Exploring our Own Backyard

Springtime in Austin begins in January when the sunshine combined with pleasant temperatures means you better get outside while the going is good!  It reeks havoc on my need to nest and spring clean. But who wants to be tied up inside with all this gorgeous weather anyway?! The closets will wait. We got some explorin’ to do!

Being so much closer to all the action has made this spring that much more enjoyable. Adventures are only a bus ride or stroller walk away. Here are a few of our latest adventures in our very own backyard here in Austin.

Bus rides downtown to the MLK parade.

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Park exploring near and far.

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Stumbling into crazy art Keeping Austin Weird.

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South By Southwest adventuring, which mostly means eating.

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And right outside our front door, too. Just right for quick adventuring, while waiting for dad to come home.

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Until that thermometer reaches 100 and awful degrees, we’ll stay in search of what new adventures Austin has to offer. I don’t believe we will ever tire of this backyard of ours, especially since no lawn mowing is required!

A Midwestern Summer

Best decision we made all year: spend 5 weeks in August relishing a Midwestern summer while missing 5 of the worst weeks of a Texas summer.

So how do you fill up 5 weeks away from home with two children? The short answer is a lot of sunshine, ice cream, and smiles. The long answer is found in a flurry of photos.

Four generations gather together for a great family reunion of my Grandfather and his siblings and their families.IMG_0764

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A visit to Chicago and falling in love with that city all over again.

A birthday for cousins, celebrating 3, 1, and half years with birthday pancakes and splash pad fun.IMG_0785-2IMG_0788-2

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A tea party in the garden (oh the things grandpas will do for their grandchildren.)

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Soaking up every minute of the gorgeous sunshine, we practically lived outside from morning to night.IMG_0876

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Going wild at the zoo.IMG_0912

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Going on exploring adventures.

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Celebrating the birthday, again.

And lots and lots of everyday fun with family.

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Happiness. Not many other words quite capture this trip. Just scrolling through these pictures I feel at peace. Exactly the retreat we needed to get us over the hump of the brutal Texas summer. It has been two months since we returned and we are just now experencing a true fall. But recharging with the amazing beauty of a Midwestern summer, and the endless love from family we don’t see often enough, my tank was filled. Where do I sign up again for next year?


Fall

November 3, 2015 – Partly Sunny, 33°, Sunrise 8:27 a.m., Sunset 4:58 p.m., Total Snowfall 5.9″

Fall was fantastic this year (I know some of you are still sneaking in the last days of summer, but we have a couple of inches of snow on the ground, and the sun is setting before 5pm – so we’re moving on🙂 ). It was cool, rainy, quiet, darker, and lovely! Last year I don’t think I really acknowledged fall, it was just the pause before the winter took over, and I was scared of winter with a 6 month old. This year though…

Summer is fantastic, but oh so busy. Between visitors (who we love, come back!) endless sunshine (which we love, come back!) it’s easy to pack too much in and leave everyone a little burnt out. As we moved in to September it was nice to feel the natural slow down that occurs with losing our daylight. I love the “circling of the wagons” that our family does. We LOVE visitors, but it is nice to focus back on the four of us and do special things just as a family.

One of the big events of the fall was getting our new puppy – Mocha! He’s going to be a great dog, but I’ll admit there are days I want to pull my hair out because of all the nipping, chewing, jumping and general rambunctiousness. Add an energetic 4 year old, and a now walking 18 month old to the mix – whew! But he does have great qualities already. Mocha is a snuggler, which Dewlap never was. He stays close without much direction, and he’s already staying with us while we run and hike.

We did have one set of visitors in September, M’s cousin and his wife came to visit. It was fantastic; a great mix of hanging around home just catching up, and getting out to explore. We went hiking, berry picking, ran and biked the trails. They even road-tripped with us up to Fairbanks for our marathon relay – which we could not have done without them being so willing to jump in and watch the kiddos while we ran our legs!

The colors here are different from the Midwest, but still beautiful. The trees really only turn yellow, but the brush on the mountains turns red and orange, and I love watching the color slowly take over. You almost don’t notice it at first, and then one day the mountains look like they’re on fire. I love being on the trails this time of year, hearing the leaves crunch and the crisp in the air.

Oh and the sunrises! Much easier to catch the sunrise when it’s at 8:30 or 9, and at this time of year the sun is on the south side of our house and rises over the mountains.

It’s easy to miss this beautiful season, between summer’s endless days and winter’s long, dark nights, but in some ways fall might just be my favorite. There’s a balance to it, and a beauty all its own.