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Archive for the year 2011

Christmas Day with the Brubakers

Posted on December 28, 2011 by under Family.    

As our annual tradition goes, we spend Christmas Eve with the Alonsos and then Christmas Day with the Brubakers. Christmas morning started out with fruit and cinnamon rolls and mimosas.



The present from Kevin and Kasey was the first thing we opened. They put together a wonderful “date night” basket with movies, wine, sausage, cheese and crackers. Thank you, Kevin and Kasey!


We got initial coasters from Cousin Tracy. Thank you, Cousin Tracy!


This is Brian checking out the Sharper Image wine aerator/preserver that we got from Mom and Dad B.


I got both Brian and David the complete Firefly series box set in blu-ray because I found a good deal on Amazon one day. That and I knew that they both really, really liked that show. Brian’s been wanting the box set for a while. I’m glad we waited to get it so that we could get it on blu-ray instead of just regular DVD.


I was so stoked to get my Boggle game. I grew up playing it! Brings back some fond memories. Thank you, Mom and Dad B!


Grandma loves getting chocolates at Christmas.



Since Donna loves sock monkeys, Brian and I got her a sock monkey hat and matching scarf. We found it at one of the booths at Holiday Galleria a few months ago.


Brian got a new dress shirt.

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Donna got David Dragon Naturally Speaking.

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Brian got his coffee maker that he’s been wanting all this time.

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Grandma loved the embroidered shirts that she got from David and Donna.



I got my wrist weights! Woot!


Donna got a new blender and food processor combo.


Dad B is a ninja!


We got Mom and Dad B the same wedding photo book of Kevin and Kasey’s wedding in October that we made for Kevin and Kasey.


That’s all the pictures I got because my camera ran out of battery. 🙁

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My WWF Addiction has Reached New Heights

Posted on December 28, 2011 by under Games.    

For those of you unfamiliar with my WWF addiction, WWF doesn’t stand for World Wrestling Federation. That would be something my dad enjoys watching. My WWF addiction is Words With Friends. It’s a two player game that is similar to Scrabble that you can play on your phone. I’ve always been a Scrabble junkie so I was naturally drawn to the game. There’s no one for me to play Scrabble with here. WWF opened up a whole network of potential opponents. I like it so much that it’s the only game I play on my phone on a daily basis. Actually, I don’t play Angry Birds or any other games anymore so I can probably say it’s the only game that I play on my phone period.

Another reason I love WWF is that it’s completely passive. You can take as long as you like or as long as your schedule allows. It’s great for busy people like me. Sometimes games can span several days (sometimes even weeks, if your opponent decides to go to Mexico for vacation – LOL) and sometimes you can finish a game in just a few hours. It all depends on how much free time you and your opponent have. I find it really convenient since Brian does most of the driving (we carpool to and from work and the gym). I usually play WWF in the car on the way to work or on the way to the gym at the end of the day. Sometimes I will play during my lunch hour, if I actually take a break for lunch.

Since Brian and I have been on Christmas vacation (neither of us have to report back to our respective jobs until January 3rd), I’ve been playing WWF like a deserted island castaway at an all you can eat buffet. I usually have no less than half a dozen games going on simultaneously. Right now I’m playing against seven unique opponents. I had to specify that they’re all different people because sometimes one of my friends and I will play two separate games concurrently. This will sometimes happen by accident when we challenge each other at the same time at the end of a game, but sometimes we’ll do it intentionally. I don’t have any of those going on right now, though. If I have made all of my moves and I’m waiting for my opponents to take their turn, I will sometimes get bored and start another game. Thus, I end up playing several games at the same time. I don’t really like playing with random strangers though, so I generally only challenge people I know in real life.

Most of the time, I play from my phone. A few weeks ago, I saw some badges on a friend’s Facebook wall and realized that you can play from Facebook too. I had no idea until then. I think that’s the only time that I’ve ever played with someone I didn’t know. I created a game and hit “random opponent” by mistake. I still make most of my moves through my phone, but I do like playing on my laptop whenever I’m home because then I can post achievements on my wall. For instance, it’s not really exciting when I bingo from my phone because I can’t share it with everyone.

Since we’ve been on vacation, I’ve been living and breathing WWF. My addiction reached new heights last night while we were in bed. I won’t say what we were doing. Just picture us in bed, doing what I can’t say, while having this conversation. Oh, and just to provide some background information, I started wearing my pure hazel Freshlook Colorblends contacts yesterday.

ME: No one even noticed my eye color today. Do you like that I have hazel eyes? We have the same eye color now.
BRIAN: My birth certificate says I have brown eyes.
ME: How come?
BRIAN: I was born with brown eyes. They changed color as I got older. Now they’re hazel.
ME: What does it say on your driver’s license?
BRIAN: Brown.
ME: Why?
BRIAN: I guess it was easier than putting hazel. My eyes change color depending on the light anyway. Sometimes they’re brown, sometimes they look more green, but most of the time they’re hazel.
ME: Hazel would be a good word to play on Words With Friends because the H and the Z are worth a lot of points. Specially if you land on a triple word square.

My last comment was so random that Brian busted up laughing. We both laughed hysterically, actually. I was laughing so hard that I cried.

SC20111226-182541.png Fwd: New Message Speaking of, check this out. I was playing with Cassie the other day and ended up with the crappiest set of letters. Three As, three Is and an O. Naturally, I turned to Facebook and whined. LOL.

When Anthony saw the post, he was like, “That’s nothing! I ended up with seven Is once.”

I guess it could have been worse. =P BTW, Anthony’s board looks different than mine because he plays Wordfeud. It’s similar to WWF, but the bonus squares are distributed in a different pattern and some of the letters have different point values. He likes the functionality of their phone app better. I used to have both, but had to get rid of one the last time I was cleaning out my phone. I know more people on WWF so Wordfeud got the boot. Now I just have to get Anthony to convert over.

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Favorite Pictures from Christmas Eve

Posted on December 27, 2011 by under Family.    



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Me and Mom


Brian and Q


Me and my “pretend” sister, JenTevs


JenTevs and Apple


Brian with Matt and Jen


Armando, JenTevs and Me


Armando, JenTevs and Brian


Mom and Apple




Eli and Logan


Me and Eli


Eli is the cutest little boy ever!


Brian and Zane


The boys with their matching shirts.


Incidentally, Logan said they had, not one, but two sets of matching shirts this Christmas. I guess Momo had the same idea. LOL. Great minds think alike! Brian and I figured that we couldn’t just give them money. The boys needed some sort of present from us to unwrap on Christmas Eve.


Eli took his shirt off and put his new shirt on. He said he liked it because it was soft and he liked the skull and pirate map printed on it. Of course, Brian and I liked the Jamaica map because it’s one of our favorite vacation destinations.


This is Armando shaking his present to try to figure out what’s inside.


Logan and Brian made a special deal that night. All in all, it was a fabulous evening. We had some great food (pictures here) and played games (Apples to Apples) and had a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to next year’s celebration already!

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Falling Off the Wagon Face First

Posted on December 25, 2011 by under Food and Drink.    

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For the first time since Woodchucks Thursday first started, Brian and I finally took up Amie’s invitation and joined. The main reason we haven’t been able to attend before is that Brian and I don’t like staying out too late on a week night because we both have to work the next day and we like to get to work early.

Most of the Thursday night Zumba crew are West-siders so they don’t have that far to drive; unlike Brian and I, who have to drive 30 minutes to come home. That, and we’re not supposed to be eating out anyway. Brian’s even supposed to limit himself to only one bottle of beer per week.

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Since it’s the holidays, and Brian and I didn’t have to go to work the next day, we decided to indulge. We joined Amie, Angela and CJ, and their friend JR at the West side Buffalo Wild Wings. Raymond was there with his family also.

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I skipped the Woodchucks in favor of sangria, which was good but not great. It’s not as good as the blackberry sangria at Carrabba’s or even mine. It was good enough that I asked for a second glass, though. LOL.

I also caved and ate an order of buffalo chips and one of Brian’s honey BBQ chicken wings. I was very disappointed that I didn’t have enough self control to resist, but at the same time I’ve been telling myself that it’s the holidays and you’re supposed to indulge. That’s my rationalization, anyway.

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Brian and I had so much fun hanging out and visiting with everyone that I think we will go again this coming Thursday.

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¿Estás listo para la Navidad?

Posted on December 24, 2011 by under Family, Things to Do, Tips, Travel.    

I know a lot of people were still doing some last minute holiday shopping yesterday and possibly even today. Not us. We bought almost everything prior to and during Black Friday. Why? Because we are weirdos with OCD who don’t like to wait until the last minute to do stuff. We like to plan, plan, plan AND well in advance.

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The presents have been wrapped for almost two weeks, but last week I asked Brian to organize them into “Christmas Eve” and “Christmas Day” piles so we know what goes where at a glance. Although, we did have to separate the gifts that we had for Kevin, Kasey, Kendra and Andrew because we found out the other day that we would not be seeing them at Christmas after all. We had to create an additional “For Delivery” pile. LOL. (Had I not delivered my work presents the week prior, we would have had a “For Work” pile also.)

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The gift pictured below was one of the first ones to get wrapped and gifted. There were three identically wrapped gifts in different colors for Carmen, Tiffe and Sunni. I had them ready by the first of December because they were for people at work and some like to take vacation during the holidays. I never know when they’ll take off and then I miss the opportunity to give them their present before the holidays.

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I was going to put the presents under my Mardi Gras Christmas tree as part of the decorations. You know how people put fake presents under their Christmas tree? Well, I wanted to do that. Except mine would be real presents. After talking my idea over with Amy, who suggested that the presents might disappear after others figured out they were real, I decided against it. I kept the presents at home until I was able to hand them out last week.

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The gift piles were actually in the living room before they finally made their way to the dining room. After I finished wrapping everything, we decided to move them to the dining room because we were tired of having to step over and navigate around them. It gets so cramped in this little townhouse. I think I’m asking Santa for a house next year. I know it might be challenging for Santa to fit a whole house in his sleigh, specially with all the other presents that he has to deliver, but he’s magical so I’m sure he’ll figure it out.

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I forgot to mention the Phelpi and Feifels pile. We saw the Feifels on Christmas Day last year so we had their stuff in the “Christmas Day” pile at first. However, we weren’t sure if we would see them on Christmas Day this year so we went ahead and gave the Phelpi and the Feifels the gifts for their kiddos when we took everyone out to dinner at PCP last week.

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Brian hates that I try to remember who gets what present by size and shape and gift wrapping paper and bow. I must say that it’s easy to remember until it’s time to unwrap them. With the chaos and mayhem and multitude of presents to unwrap, I start drawing blanks. Then a guessing game follows. It’s kind of fun, unless you’re Brian. In which case, you just find it frustrating. LOL. So anyway, he made me tag all of the gifts this year. He did help me make these neat embossed gift tags. It’s hard to see from this picture, but there’s a snowflake in the middle and the words “SEASONS GREETINGS” and “BRIAN AND CHING” around it.

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We had to save the bows and gift tags for last because I prefer to do real bows as opposed to the stick on kind (unless I’m feeling lazy or don’t have enough time to put my fancy bows on) and I didn’t want them to get smooshed. I’m actually not sure that “smooshed” is a word, but I’m using it anyway. I take that back. I’m pretty sure “smooshed” isn’t a valid word because a red squiggly line appears underneath it each time I type it, so let’s just say I didn’t want the bows to get flattened instead. Sorry. My OCD is kicking in real bad this morning.

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I put bows and tagged the last remaining presents yesterday afternoon while Brian was playing video games. Check out the finished product below.

This is the “Christmas Eve” pile.

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This is the “Christmas Day” pile.

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I can officially say we are ready for Christmas. How about you? ¿Estás listo para la Navidad? I had to throw some Spanish in there because I try to practice every now and then. I got to practice with my friend Rene at Suede last night. He’s a regular and is always there. I asked him, ¿Que hiciste ayer? because I’m trying to practice using the past tense. He told me that he worked yesterday until he realized he actually had the day off. LOL. I speak terrible, broken Spanish, but I guess it’s enough to get by for ordering food at restaurants. I’m glad all the Latin American people I know are patient with me as I practice.

While we were dancing last night, I wanted to keep speaking Spanish but didn’t know what else to say so I said, Este zapato es tu zapato. Rene started laughing and nodded, Si – estos son mis zapatos. Whenever Brian and I are talking, I spit out random thoughts out of nowhere. It’s nice to know that my randomness has transcended the English language. LOL.

When we sat down on the couch, Brian explained that I’m trying to practice speaking Spanish every chance I get. I encouraged Rene to keep talking to me in Spanish so I can continue practicing. He talks really fast sometimes so I frequently have to ask him to slow down. He also has this habit of asking yes or no questions and I’m not really quick at coming up with responses yet.

While the three of us were sitting there, he asked me something that one could answer with yes or no so I replied, Si. He said something else and I said, Si, again. Then he said something else and when I replied with Si again, he started laughing. He was like, “So if I asked if you would like to jump off a bridge, you’d probably say yes too?” LOL.

That reminded Brian and I of a tip we heard from the cruise director during our honeymoon cruise almost ten years ago, so we shared it with Rene. The cruise director said that it’s better to book excursions through the cruise ship as opposed to venturing out on your own because things can go wrong sometimes. He knew that people want to do their own exploring and want to go shopping for deals in town so he shared some valuable advice about how to select a cab before we arrived at our first port in Cozumel. He said, just ask them three questions and if they answer it correctly then you know it’s safe to get in the cab. You’ll likely ask, “Do you speak English?” and they’ll say yes. Then you’ll ask, “Can you take me to town?” and they’ll say yes. If you ask, “Is the sky green?” (or some other similar question which you know that the proper answer isn’t yes) and they say yes again, move on to the next cab. We all got a kick out of it because I was that cab driver last night. Fun times!

Anyway, ¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo! to all of our Latin American friends. To everyone else, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Flip and Ching

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