Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Part 2

Since Doug's birthday is the 23rd of December, I took the day off and we made a day of readying our house for the holidays because we were having guests over on Christmas Eve. In the 9 years we've lived together, this is the first time we've gotten a Christmas tree. I've always had a moral dilemma about cutting down a tree and then just throwing it out after Christmas, so this year we went to the local garden center and got a pine tree with the bulb of roots still attached so that we could plant it afterward. Since the bulb of roots are so big on a normal size Christmas tree, we went with a small tree with a more manageable bulb size. This is going to be a new tradition of ours and I can't wait to have a whole forest full of our old trees!

Our little tree with Monty the Moose

Doug's sister, husband and our nephew Jami came to visit this year from Charlotte, so we all went to Christmas Eve service at the little Pocono's church and then went back to our house for some appetizers and desserts. I didn't bother taking pics of the mini mac and cheese muffins or spinach and artichoke dip I made, but here are a couple of the goodies I baked.Yum.

On Christmas Day, Doug and I got up and exchanged our gifts before heading over to his parents for breakfast and to watch Jami open some of his gifts. A little later in the day, Doug's other sister, her hubby and 3 kids came up Christmas dinner with the whole extended family. It's always a bit chaotic with 20 people, kids high on sugar, dogs looking for handouts and more food than one house can hold. But that's what the holidays are all about right?

After dinner was wrapped up and the guests were gone, we sat down to exchange gifts with Doug's family. Now that the kids are older (7, 10, 10, 12) the gifts are a little more practical than the plastic toys of their younger years. Anna, the 7 year old, still gets toys, but the other kids mostly wanted name brand clothes and iPads.

We got David and Jami North Face fleeces (Becca also got one from Santa) and we got Becca the purple UGGS she had to have (which you can't see here, whoops.)

Anna's gift was a little different. Since Doug and I got our paddleboards this summer, Anna has become obsessed with learning how to surf. She came paddleboarding a bunch of times with us this summer, usually by herself because the other kids were playing soccer or basketball or swimming, as fell in love with the idea of being on a board. So, since this summer, she has told her teachers, grandparents, friends and Santa that all she wanted for Christmas this year is a surfboard. When I offered to help Anna's parents get her a surfboard through my store, they said no "we live in the Philadelphia suburbs, she'll never use it." So Doug and I offered to get it for Anna for Christmas and Kristie said no "she doesn't need it and she'll only use it a couple times a year." But every time we talked to Anna all she could talk about is surfing. She has watched the Soul Surfer movie about Bethany Hamilton probably 40 times and knows all the surfing lingo. So, despite Kristie and Derek's wishes, Doug and I surprised Anna with a surfboard for Christmas. We figured that even if this thing ends up being a piece of art in her bedroom, we had to feed her passion for wanting something so badly.

After the other 3 kids opened their gifts, Doug called Anna over and had a card for her that he wrote. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Doug was reading this.

As he finished up reading the card, I snuck out on the porch and grabbed the surfboard. The look on Anna's face was priceless (as was the look on her parent's face!!) and made it all worthwhile for Doug and me.

Surfer girl Anna

The next day when we went back over to see everyone again, Kristie told us that Anna slept on the surfboard. I went upstairs to say hi and she had the board on the bed and was practicing paddling and jumping up, you know, just getting ready for surfing season! I've never been so happy!! I guess paybacks could be a bitch when Doug and I have kids.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a very happy new year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Part 1

For the last couple of years we've found it a lot less hectic traveling before Christmas than during it, so we have been opting to see my family on the early side and see Doug's family for the actual day. We headed out to Utah December 15-20th for lots of family time and a little skiing time.

Since the snow was really non-existent, Doug and I met a friend up at Snowbasin for a change of scenery from the Cottonwood Canyons. There were only 2 lifts open and just a few runs off of each lift, so the skiing was pretty meager, but we had a great time hiking and finding bits of snow to ski on.

On Saturday night my dad took all of us to Cirque de la Symphonie at Abravanel Hall. It was the Utah Symphony playing traditional Christmas music with Cirque du Soliel performers swinging from the rafters in front of the orchestra. It was one of the coolest events I've been to and thought it was such a great deviation from the normal lots of gifts.

On Sunday we went up north to visit my grandparents and then headed out to celebrate Christmas with my mom, Jerry, Kyle, Whitney and Greg.

My mom was really excited to have us there

Whitney was obviously super excited too

Not sure about these two

On Monday morning Doug, mom and I headed up to Deer Valley for one more crack at snow. Since Deer Valley is super high end, we figured they would have the best man made snow and we were right. Quite a bit of the mountain was open (only groomers), so we were able to occupy ourselves for a few hours.

On Monday night, Whit and Greg came up and met us in Park City for a fancy dinner and then we all stayed in a really great hotel right on main street. This place had two huge bedrooms, a hot tub on the deck, a full kitchen and a roof top bar with a hot tub. The next morning Whit and Greg went to work and Doug and I went to the spa for a while before having to head to the airport to go home. It's always so sad leaving my family and the mountains, but I was happy to be heading home to our 2 furry children!

Check out this ad I saw in one of the magazines on the airplane...too bad it was too late to order it for xmas. (click on it for all the details!)

Christmas Part 2 coming soon!

Monday, December 12, 2011

iPhone photo dump II

I love going back and looking at some of the random photos I have on my phone. Every once in a while I like to dump them on my blog so you can too. Here you go...

Pre-marathon nerves

Cute little apt. we looked at

Loved this ad

Lazy dog yoga

Bulldog in Radio Flyer w/ t-shirt that says "Big girls are more fun." Touche.

Awesome NYC moment

Big Boulder Ski Resort - Lake Tahoe of the Poconos

Jersey's finest

Ugly dolls and tennis balls = happy dog


Monday, December 5, 2011

Animal Lover*

I'm an animal lover, but sometimes I feel like it gets me into trouble. I've had more animal encounters than I care to remember and I'm convinced it's because animals know that I don't eat their kind and so they consider me a friend (this sounds really crazy while typing it out).

One time while kayaking in Monterrey, CA I had a baby seal climb into my kayak. It was really cute, but I had no idea whether the mom would think it was cute or that I was trying to harm it. The little thing sate there for a few minutes just looking at me while I sat there motionless with my camera strapped uselessly around my neck. Then without cause, it slid off my boat and went on it's way.

Another time I was walking out of the subway in Times Square and all of a sudden a giant python, slithered/jumped onto my shoulders. Some freak show was using it as a prop, and then a horn started honking and spooked the snake right onto me. I stood there screaming, jumping up and down in the middle of Times Square while tourists took pictures like I was part of the show. I finally grabbed the snake and threw it back to the snake guy and got out of dodge. Perhaps this is why I hate Times Square so much.

In college, as I've written about before, I was attacked by a squirrel while walking our dog. The squirrel came out of nowhere and jumped onto my leg and held on for dear life despite my kicking like hell to get it off. Finally I gave one big kick and the stupid thing went flying into the grass. Ever since then, I've been deathly afraid of squirrels, like every time I see one my heart starts pounding a million times/minute and I start looking for people around me that might be able to help if I get attacked. Eww...I'm having severe palpitations as I type this.

So a couple of months ago, when we had a little squirrel friend take up residence with us, I hit my random animal encounter limit. I'm a nature girl and appreciate wildlife like the best of them, but I prefer that it is outside of my living space, be it my house or my tent. Since we haven't seen any trace of the squirrel in the house in a while (poop by the windows, bite marks in my garlic, holes in my GU), we thought we were free of it. Apparently not.

When we got to the lake house on Friday night, I ran inside to go to the know, long car ride + diet coke = mad dash to the bathroom! Just as I was about to sit down I saw this:

Um, yeah. Squirrel in toilet. WTF?

"Eeeeeeeek, EWWWWWW, OMG - Doug...please come upstairs now! OMG, ewwwww, OMG." Doug came up and was as mortified as I was but he knew he was going to be the one taking care of it. Luckily (or not for the poor squirrel), there was no "catching it in a coat and smacking it with a hammer" necessary, Doug just got a shovel to scoop it out with and a garbage bag to catch it and then took it out to the garage.

Doug is convinced this is the same squirrel that invaded our house last time because "they were the same size" and I really hope he's right, otherwise we have a squirrel problem that needs dealt with asap!

I may start eating animals again because none of this happened when I wasn't a vegetarian. Not really, but COME ON ANIMALS...I LEAVE YOU ALONE, SO LEAVE ME ALONE TOO!