Sunday, December 29, 2013

Greetings from Austin


Every time I upload photos to Blogger I think, "No no no, I have to upload them in reverse chronological order because then they will publish in chronological order." 

But then they don't. And I am always too lazy to rearrange them. 

So...yeah. That happened AGAIN. Therefore, here is the last month of our lives. In reverse. 

My husband's sister, Sheree, and her son are visiting us for the holidays. Here we are on one of our treks downtown. Sheree hates this picture because she and DJ are the only ones who actually jumped on three. And of the two of them, she is the only one who jumps fabulously, like Mary Poppins.

They have been here a week and we have eaten Texas barbecue three times. Now we all smell permanently of smoked meat and could probably use a week of salad with a side of angioplasty.

Santa Claus brought a trampoline to my kids for Christmas. They like it, but I LOVE it. I have dominated them at Crack the Egg. It's probably all of the BBQ I have eaten.

Some time before that we stopped at a Christmas tree farm on our way home from Houston where there was this picturesque barn:
And DJ carried our tree to the car. Isn't he cute?
Before that we had to cut down the tree. Believe it or not, I did NOT pose this picture. This is what happens when I give Chancho the saw so that I can take a picture:
Before that, we spent Thanksgiving in Houston with my husband's OTHER sister, Meree, and her family. Here is Chancho's list of thanktitude:
Here are the feasting kiddos:
And (good grief, I did not even manage to upload these photos in perfect reverse chronological order) here we are on one of our barbecue stops, posing. Check out Livie rocking my sunglasses:

The end.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The time we might've eaten cat meat.

Texas is messing with my internal clock.

Here is why: Until recently it was 80 degrees during the day. It was sunny and the leaves hadn't fallen off of the trees. It has only just occurred to me that Thanksgiving is in 27 hours because up until a week ago it felt like September. It can't be Thanksgiving! It is September!

And then a cold front brought in some rainy, 34 degree weather.

It is not September. Here's how I know:

Halloween happened. We had an "Egyptian Lady," and ninja, a Frankie Stein again, a mermaid, and a boring old mom:
We also had a Trunk-or-Treat at church. I love Chancho, the hardcore ninja with royal blue tennis shoes: 

Before that it was my birthday. My husband and kids threw a surprise party for me and gave me that humongous red birthday clock which I had been coveting at Hobby Lobby:
Before that I drove to Houston for my birthday to see the sights with my husband's sisters. We had birthday mochi and regular non-birthday sushi:
That's how I know it isn't September.

Here are some other happenings:

We've been having candlelit Sunday dinners. This was something that my Mom did that I was a teenager that I loved. It is interesting how two 75 cent candles can make a simple meal (with kids eating off of plastic plates) feel like a special occasion. It is one of those mysteries of the universe, like how adding tomatoes and sour cream to a taco makes it "supreme."  
Next, we have been touring the local barbecue joints. I love barbecue. Here we are outside of one of our favorite finds, "It's All Good BBQ." It really is ALL good:
Oh, Texas. I think we're going to be good friends.

Here is a care package from DJ's aunt Val. I mean, seriously. Can't get enough of this Texas stuff:
Last weekend my kids and I roadtripped to Houston to visit some cousins who recently moved there. I cannot understate how comforting it is to have family within a three hour drive. Here they are having some much-needed cousin time:
Speaking of mystery meat, here's a word of warning to you. If it is Saturday and you and your husband are trying to find good barbecue and every place is sold out (this happens - the meat sells out, you shed a tear and move on) do not drive into the ghetto out of desperation - not because driving into the ghetto is a bad idea, but because barbecued meat from the ghetto might actually be barbecued stray cat and you will take three bites and then be faintly queasy for the rest of the day and have to eat a quarter of a Costco pumpkin pie to offset the cat flavor.

That happened. I think we accidentally ate cat.

I came away with a picture of this great mural, though:
The end.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Austin love.

If I have learned anything in my travels it is that surviving in an unfamiliar environment means finding something to love about where you are, no matter where you are.

For example, Seattle: hated the rain, loved the blackberries, the Olympic Peninsula, and the hippies.

I love donuts. I especially love the donuts of Austin.

I have discovered that eating donuts staves off homesickness. Let's hope that shopping for larger pants staves off homesickness as well.

We have been in Austin for two weeks and I have gone on a non-comprehensive donut bakery tour. Our first stop:

Gourdough's Big. Fat. Donuts. truck:
This donut truck serves some seriously heart-stopping masterpieces. For example, the Fat Elvis - a fresh-fried donut with grilled bananas, honey, and honest-to-goodness whole strips of bacon on top. Or what I ordered, the Sara's Joy - a donut with chocolate and coconut cream filling, sprinkled with coconut, and accompanied by choirs of singing angels. Kind of heavenly.
Next up was Round Rock Donuts. Rumor has it this place was on "Man vs Food."

I think this is why:

I have never been one to make sweeping, hyperbolic declarations. Ever. I would never do that.


And not just because there are the size of an innertube. They are everything a donut should be. Warm, soft, fluffy, maybe laced with addictive chemicals. So delicious.

In other news, we have done a little touring of this new city of ours. One of Austin's "things" is food trucks. They are everywhere. And they are kind of like yard sales in their unpredictability. You never know when they're going to be open or if they're going to be any good. But if you see one you have to stop and find out because otherwise the curiosity WILL kill you. 

The following one was not my favorite. You know those yard sales where all they're selling is dusty VHS tapes and mauve yarn? This was the food truck equivalent:
This one isn't a food truck, it's the state capitol building. 
I love the architecture and the fact that it is taller than the United States capitol building. Why, you ask? Because Texas, that's why.

Lastly, I love that our new school is within pleasant walking distance of our new house:

I kinda love this Texas place.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Texas, y'all

About a week ago we loaded all of our worldly possessions into this beast:
And my husband drove it 1200 miles. Twelve hundred long miles across three states, with me following closely behind staring at the butt end of that thing:
After a while it became boring to the point of unflatteringness: 
We listened to three books on CD, sang "There Was a Tree" a few hundred times, and ate a boatload of convenience store candy, until finally we arrived at our new house in Austin, Texas. Tess celebrated our arrival by running in circles around our backyard:
I guess we live in Texas now. 

We have been here almost a week and I haven't even met a real cowboy yet. I'm not sure what that's about, Texas. And this is not like one of our fun-filled, rollercoaster-riding, summer vacation moves. We brought the Lovesac. Crap just got real.

Plus, my kids are going to school here like you do when you're a kid. Here they are on their first morning:
Texas, guys. This is really happening. Oh, and this happened:
It looks like Texas has our number. 


Friday, September 20, 2013

Abrahamson reunion

Last weekend was the first ever Abrahamson family reunion. In case it was unclear, my maiden name is Abrahamson, hence my attendance at this function. I'm proud to be a part of this ragtag band of crazies.

We were a loud and rowdy bunch. All of my aunts and uncles on my Dad's side were there, as well as several of my cousins and their children. We camped in Snow Canyon State Park for two nights. See if you can spot my early bird:
My husband missed all of the fun, as he has been in Pittsburgh since, like, forever. But the campsite was beautiful:
It was strange camping five minutes away from my house. The entire time I kept thinking, All of this beautiousness is only five minutes from my house! Why don't I do this more often? 

Because I like my king-sized bed, that's why.

Here is a handful of the younger cousins:
A storm blew in on the second night.
I love the smell of rain in the desert. I love the way the thunder echoes around the canyon. But I can't lie, it made for a soggy night.

After the storm blew away, we had a slide show of family photos dating back to the prehistoric era. Almost. It was fun seeing pictures of my grandparents and aunts and uncles.
Following the slideshow and a few old home movies featuring, at one point, my aunt and uncle riding a unicycle, my dad and his sister and three brothers told stories. I told you they are a ragtag bunch:
There was a lot of laughter and a lot of tears. And a lot of mosquito bites. I can't wait to do it again.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I miss summer.

Anyone in the mood to relive a month-worth of adventures in reverse chronological order? I hope so, because there is no way I am spending 20 minutes rearranging these pictures when I could be sitting on our Lovesac eating leftover pie. 

I would recommend using the restroom and getting a drink of water before we begin. Here it is - the last month of our lives in reverse:

On Saturday my second-oldest daughter, Olivia, was baptized. It was a sweet experience. If you want to know all of my warm and fuzzy thoughts about the experience you'll have to break into my house and steal my journal from my secret hiding place in my underwear drawer.
But before that, Olivia turned eight. She got cowgirl boots and her aunt Sheree made an enormous Oreo birthday cake for her:
My kids started school. Blech. Don't tell them I said that. If they ask, tell them I said, "School is cool!" They might not believe you because I've never been one to use catchphrases from the late 80's/early 90's. Not.
Before that we drove home from Kentucky/Tennessee. Yes, Tennessee. More on that in a minute.

This is a good place to stop if you ever find yourself on I-70 east of Denver and you have a hankering for the best Monte Cristo in the history of Monte Cristos:
This is Kansas:
And this.

This is Lake Norris in Tennessee. We had a half-of-my-family-reunion at a spectacular lake house there. There was a cabin, a dock for swimming and fishing, a movie projector, a fairy swing, card games, sleeves and sleeves of Oreos, a ping pong table, canoeing:


This water trampoline that essentially turned into a daily "game" of king of the mountain. It was a little Hunger Games-ish. I still have bruises. Also, this is the closest thing to a group photo that I have from the whole week:
And the fishing! My husband, bless his heart, tried and tried to catch a largemouth bass. He went to the store for more bait and this happened:
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

There was also this teensy cabin on the property that had a loft, a futon, and an Xbox. These girls spent an entire day sneaking/stocking it with red cream soda and Oreo cookies for their sleepover that night. They were in heaven:
There was also an illegal rope swing. Naturally, if one attaches the word "illegal" to something, it piques my husband's interest:
(We're almost there. This would be a suitable time for a bathroom break.)
Welcome back.

Right before we left for Tennessee, DJ and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. You would appreciate what an accomplishment that is if you knew how often we bicker over what to eat for dinner.

We celebrated by having a classic Cincinnati date. We ate LaRosa's pizza, watched the Reds play the Cardinals, and washed it all down with some Graeter's ice cream. It was a perfect night.

Before that we all went to King's Island theme park in Cincinnati. The best part about it was listening to my brother-in-law, Manny, laugh on the rides:

At one point this summer my boy turned six. I plopped a Blackbird on his cake like the lazy mom that I am. The awesome thing about boys is that they don't care.
Some time before that we visited downtown Louisville and rented this little number for the afternoon. It was hilarious. Not to brag or anything, but I did most of the pedaling:
And walked the Big Four bridge from Kentucky to Indiana:
 And lastly, one final cannonball shot:

I already miss summer.