Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dallas World Aquarium


This is one of my favorite things to recommend 'in Dallas.' It is my all time favorite aquarium, probably because it's group in 'themes.' There is a 4 level rainforest exhibit and you meet the creatures of the rain forest as you move down a wooden path from howling monkeys, sloths and ex0tic birds, down through the insect, reptile and aquatic world. There is a Mayan Ruin Area, Aquariums of the World, walk through shark tank (you can later see from above with the people moving through it), and two penguin exhibits. I think what is so neat is that the cages are not as 'obvious.' Some of the birds can literally fly over your head. If you time it right you can see the keepers at the various feeding times, and the divers who go into the tanks to feed and clean. This is my 'tourist' stop this break.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas

I heart Christmas, and today was a good day, as expected. This year I got a lot of really fabulous gifts, and I like them all 'equally,' but there is one that stands out a little when I think about things I will really cherish. My Mom made me a scrapbook this year of 'my life.' I love reading about my life through her eyes, and the fact that she took on an (ambitious) hobby I enjoy doing in order to 'tell' the story. After a small family gift exchange, we headed over to my Aunt and Uncle's house for lunch, more gifts, basketball, card games, and dessert. I've spent the evening messing around with some of my new 'toys.' Merry Christmas, I hope amidst the hustle and the bustle you found CHRIST in Christmas and have a sense of spiritual fullness to surpass the tummy aches and money woes that too often come with the holidays. There aren't too many complaints of aches and pains when you overindulge in CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve 2007

I'm writing this blog....waiting for Santa ;O). This year Christmas Eve was at my house. I made some 'Reindeer Droppings'....formerly known as "No Bake Cookies" in other months of the year (this is a recipe I first had at the Fergason's house, I always loved "No Bake" days). Before dinner my family headed to the Christmas Eve service, one of my two favorites! I love the candle lighting service, and the symbolism behind it always brings me back to the baby who changed the course of (my) life. It started with a baby, was carried on by just 12 disciples and a band of believers, and now spans the earth. I wasn't there to witness all the miracles, but I've certainly seen enough in my life to know, believe, trust and follow and put my faith in the birth, death, and ressurection of Jesus! I loved something that was said tonight at the service, "Jesus is the reason for the season. YOU are the reason God sent His Son." After lights, dinner and some time spent throwing balls to Max, and being sat on by Lilly my family headed out to look at lights with my cousins' dog, Sandy. I have a very poor shot of a really amazing house that has a unique light display syncronized to music. I love Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Traditional Outings


I spent the morning with my Mom covering some traditional Christmas stops.
#1 (After shopping our way to Snyder Plaza (Picture One is the Traffic Circle in the Plaza)) was a stop in Highland Park for Deli Meats (for Christmas Eve) from Kuby's (Picture Two). The German shop has been there almost 50 years, as has the Plaza, and the house on Rankin where my Great-Grandparents lived and my Grandmother was raised (Picture Three-With some Modern Updates). It's up the street from the plaza. These sites don't mean too much to non-Dallas natives, but they are some pretty major cornerstones (in my mind) for my Dallas family. It took two loops around the Plaza before we found a parking space, and it was standing room only in the deli, I can't imagine what tomorrow....or Christmas Eve will be like.
#2Next came a stop at Stein's Bakery at Preston (Another Old Timer Location). They were out of Gingerbread men :O(, but they had Petit Fours (Picture 4)-I haven't found a holiday, or a random weekend yet that I can find a reason to buy some. I love the icing, but if you aren't into sweet icing....well....that just leaves more for me. Traffic was insane, I guess we aren't the only family with traditional outings! Tomorrow I hit the grocery store....eeck.
#3This evening I went with my Aunt and Cousin (and Mom) to Frisco's Town Square where the entire square lights up in patterns based on the Christmas music playing on a local radio signal. There was also a Santa Stop with trains, and Santa, and a lot of festivities throughout the month of December including snow, outdoor moves (brrr) etc. It's a neat new place to take a family (or a bunch of girls following the Dallas Guide Section of the paper on a cold Saturday evening!). It was our first year to try out this stop, but we've spent many evenings in the car looking at lights, I never plan to outgrow this tradition. (Picture 5 is a little piece of the square with bits lite up from the music, there were snowflakes etc all over the walls that danced to the tunes, but it wasn't 'their time' in this picture.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Godzilla

Sometimes I enjoy being single. This past month I've gone over to friend's houses to learn how to make candy, play around with calligraphy, and saw shapes out of wood. Today I attended three Christmas parties starting with a breakfast and ending in a dinner...times two....and I didn't have to think about who was, or was not waiting at home (minus the constant worry about the dogs, who don't have any trouble entertaining themselves while I'm gone, which is pretty much where the 'trouble' begins. It's a guessing game to see what they have been into when I arrive home). I do want to be married...someday, but I appreciate the freedom of trying out every craft known to (wo)man, spending time with most of the population of Dallas, and calling people at strange times (and updating my blog at 12:30 am). BUT.....there are those moments when I do think maybe I should hit fast forward on the husband finding hunt. For the last month I have been on mission. Now that the weather is turning chilly there are certain residence who are looking for a warmer place to spend the winter months....I have a colony of lizards living around my house. I first spotted a giant lizard in my guest room and asked him nicely to leave. The next time I spotted him, about a week later, I tried to evict him with a box, a bear, and a lot of screaming. I gave up, and I wasn't happy about it, but I usually only spend time in the guest room in the light and I can monitor closely the reptile population. Then....one evening as I walked towards my bed I noticed a lizard hanging to the side of my bed skirt. I jumped around the room shrieking for a bit (rather ineffective as a single). Tried to interest my dog, went and grabbed my cat....nothing. The lizard just ran under my bed. I then had trouble sleeping thinking about the lizard....lets just call him Godzilla, plotting a path of terror. I built barriers using throw pillows, shouted stern warnings, and eventually fell asleep. Alas, a week later, he reappeared. This time, I was ready. I went and got my fine china (cough cough a Maverick's Cup cough cough) and trapped him. And now he sits....and he waits for someone brave enough to remove him from my house. And this is why I think getting married sounds more appealing every day, surely it's in the book of Genesis somewhere "He shalt removeth thy lizards and other insects trapped under the cupeth when the daughter of Eve requesteth." Eve and that snake....Christy and the lizard(s).....no more apples for me!

Complaints


I don't know why my Mom complains so much about not having Grandkids....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

ICE



Every once in awhile I have an adventure that feels a little bit like discovering oil in my backyard. (Maybe that's too much of a 'Texas' analogy for some of you to appreciate?). Anyway, I have heard people mention the Gaylord Hotel before, but I don't know why they haven't EMPHASIZED how very cool it is on it's own, and with the addition of the annual ICE exhibit it's an outstanding holiday event! Who knew? And it's so close! The Gaylord is located a little over 30 minutes from where I live, and it's a HUGE resort (hotel is too meek of word, and the picture doesn't do it justice). It reminded me of Vegas-minus the smoke and slot machines...and heat. There is an ENORMOUS atrium inside that was decorated to the max with Christmas decorations (and photo ops for those of you with little ones) and trains running every which way. There were also tons of shopping chances, and eating chances. Each section has a theme-I was able to identify the Alamo, with the 'riverwalk' running through it. Not only could families visit Santa, take pictures with a real reindeer and Mrs. Clause, walk through a life size gingerbread house, visit western saloons, walk along the 'river' and chase trains, and 'light look'....the last few years the hotel has been bringing in an exhibit called "Ice." There are some ice sculptures they fly in from China to work for a full month creating an ice land. They then keep the room at a chilly (and windy) 9 degrees, and they provide coats for all the guest (and blankets for the babies)....along with a row of tissues once you exit (you really do have a runny nose from that chill!). The one draw back is the cost, but it was worth seeing and experiencing! I can't even begin to describe all the things we saw in the interactive world of ice, or include all the pictures, but you could climb on ice, life size carriages, trains, and bears, and slide down an ice slide. Everything you see is made of ice, though some is painted once it is sculpted.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Lights

This week Kelly and I took some time to hang out and get in a little Christmas activity. I LOVE looking at lights (and usually drag at least one friend along at some point during the holiday). It's been quite awhile since Kelly has been in town during the holidays. I grabbed some pizza, Kelly provided hot chocolate and we headed out to see what we could see and sing along to Christmas music (that's when you know you have been friends a long time). I even had my camera in my purse and was able to snap a picture of one of the last houses we passed. These are up in some huge trees in front of a house with moving features. I can't imagine many places that have as MANY different neighborhood competitions which provides for some great light looking. It was just 'fun' in the midst of a crazy week!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Zooming In

I loved seeing Nicole's tree in detail on her blog, so I'm borrowing her idea. The stories behind the ornaments are what I love about decorating the tree. I think my Mom says the same thing each year about some of the ornaments as we hang them. I captured just a few of the ornaments on my tree. The family Christmas tree is like reading a biography of my family's journey. Pet's we have had, trips we have taken, life events etc.These little elve's hung on my Great-Grandmother's tree.My Mom made these ornaments when she first got married.This is my first ornament."That good old Baylor Line..." Many of my ornaments mark periods in my life, I have one ornament for each Christmas I spent away at school. Next year, Baylor....it's your year, I can feel it (just like myself and the rest of the Baylor community have been 'feeling that good season' coming on since the Cottonbowl game in the 1970's...Sic'Em Bears I try to find at least one ornament on vacation-this year was Jackson Hole, WY (along with the other 11 states we hit on the trip, I got one in each major location).I buy at least one Christmas ornament a year (usually many more). These are the Hallmark 2007 Mother/Daughter Ornaments.

There's a Reason for the Season

This evening I completed my tree decorating. I have more room decorations to come, but I thought I'd share a slice of my weekend. Friday evening I attended a Christmas dinner, Saturday morning was a women's Christmas brunch. Skip ahead past some shopping, errands, and the selection of this year's Christmas tree and I attended Prestonwood's show stopping holiday show-Gloria. Today after church and some more random activities (including a Cowboy's win!) I attended the Living Christmas Tree performance at my Aunt's church, which we attend every year. This evening, I completed the tree decorating. I love all the church performances, it reminds me each time that this time of year is more than a list of presents to buy, and dishes to prepare. I was looking through some old photos and I was thinking about the fact that it was sad I had no idea who some of the people were in the photographs and that they each had all these same little moments I blog about, and life stories that are somehow lost with the years, but then it hit me, those faces without names began the journey I'm on today. It all comes back to the family who taught me about Jesus. I know each of us have a story, but the foundation of mine begins with reading the bible with my Mom as a little girl, and attending church. I had to take the rest of the journey alone in giving my life to Christ, but how grateful I am that I learned so many valuable lessons so young. I sometimes wonder who in my family's past changed the course of my life for the better, and I'm grateful to them, and all those that followed after. In 100 years if someone looks at my picture and doesn't know my name or my story, but knows Christ because of a role I've played, it'll all be worth it. I hope you are taking the chance to hear the story of Christmas this year, and have a chance to celebrate Jesus, and share the story with others, I look forward to those moments most of all in the next few weeks.

Play Day


On Friday, when I got home from work I walked into a house full of toys. My dogs had pulled out 12 toys (and a throw pillow) at some point during the day to play. I can only imagine the sort of activities that went on (it's not hard to imagine, I've seen them before). Sometimes I'll be watching TV in the living room and Lilly will start running back and forth between random rooms in the house gather her army of dollies. When I got home, she, of course, needed to fetch me a toy, but instead of selecting from the 12 available, she ran into my room and pulled out toy number 13. I've captured a few by camera. It's just one of the things that made me smile (it's so much nicer to come home to toys instead of ripped up packages).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cooking Lesson

Today is the first night of Hanukah-I didn't know that until yesterday when Sandye called to see if we could change our Starbucks get together to a Starbucks run and time spent at her house while she prepped some Potato Latkes for a party she was attending tonight....with a cooking lesson thrown in because if there's a new skill to learn, you know I want to obtain it. It was neat to know just a little more about someone else's culture, family recipe, cooking tradition etc. Sandye was pretty daring to allow me into her kitchen. I only find minor culinary success upon occassion under the appropriate supervision. I now could probably prep Potato Latkes on my own, but no promises, Sandye guided me the whole way-they were very yummy.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas


It is now officially Christmas on the OUTSIDE of my house....disregard the confusion left behind by the fall leaves (whose days are numbered) that I have yet to rake up. They are left over from the season that was formerly my favorite-fall, but now that Christmas is upon us....it's my new favorite time of year...until spring. The rule to Christmas celebrations (in case you didn't get the official rule book) is that you must add one thing to your Christmas decorating list each year. The pink tree doesn't count-that was for my Mom, and the peppermint sticks would have just been too lonely out there on their own with out a little door garland. I spent yesterday hunting down candycane colored 'things' to go with the new peppermint sticks and the 'old' lights and wreath. To get the full detail, you'll just have to swing by...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Christmas Project


On Friday, my friend Terry taught me a new crafting skills. I now know how to use a jigsaw. She helped guide me to cut out two candy canes and 6 peppermint. I have red and white lights I put in the front of my house each Christmas, so I wanted some yard additions, without the expense (though now that I've become involved in 'wood crafts' it may be a LOT more expensive in the long run...but fun). This is my first attempt at making 'yard art.' I need to learn a few wood painting skills in the future, but from the street I think it's going to be just fine! Any project that starts with a saw and ends with adhesive spray and glitter has got to be a fun one! I also bought some preshaped wood (Terry is going to show me how to do that with another saw in the next installment of 'wood crafting lessons.') and I painted them like pepperments as well to go in some garland I'm planning on stringing around my door and decorating-pictures to come later :O) of the completed project....it's not finished yet.

Santa's Naughty List

Number one this year on Santa's Naughty List is MAX!!! What a BRAT. He has been on a real tear lately. This week my little furry kids and I received a Christmas package in the mail from Maurine, Derek and their furrbabies. There were about nine little packages. As only us kidless gals understand-we include gifts for each other's pets in our packages (or maybe that is just Maurine and I? Regardless, it's a tradition that makes us happy). I opened the box, pulled the wrapped contents out, and set them VERY high on top of my table on top of a huge box I had yet to put away. The point-they were ALL very high. I had to run to a meeting, and when I came home, to what should my wondering eyes should appear? TWO unwrapped gifts. Now, you might say-there must have been dog food inside for him to be able to pinpoint which TWO of the NINE gifts he would most want to open... no-my dog can smell rubber from dog toys and locate the object of his affection-squeaky rubber toys, and little fuzzy dog babies. He also loves gift wrap, he loves to open it and then bury his toys within. I immediatey documented the crime on film, as you can see he wouldn't give me eye contact-and then he took his oversized body outside to think about what he had done. Anyway, Maurine, the toys were a hit a month early (sorry). I guess they get to enjoy them over the ENTIRE holiday season....they better because I don't think they make squeaky dog coal and I'm not sure he's getting anything else for Christmas.