A Look Back - December 2017

Last month was a slightly odd month in that I didn't do this formal recap. Instead, we had almost daily posts about our Grand Adventure and an amazing visual recap of the trip through six slideshows that Jenn expertly put together. This month we were back home (sort of) and we've got a full month of festivities to look back on. 


RECAP OF THE MONTH

Jenn and I adore the quiet times in our lives. But as is the case for most Americans, December is anything but quiet. After getting back from 27 days abroad it was tough sledding for the beginning of December. The jet lag from being away for almost a month was brutal. The first couple of days back at work were some of the hardest days both from a work standpoint and jet lag that I'd rather not think about it again. 

Sadly, for all of December, we didn't have a weekend free. The first Saturday of December was Jenn and I doing our annual Christmas decorations. This is our first time decorating this apartment and although its only a one bedroom Jenn still managed to bring more Christmas love into this apartment then anywhere else we've lived before. She continues to blow away her past decorations. 

Outside of our main tree which we decorated together, we also had two other big trees (one in the dining room and another in the bedroom) as well as a small one in the bathroom. They all turned out amazing. My two favorites though where the bedroom one with a snowman topper I surprised Jenn with after she loved one she saw in Tokyo, and the Starbucks themed tree that Jenn put in the bathroom. She, of course, put knick knacks throughout the house to truly make the Christmas spirit come alive. Coming home in December with a Jenn decorated house is the best thing in the world. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

The following weekend the fun just kept going. We met my entire family in Lake Arrowhead for some fun at a cabin. There we walked around town, ordered some pizza, hiked a little, and played board games. We've always wanted to do a cabin and it was nice to get away (even if Jenn and I were just getting over colds) and enjoy the cool brisk mountain air and one of our new favorite board games, Codenames. 

As I said earlier, each weekend of December was packed with things to do. In mid-December, Jenn had a big event in downtown San Diego for her work. I left work a little early on Friday the 15th and hopped on board an Amtrak train to take me from Santa Ana to downtown San Diego. The train was disgusting, one of the dirtiest trains I've been on and I used to ride Metrolink daily. Luckily I made it down there in one piece and met Jenn at a Starbucks right next to the train station. After grabbing a coffee and a parfait we were off to the Grand Hyatt for the night. We went to Jenn's party which was a really nice evening. After the party, we finished with some ice cream in Gaslamp and a nightcap at the hotels lounge at the top floor. 

The next morning we went back to breakfast at one of our favorite eateries in San Diego, Queenstown Public House. We went there back in 2015 and it has stuck with us ever since. After taking a short Uber drive to the restaurant we got one of the few tables for two inside. Jenn had a mimosa and I had a bloody mary. For my brunch, I had biscuits and gravy with fried chicken, while Jenn had the Lamb Hash which was incredible. After walking around downtown San Diego until close to noon we drove to Riverside for my family Christmas party. The following day (Sunday) we went back to the Inland Empire to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday at Taps in Corona. It was a great celebration and I think everyone had a good time celebrating. 

I'll never forget getting home Sunday after my Dad's brunch and just passing out. We were so exhausted not only from this weekends activities but every weekend since we had been home from vacation. Luckily the following weekend which also was Christmas weekend was far less busy. Friday the 22nd we had our 2nd annual Vaca/Christmas Carol evening. We had dinner at Vaca a Spanish restaurant right next to South Coast Repertory. There we had another incredible dinner of tapas, paella, and amazing red wine. After dinner, we walked over to the theater and watched The Christmas Carol easily one of the highlights of our Christmas season. 

Christmas weekend we kept things relatively calm and tried to enjoy being home as much as possible. On Christmas morning we went to Riverside to enjoy Christmas at my parent's house in the morning. We opened gifts, had a big breakfast, and hung out until close to noon. We made our way back to our apartment and after opening gifts we began prepping to host Jenn's dad and Joan over for dinner. Jenn went all out this year in her hosting duties including prepping a beautiful fondue and setting out a great dinner menu. I prepared dinner which was mashed potatoes (Jenn's mom's amazing recipe), asparagus, and filet mignon which I sous vide and paired with a red wine sauce. Everything turned out really nice (if I do say so myself) and went on without a hitch. It was a nice, albeit busy Christmas, and we went to sleep with our bellies full and our apartment full of great gifts. 

The last week of December I had off and Jenn worked from home. So we hung out quite a bit, ran some errands and enjoyed a much-needed respite from all the craziness of the last couple of weeks. 


TV WE WATCHED

As you probably have read by now we didn't watch nearly as much TV this month as most. That can be chalked up to both jet lag (us going to bed at 7PM for the first week of the month) and us being busy with work and outside engagements to start digging into any big new TV shows. 


BOOKS I READ (OR LISTENED TO)

I came in December having read 28 books and needing to read two to meet my goal of 30 in 2017. I'm happy to report that not only did I complete that goal but I read two good books to get me there. Turtles all the Way Down and Uncommon Type have both stuck with me; now weeks after I read them. 


MOVIES WE WATCHED PART 1

The one benefit of being back home is that we got to see some movies. At the beginning of the month, Jake and I saw Justice League which was far better than Batman v Superman from last year. At the end of the month Jenn and I got to take in two movies. The first was the critically acclaimed Lady Bird which we both liked but not as much as critics. The second was Star Wars: The Last Jedi which we saw with Ally in Carlsbad after they both got out of work. That to was middle of the road for me, and Ally/Jenn didn't seem to care for it too much. 


MOVIES WE WATCHED PART 2 - 12 Days of Christmas

One of our newest holiday traditions is to watch a dozen Christmas movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We change up the lists each year slightly but I think we're getting awfully close to having a solid dozen movies. With all of our travels and activities in December, I wasn't sure we'd make it, but we did and we watch a dozen amazing holiday flicks. 


GAMES I'VE BEEN PLAYING

I wish I had more time this month to play games. When I got home I had an Xbox One X waiting for me along with a copy of Assassin's Creed: Origins one of my most anticipated games of the year. I've put roughly 10-15 hours into Assassin's Creed but not nearly enough. When have had fifteen-twenty minutes to spare I've usually played a quick game of Madden of NBA 2K. 


SHOWS WE SAW

We only saw one show in December and that was A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory. This was the second time in a row we've gone to see it and as long as we leave in Orange County I don't see us ever missing the performance. It's beautiful from start to finish and you can't leave the theater without feeling a little of the Christmas spirit. 


PERSONAL STATS

Avg Daily Steps for the Month: 12,942

Avg Hours Slept for the Month: 6h 52 minutes

Avg Miles Run per Day: 2.92 miles

Avg Weight: 135.55 lbs

Total Miles Run for the Month: 79.1 miles

Total Steps Taken for the Month: 401,216 steps