Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Concerts in the Gardens

Every summer I am finding myself becoming more and more thankful for things in my life. I've mentioned it before, but I am beyond thankful for my amazing friends. I am so thankful to live in such a fantastic city that has so many fantastic cultural events and that we live in a neighborhood that is almost walking-distance to the majority of them. And air-conditioning....I am thankful for air-conditioners......holy Texas heat.
Our dear friend Kayleb recently accepted a position with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, so we have gotten the opportunity to attend a few Concerts in the Gardens performances, which are held at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. It's always been a favorite summer-time activity for me and I was excited to get to share it with Ruby. Ruby, Me, and Kayleb at the Old 97's Concert - super excited that Kayleb was able to join us for the performance!

Saying that Ruby "loved" Concerts in the Gardens would be a drastic understatement. That is all this girl has talked about for the past several weeks. Most of our conversations go something like this:

"Mommy, remember the concert with all the muuuuusic.......and all the laaaasers.........and all the coloooorrrrrs.......and all our friennnnds.........AND THE FIREWORKS?!?!?!?!"

"Yes, Ruby, that was so much fun, wasn't it?"

"Mommy, it was so fun and so beautiful and so music-y. Can we go again tonight?"

Dancing the Night Away

Ruby has attended two performances this year - the first one was the music of John Williams (i.e. Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc)performed by the FWSO, and the second one was the Old 97's Concert. For each of them we had a VIP Table and valet parking (thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou Kayleb!). Ruby loved both of them, but really had a ball during the symphony performance. She was imitating the conductor - and had everyone near us cracking up! The girl has got some rhythm!!!

Future musical prodigy? Most likely.....

With Tom, who is totally normal, I promise.

Ruby, Me, and LeeAnne ("Lee-Lee")

Silly Ruby, sippy-cups are not for Cabernet!

We had such a great time! Hoping that we will be able to fit in a few more concerts before the season is over! Fireworks during the finale

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mini Summer Vacay

Visiting family on vacation is always so much fun! We just got back from an extended weekend in New Mexico. Land of Enchantment. And just for clarification, "Enchantment" is clearly synonymous with "dusty" "drought" "dry"....well, you get the idea. The poor state hasn't seen a drop of rain in over a year. Fires all over the place. I was shocked that I hadn't heard about the drought and/or the fires on the news - and then I remembered that I don't watch the news anymore......

Thankfully, most of the places that we went in New Mexico were just as beautiful and special as I remembered. My family would summer in Ruidoso every year, so I've spent many a school-free day swimming, hiking, horseback riding, picnicing, and frolicking in the mountains and deserts of New Mexico. I was beyond excited to take Ruby back to where I had made so many fun memories.

We started the trip on Thursday evening after I got off of work, and we drove to Artesia where my Aunt and Uncle live. Driving at night with a toddler was genius. The little angel slept the whole way. Score one for me. And then the next morning at 5:47am, Ruby woke up well-rested and excited to take on the day! "Let's go exploring! I want a banana! I want to watch Dora! No, Little Einsteins! I don't want the banana any more! Raisins! I want Raisins! Why are you sleepy, mommy?!?!?!" Score one for Ruby.

After a pot and a half of coffee, we drove to Alamogordo, where my Granny lives. Granny's house is one of my favorite places. First of all, Granny is probably the nicest, sweetest, kindest, most loving women in the entire world. She gives the best hugs, and is always SO EXCITED to see you (even when you're shaking from the caffiene high you've been on all morning and your bladder is about to explode because you didn't stop after the 1.5 pots of coffee).


We swam at her community pool for a while in the afternoon. I'm not sure how it's possible, but that pool has been shrinking over the years. It was HUGE when I was 5. Pretty big when I was 10. Good sized when I was 15. And a whole heck of a lot smaller now that I've had the 3rd anniversary of my 28th birthday. But it was just as fun as I remember. And I'm pretty sure that it was huge to Ruby.

After a long nap with Ruby (thank you, sweet baby Jesus), we loaded up the family, grabbed a picnic, and headed out to White Sands National Park. If you've never heard of White Sands before, you need to google it now. I'll wait.... This place is so fantastic! I remember always having picnics out in the dunes, burying each other in the sand, looking at the stars and the full moon. It truly is breathtaking.

The next day, we drove up to the mountains of Ruidoso. We visited some old friends and more family, did a bit of shopping, and ate lunch at one of our old favorite restaurants.
Later in the evening, we went to a wedding reception for a dear friend. The reception was held at her parent's mountain ranch and was just beautiful. During the summers when I was little, I spent so much time there that I practically felt like that was my second home. She and her little brother would take me out to play in the creek and pick fresh mint (where I would be terrified of the possibility of seeing a snake), teach me how to jump horses (where I fell off and sprained my wrist), roast marshmellows on a campfire at night (where I was thisclose to being abducted by the ghosts on the ranch). Those two were a lot tougher than I was. But we had a great time and made some great memories. Now we're all grown up. I was happy that Ruby got to play in the same creek that I did (until I remembered the snakes), and she picked some fresh mint for me. I think she liked it just as much as I did.
The next morning we had a breakfast picnic out at White Sands, per Ruby's request. It is amazing how HOT it gets during the day, but how cold it gets at night. The air was already starting to heat up, but the sand was still nice and cool. Ruby had such a great time playing.

That afternoon started our long trek back to Home Sweet Home. Overnight spent at Aunt & Uncle's, then on the road again in the morning. It was a terribly long drive, but the vacation and time spent with family was worth every second. I wish we could get up there more often....