Monday, September 26, 2011

Albuquerque, NM! Part Three.

Luke and Jenny asked us multiple times if we wanted them to get a babysitter, so we could out to dinner or to do something, but we ended up staying at their house and eating at home for most of the weekend. After eating out for pretty much every meal and living in a hotel, it was a really nice change to hang out at "home" and eat delicious home cooked meals. So here's pictures of what we did all weekend:

I love this one not only for Cal's (NEW) chubs and adorable face, but because of Jefferson. He's listening so intently to whatever Jenny was asking him to do.

This is one of Calvin's very favorite things to do: Shout at everyone from the porch. He's so funny, everyone else would be on the sidewalk and in the street, and he was completely content to stand up there yelling at us.

Cutest Cal Cal with (cutest) Uncle Nick!

Jeffer can ride without training wheels!!

I love this action shot.

Worked up a sweat on that two-wheeled ride.

This one's so cute.. Jefferson is having a giggle-fest after him and Nick's wrestle, Nick is tired from rolling around with him, and Gwen is concerned as to why she wasn't in charge of this activity.

Okay here is the play by play...

Cal very content with his blue balloon.

Jefferson trying to figure out how he can get that blue balloon from Cal.

Well swiping it didn't go over so well..

But replacing it did!

Alright i'm wrapping up this very long ABQ post with a photoshoot done by Gwenyth M. Graham herself. (When she took Jenny's photo she said, "say Chalula!") Thank's SOO much Luke, Jenny, Gwen, Jefferson, and Cal, for having us and making us feel at home! It was seriously awesome to get to stay with you guys all weekend, we LOVE you!

Albuquerque, NM! Part Two.

We got to ABQ late Thursday night, after the kiddos had gone to sleep (They didn't tell them we were coming for fear of the lack of sleep they would get). So we didn't see them until they climbed into our bed Friday morning. Gwen had school, so Jefferson, Nick, Luke and I decided (after going to Jeffer's favorite, Panda Express, for lunch) to go to the zoo. You'll notice in the photos above that we didn't go to the zoo. When we pulled in the parking lot we asked Jefferson if he was excited to see the animals and he said "No, I don't like the animals". Then Luke asked him why we came to the zoo and he said to play on the playground. (Haha, I love this boy.) As we're walking into the zoo Luke read a sign that said that the playground was under construction, and Jeffer lost it. He had no intentions of seeing animals and did not want to go anymore. We quickly decided it was a better idea to go to the playground across the street, and crisis was averted.

I added the second photo merely for it's ugliness. I cannot believe how ugly it is an I laugh every time I see it, so I thought my blog readers (not sure who that is) would enjoy it.

I went with Jenny to take Gwen to school that morning and on the way she realized that Gwen was wearing sandals and a skirt and it was P.E. day. Gwen got really sad when she remembered that she wouldn't be able to participate if she didn't have tennis shoes. It was too late to go back so she went to school in sandals. We felt so bad at the thought of cute little tiny Gwen having to sit out because she (SO stylishly) wore a skirt and (one pink and one white) sandals to school that day and decided Nick and I would take her some shoes. After our "zoo" trip we remembered we hadn't brought them yet but it was about 1:30 and still had time so we headed to the school with Gwen's tiny pink Nike's (from Grandma Lish). After getting my guest pass I found her classroom but her class had just gone to recess, so I went outside to find my adorable tiny niece playing on the monkey bars outside (with a skirt on haha). She saw me walking towards her with her tennis shoes and lit up. She ran to me and jumped in my arms saying, "thank you so so much Auntie Allie!! You are just in time! We just got to recess and we haven't had P.E. yet!! Thank you Thank you!" (She really said it with that much enthusiasm, after all she IS a Graham.) It was just so weird to see my cutest little Gwen, the Kindergartener, at school, she is getting to be SUCH an adult.. I love her so much and was so happy to be able to see her in action (I forgot to mention she was chatting with a boy when I walked up to her) at school.

While we're on the subject of Gwen being an adult, have you ever heard her read!? She reads at a 4th or 5th grade level. My dad bought me a kindle (which i LOVE by the way) before we left for Texas and I knew that Gwen would love that thing also. So when we got there I showed her how it worked and let her pick out a book of her own to buy. She picked a Junie B. Jones book and read the whole thing in one sitting. Then she picked a book of Fairy Tales, and then another Junie B. Jones. She is so stinking cute.

Albuquerque, NM! Part One.

By some miracle, Nick got his first two weekends off that we've been here. Well not exactly a miracle, more like lightning, but no matter the reason I was happy! As soon as he told me they probably couldn't work the weekend he knew exactly what I wanted to do. We'd talked about how cool it would be if we could go to New Mexico to see the Luke Graham's. It is about 420 miles from Big Spring, where Nick was working at the time, and Albuquerque. Which is still a pretty long drive, but anything shorter than Portland to ABQ was okay with me! So we called Luke and asked if we could come stay and he gave me an of course yes, and the next afternoon we were on our way! I miss all of them so much, it was seriously a blessing that we got to go see them. So here's what I did for the first half of the drive, and here's what Nicholas did :) The bottom one is what the exciting drive looked like. The entire way.

Colorado City, TX

Since we've been to Texas we've stayed in 6 hotels. One of them was in a teeeny town called Colorado City. Population 1,000. Our hotel was actually very nice, one of our favorites (as we are quickly becoming hotel connoisseurs). One day after Nick got off work we left to go out to dinner. I had already done a mini tour of the city while he was gone, which meant driving down the one road that was the entire town and had a curves and a pizza hut on it. I was a bit skeptical of what we could find, and he said if we didn't find anything, we'd drive the 25 miles to the closest city. So we drove around and found this little restaurant that said "Best Mexican food south of the river" It looked like a house and I was so confused, but we decided to try it...

I really thought that when we walked in it would be someone's house and we'd eat in their dining room. Haha, to my surprise (and relief, not that eating in a dining room of a West Texan wouldn't be delightful) it was a cute little restaurant! MUCH more than we expected in this tiny town.

The service and food were actually very good, lesson learned: don't judge a restaurant by it's appearance, and the guy standing on the porch.

Austin, TX

First real adventure after arriving in Abilene, was our trip to Austin! I have always wanted to see Austin; when learning that Abilene was about 3.5 hours from there I HOPED we'd get to go there but with Nick's schedule being that they work everyday that weather permits, I didn't see a great possibility of that happening. Nick text me on a Friday morning saying that if they're supplies didn't arrive by that afternoon we'd get to go to Austin for the weekend! I was so excited but didn't even pack my bags, not wanting to jinx it! (Which lead to being very unprepared and not well packed for the weekend haha.) We did end up going there, and it was SO fun. Austin is a VERY cool city! (hence my capitalizations) The first night, we got in pretty late, and very hungry. I called Luke (who lived there for two years) and asked for a recommendation. He sent us to the Hula Hut, which he described as a mix between Polynesian and Tex-Mex, right on Lake Austin, and very "Austin". Woooww.. That place was delicious. Here is us on the dock that surrounded the restaurant. Very cool atmosphere and yummy food.

The next day we drove about an hour to the Texas Ski Ranch, which is a wakeboarding cable park. Nick road for 2 hours and I got to lay on the fake beach :). It was a cool place and we got there early so he got to ride the whole time and it wasn't too hot yet. On the way back we stopped at Rudy's; the famous Texan BBQ that my family raves about. It was pretty freaking good.. Quite the experience! (which anyone who has been there understands, and if you haven't, then go.)

Okay that night we bought tickets on craigslist to the UT vs. BYU football game!! We were 13 rows up on like the 20 yard line? Anyway, it was AWESOME!! I wanted to go to a football game in Texas so bad, just knowing how intense Texans are about football. And that they are. It was so much fun being in that crowd, pretending to be Longhorn Fans haha. It was 95 degrees outside when the game started at 6pm.. Holy crap it was hot! But other than that, SUCH a cool experience that i'll never forget.

These photos pretty much speak for themselves, it was a very close game, UT ended up winning after being down until the 4th quarter.

The next morning, our last day in Austin, we went to the Lindon B. Johnson Presidential Library, which is on the University of Texas campus. I was not sure what to expect when going here, but heard from my parents and brother that it was definitely worth seeing. I was kind of expecting lots and lots of books, because it's called a library? But that's not what it is at all. Well there are about 8 floors of all of the documents that the president saw and signed during his presidency but it is much more than that. More like a museum of the time period, a period in US history that interests me so much. It's crazy to think that a president was assassinated, and within minutes another one sworn in, just like that. It rattles my brain to think of something like that happening now.

Abilene, TX

In the month of September we've been in many towns/cities in Texas but I guess you could call Abilene our "home base" when we left Portland, we flew to Dallas first and then to the cutest tiniest airport you've ever seen, in the city of Abilene Texas. Since that day we've gone 3 different places but always ended up back here, which is where we are now. I enjoy Abilene, it has a population of about 115,000 which is big enough for me. Being here, I've gained an appreciation for the country. I've always thought it was pretty but the idea of traveling more than five miles to a grocery store seemed absurd. After being here a month I really like the idea of the peacefulness and the beauty of living (a short distance :]) away from the city. Don't worry Mom.. we're not planning on living in Texas, we still want to be in Portland. Just have a new appreciation for it :]. So here are some photos of Abilene!

Okay I lied. This is actually in the Town of Buffalo Gap, TX, which is about 15 miles outside of Abilene. They have these really cool historical buildings that were built between 1875-1925. They have a very "wild-wild-west" feeling to them, which I found interesting, I've never seen anything like this before.

Here is a cute little old church...

...And an old gas station...

...And a cowboy!!

The top one is Lake Abilene, which (funny story) Nick and I went there to go swimming. Long story short, we did not go swimming that day. The bottom picture is this adorable little store that has cowboy boots as flower pots! I just thought that was the cutest.

Here is my cute husband (waiting patiently in the car, while I got out to take all of these pictures). And a sign at the exit of the Abilene State Park, which is VERY Texas. I did not realize the extent of the "Ya'lls" When I came down here.

Here we go! First post ever.

Alright, here goes nothing! I've been married for 24 days and been on the road for 24 of them. I'm officially a Hess and could not be more excited about it! My husband, Nick, works on wind turbines for Siemens. If you know anything about turbines, you know there aren't any in Portland. Which means, we're on the road while he finishes up this project. So this blog is my way of keeping track of the places we go and the things we get to see, and also to keep in touch with our family. Due to our travels, our wedding reception is on November 5th so we're keeping our wedding photos on the DL until then.. but here's a sneak peek of us on our wedding day: