Saturday, November 12, 2011


Okay, not adventures.  Excursions.  Not adventurous excursions, mind you.  Plain jane, simple, low key excursions, cuz that's how we roll.  But at least we finally got out of the house and did something for a change.  It seems like there are always so many festivals and fairs and concerts, etc going on around here but we always find a reason (aka lame excuse) not to go.  When we moved here to Austin I was so excited to go out exploring and do all the different stuff there is to do here but every time the weekend finally rolled around we were too lazy to do anything.  I'm not really sure why we do that to ourselves or why I'm admitting our laziness to you but there you have it.  Thanks goodness for Aspen (Preston's sister) coming into town last weekend to visit us and motivate us to get off our butts for a change. 

We decided to go to this little town called Wimberley up in the hill country.  In my head I was picturing kind of a quaint little historic town but it was actually a little on the eccentric side.  It was still cute though and had some good looking restaurants I'd like to go back and try one day.  Especially the pie place.  Mmmm, pie.  Anyways, I guess every month they have this big Market Days thing that we decided to go to.  It was a much bigger deal than I was expecting.  There were TONS of people there.  I thought it would be like a basic little farmers market type setup but it was so huge.  It had 450 vendors and it was laid out with little streets (with animal names) and shops (actual wooden stalls and buildings-not tents) and took a good couple of hours to walk through.  It had everything from candied nuts and homemade jams to cowboy apparel to jewelry to handcarved stuff to furniture to toys and everything in between.  I would say that 80% of the stuff was your typical kitschy souveniers/homemade crafts but there was a lot of fun stuff to look at.  We didn't buy anything because we are tightwads and hate over paying for stuff we don't really need but it seemed like such a shame to walk away empty handed.  Maybe next time.  

Then our friends the Dunnings told us about a festival called Wurstfest down in New Braunfels.  This area was settled pretty heavily by Germans and Czechs back in the day and you can still see a lot of that influence everywhere.  New Braunfels is a good 1.5 hrs away but we decided to go check it out.  We love all things German.  We want to live there someday and we are even attempting to learn the German language.  We had a lot of good food in Germany when we visited there so we were excited to go the Wurstfest and maybe eat some authentic German food again.  I sadly have to report that we were slightly disappointed.  Not that it wasn't cool, but for how cool everyone says it is and for how much money we had to spend (things there, including admission, were a little pricey) it actually wasn't very big and didn't have all that much to do.  Well, that's a lie.  There is a lot to do at a German festival if you drink beer.  Since we don't drink our activities were a little limited.  :)  It had rides but they cost more than we were willing to spend on them, especially since we had Cohen and he was too small for most of them anyway.  There was a huge building with a zillion little Bavarian looking stalls selling food and trinkets.  There were a few authentic things but not as much as we were hoping.  I mean, there was only one stand that sold schnitzel, and they only sold it as a sandwich.  Sad day.  There were a lot of sausages and some sauerkraut and apple strudel but one could also delight in some tamales, German tacos (whatever those are), nachos, and even deep fried oreos.  I was tempted to try that one but I refrained.  We got to eat with Jon and Merideth and Cole in a giant dining hall with live music and guys dressed in lederhosen so it wasn't a total bust.  Plus, it was a gorgeous day, it was in a nice setting with trees and actual water (we don't see much of that here these days with the draught) and it renewed our motivation to save money and go back to the real Germany and eat real German food someday.

                                            Just a shot of downtown Austin on the way down.

Cohen looks thrilled, doesn't he?  He was so ready for a nap and then he proceeded to stay awake the whole hour and a half ride home until about 10 minutes before we got there.  Figures.

For those of you who are still waiting for pictures of our new house I'm sorry.  I haven't gotten to actually do anything to the house since we moved in so I haven't been able to justify pictures yet.  Soon, I promise!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Becoming Texans

So we have only been here for two months but we are slowly starting to become official Texans.  I'm not sure how I feel about that quite yet, to be honest with you.  I mean, we all know that Preston and I are Coloradans for life-no matter where we live.  But since we are probably going to be here for a little while, I figure we might as well enjoy the experience right?  After all, like they say (and I concur so far), Texas really is like it's own country.  Plus I feel so far removed from everyone we know, we might as well be in a different country!

This is the progress we have made so far in our Texanization...
  1. We have Texas driver's licenses.  It took me like five years before I finally succumbed and I gave up my Colorado license for a Utah license and it was a sad day indeed.  However, my Utah license was about to expire when we moved here so I didn't have much of a choice but to get a Texas one right away.  And let me just tell you, it was a pain in the butt.  Talk about Texas doing things their own way!  In Utah I just walked up to the counter, handed them my CO license, filled out a little form and I was done.  Here you have to get your car inspected, get it registered, and switch your car insurance to a Texas policy before you can go wait in line for ten years to get your license.  It doesn't sound like a big deal I guess but we weren't expecting to do all that so I barely got my new license with one day to spare before I would have had to take all the tests all over again and I wasn't thrilled about it!
  2. Our truck has Texas plates (thanks to the requirements for getting a license!).  But don't worry, I still have my Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Avalanche stickers on the back window of my truck, lest anyone wonder where my loyalties truly lie.
  3. We ate at Chuy's and we liked it.  Quite a bit actually.  Food is one of the things we have been most excited about down here since there is so much food awesomeness.  EVERY SINGLE person we have asked for recommendations for a good mexican or tex-mex place has said you HAVE to eat at Chuy's.  The people here love their Chuy's.  So of course we checked it out and we really liked it. I'm already looking up copycat recipes to try to make some of their stuff at home.
  4. We have also eaten at the Salt Lick, another local favorite that everyone has said we must try.  I have to admit though, it didn't quite live up to all the hype for me.  The meat was pretty good, but not magical and better than all other BBQ on the planet, and the sides were only mediocre.  I'm almost afraid to make these confessions so publicly because Texans are pretty passionate about their BBQ. 
  5. I made Chicken Fried Steak and mashed potatoes with cream gravy for dinner the other night.  This is one of my favorite meals so it suits me just fine that it's like the state meal of Texas.  I've never attempted to make it on my own before.  It didn't turn out as good as I had hoped and I am going to have to spend some time perfecting it but it was still fairly delicious.   Mmmm... fried, creamy goodness.
  6. We have learned the correct "Texas" pronunciation for local things.  Burnet is BURN-it.  Del Valle is dell valley.  Llano is LAN-o.  Manchaca is MAN-shack. Manor is MAY-ner.  And Guadalupe is GUADA-loop.  For being so close to Mexico, these Texans have no concept of Spanish pronunciation.
  7. We are about to be Texas homeowners (and pay really high Texas property taxes!).  We close on our house in two days and move in the beginning of September and I can't even tell you how excited I am.  On a side note, there was a brush fire about a mile from our new house yesterday that destroyed 15 homes.  Needless to say, I was freaking out a little but the fire is out now, thank goodness!
  8. H-E-B is my new favorite grocery store ever.  And even better, they have an H-E-B Plus like 3 minutes from our new house.  I've found that grocery shopping is slightly less tedious when you really like the store you shop at.  
  9. I've accepted my sweaty fate.  Literally.  Within 30 seconds of walking outside my face is dripping.  It has been 106 here the last week, plus humidity, which makes it feel more like 110.  We have come to terms with the fact that summers here are not for hiking and biking and playing.  They are for drenching yourself with cold water or staying inside where there is AC.  The rest of the year can be spent biking and taking leisurely walks and being outside without risking a total meltdown.
Does it ever bug anyone else when you make a list and it ends on an odd number.  It bugs me.  I guess that's my OCD coming out.  I'm really stretching right now to think of a number ten but I can't so I guess we will leave it at nine (enter nervous tick here).  We don't say "y'all" yet and we haven't tried fried okra so I can't say we are official yet, but we are getting close.

Of course, it would probably help if I stopped reminiscing of places like these:

 *Sniff sniff*  Think Texas, think Texas, think Texas...

Monday, August 8, 2011

About a boy...

I don't know how the heck this happened already but Cohen somehow turned ONE last week.  Man, time really does fly, doesn't it?  It's such a bittersweet thing.  I LOVE the phase he is in right now and how interactive he is and how fun he is to play with, but it's so sad at the same time that he is not my tiny, innocent, helpless little baby anymore.  I guess maybe this is why people start to get baby hungry about this time.  I'm not quite there yet, in case you are wondering.  :)  We didn't do anything super exciting for Cohen's birthday. First of all, we don't have any friends here yet and our family is all so far away, it makes for a pretty small party.  Preston's sister, Aspen came over from Midland for the weekend to celebrate it with us so at least we had someone here!  I really wanted it to be a fun, special day for him but let's face it..the kid has the attention span of a gnat.  Nothing amuses him for more than 20 minutes, and even that's only if it's really great.  So really all we did was take him to one of the local splash pads and let him run around in the water.  It always takes him a couple of minutes but he soon loves it.  I made him a little dog cake, which is another story in and of itself.  (I totally screwed up the frosting.  How do you even screw up frosting for Pete's sake??  I have serious cooking/baking issues.)  Then we opened presents, which he totally could have cared less about.  And on top of it all, I came down with a dazzling case of food poisoning that left me totally worthless for most of the evening.  It wasn't exactly the super special day I had in mind but luckily for me, I don't think he cared one bit.  Here are some pictures of his birthday:

So here are some bits and pieces about our cute boy:
  • He learned how to walk at 10 months but still chooses to crawl most of the time.
  • He now gives kisses, which I LOVE.
  • He doesn't give Preston kisses very often but instead he gives him "head-bonks" which I think is his way of showing affection for his dad.  :)
  • He knows exactly what "no" means and he will stop what he's doing when you say it.  BUT then he will look at you with a mischievous grin and stare at you while he continues doing whatever you told him not to do anymore.  Little stinker.
  • He definitely has the feisty stubbornness of a red head.
  • His hair is actually starting to turn dark in the back so I'm not sure he is going to keep the red that we love so much.
  • He doesn't stand behind his push toys and push them, he stands next to them and drags them along behind him.
  • The boy loves to eat.  And if you don't get food to him fast enough, watch out.
  • He loves to stuff as much food as humanly possible in his mouth when he eats.
  • He loves baths, especially bubble baths.  He kisses the bubbles and it's so cute.
  • He doesn't say any words yet but he responds to yes and no questions with grunts.
  • He loves Tank.  Loves to pull on Tank's ears (good thing Tank is patient), loves to eat Tank's dog food (gross!), loves to push Tank's dog food dish around the kitchen getting food and water everywhere, loves to give Tank his toys that I'm constantly trying to tell Tank he isn't allowed to have, and loves to feed Tank from his high chair.
  • He is a total daddy's boy.  In the evening I can tell him that daddy will be home soon and he immediately looks towards the door and gets all excited.
  • He finally learned how to drink out of a straw.
  • He already has eleven teeth!
  • He randomly just started bear crawling for some reason.
  • He LOVES being chased around and squeals and laughs the whole time.  It's his favorite game.
  • He could care less about most of his toys but he loves his little cars and always has one in his hand.
  • He is stubborn but super sweet and overall a really great kid.
  • We honest to goodness cannot take him anywhere without getting 500 compliments on him and I love it.  :)
We love this little boy sooo much and can't imagine life without him.  We are so lucky to be his parents.  :)

And to reminisce:

I honestly can't even believe it's the same kid, can you?