Photos from a great day

July 27, 2013 | 19 comments

Next time I commit to writing a post a day for a week, I’ll make sure to do it when a good friend whom I rarely see is not in town. Although, actually, maybe the timing is perfect. Hallie understands better than anyone that sometimes blogging duty calls. She looks pretty happy to hold my baby while I write a post, doesn’t she?

In my defense,  I did give her coffee.

In my defense, I did give her coffee.

Yesterday was a blast. Since I so thoroughly document the less-fun aspects of this phase of life, here are some pictures from a great day.

The baby is thinking,  "Please tell me I won't ever have to do this."

The baby is thinking, “Please tell me I won’t ever have to do this.”

Our three oldest girls had gone to this wonderful week-long dance camp with a “princess tea party” theme. (The studio’s owners know their target market WELL.) The whole family showed up to watch their final performance, which included glitter and princess dresses and dancing and a tea party. Life just doesn’t get any better than that when you’re five.

"I thought I was the only small bald one!"

“I thought I was the only small bald one!”

I met up with Hallie at her grandmother’s house, and we introduced the babies to one another.

I'm going to chain myself to one of the tables so they can't make me leave.

I’m going to chain myself to one of the tables so they can’t make me leave.

Then we took Hallie to our favorite restaurant in the universe, El Monumento. If you live in central Texas, you need to go there. Tonight. Actually, if you live anywhere in the contiguous United States, you need to go there. Just get in your car and start driving. You’ll thank me when you arrive.



The restaurant has hacienda-style architecture, where you walk outside through an interior courtyard to get from one section to another. If I ever won the lottery and could build my own dream house, I’d take my architect to El Monumeto and say, “Do this.”

Give me a straw.

Get me a straw.

You can tell the bartenders what kind of flavors you like, and they’ll concoct custom drinks for you, made from all fresh, natural ingredients.



And they have the liqueur made by the monks in Into Great Silence.

Livin' it up.

Livin’ it up.

You should see Joe when he’s here. He’s so happy, it’s hilarious. He gets settled into his chair on the patio, gazes out onto the river, and says that this is his real life — everything that happens in between our trips to El Monumento is just a sad illusion.

Looks a lot nicer when viewed from an air conditioned location.

Looks a lot nicer when viewed from an air conditioned location.

The restaurant is in the city where my dad’s side of the family has lived for generations (the same area where I recently mentioned that my great-great-great grandmother is buried). The patio looks out onto a small river, and it’s cool to imaging my ancestors walking along the banks in the 1800s.

Shortly after the bartender made Hallie a custom pomegranate margarita.

Shortly after the bartender made Hallie a custom pomegranate margarita.

I think we convinced Hallie that this is indeed the best restaurant in the universe.

Imagine deafening thunder rattling your eardrums when you look at this picture.

Imagine deafening thunder rattling your eardrums when you look at this picture.

Then I drove Hallie home in the middle of a thunderstorm that was like something out of an apocalypse movie. At one point, the rain was coming down so hard that all I could see was a blur of colors. We took shelter under a bank drive-thru to wait out the storm, which was actually kind of fun. Since we so rarely get together in person, I’ll take sitting in a car with rain blowing all around us and the occasional ear-splitting thunder interrupting our conversation.

So, yeah, this is a tough season of life. I can’t promise that there won’t be a few more complaints about bad days here on the ol’ blog (actually, I can pretty much guarantee that there will be). But sometimes we have wonderful, blessed days. And yesterday was one of them.


  1. Grace

    Such. Adorable. Babies. <3

  2. Jeni

    We did a fairy princess tea party for our Mary’s 3rd birthday this year. Definitely a hit. There was a fairy scavenger hunt around the yard for fairy treasure, tutus, pink sand in the sand box (crayola!!) and raspberry iced tea in real china. Pretty awesome. 🙂

    Also, I sadly had no margaritas with my mexican dinner tonight. Wah. I wanna know what drink they custom design you?

  3. Beth Saunders


    I just love your blog!
    Thanks for writing, it’s a treat to read it.

    Beth (Ms. Beth)

  4. Joy @ Caspara

    Looks like such a fun day!! And you both look wonderful!!!

  5. Casey

    I’ve lived in Texas my entire life. How is it that I’ve never heard of the Best Restaurant in the Universe being only a few hours away from me!!! I may have to make a trip to Austin soon.

    And I love the hacienda design. That has been my dream house design for years, so I heartily agree with your obviously very good taste.

  6. Meredith

    These babies are adorable! This is such a sweet post about friendship. Baby Joseph looks like his dad to me from the profile. Love it!

  7. the other Becky

    I have been wondering for a while now, and since Hallie is there now I am going to ask: do you still have the same earrings?

  8. Bonnie

    I’ll see you at El Monumento in 29 hrs and 1945 miles – someday! It looks like a fabulous restaurant and will put it on my bucket list! Blessings to you and your family! Love your blog!

  9. Abigail Benjamin

    Ahhh! So happy to see pictures of my two favorite bloggers getting together! You both look so happy!

  10. Michelle @ Endless Strength

    That’s so awesome you got to hang out with Calah AND Hallie in the same week. 🙂

    Someday, I will have to come there and try that restaurant…sounds like my kind of place!

  11. TheReluctantWidow

    Looks like you had a fabulous time with Hallie and Calah! I have cousins in Austin. Looks like I will have to make a drive down there to visit El Monumento and see them as well. 😉

  12. Ed @ The Aberrant Pen

    Ok, how is it as a native Austinite I haven’t heard of this place either?! Maybe because it’s in Georgetown. In any case, now I’ll have to go there and report back to you; but you know what would be even better? Going there with the one and only Jennifer Fulwiler herself to get the full experience.

    I was safe at home during the apocalypse last night, but that thunder was EVERYWHERE last night! Got several good BOOMS over my house in North Austin, too, so much so that I could feel them rumbling through my body. It was slightly terrifying, but paradoxically, it was almost like having an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response right before bed, which was awesome!

    Glad you had a great day! You’re living the life I want to live, so getting to share the bad and the good with you is always a pleasure. Have a great Sunday tomorrow!

  13. Amy @ Finer Things

    No worries about the blogging with Hallie there. I’m thinking as long as she isn’t asked to deal with The Poop Fates, she’s good to go. Yes? 🙂

  14. Monica

    Jen you look so happy! You hair looks great. And it’s nice to see your dad too. How is YaYa? I agree with one of the readers, baby Joey indeed looks like his papa! Infact the Fulwiler genes are prominent in your clan. Joe does look extremely happy and relaxed. You both are a sweet looking couple. El monumento sounds and looks fun. Hope Hallie had a good time with you all. Thanks for blogging all week. I really lenjoy reading your blog.

  15. Nichole

    How fun! Spending time with good girlfriends is the most refreshing thing sometimes, isn’t it? Especially when it involves refreshing drinks, too.

    You keep posting about meeting up with my favorite bloggers (yourself among them). I was telling my husband that reading these posts has been kind of like watching the Avengers, because I got to see all my favorite superheros in the same movie. He pointed out that it was a bad movie. He would. But!! If it had been a good movie, that would be a perfect example. 🙂

  16. Emily Davis

    You make me smile.
    I’m so glad you got to hang out and enjoy yourselves.

  17. NCSue

    Wow – the little one is getting to be big real fast! Beautiful shots!
    If you enjoy visiting linkies, photo challenges, and blog hops – or if you host one of your own – please consider visiting here:
    Be sure to link your recurring hop under the day when it’s normally posted.
    I hope you’ll list 7 Quick Takes there!

  18. Pamela

    Just wanted to stop back in and mention that hubby and I stopped into El Monumento today on a trip with no kids across TX…aaaaaand it was a fail 🙁 I’m glad you have great experiences there. The food WAS good (after they got the order right). And the atmosphere might have been better at night, outside, and without freezing temps, but the service was horrible 🙁 probably an isolated incident and we were laughing because we knew it was Murphy’s law. I had just read to him this blog post by Matt Walsh not 10 minutes before we arrived.

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