Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We're Bad Parents

Soooo Austin loves dogs. Like really LOVES dogs. They are EVERYWHERE. Which is cool if your dog loves other random dogs and people just chillin or walking around town. Stew? meh. not so much. We will say he's just a little bit unpredictable. There are so many places to bring, play, and exercise your dog here that sometimes we feel limited in what we are able to do. Enough is enough.

We've been determined to kick his bad habits for some time now but haven't been successful with the classes and training we've done so far. We've even been really good about not letting our little cuddlebug sleep with us on the bed or up on the couch. Those of you with dogs know how hard this can be when you just need a little extra TLC or your hubby is gone for the weekend.

Now, don't get us wrong. Our trainer back in Cali was pretty awesome. Stew came away from classes with some great party tricks (we'll show you next time you come to visit) and general obedience commands that are used day in and day out here at the Vance house. So what changed? Well, Austin has some pretty strict dog laws (any dog who punctures skin- even a scratch- is subject to have their dog quarantined for up to 10 days for rabies) though and we knew that with family and friends frequently visiting this year we wanted to take an aggressive approach and make some drastic changes around here.

After a lot of research (do people really think that you will pay $400 for group classes????!!!) we made the call to a wonderful place called, Training by Tara. Jess called and set up a consultation for Stewart. We knew this place was different when they sent us a bunch of surveys and questionnaires to fill out before our first session. They asked questions about how often he eats, how he plays, and even where he sleeps.

On Monday, Tara arrived to speak with Jake and see Stewie in his element. Although Jess wasn't around let's just say that the meeting can be summed up in two words: bad parents. No, jk. Well, kinda. The short version: Stewart is one confused little guy. He doesn't know whether he is the pack leader (if you think we are going Dog Whisperer on ya'll we kinda are, female version though) or if we are.

Calm, assertive energy.

She also said that he had a lot of anxiety because we were showing him that energy. She made some positive comments (parents trying to save face here) along with some great tips about dogs and how the whole dog/pack world works. The best news we heard was that she has had cases way worse than this. It was almost as though we let out a huge sigh and could stop holding our breathe.

The last (and first) time we had someone visit us here in Texas (Perm, still waiting for pics so we can finish our post....) Jessica's poor brother had to play fetch with Stew using an annoying squeaky toy every time he came in the house. Every time. Even when we went to the pool that's only 10 steps away from our front door. Not something we want to subject our future guests, family, and future children too.

even the squeaky toy is tired of fetch sometimes.

Moral of the story? The apple doesn't fall far from the tree (sorry Stew!) and we need to change the way to run the house to change how our son responds to ....well..everything. She claimed that we only need 3 sessions with her, but we know that it will take a lot of work and change on our end too. But, that's OK.

When people say that dogs are training for kids we're kinda thinking that they might be right. Although we laughed off these claimed early on, we're beginning to think that there's probably a lot of truth in what they're saying. No kids on the plate for now guys. Hold your horses.

if only.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Love a Blank Canvas

To start: this post is dedicated to all of her teacher friends...

Today Jess headed into Grandview to do some training and of coarse had to do a lil sneak peak into her soon to be room. Those of you who are teachers can relate and know the giddy feeling you get when you have a blank canvas that you get to create and call your own.

We wanted to post some "before" pics before she started to unpack and do her magic. Lots of storage (and boxes!) but nothing to fancy .....yet.

"After" pics should be posted in a few months.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Making Plans

We definitely lucked out when it comes to our townhouse's location. Back in February Jess spend a few hours with a Realtor looking at some places to rent. Although we weren't quite sure about our neighborhood when we first moved here, we've realized that our spot is located in a great spot close to a lot of the places that we like to enjoy. BUT we also know that we want to explore the city some more and live in a few more neighborhoods before settling on something more permanent.

A few weekends back we decided to take a day and chose a few of the neighborhoods from the map below to explore. We chose to drove through Allandale (2), Rosedale (4), and Barton Hills (15) based on the info from the map as well as some blogs that we follow. We currently live about five minutes south of where the map ends and know that we want to move a bit closer to the city and some of our favorite outdoor activities (Zilker Park, Barton Creek, kayking, etc.).

With our notebook and adventurous spirit in hand, we took to the streets and began our journey. The first neighborhood we decided to tour was Barton Hills. Since this neighborhood is within walking distance to some of our favorite eateries and parks we knew that this might be a perfect place to get some "city life" while remaining in an area where we could get a backyard for our little Stewie (poor guy- he deserves some open green!). We were more than impressed at what we found. The whole time we were driving we got the feeling of being two kiddos in an awesome tree house. We also loved the twisty-windy roads along with their variety of the houses. They were mostly ranches or bungalows-types with an overall "cool lived-in feeling" you don't get with every neighborhood. Some of the homes were complete re-do's but with the mature trees you could tell that this place had a history.

Although the houses in this post are by no means the favs of the day, we were psyched with the finds and couldn't believe that we could possibly be walking distance to this oasis- Barton Springs. A naturally spring-fed 68 degree pool is a popular place to beat the Texas heat.

After a few more oohhs and ahhs. We decided to give the other neighborhoods a go and see if we might be able to find another cool prospective neighborhood on our list.

Needless to say.

NOPE. Not even close.

It's not that the other spots on the list didn't have a fair chance (they sounded like good potentials on the blogs we read up on). The other neighborhoods (Allandale and Rosedale) just didn't even compare. Did they have some of the things on our checklist, ya. But "the feeling" (you know, THAT feeling) and other aspects of a neighborhood just weren't there. We also didn't like how much farther the parks were and the fact that we wouldn't be able to walk or take a few minutes drive to SOCO or S. Lamar areas. So for now, our next move (Jess LOVES to pre-plan remember?) looks like it's heading in the direction of Barton Hills.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lemon Anyone?

Lululemon. Yup peeps. Jess got the job. It's an awesome company with some great perks- great girls, clothes, and free workout classes around town. totes magotes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

We Won!...something

We follow a few local bloggers around town to get daily updates about what's going on in town. One of the blogs that we follow is called this life in austin.

On a whim Jess entered a contest for a "Blondes VS. Brunettes" power puff football charity event. Normally Jess isn't too keen on football but when is Texas.... PLUS the charity is for Alzheimer's. Those of you who attended our wedding know that instead of favors we opted to donate to a charity that we think needs more awareness- Alzheimer's Association.

And now the reason for this post, we won (4 pack of tickets-$80 value)! If anything, we feel great to be able to take part in a event that has a lot of meaning to us. We will be heading over to the event tomorrow to check it out. Anything interesting pops up you know you'll here it from us here.

p.s. may have some other good news to share. stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kicked My Ass

Before we moved Jess came back in February with Lizzie to take the secure some final details before we packed up the Penske and decided to officially call Austin home. One of those details was securing a job for (at least) the summer time. Unfortunately the job that she did get has since called and said that they don't have the enrollment that they thought they would have and therefore doesn't need her this summer. boo hoo. right? Maybe not.

She's been looking for jobs in all the usual places (nanny, education, etc.) until this past weekend when Perm decided to throw everything that she thought she knew about finding a job upside down. Fast forward to tonight.

Jessica just got home from a second interview for an educator position at Lululemon at a yoga class. This is an AMAZING company that is really grass roots and goal driven. Normally interviews are held in an office type setting while you're uncomfortably sweating in your "monkey suit" or some other similar attire. Although Jess wasn't dressed in anything fancy, she definitely did sweat- A LOT.

Are you?

The point of this whole post is not to explain yet another interview that she has had to endure, but rather to remind you (ourselves?) how important sweating once a day is. We keep a pretty active lifestyle (some days more than others) and eat healthy so she wasn't took worried going into the interview. Now let us tell you this place kicked my ASS. Perhaps it's because Jess hasn't taken a formal yoga class in awhile (thank you Rodney Yee), but she felt like a wet noodle and was sweating in places she didn't know she could sweat.

This is not a picture from the class she took tonight. TOTAL concentration was necessary to breathe through this one.

The class was run by this guy who has been doing yoga for the past 10 years...he's 54 and looks like he's 30ish. SERIOUSLY. He is an inspiration for us all to get up and move our tushies every. single. day. That's right. EVERY DAY. I mean do we really need to watch that episode Desperate Housewives (totally outing Jess right now) again? Get off the couch/out of bed and get moving people! If we want to live to be at least 90 we gotta keep the one body we were given in top notch.

Before moving to Austin we both vowed that we would do, be, and try things that made us uncomfortable. We worked out but not on a good, regular basis since quitting Spectrum (that was -ahem- 2006) and knew that making a physical change to our environment was good as an excuse as any to make other changes to our lives we were too lazy to make before. Taking this yoga class was the perfect way to adhere to our promise to each other. Hopefully Jess hears something from Lulu because part of the job means taking classes with the people that she works will all expenses paid. OH YA!. What a great way for her (and Jake) to meet different people in the community and continue to bring goodness into our lives.

Luckily Yoga Vida has free classes on Friday nights so Jake will get the chance to check out this place too. Are you men out there "man enough" to add a little yoga into your lives? We hope so. Some (new) things on our lists: kayaking, rock climbing, more yoga classes, biking/spin classes, pilates...to name a few.

Our evening ended with some PB&J along with a huge thunder/lightening/rain storm. Perfect ending.

BTW what's your favorite way to sweat?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And the Winner Is....

A week ago we happily announced a post about Jessica's hunt for a job. There was another interview since that posting (are you guys doing the math? that makes 10. anyone want/need a job?), but decided that although the school (and people who work there) are amazing she was being pulled in a different direction professionally. The original debate was over whether or not she wanted to teaching in a departmentalized or self contained classroom. For those of you who don't know teaching lingo departmentalized is when you teach only a subject or two (usually math/science or language arts/social studies) and have two "sets" of students, while self contained is what most of us remember during elementary school (one classroom, one teacher).

After some thought and (a lot of) conversations with family and friends Jess finally made a decision:

The school is fairly new (only 3 years old), has a great reputation already, and has everything an eager teacher could want (think technology, supplies galore, nice clean campus). Starting this fall she will officially be joining the 5th grade team. Finding a job has been a lot of work, both mentally and physically. We definitely got our celebration on this weekend (details to be posted soon) and will be even happier when all of the paperwork is completed. It is so nice to be able to have this settled and Jessica can do what she does best- plan, organize, and create. Hmmm.....Can you hear the wheels already spinning???

Memorial Weekend: Day One

We've officially had our first visitor since Carol left this past weekend. and boy was it jam packed with some good ol' Austin fun. And because a few of you have been asking, "details details" (shout out Tal) here is the play by play. More specifically those of you who want to start planning your itinerary (this one's for you Amy!) this might be the place to start before you make your list. Our weekend is going to be posted in parts so stayed tuned and be patient. We can feel your anticipation already. haha.

Friday: Jeremy arrived after a 6 hour flight and 2 layovers. They went out for a drink at this chill spot before taking a quick drive around town. This place is always packed and we've been itching to find a reason to go and check it out (remember we're on a budget).

Saturday: Unfortunately (for fortunately?) Jake had some clients to take care of so Jess and Perm went on at hike at one of our favorite spots: Barton Creek Greenbelt. We've posted on this special place before and knew that once any family and friends started to visit this would be on the list for sure.

Next up was a "tour" of a local brewery, Live Oak. Neither of us had been here before but thought this might be a great way to taste some local beer for free. Yes, free. Who doesn't LOVE free? All we had to do was pretend like we were interested in the brewing process. But you know we ducked out after we tasted a few (or 3 or 4?) brews.

aww brother-sister love

After the brewery (yum yum btw) we knew we wanted to get some good Tex-Mex grub. For those of you who don't know much about Tex-Mex, it is one of the food cuisines that define Texas. More simply stated it's food that was available to the area when the area was first settled. You'll find yellow American cheese for the infamous queso, tacos, etc. Nothing fancy basically. Definitely not for those who are watching their calories. Ohh but so good (minus the meat for Jess) . Chuy's is a popular destination but the wit for long and we were HUNGRY. So, we happily headed to to this really good backyard looking place called, Shady Grove. This was a great place to spend the afternoon having a few more drinks, Frito pie (Jeremy couldn't resist), while trying to stay cool amongst the Texas sun.

Don't you just want an iced cold something?

There's an action shot for ya. I heart tortilla chips and salsa.

Frito Pie. Yup, that's the bag. Always classy.
See the Queso in the right back corner? Oh ya.

Lunch was followed by a swim and nappity-nap by the pool before we headed inside for some fajitas and the Laker game (Thank god they won. There might have been a problem if not). We ended the night night down in the Warehouse District and 6th Street. We learned how to play shuffle board (thanks Jerm. play it. it's fun.), had a few more beers, and headed home exhausted but fully satisfied after a long day packed full of everything Austin.

Day two was even better.