mulberry, downtown austin

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Despite being my first day back in Austin, it feels like I’m still in New York. I realize it’s because I have plans. In NYC there was always a birthday party, a new restaurant opening, or a bar where we’d meet for drinks. Here in Austin I don’t make as many plans because they involve planning. In Manhattan plans seemed to come upon me last minute, via a twitter or taxi-ride phone text. Here, though, plans usually involve going to the country club bar (because they have free babysitting, and we like the regulars), or meeting at someone’s house for dinner, where inevitably, I’m in constant terror of my children being eaten by their dog, or falling down their concrete steps, or french kissing their electrical sockets.

This coming weekend a postponed birthday party celebration is now on–for the woman who saw my ass while fitting me for a dress and still wanted to be my friend. And tonight, I’m excited to say, I have big-girl plans to celebrate Lacey’s birthday at the new wine bar and restaurant Mulberry. I’m planning on rolling out old school with my SLR slung across my bod, and I might just post the after-pics and highlights later tonight… um, or tomorrow. Or, okay, not at all.

After a healthy and much loved girl dose while in LA with friends Colleen and Leigha, I have to say I’m a little spoiled. I want more girl time. More drink time. More brainstorming. More talks. And at the same time, while being in New York for my step-sister’s wedding (which was hardcore beautiful in so many ways), I was able to spend so much time with the taters, that I’m a little spoiled there, too. I have no doubt that while at dinner tonight, I’ll accidentally start to sign my sentences as I say them. By far it’s one of the cutest things these little roast beef sandwiches do: when they sign the word PLEASE. We all just stand around watching them, elbowing one another. "Did you see that? Abigail just signed MILK and said CK." I’ve totally become that mom, the one who kinda melts when she sees her kid go down the big slide all by himself. It’s a little bit amazing to me that we can be all these things, that we can be enchanted by things that are so disparate. It fascinates me the way we’re able to squeeze into our Spanx, make time for Fringe on TV, derive pleasure from passion fruit coulis, prep a watercolors station for our toddlers, teach a friend how to swaddle, and another how to break-up and mean it. On some level, it’s almost like realizing that your mother is just a person, that she’s human and shaves her legs. She’s mortal and has her own interests beyond you. In a way I think I’m just now learning how to make room for it all. Because what I’ve realized most in traveling recently is how much I value friendship and the stories of others, and also how much I value my family and the stories we’re just now creating.



  1. I remember thinking that I would definitely have all of that down by this point — like, 27? Ancient! I'll practically be ready to retire. But in reality? I sometimes can't sleep at night because I'm terrified I'll do a bad job raising my new puppy.

    Did I just admit that in public? No, thank god the internet is private …

  2. true. my twins just turned 22 months and it is like the height of cuteness. they're people. and they're funny people. i, on the other hand, am still learning how to make room for it all…

  3. I'm so wrapped up in mommy-dom right now I really, REALLY miss girl time.
    Funny how all those bickering little fights we have w/ our girls while we're in our 20's seem to disappear. It's as if a whole new respect happens once we all get married, have kids, make lives. We grasp for each other then.
    I love my friends.
    I melt watching my kids sleep. I love how they look, sound, smell. Twenty minutes go by and I could just sit and stare another hour.
    Funny how that happens…

  4. Women really are superheros without the capes and fan fare. We are the ones who usually keep it all together, I'm so glad you are finding time to yourself to catch up with friends-my girlfriends honestly are my saving grace and I think I honestly would die without them. Also, so GLAD you mentioned Fringe – love, love, love that show even if maybe I initialy tuned in only for Joshua Jackson.

  5. Hey Liz, if you substitute "Elks Club" or "Ladies Auxiliary" for "country club", does that make it better? Big world out there; lots of people doing lots of things in ways that others don't.

  6. Hey Liz, if you substitute "Elks Club" or "Ladies Auxiliary" for "country club", does that make it better? Big world out there; lots of people doing lots of things in ways that others don't.
    Barbara E.


    I think that's why she said to each their own, right?

    I've found the few country clubs I've been to (for showers, weddings, etc.) to be a little . . . stuffy. At least the Elks and Moose wear silly hats.

  7. Hey Barbara E. as I said, to each his own. The concept I have trouble with is the "exclusive" nature of most country clubs. I doubt you could say the same of "Elks Club' or Lady's Auxiliary" could you?

  8. Stephanie referred to the taters signing the word "Please" and "milk" I never recalled reading that they were deaf, or am I missing something? I've been reading this blog for about one year. Thanks.

    FROM STEPHANIE: They are not deaf or hearing-impaired. I'm teaching them American Sign Language because it's beneficial to their overall development. We say the word aloud in English, in Spanish, and we also sign it. They love signing and saying the words together. But some words are hard to sign and other words that they can sign are hard to actually say, like "Elephant" or "story time." They can sign such things but cannot say them completely yet. But it's amazing knowing exactly what they want, even though, with words they cannot express it yet. Sign language is such a great tool, stimulates imagination and helps children grasp that their hand is their hand, but it can also symbolize and communicate things. They're left with so many more options than simply pointing at things.

  9. I didn't get what "CK" refers to, and as for the signing I didn't know the twins were deaf. I don't recall reading about that.

    FROM SK: They are not deaf, and the "ck" sound is just the end of the word Milk. Abigail hears and can repeat the "ck" sound more readily than the "mi" part, even though she has no problem saying "more," "mine," and "mama" (her first word). Better than I was… I called milk "blulka" at her age until I was much older.

  10. OMG. YOu are in AUSTIn….That is so cool. Have a great visit. I wish I could meet you. Well, take care…. Best regards– Berta

  11. Stephanie; what a poignant beautifully expressed blog. Glad you are teaching the children to be bi-lingual and to sign. It IS amazing, isn't it? I am learning to sign a bit myself as I have an art student who is deaf. I wish I had learned it earlier.
    But it is never too late — for anything. (one of my new mantras).

  12. I think there are many many many medical and psychological resources out there available to everyone that will actually state that sign language can indeed be bad and actually unnecessary/ superfluous to childhood development in non-non-hearers.
    I'm sure you'll write something to disagree with me, but it's true. Look it up everyone.
    You would be better served to teach them a second language, but one that you speak yourself. Oh wait, do you or Phil even speak another? (besides HS level?) {here's hoping I'm not edited out….fingers crossed…}

  13. OLIVE: You clearly need to learn a new language yourself, as you haven't mastered English comprehension. If you read, you'll comprehend that Stephanie is teaching them a second language. Between English, Spanish, and ASL, I think her kids are covered for now. And considering they don't ONLY see sign language but also can sign and SPEAK the words in English and in Spanish, it's hardly detrimental to their development. And, if you do look up the benefits or disservice of sign language for hearing children, you'll see far more substantial and plentiful research to support ASL for hearing children.

  14. I didnt realize you can teach to the best effect- a 2nd/3rd language when it is not spoken at length at the house (I'm not counting lessons/ school/ teachers. I respectfully disagree vanWyck. Thanks ~ cheers!

  15. I didnt realize you can teach to the best effect- a 2nd/3rd language when it is not spoken at length at the house (I'm not counting lessons/ school/ teachers. I respectfully disagree vanWyck. Thanks ~ cheers!

  16. Fluent Spanish and English are spoken in our house daily (without lessons, school, teachers). I took Spanish all through high school and college (including poetry writing, composition, research in Spanish), and I'm learning ASL along with the kids.

    Sign Language is 'unnecessary' for 'non-non-hearers', Olive? I encourage you to do some research before spreading such completely erroneous information. It's extraordinarily beneficial to more than just a child's development and IQ. It makes them feel more involved, confident, less frustrated, and heard, even once they do have the ability to speak as well. It's another way for them to bond and learn from caregivers. ASL is a language, not just a skill. Look at Elizabeth Barrett, whose parents are speech pathologists (sign with her regularly) reading words at 13 months, reading sentences at 17 months.

    Also "research seems to indicate that hearing children who are fluent in ASL have higher IQ scores—sometimes as much as 10 points higher. An article in USA Today described a study done on hearing children who sign. They noted that “11-month-olds who learned gestures outscored their peers in language abilities a few months later, a bonus that remained in place at age 3.” The research further explained how “those same children outperformed their peers on a standard IQ test given at age 8. Indeed, the 32 children who had learned sign language as babies did an average of 12 points better on the IQ test. They scored an average of 114, while the 37 children who had never learned signs averaged 102. The researchers controlled for family income, education and other factors that influence IQ scores. The average child in the USA gets a 100 on the test."

    Considering that my children sign along with saying the word aloud, I'd love to see all this negative research you seem to have discovered about how unnecessary/superfluous and detrimental it is to a child's development. It doesn't delay speech.

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