Messin’ with Texas

Today, I am drinking all the coffee, all morning long. How does traveling just take it completely out of you?

We arrived home last night at midnight, after nearly four days away in Austin, Texas. I totally understand why Texans are obsessed with Texas – it’s just so awesome. Even though Austin is more cool and hipster than I am, it was such a fun city to experience.

Someone had mentioned the independent bookstore BookPeople to me, so my first morning in Austin, all I wanted to do was find that bookstore. Evan was in conference meetings most of the days, so I was completely on my own. I spent all morning at BookPeople, reading and browsing.

During our trip, I read almost three books, I wrote and wrote and wrote, I ate and coffee’d, and I even tried Uber for the first time.

One of my favorite spots was Mozart’s Coffee House along the riverfront. It was maybe the most perfect morning ever, and I sat on the deck for breakfast and book writing, facing the peaceful river waters.

The rooftop pool wasn’t too shabby either.

On Tuesday, Evan and I also got to celebrate our 8-year anniversary! 

Thanks to all those who offered suggestions on where to go and what to eat in Austin! By far my favorite was Torchy’s Tacos. If you ever see one, GO. I’m still drooling.

Unfortunately my writer’s retreat did not also turn into a sleeping retreat, due to a very uncomfortably soft bed. Our hotel was amazing, except for the bed. Sigh. I suppose I should just accept that I will never get a full night’s sleep again.

Oh, and a special thanks to all the grandparents who made it possible for us to get away for 4 days! What a treat. When Brenna heard Evan come into her room this morning, she turned to him and said “Daddy? Are you here?” like she might be dreaming :) We are all pretty glad to be reunited again!

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Word counts, and words that count

My brain is getting squishy.

Writing a book is stretching me in all kinds of ways. Mostly good, as it’s been one of the most exciting, albeit challenging, tasks I’ve taken on. I already want to write more, ideas swirling in me, despite the fact that some days there is nothing remotely coherent left in me.

Of course I’ve had those points along this process of wondering how on earth this is going to take shape and oh my gosh, this isn’t good at all, and I completely doubt myself. But then a coffee with a friend or a morning at the Farmer’s Market will breathe new life and new ideas and new courage into my brain for one more day or one more week, and I remember that our stories are indeed worth sharing.

For years, I’d been writing in coffee shops, but after our local coffee place moved to another town, coupled with the Starbucks being a good 15 minutes away, it led me to discover that the library opens when school starts and offers some cozy areas to set up shop. And it’s saved me a lot of money in coffee drinks, so that’s a plus too.

Writing at the library is both calming and empowering, with its rows and rows of books – captivating stories and beautiful cover designs and some of the greatest words ever written, right in front of me.

 Last week, I celebrated reaching 35,000 words. I try not to get too fixated on word counts, but then again, it also keeps me focused and gives me cause for little celebrations for reaching milestones as I work toward my deadline less than two months away.

This coming weekend, Evan and I leave for a trip to Austin, Texas. When he was scheduled to attend a banker’s conference there, we explored the opportunity of me jumping along for the ride… and we are thankful for willing grandparents holding down the fort for our first trip away together longer than one night. I’m treating the trip, with no obligations on my end, as a sort of writer’s retreat, and I am looking forward to this time so much.

We will be celebrating our 8-year wedding anniversary, and during the days of the conference, I will have space and time wide open to write, to think, to read, and to just be and enjoy.

I am hopeful to up my word count… but I am more hopeful to find words that count. Whether I write 500 words or 5,000 words on this trip, I am excited to have some free days to let myself mull over the words that matter in this story, the words that should be written and recorded and told.

For those of you who live in or who have been to Austin, where should I go on my writer’s retreat? I’m looking for a good breakfast cafe or coffee shop, a good spot for lunch, and anything else I can’t miss seeing while we’re there.

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Serving Up Lunch with Step2’s Mighty Table and Chairs – and a GIVEAWAY!

When I saw Step2’s fall products, I knew exactly what our kids needed – the Might Table and Chair set.

This very simple item – didn’t even need to put anything together! – has provided extra seating for little friends at lunch time and has gotten our Play-Doh and our arts and crafts projects off of the kitchen floor. Two thumbs up for no more Play-Doh smashed in my grout, thanks :)

And one afternoon, I pushed several kitchen-type toys into the kitchen and the kids spent hours playing “restaurant”…

Between our Mighty Table and Chairs set, our play kitchen and our grill, we had a full restaurant set up… and Chef Connor was in business.

“Here’s your order!”cIMG_2099

Inspecting the food…

…before diving in :)cIMG_2114

I love this table and chairs more than any I’ve seen before because of the colors. The neutral gray goes perfectly with our black and white kitchen and the green gives a trendy pop of color. With the colors, I can keep the set in our eat-in area without it detracting from the room or looking out of place.

While Chef Connor mans the grill area, it appears his patron has decided to help herself to another cup of coffee.  Guess she got tired of waiting. Good service is hard to find sometimes 😉

And FYI – today is the last day of Step2’s Friends and Family Sale, where you can get 15% off – and tons of their items are shipping for free too. (Use the code FRIENDS15 to get the discount.)

Here’s a little snippet of our play time… it appears that the restaurant patron is going to have a long afternoon of eating ahead! Par for the course with this girl :)

Today, someone will win their own Mighty Table and Chairs set! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter tool below. The giveaway will run through Saturday…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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