A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Austin

Top Ten {Tuesday}While Texas is always home, for six years, Iowa was my home too. I’ll admit, it took a little time for me to adjust to being outside of the South, but once I gave Iowa my all, I grew to love it. And of course, the people I knew there were awesome. I miss them daily and wish we weren’t so far away {hey y’all – Texas is a big state *hint-hint*}.

While I could easily list ten things I miss about my Iowan friends, let’s be honest, some of the things I really miss about Iowa are pretty superficial. Without further ado, here they are:

1. Rain – Texas is currently in a drought. Apparently the worst in nearly 50 years. I miss thunderstorms. And rain.

2. Close Stores – Thankfully, we do now live less than a mile from HEB – but I miss living near two major stores in Coralville {oh, New Pi, how I love you}.

3. Traffic – I laughed when I first experienced “traffic” in Iowa. Slowly it became normal and I got frustrated at taking 20 minutes to get across town. Now, when I sit in traffic for over an hour to get across town, I think “Hmmm… Iowa traffic wasn’t so bad was it?”

4. Library – Truth be known, Coralville’s library rocked. And sadly, I have yet to find a library here that beats CPL’s awesome kid program/section.

5. Leaving my windows open for most of the summer – I enjoy the fresh air, which usually leads to having my windows open. A lot. Which ain’t really an option when it’s 90+* outside. Yeah…. I miss having my windows open for most of the summer.

6. Snow – What? Did I just hear a collective hiss from all my Northern friends? Well, it’s true. I do miss the snow. Or missed it over the winter. Though, I am realizing that I don’t miss it staying around for months.

7. Rain – Did I mention that we haven’t had much rain in these parts? Yeah, well, we haven’t. And I wouldn’t mind a good rain storm.

8. Seasons – Other than summer, the seasons in Texas don’t last long. Which is nice, because you can literally spend 8-10 months outside. But sad if you, you know, miss snow.

9. Rain – We are about 5 inches below normal {which is, ironically only 5 inches} for the year. And I’m a little freaked out to learn that our household water is rationed by the state. Having never owned a house in Texas before, I never knew that they rationed how much water a home could get.

10. Rain – I know, I know… I just really and truly miss the rain.

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

I’m not sure about where you live, but here in Texas summer has fully arrived. While, maybe Texas summer hasn’t arrived, but summer by most normal standards. The high today is 90. N-i-n-e-t-y. Riiiight. I forgot that part of the deal when I signed up to move back here. Summers get hot. It starts in March. Ends in November.

During college I wore a lot of skirts and tank tops. But two and a half kids later, piecing together several different coordinated outfits doesn’t seem too feasible for me {unless of course, they are Gymboree hand-me-downs from my awesome SIL}. And so my love of dresses is renewed a little earlier this year.

As my stomach expands, I’m going to need to add in a few flowing dresses and transition out my fitted ones. Here are my favorite options:

Old Navy Ruffled Linen-Blend Sundress in Coral Tropics {Notice the empire waist? Much needed}

Old Navy Floral Print Jersey Dress in Blue Print {How delicate and pretty is this?!}

Merona Maternity Ruffle neck Dress in Purple {Let’s face, I’m probably gonna need to “bump” up come June}

Old Navy Ruffled-Yoke Jersey Dress in Blue Typhoon {This just speaks “cute and comfy”}

Mossimo Cami Maxi Dress in Avalon Sea {Though I’m weary of spaghetti straps}

Old Navy Flower-Graphic Tank Dress in Black Jack {Simple yet way cute}

A Pea in the Pod Sleeveless Rosette Dress in Charcoal {Very beautiful, very impractical, very expensive}

Motherhood Sleeveless Ruffled Dress in Green/Pink Floral {This looks so sweet and innocent}

Anthropologie Pangaea Silk Dress {So feminine, so silky, so, so expensive}

Merona Carey Dress in Ebony {I actually am ordering this to wear in my high school best friend’s wedding in late May}

Do you have any summer dresses that you’ve been eyeing? Any good maternity dress suggestions?

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

We still have some work to do before we {or should I say I} would consider us settled. But, slowly we have life blooming in our home.

The girls' room

Dining area {Go TEXAS!}

This is my favorite spot in my kitchen

Look at that baking cabinet {right about the Kitchen Aide} *happy baker sigh*

As you can see, we are painting over the red in the “dining room” that we have turned into our den. Once we are done, we will hang Jonathan’s guitars in the windows. I think it will look super cool. {And for the record, Jonathan spent his entire Sunday afternoon/evening painting for me. What a great guy!}

Here’s the contrast of color:


Now here’s a fun question:

What color would you paint our front door. I’m leaning towards blue. Suggestions?

Actually, our house is anything but quite right now. We are still in the throws of unpacking and organizing the new house. But we don’t have Internet until Wednesday. I’m currently writing this from Jonathan’s iPad. Which is harder than I expected, since the app isn’t letting see as I type. {So let’s hope I get this right the first time ;)}

I promise I really do have some fabulous posts coming. Ranging from new adventures to an update on my 30 before 30. 

Stay tuned!
 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how we found a house, put in an offer and had the offer accepted in less than 48 hours. As with a lot of other life things, housing buying can be tricky. Between finances, paperwork, inspections, schedules, etc., anything can go wrong at any time. So, in an effort to not put my hope in the wrong place, or to hype anything up, I haven’t written about our move.

But it’s happening.

While we haven’t signed the closing paperwork, everything is set {finances approved, money in the bank} and ready to go for next week. We are having a few scheduling issues arise, but we think they should be smoothed over {for those of you who want the boring info – the short of it is – we are set to close on the 31st, but our locked in interest rate ends on the 30th, so we need to figure out which day to close}.

Here are just a few pictures of my favorite things in the house:

Look at that beautiful {big} kitchen! It overlooks the living room and backyard. Sigh.

The girls' room. Already painted girly pink and everything!

A playscape! Heart be still, the playscape stays! I am one happy mama {with two happy little girls}.

While we still don’t own the house, we are pretty certain everything is going to go through as expected. Which means, come this time next week, we will be in our new home, starting some wonderful new adventures! I cannot wait!

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.

*If you’d like to see the rest of the house, let me know and I can email you a link to the tour {it has our address and I don’t want that on my blog}.

This past Sunday, we spent the afternoon at Zilker Park enjoying the city’s annual kite festival. This year marked 83 years of Austin kite flying! The festival takes place on the first Sunday in March every year {with some changes made over the years due to weather}.

Getting the kite ready for air time

Hannah had a blast being part of the action

Poor Julia felt pretty crummy the whole time. This is the last photo Jon snapped before she laid down in the grass while we flew the kite.

Jon took the kite for a test flight and got it up much higher than me!

 

 

As we were leaving, we turned around and saw tons of kites in the sky. It was a very cool experience!

What fun outdoor activities are you do as spring approaches?

Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking is taking the week off Try New Adventures Thursday to enjoy spring break with her family. This post will be linked to her next week {3/17}.

When we bought our last house, it dawned on us that we had inadvertently gotten into real estate – as that was our third property. It made sense, then, to buy again once we moved to Texas. However, there are a lot more options in Austin and narrowing down what/where we wanted proved to be a challenging task. So we made a list:

1. Good community

2. Good school district

3. Nearby park/pool

4. Close to downtown

5. Close to Jonathan’s work

6. Affordable – Turns out the houses closest to Jon’s work are not within our price range {by 300K’s+}.

7. Master bedroom on same level with kids’ room – Not something terribly common in homes here in Texas

8. Four bedrooms

9. Separate dining room

10. Decent size yard

It seemed that the more houses we looked at, the less we liked. Something was always off. Too much. Not enough. Needs repair. Too far away. The list went on. Then, last week, out of no where, Jon got an email from our realtor about a house. They set up a showing for the next day. Turns out, the house was in the neighborhood we wanted – but get this – down the street from two families we knew from our missional community! We looked back at our top ten list and realized that this house met every single need/want we had listed – plus some! The next day we put in an offer and the accepted it the next morning.

So…. if all goes as we are praying, come March 31st, this will be our new home:

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

If you drive through any major intersection in Austin you will notice one thing: homeless people. Standing along the road with signs, begging for food or money. Rain or shine, they are always there. In fact, one of the best know Austinites is homeless – his name is Leslie. He’s even run for mayor. The homeless roam the streets, and the ones near the University have earned less-than-kind nicknames. I remember in college buying bags of candy to hand out while I walked down “The Drag“.

Six years later and I’m still handing out bags to the homeless. Only these have more purpose.

Our missional community {i.e. small group} banded together to make Bags ‘O Grace – large bags filled with water, crackers, canned goods, etc., to hand out when we pass by the homeless. In each bag there is a small note that simply says: Christ Loves You. No tracks. No come-to-our-service invites. Just simply a bag full of grace.

I, personally, haven’t seen any homeless come to Christ because of the bags. But I’ve seen some incredible changes – in my life. And in my kids’ lives. At every intersection, Julia says “Mom, does that man/woman need a bag? Mom give them a bag.” It isn’t always possible – the light changes too soon, or we are too far away. But each time, it opens up conversation. Each time it allows my kids to see a glimpse of grace – giving love when love isn’t earned. It forces me out of my comfort zone to acknowledge the hurting world around me and too find ways {even small} to reach out to them.

What is your bag ‘o grace?

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

I cried when I finished my half marathon last April. Well, I suppose I didn’t technically cry, since I was borderline dehydrated. But I did cry out. The last mile of my run was overwhelmingly emotional. A mixture of victory and defeat {I walked mile 11 when I wanted to run the entire race}. A relief at being done. A sense of accomplishment, mingled with a desire to do more.

Running is every bit emotional as it is physical and mental. Yet we tend to gloss of the emotions. But I’m here to tell you: It’s your party, cry if you want to.

Half Marathon Training {The Emotional}

 

1. Finding your center – Wow, if that didn’t sound New Age-y, I don’t know what will. But honestly, running can really help you focus, sort through your emotions, and recenter yourself. Just channeling your efforts into exercise can help clear your mind of “emotional baggage”. I attribute it to all the time aloneyet another reason I don’t listen to music while I run.

2. It’s a BIG deal – Whether you’re completing your goal of a 5K or a marathon, finishing is a big deal. You’ve likely spent weeks training – time away from your family, friends, work {and truthfully favorite t.v. shows}. And coming from a former non-runner, crossing that finish line means so much more than time and speed. It means accomplishing something great. Sometimes accomplishing something great is celebrated with tears.

3. You’re a BIG deal – Once you’ve transformed from non-runner to runner, something about you changes. You understand you can rise to the occasion. You can conquer. You can do something you never thought possible. Whispering in the mirror, “Sarah, you’re a runner” in the wee hours of the morning before I go running gives me the emotional {and mental} confidence to succeed. Despite the stretch marks. Despite the abs that will just never be the same. Despite whatever I’m feeling, I know I can do this. And you can to.

How do you feel after a run? Have you ever cried?

My half marathon is this Sunday. I’m going a little crazy this week with “Am I ready, am I not?”. But come Monday, it will all be done. And it will have so been worth it to wake up and say “I am a runner.

For Part 1 and Part 2 of this three part series, click here {Part 1 – The Physical and Part 2 – The Mental}.

*Disclaimer: All tactics/tips are my own personal opinions and not medically backed. Please seek medical advice before starting any running program.

Top Ten {Tuesday} It’s been 7 years since I was in Texas for Christmas. Since 2004 I have celebrated Christmas in colder climate areas. So it’s been a transition to go from 30 degree weather to 70+ degree weather during the holidays. But there have been some great holiday highlights over the past several weeks:

1. Random Christmas trees on the highway – For the last couple of decades, “mysterious” Austinites have crept out at night to decorate cedar trees along a major highway. Nothing feels more festive than driving down the street and seeing 100’s of trees decorated.


{photo credit}

2. Outdoor Shopping – Outdoor shopping centers are popular in Texas, since it never gets too cold to deter shoppers. We visited the newest center, The Domain, this last weekend. It was so much fun walking the strip, looking at all the beautiful displays and ending it with a huge Christmas tree.

3. Food Selection – This has more to do with being in a bigger city in general, but I can’t get over all the wonderful options for food that we have. And while that doesn’t seem very Christmas-y, it is when you’re preparing to cook for your whole family.

4. Zilker Park – A huge park just south of downtown, Zilker Park {home of Austin City Limits Festival} does a wonderful Christmas tree “poll”. It’s a poll that is shaped like a tree, with the shape outlined in lights. It’s a sight to behold.

{photo credit}

5. Trail of Lights – The area in and around Zilker Park is decorated with lights, as a trail leading to and through the park. I’ve seen it in the past and it’s beautiful. Sadly, this year the city decided to cancel the trail of lights to conserve money.

6. Being outside. A lot – Since the weather isn’t cold, the girls and I have had some great chances to be outside during the day. I could get use to spending the entire holiday season playing at the park {just get back to me come July!}.

7. Holiday parties – I went to a cookie baking/exchange party on Saturday with a group of women I met from church. We have two holiday events we have been invited to this week. That’s good ol’ Texas hospitality at work!

8. Jonathan’s work schedule – Jonathan is working just three days this week. And then only two days next week. His company has an unwritten rule that employees take plenty of time off during Christmas to spend time with family. It’s awesome.

9. Reindeer cars – Maybe this is popular elsewhere, I know I’ve seen it just a few times before in Iowa. But, people here have gone crazy with dressing their cars up like reindeer. And it’s hilarious.

{photo credit}

10. The weather – This, actually, is the only thing I haven’t been loving about Texas at Christmastime. I know the snow gets old {just as hot weather gets, well, hot}, but it hasn’t felt quite like Christmas without seeing white covering the ground.

What are some of your favorite city holiday highlights?

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.


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