Happy New Year!

minion

Haaaaaaaaaaaaapppppyyy Neeeeeeeeeew Yeeeeeeeeeear!

Hey, we’re more than a week into it, but so what?! It’s still exciting!

Wow, I’ve gone a whole year without posting something! (Haha, I love that joke. Never gets old.) Seriously, I keep going these long stints without updating this bad boy and I promise I feel really bad about it. With a new year here and all the resolution hype surrounding the first few weeks, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t make a resolution to blog more. I know I’m so predictable, but dammit, I have a better chance at keeping that than I do the usual eat better/get fit nonsense. Which I also made a resolution for but that’s not the point!

Funny-quote-new-year-2015-resolution

Point is, I have this blog and I’ve hardly been using it lately. With so many unused categories and sections, I feel like this place is the Beast’s castle and all those neglected topics are in the West Wing. Things have to change!

But that’s for the near future. Right now I figured I’d get you guys up to date with things. But where to start..? I mean, there’s a buttload of stuff that’s been going on lately. Quite a few things I need to document here but that annoying time thing keeps rushing by and giving me the finger. So to get it out there and out of the way, let’s get this post going! We’re doing my favorite – “rapid fire” bullet style updates! Been a while since we’ve done a Humpday Update (was the last one really in July?! I’m such a terrible blogger) so let’s go. Note, I’m going to be starting from around Christmas time. I think there’s enough that happened between then and now to fill up a post and get my writing juices going again. Sooooooooooo here we go, in semi-chronological order:

  • We finally cut the cord! That’s right, no more cable/satellite/whatever you call it. It’s been a long time coming, let me tell you. That $200 bill after internet, cable, and the phone that no one uses was hurting. I’ve always been the type to actually enjoy the existence of commercials, I don’t know, they just gave me a sense of comfort, it’s weird. And the wife and I always enjoyed just turning the tv on and it just being there. But enough was enough! We knew it wasn’t worth the cost so we are now a streaming only household. To be honest, I haven’t missed it once! I’d get into the shows we’re watching, but I’ll save that for another post.
  • Because we ditched it, we had to update our hardware. So we went out and bought a few 4K smart tvs!

3tvs

  • Hahaha, yeah freaking right. I have no idea who those people are. Those curved ones I’ve seen in stores are sweet though, have you seen them? No, we didn’t get any new tvs, but we did get 2 Amazon Fire TV Sticks. It’s a pretty sweet device and recommended if you’re looking to go the same route. We bought a Chromecast on Black Friday but wound up returning it in exchange for the 2nd Fire Stick. We just enjoyed the UI and the remote more.
  • What? You want an unboxing with angry, upset, and crying kids in the background? Oooooook, but only since you asked! (I’ve been unboxing with the DSLR and I had no idea it was going to pick up those noises from the complete opposite side of the house like that!)

  • Even without cable, I still haven’t watched Guardians of the Galaxy. And it’s been on my shelf for weeks. I’m ashamed, truly I am.
  • A few days before Christmas, the wife and I celebrated our dating anniversary! 11 whole years together and every day still feels like the first. We’ve shared a lot together over the years and I can’t wait to continue sharing this life with her.

A photo posted by Los (@the1llusiveman) on

  • Ours decided to die a few weeks before, and it was a good 5 or 6 years old so I’m surprised it lasted that long. At first it was something we wanted to get so our Christmas guests had quick coffee at their disposal, but a few hours after the fact she said “Hey! Happy anniversary!” Ha, she’s so thoughtful, but I’m not complaining!

IMG_0390

  • I really like the convenience of Keurigs. I’ve been a fan for a while, and even though I love me my simple french press, I’m a sucker for popping a k-cup in there and pressing a button. Speaking of which, these 2.0’s are freaking sweet! – touch screens, ability to make a carafe, option to brew strong – they’re worth the upgrade. Especially during a good sale like we got it.

IMG_0372

  • The Christmas craziness went as fast as it came. The house is finally dechristmasfied and it feels good to put all the clutter away. I felt like I wasn’t ready for it. Too much going on. Too much at once, you know? Haha, like I didn’t know December was coming months in advance. But still! It catches you off guard. Next year I really want to tackle the holidays. I want to be ready for them so I could enjoy it without having to rush through days trying to get stuff up and ready. That means I’m going to be like retail stores and put up my tree before Halloween is over. That’s it, I decided, it’s happening.
  • 90% of Christmas Eve was spent in the kitchen for me. And not even for food. I was making desserts! The wife and her mom took care of all the main dishes like they always do. So I took care of the dessert. I made a mocha cheesecake, my semi-famous chocolate chip cookies, and a tiramisu. Then at around 11pm – about an hour and a half before I started to wrap my gifts – I was rolling out dough for cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls that didn’t even get baked till Christmas afternoon! I tried starting a tradition last year to have cinnamon rolls ready for breakfast but that didn’t happen. At least they were made so that’s good. Real good, actually. I could eat a cinnamon roll a day if I knew I wouldn’t freaking die. BTW, sorry, no pictures of anything. I chose to not be that guy and just try to enjoy what I was doing and what I was doing it for. Oh, and I was so busy I didn’t even think about it.
  • All that time on my feet and I was rocking these! What? I never told you I’m a sucker for toe socks? C’mon, don’t look at me like that. I’m a dude food blogger, there aren’t many more dark caves I can venture into.

20141224_150145 - Copy

  • I usually make a platter of like 5 different cookies for Christmas but was lucky to get one batch done. Telling you – no time.
  • And the tiramisu? I need to make it again to redeem myself. My goodness, please, whatever you do, remember it’s not a good idea to soak the lady fingers in coffee and liqueur then give them a second coat with a brush. It was less tiramisu and more distant step child of a custard who married a tres leches cake drunk off coffee liqueur. The wife cried for days, it was terrible. I’ll make it again and I’ll put it on here, how about that?
  • Oh, and I tried to make mashed potatoes. But I don’t really want to relive that.

20141225_145331 - Copy

  • Ok, fine. Long story short, my mashed potatoes I was making weren’t to my standards. I’m serious about my mash, son. So I started to peel a potato to make some more. And on that first potato I managed to go a little too hard and far with the peeler and sliced off a good tip of my finger (just the tip). There was blood for hours, everyone was laughing at my luck, and all I could say is they’re lucky it wasn’t the initial batch of mash (that we wound up eating with no problem, of course) because I never found the tip of my finger. You’re welcome :D.

IMG_0097

  • My injury didn’t stop the kids from having an awesome Christmas though. And that they did! With gifts coming from multiple relatives and then the ones from us and of course Santa, I think they’re both set for a while.

IMG_0210

  • I’m set too! The wife got me an awesome looking cross that shares a chain with a dog tag that has all the important dates in my life engraved on it. Absolutely love it, especially since it replaced an old one that was on its last leg.

IMG_0367 IMG_0365

  • Then a few days after Christmas, my mom got me a new laptop! No more 6 year old hunk of machinery that couldn’t be opened past a certain point and burned my thighs from overheating after 5 minutes of use!

IMG_0359

I got this spiffy and sexy 13 inch HP Pavilion x360! A 2-in-1 hybrid that’s a laptop and a tablet!

IMG_0346

The screen rotates all the way back and it is freaking SWEET!

IMG_0342
This is tent mode. Tablet mode goes completely back. Anything besides laptop mode disables the keyboard. I’m in love, can you tell?

 

I don’t know what’s so bad about Windows 8.1 that everyone keeps complaining, but I don’t have any issues with it! Maybe it’s me coming from Windows Vista, but still, I’m loving the touch controls and loving the functionality of it all. Can’t wait to put it to use!

  • One thing I totally and utterly regret about all of Christmas time, is that aside from the Fire Stick which was before the chaos, I didn’t unbox a single thing! The Keurig, the laptop, Seb’s insane stack of Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures. Not. One. Unboxing. And that sucks! Those are a lot of memories that can’t be relived. If only the wife agreed to holding the camera instead of looking at me like I was speaking Russian whenever I asked her to.

20141227_200430

  • Between Christmas day which was a Thursday, and Sunday the 28th, we had a total of 16 people in our house at any given time. Parents, siblings, cousins, it was a madhouse! Kids going crazy, shoes covering the entire floor of the foyer, the wife in a corner breathing into a paper bag, it was good times. But the main reason for the gathering wasn’t the holiday, it was Lucas’ Christening!
Lucas and his Godmother, Jennie
Lucas and his Godmother, Jennie
  • That Saturday, we decided to not wait till he was 3 like we did with Seb, and we had Lucas baptized. Apparently, there’s no middle ground with age because Lucas was quite the character in church. Let’s just say everyone who attended knew his name by the end of it. The Priest was good hearted and didn’t seem to get annoyed, which was great. But if the whole reason for going wasn’t to get Lucas baptized then we would’ve left like 5 minutes into it. He was being so Lucas, making noises and getting mad because he had shoes on and couldn’t walk around. Which made it all the more hilarious when he finally got the water poured on him and mysteriously became quiet and tolerable. Like the evil was flushed out of him, it was great. Anyway, we’re glad we were able to get it done. It’s an important milestone in this family.
  • For lunch that day, my mom took care of the food. She was adamant on having a Fiesta and getting Chipotle to cater. It turned out to be an amazing idea because it was all pretty awesome! Chipotle does not hold anything back when they cater for you.

20141227_133904 - Copy

We had everything we would ever need as far as utensils and stuff, and there was soooooo much food! Tacos, tortillas, rice, pork, steak, condiments. And chips. Chips eeeeeeeeeverywhere for daaaaaaays!

20141227_133912 - Copy

It was an awesome set up and a great time having everyone there enjoying a meal on an already memorable day.

20141227_135617 - Copy

I feel bad for my wife’s mom though who had to drive back to Florida earlier that day because she started getting the kid flu the previous night and didn’t want to drive with it worse the next day. Which it did get worse, as the kid flu does.

  • It’s a shame too. She missed me saving Lucas’ life and in the process, shattering my knee. Ooooh, I didn’t mention that? Well, allow me.. a bunch of us were upstairs in the loft playing board games and video games, chatting and whatnot. And Seb decides he wants to show one of his cousins something downstairs. So he opens the gate and starts to go down. All of a sudden Lucas decides he wants to try and go downstairs too…. I had my back turned and heard screaming from the wife. It was a scary moment, especially when I realized I was the closest one to the stairs. They said I moved so quick it was like I apparated! In my head though it was all in slow motion. He was right on the edge of the step looking down and I was doing the action hero shot – running in slow motion, with my arm extended, my lips mouthing the word “Noooooooooooo” really slow and dramatic like – It was a tense moment. So at the last possible second I did a sitting baseball slide. I wrapped my arm around Lucas and he was safe! But.. At the same time, my knee rammed into the corner of the wall.

IMG_0396_picnik

You know how sometimes you get hurt, but you don’t feel it because the adrenalin running through your body doesn’t let you feel pain? Well yeah, none of that shit happened here. My brain said, “pfft! Adrenalin? What was.. oh yeah! I’m supposed to be pumping you full of that stuff, huh? MY BAD!” So my knee hit the wall and I felt it immediately. All I could do was hold on to Lucas as I fell back completely, and in the process, banged my head on the book shelf. As if I wasn’t in enough pain, right?! As I lay there – semi-unconscious, pain coursing through my knee swearing it’s broken in 5 places, Lucas in my arm smacking the back of my head, and a room full of my closest family can do nothing but laugh hysterically along with my wife who was trying her hardest to not pee herself – I block it all out and think that’s it, I’m done. My dreams of becoming a professional swing dancer once the kids move out are over. On the bright side though, I can finally have a reason for walking around with a limp and a cane and acting like Dr. House. After a few minutes of wallowing and cursing like a sailor I sit up and look at the huge bruise and my swollen knee. The wife gets me an ice pack, my older sister takes pictures of me while she’s still laughing as if I’m some road side attraction, my younger sister sits beside me and pats me on the back like twice, and all I can do is lay there. I’m eventually forced to move and walk it off, and after a few days it gets better, but I still can’t kneel without it hurting. So if you’re keeping tally, I almost sliced off my finger and crippled my knee all in one weekend. I almost asked “what’s next?!” but I didn’t want to tempt whoever I obviously pissed off. At least Lucas is ok! That’s really what matters.

  • So the weekend came to an end and everyone went to their homes. With the wife still on vacation for a few more days we decided to do what we’ve been wanting to do for months now – go to Disney! What?! It’s been a while. We do it for the kids, really, so don’t blame us.
  • I chose to make the drive on New Year’s day. So we spent New Year’s eve the same way we always do – in our bed watching the ball drop in Times Square. We’re simple folk over here. Not the partying, drinking, horn blowing type. We like to sit back, relax, and wonder who in the hell are all these celebrities and pop artists that are big now. Seriously, freaking kids today have no idea how cheated they are these days compared to us. But I digress. We went to bed a little after 12 to wake up at 3am to drive down to Florida. As long as I got music to sing to and snacks to chew on I am good to go.

njiiiweaz

  • Disney is still Disney. I’ll say it a million times – the only thing I miss about living in Florida is the ability to go to the theme parks at a moment’s notice. Those were the days, let me tell ya. “Want to go to Disney for a few hours? …. Sure!”

IMG_0249

Maybe one day we’ll go back for good. But for now, we have to make that drive. Of course, Seb is excited and couldn’t contain himself, and Lucas was happy to jump behind the wheel again.

IMG_0123

We wanted to spend the whole day there but they closed at 1am like the psychos they are and we were crazy tired.

IMG_0290

So we lasted till night broke and I was able to take some pictures of the castle all lit up. They started taking the lights down off the back so I’m glad we caught it before they were all taken down.

IMG_0293

Speaking of pictures, guess who forgot his DSLR in North Carolina. YUP! This guy! And it was funny because I totally forgot to bring the camera to Lucas’ baptism too. And by funny, I mean the complete and total opposite of funny. Oh man, I was so mad.

IMG_0371

It hit me when we were close to South Carolina. So from there to about Jacksonville I was kicking myself in the ass. I was lucky my mom just bought herself the same exact camera on Black Friday, so I was able to borrow hers for the day. But still though, so freaking mad. You don’t forget your camera to 2 big family events! It’s like I’m not even trying.

  • Anyway, when I got to the spiffy new laptop and popped the memory card in it – because you know, it has a memory card reader built in and I don’t have to carry around a stupid dongle anymore – I discovered something.

IMG_0396-MOTION

I must have clicked something different when I was setting up my Google account, because thanks to the awesomeness that is Google+’s Photos back-up feature, whatever pictures I put on my hard drive get auto awesomed!

IMG_0354-MOTION

So instead of regular ol’ pictures, I get sweet, motion filled gifs! And seriously, who doesn’t love gifs?!

IMG_0375-MOTION

You guys are in trouble now, let me tell you! Because now that I know how to get these gifs on my posts, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of them in the future!

IMG_0446-MOTION

  • No lie, the discovery kind of bummed me out. It reminded me of G+ and how heavy I used to be into it. If you didn’t know, I used to be the biggest advocate of G+ among my friends, but I just didn’t have time to keep up with it. Way too many people to follow and it became a job. I still say it’s the best social network out there, and one day I know I’ll go back to it. Just not now.
  • Ahhh, anyway. We spent the day in Disney with my sister and her Hawaiian boyfriend, Walter!

IMG_0172

This is Hector…

Well, Walter. I call him Hector. Why? Because when I first learned his name I had forgotten it shortly after and accidentally called him Hector when talking to my wife. And from there it just stuck. Makes sense too because sometimes he’s being serious and other times he’s being.. Hector. So it’s like Walter is his serious side and Hector is his crazier personality. I’m proud to say I had the whole family calling him Hector by the time Christmas weekend was over. It’s an accomplishment, what can I say? Haha! He’s a cool cat, though. Funny, charming, Hawaiian.. Did I mention he’s Hawaiian? I’ve never known anyone from Hawaii so I asked him some stupid questions like if they use gasoline over there, which led to the next question that was if they even have cars. His response? “No, a lot of people don’t know this, but we actually have dragons. They sleep in the volcanoes.” Hahaha, freaking Hector, I’m telling ya! Dude’s a trip.

  • My sister wanted to eat in a restaurant in Disney called Be Our Guest. It’s fairly new since it’s in the new Fantasyland that was recently added to the Magic Kingdom. There was a 45 minute wait to get in for lunch. I’m sorry, I don’t think you heard me. I said there was a 45 minute wait for lunch. It’s seriously not a big deal because that place gets PACKED and we probably got off lucky with the wait.

IMG_0223

Like I did, you’re probably wondering what’s the big deal. Well, like everything else Disney does, this place caters to your childhood memories.

IMG_0219
Those giant windows? You can’t see it, but they’re looking out into a snowy forest. Snow flakes are falling via Disney magic and everything. Amazing touch.

The theme, of course, is Beauty & the Beast. So you’re in the Beast’s castle where you can choose to eat in the 2 story Grand Ballroom (pictured above), the Rose Gallery, or where we chose, the West Wing!

IMG_0203-MOTION
Yes, it was that dark in there.

If you’re a fan of the film, I would highly recommend checking it out. As you can probably tell from the menu, lunch is a lot more laid back. You order yourself via touchscreen kiosks when you walk in, and they bring your food to your table that you also have to find yourself. The wife and I split the turkey and roast beef sandwiches, and let me tell you, they were both pretty freaking good.

IMG_0211

I thought you go to a place like this in the theme park and pay for the atmosphere. But those sandwiches were good enough to make me forget that thought. I can only imagine how crazy dinner gets with the food and service. My sister told me it’s totally different than lunch in a bunch of ways, so yeah, I would not mind going back to try it out. Especially the grey stuff! They have it there and I heard it’s delicious!

  • Writing all that up about that restaurant kinda made me wish I lived in Orlando again so I could drag the family to all these decked out theme park restaurants and review them. Because I totally would.
  • Lastly (finally, I know!), remember I said the only thing I miss about Florida are the theme parks? If there was one thing that I will never miss about Florida, it’s the damn heat. January. It’s freaking January, and this is the day’s forecast.

2015-01-03 08.10.44

Florida weather and I have never gotten along. And it’s mainly because the state doesn’t believe in this mystical time frame the rest of the country calls winter. If Florida had an actual winter and not just 2-3 weeks out of the year where the temps get all the way down to the 40’s when the sun wasn’t out, then I’d totally be able to stand the sweltering hell-like heat of the summer.

2015-01-03 08.11.16

But nope. No such thing as winter in Florida. Just light summer, actual summer, leave-the-house-only-if-you-like-turning-into-dust summer, and kinda-sorta fall.

And that be that! I know, I talk like a teenage girl the week before prom but it’s not my fault! It’s been a long time since I had a proper update like this. Not to mention it’s just after the busiest few weeks I remember having for a long time. I had a lot to say and you know what? I don’t feel bad about saying it all! I think it’s because there’ll probably be like 3 people who actually make it this far in the post. But if you did.. Thanks!!

It’s a new year. Here’s to hoping it’s better than last year for everyone. Thanks for all the support I received in 2014!! There is a good handful of you who are always here checking out what I post and commenting and just being all around cool people. You know who you are and I hope you all know it’s greatly appreciated. I hope I’m able to make 2015 even better around these parts.

But until then… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

6 Comments

  1. Patricia Polmanteer

    Love the way you include us ALL in your celebration of the holiday and life. Glad you saved Lucas but I am feeling for you with the knee. Just had mine scraped and repaired the beginning of December. Hope things work out for you with it. AND.. I think that I want to spend next Christmas/ New Years with you and the family.. Keep up the posts and recipies. some of us live thru you 😉

    1. Haha, my freaking knee STILL hurts! Still only when I kneel though. Hopefully it doesn’t get worse!

      Thanks for reading and enjoying it! Makes me happy knowing my writing is being enjoyed. And ha! I think if we had one more person here during Christmas, my wife would’ve had a conniption! I think we’re going to do a Christmas with the Kranks and book a cruise for next Christmas. We need a break from holiday madness!

  2. Ari macias

    Seriously? A whole blog post and I do not get mentioned once? Ok fine, I know it is all about Hector now. It’s a good thing we like him too or I would be really pissed:) love you and miss you always:)

    1. Hey, you were mentioned! I said you were taking pictures of me while I was laying there in pain holding my knee together! And it does seem like it’s all about Hector, right? What a freaking attention whore!

Cool People Leave Comments... just sayin'