16 July 2013

Take a load off

Summer is finally here again, which means I have time to look around and assess.  I feel myself settling down for the first time in a long time, and it is a strange sensation for this former backpacker.  We moved in October, just across the hall, to a perfect two bedroom apartment for us to stretch out into, though still small enough to prevent us from becoming pack rats.  I survived my first year of teaching high school, and I look forward to more (sans yearbook).  I seem to have found my teaching niche (the grade level and subject that is the best fit) with 12th grade Government and I am grateful.
My yearbook students remembered my birthday!

My classroom at Crockett HS

After coming to the realization that waiting to have a baby before making my next career move could leave me in limbo indefinitely, I applied for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NTPTS) certification program through Austin ISD.

It is an opportunity unique to this school district that will help me through the complicated, demanding process of earning this national level certification over the next 18 months.  So...trying to slow down my brain, take it all in, and maybe finally go through those boxes in my closet.  Since we moved last fall and both started new jobs, it has been a whirlwind.

Eddie Vedder & Glen Hansard  Nov. 2012
2012 ended with some great memories.  We said a sad, but excited good-bye at The HandleBar to Kelly and J.R. as they moved to L.A. with Petty's furry friend Fiona to pursue their dreams.  In November, we saw Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard at Bass Concert Hall on the night after seeing our first Longhorns game across the street at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, which happened to be the game in honor of the recently deceased legendary coach and stadium namesake, Darrell K. Royal.  Historic game, incredible concert, and lots of good food in between.  Definitely reminded us why we love living here.
Hook 'em Horns!

The Alamo shot never gets old

Alamo square decked out for the holidays

Our first fireplace!

Hotel balconies lit into a holiday message in San Antonio

After a relaxing overnight stay at the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Joshua and I went our separate ways over the holidays, he drove north with Geppetto to meet up with his family in Kentucky and I flew south to meet my family in Fort Myers.  It was a much-needed getaway, and I tried to take in every moment, especially with Olivia, Connor and Grant.  We had lots of fun in the jumpy house at Marti and Steve's and later at the pool and for Connor and Grant's first beach experience.
Grandpa and I watching the Packer game at Ron Daio's in Ft Myers

Dad and I at the pier in Ft Myers Beach on Christmas

Connor sporting his new glasses at the condo

Sisters on vacation!

In February, we had a romantic date night at Gruene Hall to see Alejandro Escovedo.  It was a fantastic show, and we left with a great souvenir signed by the famous San Antonio crooner.  At the end of the month, we hiked to the top of The Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg, 10 yr. old Geppetto needed help on the boulders going up, but enjoyed the breeze and the view from the summit.
Joshua at the summit
Petty was the talk of the trail in his backpack

Petty atop Enchanted Rock
"J&J Por Vida"

Spring break in Austin means South by Southwest Festival is in town, and this year we had Jeremy, Heather and Danielle here to take in the music, food and madness with us.  From Kerbey Lane Cafe's queso and Threadgill's laid back outdoor venue, to Doc's to watch the Badgers defeat the Hoosiers in the NCAA finals and Guerro's for yummy tacos, and all of our favorite food trailers, it was a splendidly calorie-laden week.  Geppetto was spoiled over the weekend at Midtown Groomers while Joshua and I joined everyone at the Courtyard downtown.  It was a relaxing escape right in our own city.
1st night at SXSW, boys night out
The Fallins outside of Threadgill's after a day of music at SXSW

The Illinois crew take on South By

Danielle and Boobie

Tito's Vodka Trolley keeps your thirst quenched at SXSW
Shakey Graves at South By San Jose

Danielle and Heather outside Jo's, in front of some of Austin's famous street art

The gang at Auditorium Shores

Fallins 4, Austin 0

In April, I took a few breaks from the madness of standardized tests and finalizing the yearbook, first to run away to Wisconsin for Tanya's bachelorette party and bridesmaid shopping in Milwaukee with Karen and Peggy, as well as an afternoon with family, including my first time meeting Dom and Hillary's adorable little girl Mia.  Then, at the end of the month I spent my rainy birthday weekend in Houston with Joshua and Geppetto.  We tried the veggie delights with dinner at Loving Hut, visited the Fine Arts Museum, and returned to our favorite vegan buffet, The Pepper Tree.
No Texas road trip is complete without a stop at Buc-ee's
Loki turned 12, still the same Firestarter

Impressionism love at Museum of Fine Arts

Petty and I having breakfast in bed in Houston on my 35th

Geppetto stops to smell the bluebonnets

Our spring continued to be full of musical memories with the KLRU Lloyd Maines tribute concert, which included performances by our favorites Natalie Maines and Ben Harper, Joe Ely and The Dixie Chicks!  It was definitely one of our top concerts in Austin, especially since it was at the Austin City Limits Live theater in the W Hotel, love that venue!   We also scored free tickets to Shakey Graves at the Chronicle Paper Cuts showcase at The Palm Door, and got up close and personal with our local favorite singer/songwriter/harmonica and guitar player.
Shakey Graves
Weeknight concert smiles
Joshua and Mick @ ACL Live

Janis and Jaclyn
Margaritas outside ACL Live pre-Dixie Chicks

At the end of May, we had some nasty weather, postponing the Dave Matthews Band show at the 360 Ampitheater by one night so Joshua took his Uncle Kenny as I was already in Wisconsin for the coming Memorial Day weekend.  The next week we did get the chance to enjoy the amazing ampitheater together, it is located on one of the corners of the new F1 racetrack, and we were front and center for the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and the Avett Brothers.
Austin 360 Ampitheater

In front of the colorfully lit race tower
Over the Memorial Day weekend, our 3rd anniversary, we went back to Wisconsin for the beautiful wedding of Tanya and Matt at Stone Harbor Resort in Door County.  It was a perfect opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, some of whom Joshua hadn't seen since our wedding.  He also was happy to reconnect with his favorite beer, Spotted Cow, and I enjoyed an old fashioned or two.  The cool weather was a welcome change, and we got to spend some time playing with our adorable niece and nephews.  Surprisingly, we also found a quaint little Mexican joint with the best bean tacos we could ask for.  All in all, fabulous way to kick off the summer!
Miss Olivia shows off her moves
Uncle Joshua and Aunt Jaclyn with Grant, Olivia and Connor

The flower girl and the bride walking Main St Sturgeon Bay
Joshua's welcome home gift
Trolly ride with the Lancasters around scenic Door County, the beach was my favorite

Every bridesmaid wants a moment with the groom

Evidence that I got him on the dance floor

Joshua and I outside the cute country church

McFarland gang pre-entrance to the reception at Stone Harbor Resort
Visit from our neighborhood lizard

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