Last week and weekend we went on a little tour de midwest. We flew into St Louis, then rented a car and drove to Chicago. We did this so that we could spend some time in our old stomping grounds. After grabbing a frozen cappuccino at QT for 83 cents, we drove by our old apartment. surprisingly (or not) it hadn't changed at all. except for the folks living there. for the first time in many years, no seminary students reside there, and that's sad. but apparently they are still finding some time for fun, as evident by the bouncy house in the court yard!
for all you non-athertonites reading this, our apartment was the one in the far left corner - to the left of the black door, behind the tree on the first floor. (in case you care) we lived there for the first four years of our marriage. The friends that we visited in St Louis (you'll hear more about them if you keep reading) lived in the apartment above ours and diagonal from ours. The only thing missing from our great reunion last weekend was our neighbors across the hall from us. we missed you joy & erik!
After driving thru the hood, we trekked up to chicago. For 3 days, we attended a church planter training event/conference sponsored by our denomination. it was a nice, small group and i think we learned a lot. other than the teaching being helpful, the time spent networking, sharing stories, and encouraging each other was immeasurable. and from what I've observed, church planters are some pretty crazy people. I can't believe I'm married to someone like that. haha!
and the food! oh, the food. they fed us well in chicago/naperville. we had sandwiches for lunch one day from a place called potbelly. yum. then for dinner, we had giordano's deep dish pizza. wow! lunch the next day was chicago-style hot dogs, which i butchered by only putting ketchup on mine. totally against the rules, apparently. and then for dinner that night, we were invited to the hodge's house (the host pastor) for some home-cooking. the event ended friday at noon, and we began the drive back down to st louis.
I feel asleep in the car at some point, but woke up to pouring down rain & rush hour traffic and then I saw this.
we safely arrived at the new (to us) home of our former upstairs neighbors, currie & abby. we were so excited to see their house and be a part of their day-to-day lives, even if for just one day. we enjoyed yummy pizza from dewey's, experienced the goodness of raw honey, and delighted in the blessing of sweet ellie. and bobby enjoyed staying up til 2 am talking to currie, like the old days.
after a slow & relaxing saturday morning, we left the bishops and headed west of the city to visit our former diagonal neighbors, jen & darren. but first, we took a few pictures:
bobby rode currie's motorcycle around the block
abby in her living room
abby & I on their awesome front porch
on our way to "west county," we stopped at the seminary, to see the new buildings they built right after bobby graduated.
and one more stop at QT for another 83 cent drink. yes, we're addicted.
seeing jen & darren is so much fun for us. and even moreso now that they have two of the most awesome kids we've ever met, katie & jack.
flashback: we were with them the night jen went into labor with katie and i got to ride in the car with them on the way to the hospital. we weren't there at the exact time of birth, but were still one of the first people to see katie. I think she was only 3 hours old when we got back to the hospital. so we have a very strong bond with her. and I think she knows it. it could be because we keep telling her the story over and over again. we are special and want her to know it! ha!
these two became good buds
we had such a blast with all of them, we always wish our time together was longer. while we were there, they took us to get frozen custard concretes (a st louis tradition), had our legs & arms "sawed off" by jack & his chain saws, played memory with the smartest 4 year old I've ever met (I won, but only because she helped me. seriously), and had fun with katie & jack trying to wake up bobby sunday morning. we (actually, just katie) pushed him off the bed, shouted his name as loud as possible, giggled a lot, and finally, katie said to me, "how are we going to wake him??? maybe you should kiss him." I replied, "eeeewwwwww" and as serious as can be, she said, "mommy and daddy don't think it's gross to kiss." whoa! nothing like being reprimanded (respectfully) by a 4 year old! of course I told her I was kidding and kissed him. ;-)
we tried again to convince them to move where we are, and darren told us again that there was a house for sale on their street. maybe one day we will be in the same place again! i hope so!! who wouldn't want to be neighbors with this guy?!?
sunday after church, currie, abby & ellie came to jen & darren's house for lunch. it was so good to see them all again once more before we had to leave.
we flew out of st louis that evening and returned to oklahoma city and 100 degree temps at 10 pm that night.
what a fun week/end it was, but it made me miss my sweet friends even more.