Friday, December 31, 2010

The Holiday Hussle

Can you believe that Christmas is over and it's New Years Eve?!? Where did 2010 go?  We had a wonderful Christmas with lots of traveling!  Not far traveling but we were still in the car quite a bit.  We started off by heading down to my parents house on Christmas Eve.  Spent some time with them and the dogs played a lot.  It's tradition in the Hill household to go to Mom mom & Pop pop's house for Christmas Eve dinner.  We went to dinner and had a great time with the family.  Every so often, we had to check NORAD to see where Santa was visiting!  Christmas Eve is always full of food, fun, chaos, and laughter!  Ben and I opened our presents from the family and received many wonderful gifts!  Thanks everyone!  Riley got a lot of presents too...she must've been really good this year! 

We headed back to Columbia that night and set out our presents for each other before heading to bed.  In my family, we always get up at 5am on Christmas morning....Ben's family tends to wake up a little later, haha.  Ben made me promise not to wake him before 7am so at 7 on the dot, he was shaken awake!  We opened our presents while Riley gnawed on a big rawhide from Santa.  After presents, we made breakfast together, which was french toast, bacon, eggs, and scrapple (for me....Ben hates the stuff).  It was quite a different Christmas than the ones we were both used to.  It was a lot quieter for me and a lot earlier for Ben!

Riley, Ben, and I headed over to the Alvarez's house for presents and my parents and brother joined us for a Christmas feast of steak and lobster tails!  The Hills then joined us at our little apartment for even more gifts!  Our Christmas day ended with watching Despicable Me on Ben's new Blu-ray player.

On Tuesday, we celebrated Christmas with my mom's side of the family.  Ben wasn't able to go due to work but I went and had a great time with the Ecks, Hills, Talleys, Semchenkos, Higgs, and Mowells!  ( Think I got everyone!)  Still more great presents and I got to meet my cousin's baby, Easton, for the first time!  He's a real cutie but I wasn't able to hold him since I was getting over a cold.  Next time though!

I believe that wraps up (hahaha) our very first Christmas together!  Happy New Year and see you in 2011!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookies, cookies, and more cookies!

Yesterday was cookie day for Ben and I...well, mainly me!  I started baking around 8:15am and finished up at 4:00pm.  The final count was 137 snowman cookies and 113 molasses cookies.  Most of them are gifts for people but we did save some for ourselves!  I thought 250 cookies was a lot to make but a friend of ours had cookie day with her extended family and they made 4,066 cookies!! That I cannot imagine doing!  Makes my 250 look like chump change but I did mine all by myself...that should count for something!

Riley was pretty well behaved with all the cookie smells around her.  She did manage to steal a few snowmen off the baking stone before they were put into the oven.  After the second steal, she realized that she wasn't allowed to do that and was a pretty good girl the rest of the day. 

Here are some pictures of the cookie madness!

And here's just a cute but weird picture of Riley.  She stayed like this for a few minutes!  I don't know if she was stretching or what!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tis the Season to be Jolly!

The Christmas season has begun!  Well, Ben and I have been playing Christmas music since the first part of November, but the actual decorating was done this past weekend!  Since we have a small apartment, we don't have many decorations.  We have the important ones though!  Tree and stockings!

Also this past weekend, Chessie (my sister-in-law) and I decorated our annual gingerbread houses!  Her's turned out much better than mine...I got a little impatient and thats why mine looks messier!  We had a great time though and I think we ate as much candy as we put on the houses!

Mine is the first one, then Chessie's much neater and prettier one!

Yoda the fish

One of my favorite black friday purchases was a betta fish!  Ben and I named him Yoda and he is happily swimming in his bowl on our kitchen counter.  He keeps Riley company while we're at work!


Sorry my updates are a little delayed...Comcast accidentally disconnected our services so we didn't have internet or cable for five days!  Just got it fixed so I'm trying to get up to date on everything!

The only pictures I have of Thanksgiving are of Riley being a good girl during dinner.  We gave her a big rawhide which kept her pretty busy while we ate.  We went to Ben's parents house first for our first Thanksgiving dinner.  Riley came with us so she didn't have to be in her crate on the holiday.  We brought the appetizers and some dessert to share!

After our first dinner, we made the drive to my grandparents house on the Eastern Shore for our second Thanksgiving!  We celebrated with my parents and brother and my dad's side of the family.  It was great to see everyone and eat again!  We were stuffed when we left to come home!

The next day was of course, Black Friday!  Chessie came over to our apartment and she and Ben stayed up all night playing video games.  I slept a few hours since I had to work that afternoon.  We left at 4am to hit the stores!  It was well worth some Christmas presents and we saved more than we spent in every store!  Thats what I call smart shopping!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My birthday!

For my birthday, which was Saturday, Ben and I went to the 9am showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!  The movie was amazing and was a great start to my birthday!  After the awesome movie, we had lunch and relaxed at home with Riley.  Ben gave me his presents which were a knit hat, Beauty and the Beast on DVD, and a purse!  He is the best gift giver ever!  Saturday evening, we met my parents, Ben's parents and sister, my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle at P.F. Changs for a delicious birthday dinner!  I even got a candle in my cheesecake for dessert!  It was the best way to ring in my 23rd birthday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy 95th Birthday Granny

This post is dedicated to my great grandmother, Esther Hill.  Granny's birthday is today and she would have been 95 years old!  Sadly, she missed her birthday by 8 days.  On November 1st, my granny suffered a heart attack and stroke and she later passed away on November 11th.  She was a huge part of our family and she is greatly missed.

My great grandmother was one of the most independent people that I knew.  She raised 4 kids, one who had disabilities, and after her children married, she lived in her house by herself.  She liked her independence and I can't imagine being her age and living on my own.  One thing I always thought was fascinating was that she never ever had a drivers license!  Even though she didn't drive, she always made sure she was at family events.  Granny was a wonderful woman.  I loved going to her house on Christmas to visit and have some of her special punch.  I looked forward to that punch every year!  She also had a HUGE love for sports, especially the Maryland Terrapins.  Whenever I saw her we'd talk about the latest football or basketball game or how the season was going.  She also loved hockey!  I've never known an older person to love sports as much as she did.

One funny story about me and Granny is that when I was little and before I understood how family trees worked, I thought we called her Great Granny because she was incredibly awesome!  I didn't know that it was because she was my great-grandmother but thought she was cool enough to have that title.  Even after I figured it out, she was still my cool great grandmother.  I was so happy that she was able to come to our wedding this past summer and am happy that that is my last memory of her.  Granny will surely be missed but I know how much she loved God and is now with Him.  I'll see her again someday but in the meantime, I hope I can be as loving and as fun as my great-grandmother was.  I love you Granny!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wedding bells in the air

Yesterday, Ben and I attended our 6th (yes, 6th) wedding of 2010!  We joined friends and family in seeing Jaime and Brad Collins tie the knot.  We are both friends with the bride.  She lived on Ben's floor freshman year at UMD and I met Jaime our junior year in Cru and became her bible study leader/really good friend.  She let me borrow a ton of clothes for various dates with Ben!  Anyways, they are really good friends of ours and when they get back from their honeymoon, they will be joining Cru staff at the Naval Academy in Annapolis! 
We also heard the wonderful news that Ben's cousin, Martina, got engaged this past week!  We are really excited for Martina and her fiance and for a big Texas wedding soon!  I've never been to Texas so I am really excited to go!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Bern, NC

This past Thursday-Sunday, the Alvarez family (Ben's parents, siblings, and us) traveled to New Bern, NC, which is where Ben's grandparents used to live.  We stayed in a sweet bed & breakfast which I had never stayed in before.  It was so nice and filled with antiques.  The owners, Ed and Sooki, were super sweet and Sooki made great breakfast every morning!  New Bern is a lot like downtown Easton, if you've ever been there.  Lots of places to walk to and many historic buildings.  We even toured the Tryon Palace where the Governor used to live way back when!  While in New Bern, we did many things that the Alvarez's used to do when they came to visit.  This included dinner at Golden Corral, shopping at their HUGE Walmart, and walking around town.  This is New Bern's 300th anniversary and this weekend was the opening of the new historic center.  We even went to see fireworks that were supposedly black powder aerial fireworks like they had years ago...strangely the looked and sounded a lot like modern day fireworks!!  All in all we had a great time and got to spend a lot of time hanging out as a family.  Ben and I introduced them to the fun game of bananagrams and we played for hours! 
 This is Tryon palace...I wouldn't mind living here!
The other neat thing about New Bern is that it is the birthplace of Pepsi!!!  If you know me, you know how much I love Pepsi so I was very excited about this.  I even bought a charm and a shirt!  We went into the store that used to be a pharmacy which is where Pepsi was first invented!  So cool!  And I learned that Caleb Bradham, the inventor, got his pharmaceutical degree from UMD!! Go Terps!!

We have a graduate in the family!!

On Monday, October 18th, Riley graduated puppy class along with two other dogs!!!  We have no idea what happened to the other puppies but we wanted to share some cute pictures with you!  Since Riley and the other dogs are so smart, they graduated a week early!!  We got some pictures taken courtesy of our trainer then he led us all out into Petsmart.  While waiting in an aisle for our names to be called, the loudspeaker crackled on...we all gave each other puzzled looks.  Next thing we know, Pomp & Circumstance starts playing for everyone in the store to hear!  All of us humans were cracking up!  After the song played through, the trainer called everyone's attention to the graduating class of October 2010!  The dogs were called one by one to the front (Riley was the ever rambunctious Riley) and we prayed that she would walk like she learned something.  By now, everyone in the store, customer and employee, were at the front, clapping and cheering for the dogs.  I must say, Petsmart knows how to graduate in style!!

                                                                       Riley in her cap

                                 The graduating class of October 2010!  Riley, Daisy, and Gizmo

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just some more pictures of Riley

Just wanted to share some more pictures of Riley since I finally got my camera back!!
 Riley being a bad girl by getting in the fireplace!
 Road trip to the Eastern Shore!

 Oakley and Riley
 Oakley and Mali
All three lovebugs!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sick day = Productivity

So I am home with a terrible sore throat/slight fever/chills but I just went to our local grocery store to stock up on OJ, soup, throat lozenges, and some Starbucks Skim Caramel Chai Latte!!!  Absolutely my favorite drink from there...if you haven't before,  you should try it.

Anyways, I decided I should update while I am home.  Riley's mad at me because she's in her crate and she knows that I am home but not letting her out.  I just don't have the voice to discipline her puppy hurts to talk!  Hopefully she'll learn that whining does not equal being let out of the crate.  She's woken us up in the middle of the night the last few nights wanting to play.  The trainer told us to ignore her but it's hard to ignore her when she's in your room and she could very well wake the whole apartment building up!  So, maybe today will be a good lesson for her!

I don't have any new pictures to post because I left my camera at my parents house when we visited two weekends ago.  We went home to watch the last race of the season for my dad and to celebrate my grandmother's birthday.  I'd tell you how old she is but she'd kill me!  She doesn't look her age, that's for sure.  My dad's side of the family came over to my parents house to celebrate on Sunday.

 These are some pictures of our racecars.  The top one, #75, is my dad's car and the bottom one, #57, is my brother's car. 

We FINALLY got our bedroom furniture!!  We were told 2-4 weeks back in July which turned into 3 months!  It looks great though and it's so nice to finally get our clothes out of bags and boxes and into real drawers!  Though, lining the drawers was a totally different experience.  So far, I've spent probably 5 hours wrestling the stupid liner from measuring all of the drawers to cutting to the liner sticking to itself instead of the's been a nightmare!  But I only have 4 to go from 19!

I think that's about everything that has happened since our last blog!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Last weekend...

Even though it's a new weekend, I still need to write about our wonderful Labor Day weekend!  Friday night we got to spend time with our good friends, Hannah and Andrew Beach!  We had a wonderful dinner at Cheesecake Factory and saw a movie with them!

Saturday morning we drove to the Eastern Shore to spend the weekend with my family.  Riley met my parents dogs, Oakley and Mali who are both terrier mixes.  The initial meeting didn't go so well but after awhile, Mali and Riley especially got along while Oakley just tolerated her.  (L-R) Oakley, Mali, and Riley
Oakley and Riley

On Sunday, we went to my cousin's beautiful wedding!  It was on the river and the weather was absolutely gorgeous!  The bride was beautiful in her wedding gown!  And Monday, we went to my grandparents house for our annual labor day pool party.  The weather was on the cooler side so not many of us went into the pool but we relaxed and talked with family and ate lots of good food!