Monday, December 01, 2014

Fair Thanksgiving | 2014

This year we had our Thanksgiving with the Fairs at the lake house again. We drove over there Friday evening after leaving Waxahachie. As excited as the boys were to be there, it was past their bedtime and they fell asleep immediately after getting in bed after the full day we'd had.

The next day, Saturday, was when we had our Thanksgiving meal. The day was beautiful and pretty warm...in the 70s. Still windy. The fall colors are on display this time of year...at the end of November. Oh, Texas. 

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But thanks to the beautiful day, the boys were able to play outside while all of the serious cooking was going on inside. I had stayed up the night before until about 11pm making two pies...a pumpkin tart and a chocolate fudge pie. 

Pop played catch with Ethan for a while. He (Ethan) is getting much better at throwing straight and catching the ball. 

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It was such a successful practice for him and he was so excited every time he caught the ball. 

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The boys played inside a little too. They always love playing with the toys at the lake house. 

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We had a beautiful and (almost) full table. 

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I love my mom's holiday plates and the copper-colored chargers. 

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The boys look ready for the meal...despite the fact that they do not appreciate all the sides like we do. 

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Speaking of sides, I really think this is one of our best Thanksgiving meals in several years. Or at least in recent memory for me. We had a smoked turkey like we've been doing the last few years. With gravy and dressing, of course. Then, we had creamed corn, roasted green beans, corn bread, and perhaps the star of the show (in my opinon), mashed potatoes with gouda and crispy pancetta. 

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After the meal we all went our own ways to spend the afternoon how we'd like. I had just settled down on the couch to read when a certain little boy came and cuddled with me. I was surprised to find, not five minutes later, that he was asleep. This never happens. But I guess all the celebrating plus going to bed late and waking up early is a perfect recipe for a spontaneous nap. I loved having him sleep on me...something neither of the boys has done in a long time. He slept for probably 30-45 minutes before reluctantly waking up. 

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Other afternoon activities included a game of spades. This game wrapped up before we got leftovers out and then picked up again when Casey and I took the place of a couple of players. This was the first time since the boys were born (I think) that I've had time to play cards at a family gathering. We used to do it all the time. And it was really fun to do it again. I was afraid I wouldn't remember how to play after so long, but it all came back to me. 

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We went to bed after the last game ended. Then, we left for home the next day about mid-morning. We'd had a whirlwind few days with family with a lot of great food thrown in there. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cooke Thanksgiving | 2014

This year we didn't have any plans with family on Thanksgiving Day, which was kind of weird. Our first gathering was on the Friday after Thanksgiving when we went down to Grandaddy and Nana's house to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Cookes. That kitchen looks awfully clean for Thanksgiving, right? All the food is behind me. 

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While we waited on everyone else to arrive, the boys played with Papaw in the front yard. We brought a couple of balls so they could toss them around. It was a beautiful, although very windy, day. 

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When we got around to eating the meal, it was definitely worth the wait. Ethan is still carrying around his monkey everywhere he goes. 

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A gathering of cousins on the porch...

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The meal was followed by some more playing outside. 

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We missed a few passes...

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But caught a few too...

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The lighting in this photo makes me cringe. It's all sorts of different colors and color casts. But, I love that the boys' older cousin, Kyle, was taking the time to show them how to do Rubik's cubes. He is a master. 

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One of the last things we did that day was a tractor ride. Someone got smart (I think it was Uncle Jeff) and left the boys up in the scoop. That's one way to make sure they don't get in trouble. 

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Uncle Chad took pity and drove them around again. And also let them down when they were done. 

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The boys let me snap this quick photo of the two of them. I wanted to get a photo of them in their fall shirts, but they're all covered up. However, this is such a sweet photo of them when they were being not only loving to each other, but allowing me to photograph it. So, I'll take it. 

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It wouldn't be real if I didn't show this out-take of Kinsler (Aunt Chelsey's dog) photobombing. 

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Trains at NorthPark | 2014

After we saw the 12 Days of Christmas at the Arboretum, we headed on over to NorthPark to see the trains like we do every year. We figured since we were already down in that part of town, we might as well do both.

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We waited outside while Mimi bought tickets and so Pop could meet us before going inside. 

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We went mid-morning since we'd already been to the Arboretum that morning. Usually we try to show up right at 10 when they open, but to my surprise, the crowds weren't really that bad. There was plenty of room to see the trains and we didn't feel packed in there. 

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Monkey came along to look at the trains too...

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I have been to this display the past 5 years, I think. And I still enjoy it. My dad and the boys were talking about how certain trains were the same or different than the really cool Polar Express train my parents have at their house. 

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A new section this year...Albuquerque. I loved this one. The hot air balloons in front of the lighted Christmas trees was really pretty. 

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We took our time and looked as long as the boys wanted to. I always find something new to look at every time. 

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After we left the train exhibit, we decided to get a bite to eat. We headed upstairs to Sonic, of course. My dad snapped these next two photos of the boys while my mom and I were getting the food. 

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After refueling with food, the boys had heard mention of doing Build A Bear and were very much in favor of that. 

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Ethan chose a green camo bear and Logan chose a puppy. They both still love doing this and playing with stuffed animals. It IS sort of a tradition when we go see the trains. 

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After building their new friends, we left Mimi and Pop at NorthPark and we headed home. It was a full but fun Monday. And a great way to kick off Thanksgiving week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Arboretum's 12 Days of Christmas

On Monday, since the boys are both out of school for Thanksgiving break, my mom and I decided to go see the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum. We saw them installing it when we were there earlier this fall for the pumpkin village and knew we'd like to come back and have a look.

We always try to arrive right at opening time. It allows for the easiest parking, no entry lines, and practically no people inside. That's how we like to do it. 

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Ethan brought along a friend, as usual, and found a place for him to ride along. 

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We loved the exhibit. The boys thought it was cool, but my mom and I were far more interested in the details of each gazebo than they were! But they were mostly happy to just run around while we looked. 

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We thought each "day" was so well done. The gazebos were beautiful and individually themed. They all held to a Victorian style that we thought was perfect. 

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In this photo you can see days 5, 6, and 7. 

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The details inside each one were definitely something to take a few minutes to look at. The seven swans a swimming was probably our favorite one. Decked out in white, crystals, and icicles, it was stunning. And probably even more-so at night. 

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We got a special exhibit map at the information desk before entering the park this time so we would be sure to visit the pavilions in order and not miss any. The boys fought over the map. But they also had fun trying to read it and lead us to the next gazebo. 

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As you can see by our warm coats, it was a chilly morning. But also a gorgeous one. 

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In addition to the swimming swans, the 9 ladies dancing was probably my other favorite. Each dress was amazing in detail and style. They were each a different color and were beautiful. Logan looks thrilled. 

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A benefit of practically no people there...photos without people in them. And we were able to visit each pavilion/gazebo on our own. No one else was there while we were looking. It was nice. 

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Each day had a sign just in case you didn't remember the song lyrics. And speaking of songs...there was music at each one too that complemented that particular theme. 

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Ten Lords A-Leaping was a fun display because the Lords were ice skating and their coat tails and scarves were all billowing behind them as they spun around. 

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Eleven pipers piping was another favorite because it featured bag pipers. And bag pipe music, which has a history in my family owing probably to some Scottish heritage. The kilts and plaid were nice and so was the music. The boys thought it was cool. 

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My mom and I really enjoyed this exhibit. I hope they do it again. And maybe we will be able to do a night-viewing next time. Even the boys had fun traipsing around, reading the map, and looking at the displays. It was a fun morning, but after we had seen all the gazebos, we made our way back to the entrance because our day was just beginning...