basset hound running


it's finally time to go!  we bathed the girls and left them with my mom for the summer.  giving bella a bath is a lot of fun.  she's like a model.  so i took some pictures.  her little wrinkly extra skinned face has so many different expressions!

here are two sexy waterfall shots.
basset hound
basset hound

but mostly she just looks funny :)
basset hound
basset hound

and just for the fun of it, i took some pictures of bella running.  because everyone loves to see basset hounds running.  multiple websites are dedicated just to this... there's even a buzzfeed for it.  granted, bella does not look as insane as the bassets on there (thankful she doesn't have that much extra skin), but it's still hilarious to look at her different faces :)
sorry bella!
basset hound
basset hound

really don't know how we're gonna make it for months without our baby girls :(

the travel bug


it's a good thing we're going somewhere soon, because the travel bug has really hit me.  i've been battling with bouts of it over the last year and a half, but it's now become full blown.  it has been an entire year since i've left the country (something that hasn't happened since 2004), and i'm crawling out of my skin.

i can remember the first time i came down with it.  we all have our travel virginity stories, so below i share mine with whomever cares to read.

it was the spring semester of my first year of high school. i had decided to take spanish because i lived in texas and would never go anywhere else, so the only language i needed to know was spanish, duh.  my best friend megan and i listened as mrs. bowan made an announcement that our school would be participating in a study abroad exchange with a school in spain and that we could attend an informational meeting with our parents if we wanted to go.  we looked at each other and knew something, i dont' know what, but that this was something big.  also, it would cost $3500. 

well so much for that.  i was only 14 years old.  even if i could convince my parents to let me go, there's no way i could pay for it.  i went home and when my mom asked about my day i nonchalantly told her about this cool trip i'd learned about, but that it was way too expensive and would never work out.  she said "do you want to go?" and i said yes obviously but i know it's not reasonable.  "then you'll go!"

that was the moment that a butterfly in texas flapped its wings and changed the course of my life! okay maybe a little dramatic, but seriously.

in the fall we hosted rocio and eva.  we welcomed them into our texan home, took them to the rodeo, ate mexican food, taught them dirty words, and tried to learn as much about these girls as possible.  they had come from another place and were simply fascinating.

then in the spring megan and i went to live with rocio and her mom.  we were 15.  i still can't believe our parents let us go.  spain was my first love and like all first loves will forever hold a special place in my heart.  i gained 20 pounds, drank wine with dinner, spoke horrible spanish, fell in love with every single spanish boy i met, waxed my legs, and learned what a bidet was. i smelled spain, i tasted, felt, heard, and saw spain and i loved every. single. second of it.
castellon de la plana
 ^^getting some fresh fish for dinner at home in castellon^^
 ^^rocio and her mom put us in traditional magdalena clothing^^
castellon spain
^^ the lighthouse in benicassim^^

after that trip something changed.  my ethnocentric view of the world had quickly started to fade.  i had changed, and it was just the beginning.  what can you experience in such a short time that rocks your world so much?  for me it was and always will be the people.  obviously the art, food, and nature of different places is magical in itself, but it's this quality of the people that gets me every time. anywhere new can make you feel out of place, uncomfortable, like your ways are weird, and you can even find yourself judging the place you're in.  but then you see the people interacting with each other, with their families, with their pets, and you see how much we are all the same and for me that's where you see the beauty.  with all of our myriad of differences, fundamentally we are all the same.  it is in those moments where you see your own insignificance and the world feels so small. and to me that is beautiful.  often times humbling, but beautiful.

i didn't travel outside of the u.s. again for a while other than the occasional trips to mexico.  but freshman year of college i watched motorcycle diares and the bug was back. "let the world change you and you can change the world."  ok handsomest actor alive gael garcia! let's do this! (i'm not a marxist and don't support che guevara's ideals, but what 18 year old doesn't love this movie?!)

anyhoo, the world does change you and travel becomes a need for so many people.  that's why the term 'travel bug' exists, right? and once infected i'm convinced there's no cure.

so there's mine. what's your story?

texas wildflowers


in late march to early april of every year, the texas highways fill with wildflowers.  the flowers, which were originally a project to beautify the highways, are really a part of our culture.  their yearly emergence is our rite of spring.

in school you learn the legend of the indian paintbrush and the legend of the bluebonnet.  on weekends you'll see families stopped taking pictures in the bluebonnets.  it's a go to for easter family portraits.  we all know that you never pick a bluebonnet, and that you tread through them carefully as you could easily trip over a rattlesnake.  we know that each petal has a secret cat's claw inside of it.  and we know it's the most beautiful flower in the world.

while there are many wildflowers of texas, the bluebonnet is our official state flower and is the most abundant.  bluebonnets have a distinct smell that let you know you're in texas, and if you grew up here that smell instantly transports you home.
texas wildflowers
texas wildflowers

married life, day 1


i thought i'd backtrack to day one.  since our honeymoon doesn't start for a little, eric's mom got us a room at the driskill so that we could celebrate away from everyone.  when we arrived his family had filled our room with flowers from the reception.  our room was on the haunted 4th floor, so that made the stay even more exciting.

for our first married evening, we decided to do one of our favorite everyday things and took a walk to get dinner.

a date at homeslice sounded perfect, so we headed straight there and had our fill of lone star and shiner hefeweizen in the garden before splurging on two enormous salads and pizza (our go to favorite meal).  eric hasn't spent much time on south congress so we really enjoyed walking around and checking things out at dusk (with some amy's ice cream) just in time to watch the bats come out for the evening.

it was exactly the relaxing date we needed to end an excitement filled weekend.  when we awoke next morning (happily the ghosts did not kill us), we tried out the driskill's 1886 cafe's yummy breakfasts of 'paris, texas benedict' and 'brazos juevos rancheros'.  the food was great, but i particularly liked the names.  man do i love/miss texas.

austin texas

married life, day 3


soooooo, we got married on saturday :)

wedding ceremony

it's day 3 of married life and so far so good.  mostly it feels the same except once in a while when you realize it really is forever.  this gives me butterflies throughout the day.

it's weird seeing a ring on eric's hand, and it's weird when people call me mrs. patterson.  we haven't introduced each other as "husband" or "wife" yet, but i think that will also take some getting used to.

here are some thoughts on the actual wedding day, which i assume any bride can relate to.  i wanted to write it down while it's still fresh.  before i start my list though, let me say it was so much better than i could have imagined.  like everyone says "it was perfect".  it was the perfect day and it ended with a husband.

feelings throughout the day:
  • 9am (wakeup time) to midnight felt like less than an hour
  • spent most of the day in some weird state of shock maybe? couldn't make any decisions/remember where i put anything, basically it felt like an out of body experience that you were floating around while everyone else was doing stuff for a good 7 hours
  • around 3pm (wedding was at 5:30) started to feel a little pukey - this is the exact  same feeling i get when i'm about to go on stage and perform a difficult solo, except it lasted way longer
  • as soon as i stepped out of the car and started for the aisle, this pukey feeling disappeared and the "show" began, just like a performance, we were "on", and what a high it was!
  • the rest of the night was a total blast - i didn't drink anything and was just on cloud nine for hours, it was awesome
things eric and i both experienced:
  • we missed all of the details: no idea how the ceremony site, dessert table, flowers, food, etc, looked, tasted, or anything else - that's what pictures are for??
  • we forgot to eat or drink, but thankfully people kept shoving food in our faces
  • we experienced a great level of exhaustion for the next two days
  • little things went wrong, but we had no idea (didn't matter anyway) and are still learning of little things
favorite things :
  • at one point i was in a room with all my best friends and family (all from different stages of life) and it's like "wow, my favorite people in the entire world all in one place!"
  • having the girls (dogs) in the wedding was really cool - they both went to sleep, and at one point belle decided to eat a stick (which happend to be when eric was about to lose it crying, so her comedic timing was perfect)
  • family members came in a good mood with hearts full of love and talked to other family members they hadn't seen or talked to in years (on both sides of the family!)  it was more than a reunion.
  • we frequently feel incredibly blessed and lucky and the wedding was just that.  the weather, the vendors, the people, no one could have been better.

unsolicited recommendations for others:
  • get your hair and makeup done.  it's not that you can't do it beautifully yourself, but in the moment, you probably won't want to.
  • hire a day of coordinator.  don't know what we would have done without one.  family was still running around doing stuff, but she just knew what to do when and where and solved lots of issues without even having to think about it.
  • tell people what you want.  this was hard for me.  i like everyone to enjoy themselves and be happy, including vendors.  but people don't know what you want unless you tell them, and if you don't, you can't be disappointed when they don't do it (i'm talking to myself).  on your wedding day, not a single person is going to tell the girl in the white dress 'no', so enjoy the power!  :)
  • let go of control, let go of worry.  this was also very hard for me.  when you're a little ocd in general, letting others take care of things can be difficult because if something isn't done exactly like you have it in your head, you don't think it's correct.  this is the day to decide there are many "correct" ways to do things, and that you must let others worry.  you'll be anxious enough without worrying about details (that you won't get to see anyway!)

our brothers really got us with their toasts (got us all crying, that is).
as eric's brother said in his "it [wasn't] the happiest day of our life, it [was] the first day of our happiest life".

p.s. thanks to our friend john for the pic :)
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