--Saturday December 18--Full-on jammie and couch potato day. Oh, the bliss, but for obvious reasons, no pictures.
--Monday, December 20--My good friend Missie has a daughter, R, who is Kendra's bestest buddy, and this year we decided to take the girls out for a "girls night" instead of having them swap gifts. We took them out to Chili's (kids eat free coupon plus a gift card---whoop, whoop) and then headed to downtown Fort Worth to see the lights, big ole Texas sized Christmas tree, and a visit to the really big Barnes & Noble.
When you see a really large vine-covered bovine, you must have a photo with it. Clearly.
Kendra and R are the two tiny people on the left. That gives a good perspective on the tree's size, eh?
Both girls grabbed this book and plopped down. Missie and I talked for probably 30-40 minutes while they just read and read. Ahhhh....
Tuesday, December 21: We went to the Movie Tavern with our Ballards to see Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The Movie Tavern is a place where you can order dinner AND watch a movie. I expected so-so food, but was amazed at how awesome it was! I had this delicious chicken/cranberry/sprout/lettuce/other stuff I can't remember pita sandwich and it was divine! We also had these melt-in-your-mouth fresh baked chocolate chip cookies that had a roasted marshmallow in the middle. Woah. You sit in these really lux seats and there is a swinging tray table-ish set up for your food. And the movie was incredible. Highly recommend it. It was a top dollar movie experience, but definately worth it for special occasions!!!
Wednesday December 23: The Ballards invited us to join them on their family pass to the Fort Worth Science & History Museum. This is a really great place full of cool stuff. The big exhibit was one on Egypt and they even had a real mummy. I learned a ton of stuff about pyramids and mummies and other neato things. I love history!
Kendra and Livvy lovin' it up by the Christmas tree at the museum.
Ridin' the trail...
Luckily, this camel doesn't spit.
I already posted about Christmas eve and Christmas...see previous.
Sunday, December 26: We packed up the car and headed to Alabama to see my brother and his family. My mom and her husband Troy came down from Michigan, too. It is a long drive from here, about 11-12 hours, but it was great to see them. Kendra and I had gifts from my dad, mom, and sister's family so it was a second Christmas!
(can you believe these girls are only 9 days apart in age?)
Kendra got a new pair of pjs from my dad and step mom Janice, a cute shirt and a ZhuZhu pet from my sister's bunch, and a new outfit for her AG dolls from my mom. I got a new kitchen knife and sharpener, a nail buffing kit, and money from my mom and Troy, and a pack of really nice dish cloths and a Whirley Pop popcorn popper from my dad and Janice. I was super excited about the Whirley Pop because it makes the BEST popcorn! I used the money my mom and Troy gave me to buy a Ninja Master Prep machine, which is sort of like a blender and a food processor in one.
While we were in Alabama, we did several things. We went to this quaint little downtown area called Fairhope where we strolled around town and window shopped. We all went to the movies---mom, Troy, the girls and I saw Tangled (loved it!) and my brother, his wife, and Briggs went to see Little Fockers (which they gave a thumbs up). We also played a bunch of games and just hung out. The "biggest" event, though, was the fashion show put on by Kendra and Marina. It was planned to a T, with everyone having assignments. Briggs was the announcer, my mom was the background helper/dresser/hair/makeup person, Jena was in charge of music, Brendan was in charge of lights (did a great job rigging Christmas lights and using a flashlight for spotlighting!), and Troy and I were photographers. They did four costume changes and each clothing change had a song/dance routine with it. Quite the show!
The runway...sporting their new shirts from my sister's fam.
Um, yeah, she isn't going to wear makeup for a while. Makes her look too old!!!
Ignore my all-boy nephew in the background. Jeez.
Certain my sis in law will disapprove of this photo. She doesn't read my blog though! :-) It is the only one that I got of the two of them the whole trip, so there ya go!
The girls with their "dresser", my mom.
On our last night in Alabama, we had the most amazing thing happen. I had planned to take my brother's family out to dinner to thank them for their hospitality. Their whole family loves Red Robin, and Kendra's dad had given us $40 in gift certificates to there, so that is where we went. Funny enough, the closest one was in Florida, so we went to Florida for the night! Really, it was only 30 minutes from their house, but it was funny to say we went to Florida! So we got an appetizer and enjoyed dinner very much--excellent service, great food, etc. I got the bill--it was what I expected at around $65, so I put the $40 gift cards and my credit card into the bill thingy and the waitress took it away. About 10 minutes later, the manager comes to our table, sets down the gift cards in front of me and says that they can't take them. Apparently, they were for a franchise of restaurants only good in Utah. Go figure. Then came the amazing part. He said, "We can't take the gift cards, so I just took care of your meal. It is on me." WHAAAATTT???? Jena, Brendan, and I just stared at him in shock for a good minute, and the my brother sputtered out, "But why?" and the manager said, "Just because. Merry Christmas!" Oh my goodness. You just don't hear of that kind of thing anymore! Well, I asked him how I could tip the waitress, and he said he'd just charge me for a drink and I could do the tip on that. He sat down and chatted with us for a while after that---talked about Michigan and other things, and he was just so nice!!!! I ended up paying $16 for a really nice meal for six of us!!! Isn't that amazing????
After dinner, we strolled through the mall where the restaurant was, and we went to a pet store that had puppies. We got to play with a few of them. Here are some pics of us and the puppies we DID NOT take home (even though some pleading glances were sent my way).
This was a King Charles Cavalier that was so happy to be out to play---the pic is blurry because she was really active!
My lovely niece Marina with the blurry/moving puppy!
Me with a tiny pug we dubbed "Stella". Doesn't she look like Stellaluna???
We had a long but uneventful drive back to Texas on Dec. 30th.
Today, December 31st, the last day of 2010: We went to pick up Livvy and went to the American Girl store in Dallas. Kendra had Christmas money and wanted to get one of the dresses for Felicity before they sold out, but sadly we were too late. They were all gone. She settled for a cute little purple dress for her dollies instead. We had lunch at Applebees (a gift card from a student paid for that!) and now we are having Livvy for a sleepover to welcome the new year. We plan to have popcorn from the Whirley-Pop and Frozen Hot Chocolate shakes made in the Ninja while we watch How to Train a Dragon on the BluRay player and then watch the ball drop.
Wow. What a blessed life we lead. Awesome family and friends and so many opportunities to enrich our lives. Welcome, 2011! I'm sure it will be another fantastic year!!!