Wednesday, June 30, 2010

roadtrip, day 6

We made it.

I'll do some exploring in the next few days and blog about the area (the first of many entries, I'm sure), but my initial impressions are positive.

The town of Hampton where we'll be living is most definitely a popular tourist stop during the summer months (which we already knew). It was full of activity today as we passed through on our way to Portsmouth, NH, a town about 10 miles north where we'll be staying until the house is ready.

We drove by the house we've rented, and it looks exactly like the pictures we've seen of it. I'm looking forward to making it our own, complete with our stuff, our furniture, our pictures, and our family. I'm hoping it will help immensely, as far as providing that feeling of being more settled in and "at home."

The area is picturesque -- there are just no two ways about it. The houses are amazing. Many have the dates when they were built proudly displayed on plaques on the exterior. It's pretty breathtaking looking at homes that were originally built in the 1700s.

These old homes line narrow streets, and most fly American flags, just like you'd expect to see. Big hydrangea bushes are growing everywhere, completing the totally New England look of the area.

The temps are perfect (50s at night, high 70s during the day), and it's a festive time of year to arrive to the area.

So, let the exploring begin.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

roadtrip, day 5

Today was crazy-exhausting.

We had great intentions, but things didn't fall into place exactly how we had hoped they would.

We woke up in Pennsylvania and decided that we had plenty of time for some fun. Our plan was to drive to Brooklyn and take Aidan to Coney Island. He was thrilled about the prospect (one of his favorite Wonder Pets episodes involves rescuing a baby squirrel off a Coney Island roller coaster).

Unfortunately, we completely underestimated the amount of people who would have the same "great idea" we did -- it was packed with thousands of people. We drove around for about an hour looking for a parking place anywhere in the vicinity, but in the end, had to give up without so much as a nibble of a Nathan's famous hotdog or taste of saltwater taffy.

And bless is his little heart ... Aidan was such a trooper about the whole thing, despite the fact that we kept passing ferris wheels, roller coasters, hot dog stands, balloons and the beach. Talk about torture for a four-year-old. But we've promised to make it up to him, and he seems o.k. with the agreement.

But our New York City [mis]adventure had only just begun. According to our trusty Garmin GPS, we should have arrived in Stamford, CT by 3:15; however, at almost 5:00 pm, we were still sitting in some of the worst traffic I've ever experienced (which is saying a lot coming from a Houston girl). It was especially baffling, considering it was mid-day on a Tuesday.

So in the end, we spent most of the day in traffic in New York City while Aidan watched Thomas & Friends DVDs in the backseat. Again, he was awesome.

Tomorrow is our last day on the road, as we finally arrive in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, our house won't be ready until July 6, so we'll still be sleeping in a hotel until then. But at least the drive will be over.

Finally, I wrote the other night about missing the fireflies ... last night they came out to play again, and I was able to snap a picture of Aidan with them. So if you look real carefully, you can see the speck of light to the left of Aidan's head in the picture. Those little flashing buggers are hard to take a pic of! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

roadtrip, day 4

Today's highlight -- visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield.

I can't imagine any tourist walking this hallowed ground is ever able to prevent his or her mind from wandering, as well as wondering, at the 50,000 young men who occupied the same sacred ground, spilling their blood and giving their lives in such a violent conflict. The peace and beauty of the area today makes it almost impossible to fathom the original carnage of the area -- the emotion it inspires is incredible.

We left Virginia after breakfast and crossed back and forth across the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania until reaching Gettysburg. After spending a few hours in the historic area, we ended up in Harrisburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania, for the night. We just ordered Chinese and are planning to kick back for the evening at the hotel.

It looks like we've got about two days of driving left before we reach New Hampshire. I'm so glad we made this drive together as a family. Seeing America in the way we have is pretty cool.

roadtrip, day 3

I'm sort of cheating and writing my day 3 update on day 4, but last night I was just too beat to do anything except fall into bed and sleep.

Which was actually kind of a bummer, because Ty and Aidan informed me that when they were outside walking the dogs, thousands of lightning bugs came out to visit once the sun started to set (apparently disturbed by the frolicking pooches). I wish I'd snapped a picture of it, but I was sawing logs in room 218 of the Best Western in Lexington, Virginia -- home of the Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University, as well as birthplace of Sam Houston.

Yesterday took us across the remainder of the Tennessee portion of our trip, and then through Virginia. I especially enjoyed the Black Hills and passing through Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech. It's a scenic drive, no doubt.

Tomorrow we head up to Pennsylvania, officially taking us out of the South. The adventure continues ....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

roadtrip, day 2

Made it to Knoxville.

And to prove it, I just saw a grown man at a restaurant wearing a University of Tennessee t-shirt and jorts.

We're thinking of re-evaluating our travel plans some. Driving eight hours a day is productive, but around hour six or so, the car ride really starts to wear on Aidan. So we're talking about slowing down some tomorrow and doing something touristy -- maybe taking in a water park (going against my rule of never visiting one -- they're big ol' toilets, if you ask me -- but Aidan would love it) in the Black Hills of Virginia, or driving into D.C. We haven't really decided yet. It just feels right, so I think we'll do some investigating.

Today's drive through Dixie was pretty -- more of Mississippi, then Alabama, Georgia, and finally Tennessee. We're definitely in the heart of SEC country, which is kind of ironic, considering my beloved Texas A&M almost pulled the trigger a few weeks ago and joined in on the fun that is college football in the southeast. But I won't digress onto that tangent, as it still burns my blood to a boil thinking about how we passed up the opportunity. It would've been a fun (and beautiful) place to visit in the fall.

So tomorrow looks to be Virginia and Maryland. We'll see where we end up and what we do. As I said, I'm feeling a bit impulsive.

Friday, June 25, 2010

our journey has begun

I haven't blogged in a while. We've been swamped getting ready for our move, and to be honest, it was very difficult to leave "home" -- much more so than I imagined it would be. And writing about it was a reality I just didn't want to face.

We're now officially on the road ... yours truly, Aidan, Ty, Daisy and Pepper (2 adults, a four-year-old, and two dogs) -- quite the crew.
And as I type, I find myself in a hotel room in Laurel, Mississippi, feeling sort of lost, if the truth be told.

Aidan is watching a new Tom & Jerry DVD with his dad, having the time of his life ... after taking a dip in the teeny, tiny (but clean) Roadway Inn pool. He seems pretty much oblivious to the monumental changes going on around him, which makes me happy. It also helps keep me from getting too emotional about temporarily leaving the life I'm familiar with and those whom I love -- knowing that I have to be strong for him gives me a purpose during this period of limbo.

We traveled through three states today (Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi), and I'm exhausted. But I'm relieved that the most difficult day (crossing the border out of Texas and saying goodbye to the familiar license plates and state flags as they became fewer and fewer in number) is behind us and new adventures await.
Tomorrow night we're scheduled to land in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

panaderia treats

Today's dose of Sunday morning breakfast centered around tacos (of course) for Ty. He's been away for a while and had a hankering for the good stuff.

I was craving something sweet, so while he made a run to the local taqueria, I visited a popular (and incredibly delicious) local Mexican bakery (panaderia) -- La Colmena (on north Gessner, for you local folks), to pick up an assortment of pan dulce (sweet bread), cuernos de azucar (sugar horns), and empanadas.

I grabbed a few sprinkle cookies for Aidan too ... it was so much fun browsing the shelves of fresh pastries and sweet treats. And it made a fun spread that was the perfect accompaniment to the spicy tacos.

Monday, June 07, 2010

campechana de mariscos

Had a great summer time dinner tonight of Campechana de Mariscos
(recipe from Goode Co. Seafood).

We made some plain ol' cheese nachos to nibble on while cooking ... perfectly delish.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chile sauce
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped serrano pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup Clamato juice

1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup white onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and diced
1/2 pound shrimp, boiled and peeled
1/2 pound Texas Blue lump crab meat

Mix sauce ingredients well and set aside.
Mix vegetables and combine with sauce mixture. Delicately fold in the seafood mix.
Serve with corn tortilla chips. Garnish each with a fresh fresh lime wedge or finely chopped fresh jalapenos on the side.

Makes 8 to 10 appetizer-sized servings.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

simply stated

From Art & Artifact -- a cheery greeting for guests.

I believe I must have it.

Friday, June 04, 2010

he's smiling because he's coming home

Ty was promoted this past week and is preparing for his new unit in Boston.

And currently, he's somewhere around Abilene, Texas on his way home to us -- a great start to summer.

Proud as peaches.