We're back from our Thanksgiving visit with the Hopwoods. What a fun time with family and it couldn't have come at a better time. It was good for the Gateses to get away for a few days, and the Hopwoods seemed very glad to have us, and they were fantastic hosts. Emily and Jeremy have a lot going on in their life right now. Life isn't always fair, and that's hitting close to home right now.
You've read about Thanksgiving dinner, which was wonderful. Gates-Gates-Hopwood family photos were taken at Percy-Warner Park on Friday morning. The kids were all-stars and it's clear that we're quite the photogenic family, if I do say so myself! We reviewed the photos on Saturday morning and we are very pleased with the results. We were most thankful that with each of the groupings there were a couple of photos that would have been great... there were no useless poses as everyone was looking at the camera with big smiles, even Lincoln!
On Friday we shared dinner with the Coles and had a very pleasant evening. Jenn showed Emily a new dish: Italian Pasta & Meatballs. Yum.
During our stay, Jenn and I took Emily and Jeremy's room.
On Saturday Grandma Paulette & Grandpa Doug stayed with the kids while Jeremy and Emily took us to Leipers Fork to visit an antique bookstore and a few other antique shops. Grandpa Doug will tell you he got the better end of the deal. However, we had fun time seeing historic Franklin with all of the monster homes and incredible growth that's been going on there recently. In Franklin we made Jenn and Jeremy's obligatory stop at Starbucks and also visited the antique jewelry store where Jeremy purchased Emily's engagement ring. Emily and Jenn admired a 4 carat diamond ring ($70,000) and a few other very large rocks. Then we got a bit of a history lesson from Mr. Walton himself about pocket watches. It was well worth our stop.
In Leipers Fork we looked at old books for a while. A first edition volume of The Marquis De Lafayette's work (published in the late 1700's) was very impressive, as was a first edition of a three-volume set about Andrew Jackson (mid 1800's). There were some first editions of Charles Dickens novels, and quite a number of American history accounts that were published in the late 1700's through the late 1800's. There were even some very old medical text books, one entitled Intestinal Ills and another entitled The Colon, Rectum and Anus. You know, just some good, light reading! There were a couple of other antique stores that were actually very nice. Jenn and I have had a running joke since our honeymoon drive through New England, with its hundreds upon hundreds of antique shops, that another term for "antique shop" is "crap exchange."
We left Nashville on Saturday evening so that Lincoln would take his bedtime in the Yukon XL. He was an absolute champ, and we made the drive home in less than 8 hours (it took 11+ to get there on Wednesday!). So today is catch-up-on-sleep day. Also coming soon is decorate-the-house-for-Lincoln's-first-Christmas. It ought to be fun.
We're in the Advent season, and as I've gotten older, I've increasingly been getting into Advent. I think it makes Christmas even more meaningful, especially with the insane marketing and commercialism that has seized and strangled Christmas in recent years. We've also heard some songs on the radio that despite what the lyrics may say, they simply cannot be classified as Christmas songs with music so pitifully written. But that's all I'll say about the Christmas season right now. I'm sure I'll have lots to say about it in future posts! For now, I'll just give an encouragement to us all to not lose sight of the meaning of Christmas this December!