Thursday, December 14, 2017

So It's Christmas Time After All.

It was so hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit when the weather was 75-80 every day. I know this is because I grew up in New England and have only lived on the east coast for all of my life. Scarlett was crying one day last week because she missed her old friend, New York and there wasn't going to be any snow this year...This broke my heart in all sorts of tiny pieces.

The locals told us that it hadn't snowed here since 2011. "You want get any of that white stuff here." they said. On the morning that Scarlett was crying, she told me that she was going to tell her Elf, Ginger, that she wanted some snow. She informed me that Ginger would be sure to give her some snow. I cringed a little inside, knowing the heartache she would be sure to find when Ginger did not keep her promise. "Scarlett," I said to her, "Ginger will try but it's very hard to make snow in Texas when it's warm. She would have to combat the forces of nature to get it here. So if we don't get snow, don't be disappointed." Scarlett shrugged it off as if she could care less about my warnings. Typical adult. Non believer. 

That night we decided to get the grocery shopping done together as a family. So we piled in the car and headed to Whole Foods. After a lovely hour and a half of joyous grocery shopping with two tired kids, we walked out the door and low and behold......

"It's SNOWING Mama!!! It's really SNOWING!!!!!!" Scarlett shrieked with delight. Indeed it was. People gathered all around that parking lot, workers taking selfies with their co-workers, kids jumping up and down and Texan natives in awe at those big beautiful snowflakes falling from the sky. So Ginger brought us snow after all. And I decided to let go of my inner non-magic-believing soul for a while.
Of course that ride home was magical. I was a tiny bit nervous driving with all of the non-snow experienced drivers around us. But nothing a little Christmas music and the sound of the kids singing along in the back seat couldn't fix. There are all sorts of moments in life that I imagine should be perfect in my head. More times than not, it never ends up as magical as my mind envisions it to be. But this was not one of those times. This Texas car ride home in the snow was the epitome of a good ending story. Scarlett beamed from ear to ear and Mele Kalikimaka by She and Him knew just the right timing to come on the radio. And you know me, I sucked it right up and enjoyed every last minute of that good stuff. ;)

So Christmas is here after all and I am finally feeling that Christmas spirit. This year, will be different. We are traveling to see family for Christmas. It won't be back to New England or New York- it will be someplace sunny with Palm Trees.  I know I'm going to miss that snow piled up when I get up on Christmas morning and I will most likely miss watching the kids run to the tree to see what Santa has brought them. In fact, this year, they won't be opening many presents on Christmas Day at all. Just a couple small things that we will bring with us, and maybe a few family presents. I don't know how I feel about this. A little sad thinking that they might be disappointed, and on the other hand, happy to show them that being together with family is really what matters during the holidays. Cliche but true in many ways.

Ginger, our Elf, is putting together a couple of Travel Packages for the kids. This will include some fun activities and other things to keep them occupied during our travel. I will share these on Instagram this week (@itslaurenrebecca).  I figured this was good way to get them some gifts and also have them be valuable tools for travel. I travel prepared.

I'm leaving some photos on this space of our month so far. We have done so may fun things this December!  We did Zoo Lights at the San Antonio Zoo where we rode camels and got faces painted! Ty and I celebrated his birthday at The Rustic, which is by far the coolest date night spot I've been to so far. We had awesome food and listened to talented live music by a Texas song writer. We did some shopping, went to the Aquarium and did some sushi eating. We picked out a tree, decorated it and of course, visited our favorite bearded guy!

Here's wishing you all a Happy December and check back this week for a post about traveling with littles :)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Our First Time in Austin, TX!!!

Austin Texas is such a cool place.

We only spent a long weekend here but we had so much fun. We didn't do anything too extreme and still there were interesting things around every corner. On our way there we stopped at The Picnic which is a little park of food trucks serving all different types of foods. Everything we had, including cupcakes, was delicious.
We stayed at The Archer hotel which is in an area called "the Domain", about 15 minutes from downtown Austin. Scarlett walked into the hotel and was immediately in awe at the HUGE horse mural that ran the whole side of the stairway. She ran to it and the excitement on her face was pure joy. In fact she had to say hello and good-bye to them every time we entered or left the hotel. This involved running up the stairs to pet their legs and say, "I'll see you soon, girl".
The rooms were pretty and non-traditional, just the way I like them. We checked in and as we stepped outside, we found that we were in the midst of a very cool atmosphere. Dining, shopping and parks surrounded our hotel. We had planned to go visit downtown more than we did but we took a day and just wandered around the Domain, shopping and eating, more shopping and exploring fun restaurants. Of course our hotel was right next to Nordstroms and it happened to be Black Friday when we arrived, so I took it upon myself to buy myself some gifts! ha ha. It's sad that the only person that I bought for on Black Friday was myself. But to my defense, I had my shopping done a week earlier so we had no plans to shop on this day for anyone else. Every store that I love was walking distance to our hotel. Which was bad and amazing all in the same thought. The kids found a store called it's Sugar that was a horrible place to take them, lol, and we also discovered some fun eating spots where the kids could run around and play with some outdoor games while we enjoyed drinks and apps, like Culinary Dropout.

Our hotel pool/lounge area was spectacular! They had a huge screen tv with the loveliest round pool and bar to top it off. We spent most of Saturday here. It was just nice to get some Vitamin D and do natta. The kids didn't object and spent all their time in that pool. We also spent evenings here becuase it was just too cool not too. I watched the game one night while I swam in a heated pool with a drink in hand. I mean... #lovinglife. ;)
On Friday night, we went to a local coffee place that had a lights and music show. We grabbed hot cocoa, snacks and glow bracelets and watched the entire place light up to the festive music. The kids really enjoyed that and it was FREE. Can't beat that!

We explored a little around downtown Austin but not nearly as much as we wanted to. We found the Barton Spring Pool, which is a spring fed pool that stays about 70 degrees year round! Then we drove by the graffiti park on Castle Hills, which may I add was SO extremely smelly (like paint fumes)  that we could only take driving by it. The kids were sleeping anyhow. We didn't even stop to look. But it was cool to see. We ate dinner one evening at Olive & June's. This place was so cool. The food was upscale but on the patio, a huge tree lives in the middle, giving it a treehouse vibe. I of course, loved all the white detail in this restaurant. But I would not recommend this for those with kids. There were literally no kids options and the kids ended up eating bread mostly, lol. The kids choice was Chuys. Which the kids ate more than I've ever seen them eat before! And the margaritas there are pretty spot on! I must say.

One of my favorites from this trip was going to the 360 Overlook! We went after breakfast one morning and it was beautiful! I had it in my mind that it would be a good hike, but it really wasn't. It took us all but 5 minutes. But when we got to the top, wow! Pretty views for sure. We wanted to take the kids to do something that they would enjoy so we decided to stop at the Austin Zoo for a few hours. Scarlett loved that they are a non-profit zoo that rescue animals. Maxwell really enjoyed it too.

I had it on my list to go see the infamous "I love you so much" wall but found a WAY better John Lennon wall that I made out with Ty under ;) Austin has the best walls, as you will see as you scroll through my photos. Even Chevy Chase was present!!  All in all, we made the most out of this long weekend trip. Austin is a very trendy, hip and cool city that we will definitely visit again! There is so much to do and see here! It's only an hour and 1/2 drive from us so I'm sure we will spend more weekends here. If you know Austin well, give me all your best places to see and eat!!!!

And now.....for picture OVERLOAD. sorry. #memoriesinthemaking