After much googling and reading the recipes you suggested (all of which looked amazing) I ended up back at the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls. The choice was entirely dictated by the fact that I needed about 7-8 trays of them and the thought of tripling and quadrupling other recipes just seemed to risky for something I only had one day to do. And so, PW's Cinnamon Rolls it was.
It really is an easy recipe for dough novices, and even though I covered 50% of my kitchen surfaces in melted butter, it really wasn't too burdensome of a process.
I was burdened by the fact that James was gone all day. The kids were super good, but at 4:30 as I was waiting for the rolls to finish their second rise and then bake and then be iced by one of two different icings I hadn't yet made (bc some people are confused and think they don't love cream cheese icing) and I realized I still needed to take them to the park as promised numerous times AND make dinner because my sister and brother-in-law were stopping by on their way down from Denver and everything was covered in butter it would have been REALLY NICE if I could just say, "hey James, can you take them to the park?" and then have everything be done and clean and perfect when they returned.
But we persevered and made it to the park about 15 minutes before full dark. "Open from dawn till dusk," Landon read as we pulled up. "Is this dusk?" I had a moment trying to decide if it was better to smudge the definition of dusk, or to admit we were breaking a rule but it was okay-ish, and then I realized he'd already moved on to climbing up a tree and chasing Claire in circles like he was some kind of an 8-year-old who'd been stuck inside all day.
And so the weekend progressed with a lovely but brief stopover by my sister and BIL, more barre teaching on Sunday (I found some new moves that found new muscles in my legs that had never been discovered before; it still hurts to cross them, which makes me terribly happy) and then we headed to Dallas for the 12 Days of Christmas exhibit at the Arboretum!
I didn't get many pictures because it was dark and the whole point was to just enjoy the 12 animatronic gazebos, but I found the Swans-A-Swimming to be particularly beautiful.
I went to work yesterday and today which was sad since everyone else in my family was home and in jammies, but some coworkers and I took a few hours leave to go see The Force Awakens at lunch on Monday and that perked the day right up. I've never seen the other Star Wars, but it was still super fun and enjoyable and now I have a lot of questions and want to see the earlier movies. I think Landon would enjoy them too, so we've added them to our Christmas holiday to do list. At least episodes IV-VI. I also got to eat french fries and skittles for lunch which is always a victory.
Today for lunch the kids came and met me downtown and we journeyed a few blocks to Sundance Square to see Santa. Normally we see him at the Arboretum when it's freezing out and no one else wants to visit, so the whole waiting in line for Santa thing was a first for us. And being us, we didn't bring a stroller, snacks, or water, so I nearly broke my shoulder holding Cora during our 90 minute wait, but the kids were great and ran around the square for much of the interminable shuffle forward. I even got a super cute picture of them on top of a little holiday display.
That was when Cora still thought this was a super fun family outing.
FINALLY it was our turn on Santa's sleigh and Cora's day took a turn for the terrible.
What the fck you guys?!!
Poor Cora was rescued and the extremely charming Santa spent a few minutes chatting with the kids about what they wanted and how school was going.
He was wonderful. I'm not even mad about how slow the line moved.
It occurred to me while we walked back to the car that around the time Cora finally accepts Santa will likely be around the time that Landon lets him go. That made me a little sad, and then it made me extra happy I spent 2 hours standing in a slow moving line on a gorgeous December day with happy kids who never complained and instead giggled and played tag. And I got to hold a snuggly toddler who thought we'd temporarily lost our damn minds by handing her over to a stranger and was then even more snuggly on the walk back.
So I'm glad for the experience and the memory, even if the kids aren't getting a single thing they asked for because their Santa shops in November and you can't just pull something out of thin air (ahem, Mr. "I'd like a peregrine falcon stuffed animal") on Dec. 22nd and expect Santa's little elves to make it happen. They aren't getting paid for overtime and Amazon can't ship to the lake house. The red tailed hawk you originally asked for will simply have to do.
Speaking of the lake house, we'll be there tomorrow! With about 40 other friends and family! We're only somewhat packed, but I had my mom take all our gifts back with her when she visited over Thanksgiving, so there isn't too much to throw in the suitcases. So crazy to think when we drive out tomorrow that Christmas will be over when we come back a few days later. But I got to do all the baking (sugar cookies! Santa hat mix! Cinnamon rolls!), all the fun stuff (Frosty the Snowman play! Arboretum lights! Santa in Sundance Square!), and all the prep stuff (decorating the house! Christmas cards! teacher gifts! shopping/wrapping!) that I wanted to do without anything feeling stressed or overdone, so I'm already completely happy with Holidays version 2015. Everything from tomorrow out is just extra fun, happy, relaxing family good times and I can't wait for every minute!
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