Sunday, September 20, 2015

Chalk Ridge Falls Park

My daddio and step-momma were here in Temple this weekend! Visitors! So so lovely. We had a bit of a hard time finding entertainment Sunday, because, well... Temple. But we ended up accidentally finding this GEM of a park, and I must give Dr. Hogan full credit. We were really trying to find a park on Stillhouse Lake (my dad and stepmom are avid fishermen and wanted to check it out), so Brendon found Chalk Ridge Falls Park on Google Maps and off we headed. Turns out, though this park is next to the lake, it is literally just below the damn and not on the lake at all. Whoops! BUT, it was so so so awesome and I'm so glad we decided to give it a chance.

As the name suggests, there are FALLS in this park. A waterfall! A fairly legit one! We were pretty skepitcal as we started our way in. At first the trail followed the Lampasas River and it's kinda meh, but at some point we diverged and discovered, truly, one of the coolest parks we've been to in a while.

We wandered down the trail for a bit, and were kind of like... hmm okay... But then there was this fantastic boardwalk area through the trees and you could hear the falls, so we knew we were close to some action. Then BOOM out of nowhere, WATERFALL!

I mean like actual waterfall! Pretty dang big and full of the clearest water! I think it's a spring that feeds into the river. We didn't find the source (the park ends with a fence, but the stream kept going onto private property) but with water that clear I can only guess spring water.

Creeper in the dark...

And this area was so so GREEN! I guess between the springs and the river itself there's a good bit of water to be had. It was almost jungle like! I think this will be a fantastic park to visit this fall when the leaves start to change. Will that ever happen? Will it, Texas?

My dad's face though. Kudos to my dad and stepmom for trucking along in the heat with us. We didn't expect to go on a hike so we were all wearing flip-flops! Which was kind of perfect since we ended up walking through the stream. But not so great for the trail. I may or may not have accidentally "sat down" and Brendon might have lost his wet flops more than once. Now we know.

That will look familiar if you follow me on Instagram. Shamelessly posting it here again.

Boardwalk through the trees! Booty of my husband! Things of dreams!

I can't get over how green everything was! We're still in what feels like the heat of summer and everything is starting to turn brown and dry from lack of rain. Seeing all this lush nonsense was refreshing. Cooler weather, COME TO ME.

This little section went over another separate spring, far more of a trickle than the rushing water of the waterfall, but still crystal clear. So much water!

I am seriously still blown away by this park. I think by the end everyone was sick of me saying, "Oh my gosh I can't believe this! Can you believe this?!" I just never would have thought. It's not a state park, it's a totally free Corp of Engineers Park just chillin' on the side of the road that normally I would have overlooked. Thank goodness Brendon thought otherwise. There's not a lot of information about it online (this is the best site I could find for it) but apparently there are miles of other trails (all without a trail map to be found unfortunately), another smaller waterfall, and a suspension bridge! We will definitely be back. It is so close to us! And although I am obviously an avid lover of State Parks, I think we should give other parks a chance more often!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Disney Princess Dress Project - the drawings! (part 1)

Y'all! I promise promise promise I have not abandoned this project. I just had some major life changes in the middle of it... quitting my job, moving, getting knocked up, you know... one of which has altered my err... body shape. So it's just on hold. I promise! I even have Mulan totally planned out (although I'm having a hard time tracking down a certain pattern), and as soon as the Seahorse is out, I have regained some normalcy (spare time? does this happen with babies?) in my life, and have something that resembles a waistline again, I SHALL CONTINUE!

But, to bridge the gap, I have some planning drawings from my little sketchbook for each dress. I did it with Snow White and just kept going with each one. I got a little carried away, but whatever. It was fun to draw and color and pretend I was a kid for a bit. Why I drew the hair? I don't know. But those princesses have dang good hair, right?

Forgive me, the photo quality is not the best. Neither is the drawing. Or my handwriting. But silliness aside, these were what I planned that nonsense out on so I think they're "important". The drawings ended up matching the dresses pretty well! I've yet to acquire the hair or castles... but I'm working on it.

Belle was a two pager, because I had one dress completely planned out, then scrapped because it required too much fabric and just wasn't doing it for me. I'm glad I did though because I looooove her dress. Even though I've never gotten to wear it, it hangs in my closet proudly.

The last two I was totes preggo for. But thankfully not enough to where it mattered, fit-wise. Although Pocahontas' got real tight in the boob area over about a week's time. I couldn't put any of these on now, and that makes me just a little sad. And I'm not sure some will ever fit again. BUT it was a lot of fun, and I've still got SIX princesses left to make! Mulan's planning page is totally done, but since she's a work in progress, you'll have to wait until next year to see. ;)

So if you were remotely interested in this project at all, hopefully this holds you over for a bit. I have NOT abandoned it! Because my favorite princess (Belle, forgive me, it is so so so close, and sometimes it flip flops or you two are tied but you were my favorite the longest, I'M SORRY! You have my childhood!) is in this last half so obviously, I have to finish! Just lemme make this baby real quick first.

And you can see all the Disney Princess craziness here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mother Neff State Park

Yesterday I texted Brendon while he was at work and was like, "can I take you on a date tonight, or what?" and he was like, "okay." That's basically how it went. Boom, surprise date. I packed us a picnic dinner and we went to the nearest State Park, Mother Neff. Which happened to have gotten flooded this spring and half of it is closed. The half with, you know, the river in it. WHOOPS. My bad! The entrance was closed for the day too, so we had to pay via envelope/drop box. We were going to renew our State Parks pass, but I guess we'll wait until next time!

Thankfully most of the hiking trails were still open, so we parked near one and found a "cave" to have dinner in. It was pretty cool! Then we hiked around a bit. I think we were the only people hiking, and maybe one of five people in the park. It was dead! I guess that makes sense, since half the park is closed and all.

Mother Neff State Park is one of the oldest state parks in Texas, and many of the buildings were built as public works projects during the great depression. There were lots of fun little "landmarks" along the trails and the hiking was fairly easy, which was perfect for us since nightfall was quickly approaching!

There was this neat little "Rock Tower" that provided some excellent views! I love me some green trees!

The sun setting was kind of brutal up there, thus squinty faces. And I turn into a ginger in direct sunlight. My inner Weasley.

This was the last thing we saw before we headed home, it's a little pool! Apparently it was once spring fed but the spring dried up and now it just fills whenever it rains. It used to be eight feet deep but so much silt has settled in it that when it's full, it's only four feet. Time does crazy things!

It was a fun little date! Even if we didn't get to see the whole park. Hopefully they open it back up soon, it's the closest State Park to us. We haven't been to a State Park since the beginning of summer, because life and I thought I was going to have nausea for the rest of my days. We need to get back into the park hopping habit! Texas has so many cool parks, and they're everywhere!

Also, more picnic dates! Everyone needs more picnics.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Port Aransas 2015

This past weekend Dr. Sexypants (Brendon) and I went to Port Aransas to celebrate his little brother's 14th birthday with his parents. They were sweet enough to invite us and we were so glad to come! This was such a good trip you guys. I always forget how much I enjoy Port A, and every time I go I'm like oh yeah! This is good. This is relaxing. I grew up going to Port Aransas, but I appreciate it more and more with each trip. I told Brendon that we should totally buy a little piece of property down there. One day. In this imaginary world where we are financially flush and have time to scamper down to the beach whenever. Basically when we're 65.

There are A LOT of pictures. Prepare yourself.

When we drove down Friday night and we chased a rain storm the whole way. The next morning it was pretty cloudy for our morning walk on the beach, but by the time we headed back up for breakfast, the sun had appeared! And the weather was perfect all weekend. The recent rain had cooled it down a bit, but it was still lovely and sunny. And man, September is the time to go. It's not crowded, it's cooler, but the ocean is still nice and warm. Perfect swimming temperature.

Hello, Sunshine! Thank you for making our weekend so pretty.

Birthday boy!!! I cannot believe how much AJ has grown in the past year. He's taller than me!!! And like... bulking up. And he's a teenager. This is insanity, because the first time I met him, he was four. HE'LL BE GROWING FACIAL HAIR SOON.

This was AJ's way of seeing his phone screen in the blinding sun. He's very much a teenager in that he's obsessed with technology. He's into "vlogging", and knows WAY more about editing videos than I do. So awesome.

The idea of being buried in sand is pretty much torturous to me, but kids love that nonsense. Crazies.

We all played pretty dang hard in the ocean. Brendon, AJ, Deb, and myself swam A LOT! I loved it! I love swimming in the ocean (when there's not a ton of seaweed, which there wasn't at all!). It was seriously the perfect temperature. It felt so good. OH! And Deb, Brendon, and me were decently far out swimming and apparently a huge fish jumped right behind/over me. I was just chillin' and they both gasp and scream and Brendon goes, "AHHH A FISH!" I didn't see it at all, but oh man, their faces were hilarious. And of course I swam away from that area like my life depended on it. Not that the fish wanted anything to do with me, but you know.

SELFIE STICK! He was cracking me up.

Taking selfies with a big bulky camera is much harder than with your phone.

Preggo belly! I feel like I went from looking not pregnant to pregnant in a week. Although as AJ says, "I just look sort of fat." Kids, man. And I'm flying my homemade kite from last spring, which is still holding up like a boss!

GAH, I love this picture. These silly boys. LOOK HOW BIG AJ IS. Look at him next to Brendon! He'll be taller than his big brother before we know it.

We went for a night walk on the beach, with flashlights and lots of giggling. We saw a few crabs scuttling around, and a little EEL! That guy was cool/creepy.

Please excuse my ridiculous face sans make up plus sunburn, BUT LOOK AT DR. HOGAN! HA!

Birthday boy! (Look at that jawline, still dying.) I made him a chocolate cake with whipped cream icing, by request. He has good taste!

The next morning we went for another morning walk, and I forgot to change the white balance on my camera, thus, blue photos. Shooting in manual backfires sometimes (a lot).

Momma and son. :) And a crane:

Seahorses for the Seahorse, obviously. And no trip to Port A is complete without pictures in The Shark:

And (multiple) trips to Winston's Island Candy. THE COTTON CANDY TAFFY. Heaven.

This trip was so so so so SO good. So relaxing. We are very thankful that we were able to come along! I love the beach. I can't believe I'm saying that, because I've always been kinda meh about the beach and yesss about the mountains, but gosh, I really do love the beach. We'll be at a beach again soon next month in CALIFORNIA, so I'm extra excited to play in some waves again soon!

Trip details! We stayed at La Mirage Condominiums, and it was great! Perfect for a family, big rooms, and easy access to the beach! AJ's dad, Allen cooked up most of our meals (we were so spoiled) and then we had lunch on Sunday at Shell's, the best pasta on the island! And we stopped at Coffee Waves twice for coffee. Because of course.

Here's our 2014 and 2012 trip to Port A, if you're interested. :) Can I be a beach bum now?