Monday, June 14, 2010

A permanent home

Shaun and I are searching. For a place to call home. For a place to raise our girls. For a place to add to our family if it is God's plan. For a place to grow old together. We are searching for our permanent home. Shaun has been in a fellowship in Cleveland for 3 years now. Before that, it was 3 years in Baltimore for residency. And before that, it was 5 years in Chicago for med school and a masters program. Ever since we've been married we've been moving. Every home that we have known has been temporary. We are nearing the end of the road. One year from now we will be moving to what we hope will be our permanent home. We've thought about where we want to live but haven't made any decisions. It will depend largely on the opportunities available for Shaun when he finishes training one year from right now. Up until now, we haven't had much choice in where we live. We went where he was accepted to medical school. We went to where the best training was for residency and fellowship. Trust me, I would not have chose Baltimore or Cleveland. I am a California girl. I like warm weather. We did all these things for our future. And the future is here. We can now choose where we want to live. It feels surreal. It seemed like this time would never come. Now 11 years later, here we are. In search of a new place to plant some roots. It's exciting!

So where do we want to move you ask? Well, we aren't sure. We know we want to live somewhere warm. 10 years of cold winters and snow and staying inside for 6 months of the year is enough for us. We are done with these cold northern winters. Cleveland has been good to us. We have a wonderful neighborhood and would consider staying here if it weren't for the weather. We want a neighborhood like this wherever we go (but it will be hard to find). We've begun our search so Shaun and I took a trip last week down south because that's where we're leaning towards. We flew to Austin, Texas last Sunday and did a lot of driving from there. We were excited to see several areas of Texas and more!

I laughed when I saw this. It was the first thing I saw in the airport when we landed in Texas. I guess it is true. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the jelly beans!

We drove straight to San Antonio from Austin and we saw an outlet mall on the way there. In San Marcos, Texas there is an outlet mall so wonderful I told Shaun it may be worth moving there just because of this outlet mall. All upscale stores, some of which I didn't know had outlets (like Neiman Marcus, Ferragamo, Juicy Couture, and literally hundreds of others). My favorite outlet is always the Coach store and this one was the biggest I've ever seen! I could have spent all day in there but I settled for about 15 minutes because we were in a hurry. Shaun insisted on taking my picture when he saw my face light up at just the sight of this store!

After hitting a few of the stores at the outlet mall (thanks babe), we headed back towards San Antonio. We stopped in an area that we had seen on the map that looked nice. Canyon Lake, Texas is a small town about 20 minutes outside San Antonio. It surrounds a lake and there were tons of trees, hills, and winding roads. We thought it was really pretty. I mean who wouldn't want a view like this?

We liked this area a lot but we thought it was a bit too secluded. We really want the girls to have a neighborhood with friends to play with. The neighborhoods we drove through looked to be mostly retirees. It would be a great place to go on weekends though.
We made it to San Antonio, settled into our hotel, and then went downtown to see some sights. We went down to the Riverwalk and had dinner at a great little restaurant and walked around a bit. Then we saw this:

Apparently, they bling out their carriages in San Antonio.
We were about to go back to our hotel which was outside the downtown area when we realized that we had to see the Alamo before we left. It was closed but you could pretty much see all of it through the gates. I prefer to see things when there are not swarms of people so it turned out to be great!
The grounds of the Alamo are just beautiful

Here is our classic let's take a picture of ourselves photo.
A guy saw us doing that and offered to take our picture for us. Southern hospitality at it's finest! Excuse my tired look. This is what I look like after 3 hours of sleep the night before, 5 hours of plane ride, and a few hours in the car. I'm surprised I'm not asleep in the picture.
We settled into our hotel and got a good night's sleep because we had a LONG day the next day. We got up and headed north. All the way to Fayetteville, Arkansas. We drove all the way up Texas, through Oklahoma and finally into Arkansas. We had about 9 hours in the car that day. My mom's family is from Arkansas so we took several trips there when I was younger. There were areas that we visited that I remember being so beautiful. Fayetteville is one of them. It's a great little college down (go Hogs) nestled in a sea of trees and rolling hills. I knew that Shaun would love it so we decided to check it out. Here are some pictures I took from the car while we were rolling in to Fayetteville.

We had dinner when we arrived and I can tell you it was the best BBQ we have EVER had. So yummy! We spent half of the next day driving around neighborhoods that we found online and checking out some surrounding areas. Arkansas, we heart you!
We left Arkansas in the afternoon and drove back to Texas. We stopped in Dallas to spend the night and see our friends Eric and Lauren whom we know from our days in Baltimore. It was so nice to see them. They have had two kids since the last time we saw them so it was nice to meet them as well. Apparently, I forgot that I had my camera for the rest of our trip. No more pictures. Boo! We liked the suburbs of Dallas where our friends live. It was a little more busy and populated than some of the other areas we saw but we liked it. We stayed in Dallas on Tuesday night and Wednesday we drove back to Austin and spent the rest of our time there. We drove all around the Austin area on Wednesday afternoon looking at neighborhoods and driving by some homes that we found on the internet. Austin is nice. We ate dinner at a place called the Hula Hut which serves Mexican food but is decorated in a Hawaiian theme. We were like "this is weird". Then we tasted the food and we were like "this is the best food ever"! It was soooooo delicious. If you are ever in Austin, go to the Hula Hut. The next morning we went to a place that has been voted best breakfast in Austin for the last like 7 years in a row. It is called Kerby Lane and it was really good. They are known for their pancakes so that is what I got. They did not disappoint. They tasted more like cake than pancakes - yum! We headed home on Thursday afternoon and were so excited to see our girls. My mom flew out again for the second month in a row to stay with them. She took great care of them and they had a great time with their mimi. Thanks mom! Shaun and I would never be able to go anywhere without you!!
We had fun, we explored and we found several places that we would be happy to call home. Now, Shaun has to find a practice that fits his needs. We are a year away from moving but he will start applying for jobs in the next few months. It's an exciting time and we can't wait to see what's in store!


Randi said...

OMG, is that not the best outlet mall ever!!!!!!! Love it!! Miss it!!!

Can't wait to see where your lives take you guys! Love you and I am so excited for the fact that you get to choose where your lives will be now!

Jessica said...

oh my gosh, OMG!!! I just almost jumped out of my chair reading this!!! When I was reading about you thinking about coming some place warmer, I thought TEXAS!!! And then you came here!! Except you didn't come to Houston and that is where I would recommend! But I used to live in New Braunfels (for 3 and half years!!) and I LOVE LOVE LOVE those outlet malls, it took me 20 minutes to get to them....sometimes that was a bad thing. :)

I'm surprised you didn't stop in New Braunfels, it's a great place, it's growing like crazy and it's so easy to get to San Antonio from!!

Liz Mays said...

What a fun adventure to be able to choose a new home like that! I hope you find exactly the right place.

I love everything you showed us about Texas!

Paging Doctor Mommy said...

Good luck in the hunt! Keep us posted!

Sally said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the area between Austin and S.A. And, yes, that outlet mall in San Marcos is amazing!! When we livd in S.A., we lived in the northeast part, Windcrest. Gorgeous neighborhood, but older and full of retirees. There are some really fun places to live and lots to do down there. I love Dallas and Austin, too. Glad you had a good trip! Can't wait to hear what you decide. Of course, the humidity is INSANE in TX, and even worse in Houston than S.A. and Dallas. Guess you have to deal w/ something unpleasant everywhere, huh? =)

Joy said...

Just wanted to comment because I'm a Texas girl. We spent our honeymoon on the San Antonio Riverwalk. I loved your Alamo pic with the lights shining on it. Oh, I love Austin! I've even eaten at the Hula Hut. Sounds like you had a great exploratory trip. Hope you enjoyed Texas!

Sara said...

So excited for you guys as you enter this next phase in life!!

My grandma lives in Siloam Springs so we always fly into Fayetville when we visit. It is really nice. :)