Monday, December 20, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby - A Photo Essay (Because it's WAY too long even without words)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun in the Atrium

Continuing with our Grapevine trip...

We made to sure arrive to the Gaylord a bit early as there are lots of fun things to see inside the atrium area itself. I will say that it was much less stressful this year because we actually knew where we were going and we also got tickets for much earlier in the day so there was hardly any crowd at all.

Follow the snowflakes to ICE!

Of course there's a giant Lone Star in the atrium. It is the Gaylord TEXAN, remember? :-)

For those who don't believe that everything is bigger in Texas, might I present Exhibit A?

The atrium area includes water features...

...a number of restaurants and, during the Christmas season, multiple festive decorations. New this year was the Reindeer Roundup so we were on the hunt for these guys throughout the morning...

Of course, there were also giant Christmas trees...

...and I honestly cannot tell you the delight my child experienced when she immediately identified this guy as Blitzen. In her words, "you know, because of the blitz..."

She could not wait to tell Davey that what he's been teaching her throughout the fall came in handy.

Only in Texas...

Now I must admit that we had some trouble identifying a few of the reindeer. So, for better or worse, this is Comet. If you know something different, please don't tell my girl :-)

My next dining centerpiece...

Oh, I kid, but one thing I completely missed last year is that there's an actual riverwalk on one end of the resort. Super cool.

May I present the one photo in which all three participants are pictured? 

After browsing the atrium, it was time for the main event. Again, because I value your retinas, I shall save those photos for another day.

As for what's currently going on in our house, things are just crazy, friends. It is for everyone, I know, due to the holiday rush but I am honestly ready for a little down time. Tay was in the Christmas musical at church on Wednesday (which was absolutely fabulous!) and I'm hosting a dinner at our women's Candlelight Christmas on Sunday evening. After that event, I believe -- dare I say it -- we will have completed all major commitments for this month with the obvious exception of Christmas itself.

Of course, we'll be heading to Houston for the Texas Bowl the following week and then ringing in the New Year at Barkin' Ball but I'm counting on those to be fun and not stressful events. Thankfully I managed to get all of my shopping done last month. Had that not been the case, I'm not sure how I would have survived this month.

Yes, I know, by His grace.


But you know what I mean...

I pray you are all experiencing a wonderful time of peace and enjoyment during this season. Although we've tried very hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, it is so hard not to just check things off the list and then collapse in exhaustion, isn't it?

I'm trying to do better and am very much looking forward to 2011. :-)

Happy weekend before Christmas, y'all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Downtown Grapevine

Last weekend my mom and I headed to Grapevine with the girl in tow for a girls' weekend. We originally planned for the man and Boppy to be included but work schedules and household chores were calling (along with a puppy who can't be left alone for too long) so it ended up just being the three of us.

Between me, you and the fencepost, I think it also may have had to do with an aversion to cold that Dave and Donny have in common (is it something ALL Texans have in common?) as our plans included seeing the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord Texan again.

First, though, there was something else on our agenda. We headed up to Grapevine and checked into the Hampton, where Nana treated us to a sweet suite (oh, yes, I just went there). Then we headed over to Saltwater Willy's for seafood, which was fantastic, before venturing downtown to check out the lights.

This is another activity the boys probably wouldn't have enjoyed with gusto but we certainly did :-)

The entire downtown area was lit up at every turn and it was so much fun to stroll along taking in all of the festive cheer. We went during the day last time so we didn't get to enjoy this experience but we certainly made the most of it this time.

One of the park areas included a giant Christmas tree, gazebo and small trees - I know it doesn't sound that unique - but all of the lights were set to music so it was super cool!

After conquering the task of getting a few decent shots of the tree, I set about getting one of the gazebo. This one took a bit longer because the song playing was really fast so things were a-changing quickly. The girls decided to take a rest...

...and I was victorious. Finally.

We continued down Main Street and found these folks...

..and a small man chopping down a candy cane...

...along with Santa's reindeer!

This is where you thank me for NOT sharing all of the photos my girl took of the reindeer. Let's just say each and every one has its own portrait.

You're welcome.

The Lord gifted us with a 'tween who was in the mood for some photos around this time so I quickly began snapping away.

Yes, she was being super silly. Of course I loved it. But you already knew that, right?

We also checked out the nighttime lights at the Gaylord that evening, which were also very neat. Grapevine has deemed itself the "Christmas Capitol of Texas" and, friends, they live up to their billing. 

After venturing back to the hotel, Taylor got a great night's sleep while I rolled her off of me every hour or so... :-)

We were all up relatively early the next morning because the big event was scheduled for 10:30am - you see Charlie Brown's Christmas Special was the subject of this year's ICE! exhibit and there is no one who loves Charlie more than Tay. But I'm going to save that for another post because, honestly, you would probably never visit this blog again if I added all of those pictures to this post.

I am nothing if not thorough, friends. Painfully so.