double socks + knots

snuggles web

It’s odd to be back in Austin with warnings of snow, while my body is spotted with mosquito bites. I swear there has to be something particular to redheads that make us insect targets. Not the color of our hair, just something in our scent or in our blood. Everyone around me went virtually unharmed, while I’m ALWAYS the mark, no perfume, no sugar water. I’m always the damn salt-lick of a bitten pig. How can there be snow outside and “no-see-’em’s” bites on my inner thighs, inside my cankles, behind my knees, on my wrists?! Itchy hell island. There has to be some homeopathic answer to killing the need to scratch. Lea pressing my “no itch” pressure points didn’t do it.

Now, it’s all double socks, sweatshirts, with the heat turned up. It’s not just a change in weather, in cities, in homes; the beans also have a change of family this week. From Yiya, Papoo, Tia Lea, and all their cousins in Mariner Sands to Grandma Barbara + Grandpa Ted, now here in Austin to celebrate the taters turning three years old (next Monday, Dec. 7). There’s much to post in the coming month as I try to capture the month of December, with journals, photos, and scrapbooks (as I attempted to do last year). More to come later today. There’s breakfast to be made, lunches to pack, and wee ones to bundle, and snuggle, with shoes to double knot.

A YEAR AGO: Spoiled, A “Variety” Of Thoughts
2 YEARS AGO: And All At Once, I Knew At Once, I Knew He Needed Me
5 YEARS AGO: Men To Avoid



  1. Are the kids really turning 3? I feel like I was just crying over Phil posting about their birth. Could that have been 3 years ago? Gd bless.

  2. They are beautiful. You can see their personalities in photographs. She’s ever the girlie-girl and he’s more reserved, camera shy. Very sweet.

    As for the insect bites, definitely not a red-head thing. They eat me up alive. I thought I read some article this summer about a study that concluded that mosquitoes (can’t speak for the other blood suckers) are repelled by the chemicals given off by stress. If we’re to believe it, you Stephanie are not stressed enough.

    1. hahahah oh man i saw a study that said that people who digest cholesterol well attract mosquitos and they can “sniff” you from a distance of 50 yards or so. Apparently the bi-product of cholesterol is released through the skin.

      At least I’d like to believe that because it means that i’m healthy, right?? lol lord knows i eat way too many eggs (I make a really good flan!) Anyway it’s a new study so they’re still doing research.

      Also, try not to sweat….those blood suckers all love sweat and lactic acid….so umm yeah just stay still….very very still.

  3. Hi Stephanie. I, too, am an absolute magnet for mosquitos and have been all my life. It’s been a running joke for years and years between me and the girls I went to summer camp with. I’ve tried EVERYTHING to stop them and very little works. For me, kids’ Off! lotion works the best because I can apply it extra thick, but it’s not fail proof. The good thing is that it doesn’t smell or leave you gagging after you apply it and if your kids are in the same boat, they’ll probably like it because the bottle I have comes out purple and rubs on clear.

    For the itching, try a lotion called Sarna. You can find it at any drug store. My dermatologist recommended it to me back in the day and it works pretty well. My dad uses it now to get relief for his eczema and my camp friends used to use it on their poison ivy.

    Hope that’s helpful! Thanks for giving me something interesting to read every day. My friends and I love your work!

  4. Cute pic.
    The color yellow apparently is supposed to keep mosquitoes at bay.

    I asked this in an email but it went unanswered so I guess I will ask it here: What’s the word on the pilot for Straight Up and Dirty?

  5. As far as the itching goes, this really helps: Take a really, really hot bath. I mean as hot as you can stand it. The heat causes all the histamine (the protein used by the body to initiate immune responses, which include irritation and itching) in the skin surrounding the bites to be released at once. This is really good to do just before you go to bed and will let you sleep through the night without scratching.

    This is a good remedy for poison ivy too.

  6. So cute! Such little lovey faces! 3 years old?? Like Dana said, it seems like just a few months ago, Phil was posting about your solo delivery. Also, insect repellent. Works like magic.

  7. Growing up, I was always told to put salt on mosquito bites. Happy birthday to the beans – it is hard to believe that was 3 yrs ago. John Stossel should come back and interview you again.

  8. The trick we used as kids was to paint the spots with fingernail polish to make them stop itching.

    It is suppose to work by suffocating the little bugs still in the skin. I don’t know if that is true or not but it seemed to alleviate the the need to scratch.

  9. You get snow in Austin? I thougth Texas was pretty much winter-proof. I live in the frozen north and we’ve still not seen snow.

    I’m definitely not a redhead and I also get eaten alive. My mom says my blood is sweet. ;)

  10. just got back to LA from jensen beach and scratching like a mofo. not a redhead.

  11. I get bitten from May to December here in San Antonio. I apply a tiny bit of Benadryl creme (in the tube) and then spray with Lidocaine or Benzocaine (sold a product for cuts and scrapes). Itching stops immediately and stays gone for hours. No, not homeopathic, but it gets the job done.

  12. Funny, I’m a red head and I’m always the one the bugs leave alone, even when they are devouring the person next to me. A surgeon one time told me that red heads have much, much thicker skin than others. I always figured this is why they left me alone. Your post makes me think this isn’t the case. Interesting!

  13. I hear you re: bug bites! Try making a thin paste of baking soda and water and applying it all over the bite areas. When all else fails, there is always the Hydrocortisone cream.

    The kids are gorgeous!

  14. The next time you are in Florida, bring Avon Skin So Soft (and no, I do not sell Avon or have any affiliation with them). No more bites. My ex-husband learned about it while serving in the Marines. He always had it in his pack, as so did everyone else. I’m totally serious (even though it is kinda funny to think about a bunch of “tough guys” slathering that stuff on).

    1. i second the skin so soft remedy. i too am a mosquito target unless i slather the stuff on. totally works and it’s inexpensive.

  15. I grew up in Thailand so I am well versed in the mosquito bite relief area….go buy some tiger balm and apply a dash on eat bite then wait for the “cooling feeling” and usually this kills it and also reduces the inflammation. Make sure to get the eucalyptus brand versus the cinnamon red one. You get addicted to the relief after a while and you almost WANT more mosquito bites! G’luck!

  16. I had a horrible mosquito run-in over the summer. (My friend’s Brooklyn backyard must have been a breeding ground. I came home with almost 50 bites.) The only thing that worked for me was this homeopathic gel I got at WholeFoods, called something like Bite Care gel. It worked fast, and took down swelling. (In addition to being a magnet for the suckers, I also have a slight allergic reaction to them. Awesome.) The stuff works!

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