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Christmas Eve at the Alonso Residence

Posted on December 26, 2009 by under Family.    

Zane and Apple

Because we are uber nerds, we had to bring our laptops. How else were we going to farm? LOL.

Kidding aside, I was on call on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so Brian and I actually brought three laptops with us: our personal laptops, which you see in the photo above, and then my work laptop, which was setup in one of the guest bedrooms. I had to get the several applications going: our deskview/callboard, Nortel CCMS (to see how long the rep has been idle, on a call, or any other activity), TotalView (to see how many calls abandoned during each interval), and Lotus Notes and Sametime (so I can communicate with the rep who’s working without having to call the office and tie up their line).

I was worried that I’d have to do callout while I was at mom and dad’s because of the blizzard-like weather conditions. I didn’t have to do until I got home, though. Brian and I got in at midnight and I got a call around 1 AM, right as we had gone to bed. That’s my luck (or lack thereof) for you.

Jen-Tevs (our new nickname for Jennifer Teves Allison because there are just way too many Jennifers in our family) made this beautiful, fruitilicious salad.

Mom’s humba turned out really good. It was the best humba she’s made yet. We had a ton of food. I won’t post all the food pictures here.

Mom was really proud of the fact that (besides the dishes that Jen-Tevs and Apple brought) she made all of the ulam herself. She didn’t hire someone else to cook/cater our dinner this time. Way to go, mom!

Our group photo (Alonsos, Holders, Allisons, Brubakers, plus Jeremy Ryan) was taken before the Cannadys arrived. We should have taken a group photo after they got to the house, but we got distracted by the kiddos and opening presents. We forgot all about it. LOL.

Andrew, Apple and Zane Holder

Jen-Tevs and Armando Allison

Mom with Brian and Jeremy

Mom was Jeremy’s realtor when he bought his house. He is a good friend of Andrew and Apple. This is actually the first time that Brian and I met Jeremy. Although, we almost met him at the Midwest Rockfest this summer because mom told us that he was there too.


Apple really got into Catchphrase. I’m glad because it’s one of my favorite games. I never have anyone to play with, though, because Brian doesn’t like it. Notice that he’s not playing with us.

The Cannadys

Eli and Matthew

Mom and Jen-Tevs

Logan and Brian

Me and Jennifer Cannady

Logan with the Nerf Wii game that Jenni got him.

Eli, playing with his new toy.

The Holders and Jeremy Ryan

Jennifer, Jen-Tevs, Mom, Apple and Zane

Jen-Tevs and Armando, reading an article about our favorite sports hero Manny Pacquiao. Go Pacman!

Baby Zane with some toys we got for him.

Logan with the Nerf machine gun that we got him.

Eli with the Bob the Builder stuff that we got him.

Jenni just had to put the Bob the Builder hardhat on. She couldn’t resist.

She is so goofy. Probably the funniest part of the evening was when Jenni proclaimed herself as being half-Mormon. I was like, “How are you half-Mormon? That’s not even possible.”

Jenni explained that she’s half-Mormon because she only goes to church every other Sunday. Everyone busted up laughing. Sometimes Jenni is so funny that she makes my head hurt.

We didn’t get to do karaoke (Brian got lucky), but I still had a lot of fun. I hope everyone else did, too.

NOTE: For more of our pictures from Christmas Eve, click here.

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Christmas Eve Celebration

Posted on December 28, 2007 by under Family.    

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Christmas eve..

Picture 112 Picture 139 Picture 140 Picture 145 Picture 146 Picture 152 (more…)

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Christmas Eve

Posted on December 28, 2005 by under Family.    

We typically spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house in Derby. This year was a little different, though.

Mom and dad arrived home from the Philippines around noon on the 23rd. They were neither prepared nor in the mood to host Christmas Eve dinner.

So Christmas Eve this year was spent at Ate Jane and Kuya Ramil’s house. They had extended us an invitation a couple of weeks before because they knew that mom and dad were still in the Philippines. Jane actually invited mom and dad also but they were too jetlagged to go anywhere that evening.

I’m glad that we went because their party was actually tons of fun. It was the most fun I’d ever in a while. Ate Jane and Kuya Ramil were wonderful hosts. They made sure that everyone felt welcome. It was a great party.

By the way, I never know whether to call Ate Jane “Ate” or “Tita.” When I was younger I used to refer to her as “Tita” because she is one of my mom’s friends but now that I am older “Tita” just doesn’t sound quite right. She is way too young to be called “Tita” I think. So I figured “Ate” would be the more appropriate reference.

I think once you hit thirty everyone is practically the same age. I feel awkward calling anyone “Tita” who is not my mom’s age. I don’t want to insult them or make them feel old.

I mean, come on now! I wouldn’t want a grown woman calling me “Tita.” Ate Ching na lang, pwede ba? I am not that old after all. LOL.

Neither is Ate Jane. So Ate Jane, “Ate” ka na lang ha? Sorry kung medyo na-demote but “Ate” sounds younger. Sana okay lang.

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Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Posted on December 25, 2008 by under Family.    

Here’s a slideshow of the photos we took last night…

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Potwin Place Christmas Lights

Posted on December 23, 2018 by under Things to Do.    

My chance tour of the Christmas light at the Potwin Place Historic District in Topeka is definitely one of the highlights of the year. I didn’t even know what I was getting into until it happened. It was the best surprise ever.

Since several of us were in town last week, one of our coworkers decided to host a Christmas party at his house. I knew that he lived in a Victorian house in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Topeka but I knew nothing of it so I had absolutely no expectations. Even after he updated the meeting (party) invitation to include a picture of his home, warned us about the roundabouts, and encouraged us to drive through the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, I thought nothing of it.

Fast forward to that night. Most of our coworkers went straight to the party from the office but I had an errand to run after work. Misty had me a wild goose chase for this necklace she wanted made of copper from the State Capitol roof and I had to go to the Kansas Historic Society to get it. That is a whole story in and of itself but I digress. Since the place is right by our hotel, I decided to drop off my stuff first. I was the only one coming from the hotel so there was no one to carpool with. I don’t particularly enjoy driving so I decided to order a car. I had a 25% off special on all Lyft rides so I think the ride cost lest than $10 before tip. It was very reasonable. Anyway, this has got to be the most memorable Lyft ride I’ve ever had. (If we don’t count the time that I had a big box of the driver’s donuts on my lap on the way to the office one morning. But that’s also another story.)

The Lyft driver followed the instructions on the GPS (as they all typically do) and we pleasantly chatted on the way to my destination. I casually mentioned what my friend said about the neighborhood Christmas lights. She asked me where I was going and I told her that I think he lives in an area called Potwin. That’s when she perked up and got very excited. Apparently, she is very familiar with the area. She decided to disregard the instructions of the GPS and told me she was going to take me another way so I could enjoy the lights. That’s when I found out that the Potwin Place Historic District Christmas lights displays are a very big deal up there. Potwin Place is a highlight of every Topeka Christmas lights tour.

I wasn’t in a hurry and I’m always down for a good “Easter Egg” (and she didn’t didn’t give the the axe murderer vibe) so I didn’t object. Although, I did tell her that her GPS was probably going to go berserk on us. As long as she was okay with that, I was too. So went for a nice, leisurely drive through the neighborhood with her pointing out some of the houses with the best decorations. Of course, you can’t really breeze through the neighborhood because of all the roundabouts which, I found out later, were installed back in the day to keep the horse carriages from racing through the neighborhood streets. Oh, I forgot to mention that she even tuned her radio to the special radio station as we entered the neighborhood. By the time she delivered me to my friend’s house, she had earned herself a very good tip. That was, by far, the best Uber/Lyft ride experience I’d ever had.

The evening was full of surprises so it didn’t end there. My coworker had actually arranged for his friend (who also lives in the neighborhood) to give us a hay ride to enjoy the lights. While I was very pleased with the tour that the Lyft driver had given me, this was even better. I didn’t have car windows between me and the beautiful lights. The only thing that could have made it better was if we actually had time to tour the lights on foot and walk through the displays.

I’m posting a few pictures below but, I must warn you, these aren’t going to do the Christmas lights display any justice. If you’re up in the Topeka area, I highly recommend taking a tour of the lights yourself. This year’s theme is “International Celebration” and will be up through January 5.





Click on one of the photos above and follow the trail to Flickr where there are even a few videos. Enjoy!

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