Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Birthday Festivities

I'm a lucky, lucky girl! It was my brithday last Friday....the big 22. I went home Thursday night after classes to have a family birthday party. We opened gifts (ch-ching...thanks everyone!) and had cake and ice cream. My birthday present from Mama and Daddy arrived in the mail that day too, so I got to open snowboard, boots and bindings!!

Friday, I headed down to Grand Rapids to Andy's apartment. Megan, Diana, Kaitlyn, Deirdre, Derek, Matt, Ann and Ryan also came to hang out before we headed out. As a special birthday surprise, Matt made me a pinata filled with little trial bottles of liquor and mini snickers. Andy and Matt also suprised me with a double layer, confetti cake with giant "22" candles lit on it....delicious!

Later that evening, the whole group headed out to Mojo's, a dueling piano bar. The bar has two floors: downstairs is the band, and upstairs is a DJ and dance floor. When we got there, Andy and the girls put in a request for the band to sing to me for my birthday. However, they didn't just sing...they spot-lighted me out in the crowd and called me up on stage. Once up there, they had me sit on the piano and began to play "you've lost that loving feeling." The singer then called up all the guys who wanted to, to come sing to me.....loved it!

After my birthday song, the girls and I did a couple of rounds of birthday shots and a little dancing. I had a blast, but managed to wake the next morning with no post-birthday hangover....very happy/proud of myself for that one.

The following day, Sunday, Andy, Matt and I went to Pando, a ski hill in GR. We snowboarded for a couple hours (LOVE my new board!) and then went snow tubing with Andy's co-workers. They were there for their Christmas party, and then the whole group headed out to The Timbers for dinner.

I didn't have class on Monday because of MLK Jr. day, so I was able to re-coup, and get some homework done. It was the perfect end to a really, really great weekend!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!!

We rang in the New Year by spending time with friends and watching Grand Rapid's first ball drop....

Lots of people

Andy and Me, downtown

Tzew, Me and Andy

Happy New Year!!

Merry Christmas...Passed and Presents

Before Christmas, Andy and I went to the Fredrick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids to see their "Christmas Traditions Around the World" exhibit. It was really interesting and very beautiful. The whole interior of the building was filled with Christmas trees, each decorated to represent a different country. There was also several displays telling Christmas stories and legends from around the world. My favorite tree was from Ukraine; it was covered in beautiful, lacey spider webs and silver spider ornaments. There is a legend about this tree's decoration: a family had a Christmas tree, but could not afford to decorate it. Late that night, after the family had gone to bed, spiders came out and covered the tree in webs. That next morning, all of the webs turned to silver, and the family came out to find a beautifully decorated tree for Christmas.

Andy and Me in front of the Ukrainian tree

The specialty plant rooms were also open to walk through; I loved the tropical plant room and the southwestern plant room, but the carnivorous plant room was definately my favorite.

Andy and I in the tropical plant room

Cacti in the southwestern plant room

Pitcher plant in the carnivorous plant room

The whole tour was really interesting, but my absolute favorite part of the trip was the minature train they had running through the building. They filled an entire room with miniature replicas of famous buildings in Grand Rapids, made completely from natural materials and had a small caboose running on a track through them. High above, was another track that a larger train high, in fact, that archways were built to hold the track, large enough to walk under. It was beautiful and fun to watch!

The caboose track with some of the replicas

St. Mark's Episcopal Church

The larger train with the archways

Christmas was nice this year, different than usual, but still very nice. Everyone was sooooooo sick that we cancelled our extended family Christmas. Mom, Dad, Michael and I had a really nice Christmas morning together, but we were missing Aunt Joie. She has always been at our house on Christmas morning to open gifts, but not this year....didn't want to catch any of the cold bugs. I got everything I asked for, plus some....I'm a lucky, happy girl!

Andy arrived later Christmas day and stayed until Saturday. We went Saturday afternoon to my Aunt's house for a family Christmas party and then left to go to his family's Christmas party. I spent a few days with his family and headed back home on Monday. I can't believe how fast Christmas flew up on me this year, and how quickly it flew by....Just put up the tree, and it's already time to take it down. *sigh*