Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving in Branson

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, we decided to head to Branson for the holiday weekend and get an early start on our Christmas celebrations! Who needs Thanksgiving anyway? Especially when we had a stomach flu going around the family. I didn't take many photos because I was so busy enjoying myself right along with the guys -- when I wasn't busy throwing up. What's a holiday without at least one night curled up at the bottom of the bathtub wanting to die, right?

We stayed in a fabulous top floor condo right on the lake with a gorgeous view, a fireplace (that we used daily!), a big whirlpool bathtub, separate bedrooms, and did I mention that view? We were very comfortable in our "home away from home".

We spent quite a bit of time at Silver Dollar City. I highly recommend this park during the holiday season. The lights are spectacular and the festivities run all day and well into the night. The light parade was a huge hit with Kellan, as was the Frosty show, not to mention the rides!

This area was so much fun. A huge kids play structure with all sorts of interactive activities, Kel's favourite being the hoovering up of foam balls which were being shot down from above. He's still talking about this...

Ready to get on another ride. There were no lines and the atmosphere was perfect.

Branson knows how to do the holiday lights!

Waiting for the night's light parade. They were both at the end of their respective ropes I think. The faces say it all.

We also rode the Branson Scenic Railway down into Arkansas again. Look below for a photo of me and Kel on our last excursion.

This is our family photo from the Dixie Stampede. I'm not really sure how to describe it. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. If you know what I mean. But in a good way! I'm pretty sure...

We spent an afternoon wandering around Branson Landing, a new shopping district on the lake. Very festive.

All in all, as a family destination for people with younger kids, and especially as a get away from all that is ugly and boring and lifeless in central Illinois (did I say that? Never!), Branson is a super destination within an easy half day's drive. We had a wonderful holiday weekend and I'm hoping to do it again -- maybe next year? Honey?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Downtown random stuff

A couple of shots from downtown the other night. Here are Kellan and his buddy, Rowan, hanging out.

Kel in front of the Capitol building at night. He loves the Capitol.

Another Pizza Machine Evening

We hit The Pizza Machine again last Sunday with Elsa and Rowan, our carpool buddies. We'd just spent the afternoon swimming together and the kids continued their revelry right through dinner. As you can see...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Festival of Trees

Its that time of year already. Unbelievable. Kellan is already into full Christmas mode (a week before Thanksgiving!) and we made the most of it this weekend by venturing over to the Festival of Trees.

Our first visit of the year with Santa. And because Christmas makes me a bit sentimental, I've included one from Kellan's very first ever visit with Santa -- the very same Santa!

We were so excited to run into Olivia at the festival! Everything in life is more fun with friends.

They made candy cane Christmas tree ornaments. Kel put his on the tree when we got home. And, yes, we do already have the tree up (as of this weekend) because we'll be out of town for Thanksgiving and busy busy busy every other weekend in December, so it was now or never!

So many trees. So very exciting. Apparently.

The gingerbread houses are absolutely spectacular. You can see a few behind the kids here. Some of them are beyond your wildest imagination. And this year they had even done the hospital in gingerbread! Kel said that this was his very favourite. Which makes sense since he's in training to become a doctor (oh yes he is!). After he wins a few swimming medals in the Olympics of course. Aim high, right?

The train is always the biggest hit for Kel. Surprised? He rode it five times this year.

Another sentimental comparison. This was from Kel's second visit to the Festival of Trees, when he was one. Riding the train with Mommy.

He rides the train on his own now! What a big guy. Never ceases to amaze me...

Candid capture

He just looked so sweet, standing at the window watching Daddy rake and gather leaves. This is my boy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Pizza Machine

Some photos from our wonderful dinner with Carmen and Dominic's families at The Pizza Machine this weekend.

Dominic at the mirror.

Carmen and Kel.

Mr Connor. He requires the "Mr". He is such a little man!

Gorgeous baby Michael.

Carmen watching the puppet show.

A very poor attempt at getting the three of them in a photo together. Sort of...