December has become a month of lots of work! It is jam-packed with school activities and Christmas travels and vacations and endless messes to clean up, and on and on and on. Honestly, it kind of wears me out sometimes with literally 16 hours of work/fuss/etc for 7 days a week for 2 weeks. Usually the last few days of vacation from school I’m just dead-tired and slogging through the day. That’s pretty much the case right now (school starts tomorrow), so I decided to sit on my butt for awhile and update this blog.
Of course, there’s lots of fun and good stuff in the schedule, and when it is all said and done that’s what you remember. What was the good stuff this month?
Well, first, after 2 long weeks of practice, Ivy hit the stage in her school’s Christmas Program – The Nutcracker. Ivy was an Arabian dancer and is the 4th from left front row.
The following Monday we decided to hit the ice at Discovery Green Park downtown. It was supposed to be half-price night, but after a 30 minute wait to get in we’re told it’s no longer half price! Jerks! Oh, well, we rented our skates and got on the ice anyway. I can still scoot around the ice fairly well; I didn’t fall down at even once. Ivy did fairly well, too, although she fell multiple times. With a bit more practice, I’m pretty sure we could both be pretty good at ice skating.
On Wednesday Dec. 21, we embarked on our ‘Christmas Tour 2016’ with our first stop being Hot Springs, Arkansas. We spent most of our time downtown in the park along Bathhouse Row. I did the 1 1/2 hour spa package at Buckstaff Bath. It’s an interesting experience where you strip down naked and wrap up in a sheet (like a toga), and then an assistant leads you to a stall with a huge lion-footed tub. You climb in, lay back, and let the hot water and whirlpool soak all your cares away. Later, the assistant leads you to other stations such as a ‘sits bath’, a ‘needle shower’, steam sauna (with steam coming from the hot water straight out of the ground), and finally a 20 minute massage. I enjoyed it and felt relaxed and very clean afterward. I really liked the atmosphere of the place, as well, with it’s 1920’s look and feel – lots of tile, old-timey fixtures, exposed lead pipes, and so on. Check out the photos from the Fordcye Bath House Museum next door to get an idea of what it is like inside.
On we went to Harrison, Arkansas to stay at my Mom’s new house. Nice! Very spacious. The yard is huge! After unpacking and getting a night’s sleep, off we went to Branson for some food and fun. Ivy and I went to Silver Dollar City even though it was cold and rainy. My neice Tiffany gave us some free tickets, so we couldn’t pass up that opportunity. Ivy walked through her first cave – Marvel Cave. She wasn’t freaked out at all be 500 feet below ground. By the time we exited the cave, the rain had stopped and all the rides began to open. She rode 2 small coasters and enjoyed it (Fire in the Hole, and Thunderation). I got to ride the big coasters as well. The park had added two coasters since last time I was there – Powder Keg and Outlaw Run. We ended up staying until closing time at 10 p.m. Great time! I totally enjoyed it. Ivy did too. We were both wore out when the day was over. 🙂
Christmas eve we had some downtown, so we trekked to Branson again to watch “Star Wars: Rogue One” on the big Imax screen. Then later in the evening it was family get-together time, only this time I met several new people from mom’s husband’s side of the family. We had lots (lots and lots) of food and opened presents and so forth. It was all a good time. No fights. Only one spilled plate of food.
The Christmas Tour continued as we made our way to Fayetteville and stayed with Jenn & Wes, and then went to candlelight service on Christmas morning at Christian Life Cathedral. We had lunch at iHop (which was super-packed and busy, surprisingly), and then went with my sister/brother-in-law and Jim Gooing to see the movie “Sing”. Good flick! It’s clean, charming, and funny.
The Christmas Tour continued as we made our way to Dallas, Texas! After a good night’s sleep at a Holiday Inn Express, Holly made a 2 hour round-trip to somewhere in Texas to pick up a dog she bought. Yes, she bought a dog. Now we have 3 dogs. It’s a min-pin (just like Fifi, our previous dog who died last summer). It’s a puppy, and acts very much like a puppy – hyper, whiny, playful, and poops and pees everywhere. Oh joy.
We continue on to Dallas and stop in at Aly Murad’s (Holly’s cousin) new house and visited with Aunt Toni and Uncle Nabil, Melanie (Aly’s wife), Jamal (Aly’s brother), and Aly’s 4 kids. Really nice people! Very inviting, warm and welcoming, and fun to talk to! 🙂
I ducked out for a little while and met up with my friends Charles and Tina Deitrick for lunch at El Fenix.
Then we made the final 4 hour drive back to Houston. 6 days of non-stop go go go. Everyone was exhausted. Well, every ADULT was exhausted. Ivy was fine and ready to open more presents when we got home.
Ivy got a Clue for Christmas. She won the game on the first try. And keeps on winning. Maybe we have a detective on our hands.
Ivy and I had an odd moment at Kentucky Fried Taco Bell. While we were in the restaurant and I was eating some chicken and she was eating a taco, a really big creature walked in the door. He was dressed in sweat pants and a hoodie, was very tall and bulky, and strutted in like he was somebody special and was carrying a HUGE belt. It had WW on the belt and he was clearly flashing it around. He even propped the belt up on his table so it was visible to any passerby. I didn’t know who he was. Had to look it up. He’s Booker T, a professional wrestler from the 90’s and 2000’s! I should’ve got a selfie with him. But he was kind of freaking me out.
Turns out he is kind of a big deal.
On December 21st, 2016, Booker T announced he plans to run for mayor of Houston (2020).
Up next was a 10 year anniversary on December 30th. We celebrated with a $111.00 dinner at a well-known restaurant in Houston called “Taste of Texas“. GREAT food! Lots of it, too.
Another cool bonus was winning a couple of tickets to a concert! I signed up on Facebook to win some tickets to a show at House of Blues in downtown Houston on New Year’s Eve,…. and won! I took Jose and we saw Josh Abbott Band. Good show and very lively crowd!
I was impressed with the opening act, too. I had never heard of them, but they put on a good show and got everyone dancing. Here’s one of their videos: