Before I tell you about these pictures, a story.
So Saturday morning, before the sun was up, we headed over to Alex's school for her to catch the bus on her epic adventure. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous: it was chucking down rain, and since the kids weren't allowed to take cell phones with them, I knew that I wouldn't be able to have any contact with Alex until her scheduled call to us several days from now. But you know, I was trying to focus on the fact that she was excited about the trip, was going to have an amazing time, and besides, rainy weather is lucky for our family.
I was trying to focus, anyway. I'm not suggesting I was succeeding.
But then suddenly a woman began handing out a typewritten sheet. I took one from her. It said, in essence, that she was one of the chaperones, and a mom of one of the kids who was on the trip; she also said that she would be texting her friends every day with updates of what they were doing, and then -- this is the lovely part -- she invited each of us to become her friend by sending a message to her cell phone, the number of which was included at the bottom of the sheet.
Isn't this one of the kindest things you've ever heard? And she has kept her word: her texts not only share where they are on their adventure, but also describes in detail what is happening the moment she shares the texts: what the kids are talking about at that moment, who's taking photographs of whom, who's napping, who's looking out the windows, and so on.
It's like we're getting a beautiful little story in each text. And this very sweet gesture has really eased my mind.
So once Alex was off, Marcus and I suddenly realized that we were child free for the next week, and decided that we were to do the sorts of things we used to do in Houston before we became parents. So first up: Sunday brunch.
Marcus did a bit of research, and discovered a relatively new restaurant, Mr. Peeples, which Marcus said was getting great reviews. We made an 11:30 a.m. reservation, and while the interior decor is a bit over the top (which wasn't an issue, since we ate outside in the newly-less-humid, considerably gorgeous weather), I can confirm that the reviews are well-deserved.
The restaurant is located in Houston's Midtown, an neighbourhood that is in the shadow of downtown. Up until about 15 years or so ago, it was an area that was considerably dodgy -- but as we drove to the restaurant, it was obvious that this had changed, and the Midtown now actually makes Houston look almost like a fancy city! You know, with beautiful lofts above intriguing businesses! Wide, bricked sidewalks that invite pedestrian traffic! Bikeshare stations, for heaven's sake!!
So after lunch, we walked around and took a few shots.
It was lovely to see: I mean, Houston is already a great city, but could this relatively rapid development of Midtown signal the start of the city becoming a metropolis that actually encourages community? With, you know, more pedestrianized areas, and connected greenspaces, and -- I'm going a little nuts now -- a public transportation system that facilitates easy movement from one neighbourhood to another?
I do live in hope.
Anyway, during this child-free week ahead, Marcus and I are planning to do a little more exploring of our fair city, to see what gems we find. I'm so looking forward to it.
And on that upbeat note, my friends, have a wonderful week.