Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tour Texas - Bastrop & Austin

hey guys! today i am continuing our tour texas spring break adventures throughout texas! how fun is that? my first post on that vacay is here so click it to catch up!
after spending 3 nights at a beautiful limited-use cabin at buescher state park, we made our way through bastrop state park and all the way into downtown. after a quick museum and restroom pit stop, we browsed a bit of downtown bastrop to find a place to eat. i absolutely love finding a hole in the wall type of place, but Gary always feels places like that are sketchy and not worth it. so my opinions are always thrown out the window trash. and if you throw in an extra couple of picky eaters, my opinion matters even less. 
that's why i would never be a very good travel/food blogger. 
the boys protested and demanded pizza. so we went in search of this little place because people kept telling us they had new york style pizza...
after a brief walking excursion of empty bars and little businesses, we finally found Neighbors -- a new place with a ton of charm, not to mention, delicious pizza! 
while our pizza was bakin', i asked andrew if he would take some pictures with me. he agreed only with the condition that he would take the pictures. so off we went to explore this cute little area of Bastrop.
i won't post the pictures he took because i seriously am cringing at my 4 day old cabin hair and my choice of jacket. let's just say we were running really low on clean clothes....
outside was gorgeous, albeit cloudy, but everything was so friendly, as if you'd want to hang out there every lunch and dinner! the inside was equally gorgeous. completely mismatched table sets and the coolest atmosphere imaginable to me. 
we ordered some garlic knots which were so delish and then we had the grease bucket pizza and a pep for the boys. our pizza was so good i didn't even take a picture of it...! 
after our bellies were full, we headed out the establishment with every single person commenting how cute & adorable & smart & talkative elena is. 
i know people, i am the luckiest person on earth and i don't everrrr take it for granted.
we scaled down i don't know how many sets of stairs to get some energy out by the Colorado River...and the boys just --- took off ---- running and running as if they've been captive for 4 days. 
apparently he ran out of gas on the way back because he had to 'take a break'.
when we finally made it back to our van, we packed up and made our way to austin. i totally wanted pictures at some 'internet-worthy' walls around that town, and by golly, we were gettin' them!
thank you husband for never ever complaining about my needs as a creative. i love you so much for it which brings me to....
our first stop: the 'i love you so much' wall at jo's coffee in SoCo...
when we showed up at this wall, it was empty. *gasp* this place is NEVER empty. so i went ahead and started snapping my pictures of the kids not wasting one single second. and then i let Andrew take pictures of his mommy & daddy. slowly but surely, there was a massive crowd in less than 2 minutes--and a really nice girl offered to take our family picture--thank you, you were more than kind! you guys should have heard all the oooh's and awww's from all the strangers. my kids were like rockstars! 
the moment was so freakin' perfect, i will forever treasure these pics. 
and then of course i had to take one by myself to post on my instagram.
ok, i may have over done it on the 'i love you' wall but i'm never going there again (probably) so just hold on to your panties.
we roamed around the streets that were so lively with all the tourists and weird austinites and i absolutely loved the san jose hotel that was just up the road...i mean like, in love. i would have stayed and photographed everything if i wasn't carrying my family of five.
everything was covered in green. i need some landscaping tips from those people. 
and across the street we found heaven, you guys!!! well, not really. it was a cute little RV selling cupcakes. and gary decided we all needed cupcakes. 
andrew, by this point, was having a hard time being my little model. he didn't want his picture taken anymore...
or maybe he just didn't want his chocolate lovers cupcake. i forget which it is...Elena didn't have a problem eating some of daddy's, though.
we piled up in our van, drove a couple of streets over to go take a picture of the 'greetings from...' wall. isn't it cool? i love it so much!!!
the boys were 'camouflaging' with the mural.
we had so much fun browsing streets in austin! they had such cool backdrops to have photoshoots with...
and don't even get me started on the cool houses around those blocks and that landscape!
things i never wanna forget were:
•the fights we had about trucks as backdrops
•the red bathrooms at Jo's coffee that disoriented me and made me dizzy but was the most amazing sh*t ever for a bathroom!
•the kindness of yet another stranger who bravely gave us a shopping bag from her stash upon our checkout at HEB because the city of austin does not allow plastic bags. gary now officially hates austin. 
•the feeling that i love home most of all because austin really scares me. and my inner 20-year old really hates the current 30-year old for saying that....
•i don't wanna forget the inspiration the city gave me for that said home. i don't have to live in austin to be 'weird'.
•i never wanna forget my dedicated husband driving our van while he listens to his audiobook, my feet pressed firmly against the windshield under a blanket and my sleeping babes with hanging heads to the side because they're absolutely exhausted...those are the days i will never want to forget.

so there you go! our austin-in-a-day trip was amaze-ballz. we so wish we could have eaten a meal there but honestly, after our late lunch in bastrop and snacking on cupcakes, we just felt the need to not stuff our faces anymore for a little while.

maybe next time, austin! 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Buescher State Park - Spring Break 2015

Ever since our last cabin camp-out two years ago, i've been itching for another vacation like it. so back in january, i totally got a jump into booking a cabin for our spring break vacation. i checked out Texas Parks & Wildlife website and booked 3 nights at Buescher State Park. spring break finally started to roll around and i was super excited!!! 
it's a mere 3 hour drive to smithville, tx and we were in no rush. of course when i say we, i totally mean me and gary---the kids? that's a whole other problem. 
when we rolled up to mini-cabin #3, it was perfect! and so our vacation begins.
the ground was sopping wet from heavy rains that day, but it didn't stop us from exploring our little campsite. the boys completely fell in love with rocks. throwing rocks, looking for rocks, picking up rocks, comparing rocks--anything rocks and they were all over them.

we made ourselves at home and to savor the last day light hours, gary decided to check out the shortest trail at the park: Big Tree Trail. it was a whopping .03 miles and no one complained.
we were witness to a swift woodpecker's home, a ton of mushrooms, and a few weird zombies. 
upon returning to mini-cabin #3, we discovered there was no wifi or cell signal in almost all of buescher, and i was apprehensively delighted...yet mortified.
after our brief adventures the day before, we knew that day 2 would be a long one. 
we woke up to rain. 
ate breakfast while it rained.
the boys peed in the rain.
we stayed inside the cabin all day because of the rain.
basically, it was just 5 people. in a cabin. with no tv. no internet. 
but you know what? we had a roof over our heads which is more than i could have asked for (have you tent-camped out in the rain? it's really not fun)
luckily, i had brought plenty of snacks and board games. so we hunkered down to play them all. 
the boys were running around in their underwear (do you blame them?) and loving those bunk beds. 
little girl was a muffin fanatic and loved being able to dig in the trash.

if you can't guess what jonah's doing, i bet you don't have a boy...i also have a very similar picture of andrew doing this when we went to palmetto state park in 2013.
being the lazy bums that we were forced to be, the nap king insisted we lay down to rest.
a little while later, pretty much late afternoon, it finally stopped raining. everything was wet + grey, but it wasn't raining--we'll take it! we were like wild dogs cooped up for 8 hours just waiting for our owners to let us out!
so we walked around the lake to the dam and back again. it was nice to just get out and let the wild dogs, errr, kids run free.
promptly after coming back to our cabin, the boys insisted that we roast marshmallows. 
only our propane tank was so powerful it charred them to dust, almost. the boys discovered that mommy likes them like that (don't judge) and fed me half the bag of charred marshmallows until i couldn't anymore...
and jonah learned a very important lesson: don't lean into the top of the flames. 
and then it was back to underwear and punches. giggles and laughs. embarrassing pictures and dinner.
day 3 was here and we were ready to conquer the trails! the park itself was quite empty. spring hadn't sprung yet so everything was still 'dead' just waiting for the weather to turn. and it was still, very much so, wet. 
no matter. the boys found sticks. they found rocks. they ran like weirdos in front of us, waiting for us to catch up and they were loving every minute. i was so thankful for this phase in their little growing up lives. 
i put baby girl in my moby wrap and we were ready to walk and explore all day.
textures and hidden colors made for such a beautiful walk. the boys were totally in love with that bridge. 

gary picked up this flint rock and explained to andrew what it was used for. and all andrew did after that was 'sharpen' his stick. day and night. 

our trail was stopped short by this little stream of running water, which Andrew was deadset on conquering. needless to say Jonah 'distracted' him and lost his balance and fell into it and had to walk back in his soaking wet shoes.
the trails were so muddy that i had to undress the boys when we packed up in the van. my back was aching from carrying elena the whole time and we were starving. so back to the campsite we went, but the silliness never stopped.
after dinner, the boys really wanted a fire but everything was still damp--even our firewood.so the boys preoccupied themselves all evening with rocks. they started a pretty magnificent rock collection on the cabin's handrail. baby girl just watched and poked and followed her brothers in wonder and delight. she was so wobbly on all that mulch and if i remember correctly, she fell on that concrete walkway twice trying to step up to it. 
it turned into a nice chipote. 

having no internet during this entire time, my sketchbook was opened quite a bit. i haven't really carried one around because...i just haven't. 
but i was incredibly inspired by everything. so i painted. i sketched. i drew. 
i put it all down (well, almost all) into a collage of everything that we encountered while at buescher state park. maybe someday i'll add color and make a poster out of it or add it to a scrapbook.
pretty cool, huh? i like how i can get lost recounting all the things we saw. all the memories that were made. and sidenote(s): i seriously forgot to pack a knife and i can't draw a squirrel (obviously) and we totally did see a penguin on a tree--just sayin'
the boys also went off on their own down to the lake a lot. i like that they think they're so independent, but really, i like the quiet even more. 
after a few moments, i decided to join them to see if i could capture these wild animals in their 'natural' environment.
the boys had a blast there. they were being boys. and i was trying not to be that helicopter mom telling them to be careful about everything--my philosophy is try everything once and learn from it. so if you fall into the water and you don't like it, then you don't do it again. simple sound advice, no? 
that fire. that stupid fire. everything was wet. and it took us a good hour to just begin getting a good ground base for that stinkin' fire. we were both huffing and puffing and it wasn't until like, 11pm there was a steady brilliant fire and the kids were all asleep--haha! husband was so proud of himself though, because he had refused to quit. RELENTLESS he would say. you shoulda seen that grin on his silly face.
we went to bed so good that night. the boys began to complain about not wanting to leave in the morning. i could have stayed another two days there. 
so we took off that morning of day 4, and off towards Bastrop we went. Bastrop is a much bigger adjoining state park to Buescher. gary reminded me that Bastrop had suffered a catastrophic fire about 4 years back, everything looked dead but if you noticed closely, you could see where they had worked so hard at cleaning and replanting all of the pine trees. i just wish we could have seen it in all its spring glory. maybe another time!

so this is where i leave you before i make this post incredibly and ridiculously long. i will be coming back again with our day 4 adventures into austin at some pretty famous lankmarks...so stay tuned.
how has your week been going? i hope well. 
happy hump day everyone! 
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