Sunday, November 11, 2018

Weekend Vibes: Pumpkin Season & Our Next Move...

So late on posting this but it's technically still pumpkin season, right? Texas pumpkin patches are a little different than we are used to. Still there was no scarcity of pumpkins. And we found them and bought way too many of them. So many that I already had to clean up leaking, rotting pumpkins off of the front steps. Not a pleasant time or smell. Note to self, next year wash and preserve them. 

On this day it was 90 degrees outside. I'm still getting used to the fact that seasons are different here. So shorts it was. We also had a picnic and then took a little stroll down a nature path. Just a laid back weekend with the kiddos. 

We are getting ready to make our next step over here. Ty's work contract is coming up and we are deciding on what and where we are going to go next. Our original plan was to come back to New York, but things are currently slow in NY and so there may not be a need for us there right now. Which means we need to figure out what we want to do. And this also means that we could potentially be leaving in the middle of the holidays!  I tell you, there are SO many options and opportunities and ideas looming right now, including staying here a bit longer possibly. It's kind of overwhelming and it's kind of frustrating not knowing. We are ultimately looking for where we want to settle down and lay roots. And to be honest, we have no idea where that is right now. Thinking of leaving Texas at this moment, does bring a lot of mixed emotions. The kids have made friends and settled in nicely. Scarlett loves her horse lessons here, we've found Doctors that we love and found places that we will miss. It's hard to think about packing it all up and going elsewhere, especially if it's not back to New York. 

I think back to when we first got this opportunity to come here and how nervous I was about uprooting the kids. I didn't really know if we were making the right choice. And one morning I was driving in the car by myself and this song came on HERE
And I just remember thinking, screw it. Why the hell not?! I'm up for adventure. I live by this a lot lately. If it's meant to be it'll be.  Here we are a year later and it's ended up being a great experience for us all. We've grown a lot and I, personally, have learned to live in an area SO very different from where I was raised. I never travelled a lot or went many places during my childhood. I find it very eye-opening to see new places and a part of me wants more of that. With that said, I'm also homesick for my friends/fam and a permanent house. I have not made ONE friend here in Texas this past year. I realize that working from home has a lot to do with that. And the crazy part is that this extrovert hasn't been lonely at all. In fact, I've been SO busy that I haven't had time to even think about it. Working, the kids, working-out, trying to stay eating well, getting a new dog, planning vacations and then going on them, friends and family visiting....this year was a REALLY full and busy year. I can't wait to share a recap of this come December.
And yet, I feel there is so much more awaiting...

But until our next decision, here we are and I'm trusting that God will help us make a good decision. Something we want but more importantly, something we need. Whether that's bringing us back to the East Coast or staying here...or a whole new adventure altogether. Somehow things always come together how they should. 
If it's meant to'll be, right?

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Happy Halloween Two Thousand Eighteen!!!

Halloween was a fun one this year. I'm not sure why but the last couple of years I really wasn't that into Halloween. Last year Ty and I didn't dress up at all. Granted we had just arrived in Texas a day before. This year was different. I had costumes picked out a month beforehand, mums and pumpkins, bowls of candy for the trick or treaters and Halloween movies ruled the tv.  I let the kids pick what they wanted to be for their school parties and for a few Halloween events/costume contests that we went to. These 2 watch Moana at least once a week and then they reenact it for hours after. I suggested maybe they should be them for Halloween since they like them so much. They screamed "YAAA!!!!" and that was that. Scarlett had the hair and if you saw my Instagram a week ago, you know that Maxwell has "the bod!" Maxwell even had the most adorable preschool Halloween parade where they did some dancing to spooky music. 

 We also picked a family costume to wear together for actual Halloween. I mean, I didn't get my first choice on this round. I have wanted to be the Addams Family for like 3 years now. Scarlett would be the perfect little pale-faced, dark-haired Wednesday. I could pull off a great Morticia and Ty....well he could def be Fester with that big bald head of his. lol. Maybe next year....
This year Ty suggested Game of Thrones and since I do love using the "mother of dragons" term quite often, I figured that it would be fun. The kids were excited to be dragons too. 

There are lots of kids from Scarlett's school and even class in our neighborhood. This made for an awesome time. The temperature was perfect too! A nice 68 degrees that night. I love watching the kids light up as they go from house to house in their costumes shouting, "trick or treat!". I guess I live a little vicariously through them as well....just a little. ;)
When we got back to the house after their bags were bursting full of candy, the kids all played outside with friends while Ty popped open a pumpkin beer and chatted with the neighbors. I had clean-eating chili in the crockpot awaiting us. The fall candles I had burning throughout the house made it even more cozy. It just felt like a very festive Halloween.  This Halloween goes down in the books as a good time. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Weekend Vibes: Dierks Bentley, VIP Passes & Fringe

I have been to my share of concerts and I can honestly say that the Mountain High Tour with Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne and Landco was one of the most FUN concerts that I have been to! in quite some time!

Ty bought me VIP tickets for Mother's Day and I have been anxiously awaiting this day! To be real and honest, (and maybe naive) I did not know what the VIP tickets were or what they included. I asked Ty and he said, they let you in early, you get free food and some drinks and then they have a private acoustic concert for you.  I had ZERO clue that it would be Dierks Bentley actually performing this.  It was POURING buckets on this day and this venue is completely outside. We still made our way to the Austin 360 Ampitheatre with ponchos and umbrellas. After getting some swag and free merch, we rushed under umbrellas to the VIP tent. They gave us some food, drinks and then I quickly made my way to the concert tent. No one was there when we arrived so we figured it was probably going to be a small pre-show performer to play. I got right in the front and waited anyhow. We waited with drinks in hand and chatted with some other concert-goers. 30 minutes later, a van shows up and out walks Dierks Bentley with his band. When he got out of the van, I literally almost cried!! In total fan girl fashion, I was an arms length away from Dierks just gaga over the whole thing. He chatted with us and asked us what we wanted to hear- played some great songs.

The reason that I love Dierks so much is that I just connect with his music, as I'm sure many do. His songs just hit me on another level and sometimes I think, wow, I could have wrote this and it would have been just as relevant. So when he started singing "Son of the Sun" and "My Religion" two feet from my face, my world was rocked! It was just the coolest thing to experience that kind of energy so close and personal. He looked right in my eyes a couple of times and I thought, How on earth is the concert going to top this!!?? 

Well, the concert was super fun too. Brother's Osborne was awesome and Lanco amazing as well! We were only 3 seats back but still, nothing topped my moments so up close with them earlier. Sigh.....anyhow, it was a REALLY good night. We ate crappy food and drank crappy beer. (That part not so good) but it was a blast just the same. The rain stopped by the time the concert started and the temp was perfect. We got a hotel to stay the night in Austin and didn't go to bed until 3:30am. We drove home early in the am to get the kids to school but it was worth that entire exhausting morning.

I got so many compliments on the fringe jean jacket that I wore. This is so funny to me because I did a poll on Instagram asking i I should keep it or return it. 80% said to return it. But being the rebel that I am, I kept it and honestly love this jacket. I can see this jacket being on repeat in my wardrobe this Fall. For those who asked, it's from Missguided. And my top was a Dierks Bently shirt....did you know he has a clothing line!?!? It's called Flags & Anthem HERE.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Weekend Vibes: The Drive Ins & Fall Weather

 We are finding that Fall time is VERY different here in Texas than in New York or New England. And boy and I missing apple orchards, pumpkin patches, hay rides and falling leaves. Although I was super excited that the temps here dropped down to the 70's  this week!
I was trying to come up with a few fun things to do this Fall and the drive-ins came to mind. This is probably one of my favorite ways to watch a movie. I am not a fan of the movie theater. I can't seem to find it relaxing or enjoyable, ever. Although I have heard of a few places around here that do the recliner and couch seats and serve food/drinks. We might try that out in the near future.
Generally, we go to the drive-ins in the summer. As you know, the Texas weather right now is much warmer than what we are used to for Sept/Oct. Regardless, I think that the drive-ins are one of my favorite Fall activities no matter where we are. That's when they play the fun Halloween movies and you can cuddle up under a blanket without dying of heat.

We usually bring a truck or SUV and pack tons of blankets, pillows, snacks and even a few chairs. We brought the Buick Enclave this time around and it made for a perfect little bed for the kids. We opened the back and they loved snuggling up to watch the movie together. Our first time to the drive-ins in Texas was pretty rad. We went to Stars & Stripes Drive-ins. This place is by far the coolest one I have ever been to. They had an awesome snack bar with super cute kids meals that came in 1950's paper cars. The kids played with these all night. They also had a brand new playground that the kids got to run around and play on until it was time for the movie to start. We always get there really early so we can tailgate or just relax with drinks for a bit beforehand. We got a front row spot and after we were done with snacks we let the kids run around the grass and play with toys that they had brought.
If you are trying to think of something fun to do this Fall, google your closest drive-ins and go have some fun! It's one of our family's favorites!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Good Bye Summer, Hello Siesta Keys.

It is crazy to me that this summer is done and September is nearly over! We have had an awesome summer here in Texas. So many fun things that we got the chance to do. I can't wait to recap it all later this year. This week we are getting ready to head to Siesta Keys to see my mother. We rescheduled our trip back in August for October in hopes that the red tide would be gone. And it's STILL lingering. Ughhh. But we are hoping and praying that it isn't too bad when we go. If it is, we may skip the beach and we do have a back up plan or two.

After our last getaway, I told you guys that I am all aboard the better eating train this time around! Of course I will be having a cheat meal here or there and some cocktails, yes. But this trip, I am setting up some rules ahead of time so that I can not feel like complete and utter crap upon returning home. You can read my post on that here. Also I like to set intentions before trips so that our trip isn't as stressful.

Rule 1. Eat 60% healthy while away. So first, I researched some places in Siesta Keys that have organic or vegan foods. I found quite a few and so we will try and visit a couple of these places. We are staying with my mom for a little bit and then I also booked a resort with a kitchen so that I can buy some food from the supermarket and have some healthy alternatives and snacks while we are away. I'm going to stack that fridge with fruits, veggies, cheeses and lots of h20. I am the biggest water snob. If my water doesn't taste good, I won't drink it. San Antonio has spring fed public water and much to my surprise, really tasty.  I think I'd even go as far to say that it tastes way better than Saratoga Springs, NY water, (which they are supposed to be known for)!!! :O
Anyhow, my point is I buy bottled water when we are away. I know this isn't the best option since it's wasting a lot of plastic but until I find a better alternative...this is what we do.

Rule 2. Workout at least 2-3 times. I'm also going to pick 3 days during my vacation to work-out. The resort has a fitness center and so I will most definitely take advantage of that. I will most likely do this early in the am so that I get it out of the way. If I only make it to workout a couple times, I want to definitely take a couple nice walks on the beach. That can count towards miles walked.

Rule 3. Pack Ahead of Time & Bring Extra. I always pack like a week in advance. I'm kind of type A personality and that contributes to this pre-packing behavior. lol This also eliminates stress for me because I am the worst over-packer ever. I am one of those people who likes to wear what their mood calls for. And I can't very well pack everything so I try literally everything on and then pack it. I do have like 5 extra outfits just in case but I'm ok with that. Luckily SouthWest gives you 2 free suitcases per person. This is helpful for me. We buy 4 tickets so that is 8 suitcases I can pack...j/k. I don't really bring that many suitcases.

For the kids, I pick all of their outfits out ahead of time and usually lay them all out to see what they will look like. I do this because I enjoy it and for no other reason. I love seeing the kids in cute outfits that compliment each other. Scarlett is at the age that she like to pick what she wants now so I try to let her help me pick. Maxwell will let me dress him in anything that I choose.

Rule 4. Be in the moment. A lot of times we go away and we are on the go so much that I feel like the experience passes me by and I don't get to thoroughly enjoy it. This trip is specifically to visit with my mom and stepfather so we plan to be in the moment and really soak up some family time. That is really important to any vacation. What's the point unless you really enjoy yourself and be in the moment?  I may even bring a book to read during relax times instead of being on my phone.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Weekend Vibes: Shopping, Getting Back into Routine & LOTS of Thoughts.

One of the things that I am truly grateful for and enjoy more than I prob let anyone know, are slow Sundays. Most know me as the always on the go, ready for an adventure, Lauren. And 85% of the time that is true. Every once in awhile, I absolutely love a day where I can just sit on the couch with Ty, coffee in hand and a cozy blanket. We let the kids stay in their pj's all day and make a mess of everything. We eat comfort food and watch movies together. The kids are really into the 80's movies that I've been picking lately. So far we have watched Harry and the Henderson's, Batteries Not Included and ET.  They are loving these films! And of course this makes me happy since I'm an old 80's movies junkie.
We are having a slow Sunday over here today. Watching football, meal prepping lunches for the week and yes, I'm having a glass of red wine. It's still 90's over here but I'm in a Fall mood and red wine just seems to go with that whole theme. It barely rained here in San Antonio all summer. And now it has been raining for about a week. Which we totally needed. This also gives us some time to chill and just hang out.

The last couple of weekends have been us getting ready for back to school and getting into the groove of schedules. We did a lot of online shopping but I did take the kids to pick out a few things since this gets them excited for school. I've been doing well with meal prepping for the week's lunches and meal planning for the week's breakfasts and dinners. (I am working on some new fitness and food posts for you all.)  I feel like it's easier to keep focused this way. I have a set schedule now and it has been SO much easier to workout and even get in daily walks/jogs. Life all around has been smoother. I have a love/hate relationship with routine. On the one hand it does make life so much easier. The kids love being in a set daily pattern. I think most kids thrive in this type of environment. But the free spirit side of me gets extremely antsy. Working from home has it's perks: no driving to work, I can work in sweats if I please & I get a workout in on my lunch....but After a few months, I am ready for some crazy adventures!!! I go a little stir crazy. And it's always been like this for me. I have learned to incorporate fun activities into our lives often so that I don't get burnt out with "routine".

Everything in moderation, right?

In other news.....I've come to the realization that I am missing our own house. We came here for a temporary move and so we rented a house. We are in a small 3 bedroom, 1 floor house. Coming from a 4 bedroom, 4 bath, large house on almost 2 acres with a private back yard and a big playroom AND workout area,  it's an adjustment in a lot of ways. AND it's not even the space that really bothers me. I honestly just miss decorating and updating- and having something that we know is ours. Ok it's the space too. Haha.
To be honest, I haven't really done anything here at our house in Texas. We moved here and bought all new furniture (we left most of our furniture behind in NY) and have left it like that since we moved in.

 Back in NY, the kids always had cute rooms themed to their liking. Partially because I wanted to make them smile and partly because I enjoyed decorating them. Here, they had mattresses on the floor with no beds for 3 months or so.  I did finally buy new beds. I JUST bought a new dresser for our room last month. I procrastinated for so long because I just told myself we are moving soon and so large totes all over the bedroom is acceptable. Everything that I brought to hang on the walls, I haven't. It just doesn't feel like our house.  When you have owned, it's hard to go back to renting. I'm not feeling the carpet and tile throughout this house (ugh, HATE carpet) and we have thee teeny tiniest backyard/outdoor area you have ever seen. We have never been out there without seeing one of the 5 abutting neighbors over the not-tall-enough fence. Granted they are all super sweet and friendly, I still miss having a private backyard. And Ty wants a new grill in the worst way, but it's silly to buy a new one when we have a built in one back home.  Update: We bought a grill. 

I have put off decorating altogether. I feel like we are staying at a hotel for a really long time. And I know it's not ours so what's the point to put all of this effort into something that we are only staying in for a little while? So I guess that is the reason why I haven't done much with our house here.

Since we have been here, I have been so busy with relocation details and trying to figure out schools, doctors, traveling and working on top of that, that I haven't even thought about it much. Once things came together and slowed down, I had time to think and I am realizing I miss decorating and having a home of our own. There are a lot of things up in the air right now. Some that I don't even want to think about right now because they are out of my control and some possibilities that could be really exciting. It's just a lot of unknowns and we won't know until closer to the end of the year. Ty and I talked about when we do leave, do we want to move back to our old NY house or build. I have seen MANY houses being in real estate and I can honestly say that I have never found a home that I thought would be perfect. So we think building is the route we will go. I think that is really the only way that we would get what we truly want.

My style has changed a bit over the years. But ultimately the basics haven't changed. I like an eclectic look. Some traditional, some modern and some modern farmhouse vibes.  I even love west coast feel so it's hard to pull that all together into one house. Everything I love is open, airy and bright. Lots of natural sunlight. TONS of windows. In fact, I love natural light so much that I want an entire wall to be one large folding or floor length window. It would have an open floor plan and a private backyard like our NY home has. Wood floors everywhere, lots of whites and neutrals. I can see it perfectly in my mind and even have a floor plan picked out.

For now I'll keep pinning on my Pinterest board and being ok with the idea that someday soon we will have a home that feels more like ours. When Ty accepted this job, we did so knowing that we wanted an adventure and that is exactly what we've gotten. Our intentions were to experience life differently. We've seen so many cool places, traveled and experienced all sorts of fun new things. It's been a great year and I am so thankful for that!!  And well, the year is not over yet. So we'll just continue on having fun until our next move comes about. Sometimes you just have to let life happen as it does. And often times, it comes together just how it's supposed to.

To all my NY people, I am envious of your sweaters and colorful leaves!! I'm living vicariously through your posts and photos. ;) Meanwhile, over here we are getting a "cool down" from the rain we've been having. We are seeing the 80's and it feels amazing! I hope you are all getting settled back into routines and getting back in the groove of schedules this Fall.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Scarlett & Maxwell Take 7: Back to School

Scarlett is 7 and just started the 2nd grade. Maxwell is 3 and just started his first day of 3 year old pre-k. These kids bring me so much joy and drive me crazy all at the same time. Haha. But I wouldn't trade them for the world! We have so much fun traveling places and exploring new things with them. These two are at such fun ages. Watching them discover and learn and play is such a blessing.

Scarlett: Age 7

Loves: Horseback riding & lessons (still), crepes with applesauce and chocolate syrup, comfortable clothes, any movie with animals in them, carrots & cukes, playing with Cubby, playing school with her brother, American Girls and reading.

Dislikes: Jeans or wearing any clothing that is "scratchy", sweets like cake, cupcakes or donuts.

Currently: Has made new friends in school, has zero front teeth and still losing them! Getting so good at horse riding. She can not canter and is practicing for shows. Mimics everything she is intrigued by and it reminds me so much of myself when I was young. My girl is so stylish. She has a great sense of natural style.

Says: "When I get older I'm going to have 10 boys and 10 girls and live at home with you so you can help me take care of them".
"Don't buy too much stuff Mama, we are saving for a barn and a farm, ok?"

Maxwell: Age 3

Loves: Waffles & Pancakes, Building with his Legos, Paw Patrol & Batman, Swimming, riding his scooter, Donuts, sleeping in our bed or his sister's room. Listening to Benny Goodman on the way to school.

Dislikes: Going to bed on time (a night owl like me), meat (he's a natural vegetarian)

Currently: Potty Training, he's the sweetest boy who cuddles me every night, becoming very independent. He is a very simple boy. He doesn't need a lot of toys or things, he is content with just a few things. I love this about him.

Says: Thinks "Fig Newton" is "Big Newton", "I need a wittle bit of help" or "I need a lotta bit of help".
He tells me he doesn't feel good at bedtime so he can come snuggle with me on the couch. When I ask him if he was lying he replies, "Uh huh" and giggles as he cuddles up next to me.