Friday, February 28, 2014

Family Photos

 We were long overdue for some updated family photos and Michael surprised me with a mini-session for Christmas back in San Angelo. These are a treasure to me for many reasons but it will be fun to look back and see our family at the starting point of our "Chick-fil-A journey." I've put some up on Facebook, changed my profile pictures, updated my cover photo, etc. so pardon the overkill but I don't have a home to frame and hang family pictures like everyone else. 

And Brooks, just look at his face. "Help me!"

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Best Of" the first month in Dallas

 Good news! We are staying put in Dallas/Plano for the month of March. This means that Michael gets two consecutive months of leading his store, we can stay in our current apartment and don't have to pack up, and we can further settle into life here in Dallas. Below are some of our favorite times in the city:

1. The Dallas World Aquarium 

2. Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (Carmen could spend hours shopping in their kid area)

 3. Kidville (can you spot Carmen?)

We got to spend time with some Virginia friends that are hoping to move to Dallas very soon. Olivia is just darling, here they are eating cakeballs together:

4. Open gym time at a gymnastics center. Carmen is amazing at the gym.

5. Haggard Park in Downtown Plano - close to Daddy's store and across the street from a year round local market with fresh produce and 20 some varieties of coffee beans. I've been loving my cups of coffee!

6. Klyde Warren Park - Food Truck Sundays are pretty neat!
 Can you see all the trucks lined up?
 They have a fun splash park that the children go crazy for
 He's just perfect.

7. Twisted Root Burger Co. - a Food Network find, delicious burgers, fried pickles, homemade frozen custard. Home of the best root beer float you'll ever find. One night we were there and had already ordered our dinner but held off on getting the milkshakes when the manager announced that the first person to bring him a postage stamp would get a free milkshake. You better believe this girl had one in her wallet. I shared my delicious, free milkshake with Carmen. 

8. The Village Church - who wouldn't want to listen to Pastor Matt Chandler preach every Sunday? I'm usually in the nursing mothers room but it's still great!

9. Downtown Plano - reminds us of Old Town Manassas just actually lively and thriving

10. El Fenix - delicious, cheap Mexican food with $2.95 margaritas at all times. 

11. Frankie's Mexican Cuisine - even better Mexican food. Yum, yum, yum. 

We tried to get to another local winner, but the wait was so long that we went elsewhere. We'll try it out soon enough. For now, we'll keep eating tex-mex. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Good Times in Texas

Backtracking a little to last month in Corpus Christi.... I can't leave out the details of our time with my aunt and uncle! Herb and Cynthia drove all the way down from Oklahoma City for 11 hours straight just to spend a weekend with us and escape the cold weather. Wouldn't you know it was a freezing cold weekend in Corpus, but we still loved their company! They arrived on a Thursday with Disney store gifts galore for little Miss Carmen and Brooks. They are so good to us. 

The next morning we visited Michael's mall and ate lunch at Chick-fil-A. Then we all went out to Joe's Crab Shack on the pier for a seafood dinner. It was a wonderful time and Uncle Herb made me cap it off with a mudslide so I was delighted. 

We tried out our favorite diner for breakfast.

Then we took them to our favorite park by the water and were surprised by an unexpected car show complete with a DJ blasting reggaeton... we went for a stroll along the pier. It was a chilly, but gorgeous morning. 

Later that evening, Michael came home early and Herb and Cynthia treated us to a date night! We took our first dinner out together in Corpus Christi and went to Waterstreet Seafood Co for our most delicious meal of the entire month! The fish we ordered was caught fresh that day - so, so good. H&C were so kind to us (especially since Brooks had a big diaper blowout not even 15 mins after we left.) and it was such a treat to get to spend a quiet meal out with my love. They drove home with a few of our boxes and luggage bags only to return them to us the following weekend in Dallas to help save space as we made the move up north. We got lucky and got to see them two weekends in a row! I love my family.

My last week in Corpus was delightful. The weather warmed back up and we took full advantage of our favorite spots. The aquarium was a hit for both Carmen and Brooks. I don't know if you can see how cute her profile is in the pic below but she is clapping for the dolphin (in between the two other girls).

The is taken at the aquarium looking back at downtown Corpus

You can see the USS Lexington in the background of the aquarium

This was taken as we waited in line at Starbucks drive-thru, she's just being her normal, excited, expressive self. Maybe a little more thrilled because she's getting a kids' hot chocolate.

 Our last day out on Padre Island beach together

We played "ice cream truck" in the back of the pick-up for quite some time, then decided we needed to go eat real ice cream after all that pretending. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Plano Apartment

Here's the home we've been living in the past three weeks. It's pretty spacious and very central to everything we've been doing. Michael's store is only 2 miles away! Can you even fathom that commute? It's glorious. 

View from the entrance


Brooks' room - gosh I miss having a changing table

Carmen's room

Carmen's bathroom

Our bedroom

Our bathroom

We have a garage and a little patio that we will never use. The complex has a playground but it's pretty small and awkward so we like to drive to some awesome parks around the area. Overall, we've got a great set up here in Dallas! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Assignment #3

After being at our third assignment for two weeks already, I figure it's time to update the blog. Michael got placed at a mall in Plano, TX for February 1st! We were sad to say goodbye to the lovely gulf coast area but thrilled to head on up to the big city of DALLAS! 

We packed my car once again (which is getting smaller and smaller by the move) and loaded up Michael's pick-up and drove 7 hours up to the Metroplex. Carmen rode all the way with Daddy because his car is so much cooler than mine. "No, Daddy's truck!" is all we hear when we decide to take my car anywhere.

 We stayed one night in a hotel then moved into our new apartment the next day. We've slowly been getting acquainted with the area and, let me tell you, it's everything that Northern Virginia has to offer just better in every single way. No wonder Texans have so much pride. This big city does it right. Their road systems are so much better, their neighborhoods are great, their shopping centers are classy, and there is more offered here for a family to do than you could imagine. It'd be fun to stay here for a few months. We've eaten at some delicious local spots and had great tex-mex. Our plan is to hit up a big park downtown tomorrow (sunny and 75 degrees) and try out all the food trucks after church. AND maybe the best part, I've gotten to see my relatives a handful of times since we moved here and hope for more! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Best of Corpus

Our time in Corpus was really great overall. I'd say we had more warm days than cold which made this January one of the most enjoyable Januarys ever (sorry Aunt Heather).  While the rest of the US seemed to experience a polar vortex we were loving this:

1. The weather and the views

I really loved spending time at the playground right on the coast. Here is another shot of the La Palmera Chick-fil-A where Michael was working. We went to the mall just about every day to see Daddy. We also loved Macy and her hubby Cameron and cannot wait to see them again soon! Carmen quickly latched on to them and gave them hugs goodbye. 

2. Andy's Kitchen - Andy's was a favorite breakfast diner in Corpus. We ate here a lot. Their fast service, never ending cups of coffee, freshly baked blueberry muffins, and cheap, delicious menu items won us over. We stopped for breakfast one last time on our way out of town and the manager came over to us and gave us a special Andy's Kitchen hat to take with us. Carmen loved the pancakes as usual. 

 3. The Aquarium - Texas State Aquarium was right up the road from us and Carmen fell in love with the dolphins. The dolphins loved to swim up to the window and pass Carmen. The trainer told us that they could see us as well as we could see them. Brooks giggled every time they swam past. 

4. We had some great seafood while living in Corpus! Waterstreet Seafood Company was our favorite and a came recommended by nearly everyone we met. 

Scuttlebutts was also a favorite restaurant over on Padre Island. They had awesome Happy Hour specials and delicious sushi and fried seafood baskets.

I mean, wow, just look how pretty this view is:

5. Michael's rental car. It really isn't specific to Corpus Christi but it's where Michael fell in love with driving a truck and will probably never go back to driving anything else if he can help it. 

6. Carmen and I enjoyed the Toddler Tumble Time at a local church. They set up their gym once a week with so many toys, bounce houses, tumble mats and climbing blocks and hosted open play for little kids.

7. Cheap Pedicures! Michael treated me one Sunday to a few hours out by myself and I got a fresh pedicure. It was lovely and it only cost $20. 

8. Fried Avocado Tacos. I went through this one drive thru a few times just to order 
1-2 fried avocado tacos. So good.

9. Again, not really a specific to Corpus Christi but I forgot to mention it earlier, some stretches of highway here in TX are 80mph speed limits! It's great to be able to drive that fast. Also, when you're on a two-lane highway and need to pass someone, it's common for them to just move over and drive in the shoulder of the road while you stay in the lane and pass them. I've never seen that in Virginia. 

Corpus Christi was such a fun assignment (minus the sicknesses that wrecked us yet again). I'm thankful we got to be there for the month of January! 

p.s. Carmen tells me to "turn around Mommy" in this video. Thanks kid.