Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Life Lessons

There is much talk of sharing in our home. With two toddlers who inevitably need exactly the same thing at precisely the same moment, which also happens to be exactly right now, this is a constant occurrence. Here's a bit of today's installment:

Snack this afternoon consisted of apple slices and low-sugar oatmeal cookies which were still warm from the oven. Little Bit, having polished off his cookie immediately, voluntarily asked the Critter if he would like some of his apples. Being the apple fanatic that he is, the Critter said "Yes, please!" and "Thank you!".

Little Bit waited (for what to him I'm sure seemed an appropriate amount of time) for the Critter to reciprocate with his oatmeal cookie. When no offer was forthcoming, he quietly got down from his chair, walked around the Critter's chair, ever-so-delicately reached into the Critter's plate, snagged the cookie, and proceeded to take a big bite from it while going back to his own chair.

Cries of "Hey! That's mine!" ensued, and the stolen cookie was retrieved. We then had to have yet another conversation about how sharing must be agreed upon, and not just when we want someone else to share with us - they must want to share with us as well. Even when we share something first.

Little Bit then went through the proper procedure to ask politely if he might have some of the Critter's cookie, half of said cookie was proffered, and the Earth resumed spinning on it's axis.

He's a slick one, that Little Bit.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Little Bit's First Stitches
Sat. May 27, 2006
11 a.m.

Q: How'd he do it?
A: Standing still...
...and then bending down to pick up an RC car, consequently slamming his noggin into the corner of the train table that has rounded edges to prevent accidents (I'm pretty sure that last part was written on the box it came in.)

Q: How many?
A: 2

Q: How long did it take?
A: In and out in just under 3 hours.

Q: Were there tears?
A: He was fine, I only cried once.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Girly Girl

We're going to have to cut the mullet off soon.

But the mohawk can be put into pigtails!

edited to add: Little Bit just woke up from his nap, walked into the kitchen, took one look at Lulu, and said, "You've got cocktails!"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Out of the Box

I look at my life sometimes and can hardly believe the difference between now and the past. Several years ago as I was filling out my new patient paperwork in my doctor's office, I got to the part that asks you to check the box that matches what you do: student, professional, retired, self-employed, other. As I scanned the list of options it struck me for the first time that I didn't have a box.

We moved to Austin when I was 6 months pregnant with our first son, and since we had decided that I would stay home with him, I hadn't gotten a job in Austin. That marked the first time in my adult life that I hadn't had a job and for the first time ever I didn't fit any of those boxes. For a long time when I was single and early in our marriage, I could check off "professional". I checked "student" for an even longer time before that. At that moment I had something of an identity crisis as I looked at the "other" box that I'd settled on and pondered over what to fill in on the line given. I didn't yet have a child, so I wasn't a mother, and the only thing I could say that I did was "housewife". I always wanted to stay home and raise my children, and am immensely grateful that I have that option, but at that moment I felt like I was stuck between worlds with nowhere to belong. The Critter was born and then things got really busy.

When I started this blog back in July of last year, I had to list hobbies on my profile page. After I stopped laughing, I put down what I always had put down: gardening, cooking, photography, outdoor activities. I then took a closer look at that list and picked it apart: I couldn't remember the last time I'd done anything involving something green that actually grew, and cooking was for necessity. The only photographs I took were of my kids.

Kristin Armstrong, ex-wife of Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, recently wrote a piece for Glamour magazine in which she talks about her realization that she had morphed into someone she didn't recognize as a result of throwing herself wholly into her marriage and motherhood. She writes that she felt that she had become someone else, a personality which didn't ring true to the self she had cultivated into young adulthood. She discovered she had sacrificed her own personhood to become Mrs. and Mom. She writes:

Here is the truth as I see it: Marriage has the potential to erode
the very fiber of your identity. If you aren't careful, it can
tempt you to become a "yes woman" for the sake of salvaging
your romantic dream. It can lure you into a pattern of pleasing
that will turn you into someone you'll hardly recognize and
probably won't like. I am warning you because I only wish
someone had warned me.

While I'm certainly no "yes woman", and I'm not romantic in any sense of the word, I do believe that growing up is hard, change of any sort is harder, and living a grown-up life with all that it entails is more difficult than it seemed when I was a teenager. The sheer number of hours and minutes of every day that it takes to complete the tasks of wife, mother, household engineer, chief cook and bottle washer, etc. take more time and way more energy than I ever imagined. And hours just don't grow on trees. The time to do those wholly essential tasks that are joyful on the best days and drudgery on others leaves little room for "the pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation", which is Merriam Webster's definition of hobby. I do not believe I have been untrue to myself or become what Kristin refers to as inauthentic. I do, however, miss the part of my being that engages in hobbies.

And that, my friends, is where I've been: finding that part of my my back garden. Or at least what will someday be my garden. The house we bought when we moved here was used by the previous owners/builders as storage, and as such they saw no reason to do anything at all to the property surrounding the house. Summer before last we sunk all our home improvement budget into a 7K fence. Last year, the landscaping duckets got buried with the new sprinkler system. The boys got a playscape from Santa this Christmas. I can now get started on the fun stuff, but the Texas heat, she is brutal, and the window of opportunity to get those pretty plants established before they are singed by the century mark on the thermometer is short. Couple that with the fact that Lulu is now at the stage where she is on an opposite napping schedule from the boys, which translates as someone awake all day, leaving me with not a smidge of time alone. Thus, the time I'm not either outside or tending to someone's boo boos is being spent on other essential stuff like, say, showering.

My affair with the garden will end, probably sooner than later, as the mercury read 95 at 11 a.m. here in the middle of May, and Lulu will eventually grow into a more manageable schedule. But for today, I will happily check the "other" box, and fill in "gardener" on the line.

And before you ask, no there aren't any pictures of what I've been doing....yet. I 'm no where near coordinated enough to dig in the dirt AND handle a camera at the same time.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Q: What do you get when you cross a mullet, a mohawk and a baby?



We're back from our All Church Retreat. All seemed to go well, the speaker was thought-provoking, everyone seemed to have a great time, and the weather could not have been more beautiful. It was, however, so busy that I wasn't able to take a single picture. Daddy McAustin did get some really pretty shots of the facility from the top of the hill as he was touring his parents around. And how nice was it of Nana & Papa to come on a church retreat with a bunch of people they didn't know, just to help us out with the kiddos?

In addition to the mountain of very dirty laundry, 3 extremely tired children, and hardly a scrap of food in the house, I now have to contend with an almost-6-month-old who has two new teeth and is crawling. Yes folks, it was a big, big weekend for Lulu.