It’s the Holiday Season…

From beer festivals to light festivals, 2014 has probably been the most tiresome but wonderful holiday season since my move to Washington.

It started off with the Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival at their brewery in Georgetown (a neighborhood in Seattle) with a group of friends.  This was Elysian’s 10th year hosting the GPBF and included 80+ pumpkin beers, ~20 were crafted by the Elysian brewers themselves. This festival was all about…you guessed it PUMPKIN BEER. If you know me well then you’ll know my obsession with all things pumpkin beer included (probably #1) and when my friends asked me if I wanted to go, NO was not an option. I honestly lost count of how many beer samples I actually consumed this night and although several were not my top choices, I did find many that I loved. The beer selection ranged from locally brewed at Elysian to beers from around the world. There were giant pumpkins and the main or “Great” pumpkin was filled with beer. Although the beer turned out a bit watered down (to be expected soaking in a pumpkin), it was still a great memory. If you’d like to know more, go here and for all you pumpkin obsessed humans I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this festival.

A trip to the pumpkin patch was required of course as Halloween neared. My roommate and I ventured up north to Bob’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch which had a variety of activities for families and children to partake in. I felt like I was a kid again at the pumpkin patch. Riding tractors, walking through the patch, drinking cider, and finished the night off with donuts.

Up next was my volleyball family’s annual Halloween Bash hosted by my friend John. This year I decided I’d actually buy a costume, which I haven’t done in probably 8+ years. I was swamped with work and ran out of time to make a decent one. I did manage to make a shirt for work, but it wasn’t that great of quality. I chose to go as a sweet honey bee and brought along some HONEY whiskey…see what I did there 🙂 It was quite the evening full of laughters and memories.

Next holiday that occurred was thanksgiving. This was a little more low key than it has been in the past but it was diffidently needed. I was lucky enough to spend this holiday with my “little” brother Joe, who is my brother-in-law’s little brother. He came up for the entire 4 day weekend (well weekend for him) and I spoiled him with a fully cooked thanksgiving dinner (courtesy of Fred Meyer’s). The day was spend relaxing and pretty much doing NOTHING because what better way to spend a holiday. The weekend continued in much of the same fashion including a little outing to a local bar to watch the APPLE CUP, which is the football game between Washington and Washington State. Oh and the entire weekend was spent tasting delicious whiskey. Can you ask for a better holiday.

On to my FAVORITE holiday…Christmas. This was quite a busy month of holiday celebrations for me. It started with my roommate’s and I adventuring down the street to the Wild Lights at the zoo. I love christmas lights so this was the perfect little kick-off to Christmas and I got to spend it with two of my four roommates. That same week, my roommates and I hosted our Ugly Sweater Party, which was well EPIC. I mean, honestly, how can you go wrong with UGLY SWEATERS. Unfortunately…this is where I had a mishap involving a little too much to drink and my stairs. Yes…you guess it. I feel down my stairs and left several holes in our wall and many bumps and bruises on my right side of my body. I woke up in the morning in so much pain… more pain then I have ever felt before. The next day was spent going to the urgent care and the ER for X-rays. Thankfully, nothing was broken and I did heal up in a few short weeks.

Following the ugly sweater party, it was on to home for a continuing education class for my job and a little RnR with my parents.  And after my great fall of 2014, RnR was just what the doctor orders. We had several family dinners, I saw some of my besties, and spent some time in the sun.

After I returned home, I attended several other holiday parties with my church and volleyball families and took an adventure to The Lights of Christmas. This was similar to the Wild Lights except this had over 1 MILLION lights spread over 15 acres. This is the largest holiday lights display in the Pacific Northwest and boy oh boy I have in christmas light heaven. If you are looking for something special to do with your family around Christmas and you reside in Washington, this is highly recommended.

Similar to thanksgiving, Christmas eve and Christmas day were pretty quiet and relaxing. However, I did get the chance to spend some quality time with someone who I’ve spent the past 10+ Christmases with and many, many other holidays and celebrations. She was here visiting her fiancee’s family and it was my first christmas since moving to WA that I was able to spend it with family.

To wrap up the holiday season and year was a New Year’s party celebrated with close friends, laughter, and good times.

PHEW, that was quite a wrap up and if you made it this far…thank you for reading. You are the reason I continue to write on this blog and continue to explore the world around me.

Portland Birthday Bash

In the past 26 years, I have always enjoyed my birthday and figuring out where I’would be spending it. In the past few years, I’ve spent my birthday in Iowa; Managua, Nicaragua; Flagstaff, Arizona; Phoenix, Arizona and this past year, Portland, Oregon. Talk about one lucky girl! Can you believe that I’m already trying to plan my next birthday, well mostly where I’m going!

Portland, OR was more than I could have asked for and Read more

Bad Nicole…

Why would I yell at myself you might be asking?

Well, did you see the date of my last post??? Just horrible. I missed writing about Christmas, New Years (though not much to write about for the holiday) and pretty much the update on me!

Let’s take it back a little…say, Thanksgiving.

For as long as I can remember, okay more like the past 10 years (I think that is what we determined), my family and I have spent Thanksgiving with our good friends The Zeners (we call them LanZen Celebrations). We have about 15, some times more, people, all friends and family, who gather together and give thanks to everything (both good and bad) that happened in the past year. The pictures hardly explain the shenanigans that occur.
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On to Christmas…Another LanZen Celebration!!

Twas the first LanZen Christmas Eve dinner in the new condo. 
Although fondue was not able to occur, a new tradition was started. 
Soup Soup Soup.
Cheesy Potato (my favorite) and Chicken Enchilada.
We also include a new competition- Minute to Win It.
Lang’s + Ashley vs. Zener’s + Michelle (they dominated)
Look what happens when 2 competitive families battle…

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Top: Joel standing one minute….down the next.
Bottom: (Me) Focus and determination; (boys) Shoes are flying

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Concentration was key!!!

Don’t worry, we still played LRC (left right center) but exhaustion kicked in (I worked all day) and no images were gathered! All in All…Xmas Eve was another eventful LanZen Celebration.

 P.S. Jacob was with us at Xmas Eve dinner but at 1 years old, did not compete. Which is why there are no photos of him!


BOO…HALLOWEEN

Okay, okay. I get it, I’m a tad bit late on updating my halloween extravaganza (well only 3 days, but late is late). For starters, I actually had a Saturday night off, which might not mean anything to anyone, but for me, it meant I actually got to see my friends. We all work crazy @$$ schedules and Saturday nights are the only nights free for us to get together! And yes, this past Saturday was all about rocking the costumes.

Now if you know anything about me, I don’t really spend too much time or money on costumes, because honestly how many people actually wear them more than once. On the same note, I normally don’t get Sat. nights off, so I didn’t have a costume to wear as of 3pm Sat. afternoon. Luckily, I have been living with my 11 month old nephew and had some simple, cheap and easy to assemble costumes in mind. I ended up going with Blue from Blue’s Clue (of course…it’s blue, DUH). I did have a little help from my amazing sister! I would say I look pretty dang cute for only having ~3 hours to assemble the costume. What do you think?

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Oh yeah, I should probably explain the blue paw print for those of you who have no idea who Blue is. Well, she is a Nick Jr. cartoon who leaves paw print/clues around the house and Joe, her owner, must figure out what she is thinking about. Get it. Well, thanks to my sister, we decided to make my very own clues to place around the house randomly to see if people could figure out the clues! Nifty huh?

Actual halloween day is another story. For started, I had some type of stomach ache/flu/pain where I had to cancel all my clients and call out of work. I hate being sick and having to do the previous statement, but I could not keep anything down (I know TMI, but it’s my blog :-P). On the positive side of being ill, I did get to take some goofy pictures of my adorable nephew in his cute Koala bear costume. If you know my sister, this might not come as a big shock (she’s only slightly past obsessed with the animal). Lucky for Matt, Michelle said he gets to choose the costume next year! You cannot tell me that he is not the cutest koala bear EVER!!!

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God Bless America

Today is a day to look back and remember all the soldiers who fought and died for this country and those who are currently fighting. This country stands for freedom, opportunity, dreams and love and I give my thanks to those men and women for putting their hearts and souls into defending our nation.

My Cousin, My Hero, My Marine!

Four and a half years ago, my cousin Ryan, joined the Marine Corps and has done two tours. I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done for this country. He is truly amazing and an inspiration.  I love you, Ryan!

All pictures taken at my cousin’s Marine Corps Graduation.
I know I can speak for my family when I say, we am proud of you Ryan and every soldier, present and past, for all you do!

God Bless the USA! I am proud to be an American!!

A Rocky Pointe Style New Year’s 2011

Rocky Pointe + Family + Friends + Good Times = New Year’s 2011

That really is the easiest way to describe this past weekend. I can’t remember a New Years that was this much fun in some time, especially since my younger cousin was able to experience Rocky Pointe, Mexico for the first time. Not to brag, but I do believe I showed her  one hell of an experience!
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Rachel pictured in a hammock and swimming at Las Palomas, looking at the Shrimp Boats, and bringing in the New Year’s at Changa’s.
Where the true journey begins:

We get to Rocky Pointe late Thursday night and immediately head over to our friends condo for an easy night. Of course, lets be serious, it is Mexico after all. An easy night consists of food, drinks and games.

 Friday, the gang (too many to name) headed into town to visit our favorite fruit/veggie stand and have some drinks at Boobar, the place to be for a memorable good time, before our New Year’s dinner extravaganza!!!
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Fruits and Veggies
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Shrimp boats, oyster shells, the gang at Boobar, and the best sign at Boobar
For our dinner extravaganza, the children (note: we are all over the age of 20) were sent to the “kids” table so what do we do…
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…we do TEQUILA SHOTS!!!! (Note: I am taking a shot of water…I don’t like Tequila)
As for the rest of New Year’s… 
Us children wandered out to a Changa’s, a local bar, at about 10:45pm and were back at the condo by 12:20am. We enjoyed Changa’s but realized that the condo offered just a little more than a crowed, elbow to elbow smokey bar; including, family, friends and the choice beverage for the evening. This shenanigans continued until the early hours of the morning.
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As Saturday rolled around, everyone was pretty exhausted and the children realized it was more exciting to drink bloody mary’s and sit in the hot tub than go into town again, so that is exactly what we did. We had a fully thanksgiving dinner (thanks to Mama Z), along with scrumptious clams for dinner and not-to-mention were adult-free (though, I’m pretty sure they didn’t mind being “kid-free” for the evening). After dinner, and for our last night, were partied Rocky Pointe-style.

When Sunday came along, the fun-filled festivities had worn out the other kids. I was having WAY too much fun with my DSLR camera, so I wandered around the complex, the beach and then into town to take some random photos. Honestly, its hard not to be in such a lovely and scenic location and not take pictures daily. Rocky Pointe has some great opportunities for photography and I have learned to always ready to snap a shot.
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Holidays 2010 minus New Years

Over the past month, my life became quite busy between the Thanksgiving holiday, school/finals and Christmas, which did not leave me much time to write.  Though, I can’t forget to mention that being a new aunt and trying to capture every moment of Jacob’s life has taken up a big chunk (all) of my spare time. So without further adieu: My Holiday Season. 

Thanksgiving
As usual, my family headed over to our friend’s, the Zener’s, house for the annual LanZen Thanksgiving Celebration, where delicious food was consumed and unforgettable memories were made. This year, like most years, we invited new friends to join us but the most exciting event of the evening was that my nephew (4 days old) was able to join in the fun for a few hours. Thanksgiving always comes at that perfect time of the year, right before finals, and provides a break from the mental strain school brings. 
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Winter Break 2010
I finished off my second to last semester of classes up at NAU and lets just say I AM SO READY TO BE DONE. Nothing exciting is happening up north, just doing rotations and taking classes. After I finished up with finals I came home for the winter break where I have spent great time with friends and family and am ready for some more great times to come. The first Saturday of break I did a santa bar crawl called Santarchy and lets just say it was a good time.
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 Christmas
We did our annual LanZen Fondue X-mas eve dinner which is a great time and too hard to explain. Photos don’t do the memories justice. For the first time in years, we were able to capture a full LanZen Family photo. As for Christmas day, we did a small Christmas celebration with delicious food and some movies.

My amazing and wonder family!

Halloween and Homecoming Weekend.

Last year during Homecoming, I had to work but not this year. I was able to spend the weekend celebrating with friends! It was a great homecoming/Halloween weekend. Friday night was spent celebrating Halloween at a local bar. I dressed as Mary from Something About Mary. If you don’t get it google it. It will make sense! Then on Saturday I woke up at 8am after getting 4 hours of sleep to head to the bars for Tequila Sunrise with some of my Speech Friends! Last year we made LumberDrunk Shirts and I actually got to wear mine! It was a long and exhausting weekend, but a good one at that. Here are some classic photos!