Mission San Jose’

Travel is something I think most people enjoy. There is a part of us that naturally is curios about the rest of the world and the history behind towns, big and small. Traveling is something we as a family would love to do more but lets be honest, it’s not something we can really afford to do that often.
We were lucky enough to take a trip last weekend with my parents to the Hill Country area in Texas. We not only got to explore new things, we got to do it kid free. We love Poppy and Vivi! One day we made the 45 min drive from Canyon Lake to San Antonio. I spent about 3-4 year of my early 20’s living in San Antonio before moving out to the Hill Country for about a year. This trip we opted to visit some of my favorite spots along with some of the new places.

One of my favorite places to visit is the Mission San Jose. So many people come to the city, visit the Alamo and never realize there are at least 4 other missions that are open to the public. The Mission San Jose is considered “Queen of the Missions” and is the biggest of all the Missions still standing in San Antonio. It went through a restoration process in the 1930’s and gives visitors a great picture of what living in one of these communities where like.

As soon as you walk in you can visit one of the bastions located at the corner of the Missions perimeter along see what one of the living quarters would of been during the 1780s. As you walk along the path towards the church you can see ruins of old buildings and fire domes where outdoor cooking was often done.

I love old architecture, which is probably why Mission San Jose is one of my favorite places to visit. Their are tons of new angles, textures and hand carved treasures to discover. I visited the mission often when I lived in San Antonio years ago and I still found myself discovering new things that captured my attention. Here are few of what seemed like tons of photos I took. I’m a sucker for a good black and white.

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Mission San Jose also has a hand carved window known as the Rose Window. Carved in 1775 the legend is that Juan Huizar carved the window in honor of his fiance, Rosa, who drowned at sea while traveling to join him. He believed that the window would be a way for her spirit to be near him always. Regardless of it’s a legend or fact the window is known to be  one  of  the finest examples of baroque architecture in North America.

If you are ever in San Antonio and considering visiting the Alamo along with other Historic places in town, consider a tour on the Mission Trail.  You’ll visit Mission San Jose along with the other missions that hold so much history behind this bustling city filled with so much culture.



Don’t forget the coffee.

Coffee seems to be on trend right now. I mean people have loved it for years but the word, smell, equipment and hipster vibe that comes with a fancy cup of coffee seems to be all the rave. Don’t get me wrong, I’m amongst the ones obsessed. I’ve even got a shirt to prove it. We consider ourselves coffee snobs, we only by certain beans, roasted a certain way. We also don’t drink K-cup coffee. Unless we are desperate… Very, very desperate. We have a small collection of machines that grind and brew our coffee. Espresso, we’ve even got a fancy pot for that.Most mornings I make a fresh pot of coffee, fix a cup, it probably gets reheated about 4 times through out the morning, then store the remainder of it in a mason jar in the fridge for an ice coffee later in the day. If I don’t have time at home, I have my own special French press pot at work. When we travel, we have a travel pot. Like I said, slightly obsessed. Growing up, my dad alway drank coffee black and my mom preferred cappuccinos. I eventually fell into the trend of Starbucks coffee, until I had kids. 

 If you don’t know much about us then let me inform you of something several have called us crazy for. Our youngest is 10 month old and for the first time in 4 years. I’m not pregnant! That’s right 4 years, 3 babies, one after another. So my life for the past 4 years have been made up with diapers, feeding schedules, Bubble Guppies,sleep deprivation and lots and lots of coffee. It’s not just about chasing toddlers and a now mobile baby. It’s the laundry, job, dishes (oh the dishes) meals and other household things that need to be done in a day. When they sleep, deciding which chore is more important at the time is the biggest struggle. Just staying on task is a huge challenge. I’ve put milk in the pantry, cereal in the fridge, ran the washing machine 4 times in a week along with other mommy mishaps.  Don’t even get me started with “running to the store for a few things” there is no such thing. A simple run to the store turns into an hour or more road trip with 3. It has to be a level 4 necessitiy to merit me loading up and driving to the store with all 3.As moms ( I could be the only one but I feel like I’m not) we spend our days playing chauffeur, chef, maid, sanitation worker and referee amongst other things. Working any form of a job AND being a mom should be classified as 2 full time position. I’m actually even more exhausted just thinking about it.  The background music of our life is some cartoon show our kids watch on loops, alphabet songs and  whines from toddlers who are testing their boundaries. Oh and when one cries…. They all cry.  We spend our days deciding which battles are more important to fight and begging for nap time or bedtime to come soon. 

Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE my kids. Before we had our first we had 3 miscarriages. Every day that they wake me up I’m grateful for each and everyone of them. I work hard as a mom to make sure their teeth and hair are brushed, they practice good manners ,they do their chores and attempt to potty train (don’t get me started on that one)  so I’m entitled to one thing right? It obviously can’t be sleep, or even potting in peace most days so just give me the coffee and we will all survive the day. 

I say AAAAALLLLLL of that to convey this funny story.

My 3 year old acts like she should be 30. She knows how I feel about coffee and that it keeps mommy a little bit more sane during the day. The day before we left for vacation I was scrambling to get things packed, cleaned  and ready to go. As I was getting ready to run to the store for a few things she stops me with both hands on her hips, head tilted slightly to the left and we had this exchange. 

Elia: “Momma, where are you doing? You look like a crazy person.” 

Me: “Momma’s gonna go to the store in a little bit. I’m making a list of things we need.” 

Elia: “Oh ok momma. Well don’t forget my juice. Oh and Don’t forget the coffee. We never forget coffee.” 

I started giggling, scooped her up, gave her a big hug and a kiss and thought, she knows me so well. 

“No baby, we never forget coffee.”

Go Gruene. 

We are huge fans of Texas Hill Country. We try to make a trip out every year preferably in the summer. Give me the warm summer sun, the breeze off the river or lake with a faint hint of suntan lotion and I’m a happy girl. Flip flops, sunroofs open, country road exploring that’s my kind of summer. 

We like to travel to places that aren’t as popular. My husband is a foodie and I love small towns with a vintage feel. It was easy for us to fall in love with Gruene. 

In 1845 a German immigrant, Ernest Gruene, and his family tried to buy land in Nee Braunfels but land was scarce, so he ventured out across the Guadalupe and bought land. His son Henry decided he would plant and grow cotton around his home. Soon after they built a cotton mill and soon families flocked to the area in need of work. The town quickly sprang up but soon after a string of miss fortunes and the depression eventually lead to its demise. Everything closed except for Gruene Hall. In 1974 an avid kayaker later discover the abandoned town fell in love and saved it from demolition. He along with others started the restoration and helped make it into the quant antique town that it is today. 

The streets of Gruene are in the form of T with Gruene Hall and the Gristmill at the center. The hall is now a host to live music, community gatherings and good ol’ honky tonks. 

The Gristmill Restaurant and Bar sits behind it and is by far one of our places to visit. The original mill was burned in the 1922 which makes the restaurant have a unique look and feel. It’s open air, outdoor atmosphere with the subtle sound of the Guadalupe below makes for a relaxing feel. The restaurant itself is made up of old bridling remains, rustic decor and modern structure. Nestled on the side of a hill, over looking the Guadalupe, it’s like dining in a structure straight out of Swiss Family Robertson.  

The pictures don’t do it justice. Check out their website and take a virtual tour! http://www.gristmillrestaurant.com

The food,like it’s atmosphere, is fantastic. On our most recent trip, Albert and I had lunch and both enjoyed sandwiches on delishious sourdough bread. The country club I had was the perfect blend of refreshing and filling for a warm summer day. One of their signature sauces is called “Prime Sauce” let me just say, I would of ordered a few bottles had it been available. Traditionally it comes on the country club sandwich but I opted for it on the side. Man, I dipped everything in it. If your a suace collector and a foodie like us, prime sauce is something to try. It had hints of horseradish and Dijon mustard amongst other creamy flavors. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The food was so good we were to full to try desserts but from their six layer German chocolate cake, to their chocolate sundae it all sounded amazing. 

After lunch we took a short walk down to the Guadalupe. This trip the river was to high and flowing at about 4,300 CFS, which is to dangerous for recreational tubing or kayaking. In the past though, I have floated it numerous time and it’s always a blast.  Rockin’ R and Gruene River Co. are located across the river in Gruene and both make tubing and rafting trips a memorable one. The Guadalupe is large and rough in places so it’s not one I would recommend take young kids or weak swimmers on. Don’t worry though the Comal River host tubing in New Braunfels and is a mild and fun ride for all ages.

After checking out the river we headed back up the hill to Gruene, walked around the quant town and explored many of the antique shops and unique boutiques.From clay pots, pieces of American history and Texas proud souvenirs there are certainly treasures to be found. Every third Saturday, Gruene host a open market filled with all kinds of vendors with homegrown to homemade goods. If you plan to visit during Gruene Market Days make sure to get there around 9am or before. The market opens at 10am but parking is often hard find once they open. 

If you live outnumbered like we do, quant towns with that step back in time feel are the much needed break you need. If your wanting to plan a romantic weekend then check out the Gruene Mansion Inn. It’s a perfect foundation to a great vacation. 

So if your looking for something a little different to do in the great state of Texas consider the Hill Country and well… Go Gruene. 

It’s a…. cat? 

Yesterday was a rough day. We all have them. My kids seem to all have them on the same day which makes life real fun. It’s like their mood clocks sync up every month. Elia decided listening was overrated, Ally was anti diapers and discipline and Roman’s top two teeth finally decided to make an appearance. So the day was filled with moments of ,what seemed rehearsed, crying or screaming from all 3 kids along with constant questions and I wants. 

It’s easy to mainly see the highlight reels of everyone’s parenting successes in social mefia these days, to feel like where in a mad house world of our own. That was how I was feeling yesterday. Till I realized …. Some days I have kids…. Other days they’re cats… 

About 2 :30, after their nap the kids are all in the living room stretching and waking up when my 2 year old Ally comes into the kitchen where I am. She begins the “mommy I want…. ” plea in which she wanted goldfish. I was doing dishes so my hands were soaked in soap and water so grabbing goldfish quick wasn’t as fast as normal. She hung around my legs, climbed between them and continually asked for goldfish. I wiped my hands walked to the table and filled her little bowl with goldfish. She came running, hopped in her chair and started snacking away. That’s when it hit me….

Now bear with me cause this has the potential to give you a chuckle on your upcoming rough days. I have been chuckling about this epiphany all afternoon. 

Essentially kids are like cats…. I mean really let’s compare. 

Cats are temperamental, sometimes they want to cuddle you, be sweet and calm. Other times they have crazy eyes, run after imaginary objects and swat and hiss at you if you try to cuddle them. 

Unless your cat is exceptionally trained, they use a litter box, that you have to change, often. Basically a giant diaper minus the Disney characters. 
If you sit down to eat or drink anything, cats suddenly want to be on your lap, in your face investigating everything. Or opening food wrappers or bags can bring them from miles away. 

Younger cats especially get surges of energy mostly around at night. This can cause them to run back and forth for no reason. They may find ideas like climbing the Christmas tree, getting on top of the dinner table and playing with the water in the toilet bowl, entertaining at this time. 

I mean really. Even though those statements were things cats do, does it not sound like something your toddler does? Except they say words instead of meow. So if your a new couple, considering having a baby, get a cat. If you and the cat survive the tradition from cute kitten to adult cat, you might just be ready.

Yes it’s true, cats you can legaly kennel, or leave them at home when you run to the store. When they grow up and get fat they have a tendency of being great chill lap companions.Yes it’s true, kids often make days go by fast with their creative imagination. Even on bad days, you often find yourself amazed at the new things they have learned. So their are some differences between cats and kids. 

Then one day while sitting and writing about your crazy kids, your girls will dog pile you in bed, fill your room with laughter and say “good morning mommy, we love you.” So with a now achey back and tear filled eyes, I’ll  hug and kiss them and think to myself, kids are way better then cats.