Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread Extravaganza the tradition of gathering friends in the name of sugar, we hosted the annual McReeder Gingerbread Extravaganza a couple of weeks ago. A couple of weeks ago?! you say. Where have I been? Why the late post? Well, I've been scrubbing sugar plums off my hardwoods for the past few weeks and have just recently emerged from a diabetic coma. And, so I present to you the glorious pictures which pretty much tell the story. Before the grahams, we all shared a ham!

Melanie and Drew look like fierce competition. Too bad my sister stole my idea to build a stadium. Jerk. (Just kidding...)
No Christmas party is complete without a tacky sweater. The cats make this one. And the fact that Katie is a teacher. Definitely creates the awkward moment of she for real or do all teachers really end up getting sucked into the vortex of creepy sweaters?
The Gingerbread Party was all fun and games when it started four years ago. Now, our group of friends have joined the rank of professionals like...oh, say, aeronautical engineers, architects, accountants, pilots...etc. Let's just say that the college knowledge has raised the stakes of this friendly competition.

Which is why this year it was necessary to have a trophy.
Ready to see the real pictures, aren't you? We'll begin with Dan and mine's interpretation of the Tiger Woods estate, post-Thanksgiving. See the little guy in the driveway? The SUV off the side of the road? The ambulance with a livesaver on top? The sour patch kid with the golf club. Oh yes, we went there.This is an interpretation of the main road outside our house, courtesy of our neighbor (and friend, of course) Brett. I especially like that the owners of the trailer home have their priorities straight. Because, seriously, it just wouldn't be the same without the satellite dish. And, really, who doesn't wish they could throw their "coke bottles" on the roof? That's convenience, my friends!

And, my art-sy friend, Shana, had to take it to the next level with this interpretation of the three little pigs. We all know you're talented, Shana. No need to flaunt it.
Sweet Catherine had it going on with the pitched roof. For at least a solid five seconds before it caved. Have no fear friends -- this was only the beginning of Skittlemania.
I present to you (above) Skittlemania! I am pretty sure this is Dan's interpretation of heaven.

And for the pyro in all of us, Austin roasted his gummy bears. That's sweet! Now Karen has a future in gingerbread construction. Her Reindeer Stables towered above the competition!
Katie was all about the playboy mansion, complete with the Escalade out back.
I love that Kendra has her baby! Is now a good time to share with you I cried during that episode?
Hard at work.
Now here's where things go all wrong in my opinion. Did someone seriously bring a blue print to construct the Nautilus? Surely a sign we're hanging out with friends way out of our league. I mean, do I need to remind you to scroll up and look again at Dan and my masterpiece? (Should "my" be plural there? my's? can you say that? "hey guys look at my's masterpiece.")

Gummy Bear Resort courtesy of Bryan and Kim. Too cute for words!

Tim and Kam's Fun House. Clearly newly-weds.
Notice again, Skittlemania before it collapased.

Blake was on a roll (no pun intended) until he added the "A". At which point he was burned at the stake by the pyro gingerbread men. Not in my house, Blake. Not in my house.

Beach shack. Where candy goes to hang out. Nice surfboard Zach.

Drew and Melanie's baseball stadium, complete with an Oreo Jumbo-tron in the back. Awesome even if they are idea-stealers.

Bryan's plane. So good. Even if you were channeling Amelia when the prop fell off.

Pong Penguins by Emily and Dave, aka "The Winners"!
The champs! Amazing!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving at the Beach

We did things a little different this year...and instead of staying in town over Thanksgiving and visiting with our three families...we ventured to Florida with my dad...for turkey at the beach. Having been in Jacksonville for the Ga/Fl game, Clemson for the FSU game, San Antonio for the half marathon -- we figured we should probably get out of town for the fourth time since the end of October.It was a little difficult being away from some of our family over Thanksgiving. But one look at this and I am instantly reminded of God's ever present blessings. What a lot we have to be thankful for.We stayed at this beautiful house -- thanks to Dad and Michelle's generosity! It was perfect.

And, at the end of the trip, we drove from the east coast of the state to the west coast to see my grandparents and Dan's uncle. It was a wonderful getaway and a great reminder of all we have to be thankful for.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

San Antonio is HOT, HOT, HOT

Except during our was ridiculously cold. Seriously. One day I wore almost everything I the same time! Besides conquering 13.1 miles ... Dan, Brett, Catherine and I remembered the Alamo while we were in San Antonio. Which, by the way, is all about a really sad story. Everybody dies. Like Marley and Me...but everybody dies. The River Walk definitely makes this city! Cute shops, restaurants and a river make a winning combination. Who knew? Just be careful because every year more than 200 people fall in the river. The river with very few guard rails. The river that is lined with margarita-serving restaurants. Go figure. It was my goal to see someone fall in during our trip, but no such luck. A return visit is definitely in order.
There is a ton of public art througout San Antonio. Everywhere you look beautiful architecture and art inspire. Like the mural below -- which is on the side of the conference center and includes colors (all except one) that are completely derived from nature. Cool, huh? Do these bells look familiar? A scene from Ms. Congeniality was filmed here. Now that I remember from the tour...sad.
Tower of the Americas at Hemisfair Park. Look it up. It's cool...and tall. We had cocktails in the restaurant at the top and watched the sun set.

Oldest cathedral in the United States. Except New Orleans thinks they have the oldest one, too. This was right outside our hotel.

Did I mention in addition to running 13.1 miles we the start line, back to our hotel from the finish line, to the river, to the shops....we walked and walked and walked...........

Beautiful bakery! The colors of the decorations are amazing.

San Antonio is a beautiful city and I definitely recommend a visit for a long weekend. I also suggest the Rock and Roll Marathon series for anyone wanting to run and run and run and run. The four of us ran the there's no pics...because we were otherwise occupied...but it was beyond fun and a great way to see the city.


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