Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oklahoma Road Trip

Well, we have finally made our first road trip to see some of this new state of ours. We met some friends in Jenks and saw the Oklahoma Aquarium. For being as far inland as it is, they have some pretty good exhibits. They had a special section for fish that are native to Oklahoma, and boy, they have some whopper catfish in there!
The girls with their new friends!

Gracie is in constant motion - just like the sharks!

There was a touch tank where we petted stingrays and sharks. The rays were smooth, but the sharks were rough! Maggie didn't really want to touch them - but she made an effort to overcome her fear!

Here, at a different touch tank, she's working up the nerve to touch a starfish. They don't splash, so she's seriously considering it. . .

And touch it she does!

The only thing the girls were dissapointed with on our road trip is that we didn't get to stay and play with their new friends longer. Next time they'll come visit us!

The Perils of the Holidays

Ah, here it is. That time of the year again. The holidays. If we can get through the logistics of planning the holidays, it's a great time of year. The logistics are the thing that always gets us though.

Really, this is pretty late for us. Usually the hints start dropping around June or so about what are we going to do for the holidays, and by August we generally know what's going to happen. This year though, we've been pushing it off, partly because I had hoped that if I just ignored it the issue would go away, but mostly because we have a new-ish niece who gets to drive the family gatherings this year. We told Amy that we'd do whatever she wanted, and for a while we even entertained going to Houston to see them, but that possibility has now been officially removed from the list, so here we are, a week before Thansgiving, with no plans. I think it's a first.

The problem is, that with all our moving around, our "rotation" schedule seems to be in flux. So last Friday night, I dragged out the photo albums, and documented what we have done since the girls have been born. Here's the rundown:
  • 2000: We were at our house. I remember this vividly, because I was pregnant with Gracie (although no one but Jerry and my sister knew) and was sicker than a dog. The barfing Christmas - oh yeah, that was memorable.

  • 2001: Santa visited our house - just us.

  • 2002: Santa came to Mimi and Pepaw's condo in Ruidoso - complete with snow!

  • 2003: Santa visited our house - just us.

  • 2004: Santa visited our house - just us.

  • 2005: We braved the ice storm back to Texas. Santa visited grandma's house.

  • 2006: Santa visited us and Mimi and Pepaw at our house in Farmington

  • 2007: Santa visited us at Granddaddy and Nana's house

The years where it was our house, just us, we lived close enough to make day trips to everyone. Now that we are a bit farther away, overnights are required. Anyway, in case you are following the time line, it's Grandma's turn for Santa this year. I knew those scrapbooks would come in handy. . .

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hello November!

Well, as usual, I have had every intention of sitting down and updating my blog, but haven't found the time to do it! I've had plenty of photos, plenty of activities to report on, although no truly inspiring thoughts, but no time to get anything down on the proverbial paper. Well, this will be brief and to the point, but it's something!

First of all, we went to the Shriner Circus with Mary Jo in Fort Worth. She and Jerry Sr. got tickets and invited us, but then Jerry Sr.'s skin lesion removal got rescheduled for the day before the circus, so he didn't get to go with us. He was with us in spirit though!

The Shriner's, of course, do this to raise money for their charitable causes, and they have ways of parting you from your money down to an art form! We did our part - Gracie chose an elephant ride, and Maggie a pony ride, and of course, we got the required cotton candy. Watching the circus through an adults eyes is very different than through a child's eyes. I never even considered the dangers of the acts as a child, but as an adult that was all I could think of! We did see a tightrope artist fall off the rope, but he caught it on the way down, thank goodness, as there was no net! Very thrilling, to say the least!

Towards the end of October the girls wanted to go and get some pumpkins. We found a local pumpkin patch that had some activities and headed out for a fun weekend day of family fun. They had a corn maze that was truly a maze - not too big, but very winding - and a nice hayride, animals to pet, and a pony to ride. I think the girls favorite part was petting the bunnies. They were very, very soft.

We also went to a campfire and hay ride with our young adult Sunday School group. The kids had a great time playing in the woods with all their friends. We cooked hot dogs and s'mores over the campfire, and enjoyed a nice hayride complete with a field of grazing cattle and a horse who liked to nibble the riders as they went by.

As the end of October approached, we got some large pumpkins from the store and carved them up. Maggie wanted hers to be a cat, and Gracie opted for a friendly pumpkin this year. Jerry and I never quite got around to carving ours - they are still taking up valuable counter space in my kitchen. We'll open them up, roast the seeds, but the rest of the pumpkin will probably go straight to the compost pile.

Now we were almost ready for Halloween. The only thing left was costumes. The girl's school has a 'storybook parade' for Halloween. Each child dresses up as their favorite character from a book, and then as they parade through the school, they carry the book along with them. Last year the girls picked their costumes first, and then we found an appropriate book. This year, however, they picked their books first. Gracie picked a book about Tinkerbell, so her costume was easy - there are a lot of Tinkerbell costumes out there right now - in fact, our neighbor already had one that we borrowed, I just needed to get her wings! Maggie, however, picked the book "Goldie the Sunshine Fairy" and informed me that (as per the book's description) she needed a fairy outfit that was "fiery reds, golds and oranges." Well, they didn't have any of those at the store, so with a large amount of trepidation, I bought satin fabric and a pattern at the store and pulled out the sewing machine.

This was the first time I had used the machine for sewing since I had it tuned up, and what a pleasant surprise I had in store for me. I managed to sew the costume with only three calls to my grandmother for further instructions than were given in the pattern, and I didn't cuss at the machine at all! There were a few minutes that I was in great frustration with my sewing abilities, but as far as thread breaking, jamming, or machine malfunction, there was none. A few minor modifications to the pattern, and we had a successful costume. I think we were all pleased with the results. We were ready for Trick-or-Treating. We met up with our neighbors, the Pinkstons, and headed out for candy nirvana.

We wrapped up our candy exploits and headed to bed pretty early, because the next morning the girls and I headed to Camp Cookieland for a Brownie Fun In Nature Day. Maggie's whole troop was there, but the other girl from Gracie's troop didn't show up, so she stayed with the older girls the rest of the day. We earned a try-it, and did a lot of walking. We took a hike through the beautiful woods - the leaf colors this year are outstanding - made s'mores, learned about and wrote haikus, played games, learned new songs, silk screened a bandana, and during an activity about the sense of touch the girls were led to walk through buckets of cornmeal, cotton balls, uncooked rice, cooked oatmeal, gravy, jello, spaghetti and dry dog food. They declared that part, "GROSS!" and "DISGUSTING!" and in the same breath, asked to do it again.

Anyway, that is our October and first day of November, in a nutshell!