(Almost) A year in photos

I just realized that I have a kabillion photos on my iPhone.  I guess the last time I purged them was last August. In going through them, I noticed that I keep taking photos to remind myself to write a blog post.  But do I ever?  No.  And then when it’s time to write a post, I’m all like “I HAVE NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT!! OH NOES!”

Well, how about a pictorial view of what my life is like in Austin?  That way I barely have to write anything, but each photo nets me 1000 words!

Last August we went on the Hill Country Flyer, a train with super awesome old passenger cars.  My kids are train-crazy and loved this.  AND it was air-conditioned.  It’s hard to find fun family stuff to do in August that is air-conditioned.

I signed up to get a bi-weekly box of vegetables last summer from Johnson’s Backyard Garden.  While I enjoyed it, I felt like it was far too many vegetables for my family to consume.  The benefit was that it pushed me outside of my veggie boundaries, and I learned how to pickle (like the okra above).  The downside was that we couldn’t ever finish it all and I had to throw a bunch of dead veggies away.  I think if I didn’t have kids and it was just my husband and myself, I would have far more energy to find recipes for everything.  Make sure you have plenty of time for meal prep if you sign up for this kind of thing.

A friend of mine skates for the Texas Rollergirls, although I can’t remember what team she’s on because I suck and don’t feel like looking it up.  We actually tried out together for their rec team a few years ago and she took to the sport like Michael Jordan to basketball.  I was a crazy mess on skates and gave up after a few months.  Anyway, last summer we took the kids to a bout downtown, and afterward….

…we all shared a banana split at the fancy hotel at 6th and Congress, The Driskill. I am an absolute sucker for swanky old hotels, and this one is even haunted.  Stay here if you come to town for a visit and you won’t be disappointed.

My kids go to a hippie daycare where each child is handed a bucket of paint upon arrival with the instructions to get as messy as they possibly can.  I jest.  Sort of.  The above picture shows my son the day he wanted to be an angry bird.  Below shows my daughter on blue shaving cream day. If you’re looking for hippie daycare options, let me know.  I know where to send you.

She’s only mad because I’m daring to take a photo of her.  She was actually quite pleased with the actual hairdo.

Sometimes my family and I walk over to Dart Bowl on the weekend for a round of the greatest sport on earth while we eat some killer enchiladas.  Check out the yelp review in the link above.  They’re known for their enchiladas, which, as I said, are killer.  And their Chicken Fried Steak, but I happen to think that there’s much better out there, like at the Broken Spoke (See below).  Also, file bowling under good air-conditioned options for the summer too.

I grew up in Corpus Christi, TX, and the past couple years we’ve been going back to the coast with my parents to catch up on some beach time. We always stay in the same condo outside of Port Aransas called Mustang Towers.  Last year the boys all brought their fishing gear including my son’s Spiderman fishing pole, and my son was the only one to catch something!  They even cleaned the fish and fried it up, only all we had for batter was bisquick.  It became known as The Great Fish Pancake. I think seafood tastes like rotten butt rolled in poo, so I abstained.  But I hear it was good.

Meanwhile my mom and I took my daughter to the Texas State Aquarium, which they were building right when we moved away from Corpus in 1989 and I always felt robbed that I never got to see it.  It was meh. Don’t go with a cranky two year old unless you really have to.

Here’s a secret:  I don’t really like Willie Nelson.  That’s a blasphemous statement for a Texan to make, but it’s the truth.  Have you ever tried to sing along with him?  You’re just not sure when he’s going to sing each syllable! Land the plane, Willie. Land the plane.
However, he’s not going to be on this earth much longer. So when Willie throws a concert to benefit Bastrop, TX after all the wildfires (with Lyle Lovette, the Dixie Chicks and George Strait), you go.
Franklin BBQ has gotten a ton of national press in the last year.  A TON. It’s worth the wait, as long as you accept that 2-3 hours of your life will be dedicated to the pursuit of barbecue. Don’t go when it’s hot. We went in October. 

And yes, my crazy fool husband wore a Salt Lick t-shirt to Franklin.  He likes to provoke.

You don’t have to poke around too far in this little website of mine to discover how much I love Wurstfest. This past year we took our newlywed friends Becca and Matt for their first time.  Becca won the slide contest at the fair portion. Afterwards we celebrated with beer, sausage, potato pancakes, beer, and fried pickles.  We also did the Chicken Dance about 5 billion times.  This year, unlike in 2010, I did not get completely hammered and toss my cookies on the Wurstfest lawn.  I was very civilized in 2011 and held my liquor/beer.  My parents kept the kids that weekend, God bless ’em. 

Another train pic, this time from the Zilker Zephyr at Zilker Park. In the above photo we had just emerged unscathed from the scary spooky tunnel of doom. WHEW!  Did I mention that my kids like trains?

In the fall and winter we LOVE to go on hikes.  In this shot we went to Twin Falls on the Barton Creek greenbelt, which was bone dry.  We all got to practice rock climbing.  Everyone should go to Sculpture Falls when there’s water in the creek because it’s gorgeous and a fun place to swim.  I hear that there’s water there now, and we are going to have to take the kids soon before it all dries up again.  You have to park off a Mopac Freeway exit just south of 360, on the southbound side.  You’ll see cars parked there and it’s perfectly legal, even though it doesn’t feel that way. It’s the best access to the best part of the greenbelt, in my humble opinion. 

My in-laws came out to visit in February, just as my mother-in-law turned 50-something 35. She’s a big country fan, so we took her dancing at the Broken Spoke and then out for gourmet doughnuts at a trailer called Gourdoughs.  We all had a BLAST!  They give two-step lessons on certain nights, and then have live music play while you dance the night away.  This is a must do for visitors. Oh, and the doughnuts were so massively sugary, I recommend you going with the simplest one possible.

What do you know, another train pic!  Austin Metrorail started running on Friday and Saturday nights, so one night when my husband was away on a business trip, I took the kids downtown for some hot dogs and ice cream.  I am the best mom ever, according to my kids.

I had a Saturday afternoon off once this spring and strolled down S. Congress with no agenda.  It was heaven.  Then I stopped off at The Snack Bar and had their Brussels sprout dish, and it was like a double heaven.  O M to the G. Holy toledo.  I am still amazed with how good this dish was. Flash fried Brussels sprout leaves with aioli on the side. Yum. 

This past Easter we went camping at our favorite spot, Guadalupe River State Park. If you have kids, this place is perfect because the river portion is really calm and slow, although you can find some slight rapids down river.  We love it here, especially the walk-in sites.  (Read: no generators or RVs!)

Above: the motorcycle gang on my little cul-de-sac street.  Sigh.  I love my neighborhood. 

My husband and I like to do one-on-one dates with the kids.  My sweet girl and I went to Quack’s Bakery and had a ginormous pink cupcake, because that’s what girls do on dates. 

This is so not the best picture to describe the amazing time we had at the Buda Wiener Dog Races this past April. I’ve been wanting to go see these for YEARS but never could because it usually falls on my birthday weekend when there’s tons of other stuff to do.  We finally went this year and it was so cute and exactly like you would imagine a weird festival in a small town would be.  In the middle of the races a train went by real slowly and the show pretty much had to stop and wait for it to go by.  The announcer even knew the train engineer’s first name and was like “Y’all all wave to Fred, and tell him to hurry on up.” I happen to love dachshunds (had one growing up named Nickey) and watching them scramble around in a field is about the cutest thing ever.  I was enjoying myself so much that I forgot to take a photo.  The only photo I took was this one on, you guessed it, the kiddie train ride my daughter and I took afterwards.  She was about 2 minutes away from a meltdown, hence the sourpuss face.  I probably made her mad by taking her photo again.

And that brings us up to today!  My friend Becca and I went to the Renegade Craft Fair to see all the crafty things that hipsters make, like this plush owl-like creature.  Afterwards we went to Hey Cupcake for a super sugary cupcake.  I’ve got half of mine left in the fridge and am just waiting for the kids to go to bed so I can finish it.  
There you have it.  Life in Austin, as seen through my iPhone camera lens.

20 Comments

  1. Shelby
    June 6, 2012

    What neighborhood do you live in? I'm looking for a family friendly area where we can all make new friends!

  2. Move To Austin
    June 6, 2012

    Brentwood!

    http://www.move-to-austin.com/Central_Austin_along_Lamar_and_Burnet_Rd.html

    Not every street has the kid ratio that we do, but I think it's a great family-friendly area in Central Austin.

  3. Bright
    June 9, 2012

    What a great batch of photos. My son is 15 now, but he was born here and your pictures remind me how fun it is here with a small child (big kids are fun too).

  4. Austin Minard
    June 14, 2012

    I lived in Austin in the early 70's when I was just a kid. I went back in 2010 on business and got to revist the park on the river and 6th street. Music on 6th street in amazing! I love Austin! My parents loved it so much they named me Austin!

  5. Anonymous
    June 19, 2012

    Can you recommend some hippie preschools in the Cedar Park/Leander area. I just moved here from AZ. (Very excited to be here and your blog has been a field guide. Thank you). I have 2 and a half year old girl.

    Thanks, Julie

  6. Move To Austin
    June 21, 2012

    I don't know of any hippie schools in that area. The hippie parents that I know up there either send their kids to the hippie school that my kids go to in Central Austin, except for one family that sends their kids to a Lutheran school in Cedar Park. Not sure of the name of it, but I also wouldn't consider it to be that hippie 🙂

  7. Jennifer
    July 8, 2012

    I just moved to Austin! So much to explore I don't know where to begin… !! How do you get to that great part of Barton Park you mentioned? I want to go there but the park is so big. Thanks! Your blog has been really helpful.

  8. Move To Austin
    July 10, 2012

    Oops, I originally said it was Sculpture Falls, but it was Twin Falls.

    I did a post on all the cool swimming places back in 2009, and it's here:

    http://blog.move-to-austin.com/2009/02/friday-favorite.html

    If you click on a link to each one in that blog post, you should get a map view of where each spot is.

    To get to Twin Falls you have to first go

  9. Lacey
    July 19, 2012

    Loved finding your blog a few years ago…really helped with my decision to move to Austin! I have a son that I will need to find some sort of early preschool/daycare/mom's day out type thing for 2 or 3 days a week. Right now we are working with a realtor and could be living anywhere from Allendale to Circle C area- not straying too far off MoPac. I have done tons of researching online but

  10. Lacey
    July 20, 2012

    Another question about preschools…I am looking at Children's Discovery Center and looking for ANY feedback on it- have you heard of this one? It looks pretty hippie, not sure which one your kids go to but you mention it's also hippie- in your experiences are your kids also learning at these places? Or is it all just fun and games? Never knew this little decision was going to have me

  11. Move To Austin
    July 20, 2012

    I have friends who send (or have sent) their kids to Childrens Discovery Center and they love it. Some moms have said that they can see a huge difference in their children’s self-worth when they go on to both elementary school and beyond. I guess they teach them how to stand up for themselves in a strong and confident manner. I do know they get pretty dirty there, but it looks like a fun place.

    I was also thinking about All Austin Co-op for you, since you made it seem like it would not be a full-time need. I have several friends who have sent kids here and have heard nothing but good things about it. It is only part-time though, and you will need to volunteer there (as per the co-op mentality).

    If you are needing one down south, you could look at either Habibi’s Hutch (I’ve heard mixed reviews from friends, some LOVE it and others have pulled their kids out after a few months) or look into the south campus of Children’s Discovery Center.

    The best way to tackle it is to tour all of them and follow your gut for what feels right. There’s a bunch more Montessori schools in the area that you’re looking in, but since that wasn’t the teaching style I was into I know nothing about them. I also tend to know more hippie moms who send their kids to the above schools. Good luck!

  12. Lacey
    July 24, 2012

    I appreciate your input and will look into those schools- thank you! 🙂
    You should think about doing a post about preschools/daycares/mom’s day out programs that you know of…I have spent weeks online searching this stuff and there are tons of people in my same boat trying to get some good recommendations. Thanks again!

  13. Ashley
    October 2, 2012

    This is such a great blog, it has really helped with our move to Austin this month! Can you recommend some laid back or hippie kindergarten and elementary schools? We will be moving mid semester and I want my daughter to be in a very loving environment to help with her transition.any recommendations would be very much appreciated!

  14. Ashley
    October 2, 2012

    Love your blog, it has been really helpful in our upcoming move to Austin! I wanted to see if you could recommend some hippie or laid back kindergarten/elementary schools? I we will be moving mid semester so I would really like to find a place that has a very loving and nurturing environment that will help my daughter with her transition. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh and we will be moving to central or south areas. Thank you!

  15. Ashley
    October 2, 2012

    I was also wondering what you thought about The Waldorf School? Thanks!

  16. Move To Austin
    October 2, 2012

    Don’t know much about the Waldorf School. Most elementary schools in South or Central Austin will have hippie-ness built in just because of the families that go there. Our elementary school (Brentwood) is pretty great so far (we are 1 month in!).

    The ultimate hippie elementary school that is free is Austin Discovery School on the east side. It is a charter school and quite a commute unless you live out there or have a parent who stays at home. http://www.austindiscoveryschool.org/

    It’s based on a lottery system so there’s no guarantee of getting in.

  17. Anonymous
    January 5, 2013

    What a helpful website and resource! Thank you for creating it and sharing so much great news.
    I grew up in San Antonio and have lived in Boston for several years, but now that I have started a family, I’m thinking about returning to TX, specifically Austin. The pictures reminded me of how much fun you can have in this unique town and will help us move forward in research and getting prepared. Great stuff!

  18. Lori Gaddis
    June 19, 2013

    I just LOVE your use of “kabillion” it is right up my alley as I tend to have a language all my own (but is usually understandable by most everyone). I am looking into relocating to Austin within the next 3-4 months and your site is a God-send! I don’t have young children (mine are 22 and 25) so that is not a consideration for me – but I am looking for Administrative/Secretarial work so I appreciate any information on the employment search. I am 52 and newly single and looking for a place to call home. Thank you for your terrific insite and information. Lori

  19. Mytique
    October 14, 2013

    Hi,
    what General recommendations/hints would you give to someone moving from Europe to Austin?- Jobs, places to stay, integration…

    Thanks in Advance.

    M

    • katlam429
      October 15, 2013

      I would say take a look around this whole site–it’s full of general recommendations and hints for moving to Austin :).