Road trip, Texas, Travel

San Antonio- Coaching School

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My husband is a football coach and one of my favorite things about his job is coaching school. This year was my first time to go so I didn’t really know what to expect. I hadn’t been to San Antonio since I was in 7th grade on a Texas History field trip- I was amazed! I felt like I was in a different country with all of the spanish influence. We stayed at the Hyatt on the Riverwalk.

A few tips:

-avoid the ‘traffic’ times of year when the Riverwalk is full of families with strollers. We were there in late summer when people were taking their last summer vacations before school started.

-eat early: go to breakfast early or sleep in and have brunch in the downtime before restaurants serve lunch. The ‘chains’ will not be open on the Riverwalk but there are lots of cafes in the downtown area that will be open for brunch. Eat dinner around 5-6 and then enjoy the night on the town!

-Get a hotel on the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is close to the downtown area, the Alamo, the Alamodome, and the historic sites. You will pay more money, but you will be able to park your car and walk for the rest of your stay.

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Eat lots of dessert! The cuisine is spectacular, and the BBQ is superb.

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County Line BBQ was some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot (being from Texas.) Save some calories for this joint, as you’ll want all the bread and all the beef you can hold.

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We got to preview ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ and my favorite part of the experience was the seats in the theater- they were recliners!

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I felt like I was in Spain with some awesome BBQ and friendly fellow Texans.

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Travel

The Beach is Calling.. {Santa Rosa Beach and Seaside, Florida 2014}

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Seaside, Florida is about as picturesque as you can get. We were there over the July 4th weekend so we got to partake in the parade and the July 4th festivities. This was this past summer (see my New Orleans post for the explanation as to why I am just now posting) so I can’t do this place justice. My advice: see it before you die, and if you can get there on July 4th- even better.

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New Orleans, Road trip, Travel

Our Visit to the Big Easy {New Orleans 2014}

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I don’t even know exactly where to start with New Orleans. It is a fabulous city with a dark, twisted (and intriguing) past. This trip was taken this past summer and the school year has just now slowed down enough for me to blog about it. Between teaching, football season, cross country season, and graduate school, Dalton and I stay swamped during the fall. We are looking forward to a slower-paced spring and summer with our newest addition to our family: Dax Wyatt Murray, due April 11, 2015! I can’t wait to take our little man on our upcoming adventures.

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Back to New Orleans- prepare to be amazed at the architecture. The city is old and the French Quarter (where we spent our time) is like walking around Paris in the heat of a Southern Summer. We arrived in the afternoon and found a parking spot (be prepared to pay generously for parking if you want a safe lot) and had a late lunch at Antoine’s restaurant on Saint Louis Street, a treasure for those looking for genuine French-Creole food. After stuffing ourselves, we walked around some nearby streets before checking into our hotel. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in the FQ and it was fantastic- aside from the breakfast bar which was outrageously expensive.

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We only stayed one night as we were on our way to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. However, we definitely made the night count. We had dinner at NOLA where the famous (infamous?) Emeril Lagasse serves up “creative, modern Louisianan food” per Google. It was fantastic! We ventured from there to Bourbon Street, something we had heard about since college but never experienced for ourselves. I wouldn’t suggest taking children, but it was a lot of fun. It’s basically one big party on the street. While Dalton and I are not big ‘drinkers’ we still enjoyed ourselves. There are lots of old pubs (mixed in between the new ones) including one that has been there for hundreds of years that is reportedly haunted by the pirate that once owned it back in the 1600’s. (COOL.)

After a very fun night out, we settled in at the hotel, wishing we had another day to explore. If you ever get the chance to visit and you are limited on time, I suggest you stay in the French Quarter for a true ‘New Orleans’ experience. Arrive early, have brunch, shop and take in the sights, take in the nightlife, and plan to get some rest in the close future. It’s a fantastic city and we can’t wait to go back!

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Uncategorized

Friday Night Lights

football

A show that probably didn’t mean anything to anyone who wasn’t from Texas. Growing up down here changes the way you think about Friday night in the fall. Will the boys win? Will they lose? I know this is a travel blog, but travel is about experiencing other cultures, right? Texas football is a culture within a culture. Whether it is the high school game on Friday night that the whole town shows up to or the college game on Saturday that you budget money out of your paycheck to pay for as often as possible. Game day is holy. Game day means friends and family whether you are tailgating or having a watch party at home.

Friday Night Lights described how we felt during those months that the boys put on shoulder pads and helmets. We watched the weather go from steamy to frigid, and sometimes back to steamy, depending on how Mother Nature was feeling. We sit in the stands and grit our teeth, call plays, tell the defense something that the coaches have hopefully already told them. At halftime we listen to the band, we watch the dancers perform a kick routine, and then cheer the boys to victory or feel our hearts break for them as they lose.

Because that’s what happens when we lose. Our hearts break. We invest so much into the game, we believe so much in our boys, that we feel like we’re down on the field with them when the time runs out. No matter if they are our own or not.

Football in Texas is going back to your hometown on a Friday night and reliving it all. It’s gameday in Aggieland and wearing your finest maroon and boots. It’s tailgating in the backyard of the place mom and dad, and eventually you and your sisters went to college. It’s the fellowship with other fans, because it’s a holy day. Football in Texas is religion, and we believe.

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Uncategorized

Travel is a spiritual thing. {why?}

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photo from technobuffalo.com

Why do we travel? Is it to experience other cultures? Is it to see things we have never seen before? On the surface, these are probably the main two reasons that people venture outside of their comfort zone and see new things. While snowboarding in the beautiful mountains of New Mexico the other day, a thought hit me that filled me to the brim with wanderlust: travel is a spiritual thing. It is a celebration of God’s creation and our roles within it. It is the most obvious joy in the quiet morning hours and the most raw realization in a desperate situation. We are marionettes on the strings of experience, waiting to be tugged hither and onward. We wake in the dead of night and see stars we have never seen before. We hear the sounds of a river that never ceases to flow past our tent door, on to the ocean. We feel the wind rush across our face that has blown past every mountain, every cliff, through every canyon and across every desert at one point in time. Our need and love for experience and enlightenment is eternal; we never get our fill. It is as much a biological component of us as is our DNA. We seek, we find, we cherish, we love. We embrace all that we don’t understand and carry it with us to new places so that maybe we can finally comprehend it. We take the memories of the Serengeti to the challenge of the Alps. We take the serenity of Aruba to the richness of Sydney. We enjoy food and wine in Italy and we enjoy solitude and quietness in India. We realize that the world is so large that we are insignificant but also so small that we owe the respect of our presence at every amazing creation.

The world is your oyster, friends. Seek the goodness of it.

{If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10}

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