Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright...

Deep in the Heart of...

For Spring Break we decided to leave chilly Ohio and visit my brother, Joseph, in Texas. Joseph, his wife, Maren, and their son Nicholas (then about 18 months old) live in Irving (near Dallas) while Joseph is studying to be a doctor. His Spring Break was the week before ours, but we were able to get a free weekend with him and he was kind enough to study ahead so he could play with us when he wasn't in class.

We left Columbus on a Thursday night and drove, drove, drove. About an hour south of Columbus we had a mishap: Ranch dressing spilled in the car, so we had that to deal with. While Crystal was dealing with the spill, Lucas grabbed a bag of pita bread and dumped it all over himself. This caused some sort of reaction on Lucas (rash, mucusy breathing, etc.) which caused us to have to stop and get Benadryl for him. Then, Clara only slept like three hours the whole night and the next morning, as we had just gotten into the Dallas area, Clara threw up all over the car. Clara wasn't that sick, but Lucas was throw-uppy about the whole time we were there, and he was (un)kind enough to share that with Nicholas, who was sick while we were there, too.

Despite all the throwing up (and getting to watch BYU play its way to the Sweet Sixteen that week), we were able to go out and have some fun.

On Saturday morning, Clara and I went with Joseph, Maren and Nicholas, to Fort Worth's old-time stock yards, which have been refurbished into a cool tourist area. Crystal and Lucas stayed home because he was sick and she was tired from the all-night drive the night before and staying up with Lucas that night, too. (And being pregnant, but shhh! no one else knew at that point.)

Here is Clara showing off the Longhorn pen.

I love how their horns are spirally from the side.

So, like I said, they refurbished the old stock yards that had been used for years and years, but in about the 1970s it became cheaper to ship the cattle by semi-trailer rather than driving them to the stockyards and loading them on trains. Here is what the unrefurbished areas look like:

Here is what the re-done part looks like. Much nicer.

Clara and I tried to measure up to the big cows.

Twice a day they drive the herd down the road and we got to watch the cows mosy along the cobblestones. They don't run them because I think they would end up with tourist-kebabs and no one would want to go and visit.

Around the corner from the stockyards is Billy Bob's, which is the worlds largest honky-tonk. It has concert stages, a rodeo arena, tons of pool tables, a restaurant, and dance floors, all under one roof.
Oh, and the world record belt buckle.

Clara got to dance a little, under the mirror saddle (which is the Texas equivalent of a disco ball).

We had a great day Sunday, going to church and then having dinner with Joseph's classmate, Matt, who also happens to be one of Crystal's great friends from college. It is a small world.

On Monday, Joseph went to school and then we picked him up and went to the Dallas Farmers' Market. It was so fun to be in shorts and to be around all the bright, fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. (It was snowy when we got back to Ohio).

The food looks great and so do my girls!

We then drove through downtown Dallas and got to see the cool larger-than-life statues of a cattle drive which is in front of the conference center. It is really an impressive sight.

Then, we got to have a fun cookout at a park in Irving. Joseph and Maren were very hospitable, breaking out their grill and letting us just hang out and enjoy the wonderful Spring weather.
It was a wonderful trip and so cool to see where Joseph and Maren and Nicholas and Soon-t0-be Daughter (we found out they are expecting, too, shortly after we got home).

PS - Doesn't Crystal look cute eating her mango from the Farmers' Market.

I Love to See the Temple

Clara has been learning so much in nursery at church (and hopefully at home too!) She talks about going to the temple all the time. One day in February, we decided to take Clara to see the temple. She frequently says she is going to get married in the temple some day. We wanted to start create memories of the temple for her, so we dressed up in church clothes and went on a little outing to the Columbus Temple.

We had a really fun time, and afterwards we went and got some ice cream.

Lucas Growing Up

Here are some pictures of Lucas growing over the past few months. These stop just before his first birthday. These were all just random pictures I took, nothing important going on, just enjoy the progression!

Disney Princesses on Ice

Back in January, my friend Hillary found out about a deal where if you donated a pack of diapers, you could get a ticket to see Disney Princesses on Ice. We both thought our girls would LOVE the show, so we decided to do it. I found a nice deal on diapers, and got me and Clara tickets for the show for less than $10 total. Sweet! Before the show, we went to dinner at Buca di Beppo (no pictures of that) with the girls, our husbands, and of course, Lucas came too. Hillary had princess dresses, crowns and light up wands for both girls. They were both ready for the show! Clara had the same smile plastered on her face from the moment she put on the princess dress to the moment the show started.

Then she got a little more serious.

Mickey and Minnie were the first charachters to come out. As soon as Clara saw him she screamed "MICKEY!!!!!!" as loud as she could- she was mesmerized.

My cheap camera doesn't take the clearest pictures in situations like this, but there were all sorts of princess stories from Ariel to Sleeping Beauty, to Jasmine and Snow White and of course, Cinderella.
This pretty much sums up what Clara looked like the entire show. She had such a good time, but I think it was also a little overwhelming for all these characters that she knows and loves to come to life.

I think this show was all I heard about for 3 weeks straight after the show. Clara could not stop talking about it, singing the songs, and pretending to dance on ice like all the princesses. Every now and again she will bring it up again, and I am amazed that she remembers it. It was such a fun night. I would definitely go see another Disney on Ice production. Disney knows what they are doing!

Air Force Museum

One of the last days of Winter Break for Jordan, we decided to head over to Dayton and visit the Air Force Museum. We were excited to have a fun day out as a family, but I had a cold and was having some serious side effects from it. On our way out of town, we stopped at a Walgreens to pick up medicine. The only kind they had was a night time variety, so I spent the entire day in a foggy daze more interested in every bench that we passed and how nice it would be to lay down on one, than all the cool planes. Besides that little hiccup in our day, we had a lot of fun.

Since I am blogging this some 8 months later, I don't really remember a lot of details about the planes. The thing I am noticing the most, is how much my kids have grown up since then! While I may not remember a lot of details, I do remember thinking a lot of the planes were really cool.

The Disney exhibit was one of my favorites (surprise, surprise). It was really cool to see how Disney let the Air Force use its cartoon characters as a way to boost moral for the troops. It was fun to see all the different characters and how they made appearances. We had a few other pictures, but they were blurry.

We also really enjoyed the World War II section and the modern day warfare section. There were things from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those exhibits were very touching, especially since there are troops still in those countries. I have such a profound respect and appreciation for all the people who serve in our armed forces.

We thought the name of this plane was kind of funny. We called Lucas "Jucas" a few times that day in honor of it!

I think this may have been Clara's favorite part of the museum. There was a family there with a big bag of coins and they were putting them into the coin twirly thing. Yeah, I'm not really sure what that thing is called. The dad was telling the kids how all the coins they put in there would go to help the museum. I thought it was cool to see this little family do that. I didn't have any coins on me, but I went and bought a few post cards and then me and Clara used the change I got back to have some fun with.
As I am writing this, I am sitting in the back yard of my parents house on a nice summer day while Clara plays in her little pool. With that said, looking at this picture of Lucas still reminds me oh how stinking cold in was that day! I remember running from the car to the museum and back again. Oh winter, how I do not miss you!