Christmas American Style!

The lead up to Christmas was not quite as rambunctious as I was expecting, no nativity play at school, most establishments had minimal Christmas decoration and unexpectedly a few times when I said 'Merry Christmas' to someone they casually said 'we don't celebrate Christmas' I found this to be mildly awkward I guess this is why 'Happy Holidays!' is the more traditional term to say over here!

After numerous shopping trips, two school 'winter' parties, reassuring the children Father Christmas will still find them in Austin and my husbands family arriving Christmas Eve, our first Christmas Day in America had finally arrived! 

It started as a lovely warm day and after breakfast, opening presents and us all wearing Christmas jumpers we head out for a walk around the neighbourhood and local lake, this resulted in a few compliments from passing Americans on our matching attire! The afternoon was a typical Christmas day of late turkey lunch, drinking, catching up with absent family, TV watching and taking it in turns to play with the children until it was time for bed!

I will share with you one of my presents which I'm very excited about, I was lucky enough to get a new camera, a Panasonic lumix FZ70...this means nothing to me either but I love it! I'm going to attend a photography course in the New Year so soon you'll hopefully notice the quality of my photos improving on this blog!

As husband's family are here until New Year we have been out more than usual, a new location we visited was the city of San Antonio just over one hours drive from Austin and our first stop was a visit to The Alamo, it claims to be Texas' most visited historical landmark.

As we had the children with us who swiftly got bored we then went onto a bar named The Buckhorn Salon and Museum for a margarita, the array of animal heads on the walls was a tad nauseating but like rubberneckers passing a car accident you can't take your eyes off them...

Next on our list was the San Antonio River-walk, a beautiful river lined with restaurants, bars, hotels and other attractions, we had barely walked 2 minutes when we saw a place called the Mad Dog British Pub normally when we are on holiday we completely avoid British pubs but this one I couldn't fly through the door quick enough....I definitely miss the familiarity of England. 

My next post will be my first of 2015 so 
Happy New year to you all, have a good one!

Seychelles Mama


Trail Of Lights

Through December and with Christmas fast approaching we have been making the most of what Austin has to offer...one thing which sprung out at us as fun and different was the Trail of Lights.

"The Trail of Lights is the best place to ignite your imagination. Immerse yourself in over 2 million whimsical lights illuminating dozens of favorite characters and icons" http://austintrailoflights.org/

It's free to attend Mon-Thurs and $3 each Fri-Sat, we had been advised to purchase the zip fast passes to enter early before the crowds which was completely worth the money. The girls were enthralled at the sights we encountered plus there were over 30 food trucks serving hot dogs, donuts, hot chocolate, cider etc it reminded me of a smaller version of Winter Wonderland held at Hyde Park in London.

The Trail of Lights centerpiece is the famous Zilker tree...it still remains the tallest freestanding, man-made holiday tree. Plus children can visit Santa's workshop, 'Candy-land' and enjoy performances from some local bands.


December At Last!

Well December is finally here! For us this means our eldest daughters birthday to celebrate and Christmas to prepare for. In case you were wondering this is not our house, we have just the one inflatable Father Christmas out front!

This year our daughter chose our local gymnastics studio for her birthday party location and usually she requests the party theme to be Hello Kitty, One Direction, a Princess of some sort....well this year as it's her first birthday in America we came up with a new theme we hadn't used before....I had to order the partyware online from a UK site, ship it to my parents house in the UK then they shipped it over to us.....totally worth it though!

We always wait until after our eldest daughters birthday to get a Christmas tree and decorate the house, working on the theory she won't grow up remembering her birthday getting mixed up with the Christmas celebrations.

We drove a few miles down the road to choose a tree, of course over here there is always more choice on everything...and Christmas trees were no different! Is it just me or did you know there are multiple types of Christmas trees with different smells, pines, height etc we chose one which was bigger than we have ever had before (10ft) and just went mid-range on price. 

The staff help hubby strap it to the top of the car and we take a slow drive home, two of us then need to carry it into the house and of course we do not have nearly enough lights and decorations for all of it so another shopping trip is now required!

An unexpected unfortunate accident happened this week with our eldest daughter managing to fracture her wrist at school after falling off the monkey bars....we take her to a children's hospital emergency department and she gets seen and accessed immediately, pain killers as a mist up her nostrils, couple of X-Rays and a short wait later we have the results, luckily the fracture is not as big as they thought so she'll just need a splint and assessed again next week.

Out of curiosity I asked the staff how much this whole procedure would cost us if we didn't have health insurance.....minimum $7000!! It certainly gets you thinking about the NHS in a different light