Last month we spent a week in Austin, Texas. We had never been before and the trip was a spur of the moment kind of deal. Originally we had three cities we wanted to explore, but once we arrived in Austin we never left it. The story behind this random trip is long... so here's the short version: Our family has decided to move and there was a period of time when we were quite seriously considering leaving California to move to Texas. After months of researching specific areas, neighborhoods, schools, etc on the internet we decided we just needed to go and actually experience it. So we did just that.
I am not a good flyer... but this was Avery's first flight(unless you count her flight in-utero to Hawaii) so I had to pretend to be happy about boarding a giant piece of metal that was going to take my family thousands of feet up in the air. Did I mention I hate flying? The kids did awesome. They were excited to fly and calm with no fears.
Other then the regular... get this out, put that away, get that out, put this away, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty part of flying with kids... it was great. They did awesome. Far better then I did.
Of the many places we were told to go or see while in Texas, food seemed to be the most commonly recommended. And we definitely ate often and well while there.
The kids missed an entire week of school. Grant had to keep a daily journal of his experiences and write a little report about Texas as his homework for the week. This gave us a great excuse to visit a museum and learn more about Texas and it's history. Something we probably would have done anyway.
We walked around the Capital building at night and it was so beautiful all lit up.
The hotels we stayed at were all near or in Downtown Austin but we spent most of our time twenty minutes away in what is known as the "hill country". We really fell in love with this area for many reasons. In between exploring the neighborhoods, touring model homes and driving through school campuses, we managed to get in some nature exploring as well. There is so much beauty in Texas... and I'll be honest and admit for some reason I was not expecting it to be so beautiful there.
Hamilton Pool was a fun little hike with a beautiful ending spot. We heard that during the spring and summer it turns into quite the swimming hole.
This is on the playground of our most favorite community we visited... Sweetwater. How cute is that name? And the surrounding area is called Bee Cave. Seriously, is it just me or are these names reason enough to move there!? =)
This picture was taken to show friends and family the piece of land we were going to build our home on... yup, this is how close and serious we were to doing it.
When we weren't driving out to the hill country we found lots of fun things to do in downtown Austin.
Zilker Park is a great place with so much to do. We could tell that it's greatly utilized by everyone in the city and is a large and diverse enough park for so many different activities.
One of our three hotels had an indoor pool and it was probably the highlight of the trip for the kids.
The last place we checked out before boarding the plane back home was McKinney Falls. It was two separate fun little walks to a lower and then an upper falls. Both were pretty and had fun swimming holes that I assume are popular in the Spring and Summer.
Like we could really visit Austin without a few pictures in front of this wall!?
The end of the story is that we came home from Austin and had fallen in love with the place and it's people. For a few weeks after returning home we were quite prepared to be re-locating. Then a series of events and conversations ended up leading us to making the hard decision that we will still be moving, but locally. For a few days I was quite sad and had to process the fact of needing to let go of this dream that I had started to think of as reality. I still am a little sad thinking about all that may have been... but I can also see the many good and important reasons our family will continue to call California home. I am so happy we were able to take the week to explore and to just be together as a family.
It was a great time for us.
This isn't the last you will be hearing about this moving journey we have started on. Any words of advice from those of you who have recently gone through this?