our date in austin

Our date got started later than we originally planned, so we ended up having a late lunch at Alcomar. I had been craving oysters, so I went with the oyster platter and ceviche for my meal, while Ben got the scallops veracruzana style. He wasn’t so impressed with his dish, though the cauliflower flan was tasty, but we both gave thumbs up to my ceviche and oysters. We were blessed with fantastic weather, so we opted to sit outside and enjoy it. I don’t think we’d come back here to eat again, but I am glad we tried it.

From where I was sitting for lunch, I saw Frond plant shop across the way, so we made a stop in after our meal. I came looking for the pilea peperomioides (they didn’t have it), but left with a farfugium japonicum. I loved this little plant shop, though most plants were pretty common types, they had a nice stock of pretty pots and baskets. Good thing this isn’t close to my house, otherwise, a lot of my pennies would be spent here on baskets.

Of course, we ventured over to Uncommon Objects and some of the other vintage clothing shops we frequent when we’re in town. Uncommon Objects is so good for ogling over quirky curiosities. There were many things I loved and would love to take home, but our home is pretty full, so there’s not too many things we need. Nevertheless, it’s still fun to peek around the museum-like shop. My favorite is how they color coordinate the sections.

We had time to kill before our dinner reservations, and because Churro Co. was closed (NBD, I was only waiting a year for our visit to finally try one of the churros I constantly drool over on their instagram), so we headed over to Kick Pleat and Olive. My favorite shoe designer is Rachel Comey, so I wanted to go a store and see her shoes in person. I have a few pairs of Rachel Comeys, but I’ve only ordered online. Even though I didn’t make a purchase, it was seriously so fun for me to go see them and try them on in a store. I was looking for a particular style, but it’s an older one, so it’s pretty hard to find a stockist who has any left in my size.

Finally, the highlight of our date, besides being with each other and actually holding hands, was eating at Uchi. Last time, we ate at Uchiko, and we didn’t know you had to make reservations, but we were lucky enough to be able to sit at the bar since we came right when they opened. This time, we made sure to make reservations for Uchi (made about 3 weeks prior), so our tummies were eagerly anticipating being filled with Uchi’s yumminess. And the good news is that Uchi did not disappoint. We ordered what seemed like a million things, and I even had room for not only 1, but 2 of their desserts. We ordered one, but they were so kind to bring us another one too. They also brought us like 3 other dishes we didn’t order to try out… that place not only excels in food, but also customer service. I know it sounds funny considering we are from California and sushi places abound, but this sushi place in Austin beat out any sushi place I’ve tried here at home. So if you’re in Austin, and love sushi, go to Uchi or Uchiko! The only difference I think we will do next time is sit at the bar. I think we really enjoyed the interaction with the sushi chef from our first visit, so I think next time, we’d like to sit at the bar again. Plus, that means we get to sit side by side, which means more cuddling.

After Uchi, and the 2 desserts I had there, we went to Prohibition Creamery so I could try their ice cream. It was a tough choice between the butter pecan rum and the spicy chocolate, but I went with the spicy chocolate. Hey! It’s our special day date, so I went buck wild with dessert.

We have plenty of friends who are very disciplined about their weekly date nights out. Us, not so much. We are both pretty content with our Friday nights having a homemade meal on the floor of our bedroom while we watch a movie. Sure, the kids are in their rooms right around the corner, but it’s intimate enough to allow us time to relax and connect together. It’s intentional time and we treasure it. Plus, we just aren’t weekly date nights out type of people, and then when we actually do go on a date, we go all out.

Like I said here, no matter if we are out and about or simply at home, I love just being with him (unless I’m mad, that’s a different story

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adventures in san antonio

Ben’s mom goes to see the Nutcracker every year with his sister, and this time, she took us along for the adventure too. This was the girls’ first experience with a ballet and what a beautiful show to start with. Prior to going, they read the story with Ben’s mom, so they were familiar with the story line, and it’s always fun to compare and contrast the differences after. After the show, Soul said, “Where was the talking?” She didn’t quite get it, but she went on and on about the gorgeous costumes. I hadn’t seen the show since I was a little girl, but I remember falling in love with ballet after. It was special to be able to watch it with my own little girls many years later. They’ve since started recreating some of the dances from the show in our home (I totally knew this would happen). Thank you Grandmama for this special Christmas adventure!

We saw the show at the historic Majestic Theatre and I was wowed by the intricate details of that amazing building. They just don’t make things like they used to. After the show, we walked all along the San Antonio Riverwalk. I hadn’t been since Ben and I first started dating and this was another San Antonio first for the girls too.

The weather was completely wonderful while we were there. It was in the 80s and we had no need for all the bulky sweaters we brought. The girls had been itching to try out their roller skates from their Auntia (auntie + tia) Suzi, so we all headed off to a local park. The foam ground was the perfect surface to take their skates out for a spin. Ben held Brave’s hand, and I held True’s, and we instructed them to “step and roll,” and after many step and roll steps later, they got it. Soul and Glow didn’t get skates, so they ventured onto the playground and pretended they were Jedis. Soul definitely looks like a Jedi to me (she tries to copy Luke Skywalker’s style). Ben, Grandmama, Auntia Suzi, and I relaxed on a bench as we watched the girls have fun rolling (True and Brave) and climbing (Soul and Glow) all about.

I love San Antonio and how much more friendly people seem than in California. People still even put up their hand to say thank you when you’re driving (I’m probably one of the few, but pretty much no one does that here anymore). I love that their traffic isn’t really traffic, and how it’s such a big city, but with a small town heart. We’ve looked at the possibility of moving, but it doesn’t look like it’s in the cards for us right now, but you never know. For now, we treasure each time we are able to spend there, and always wish our time was longer and that Texas was a lot closer.

For those curious, True and Brave’s skates are adjustable (can be purchased here), which is great for how fast kids’ feet grow. We love them so far and haven’t had any issues, but we haven’t had them for that long. They also are wearing this pad set (size: youth/child), which guards the wrists, elbows, and knees (Brave forgot her wrist guards).

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christmas in texas

Hello 2017! We had such a wonderful holiday in Texas with Ben’s family. All our days were pretty chill and filled with lots of family time. For Christmas, the girls presented a Christmas show they planned, and Papi Claus came back to town (Glow has no clue that’s Ben). It has been 2 years since Soul and Glow had been back, so they were all wide-eyed exploring the house and having fun with Grandmama’s dogs. Soul is hoping that she will be able to join the older two in Texas this summer (we aren’t sure if she’s ready, so we will see). Grandmama always has matching pajamas ready for the girls when we get there, and they pretty much stay in pajamas most of the time because their most favorite thing to do in Texas is hang out with their Grandmama at home. We did do a couple of family adventures out, Ben and I snuck in a date day to Austin, and we spent time together watching some old classics (Fiddler on the Roof and Miracle on 34th Street), as well as lots of old family videos. Our time there goes so fast and I wish we were able to stay longer. It’s always so hard to leave, and the girls cried for for the first couple hours of our road trip home. They love their Grandmama and Auntia Suzi so much, and we wish Texas and California were a lot closer to each other.

I have California girls with Texan hearts. Well, Soul might be the exception, she’s a California girl through and through. When we’ve discuss the possibility of moving to Texas, she says, “I’m going to stay in California.” That’s our Soulie!

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our home is a craft zone

Christmas break started on Friday and we have all been in crafty mode ever since. The girls and I have been so busy making gifts that our home has taken a hit and it’s really messy. Each girl has her own designated space for gift making, so the messes are spread all over the house. I want to try and get everything a little under control this afternoon, but I still have so much to make. Right now, our home is definitely a craft zone, so beware where you step because there are craft supplies strewn all over the place.

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our favorite building blocks

I’m sharing our favorite building block sets that the girls play with almost every day. The first set we ever got was the (1) the Melissa and Doug wooden block set for True and Brave. These natural, wooden blocks are classics; I remember having a similar set when I was a child. A few years ago, Ben’s sister got the girls their first (2) Tegu block set. Tegu blocks are magnetic and the kids have so much fun building different things. We’ve invested in more Tegu sets through the years (the robot, car, and more wheels), so they have a giant basket full of them. We have bull-nosed corners in our home, which I think are made of metal, so the girls discovered the blocks stick to it, and they build many things up the walls. These days, Tegu has a lot of different color palettes for their block sets. I know Tegu can be a bit more expensive, but these toys are well worth the investment. We got the (3) Guidecraft Rainbow Block set for Glow last Christmas. The girls love using them as lenses and looking through the colors. It’s probably the set that gets the least played, so if you’re just starting to build your block sets, save this one for last. They are really pretty though. The (4) Playmags Magna Tiles is another set I highly recommend getting. They are more tiles than blocks, but since they’re magnetic, it’s another fun one that the girls get really creative with. In our home, this one often gets turned into a castle for all their my little ponies.

True and Brave are 9 and 10, but they still love creating and building with their block sets. We also have each block set in baskets in the common areas of the house, so any time they girls get the itch to build, they are right there ready to be played with. These really are the toys that get played with the most in our home. They’ve made Star Wars spaceships, animals, castles, bridges, telephones, and the list of things can go on and on. They also love mixing them all together when they play.  When other kids come over to visit, the blocks are the first thing the kids are drawn to. It’s a nice playdate ice breaker. Ben and I try to be intentional with the toys they have, and love things that encourage their imagination. I know with this Christmas shopping season upon us, it can get overwhelming with what to buy the children, so hopefully this little list helps. I’ll have another post and share some other toys that get a lot of play in our home.

1) Melissa & Doug Standard Building Blocks
2) Tegu Magnetic Blocks
3) Guidecraft Rainbow Blocks
4) Playmags Magna Tiles

Anyone have any other good block sets to suggest?

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digital floral collage

Usually, I share crafty things, but this time I’m sharing some digital crafting I did inspired by Clare Celeste. I was attempting to make a poster as part of a gift, when I remembered the beautiful collages Clare Celeste makes and wanted to try my own. Now, I’m wishing I tried this out sooner and made our Christmas cards using an image like this. Who am I kidding, I never send out Christmas cards.

I used vintage floral images that were available for use in public domain and layered them together with a family photo. This is my first attempt; I have a couple other ideas I want to try. I think these collages would make wonderful Christmas presents, and I’m taking mental notes of people I think would enjoy a family portrait like this (ahem, the grandparents).

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