Yes, it's true, even here in Austin. September brought little bits of autumn's debut. We won't have consistent sweater weather for quite some time, but the trees are beginning to change a bit and the evenings bring a reprieve from the day's heat.

Besides the slightly cooler weather, September also brought some beloved visitors from Minnesota. Lauren, who's a sister to me and was in my wedding, and her mom Julie, who's always called me her other daughter, came down for a girl's visit. I grew up with them and with Lauren's sister Liz. But ever since going to college in Indiana and living outside of Minnesota, we've had to stay in touch with phone chats, intentional visits, and the occasional snail mail. Seeing them in person for a full four days? It was so, so good.

These were my favorite things we did:

  • Visited a few favorite Austin restaurants for pizza, tacos, ribs
  • Saw the capitol from South Congress
  • Exchanged early birthday presents (Lauren and I are fall birthday buddies with birthdays only 3 days apart)
  • Smelled all the soy candles in Austin, TX (you have to be really sure before you buy one, dontcha know)
  • Made supper at home
  • Hiked the Greenbelt trail
  • Visited the pool
  • Enjoyed a long, lingering brunch at home
  • Went for a nighttime walk
  • Talked about (and in) Minnesota accents. When I'm around people from home, mine's more obvious :)
  • Snacked on zucchini bread
  • Had a girl's sleepover at the hotel, just like when we were little girls—all the giggles included
  • So much good conversation about marriage, keeping a home, and what the Lord's teaching us lately
  • Spent every spare moment on the porch

The overarching theme of the visit was to relax and spend time together, and see a bit of Austin. We didn't make too many plans, except to catch up on everything. When the girls were over, several times I noticed that they weren't in the apartment. After a moment, I'd realize they were out on the porch. After a hot summer, it's finally porch season. This is our first fall here where we're fully settled here and we have patio furniture. It made Nicholas and I realize just how usable—and enjoyable—our outdoor space is. Living on the other side of the country from these two (and so many other beloved people in the Midwest—our families included!) is difficult. But it makes visits so much more precious. Thanks for coming to visit us, Lauren and Julie! And thanks for reminding us how great it is to spend time on the porch. We love you both so much.