Archive | November, 2010

ICE! at the Gaylord Texan

30 Nov

The Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine is a fantastic place to visit during the holidays – 1.5 million holiday lights, a 52-foot Christmas tree, a life-sized gingerbread house, thousands of ornaments, and – of course – Santa Claus.  But by far the most unique attraction at the Gaylord during this time of year is the ICE! exhibit.  Two million pounds of ice are sculpted into various characters, scenery, decorations, and an ice slide!

This year, the theme is A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz.  Visit all your favorite Peanuts characters in a holiday-themed setting.

ICE! is cold, of course – really cold.  They offer everyone ultra-warm parkas to wear during the experience.  You’ll need them!

For prices and hours of ICE!, and a list of all holiday events at the Gaylord, click here.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop

30 Nov

I have boarded the buying bandwagon, as my Amex statement can attest.  Our brood headed to Little Rock for Thanksgiving and on Friday morning, it was me and a whole bunch of LSU fans in the new Target off University Avenue.  (The store replaced an entire mall so there’s a ton of parking.  A bunch of Louisiana fans up for the game had parked their RVs there; hence the wave of purple rather than the expected Razorback red!)

The Wall Street Journal reported retail sales were up 9 percent over last year during the three-day holiday weekend.  That’s not counting what is sure to prove a record-breaking Cyber Monday.  I keep an email account dedicated to online shopping.  When I logged in this morning—after not checking it in almost a week—I had 43 promotional emails.  Everyone from CVS and Shutterfly to Best Buy and Lands’ End offers LOWEST PRICE OF THE SEASON!  It’s enough to make a girl’s pulse flutter!

It’s also enough to make me glad I waited this year on certain purchases.  Typically I like to finish the holiday shopping by Dec. 1.  Not so this year, in large part because of our 5-year-old fickle pickle.  One day he wants a Wii ($200), the other day he’ll die if Santa doesn’t bring him a Kung Zhu ($8).  I may just hold off until Christmas Eve to see what the flavor of the day is.

Are we going to spend more this year than last? Possibly. Some of the deals are just too sweet.

Confession: I’m a sucker for a sale.

The Storybook Series

30 Nov

Looking for story time with a little something extra?  The Story Book House, the Texas Rangers Foundation, the Arlington Chamber Foundation, and the Arlington Public Library Foundation present The Storybook Series: Building Arlington One Book at a Time.

Each month a children’s book author will share an evening of conversation and storytelling, with the aim of promoting a love of reading in children.

This month features Eric Kimmel, an American Jewish author of more than 50 children’s books, including Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins and Gershon’s Monster.

The event will take place on Thursday, December 2, from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, at Studio Movie Grill in the Arlington Highlands.

Tickets are $10.  Children two and under are free, but seating is limited.  Net proceeds from ticket sales Benefit the Arlington Public Library.

Upcoming authors:

January 13, 2011 – Mark Teague

February 10, 2011 – Peter McCarty

March 10, 2011 – Frank Beddor

April 7, 2011 – Terri Farley

May 5, 2011 – Walter Wick

Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk for Arthritis

29 Nov

On Saturday, December 4, you can burn some calories, support a worthwhile cause, and get in the holiday spirit at the Fort Worth Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis at Trinity Park.

Festivities begin at 2 pm and include a costume contest.  The 1 Mile Reindeer Fun Run starts at 3:45, and the 5K starts at 4:30.

Arthritis is our nation’s most common cause of disability.  Money raised from this event goes to the Arthritis Foundation, to fund arthritis research and programs that help those living with arthritis.

Early Bird online registration can save you a few bucks, but it ends on December 2 so sign up today!

For details or to register, click here.

The One Thing We Always Wanted – Part Three

29 Nov

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, our guest blogger Richelle shares the moving story of her experience with the adoption process, and how she finally became a mom.  Here is Part Three of her three-part story.  Click here for Part Two.

I was positive we weren’t going to get to bring home this perfect baby who already had my heart in her impossibly tiny hands.  Nausea swept over me as I realized there was no way Kelly* was going to be able to sign all those papers, and I didn’t blame her one bit.

Two and a half hours had now passed.  My mother-in-law and best friend, who were there for moral support, decided to “slip out and pick up some lunch.”  Bless them.  As soon as they left, I was able to crumple into a ball on Russell’s lap, heaving sobs and all.  (Yes, there was lots of crying that weekend.)

My rock of a husband never once wavered, saying it was all going to turn out fine and he didn’t doubt for a minute that our baby girl would be going home with us.  This kind of persistent optimism from him is often perplexing, and sometimes enraging to a glass-half-empty girl like myself.  But it’s one of the many reasons I love him and even if he was lying right then, I needed to hear it.

No less than five minutes later, Kelly and Paola came off the elevator.  No one said a word.  Kelly came up to me and we just held each other, sobbing.  I had no idea what this meant.  Was she crying because she couldn’t go through with it or because she did?

We just stood there in the middle of the hospital hallway, two mothers who loved the same baby.  It took about five minutes for us to compose ourselves before she finally said, “I had no idea it was going to be this hard.”  She went on to explain she had been able to stay very detached during her pregnancy, but after the birth it was a different story.

During the signing, she kept asking Paola to remind her why she was giving Dahlia to us–she had forgotten all the practical reasons, since all her emotions were telling her to keep her baby.  Paola didn’t coerce, just calmly went down the list of all the reasons Kelly had previously told her she couldn’t take care of a baby at that point in her life.

Kelly told us if she had had any other caseworker and if she had chosen any other adoptive parents, she would be going home with Dahlia.

Words failed me as I tried to tell her how grateful we were.  She was giving us the one thing we have always wanted–a child.  I could swear at that moment that angels were singing and Kelly was ensconced in an ethereal glow.  I still see her that way.

Because of her, I get to be a mother to the most spectacular little girl in the world, and she will always be a saint to Russell and me for that.

*name changed

Thanksgiving Traditions

24 Nov

When I think about Thanksgiving, I think not only about giving thanks, but also about tradition.  Growing up, my family participated in a number of family traditions – some religious, some handed down through the generations, and some just plain made up!

Now that I have children of my own, I’m figuring out which traditions to continue, which to give up, and entirely new ones to try out.

Most of our extended family is local, so we have never had to worry about traveling for the holidays (one thing I am grateful for).  For the past few years, we have had two Thanksgiving celebrations in the same day; one with my in-laws, usually early in the day, and one with my parents, around dinner time.

Having recently moved into a bigger house, we have decided to throw previous tradition to the wind, and invite both sides of the family to come together and join us at home this year.

I’m remarkably impressed with my own “Zen” attitude about it this year.  I will not fret about anything.  I have asked everyone to bring a dish to share.  My father-in-law is coming early in the day to prepare the turkey and dressing.  I will be making a butterscotch pie and preparing a fruit salad.

When I reflect upon the story of the first Thanksgiving, several things come to mind: family/friends, food, and giving thanks.  We will continue the tradition from my childhood, in giving thanks for one thing as we sit around the table prior to the feast.

As the aroma of the cooking foods fills the environment, the kids will play together, the family will bond, and we will all be grateful for all of the gifts we have received and the gifts we are able to give to others as well.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Cold Weather Tips from Calloway’s

24 Nov

Calloway’s plant nursery offers the following tips for keeping your outdoor plants safe when the temperature drops:

1.  Cover all tender plants with Frost Cloth available at Calloway’s/Cornelius in various lengths and sizes to custom fit your flower beds.

2.  Protect containers or specimen plants with a Plant Protector Bag.  Drawstring at the top and bottom will secure your plants warmly.

3.  Water all your plants and containers before the cold weather hits, because a dry plant will suffer more damage.

4.  Make sure you do not use plastic to cover your plants, because it will cause burning.

5.  Mulch your flower beds and plants well to keep plant roots insulated.

For more information, visit www.mytexasgarden.com.

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