We spent part of this week in Austin!
JP created a new swim products company and has samples of his first product ready to go (more on that later), so we headed out on a promotional trip to all his swim contacts in Austin. We rented a little bungalow off South 1st with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a fabulous bamboo filled backyard that the kids LOVED.
It was a little crazy, as he was basically just calling up coaches and stopping by practices wherever he was invited, so the kids and I were often entertaining ourselves in random locations (like my best friend J's house which we crashed for about 5 hours on Monday; 6 kids, 2 moms, much chatting- thank you J!), but we still fit in some of our favorite hikes, parks, and margaritas.
It was delightful to find that while Austin has grown up, out, and everywhere in between, a Polvo's frozen margarita is still the best margarita I've ever had. And in fact, all of our favorite hikes and restaurants remain existent and fantastic.
Bull Creek is still beautiful, though the water was so high we couldn't hike much of it. Cora was deeply skeptical of the waterfall. I'm not sure she's a fan of nature in any form.
We crammed in quite a few of our favorite restaurants- Kerbey Lane among them. My Eggs Francisco were a thing of beauty and Landon was quite proud of his full-sized grown up breakfast platter.
Claire didn't remember anything about Austin, and wasn't quite sure she ever lived here, but it's her hometown. We've had one kid for each place we've lived and this beautiful spot is Claire's.
True to form, Landon enthusiastically remembered everything, including several places we'd never been.
We hiked around Zilker and Barton Creek, meandering down a favorite path that leads to a view of downtown. I couldn't believe how different the skyline looked- I don't think I'd have recognized it without knowing what I was staring at. But it was still Austin- the place we met, fell in love, grew up, grew together. The city we came back to and bought our first house, found out how fun parenthood could be, and grew our family from 1 kid to a glorious 2. Unlike Chicago, which only I miss, I think both JP and I left a piece of our heart here.
We went to County Line, the only BBQ place I really like, at 4:30 and ate all the things on the menu with a few senior citizens because JP had to meet a coach at 6 p.m. I ordered the lean brisket with their beef rib- the only thing I've ever voluntarily eaten that requires me to touch a bone- and every bit of it was as delicious as I remembered. Apparently Cora thought so too as she took a giant bite and then held on tight while I tried to shake her off.
She's totally ready for college.
On Tuesday night our old nanny, Natalie, was free and came over to babysit the kids so JP and I could go out on a date. She was SO excited to see "her kids," Landon and Claire, and to meet Cora, and got all misty-eyed when she saw how big the big kids had become. I don't miss needing a nanny after daycare, but I definitely do miss her!
JP and I drove down 6th street, reminiscing about the night we met, and then continued on to the more grown-up West 6th and stopped in for a few drinks, plus french fries for me. A Mexican martini, french fries, and a hot man in cowboy boots, great jeans, and a button down shirt- these are three very wonderful things.
We took the kids to campus on Wednesday morning because Landon really wanted a Texas shirt and we realized that none of our children had anything with a longhorn on it and we were failing in our duties as UT grads. We parked at the Coop, picked up a few Texas shirts and a jacket for JP because it was freezing in Austin and we didn't pack properly, and then used our remaining minutes of free coop parking to take the kids across Guadalupe to campus.
As we crossed onto the West Mall, Claire exclaimed, "YES! THIS is COLLEGE!!". A girl was walking behind her and laughed, saying she wished she was so excited to be there. I think prior to that moment, "college" was just a mythical place she heard JP and me talk about rather wistfully.
I love that campus. I love that city. Some of my best memories are were made there. But as much as I love it, and as much as I miss some of the people still living there, it wasn't home anymore. Home is Fort Worth, where we have time for hobbies, each other, swim product companies, and third babies. And there's no traffic and we never drive more than 5 miles to anywhere.
Austin remains, however, a fantastic place to visit. We need to get there more often.