Dune hikes and apple orchards

A few weeks ago, my dear friend, Jessica, who lives in Texas, came to visit with her little boy. Having lived in southern states for her life, and knowing she loves fall, she booked a ticket to come visit us up north and get a taste of Midwestern fall.

They flew into Chicago on that Saturday, and Nicholas, Cooper, and I picked them up from the airport, and then we went to lunch at Lyfe Kitchen (one of our Chicago favorites). We had both babies in the backseat, along with with either Jessica or I, since Nicholas was driving. To be fair, the babies did well, but everyone has a limit. ;) That afternoon, in an attempt to dodge the rain (unsuccessfully) and to include Nicholas, we made a quick trip to the apple orchard. Because of the rain, we wore the babies, and we browsed the barn and the pumpkins, and picked up some donuts, cider, and a bag of apples to bring home. Weather aside, there are few things more quintessentially "fall-like" than an orchard. We still had a nice time! That evening, we were all exhausted, so we made up a quick stir fry, and watched the Great British Bake Off, and then headed to bed.

On Sunday, with rain in the forecast all day, we went to church in the morning, Meijer in the evening, and stayed at home in between. We made this apple crisp (subbed in gf flour for the regular, and coconut oil for the butter, and it was so good) and had afternoon coffee. We snuggled with the babies and went for a walk close to home. That evening, Jessica and I hung out on the couch, knitting a little, drinking tea, and snacking on apple crisp. Grown ups don't get sleepovers very often, so this felt so fun.

Monday, Nicholas headed back to work, so we met my sister-in-law, Katelyn, for coffee to go, and then drove to the Indiana Dunes National Park. It's usually a few degrees cooler by the lake, so we all dressed cozy. It was the perfect temperature to wear sweatshirts, but also be able to hike the beach and up a dune barefoot. Lake Michigan was the brightest shade of blue I'd ever seen it. It was sunny and breezy, and the kind of morning that made me feeling especially grateful to live where we live.

We said goodbye to Katelyn, and then after a quick change, headed downtown for lunch. Jessica gave me an adorable (baby-friendly!) necklace and then treated me for an early birthday meal, and Cooper slept the entire time in his carseat, sweet boy. We visited central park, and grabbed coffee, and just enjoyed the weather and the company. Then, we stopped by my in-laws to visit, and then drove home to make supper and pack.

I couldn't think of a more enjoyable day. My heart felt so filled.

On Tuesday, we loaded the babies up into the car early in the morning to bring Jessica and her little boy to the airport. It was such a wonderful visit. Her little boy is such a little light, with his bright smile, sparkly eyes, and the special giggles he gives to his mama. And Jessica, naturally warm and loving, who makes an effort to love and be excited about the things the people she loves are excited about, and doesn't hesitate to thank Jesus for all things. It felt special for my worlds to collide, so to speak, and to get to show a sweet sister friend our new home, and have our baby boys meet. I love the lingering blessings of our time spent in Texas, this friendship being one of my favorites. We love you, Jessica!

This quote from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey is the perfect Jessica quote:

“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature.” -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

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