Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Best Worst

So, I am coming to realize that of all the amazing children's events this city has to offer, there are just a few that are not meant for the Mays in this phase of our lives. For example, Symphony Square Art Park. I love EVERYTHING about the idea of this event. I mean, instrument petting zoo? Teddy Bear Picnic? Children Musicians? All this and more for fifty cents. Now... that is money well spent. In theory.

I really did all that I could to hype myself up for this event. After working until almost 2 in the morning, my hype came in the form of two beautiful cups of coffee. Downtown parking can always be hit or miss.  I scored a meter parking spot and opened my wallet to actually find quarters. You have no idea what kind of miracle this is. A certain sticky fingers informed me a couple weeks ago that the household piggy banks were hungry and in recent weeks have been on a quarter binge save today. Lucky me. Cruising down the mountain that is 11th street, wind in my hair and tots at my side... life was good...

for a few moments

Unfortunately, in an amphitheater which seats around 350 we just might have been 351-354. We were packed, standing on a concrete island in 100 degree weather sans stroller. Life suddenly went from good to sticky. Post performance we herded like cattle to an art tent where the lines for face painting filled up in a matter of seconds. Seriously, where did all these people come from? Can you guess whose child really really wanted her face painted? Off to plan B where they promptly ran out of art upon our arrival. So, as the sweat rolls down the middle of my back, I turn away from a pouting Molly just in time to see Gabriel eat a piece of gum off the ground. Cue the credits, because we were OUT OF THERE.

Funny thing about mountains.

I really think that if you sub out that car for a stroller than this is just about dead on. Oh, and add a Gabey that kept trying to pants me. It was okay though. I was so hot that I sort of welcomed the nudity.

About halfway up Mount 11th Street, we hit breaking point. Literally.

It was all angry curls and intense jazz hands because world, she was upset. Of course, her brother's response to her loss was to celebrate the survivor. That really helped things.
As Lucy looks up at me all "Frick Mom, it's hot in here...", I start to giggle.

By the time that Gabey is peeing on the meter at the car, I am laughing through tears. Crazy person kind of laughter because really, at that point, what else is there to do? It was us on our worst city date yet. And that was something to celebrate. Or at least tolerate.

We made it home, stripped down, got cool, dragged out the art box and made the best of it. Because that's what we do. 

It was our best worst part of the day.

 I'll take it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's not Brain Surgery.

Yesterday I was in a really mighty fine mood. And by mighty fine... I mean don't-get-near-me-or-even-look-my-direction-lest-I-breathe-fire-on-you kinda fine. Let me tell you, those days and a house full of kids don't really mesh.

By about 8pm this fire-breathing ray of sunshine was spent. And once I reach that level we all know what comes next, tears. Lots and lots of tears. Tired tears.

So as my husband sat on the couch ever-so-bravely attempting to talk to his weeping compadre that might maim him with eye bullets any moment, what do you know but that man starts to make some sense.

It seems that when we began to make a bucket list of "issues" I had with the day, the root of all the evils stemmed from exhaustion. So to get better--- I had to start with this....

Which of course would open the door for him to do this...

 And wouldn't you know... that made all the difference. Today has been incredible. And I didn't even attempt to insert this...
into my parenting.

Who knew, right?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Miracles of all miracles, the ole' ATX finally saw rain. I swear as I lay in bed last night listening to the glorious rain, I could almost hear the sizzle and crackling of joy coming from our parched front yard. A moment like this just has to be shared, right? Unfortunately, my husband did not appreciate my 2 in the morning wake-up and chat session and greeted me ever-so-kindly with something that resembled a deep harrumph and box out from under the sheets. His loss... because it was amazing to listen to.

At least I wasn't alone. It seems one member of our family has developed a little anxiety with thunder. No, I am talking about any of our three children deeply snoozing straight through some ceiling cracking thunder. Because that's normal, right? Rather, I am referencing our fearless protector.

Her little whimpering was just about the saddest thing ever. She is some good company, my Rosie George. We had a nice little visit talking all about the rain and the huge possibilities of rain puddles in the morning. Hers for the rolling and ours for the splashing. Folks', it just doesn't get much better than a summer storm.

And then it happened. Lying there in the early morning darkness whispering with my dog, I am struck with a sudden wave of nostalgia - and it takes me home. Growing up I shared a room with my sister for 16 years. I am pretty sure that she too is reading this with a deep sigh because let's face it---16 years is a loooooong time to share a living space with someone. Yes. Yes, it is. But! Somewhere between the moments of dividing the room full house style with tape, unplugging the phone on each other and launching the person on the top bunk catapult like to the air... between those moments was something really special. Secret special because not everyone is fortunate enough to share in it. My sister was my early hours of the morning, rain listening, talking about life good company. We were sneak-out-to-the-Christmas-tree-steal-your-Santa-presents-to-bed partners in crime. And in that moment last night, my heart started palpitating just a little faster as I became all too aware of the magic that my girls will get to share in each other. The secret special stuff.

And while, I thought my husband was a bit too cranky last night and definitely not understanding all the possibilities of thunderstorm visiting--- I now understand. He had his own room. Can't fault him for what he didn't know.

But these girls...

Why, they get the secret special. Lucky them.

Monday, June 20, 2011


No, not cities. Been there. Done that.

Rather... virtual moving. Pretty soon will be moving to just That's right--- we're getting fancy here.

Of course this means that I am in WAY over my head and will be immediately consulting the web designers and programmers that work with Kelly. HTML codes and Julies do not maintain friendships.

I am comparing different hosts for my new custom domain and am open to all suggestions. Have you found one that works great for you? Right now, wordpress seems to be the leading contender but my search efforts have been very limited.

Can't wait for the new exciting changes ahead... any guidance from you way more advanced bloggers out there is MUCH appreciated!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Big World

We all have our memory of what our childhood was. Still images forever encapsulated in our brains of our lives at some point in the relative past. And whether or not these images we have captured even begin to represent reality is really non-important. Because they are ours. Our childhood memories. Our perceptions of a world that was ours for exploring.

As a parent, you can't help but wonder what your children will look back and remember from their childhood. Which images will they have they locked away in their heart to carry them through some challenges faced in adulthood. For selfish reasons, I hope they choose to hone in on our Saturday morning dance parties, laugh attacks and Popsicles in the tub on wash hair nights. Or perhaps sibling slumber parties, doggie caves in the living room or the messiness of baking with Mommy. All of these definitely mark my favorites of raising littles. Surely they will manage to block out the piles of laundry or short tempered parenting skills that are so readily a part of everyday living too...right?

To share in a child's perception of this world is such a treasure. This just might be my favorite part of parenting. I mean, when else can apartments become "cute little towns", sky scrapers transform into "castles"and weddings spontaneously occur daily on the fireplace? Tea time with royalty in your pajamas or balancing your budget. You choose.

You can imagine my excitement to discover that Molly's personal camera has a USB port to upload pictures. Spend a moment looking at the world through the eyes of my daughter? Um, yes please!

Little glimpses of her mighty big world...

How lucky am I to live in it?!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2 months!

So, this post might be a little overdue. Um, like 11 days overdue.

But nevertheless... look who's two-months-old?!?!

And showing us more of her fun little personality each day!
 Lucy continues to be the sweetest, easiest baby. In looks, she is the perfect hodgepodge of Molly and Gabriel and yet, there is something also that is just only Lucy. We haven't been able to quite put our finger on it. This month, while hot, has been full of some fun firsts.
 Lucy, this month you rolled over from tummy to back, fell in love with the swimming pool, slept 8 straight hours, laughed out loud, went to the museum, attended your first music fest, stayed with your first babysitter and there is so much left of the month. By the end of this month you will have seen Pinkalicious (the play) and Cars 2. Goodness, your siblings' activities sure do keep us busy!

You weigh 11 lbs and are 22 inches long. You are exactly 1 lb heavier than Molly at 2 months and 1 lb lighter than Gabey.

It is so fun to watch you grow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My morning coffee

The stars have aligned. My typical Monday morning greets us all too early with the usual hrummmp of having to say goodbye to the weekend (and Daddy for the day!) and hello to productivity and routines. We (mainly me)  usually spend a bit of the morning in a pout. Oh weekends, how I love you!

But today. Today has been something exquisite!
They actually asked me to leave so that they could just play together. No fighting. No stealing toys. No ensuring little-brother-bottom-totem-pole placement. You see, the cars are all preparing to head parade style over to littlest pet shop and adopt a gaggle of friends. It is kind of a big deal. Mommy alone time? Don't have to ask me twice.

And this one.
 Why she wanted to just contently swing and listen to Pandora a bit. She drifts here and there to sleep and then wakes up when a favorite song comes on. I would say that this is a rare occurrence to make you love me more but really---this is our Lucy pretty much every day. What can I say? She is a groovy little Austinite.

Jaymay's "Autumn Fallin'" just came on which was the song that I played directly into my belly with headphones at least once a day throughout my entire pregnancy. I swear she just smiled in her sleep when it came on.

And my morning coffee and homemade muffins... why, they are magical. Mavs winning kinda magical. Okay. Maybe not as magical as that. But still pretty great.

I need to soak this up because in about 5 minutes it could all fall apart...
 Easy morning? We're not complaining.
Have a great start to your week!

Check out other Monday happenings here!


Friday, June 10, 2011

First Born

Without any warning, I have been swept up. Recent life happenings have added to my ever-growing list of Julie's-time-on-this-planet favorites. Glimpses into daily living that are pure, real and ever so beautiful.

Yep. I'm talking babies. 

If I were able to pocket a secret stash of memories to carry with me when my time here is over, how could babies not make the list? What's not to love? That curled up little ball of a person with soft perfect skin, fresh new baby smell and the significant resemblance to a really old man. How can that not make your uterus do a dance of joy? And while babies are perfect... I am actually referencing something MORE magical than new babies. Gasp! Is there anything more wonderful? Why yes, I believe there is.

The building of a family.

The past few weeks have gifted us with the birth of a bunch of new specials in our lives. Our specials having their specials. It is all very wonderful. That alone, fills me with such insurmountable levels of joy---but to top it off, these are first babies being born... the makers of parents. And that, is a beauty all to itself.

We know love growing up... at least I hope so. And then one day, you meet that special someone and your heart beats in a whole new way. It flutters. This flutter is really quite great. And although you have no blood relation to this person (hopefully!) for some reason, you can't imagine them anything but family. So you give them your heart. It is love. One layer of great and perfect love.

Who knew there were so many other layers to love?

Going to the hospital that first time to meet your new baby is terrifying. Giant bunches of excitement all wrapped up in a pretty package of nerves. You have your ideal birth plan, you've called in your biggest fans and you are not even sure that you are truly in labor but you spend the whole way praying you are because how can you go home without a baby? The idea of waiting a day longer seems torturous and if you're anything like I was, this wasn't your first visit to maternity obs. My pride needed it to be the "real deal" because dang, those "contractions" sure seemed real.

You pretty immediately figure out that babies have their own birth plans. Those contractions you felt on the way are quickly replaced with HOLY HELL WHAT IS GOING ON IN THERE type of fun and you are rapidly coming to regret the crawfish etouffee you had for dinner last night. The one who made your heart flutter and got you into this business of making babies may or may not be discussing politics at the foot of your bed with family. Oye. Let's face it, a cherry limeade never sounded so good. But you're in it to win it and there is no backing out now.

So you breathe. You soak up all the newfound terminology that is hospital living like effacement and dilation. Your hooha quickly becomes the most popular person in the room and you very soon come to know all that is possible of your go-go-gadget delivery bed. You have read all the books, gone to the classes, are surrounded by your best advocates... and yet, in this moment, you feel under-prepared. Tired. Nervous. You look at your partner, remember to breathe and push like what you imagine is the hardest possible push ever. Eyes-closed-kinda-pushing because we all know it must be a mighty push if your eyes are closed. It is a busy, chaotic moment of living...

and then suddenly...

 It isn't anymore.
 And just like that, you are a family.
Your day is no longer about how much time you get for yourself but rather how much time you maximize with your favorite tiny. Happy hour now references the time in the day that you get to shower... which is in actuality  usually taken with the door ajar, shower curtain half closed and baby monitor on full blast. Diapers are now your biggest online purchase and sleeping 5 hours straight feels like a present. A very BIG present.
You find yourself just staring at this ity-bitty that you grew inside and can't help but wonder... is there anything better in this world than this? See.  First-born kind of magic.
And before you know it, they go from this...
 to this...
and you spend the evening sprawled on a blanket at an outdoor musical venue as they tell you about the babies they plan to have. In Molly's case, a whole hundred. A good mix of boys and girls with names of Lemon drop, Malasha, Allison and Elizabeth. Some with straight hair, others with curly. She has a busy life in the works with all hundred children, her husband "probably named John" with hair just like Daddy at their home on the beach. Where she says I can live next door. To help hug on her hundred kids. Okay.

So mark that to my lists of favorites. The Makenzies. The Jacks, Ellies, Harpers, and Jaydas. The Bellas, Bens and Seths. The Averys, Helens and Grahams. The Sydneys, Millers, Judes and Eleanors. 

The Mollys.

My heart is so thankful for you.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Today was my day to get things done. The older two at were at VBS this morning and it was just me and Lu. Ready to party. Because tomorrow is the LAST day of VBS and I will quickly return to the awesomeness that is all-my-children-around-me-all-the-time mode (sigh.), today was the day to knock out the to do list. Oil change, anyone? In all fairness, I did drive to the auto center to use my Groupon but it seemed that everyone else in Austin did too. The lack of available parking did little to ensure my in-and-out oil change.

So I did as any sane person would do... I returned home where I kicked it back college frat boy style---the day after the party. Unfamiliar? You know--- passed out on the couch (snuggling a baby!), potentially on a pillow of drool, stuff all over the house, only to be awakened with some leftover frozen pizza and somewhat flat coca-cola. Man, all that was missing was a house-full of wounded soldiers. I know. I am the envy of the neighborhood.

So much for productivity--- but wowzers... what a nap.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We've arrived

It seems that over the past few weeks, I've been in deep search for some little kick of energy... an obscure surge of zest that awakens my mind to a new and refreshing day. Something about having a baby and lack of sleeping seems to cloud that some, no?

Well folks'. We've arrived.

No, not in the form of robo-Julie with superhuman abilities to fold laundry and vacuum at the same time. I have not mastered nursing a baby while loading the dishwasher or planning a week's worth of meals. That's just crazytalk. Rather, what I am referencing is the lovely little bit of zest that has crept into our home and brightened our days. The increased pep in my step that strangely enough was not brought on with increased caffeine or huge bouts of extra sleep---although, both are definitely welcomed. Who knew that all it would take to feel inspired is some crazy out-of-school Mays and a good dose of 100+ days? Oye. That's right... I'm talkin' summertime.

We've arrived.

This summer, I made a promise to myself to embrace the great summer fun that is our city. Oh, it is SO easy for the heat, fighting littles and relentless baby gear in tow to keep us from even leaving the house. And on some days, home is exactly where we need to be. It is all about living in balance.

Moments of calm...
to balance a good deal of chaos.
And while we have been on our quest to find all the summer secrets of this city...
 The results, have been rather encouraging.
 I'm talking dance-in-the-water, sparkling-lemonade, roll-down-a-hill kind of encouraging.
 And we have soaked it up.

 We continue to be surprised by our findings...

From coffee shop rock and ice-cream flinging contests to some good ole' blues-on-the-green... we are embracing as much as we can. For free.

Hot dog!

Now,  I know that there will be plenty of moments that I will be cursing this heat and truly dragging out my suitcases with a plan to escape to Canada. It happens every year. But until then, I am going to kick off my flips, reach for my frosty beverage and enjoy some fun in the sun.
 You should come play too.