Friday, November 14, 2014

The stars at night...

At the end of last month we took an ambitious, eight-night family trip to Texas. I'd call any trip involving air travel with a two year old ambitious, but this was all the more so because it had three separate legs with three different accommodations.

Super excited to be a ring bearer
The purpose behind the trip was my cousin Helen's Texas-sized (and yet so elegant) wedding in San Antonio. She graciously asked Lachlan to be the ring bearer on her big day and I was touched that she wished to include him. Initially I fantasized about how darling he would be walking down the aisle in a tiny tuxedo. "He's going to steal the show," my mom predicted.

Then reality set in and I started to fret about whether he would actually tolerate that tiny tuxedo and the sweet coral-colored bow tie that Helen bought for him. Even if he wore it without a hassle, would he walk down the aisle holding the flower girl's hand as planned? It was a total gamble as to whether or not the two year old ring bearer would actually cooperate. I did my best to set Helen's expectations of Lachlan's performance. She said that she wouldn't mind if he refused to participate in the ceremony and only wanted a couple of cute pictures with him. In hindsight, I realize that the person who would care most about Lachlan not sticking to the plan was me.

Fortunately, Helen didn't entrust him with the actual rings. Instead, she gave him a bell to ring while he walked down the aisle. While waiting with Mickey in the wings he said, "not wanna ring the bell" many times, but at the critical moment, he came through. He did ring the bell while holding the flower girl's hand all the way to the front of the church. I was overcome with emotion and started to cry with relief. "He totally killed it," I whispered proudly to myself. Once at the front of the church he spotted me and I hoisted him up to the pew. I gave him the fruit snacks that I had used to bribe him and that kept him quiet for a blissful 2.5 minutes. Then, unfortunately, he behaved like the two year old he is and Tom had to take him out of the church. I was so focused on getting him down the aisle that I had absolutely no plan to keep him contained during the ceremony. Oops.

I'd like to think that this first San Antonio leg of our journey was fun for the whole family. In between wedding events, we took a hop on hop off double decker bus tour of the city. This was fun for Lachlan because he enjoys vehicles and public transportation. It was fun for us because we learned a bit about the history of the city. We also managed to catch up with my brother over drinks at our hotel's Menger Bar, an exact replica of the pub in the House of Lords.

Livin' the good life in Comfort, Texas
Birthday barbecue lunch at Rudy's
We left Lachlan with a babysitter at the hotel while Mickey and I enjoyed a child-free reception. The path leading to the event space was lit by luminaries, just one of this wedding's many thoughtful, beautiful details. The food was fantastic, the drinks were flowing and the company was family; it doesn't get a lot better than that.

The day after the wedding was Mickey's birthday and though I had made a restaurant reservation for brunch to surprise him, it ended up making more sense to drive out to the hill country where my aunt and her husband Brian now live. We stopped for barbecue at Rudy's on the way, a Texas institution that serves tender smoked meat on waxed paper. I feel hungry now just thinking about Rudy's and all the other Texas barbecue we enjoyed.

Lyndon B Johnson Nat'l Park
Nic and Kathleen followed us up to the hill country and Aunt Jill lead us on a tour of Comfort after Lachlan woke up from his nap. We were surprised by how chic and fun this small hill country town was. We spotted deer by the creek and relaxed on bench swings. Lachlan enjoyed seeing the longhorns from afar and everyone fell in love with the local Bluebell ice cream. We sipped wine while watching the sunset from Aunt Jill and Brian's wraparound porch. It would have been even more relaxing if the porch had glass panes, but they weren't yet installed so someone had to constantly be on guard making sure Lachlan didn't tumble over the edge and fall two stories to the ground. Aunt Jill made a lovely meal and there was leftover wedding cake to celebrate Kat's 30th birthday and Mickey's, too.

A train ride through Zilker Park
On subsequent days we explored Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock and the Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park en route to Austin. We had heard great things about Austin and added it to our itinerary even though none of our friends currently live there. We realize that there is only so much sightseeing that a two year old can manage so we kept our travel goals simple for the Austin leg of the journey. "We're just here to eat and look around," we said. Austin absolutely lived up to the hype and I'm eager to go back again one day perhaps for a girls' trip or couples trip. We knew it was home to lots of hipsters, but I didn't realize it also had a sort of San Francisco meets Las Vegas with a Texas twist kind of vibe.

We hiked some urban trails, toured the capital building, watched the bats depart from Congress Bridge, visited the Whole Foods flagship store and of course ate lots of delicious food. In fact, Mickey says the burger he ate at Hopdoddy, a burger and craft beer place, was the best he's ever eaten.
A very cool train table at the Thinkery

Lachlan said that he wanted to go home every day of our trip, but he was actually a really good sport. His favorite destination was the Thinkery, a very cool children's museum on the north side of town. We arrived home on the morning of Halloween, just in time to put on a costume and keep on celebrating.

1 comment:

C said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip! He looks so sharp in that tux!