Friday, July 28, 2006

SPF Violence

Happy Friday, and welcome to Stuff Portrait Friday, the day that Kristine gets what she asks for. This week: Something mean looking, our weapon, and our hiding place.

Something Mean-Looking

mean flower

This is a flowering vine in my backyard. It's beautiful, and colorful, but there's something vaguely menacing about it.

My Weapon
bentwood chair
The bentwood rocker in my living room serves as the 'thinking chair' (a.k.a. time out) for my boys. They h.a.t.e. being alone.

My Hiding Place
During these sweltering days of summer, I hide from the heat in the cool of the air conditioning, fans, and random refridgeration units in grocery stores.
Did you play?
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Climbing stairs.
Two new teeth.
Standing unaided.
Cruising around furniture.

These are the things that my 8 1/2 month old has accomplished this week. She has also developed some sort of radar for unattended drinks, preferably belonging to a brother, that is simply uncanny. I don't remember my sons being into EVERY flippin' thing quite the way she is. I had to haul the gates back out, so the house has been returned to petting zoo status. The boys are beside themselves, and Little Bit has deemed himself her personal watchdog, which just makes her so angry she could spit, causing her to SCREAM AT THE VERY TOP OF HER LUNGS. That in turn is driving me to the very edge of sanity.

I'll leave you with a little math problem:


N w/ the Desitin


Finger Paint!

Yeah, that's how my week's been. And it's only Tuesday....sigh....
So, how you doin'?

Thursday, July 20, 2006



Dear Brodie Lane HEB:

Hello. I do my weekly marketing at your store, sometimes multiple times during a seven day period. I have yet to make it out of your doors after a trip for less than $150, many times more. But that is not what this letter is about, as you really do have the best prices in town, and I love so many things about your store: dedicated 'shopper with child' parking, carts holding up to 3 children, clean floors, fresh produce, the list goes on and on.

Back to those shopping carts. We were very excited over your recent purchase of the new carts with the bench seat holding two children. My sons deemed them 'more comfy' than the old, red plastic carts. I'm sure you are aware that anything that makes the trip more pleasant for them trickles down to me, the one with the wallet. I understand that those old red ones were recalled for some reason or other, but if you insist on taking them out of service you really should purchase more of the new ones. Or at least get some hourly worker with a screwdriver to fix the 6 broken ones that Ramon, your friendly parking lot attendant, reported were in the back of your store. Yes, I asked, and that's what he told me. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Mama McAustin, who will check the parking lot next time, and move on to the NEW store if there aren't any appropriate carts available

To Brodie Lane HEB customer #1:

Good afternoon. I would like to compliment you on the restraint toward your sons that you exercised while grocery shopping this morning. I'm not sure I would have been quite as patient (read: oblivious) with your boys as you were in the store today. I noticed your two adorable sons as they were pushing and shoving each other to get onto the bench seat of the shopping cart in the parking lot. I imagine it's hard to shop while having to constantly chase after a 5 year old who is in pursuit of his 7 year old brother. I got tired just watching. I also got tired of telling my 3 year old that we couldn't use your cart, even though no one was riding on it. I was however, very happy you were able to secure a cart that provided a comfy place for them to rest once they were worn out from wreaking havoc in the aisles. Those new carts are really nice, aren't they? I hope the rest of your afternoon runs a bit more smoothly, and that those grape jelly stains from jar that your younger son broke come out of the seemingly-new white tennis shoes he was wearing. Have a great day!

The mother of the 2 year old your older son knocked over

To Brodie Lane HEB customer #2:

Hi, do you remember me? I was the woman with the two toddlers and the infant whom you were walking behind in the parking lot. On the way into the store, at around 11 this morning? Hello, again.

I really appreciated it when you told your pre-teen son to "Hurry! Go get the last one!" and sent him running past us to snag that final cart built to hold multiple children. Yeah, I heard you. I realize that at 10 it's really taxing to walk through an entire store using your own steam. Also, I'm sure the infant you had with you just adored the straight back and hard seat on that cart. I just wanted to let you know that my shopping trip went well, and I was able to get almost all the groceries on my list despite having to spend more time in the store doing things other than getting groceries. My dog really needs to lose a few pounds anyway, and my sons thoroughly enjoyed helping me choose items and put them in the cart.

Another thing. Yes, I was laughing at your embarrassment when your son threw that complete and total screaming hissy fit tantrum when you wouldn't buy him those gummy worms in the checkout lane because he hadn't finished his flaming hot Cheetos. I'm fairly certain that was God getting you back for your inhospitable actions earlier in the day. And also? Maybe if he wore shoes, he wouldn't get the shards of glass from the broken jar of grape jelly in his feet.
Have a wonderful afternoon.

the HEB shopper who shopped the entire store directly in front of you

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

I'm back! We had such a great trip. It was relaxing, invigorating, and restful all at the same time.
I have to admit that it took a day and a half into it before I missed the kiddos, but then? I REALLY missed them. I flew into San Francisco to meet Daddy McAustin, we shopped around for a bit, and then had a fabulous dinner at a tapas place. After staying the night there, we woke up and drove north to hike the John Muir Woods National Wilderness. From there we headed North up Highway 1 along the coast, which is one of the most beautiful drives there is on this continent. We ended up in Mendocino, where they were having a music festival and it was Big Band Night. Too much fun. The next day we drove south along 128, which is my favorite stretch of road ever, just gorgeous! W headed back to Sausalito to the Alta Mira Bed & Breakfast, which was lovely in every way. Monday saw us heading to the airport and back home to the searing heat.

Some pictorial highlights:


The view from our hotel room in SF as the fog rolled in.


Tall redwoods in JMW.


The beautiful coast along Highway 1 south of Sea Ranch.


We spotted this California Red Tailed Hawk at the Sonoma Coast State Park. He was HUGE, about 18 inches tall.


A really mean goose in Mendocino who kept trying to attack my camera.


Doesn't this look so soft?


Daddy McA. relaxing on Sunday morning in Mendocino with the Times.


Our room in Sausalito at the Alta Mira. We had a what would have been a fabulous view of the city across the bay, or it would have been had there not been such thick fog.
It's always great to go, but it's nice to be home.
Have a great Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


IMG_8881 aio

I'm trying to get everything ready to leave for vacation in San Francisco. The kids are staying home with a beloved babysitter, and I'm out of here until Tuesday!
I did take some time out from my preparations the other day, and took the kids for a picnic at the park with some photogenic friends . Enjoy the pics.


mmmmm....p b & J....


Lulu has decided that standing is the only way to be. And Little Bit apparently believes that since she can stand, she should be able to dance too! He grabs her hands and starts to boogie, which sends her into fits of ecstatic laughter... and then she topples to the ground. I'm glad I got this pic before she got the blue goose egg on her left eyebrow.


99 degrees in the shade + no breeze + 60% humidity = sweaty headed kid


J says "cheese"

IMG_8835 aiobw

Sweet Baby E.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I still use the baby monitor that I received at a baby shower for my first son in the room he shares with his brother. Yes, he's almost 3 and a half, and the younger one is almost two and a half, but I like being able to hear them. Our bedroom on the opposite side of the house via two different sets of stairs: i.e. a long way off. And also, I get to hear the conversations between the two of them that I wouldn't normally be privy to, and that makes me smile.

When Lulu was born, instead of transferring the existing monitor to her nursery, we bought a new set. I really didn't anticipate having to use it for long, and since I was footing the bill, as opposed to the gift-giver at the pre-Critter baby shower, I went cheap. It's basically a POS, but it does the job in a minimal sense of the word: if she's in distress, I can hear her in my bedroom. It does however,do a stellar job of picking up stray noise and interference. Mostly random cb radios and Nextel-type intercom phones.

Several weeks ago, I was ripped from my dreams by hysterical toddler screaming. It is extremely rare for either of my sons to wake in the middle of the night, and so when they do, it's because something is really wrong. I immediately jumped up and ran for the stairs. When I got to the boys' room all was quiet, and they were both sleeping like the proverbial babies. I was thoroughly confused. I then thought that I must have misheard, and that it was Lulu, so I checked on her. She too, was out like a light. As I made my sleepy trek back across the house I had almost convinced myself that I'd dreamed it, when I heard a toddler talking. And then an adult talking. As I neared the kitchen I realized the sound was coming from the second set of receivers for the monitors I keep on the kitchen counter. With the mystery solved, and my mind at ease, I went upstairs, turned down the sound on the receiver in my bedroom, and went to bed.

Ever since that night, we now get crystal-clear reception for these other people who apparently have the same monitor we do. We have overheard the daily arguments between parents and children over clothing choices, the fights between siblings, and the late night drinks of water and eternal bedtime procedure. Since that night 3 weeks ago, I've been awakened in the wee hours 6 times by children not my own. Daddy McAustin and I have had discussions about the late hour at which these kids go to bed, and the frequency that back-talk is tolerated.

I was fairly certain that these were people who lived on the next cul-de-sac over from us. We don't know them, I've just heard of them from a neighbor we have in common, and know that they have two kids roughly the ages of my sons.

Last night, however, it all changed. As I was getting ready to go bed at 11:30, I heard the child and parent talking about the next day, and why the child had to go to sleep. The parent then began singing a song, and the child joined in. At that point, another voice was heard. A very distinctive voice. A voice belonging to someone I know. This was an entirely different family from what I had originally assumed: I know these people. And I never would have guessed that all that went on in their house. You just never know what goes on behind closed doors.

It also made me wonder what they've heard from us on the other end of that airwave. I wonder if they were shocked by what they heard.

I turned off the monitor. I don't think I want to hear anymore.