Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some Random Stuff

Okay, now for a very random post. It's still my Christmas break, so lots of Random stuff is going on.

Random Topic #1: Marley and MeI received this wonderful little book from Luke for Christmas. I read it in four days, because I wanted to hurry up and read it so I could go see the movie. I always like to read books before movies, because I usually like the book more, and I don't want the movie to ruin it. Anyway, on Sunday night, I sat on my couch (while Luke was in bed sleeping) finishing the last five chapters of the book. And balling like a baby through every page of those last five chapters. It made me very emotional, but it was such a good book! Luke and I are probably buying a puppy this summer when I'm off work and can pour all my time into training it, so I felt an extra special connection to the dog, and to the newlywed couple in the book.

I had planned to go to brunch and then the movie "Marley and Me" with my Mom and sister the next day. I thought that I probably wouldn't cry much in the movie since I knew what was going to happen. I was wrong. I cried. And it wasn't just like a solitary tear or two here or there. It was like full out balling. I literally was shaking from trying to muffle the violent sobs that were about to break from my body. I have to admit that I even cried a little on my way home, too. Even though, again, it made me so emotional, I think it's one of my new favorite movies.

Random Topic #2: My super-cat

When JC was taking pictures for our Christmas cards the other night, he had fun taking a few of Gabby. Here's one that highlights some of her crazy skills.

She can get some serious air when she wants to. Our friends have begun calling her Lebron or L-Train for obvious reasons. I told everybody that we should photoshop a sky behind her, and a superman cape on her back. Our friend Michael decided to put his own twist on the picture, so here you have it. Just call her Lebron.
If you're a Scrubs fan like me (Luke and I can probably quote every episode, word for word, and we own them all on DVD) this will remind you of when Turk photoshopped Izzy in a photo exactly like this! So that's two reasons why I think it's awesome :-)

Random Topic #4: New Year's Eve party food

I'm a little bummed this morning. We have our annual New Year's Eve party at our friends' house tonight, who also happen to be our neighbors now (total, AWESOME coincidence when we moved to our new house) I was planning to make this delicious looking caramel cake from Reeni's blog. However, as I look out my window this morning it has become a winter wonderland out there, and it's still coming down. While it's beautiful to enjoy from inside, I'd rather not venture out onto the snow/ice covered streets to go to Giant Eagle to buy all the ingredients I need. Oh well, it would have been amazing :-/ I will just be boring and make some brownies or something, because I do have all I need for that. Or maybe I'll be a little more adventurous and try some crock pot chocolate cake. I've had the recipe for awhile, and in the picture it looks unbelievable. I'll let you know how it turns out if I do end up trying it.

Random Topic #5: New Years Resolution

So I don't usually do the whole resolution thing. I always just end up forgetting about it around January 6, so why bother? I haven't worried about it in the past few years, but this year I think I need to make some changes. Two specific ones.

Resolution 1: To stop procrastinating! I always get things done, and I usually do them to the best of my ability, but I usually do them under pressure because of my own foolish procrastination. I simply keep putting things off until I can't anymore. And I'm going to try to stop that! I have a feeling this is the resolution that's not going to be kept. But I'm going to try!

Resolution 2: To work out 5 days a week. In high school I was one of those lucky girls that seemed to have a crazy fast metabolism. The only physical activity I took part in was dance. During the summer we had crazy practices for danceline (we danced at football games) but in the winter I would just do ballet classes once a week. So at least in the wintertime, I was not getting much exercise. I ate whatever I wanted, and stayed between 98 and 103 lbs all four years of high school. Somehow, my body has changed :-( In the past year alone, I gained a whopping 20 lbs. For someone who is only 5' tall to begin with, that's a lot of weight. I haven't changed any of my habits though, so it's no mystery why this is happening. So it's time for a change!

Luke works for the city, so we have a lot of awesome perks through his job. One of them is that we can get a free membership to the community center! (a huge, beautiful, new work-out facility in the city where he works). He's had this job for 6 months, and we have yet to step foot into the community center! I know, how bad is that? I'm going to start going after New Years. I will probably go after work, and it's about 20 minutes away from the school where I work. So when the weather is bad, or when I have 5 million things to get done, I won't feel like going. That's why I want to look on Craig's List and find myself a treadmill or elliptical machine. Luke is against this idea because he thinks it's stupid to buy it when we can go to the gym for free. I still really want one though! And we have plenty of space for it in our attic room.

For now, though, I'll plan on going to the gym. I'm getting my mp3 player stocked up with some awesome work out jams to get me pumped up. And it will probably be really embarrassing the first few times I go, because you have no idea how out of shape I am right now! But I just want to be healthy, and I'm sick of not doing anything about it! So I'm praying I can stick with this!

Wow, how's that for a monstrously long post?!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm in Love

...with Trans-Siberian Orchestra! We went to their concert last night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.This is our fifth year in a row, and it was the best ever!! If you've never seen them in concert you should seriously consider it for next year. They play mostly Christmas music, so they are on tour from the beginning of Nov. until New Years Day. It's something you don't want to miss :-)

I tried to upload a video that Luke's sister took, but apparently either can't figure out how, or I'm too impatient to wait for it to load. So if you've never seen them, you can check them out on YouTube...just look up Trans-Siberian Orchestra or TSO and you'll find hundreds of videos.

Anyway, it was a great night! This year, Luke and I went with His Mom, sister Diana, and our friend JC (the one who took our Christmas pictures for us).

Here are the Wallaces, pre-show:
That's Luke, me, Diana, and Patty (my mil).

And here are JC and Luke. Can you tell JC's a little excited?? Yes, he is quite a character :-)

And now for some concert pictures!! Did I mention we were in the 10th row? It's close enough to see the expressions on their faces. Pretty amazing! Last year we were in the 5th row though, so I guess it didn't top that!

We took a picture of the stage before it started, to show how close we were!

And just to put it into perspective, here are alllll the people behind us :-)

This is how the lead guitarists and violinist entered the stage.

Speaking of the lead violinist, I'm pretty sure she was new this year with the tour. Her name was Anna Phoebe, and she was AMAZING. I've been toying with the idea of playing violin for a few months now, and I think she convinced me! She knew how to rock out on a violin, that's for sure. Here is a picture that Diana took of her. I think Di is also obsessed, and wants to learn violin now, too :-) Note her's pink with glitter. Now that's my kind of violin ;-)

Here's a good shot of the narrator who tells the story the first half of the concert. Notice the stars in the background. (Also, Diana took this picture, and I think it looks good enough for them to use on their website or something. Except for that fact that one head is kind of in the way).

There was fire

And lazers

And fireworks

And to top it all off, during their big grand finale, "Christmas Eve in Sarajevo," THIS happened in the back of the arena:

If you can't tell, this big platform was rising in the air on cables, while they were playing my all-time favorite TSO song ever!

And just when we thought it was all done, they played "Cleveland Rocks" at the end! Well, they do it every year at The Q, so Luke and I knew it was coming, but it's still pretty awesome.

So there you have it: 3 hours of amazing musical performance and special effects the tenth row. JC has decided it's his mission to get front row seats next year. I don't think it'll happen, but how cool would it be if it did?!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Planning ahead

I decided that since I didn't send out Christmas cards this year (oops!) I should get a head start on next year! My friend JC is an amateur photographer with a really nice camera! I had him take some photos of us by our tree so I can make my own Christmas card with them for next year. How's that for planning ahead?

Have you seen the episode of Friends with the engagement picture? Chandler, normally an okay-looking guy, just can't put on a normal smile for the camera. Here is an example:
Now, I love Luke very much, and he is a very handsome guy! But he has some seriously weird smiles when he is posing for a picture (unfortunately I don't think he knows it, and I'm not going to tell him! But it's funny). You will notice the weird expressions in the following pictures.

Here are some top pics for next year's card (in no particular order):

Choice #1

Choice #2 (Luke has a funny face again :-P)

Choice #3...Let me add an explanation to this one. Originally, this was a perfect picture of me and Gabby, but Luke, once again, is making one of those weird faces. Here is the on it if you can't see what I mean about the weird face:
And here is the same one, but JC photoshopped Luke's face from another picture!...probably my favorite! I just don't like the fact that you can see our shark picture frame and blu-rays in the background. Maybe I'm too picky!

And here are some bloopers:
Gabby was mid-attack...that's why I was making this face!

And some close-ups of JC's awesome photography:

Anyway, I'm glad I have a whole 11 months before I need to pick a picture and make my cards! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to stop procrastinating, and I guess I'm getting a head start!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Love Dare

This book ("The Love Dare") was a gift from Luke for Christmas. He bought it for me because he saw that it was from the movie "Fireproof." I have not seen the movie yet because we wanted to wait until it came out on video in order to save money, but I'm DYING to see it! It's a Christian movie about a fireman who is trying to save his marriage. I've heard as far as acting goes, it's a mediocre movie. But the content is so rich it has actually changed people's lives. My sister's boyfriend's parents were on the brink of a divorce a few months ago. They went, skeptically, to see this movie because they heard it was so good, and it literally saved their marriage! It inspired them to work things out, and they give all the credit to the movie (and God!) Being that we've only been married for about six months, Luke and I aren't exactly struggling in our marriage. However, who can't use a little relationship help to make things even better?

Anyway, he bought me the book simply because the huge sticker on the cover stated that it was from the movie "Fireproof." He thought it was a novel or something. After he bought it, he opened it up and realized it was more of a couple's Bible study. As I unwrapped it on Christmas morning, he begrudgingly said, "Yeah, I didn't realize it, but I think this is one we have to read together." He acted like he wasn't too interested.

I placed the book in our pile of gifts under the tree, forgetting about it due to our LOOONG day on Thursday. This morning, however, I had nothing else to do, and decided to pick up the book and see what it was all about.

I'm totally intrigued by this book! It is a 40 day Bible study for couples. It is a very short, easy read every day, and there is a "dare" for each day of the challenge (hence the name, "The Love Dare.")

I only quickly read Day 1's dare to see what kind of things I will be dared to do over the next 40 days. The dare was, in a nutshell, to say nothing negative to your spouse all day. I hate to admit it, but for me that will be very difficult! And the even harder part is that you are supposed to continue every day's dare until the end of the 40 days. So something is added every day to the way you treat your spouse, in the hopes of forming habits that you will carry throughout your marriage. That was very confusing, and I hope it made sense.

I am SO excited to go through this 40-day challenge with Luke. And I'm going to keep this book tucked away someplace safe for years down the road, when things do get a little rockier. We can break out the book, and re-do the 40 days whenever our marriage needs a little touch from God.

I'm so in love with the book already, and if you're married, you should hop on over to amazon and order one for yourself!

I hope you don't mind that this post was basically a commercial :-P

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Highlights

This year Christmas was so different, because it was our first married Christmas together. Here were my Christmas highlights:

*Singing in the choir on Christmas Eve and sportin' some ringlets!

* Enjoying the White Elephant gift exchange at my grandparents' on Christmas Eve where I won some "bling tattos," a money-sign necklace, and a fake grill. I think I made out pretty well! :-P

*Going to Luke's parents' on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts, watch A Christmas Story, and just have fun. Here's my favorite gift of the evening:

That's right, I am one of the countless crazy followers of Jon and Kate Plus Eight, and was elated when I opened their book from Luke's parents!

*Waking up with Luke on Christmas morning, exchanging gifts just the two of us, and drinking hot chocolate in our sweet new mugs from one of my friends.

There's Luke opening his favorite present from me: "The Dark Knight" on blu-ray. He had adamantly told me that if he didn't get this movie, he would kill himself. Melodramatic much, Luke?

And here we are on our first Christmas morning together. Obviously just after we had woken up!

Here are the adorable mugs full of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

*Enjoying the morning with Gabby was definitely a highlight!
Don't worry, that was her stocking. There were treats inside, and she couldn't figure out how to get them out!

She's such a diva, posing for the camera like that!

*Receiving the book "Marley and Me" from my wonderful hubby as a gift, so that I could read it before going to see the movie
*Spending the morning with my parents and sister, exchanging gifts, and then watching "The Polar Express" IN 3-D (believe it or not, that was a gift from my sister to my dad because he loves that movie! I personally like the book better, but whatev :-P)

*Receiving my favorite new toy from my parents. Perfect for all the hard wood floors in our house!

*Receiving a "gift from the heart" from my sister, who drew this herself. Did I mention she's an artist (and interior design student)? I'm a little jealous that she got these genes and not me. These are hand-drawn pictures from the wedding:
*Spending the afternoon with Luke's mom's side of the family. They are all Italian and very fun and outgoing. Not to mention, they cook AMAZING food. We had fun there, and bellies so full we were about to burst! And here is a fabulous ornament from Luke's Aunt Kathy and Uncle Dave. Every family got one, and they were all dressed differently. Pretty sure she saved the pink one especially for me. It's no secret that I'm a little obsessed with the color!

*Wrapping up the evening at my aunt's house, with my dad's side of the family. Luke and I were about ready to crash at this point, but we stayed awake long enough to miraculously pack away some more food, exchange gifts and visit with the family.

*Getting home and falling asleep in Luke's arms on the couch, with Gabby in my arms, and the Christmas tree glowing in the background. What a perfect first Christmas together.

*Knowing that I still have over a week left of break before I have to return to the real world!

I hope your Christmas was just as blessed as mine. Here's to New Year's parties and resolutions coming up next week!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Luke's playing a new video game, and I'm bored, so I decided to post really quickly to say Merry Christmas!!
And from Gabby :-) (Look closely, do you see her??)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crunch time!

That's's time to start panicking. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I still have so much to do! It will be a challenge to get it all done in time tomorrow.

I spent today working on Christmas projects. Here is the fudge I made for our renters. I decided to drizzle some chocolate on top, because who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter?

These are the tags I'm using on the packages for the fudge. They're pretty simple, but I'm a little crunched for time right now!

I feel like I spent the entire day baking, wrapping, cleaning, shopping, and doing other random tasks to get ready for tomorrow and Thursday. Christmas is fun, but it's a lot of work!

Tonight I had a little break from all the preparations. My family went on our annual Christmas tour of lights. Basically, this just means we drive around some ritzier neighborhoods and check out their Christmas decorations. And then we eat at Rocknes. It was a blast, but we didn't see too many phenomenal lights like we usually do. It seemed like no one decorated this year :-(

We had fun, though. Here we are at Rocknes. I thought both Julie and Luke were going to be in the picture with me. Luke ducked out at the last second, and Julie made this lovely face. My camera gets annoying at times, and I guess this is how they deal with that :-P

And here are my parents...aren't they cute? :-)

In the car I wanted to get a good picture of the three of us, since both Julie and Luke messed up the last one. So here it is:

That's Julie under the blanket back there. She thought it was hilarious. I guess it kind of was.

I finally just gave up on trying to get a good one of all three of us :-P

Anyway, we did see a few good houses tonight. Here was the one that topped them all. It was unbelievable. We go there every year.

This entire tree is completely covered with lights from top to bottom:

I snapped a picture of a few ice skaters I saw :-)
And Santa was there! (This huge Santa was a new addition this year)

The man that lives here is crazy! He hires a whole crew of people to decorate every year. These pictures don't even show half of it. It's fun to go back every year and see what has changed since the year before.

Does anyone else feel like Christmas just came out of nowhere? I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I have a to-do list that's about a mile long. I totally forgot that I need to frost the dozens of sugar cookies I made. I guess I have to do that tomorrow on top of all the other things I have to get done. And my deadline is 4:15...that's when I have to be at the church to warm up for the Christmas Eve program. Wish me luck, I don't know how I'm going to pull this off!

Christmas countdown: 2 days!!