point: Respond. Whether your are going to say "Yes! I'd love to take on the biggest job you have!", or "No, I've been diagnosed with brain cancer and won't even be able to attend this year, sorry." Either way the person doing the inviting at least deserves a response. Don't you think? It's just rude not to.

We have found some fabulous souls who have stepped up to the challenge and signed on to the Steering Committee, and I'm certain they will do a wonderful job. I'm also certain you will be hearing more about this task in the future, as there are still slots to be filled......

So de-lurk, won't you? It's just rude not to, don't you think?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Weekend Update

The Christmas dinner dishes are put away.
The decorations are stored....for the most part.
Everyone has clean clothes.
I've gotten 6 consecutive hours of sleep for the last two nights.
No need to worry about Limbo here: the child got sprinkled yesterday.
All is right with my world...at least for today.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

No, I Blew It All on Moonshine & Ammo...

Go: here

Upon completion of the quiz, I was deemed 88% Dixie, and was asked if I still used Confederate money....

Friday, January 06, 2006

SPF:Before, After & New

Welcome to the first edition of Stuff Portrait Fridays for 2006! This is the ingenious game brought to us by Kristine gives us a list of "stuff" to take pictures of and then post. This week's items:

Your Favorite New Thing

And away we go...

There is so much to choose from for Before & After. I thought about showing the photo of me before Lulu was born and while that's frightening enough, the after shot at this point in time is just downright alarming, so that idea got nixed. So the next best thing (without grossing anyone out) would be the B&A of our dog. You can read about Pascal's adventures here and here, and those are what has gotten him into the fix he's in now:
he went on the greenbelt one too many times and got his lovely, thick, winter-in-the-snow-covered-mountains coat COMPLETELY trashed out with burrs, mud, mats etc.


he was shorn like the stupid sheep he is in reality, and a good 5 pounds lighter.

He does look kind of cute though, don't you think?

My favorite New Thing
While she's not so much "new" anymore, and despite all the whining I've done about how much work she is, I have decided to extend her contract as my favorite New thing.
There you have it. Did you play? Let me know, so I can come check out your "stuff."
Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

And the Tower Burned Orange....

Yea, TEXAS!!!!

(Tired is when you fall asleep halfway through the most exciting game of the year. I was able to pry my eyes open and come to long enough to see the end though.)

Not much sleeping in Austin at midnight last night....

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

Now let's catch up on Christmas....

Hi! It's the Critter here manning the computer. Mama's super-busy scaling the mountains of laundry, so it's up to Little Bit and me to do the Christmas update.

Christmas Eve we went to see Santa. He SEEMS like a nice guy, but you never know. He is a stranger after all, so Mama had to sit with us to make sure he didn't do anything freaky.
Of course, Lulu fell asleep while we were in line, but we thought she should be in the picture anyway. That night we got all dressed up and went to church, then out to eat. It took FOREVER to get a table, and then another eternity to get our food, but the pasta was great, and everyone had a good time. We got home, and everyone got ready for bed, but it seemed like there was an awful lot of noise after we had been tucked in.....

They told us the next day was Christmas Day. We found this picture of the tree from that morning, but it was dark outside. Santa must have taken this one when he dropped off our stuff. Look at all the pretty packages! We opened our gifts: trains, cars, garages, and these really great musical instruments that make the LOUDEST music. Thanks Uncle & Auntie!

Doesn't Lulu look cute?

She got some stuff too, but we didn't pay much attention to it.
Nana and Papa got some stuff too, and they seemed to like it all.
And then, we noticed the window that looks into the yard was all wrapped up like a present with a big red bow. It had a tag that had our names on it, and so we ripped the paper off. You'll NEVER believe what was out there!
We're still wondering how Santa got that on his sleigh....

The Bikes!

....and the train table, and the stuffed animals.....it was all really more than we could take in.....

...but it sure was fun!

Then there was some food and stuff, and then we played some more.

We hope everyone else had as much fun as we did!

Love, Critter & Little Bit