are the stars at night big and bright?

we hope so.....cause we're movin to Texas in 3 weeks!
We really are. We're moving to Austin, TX. And we're not entirely sure what we're in for. But we think there will be plenty of this:
We haven't started packing everything yet but we've cleaned out the clutter, held a garage sale, made trips to Goodwill, ordered new couches, and have a long list of upcoming house projects. We're ready to get started!

If you're hearing our fun news for the first time, then background info is probably in order.
Here's the quick rundown:
When Casey and I got married 4 years ago we bought an investment home in the Austin, TX area....actually in a suburb just north of Austin called Georgetown:
It's a cute 4 bedroom starter home in a nice community and we've kept it rented with tenants ever since. Now flash forward to a few months ago. We had been house hunting here in Pasadena. We love the homes here, the charm, the community, both our families are nearby, etc. But....it just wasn't working out. And we found the entire process very frustrating. So we decided it was time to think outside of the box. We talked with Casey's employer and they agreed to let him work remotely from out of state. Wait. Really? Okay! Tag that on top of the month sabbatical Casey has coming up from work and everything just fell in to place. It really seemed like a no-brainer.
There is much we're going to miss about our California life. That is certain. But we feel ready for a change. So we're embarking on a new adventure. And we're jumping in with an open attitude. We may love it.....we may want to come back home. We won't know till we try.

A couple weeks ago, Casey and I took a trip there to check out our house again (we'd only seen it once before this trip) and to get a lay of the land.
Almost there. Hooray for Jetblue, personal tvs, and never-ending HGTV and What Not to Wear episodes.
The first day in Texas we spent hanging out in Georgetown; checking out the local sites, in our rental car:
We saw our house again, looked for Office Spaces, picked out new flooring, and just got a feel for what our new lives will be like. It's going to be very different! Georgetown is a small town. It has the normal stores we're used to: Target, Joanns, Home Depot, Ikea, Chipotle, etc. But it's just....well, small. There's a cute old dowtown square (the city was founded in the late 1800s) and just a mile from our house is Lake Georgetown:
It's got more of a Lake Powell feel than lush greenery. But at twilight it was just gorgeous:
Kids and their parents were cliff jumping. Looked fun!
default-Texas landscape looks like this:
There are these green shrubby trees everwhere. They feel more like large bushes. Thankfully we have two of them in our yard providing some shade (because it's hot there in the summer. We won't lie. At least now we'll have central A/C...not sure life can get better than that.)

Day two, we ventured south of Georgetown, through Round Rock, Pflugerville, and into Austin.
Their freeway system will take some getting used to. You can come and go and U-turn from these strange access roads next to the freeway. I'm sure once we understand it all, we'll love it. In the meantime, I'm pretty happy about their beautiful architecture:
We saw cool sites:
we saw cool artwork:
and we saw metal cows:
We ate here for lunch. Boring but we were hungry:
we took dumb pictures:
And this was not on the agenda but it was too interesting to not stop. The largest retailer of western attire is:
We had no idea so many styles of hats and boots existed (and this was only 1/30th of what they carried):

Eventually we made it to downtown Austin, home of the Longhorns and the University of Texas!
Remember those housing/selling/ride boards from college? They're still around.
Downtown Austin is beautiful and very eclectic.
The city is known as the Live Music capitol of the world, so there are cool little clubs, music venues, and restaurants all over the place. It's also a college town, so football is huge. Yet it's the state capitol so you've got this gorgeous building right in the middle of town:
Checking it out in our rear-view mirror:
Our last Austin stop was our favorite. We headed to the river that runs south of the city. There are great hiking trails:
and plenty of beauty to take in:
We found this cool dock hidden by some brush and jumped aboard. It was absolutely serene. We soaked in the golden evening:
watched the canoeing:
got our feet wet (Lyndsey, this picture's for you):
And just had a peaceful time.
As we were getting ready to leave, Casey glanced up in the sky and noticed a strange line of birds in the sky. We watched it for a moment, stunned and amazed at their procession. And then it dawned on me....duh! Those are the famous Austin bats! The Congress Bridge Bats.
It was the most amazing site I've seen. Every night in the summer, these bats leave their day-time spot from under the Congress Bridge and in a very orderly fashion, fly off looking for food. They follow each other in a line and can be seen for miles in the sky. There are millions of bats! It's absolutely crazy!
We watched them for about 30 minutes and the line continued to come:
a site worth checking out again with the kids.
And that wraps up our trip! It was short but it was just what we needed; a grasp on reality. We're excited to meet our city and see what new people we'll cross paths with. We won't be seeing this airport for a while, because in a 3 weeks we'll be driving out by car!
And we'll miss you, little Long Beach airport. But we'll come back to visit.
with two extra travelers next time.


Jade said...

looking forward to seeing you soon!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Dana!
Even with warning I'm not yet ready to accept this. I should be, seriously, Pasadena may as well be Georgetown for how often our paths cross but there was always the hope that we might make it to the park at the same time as you ...
I'm happy for you. But I'll admit it, I'm sad.

Saunja said...

Fun post, y'all! I reckon all y'all will love your new town.

Ah- the bats. We really enjoyed seeing that. Such a cool sight!

The funny freeway system there in Texas. Yes, the U-turns on the access roads take some getting used to. As well as the yield signs on/off the freeway at 60 mph. Watch out- here I come!

All those trees- we had mesquite trees everywhere. They are indigenous to the area. When we first moved there, it was in the winter and we smelled this delicious bbq smell- bbqing in the winter?..Okay. We finally realized that people were not bbqing, they were burning the mesquite wood in their fireplaces.

You are in for an adventure! I'm so excited for you guys!

Nicole said...

WE are so excited for you guys!! What an adventure it will be. WE can't wait to come visit and it looks like there will be lots of fun stuff to see. Georgetown looks charming & the house looks very cute from the outside with a lot of yard!. Oh how fun it will be for all the home projects too! We better be seeing some family pictures with your boots & cowboy hats on! =)

Lettie said...

I really am so excited or you. I didn't know you had a house there too. You have one in AZ too, right (or did you sell it recently)?
I was feeling sad for you to not be near the ocean, but it looks like you get a lake, so at least there is water.
I grew up in a small (50k)town and loved it. I guess it might make a lot of difference starting that way and moving bigger versus the other way.
It looks like a beautiful place to live and really, you have to at least go try and visit the set of FNL. :)(Between you and Parry you have to have some kind of strings you can pull...)

Jean said...

I'm so sad that you're leaving, but I'm so excited for your Texas adventure!!! Austin is going to be great! I remember visiting and getting SO confused by all those roads that run alongside the highways. But, still, I think SoCal freeways are way more complicated! Your town looks beautiful - and oh my gosh, there's an Ikea?! Perfect. And I bet you guys are going to spend SO much time at that pretty lake. (Um, time to buy a boat, maybe?? Or maybe you should start with a horse... you are Texans now.) :-)

Kate said...

YAY for a new adventure!!!! Since I don't ever see you now and we live in the same state I shouldn't be sad, but I find myself tearing up as I write this. What a beautiful beautiful city, I can't wait to see all your posts and the fun things you guys do. I just might have to implant myself in the Willards family holiday get-to-gethers in the future.
Oh, and why oh why was I not there for your yard sale??? HELLO!

yo nance said...

I know I would be sad if you were moving from here...Tucson, but you're moving from CA instead, so I'm quite excited for you. Change is always good, and you and Casey will make life-long friends where ever you are. As for Parry and Linda...they will have a rough time of it. But airplanes still fly from CA to TX, and you will faithfully keep up your blog, I know. Good luck with the move... Precious Cargo.

Brennan said...

I wish it was Gilbert Arizona, but I'm still excited for you guys. The kids will definitely love the extra space.

Jen Christensen said...

i've commented a few times, but you don't actually know me. I'm a friend of Sara Suman. Anyway, I am from Austin so I had to comment. I grew up in Leander, close to Georgetown. Just wanted to say that you will LOVE it there. Feel free to contact me with any questions. jenchristensen1@yahoo.com
ps you have to try Rudy's bbq. Don't let the atmosphere fool you, you'll know what I mean when you go. It's the best.

Kim said...

i had heard the rumors. I'm excited for you and think it will be a great adventure for your family. I have heard only great things about austin. you'll be missed in southern cal!

Teressa Pickett said...

I had no idea! I'm so sad that you guys are moving, but at least we still have blogs right? Best of luck on your new adventure. I'll tell Jared about it and hopefully it will spur him (get it? spur) on to moving to AZ. Well keep in touch!

Anonymous said...

(me again)
A 4-bedroom starter home? I don't know if the stars are bigger or not, but I guess it's true that everything else is!

lyndsey said...

great blog post. i was starting to think you were giving up on the 88mph blog! love the new layout & pics too.

1. HAHAH. thank you for the feet shout out. i scrolled down & saw that pic and thought "YUCK!" before i even read the caption. hahaha. you have cute feet though...for feet, i guess.

2. love all the pics! makes your new little texas life look very exciting and fun.

3. loooove the cowboy boots. wish i could lend you mine for your moving day :)

4. what a fun new adventure. can't wait to read more about it!

Sara said...

just three weeks left?! We are so excited for you guys and hope the move goes well! Can't wait to see more pictures!!

Connie said...

Wow- this is shocking! Austin will be that much more hip with you guys in town! Hope the move goes well.

B Brown said...

You guys are gonna be missed, but at least we'll have your blogs! Just be sure to stock up on your hairspray & foundation. You don't want to be the only girl w/o big hair & serious make-up on! Or better yet, maybe you can reform a few...

Leslie said...

oh we have friends in georgetown, and totally understand this decision...

and excited for you and new seasons...

this will be an adventure of the best variety...
good luck packing.

Joe and Marci said...

Wow, what an adventure! I was born in Texas (Arlington), and even though I haven't been there since I was five, I have some pretty fond memories. Good luck with the move!!

Jodie said...

What an exciting thing! I've heard Austin is an amazing place. California will miss you guys! Thank goodness for blogs!

dietcokegrrl said...

Well, I guess it's official since you've blogged about it. You know I'll miss you, so I don't need to tell you THAT. But I really am so happy for you guys...and jealous--a 4 bedroom house? Hooray!

Have a great time discovering your new town and come back and visit Pasadena sometime.

Oh, and I forgot about all the funny U-turns...they actually are quite handy once you get used to them.

The Girl said...

It is Jalaine! Did you know that I have lived in Austin since 1999? I am so excited that you will be a Texan soon. Let me know when you get here and I will give you the scoop on the great places to eat. Can't wait.

Darci said...

That is great. Congrat!

Brad and Shanell Farr said...

looks exciting! good luck... we'll miss you!

Fernando said...

Welcome to Texas! Hope everything goes well with your move. If you're ever in town, let us know. :) We have family in Round Rock, which is a stone's throw away.

Suman Family said...

so sad! yet exciting. we're happy to come visit and hoping you'll move back!

the bates motel said...

i was wondering when you were gonna put the word out. fun pics and cool sites. i'm so excited for your new adventure. and your home looks super cute! fun fun. excited to see all the things you do to it too!

luvinthemommyhood said...

Ohhhh, Texas! Looks gorgeous Dana! Hope the packing and the move goes smoothly! Can't wait to see the outfits you are gonna come up with to wear with some darn cute cowboy boots!

Becky said...

oh wow! Big move. I love Austin. It was one of those city's that really surprised me, and won me over. I went for a wedding and wasn't planning on liking it so much. All the very best and more in your new adventure! So cal will miss you.

Camille said...

I loved seeing all of these pictures of your new area and your house! It looks like it will be such a fun adventure. Although we will miss you tons, I'm really excited for you guys! I'm glad it's all working out nicely and it will be amazing having a HOUSE!!... with central AC. I have to say I love having AC in our apartment. What a difference it makes! Fun post.....you really got some great pictures. We'll have to make a trip out there sometime to visit. See you Wednesday!

Erik Isakson said...

you guys are nuts!! You sound like us. We just weren't ready to settle in Utah so we moved to Portland. Why? just for a new adventure. We weren't both happy there so now here we are back in OC. I think its great you're getting out and moving. Looks like a beautiful area you're moving to!

Kayli said...

What a super post to really convey the excitement and newness and thrill of a new place--kindof a new life. I'm feeling a little bit of that myself and I'm excited for you. I grew up moving a lot, so I like the change. Congrats!

Traci said...

Dana -- I am in full support of the move! It's good to kind of try something new. I would say four years in Indiana was just what we needed, and we made a lot of good friends there. Good luck! If we're ever down that way we'll come visit!

And I am loving the new minimalist blog background.

Michaela said...

Wow, I was not expecting that one! Good luck with the move! Hope you enjoy it there. :)

Anne said...

Oh my, what a big move- how exciting! That's awesome that Casey can tele-commute. I so wish Dan could do that so we could move to Utah or someplace else someday. Not much hope when you own your own business, though. :(

Great pics- you are a pro! Keep posting about the move, can't wait to hear all the updates. Good luck!

devin said...

Austin is cool. Rudy's in Round Rock is close to where you live I think? delicious stuff. BBQ at a gas station, with lots of white bread. I could see it as a Saturday event for you guys.

i'll come visit soon.

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