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Welcome back to the work week! Thanksgiving was a very nice break. It started with our always desired Turkey and Dressing that my grandmother has made since at least the days of my youth. It is so good in fact, that a friend of mine and our highschool dates for prom or homecoming (one or the other) even drove to Edna when my grandmother agreed to cater the meal for us. That is how good it is! The Thanksgiving meal was accompanied by my mother's delicious is-it-a-side-or-dessert sweet potatoe dish that is cooked with pecans and other sweet stuff! I don't know what you call it, I refer to it as the only way I like sweet potatoes unless they are mashed along with potatoes!

Onward to Friday, and my wife and 3 kids went to the Big D to see some sister-in-laws that came to Dallas for a week. The Friday trip was going great until just outside Dallas downtown when two accidents slowed our much anticipated childrens' desire to get out of the car to stretch and swim indoors. This was our first trip to a hotel with all three children and they did very well.

Saturday's main event was a trip to the Dallas Zoo and the upclose and personal experience with the giraffes. That zoo has a platform that allows you to feed the long necked creature. I didn't realize how large their head is and the foot long purple tongue was quite interesting as well. We skipped the $5 for three pieces of lettuce to feed them. The silver back gorilla exhibit was pretty cool except he was sleeping. The kids enjoyed the pony ride and feeding the goats. I think the zoo has found some pre-historic rabbits because those were the biggest furry friends I have ever seen! My favorite? I think it was the cheetahs, they have a pretty nice exhibit that allows them to get close to the guests. The worst? Well, it must have been the older kid taking up all the room at the otter showcase. His father told him to get down so that the smaller kids could see. The son's reply was "But they are inferior." Had that been my childrens' reply, I would have excused their behavior, demanded them to apologize, and then find the nearest piece of bamboo to give them a good switching, then I would have taken the child to the car while the rest of the family enjoyed their visit. After the "superior" child left the otter home, we debated whether or not the kid was referring to our children or something else. I still think it was meant for our shorter, younger, but much more considerate three children.

After the zoo, we met with a close friend and his family of four kids that are all around the same ages as ours. They had a blast! It was great to catch up with his family as well. When we got into the car and headed back to the hotel, my "inferior" eldest son said, "Dad, when are we going to visit that nice family again?" A wonderful compliment to this friend's family.

Sunday was quick. We went Mass (Fr. Cargo, I think, had a wonderful homily on being awake and alert for Christ, remember it is the beginning of Advent) and a trip to the mall which we saw the largest Christmas tree I have ever seen. I think it was four stories tall. The ride home was a mere 7, yes 7, hours with bumper to bumper traffic from 45 minutes outside of Dallas all the way to Waco!

The trip was well worth the traffic. The children had such a good time and most importantly visiting with my wife's sisters is always good because we see them only occassionally and whenever they are close by we make every effort to see them. Apparentally, my nephew really wants to visit Texas because we can shoot guns here, in Trinidad it is ridiculously difficult to even get a spring loaded BB gun.

Although my wife and I realized how much Dallas has in the realm of "things to do," we both commented that we are very grateful for Victoria's smallness. Just the traffic alone increased the stress of the big city and I am not even talking about the bumper to bumper stuff. When a 20 minute drive to different parts of town is considered a short distance, I become very grateful for the shortness it takes to get places here and more importantly for the time saved to spend with family. Thanks Dallas, it was a good place to visit, however, I am glad to call Victoria home!

By the way, do you ever use the towel warmer in hotels? A towel warmer? Really? How was your Thanksgiving? What are some of your family traditions?