Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fall at the Gardens

Today Kate and I decided to spend the afternoon at the Japanese Gardens, which is part of the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens west of downtown. I have been hearing from fellow photographers how pretty the leaves were right now and that they were falling quickly, so since the weather was so gorgeous today we took advantage. Kate brought her little camera along too so she could grab some photos and we brought the GoPro to play with some as well.
Once we left the Gardens, we decided to stop by the Stockyards for the cattle drive, only I had my times mixed up in my head so we were about 10 minutes late. We didn't let that stop us from having fun anyway, so we had a burger at Trailboss and then walked over to the catwalk above the longhorn pens so Kate could see them anyway. We didn't stay long since the sun was setting soon and it was getting chillier as the sun went down.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving with Grandma Peggy

Sunday afternoon was our first family Thanksgiving for 2014. We always start with Grandma Peggy's house because she always has hers early. We are never quite sure who all is going to make the trip into town for her house, so sometimes we have a small crowd and other times you can't hardly find anywhere to sit to eat. One thing is almost always a given though: we are going to end up out in the yard playing soccer or something with a ball.

This year was no different, and Kate made up a whole new game that none of us could figure out or keep track of. I wasn't even really playing, just taking photos, but somehow I kept earning points. The game shifted from goal scoring to keep away to just any excuse to tackle Kelsey to the ground. Kate had a blast.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Playing Pirate Knights

Papa Joe is in town for the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving at Grandma Peggy's house on Sunday. She always has Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners on the Sunday before the holiday. Since he was here for a few days, we went to dinner at Rosa's with Joe Friday night. After eating, we came back o the house for a little while to visit and of course Kate wanted him to play with her. They ended up in her room with some light sabers that we picked up as swag at Spiceworld in Austin this year. According to Kate, they were "pirate knights" and she kept winning the battles.

Of course Daddy had to get in on the action as well.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preschool Thanksgiving

Today we were invited to eat Thanksgiving lunch with Kate at preschool. I was assigned a dessert to bring this year, so Kate helped me make cupcakes yesterday. They were all gone at the end of the luncheon, so I assume they were a hit. Kate has the whole week off next week from school for the holidays, which meant that after lunch was over she could leave with us early instead of having to stay until 2.
Early dismissal meant that we headed over to the mall to hang out for a bit. Kate picked another angel off the Salvation Army Angel Tree, a 5 year old girl who wants a kitchen set and needs a new coat. We talked about why the angel tree was there and what it meant to help out, even though we aren't rich by any means, we have more than many people and she was so happy to be able to do what she could for another little girl.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Final party - the family one.

Today we had a birthday party for all the grandparents and Kate's best friend. We chose a local hamburger joint because we love their food and I wouldn't have to clean it up!

Karyn really knocked it out of the park this year with the cake. It was awesome and Kate was totally amazed! Everyone loved it. We had 18 people in attendance: Pop and Nannie; Yiayia, Boui, and Nana; Aunt Karyn; Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Trey; Papa and Mawmaw; Susan, Jessy, Cassidy, and Brynlee; and me and Nick....and of course the birthday girl.
Uncle Gerald even gave Kate her first bow and arrow set. She was quite thrilled. Apparently they have been looking at them together for a while. I will admit, we went out and played with it when we got home and it was quite fun to shoot.

Great Wolf Birthday

When Kate was trying to decide what kind of birthday party she wanted, I started pricing various places to host parties, checking into character appearances because she wanted Elsa and Anna at her party at one point, and realized that for the same money as throwing a party with a bunch of kids and people and clean up and stuff, we could take her for the night to Great Wolf Lodge and have a mini vacation. I gave Kate the option: regular party with all her friends, or Great Wolf Lodge. She chose the latter, so I booked our room and Nick even took two days off work so we could have some fun.

We spent Thursday night because it was cheaper than a weekend night. That place is expensive, let me just say that right away. I found a Groupon the day I was going to book our room, so we saved about $40 on the room. I don't really see how families afford to stay out there 2 or 3 nights. Honestly, one night was pretty much enough for us and we didn't feel cheated out of any experiences because the only thing we did was the water park. All of the extra stuff, the arcade, Magic Quest, laser tag, etc - yeah, that costs extra.
We arrived around 3:30 and got to our room, which was upgraded for free because the hotel decided our original room wasn't ready after all (it seemed fine to us) so we stayed in a Kid Cabin suite with a log cabin and bunk beds for Kate and Trey to sleep in. Fine by me!
We changed and got to the water park just before 5 pm and stayed in the water until 9 pm when it was time for the park to close for the night. There were hardly any people there besides us. It was pretty awesome - there were several instances when we were literally the only people in the whole lazy river, or wave pool, etc. Even on Friday morning when we got back to the water park after breakfast, it wasn't crowded by any means.
We swam on Friday until around 2 pm, and honestly by then we were all tired and getting cranky and pretty much over the water park experience by then. Well, all except Kate. She was perfectly content and probably would've stayed in the water until 9 pm again if it had been her choice. It was starting to get a little more crowded by Friday afternoon, and as we were leaving there were several people checking in for the weekend. I was really glad we decided to do a weekday night for our stay. It was quite perfect.

Pre-school Party!

Thursday we were allowed to bring cupcakes to Kate's class at pre-school to have a little party with her friends there. She had been wearing the birthday crown all day, and she was really excited when they came in from recess to find Mommy and Daddy hanging out in her classroom with plates all set up for the party.
I made Frozen cupcakes and ordered sugar snowflakes to put on the top. Blue icing probably wasn't the best choice for pre-schoolers, since many of them ended up with it all over themselves, but the kids really seemed to enjoy it.
I also put together a goody bag for each classmate with a light up Frozen sticker, a party blower, and a Frozen ring in each one. They were very excited about their light up stickers and rings! Even the boys got a kick out of everything.