Thursday, July 17, 2008

Southbound 35

That's where I was this past weekend. But let me back up. Thursday night, Richard tells me to pack a bag for a few days but doesn't tell me anything else. So, I assume he is taking me on a trip, meaning we, us together. Without going into LOTS of boring details that you will not enjoy, I will just tell you that eventually he did tell me that the trip wasn't for us, but for me and that he wasn't going with me, but was delivering me to my sister-in-law, Amy, in Dallas where her sister, Alicia, lives.

So, we get to the big D and to Alicia's house where Amy is waiting in the yard. She and Richard had been texting and planning this. So, she takes us into the house and yells to Alicia in the other room, "Hey, come look what I found in the front yard." She comes into the living room and is obviously shocked. It was a great "surprise"
moment...priceless. So, we find out that Amy has been conspiring with our husbands to take us on a surprise GIRLS WEEKEND! Maybe the title of this post should have been, "My SIL ROCKS!" Anyway, Alicia and I knew nothing about where we were going or what we were to do when we got there, but we were excited to get the weekend started.

This was our first stop in Preston Center in the Park Cities, Dallas. Sprinkles is a gourmet cupcake shop, which was heavenly...seriously, so good!


There are only a handful of stores and if you go to their website you can actually vote on where the next new location will be. Although they were pricey, they were worth every penny (and I can say that because Amy paid for them...ha)! We munched on them all weekend! You can visit Alicia's blog for her recommendations, but of all the ones I tried, strawberry was my favorite, followed closely by lemon coconut.

We get back on the road and we still don't really know where we're going but Amy finally reveals we are headed to Austin, which is enough to make me ecstatic to begin with because I miss the Hill Country and anywhere south makes me feel more and more at home.

Our room at the Driskill
We get to Austin and make it to our first destination, the Driskill hotel downtown on 6th street. Oh my. I had been inside the hotel before, but had never stayed as a guest. It was amazing. Alicia wasn't feeling well and decided to stay in the room Friday night while Amy and I ate dinner at the Iron Cactus (a throw back for us as we had been there together a few years ago while at a technology conference when we worked together in Bryan), visited some of my cousins on 6th street where they worked and then finished the night at Pete's Piano Bar where you can't go wrong and always have a good time!

The rotunda ceiling in the lobby of the Driskill.

Saturday we slept as late as possible, stayed in the room in our robes as late as possible, and treated any and all ailments to ensure a good time for the rest of the weekend. We headed downstairs to eat brunch in the restaurant in the Driskill and boy was it delicious. But the best part of brunch was that my dear, dear friend Corrie showed up, and of course Alicia and I were totally surprised.

Corrie and I met in grad school and became fast friends. We had so much in common and were, what I like to call, kindred spirits from the beginning. She then met Amy through me, and then "met" Alicia through blogging. They both have baby girls just 3 months apart in age, so they have a lot to share and talk about. They had never met face to face until this day.

After my shock wore off, we finished brunch and headed to our next surprise destination...Lakeway Resort and Spa! Oh friends, I must say this place made me really look forward to heaven because I KNOW heaven will be oh, so much better than this and this was so grand! We checked in, got in our room, chatted, opened up some very sweet little gift bags from Amy containing a pair of cute, cute, pajama shorts, a "beach book" (mine was Billie Letts's newest, Made in the U.S.A., which I'd been talking to Amy about earlier in the week), and a gourmet chocolate bar. So sweet, don't you think?

Me, standing on the balcony of our room at Lakeway...gorgeous!!!

At this point, I'm still in shock that Amy has done all of this, and surprised us to boot! So, we change into our bathing suits and literally spend the rest of the day poolside. Yes, all you people in C-town, wipe the drool from your chin and try to imagine time spent at the pool this summer! It was delightful and perfect...the sun, the water, the scenery and most of all, the company. Good company. Good friends. Good times.

Our lounging spot by the pool...I could have stayed another week and just stayed right in that spot with my book and my good friends!
The slide...yes, we ALL tried it! Lay down and it's faster!

When we all started getting hungry, we decided to head for The Oasis, the second largest restaurant in the nation...ginormous, people. This place was ginormous! It is known for their view of the sunset over Lake Travis.
Sunset at the Oasis

We had dinner, drinks and listened to one of the best cover "bands" (he was a one man band) I had EVER heard. His name is Chris Martinez and apparently he has played in Uvalde before according to my parents. He was amazing, really and he had me when I requested and he played, some James Taylor, specifically "You've Got a Friend." Ah, melt my heart...the next to last song of the night and great way to end a spectacular evening.

The four of us...Corrie, Amy, Alicia, The Oasis Saturday night
Amy and me

That night, Alicia and I decided to "explore" the hotel before we went to bed. A wedding reception had been going on all day and we figured by now anyone left in the party wouldn't notice if we were there or not. We made it to the doors, looked in, and then went back to the room.

Sunday we spent sleeping in, and then more pool/sun time! Ahhhhhhh...

Soon, it was time to check out and head to meet my parents who were there kayaking with my aunt and uncle. We visited with my 86 year-old great aunt who is in a physical rehabilitation facility in Round Rock.

Me, Aunt June, Amy in Round Rock
But, before we met them, we ate lunch at the Iguana Grill on the lake, and talked about plans for next year! Did you really think we would be able to stay at the resort and not immediately think about when we could get back there? I don't think so! Alicia and I are determined we are going back with Amy and Corrie, so it WILL happen! ;)

So, Sunday afternoon to Wednesday I spent in Uvalde with the parents, relaxing, sleeping late, reading, eating lunch with friends (mom's friends for her birthday), getting to spend some time with my best friend since we were 3, Sally (isn't she beautiful??)

and looking forward to coming home to my amazing hubby who felt SO guilty for having to lie to me about the trip that he actually apologized. It was very sweet.

Whew. So, now I'm back to reality. Painting. Sanding. Rebuilding fences. Stress. Etc...

But, when the stress and anxiety start to build up, I will just close my eyes and picture the weekend with the girls!

I'm so blessed. Amy, I know I said it so many times but thank you for a much needed respite from the day to day of my life. I love you like I can only imagine I could love a sister!

And just for funsies, a few pictures from after the trip...

This is the bloom from the "Charla plant" as my mom calls it. She got it when I was born, so it is over 29 years old! That's impressive. It doesn't bloom all the time, and the blooms are very waxy and almost look like clay or sugar mold candy. I was also playing with my Macro setting on my camera...pretty good, huh?

Again, playing with my camera, but this time the zoom. I shot this from my parents' living room into their front yard. They have TONS of hummingbirds!
This is one of the many reasons I LOVE modern technology. My parents are using a video chat program called Skype sitting in my living room in C-town, Texas, and are able to see and talk to my brother who is sitting in his room at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Isn't that an amazing blessing? We are so thankful as it makes him being so far away and in the middle of nowhere, a little easier to bear. We also "skyped" with Amy who is still in Dallas.


  1. WOW, what an awesome surprise! You are blessed to have such fun and creative SIL and hubby.

  2. Yea I have to ditto the WOW!!! What an enjoyable weekend - something about girl time that is just good for the soul! God has definitely been abounding in his love toward you this summer - don't ya think? Can't wait to see ya myself - happy fence building!

  3. exCUSE me?????? Your cousins work on SIXTH street?????? well, I never!


    Anywho, thank God for Skype. Really! What a blessing, as you said. How wonderful for your family to be able to see your brother. That makes me feel happy.

    Your SIL sounds very, very cool. It sorta gives me an idea.

    Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.

    btw, Girl, thank you for the sweet comments. You lift me up. Really.

    Who says God doesn't live on the internet, too?

  4. I am soooo glad I got to see you this last week, it was a great surprise! What a long day, but well worth it to spend even a little time face to face :) I miss and love you. See you soon!

    ps - (and I don't know about that beautiful part - but I'll take it!)
    Please tell Will I said hello...and enjoy the time with your mom and dad! Maybe they will ride your horses?!!!

  5. I am so jealous....I think that would be so much fun. that is great that you had someone even suprise you with that weekend....Good for Richard....for keeping it a secret and letting you go....I think we should plan a trip from c-town....steph

  6. What a great surprise! I also knew I liked Amy...and you, too, of course! Enjoy the rest of your summer:)

  7. What a great weekend! We do need to plan a girls trip somewhere like that soon. I'm really glad you're home! I missed ya. Let's do lunch this week.

  8. I'm jealous! I'm glad you had a great trip. I think it is awesome that you got to get away. I'm glad I got to see you this weekend. I do like your new camera! Good luck on the fence building.

  9. wow. i have always wanted to try the spa here - so jealous! i am glad you had such a great time. that sneaky, sweet amy! can't wait to see you this weekend - yay!

  10. That is an amazing SIL. What a great surprise. I'm so glad you had a nice, relaxing time, but I am sure glad you're back. I missed ya!!

  11. So much fun!! You have sure taken advantage of your summer break. I can't wait to see you Thursday. Did we say we would meet by lunch? I have a couple of ideas for lunch. You know those nostalgic places you love to go when you get the chance. I am sure we will talk in the next couple of days to decide on a meeting location. I am excited about getting to spend some time with you!

  12. Your sis-in-law is awesome! What a fun weekend and a great surprise! Maybe I'll get to see you this weekend....I hope!

  13. Your mom is so cute in her apron!
    Amber @


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