Some GaGA Business

Is everybody ready to start getting active and AWESOME tomorrow? I know I am! I got a couple of new workout DVDs for Christmas that I can’t wait to try out. I am excited to get 2008 off to a great start!

Over the weekend I sent out an email from the MondayMinutes address to all current Get active. Get AWESOME! participants. The email included a spreadsheet for y’all to use to keep track of your activity minutes starting tomorrow morning. If you didn’t get this email, or the attachment didn’t work, or whatever, please let Anna, Deidra, or me know so we can make sure you are just as ready to track your minutes as everyone else.

As of right now, the Get active. Get AWESOME! participant list is as follows:

Dave S.
Operation Pink Herring
And, of course, your Awesome Activity Hostesses: Anna, Deidra, and me.

Should your name be on that list? Did you sign up and we accidentally left you off? Did you mean to sign up but forgot? Let us know, and we’ll add you and get you your very own Awesome Activity Tracking Spreadsheet!

Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to lots of activity and overuse of the word “Awesome” in ’08!

It Was a Close Race, But…

The winner of the Gingerbread House Contest, with a whopping 8 votes, is House #2!

It was a seriously close race; Maggie and Dennis’s house only beat House #3 by one vote.

Would you like to see whose house was the first runner-up?

It was ours. We were so close! But apparently y’all preferred the row house look to the nice, neat, sturdy house with the tacky “No L” joke on the side of it. Whatever; at least we can take solace in the fact that Gizmo took one sniff at our house and refused to even acknowledge the others. So we totally won the part of the competition judged by the blind, senile dog. Take that, row houses!

The second runner-up, then, would be Jenn and Aleisha’s house, receiving only 1 vote (but several honorable mentions).

I was actually really surprised by how little love this house got. Maybe the photos just didn’t do it justice, because in person I think it was definitely the cutest house.

Thanks for voting, everyone! And congrats, Dennis and Maggie — you are the reigning Gingerbread House Champions for 2007. You’d better enjoy that glory while you can, because Tim and I are going to start drafting construction plans right away to secure our victory in the 2008 Gingerbread House Competition.

Christmas Wrap Up

The weekend before Christmas we went to Ft. Collins to spend some quality time with my parents and our friends up north. The weekend included:

  • A fabulous Christmas Eve-Eve brunch with Jessie, Gary, Kat, and Kat’s husband, which was super fun.
  • Baking Day. (Go read that post from last year to fully understand just how important an event this is.)

Baking Day was everything Baking Day should be: My mom and I baked 24 coffee cakes and 6 dozen dinner rolls and sipped expertly-poured champagne from flour-encrusted flutes while the sound of expertly-chosen jazzy Christmas music filled the air. It was, in a word, wonderful.

The World’s Best OPC & PJCM (a.k.a. my dad) is doing very well, by the way. If you missed it, you should click over here and check out the commet he left last week in appreciation of all of your support. But don’t let him fool you; nothing I wrote about him was overly flattering.

On Sunday we headed home so we could spend Christmas with Tim’s family. Christmas Eve was filled with fun (don’t forget to vote! there’s still time!), and Christmas morning brought even more good times. We were up bright and early to indulge in breakfast and presents in the comfort of our brand new jammies while snow drifted outside to provide a perfectly picturesque white Christmas.

The food was delicious and the presents were superb, including (but not limited to):

  • A copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves
  • Season 2 of Rome
  • Lots of great new shirts for both Tim and myself
  • Gift cards that will be redeemed for delicious dinners at some of our favorite restaurants
  • Some really, really good wine

Ben made out with a pile of new toys and lip-smackin’-good treats.

I dug through racks and racks of thrift store shirts to find a few perfect gifts for Tim, including this shirt from the elementary school he went to as a kid.

(I didn’t shop for Tim at the thrift stores because I’m cheap, by the way. I did it because Tim absolutely loves digging through the thrift store racks and finding cool shirts, and I knew — given how much I really don’t love that particular shopping experience — that he would be touched by the fact that I had put the time and energy into finding him some great new thrifty tees.) (I was right, by the way. He said it was “one of the sweetest gifts” anyone had ever given him. Which made the entire shopping experience completely worth it.)

Tim got me some adorable new belly rings (yes, I have my belly button pierced, and yes, I love it) and a brand new version of Dance Dance Revolution, which is sure to challenge me by requiring me to coordinate movement of both my legs and my arms. I am super excited to get my groove on (and rack up some awesome activity minutes) with my new present. Oh, and it also happens to go perfectly with the gift Tim’s parents got us:

That’s right — we got a Wii! And it’s so much fun! As soon as we’d cleaned up from the present-opening extravaganza, Tim hooked the Wii up to his parents’ TV and we started playing.

I showed off my mad bowling skillz:

Tim looked really hott while he rocked out with Guitar Hero:

And Ben helped Tim’s mom master the art of Wii bowling:

Fun for the whole family, for sure.

So, there you have it. My Christmas in a nutshell. I hope you all had a fabulous holiday as well!

You Be the Judge

On Christmas Eve, we had a bit of a contest (where “we” refers to Tim’s parents and sisters, Tim, and myself, and “contest” refers to Gingerbread House-making extravaganza).

Tim’s sister Aleisha had the brilliant idea that we should make gingerbread houses as part of our Christmas Eve festivities. Not only should we make gingerbread houses, Aleisha proposed, but we should make a contest out of it. There was only one dilemma: Where will we find an unbiased judge?

The first solution suggested was to set the completed gingerbread creations on the floor and let one of the dogs decide which was best. The dog best suited to gingerbread judging was Gizmo — Tim’s parents’ dog who is old and mostly blind and therefore would not have seen who made which house and would be able to decide which house was best based on smell. This solution was not without its flaws, but it had potential.

We still felt the need, however, for impartial judges who could use things like sight, logic, and an appreciation of aesthetics to make a decision as important as Which Gingerbread House Is Best. Aleisha came to the rescue with another great idea and proposed that I post pictures of the houses on this blog and let you, the Internet, pick a winner.

We stocked up on gingerbread graham crackers, frosting, and assorted candies, divided into teams, and set the following rules:

  1. Each team was allowed one box of crackers and one tub of frosting.
  2. All other candy/decoration was placed on the table for communal use by all teams. If one type of candy ran out before your team got to use it, too bad.
  3. Teams would have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete their houses.

And with that, we were off. It went smoothly, for the most part. Jenn and Aleisha (Tim’s sisters) had a total structure collapse (Aleisha: “What part of me saying ‘Jenn. Jenn. Jenn. Jenn!” made you think it was a good idea to keep doing what you were doing?”) but were able to re-build with time to spare; Tim’s parents sneakily managed to hoard one type of decoration, putting every last piece onto their house before the rest of us had any idea what was happening; and Tim and I had to cancel construction of an addition to our house at the last minute due to a mis-calculation of building material quantities.

In the end, though, all of the houses turned out awfully cute.

And now they need to be judged.

We let Gizmo judge, but all he did was wander over to one house, sniff it apathetically, and then walk away, not even bothering to glance at the other two houses. It’s possible that the one house he looked at was so great that he knew looking at the others would be a waste of time because nothing else could possibly compare to the greatness he had just seen. But it’s also possible that he sniffed the house, decided it wasn’t worth eating or peeing on, and then wandered off in search of other things to eat and/or pee on without another care in the world.

So now it’s your turn to decide, Internet. Which house is best?

House 1:

House 2:

House 3:

(Go to the Flickr photo set to see the houses from all angles.)

Votes will be accepted until Midnight on Thursday, December 27. On Friday the 28th, I’ll tally the votes, announce the results, and reveal the winning team.

Wednesday-Bensday! Special Christmas Edition

Ben sincerely hopes each and every one of you had a very merry Christmas yesterday.

Now, if you’ll excuse him, he’s got to get back to work on the new rawhide Santa brought him.

Be sure to wish a merry Christmas to Rufus, Ted, Gus, and Zapp!

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