My friend, Julie, who lives in China, contacted me to say she'd be in town to go to her son's university graduation in San Antonio, and had a couple of hours to meet with us in Austin. I planned a family home evening with them and two other families who also know Julie's family.Here is Julie, Yvette, Sam, and their daughter, Julia, a great friend of Lindsey's who just returned from her first semester of college at BYU-Hawaii.
Here's Lindsey, Julie's husband, Ken, their son Zach, who is a freshman at BYU-Idaho and also a great friend of Lindsey's, then Christopher, and Julia's two younger brothers, Matthew and Steven, who are both buddies of our son.
After we had our Christmas devotional, the adults socialized in the living room and I took a few pictures of the youth.
Julia is the first friend that we let Lindsey sleep over at her house when both were about half this age and the girls were still in elementary school.
Zach and his family lived down the street from us and later moved to Taiwan, but kept their house and would visit during the summers. They finally sold it last year, and we're happy to still keep contact with them.
The boys were great models for me--Steven, Christopher, and Matthew.
Since I liked that shot on the stairs, I had the older "not kids, but official adults" sit on the stairs to pose. Unfortunately Julia's eyes were closed. Maybe it's the name. My mom's name is Julia and she always does that!
Then one last shot by the tree before we headed out to Rudy's for dinner.
Sue and Doug's family met us at Rudy's. I took this picture from outside the store through the window.
Lauren and her mom greeted me with a smile.
I wonder if Julia is busy texting her Polynesian boyfriends she met at school.
We decided to dine there because Julia was homesick for this Texas favorite, Rudy's.
Here's Julia's concoction that she savored and her mom thought I should take a picture of it to make it last longer.
Lindsey will probably be requesting a stop at Rudy's on her break from college next year.
Our friends have tall kids. Lauren and Christian are almost as tall as Zach, who is 6'3".
It was so nice for all of us to be able to have Julie and Ken squeeze in a visit to Austin while they're in San Antonio for a few days.
Savor the sause! I'm not sure why Rudy's likes to misspell the word, sauce. When we first moved to Texas, their slogan was "Worst barbecue in Texas," until someone must have given them some marketing advice that it probably was not the best line to be known for. They probably compromised and said, "Fine, we'll lose the worst barbecue line, but we're keeping the sause!"
Our next stop for the evening was to go to the event formerly known as the Trail of Lights, but downsized due to budget constraints and renamed "Zilker Holiday Tree" festival.
The Zilker Holiday Tree was much prettier in person, but I could not overlook the beauty of this tall Texas live oak tree that stood prominently in the foreground of the featured faux tree.
It was interesting to stand under the massive tree and gaze upward. Many were spinning and looking at the lights. It was actually quite colorful, but my nighttime photography does not capture the reality too well.
The actual event was a big disappointment when compared to the former Trail of Lights display. The kids found other things to stay entertained though.
There was one reference to Christmas, a nativity, so Julie stopped here for a family photo op.
We got one last group shot before heading home. Matthew spent the night at our house and is still here as I type. They boys had a great time.
We hope to go visit Julie and Ken in China some time. Kelly visited them earlier this year when they lived in Taiwan and he was there for work.