The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! This year, Eric's mom and sister came into town to celebrate with us. On Friday, we all went to the nursery to pick up a $10 Christmas tree and brought it home to decorate, while cookies that we later decided to call Grinch cookies (they're pistachio flavored and green) were baking in the oven.

Christmas morning, I got busy with preparing a turkey, some stuffing, sweet potatoes and cornbread casserole. I will purposely be omitting a picture of my finished meal, but in my defense, I think it tasted better than it looked...  After eating lunch and opening presents, we headed into DC to visit the US Botanical Garden, where they had various holiday exhibits.

And while we were out, we braved the cold and went to see the National Christmas tree. Here is a photo of the family in front of the Indiana tree, the National Tree, and the White House:

The next morning, Andrea took Mom and me to see "The Nutcracker" at the Warner theatre as our Christmas gift:

And that wrapped up our time together. The weekend went by way too fast, and most of the time was spent hanging out, relaxing, laughing and watching Christmas movies and musicals. It was awesome to have two of our favorite women in town for the holidays!

And now, a moment of gushing directed towards my husband. For Christmas, Eric presented me with a box and in it was a Washingtonian magazine and a card. In the card, he wrote some mushy things that of course I love, and explained that he subscribed me to the magazine to visit their recommended points-of-interest monthly. He explained that he had already picked the first month's location, and that I could find it on page 21. And lo and behold, on page 21, Eric taped a copy of flight tickets to California to celebrate my 30th birthday! He had been collaborating with my sisters to surprise me, and decided to give it to me for Christmas. So save the date, family and friends! I'll be in town the weekend of my birthday!


Gal Pals

Two of my favorite gal pals, Kha Tu and Tiffany came to visit me for a couple of days. I don't know how to put into words how much fun I had with them. The majority of the time was spent just being silly girls, talking and laughing, and boy did I need that quality time spent with them.

They got in late Sunday night, and like girls we stayed up until 4am talking and sharing secrets. The California girls didn't wake up until noon the next day, but as soon as they got up we were out and about. We started off the day having lunch at Cafe Salsa, in Old Town Alexandria. And for those of you who are wondering, yes you can salsa dance there as well as eat salsa.

After lunch, we headed into the city to do some sight seeing. It was frigid out, and I'm proud of the girls for braving the cold. K2 had to constantly wipe her nose before what she referred to as "snotcycles" formed.

Tiffany, K2 (the weak-minded) and "HOT CHOCOLATE! HOT CHOCOLATE!!!":

K2 picked up epilepsy and always had to sleep while in my car after having been fed, so she did just that while Tiffany and I walked through the Smithsonian of Natural History:

We then proceeded to head home, picked up some beer and 5 guys burgers, and hung out with Eric for a little bit before getting dolled up to go salsa dancing. And by go salsa dancing, I mean watch Tiffany tear up the dance floor while K2 and I cheered her on.

All the girls, including Indy:

Tiffany showing K2 some moves:

That night, K2 had a craving for jumbo slice pizza, and for you DC locals, you know exactly what she's talking about, especially after a night of dancing and drinking. She had to settle for some pizza joint on our way home though, where we experienced what we coined a "ba hai mot... mot hai ba" experience, but out it got 2 slices of pizza for the price of one!

The next morning, the girls got up early, and by early I mean 11am as opposed to noon. We headed into Chinatown DC to dine at matchbox, a favorite of mine and Eric's. But while you're there, be careful not to talk to loud. You never know who's eavesdropping... we followed lunch with some shopping at Potomac Mills Mall. Then we headed back to my house to get dolled up to have dinner w/ Eric and Ben at National Harbor. Once we got there, we ate at Ketchup and walked around and enjoyed the holiday lights that were up. It was a cold night, but beautiful. And I learned that in 7 years, a phenomena called solar eclipse will happen in the US, not to be confused with "daylight"...

And our night ended with watching "Eclipse", and by that I do mean the 3rd of the Twilight series, not the Lunar Eclipse that happened on Monday night.

And this morning, I had to let take the girls back to the airport to go home, and it was incredibly sad after such a fun weekend. For those of you who took the time to actually read this post and are utterly confused by all the nonsense, I commend you for your patience. But you know that a post that is full of inside jokes means that it was an awesome time that we all spent together. 

K2 and Tiffany, thank you so much for coming out here to visit. I cannot tell you how much fun I had with you both. I value your friendship so much, and I am so thankful for you. Love you girls, have a great holiday!


Double the Fun

Eric and I spent last weekend in California, to visit my family for the holidays. We got to babysit the kids one night as Chi Hai and Anh Hai enjoyed a night out at a fancy party. We took the kids to Pretend City after school, a place they'd been before and enjoy visiting.

Aidan not shy about his music, and Brooke probably upset that the other girl is wearing the princess dress:

Tee-time with Duong Ba:

Aidan was absolutely fascinated when he figured out how to make that thing spin with water:

 Brooke caring for the felt plants:

I wish I had taken more and better pictures, but we were too wrapped up enjoying this rare time that we got to spend with them. The kids are completely different from the last time we visited them (in September!) and I know it'll be the case the next time I see them. They are just more fun than anyone can imagine. I miss them so much and I am dying for my next visit to see them again. 


Sew Addicted

So when I started talking about possibly sewing a beachy wedding dress for SIL Erin, Chi Hai reminded me that sewing a dress really isn't that easy, especially one for a wedding. So, she suggested I practice. I had been promising Chi Hai an apron for over a year now and really have been neglecting my sewing machine lately, and so yesterday I got off my butt, headed to the fabric store and purchased an apron pattern. Instead of springing the money on fabric there, I decided that a rookie like myself should really save money (in case I screwed up) and so I headed to good ol' "Wally World" and bought $4 worth of fabric. I was somewhat pleased with my choices, given their limited selection. So I brought all this stuff home, laid it all out, unraveled the pattern and thought "what the heck did I get myself into?!"

Nonetheless, I decided to carry on, and see where this sewing journey would take me. After what seemed like hours of just cutting along the lines of the pattern and the fabric, it was finally time to put the petal to the metal and do some sewing!

My feelings of being overwhelmed quickly were overtaken by excitement when I was able to put together this cute little pocket for the apron:

This burst of excitement boosted my enthusiasm to put the majority of the apron together last night. My plan of attack was to save the rest for this weekend while Eric was away at drill, but I woke up this morning and jumped right on it, too excited to just let it sit unfinished.

The waistband and the ties were the most challenging part of this apron for me, and they're by no means perfect, but I just carried on, following the instructions the best I could. And after hours of sewing, pressing and cutting, here she is... the final result!