December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Part II

The boys decided to invite a bunch of people that were in Santa Barbara over for New Year's Eve. Everyone brought something to eat, and I made 4 batches of my yummy Turkey Chili. We had a smorgasbord of delights, and we all stuffed ourselves!

Of course I insisted that we get a group photo of all us ringing in the new year together.

Then for a group portrait. I made Brett take it since his arms are longer than mine...I think that this might be a record...almost all 18 of us made it in the photo! :) I'm going to have to try that again someday.

Then we broke out the RockBand....go figure. The boys put on quite a show for us first.

Then it was the girls' turn....after a few rounds, none of the girls wanted to sing, so Brett stood in.

I had to post both of these....Brett liked one, and I liked the I post both. :)

We all proudly made it up until midnight. I had the most wonderful time in Santa Barbara for New Year's Eve 2008.

New Year's Eve Part I

New Year's Eve started out with a wonderful breakfast at Jeannine's with Dave, Dayna and her parents, who were in town for a few days. Even though I tried, and really wanted to get something different, I went with my same breakfast from the last time we went there, did Brett, so it's all good. :)

We came back and hung out at the house for a bit, and then decided to go check out the seals in Carpenteria. Brett's Mom had mentioned these to me when we were in Vegas, and so we went out to see if we could find the right spot.

If you recall from our trip to NY, I was quite the Squirrel Whisperer....well, turns out that Brett is the Seal Whisperer...or Seal Barker. The seals were all being quite peaceful, just laying around on the beach, and then Brett decided to call out to the them. I'm sad that I didn't have the camera ready, because they all turned towards us at once, and it was hysterical. They ended up looking at all of us for a good 5 minutes, until a few of them just all of the sudden, turned and started out towards the water. It was so funny how they waddled on the sand, but we were all happy that we got to see them moving around.

On the way home, we stopped by the (extremely busy) grocery store to grab a few things for the New Year's Eve that we had in store at Brett's place. More pics to come in NYE Part II. :)

December 30, 2008

On the road again...ending in good ole Santa Barbara

First off, let me just tell you that I've never experienced this kind of pain before....while it's a good pain, one that tells my body that I need to get out, and moving around, a LOT more really hurts. I'm not getting much sympathy from Brett, I'm getting a whole lot of "baby", and "wimp"....which is fine. I DO need to get in shape....but OUCH!!

Anyways....we packed up the truck, once again, for our trip back to Santa Barbara...but not before being treated to a lovely lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Bollman at Elephant Bar Restaurant. It's supposedly a chain here in CA, but it was my first time, and I really got a kick out of the larger than life pachyderm that was near our table. We had a wonderful time here in Sacramento with all of the Bollman family, and hope to get to see them all again real soon.

We headed first towards San Francisco, and made a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course, everyone has seen this beautiful site on postcards and such, but I don't recall ever seeing it in person. We got out, walked around a bit, and of course, had to snap a few shots.

The streets in San Fran are so cool....we drove down Lombard Street....and had a great time looking to the left to see how steep the side roads were. They seemed to go up forever, without the end in sight. After a quick drive around Fisherman's Wharf too, we decided to take the scenic route, and hopped on the 1.

It was super sunny, and nice in San Fran, but on the road to the 1, the famous fog of San Fran started to roll in. It was crazy to me how quickly the weather could change!

The two lane road was bordered right up on the water....kind of scary, as the sun was starting to set, it was dark, and we could barely see what was right next to us, but I knew that it was a drop to the water. We took a quick jump out, parked where we weren't supposed to, and looked over the edge. Yikes! So neat....but one wrong step.....

The sunset peered through the fog for a quick bit, right around Half Moon Bay, and we had to jump out for a was perfect timing. As soon as we got back in the truck, it was all foggy again.

It took us a few more hours to get back to SB. We played some fun games on the road trip to pass the time. The letters game, where you try to find each letter of the alphabet in order in words on signs, didn't last very we started in on numbers. We made it all the way to 36 in the 9+ hours....I highly recommend it to keep everyone awake for the drives. :)

Dave and Dayna met us in SB shortly after we made it back, they came in town to hang out for NYE - yay!! We all stayed up chatting for a bit before we called it a night. What a fun whirlwind of a trip all over CA in the last 10 days or so. Glad to be back in SB, and looking forward to celebrating the New Year here too!

December 29, 2008

Hanging out in NoCal

On Saturday, we loaded up the truck, and started the trek from Las Vegas to Sacramento to visit with more of Brett's family in NorCal. The drive was full of mountains covered with snow, some very flat land, LOTS of cows at one point, and not much else...however, it was all worth it once we got to where we were going. We were greeted with open arms at Grandma and Grandpa Bollman's home that night. Brett and I chowed down on the yummiest egg salad, and after chatting for a bit, decided that we were beat, and turned in for a good night's sleep.

I really enjoyed Chuck Neighbors' presentation, Not the Way I Heard It, at church on Sunday morning. We spent some time chatting with family before heading over to Brad's for a fun afternoon with more family.

That night we played some cribbage with Brett's Grandpa. He and I played a set of 3....I won the first game, he won the 2nd....and then I lost the 3rd game by ONE point! It was an intense game though....during one round, we each scored over 20 points with our hands. Crazy! I will definitely have to get myself a game board....I really like it! Brett took a turn against Grandpa, and also suffered a defeat.

Monday morning came real early, as we were packed up and ready to meet Marisa and Eric at 7am in Roseville. Brett and I made a stop at Sports Authority on our way home the night before to get me all prepped for our day of snowboarding at Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe. This was only my second time to attempt this sport. The last time I'd done it, was a day lesson at Copper Mountain last year with Lora in CO. I had enjoyed it, so I decided that I wanted to try it again.

Everyone entertained me and joined me on the bunny slope for my first run, and after about 10 minutes, I begged Marisa and Eric to go along their way, and we'd meet up with them at lunch. Brett was so awesome. He was very encouraging, patient, and a great teacher. I was not picking it up as easily as I would have liked, but I was determined to power through. I gave myself a little bloody nose on one of my face plants, and knew that I'd bruised my tailbone a few times from those spills too. In the first few hours on the slope, there were more falls than positive accomplishments.

We all met up for lunch, and felt a refreshed after some hot food in our bodies. I told Brett to head up with Eric so he'd have a little bit of fun, and Marisa kindly offered to take me back to the bunny slope. After a few more falls, another pretty hard one on my cheekbone, she thought it would be a good idea to head up towards the top to meet up with the boys. While I was a little nervous to try an actual trail, I was definitely through with the awful bunny slope.

I made it off the grown up chair lift, and while the slopes were a LOT more steep, I was having a lot more fun up there. The snow was full, fluffy, and I managed to figure out how to "feather" down the mountain, so I was upright for most of the time instead of on my bottom. When we met up with the boys, I had the biggest smile on my face.

Unfortunately, the smiles didn't last long, as we trailed over to another lift to get to the top. This part, the part that was definitely made for skiers, was so flat, and it was starting to take a toll on my sore and tired body. To make the longest part of the day, short, we got to the top for the beautiful view of Lake Tahoe, and then slowly, very slowly, with a little bit of frustration, exhaustion, pain, and much more, finally made it back to the bottom of the mountain.

So, I made it through Day Two of boarding. Phew. It was so wonderful to get the chance to meet Marisa and Eric, and spend some fun time with them.

December 25, 2008

Everything Christmas!!!

Today was a fantastic day, a wonderful Christmas, with the Bollman family in Vegas. Everyone (there were 14 of us total) came over around 10 this morning, and after getting settled, the Christmas present opening started. We began with the presents in the main room....everyone getting the ones with their names, and we opened them one at a time, so everyone could enjoy all the gifts. There were wratches, candles, iPods, PSPs, socks, shoes, videos, picture frames.....all sorts of fun for all!

I think that we all had the most fun watching Loralyn open all of her presents. Brett and I got her a few things that were a big hit right off the bat. She walked around trying to say "Bippity Boppity Boo" with her fairy wand, angel wings, princess skirt, boa, and sassy glasses. After a quick break, we finished up with the presents under the 2nd tree. I think it took a little over 4 hours in all.

After all the presents, the quest to get dinner ready started. Everyone pitched in to help in their own way, to pull off a fantastic dinner. We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, carrots, stuffing, and so much more. All 14 of us sat at the same table, and enjoyed food, fellowship and fun.

We all hung out for a little bit afterwards. We also managed to get a few group pictures too! Taking some more tomorrow of the Lamar group, and I can't wait.

Brett and I were able to get my sister, Erika, to download Skype tonight, so we were able to spend a little bit of Christmas with them all in TX too. Taylor and Rob are in Chicago, and I hope that they are staying warm and having a great time with the puppies there. I didn't spend this Christmas with my family in Texas, but it did feel like home here in Vegas with Brett and his family. Thanks to everyone for making me part of the day!!

For some more of our Christmas day fun, watch the slideshow.

December 25

I'm sure that I'll have a few pictures to post after today....there will be 14 of us here today - you should see the number of presents under the trees....and they aren't all even here yet!!!

I was woken up this morning, not by the sounds of Christmas (well, maybe the sounds of Christmas text messages), but really by the smells!! Whatever is going on in the kitchen, smells wonderful, and I can't wait to's only about 9 hours away!!

Everyone will be getting here soon, so I'm going to finish getting ready....but wanted to wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

December 23, 2008

Fifteen 2, Fifteen 4, and a Pair makes 6

Tonight I learned how to play Cribbage....has anyone else ever played this game before? It took a little while to catch on, but I guess I had beginner's luck. I was only ONE point away from skunking Brett in the game. I hear that is the term that is used when you beat someone that too many points. was nice to actually win a game playing against Brett for a change. :)

Anyways.....I caught on, and rather enjoyed the game. Brett's Grandpa in Sacramento evidently loves this game, so I'm sure that we'll get to play it again real soon. Good thing that I learned before I get there....I also hear that he's a pro! Looking forward to the challenge!

We had some more fun with the 16-35 lens after the game, sitting by the toasty fire.

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

We arrived at the Bollman home in Vegas late on Sunday night....and were welcomed by the wonderful warm feeling of Christmas! There are 5 Christmas trees in the house! As I finished up working on some pictures earlier, I thought that it'd be fun to take a few pics around here.

I even have my very own stocking!! I hope that Santa remembers that I am here this Christmas, and can find me to stuff it with all sorts of know, I've been very good this year.

When I was in the kitchen to grab a photo of one of the trees, I was alarmed at all the goodies waiting to be prepared for Christmas day dinner. Can't wait!!

The Woody Family Story

I met with the Woody Family before I left for my trip. We were originally supposed to meet on Monday...but Austin weather was NOT cooperating with us. It was hovering around 30 all day that we had decided to meet on Wednesday instead. [note: Please disregard the date on the slideshow being wrong. I was going to change it, but I don't have the font loaded on my traveling shame on me for trying to be prepared in advance...I won't let it happen again!).

Julie, and her boys....all 4 of them....Skyler, Jake, Zach....and hubby of 15 years, Keith......were a ton of fun! The kids were so adorable - I loved Skyler's red hair.....Jake was up for anything, a total ham in front of the camera.....and Zach kept me on my toes for sure!!!

I've had such a great time this fall in Texas with all of the lovely leaves, and colorful trees, so we started out in the neighborhood, and then took a short trip over to downtown Round Rock. After we parked and got out of our cars....we were near the Round Rock water tower. Every time I pass by this, I think that I would love to use it as a background of a photo. The Woody Family was up for it, so we ran across the street, and got a fun shot! We had a little bit more fun around the streets of RR before calling it a day based on the cold weather!

Julie, I had a wonderful time with your family. I'm so glad that your boys were up for telling your story for your Christmas present....I hope you love it!

For more of the Woody Family, watch the slideshow.

December 20, 2008

A little bit of this, little bit of that....Saturday in Santa Barbara

Brett and I enjoyed a lovely brunch today at Jeannine's Bakery, tucked in the cozy area of Montecito. It was a little chilly outside (it always is to me), but we sat on the cute white picket fence patio. I hadn't taken pictures of food in a long time (this is for you, Laura F) I grabbed a shot of our yummy delights. Brett had a huge breakfast burrito, I loved my pancakes, eggs, and bacon.

After enjoying it, as well as having a nice conversation with one of Jeannine's friends....I went into get a To Go cup for my coffee, and fill it up. As I was lifting my cup to put on the sleeve, it slipped out of my hand....and spilled EVERYWHERE! Ooops!!! I managed to spill it mostly on the counter, and none of it on the nice lady next to me....dressed in a wonderful WHITE skirt! I also avoided getting any of it on my own white jacket. Phew. There were some super nice people that helped me clean it all up. That is the 2nd time that I've spilled something in the last few just a warning to those who choose to dine with me - watch out. Spill #3 is bound to be on its way! :)

We hung out with DJ for a bit in the afternoon at his place.....the boys played some ping pong on the Wii. While I have never thought it to be that exciting of a game to was fun seeing these two try to figure out how to whoop up on each other virtually. I got a turn, and Brett dominated in all rounds. Sometimes it's not so much fun to play with Brett - he always wins! (Just kidding....I used to be super I'm not sure what I am. I think that I just like to or lose!).

After checking in with Kyle and David at the house, we stopped by VONS to get stuff to make dinner at the casa. Then we promptly returned to play a few more hours of Rock Band - surprise, surprise. :) I got stuck with the microphone, and it turns out that it's not my favorite instrument....but we were attempting to get a million points on one song with all 4 of us. We didn't really get too close in this challenge, but it was entertaining trying! I did have a feat of my own, and I managed to bump to the HARD setting, and make it all the way through one song on Bass and not get booed off - go me! It's the little accomplishments people.....adding that orange key is difficult!!

Ashlee joined us, and dinner was yummy....I made the Chicken Fiesta, and we all grubbed. After the kitchen was all cleaned up, we played a mean game of Trivial Pursuit. It started out with the modified version of only being that any question you got right, you got the pie chip....and then after quite a while of that not getting us too far, when it was your turn, you got the chance to answer any question that you hadn't correctly to that point yet. The brown category, "The Written Word", all about books, magazines, authors, etc, was giving us all the hardest time....but it came down to two questions of this category to Brett for the win.

After all of that, we just sat around in the living room....chilled out, and chatted. Good old fashioned, just keeping each other company. We got to talking about cameras and lenses, and Brett pulled out my ShootSac. Since my camera was sitting there, I had a little bit of fun.

We had an awesome night hanging out with everyone....and hope we get to do it again soon!!