Giving Thanks

Doug and I had the most wonderful Thanksgiving up in Santa Cruz.  If my brother wouldn't have been stuck in crummy old Virginia, I would say that it was the best Thanksgiving EVER.  We spent Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house with 60 of closest family members. (Haha, yes, we have a very large family).  We had three turkeys including one that my Uncle David deep fried after watching many "What not to do" videos online.  When we arrived at the house, we asked where my Uncle David was so that we could go say hi.  My grandpa told me that he was behind the garage frying the turkey.  After wandering around trying to find him, we spotted him in the middle of a field with the deep fryer.  He wanted to be very sure that there was no risk of a fire, so he had decided to set up shop waaay far away from anything flammable.  We all thought it was a pretty funny sight, Uncle David in the middle of a field with the turkey.  The other highlight of the meal were some brussel sprouts seasoned with bacon and vinegar that rocked my world.  Who knew that brussel sprouts could be so delicious?
My sister and I with our cousins, Corinne and Kristen.
My cousins Corinne and Scott with their little Lucy.  She is such a cutie and a most excellently dressed baby!

My dad came to Thanksgiving at my grandma's house too!  It was so nice to have him there and to get to spend a holiday with both of my parents. 

Keeping with family tradition, we woke up at 5am on Friday morning for some black Friday shopping.  Our successes this year were rather limited, but we still had fun.  The only thing that I bought were some boots for 30% off from Macy's.  You can get coupons in the newspaper for that discount, but whatever, my sister will be very happy on Christmas morning.  Not so surprised though.  She picked them out.  My family doesn't do so well with the whole "It's supposed to be a surprise" thing. 

After we finish our girls-only shopping, we always meet up with the boys for some breakfast.

Jessie with the two babies.

Dougie's Birthday

 The man of my dreams turned 29! 

I am so incredibly blessed to have Doug as my husband.  I love his desire to be a servant of the Lord; I love watching him become a courageous man of God.  Especially in the last year, I have seen many areas of his life transform as he walks closer with Jesus.  I am so thankful that he is the head of my household. I am grateful for the wisdom that he brings to our family.  He is always steady and logical amidst my impulsiveness.  One of my favorite qualities about Doug is that he loves being a host.  The highlight of Doug's life is when he gets to cook breakfast when we have friends staying the weekend, bake fancy cupcakes for a game night, or fry his own chips for some delicious nachos.  He finds joy in serving others in this way, and what's not to love about that? I also love laughing with him, adventuring with him, vacationing with him, and pretty much doing everything else with him.  Except surfing with him...that's his man time.  But he sure looks sexy when walks up from the beach in his wetsuit.

Poor Doug... his birthday always falls right around Thanksgiving.  Next year, it's actually on Thanksgiving.  This year, he got to spend his birthday in a car for 8 hours driving up to Santa Cruz.  Once we got up to Santa Cruz, Doug was surprised with some red velvet cupcakes, homemade egg nog, and some birthday gifts.

I love him.


I got these beautiful babies at Burlington Coat Factory for a cool $20. 

Amazing, right?  I'm super excited to make good use of them this winter. (Rain, please?  Please, please?)  I already have big plans for them involving my new grey skinny jeans that I got at Ross for $13.00 and some black leg warmers that I got for Christmas last year. 

There is just one very sad problem- the rubber smell is overpoweringly awful!  Seriously, Doug insists that we roll down the window in the car whenever I wear them so that we don't get headaches.  When I visited my dad a few weeks ago, he informed me that I had B.O.  In his words, "Lizzie, you smell a little ripe."  I had just taken a shower; I had on clean clothes, but I had stopped wearing deodorant a few months ago (more on this later).  Obviously, I panicked.  After forcing both my mother and Doug to shove their faces into the inside of my jacket and my armpits, we concluded that it was not me that smelled bad. It was the boots...  This was a relieving revelation but very depressing at the same time.  Currently, my boots are airing out on our deck.  Here's hoping that they come back inside fresh and stench free.  If not, I think I'll settle for "B.O." over not wearing these totally awesome boots...

Getting Hitched!

Well, I knew this weekend was going to be awesome, but I did not know the surprise that was in store:
These two crazy kids are going to tie the knot!
After we picked my mom and Cliff up from the airport on Friday night, we walked to a restaurant right around the corner from our house to wait for my sister and Brandon to arrive.  As soon as they got to the restaurant, Cliff said, "Ok, let me take a picture of you guys."  While we posed for the picture, my mom slipped on her rock and put her hand right next to the camera.  Here is the picture:

I know that this picture looks posed, but it's not.  Doug and I immediately noticed the giant rock on her finger, and we were stunned.  It took Mimi and Brandon a few more seconds before they realized what was going on, so they were still smiling for the camera at this point.  I just think this picture is hilarious.

I am so happy for my mom and Cliff.  She is such a wonderful mother, and I am so glad that she had found someone so sweet to take care of her and be her partner.  I am excited for all of the festivities to come (hello, bachelorette party!) and to welcome the new additions to our family.

I was going to apologize for the terrible picture quality, but you know what?  This is my blog.  You get to read about my life.  Take what you get, ok?

It came at last- Pt. 2

The weather in Las Vegas was absolutely delightful and we hung out at the pool all day.  If you haven't already heard, the new trend in Las Vegas is "day life."  This basically means that many of the trendy hotels have turned sections of their pools into nightclubs for daytime.  There is a DJ, cabanas, and a general liveliness that makes it a lot of fun, but there are also some drawbacks. 

1. It is absolutely impossible to sleep with loud nightclub-ish music blaring in your ears.  Top 40's: Great if you're ready for a dance party, not so great if you want to sleep in the glorious sun.

2. A frozen margarita is $16.  We're not talking about a huge fishbowl of a margarita that you can share with all of your friends.  We're talking about an 8 ounce margarita out of a slushy machine.  Unfortunately, I couldn't resist the frozen treat and bought one anyways.  Oh, the shame.

3. There are bouncers who check your purse, id, and pat you down if you want to go in.  They even took the lid off of Kelly's chapstick to make sure it was chapstick.  We were trying to figure out what they thought she was hiding in there...  A very small knife?  A midget prostitute?  Ecstasy?  Really?  At the pool?

The highlight of our entire weekend, as always, was, of course, the Mandalay Bay Breakfast Buffet.  This year, Halloween was actually on Sunday, and there were lots of Halloween themed treats to enjoy at the buffet.  And the crab legs.  Always the crab legs.

A little sampling of the Spoooooky Halloween treats.

I made everyone display their favorite Halloween sweet.

Making out + Crab legs = Perfection
 Of course, Doug continued to wear his Woody costume.  Later that day, we ran into the cutest little Woody and we had to get a picture of them together.

Happy Birthday to me!

This weekend, my mom and sister are coming down to visit me with their respective man-candies so that we can celebrate my birthday.  Man, I sure do love them. 

  My mom is allergic to wheat and sometimes eats bizarre things in order to satisfy her cravings.  This particular night, she was craving pizza, so she took gluten-free ginger snaps and melted cheese and pepperoni on them.  This is why I love her.

 This is a little note I wrote for my sister when I was about eight years old.  She currently has it hanging on her wall.  In case you can't read it:
My Sister <3

She says "w"s for "r"s like "wadical wock newds"
(radical rock Nerds, our favorite childhood candy, I think we called them "radical rock" because the nerds on the candy box had guitars and microphones?)
She likes to play with dolls and dress up
She likes to give you things like flowers and pretty pictures
She is four
Her name is Stephanie
Sometimes she is very weird but most of the time she is nice

Honestly, other than the fact that she isn't four anymore.  This sums up my sister pretty well.  She's great.

It came at last- Pt. 1

 Halloween weekend was everything I hoped it would be.  We had a few hiccups that initially made the trip a bit stressful, but everything worked out in the end.  I forgot my company gas card and didn't realize it until we were on our way.  Also, my brother got dropped from his flight because it was delayed, and he wasn't going to be able to make his connecting flight.  Thankfully, he ended up making it out on Friday night only two hours after he was originally supposed to.

Very excited after Jimmy's late arrival!
Saturday night, we dressed up in our costumes.  I'm not going to lie; I was pretty proud of how our Halloween costumes turned out.  Almost everything was made from scratch, not store bought.  This not only saved us a ton of money but also made our costumes totally unique.  I had read in a few news articles that Toy Story costumes were going to be one of the most popular this year, but we did not see a single other adult group with that theme.  Ohhhh, they meant that children would want to dress up as Toy Story.  Grown ups want to dress up as Nurses, Victoria's Secret Angels, and Mammogram Machines...apparently...
Here we are!  Mike, Jen and Jamie were Army Men (and Women), Kelly was Jesse, I was Tour Guide Barbie, Rachel was Bo Peep, Doug was Woody, Brent was Buzz, and Jimmy was Mr. Potato head.  Doug sewed his vest with a needle and thread, hand drew red plaid on his yellow shirt, and made my pillbox hat from a Nesquik box.  I made Jimmy's Mr. Potato head costume, and Kelly, Rachel, Jamie and Brent all handmade theirs.  What a creative group we have!

Buzz and Woody both wrote "Andy" on the bottoms of their feet.  Also, Doug designed his own a pull string (see the red loop on his back?).  He would say things like, "Reach for the sky!" and "I've got the hots for barbie!" (he made that one up himself) when it was pulled.  He made it spring loaded so that it would actually pull out and snap back in.  What an engineer.

Brent mounted little red flashing lights all over his costume so that he lit up in the nightclub.  It was a great night and so much fun to dress up.  So fun, in fact, that Doug actually wore his costume through most of the weekend.

Yep, everyone is is in normal clothes, on our way to lunch.  But there's my husband, halfway dressed as Woody.  He's a pretty silly boy.  I sure love him.

Please, no...

Dear Lizzie,
Next time you decide to participate in a conference call from home in your underwear, please make sure your webcam is turned off.

Your Past Self

Falling in love

Ahh... fall.  I think you are my favorite season.  Bold claim?  Maybe... I can be pretty fickle when it comes to choosing a favorite season.  God made each on pretty darn awesome.  Especially when you live in Southern California.  Here are the top 3 reasons why we love fall:

1. Oktoberfest: A few weeks ago, we drove up to San Luis Obispo and went to an Oktoberfest celebration with some old college friends, Lisa and Julian.  I was in the freshman dorms with these two back when I wore Abercrombie and Fitch, could sleep in until two pm, and thought that Diet Pepsi was a food group.  They got married a week before Doug and I, and we were able to hang out with them on our honeymoon in Hawaii. (I know, I know, it sounds lame to hang out with another couple on our HONEYMOON, but they didn't get to come to our wedding since they were already in Hawaii, and it was really fun to see them.)

2. Pumpkin Patches: I do love pumpkin patches.  I love the feeling of nostalgia that they bring out, the perfect photo op that bright and shiny orange pumpkins provide, and watching kids sort through the pumpkins as they search for the perfect one.  Last weekend, I got to go to the pumpkin patch at Gizdich Ranch with some of my family.  Gizdich Ranch also has an Apple and Berry farm and makes the world's most delicious pies.  After we wandered around the pumpkin patch, we stopped for a slice of heaven at the bakery.

3. Duh, Halloween, which by the way, was epic.  Please bear with me as I sort through hundreds of pictures.