Posts tagged Austin

several weeks of celebrations

The past several weeks have been absolutely full to brim with fun work and personal events! It’s a big month all around!

We kicked everything off with the opening of the Austin Boardwalk. The private donor event was first (and it was so beautiful and perfect) and I got to wear my new Stitch Fix Sally Mixed Stripe dress in a very appropriate cocktail length/summer weather event. Add another to the list for ‘my job exceeds every and all expectations’.

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And then we followed with the public grand opening! And what a memorable day it was – bands playing, drum lines marching, aerial dancers dancing (and a partridge in a pear tree?)! My co-worker and I got this fun photo with the giant ribbon cutting scissors. This project encompasses so much to the community – connection, safety, health, beauty, progress. I’m floored that I got to play the tiniest of little pieces in it’s implementation.

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At the public opening event there was a stunning performance called East~West by Blue Lapis Light Aerial Dancers to celebrate the connections achieved through the completion of the Boardwalk trail. The underpass of IH-35 at Lady Bird Lake was made beautiful (probably for the first and maybe only time) by these talented dancers.

Blue Lapis Light Performs

We finished off that weekend by celebrating a dear friend’s wedding, which took place at the Zilker Clubhouse (check out that incredible view)! Isn’t that hanging backdrop beautiful?

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And we wrapped up the work events with a practically sold out 10th Anniversary of the Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run & Party. The run portion was successful and the party was beautiful, but we were unfortunately driven inside by tornado warnings and rain.

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Next up, celebrating our 5 year old… And then I am going to take a very long nap. 😉

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the front yard garden – in bloom

Allow me to geek out on plants for just a minute. I know I haven’t showed you much of it yet, but I have a front yard I am actually proud of. This is a pretty big change since I typically feel like the plumber whose toilet isn’t fixed. My yards have all been in somewhat of a sad state. But not this new one. This one has a rain garden. And native plants.

And they are all blooming right now. Who needs spring when you have Texas ‘fall’?

Pride of Barbados.

Pride of Barbados

Lantana. Don’t know the variety. Maybe ‘Pink Caprice’ or ‘Texas Flame’?

Lantana

And you know what’s crazy? Pomegranates. They are native in Texas. And this one grows me some edible fruit. Mind blown.

Pomegranate

What’s even more crazy to me than a yard full of blooming plants is the fact that my phone took all those pictures. Technology.

 

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McKinney Falls State Park

I’m always stunned at the natural beauty in this area of central Texas. There are some many great parks in the area, just minutes away from where we live.  We ventured out to McKinney Falls State park to do a little hiking on the other day that Jason had off. It was perfect hiking with a toddler – nothing too crazy but enough tree roots and rocky terrain to keep things interesting.

The trail took some interesting twists and turns.

McKinney Falls State Park

Doing a little boardwalk detour around Old Baldy.

McKinney Falls State Park

A beautiful narrow bridge over Onion Creek.

McKinney Falls State Park

Some fascinating underwater rock formations as we got closer to the lower falls. It seriously looked like the surface of the moon on the approach – so cratered, grey and rocky. Very interesting.

McKinney Falls State Park

And we reached the lower falls!

McKinney Falls State Park

Here they are! We’ve been a little light on rain so I was just happy to see any water flowing.

McKinney Falls State Park

Cheese.

McKinney Falls State Park

Father and son hanging out on the edge of the falls. I stayed a little further away. Heights are not really my thing.

McKinney Falls State Park

We then hiked back to the upper falls. Pretty peaceful and quiet there.

McKinney Falls State Park

A lovely morning of hiking with some beautiful scenery. Seriously love this place.

 

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Austin staycation

Jason had a couple of vacation days at his current job but since he is starting this business, we aren’t exactly in a financial state to travel! We decided to stay around Austin since there are certainly plenty of things to do around here.

Friday morning we were getting ready to go and Jude pulled this look out. We’re working on a full sleeve of angry birds tattoos and one ended up on his belly (turns out angry birds tattoos are a great discipline motivator – yay for things that aren’t candy or electronics).

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Yes, I totally just posted a picture of my kid in his underwear with a crown. File this one away under ‘photos I can’t wait to show his first girlfriend’.

We headed down to the trail and jumped in a two person kayak with a kiddo attachment in the middle. Check out that beautiful Austin skyline in the background. I could go on and on about how much I love that we have a lake and a greenbelt trail system in the core of the urban-most area of the city . . . but I’m sure only my landscape architecture friends would appreciate that (of which, there are probably only a couple that read the blog).

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In case you didn’t realize how beautiful Austin is. . . check out this view into the hill country from the water. So beautiful.

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It was so much fun and so peaceful in the lake. I was worried that Jude was going to a) freak out, b) jump in, c) be scared, but he totally loved it. He put his hand in the water and let it drag through while we paddled. We saw no fewer than 200 turtles and several egrets and white swans. The wildlife definitely held his attention.

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Today, we are heading over to McKinney Falls State Park for a little more vacationing. I’m looking forward to seeing the falls, the giant trees and the beautiful landscapes all just about 15 minutes away from us in South Austin. Love this city.

 

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Caroline Wright – August’s Humid Decline

I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this. Caroline Wright is a local Austin artist and I have stalked this piece of art for quite some time. It’s been all over pinterest (see here and I can’t seem to find the other one – it was displayed in an entry of a beautiful home) and I really wanted it for my own home.

And guess what, it’s even more beautiful in person hanging in our new living room.  Here’s a little sneak peak. . .

Caroline Wright - August's Humid Decline

 

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monday musings: the house story

Are you guys wondering where we are in all the housing stuff? We are certainly still on our adventure, even through this process of buying and selling a home.

I’ve talked about it before and even though you think I would learn my lesson, in the back of my head, I still don’t believe that God wants to take care of me. Why would he want to give me good things? And why do I want stuff anyways? Jeez consumeristic self, can’t you get a hold on your wants? So many people don’t have a home to live in, where do I get off wanting?

I knew we were selling our house and moving to an area of town I desired to live in – I couldn’t really ask for more than that, right? I knew that we weren’t going to be able to afford much because the homes are much smaller and much more expensive. Honestly, I just thought we would live in a two-bedroom dump and have to struggle to fix it up.

Yeah. I’m still struggling to wrap my head around what actually happened.

We found our dream home.

Well, actually, our friends tripped over our dream home. The short story is that their dog ended up in this yard and the families ended up talking. Turns out they needed to move and were looking to sell the home without a realtor to save a little money. Was anyone they knew interested in moving to central Austin? Um, yes, we were.

We viewed the home and fell in love. I couldn’t get over the little touches that were throughout the house that seemed like they were custom designed for our family. But then there was the money. Things always seem to get hung up on money, eh?

It was going to be too much for our family in this season of our lives. In case you didn’t know, Jason is starting a business so much of our savings (make that all, actually) is going towards this start up. That doesn’t leave us with much to go towards a new home, especially in this more expensive part of town.

Turns out, if you ask people to help, sometimes they actually can. Oh and it is humbling to ask for help with money. Jason’s dad agreed to help us out by doing a lease-to-own on this house.

See why I’m struggling to wrap my mind around it?

Sometimes I feel like God gives us good things that are just too much. Too awesome. Too amazing. I still feel a bit like puking when I think about it. I may actually puke when we move because then it will be overwhelmingly real.

After all of this, we put our house on the market. And it sold the second day.

To be honest, I worried about sharing all of this. It’s sometimes easier to share the messy, the difficult and the struggles – everyone can identify because we all struggle to make sense of the crazy. But what do you do with the blessings, the rejoicing and the too awesome? I feel like it should be shared too.

But I don’t share to brag – we did nothing. I have to keep reminding myself that the glory goes to God in all of this. I struggle to understand why we are recipients of his grace but I am grateful.

 

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Toddler Tuesday

Right when our 100 degree days finally broke, we went to visit the Austin Nature and Science Center. Best part about it? It’s free! They had an indoor bee hive that had a tube connecting it to the outside. Jude was enthralled.

Bees

The center also serves as a wildlife rescue, so various animals live there. This is Jude and a rat snake. They also had quite a few hawks, owls, a bobcat (named Conan) and a coyote.

Rat Snake

But the best part was the dinosaur dig. They have a huge sand pit with concrete dinosaur bones that the little ones can dig up. Nice and shaded too!

Digging Up The Dinosaurs

So much fun to be had outside now that the triple digits are over!

Dino Rib Cage

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Toddler Tuesday

We wrapped up our trip out to Chicago with a trip to the Morton Arboretum’s Children’s Garden. The water features were the most popular places to be since it was pretty toasty outside.

Here are Jude and his new friend tossing river rocks into a pond. That splash always gets a smile!

Morton Arboretum

Jude has a bit of an affinity towards acorns because of a couple of books that we read, so he was kinda excited to see an acorn house.

Morton Arboretum

Aren’t they the cutest little explorers?

Morton Arboretum

There was this big granite ball that sat on a small water fountain that you could turn. It was pretty fun. And a good way to get wet too.

Morton Arboretum

This was an idea I saw on pinterest awhile back. You cut off the bottom of a plastic cup, cut off the top of a balloon and create a popper! They used marshmallows, we used pom poms. The balloon doesn’t stay on super well, so you might want to use a bit of glue to get it to stay secure. This one was a big winner in our house.

Cup and Balloon Poppers

On Monday, we decided to take the light rail down to the Children’s Museum. Jude is a little obsessed with train crossings right now. It’s pretty hilarious.

Cap Metro Light Rail Trip

Giant lite brite. Kinda amazing.

Austin Children's Museum

Interactive banner exhibit . . .

Austin Children's Museum

Who doesn’t like a kiddie pool filled with balls?

Austin Children's Museum

They had a giant table filled with train tracked (glued down). This was certainly where a good majority of the boys were.

Austin Children's Museum

Are the tamales done yet?

Austin Children's Museum

What have you been up to with your littles lately?

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we live in Austin because . . .

We don’t like the cold. Maybe I should say I don’t like the cold. Jason seems to do alright with it. Austin’s typical winter temperatures are around 40 with spikes of 60-70. Yes, that is why we live here. Rewind to last Wednesday morning when we woke up to this:

What in the world is this white stuff?

You guys, that is real snow. Not ‘wintery mix’, not sleet, not hail, not ice. Legit snow. About 2 inches thick. It flipping snowed in central Texas and shut down pretty much everything. Texans just don’t do well with cold, forget about snow! Normally snow wouldn’t be THAT big of a deal, even though it is a rare occasion. I mean, we go make mini snow men, have a snow ball fight and then retreat inside to whine about how cold snow is since we don’t have the proper  snow gear to keep the cold and water out. This time, the cold snap froze our water pipes. We didn’t have water for three days.

And we woke up to this.

The previous homeowners had installed a soft water treater in the garage. This means stubbing up from the buried copper mainline with PVC pipe. When they left, they took the soft water treater out – this left us with a loop of PVC pipe that (1) went nowhere, (2) was more susceptible to freezing than any other pipes that we have. Long story short, it froze, burst three days later and thankfully only got our garage and driveway wet. Plumbers came out, fixed it for only $75 and we should never have that problem again. My hat is truly off to all of you north-east and mid-west folks. I don’t know how you deal with the snow for weeks on end.

I am so very grateful to have our water back (nothing compares to flushing your own toilet and showering at your own house), but what I was most affected by during this whole escapade was how our friends and neighbors immediately opened up their homes to us for whatever we needed. Ah, this is true community, isn’t it! So many thanks goes out to all that helped us during our water shortage.

And on that note, our little city of Austin is quite beautiful under snow cover, isn’t it?

Photo taken by Stanford Moore Photography.

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12 Days of Handmade Holidays Giveaway: Day 4

::Comments are closed.::

I got to help one of my friends, Kathy, launch her shop, Happy Elephant Jewelry, back a couple months ago. What gets me excited about her jewelry? Well for one, look at it:

Chunky ring, bright colors! What’s not to like? Personally, I think the best part is that it is made from Tagua, also known as vegetable ivory. Vegetable ivory is the reason why the elephant in her shop name is so happy! Tagua is a nut/seed that is sustainably harvested in the rain forests of Ecuador. And all of the dyes used to color the jewelry are natural dyes. No funky chemicals here!

Additionally, everything she sells is priced fairly. You won’t find a better price for the quality, design and style. Not to mention how unique each piece is.

Kathy has graciously donated this beautiful ring to be given away as part of the handmade holidays. She is still in process of loading inventory in her shop, but be sure to favorite it and check back often!

This would be such a fantastic gift for that trendy girlfriend in your life. Although you may have to pry the ring out of my fingers first.

So how do you enter for Day 4? Three different ways:

  • Leave me a comment and tell me who this ring would go to as a gift. It’s ok, you can say yourself, I mean, I would totally keep this ring.
  • Reblog the giveaway and leave me a separate comment with the link.
  • Subscribe to my blog via RSS Reader or e-mail and leave me a another separate comment saying you subscribed (top left corner of the blog) or tell me that you already subscribe.

What are you waiting for? Enter now because this giveaway will end on Thursday, December 9th at 10pm. This item will only be shipped to a winner within the US.

Good luck!

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