Thursday, August 12, 2010

Whole Lotta $, Bodies, & A Rodeo

Friday we made our way to Fort Worth for a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Security was tight. We left all belongings in the car (as in, they allow NO electronic devices, etc.), entered a small building where we each stood in a tube of sorts (beam me up, Scotty) and were thoroughly scanned. Then we were ushered forward and exited into a bus, where we were driven through more gates and security measures, to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. From there we were carefully counted and assigned badge/tour group labels. We watched a short film on the actual processes of designing bills, engraving plates, and the printing techniques used, as well as ways the government is trying to make it more difficult to produce counterfeit currency.

Then we toured the facility, via an overhang with HUGE glass panels, which was pretty cool. We could make eye contact with the guys on the floor, who would look up and wave at the kids. We saw MILLIONS of dollars...the new $500 bill is quite pretty and colorful. Yes...more color in our moola. (Makes counterfeiting harder.) We saw thousands of sheets of currency and hundreds of stacks of money.

There was a LOT of money in that building.

Something like 90% of what they print each year is to replace worn out currency.

And then we hopped up on the interstate for our next adventure. As we pulled away, we realized our alternate view of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing...doesn't exactly look like home to MILLIONS of dollars...

Next we made our way to the West End Historic District in Dallas for....BODIES, the Exhibition. I hesitate posting this, simply because it's rather controversial.

Months prior to going, we'd read that all the bodies on display were from people who had died of natural causes and had donated their bodies to science. Since going, I've learned that there is great speculation on the validity of these claims.

This is what I know...we went with a clear conscience and the experience left us speechless and in awe of God's incredible handiwork.

I was concerned with how our children would respond. So much so, that I'd suggested we skip it all together. The Engineer assured me it would be fine.

He was right. The children were in awe of the way God has designed our bodies. Sister must have said at least twenty times, "Mama, isn't it amazing how God made us!" To see the bronchioles (am I using correct terminology?) and have the children place their hand over their chest while they took a deep breath and then see the light go "on" as they felt their own chest expand and was pretty stinkin' neat.

We saw the inner workings of our bodies...we saw a womb, where God knits us together - but to get to show that to Sister - it was very amazing.

I stand in awe of God.

From there we headed Northeast to Mesquite, Texas for the Mesquite Rodeo!

We braided hair, shed a few tears (Sister) because we didn't have cowgirl boots, rummaged through luggage for cowboy hats, and off we went.

The Rodeo was awesome.

We had So. Much. Fun.

The night began with prayer. The Rodeo host/emcee said, "They may take prayers out of school, but they won't ever take it out of the Rodeo." He proceeded to pray and thank God for giving His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins...I was deeply touched. Everyone around us removed their hats and bowed their heads. I don't recall the last time I saw so many show such reverence at a secular event.

Following prayer, we sang the National Anthem and there were fireworks and introductions for all the big names who'd be ridin'.

We saw Saddle Bronc Riding...

Tie-Down Roping...

Between events, the "Kiss Cam" would scan the stadium in search of married (supposedly) kissing couples.

Then they had the "Dash for Cash." All children were invited to the arena floor, where, on cue, there was an all out mad-dash for the tags on the calves ears...

Whoever grabs the tag gets the cash.

Then they had "Mutton' Bustin'. " Little Man was beside himself with grief when he learned he had to be four to participate. Sister gladly passed on this one. (Eight children ages 4 & up, 55lbs and under can enter their name to be drawn for Mutton Bustin'. The children are judged on how well they ride for six seconds as well as how well their wooly mount bucks.) It was so fun!

We saw Barrel Racing...made me and Sister wanna be cowgirls!

And the grand finale...Bull Riding! I hurt watching this.

Little Man is adamant he is going to ride one day.

Post rodeo, the children begged to ride the mechanical bull. Once again, being ol' cheapskate, I said no. However, the Engineer pointed out we'd likely not be at a rodeo again for quite some time, and with those beautiful brown eyes, gently suggested we let the children ride.

This kind cowboy helped the children mount...

And with one hand up in traditional bull riding posture (I'm sure in rodeo lingo I'm butchering this!), he rode!

And rode!

Sister took a turn...

And rocked it!

If we lived closer, I dare say this would become a regular part of our lives.


  1. So, so, so fun! I wished we lived close enough to Dallas to be able to go! My kids so want to go to a rodeo. Tell sister, that even though she did not have cowgirl boots, she was stunning in her pink feathered cowgirl hat! Your little man is a hoot--I think he and my Harry would get along great!

    I have so enjoyed reading your blog! It has been fun and encouraging to me. Wish I had known the ramen noodles trick before we went to Chicago. I spent WAY to much money on food. I think I'll try that next time.

    J, you are such a good mama--you love and enjoy your kids and are training and teaching them so well! Thanks for posting--and encouraging the rest of us to do the same. :)

  2. Ok, I think the Body exhibit would be so cool!! I think it's awesome that you got to share that with Sister and Little Man!

    And the rodeo!!!! I am definitely thinking the P and I would be SUCH good cowgirls!

    I'm so glad y'all had such a fun trip! I'm going to need some Little Bit pictures soon - I miss that sweet face. I hope the fridge is in working order now!

  3. Oh, the money visit sounds awesome and the Bodies thing sounds really cool! I think you need to do a more detailed post about that-I've never heard of such a thing!

  4. I'm sort of intrigued by the Bodies thing, and impressed that you brought such young children. I wonder what people would find more controversial, the Bodies exhibit or the Rodeo. Emotions run high about both! I'm really enjoying reading about your trip and seeing the pictures. I feel like I've spent a week in Texas myself!

  5. Sounds like yall had tons of fun!! Reading about the engraving place reminded me of the movie Mad Money...its very funny and I think kid friendly. I've always wanted to see the body exhibit, I think people make a big deal because they are actual bodies. We dont need our bodies in the afterlife so let the living check them out. I love how yall do lots of different things with the kids...they are cultured properly :)

  6. I live just a couple of hours from Ft. Worth and I have never heard of these places. Well, maybe the rodeo but never thought to go...
    Anywho, thanks for sharing and showing me what I didn't know was there. :)

  7. Sounds like so much fun! Little man looks absolutely delighted to be riding that mechanical bull. Y'all definitely made some lasting memories.

  8. Love the mechanical bull pictures!! T3 has joy on his face!! It makes me wish we had done that on our TX trip, maybe next time!

  9. I'd love to take your day and squish my family into it! Wouldn't that be cool if that were possible? :)

  10. How FUN J!! SUCH great memories...and all on a WORK vacation?? WOW!! WONDERFUL photos ~ but I ALWAYS say that! :)

    With Love,

  11. I'm so glad you are giving us a glimpse of this vacation. Wow! It looks like so much fun.

    Your hair is getting longer and you look so pretty!

  12. I remember going to the body worlds exhibit when it came to Charlotte. It was the most amazing thing to see and discover how God is so graceful through creation! Sounds like you had an awesome time!