Friday, January 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Square

To celebrate our birthdays together, Rachel and I decided to hang out on the in-between weekend, which happens to fall on MLK Day. Since we both had the day off work, we ventured down to Thanksgiving Square in Dallas. Thanksgiving Square (actually a triangular area of land on the edge of the arts district) features an interfaith chapel, a bell tower, a Golden Rule mosaic, and the golden Ring of Thanksgiving. The best part was the spiral chapel, which is topped off by an amazing spiral stained glass window on the ceiling. We explored the grounds and the chapel, enjoying the relatively mild weather (compared to recent days) and each other's company.

(church building reflected in the glass windows)
(part of FBC Dallas)

(the chapel - see how it's spirally?) This is the stained-glass window, looking straight up at the ceiling
The bell tower, golden ring, and mosaic - check out that sky!
More pics of the sky, downtown buildings, and cool reflections

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lights of the South

The first night we were in Augusta, we drove out to Lights of the South, a huge light display that you can walk through or view on a hayride. Our original plans were to do the hayride, but that line was LONG, so we decided to walk it instead. It was a long but nice walk, other than Kathy knocking out the lights demarking the walkway and the path being a little rocky.

The walk ended at this beautiful castle of lights - it was huge and amazing! We took the opportunity to take a few family photos before heading over to the fire pit to roast marshmallows. Altogether, it was a very cool night (pun intended - it was quite chilly out there!)

A White (Day After) Christmas

On Christmas day, we kept hearing from friends and family all over the south who were having a white Christmas. My grandparents in Alabama got 3 inches on Christmas day! Even the Atlanta area got snow. Not us in Augusta. :( We had not a single flake. Now the day after Christmas was a different story. We woke up to a steady flurry, and it continued off and on through lunch time, sometimes with just dandruf-type flakes, other times with huge fluffy white flakes. We left Augusta to drive home around 3:00, and it was still snowing on us. Some places along I-20 (like the first picture below) had a lot of snow accumulated. Others had almost none. When we got home, we found a nice light dusting all over the ground. The house looked so pretty with the Christmas lights and snow. It was dark by the time we got the dogs, so the next morning I took Brodie and Harley out to play in the snow. It was Brodie's first time to see snow! He loved rolling in it, eating it, and running around in the crisp COLD air. And he looked so cute in his little sweater. I sure hope we get some snow in Dallas this year so he can play in it some more.

Isbell Family Pups

I was so excited to take Brodie home to meet my family at Christmas. I just knew he would get along great with Harley and Roscoe. And they did well. Harley got a little possessive of his blanket, and the stairs, and the laundry room, but other than a few growls and one snap (no damage done), he and Brodie were friends. Roscoe pretty much stayed away from Brodie as Brodie's playful puppy nature is a bit too much for the scaredy cat. Mom loved Brodie - she said I could leave him there, but of course, that wasn't an option. I love my baby! But Brodie seemed pretty fond of his "Gammy" too.

Brodie had to stay in the laundry room a lot of the time - he wasn't allowed to have free roam of the house like he does at my apartment. He looked so cute peeking over the gate, but he did let his Houdini-ness get the better of him a few times and he climbed over and escaped. One time he made it all the way upstairs to the back bedroom and climbed in bed with Ben! Crazy dog! Another time he hung out in the formal living room chewing on a rawhide, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to take a few pics of him in front of the Christmas decorations.

All the dogs were so cute. Brodie loved sleeping in Roscoe's bed. I thought he looked adorable with his head rested on his paw.

Here are a few pics of Brodie and Harley playing. They especially had fun playing tug-of-war with Harley's rope. Watch the video below to see who won. :)

New Years Eve in Big D

New Years Eve 2011 - what a day! I spent most of the day unloading my car from my cross-country trek that ended around 9:00 the night before, setting up my new tv, and rearranging the furniture in my scrapbook room to accommodate the new desk dad made for me. By the time it was time to celebrate, I was worn out! But that didn't stop me from meeting up with friends in the Big D for a night on the town. We met at the hotel they were staying in (pretending they were on vacation from Ft. Worth), got all dressed up, and headed out to Palomino's for a nice fancy dinner. Most of us ordered the "chicken under a brick," which was so tender and really tasty. We snapped a few group pics outside the restaurant and then headed back to the hotel to take pics in front of the Christmas tree and change clothes for the chilly weather outside.

(sunset on the way to Dallas)
outside Palomino's
cool light fixture over our table
keeping warm while waiting for the valets to bring our cars around "all the single ladies"After we changed, we caught the hotel shuttle down to Victory Park where the "Big D NYE" festivities were going on. They had several bands playing and a HUGE crowd. We worked our way in so we were right in the center of the plaza area and listened/danced to the music as the countdown ticked closer to midnight. When the clock struck 12, everyone yelled "Happy New Year" and the fireworks started - a variety of different types of fireworks cued to the music. It was really cool. We hung around enjoying the festivities until about 12:30 when we started the long walk back to the hotel. By the time I got back to my apartment it was after 1:30 a.m. and I was exhausted. But it was a fun time of ringing in the New Year with good friends and in a way that I haven't done since New York City in 2004/5 (though honestly, this didn't quite compare).
the view of the stage from "our spot"
yep, there was a crowd alright!
the whole group - Denae, Amanda, Shelley, Amy, Steve, and me

I was laughing hard at this point because the first attempt at this pic ended up being a close-up of Amanda's nose - I forgot the camera was way zoomed in!
Dancing in the New Year

Happy New Year!

And, for your viewing pleasure, a snapshot of the fireworks show and a video of my crazy friends. Enjoy!