Thursday, August 9, 2018

Blisswood in Cat Springs, TX: Unplugged & In Tune

Deep in the heart of Texas lies a 500 acre ranch in Cat Springs.  Horses roaming the front yard. No wifi or tv's.

The only thing for miles and miles is land. In fact, we had to go to the store to grab charcoal that we had forgotten and it was a good 35 minute drive to the closest store, which was a small town market.

On Memorial Day weekend, we rented a house with a pool there at Blisswood Bed & Breakfast.  It was called the "Dog Trot House". It was the only house on the ranch with a pool and I am very glad that we decided to rent the house with the pool since it was mostly hot and humid during our stay. We spent quite a few hours splashing in that pool. We took plenty of walks around the ranch as well. The kids got to ride horses and we spent one of our mornings feeding all of the animals on the ranch during an early morning feed tour.
It was awesome!!

In addition, the kids got attacked by red ants a few times. I got stung by theeeee biggest bee that I have ever seen in my life, I was greeted each morning in the bathroom by numerous caterpillars, centipedes and God knows what else... and we smelled like farm for a few days. But it was worth every single second. I have said before that since we have come to Texas, my love for seeing new things has grown.  I love to see how different life is all over this small world that we live in. How interesting and complex each new place can be. Cat Springs, Texas was no different. It was an experience I soaked up and won't soon forget. With no wifi or movies or tv, the kids just ran freely through the ranch. They played in the dirt and connected with the animals. It gave me such joy to watch Scarlett run out in the front yard to make friends with the horses in the pasture. Maxwell digging a dirt road for his trucks was equally as satisfying. Ty told them stories of his summers on his grandfather's farm in Vermont. Wide-eyed little children eagerly listened.

Waking up at 5:30 am wasn't as much of a task here. I looked forward to every sunrise. A little quiet time with my coffee, some soft music and that beautiful sun creeping up an inch at a time to wake every sleeping creature under it. Every single morning, I sat in that rocker watching the fog let off the green and that ever so peaceful horizon. What inspiration it was. I swear it was a writer's dream.  Carol is the owner of the ranch and she kept a book in the house of the background of Blisswood. I loved reading about the history and even taking a look at the old black and white framed photos of the past owners hanging on the wall. I made sure to leave some notes there in their memory book. This trip was ultimately another "noise-free" vacation that our family needs time and time again. If you read my post to Big Bend (HERE), then you will get the "noise-free" reference. It's so important to disconnect with the chaos and live in the moment.   It's impossible to do anything else at a place like this. I got to pay attention to every single cannonball that Scarlett made into the pool. I really watched as Maxwell made a road through the dirt with his diggers. Ty and I had a few good laughs about things that only we think are funny. We made meals together in the old, rustic kitchen. I adored that little farm house so!  The only noise we had there, was good ole' music. So we did some dancing too. One evening while we were playing cards on the porch, a big storm came through. Once it passed,  we got to watch the lightening in the distance, frolicking through the clouds. It was divine. 

 If you are not a nature lover, this place might be a bit too extreme for you. However, there is something to be said about living simple for a while. As you can see by the photos, we did enjoy out time here. At the bottom of this post, I left a little video that I made of our trip there. Also, a couple videos of the places where we stayed while there.

Our video of the trip here:

If you want to take a peak at where we stayed, check it out here:

Here is another house there that we almost stayed at:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Chapter 34. Relaxation at the Fairmont Austin.

As each year passes, I find myself looking for the meaning of everything. You know,

Why are we here? 
What is our purpose?
What really matters?

And so on...
Funny how age makes you look at things differently. I can assure you, my chapter 22 post would have looked A LOT different. I'm not age sensitive at all. It does not bother me that I keep getting older. In fact, I find it a privilege. I mean, shouldn't we? The alternative is not something I'd prefer! Am I right?

I turned 34 this year.  Note to those freaking out about leaving their 20's:My 30's were WAY better than my 20's ever were. I mean, yes I had fun and was wild and crazy in my 20's. I still have that adventurous bone in my body,  but I didn't really know what I was doing or why. I was lost a lot. I didn't really like myself. I was empty a lot, even though it never showed. So on...

I met Ty at 25 and things just kind of went up from there. By 30, I felt like I was starting to figure myself out. Seriously??? It took 30 years? Ha ha.  Anyhow, 30's are fun. I have 2 babies that are beyond sweet and make me proud so often. I have a husband that always thinks of us first and is continually thinking of ways to make our life better. I feel surrounded by love constantly. Yes, even when I'm ready to strangle Ty or lock my kids outside the house (totally kidding), at the same time I'm filled with happiness. Because I know I am loved and I know I am blessed.
At this time in life, I take care of myself.  I don't go out binge drinking 3 nights in a row. I don't put myself in situations that are going to effect me negatively just for the thrill of it....(well 98% of the time;). I eat healthy and make sure that what I'm putting into my body is clean and nutritious (again, 90% of the time). I work out 5 times a week and I find ways to incorporate family time and exercise.

I feel I am more true to myself than I ever was. I've never been a follower, it's just I go after the things that call to me. I've been on this mission for the last 2 months or so. I want to do something good for others. I've been researching places to volunteer and many other things. There is something inside me that is yearning to do this yet I can't put my finger on what exactly it is. I keep praying that it will just come to me- some sort of sign. I'll keep you updated on that.

In the meantime, to celebrate my birthday a bit, we did a little staycation in Austin at the Fairmont. I told Ty I just wanted to relax and do nothing for my birthday. I mentioned the new Fairmont and so we spontaneously booked a weekend there. And we did nothing but eat, and swim and relax and eat. Ha ha. I tried to keep it healthy. Had a lot of seafood (not fried) and guacamole. We ate at the Garrison, which is inside the hotel. The food was REALLY....really good! I had the best cod I've ever eaten and Ty was blown away by the filet. I honestly didn't know cod could be cooked to taste so amazing! The kids had pasta and then insulted the chef by saying their pick was "Chick-Fil-A but Mommy wanted fancy food"....HA!  But other than that, it was a perfect birthday dinner.

The pool was on the roof of the 7th floor and it made for some amazing views. They had 2 or 3 patio bars and lots of cabana rentals and big screen TV's. Great vibe. Late at night and early in the morning were my favorite times by the pool. Watching the city lights below was a highlight for me. Also, if you are going with the family, avoid Friday and Saturday from 3-7pm. It's more of a mature scene.  Although we did end up spending Saturday afternoon in the pool and it was definitely a party. That didn't stop the kid! They swam through the crowd and still had fun. Ty and I sat on the sideline laughing at the fact that we were literally the only ones at the pool. Scarlett made friends with college girls and Maxwell just moved his boat around the others. Another reason that morning and evenings were my favorite. At those times the pool was pretty empty and the sun rising up or setting was perfect backdrop to enjoy some drinks and food. We spent the ENTIRE Sunday there, ordering food and watching the kids play. It was a really nice little weekend staycation and I cherished every minute of it.