Traveling Through Texas

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Waco, Texas: Magnolia Market, Balcones Distillery, & Austin Avenue District

We escaped the Kansas winter for a while and escaped to Texas for a few beautiful, warmer days! Our aunt Rhoda and uncle Dirk live in Waco, which was our first stop before visiting San Antonio, then Austin on the way back. Dirk and Rhoda were the best tour guides! They took us to visit Magnolia Market, Balcones Distillery, the Austin Avenue District, and the Waco Suspension Bridge. It’s such a fun city, we could have easily spent the entire week here!

Because we were visiting Waco, we decided to learn more about Chip and Joanna Gaines. We knew who they were, but had never actually watched Fixer Upper before this weekend. I checked out the audiobook of the Magnolia Story from the library so we could listen to it on our drive. In the book, Chip and Joanna mention why their family does not have a television, which actually made us feel better about never watching the show! We do own ONE television, but it’s reserved mostly for family movie nights. In fact, we lost the remote to that thing before Gabe was born, and haven’t bothered to replace it!

We are not against technology, but choose to be intentional in how we use it. We bought vehicles without drop-down DVD players and rarely allow the iPad to accompany us on road trips. (Gabe was THRILLED a few months ago when he found my 20-year-old Nintendo Game Boy and learned how to play Tetris! Yes, it still works perfectly!) So before setting out on this trip, we visited the library, and Gabe checked out books about Texas and a couple of audio-books for the drive. Gabe listened to one of his books before we left and decided to listen in on The Magnolia Story with us!

We now have THE BIGGEST 10-year-old Chip and Joanna Gaines fan!!

He fell in love with Chip’s sense of adventure and the fact that he didn’t really love school but decided to make the best of it anyway. Exactly the kind of role model Gabe needs right now. He also related to Joanna’s experience of being made fun of for looking different than other children and being somewhat ashamed of her cultural background. We loved being able to point out how she eventually embraced her roots and was proud of her mother’s birth country and encouraged Gabe to have the same mindset.

By the time we arrived in Waco, Gabe couldn’t wait to visit the Silos and Magnolia Market.

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Standing on the suspension bridge which was once used as a Chisholm Trail crossingwaco texas_0052.jpg

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waco texas_0053.jpgEvery little boy has to spit into the river…waco texas_0056.jpg

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After visiting the Austin Avenue district in downtown Waco, we stopped by Balcones distillery. I had fun listening to the guys talk about the subtle differences they could taste in their whiskey flights, but I was mostly distracted by the amazing light pouring through the windows in this beautiful historic building!! Because it was a small space, I switched back and forth between my Nikon 50mm lens and my phone camera for the wider angles!

waco texas_0076.jpgwaco texas_0060.jpgwaco texas_0074.jpgwaco texas_0075.jpgwaco texas_0065.jpgwaco texas_0061.jpgwaco texas_0063.jpgwaco texas_0066.jpgWe learned that diluting the drinks with a drop or two of water can enhance the flavor. Felt like a super-secret-science experiment.waco texas_0067.jpgwaco texas_0068.jpg Gabe enjoyed snacking on oyster crackers and spending time with Dirk and Rhoda.┬áwaco texas_0069.jpgwaco texas_0070.jpgwaco texas_0072.jpgwaco texas_0073.jpgAs much as I love to travel and visit new places, home is my favorite place to be. So staying with Dirk and Rhoda for the first few days of our trip was such a blessing! They both have the gift of hospitality, and we all felt very welcomed and loved. It really is the little things that matter most. We stayed up late the first night eating snacks, talking and laughing together while Gabe played with the dogs and cats. Being surrounded by animals helped us not miss our little dogs so much! Although, Gabe really wants to adopt a kitten now ­čÖéwaco texas_0001.jpgwaco texas_0004.jpgwaco texas_0003.jpgwaco texas_0005.jpgwaco texas_0007.jpgwaco texas_0006.jpgTwo highlights from the weekend:

  1. Church on Sunday: We planned the weekend so we would be with Dirk and Rhoda on Sunday to go to church with them. After visiting their church last year, we affectionately refer to it now as “the donut church”. While it’s definitely fun to have donuts for breakfast, we look forward to worshiping with our brothers and sisters in Christ even while traveling. It definitely adds another element of feeling at home away from home.
  2. Holding each other up in prayer: Uncle Dirk taught us a special tradition we plan to use in our home. One night before dinner, standing in a circle to pray, Dirk said, “left hand up, right hand down,” then explained how when we hold hands this way, one hand facing up and the other facing down, each of us is being lifted up by another person and we are each also holding one another up. I love this so much! And plan to pass it on to the people we pray with in our home.

waco texas_0087.jpgThis crazy guy thought it was warm enough to go for a swim! The water couldn’t have been warmer than 60 degrees. BRRR!!!waco texas_0080.jpgwaco texas_0081.jpgwaco texas_0082.jpg

I didn’t know it was possible for eyes to do this! Not a side effect from the cold water….apparently just his own special talent!waco texas_0083.jpgwaco texas_0084.jpgwaco texas_0085.jpgwaco texas_0086.jpg

Can’t wait to go back!! Check back soon to see photos from our time in Austin and San Antonio!

Blessings,