Little Hangers

We rolled back into town Sunday evening after our epic 10-day tour of the west that has elicited the response, “You guys are crazy!” more times than not when sharing our road trip plans. I look forward to recapping everything – if anything, for myself for that time in the future when I struggle to remember the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of our adventures. Meanwhile, yesterday was spent remembering how to work and attend school (I accepted a substitute position for the day) and putting away everything that allowed us to live like vagabonds over spring break. And it was while hanging up the little guy clothes on the little hangers that hang in his little closet when I realized that he probably won’t be needing the little hangers for much longer.

I mean he already has adult teeth, for goodness sake!

And this one isn’t too far behind.

I’ve never been one to wax poetic about our children getting older because let’s face it – it’s what they do. And each phase of development is pretty darn exciting (well, at least for now…I hear the teenage years aren’t exactly the peachiest) so it’s hard to be sad when you’re witnessing them take steps toward independence. But for some reason, seeing my son’s shirts swallow the little hangers yesterday gave me pause and reminded me just how brief our time is with these little ones at home…despite some of the days feeling so.ridiculously.long.

While we have never shied away from traveling with little ones, we freely admit that as they’ve grown it just feels easier to pick up and go somewhere new. Not that such endeavors aren’t without headaches but they’re always worth it. The benefits of travel with children include spending time with family, hands-on learning, appreciation of different cultures, and a new perspective of history. Our budget doesn’t allow for us to travel around the world with our children yet (fingers-crossed it happens someday) but with some creativity, energy, and drive (literally!), we’ve been able to show our children a lot of the country thus far. But seeing how none of us has been to Hawaii yet, I think an educational trip to Maui in the near future is in order. Or we can cross our legs, toes, and arms that the Army sends our family to the Aloha state.

As evident by the size of their hangers, our children won’t be in our physical day-to-day lives forever. Soon they will have their own houses, with their own closets, and their own big hangers. And they will have their own adventures and continue to see the world without their dorky parents by their side. So in the meantime, we’re going to experience as much as we can with them. Because at the end of the day, this is what it is all about – spending time with those we love, doing what we love, and trying to make sense of this crazy, wonderful, complicated, and beautiful life.

The Energy of Spring

I’m sipping coffee from my City of Pawnee mug that my lovely husband gave me in celebration of my 34th year while occasionally glancing out the window at a landscape that still feels foreign. I can’t help but feel as if I don’t belong in this place that so many people love, which is an admittedly strange feeling to have.

“You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” – Davy Crockett

Today marks our 8-month anniversary of living in Texas, which may not sound that long to some but it when you only live in a place for 1-3 years, it becomes a more meaningful length of time. Seeing as how Texas is big and everything is bigger in Texas, it’d be an impossible feat to experience the essence of every region within the state boundaries during our brief stay. We’re determined to make the most of our time here and despite considering Texas not one of our favorite places we’ve ever lived, we want to be sure to appreciate the culture, landscape, and history of the Lone Star State. Over the past 34 weeks…

…we’ve been to the Alamo – the quintessential San Antonio attraction that illustrates the spirit of the Texas Revolution and since 1982 has unfortunately been synonymous with Ozzy Osborne. Fun fact – Ozzy Osborne didn’t actually urinate on the Alamo…he relieved himself on the Alamo Cenotaph, which is adjacent to the Alamo in the Alamo Plaza.

We also found ourselves on the San Antonio River quite a bit. Arguably the second most-popular attraction in San Antonio is the River Walk – a collection of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River and manmade canals in downtown San Antonio.

And Historic Market Square, which is home to over 100 shops and stalls that many describe as the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. It reminds me a lot of the markets in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, where my family vacationed when I was a kid.

Tower of the Americas is the second-largest observation tower (750 feet tall) in the United States and was constructed for the 1968 World’s Fair. It’s our son’s favorite thing in San Antonio so we find ourselves here quite a bit.

We’ve spent a long weekend up at Canyon Lake, which is about an hour outside of San Antonio.

And we’ve found ourselves driving down to the Gulf of Mexico to the Padre Island National Seashore on multiple weekends last fall.

We spent a weekend in Austin and took the kids to Sixth Street and South Congress Ave.

We went to Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg, which may be my favorite place yet in Texas, and then returned for the Christmas Market in December.

We experienced Wurstfest, a 10-day salute to sausage in New Braunfels, a German settlement organized by the Adelsverein in 1844.

On Saturday nights last fall, you could find us at the Tejas Rodeo. The rodeo season has recently commenced for the season and we’re excited to go back!

We’ve eaten our fair share of BBQ (pictured is The Salt Lick and Rudy’s) and tacos.

We’ve spent many hours at the Pearl, a downtown neighborhood defined by the river and the brewery since 1881.

We even put on our winter best and attended a minor league hockey game at the AT&T Center, in effort to escape the heat. We hope to attend a Spurs game soon and look forward to going to as many Missions (minor league baseball) games as we can this spring and summer.

And finally, we’ve hiked countless trails throughout Hill Country. It is during these hikes when I am at my happiest in Texas.

Prior to writing this post, if you would have asked me to define the previous fall and winter, I would have likely done so with a pensive and possibly even a melancholy tone. Despite exploring the area at every possible chance and trying hard to appreciate all things Texas, I haven’t bloomed here. At least I haven’t in terms of ‘bloom where you are planted‘, an oft-referenced phrase in military life. But you know what? Writing this post is helping.  Looking back at what we’ve experienced over the past 8 months has given me a newfound appreciation for this little corner of the country.

Porfirio Salinas

Currently all around me in San Antonio, flowers are beginning to bloom and trees seem to be standing a bit taller. Perhaps I should channel the energy of spring and allow myself to do the same. I may not be the most vibrant I’ve ever been but maybe that just means I’m gearing up for something so amazing that it’s currently unfathomable. San Antonio will not be one of my great loves, but that doesn’t means she wasn’t put in my life for a greater purpose. So here’s to the next year or two…let’s see what we can do, San Antonio.

Two Thousand and Seventeen

We’re now twelve days into 2017, which doesn’t even seem possible. But then again, most people would scoff at the idea of Clemson winning the CFP Championship but yet here we are…GO TIGERS!!!

5874731dc06b7-image

Like most Clemson alumni, Clay and I bleed orange. And while love for our alma mater is certainly much deeper than just it’s football program, we’ve never missed an opportunity to cheer for the Tigers – win or lose. We didn’t get much sleep after whooping it up in our living room after Hunter Renfrow caught the game winning pass in the end zone, leaving only one second left on the clock. Jim Harbaugh may have fallen asleep before the fourth quarter but we wore our best orange and purple and relished in the opportunity to watch one of the best endings to a college football game. Okay – that’s enough about football. #ALLIN

plane-gc-opt

The date 2017 feels too futuristic…weren’t we suppose to have at least real hover boards by now? 2017 marks the halfway point between centuries for me – 17 years in the 20th and 17 years in the 21st. From this point on, the majority of my life will be firmly planted in the 21st century. In a few short months, I will turn 34. As time marches on this year, the angry 11 forming between my eyes will only grow deeper (I think it’s time for Botox), my husband’s hair will become peppered with even more gray, and our children will transform from tiny mystical creatures into tiny humans racing toward adolescence. And our rapidly aging dog will likely pass in the next year or two, which depresses anyone who has had the honor of knowing sweet Lucy.

It’s also a tumultuous time for our young country. Even though this is not the outcome I wanted, I’m not giving up. I will work hard to better my community, my family, and myself. When interviewed on the field immediately after Clemson’s win, Dabo Swinney (sorry – apparently I’m going to talk about football just a little bit more) said, “I told them to let the light they have inside of them be brighter than the light shining on them. If they focused on that, they’d be okay.” So if I had to choose a mantra for 2017, it’d be to focus on my light shine brighter than any light shining on me. I like that message.