Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009!!

Christmas this year was in Tucson, since Thanksgiving was in Austin. Per Amanda's family tradition, we all spent Christmas Eve at the Dillons' house, where we ate lots of yummy food, read the Christmas story, exchanged family gifts (including the traditional Christmas pajamas), and played the recent but already beloved addition to the evening--the movie game ;). Then we headed back to our house and exchanged our gifts for each other. Shopping for each other for our first Christmas was a lilttle intimidating--would the other person like what we bought, would they expect this or that, etc. Luckily, we both managed to find things for each other that we really loved and were happy with. Amanda especially liked the Kitchen Aid mixer, and the wrapped jewelry box that turned out to be housing a Ring Pop. We got up Christmas morning and found that Santa had left stockings at our house--hooray!  Still in our new pajamas, we headed back to the Dillons' house and had a fantastic time.  We started with presents and were really excited to get a Wii Fit; all the better to work off those holiday pounds with! We opened presents for a while, then took a break because we got to call Elder Dillon in South Africa! Christmas is one of two days of the year that we can talk to him on the phone.  It was so great to hear his voice, and it made Christmas even more special. That hour flew by, and it was so hard to hang up the phone. Once we pulled ourselves together, we had some breakfast and finished opening presents.  Santa sent us home with some beautiful clothes, cookbooks, camping equipment and more.  We were very blessed! He had even left stockings for us there too! The rest of the day was spent trying on new clothes, playing games, and watching lots of movies, all in our pajamas.  It was a wonderful Christmas!

Christmas Eve

The Movie Game!
Back at our house (with the Ring Pop)

Christmas Morning

On the phone with Brett

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Open House Fun

We have really enjoyed being all settled in our new house, and we thought that it would be fun to have an open house/Christmas party for a lot of our friends from work. We had a great turnout and had a really wonderful time. Sharing the holidays with good friends and stuffing your face with LOTS of food is key to getting the most out of the season, don't you agree? ;)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gingerbread and Christmas Sweaters....

So this year was the kickoff of what we have decided will be an annual event--The Stremel Gingerbread House Party, where all invitees are requested to wear their "best" Christmas sweater. The Cannons, Hesses, Larsons, and Whites joined us in building some spectacular (and some slightly less spectacular) gingerbread abodes, and there were some truly special outfits.  The Hesses were the recipients of this years "Tacky" for their original sweater creations. This fabulous award will remain in their home all year and then return for next year's winners.  We had a great time with everyone, Amanda got to build a gingerbread house (which is a requirement for a Merry Christmas), and we loved all that Christmas sweater spirit!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Is there anything quite as magical as Christmas?  Nope, didn't think so! Two years ago we met at Christmas time and had a perfect first date going to see Christmas lights.  Last year, even though we were apart for the actual holiday, we spent the season together before hand. We went to see those beautiful lights again in Winterhaven, watched the Nutcracker, and decorated Jason's tree. Then, before Jason went home to Texas, we spent a fabulous weekend enjoying the magic of Disneyland and seeing an amazing production of Wicked.  Two great Christmases in a row, but this one is even better!  This year is our first year together married, and we are having such a wonderful time!  We have been decorating, shopping, party planning, and finding time to snuggle on the couch watching all of the great (and occasionally the not-so-great) Christmas movies on TV. We are blending the traditions of both our families and coming up with new ones that work for us. We are thoroughly enjoying the season so far, and we will keep you posted on our adventures. We are including some pictures so that you can see what happens when two BIG fans of Christmas end up together.  Every inch of the house is decorated! ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Birthday Fun!

So being married seems to make birthdays better too! Since Amanda got through the big 3-0 last year, this year was a much lower-key affair, and it was really wonderful.  We kicked the festivities off with a great family birthday dinner for Amanda and her dad. Delicious chicken and dumplin's, a YUMMY birthday cake with candles, and some awesome gifts--it was fabulous! The next night we had such a fun dinner with our friends the Coppuses at Sam Hughes Place, including creme brulee!! On Friday for Amanda's actual birthday, Jason only had one case, so the day was open for lots of hang out time--breakfast, a matinee of "Blind Side" and a little shopping :)  Jason even bought a beautiful Nativity set as Amanda's birthday gift, as well as a bag of orange Tic Tacs (Amanda's favorite!) That night we had an incredible dinner at Flemings.  It was a perfect birthday, and Amanda is grateful to have been so thoroughly spoiled!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Texas Thanksgiving

We visited Jason's family for Thanksgiving and had a wonderful time!  Wednesday night started out with a visit to Ryan and Erin's new house (gorgeous!) for Rudy's Barbecue and a chance to catch up a little bit.  Since Jason was still struggling with pneumonia, we called it an early evening and headed back to Mike and Sue's house to rest up for a big Thanksgiving.  Despite being really sick, Sue was hosting a houseful of people--dinner for 18 on the big day! It was such a great day with delicious food and lots of fun friends, just like Thanksgiving should be. Since it was a Texas Thanksgiving, it even included Amanda becoming a gun owner.  Seriously.  Mike has a tradition where each of the daughters-in-law get to pick out a gun from his collection.  Jason even got to pick one out--perhaps as a reward for getting hitched.  Keep watching the blog  for pictures of us at the shooting range as we use our new weapons ;)

Friday was super relaxing, which was perfect with two sickies in the house, and Amanda even got to watch the Iron Bowl, leading Sue to question where her mild-mannered daughter-in-law went--Roll Tide!! Saturday we decorated the Stremels' church for Advent, and ended the day with a Mannheim Steamroller concert with the Kellys and Kosteleckys.  It was such a fun way to kick off the holiday season! We were sad to leave on Sunday, but we are looking forward to Mike and Sue visiting for New Year's Eve!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Little Intrigue....

So, it turns out that Amanda is a murderer.  How unfortunate for Jason. ;) We spent last Saturday night hanging out at a great Murder Mystery dinner thrown by the Cannons, and joined by the Larsens and the Whites --fabulous food, wonderful company, and plenty of laughs. Jason was a Colonel who carried a whip and a monacle everywhere, and Amanda was a none-too-bright social butterfly/lingerie designer. They know us so well!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Girls' Weekend in Des Moines

Girly weekends are so much fun!  And when those cute girls are family--so much the better! I got to fly to Kansas City to pick up my awesome cousin Maddie and then road trip with her out to Des Moines, where we visited Katie, Aaron, Aunt Linda and the girls.  We had a fantastic time going out to an apple orchard (with slides, a jumping pillow and a pool full of corn), watching movies, getting manis and pedis, and a yummy dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  Thanks to the Allreds for being great hosts, and Maddie for being a great road trip buddy!