Well, we've been in Texas almost a week now, but I promised to share the second half of our journey, so here goes... (I'm sure you're dying to know the details!)
The first half was to Altoona, PA, and Loisville, KY. Well, soon after we left our friends' home in Louisville, we stopped at a Starbucks for drinks. When we got back into our vehicles, Robert's truck wouldn't start. The jumper cables we borrowed from the AT&T store guy did not do the job, so we called AAA. (Had purchased a membership JUST before leaving MA!) The AAA guy's cables DID work, but he suggested getting a new battery, so we did. It put us back a couple of hours, and so we drove to Memphis, TN that day instead of all the way to Little Rock, AR.
Even though two of us were interested in visiting Graceland, we refrained. I do share a birthday with The King, so I thought it would be appropriate to make the pilgrimage. Maybe on the way back north?! Skipping Graceland did allow us to reach the home of dear friends, Matt and Allyson and kids, by lunchtime. We've known Allyson since she was about 16 years old and in the youth group at the church we served at in Austin, TX 20 years ago! (WE are OLD!) Allyson had visited a new and local bakery specializing in all things gluten free. She had loaves of GF sandwich bread and GF corn chowder for lunch, and even sweet breads for breakfast the next day. All of it was such a treat and very delicious.
After lunch, we all went downtown and visited the Bill Clinton Presidential library. Presidential libraries are ALWAYS fascinating, and this makes the third one we've been privileged to go to ~ LBJ's (Austin) and JFK's (Boston) being the other two. (Maybe we'll make the George Bush one while we're here in Texas!) They also tend to have other interesting exhibits going on, and Mr. Clinton's had "The Art of the Brick" exhibit there at the time. It was an incredible display of artwork done solely with Lego bricks ~ both one and three dimensional pieces.
Guess who took this one?
Kory enjoyed looking up what President Clinton did on the day he was born ~ June 29, 1995, as there were binders of agendas for every day of his presidency.
And then he decided to hold a family cabinet meeting.
The next morning, after an amazing breakfast, we had the pleasure of attending church with Matt and Allyson and their kids. Matt is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock, and so it was fun to see him in action ~and fun to just visit a church!
Don't be fooled by this smile. The kids were NOT very enthusiastic about doing their schoolwork in the car each day of the long journey, but they did it, and have kept up with all assignments for Classical Conversations, etc. Actually, Cooper really did enjoy The Phantom Tollbooth very much, as well as the assignment to write one more chapter of the book. He LOVES creative writing, and is quite good at it.
We got keys to our temporary rent house on Monday, and got to work with as much Christmas decorating as we could. I only packed our stockings, the tree skirt, the Nativity set, and Kayla chose only three of our MANY Christmas books to bring to Texas. (Painful.) Oh ~ and we packed the Advent bags that the kids are used to opening each day of December in anticipation of Christmas day ~ filled them, and put them on the stairs, since I forgot the twine and clothespins we usually use. They've been opening two per day to catch up!
Not quite as sturdy and well built as our 1947 home in Massachusetts, but perfect for what we need for now. They just don't make 'em like they used to...
Tuesday called for Coop's first basketball practice with a homeschool league. At practice, they told us there was also a game that night, so we split up and the guys went to Coop's game....
...while the girls went to see cousin Madeline's orchestra concert. Maddie did a GREAT job, and we all enjoyed some frozen yogurt to celebrate after the concert.
Thursday, we dropped the kids off at Grandad's (my dad) house (for FOUR days) and Robert and I headed back to Austin for a little getaway ~ the first of two we have planned for the sabbatical. We've been enjoying our time in a lovely downtown hotel. Our room is technically in the attic of this old building and is called "The Hideaway." We've bumped our heads on the ceiling walls (rafters?) that angle down above our bed several times, and our private bathroom is located next door, because there is no room for anything but our bed in the actual room! It is really beautiful, though, and in a great location for getting to the countless restaurants and shops here. The Snack Bar, with its adorable vintage atmosphere is only one of the MANY fantastic restaurants offering a gluten free menu in this fun city. Just take a look at this sandwich...
Toasted homemade millet sandwich bread (they make their French toast on this, too!), fried eggs, melted cheddar, avocado slices, lettuce, tomato, and onion ~ and we shared a side of the fries perfectly packaged in their greasy, retro paper sack. Sooooooo good!
We shopped till we dropped yesterday and last night, getting much of our Christmas list accomplished, so today we're taking it a bit slower ~ sipping tea and coffee at Starbucks, reading our Bibles, journaling, and reading other books. Well, and blogging about it all...
Again, we're so thankful for this gift of rest, unplugging, and being present with each other ~ thankful to the Lord and our church for providing for all of it. Blessed....