riverwalk ramblin’: our trip to san antonio

On Monday we got home from a very nice four days spent in San Antonio, Texas.  Danny had a work conference at the Embassy Suites, and in exchange for some volunteering, I was able to accompany him.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, and after checking into our hotel, we met up with Danny’s co-workers and headed to dinner at Rosario’s.  Dinner was excellent, and I had fun getting to know some of Danny’s managers and co-workers.  Later on, Danny and I went for a quick walk along the riverwalk.  Our hotel was right on the riverwalk, but not on the busiest, most tourist-trodden part, which was nice.

DSC01289

^^ Our hotel.  See it’s prime riverwalk location?  Pretty great. ^^

On Friday morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel (Embassy Suites has got that whole breakfast thing down!) and got to work.  Danny started his airport shuttle duties, and I worked on getting welcome gifts ready for the conference attendees.  In the afternoon, while Danny was still shuttling and there wasn’t anything for me to help with, I hit the riverwalk.  I posted some pictures of my wanderings here.  It was chilly (in the low 50’s) that afternoon, but I kept moving and ended up seeing a lot of the riverwalk.  In the evening, we ate dinner at the hotel and participated in the first session of the conference. The keynote speaker was Tony Wolf, who is a comedian, speaker, and advocate for Compassion, and I think that we all really enjoyed him and what he had to share.

On Saturday, breakfast was followed by another main session, and then a breakout session.  The breakout sessions were specifically geared towards advocates, church partners, volunteer coordinators, etc. and not really applicable to me, so I went up to the room and happened upon a parade going by outside our window. Apparently, to kick off the San Antonio Rodeo, they parade longhorns and covered wagons and battle re-enactors through the streets of downtown San Antonio, and I caught it at just the right time.  I joined up with everyone for lunch, and then struck out on my own while Danny helped with three more breakout sessions.  I worked out and, of course, walked along the riverwalk again, but on a different section, and this time, the sun was out and it was in the mid-60’s.  I was thankful I didn’t bring my jacket, and kept my cardigan in my bag almost the whole time, leaving me walking the riverwalk in just a short-sleeved shirt – it was so great!

DSC01281

DSC01279

DSC01285

On Saturday evening, everyone attending/working/volunteering at the conference walked to Rita’s for dinner.  Again, good food and great company.  In the evening, back at the hotel, we enjoyed dessert and line dancing.  Danny was the star of the show with his dance moves, while I ate chocolate strawberries and got to know some of his coworkers better on the sidelines.

Sunday morning the conference wrapped up with breakfast and another main session, this time led by Carlos Whittaker, who is funny and full of good stories.  We ate a boxed lunch and helped with tear down until about 1:30pm, at which point everything (on the work end of things) was done.

DSC01290

Once we were released from duty, we walked (while rolling our suitcases behind us) to our next hotel, the Hyatt Place.  The reason we switched hotels for just one night was simple: our lodging was covered while the conference was going on and Danny was working, but once it was over, we were on our own, and the Embassy Suites wasn’t in our price range.  The Hyatt Place was great, though – still on the riverwalk, just about ten minutes south.

Danny had only been to the riverwalk on our first night when we walked around a bit at night, and then when we all went to dinner at Rita’s (which is located along the riverwalk).  Both times were at night, and were pretty short, so we dropped off our luggage and got walking.  It was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the low 70’s – definitely warm enough for some ice cream.  We found Mr. Ice Cream, a shop along the riverwalk with great prices for such a high traffic area.  We each got a single, which I figured meant one scoop for each of us, but no.  For $6 total we each got three scoops of ice cream, which was more than enough and a great mid-afternoon treat.   In addition to the riverwalk, we explored Market Square – a neat area with lots of restaurants, booths, shops, and vendors.  If we had more time, we could have spent a couple of hours browsing, taking in the live entertainment, and eating some good food.  Since our daylight hours were limited at that point, though, we wandered around just a little and watched some precious dancers before moving on.

DSC01293

DSC01296

DSC01301

We had dinner at Mad Dogs British Pub along the riverwalk – what a perfect night for eating outside!  Mad Dogs has a vegetarian section on their menu, which was why we chose it.  I had the veggie burger and Danny had the bangers and mash.  I know that British food is pretty un-San Antonio, but we’d had quite a bit of Tex-Mex throughout the weekend, and decided to try something different.  The food was fine, but the best part was definitely the location.  We walked along the riverwalk until it was dark, and then turned in for the night.

DSC01306

DSC01308

On Monday we worked out, ate breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and walked along the riverwalk to get on a boat tour.  We had planned to do the boat tour on Sunday, but the weekend was full of crowds and tourists, so we decided to wait until Monday when we thought it might be a little less crowded.  Sure enough, it was only us and five others on our riverwalk boat tour.

DSC01312

DSC01315

After the boat tour, we walked to the Rivercenter Mall, where we took in the Alamo IMAX.  Before going to see it, I read some reviews online and found out that the movie was made in 1988, and twenty-seven years later, is still being shown ten times a day.

Now, if you’re going to San Antonio, I wouldn’t recommend that you go see this movie.  Tickets are $12.50 a person, and the movie is less than 45 minutes long – pretty pricey if you ask me.  We knew all this going in, but went anyways because Danny is given a small allotment for entertainment when he travels for work, and since he didn’t use it during the conference, we used it for the movie.  The movie does give a good overview of the Alamo and it’s significance in Texas history.

After the movie, it felt only right to go visit the Alamo in all it’s glory.  But first, lunch.  We walked to Sweet Yams Organic, which really wasn’t all that far away, but we got lost a little bit and almost didn’t find it except that Danny realized that something we thought was just graffiti (it was kind of a sketchy area) was actually the sign for the restaurant.  The food was great, though – definitely some of the best of the trip.

DSC01325

DSC01327

And then, the Alamo.  Monday was a perfect time to go – very few tourists and the best weather we had our whole trip.  Actually, probably the best weather I think we’ve experienced since we were at Versailles last September, where it was quite warm and we were totally overdressed.  Same story at the Alamo: it was in the 80’s and we were wearing too many clothes (jeans for me and a long sleeved shirt for Danny).  We didn’t spend a lot of time at the Alamo (there isn’t much to see – but don’t tell the Texans – they love that place), but we did get a good look around and take a few pictures.

DSC01332

DSC01333

DSC01334

DSC01337

DSC01338

After the Alamo we were hot and in need of some more ice cream.  This time, though, we were aware of the massive portions Mr. Ice Cream offers and decided to split a cup of cookie dough.  It was good, but we decided that we need to make our own ice cream soon because our homemade cookie dough chunks would (probably) be much better than the pellets in our ice cream.  We ate on a bench along the riverwalk and while we were doing so, one of the hosts at a nearby restaurant saw us and came over and asked if we wanted him to take our picture.  I mean, yes!  Always yes!  Any picture that’s not a selfie is always good.  What a nice guy.

DSC01342

DSC01344

We walked along the river for a while longer until we were so hot and sweaty that we decided to head to the airport a little bit earlier than planned.  Since we didn’t rent a car (it was going to be about $80 for the 26ish hours we needed it), we were going to just take a taxi to the airport (estimated around $35), but then I heard about Uber.  I’d heard of Uber before, but never paid much attention, because, well, I’ve never had a need for such a service (Uber, to my understanding, is like a taxi but a little different – someone drives you where you need to go in their personal car and thus is usually cheaper).  But Uber told me our ride to the airport would be about $10 less than the taxi, so we decided to give it a chance.  The ride ended up being only $17, and now I’m sold on Uber.  It was kind of like the first time we used Airbnb – we were kind of nervous, but willing to take a risk in order to save some serious money – and it worked out great.

We had a great time in San Antonio.  It was the perfect little getaway (although it was definitely more of a vacation for me than Danny since he was primarily working) and I’m so thankful that we were able to go and be a part of the Compassion conference and enjoy a beautiful long weekend in San Antonio.

Advertisements

january adventures

During January, we spent most of our time that we weren’t working inside reading, watching movies, and staying warm.  We did have a few adventures worth noting, though.

Our friend Tim came to visit one weekend, arriving late Friday night (after I was in bed) and staying until Sunday early evening (while I was at work).  One of the highlights of the weekend was on Saturday afternoon when we ventured outside for a short hike in Palmer Lake.  We did the Spruce Mountain Trail, but didn’t last too long since the path was pretty snowy and icy.  It was great to get outside, though, and get some fresh air as well.

DSC01229

DSC01231

DSC01232

DSC01236

DSC01237

Another weekend we went up to south Denver and did a bit of shopping and exploring.  We started out at The Wildlife Experience in Parker, where we spent about an hour and a half looking at the exhibits and exploring the museum area, and then watched “Pandas: The Journey Home” in the theatre, which we really enjoyed.  I had a buy-one-get-one free coupon, which is primarily why we went (the combo ticket, which includes the museum and the theatre, is $14 per adult).  I think that the museum is geared towards children, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves and felt that there was plenty for us to see and do.  After The Wildlife Experience, we had lunch at Lyfe Kitchen at Park Meadows, and did some shopping/browsing at the mall afterwards.

DSC01241

DSC01244

Throughout January, we worked on a puzzle during the cold evenings and lazy Saturday mornings.  And because putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle of a dog is no easy task, we took a picture before putting it away the afternoon of the Super Bowl…

DSC01246

So far, February has been great: only one day of snow, a trip to San Antonio, and lots of pleasant (and by pleasant I mean it’s not below freezing during the day and no snow on the roads) weather, and more daylight – it’s already light by 6:30am now!

three quarters past four

Recently I have been waking up earlier and earlier every day – not on purpose, though.  Of course.

I think it started when Danny got really serious about waking up at 6:00am every morning to work out.  By default, I was also waking up at 6, but not necessarily working out.  More like catching up on blogs and Instagram from bed until I was in the know on all of the exciting and pressing things that had happened overnight.  But that is irrelevant to this issue.

A couple of weeks ago, I started waking up at 5:50am instead of with the alarm at 6:00am.  Not enough time to try to go back to sleep, I’d just lay in bed (with my phone, duh) until the alarm went off.  Before long, I found I was waking up at 5:45am.  Annoying, but not a huge deal.

But then this week, I found myself wide awake at 5:30am.  This was not okay, but somehow it gave me the motivation to actually get up and work out.  This was happening around the time Danny (temporarily) switched his wake up time to 6:15am, so I had time for a whole work out before he was even awake.  I really enjoyed it and felt kind of accomplished not only working out, but doing it before Danny did.  But that was until the evening, when I wanted to go to sleep around 8:00pm.

I thought 5:30am was as bad as it would get, but then today I saw 4:45am.  Oh, and I don’t think I mentioned we’re in San Antonio right now, so it was like 3:45am at home.  Yes.  As could be expected, I’m sitting on the couch at 5:30pm wondering if this is an appropriate time to go to bed, but thinking dinner might be worth staying up for.  Maybe.

I kept myself from sleeping all afternoon by exploring the river walk.  I was out for about three hours, and when I got back, I did some Google Maps to figure out roughly how far I walked, and I can confidently say it was over six miles, and probably closer to seven or eight.

Because I need to wait till after dinner to crash, a few pictures from my stroll…

DSC01251

DSC01253

DSC01260

DSC01265

DSC01268

I really saw a lot of the river walk, and combined with last night’s walk, I’ve even started to develop a few favorite sections.  It was quiet, chilly (for Texas, at least – it was in the low 50’s), overcast, and not very crowded in most parts.  So thankful for the time to explore a bit and be along the water.

 Here’s hoping that I have sufficiently tired myself out so that tomorrow I will sleep until noon.

our 2nd anniversary

It’s really hard to believe that our second anniversary has come and gone.  You know how you always hear that the first year of marriage is the hardest?  Well, I had heard that, but I also had all kinds of people tell me that their first year was a breeze and they didn’t know what the big deal was.  Meanwhile, I was listening and thinking, “What is wrong with me?  This first year has kind of been a struggle.”  We moved to another town the day after we got married, we both started new jobs, we searched for a church and friends and community and it was just tough.  Not all the time, but many times during that first year I think we both looked at each other and thought, “What have we done?!

This past year, our second year of marriage, was definitely different.  No doubt, it had it’s fair share of struggles as well, but overall, things were just a bit easier.  We got used to living together, we fought better, we were more intentional.  We made friends, we were in jobs we were happy with, we made a budget and learned to stick to it (sounds silly, but it was probably the best choice we made in 2014), we travelled, we went back to Greeley more often, we found community.  Year two was pretty good.

So we celebrated with a weekend in Boulder.  It started snowing not long after we got to Boulder, but, as it so often does, the snow brought peace and quiet and beauty.  We had a great weekend seeing some of Boulder and doing some fun things.  We played games and read books and watched HGTV (okay, that was just me).  We ate delicious food and dreamed about the future and even slept in a little bit.

We started at Celestial Seasonings and took a tour of their tea factory.  We found it very interesting, and next time we’ll definitely remember to take a couple of pictures and taste some tea.  Next, we drove across the street to the Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art, which I had visited with my family many years ago.  We thoroughly enjoyed all of the beautiful paintings and the fact that we had the gallery to ourselves.  We even posed next to our favorites… :)

DSC01205

DSC01206

DSC01208

DSC01211

Boulder has no shortage of vegan-friendly restaurants, and we had lunch at the Sun Deli.  I believe what we had was called a pizza roll, but don’t quote me on that.  Whatever it was, it tasted amazing, and nothing like the frozen pizza rolls I had in my lunch as kid.  After lunch, we walked up and down the Pearl Street Mall, braving the cold and snow.  We could have spent all day in the bookstores, kitchen stores, and boutiques that line Pearl Street.  Plus, there’s nothing like a little snow and cold to empty places out and make browsing much more pleasant.

DSC01212

DSC01213

When we were sufficiently cold, we stopped by Sprouts to pick up some muffins for breakfast and checked in to our hotel.  We stayed at the Courtyard Hotel – great pool and hot tub, nice rooms, and a decent price for being in the heart of Boulder.  I chose Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant for dinner, and I think we were both pretty pleased with it.  It was one of the nicer meals we’ve had, since our anniversary comes around once a year and our generous parents and grandparents were really sweet to bless us with some money to put towards our getaway.  It really felt like a celebration.  I had the sweet potato-lentil kofta and Danny had the spaghetti squash pad Thai and I think we’d both order them again without hesitation.

DSC01214

DSC01216

The next morning, we played Ticket to Ride while eating our muffins, worked out at the hotel gym, soaked in the hot tub, and packed up in time for lunch at Native Foods.  If you’ve read this blog before, you know we love Native Foods, and we were certainly not disappointed this time around.  We stopped by Chautauqua for a hike afterwards, but kept it at around an hour as it was still quite chilly outside.  The sun made it look a lot warmer than it was. :)

DSC01217

DSC01221

DSC01224

We had such a fun, relaxing getaway spending time together and celebrating marriage.  Boulder was beautiful and so fun.  We can’t wait to go back sometime when it’s a bit warmer and long underwear isn’t necessary just for venturing outside :)