- BINGO: It was ladies night at the Bingo hall which meant girls played for free. None of us won despite being one number away on multiple occasions :( But it's all right because I mostly go for the company and the free popcorn anyway. By the way, this is not your average grade-school Bingo. You have to follow six or eight cards at once and you hardly have time to check them all before the announcer is calling the next number. Also each game follows a different pattern (not just the standard 5 in a row) so you have to pay attention. It's intense but lots of fun.
- Akio: I love spending time with my nephew although I'm not quite sure the feelings are mutual. He recently just learned how to frown, so there was plenty of that going on whenever I came close:
Patrick earned some major brownie points with the remote control helicopter (aka car) he got for Christmas. Whenever Akio saw him, he'd say "car?" and then run towards our room. Despite our best efforts, we could not get him to call it "helicopter" by the end of the trip.
- Secret Santa: A necessary tradition when you have a big family, and since our family seems to grow more every year (we are up to 12), we thought it would be a good idea to bring this tradition back. I got this delectable cookbook by Giada De Laurentiis, my favorite Foodnetwork star, from Kyle (Mikala's boyfriend):
- Snow. It wouldn't be Nebraska without snow:
Thankfully the snow was tame this Christmas-- just enough to provide a nice blanket on the ground (as opposed to the blizzard they apparently experienced last Christmas). Mikala and Kyle (whom I like to refer to as "Mi-kyle-a") bundled up and made this cute little snowman, which they ingeniously named Frosty:
- Movies: My parents put in the carpet for a local theater and as a result we get to see free movies there. So we ended up seeing True Grit, Little Fockers, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I must say, we could not have seen 3 movies more different from each other. Me being a fantasy geek, you can probably guess which one was my favorite.
- Hotel Suite: My mom had credit for a free suite at the recently opened Stoney Creek Inn. So the night before New Years Eve, we hung out in the hot tub and partook in pizza, beer, and Taboo. Not a bad combination.
- Family Pictures: It was the first time in two years that we were all together as a family. So of course we had to take advantage and snap some family pictures. We used Kyle's amazing Canon 5D camera and took them at the Stoney Creek Inn for a nice, cozy ambiance: