Two more weapons in the domestic arsenal

Every now and then I make a new discovery that I am certain will change the way I do business. My business being keeping my children alive so as to propagate my genes in the Great Chromosome Pool. I conduct my business ruthlessly, as most moms do, and part of that ruthlessness is making sure my offspring eat lots of veggies so they can grow up big and strong, like Popeye! But what a pain that becomes when I've been forced into storing those cut-up vegetables in SEPARATE containers! Imagine the fridge clutter! It's an eyesore. Really.

But now! That's ALL about to change. Check out this lovely....

Can you just close your eyes and see in your minds eye the efficiency with which lunches will be assembled? Easy and simple enough for a 5 year old kindergartener to do? And the fun! Having all those goodies right there TOGETHER! No more in and out of the fridge. Open. Close. Repeat. Just one reach in and YOU'VE GOT IT.

And these. CCC's kids have been sporting these for months now and after many smelly Asian markets, the Bubble kids will be Bento-ing tomorrow.

But here's my big question for the day (actually three questions). They may be culturally insensitive (you know when a question is preceded by THAT disclaimer that it will most definitely be culturally insensitive). I'm asking in innocent curiosity and with no intention to offend. SO, here goes anyway.

Why do those markets smell so BAD? Do people of other cultures think they smell like rotting corpse also? Is this pleasant to them?

OK. That's all. We're all giddy with the new food containers and enjoying the change they've already brought to our lives. Now my biggest job is keeping the kids from contributing to the gene pool for another 30 years.


School rocks!

Dressed in their first day finery the kids were both ready and out the door in plenty of time to get to school and witness the mad crush of people that could best be described as European soccer stadium stampede-ish. Of course, Little A was in his "B" outfit since 8.7 seconds after descending the stairs, all gelled and coiffed, he dumped chocolate milk down the front of his *gasp* WHITE shirt. Luckily, this misfortune didn't ruin Big E's first day outfit or we'd have seen drama the likes of which we might not recover.

I SWEAR he was more excited than this photo indicates.

The gym where they sequester all the kinder kids and families while the big kids move like crowded blood cells through clogged arteries to their respective classrooms was boiler room hot. The kids all looked a little too clueless to pick up on the energy in the room which went between Verge of Panic Attack to Collapsing in Sadness in intervals. I had my verklempt moment but it was while we were still at home and the kids stood on the stairs ready for the traditional photo to be snapped. Big E just looked so BIG and Little A wasn't looking so little anymore.

That's a "K" Little A is signing.

Luckily, when the kinder classes started pouring out of the building at 2:30 they DID look little. Really, really little. And it made me feel a whole lot better.

I'm hoping he wasn't looking up his teacher's dress here.

Any misgivings Big E had about fourth grade and the tremendous pressure that would now be thrust upon her were gone by 8 am and she decided that her teacher is THE BEST fourth grade teacher EVER. Believe me, we heard about her and all her wonderocity from the moment we picked her up until she finally crashed in bed, completely and utterly in love with fourth grade.

Little A decided kindergarten is The Bomb, his favorite parts being (surprisingly) music. He was absolutely WORN OUT when he came home but mustered the energy for a quick preschool ice cream reunion with his old pals so they could swap kindergarten stories. Then some playing around the neighborhood before he came home, announced he was FREEEEZZIIINNG!! and a forehead check indicated a fever. Sorry neighborhood kids...I didn't know. He's home today and fever free so hopefully we'll be back on track tomorrow.


Paybacks are a B!tc#

Can you believe this profanity? I do try to keep this a pretty family friendly blog but this title is just too appropriate to not use it. The b!tc# in question is Juno. Remember her?

She looked like this about three months ago.

Now she looks more like this.

Perhaps this isn't the best photo to highlight her rapid growth but suffice it to say she has more than quadrupled her weight in the three months she's been with us and grown to be a strong, energetic puppy. And smart? Oh, the brains she has! I was awestruck with her ability to learn something new. Sit, Stay, Leave it, Come....all the basics were a breeze. Potty training took what I considered a reasonable amount of time. Certainly not longer than I had prepared myself for. I'd say we've been pretty good in that department since the beginning-ish of summer. We had even taught her to ring a small wind chime we had hung from the door pane with a suction cup when she wanted to go outside. We were all happy and things were good.

Until Port Aransas. While we were swimming and sliding, boogying and body surfing, this sweet angelic puppy was stewing in her organic Doggy condo, sucking down Pupcicles and plotting her revenge for her apparent abandonment.

It didn't take her long to put her diabolical plan into action. The night we returned home she watered the upstairs carpet THREE times, in less than an hour. As I escorted her outside, scolding her for her transgression, I could hear her smug thoughts - "That will teach YOU to go off and leave ME at a pet ranch. Pupcicles or no, THIS will NOT be tolerated.".

Silly me, I foolishly thought the worst was over when while seated at my desk two days ago I looked over, she looked me straight in the eye, squatted and EMPTIED HER BLADDER on my antique Persian rug. AAAGHHHH!! I know you're wondering why in the HEEELLL would I have a Persian run on the floor with a puppy in the house. I've asked myself that very question many many times. And it wasn't on the floor until just a few weeks ago. We had been accident-free for several weeks before I finally felt confident enough to unroll the rugs. And everything was fine. It really was. Until Operation Fiendish Recriminations started.

Phase Two of that undertaking began yesterday when Juno made a Doggy Doo ON THE STAIRS. What? Are you kidding me? On the stairs?!? What dog takes a dump on the STAIRS?? A vengeful dog that fully intends someone to step in it, that's what dog.

I hate to say that this kind of Doggy Terrorism is making me dread the day we have to put her back in the kennel. Or imagine what lengths we could go to in order to avoid it altogether. I don't want to be one of those people who lets the terrorists win, but maybe we can negotiate some kind of treaty beforehand.


The Beach

Lookee!! Blogger let me post these photos...on the first try! The ease with which that happened makes me positively giddy.

This is our friendly neighborhood pelican. The kids called him (or her) Pete. He/she hung out for a good long while and entertained us immensely.

There was a big sand castle and this reservoir built to contain the creatures we gathered.

Like this sand dollar. EC is THE person to have around when you're searching for critters. She will make a brilliant biologist someday.

CCC caught this fish with a NET. Just swooshing it around in the water. Caught it. Just like that. She was channeling her inner Jin.

Boogie boarding and wave riding passed many hours of the day and Little A would never get tired of doing it. Both kids had smiles on their faces the WHOLE time. Except if they were fighting with each other, but otherwise, the WHOLE time.

Did you know you could stick a hollow pipe into the sand and pull out one of these.....

Yuck. We attracted quite a crowd with the critter getter. I threw up in my mouth just a little every time I had to look at one of these.

Little A almost got hit by a car, but I didn't get a photo of that. Crazy-effing white PT Cruiser driver! I wanted to run that car down and beat the doors in with the bait bucket, rip them out of whatever idiotic daze they were in and dump all those nasty ghost shrimp on them while yelling obscenities specially chosen to make them think TWICE before they barrel haphazardly down a beach access road where HELLO DUMBASS!!??? CHILDREN ARE PLAYING! ever, ever again.

But I didn't want to ruin everyone's good time and HE was fine after all. It was MY heart that stopped for a few seconds. "Almost" DOES count in horseshoes, hand grenades, and getting hit by a car. Thank goodness.


Public apology

To all the customers who were peacefully going about your grocery shopping at Whole Foods, around lunchtime today...

So, SO sorry. Yes, that WAS Little A screaming his head off and pitching a hissy fit and NO I wasn't beating him or teasing him mercilessly. See, he wanted pizza for lunch. And I said sorry. No pizza for lunch. There was no "nana nana boo boo! No pizza for you, you!". But still, he didn't take the news well. You understand. The boy loves his pizza.

I know it was disturbing to hear such bawling and squawling from someone not a tiny infant. I could tell by the way you peeked around the end of the aisle to see who was committing infanticide. But he's got a lot on his mind. Kindergarten is next week and although he'd never articulate it, I think he's nervous. There have been mysterious tummyaches and a series of emotional outbursts. A lot of unsolicited, out of nowhere hugs and cuddles for mommy.

I swear he's just trying to make sending my little one off to the harsh realities of ABCs and 123s that much harder for me.

And it's working, dammit.

All about the ratings

Beach volleyball at the Olympics? THIS is an international sport worthy of the mighty Greeks? Yes, surely they would have loved watching four tall, bikini-clad women jump around in the sand. Oh wait. I guess they wouldn't have even bothered with the bikinis.

I haven't researched the sport so maybe I'm totally off base here and I certainly don't mean any disrespect to these ladies, who I am positive are perfectly nice and dedicated to their event.

But what's next? Frisbee gold medalists? Cheerleading? Or maybe Olympic kite flyers?

Bright and Early

This cute little crabby was caught our first night in Port A. Roaming the beach with flashlights watching the crabs scurry to and fro on the wet sand is a lovely way to spend an evening.

Lucky for the kids, CCC is an early riser. And lucky for them they were staying in HER room, not mine. Not so lucky for CCC....I owe her lots of chicken-sitting which will be a walk in the park compared to having Big E wake up at the crack and start in with the What Are We Doing TODAY??? Believe me, I live that every day and I don't think chicken-sitting will even scratch the surface for a long time.

All this happened before I dragged my lazy self out of bed.

When we did finally roll out somewhere around mid-morning we geared up for some quality pool time where we spawned down the waterfalls, went down the slide too many times to count, and practiced diving, leaping and jumping from the waterfalls. Even Little A and SC were granted temporary access to the slides despite their height deficit.

The next day was spent at the beach getting sandy and catching lots and lots of sun. But those photos will have to wait. I guess blogger is getting high and mighty and putting a limit on the number of photos I can upload in one day.


The Royal Treatment

Heeeelllloooo there!! How ARE you??? It's been lovely here under my rock, very secluded and easy. But alas, it is not meant to stay that way and I was starting to miss you. Even I am starting to feel the need to come out into the world again.

A lot has happened while we were busy doing nothing. It went something like this.....

We hitched our wagon to Port Royal veterans and made our way down to Port Aransas for the very first time. Yes. We are the only people in Austin who have NEVER been to Port Aransas.

Wait. Strike that.

We WERE the only people in Austin who had never been to Port A.

Here's the view from our room. This is the room that Big E and Little A rarely saw since they spent practically every waking moment that was not at the pool or the beach (and all their sleeping moments) in our patient friend's room.

I thought I was going to have to go a little crazy on someone when we got to our room and found there to be no bedroom immediately obvious. After a few moments of "Oh no they DIDN'T just put us in a studio", we noticed there happened to be a bedroom right behind the door and I was able to stand down. Lucky for THEM it was MY mistake. Or else they'd have had to deal with the wrath of Bubble Girl. Imagine the horror.

There were also a few moments of believing a hairdrying interloper was lurking in CCC's room but after much ado it turned out to only be a maintenance man with a hairdryer / drill installing a towel rack. The funniest thing about this (in MY opinion) is the commotion that ensued. Seemed that every employee within walkie talkie distance had to come over and catch a glimpse of the dangerous invader who had broken into the room.

As much as I'm itching to get all this excitement down blogger isn't cooperating and I just can't tell the story without pictures.

More tomorrow.


Riding Bareback

Many who know me know that I place good quality people watching right up there with hand massages and having my pores extracted (pure bliss!). It really is a wonderful hobby as it can be done almost anywhere, anytime. And with a camera within contstant reach I can now share my hobby with you. I know. It's too exciting!

All caught up in the whirlwind of activity surrounding the Urban Assault in June, I somehow forgot to post this photo. Thank goodness a routine perusal of iPhoto turned it up or else it might just have sat there sadly waiting for some attention.

CCC and I ran across this fine fellow as we mapped our course for the race. By the time this photo was taken we were convinced he was following us because this was something like the fourth sighting. You know, man riding bicycle in strappy white thong chasing down two moms in a minivan. I'm not sure he fits the dress code at Mellow Johnnys but it IS Austin after all, so you never know. It takes everyone working together to Keep Austin Weird (aka Collaborated Fission of Coordinated Individualism) and this guy's just doing his tiny part to make it happen.

So, thank you Bare Butt Bicycle Man for subjecting your nether parts to the atrocities (chafing anyone??) of a bicycle seat without the protection of such silliness as clothing. We, more prudent Austinites who in our spoiled self-indulgent ways, demand not just clothing, but giant maxipad-like cushions in our bike shorts are eternally grateful for your self-sacrifice. Blessings.

What are you doing?


Lordy! Lordy! Look who's 40!

It's TRACEY JACKSON!! Surely she wouldn't mind if I broadcasted her age at top volume to a few of my closest friends on Internet. It just wouldn't do to write up a little something and not give credit where FULL credit is due by leaving out the all important identity of the very subject of the good times.

Everyone listening?? Ears and eyes on me, please! (This is how I talk after spending ten uninterrupted weeks with a 5 year old....sorry!)

TJ has finally "come into her own" by turning 40, which we all know by now is the new 30.

Sadly absent of her trademark swimsuit and cape, TRACEY JACKSON led us down the path of much fondue-ing and general merry-making to commemorate the landmark occasion. Being minus a few key Rebels (we missed you!) some of us took it upon ourselves to partake of some extra goodness in their honor.

Happy Birthday TRACEY JACKSON! May you turn 40 every year!


Full of Hot Air

Being back into the full swing of things we were up and at 'em at a spry 5:15 am on Saturday morning to bear witness to the annual Lake Travis Hot Air Balloon launch at sunrise. Little A decided he was quite concerned about the entire event once he learned that there would be actual humans in the balloon baskets and that they would be flying HIGH in the air. This caused him much consternation until Bubble Boy was able to convince him to get close enough to one to touch it and the first one took off. Then all was good with the world and this was the greatest morning ever.


Yes, she is THAT tall.

I was most impressed with how quickly the air heats up inside the giant balloons. They spend several minutes inflating each one while some poor soul holds on for dear life to a rope attached to the pinnacle of the ballon to prevent it from flying all over the place while it's receiving its air. Then a few quick bursts of the flame and the balloon is fully inflated, perched high in the air and ready to go.

Getting Fired Up

And they're off!

The launch took place at Mansfield Dam which previously hosted our Leonid Meteor Shower watching party. It's a relatively small dam but impressive enough in the eyes of 10 and unders.

Watching those balloons lift off, silently, into the air and glide away with the breeze was very serene. They move so gently, yet undeniably. I was reminded of the wizard of Oz and his abandonment of Dorothy as she watched helplessly while he rose into the air, unable to stop and come back for her.

It was a great morning and I've added a hot air balloon ride to my bucket list.