A New Life...in Austin, Texas

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So, here we are...all moved in and settled in our new home in Austin, TX.  We've been here just over 3 weeks now...though it seems so much longer for some reason.
There is SO much for me to catch up on, but I figured I would start with the most recent and then work my way back over the last few months.
It wasn't easy trying to find somewhere to live...I mean, my husband decided to go for Austin for a few different reasons:  Its number 10 on Forbes fastest growing cities since the recession, its a great place to be for his work, his family is close by (for the first time in over 10 years), we have friends here, and well, why not?  I began doing my research trying to figure out the best areas in Austin to live...and there are quite a few.  My biggest consideration was the schools.  I wanted the best for my girls.  After that, we just wanted somewhere nice and maybe near the lakes.  
some of the homes near the lake

We finally decided on a place called Steiner Ranch.  It's actually not really someplace Matt and I would have normally looked at...it's a huge master planned community...and well, the hubby and I usually prefer a bit more of an eclectic neighborhood...something with a bit of character.  But, the schools were supposed to be great, we had friends close by, and the lake was just a short drive away.
And...that's where we are.  I finally found a house to rent and thanks to some amazing friends helping out, we landed it.  (its not easy trying to rent a house in the US when you are living in Italy!)  
Next came organizing our shipment from California plus a bunch of items I ordered via Amazon to help restock our house.  
As soon as we got here, we took off running...there was so much to do!  We had to get the girls registered for school, get our new Texas drivers licenses, run errands, get school supplies...etc etc.  It was chaos for awhile.  
We've got a bit of a routine now...the girls are loving school, they have gymnastics twice a week and dance once.  We've hung out with friends on the weekends, and I've managed to get back into working out again!!  (whoo hoo!)  
Steiner is...interesting.  Loads of transplants from California, the Carolina's and other states...  The majority of the women (and men) here seem very fit.  The first day of school we walked the girls over to campus and I was amazed at the amount of women in workout clothes.  Runners, bikers, tennis...never seen such a group!  (and it made me want to hurry up and get my butt in gear too!)  You see people on bikes and running all over the community.  Sometimes it can seem a bit Stepford Wifey...but I've met some really nice ladies so far.  Even the kids are fit here!  Not very many kids fit the category of obese ..at all.  
The area here is hilly and green so that makes me happy...I love me some green!  Downside...it takes a LONG time to get anywhere.  We live towards the back of the community, so just to get to the main road takes about 10 minutes.  And the traffic...oh the traffic.  Talk about having to plan your day!  I don't even attempt to leave the house to run errands till after 10am.  Its about a 30 minute drive to get to any shopping centers (except HEB (grocery store) and Target) and the girls gymnastics.  So, that's taken some getting used to...at least I'm in charge...got my own truck to drive!  :) 
The homes here are very nice and well kept, ranging from apartment areas to huge monster homes.  There are 3 community centers, a golf course, restaurants, and a grocery store, plus other retail shops and businesses.  We are 10 minutes from the lake.  People are super friendly too...always waving and saying hello to each other (such a change for us).  And you can't beat the Texas hospitality...there is always someone willing to help you out no matter where you are....its pretty impressive.  And I don't even mind being called "mam".  Love the manners here.  :)
I'm not sure if it'll be our forever place to stay, but for right now...its just fine.  I mean, we're stateside...my girls are in activities again...I can drive and ride my bike...it's good.  Real good.

The next step for me is to start exploring more of this unique city.
(the photos on this post are off the internet...I haven't gotten around to taking my own pix yet...)

birds eye of our commnuity

the entrance to our community

the community center in our neighborhood of Bella Mar (this is just a 10 min walk from our home)

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