Mostly just picture posts for the unforeseeable future. Blah but it'll have to do. Sorry, Texas.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


An unexpected phone call from a dear friend that I hadn't seen in over a year started off with an invite to see the Rockettes at Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie. Pam originally got four tickets for her family to go together, but her 5 year old son ended up being very sick with scarlet fever by the time the show came around, and her husband needed to stay home with him.

I was shocked because we had actually talked earlier that same day and just couldn't find a way to see each other due to our Christmas plans and her son's illness. She had offered the two extra tickets to someone else, but they backed out at the last minute. Luckily, she thought that Brooke and I might like to go. We just happened to have some free time and were able to make it. She was sweet enough to pick us up and let us ride along with her and her 3 year old daughter. I was very grateful for that because it allowed us more time to talk and catch up as much as possible.

We pull up to the guard to find out where to park and he said that it was our lucky day. The car in front of us had two extra VIP parking passes and we just happened to get one of them. Score! That saved us like $30 in parking and gave us entry to a VIP side door. We really weren't supposed to go in that door since we didn't have VIP tickets, but the lady let us in anyway and showed us a private elevator that granted us access to the main level without having to stand in the very long line out front. Sweet!

The seats were great. They were on a single row on the second floor but there were no other rows in front or behind us. Perfect for the kids because they could stand up as much as they wanted.

This was the one picture I got of the stage before the announcement was made about no photos.
Hannah and Pam
Brooke and Hannah waiting for the show to start.
Official tour title: Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes

I snagged these pictures from the Rockettes official website. I really wish I could have taken pictures and videos, but no photography of any form was allowed. The sets looked just like these and were even better in person.
At the end, I was shocked to see that they chose to tell the story of Jesus being born in Bethlehem with how much controversy there is about religion. It was really quite beautiful. A narrator told pieces of the story while the performers depicted certain scenes on stage. Characters would walk across the stage in costume. There were even real donkeys, sheep, and camels. Brooke loved that.
The whole entire show was amazing. All of the costumes and the sets were simply incredible. So extravagant and so very beautiful. Huge thanks to Pam for thinking of us and treating us to such a wonderful time!

Friday, January 29, 2010


Nathan spent the day playing golf followed by a late softball game with his buddies, so my mom and I decided to take the kids to see Prairie Lights. You drive all around the lake and see the woods lit up with all the pretty colors. We lived in Grand Prairie just five minutes away from it for three years and never went. I love to see fireworks and Christmas lights so I'm not sure why we didn't go before. This year, besides us, the people next door to us were the only ones to put up Christmas lights in our entire neighborhood. How lame is that?

Grandma had already taken the other grand kids a few weeks before, but she wanted Cole and Brooke to see them, too. What started out as excitement quickly turned into frustration. I guess everyone else had the same idea at the exact same time. Sitting in the car wasn't really one of the activities we had on our list just a couple of days after a 10 hour drive. But we wanted to see the lights, so we waited in line for nearly two hours. Yep, two hours. If I had been driving I would have left after waiting 30 minutes with still very little movement, but Grandma was driving and was willing to fight through the discomfort and ignore the cramping in her foot.

My pictures didn't turn out too well, but I tried. My camera battery died half way through the park just as we were getting to the best decorated areas. I was really disappointed about that, but maybe we can try again next year...Right when it opens.
This video kind of stinks because I jumped the gun and drained the camera battery too early on, but whatever.

At the end there is a pit stop where you can park and buy all kinds of snacks and trinkets. They had traveling carnival type stuff set up to get you to spend more money. I had to pee so bad from sitting in the car for so long, so we got out just to do that. Of course, you had to walk through all the temptations just to get to the stainless steel freezing toilets. Grandma wasn't about to deny Cole and Brooke any fun experience after enduring that long wait so patiently.

We did the excursions of a beautifully lit walk through a park and a 10 minute movie inside a tent. The movie even had a snow machine that went off towards the end. Even though we didn't get home until nearly midnight, the kids did have a good time. And I really enjoyed seeing the lights, too!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Our first few days back in Texas were filled with such beautiful weather. Leave it to Grandpa to get the kids outside for some sunny entertainment. Running and jumping in the leaves is the perfect excuse for them to get their clothes all dirty. We've pretty much forgotten what it looks like to have leaves in the yard since we don't have a single tree at our house.

Somehow, I didn't get the endless energy gene from my dad. I sure wish I did though. He always has some project going or is tinkering with something. My older brothers are the same way. I know my family would definitely appreciate it if I kicked my lifelong procrastination habit to the curb. Jumping from one creative project to the next just makes for a messy house and a scrambled brain. My thoughts start to sound like the crunching of dried leaves just trying to remember all the things I need and want to do. Sometimes I wish I my mind had an off button. I bet I would sleep much better.
All Brooke asked to do when she got to Texas was have a sleepover with her cousins Carley and Dayley. As long as that was in the works, she was happy with everything else. So, this was the big night for the sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I didn't get that many pictures because Carley decided that I was the "picture monster" and they all yelled every time I tried to sneak in with the camera.

Cole could only take the girly play for so long.
He took a break to watch some football with Daddy.
Grandma's yummy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
I don't know why Cole and Carley were looking at me so weird. Probably something to do with the picture monster.
The kids persuaded Grandpa to set up the tent in the living room. It took awhile to get everyone all situated, but they all finally crashed.
No surprise, they were up bright and early, full of energy, and ready to play their little hearts out. Cousin time is so special and so far and few between these days...We cherish every moment even more now.

Cole, Carley, Brooke, Dayley and Grandpa

Monday, January 25, 2010


We set out for Texas on Friday night around 6:00 pm. Nathan had to work all day so we couldn't leave much earlier than that. We originally planned to leave super early on Saturday morning, but my dad offered to let us use a free hotel night of his that was about to expire. Sweet! He arranged it all and set us up for a quick pit stop in Little Rock, Arkansas. He suggested that I bring the kids' swimsuits because the hotel had a heated pool.

Even though we didn't get to the hotel until about 10:30 pm, we were so tired and grateful to get to break up the trip. Nathan was hoping we could avoid swimming and just get going after breakfast. We soon realized that it was unavoidable since our room was literally 5 steps from the pool. There was no way the kids would let us skip it then. The only problem with that was that the pool didn't open until 10:00 am. I never look forward to long road trips, but Nathan just wants to get it over with as quickly as possible. I sent Nathan out on a hunt for a new video cable for the portable dvd player. We didn't realize it was broken until the kids tried to watch a movie in the car. They definitely didn't like having to share one screen. I took the kids to the pool the minute it opened while Nathan was occupied. They both stuck their feet in and guaranteed me that it wasn't cold.
I should have known better. Of course they're going to say it isn't cold because they don't care and just want to go swimming so badly. But I was fooled for a while since the water didn't seem to bother them at all. They were jumping, splashing, and having so much fun. About 20 minutes later I noticed Cole shaking every time he got out of the water to go jump in again.I thought he was playing it up a little because he tends to be over dramatic at times. Plus, Brooke wasn't shivering at all. They didn't want to get out and continued going in and out. Then it seemed like Cole's coloring didn't look quite right. Granted, he's very pale, but it still made me wonder. I put down the camera to feel the water and OH...MY...GOSH!!! The water was sooooo cold. I couldn't believe they were swimming in it. Maybe that's why no one else was down there. But they just cleaned it, unlocked the gate, and had towels sitting out. I'm hoping that I'm not that bad of a parent and they just forgot to crank the heat up in the water. They did have fun swimming on a rare winter day though.

After the kids both had long, hot showers to revive their bones, we rushed to get ready before Nathan got back. Of course, we were too slow. By the time we were ready the kids were hungry for lunch, and I figured we might as well eat before driving an hour just to have to stop for food. As usual, I put us behind but after a couple more stops for my bladder, we finally made it into good 'ole Texas.

Time for the fun and frustration that goes along with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas and trying to share time with as many Texas family and friends as possible.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


The kids had their class Christmas parties and musicals on the same day AND all at different times...Of course. It was also the last day of school before Christmas break and our long road trip. My day started off a little something like this:

9:30 am- Brooke's program
10:30 am- Finish work stuff
12:00 pm- Cole's party
12:30 pm- Mad dash to get stuff not sent for Brooke's party (grrrr!)
1:30 pm- Cole's program
2:00 pm- Brooke's party
2:45 pm- ESCAPE!!!

My videos and pictures are fairly sorry because the lighting inside the school is terrible, and I rarely seem to get the settings right indoors. These are the best of what I took. It doesn't help that their school is really, really, really old.
I noticed Brooke yawning many times throughout the day. The kids were both pretty tired since they went to bed over an hour later than usual due to Santa's early arrival. I think they'd say it was worth it though.
I was so proud of Brooke for going up there and singing without having a meltdown. I really expected her to start crying and had already mentally prepared myself to rescue her. She surprised me though and did such a good job!

Cole's class party was directly after lunch. That's right, they had pizza, chips, cupcakes, rice crispy treats, brownies, and cookies after they had just eaten lunch. But before their musical program. Good timing folks.

As expected, Cole did great and was totally into the performance. He's not shy at all. Is it just me or is he seriously in need of some scissors to tame that mop?
Brooke's party was a little bit scatterbrained but went well enough. They decorated ornaments while I helped a couple of other moms finish putting together goodie bags. What a crazy day going back and forth to the school and trying to be there for both of the kids. You know what comes next on our schedule (mostly because it already happened and I'm way behind on posting). Yep, the excitement of packing to travel the long journey back to Texas.


Cole is at the age where kids around him are questioning Santa or have already chosen not to believe in the magic. A couple of weeks before Christmas he came home from school and said another kid said that Santa isn't real. Brooke was absolutely shocked that any kid would say that. Of course, he asked me if Santa was really real. I want the belief of the magic to go on as long as possible, so I just told them that if they didn't believe in Santa then they wouldn't get any presents from him. They both quickly shouted, "I believe in Santa!"

Since we wouldn't be in our own home on Christmas morning, we had to come up with another plan for our own special Christmas. I didn't quite know what to do. We either had to do it a week early or a few days late. I wasn't comfortable with the idea of leaving presents out while we were out of town, so we told the kids that we would try to make a deal with Santa...But they had to be extra good.

Soooo...on December 16th, much to our surprise, we found this note on our front door when we returned home from dinner (hmmm...pretty good left hand writing if I do say so myself). Did you know that Santa can text, too? Nathan told the kids that he sent Santa a text message about coming early, and he actually answered back. Man, is Santa cool or what? Look at their faces as they see the message on his phone! I love it!
Santa left behind some of his magic dust on the rug and front porch when he left the note on the door. It's hard to see in the photo but somehow it resembles silver glitter. This turned out to be a key factor in the whole belief of it all. I'm so clever :)

This was our first Christmas living far away from home, and as much as it bothered me not to be in our own home on Christmas morning, it all worked out with the kids being just as happy as they would've been on the real day. Their reactions to the whole night and all of their gifts were awesome. And I think we might have scored a couple of cool parent points, too!

In our family...You gotta believe!