We were up at the farm last weekend and I was talking with my brother in law about texting abbreviations. Apparently, "AFK" means "Away From Keyboard" in today's world.
AFK pretty much describes October for me!
I suppose I need to motor through some October news since we seem to be plowing through November at record speed. By far the highlight of October was flying with Emma out to Tennessee to spend fall break with Sissy. I was SO THANKFUL that my sweet hubby let me do this. He and the boys handled everything at home for an entire week so I could have girl time, and it was a highlight of my entire year.
Every single thing about our trip was perfect, right from the start.
Emma rode on an airplane for the very first time.
ALL Most of humanity veers right when entering a plane.....but Emma made a sharp left and headed in to meet the pilot, loudly announcing that this was her FIRST time on a plane and she wanted to SEE what was in there. He was super sweet about her unexpected visit....made a little seat for her, gave her a snack, and even let her hit a few buttons!
She did GREAT on the ride, and I love that the sweet pilot made it into a special memory for her.
First thing we did when we arrived on campus was visit with one of Hannah's nursing professors. I loved getting to meet several of her mentors on this trip. It is so easy to see why Hannah loves her school and their nursing program so much....it is a very close community and the relationships formed are something pretty special!
Then we were off to the dorm room to see Hannah's roommate LINDSEY!
I love how the girls have their room set up. They are both super tidy....wish my house were as clean and organized as that college room! Seems ironic! :-)
Lindsey spends most of her study time in the hammock, and this is where they have their "humanities wall" with pictures, quotes, art, and some mementos from their summer trip to Europe.
They are super smarties. :-)
My FAVORITE part of the week (okay, one of my many favorites!) was FINALLY getting to meet all of Hannah's friends. I had not been on campus since dropping her off at the start of her freshman year. I've heard so much about the girls she has developed relationships with the last few years, and am even friends with some on facebook, but I had never met them face to face! Jeff takes Hannah back to college at the end of every summer, so he already knew these sweet girls, and he used to brag about that to me. So I finally got to even the score!
They were SO WELCOMING, and I adored each and every one. I took a group out to dinner on our first night, and I felt like I had known them all along. Hannah is BLESSED with her circle of college friends! After dinner, Rebekah hosted a movie party in her dorm room, especially for Emma. Girls PILED into that tiny room with snacks to watch Little Mermaid with us. A few of the girls had their lap tops propped in their laps studying for tests the next day. I sat in the back of that room and marveled at what precious girls they were and how "together" they all seemed. They have so much more on the ball than I did in college!!!! I was really honored that so many people turned out to hang with Ems and I. Very cool.
Here's a few more pics of Hannah's room. I know her Grandmas want to see how she has it all set up!
This is her photography bin, with her photography class materials and her antique camera collection.
This is her nursing bin, complete with a spleen and a tuberculosis germ in a jar. Because every nursing student needs one of those???? :-)
Her side of the room.
(Nana, see your Monet print?)
Harry Potter is the dorm theme this year, so there is an owlry in the stairwell.
(Hannah lives in a SUPER old dorm. It has lots of character, but is VERY old fashioned!)
We took a minute for Emma to leave notes for all of Hannah's friends.
So Emma wasn't entirely impressed with the school mascot. Oops.
This is a professor who led a small group Bible study which Hannah participated in her freshman and sophomore years. He is on sabbatical this semester getting a book published, but he made a special trip onto campus to have lunch with us so I could meet him. A really neat guy who has had a great impact on many students!!!
Who knew? Baylor bears in Tennessee!! :-)
The HIGHLIGHT of Emma's trip. Hands down.
We left campus for a few days and spent some time in Pigeon Forge and Gaitlinburg. Horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains in fall? Yes, please. Again and again and again.
The girls shared a horse named Hawaii.
We talk about this DAILY in our house.
We also went to see a Titanic exhibit. The outside of the museum looks like the ship. It was very informative and interesting.
We also visited a parrot sanctuary where I fell in love with 843 birds.
This little character was named "Jade" and he traveled around with Emma for quite some time. He knew all kinds of tricks and was a real comical fellow. I loved him!
Honestly, I could have spent days there playing with the birds.
Emma got a little stuffed black bear, and she became obsessed with black bears. They are everywhere in the Smokies!
We spent an incredible day in Abingdon, Virginia visiting some friends. While we were there, we had the unique opportunity to visit a homeschooling family who lives on a mountain. To get to their house, you first cross a suspension bridge.
(I'm not kidding you here. This is the ONLY way to the house, so every single time they leave or come home, every single grocery they buy, gets taken home this way.)
Then, they get in their ATV and drive a little over a mile to the house. It is so incredibly fascinating. BEAUTIFUL beyond words, but incomprehensibly remote!
I'm so glad I got the opportunity to see this because it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before! This is Hannah and Mrs. A; our friend who lives in Abingdon.
Abingdon, Virginia is an old Civil War town, and it is like a picture book in every way. It is truly one of the most charming, endearing towns I have ever seen. Hannah spends one weekend out of every month with the A family helping with their Bible Bowl program. She met them through some common friends here in Texas, and planned to make a one time trip to their house to help give some direction in a new Bible Bowl program. But the friendship blossomed and grew and now this precious family is a very prominent part of Hannah's life. They are one of the most treasured unexpected blessings of her college experience!!
Our last day in town we went to a beautiful park where Hannah often goes to get shots for her photography class. There is NO shortage of opportunity for stunning nature photography where she lives!
Hannah and Lindsey help run the youth group for Lindsey's church. Again, I've heard about these cute kids for years, so it was a blast to finally get to meet them. The girls have to really plan ahead with their studies to be able to do this every Sunday afternoon, and after meeting the people at this church I can definitely see how it is completely worth it for them. Another incredibly neat group of people, and yet another confirmation to me that God led Hannah to the right place for college!
After church we went to Lindsey's house for dinner. Her family owns a beautiful dairy farm in the mountains. Her Dad was sweet enough to rope this calf for Emma to play with and love on. It was so tiny, but really strong! Emma was in heaven!
I find their home to be so peaceful.
I love Texas because my family and friends are here, but there is a FRENZY to life in a big city that is taxing in every conceivable way. The pace is relentless, and in many ways it feels like a race. This is the view that Lindsey's family wakes up to every day. It is a gift. They are very lucky.
I had the best week. It was SO relaxing, and I had an AMAZING time connecting with my girls.
We gathered these baby pine cones on a walk we took. I brought them home and put them next to my kitchen sink....a special little reminder all season long of my wonderful October get away.