Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spring Break: Lone Star State Style

Cooper made a "code of conduct" for the car during the first leg of our spring break trip to Texas. Well said, Cooper.

If you ever wanted to have a visual on the word "snug" and "lively".....

Yes, friend Claudia was a co-passenger for a drive to Oklahoma City.  When I think about Claudia's time in our car, our favorite Texas phrase rolls through my head: "Bless her heart."

One toe in Oklahoma, and we were excited!

This is what one hour sleep and a full-days car ride with seven people looks like!

Day two, Claudia and I participated in the Go Girl Half Marathon in Oklahoma City.  For Claudia, this was state #41.  For me, state #18.

Was Claudia smiling because the race was over or because she was about to leave our family and fly back home?

Hubby is much more happy after a full night's sleep!

Stopped by the somber and touching Oklahoma City bombing memorial.

Next stop: Dallas/Fort Worth.  Spent Easter weekend with my favorite law school buddy Tiffany.  She's truly a beauty inside and out.

Easter morning was spent at Tiffany's church in Fort Worth.  (FYI...packing Easter clothes required an extra layer of frustration and suitcase space, but seeing four dapper boys on Easter was worth the stress!)

Post-church, Tiffany's children and my boys collaborated on an Easter egg hunt.

This teen proves there is no age limit to enjoying a good Easter egg hunt.

Easter hunting makes one hungry. 

The kids table.  Tiffany's daughter was a sport to be the lone girl in the kids' table!

After we left Dallas, we traveled down to Waco and landed at a little bit of paradise: Magnolia Market.

It's just my favorite show and latest obsession. To be walking the same grounds that Chip and Joanna created...there are no words.

Honestly, this experience was one of my favorites.  It wasn't because of the adorable scented candles and vintage keepsakes.  It was because of this field that adjoined the market.  We had a blast playing with the boys on the field and enjoying the Texas sunshine.

A handful of gourmet food trucks lined the market making lunch a real treat.  The boys hydrated with Mexican Cokes, something they talked about the entire trip.

Well, we didn't spy Chip and Joanna at the market, but a few minutes later we spotted Chris Kyle's (American Sniper) dad at the gas station.  He is the one with his backside to the camera.

His vehicle. 

From Waco, we landed in Austin at the Barton Springs, a natural swimming pool.

Despite the icy water temps, the boys dove (literally) right into the water.

Then, they let the sun wipe them dry.

A common theme for a Texas trip is food.  In Austin, the boys had their first (of many) taste of barbecue.  They were hooked.

Your screen isn't dirty (or maybe it is:)).  Those spots in the sky are bats.

We joined a few hundred other spectators on the Congress Bridge in Austin to watch the nightly "bat" show.  Like clockwork, every night at dusk, the world's largest urban bat colony exits from under the bridge and floats into the sky.  It's estimated that 1.5 million bats leave the bridge each evening.

Texas capital at night.

The next day, we made our way up to the peak of Mt. Bonnell, the highest point in Austin with a killer view of the Colorado River.

Later, we jumped on kayaks and toured around Zilker Park in Austin.

These two were a dynamic duo in the kayaks.  They rowed in rhythm and sliced through the water with ease.

These two were a hot mess.  They didn't need anyone else's advice on how not to constantly spin in a circle (except they did).

Leaving Austin, we did a drive-by of Jen Hatmaker's house.  The fact that she wasn't on her porch with a sign that read "Welcome Woods" was a bit disappointing.

And the barbecue feasting continues.  This time, the boys hit Salt Lick between Austin and San Antonio.

Our final Texas stop was at San Antonio. The next morning, I ran along the riverwalk.  It was beautiful, but I was terrified about becoming lost amid the maze of turnoffs and curves.

We tried to remember the Alamo the next day.  The weather was trying to help us forget it.

The Alamo didn't seem as interesting to the boys as the Wax Museums and tourist stops across the street.  Where did we go wrong?

When the weather cleared, we toured around the San Antonio Riverwalk via boat.

When in Texas....

I completed a half marathon in Texas while in San Antonio (state #19), and I was the overall winner of the race.  (But in effort to be transparent, there were only four participants in the half marathon:)  It's an experience worthy of a future blog post solely devoted to that race.  I told a friend my win was turning me into a diva.  She said the Boston Marathon will humble me.

Our final spring break stop was at Hot Springs, Arkansas.

There is no false advertising.  The springs are, in fact, hot.  Very hot.  143ish degrees.

He's hot too:)

I seriously think these three will regret this photo one day.  But, they were more than game about jumping into the tub for a snapshot.  I was more than game about giggling over the result.

What can I say?

The boys were sworn in as Junior Rangers again in Hot Springs National Park.

As we made our way home, nourishment was required.  Where to eat in Memphis?  According to my men, it's a no-brainer: barbecue (again!).

While in Memphis, we also visited Martin Luther King's assassination location.

And we swung by Graceland.  A perfect end to our Southern travels.

Last night, we rolled back into town after a jam-packed week of travel.  Our spring break destination was the Lone Star state with some bonus visits to its neighboring states.

What I will say about the week is that it was fun and full.  

The fun part revolved around seeing dear friends.  In Fort Worth, we stayed with my favorite law school buddy Tiffany.  During law school, I could count on Tiffany to know everything from the criminal code to what Kelly wore to the Peach Pit on the latest episode of 90210.  She was(is) smart, strong, fun, kind, and fiercely loyal to her dear friends.

When we came to visit, Tiffany was nursing a brand new broken shoulder.  Most people would find this injury to be the perfect excuse to rid their home of houseguests.  Not Tiffany, this tough lady showered us with hospitality and love. 

Chris also visited his friend Dan from medical school.  Dan and Chris spent an evening alternating between rehashing medical school war stories and regaling each other with patient tales.  For Chris, the entire evening was a treat.

The fun could also be found in the places we explored.  

In Austin, the city park offered natural spring pools and kayaking adventures. Congress Street Bridge introduced us to the strange, yet wonderful, migration of bats.

In Waco, we toured around one of the prettiest places on earth: Magnolia Market.  I honestly could spend my remaining days outside of the silos.

In San Antonio, the riverwalk provided great people watching and a feast for the senses with the aroma from the never-ending supply of restaurants and the sounds of the mariachi bands drifting along the water.

In Hot Springs, Arkansas, the hot springs fascinated our bunch.  The sight of steam rising from the many pools was a source of wonder.

And, the fun was found in the races.

In Oklahoma, Claudia and I raced along the city streets and enjoyed meandering through this pretty town.

In San Antonio, the race was tiny and the experience was unique.  But, the more eccentric the race, the more it becomes a memorable adventure.

As for the full...

Our tummies were full to the point when didn't even think was possible.  My brother works for a company that sells medical devices.  He says that Texas is their biggest consumer of bariatric instruments.  After a week in Texas, we understand.

Texas Mexican food puts Hoosier Mexican food to shame. I seriously ate my body weight in tortilla chips (good thing I had a few races to counter the chips).  

And for my boys, the endless supply of barbecue joints made them giddy (and eager consumers).

It was also full because the week was busy.

But, we didn't mind.

The busyness was filled with all of our favorites: family, friends, and food.

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