Austin Adventure Part 2

I’ll just jump right on in here.

On Sunday me and the birthday girl hit the road for San Antonio.  Katrina booked us a hotel on the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, which I didn’t know existed until this trip. We checked into our room in the mid afternoon and decided to check out the riverwalk.  I had no idea what to expect, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when we walked out of the hotel.Austin_05It was gorgeous.  The weather was perfect, the buildings were old and the people out there were…..trashy.  There was this haggard looking woman stumbling around hollering nonsense and it was quite the welcome.  We later found her hanging out, making new friends at Coyote Ugly.  We kept walking until we found signs to the Alamo.  Did you know the Alamo is right smack dab in the middle of the city?Austin_08We didn’t go in because the line was insane.  We walked through the little museum where we saw a lock of Davey Crockett’s hair.  And of course we hit the gift shop where I got the Max a (fake) coonskin hat.

After a while we went back to the hotel for their free little happy hour deal.  We got ourselves some ball park grade snacks (runny nacho cheese FTW!) as well as some fruity drinks.  And the real fun began.Austin_06Austin_07We had grand plans of taking a dip in the rooftop pool at some point but we forgot.  Once we drank away our free drinks we hit the riverwalk for a real meal.  Of course it’s like 7:00 at this point and every single restaurant, including the one that serves the margaritas bigger than your head that I really wanted to go to, had an insane wait time.  We walked far enough down to get a spot at The Original Mexican Restaurant.  Yes, that’s what it was called.  I, for the third night in a row, ordered enchiladas, because now it’s a challenge to see who has the best enchiladas.  These were by far the absolute worst.  Not only did they look like dog vomit they tasted somewhat like it I’m sure, even though I’ve never tasted dog vomit and I have no plans to do so.  The food wasn’t great but the drinks?  Those were great.  We each ordered a flavored margarita with an extra shot of tequila.  After I finished mine I ordered a Texas Tea.  Just think Long Island but more alcohol, if that’s possible.Austin_09When we asked for our second drinks the waitress was less than pleased to say the least, I don’t know why.  She was probably hating life cause she had to work at that awful place.  Once we managed to choke down the booze we stumbled back towards the hotel, for no good reason, giggling and being those girls.  You know the ones.  The ones where you look at them and you roll your eyes.  We were also the girls that took a whole bunch of selfies in the elevator.Austin_10We were also the girls who drunk dialed our significant others at the same time and couldn’t control our giggling.  It was a fabulous evening.  And what’s more great?  WE woke up with no hangovers!  Which is a good thing because it was Katrina’s birthday!

We checked out of the hotel and made our way to Sea World.  We were both so friggin excited.  We got there right as the gates were opening and immediately headed towards the Shamu Theatre where the Shamu Show was going to be.Austin_11We consciously sat in the splash zone.  We knew what to expect.  But for the first 3/4 of the show we were spared.  That is until the whale swam up to our little window dove down and lifted it’s tale and gave us the coldest, salt watery-ist shower ever.  We were soaked.  And it was totally worth it.  That show was awesome.  Those whales were amazing, and I haven’t felt that giddy since we went to Disney World in 2010.  Austin_12We walked around the park and Katrina threatened to get me on one of the roller coasters, which I got dizzy just looking at.  I got a Shamu shaped pretzel and ate it while we watched the Cirque Du Soleil type dolphin and beluga whale show.  There were acrobats and synchronized swimmers and leaping dolphins and one lone beluga whale bobbing up and down.  Because they can’t do much else, you know?  But I still love them.  The beluga whales became my favorite when Rob and I went to the aquarium in Vancouver B.C.  They’re always smiling!  And blowing bubbles!  Just precious.

Here’s my complaint about Sea World.  Everything is a show.  You can’t go look at the orcas or belugas, you can only see them in a show.  Don’t they understand I want to press my nose against the glass and share a moment with a whale?  Another complaint: Don’t eat the turkey wrap or pickles.  Katrina got a serious case of food poisoning as well as a bacterial infection (possibly Ecoli) that landed her in the ER and out of work for a week.  She’s better now, but not a great start to her 29th year.

Oh, and did I mention that we were literally the only childless adults there?  Because we were.

After tackling Sea World we made our way back to Austin where we took Robo, Katrina and Ian’s precious pit pup, out to the park where he was in doggy heaven.Austin_15Austin_13I had such a great time there.  I can see why Katrina picked Austin.  It reminded me of Portland with all the hip-ness of the city and it also reminded me of living in Louisiana with all the cute mid-century brick houses.  Austin is great, but Portland is better.  And Portland is where Katrina belongs.  Please come home Katrina!Austin_14

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Austin Adventure Part 1

Before Katrina moved to Austin in August of 2010 I vowed to visit her as much as possible.  Then I found out I was pregnant and that kind of changed any traveling plans.  So now that Max is at an age where he doesn’t need me around all the time and Katrina is planning on moving back here this summer, I figured I should go visit her to see where the hell she’s been all this time.  Luckily I bought my ticket at the right time only $200 round trip.  What I didn’t know was that I had planned to go the first weekend of SXSW.

Remember how I was all super anxious about this trip and about flying and all of that business?  Well I was pretty much fine.  I flew there and back without any issues, and I actually enjoyed it.  I had little moments of anxiety here and there but nothing like before, so yay!Austin_01On the way there I started watching Downton Abbey on the Kindle Fire and was immediately sucked in.  I don’t even know why though, because all those people do is sit around and look fancy and change their clothes.  But I drank the Kool Aid and now I’m drunk.

I arrived there early Friday afternoon and as I walked past the TSA guy he said “Oh, she’s doing the happy dance”.  He had been watching Katrina wait for me.  The weather was just like Portland, which is not normal for Texas.  It was chilly, for Texas, and drizzly, like Portland.  Trina drove me around and showed me places and we ended up eating at what was her Grandpa’s favorite Mexican restaurant, Matt’s El Rancho.  We both had enchiladas and a strawberry margarita.  They also had mole salsa which was really good.  The next night we had Mexican food again, I forge the name of the place though, and I had deeeelicious margarita there as well as enchiladas (the best of the trip).Austin_02On Saturday the goal was crawfish.  I wanted boiled crawfish.  We went to the Shoal Creek Saloon where Katrina’s friend, Jana, met us and together we put away a heap of crawfish.Austin_03HOLY WOW.  It was sooooooo good.  This place also had Abita Purple Haze on tap.  It was perfect.  I got to teach the girls how to peel open a crawfish and suck the heads.

After lunch Trina took me down to South Congress, which is the boutique-y hip street.  The Hawthorne equivalent to Portland.  I got Rob a cowboy belt and I got myself a real SNOWBALL.  We also attempted to explore downtown a bit but it was full of SXSW-ers and streets were closed off and everyone looked like they were in a band.  So we vetoed that.Austin_04I had a Tiger’s Blood snowball and Trian had Birthday Cake.  If I had a ton of money I’d bring real snowballs (and daquiris for that matter) to Portland.  YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MISSING PORTLAND.

Stay tuned for our (slightly intoxicated) San Antonio trip.

Summa Times: Arch Cape

Each year since Rob and I got married we’ve made a point to spend a few days at Arch Cape.

My mom’s friend and co-worker owns a house there and rents it out to us for a fabulous rate. The house is located about a 2 minute walk from the beach. The beach itself is never crowded and is sort of a dead end beach, meaning there’s a giant cliff wall that you can go around and explore when the tide is low. It’s perfect. And two years ago when Rob and I and a bunch of friends went there for a few days we named it Beach Club.Mom, me and Max drove down on Saturday afternoon and that evening Cameron, Jared, Brady, Jared’s girlfriend Timothy and her friend Sarah joined us. Rob had to work that night so he came on Sunday.Rob and Katie arrived Sunday afternoon and we all made our way straight to the beach where there was sandcastle building (and destroying on Max’s part) soccer ball tossing and general beach shenanigans. My favorite beach activity that day was to find dead washed up jellyfish and throw them at the boys. I threw one in Cameron’s face so he tackled me.When the tide was low enough we went around the cliff and explored the tide pools. Max was less than thrilled to be pulled away from them. But! He was so tired (NO NAPS ON VACATION MOM!) that when Rob carried him back wrapped up in my moms jacket, he fell asleep! In Rob’s arms! That never happens! You know what else never happens? Getting a decent family photo with a toddler.The children built a beach fire in the fire pit they dug, Max did baby beach yoga and I photographed it all. Then I went inside and watched Independence Day because why not? Also, Jeff Goldblum is a fox.

While I had a good time on this trip, I really felt the whole “vacationing with a baby is not a vacation” thing. Because it’s not. In fact, it’s more work to go on “vacation” than it is to stay home. I love my little Max but he sure doesn’t make traveling easy. I sort of missed our trip last year when he was just 5 months old. I especially missed our trip there just days before I found out I was pregnant two years ago.

I know doing things like traveling with him will get easier with time (right?) but it makes the present really difficult. Someone tell me this is true. It will get better right? All that aside, I really did have a good time. It was really nice to spend time with my little family (and extended family) in such a beautiful location.

Until next year, Beach Club.

Check out previous trips to Beach Club here (2009), here (2010), and here (2011)

Our Astoria Getaway

Last Thursday Rob and I packed up the kid (and the literal ton of things he would need for 3 days), dropped the dogs of with Rob’s folks and headed for the coast, where the temperature was going to be a nice 75 degrees as opposed to the 100+ degree weather Portland was having.

I had been eagerly anticipating this little trip of ours for a while.  Rob and I both needed this, to be alone together and not in our house where there seems to always be something going on.  But I was harboring my fears of being away from the comfort of our own home for Max’s sake.  The one and only other time we’ve traveled overnight with him was last summer, and it didn’t go very well as far as sleep.

I knew he would be fine otherwise, you know throughout the day and all.  But man, was I dreading bedtime.  And thankfully, I worried my silly little head for nothing because he did GREAT!  Our second day there he even took a solid 3 hour nap!  It was a vacation miracle!

Anyhoo.

Our time spent there consisted of blueberry picking and eating, naps, playing with cars and puzzles, throwing cars and puzzles, antique stores, May Flies, sunglasses, piano playing, corn on the cob, and an impromptu Elvis dance party.Thank you for a truly lovely visit, Christi and Greg!

The First Weekend Away

My cousin/best friend/sister, Kristin called me a few weeks ago and said she would be in Eugene for a friends wedding.  She only had Friday through Sunday there which didn’t leave much time for her to come to Portland to visit us.  It was decided that I would be the family ambassador and go visit her.  Girls weekend!

This was my first time leaving Max for the weekend, or fully overnight for that matter.  I know, it’s kind of sad that it took this long to get away.  I had no hesitations about doing this.  Was I anxious, scared, sad to leave him?  Yes, yes, and yes.  But I wasn’t going to let that stop me.  This was something I needed to do for myself.

A few days before the trip my brother told me that he was working a wedding in Eugene that very same Saturday (not the same wedding, however).  So Friday morning Cameron and I hit the road for Eugene after Kristin called me in hysterics because she was minutes away from missing her flight due to long lines and incredibly rude check in clerks.  I’m side eyeing you, Allegiant!Cam and I got to the Eugene airport just in time to pick up our Kristin.  From there we decided to drive towards our hotel and find some lunch.  We introduced Kristin to 5 Guys and checked into the hotel.  We spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering around Downtown Eugene, in and out of antique shops and keeping cool under the trees.

This was the time where I realized that Eugene is like a really small, kind of boring town.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice place but I just didn’t see what it had to offer that Portland didn’t, besides U of O.

That evening Cam went and stayed at his friends place while Kristin and I went to the rehearsal dinner for her friends.  It was at this place called the Pizza Research Institute.  From what I gathered this place just makes up their own foodie (I really hate that word) type pizza with gourmet ingredients and bizarre combinations.  I broke my ‘no fruit on the pizza’ rule and went with the apple, pear, gouda and walnut.  And boy, it was gooooood.  I even tried their gluten free vegan cheese pizza too, also not bad.  There was a pizza with giant chunks of corn on the cob on it, artichoke hearts-you name it, they had it.

It was also at the Pizza Research Institute where I met and re-met Kristin’s friends.  All graduates of LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine.  They’re all veterinarians who have dispersed all over the country for work.  I spent the evening hearing stories about dogs and cats and the surgeries they needed and why they needed them, and all these words I didn’t understand.  My cousin even shared many photos of her patients before DURING and after surgeries.  Yeesh.  I retired to the hotel early to let myself rest so I could fully recover from the nasty cold I had.

The next morning we went to the Saturday Market and walked around, bought a few things, had lunch at the Rogue Brew Pub and went back to the hotel to veg out and et ready for the wedding.

At 5:20 two buses left the hotel to take all the guests to the wedding location, Sweet Cheeks Winery, about a 30-40 minute ride.  It was, of course, a beautiful ride, that unfortunately made a lot of us a little carsick.  But once we were there the views more than made up for that.  The evening was beautiful, as was the wedding itself.

It was really great to spend time with all of Kristin’s friends and get to know them each individually, but what was better was being able to spend time with Kristin.  She and I grew up together, spending nearly every day together after school and during the summer.  I’m so glad we’ve been able to keep our relationship so close after all these years.When I got home on Sunday, I felt super proud of myself and kind of a sense of relief.  Like a Phew, I did it type of thing.  I thought about Max and Rob every single minute I was gone, but I never cried.  And now that I know that I can do this and everyone will survive, I can’t wait to do it again.