Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Where the wind goes sweeping down the plains....

A couple weeks before Christmas I got a call from my friend Missie (good friend who used to live here in FW but betrayed moved away from us this summer...sniff...).  She said she had to talk to me about big plans for Christmas.  I knew they'd be in town, so I figured we'd get together for a girls night or something.  Instead she said that her family was getting a cabin in the woods in Oklahoma, and there were only four of them but the cabin slept six so would we like to go with them???  Uh, YEAH!  We'd LOVE to go!

So on December 28th we packed up the car, took Lucy to our friend's house (the Hills' family from church kept her for us, thanks so much!), and headed north east.  We arrived to the cabin about four hours later and it was so nice!!!

Vacationing with the Rodgers' is awesome...they are much like us.  We are go-with-the-flow, sleeping-in, must have showers and Diet Cokes (that part is me) kind of people, and so are they!  :-)  Another family that the Rodgers' know camped in their fifth-wheel nearby, too, and they were great!  We each brought stuff and prepared a dinner meal and went to dinner in town once, spent time hiking, playing in the snow, fishing (Randy and Scott, not the rest of us), reading in the company of the wood burning stove, playing games, and just relaxing.  It was AWESOME.

Hat bought just for the trip...it was COLD!

  Exploring the Beaver's Bend National Forest Museum.  Got us some oxen.

Kendra and her bestie, R, did photo shoots of each other.  Nice composition, R!

Checking out the Dam.  There was some fun had saying we were on the Dam Road. 

Deer right outside the car window in the park.

Kendra LOVES to eat snow...here she is begging to take a bite.

On our hike by the river.

Randy found a geo-cache!!!  Just scooted a rock over and said, "Oh, here it is!"

We took a hippie rubber ducky from the cache, and left behind some neat pennies stamped with a cross that Scott brought with him.

Proof that I was actually there.  (My arm is awkward because I'm holding a branch back from whacking my kid in the face)

We had one short-lived campfire--it was raining and cold.

Missie and I with our s'mores!

Livin' large on NYE---noise makers and Uno!  What more could you want???

We had a blast...THANK YOU Rodgers family!!!

Yay for Christmas!!!

Christmas came fast as our school break started the closest to Christmas day that it ever has since we came to Texas--December 21st!  Top that off with Kendra having two Snow White shows on the 21st and one more on the 22nd and we were rushin' and crazy!  Thankfully, I had all the shopping done, and our wonderful PTA at school had given me a 1/2 day off earlier that week so I had done the wrapping, too! 

Christmas eve arrived with me feeling rather puny (found out later that I had the flu and a brewing sinus infection) so Kendra and I chose to stay in.  Kendra pampered me with a spa night---she got me a hot bath ready complete with bath salts and rose petals, and then lit candles and put on Christmas music for me.  The hot bath really helped me feel better!

We were awakened in the night by one doozy of a thunderstorm!  It was LOUD and it went on for hours.  Definitely a first for us---thunderstorms on Christmas night!  Normally I have to wake up my Sleeping Beauty on Christmas morning (every year!)  but this year the storm did so we got up at around 7:00--a record early time.  :-)  Kendra enjoyed opening her gifts---highlights this year for her were new bedding from me (we're redoing her room slowly) and gift cards from her dad (she LOVES to shop!).  Kendra spent her own money to buy me a beautiful sweater and to put a Lifesavers Book and toe socks into my stocking.  Awesome.

An awesome blanket from her dad and his fiance---it is embroidered with "I'd Rather Be Acting!"

Gift cards!

Surfin' the new body pillow on the new bedding set

Surveying the blessings!

Sweater courtesy of Kendra
 After unwrapping, I made homemade cinnamon sugar doughnuts...mmmmm!
Time to make the doughnuts!
 We got showered and ready for the next VERY anticipated activity of the day....we went to see Les Miserables!!!  Oh man, great movie.  I introduced Kendra to the amazing music about a year ago, and she loves it as much as I do.  We can both sing the whole musical!  But we didn't sing in the theater---that would be rude.  :-) 

We walked out of the theater three hours later to find it was.....

It came down fast!!!
It made for a little bit of a dicey drive later on that night, but the snowy whiteness and the joy it gave to Kendra made it more than worth it.  But holy CATS, it was also so COLD!  We headed over to the (David) Ballards for dinner with our (Scott & Sherry) Ballards.  Kendra and I were both dim witted (or maybe just trying to remember everything we needed to take with us) and didn't even think to bring snow gear for Kendra to play in.  The kids all piled outside (minus Kendra :-(  ) but they didn't stay out long in the bitter air.  We had a delicious prime rib dinner and enjoyed wonderful friends.  We exchanged gifts and were rottenly spoiled by our Ballards yet again.  I received a new pair of  black dress shoes (desperately needed) with a certificate to buy another pair of my choice, new flannel sheets, a certificate for car washes, and a certificate for a 90 minute massage.  Kendra received a gift for both of us---tickets to go see Wicked coming to Dallas!!!!!

Are you kidding???????
We had a beautiful Christmas...we are very, very blessed. 

Hall Decking and Holiday Prep

Just a few shots of our Christmas preparations this year...

Kendra with her nativity collection

Oh Christmas tree!

Us in front of the Fort Worth Christmas tree downtown

Another decoration in Fort Worth's display

Our fifth annual picture at the nativity display at a church center in Arlington

A Snow White Christmas

The theater bug bit Kendra some time ago---in fourth grade, I believe.  Last year she played the lead in our school musical, and was a bit sad to learn that theater is not an elective offered to sixth graders at her middle school.  We started thinking about other avenues for Kendra to pursue this (very big) interest, and a local community theater called The Artisan came to mind.  They are a wonderful, family-owned and family-friendly theater that we've been attending as patrons since we moved here.  They have cute children's productions and "main stage" shows that are out of this world.  So we looked into it, and Kendra auditioned for the Christmas children's musical A Snow White Christmas.  She earned the part of one of the dwarves/elves--Giggle Toes.

It was a big time commitment---rehearsals were usually three nights per week for 2-3 hours.  I did a lot of paper grading!  :-)  When we arrived to the first rehearsal I was pleased to see the "seasoned" kids welcome Kendra into their fold quickly, and the moms were equally nice.  As the time went on, I started to get a little worried---things seemed disorganized, the rehearsals seemed barely-controlled chaos, and the hours spent in rehearsal seemed to bear little fruit.  Kids weren't learning their parts and only idle threats were given.  Once, I sat in on a rehearsal and my teacher skin was crawling---I literally had to leave because the management of the kids was so poor.  Kendra was frustrated, I was frustrated.   We were both worried that her first experience at this place we LOVED was going to be a total waste of time and a complete embarrassment to Kendra---many of our friends had promised to come watch her perform.  So, I wrote the managing director and owner an email expressing our concerns.  Thankfully, both had seen similar issues and jumped in to help the newbie director get some semblance of control.  Our confidence in the theater was restored.  The shows were rough at the start, but eventually they came together.  Kendra enjoyed herself once things got fixed, and she plans to audition for another show in the next weeks. 

First show with flowers from our friends, the Aigners.

The merry band of elves!

On stage

At the mall performance