Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year in Review 2010

Well the time has come to do the standard year in review post. Despite a few challenges along the way 2010 definitely shaped up to be one of my best years to date by far. It wasn't all sunshine and roses but the ups definitely outnumbered and outweighed the downs. I must admit I'm a little sad to see this year end, I remember on NYE last year being so excited it was finally the year that I would be getting married but I know there are so many more exciting adventures in store for the next year, 2010 will always hold a special place in my heart.

Here's a little look back:

January-- Rang in the New Year with my now husband. Kristian went on his Bachelor Party trip. My company moved and I got my own office.

February- The D.C. area got hit with a massive snowstorm that left us housebound for a week. We celebrated our Engagiversary and I made Kristian contribute a post on the blog! I went down to ECU and got to see some of my favorite girls for our sorority's anniversary celebration.

March- I had the first of my two wedding showers and my bachelorette party in Raleigh.

April- Celebrated Easter with my in-laws. Went to Charlotte, NC to celebrate the baby shower of a very dear friend and got to meet another great friend.  I also had the second of my two wedding showers.

May- Well May was not only hands down the best month of the year for me but also the best month of my life so far. So many amazing, wonderful things happened. I said goodbye to my 20's and celebrated my 30th birthday. We welcomed our turtle Wedette into our home. Oh yeah I also went ahead and got MARRIED!! Followed by an incredible honeymoon to St. Lucia with my new husband.

June- We received our wedding photos back and I started recapping the wedding and honeymoon. I also did the post wedding chop. Umm I didn't realize until just now that it's been 6 months since I cut my hair! No wonder it's gotten so long and annoying.  Guess it's time for another trim!!

July- We celebrated the 4th of July at my in-laws beach house. We decided to sell our condo. We're still waiting for it to sell!

August- We took a fun day trip to the zoo. I attended my friend Kelli's baby shower. We celebrated our 2 year dating anniversary.

Sept- I decided to change my blog name. Our colleges played each other and my friend Kelli welcomed her son into the world.

Oct- We celebrated Kristian's birthday and took a weekend trip to OBX

Nov-Our turtle Herpe made a reappearance. Kristian went bear hunting! We celebrated Thanksgiving with my in-laws.

Dec- My mom's cat that had been missing for two months was found! Kristian got an awesome new job! I had a fun girls weekend with my mom. Had a wonderful Christmas with both of our families.

It's times like this when I'm so glad that I keep a blog. Going back through each month I was reminded of so many things that happened this year that I had already forgotten about. It really is a great way to record memories and have something to look back on, especially during such a huge event like planning my wedding.

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Family Divided

Today my ECU Pirates are facing off against my big brother's Maryland Terrapins in the Military Bowl. This is the first time in my memory that our school's have played against each other so it makes things a bit more exciting.  


Unfortunately I'm not able to make it to the game despite the fact that it's being played in DC because I'm stuck at work. However I will be watching online (shhh don't tell my boss) and rooting my team on. And I'm sure shit talking with my brother over IM while I'm at it. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

This past Christmas weekend was full of family, food and presents. Christmas Eve I woke up and wrapped all the gifts (procrastination much?) while Kristian watched a movie. Yeah he was no little help. That night we headed over to his sister's house for dinner and present opening.

I have to give my SIL credit, she decorated her house beautifully.

*Kristian checking out his nephew's new guitar*

*White Russian's were my drink of choice for the weekend*

*Kristian with his dad*

*All the ladies- my niece Madison, my SIL Michelle, my niece Carleigh, me and my MIL*

*Michelle made a beautiful table spread. We had Italian food for dinner*

*"Let's Drink and make bad choices" or the story of Kristian's life*

We got a lot of wonderful gifts from his family. His mother and I apparently share a brain since her and I bought several duplicate gifts including a makeup case for my niece, an ornament using the same exact photo for my SIL and almost identical headbands for my other niece. I think next year we'll need to compare notes while shopping.

Christmas morning Kristian and I woke up bright and early and exchanged our gifts. I got him a bunch of smaller gifts including the Katy Perry CD (she is #1 on his "Free Pass List"), a Shutterfly calendar with pictures of our cats (I made him one last year and he loved it), an ornament and the Walkie Talkies he wanted. I swear I married a 12 year old stuck inside a man's body.

And he got me one "big" gift which was a beautiful green Coach wallet. Apparently I needed an upgrade from my Target wallet I've had for years.

After we opened gifts I started cooking the sweet potato casserole and mac n cheese I planned to take to my brother's house. Fortunately the snow held off and we were able to make it up to MD to see my family.

*Kristian and my mom. Yes he's wearing the same sweater as the night before. He has decided this is now his official Christmas sweater*

*Here we are with one of my brother's two daughters. My other niece was too busy playing with the toys Santa brought her for pictures*

We ate a ton of food and once again we got some great gifts from my side of the family including my new Redskins Jersey. Yes I know they suck all the time right now, but I'll always be a fan!

*Here I am on Sunday and they actually WON! Maybe I brought them good luck!*

Unfortunately due the snow that the Eastern shore of MD got hit with our gathering with Kristian's extended family got postponed from Sunday to this coming weekend which gives me more time to practice for the tournament.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Say Hello to My Leetle Friend

Kristian and I had a wonderful Christmas. Santa Our families spoiled us. My family and my in-laws got us some great gifts including a very generous check to use as we wished. Since I had used my entire bonus check from work for savings and to pay bills we agreed it was time to buy something fun for ourselves.

Say hello to my new best friend:

Yep we bought ourselves a shiny, new iPad!!!!

I have to tell you when they first came out I didn't see much point in buying one, after all between my laptop and our smart phones it didn't seem necessary. And well I guess it really isn't necessary but it sure is fun. After playing with a few other people's iPad's I just thought they were so cool and I love how lightweight and portable they are. So yesterday we went to Best Buy and bought our new toy and proceeded to spend most of last night playing with it. It's official I'm in love.

Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my day off. I'll post later about our holiday festivities and the other cool gifts we got.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

From my family to yours. Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

*Pardon the whitening out of our last name*

**And for anyone that doesn't believe in Christmas miracles...please go HERE and congratulate my sweet friend Summer on her miracle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Today marks our 7 month anniversary. The first year of marriage feels a lot like the first year of your child's life in that you want to celebrate each passing month. Because each month that first year feels like a mini milestone.  It's amazing how quickly time really does fly by, I feel like I'm going to blink and it will be our one year anniversary. I still can't believe that this weekend we will be celebrating our first Christmas as a married couple and our third together as a couple.

There's a chance mother nature might put a crimp in our plans and dump a bunch of snow on us this weekend possibly affecting our ability to see our families. But as disappointing as that would be, so long as I'm with my husband on Christmas day I'll be happy. After all I've been waiting my whole life to celebrate Christmas with my husband. If we have to spend our day snowed in alone together in front of the fire eating the sweet potato casserole and homemade mac n cheese I was planning to bring to my brother's house it will still be a wonderful day.

I'm not gonna lie this year is probably the happiest I've ever been at Christmas time. The Christmas decorations seem prettier, the Christmas music is less annoying and I don't find shopping as irritating as in the past. Back in my single days I found this time of year always rather depressing. As much as I love my family and friends there's just something about sharing this time with that special someone.

Our first Christmas together we were still a fairly new couple and there was the anxiety what to buy each other and spending the day with each other's families who were also still new to us.  Then last year we had the stress of saving for and planning a wedding hanging over our heads. But this year we are happily settled into married life, Kristian has a new job that he loves and we're looking forward to buying a new house together and life is good. Life is really good.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Odds and Ends

Lots of random tidbits to share so I'm gonna bulletpoint this shiz.

*Kristian started his new job yesterday. He loved it! He was in the best mood last night and we decided to celebrate by going out to dinner at Outback since I had received a gift card from one of my vendors for Christmas. He housed a 22oz steak. Vom. Wish I had taken a before and after shot. Amazing.

*I have 2 3/4 days left of work this week (assuming they let us leave early on Thursday) followed by a glorious 4 day weekend. I CANNOT wait!

*We still don't have any New Year's Eve plans and I'm totally okay with that.

*On Saturday while taking a shower Kristian decided to be "funny" and pour an ice cold glass of water over the shower curtain and right onto me, of course while I wasn't standing directly under the hot water. I think he sometimes forgets that I'm his wife and NOT his little sister or fraternity brother. I've been brainstorming ways to retaliate. Any suggestions are welcome.

*On Sunday I had a massive headache that refused to go away and just felt crappy. I ended up falling asleep in the massage chair during the Redskins game. Look who decided to take a nap with me. Photo courtesy of Kristian.

*Halpert's a good boy*

*My Christmas shopping is officially done. Now I just need to wrap everything. Praise the Dollar Store, I was able to buy all my gift wrapping material there (paper, boxes, bows etc) for only $27!

*We've gotten so much holiday chocolate and sweets at work from clients and vendors that when we received a box of oranges from a vendor I was thrilled! Believe it or not you really can have TOO much chocolate. 

*Listening to Christmas music on Pandora makes me happy.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Game On

Every year Kristian's fathers side of the family has a big get together between Christmas and New Year's to celebrate the holidays and to celebrate my father-in-law and his twin brothers birthdays which all fall in January. Since my father-in-law's family is quite large we always do a gift exchange where you buy a present for your assigned family member. We get together, eat, open presents and then comes the main event...the Acey Deucey tournament!!

For those that don't know Acey Deucey is a version of backgammon. Kristian's grandfather learned it while in the Navy and then taught it to his children who taught it to their children. Several years back all the men in the family including Kristian's uncles and male cousins decided to have a tournament every Christmas with the winner taking home bragging rights for the year. Apparently Kristian won 3 years in a row (though that was before I came into the picture) but he still likes to remind everyone of it. It gets quite competitive, especially amongst my father-in-law and his brothers.

Not long after we started dating Kristian taught me to play the infamous game. I have to admit it can be quite addictive. However, I didn't finally beat him until after we got engaged (I was afraid he might call off the wedding the night I beat him). I've won several times since then.

Last Christmas I became the first female ever allowed in the tournament (I don't think any of the other girls know how to or have a desire to play). Even though I was not yet "legally" part of the family they let me join (I think it was more because they were one person short). Of course I got paired against Kristian the first round and he quite easily beat me. To be honest I was happy he won, I would not have wanted to deal with him had I knocked him out of the first round.

This year I plan to participate again and I'm dying to beat one of the boys and make it past at least the first round. Kristian said he would love for me to beat one of his cousins. The other night we took the board out to get a practice game in since we haven't played in a while and I'm definitely rusty. Kristian won. I told him I want to practice more this week so that I'm ready for the tournament on Sunday. Since I'm representing all the women in the family I need to make a good showing. Wish me luck!

Does your family have any games or tournaments they play every holiday?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scoring High

I believe I mentioned a while back that we are currently in the process of trying to sell our condo (actually it's Kristian's condo that he bought prior to meeting me). We are trying to short sell it which if anyone has ever tried to buy or sell via short sale you know it can be a LONG and annoying process. We had a contract put on our condo back in August and JUST found out this week that the bank rejected the offer because they felt it was too low. The buyer didn't want to increase their offer so now we have to put our place back on the market.

This isn't a huge deal for us because it gives us more time to find another place to live which is good because recently we decided that instead of renting for a few years which was our initial plan we want to look into buying. I do feel bad for the people that had the contract on our place, I would be furious to wait for 5 months only to find out our offer was rejected. But such is life with short sales.

Since we want to look into buying we met with Kristian's mortgage guy the other day. Because his credit is being affected by the short sale it makes more sense to buy a place in my name and based on my credit and salary only.  Granted that means we won't be able to qualify for as much since it's only based on my salary but it will also help prevent us from buying something out of our financial comfort zone and being house poor. After talking to the guy and having him run my credit (which I haven't done in a while) we discovered that my credit score was really high!! Not that I suspected it would be low but it was still nice to get the confirmation.

He told us what I would be approved for based on my credit and salary and it's pretty much the range I expected and the range I'm comfortable with so that was good to hear. Now we just have to see if we can find a place that we both like for a price we can afford. Even with the housing prices down it will still be tough especially since the areas we would like to live in are still pretty pricey for what we can afford.

There is a still a lot up in the air and we could ultimately end up renting for a year or two if we can't find something we both love but it is exciting to think of buying our first home together and to go through such a huge process together.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Freakishly Nice

When Kristian and I first started dating and people would ask me to describe him the first thing I would always say was that he is "freakishly nice". I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen and for him to show that he is really secretly psycho or that he likes to kick puppies in his spare time but here we are 2 1/2 years later and when people ask me about my husband I still say that he's freakishly nice.

Not only is Kristian incredibly kind and giving to those he loves but also to strangers and neighbors. He's the type that will talk to anyone and make friends wherever he goes. Much unlike his wife who still screams "stranger danger" in my head when I'm around people I don't know. Don't get me wrong I'm not rude to strangers I just don't go out of my way to talk to them.

If it weren't for Kristian our neighbors would probably hate us. I've never been the type to make friends with my neighbors (except for my college neighbor who I liked to make out with late at night, but you know that's college). Kristian however always says hello, makes conversation and will offer to help them whenever needed.

For example:

-Last winter during SNOWmageddon he helped to shovel out numerous neighbors cars.

-Also, during the snow he was outside and one of our neighbors couldn't get his little car up the street in the snow. Kristian talked to him and found out he was trying to get to the store to buy his kid more diapers so Kristian drove him there in his truck. Now they are great friends.

-When one of our neighbors was locked out he climbed up onto her balcony, went in through her screen door and let her inside (all with her permission of course)

-If he sees someone carrying something heavy he always offers to help them

-And then last night when our next door neighbors got locked out he let them hang out in our condo for 30 minutes while they waited for their roommate to come home so they wouldn't have to stay outside in the cold.

I hate to admit it but I don't know if I would have always offered to help in some of these cases. Though I think more of that has to do with safety issues rather than just not being nice. After all it's much different for him to offer to drive a guy he doesn't know somewhere than for me to do it. Or to let virtual strangers hang out in our house than for me to.

But I will say that being with him has helped me to be more open and friendly with people I don't know. Instead of avoiding eye contact I will now smile and say hello to my neighbors and others around me.

Are you friendly with strangers?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Fun Continues

After we finished up at the ICE show we headed back to our hotel room to relax for a bit and change for dinner. We then walked the two blocks over to the Gaylord National Hotel which is an amazing new hotel/resort in the National Harbor. It was my first time ever being there and I was definitely impressed.

We had dinner at the Moon Bay restaurant inside the hotel. The ambiance and service were great but I have to admit I wasn't overly impressed with the food. I had clam chowder and a crabcake sandwich and while it tasted okay for the price we were paying and the location we were in I just expected more. The rest of my group felt similar.

I was digging the lights

My pretty mama. Love the color coordination.

With my mom, her two BFF's and their daughters

The inside of the hotel itself is pretty amazing. It has a HUGE atrium in the center that is beautifully decorated right now for Christmas. There are a number of restaurants and cute little shops.

I loved the lights hanging from the ceiling.
They have a massive tree suspended from the ceiling which is the focal point of the decorations.
The whole center area was full of lit up trees and people hanging out eating and drinking coffee.

There was also a fantastic water show. The water was choreographed to music and would change colors. I've never been so fascinated by water in my life.

The lobby of the hotel was also decked out with Christmas trees and other holiday decor.
This would make a great centerpiece design for a holiday party or wedding.

After we left the hotel we walked down to the water to get some dessert. The large Christmas tree was lit up and looked amazing.

We then stopped in at Cake Love and drooled over the selection.

I ended up with double chocolate and mint chocolate cupcakes. Delish.

All in all we had a great mother-daughter weekend and have already talked about where we want to go next year for a mother-daughter holiday weekend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's getting cold in here

*Lotso pictures in this post*

This past weekend was a fantastic girls weekend with my mom, two of the ladies that acted as my Day of Coordinators and their daughters. We spent Saturday down in the National Harbor checking out ICE 2010.

My mom booked us a 3 bedroom condo at the Wyndham Resort which was right across the street from the Ice exhibit for the weekend. We headed over to the erected white bubble building fully decked out in multiple layers of clothes, hats, gloves etc.

After checking in everyone is given a large blue parka to wear into the 9 degree Ice exhibit. You are able to go through at your own pace with plenty of time to stop and take pictures. I was actually not terribly cold with the exception of my hands which were freezing due to my pathetic excuse for gloves. Though I was much better off than those fools that didn't have gloves or the dumbasses that were wearing flip flops and stiletto heels. Obviously not everyone did their research on what to expect before arriving.

Below are the numerous pictures I took. The ice sculptures were really amazing and detailed.

Me and my mama decked out in our fashionable parkas

I call this look my Ice Couture.

My mom and two of her BFF's and my fabulous DOC's from the wedding.

There were two ice slides that everyone was allowed to slide down. The only downside was the 15 minute wait in line in freezing temperatures.

The Ice nativity scene

Once you leave the Ice portion you come out into a gift shop that was blissfully selling hot chocolate. I would have paid any amount of money at that point for a hot beverage to warm up my frozen fingers.

Outside of the gift shop were more features including the Christmas tree made solely out of Peeps. Amazing.

There was also a small ice skating rink inside.

And of course there were the requisite Christmas Carolers.

We all had a great time checking out the Ice exhibit. It was definitely a cool holiday event that I would highly recommend, especially for those with kids.