Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Haul out the holly...

The holidays are HERE! David and I are exchanging gifts tonight, and I am very excited. (I tried to get him to exchange yesterday, but I was rejected.)

I have been traveling so much this holiday season, and it doesn't show signs of stopping until the New Year! In the beginning of December, we went to Ken and Carol's house for an early Christmas celebration with Ken, Carol, Jane, Brian, and Scott. It was really fun! Carol puts together a beautiful, themed holiday party for Ken's office staff each year, and this year she put us to work making gingerbread houses! It was a little stressful for me because I am not a crafty person, but I did end up enjoying myself while helping her.


Carol's house - what a standard to live up to! She could make these professionally.


My house - honestly, I think my "cracker house" is appropriately named because you would probably find it in the trailer park of gingerbread houses, but I am completely in love with the little doughnut snowman I made to go beside it.


Jane's "candy cane house" - so cute!


This log cabin house, decorated by Brian and David, is my favorite. I particularly like how they told a story with their family of Teddy Grahams.

Our Kelly/Bennett/Hokanson family portrait.


Jane and Brian got everyone (except for David, who is freakishly warm) Snuggies this year for Christmas, and I am quite glad that they did; it is my new favorite blanket, though I do always seem to trip over myself when I get up from the couch and forget just how long the Snuggie is!

The week after that, I went to see Kristen in Chicago. We had such a great time, we forgot to take pictures! We did tons of fun things in the city, including ice skating at Millenium Park, brunch at Yolk, dinner at the original Pizzeria Unos (all chain Unos have officially been ruined for me forever, because there is just no comparison), and going to see The Santaland Diaries. I can't wait to see her soon over break, and to go back to Chicago again in the spring/summertime.

Wishing you all safe travels as you make your way to your families this Christmas season! We will be in Butler visiting the Chobots from December 23 - 28, and visiting the Hokansons in Orlando from December 28 - Jan. 1.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend

Happy Thanksgiving friends! It is hard to believe that it is already December - where did 2009 go? David and I had a wonderful holiday, and I hope all of you did too.

Our weekend began with some disappointment, as my family was unable to make it to Thanksgiving dinner. My mom caught some sort of bug from the many children at her school that bug her, and needed her rest. However, David's family was still represented, so we celebrated in the best way that we know how - with LOTS of food and wine. (And I mean LOTS.) We had turkey, two types of stuffing (Hokanson and Chobot stuffing), mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans, creamed peas and onions, cresent rolls, lemon pie, apple pie, and cranberry sorbet (though I technically made that on the day after Thanksgiving with the cranberry sauce that never set). Shown above are those that enjoyed the feast - David and me, Scott, Carol, and Ken (not pictured because he was taking the picture).

After Thanksgiving, David and I took a trip up to Niagara Falls on Saturday, and then went to Buffalo for the Buffalo vs. Miami game. I had never been to Niagara Falls before, and it was absolutely beautiful. We had a very romantic time together, though I'm sure David will make some sort of comment at the end of this post to refute any claims of mushy behavior on his part, so I will leave it at that.
Our view, as we entered into Canada. I was shocked at the interrogation we received entering Canada. I thought they accepted anyone into their borders! :) I have to admit that I was also extremely disappointed that there was not a single Mountie waiting to greet me at the border. Isn't that standard Canadian protocol?

The falls, part I! These are the portion of the falls that you can also see from the American side.

David and me in front of the horseshoe falls (Canadian side). They were breathtaking! Also take a moment to notice my fabulous winter hat from last season that is now making a reappearance! I love this hat, even though it is a little ridiculous.

The Maid of the Mist was closed for winter, so we rode the SkyWheel instead (a ferris wheel with pod compartments similar to those found on the London Eye, except on a much smaller scale) to enjoy the view. I love things like this, and I was very excited that David was game to ride it.

The Falls at sunset. We attempted to take pictures of them once they were lit up at night, but my wimpy Powershot was unable to handle that task properly. While everything was beautiful during the day, the Falls were really spectacular at night.

After our day trip to Niagara, we settled in at Marianthal Bed and Breakfast for the evening. It was a really cute place, and they served us a gigantic (and yummy) breakfast the next day. It was a relaxing evening before the big game on Sunday. I didn't think to take any pictures of our accommodations, but their website is here. We stayed in the Medallion room because it had a whirlpool tub, which is one of my requirements for a room at a B&B.

On Sunday, we went to Buffalo to see the Dolphins play the Bills. We have decided that since this venue is so close to Ithaca, we are going to make this game a tradition every year that we live there (and maybe even add in the Steelers game if they come to Buffalo next year). For those of you from Butler seeing this picture of me wearing a Miami jersey on a Steelers game day, if you look closely, you will notice that I am also wearing a Steelers hat to support my own team! Of course, all of our support did not help either team win, and it was a disappointing football day for both of us. We had a great time at the game though, in part thanks to the very nice Buffalo fan who took this picture. We were parked next to a group of Buffalo fans in the parking lot, and instead of heckling us, one of them sold us two upgraded tickets for only $30 - less than it would have cost us to upgrade our tickets at face value. Instead of sitting in the 300 level tweet seats, David and I had seats 28 rows back from the 40 yard line on the visitor's side. It was fantastic, and I am grateful that Buffalo fans turned out to be so nice. The fans were even pretty nice throughout the whole game, though David and I were trashed talked by two elderly ladies when Buffalo scored a touchdown to make the score 24-14, which was slightly embarrassing.

The month of December will be a hectic one, and full of holiday cheer and travel. This weekend David and I plan to get our Christmas tree and visit Ken and Carol for an early Christmas weekend. Next weekend I visit Kristen in Chicago!! YAY!!! And then, shortly after that our Christmas travels to Butler and Florida begin! (Oh...and I will be working on my thesis too...sometime...) Wishing all of you a great start to the holiday season!