Saturday, December 29, 2007

Back to Reality

After a wonderful dinner at Dana's favorite Greek restaurant, Epsilon, and yet ANOTHER game of Settlers of Catan with Ellen and Craig, we're heading back in the morning to Dallas. We're excited to see our kitties but not excited that it is COLD there. What happened to the 75 degree weather we left?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Big Travels Ahead - Come join us!

We can't wait for our big trip to China and Vietnam this Spring. First we're visiting Dana's brother Sam in Hong Kong for 4 days. Here's Sam:

Then, anyone interested in joining us for 10 days in Vietnam is formally invited! We're traveling with a tour group company called Intrepid (we've used them before and think they're great) on a trip called "Spirit of Vietnam Northbound". We'll be there March 5 - March 14.

Here's a description of the trip! Vietnam Trip

Highlights: See the sights of Ho Chi Minh City from a cyclo, Delve into the underground world of Viet Minh guerillas, Embark on a shopping spree in Hoi An, Peer into Vietnam's imperial past in Hue, Experience the magic of Halong Bay, Relax with a hot Vietnamese coffee at a Hanoi cafe

(I have to add a funny story: Christine mixed up "guerillas" with "gorillas" and was quite sad to find out that we weren't going to visit any smart, nice creatures)

After Christmas sales are the best

We hit up the mall yesterday and the after Christmas sales are truly incredible! We didn't buy too much but what we did pick up was all on fantastic deals. I love my new sweater from REI - it's super soft and warm!

We also saw the movie Juno which I definitely recommend. It's not at all my "type" of movie but that's why I'm even more glad that we saw it! Check it out. Afterwards Dana was able to catch up with Anthony, one of his highschool friends, and then we went to a restaurant called Taste which was really delicious - one of the best meals I've ever had. (If you go, try the Eggplant appetizer and Lamb or Tortellini for your entree). I can't believe that I've had two of my "best meals ever" in the past 2 weeks (at Taste in Monterey and Silver Fox steakhouse in Frisco). Not bad!
Today we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A visit to Monterey is not complete without a stop at this amazing site. We really enjoyed watching the enormous (400 lb!) Tuna feeding, the Great White shark and the breathtaking jellyfish exhibits.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Never lost again!

My days of getting lost are over - thanks to our new GPS system! The Garmin Nuvi is going to be my new best friend. What a wonderful Christmas...

Other highlights: Apple's stock went up today with all of our Apple purchases (Dana's new ipod, Judy's iphone, Sam's shuffle) I'm psyched to get my massage at the Red Door spa and do some shopping at Nordstroms. Ron has a nice new sweater (and camera). Judy was over the top excited about her harmonica and instruction manual (did you know she's always wanted to learn how to play?). Also, Ron made copies of our parents' life videos from Thanksgiving for everyone (family-you'll get them soon).

Here's a pretty "Townsend Warbler" we saw out the window - especially for Dad and LMJ!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas in California

We're out in Monterey, CA enjoying Christmas with Dana's family. Last night we drove up to Tiburon to celebrate with Christine's sister's family (Ana, Justin, Skylar and Larkin). We've played Settlers of Catan 3x already and enjoyed watching our 3 year old niece indulge in more exotic sushi than we'll even try. Truly amazing to watch - she LOVES sushi!

We also had a nice visit with Dana's dear friend Cory and his wife Kim and their adorable baby girl. Then it was fun to surprise Dana's parents when his brother arrived unexpectedly from Hong Kong! It's so nice to have everyone together. Soon we're off to a party to sing Christmas carols!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Celebrating "A Holiday in the Park"

Last night we went to 6 Flags with our church community group. I love the Titan! It's one of the best roller coasters I've ever been on. I haven't been on a rollercoaster since Shannon's bachelorette weekend in Vegas and it was a blast! I LOVE them.

Tonight we're hosting a lasagna and gift exchange party for all of the women in Frito's Marketing Department. After that we'll just be trying to make it through a busy week at work (Christine's got a presentation to the CEO on Thursday) and then Friday we leave for Monterey, CA to see Dana's parents and relax for Christmas!
Also, we're going to be in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico for a long weekend in mid-January if anyone's free to join us. We'd love to see some of you there!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hottinger's Holiday Party

I got my hair cut (even shorter!) today and then we headed to Janelle and Michael's for a yummy holiday dinner. The men dominated the women in Catch Phrase once again! I'll blame it on the wine...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Cookie Decorating with my Bible Study

Stephanie hosted the most elaborate cookie decorating party you could ever imagine! It was so much fun - especially learning tricks from Chelsea who once worked at a famous cookie decorating company. The results look almost too good to eat!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kate's Baby Stella celebrates Christmas

Okay - I caved. Just start sending them to me now.... : )

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Erol & Danielle's Holiday Party

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The most memorable dinner party ever

Last night we hosted the annual Holiday dinner for our church small group. We played in a Couples Catch Phrase tournament and exchanged (joke) White Elephant gifts. Our Nascar Christmas ornament, dog water bowl that looked like a small toilet and hunting figurine were a hit! Dana tried a new tomato gorgonzola gnocchi recipe that was delicious but took longer than expected. I'm sure that the party will be memorable for many - since dinner was served at 10:30 PM. Yup - that's when it was ready. We're already laughing about how I started serving our stash of Thin Mint cookies for our first course around 9 PM to tide people over! Good times. Tonight we head to Erol & Danielle's holiday party and tomorrow I'm excited to decorate holiday cookies with my bible study!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

The first Allen Christmas tree has finally arrived and it has put me in a very festive spirit! I can't tell who is more excited about it though - me or the cats.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Say Cheese!

Well, it's Friday night and the Holiday party circuit has officially begun. I'm on my way to 2 holiday parties with Hillary while Dana is away at University of Michigan doing recruiting. Apparently he ran into a lot of our good friends (like Kate and many others) so I wish I was there to see them as well!

This was a good week for us. Work was extremely busy but I was successful in getting many millions of dollars approved for a project I'm working on, and Dana learned to make cheese! Literally. His team went to The Mozzarella Company and they all made cheese. He'll have to share more with you later - but we now have a freezer of cheese!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We have a lot to be Thankful for!

We just ended 9 wonderful days of having our families join us at our home for Thanksgiving. There's nothing we love more than having everyone together! We celebrated my father's 70th birthday and videotaped each of our parents sharing stories about their lives. We are all very blessed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

From Hospitals to Makeovers...

Thanksgiving is almost here! Both Dana and Christine's families are about to arrive and we're so excited to spend time with them and take a few days off work.
Last night we visited our dear friend Kelley who is confined to the hospital 6 weeks before her twins are due. We enjoyed decorating her hospital room for Thanksgiving and playing Racko (again, our new favorite game!).
We then had a fun date and woke up early this morning to volunteer at a food bank. There's nothing like packing boxes of food for the needy to help you feel thankful just in time for Thanksgiving! After that, Dana watched some football (sadly Michigan lost to Ohio State) while Christine had a facial and makeover at Nordstroms. Combine all of that with the fact that it was 80 degrees and sunny today and it was a really great day!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Caroline Makes the Blog : )

This weekend was pretty low-key because Christine finally caught the bad head cold going around town. The highlight was a visit from her sorority sister, Caroline, who came from LA for a work conference. We enjoyed some good sushi with Hillary, Italian food at Nicholas and watched Michael Moore's movie "Sick-o" (quite appropriate). Other than that we pretty much laid low and took naps.

Monday night however, was AWESOME!!!! I'm happy (yet somewhat embarrassed) to admit that it was one of the best nights of my life. We saw the top 10 finalists from our favorite TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" perform live in Dallas. The dancers were totally amazing and inspiring. The whole performance was just a beautiful work of art!

Our families start to trickle in this Saturday for Thanksgiving and hopefully by then the head colds will be gone and work will have slowed down. We're looking forward to a relaxing Thanksgiving week with our loved ones!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Don't forget the Chocolate Donuts...

This week was a busy one for us as we traveled back to University of Michigan to conduct MBA interviews during a recruiting trip. It was the first time we've ever had to interview as a pair! It worked out well but I felt a little awkward for the candidates...
This weekend we were definitely able to recover however because we spent an incredible couple of days in Hilton Head Island with Christine's college friends (the Kappa Kappa Gammas) and their husbands. We were spoiled rotten relaxing in one of Shannon's vacation houses (which to our delight turned out to be a 6 bedroom mansion, 1 row from the beach - life is rough... The funniest part being that it had a mini golf course in the basement!)
We enjoyed delicious food, played flag football on the beach and putt putt golf on a scenic, wooded course (not in the basement).
We also discovered our new favorite game (Racko), took a stroll through Harbour Town to admire the yachts and and were thrilled to see dolphins jumping near the pier (since Christine is obsessed with dolphins). On the way back, Jenny for some reason decided to carry a box of donuts all the way back to Chicago and was harassed by every airport guard along the way who wanted to eat them (thus the headline).
Once again we have to say that we are so blessed with such amazing friendships!
We missed you Caroline, Justin, Gita, Tom & Kevin!

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's a bit colder in Oregon...

This weekend Dana and I had the pleasure of catching up with two of his dearest friends, George and Eric, and their fabulous wives, Lindsey and Nicole. We took our annual trip to the Northwest and spent time hanging out together in a cabin outside Portland.

The laid-back weekend was just what we needed! We played a lot of card games (LOVE 3-card guts!), hiked, fly-fished and had great talks on our roles in marriage and the influences of our church community groups in our lives while we hung out in front of the fire. We also cooked a lot and enjoyed White Russians, compliments of Eric the bartender. We can't wait until next year's trip!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

2, 4, 6, 8...

Who do we appreciate? Our niece Larkin!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Janelle's birthday and my new 'do

Tonight we had a fantastic dinner with our good friends the Loredos, Garners and Hottingers in honor of Janelle's birthday. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends! Here are a couple pictures from the night as well as pics of my new haircut.

A fun, surprise date

Last night Elizabeth and I were swept off our feet by our romantic husbands who decided to plan a surprise date for us! We enjoyed a fun Tex-Mex dinner (love the Mambo Taxi margaritas), delicious gelato and an exciting evening of extreme go-carting. I love go carts! It was a blast.

Today the girls from bible study met to paint pottery and then I got my hair chopped off!