Did I catch a “niner” in there? Were you calling from a Walkie Talkie?

So, it’s almost our ninth wedding anniversary and on Saturday night we did a lot of walking and talking, so I figured that was an appropriate title for this post. My dad hooked us up with a free room at the Omni, so we packed up and headed downtown (eventually) for the night. First, we stopped by the east side and tried out a new hipster restaurant called the Laundrette (you guess what the building used to be). And, oh boy, has the east side changed.  Then we headed north to K1 where Spence got second place in a race. K1 is an indoor electric race cart track; a genius business plan that has rendered hours of waiting to customers all across this city (and elsewhere, as it is a chain).

  
   
Spencer was flying high as we headed back downtown to check in to our room and ready ourselves for dinner. We had no plans and our only agreement was that we couldn’t go anywhere we’d been before. So, logically, we went to Frank since we are the last people to have eaten there (even Spencer’s dad ate there before us!). I sipped on a fine Maine Root root beer, while Spencer enjoyed a local beer on draft. We split a hot dog with mac ‘n cheese on it, took this glamour shot, then headed toward the 2nd/3rd Street district.

 

   
We squeezed into a matchbox called Mulberry where we got one of the three actual tables they have for dining and split some appetizers, including some heavenly bacon covered dates (one of the most delicious things that has ever graced my taste buds).

We wanted to keep the fun rolling, so we asked our waiter about any good new places. He told us Lonesome Dove had just opened a few streets east, so we packed it up and made the trek. Ok. This place was nice. The owner spared no expense and it’s only been open for a month, which is why we easily grabbed a seat at the bar at 8pm. But this place is going to be big! Huge. We can both tell. Also, Lonesome Dove is the site of my first rattlesnake tasting. I’m glad I tried it, but I’m fine if I don’t ever eat or see it again. Of tasty note: the jalapeno cheddar cornbread had chunks of cheese inside. Holy mackerel. Enough said.  

We waddled our way around the downtown area (we must have walked 4 miles total) again and finally decided to close our savory adventures at Eddie V’s. Sadly, neither of us had ever been there, which allowed this establishment to meet our dining qualifications for the night.  We enjoyed a live band, the best crab cake in town and a truffle mac ‘n cheese you should not operate a vehicle after consuming. Just wonderful.  

We considered dessert, but after seeing a guy shoot up on a bench about a block from our hotel, we called it a night. My stomach literally sank. And I want to tell you that the shock ended there, but as we flipped through channels back at our room, our old street name flashed across the screen.

“Police are told to patrol Old Street Name every chance they get.”

Spencer and I looked at each other.

The news anchor went on.

“But residents say not enough is being done.”

We looked up the news story and learned that only three months ago there was a fight on our former street totaling 50 people that ended in gun shots. Also, there have been over 80 phone calls to the police about disturbances at the intersection only houses away from where we brought our firstborn home from the hospital. This was a house I seriously considered having us pay off so we could send our kids to private school. Yikes. Glad we got outta there. I have never been so glad to free of a house and all of the problems that come with it. We used to occasionally drive by “the old house” just to see how she was doing, always disappointed that the new owner had let the yard go or that she didn’t bring the trash can inside the fence (the one we deliberately extended for said trash can). I feel sad for the old widow who lived across the street. I wonder if she is still living.

Back to paradise. We turned the TV off and slept in until 8:30! It was magical. We woke up and watched a 15 year old episode of Friends, which I never watched but didn’t care because it was TV and I was in a cozy bed being entertained by it and not having to make anyone breakfast. We loaded up and threw around a few options for brunch (same dinner rules applied) and mostly ended up driving around the east side and then Allendale.   

I picked up a cookie at Easy Tiger, a neat place I only entered because one of my friends thinks they have the best chocolate chip cookie in town. He is officially mistaken. Pieous holds that crown. Final downtown note, we saw one more guy flicking his arm to find a good vein across the street from our hotel as we escaped this concrete jungle. This rough landscape is one of wealth and privilege contrasted with depraved desperation, which we saw up-close and on so many levels as we’d taken dirty 6th back to our hotel the night before.  

We crawled up north and landed at The Noble Pig. I was hesitant, but then I had the best French toast (on an English muffin) I’ve ever had. Spencer went with a chopped beef sandwich and we clinked out Topo Chicos together for one final toast and then admitted we both missed the kids. We’d considered doing our grocery shopping to get ahead for the week before coming home, but we threw that out the window. We had to see the kids; these cuties we’d left behind the night before:  

In the end, we forgot to turn on the radio. We did not listen to a single song in the car the whole 24 hours we were away. We walked and talked and remembered why we got into this whole thing nine years ago. It was a swell remembering. We aren’t what we were on August 12, 2006, but I like this heavier, greyer, more wrinkled and less perfectionistic couple below a little better. Adds character!  

I also want to give major props to my in-laws, whom I adore, for taking on our munchkins overnight. They are the best and our children adore them.    

 

Summer 15

I’ve been having a blast with my kids recently. We live in this amazing city and this summer we have hit it hard.

  • We’ve made almost every free Nature Thursday at the Wildflower Center and discovered lots of fun new sites.  
  • We’ve owned a number of story times around town from Barnes and Noble to Book People (making crafts, singing songs and learning about new books).    
  • We finally made it to the new boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake where Brooks scootered like a pro.  
  • Brooks and I had a date to a birthday party at Jump Wild where we trampolined together for about an hour and I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun. Note: I’m considering having my 35th birthday party at this entertainment venue.    
  • We can and did spend an entire morning at Barton Creek Mall (45 minutes of which was in creation-mode at the Lego store, another chunk coloring in front of the fish tank at Nordstrom where each child procured a balloon embossed with Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – one that I definitely missed because shopping with two tiny people is impossible. Also of note, Brooks completely lost his mind when we walked past the headless mannequins at The Gap, which I will concur is disturbing. I also confess that it was lovely spending a morning in A/C!    
  • We spent most of June playing in/wading through/throwing rocks into creeks around south Austin and I’ve never seen my son happier (okay, maybe when he’s jumping on a trampoline).  
  • Sabra loved the train that took us through Brackenridge Park when we visited my mom in San Antonio. She also conquered her highest slide yet (one my mom also conquered).    
  • Have I mentioned our neighborhood pool? Yes, we’ve had some great times there, too. Sabra is convinced she will do the kiddy slide, but each time she climbs up, she reconsiders. Once she’s back in the kiddy pool, she turns back for the slide to try one more time. This can last a full hour.    
  • Both of my children are happiest when outside.
  • In that vein, we have enjoyed some lovely dinners on our back porch with our delightful evening shade (maybe one of my favorite features of our home)
  • Also in that vein, we are not gym people and quit the YMCA in May for the THIRD time!
  • We have successfully murdered thousands of mosquitos thanks to Barefoot Mosquito, which has allowed us to spend endless hours (especially before it got mega-hot) in our backyard and driveway. To be noted: Brooks can now scooter and ride a bike with training wheels, while Sabra can plasma car and Y-Bike like it ain’t no thang.  
  • We spent a wonderful week at LLFC and while we can’t live out at Laity Lodge, we try to make our home lives as campy as possible.  

 

Team Meeting

This morning Spencer and I convened for our team meeting. A Williams Wake-Up Team Meeting looks something like this: Spencer pops out of bed just before 5am while I roll over and pretend not to hear him getting dressed in the bathroom. He reenters the bedroom several times, finally pulling the covers off the bed until I (in a total zombie-like, squinty-eyed state) shuffle my way to the restroom. The victory is in leaving the bed and not returning. This is followed by anywhere between 15-45 minutes at our kitchen table discussing family issues, reading the Bible and squeezing in a prayer. This sounds like a luxury, but for us, it is a necessity.

A necessity, however, I have been neglecting since Christmas. For whatever reason, these few morning hours of sleep have won over communion with my husband (and ultimately God). I’ve chosen rolling over and waiting until that first cry from my daughter to shock me into each new morning. So, frazzled and in a hurry, I’ve greeted each day this year with no quiet moments with guidance from The Lord. In essence, I’ve believed that sleep alone will be my strength. But it has failed me.

And then last night I read a quote that startled me into conviction. It had something to do with the three lessons you need to learn in life or teach your daughter or something like that. Anyway, it read:

Don’t believe everything you hear.

Don’t spend everything you get.

Don’t sleep all you want.

BOOM! Guilty! I’ve failed, nay I’m failing, on that third nugget. I love sleep. Sure, I’m a mom and I’m beat, but my soul will dry out and disintegrate if I do not saturate it with truth – plus, then what will I be able to pour into my children?

  
I also read another notable quote that said: Rest is anything that rejuvenates. God is clearly trying to teach me some truths about sleep and my misuse of it! And, often, sleep/naps do not leave me feeling rejuvenated. Writing, reading, having a tidy home/order in my life; these are things that rejuvenate.

So, square one. Thanks to an enduring husband who doesn’t give up on me, we are back to our early morning team meetings, which always bleed into some alone time with the Lord with a chance of teeth brushing or face washing before that first morning cry echoes down our staircase, when my sleeping beauty awakes. May I always greet her with a prepared heart and mind!

  

Dolla Billz

For the first time in my life, I got paid for doing something I enjoy. There’s that saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I never really bought that because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. But this week I got to live it!

I wrote a piece on motherhood for The High Calling. I got paid actual legal tender and real humans that I did not know read it on their own volition. This is big, for me at least.

I’m doing what I love and I would love even more to be able to contribute some income to my family doing just this.

Life is good. And horrible. And hilarious. And heartbreaking. We are capable of so much, yet can be knocked flat by the stomach flu hours later. There isn’t always a cherry on top and you can’t put a neat bow on so many things life throws at you. It’s life, after all. But I know I have a good God. I know that this good God is in control, all while His Heart aches at some of the choices we make. He grieves with us, laughs with us and surrounds us while we are here apart from Him.

I’m ready to go home, to be sure, but while I’m still down here, I’m just going to keep doing this little thing I enjoy. I will write to make sense of the world. And who knows, maybe I can pay my phone bill doing it one day!

brooks 538

Pinch me

I must be dreaming. Last night I had one of those moments. My children are these ever-evolving wonders, my husband is responsible, a joy to be around and my best friend. 

  
Also, I ran a little at the ranch last weekend and at Town Lake yesterday. It felt so good. I feel so good. I haven’t had a drink in two months and I don’t miss it. I’m a better mom and my house has definitely never looked better. I’m not writing as much as I want to be, but I’m present for life – no longer in the alcohol/caffeine cycle and I am so hopeful.

The only thing that really annoys me and keeps me away from writing is that I can’t upload photos to WordPress right now. I don’t know why. Pictures make reading more fun. Hence, my blogs are less enjoyable than they could be.