Friday, December 7, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

I know we're well into December, by now (how did that happen?!), but at least I'm getting this up before Christmas, right?  I considered just posting these pictures in a Facebook album, but like I've said before, I consider this blog a place to curate our life, and in case I get it printed someday (hoping that's a thing...?), I'm going to put them here.  Plus, I can give a little better commentary in this format.

So, before I get to Thanksgiving festivities, a little background:
Have I ever told you my mom grew up on a farm in the middle of Nebraska?  She did, and her brother and his wife and my grandpa still live there (Grandma is with Jesus)!  There are two separate houses on the property, as well as a barn, harvestore(s), lots of out buildings with equipment, corrals, etc., etc.  There are pastures surrounding and across the street (and train tracks) where the horses and cattle live.  There have been other animals on the farm over the years, as well, but a staple is the herd of barn cats that come from all directions every morning when my grandpa walks across the farm to feed them, singing, "Hello, my babies!" ( You know how I feel about cats, so you can imagine how I felt about having so many of them (and usually a litter or two of kittens) around at once any time we'd visit.

I grew up spending every-other Thanksgiving/Christmas on the farm, as well as a solid week each summer.  There was the occasional wedding/funeral/reunion trip, as well, but since it was six hours away, if we were going, we were going for several days.  I have more memories than space/time to share here, but this post about our most recent trip will allow me to share a few.

When we go to the farm, we're there to stay, which means the days are pretty much as follows:
wake up
eat breakfast
do the dishes
feed the cats
walk around the farm
eat lunch
do the dishes
take a nap (or work outside)
eat supper
do the dishes
play games
go to bed

Sometimes, there's a football game on.  Sometimes, we might run to town on an errand.  If it's Saturday night, we eat popcorn and make shakes.  But mostly, we spend quality time together, whether it's helping with a project, putting together a puzzle, or reminiscing through the coffee table photo album.  There's always food and laughter and memories made, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say it is so special to be able to begin sharing all this with the next generation.

Speaking of those they are pre-Thanksgiving meal:
You may recall a similar picture from several months ago...
These were my first Cricut HTV projects, and it was so fun to make them for our sweet babies!

My grandma (and her cousin) used to make these for our Thanksgiving place settings, so I made sure we had some again this year.

I think we probably have a picture of EVERY cousin as a toddler squatting down to pet the barn kitties.  Jacob was so excited to see them all!

Instead of sleeping off the turkey after our Thanksgiving meal, the guys went to "the hills" to help my cousins work cattle.  After the little boys woke up from nap, we mamas took them to see the operation, and they could've stayed alllll day! 

Those mama cows were constantly calling for their babies, and Jacob just kept smiling and laughing and saying, "Moo." in his tiny little voice.
Bryant can tell you way more about the process they helped with if you care to know.
Second cousins!

The "traditional" picture in (great)grandma's tub. ♥

"Stair-step" cousins (just missing one, so we included him "virtually")...
...and spouses (babies were in bed)!

The (little) boys loved walking around and seeing all the tractors/equipment. They just kept pointing and making their various tractor/truck noises.

The (big) boys spent an afternoon cutting down trees and smoking meat - living the dream, in their opinion!
*insert Home Improvement man sound here*

Snacktime with Grandma!
The kiddos got along and played together so well!

Great-Grandpa Jim ♥
That's all the pictures I have, so I'll leave it at that!  We're so thankful to have had good traveling weather, time to spend together (schedules are hard!),

Hoping you all had a lovely Thanksgiving gathering, as well, and are enjoying a blessed holiday season, thus far.


Favorites of the day:
the Relevant podcast
new friends
Jacob's love of watching/looking for snow

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Eureka Springs

I think I've told you, before: this blog is not only a vehicle to share thoughts and stories publicly, but also a way to document our life for posterity's sake.  So, if you're not interested in the minute details of our (somewhat) recent anniversary trip to Eureka Springs, AR, this post might not be for you.  ☺

Before telling you about our super-fun trip, I need to brag on my husband.  He took it upon himself to plan the whole thing, without being asked!  He found a cool destination within driving distance, arranged for childcare, researched must-see stops and must-try restaurants, made all the reservations, etc., etc.  In a season of life where I feel like all my brain cells are at capacity and I'm doing well to know what day of the week it is, his efforts meant the world to me.  

Headed out (sans baby - thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!).
Stopped in Bentonville, AR for lunch at this really unique restaurant!
We enjoyed our meal!  Interesting cuisine...we tried the fried artichokes appetizer and were glad we did.
See the bicycles in the windows?
Our next stop (and reason for going through Bentonville) was the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  This was a free attraction that had been recommended to us by a few different people.  We don't necessarily consider ourselves "art museum people," but we really enjoyed our time here.  The grounds were truly awesome, the art was interesting, and the people were wonderful.  If you're in the area, or reasonably close, it's definitely worth seeing.
This is a picture of a picture - it's so hard to explain the amazing architecture, so I was glad to find an aerial shot to share!
Speaking of architecture, they had a Frank Lloyd Wright house on location.
This is a model of it.
We didn't wait around to take a tour inside, but enjoyed seeing it from the outside.

The drive through Arkansas as the leaves were just starting to change was truly breathtaking.  The mountainous, winding roads and sweeping forest views were hard to capture, but will remain in our fond memories of the trip.

We knew we'd saved room for dessert for a reason.  What a fun surprise stop!
So yummy!  Check them out here.  They ship!
(That striped pole is the bottom of a huge candy cane.)
Our lodging in Eureka Springs was a tree house!  It was the perfect mix of seclusion, nature, quiet, charm, cozy, and peaceful.  Though there were other tree houses (as well as hobbit holes and castles!) housing residents, we didn't run into any other humans during our two-day stay.

Hard to tell, but dinner the first night was in a cave!

Glass chapel in the forest!

The drizzly, cold day ruined our hiking plans, but we were able to do some shopping downtown and were glad for a tip from one of the shopkeepers to go walk around a local hotel, even though we weren't staying there.  So, we did our "hiking" inside!
The Crescent Hotel & Spa

A fun night of karaoke and dancing was spoiled by a lack of indoor-smoking ban (allll the eye rolls), but we enjoyed our dinner beforehand and a full night of rest before our trip home!
Not the first time we've left our mark somewhere special...and won't be the last. ☺

Our penultimate stop was to see "Quigley's Castle: Ozarks Strangest Dwelling."  Strange was a good word...others we discussed were unique, weird, amazing, bizarre, concerning, and inspiring.  You can read more about it on their website, if you'd like, but in short, this house was a woman's dream come true.  She and her husband built it from lumber cut off their own land and "bricks" made from cement and stones collected over many years.  Because it was built during the depression, the family had to cover the window spaces with various materials for three years until glass became available.  There is a border of soil inside the home between the living space and outside walls, so plants can grow and thrive indoors year-round.  There is so much more to tell about this, but again - I'll let you read on your own.  Pictures don't do it justice, and even after having seen it in person and spoken with a Quigley granddaughter, I still have questions and don't quite know how to explain what we saw.

Last (spontaneous) stop was a yard "sell," because our curiosity was piqued.
Alas, we did not come away with any treasures.

This trip was such a wonderful getaway, and we're thankful to have been able to take it!  Thanks to all who helped make it possible (watching the baby, fur babies, providing recommendations, rescheduling lessons, etc.).

Thanks for your continued interest!

Belatedly (this trip took place over a month ago...haha),

Favorites of the day:
time with family
my electric blanket
the fact that Panera has a drive-thru