Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lights and Laughs

Part 2 of my 2011 year in review will be coming soon but since the year isn't over I thought I'd wait. You never know what the last day of the year will bring!

Thursday night we finally took our annual trip to Moody Gardens in Galveston to see the Festival of Lights. First, we have our traditional trip to the seafood restaurant where we always seem to get the same thing: chicken strips for Charlie, fish and chips for Rachel, and crab cake burgers for Chuck and I. Excuse me, my mouth is watering just a little thinking about it.

Then off to walk through the lights. It was a perfect evening. Not too warm and not too cold.
 All of the butterflies were flapping their bright lit wings which created a psychedelic effect. We dubbed it Acid Trip Mountain.
 Ooooo. Ahhhhh. Pretty.
 This was my favorite. I loved the lights hanging down. It was like an enchanted forest. Then Rachel ruined the moment by comparing it to some worms that live in a cave somewhere else in the world and their poop hangs down like that and glows in the dark. Seriously?! What does a worm eat to make its poop glow?! Thanks, Rachel. Those lights will never be the same for me. Sometimes it's ok not to make comparisons. I like my unicorn infested enchanted forest vision better, thank you very much.
 I don't know why we always feel the need to take pictures in cheesy cutouts.
 It was surprisingly crowded for a Thursday night. Loved the castle. It was huge! Outside there was even a fire going where you could buy supplies to make a s'more. We didn't because I'm cheap. But we did get some spiced nuts! I'm not that cheap. ;)
 I have a thing for lights and all things that sparkle. I just walked around with my mouth hanging open gawking at the prettiness of it all.
 There's a yellow rose in Texas.......
 We had a great time like we always do. Last year I was walking/running a 5K every day and we had to walk around a lot more so that we all got in our 3.1 miles. Ah, memories.
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Friday Chuck and I had a date night. I had a couple of Groupons that needed to be used ASAP.

The night started with a trip to Shogun Japanese Grill and Sushi. I haven't been to an hibachi grill in years! I forgot how much fun they are.  I started the evening off with a Mai Tai. Yum! By the way, there are no "diets" on date night. I think it's a law or something.
 The chef put on a great show for us. It's hard to see but he's tossing an egg in the air.
 Not only did we get a show but the food was very good too! Here he's cooking our vegetables and the eggs for the fried rice and our shrimp appetizer. I've developed an allergy to shrimp but my throat didn't itch too bad with these.
 Part of the show was the chef making an onion volcano. It was the coolest!! I have to bring the kids back to see this. He threw some pepper on the fire and it went up in sparkles. Sparkles!!

After dinner we headed to The Comedy Showcase for the show. They had several comedians that evening and they were all funny. They introduced one comedian and it turned out to be our neighbor! How cool is that?! Small world.

While we were gone, Rachel was busy at home making gingerdead cookies. Clever girl!


As you can see, the past couple of days have been a lot of fun. I've had a blast. What a great way to end the year!

Tonight we're headed to Beaumont to spend New Year's Eve with my buddy Wendy and her family around a bonfire. I can't wait!

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve. Be careful out there!

Do you have any plans for New Year's Eve?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: A Year in Review PART 1

Travel back in time with me through the months of 2011 as I relive some of the highlights of the year.

JANUARY

This month I was an active girl doing strength training, Zumba, running 1:1 intervals, bike riding and anything else I could find to do. Confidence was soaring! I even got into size 14s! It was quite a big deal.

I remembered how to be a kid again and rode through the mud on my bike with the kids. We were filthy and had a blast!



 Even though it was cold and windy on one January day, we couldn't help but take the boats out on the water. It was a tough paddle with the wind blowing but we all had a great time anyway.


FEBRUARY

Still staying active. On Valentine's Day Chuck and I completed an "at home" duathlon as part of Lori's Heart Healthy weekend challenge. We ran 2 miles, rode a bike for 8 miles then ran another 2 miles. It was tough but we were proud of ourselves.
 I tired some interesting spa treatments for the first time. Even got a spray tan. Strange experience.

Went to San Antonio and met Anne (Carb Tripper) and had a blast! I also ate low carb on that trip and actually lost weight! That's when I started looking more into the low carb lifestyle.

 We even got to see Wicked! It was amazing.


Then a trip to Austin where we had a big Round Rock donut as seen on Man vs Food.
 We toured the Texas cemetery.


And got to see the Blue Man group! That was the coolest concert I've even been to. Ever!

MARCH
Still exercising. Trying to adjust to metformin but it's not going too great.

My mom has gall bladder surgery.

Chuck and I volunteered for 3 relays of the Texas Independence Relay. We were Motley Schu. I've never been so tired in my life. It's a 2 day race and we were up all night. But it was also a lot of fun.
We saw the Blue Man group in Houston.

We went to hockey games and a nice hike.


I was in a fender bender that hurt my neck but I'm fine now. The other party dodge insurance so I had to pay for all repairs. What is wrong with people?!

I also got into the 170s!

APRIL
Ran the Blue Bell Fun Run 10K Relay with Chuck, Shelley and her hubby Jeff. So much fun! All you can eat ice cream afterwards. Gotta love the outfits.
Date night at Tango and Malbec. Great food and tango dancers!

More hiking.

Weight is coming off pretty easy. As long as I actually stick to it! Funny how that works.

Found a worm in my cod! Oh my cod!
For Easter we got the kids custom chocolate eggs that were incredible!
MAY

Went on a trip to Canyon Lake where we swam and visited Gruene (a small town with shops and restaurants).




 We tubed the Comal River and had so much fun laughing and swimming.

 We decided to try zip lines for the first time. Everyone did great except me. I almost wet myself in terror. But I'd do it again. ;)



For Mother's Day we went up in a WWII era C47. It was incredible!!!



Rachel went to her first prom.


We went tent camping at Huntsville State Park. Usually we "camp" in the travel trailer. It got kind of chilly at night!




Chuck and I went to a Don Julio Tequila dinner. Now that was a lot of fun!

Later that month Chuck and I went away for a weekend at Canyon Lake and stayed at Canyon Lakeview Resort.

 The deer were everywhere and not afraid to get up close and personal.


 We enjoyed beautiful sunsets over the lake from the back porch. That evening a storm came and we sat outside listening to music, talking, and listening to the rain on the tin roof. It was the most relaxed I'd been in a long time.
 We went to a wine tasting at Dry Comal Creek the headed to Gruene for some good eatin.
 I had been saving this bottle of wine for a special occasion. This seemed like a perfect time. LIFE is a special occasion!
 Before heading home we took a helicopter ride over New Braunfels.
 Loved it. But the wind was blowing pretty hard which pushed that little helicopter around. Chuck and I both got a touch of motion sickness.


 The Texas Hill Country holds a special place in my heart. You can see the Guadalupe River flowing.
 A relaxing weekend away. We had such a great time.
Two days after getting back we had a Samuel Adams Beer dinner at BJs Brewhouse. Good food and great beer.
 This is where I was introduced to my favorite beer: Imperial White!
 Feeling no pain!
 And there was a certain frog who was always waiting for us at home. We named him Michigan J Frog.
 Rachel's cake skills continued to improve throughout the year and was even receiving a few orders! Very proud of her.
And I turned the big 4-0!
 To celebrate Chuck surprised me with a Nook color (which I love!) and took us all to San Antonio and spoiled me rotten. Just how I like to be spoiled. Rotten!

We toured the Riverwalk and hung out at the rooftop pool of the Crowne Plaza. That night we went to the top of the Tower of the Americas and laughed our butts off as the wind whipped our hair and tried to tug at our shirts.

 And I got to meet fellow blogger Ashley at Mi Tierra!

As you can see, it was a very fun year. I'll continue with June in another post.  Thanks for taking the trip down memory lane with me.

Today I was a little bummed because of very expensive car repairs and it seems like money is needed for so many different things. But as I go back through the year I can't help but smile as I relive all of the good times.