Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bat Festival

One of the many perks of having an exchange student is that it encourages you to go out into the city and do things that you overlook when you have been a resident for 30+ years. Tonight we ventured out with enthusiasm to see what the Bat Festival was all about (besides bats that is). Austin is home to the largest urban colony of the mexican free-tail bat with an estimated population of 1.5 million bats. We people watched, listened to each of the bands playing at either end of the bridge, visited the petting zoo and watched the bats fly out for their nightly feast.

All in all a great adventure and a nice way to wind up the 7th anniversary of my 25th birthday!

Can you tell the kids were a little tired?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The arrival

Betty is here. She is beautiful, smart and excited about the next year! We are too!
We have a teenager in the house ~ woo hoo!

oh oh oh

For those of you not counting the days... Betty arrives tonight! We have our welcome signs all ready. Hero Husband even had the idea of using the google translator and making one of them in Czech for her. See I am alreay having new life experiences. I have never written in Czech before. The fun is already beginning.

The Glass Castle

Hero Husband and I have a running joke about how we got "screwed up" as kids...who hasn't frankly, but up to this point our kids have lead relatively easy, sunny, swimmy, balloons and birthday party kind of lives. The joke part is in when we discuss what we should do to damage them to some degree so they end up being upstanding members of society cause everyone knows that the kids with sunshine and rainbow childhoods are narcissistic, shifty eyed, societal moochess that whine, kick their dogs and nobody wants to hang out with.

If that anecdotal analysis proves true then Jeannette Walls is the most perfectly formed, well mannered, emotionally connected, communicative, zen woman on the face of the earth.

You must read the book.

If I was still feeling wronged by James Frey and his shenanigans I just might think she made it up, but I am feeling kind of rainbows and sunshine tonight... darn it there I go again.

Thanks for the referral Crystal and yes Hero Husband I am finally going to bed now mwah!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Who is this you may ask...Alzbeta (Betty) is her name and she is the newest memeber of our family! 48 hours ago Amanda (my awesome "right hand" girl at the office) came in and mentioned to me that there were some exchange students who hadn't been matched yet with families and Tanya (her mom) wanted to talk to me about it...Then they sent me Betty's application. Could she be more perfect? No I don't think so! A flurry of applications, background checks, emails and to do lists has culminated in a 10 month commitment to Betty and her family.
I got off the phone with her an hour ago and her flight is booked. She arrives in Austin in almost exactly a week. The kids think she is pretty and are excited to meet her and learn all about the Czech Republic. Super Son thinks he knows where it is on the globe already so I will quiz him this evening.

We are going to start making our signs this weekend! Betty - We can't wait to meet you in person!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thank you Jennifer & John for sharing your family with us and allowing us to walk briefly with you on this journey.
It is truly an honor.

Image courtesy of the amazing Candace

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What is natural?

#3, #4 and #2 came over last week to watch a movie that #3 found inspiring. Having birthed two children I feel like I know a few things about the process and while both of my births required intervention I have a huge amount of respect for women who are presented with the opportunity to bring their children into this world unassisted and step up to the plate and do it. The little girls were not interested at all but Super Son found the movie really interesting and has always been curious about the way he was born. After watching a few vaginal births he asked me "Is that how I was born?" I told him as I have a hundred times before that...No, he had been born through a cut in my tummy. He understandably asked why and seemed perfectly content to think he was "so crazy" when I told him that he was upside down, backwards and folded in half (Frank Breech thank you very much from 25 weeks to term). After a while the movie transitioned from the "conscious" births into everything else. Again, I have a HUGE amount of respect for the Mom's who are successful with this, but no less respect than I have for any other mother who brings a child into this world and begins to find harmony in the lifelong balancing game of what is best for her and for her baby. The underlying theme of the movie then shifted to how much "birth trauma" we give our children by not having "conscious births" and allowing medical intervention. The narrator (while very knowledgeable) even used the analogy of cutting a butterfly from its chrysalis and preventing it from every being able to fly with a c-section.
What bothered me most about this whole thing is that 3 of the women who have known me the longest and closest in my life proceeded to agree.

Insert defensive reaction here.

I get that a narrator of a film has an opinion and obviously wants to share her opinion with the world, but her opinion is not fact. Babies who are born "consciously" are not always bright eyed, intelligent, peaceful, focused and the litany of other good descriptives that she used. And in the opposite babies that are born with some degree of intervention are not inherently born with less "consciousness" on the part of their mothers and fathers. Now I hear nothing but judgement from the narrator and from them.

And to you I pose the question. Babies can be born vaginally, surgically etc. But what is natural to you? I come from the position that a natural birth is one that comes instinctively (one of the many definitions of the word natural) ...If the baby is born out of my ear then we can talk about whether or not it was or was not natural.

But at the end of the day - what does it matter? Why do we judge these things in others? Does my birth diminish the value of yours? Shouldn't we rejoice that a baby is born healthy, safely and into a family that is wanting and waiting. Why do we place the additional burden on Mom's who end up reaching the finish line with some help that they have "done harm". And by the way.... QUIT JUDGING and don't even get me started on breast feeding

You see that big thing at my feet...that's my soap box and I am stepping off of it.



Back to the beach

After Nana left a few weeks ago. I packed up the kids and headed back to the beach for one last weekend with Aunt Susan, Uncle Tom and cousins Zach & Matthew. Last summer when we did this Miss Thing "dropped" one night after too much time on the beach and fell asleep standing up between two dining room chairs. It was hilarious and we all laughed as we reached for the camera and Super Son excited by the hubub woke her up before we could get a picture.

Saturday afternoon she fell asleep in my arms in the pool and Susan and I managed to get upstairs quickly and quietly enough to put her down in bed to sleep.

After she woke up I made her a plate of nachos for snack and after a few minutes of snacking she was standing in the chair "hiding" from Matthew and Zach who were "coming to find her". Susan turned and asked me if she was asleep. I glanced back and for sure thought she was playing until we all were able to sneak over and take a peek at her little napping self. We had to restrain Super Son from waking her up before Zach could get a picture...and there goes Miss Thing napping standing up...again.

**This has been posted without the aid of the "sleeping standing" picture because my perfect in every way cousin Zach shoots in RAW and I can't find any service to allow me to transfer that kind of file and I didn't bring any cd's with me. Zach - get me that picture before you leave for college or I will be forced to follow you to Ole Miss and stalk you in your dorm room until I get it. M'kay.**

Dolphin Encounter

While fishing with Grampa on the new boat cousins Zach and Matt had had some success and there were 2 trout and a redfish in the cooler. The kids were beginning to melt down, #2 had sliced her foot open on an oyster and it was agreed that we should head in. Then we saw her...

swimming near the boat, coming up for air periodically. Miss Thing swears that she was spitting on her each time the opening and closing of her blowhole made a little splash. In an effort to reward this brave and curious mammal for coming so close and letting the kids marvel at her we quickly opened the live well and started grabbing bait fish and shrimp. After a busy weekend of fishing there wasn't much left to be had. It didn't take long to turn to Zach. The perfectly good keeper that he had caught was resting peacefully in the cooler and would make a perfect dinner for our new friend. He never volunteered, but when two Moms and 3 kids looked longingly at him he conceded and sacrificed dinner for a dolphin.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I live in a house where on election return night things sometimes get thrown. A house divided isn't what I would call "fun" but I would rather be challenged than placated. As long as after challenging my positions you still vote for the right person. Hero Husband you are reading this right? Oh well enough from me just go read Meghan's guest poster and you will know what I am talking about...Go on now...'git