Okay, okay, this post has been a LOOOONG time comin'. But, I'd say, having it posted before FEBRUARY came was pretty impressive for me.
Enter: CHRISTMAS 2011.
The darling Snyder family ALL agreed to skip a Hawaiian destination (yet again) and come to OUR humble abode in Dallas. Can you believe the love?
Jesse flew in from China. Emily flew in from Boston. Lizberty, Nana, and Papa all flew in from Utah. And, Becca, well, she made the 35 minute drive. Amazing. Having everyone together again was a true Christmas Miracle! (I love using that phrase.) It really was SO great having everyone here. No real drama (yes, with 5 women), games, food, and good old fashioned fun.
So, here we are, whoopin' it up... Tejas style. Mostly there are a ton of pictures. I'll narrate a few, but really, just enjoy the goodness of it all.
We started off the adventure by heading over to the Ft. Worth side of town. Ever heard of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing? Oh, it's one of two places in the country where they print all the MONEY/BILLS in your wallet (not to be confused with the US Mint where they create the coins). You betcha.
Where are all the photos of us there? Well, we couldn't bring in any phones or cameras on the premises, so you'll just have to imagine how much fun we had seeing ALL THAT MONEY being printed. I have to give props to whoever set up the OFFICIAL website for the Bureau, because they chose the domain www.moneyfactory.gov
Check it out if you are ever in the area. It was pretty fascinating. Parts of it brought me back to my college days of printmaking---amazing how they etch the plates for the bills. Takes so much precision! Have you ever studied a dollar bill? So many details---and ALL carved into a metal plate by someone. Impressive! Also, it reminded me of that kind of lame movie with Queen Latifah movie, Mad Money. I wonder if they've ever had people steal a bunch of money from there??
Next, we headed over to the Stock Yards to see the running of the bulls... oh wait, that was Spain, this is Texas. It was crazy to see all the bulls/longhorns/cows? waltz down the street during the cattle drive.
They had some goats near the parking lot for the kids to pet/feed. I hate goats. They freak me out. Especially when they jump up inches away from my childrens' faces. Keep watching the photos. You'll see a play-by-play. No goats are going to eat my chillin's---not on my watch!
|my dad and I capturing each other. Nice.|
|kind of cool that the "ft. worth stockyards" part of this mural is written with rope. it's all about the details...|
|what do you know? same pose different place!|
|I loved how my dad just casually walked under this giant wreath. He's pretty funny like that. Jesse soon joined him.|
|Father and Son. Together at last under the big red bow.|
|okay, okay, we'll make it a family photo op.|
|better pose, but blurry shot. oh well. better luck next year.|
|love this pic of Uncle Baby Jesse and little Cal|
|Em and her new boyfriend, Juan Paco Pedro de Lamar.|
|group photo sans becca|
|group photo sans dad. :)|
|I think this one needs to be framed.|
|this one is pretty great too.|
Afterward, I think we went to a burger place that Becca had recommended, Twisted Root Burger Company. Pretty good. Not as incredible as Longhorn in San Antonio, but we'll find a comparable one someday.
::: The next day was Christmas Eve. We did lots of cooking/baking. What are the holidays without delicious food? Here are the women folk whipping up home made chicken noodle soup (my mom's recipe is the BOMB), ginger snaps, amazing chocolate chip cookies (Dana's recipe that my darling friend, Jandee, introduced to me), shrimp and home made cocktail sauce... these are things DREAMS are made of. :)
|The crew enjoying the bounty. I love that we're all sitting on the table we grew up with (my parents let us take it down to Texas several years ago when they got a new one). I love how happy my dad is here. Tillie almost has him beat.|
|After we ate, my mom had us open up matchy-matchy-jammies. So fun. Here I am testing out the camera timer.|
|Becca, Dad, and Aaron wanted in on the action too. I love Lizzy's face as she's looking at my dad's suck-in pose!|
|we are a happy family!|
|oh, and the always exciting GOOFY pose.|
|Gotta love the reindeers on either side. And, yes, I am making a beard for myself with my mom's hair. Cal wins the prize, though. :( Sad baby. I think he was surprised to see me with a faux beard, that's why he was crying.|
|Holla! Now I present the ladies! I think I bribed Til with a cookie. Nice.|
|another one for good measure.|
|I think these boy shots were the best of the night. Keep scrolling down to see what I mean.|
|I love how funny my dad's face while he touches Jesse's hand. hAAA!|
|Cal's favorite "Dinosaur ROOOOAR!" pose.|
|Now onto the TALENT portion of the evening. Tillie sang ALL BY HERSELF "Silent Night" And "Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus"---it was darling. We'd been practicing for weeks at night.|
Em read some great poetry, Jesse showed us some fashion Look Books where he had done all the makeup for the models, Aaron and I played a duet on the piano, Lizzy read one of her favorite Christmas books, The Three Trees, my dad created a video these crazy fun home videos of us during Christmas' past all through our growing up years. It was awesome! And then my mom told us a story about our great great grandma and her silverware. My mom inherited it years later after it was saved from a fire she had several spoons and forks made into jewelry so we could remember the awesome story/legacy. That was pretty cool.
Overall, it was a lovely evening.
Tillie set out some cookies for Santa and Lizzy helped her write a note. These are the only two shots I have with her in them. hA! Great poses, Tillie.
It was pretty exciting to see all that Santa brought!
After opening up several (AWESOME!) gifts (seriously, we were MAJORLY spoiled!!), we took a TIME OUT and got ready for church. Aaron played the organ and I sang with the choir. It was great having my family there to be a part of the day AND watch the kids during the meeting. :) Here we are posin' it up afterward...
|I loved having my dad's special remote for the timer! I had so much POWER!|
Farkle was the game of choice, and admittedly, Becca and Melissa got a little bored. The game REALLY is fun, but I wasn't in the mood. Neither was Becca.
So, we took photos of each other instead. You're in for a treat...
|Everyone was so annoyed by us. It was pretty funny. I love how Aaron is ignoring me and reading the instructions.|
A big change that happened in our lives was the addition of the iPhone. Holy cow. We are lucky children. My parents generously gave us the gift that will keep on giving throughout the next LOONG while. I have LOVED having the nice camera on my phone. I may never pull out the real camera again! And, I'll be honest, I'm having a lot of fun on Instagram (my user name is melimba, I have no idea how you search for me, but there you go). If you want to check out my online album, I think this link will take you there.
One great new perk about the phone is that Verizon actually doesn't drop ALL of my phone calls here like T-Mobile did. And I actually have reception in this house! Amazing!!
So, here are a few shots I took on the phone:
We went downtown to check out Becca's neighborhood and where she worked. It was nice to get a babysitter so we could go TODDLER FREE for the evening. Again, all these next photos are from the phone. I love it!
|view from Becca's office building.|
|awesome tree in the lobby of her office|
|Another place Becca recommended downtown. Pretty good AND cheap tacos.|
|Lizzy chillin' in Becca's apartment.|
|Becca had to work the next day, so here she is with Jesse saying goodbye. What a great shot of them both!!|
|Goodbye to Emmers too. Em's eyes were a little teary. Sad.|
|saying bye to Poppito. Another great pic. Good times.|
|Cal was being a pickle, so I grabbed him for the shot. Looks like I love the Yankees or something. Funny that the kids are wearing Boston clothes too. Not planned. Love that Uncle Baby Jesse. It was so good having him come all the way from China!!|
Then, we dropped off the family at the airport. :(
That was a sad time.
But, really, it was a great trip, so I can't complain too much.
Thanks for the good times, Snyder family. Merry Christmas 2011!