happy, happy birthday to my sweet husband, nicholas! he turned 27 today. this morning, i made him coffee and an omelette and cinnamon rolls - which he chose to have instead of cake! ... then he opened presents and we drank mimosas!
tonight we'll continue the celebrations as we ring in the new year at a french restaurant in santana row called left bank! i love you, nicholas. i am so happy to celebrate your birthday and the new year tonight!
on christmas eve eve, nick and i stopped at great bear coffee in los gatos for some hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream, then we drove around and looked at christmas lights. there were some gorgeous houses that i ohhhh'd and ahhh'd over! we put up lights on our house, but we never got around to buying that extension cord that we needed - so we never plugged them in! bummer, huh?! oh well, these lights more than made up for it!...
this christmas was a little different for nick and i because we weren't able to spend christmas morning with our immediate families. last christmas, we were with nick's siblings in seattle and the christmas before, nick flew down to south texas to propose, so we were with my family. we are so lucky though, because we were able to spend Christmas weekend with my extended family in vacaville, which is about an hour and a half north of us. we opened stockings and drank wine and ate delicious food and laughed a lot. it's always a great time over at their house! and, it feels like we're on vacation every time we go! my cousin has two little girls... i guess they're my second cousins?! ... and it was fun to spend christmas eve with them. watching little kids opening presents is so entertaining!
stocking stuffers! we got lucky. :)
these smart gloves are genius!
you can still text and take pictures while wearing your gloves!
left to right: nicholas, me, uncle tom, aunt larre, cousin megan, reagan, cousin lizabeth, her husband dave, and allyn. (reagan and allyn are lizabeth and dave's girls.)
sending joyful christmas wishes to everyone this christmas eve. christmas eve will always have a special place it my heart, even more so than just for christmas, because 2 years ago today nicholas asked me to be his wife. i said yes, and it was the best decision of my life. MERRY CHRISTMAS.
one thing i love about christmas is all the delicious treats! it's a great time to cook for family and friends and co-workers. this year, i made monkey bread, which nick ate every christmas morning growing up, and almond bark. it was my first time to make the almond bark, but a co-worker made it a couple years ago and i just had to have the recipe - it is THAT good.
the monkey bread is delicious, but especially fun to make if you have kids to help. the cinnamon/sugar mixture can be divided into several tupperwares (or paper bags) and each kid can shake their own pieces of biscuit to add to the bundt pan.
the almond bark is perfect to make for a party or to pass out at work in goodie bags. it is super easy to make and it sooo good! this could also be modified for different holidays with a little food coloring, or sprinkles. bon appetite! and thank goodness for new year's resolutions. :)
usually, when i go on vacation, especially to a tropical locale, i am fully content with just laying on the beach, reading, and drinking fruity, rum filled drinks. but, on our cruise this year we were totally adventurous! we went ziplining in jamaica, snorkeling in grand cayman and rock climbing and golfing on the ship.
ziplining in jamaica was so much fun! i've been before in costa rica - which was amazing - and this time was even better! the views were spectacular.
snorkeling is always fun. my little brother had one of those gopro cameras, which can take videos and HD pictures underwater, and we were pretty much obsessed with that thing, more so than the fish. :)
last but not least, our last day at sea was a little windy and overcast. too chilly to lay out in my opinion. so, we opted for a little family golf game and rock climbing. seriously, i didn't think my little scrawny arms could hold on long enough for me to make it to the top. i started before nicholas and he passed me up. so did the 7 year old to my left. dang it. but, i made it to the top and rang the bell - shaky arms and all!
dad on the left and my older brother, allen on the right.
my younger brother austin on the left, and i'm getting ready to go on the right!
yep, that's when nick just flies right by me!
i finally made it!
woohoo! it was a good thing we were as adventurous as we were, because if you've ever been on a cruise, you know there is an abundance of food and we ate non-stop! ps. don't i look 12 in a helmet?!
i am finally getting around to posting some cruise pictures! i thought i'd start out with my favorite port from the trip... cozumel, mexico. cozumel is an island just off the coast of cancun. my family decided to forego the typical cruise excursion here and took a taxi to playa corona. we've been to this same beach several different times and i just love it. everything is perfect... snorkeling right off the beach, shade and sun, cerveza, nachos, guacamole and bright blue water.
by the way, we saw a scary barracuda when we were snorkeling...
we made it back from our 7 day shields family christmas cruise last night! we had a wonderful time soaking up the sun in the caribbean. today, i was back at work and it only took about 15 tries to remember my password and log-in this morning. oh, and i had to make my own bed this morning which sucks. ok, i lied. nick actually made the bed, but still, neither of us had to make the bed on the cruise. i miss that already. i also went a little overboard with the unlimited pizza and ice cream, and we even had a johnny rockets on our ship. a burger and fries is not the best "snack" before you put on a bikini. piggy! after i do a few situps and unpacking, i'll get my pictures organized and catch up on blogging. be back soon.
The other day, I went indoor skydiving with some of my co-workers for a team building off site. It was sooo exhilarating. We suited up, had a quick lesson, then literally fell into a wind tunnel and the air just lifts you right up! We only got to do it for a couple of minutes each, but it was totally worth it. We have a DVD of us flying and if I can figure out a way to do it, I'll post on here! Now I'm ready for the real thing!!!
i would NOT recommend this. however, we had a "reindeer run" at work today and this was the last challenge.
basically we had a 8 person relay run, using a 16 pound frozen turkey as our baton! before you could pass off the baton, you had to complete a challenge!
Runner 2 had a draw a Christmas pictionary for Runner 1 to guess. (for example, "grandma got run over by a reindeer" or "silent night") so in order to pass off your baton aka 16 pound turkey, you had to guess the right answer.
Runner 3 had to eat (and swallow!) 2 christmas sugar cookies and a cup of hot cocoa.
Runner 4 had to answer a Christmas trivia question before they could move on. I was Runner 4 - my question was "what are the names all of Santa's reindeer*?' i answered correctly in RECORD speed. seriously. but, i did NOT look pretty running around our building carrying a giant ass turkey. OH - and if you drop the turkey, your whole team is automatically disqualified. i just gave it a bear hug and ran like my job life depended on it!
Runner 5 had to throw a pie in an elf's face.
Runner 6 had to make a elf's hat out of materials supplied.
Runner 7 had to eat two saltines, and then whistle. (this is the one that killed our team)
Runner 8 had to do a Christmas spelling bee. (Ebenizer, ebonezor, ebuneezur... )
and then, for the finale... an eggnog flip cup game with your whole team present.
i kept thinking of this image from pinterest when i was running with the turkey...
this holiday season, i'll be trading in my boots for flip-flops, my scarves for cover-ups and my hot cocoa for a pina colada! yep, this christmas is going to be a little bit different than past christmases... this year i'll be celebrating christmas in the Caribbean!
nick and i are going on a CRUISE with my mom, dad, and my two brothers to celebrate christmas! i cannot wait. it is going to be sooo awesome to lay by the pool and soak up the sun while listening to christmas music. i am going to make an honest effort of building a "sand"man... although i've never even built a snowman before! and we can go ice skating on the ship... perfect!
we'll be stopping in jamaica, grand cayman, and cozumel. i've only been to cozumel, but i was younger and don't remember much.... so if you have any recommendations of must-do/must-see things for any of our stops, please share!