Tuesday, March 12, 2013



This weekend was exactly--exactly--what I needed. The openness of the Texas landscape and the warmth and familiarity of the people I love just soaked into me and filled the emptiness I didn't even know I was feeling. Having my pup and my main squeeze with me was the icing on top--I returned to Nashville last night feeling pretty rejuvenated. It was truly the best weekend I've had in a long, long time.

We hit the open road on Thursday morning in high spirits...

As great as Maizie is in the car, she rarely, rarely lies down--so when she naps, she naps standing up. It's hilarious. I knocked out the first portion of the 11-hour drive and ST was charming enough to handle the rest. Maiz demands to ride in the driver's seat, natch.


We made it to my parents' by about 11 pm, and I was super excited to find that they'd waited up for us. We spent almost two hours catching up, and I had plenty of time to love on their new Airedale puppy, Ben Rufflisberger (Pops is a huge Steelers fan--I helped him with the name!!). At barely three months, he is 42 pounds of clumsy, fuzzy, unabashed puppy love.

Friday morning, my Pops and I arose early to partake in some fine local cuisine... as fantastic as the food variety is here in Nashville, I'm hard-pressed to find genuinely authentic Mexican food here. We hit up Leal's for breakfast burritos and I was reminded how spectacular something so simple can be.

I retrieved my ST and we met up with my best girls for lunch at our favorite Baylor-central pizza joint... and then I grabbed a pair of summery Toms wedges afterward from Congress. BAM.

We spent the rest of the afternoon snugsing before meeting up with my brother, SIL and their little ones for dinner. And this is where I fell head over heels for my brand new, perfect baby niece.

Sweet baby Emma was born February 27th and is the epitome of perfection. She is smiley and snuggly and the tiniest little princess. My brother and sister-in-law make some ridiculously good-looking babies, and I'm so happy they finally got their girl. "Smitten" doesn't even begin to cover what I'm dealing with.

I held onto angel baby for a solid hour... couldn't bring myself to put her down or pass her off. I'm so in love with her already... being an aunt is FUN. Secondly, a bromance was born Friday night too. ST spent all of Saturday helping my brother with a downed fence--how sweet is he, seriously?

Saturday morning, I joined my stepmom and her BFF for Starbucks with a side of a gun safety class. I will spare you the second amendment rights post for now, but I will divulge that I really enjoyed the course. I shot five different handguns and all-in-all felt much more comfortable handling them--which was my goal. Bonus: I dominated that target. My instructor called me "a natural." I'll chalk that up to my Texas roots and boyfriend's initial instruction for me.

While ST was helping Josh with the fence, I zoomed all over Waco to hit up my favorite boutiques and such--Roots, Plum, and Olive Branch for a Mexican vanilla cupcake. I swung by HEB to grab some of my favorite coffee and roasted pecans. You can take the girl outta Texas, but...

Saturday evening, there were six--SIX--dogs at my parents' house.  Congregating in the living room. They have a wire-haired fox terrier (Lila) and Ben, the Airedale, of course... they're keeping up with my brother's beagle, Rowdy, while he has an internship in Corpus... I was there with Maizers, and my other brother, Tyler and his wifey, Holly, had dropped their westies, Toby and Sophie, while they moved across the state. In a word? CHAOS.

But also so awesome.

We feasted on George's with my parents and opted to hang out with them for the evening... we were in bed by 10:30 (on a Saturday, if you can believe it!), and drifted off to the sound of a springtime thunderstorm slapping against the tin roof. Cue the Kevin Fowler already.

Sunday morning, we met up with my girls to soak up morning service at my old church and then hit the road for an hour-and-a-half to meet up with my BFF, her man, and their adorable baby son, Jackson. He's 8 months old (I can't believe it!) and I hadn't met him yet--I was elated that we were able to throw together a spontaneous roadtrip--even if it was to College Station. ;)

My best friend is glowingly gorgeous--and has never looked better... mommyhood definitely suits her. We haven't seen each other in almost a year, and you'd never have guessed it. I love that. I love how some things never change--all of my good girlfriends back home share this. It's the best feeling. I miss her so, so much.

We stepped into Old Navy to see if we could find any summer clothes for CST, and I couldn't bring myself to not get these for Emma baby. How ridiculously cute, am I right?

We raced back from College Station to have a home-cooked dinner with my parents... Jules is a phenomenal cook. As much I love cooking, her meals are unparalleled.

And we spent more time with Ben, of course.

After dinner, we jetted over to my BFF Amy's casa to hang out some more...  again--it's like I never left. We laughed, and laughed, and laughed... I miss those girls so much.

Our grand finale was swinging by HEB (again) for some goods... among them, doughnuts and a Redbox movie. We snuggled up and watched "Flight" before dozing off for the last night at home.

Monday morning, my Pops and I shared another early mornig breakfast (this time, Jalisco's! another family fav). The few hours of one-on-one I had with each of my parents really meant a lot to me. They're just some of the best people I could ever hope to know. I love them more than words can say, and as much as I love Nashville, driving away from them is just so hard on me.

The neighbs' cows were out grazing and I couldn't resist snapping this... I grew up in this house for 27 years and never really appreciated how quaint and simplistically beautiful the land is. I miss it all so much.

ST and I begrudgingly pulled out of my parents' driveway, grabbed Rudy's as our farewell lunch, and hit the road for 11 more hours of drive time.

My little trooper made it through just fine, and so did we... we finally got back late last night, and as tired as I am still, my heart is so, so full. I cherish my family and friends so immensely, and as cliche as it may be, there really is no place like home. 

Love y'all so, so much... see you this summer!

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