Hey there .. it's been a while, heh. Lots of busy-ness with holidays and such. Recap time ?
The last day I updated, 20 Dec, turned out to be a pretty great day. :D Gene was sick (with what he thinks was pneumonia), but we headed out shopping anyways (turned up emptyhanded though) but while out we stopped by Chuck & Melanie's new house in NT to visit with them, and Chrissy & Ricky who were in town for the holidays, plus their new puppy Gunther !! He is a cutie !! A little ball of energy too, lol. Chrissy had Christmas presents for me which was sweet and awesome and caught me totally off guard, because I didn't have anything for her this year with all the other craziness going on. Her Mom made homemade chocolates and sponge candy and gave me a little box of them & a bag of my own "sponge" (non-chocolate coated) YUM and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED Chrissy's gifts -- a box of Cupcake Bites (CAN'T WAIT TO TRY THEM !!! Found out they also make red velvet ones now too !!) and a cute little cupcake tea cup and coaster ! She knows me too well, haha. Cake-themed is always good by me haha. We visited with them for a while, and then headed home, and to grab some food on the way, so we stopped by Mighty Taco to meet up with THE MATT CASCARINO !!!! Who was also in town visiting. This is the first time I've seen him IN ALMOST TWO YEARS since he's been away at flight school and such. It was good to see him, though our visit was brief, I miss him a bunch, and hope to see him soon, or at least keep in better touch !!
Wednesday 21 Dec was my last day of work for the holidays. There were some parties going on. Finished all shopping and wrapping that day so I could have the next day for last minute touches & packing for our trip. American Horror Story finale too, which was pretty awesome in retrospect. Wasn't sure how I felt at first, with Ben dying, and all that jazz .. but the end was a good one, with Tate's kid's sinister side showing through. Also it was 53 degrees in WNY which was AWESOME. And first winter break for me SINCE HIGH SCHOOL.
Thursday 22 Dec was pack day. Marlene came up to drive with us, and I threw a bunch of warm clothes together, had Dad sign some of his books for the kids. We set out probably around 2:15 PM. I sat in the backseat most of the ride, and brought a book, though I forgot a book light and the drive was mostly in the dark, so that sucked. The drive down took about 16 hours or so, with us getting in around 5:30 AM their time. (They are an hour behind us) Gene drove mostly the whole time, and I tried to sleep in the car but just couldn't, which made me miserable. Not to mention I was PMSing so that added to the crankiness. We hit stand still traffic in Cleveland pretty bad, but the rest of the drive wasn't bad. Ventured into some new states, Indiana, Illinois (Chicago at night was SUPER pretty !!), Wisconsin, and then finally, Minnesota.
The kids woke us up a few hours later, so we got pretty crappy sleep that night. We spent the day just relaxing with the family, playing with the kids, meeting baby Eliza (who is SO HAPPY), and medicating Eugene because he was feeling pretty crappy. I think this was the night she had people over too, which didn't thrill Gene and his siblings. Plus we ate like crap the whole time we were gone (and I don't mean like eating junk, I mean barely eating, though we did have some junk too) Gene's Dad told me I look like skin and bones and asked if Gene's been feeding me, LOL.
Christmas Eve, we headed out with Gene's parents to the Mall of America, just so I could say I'd been there, and so we could get a little last minute shopping done. Someone had bought the same thing for Anthony that we had, so we decided to save that for Jack and pick up something new for Anthony. Plus we got another thing for Steph and Tye (an electric griddle because theirs broke on day one of our visit) I picked up a shotglass and a keychain from the state (mine and Aunt Regina's collections, lol) and we stopped by an Ikea, though it was closing, so I just got my marzipan fix and got out. WISH we had an Ikea in WNY !!! Among other things like Trader Joes and Whole Foods. SIGH. We also hit up this place called Fleet Farm for a few things and while there found this adorable Snoopy on his mailbox Christmas yard light up ornament, that I KNEW would be perfect for my parents, and Gene suggested his parents give it to my parents as a gift, since Mom & Dad sent them a Coca Cola collectible Christmas decoration with Emmett Kelly (the clown). After our shopping, we headed back to Stephanie's house, and mostly relaxed for the night. She dispersed our matching "Christmas Eve PJs" which were actually surprisingly comfy and cute ! The girls had long sleeved red tops and black capris, and the boys had short sleeve red shirts, and fuzzy warm black pants. Stephanie hadn't started ANY of her wrapping, so we were all up til all hours helping her wrap and helping put presents under the tree. Gene was feeling like absolute garbage despite all the meds he was taking (DayQuil, Mucinex, and scrounged up antibiotics since his insurance had a mix up and he wouldn't be insured til the 1st of Jan) I finally took him to bed around 0315, and I guess everyone else stayed up another three hours or so til around 0615 to finish wrapping. I couldn't do it. Not sleeping was making him worse, and making me feel crappy, and I knew the kids would be up early for Christmas.
SO anyways .. Christmas. Steph was asleep on the couch so the kids patiently waited a little bit to start opening presents. We probably started around 0930/1000. It lasted until 1430 !!! There were I think 14 of us in all. It was CRAZY. Presents EVERYWHERE. His family always spoils us though. I got a Kindle Touch (which I am skeptical about because I love books and have never really been a Kindle fan but I am sure I can find some uses for it, not to sound ingrateful or anything, just not my style I guess, we'll see) I got an AWESOME Under Armour gym bag from Steph & Tye, as well as a Camel Bak, and some other awesome presents including a birthday cake scented candle, and a bag for toiletries while traveling. Got a memory foam pillow from Marlene, Karen gave everyone jewelry and awesome photo gifts of the whole fam and then others of Eliza. Got a nice bottle of wine from PopPop and some other things too. Traditional peanuts of course .. poker set (though Gene bought me a nice one a few birthdays ago) .. Gene got a printer, a food saver, lots of money, a blanket, a new bomber jacket, some serving platter, etc. We hadn't eaten all morning so Gene's Dad finally cooked up some fish that was in the freezer and we had some eggnog. Everyone seemed to LOVE their presents from us which made me happy. Especially baby Eliza. Gene & I took a nap on the couch while everyone watched Home Alone. We stayed in our comfy PJs all day. Met Tye's brother Ryan who gave us each a $25 giftcard to Best Buy, and I think we should send them something in return. Back home Uncle Mike had mailed us two $25 giftcards, one to Outback and one to IHOP, so we should send him something too. We had cookie cake to celebrate the many December birthdays, and we played with the kids some more. Mo & Steph got into a fight. I tried to play around on the kids new guitar. Steph gave us some hand me down stuff she was getting rid of -- mirrors/artwork/household stuff/furniture for our house. We tried to get to bed at a reasonable hour so we could wake up early & hit the road.
0500 26 Dec, we wake up, shower, pack up, say our goodbyes, and venture out into the sunrise. Mo drove with her parents for most of the trip (we followed each other until Cleveland where they spent the night and we continued home) The drive home seemed SO MUCH faster/better than the drive there, when in reality it was probably an hour/hour and a half longer due to detouring around Chicago to avoid $50 in tolls. I guess it was because we were driving during daylight/normal hours when we would be awake. It was fun. Got to see the Mississippi River, and we stopped off in Wisconsin and Illinois to get gas/eat, so I picked up more shotglasses/keychains. We never stopped in Indiana but if I was smart I would've bought something from the Ohio gift shop that said Indiana on it. Oh well. We listened to some of the Sabres game via Gene's WGR app, and we all had fun talking and chatting. We got in around 11:30 at night, and I stayed at Gene's because why head home then ? We unpacked the truck, Mo slept for a few hours before getting back on the road around 0600, and we slept in til maybe 0830/0900.
Then we hit Tim Horton's and headed to my parents for Christmas Part II. They were playing a Wii fishing game Mom got Dad for Christmas, though Mom, Meagan, and Gene seem to be having the most fun playing it. Of course we were spoiled again, but I was most excited to give my family their presents because I thought we did REALLY good this year !! :D :D Mom LOVED her UA sports bra, Zumba capris, rum, and scrapbooking calendar. Meagan & Jack got the Wii, Red Lobster gift card, Crown Royal, r/c helicopter, two books, shot glass game (Shooters and Ladders) and her beloved penguin hat haha. We surprised Dad with his Pink Floyd tix taped to a keg of cheese balls, hahaha, and a Herman Munster shirt, and Animal House boxed set. GENE LOVED HIS R/C AIRPLANE but is afraid to fly it and damage it, though while putting it together did some damage due to a faulty screw. I think he patched it up good enough though that it shouldn't matter. He also LOVED his 3-in-1 toaster I FINALLY bought and his jeans and t-shirts. As for me, I was THRILLED to finally get my Bosu ball, a NICE heart rate monitor, ANOTHER Camel Bak (from Gene, lol), UA scarf and headband, a pie pop maker and kitchen torch from Meagan (plus some books I had been wanting, though Sammy took a bite of one of them, lol -- Nikkie ate the original canister of butane fuel for the torch !! and she got ahold of Gene's aviation coasters too !! Those were salvageable though.) I got a coat, scarf, other books and movies, and TV shows (Munsters, Addams Family, Walking Dead, Dexter) and other cooking stuff, like a cookie press. Gene got a lot of nice stuff too. I can't even remember it all. He took us all out to lunch afterwards and then we all napped and relaxed, playing the fishing game and stuff. I tried on the pair of Zumba capris I had bought myself when I bought Mom's and they are SO flattering !! LOVE it. Haven't tried the undies yet.
Gene had to go back to work the next day, so I hit up Forever 21 with my parents & sister. Got a VERY flattering pair of jeans there, a blue skirt (because I need more skirts/dresses to wear with my new pairs of tights !!) and something else .. a shirt maybe ? Idr. I had contemplated whether to get this cute pencil skirt, but Mom & Meagan were only halfway sold so I held off, though I really want a nice one. They got some B&BW stuff and I almost bought a calendar but then decided I would do what Mo did and make a photo one for Gene & I. (: Customized with everyone's bdays and stuff. Gene was still feeling crappy, so we had some R&R time and watched Transformers : Dark of the Moon, which was okay. Picked up a running skirt on sale at Wal Mart, had been wanting to try one, and it's cute. Got some oatmeal on sale, and some bath stuff and shaving stuff for Gene half off at Target too.
Thursday while Gene was working, I went thrifting with the family, ended up buying a nice pair of grey work pants that fit pretty good (size 4, a little big), a cute top, a vest type thing, and almost a polka dot skirt, but Meagan convinced me not to get that one. We hit up Big Lots in Lockport, got more nail polish pens, and went to Sweet Sixteen Cafe for lunch which was AWESOME. I got a half sandwich/soup and all the meals come with a mini cupcake ! Plus we got some of their "cake pops" to go (theirs are the cake on a stick ones we'd had before, not like your regular round cake pops). Pina colada ones were DELISH. For dinner, I made butter chicken (from a box, not as good as homemade or restaurant, but Gene liked it). We watched Limitless (which I liked, but he didn't) and he assembled his airplane ! A problem with a screw lead to the propeller flying off and cutting into the wing, but like I said, he patched it up nicely.
Friday the 30th was Meagan & Jack's first wedding anniversary AND I got some EXCITING NEWS -- LISA AND STEVE ARE ENGAGED !! My little cousin ! Steve proposed on Christmas or Christmas Eve I guess. He is awesome, so I am very happy for them !! Of course, this lead to questions of my future engagement, etc etc. haha. OH WELL. Painted my nails with the OPI Rainbow Connection polish I had been SO EXCITED for and it was ALL I HAD HOPED FOR hahah I had SO much fun, it was like a confetti glitter explosion on my nails, perfect party nails for New Years !! ^__^ Mom & Dad had a wedding to go to, so Gene & I watched some Twilight Zone (including an awesome episode called To Serve Man which Gene called was serve as in eating, like Soylent Green style) and had some astronaut ice cream (: I am easily pleased haha. Bob Evans for dinner in search of waffles for Gene which ended in disappointment, lol.
Saturday was New Year's Eve and we had pushed back our dinner/movie plans with Neiss for then. I used it as an excuse to get dressed up and wear a new dress I had bought in the Fall and never had a chance to wear, with one of my new pairs of tights, and new earrings too !! That was a pain, since I don't wear them often, it is always like repiercing, lol. Ouch. Wore my hair down. Made him a special "popcorn cake" that was a HIT with EVERYONE !! Dinner was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS -- shrimp appetizers, steak, baked potatoes, salad for dinner. We watched the Hangover Part II, and did our little gift exchange, which was a surprise this year ! Last year we swapped movie giftcards, this year I put together a little movie night snack basket for him, and he gave me this awesome and unique fish wall art, and Gene one of those atomic clock/thermometers. Mom & Dad got a photo ID phone and Meagan & Jack got an ornament. It was a nice time visiting with them and their animals, plus Gene got to check out his new AR Drone -- the one controlled by the iPod/iPhone/iPad with a camera on it. I had wanted to buy it for Gene in the past but it is SO expensive !! We made it home by 11:30, watched the ball drop, then I got my stuff together and spent the night at Gene's.
New Year's Day we got the paper to clip coupons and I realized it had the BIG annual New Year's Day crossword !! WOO !! So our day consisted of that and Twilight Zone marathon (like every year recently haha) until we stopped by Nas & Anas' house later on, to finally meet their newest little one, Fahad ! It was nice to catch up with them, as always. I am a little jealous of how close she seems to be with Katie now, but it's whatevs. I guess it's just because Katie is so different at the Lodge that I am never sure what to think of her. Seems fake I guess, Idk.
We were both off on Monday, so that day was also spent lounging, working on the crossword (I got REALLY far ALL ON MY OWN !!) and he played video games. We went to Denny's for dinner, where we caught up with Quinn which was nice (: We had some of the holiday foods including bread pudding french toast (MMM) and pumpkin pie pancakes, and ham. I want to go back soon just to try their sugar cookie milkshake !!! :D Fun little date idea. (: We went grocery shopping with our coupons which took FOREVER and we always seem to not get enough food, but I want my New Year's resolution this year to be meal planning on Sundays while Gene does his grocery clipping, and then shopping for what we'll need for said meals throughout the week, so we are not rushing out for ingredients last minute after work. This will save us time, money, and calories !! :D
Tuesday I went back to work. It was nice to have my first real winter break since high school. I spent the rest of the day working on the crossword and the photo calendar since it was too freeeezing to do anything else.
Wednesday I was still working on that darn crossword and photo project, though the rest of my day was pretty good. Daddy made us an awesome dinner (stir fry & sweet potatoes) and then Gene & I ventured out to the Island to visit with Meagan & Jack (Meagan had picked up EZ Pass stickers for him) and we finally gave Sammy his Christmas gift. Gene got to check out their new fireplace and the awesome keg tap thing Mom & Dad gave them that stores liquor and glasses. Meagan was sick so we didn't stay long. Plus Mom & Dad wanted to meet at Gene's to work out, so we did a quick Insanity Cardio Abs. Felt good to work out since we hadn't been able to in so long due to travels and whatnot. Need to get back into the routine. Exercising, eating better, sleeping, etc. After that, we stopped by Old Navy because Mom had bought me a GORGEOUS pair of jeans but I need them in a smaller size, so I got a 4 for now. I fit into 2s and 4s, yay ! Smaller than EVER !! I really should head back their soon, so many good sales going on (not that I have much money, lol).
Thursday we stopped by Sears to look for the adjustable dumbbells Gene wants. Then we visited with Pam for a while, so Gene could give her some money towards the elliptical and just to catch up which was nice. Made me miss some of my Lodge peeps.
Yesterday, we had a nice night in. Gene didn't want to do much because he's still not at 100% so we did Insanity Core Cardio & Balance (recovery disc) which still made me sweat to death and killed my hips and shoulders, but I really need to get back into it. I do so good and then something derails me haha. But people are noticing my hard work which is nice. (: Can't wait to use all my new gear !!! After that we made a quick grocery run because Gene has been craving waffles FOREVER. SO alas, we made Belgian waffles (his with peanut butter) and DELICIOUS HOMEMADE breakfast sandwiches in his AWESOME 3-in-1 toaster !! :D :D :D We watched 127 Hours too because it was one of the shorter movies in our stack and I had been wanting to see it for a while though Gene wasn't keen on the idea. I liked it though. It was tough to watch at times, very realistic, and crazy that it's a true story and the dude STILL climbs. Regardless of the arm cutting scene, I could only think about how painful it would have been to have contacts in that whole time hahah.
Anyways, so here I am back at the Lodge for drill weekend. Caught up with Ashly this morning, she is starting bartending at the Club, and Jasmine is going back to school. We all need to get together soon or something ! I am burning some DVDs while chilling here, catching up with people, employee-wise and customer-wise. Guess I will save for now though and get on with my shift. Not sure what's on the agenda for today, Gene wants to cancel Time Warner (they dropped MSG which carries the Sabres games) so maybe catch up on our DVRed Futuramas. It is nice out, so maybe a run ? We'll see. Want to plan out our meals for next week and finally submit this calendar too so we can have it sometime before January is over, haha. I wanted to write a more reflective post since I have been thinking a lot with the start of a new year and all that's happened last year, but it will have to wait til next time it seems ..
Talk later (:
PS. Had some really weird dreams lately .. most notably fishing at Hyde Park on the bridge with Mom & Dad and hooking a big one, so Dad reeled it in, and it was a DOG. A fish dog. LOL. Reminded me of Sammy.
Also, on a sad note, Drew & Jen got pregnant again. But shortly after we found out, they miscarried. ): Prayers for them.
AND one more thingggg -- Today is Russian Christmas for Gene's fam which we are obviously missing for UTA AND his cousin's new wife (Dan & Stephanie)'s baby shower ! I had wanted to send a gift or at least a giftcard, but I totally forgot !! /: I wonder if I should still send one late ? /: I never know what to do when it comes to stuff like this, like how much is appropriate ..