Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

Thanksgiving came and went and we're now into Christmas!

We put the punkins in their pajamas.....

And decorated the tree Friday night. It was chaotic as expected.

I love this sugar candy garland......very child-like and sparkly.

Lots of direction from the little ones.

This might surprise you, but Jack found his train ornaments from last year and lost focus.

This one reminds me of how little he still is.....and that makes me happy.

Carter has always topped the tree and is still doing it for us. Even at 9 years old and 84 pounds!

Jack paid no attention to the tree topping and instead started hauling other ornaments with his train engine. Priorities.

Lainey saw Carter and wanted to help "up high", too.

Found lots of fun stuff from over the years.....including these foam antlers from the Fort Worth Lights of our old favorites.

In all of our houses, we've managed to have a tree in the front window and this year is no different. I love that....the warm glow from our happy home for others to see.

And, if you squint.....and ignore the top portion absent of lights....and pay no attention to the ornament's almost pretty.

From the inside, though, it's a whole different story. Might be our ugliest yet. Overloaded with ornaments, several strung on each branch....clusters of design by small children.

Just the way I like it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Holy cow. Where do we start?

First with the food prep. I started on Wednesday morning, making casseroles and cutting veggies for the remaining dishes. I had lots of help, as you can imagine. While I typically allow them to stir and measure for me, I handed over the entire green bean casserole to the kids this year. All ready:

Is Lainey ready for college or what? Look at that party pic pose.

Getting busy. Carter read the recipe and kept everyone on task.

Lainey posed some more.

Ta dah!!!!!! Proud of my crew.

Fast forward to Thursday. Carter helped me out by testing EVERYTHING. More than once. So much like his daddy.

Blake helped the children make our traditional Thanksgiving place mats......that don't look very traditional at all......not sure why there are 6 instead of 5.......and it seems that 1/2 of them are adorned with trains. Interesting. And, yes, two are crumpled because Jack freaked out over something and destroyed them. Not to worry. We're used to this by now.

More testing. What would I do without Carter?!

Hello, homemade stuffing.......delish, if I do say so myself.

One more note on our meal. As Blake was preparing the turkey that morning, he held up the raw, repulsive looking neck to Lainey and asked her if she wanted a bite. (Don't ask why we do the things we do. We don't always know.) Her response? "Awe.....Yainey pet it? I hold it?" Again. Don't ask.

Later, we ventured over to Sass's parents' house for dessert. Took one quick picture and missed Sass in it. Sorry, folks.

And, finally, we drove into Kansas City for the Plaza Lighting.

Lainey looked like a marshmallow elf.

Our three punks.

We arrived early in order to figure out where to go and what to do....we're, there's lots to learn. Kept busy on these steps for a bit and the kids enjoyed it.

The Plaza Lighting started in 1930 and now draws hundreds of thousands of people on Thanksgiving night. It's Kansas City's Macy's Day Parade. I love this.....and think it's the perfect timing......turkey is eaten......time to get out of the house and kick off the Christmas season!

There's a large stage set up that we could barely see due to the crowd. Countdown...lights go on....and then fireworks. Lots of fun.

And, like most over-stimulating events, Jack hid. He doesn't like too much excitement, people. Like Thanksgiving day place mats.

Or, singing in unison.

Or, praying out loud.

Are you getting all of this?

The lights are amazing to see.


Turns into this:

It takes 4 months to cover the 15 block shopping district. Makes your 1/2 day outside seem do-able, huh?

80 miles of lights......nearly 300,000 multi-colored bulbs illuminate the city. They turn on each day at 5pm and will be lit through the middle of January. Can't wait to shop and walk the town!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

Create yours at Wordle.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogging loves! I'm thankful for all of you.....the friendships we've formed......the support given and received. We are blessed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Of My Most Favorite Birthday Gifts Ever

Was given to me this year from Blake.

He hand-made this shadow box.....inspired by many we've seen over the years in Anthropologie's "Special Finds" category.

The backdrop is a file folder. Stick from the yard. Wood frame and mounting found behind our patio - believe it fell off our neighbor's fence. Wax birdy from Anthropologie, already in our house.

Total cost: $0
Total meaning: countless

So, I've been inspired to do something fabulous with our temporary decor on our fireplace mantle. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Save Thanksgiving" Talk In 3....2....1

Crowns in Kansas City date back to the early 1950's. They can be found today in the Hallmark Company (Gold Crown stores), the KC Royals, Crown Center in downtown, Kansas City insignia and more. I didn't know any of this until we moved here. Which is one of the reasons I love most about relocating.....a whole new history to discover.

So, north of Kansas City, a newer development, called Zona Rosa, is bringing back those traditions with these enormous crowns that decorate the town-square-like shopping district. In fact, they hired the same team to build these crowns today that built them over half a century ago. The owner of the company helped install some of the originals with his father in the 1960's. Pretty cool.

On Saturday we drove north of the city to Zona Rosa to see the enormous tree and crowns lit. While there, we trapped Jack and Lainey in this old school phone booth. And, it was quiet for 3.67 seconds. Then, we let them out.

We saw live reindeer.

And, Lainey sported yet, another, Mae Mae dress. This one was a made my day! Coco, notice the shoes, too......those are the squeakers (sans squeaks), you sent me over the summer. The little shrimp can still wear them!

The children made crowns out of foam at The Grove.

And, Jack......with his creative vision......saw a choo-choo track in the materials, thus begging Lainey to let him have hers. Everything has train-possibilities. Didn't you know?

Jack put his crown on and then tried to balance his head on it. OK. Sometimes we don't ask.


Punkin with Mama.

Another crown, pre-lit. They each are about 17 feet wide and weigh 2,000 pounds. They hang 30 feet above the streets that run through.

The gang.

Snap out of it, Laine.

More Christmas crafts.

And, then, Mr. Stinky Feet sang some children's Christmas carols.

Santa arrived in this fancy cab.

And, Blake told the kids that Santa put bad children in the cage.

Nice, Blake. No Elf on the Shelf required this year......we'll just remind them of the cage.

Lights on......and their faces light up.......makes me smile.

Ta dah!!!!!!

And, that concludes another Starnes family Christmas event before the Thanksgiving turkey thawed.

Oh, and DFW-ites......the Dallas Zoo is offering $1 admission, $1 deals on food and gifts throughout the day on Tuesday. Sounds like the perfect time to go! Click here for more info.