|Joshua's Mustang Island friend|
|Tasting the saltiness of a steady seabreeze|
|Petty's first time at the beach, very wary of the waves|
Summer 2012 is officially over, and it was so action-packed, so transitional for us that it was almost dizzying. It began with my future as a French/journalism teacher with Hays CISD uncertain and Joshua working hard in North Austin as an assistant business office director, then ended with both of us landing new positions-for me, a high school social studies position with Austin ISD and, for Mr. Fallin, a promotion to business office director at a San Antonio facility. After lots of applications, resume updates, interviews, and anxiety over our futures, we are excited and striving to keep this positive momentum going.
June started with me trying to unwind from the stress that comes with the end of the school year, and trying to force myself to study for the French certification exam that I attempted one last time on Bastille Day, July 14. Joshua and I squeezed in a few nights out doing Austin things, enjoying the summer weather before the inevitable intense Texas heat arrived in full force. We took Geppetto to Blues on the Green, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Kelly and JR decked him and Ona out in glow stick collars once the sun set, and they got a lot of attention for their rave-ready cuteness.
|Johnny's guitar has seen lots of playtime|
|Time for breakfast!|
Tammie's sister Pattie and her husband Tim joined us for the 4th and we discovered a few new Austin gems. The Mesquite Grill satisfied Tim's taste for some BBQ, and the recommendation from Guy Ferreri on Triple D was spot on, the screen door and monster bowls of chilli were authentic Texas. The tip for Matt's El Rancho led us to some great Tex-Mex, including french fries with onions and jalapenos. (As a new Texan, I'm realizing that just about anything is good with a little pepper kick). Pattie and Tammie loved the fun shops on South Congress, and we satisfied our sweet tooth at the Big Top Candy Shop.
|Crazy Californians with their crazy nephew|
|Cooling off in the shade oft he Ginger Man|
After drinks at the Ginger Man and Iron Cactus, we tried to check out the bats, but they seemed to be waiting for the festivities to die down before making their appearance, so we left downtown for the new hot part of town, the east side. A favorite local musician of ours, Dale Watson, who reminds me of a unique combination of Elvis Costello and Johnny Cash, was crooning while girls dressed like 1950s style pin-up models in cowboy boots danced the two step on a dance floor decorated with holiday lights and Joshua and JR took advantage of the Lonestar/whiskey combo special. It was the best people watching of the whole day, we could have stayed all night taking in the crazy scene, but our stomachs were growling and it was way past bed time. On the way home, we stopped at Kerbey Lane for a late night meal to end our perfect 4th and squeeze in a few more calories to our tally (a visit to Austin can definitely add a few pounds, to both the tour guides and the travelers. :)
|Dale Watson rocking it at The Sahara on the 4th of July|
|JR and JD|
|The Fallin crew enjoy their Spotted Cows on the lawn|
|Tailgating on the second night|
|Alpine Valley Saturday show|
|Joshua with the girls at Mareva's|
|Connor chatting up Grandma over mac'n cheese|
The drive back to Austin included an overnight stop in Illinois for dinner at Mareva and Joey's. Baby Cecelia seemed to be very comfortable in Joshua's arms, and Julia showed us how big she's gotten since we last saw her. The next night, we stayed with Tammie and Bob in Eddyville, and visited with Josh's Grandpa and Grandma. Joshua got to itch his trigger finger, target shooting with Bob. Geppetto stayed behind for his summer retreat in the woods of Kentucky with Delilah.
|Catching up with Grandma|
|Nina and Mateya got silly with us|
My two weeks in Wisconsin were packed, I tried to see as much of my friends and family as possible. I spent a few nights in Verona with the Lavins, sleeping in Olivia's pinktastic bedroom, and surprising Connor when he awoke--"Why are you still here?" The whole Peters/Lavin clad had a memorable day on Green Lake on the one day of my trip that saw clouds and temps below 80, hey, at least we didn't need to worry about burning.
|Captain Olivia keeps warm in her frog towel|
|All smiles when we are together on the Lake :)|
|Connor helps Grant with opening their birthday gifts|
|Grandpa with a happy Captain Connor|
I took a drive up to Oshkosh for the chance to catch up with Molly, Holly and Kristen, and their adorable kids, including Baby Sydney. Nina brightened me up with a fabulous new 'do, and I had a fun afternoon with Mike in 'Tosa before meeting Tanya and Matt and Pierce (and even Ben and Julie for a bit) at Tyranena Brewery in Lake Mills for a picnic and a Kissers show. Tanya, Peggy and I met up in Johnson Creek for an extended happy hour and serious gabfest. I also squeezed in dinner with Holly and Lisa, a few visits with my Grandparents, and some Food Network with Mom and Dad. Phew!
|Leaving Anaala with my new 'do|
|Dinner at Riley's Pub in Green Lake after a day on the water|
|Connor keeping us smiling on Grandma's birthday|
|Hanging out with Kate and Baby G|
|Grant is always ready to go|
|Petty's summer trim|
|Joshua sporting his bday gift-a Grateful Red T|
The following day, I dropped Joshua off at the airport for his week in Denver for the annual Emeritus conference. He got to experience the mile high elevation, as well as a Rocky's game and some microbrews while rubbing shoulders with the higher ups.
|Kelly and I at Uncle Billy's|
|Dale and the boys between us and the sunset over Lake Travis|
|Texas' oldest Live Oak tree, Goose Island State Park|
After countless sleepless nights, and a rollercoaster of emotions, I was able to end my contract with my former district and accept an offer from Crockett High School in South Austin, teaching Government and Sociology (and serving as yearbook advisor, can't escape that one). My commute has gone from an average of 30 minutes to 10 each way, and I am teaching subjects that I have a strong background in through UW and Norwich to students who are young adults rather than adolescents. It was for those reasons that I had to jump on the position...even after learning that I had passed my French certification exam (c'est incroyable!).
The AISD school year kicked off with the Superintendent giving the Convocation from Crockett to the entire district, beginning with this fun video parody of "Call Me Maybe", starring some of my new students:
We decided to celebrate with a weekend camping trip to the Gulf before school started, and after I finished my two weeks of training with my new district and campus. Goose Island State Park gave us a taste of the sea and our first night sleeping in Elliewood since moving to the Lonestar State. It seemed romantic and spontaneous, and we enjoyed a picnic of Josh's delicious barbeque seitan at sunset overlooking the bay, but then we remembered what sleeping in the Element in hot, sticky weather is like, with Geppetto panting next to our heads. By 10am we were back in Austin, though we did stop to see the 1000+ year old Live Oak tree on our way off the island.
Our summer ended with one last road trip, over Labor Day weekend to surprise Tammie for her birthday. Jeremy and Heather arrived the night before, and she was really excited to see us all. We hunkered down in the thunderstorms left behind by Hurricane Isaac, played Wii, watched movies, and cooked yummy comfort food, perfect weekend.
|Petty taking in the sites|
|Petty found the shade at our Goose Island campsite|
Yesterday marked the first day of autumn, football is scheduling our weekends (Go Pack go! and C'mon Crockett Cougars!), and the weather is finally cooling with high temps in the 80s-90s. We have been getting back into the rhythms of the school year, and both of us are struggling to stay ahead of our demanding workloads. Taking advantage of this city helps us escape, like last Thursday night's Chris Robinson Band show at Antone's, an amazing rock concert in a packed downtown bar. Austin City Limits music festival is just a month away as well, but next on our horizon is our big move across the hall to a 2 bedroom unit, can't wait to spread out and have room for guests!