Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Jolly Old St Nick

I have a new term in my head that I feel like I think about every other day. It's "moving blunder". The many mistakes I make due to just being somewhere new and not really having my feet on solid ground yet. They happen more than you might think. 
I'm always looking for cool things to do in Austin that will get us out, exploring the city. I saw that the day after Thanksgiving Santa is at the Long Center for a few hours and you could get a really cool picture with him with the city as your back drop. Just my kind of thing. And seeing as we didn't have any plans, I thought yay - this will be fun! It was anything but fun. As we drove up to the Long Center, 15 minutes before the start time listed, I saw a line of people with kids dressed up real cute going around the block. Oh no. Despite a bad feeling about the situation, we parekd teh car and investigated. Yep, the line was for Santa. Our plan was to stand in it until her arrived and see if it moved at a good pace. We stood for 20 minutes. It did not move at a good pace. So, we choked it up to "moving blunder" and called it quits. I was not about to waste three hours of a perfectly good day in line for Santa. 
So, on Monday after school, we headed to the mall. We walked right in (no line) and got the obligatory Santa pic with terrible posing and flash photography. The only thing it has going for it is Santa himself and everyone is looking! Nate didn't even cry this year (bummer) although he was very nervous.
So, there you have it - the man in red! 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Musical 🎜🎄

Back in San Diego, probably during some sleepless night when I was flipping through instagram trying to find cool things to do in Austin, I found The Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Musical at the Long Center. Now you know I am all about live entertainment for the kids, especially around Christmas time! It was only playing the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, and so we chose bought tickets for Saturday afternoon and kicked off our Christmas season with Rudolph!

 It was Nathan's first time seeing a live performance - I wasn't sure how he would do. He was mesmerized the entire 1.5 hours. In fact he couldn't stop talking about it - his favorite part of course was the snow monster. Declan and Lexi also loved it. It really was incredible - far exceeding my expectations. I'm sure this will be an annual tradition for us, as it just doesn't get much more Christmas-y than Rudolph! 
I like Declan's smile better here
 And Nathan's better here. ☺

We came home to find that Duncan had finally arrived. The kids were so worried - waiting for him the entire week. Usually he comes on Thanksgiving or the day after and when he didn't show up, there was genuine concern from these three munchkins. Apparently he had gone all the way to San Diego, only to find us missing!! The kids couldn't believe it - luckily he found us! 
They were so relieved to see him the minute they walked in the door, with new Christmas jammies and Christmas sheets!! Let the elfing begin!!!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

this town bleeds orange

A few weeks ago Jeff and Emily were in town visiting her family, ironically the same time my dad was in town visiting us. So, we all met for lunch in downtown Austin one day. Don, Emily's step-dad, has season tickets to the Longhorns, and generously gave us two for the Friday after Thanksgiving game. The plan was for Adam and I to go - I was hoping to take advantage of the babysitter living right next door to us! Unfortunately with the holiday it didn't work out. But, I think it was serendipitous because my football obsessed son got to go with his dad. It was a 7:30 game and ended up being a long one, so the kid was basically up until mid-night. He couldn't stop talking about his first college game. I see many more in our future. I'm so excited to live in a college town that loves their team. When I say the town bleeds orange, it is an understatement. There is a house in our neighborhood that has a lit up orange longhorn burning in his window all night long. 90% of the cars have a longhorn somewhere on it, and orange is everywhere. EVERYWHERE. So, it goes without saying, Hook 'em horns!!

I need to invest in an orange shirt for our youngest fan! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Our First Texas Thanksgiving

I'm not going to lie, it was a little weird NOT spending Thanksgiving with family this year. But, I tried not to focus on that and instead focus on what we had - which was multiple families making us feel very welcome here. I've said it a million times before, but Austin is without a doubt the friendliest place. We'd barely been here a month and had three invitations for Thanksgiving dinner, which made me feel so good. One was from my photographer friend who lives in Dallas, and as much as I would have loved to spend Thanksgiving with her and her family, the 3 hour drive kept us away. Another invitation was from Emily's brother and sister-in law. A few weeks ago we had gone over to their house for dinner, and it truly was so fun. The kids played for hours, we met some new people, and it was just an overall great night. I was inclined to say yes to them because I knew it would be easy and fun...plus they are the closest thing to family we have here! But, we ended up going to the Barks. Adam and I both felt drawn tot this invitation - even though there wouldn't be any kiddos for our kids to play with. These were the people we met back in June when Adam and I were visiting here and ended up spending a random, whole evening with them at the Culinary Dropout. They are so fun and easy, and I truly think there was some kind of fate going on way back in June. So we drove the hour to Killeen, Texas and said hello to our first Texas friends. It was a wonderful, special day. The kids did great, the conversation was wonderful, and the food was delicious. There isn't a doubt in my mind that these people will be forever friends. And so this Thanksgiving we focused on being grateful for new adventures with new friends.
Family pic before we left - they LOVE it when I make them do this! Ha! 
 All kinds of Texas colleges were represented here - there were quite a few college kids - from UT, Texas A&M (obviously), and a Texas Christian school I can't remember. The Texas college spirit is so fun! 
 Jerry cutting the turkey

 Krislin (Eva's daughter-in-law), Eva (who we hung out with in June and Jerry's wife), and Lisa (Krislin's mom)
 Lexi LOVED this hammock and spent the majority of the afternoon in it. ☺

Terrible photo, but had to be included because Enrique was the driving force in bringing us altogether.
 Declan spent the afternoon hanging with the college kids in front of the outdoor TV watching football - because he is obsessed! 

 Maria - the hostess with the mostess (Eva's mom) with her priest from her church
Maria, me, Jerry, Enrique (Eva's brother), Adam, and Eva - the original Culinary Dropout group. They presented us with this beautiful gift that truly brought tears to my eyes.  It was a special memorable Thanksgiving - one I was truly Thankful for. 

And what is Thanksgiving without football? 

We stayed and chatted until the sun set. 

A most memorable and special Thanksgiving - one we are most definitely Thankful for! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

see you next summer {saying good bye to san diego}

I'm quite certain this is one of the most difficult posts I've written. It took me forever to get through, because I kept getting choked up and just didn't want to do it. It's a good thing I didn't take as many photos as I usually do, or this post may never have happened! Even without all the photos, it's a long post...

Adam is the voice of reason. The one who keeps me in check from taking on too much. I am the yes person. If it is fun then of course well do it and who cares about he consequences! So when my voice of reason left for Austin, I may have squeezed in a little too much San Diego fun. It's a really weird feeling when you are racing a clock. I kept worrying if I was making the most of our time. It was hard fitting it all in. We were still going to soccer and football practice, karate and gymnastics. Still doing homework and making lunches. I was packing, construction workers were in our house, and I was having a hell of a time renting it. I had to keep making time to meet potential renters, half the time only to have them not show up. Nightmare. And the phone calls, texts, emails, facebook messages just kept piling up. I was so overwhelmed, not grounded, and scattered, I was worried I was going to do something stupid like loose my keys (well that actually did happen) or leave a candle burning when I left the house (that did not happen). Anyway, even though I had a lot going on - I was determined to ignore it and pretend like we were just doing our normal thing...only cramming our normal thing into three weeks.

See you next summer became my mantra as I worked my way through so many painful good byes. I just really couldn't say good bye because this huge part of me couldn't really believe we were leaving. It wasn't like we had planned this and been working toward it. It came out of left field and knocked me over. The friendships we've built here through the years are so intensely important to me. Such good people that have effected us and made us better people. Raising babies together - ups and downs, experiences, growth and just doing life together. I don't take friendship for granted. If I find a good person who lifts me up - I hang on tight. I am so grateful for every single friendship we had in San Diego and was devastated we didn't get to really say good bye to a handful of our friends.   It was a rough three weeks.

The kids and I made somewhere close to 50 picture frames we gave to their friends. I think it was good closure for them to actually hand something off. Our counter was always full of the next batch.

Every time we hang out with the Mezzadri twins I feel like small adventures happen and the day has some kind of small, fun twist.
Stacie pulled the girls out of school early on a Wednesday so we could meet at Moonlight. It's always a blast with these girls! This day did not disappoint!

I really cannot imagine life without a beach within our reach

The kids had learned the Moonlight Mermaid story at beach camp last summer and wanted to share it, so we decided to walk down to the stairs...

Where we found the Moonlight mermaid and the kids tried to remember the story...

Awesome view of the kids playing

We finsihed the day with ice cream and Coaster watching

and said "see you next summer..."

I'm saving my last day with Jaimie and Jen for another post - but we did try to see each other as much as possible. Unfortunately each of us had to cancel a few outings due to various reasons - one being that Jaimie's cousin was one of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. Miraculously he is okay, but it was scary there for a while. As if life wasn't surreal enough, something terrible like that had to be thrown in there. Just awful.

Jaimie's kids had school off one random Thursday...we didn't, but I decided tot take them out anyway for our last train beach day. Well worth it in my opinion!

Some things never change

There aren't words strong enough for the love I feel for these people

We LOVE this swing and decided to bring dinner here one night because sitting on a picnic bench outside is way better than lawn chairs in your house. 

The Conants came over for dinner one night, I didn't take any pictures, just this video when they first came in the door which totally embarrassed Declan so I put the phone/camera down for the rest of the night. 
The Abbott girls (Kristin included) came over for a sleepover! It was so fun hanging out - we all slept on air mattresses in the master bedroom. I wish I would have taken more photos of this.

One Wednesday we had some of the kids school friends over to the park for pizza. Kind of an all sweeping good bye. 
Love these kinder moms so much and feel incredibly lucky for the time and adventures we had together! 
Emma, Zoe, Weston, Radley, Alex, Jade, Lexi, Isaac, Maggie, Kal-Elle, Declan, Nathan

On a separate morning the moms and I had breakfast together - I only got this picture! 

We did our last Friday night wine and pizza in the park night
We went to the Henry's house for one last good bye. And, graciously their dad took a look at Declan's face for me because I was worried about it. He put my mind at ease.
Katie and Lexi

We met the Klocks for a see you next summer ending at Stone Brewery one night. Love that place, except for the food! Ha, ha! The kids had a great time! As did I, catching up with Michelle.

In the midst of everything, (to the delight of the kids and to the horror of me...just one more thing to do) we got booed. It kept these two happy and occupied one afternoon!
Part of saying good bye was going to all of our favorite spots. Legoland was high on the list. No doubt this kiddo will miss this place. We spent so many mornings here, just hanging out. I would have loved to have made it to the botanical gardens too...and Seaworld, and the new children's museum, and gone on one last train ride, and the zoo...there are so many awesome, wonderful places in San Diego that we will miss. How lucky am I that I got to be a stay at home mom here with my babies? It was bitter sweet for me this morning. I didn't take very many photos.

I'm glad I didn't know that this evening at Tamarack with the Nichols would be our last beach night. I thought we'd have time for at least one more. 
It was a great night. Declan was really tired and had a hard time at first, but eventually got his beach face on! 

Understandably tired little boy

Her boogie boarding skills came so far this summer!

This beach face!!

And another one because I LOVE him so much!
Playful brothers

beach babe forever

From teh day we moved into our house I wanted to paint the interior. It was always on the list but we never did it...until we moved. A quick decision, we decided renters would be more likely to take better care of it if it looked nicer. It was such a bummer - one because we literally had to be out of the house for 2 days - 2 days of time I desperately needed and 2 - because it looked beautiful. I didn't even get to live in it a full week. I am bitter about this. Anyway, the kids got out early on Friday and I found out the night before the painters were coming Friday instead of Monday, so we made a quick decision to use our time for one last outing to Bates, since I knew the rest of our October would be grossly lacking Halloween activities. It felt weird being there knowing it was our last time. 

Because it was a cool wall and decent light and I'm a photographer...

Straight from Bates we went to Declan's final Friday Night Lights game (separate post on this coming later). We decided to go out to dinner, because well...there were painters in our house. We ran into Jeremiah - one of Declan's Houston Texan team mates at Rubios. ☺ 

Our final family good bye was fitting at Felippe's - a fun summer tradition we've enjoyed for years. Anotehr quick, see you next summer good bye to keep the pain as light as possible.
What a group!


dabbing that bright light away

back alley shenanigans

That damn clock was ticking faster now with less than a week away. The kids were leaving in two days, I was leaving in 5. I was exhausted and stressed. So when Dana suggested we come over to their house for dinner MOnday night for a final good bye, I was more than happy to accept! We had such a good time...except we knew that it was good bye. Ugh. Such a great night with great friends. We didn't stay too long because the kids had their last day of school the next day and we were picking up Mimi from the airport.

Those last few days in San Diego were intense. People kept dropping by to say good bye, there were so many odds and ends to do. But somehow we made it through. 
On Tuesday night we finally found renters! We were driving away on Friday...so I'd say we cut it close! Nate and I went to Home Depot to make copies of keys... the guys there were so nice! They let Nate cut every key (and we made 16 copies!!!)

Zoe dropped by to give Lexi one last hug and a present.
Declan lost a tooth his last night in San Diego. And this is a tooth fairy miracle - we always give the kids gold one dollar coins from the tooth fairy. I had absolutely no cash, but a small bag of those coins were sitting in a drawer with nothing else in it. Just plain lucky! 
Obviously friends and family are difficult to say good bye to when you move, but there are also the people you see on a regular basis that aren't necessarily in your friends and family group, but that make a big difference in your daily life - teachers, hair stylists, and baby sitters. All the people you appreciate just as much but for different reasons. Mrs K is a day care person at the gym. She LOVES Nathan, and Nathan loves her. We were so sad to say good bye to her. We brought her some flowers on Nathan's last day. She was so touched. She reached in her pocket and pulled out a $20 bill folded up carefully in toilet paper. She insisted we take it and buy him a toy. I kept insisting that we didn't want it, but she wouldn't take no for an answer. The tears were streaming down my face. I know that money was meant for something else and that it was a lot for her to give it to us. After the gym we walked straight to the toy store and he picked out a remote control Cars toy that he loves. We walked back and showed it to her and said many thank yous. 

Radley, Jade, and Ryann stopped by for a final good bye and hug after school on Tuesday.

And that wraps up my attempt to capture our last three weeks in San Diego and our good bye to people and places. I often wondered while we were in the midst of this chaotic move if I would have preferred more time. The only reason I would is so that we could see more of the people we didn't get to say good bye to. Fall is a difficult time with sports and hectic schedules and we just couldn't fit everyone in. Which, was super sad for me. But, I think even if we had had more time - the end still would have been just as chaotic and out of control. And seeing people under those conditions is just sad and not at all the same. So, I'm glad I didn't know sooner because then all of our adventures this summer would have been tainted with the knowledge that it would all soon be over. There just isn't an easy way to leave a live you love. 

So, we'll see you next summer San Diego!!! 

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