Saturday was the busiest day I have had in a long, long time. It was the weekend of a million things going on, for sure. Every year Mandy and I shoot the photos for Breakfast with Santa at her church, so I hit the road at 7:30 to head to Waxahachie for that. Nick stayed home with Kate and they went on a special shopping trip to get Mommy some presents for Christmas. I might have had a few Quinn snuggles while I was there...but seriously, is she not the cutest baby ever? I love her perfectly round head and her little facial expressions kill me. If they were all going to look like this, Mandy and Dan should have 6 more babies.
As soon as we were finished with Santa, I hit the road back to the house so that Nick could then head to Forney to work on Dad's computer while I took Kate to the ballet to see The Nutcracker. She has been SO excited about the ballet ever since we saw Sleeping Beauty, and especially excited about The Nutcracker. She loved it, and she whispered during the entire show again. She was also completely blown away by it snowing inside Bass Hall. That might have been her favorite part.
"I know this song!"
"The snow queen is my favorite!"
"I can do that too!"
"I don't like the rat king,"
"I love her dress!"
"The sugar plum fairy is my favorite!"
"Clara is my favorite!"
Once the ballet was over, we high tailed it back home so we could change really quickly, and then I had to drop Kate off over at Yiayia's because Nick wasn't quite home from Forney just yet. I was heading to Red Oak, Texas with Mom and Trey because Richard was filling in for the bass player in the Red Oak Opry that night and he has asked me to come and take some photos. He doesn't have a ton of pictures of himself playing, so I agreed to tag along. So back towards Waxahachie I went.
After the show, which lasted until 9:30, we were all starving so we went to Denny's with some members of the band. Around 11 I decided I was beyond ready to be home, so Mom and Trey headed back with me and I finally stepped in my door at 12:30 am. It was a long day, but a good day.
On Wednesday night, Fort Worth Camera hosted a photowalk in Sundance Square. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go downtown again, so I met up with a few friends from the Parker County group and we shot downtown at night. These are my favorite shots:
At the end of the night, we stopped by Brian Luenser's gallery just before he closed for the night. Becky really wanted to go by and see his prints and calendars, and of course we visited with him and his wife for a few minutes.
One of the photography clubs I joined this past year is a little more special to me than the other two that I am a part of because of the many friendships I have there. Yes, it is a bit of a pain and inconvenience for me to drive to Weatherford for the club meetings, but it has been worth it so far and I've enjoyed being a member this year. I've explored places in Weatherford and other areas that I never would have seen had it not been for the photo excursions we have done.
Monday night we had our Christmas meet and greet at our usual meeting place, Skinny's Hamburgers, and then we walked down to the square and did some night photography of the Christmas lights. The Parker County Courthouse is really gorgeous, and they have it very nicely decorated for Christmas. That's the one thing I feel downtown Fort Worth is missing - they have Sundance Square all lit up and beautiful for the holidays, and then the courthouse at the end of Main St is sitting there all dark and sad. They could at least put lights in the bushes or something.
Anyway, here are some photos from the Weatherford meet up.
In the above photo, some people were playing around and having a hand held 15 second exposure shoot out. With night photography, you have to use a tripod because of the long exposures - any movement at all will result in a blurry photo.
Back just before Thanksgiving, the day we went to the mall to pick out an angel kid for this year, Kate surprised me and agreed to meet Santa and have her picture made. I was shocked, since she's never been willing to do this before and last year I had to stand in her photo with her while she made the most horrible face imaginable. It only took a little bit of pep talking and a bribe of a new doll to get her to agree!
Seeing as she survived mall Santa, she decided that she was ready to meet Santa downtown where all the big buildings are, as she put it. She wanted to meet "Santa in the city." So on Saturday we went with Yiayia, Bill, and Aunt Karyn to meet Santa in the city.
Kate and Santa are old friends now. It was pretty much no big deal this time around. She walked right up to the sleigh, crawled in and got on his lap. They smiled for some photos and then proceeded to chat with each other for several minutes. She told him she wants a Barbie Dream House and a Frozen Scooter for Christmas. I have it on good authority that Santa has the first item on layaway right now, but as for the second item....well Santa needs to do a little looking around. He has a scooter for her, but, um, it's not Frozen...so we need to figure that out. (Because, you know, I talked to him too...)
Santa in the City puts Mall Santa to shame, by the way. It;s hard to compete with an actual sleigh and 56' tall Christmas tree, though...oh, and a candyland playground too.
After meeting the man in red we wandered around downtown for a bit before heading over to Mi Cocina for some lunch. They have exceptionally good food. It was my first time dining there but I was impressed. We ended up going out separate ways after lunch, and Kate somehow talked herself into an afternoon with Yiayia so that left me and Nick to have a little date and we actually went to a movie together.
I decided to do something slightly different with our tree this year, and instead of just doing a random color explosion all over the place, I chose three colors and placed them in a spiral-like pattern, keeping all like colors together. Since I had purple, hot pink and blue mesh, those are the three colors I went with. I really really love the way it turned out. It's a bit unconventional, but that's ok by me. I am also fully aware that my tree skirt does not match AT ALL, but it's the only one I have and those things aren't cheap. So I plan to buy a new one after Christmas for next year at a discount.
My little black tree is decked out in photo ornaments and Dr. Seuss ornaments that we have collected over the years. I'm planning on adding photo ornaments as I can afford them, and hopefully some day I will have a full sized tree full of photo ornaments that I can display in the living room and move my decorative tree to the dining room. That will also give me a place to put Kate's homemade ornaments, since they don't match Mommy's fancy tree. (YES - I'm THAT type of person, ok?)
Even Sophia is decked out in reindeer antlers and big red nose this year. Kate loves it and everywhere we go she is on the look out for more reindeer cars.
Thursday evening we were given tickets to see the von Trapps at Bass Hall from the Fort Worth Symphony box office. We have season tickets for the Pop series, you know, and our regular concert evening is Friday nights at 7:30. The week of Thanksgiving, however, they didn't perform on Friday evening so our tickets were changed to Saturday and I assumed that the time was the same. You can imagine my disappointment and frustration when we were about to get dressed for the symphony around 5 pm and I noticed the tickets were for 2 pm. Oops. As luck would have it, the box office had closed an hour before I noticed my mistake, so I was left without seeing the Christmas symphony that I was so looking forward to. I posted my disappointment on Facebook, and wouldn't you know that someone contacted me from the box office on Monday and offered us tickets for the Thursday night show? I was clown away, seeing as the mistake was really my fault.
We didn't even know what to expect from the show, since it wasn't something we had planned on seeing. Man, am I glad we were able to go! The von Trapps are four young adults ranging in age from 19 to 25 who are all siblings: three sisters and a brother. They are the grandchildren of Werner von Trapp, who was portrayed as Kurt in The Sound of Music. Talk about talent - these kids can sing! They performed several Christmas songs but also many songs from their albums and in several different languages. I loved the show and even bought a CD on the way out.
Yesterday was the perfect afternoon for decorating the yard for Christmas, since today the weather turned cold and yucky outside. Pop gave Kate a big inflatable helicopter/sleigh for the yard this year, and I had purchased a Mickey Mouse inflatable after Christmas last year, so she was all set! Nick went up on the roof to put the white lights on the house, which was a lot easier to do with the 12' ladder I took off the curb a couple of months ago (thanks to the lazy neighbors who apparently didn't want to move it).
Our trees finally started dropping their leaves, and as I type this they're almost completely bare. It didn't take them long to make a mess in my yard, so after we got our inflatables set and the lights in the bushes, I grabbed the rake and Kate helped me bag up 3 bags of leaves for trash day today. Of course, in between raking and bagging she had to run and jump in the leaf piles.
Kate could hardly wait for the sun to go down so she could see how the lights look and we could take some pictures.