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Friday, April 4, 2008

Jan - April: Austin, Texas!

Austin, we love you!  This town is querky, fun, weird, mellow, a little country, a little city, outdoorsy, friendly, and so many other things.

We live in an apartment on Bee Caves Rd. just across Mopac from Zilker Park.  Not much to love about this apartment, but there are two big pluses:  1.  Trees abound.  I have never been to an apartment that prioritizes trees over parking.  2.  Location.  We are downtown, but in the country.  We are on Mopac, so everything is ten minutes away.  We are walking distance from awesome parks, and being on the south-west side of Austin, we can also access the Awesome Greenbelt.

Here are my FAVORITE THINGS about Austin:

1.  The outdoors.  Sorry Dallas, but you just can't compete with the endless rolling hills of Austin, with countryside five minutes west of anywhere. 
 I LOVE the greenbelt, a sweet little escape into trails and creeks, swimming holes, and NATURE.  In fifteen minutes I can feel as remote as hiking in Colorado.  So awesome.  Just yesterday I was swimming at Sculpture Falls with my dog and met some awesome locals.  I took there pics doing flips off of a cliff and emailed it to them.  They told me of some great dog parks in the area.  Most dear to my heart was the element of EXPLORATION that came from hiking the greenbelt.  
Zilker Park has become the go-to place for Sami and me.  Almost daily we are walking the trail around Town Lake or throwing Praia's toy in the fields.  For Sami's bday we flew a kite here.  The Kite festival with thousands of people was fun.  We spent some good time with the Blackwells here as well.  Never got a chance to swim Barton Springs Public Pool nor kayak in Town Lake, but its just more reason to come back!   Cant' forget to Mention Mt. Bonnell.

2.  The Blackwells.  What can I say?  They are an amazing family, and we cherished every moment with them.  I gleaned every word of wisdom I could from Matt.  Sami reconnected with her good friend Shannon.  We both got to babysit and get to know their two awesome boys.  It was a blessing to have such good friends in a strange place.

3.  The People.  We met and were encouraged by some awesome people through Matt's college ministry.  I even got to play guitar for one girl at a music festival!  

4.  The Food.  So many cool independent restaurants, a complete spectrum of foods and atmospheres.  Mozart's cafe, Hula Hut, Kerby Lane, Magnolia, Galaxy CafeMangia Pizza, Home Slice, Guero's, Amy's Ice Cream, P. Terry's, Austin Java, Bountiful Bakery, ThunderCloud Subs, just to name a few.

5.  Hosting Friends.  We were able to host a friends over weekends.  Lindsay dropped in while on a layover! Laynie, Maggie, and Hillary came down and had a girlie-filled weekend with Sami.  There was much vintage shopping.  Whitney, Chase and Julie visited and we went up to Mt Bonnell.  Denise Rushing came down for Spring break with Sami.  Jeremy Horton made it down for a day.

6.  The Unexpected.  The first week we were here we won tickets to the Austin Symphony orchestra!  The concert was AWESOME.  When the Russells came down we ate at a gourmet restaurant on sixth st becuase Julie was related to the chef/owner!

Another great thing about Austin that I am placing ABOVE this list is the quality time spent with Sami.  We have had a blast growing up with each other.  So much time alone to enjoy together.  Thank you Lord for this season in life.  We will never forget it!

Dallas, here we come.

The Traveling Lilleys Slideshow