Don’t mess with the weekenD rounDup

This here Weekend Roundup’s all about our weekend in Texas… Dallas, Texas, that is. That’s the reason for the “Big D” in the title, see? It’s a pun, I guess? Except there’s three of them, and there’s only one Dallas. And actually, we spent very little time in Dallas proper, so I guess it’s better to say we were in the Greater Dallas Metroplex, but that’s too awkward to say. But most of what I write on here is pretty awkward, is it not? So maybe I should say as little as possible, and let the pictures do the talking about a little road trip we took just for the heck of it. Here we go!

The Hilton at Southlake Town Square, run by Shannon’s uncle and our home away from home on this trip.

not shown: price passed out after vomiting in the fountain, which took place immediately after this photo was taken

Maya found plenty of ways to amuse herself in the hotel room.

nanu nanu

Lunch out with Shannon’s aunt Lisa.

pretend there’s some hot dude taking the picture instead of price

Lisa seems momentarily taken aback by… something.

what the heck is THAT?!

Maya and Shannon’s cousin Casey watch the bunny Izzie.

that fake grass isn’t fooling anyone

Swimming in the heated-but-still frigid outdoor pool. It was still March, after all.

i wish they made floaties for adults

ooooh, that’s what they mean by shrinkage

maya has never been happier?

Dinner at Copeland’s, a New Orleans-type restaurant at the hotel. Steven enjoyed the chow!

he’s given the thumbs-up so often it’s lost all meaning

As did Maya and I.

unlikely to be featured in the restaurant brochure

(Especially Maya.)

almost as big as her dad’s head

And as did Shannon and her cousin Katie.

they’re happy about the food, not about being so close to price

Spending the day at the Fort Worth Stockyards, looking at… you know. Cows. With long horns.

also pictured: digestive byproducts, in neat patty form

i kind of like this picture, actually 

Maya and her cousin Andrew (Price’s sister’s boy) break a bronco or two.

rodeo champs at 25 cents a pop 

Everyone takes a turn riding Pecos Bill. First, Maya.

take a deep breath, bill, it’s going to be a long day

…then Andrew…

just a few more to go…

…then Steven (note how Steven and the bull have the exact same facial expression)…

easy, bill, easy… 

…then {sigh} my Mom…

okay, you can go on a murderous rampage now, bill 

At the stockyards, we took a brief trip around Fort Worth on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad.

it’s a train engine. does every caption have to be funny?

Just look at that fabulous view from the train!

a drug dealing going down would’ve been nice

Okay, this one was a little better.

it’s no findlay, ohio

Hangin’ by the pool with my mom and my sister Jennifer…

work on that smile, mom 

Her husband, Adrian…

ADRIAN!!!!! 

And my Dad.

no fan of salads, my dad

Dinner that night at Campania’s Pizza with my old friend Travis, who I’ve known since third grade.

and our hairlines show every year that has passed since then 

My dad eats gelato with Trav, his little boy Soren, and Trav’s wife, Michelle, who is also a member of the clergy. Who knew Trav and I would both end up with women of the cloth?

don’t look so surprised, trav, it’s supposed to be cold

Hanging out at the Southlake Town Square the next morning, by the city hall building that looks for all the world like Hill Valley’s clock tower from Back to the Future.

1.21 gigawatts!

Steven and my dad wait for Forrest Gump to arrive.

they’re just going to steal his box of chocolates

Meanwhile, Maya was up the street at a little joint called Sweet ‘n’ Sassy getting, of all things, a makeover.

a harbinger of things to come?!

Ain’t she fancy?

glitter futures are going through the roof

She was uber-pleased about the whole thing, grinning from ear to glitter-encrusted ear.

nail polish and lip gloss put her in a happy place

Then, lunch at a Tex-Mex joint called Papassito’s with my old high school chum Chris, shown here with his wife Diana and son Noah.

smile, people: at least you’re not the horns 

I don’t remember him being so much bigger than me in high school.

i get smaller every year that passes, yet my forehead continues to grow

Later, after a giant pasta dinner at Buca di Beppo…

this is only the appetizer, people, we got a long way to go yet 

… we packed up and headed home, though Maya insisted on crawling into bed and refusing to leave.

I would much rather be in that bed for nine hours than in a minivan driver’s seat, and other drivers concur 

Not that we’d blame her: she was feeling under the weather, and we were facing a nine-hour drive home. Still, we were able to coax her out of bed, and we trudged back home. A fine weekend, overall, marred only by the fact that I had to spend all this time posting photos when I’d much rather be sleeping. Well, nuts to you people, I’m done.

Go home!

We got a Weekend Roundup, yes we do, we got a Weekend Roundup, how ’bout you?!

Like, OMG, you guys! This weekend was so great! I should totally blog about it! Ready? Okay!

Well, enough of that cheerleader speak. Just that one line took it out of me. Could you imagine if I tried to write the entire Weekend Roundup in that voice? You would do your dead-level best to jump through the screen and throttle me with your own bare hands if you could. And there not a court in the land would convict you. Justifiable homicide, they’d call it! You’d be a folk hero to one and all, beloved by millions! Will Smith would play you in the movie, which would do poorly in theatres but which would eventually gain a cult following on video! So I guess while it would work out okay for you, I’d end up dead, so if it’s just the same to you, I’ll write a crappy Weekend Roundup in my own voice, thank you very much.

Ha! Look at that bald jerk with the facial hair, all wearing black like he’s something!

which one would you like least to meet in a dark alley? it’s a toss-up, really

That scary dude on the right is, of course, me, but the scary guy on the left is my old friend Richard, who I met in 5th grade but haven’t seen for probably 20 years. We were a couple of weird little kids, being dorky little dorks and making nuisances of ourselves. Now look at us, all grown up, the very picture of well adjusted and respected normalcy! Me: a button-down banker, and Richard: a church pastor. Pillars of the community in every way.

Richard and his wife Casey drove all the way to Kansas City from our old Central Arkansas stomping grounds to see a band called Gaelic Storm play at the Beaumont Club. We wanted to treat them to a down-home, country style breakfast, and it’s our hard to go wrong with our old standby The Corner Cafe. And thus it was that we sat at a table for nearly two hours, irritating the waitstaff, catching up, and reminiscing over hash browns and grits and bacon and eggs and cinnamon rolls and all the traditional breakfast accoutrements.

Good times, good times.

Eventually, we went our separate ways: Richard and Casey to rest up on a weekend without children; Shannon to go to a baby shower, then work, then a charity auction for Maya’s school; and the kids and I to amuse ourselves as best we could in the absence of a motherly type.

We did okay, I guess. The weather was basically decent, though it was cloudy and constantly threatening to rain, so we ran around a park for a while. I could’ve taken pictures of the kids joyously sliding and climbing and such, but Shannon took the camera to the baby shower. Lame!

We also spent hours at Crown Center’s 70 Years of Oz exhibit (note the Oz artwork by our friend Lynda!), which featured a little museum of Oz memorabilia as well as slides and crawl-through Wicked Witch castles and the like (the camera would’ve been nice here, too). Steven gamely trudged through the exhibit once, but Maya followed the Yellow Brick Road from Dorothy’s house to the Emerald City dozens of times. Over and over and over. The staff actually made it a point to remark, in a not-unfriendly way, on how long we’d been there. The only way I could get Maya to leave was to bribe her with chocolate from the fudge store upstairs, and even then it was with the promise that we would return after we got all sugared up.

Which we did.

Until they finally had to kick us out because they were closing.

And Maya made me vow that I would bring her back before the exhibit closes. Sigh.

So the kiddies and I, still sans mere, grabbed a cheap pizza on the way home, where we spent the evening eating said pizza and watching The Simpsons. Just like a typical Saturday night from my old college days, except there was a pretty girl there.

After bedtime for the kiddies, I stayed up late watching John Carpenter’s The Thing. Believe it or not, I had never actually seen this movie all the way through. Don’t judge me, you! And I have to say, it has aged quite well. Still tense and taut and gruesome and Kurt Russell kicks ten kinds of tail. Good stuff, though it would have been better if at the end of the movie an entire hour hadn’t just up and disappeared from existence like evil magic. That’s what happens when you watch a movie on the blasted Crappy Daylight Savings Time Spring Ahead Day for Stupid Jerks. Have I ever mentioned that I am no fan of the Daylight Savings Time? I believe I have. And I still hate it with the white-hot rage of a thousand suns! Daylight Savings is the worst injustice in the history of mankind! You stole an hour of my sleep, Big Guvmint! REVOLUTION!

And so on.

Omigosh, you guys! I am like, so totally done typing now!

Shannon’s Version of the Weekend Roundup

That’s right. I’m back to write this weekend’s roundup. Yeah, I know the Priceman is much more humorous and fun and witty but the man is busy setting up our new desktop computer. Thank you Uncle Sam. Wait, why am I thanking him? It’s my money, my overpaid taxes come back to me.

So here’s a lame but up-to-date weekend round up…

Friday:
Took Maya to her school’s auction preview, where she played with friends, jumped on the bounce house many many times, ate a giant purple pixie stick and sang with her class.

After the quick visit at Maya’s school, I picked up Steven and we headed to our friends, the Crows, who were going to watch the kids for the evening. The kids ate dinner at the Crows and were able to attend a birthday party too. While the kiddies played, I surprised Price for our date night. I had made reservations at Em Chamas Brazilian Grill. This is a locally owned brazilian grill that Price has wanted to try for over a year and a half. He was quite surprised (again thanks Uncle Sam for helping make this night so special) and I was glad to make up for his lame birthday in which I was very ill with the flu.

After getting the kids and putting them to bed, we watched Battlestar Galatica. Good show! Only a few hours left, booooo.

Saturday:
We woke up to a nice snow, only nice if you don’t have to go out in it. We had breakfast together and then started on our chores. I paid the bills and made a meal for a family in our church who suffered a loss this week. I then took the meal to the family and ran to the bank. In the meantime, Price shoveled the driveway while the kiddies played in the snow.

After the errands, I grabbed Price and the kids and we went to pick up new glasses for Steven and I. Wow, I forgot how much a new prescription hurts your eyes. Back at home it was resting time until I had to head to work. I drove off to work and Price and the kids went off to Party America to look for supplies for a project at Price’s work. We all met back home to eat dinner with Uncle Tom. After dinner, Tom and Price ran to WallyWorld to get our computer and then we all decided we were too tired to watch TV, so we went to bed. We are old and boring!

Sunday:
For me…besides church, I made the trip to Wal-Mart, Aldi’s, Sam’s and HyVee. So today was pretty much a housework and errand day, until this evening when we put a log in the fire and relaxed with homemade pizza and some episodes of Little People, Big World.

Well there ya have it. Lame Lame Lame Weekend Roundup. Don’t worry Price will be back next weekend to make our lives sound a LOT more interesting.

The 1st Annual Weekend Roundup Awards (the Roundies)

Every weekend when I am not too lazy to let it slide, thekchorns.com posts a Weekend Roundup, succinctly summarizing the events of the weekend, from the banal to the sublime. At its best, the Weekend Roundup provides a snapshot of a unique moment in the life of a Midwestern family at the beginning of the 21st century; at its worst, it is dishwater-dull, a rote recitation of uninteresting events, typically accompanies by photos of same.

The latter, as you might expect, is much more common. Nonetheless, each weekend features several moments of transcendence, moments that can truly be considered The Best.

The nominees for Best Moment of the Weekend of February 20-22 are:

  • Staying Up Until 1:30 Saturday Morning Watching TV
    It’s an ironclad law of parenthood: if you stay up until all hours of the night watching Battlestar Galactica and Step Brothers, a child is guaranteed to wake up sick at 5:30 am. (She got better.)
  • Maya Playing Her New Wii Game
    We finally found a Wii game perfectly suited for Maya’s age and personal tastes: “The Littlest Pet Shop.” Cute animals, little games, playing dress-up… it was all we could do to get her to put the Wiimote down to eat or go to the bathroom.
  • Watching Tropic Thunder with my bud Jimmy
    What can I say? It made me laugh.
  • Reading Charlotte’s Web with Maya
    We’ve been reading this, a chapter a day, for a couple of weeks now, and today was the Big One where (spoiler alert!) Charlotte dies.
  • Sunday Night Dinner with the Crows
    We had this.

It is, of course, an honor just to be nominated for Best Moment of the Weekend of February 20-22. And the Roundy goes to (drumroll, please)…

Reading Charlotte’s Web with Maya

It was a tough call, especially when the Best Moment of the Weekend involves making a five-year-old cry. But seeing her tear up when Charlotte died… it moved me. Heck, I’ll admit it, I teared up a little myself, and I knew it was coming. When I was a kid, Charlotte’s death made me cry. It made Shannon cry. It made Steven cry when we read it to him a few years ago. But it’s not the tears that make this the Best Moment; it’s the feeling that we, as a family, have something in common. Sure, it’s love for a fictional spider in a decades-old children’s book, but it’s a connection all the same. The Kansas City Horns–the whole family–are a sentimental bunch of saps.

Good night, America!

You say it’s the Weekend Roundup’s birthday? It’s my birthday too, yeah

And because it’s my birthday, I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I’m pretty sure that’s the law. On February 15, Price Horn gets to tell one and all: “You are not the boss of me.”

So if I don’t want to write a Weekend Roundup, you can’t make me! Go ahead, try. Use the magic of the Internet to force me to do it. You can’t, can you? It is because the technology simply does not exist yet. In another 15 to 20 years, maybe. But not today! Not on the 38th Annual Price Horn Appreciation Day!

So if you want an account of the birthday party we attended Friday night, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Check the society pages in the paper? Look for something about Rishab, the youngest son of our friends Umesh and Manisha, turning three. Look for photos of birthday chaos that may or may not feature our own kids. (Our kids will probably be easy to pick out.)

exhibit A

exhibit 2

I don’t know if the story will mention the fabulous Indian feast we were served at the party. If it doesn’t, it’s a shame, because you won’t know how awesome it was. Your loss!

Also, because I’m not writing the Weekend Roundup, I won’t talk about Valentine’s Day, aka The Made-Up Holiday for Suckers. Everybody already knows we don’t do The Made-Up Holiday for Suckers ’round here, on account of the name. But we do give in ever-so-slightly and give the kids a little something, like candy and heart-shaped donuts.

oh mike meyers, will your shrek-related hijinks never end?

Just as long they only associate the Made-Up Holiday for Suckers with candy, not love, right?

Not that I’m going to write about that. I’m not doing a Weekend Roundup, remember? So I won’t talk about how The One and Only Tom came over on Saturday with his sister Kim, nor how I prepared a Mexican Feast for them. Plus, you’ll be spared the sight of the White Trash Birthday Cake we whipped up from a store-bought cookie cake. Shannon spelled out birthday my name and age with Raisinets.

mmmm, them rabbit turds is tasty

At least, she told me they were Raisinets. They look for all the world like she trained a rabbit to do the ol’ squat-n-squeeze in a remarkable pattern. The latter would be more interesting, frankly.

But enough of my not writing a Weekend Roundup! It’s my day and I’ll not do whatever I don’t want. I won’t tell you anything, for example, about the Sunday evening Special Dinner Celebration! Because 1) I don’t feel like it, and 2) it hasn’t happened yet. So you’re out of luck there, Skippy.

I can call you “Skippy” because it’s my birthday. Check it, Skippy. It’s the law.

Lock your windows, hide your children… it’s the return of the Weekend Roundup

The rambling anecdotes about laundry and vacuuming… the tales of going to the grocery store and the mall… the photos of us doing nothing of note… You guessed it, sister. We’re back, baby! After a hiatus of, I don’t know, six weeks? Did anyone even notice I stopped doing them? Not that I can tell. No comments, no e-mails, nothing. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard a massive sigh of relief from the local collective unconscious the first week I let the Weekend Roundup drop like a hot potato. Well, nuts to you, collective unconscious! The Weekend Roundup is back, and it’s… well, not better than ever. Not any worse, either. I guess I can say that the Weekend Roundup is back and it’s as the same as ever? That’s kind of grammatical, right?

Oh, the humanity!

After all that buildup, I wish I had something more interesting to say about the weekend. It was the usual mix of the drearily banal and headache-inducing busy-ness, with a few high points mixed in. We’ll skip the banal and the busy (the laundry folded, the movies watched, the garages cleaned) jump right to the high points.

Which leads us to the 2009 Father-Daughter Dance at Maya’s school. Yes, it was time for all good fathers to step up and show their daughter how a gentleman is supposed to treat a lady during a night on the town. And, since no good fathers were around, Shannon asked me to go (rim shot). Maya got all dolled up and I got as clean as I could muster.

no, they don’t sell razors here in the midwest

We met Maya’s friend Mackenzie and her dad Mike at Wasahi, a local teppanyaki/sushi place, for dinner and a show (the show being all the shrimp-tossing, grill-banging, onion-volcano-creating rigmarole that goes on during the cooking of the dinner itself). After that, it was off to the dance, which consisted (mostly) of the guys hanging around at the back of the room…

note the overbite typical of the caucasian male dancer

…while the girls danced up a storm…

VOGUE

… and otherwise had fun.

oh yeah, it’s going in her senior yearbook 

So, as my friend Rich sagely pointed out, it wasn’t that much different from every dance we attended in junior high school. Still, the girls at least pretended to have a grand time and the old men who brung ‘em did their best not to look like fools doing the Cha-Cha Slide.

The latter, as expected, failed miserably.

Saturday was bright and beautiful and mild (an unseasonable 70 degrees in February!), a perfect day to waste away inside playing video games and cleaning. Nonetheless, we decided to (sigh) go outside and enjoy the sunshine and all that. Our destination of choice: Penguin Park, a Kansas City landmark so named because of a giant penguin statue that I didn’t even bother to photograph. Still, it was a fabulous day, and the park was packed with kids playing…

all playground equipment should be specifically designed to induce vomiting

…puppies jumping (this is Theo, a pug/beagle mix)…

the pug half is the annoying half

… and kids anxiously and pensively waiting for a chance to just go home and play video games.

still life with plastic elephant

The fine weather was not to last, though. A chill wind started a-blowin’ come Sunday. I mean, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like it was 30 below with blowing snow and hail. But you needed to wear a jacket to go outside, and that was sufficiently winteresque to drop a gray blanket over the city and drive everyone back inside. Suits me just fine. I got TV to watch, brother, and all this sunshine and warmth and joy just gets in the way.

Yet another lame video Weekend Roundup

And if you thought previous Weekend Roundup videos were lame… well brother, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Oh what fun it is to write on a Weekend Roundup all day, hey!

Every weekend in the Horn household is chock-a-block with activity. We go shopping, we attend parties, we have friends over, we build tree forts, we manually solve pi to 653,992 digits, we dispense vigilante justice with extreme prejudice, et cetera et cetera. And then on Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening of those weekends, I take to the keyboard and complain about what a hectic and unrelaxing weekend it was, peppering my posts passive-aggressive whinging.

And in many ways this weekend was no different. It, like most weekends, provided multiple opportunities for Doing Stuff and precious few opportunities for Down Time. And yet… you know, I didn’t really mind so much. Not this time, anyway. Maybe the warmth of the Christmas season has started to slowly filter down into my icy, coal-dark heart, or maybe I’m drunk. Either way, I actually enjoyed the weekend’s nonstop goings-on. For example:

Friday night we had people over for dinner. As you might expect, it was The Crows and Tom. Ordinarily, I might bristle at the thought of having to rush home from work only to throw on an apron and commence cookery, but truthfully it wasn’t so bad. The kids were playing and giggling, the adults were enjoying a little of Ye Sweete Alcohollick Spirittes, the weather was mild, and heck, what’s to complain about?

And to top it all off, we were celebrating Maya’s birthday. Again. How many birthday parties has this kid had? I’ve counted three so far, with at least one more to go. Anyway, let’s do some pics. First, Maya opens gifts under the watchful eye of an obese canine.

by my count, Maya should be 43 by now

She liked everything she got, of course, but I think the big poofy princess dress was by far her favorite.

her first request: “off with their heads!”

After everyone left, Shannon and I were going to watch The Illusionist, which is some movie she put in our Netflix queue that I don’t know anything about. Feh. Didn’t matter anyway, as Shannon fell asleep on the sofa before I even had a chance to turn on the DVD player. Double feh. I was able to awaken her long enough to watch Thursday night’s DVRed episode of The Office, and then we all collapsed into blessed, albeit temporary, unconsciousness.

Saturday was yet another too-full day, but again, not many complaints from me. We started off with a nice home-cooked breakfast, then Steven and I hightailed it to Union Station in downtown KC. We had somehow scored two free tickets to Dialog in the Dark, a traveling exhibit that gives you a chance to experience life as a blind person. The whole exhibit is pitch-black, and nothing that glows or produces light of any kind is allowed. No cellphones, no cameras, no glowy watches, no light-up shoes (so I had to take mine off), etc. They even make you remove your glasses, because if you drop them, they won’t turn on the lights so you can retrieve them.

For example, here’s the first room in the exhibit.

look closely and you can see me picking my nose and wiping it on the guy next to me

Did you not read what I wrote? Pitch-black. No cameras. You could not see your hand in front of your face. Steven was a little nervous at first, staying close to me, but as we proceeded through the exhibit, he got more comfortable with his cane and his other senses, and eventually he wandered off to do his own exploring. It was well worth the money we spent ($0, with tax), so I highly recommend it. Steven was so giddy he wouldn’t shut up about it the rest of the weekend.

After we got home, we had barely walked in the door when Shannon had us turn around and head back out… for shopping fun! DEAR GOD NO! But I didn’t whine as much this time, because this was for a good cause. The local Starbucks had a Christmas tree bedecked with the Christmas wishes of area families. We let the kids pick out a boy and a girl, and then we went to Target to let them buy the gifts for these kids that they did not know and would most likely never meet. Well, the kids didn’t really buy the gifts. They don’t have any money! Moochers, the both of them! Steven picked out a Nintendo DS game. The girl Maya picked wanted a CD player and something called an “iCarly“? It took some digging around on Ye Olde Internette to figure that thing out.

Saturday night (after an afternoon of laundry and vacuuming, and after church of course) we headed to the church staff Christmas party, held at the home of one of the pastors.

Christmas is the time for dozens of people to tear up your house and drop meatballs on your carpet

You know what I like best about this picture? It wasn’t taken at my house. It was a nice party, crowded but low-key, with tasty food and great nerdy conversation about Lost and Heroes. And because it was at someone else’s place, I felt no urge to run around cleaning up after people. I got to be one of the people being cleaned up after! Hooray! It feels so good to be a burden, doesn’t it?

Maya enjoyed the fruit selections on the buffet table.

this is the only way we can get her to shut up 

And Steven saw Shannon trying to take a picture of someone else, so he did his best to regain the center of attention.

hey everybody, look, it’s Steven and he’s doing stuff!

And now, late on Sunday afternoon, I’m about to finish this thing up and head out to a nice steak dinner with our friends Doug and Lynda. Tom is here to babysit the kiddies. A busy weekend? Yes. But finishing it up with a fancy-pants dinner? Ain’t no way I’m griping about that one.

Next weekend, however… all bets are off.

The insane Weekend Roundup of insane insanity!

Chaos? Pandemonium? Bedlam? There’s probably a bunch of other synonyms for a weekend in anarchic disarray, but it’s just another weekend with family. My folks and Shannon’s folks, all here to see their grandkids stand up on stage and perform in cutesy-wutesy Christmas programs.

Maya’s Christmas program was Friday night. Well, we called it a Christmas program, but it was really mostly about winter. Hence, lame. Still, it wasn’t without its highlights, such as in this vidcap of Maya imitating her old man.

please don’t eat it please don’t eat it please don’t eat it

I kid. The whole thing was wicked cute. And the big finale… Well, Maya certainly has a flair for the dramatic, but everyone else seems bored or befuddled.

THEATAH!

Afterwards, cake! To celebrate Maya’s birthday a little early with the grandparent-types.

we only had 37000 stuffed animals so god knows we needed some more 

With musical accompaniment by Steven.

PLAY FREE BIRD

In the morning, breakfast at Roxanne’s Cafe with the whole bloody lot. On the left: Shannon, Maya, Shannon’s mom Mickey and Shannon’s dad Jack. On the right: My dad Roger, Steven, my mom Nelda. Taking the picture: me.

i keep telling the owner that she don’t have to put on the red light

Later that night, it was Steven’s turn, as our church’s kids program (”Adventureland”) took over the weekend services to give a taste of what goes on back in the kiddy area, in the form of a Christmas thingy. I helped corral the four- and five-year-olds, keeping them from running up on the stage at inappropriate times. Steven played a shepherd… a bespectacled shepherd.

and another thing, what’s the deal with the big hooked staff thingy

Of course, you gotta give the people what they want. You gotta close with a Nativity scene. Giant Mary looks down on tiny Joseph as two bored shepherds and a giant head silhouette look on.

can we wrap this thing up? I really need to get back to those sheep

What better way to celebrate the Christmasy programmy grandparenty goings-on than to visit that perennial favorite of the visiting parents from out-of-town… The Corner Cafe.

My folks and Steven strike a pose over the leavings of the downhome country-style meal.

hammin’ it up a bit, aren’t you, mom?

Maya is ever the lady.

finishing school candidate?

On Sunday, everyone was back where they belong. We and our kiddies back in our own beds, and the in-laws back in their respective hometowns.

Ah… living multiple hours away from the parents: now that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Thanksgiving Weekend Roundup

I, Shannon, will be taking over the weekend roundup this weekend to share with you my top ten things I’m thankful for from our long weekend. The kiddos have been out of school since Wednesday so we’ve had a five-day weekend. Without further ado, here’s my top ten list! I’m thankful…

10) …that we got to enjoy the company of 9 guests who joined us for a Thanksgiving feast on Thanksgiving Day. We enjoyed eating, laughing and hanging out with “Uncle” Tom; Doug and Lynda; Laurie and the Carlson Clan: Gordon, AmyLou, Lennon, McCartney and Sadie Lou Starr (can you guess where those kids’ names came from?)

9) …for getting to take some naps, I mean who doesn’t love afternoon naps? My kids, that’s who.

8) … that we got our Christmas decorations put up three weekends ago which was way early but was still better than having to put them up today!

7) … that I survived giving the message three times at church. Whew, I’m whipped and I’m really thankful I don’t have to do that every stinkin’ weekend. I really admire Rick for his stamina.

6) … that my friend Joy joined me for some Black Friday shopping at Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us (where we couldn’t bear to wait in that nasty long line). It was a great time and I was thankful to have a friend to keep me from going insane when I see all the great deals that I really don’t need!

5) …for Joy’s husband, Jimmy and their kiddos Jake, Sophie, Samie, and Zoe who joined up with my family for breakfast after our Black Friday shopping. I’m especially thankful for Jake’s prayer before breakfast which had us all cracking up. Jake prayed that “he loved Steven (my son); his mom and sister and that he loved when the stars come out at night.” I really, really love little kid prayers (Jake is just 5).

4) … for a very memorable and sweet evening with my family on Friday. We got dolled up and went to see Santa at Crown Center (a Horn family tradition) and watch the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center (something we’ve never done before). It was magical…don’t believe me-watch this awesome video the Priceman put together capturing the evening. We finished up the evening with a nice dinner in the Power and Light district. It was a magical evening.

3)…for my kiddos. Each unique and wonderful in their own way. I’m so grateful for them and time to share with them. I’m thankful they are healthy and strong and growing. I love watching them grow up!

2) …for my sweet and amazing husband. Priceman is truly a gift to me. He is always so loving and patient. He’s a great daddy, a supportive husband, a great friend and an all around loveable and godly man. I’m so very grateful that my life has been blessed with him in it for the past 15 years.

1)…for God who loves me and who has showered me with more blessings than I deserve. A great church, wonderful friends, a warm house, good food, a great chef;), a cute pug, a job I love, our parents, our families, the joy of living in the US, Steven, Maya and Price and so much more.

For all this and more, my heart is warmed at the end of this Thanksgiving weekend!

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