Sunday, December 26, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas to all of you!!  I don't know about you guys, but did the day just fly by or what?  I hope you had a great day with loved ones.
Well, I know I have told you this before [here] but it's the same thing every year on Christmas morning.  Hurry up and wait!  We wait for the Wooster clan to arrive at my parents before opening presents.  To pass the time Ernesto practiced his swing and I played with Titi in the snow.
I don't know why we didn't do this years before, but Ernesto and I exchanged one of our gifts in the morning before everyone got there and that was just enough to tide me over.  (good idea Fred!)
I gave Ernesto a Ravensburger puzzle and he gave me the fuzziest lounging shirt ever!  (I am the queen of lounge wear.  As soon as I walk in my house, I change into lounge wear and slippers) Both of these will be perfect to take to the cabin we rented for New Years!

This year I wish we could've been at Bill house to watch Cheekers open her gifts from Santa.  But, needless to say,  she had plenty to open once she arrived to grandma's house.  (OMG look at that face!)
Ok, there is no way I can narrow it down to just one picture.
We always start by opening the presents in our sibling exchange.  (Brrrian opted out since he was in Portand, but the NM clan mailed their exchange gifts) I had Fred (Jenny) and was dying more than ready to get the started with the "opening of presents" portion of the day.
Fred/SchaffNer had me in the exchange and bought me a couple more glass ornaments for my collection and a pretty black shirt, and some sexy underwear [for Ernesto]. Thanks Fred!
Everyone tore through their presents in about an hour and we showed off the spoils.
  My parents got each of the kids a few things to unwrap and a nice little checky-check!! Thanks padres!  I don't have to look for a job now!  haha! 
I kept telling Ernesto I wanted the ipad for Christmas.  (kind of as a joke/kind of not)  I really didn't have anything on my wishlist this year.  I told him that the ipad would be so easy for him.
I unwrapped some more lounge clothes, a beautiful CAREY leather bag and then a gift the size of an ipad.....but it was actually a couple books from my mom's bookshelf with a hand written note that said "I fooled you Cindylou, I know you thought this was an ipad!" 
The last gift was a much bigger box, and can you guess what was inside?
That's right!  Paddy Pad!  I really was surprised and actually felt a tinge of guilt.  Do I really need this? But this guilt subsided when I realized this was a joint gift.  I thought ...he may have had an ulterior motive for buying this.... as he downloaded some games and got comfortable.   hmmmmm??
The aftermath of "present opening" in the Arnold living room.
This was the first Christmas that I can remember where we did not play cards.  But as I said, the day went by so quickly.  Our second round of eating was at 6pm and before we knew it, it was 9pm.
Whew!  What a day!  I have said it many times before, but nothing beats an Arnold Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Yes, that is little Titi up high in my mom's Christmas tree!   He is quite a climber!
 We have system for getting him down.  It's called "squirty-squirt."
It is freezing up here and the ground is covered with snow...ahhh another reliably white Ohio Christmas.   Baking is a huge part of the Arnold Christmas.  My mom and Kelli whipped up the traditional Wellman bread while I made the Lepeny. (both recipes coming soon) 
After lounging in my pajamas and robe all day, I was happy to get a little dressed up for the 1st annual Arnold Christmas cocktail party
Hosted by the hostess with the most(est) Barbie Arnold.  She and Bill throw great parties with all the bells and whistles, and are still able to mingle and have a great time. 
Drinks and hors devours kept us happy for hours.  (my favorite was the chocolate covered bacon! OMG!)  It was a festive evening of martinis and laughter!
Unfortunately, we are missing 2 siblings this year for Christmas (we miss you Brrrian and Tim) but Bill, Jenny and I represented!!

The star of the party (and any other get together in the last 16 months) was little "Cheeker Cheekers" who is looking cuter than ever.  She is walking and saying a few words now.  One of which is my kitties name, Titi!
A proud grandpa with his 2 granddaughters      
Well it's Christmas Eve and Ernesto went out for some last minute shopping (as usual).  I stayed in my robe all day and finally got dressed to sit down to a beautiful holiday dinner of mushroom soup, fish [and a new edition this year] Mexican tamales.  
**this recipe coming soon as well!  They turned out delicious!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 Wrap Up by The Christmas Light Pros

We have finally wrapped up the lighting business for 2010.  (lights do need to be taken down in early January of course)  We had a great season; its getting better every year!  Im really proud of Ernesto, I have never met such a hard (non-complaining) working man in my life! (4 months of the year...haha)

Last night after dinner [at a great Vietnamese place] Ernesto and I drove around to see some of our Christmas light customers houses. I wanted to take pictures, because I am finally going to make a local [Atlanta] Facebook page for The Christmas light Pros, and want to have many pictures of our work. I showed you some houses here, and these are a few more:
These trees are some of my favorites.   This customer lives high on a hill and had us wrap 6 very tall trees at the bottom of the hill.  She suggested we add one of our signs by the trees and we ended up getting so many calls from it.   They are just beautiful!
At this Midtown office building [below], the guys wrapped 13 Bradford Pear trees in LED lights.  It looks awesome!  They are leaving the lights up until April.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mountain Cabin for New Years!

This year for New Years, we are renting this mountain cabin with our friends Lucy and Sean.  It is located on Ellijay Ga,  just 90 minutes north of Atlanta.
Last year we partied in NY and it was great fun dancing the night away at Amalia.  But after waiting in line 30 minutes several times to use the restroom and just as long to get a drink, I decided that this year I wanted "somethin' different."  Something more low key.  

This 3 bedroom cabin has a huge open kitchen, so we are planning on cooking delicious food for 3 days straight!  Think salsas, ceviche, steaks, pumpkin pancakes, chorizo and eggs, and my mom's traditional [Hungarian] pigs in the blanket meal on New Years day!!

Besides a great kitchen, the cabin has an outdoor hot tub, a pool table, and satellite TV.  Plus, we are in the mountains on the Coosawatee river!! There will be hiking, biking and supposedly great fishing!?

So much excitement on the horizon...starting with a trip to Ohio to celebrate Christmas with my family. I can't wait for a week of Arnold fun!!  I am taking Titi on his first plane ride too!  I hope it goes well.
More to come........

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Hair Cut!

Ok, don't get too excited, it is nothing dramatic.  In fact, the only difference that cutting off 6 inches of hair made was that I can now wear it down without it turning into dreadlocks!  Ha!
Thank you to Erika at Helmut who does a fabulous job and always leaves me thinking, why didn't I do this sooner.   (I have been wearing my hair up for months) Erika cut some layers and cute bangs and then I bought Aveda's Be Curly for some waves.  Since I do not use a hair dryer nor put any effort into my hair, this product is a godsend!  I feel so much lighter, and more importantly, stylish! 
Thank you Erika!  You are the best!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Even though my alarm didn't go off until 7am (when I set it for 5am) I made it to the airport [with my little Titi in tote] by 730am.  I barely squeezed on that Canton flight too.  Thank God there was a mother-daughter pair flying standby that was not willing to split. Delta called my name for the one seat that was open and I quickly boarded.  Titi was a good little kitty and only cried for a minute.
Home for Christmas with only one small mishap...... my phone was still plugged in charging at gate D36 in Atlanta. Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Delta in Canton tried calling the gate in Atlanta, but there was no answer.  Hmm what about my old friends at the Crown Room [now Sky Club]?  Luckily someone I used to work with answered the phone and walked from C to D concourse and found my trusty little phone still plugged in at the gate 2.5 hours later!  Just my luck right!?  Thanks to Sihaya! I think she deserves a special reward, don't you!
Ernesto is flying in tonight or tomorrow morning.   In the mean time, I am having a great time hanging with the familia and watching Titi jump in the snow!  
The fun has just begun too!
Im looking forward to seeing my niece Eleanor (cheeker-cheekers) and the rest of the Wooster clan later today, a fancy-shmancy cocktail party at Bill and Barbie's tomorrow night, and then not leaving the house all day on Christmas.  Arnold family fun!  We will miss Brrrian and Tim's family this year:(

Monday, December 13, 2010

House Hunters in Atlanta?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our little apartment.   I think we have done a great job of making this place a home.   All 600 sq feet of it.   Now that the Christmas Light Pros have slowed down (just two days ago),  I find myself thinking about what are we going to do next.   Should I start looking for a job?  Is it time to start searching for another house? 

I thought the house hunting sounds like much more fun than the job hunting.

I went straight to Zillow.  If you haven't heard of this website, let me tell you, it is the best real estate site I have ever been to.  Ernesto introduced me to it  when we were mailing out postcards to potential customers this season.
It is so fun [and addictive]! You can type in a zip code or neighborhood and it will give you a map like this. You can then zoom in and see all the homes for sale and the "value" of the homes surrounding it. 

Then you can zero in on houses and check out home tours.  Our house hunt has not officially begun because we aren't sure of "THE PLAN" but I have spent some time browsing. 

I found 2 houses that I think would be great candidates for us to purchase next year.  They are very different in layout and in price.  Both are EXTREMELY good deals for the area.  Grant Park.  Just 1 mile east of downtown and just 2 miles south of where we are now. (Old 4th Ward)

House #1 =  $102,000
744 Berne St SE 
3 bedrooms / 2 baths / 1,375 square feet 

NOTE **This house actually sold the other day in an auction for $144,000 after I wrote this. 
(I'll show it to you anyway, but house #2 is the one I really want anyway!)

{please pardon my finger in top corner}
At only $102K, this is a small investment.  And let's be clear, this is not my dream house.  It's cute enough, but very similar to our old house in East Lake. This is why Ernesto doesn't really like it.  The small rooms are not great for entertaining. There are many things I would have to change with this place,  but we could pay this off after next years' xmas season and we could then get a HOUSE IN MEXICO!   That is the goal...and really the only reason I even considered this house. 

Although not ideal, this little house would be PAID FOR!  Plus it would be more space than if we bought a condo [for the same price]  and we would have a place of our own to live every year when we come to Atlanta from Mexico for xmas lights.  It's a great dream, isn't it?  (I firmly believe that the more you verbalize your dreams, the more likely they are to come true.)

House #2  is a MUCH better house [anyway].  In fact, I LOVE this house, and as of now it's available.

715 Ormewood Ave SE
2 bedrooms /2 baths/ 1,602 square feet
I am going to share a few pics of the inside below, but here is the whole slide show.
The outside is cute, a 1900 bungalow.  Blue color is nice.  I would [ask Ernesto to] build railing  between pillars on the big front porch and paint over the red and add major landscaping (imagine creeping fig all over the cement walls and stairs).

They are asking 218K, so double the price of the first (but still a bargain).  It is also and older house in Grant Park, but unlike the first, it has a very modern [open concept] layout.  Someone put love into this house.  Check out the dark wood floors! I love the entrance hallway.
The living, dining room and kitchen are all open as one [long] room.  For a couple that loves to entertain, this is a must in our long term house. 
I  love the mix matched kitchen cabinets.  I would add a proper island in the middle with plenty of space for chopping and mingling.
Both bedrooms have fireplaces too.
The master suite has an awesome bathroom with penny tile, a shower built for two (just how we like it), plus a spa tub and a walk in closet.  Done and done! 
The added bonus is that this house has room to grow.  There is a 17' unfinished attic and a large back yard where we could eventually build a garage with rent-able apt or office space for the Christmas Light Pros on top!  For now though, 2 bedrooms would be plenty.

Yes, I am jumping the gun. (It isn't the first time) I have not even been inside this house.  I did, however, drive by and love the street and neighborhood houses.  I can picture us living there. 

So?  What do you think? Yes?  Buy it?  How about this: We'll go look at it in person and let you know.

** I want to be clear that no matter what house we eventually buy in Atlanta,  I will not forget Mexico.  It will happen.  Why? because I want it too.  Really badly.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

These days, my sweet little Saab is letting me down.  Gone are the days of the top down and my hair blowing the wind, loud music playing. (Well, yes, it is freezing now anyway) But back in June of this year, my top broke.  Infact even after the repairman used a computer to manually close the top, my car does not think it is closed, so it beeps at me every time I step on the gas peddle.  Nice. Also of note,   the roof leaks, the radio doesn't work,  and every so often I will hear a noise that starts as a low hum and gradually gets louder.   It doesn't sound good, so I just turn my shuffy shuff [ipod] up louder.  haha
Oh! One other thing, I scraped the passenger door on a metal post at the gas station.  (little dent)

Ernesto says its time for a new vehicle.  I say, I love my Saaby Saab.  It's a convertible! And it's paid for.  And look how cute it looks hauling our Christmas tree. 
As the title might indicate,  our tree is the subject of this post, not my old car.   O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, your branches green delight us!  I had this romantic idea that  we would go to a Christmas tree farm this year and cut down our own tree.  But right after Thanksgiving, calls were pouring in for Christmas lights and there was no time for this little adventure.   While at Home Depot one day, I checked out there tree selection and was happy to see they were selling Noble Firs.  (new this year the associate informed me)  We had always ended up with a Frasier or Douglas,  but the Noble is prettier, IMO.  The shape is perfect.  I love that it has enough space in between branches to place bigger ornaments. 
There is just enough room for a kitty to perch too.  We have gone though quite a bit of water in our spray bottle trying to keep little Titi out of the Christmas tree, but those all those birds and shiny ornaments are way too tempting for him. 
I broke out all of our xmas decor from storage and added in my new obsession, these glass ornaments from India.  (My collection has since grown to 18 after a few stops to TJMaxx this week) 
Ernesto had just enough energy after working all day last Sunday to place the lights on our tree.  He always puts a lot [of colored and white] lights and it looks so good.  What can I say, he is a pro!
I love how he uses both mini lights and bigger C-7.  Years ago Neto convinced me that colored lights were the way to go on our tree and I will never turn back.  It is magical.
We have had Christmas music streaming through Pandora for one week straight.  I don't think I will ever grow tired of it.  Happiness is the word that comes to mind.  We get up at 6am and it starts.  No lights on in the apartment, just the soft glow of our tree. Is there anything better than sitting in your living room with candles lit and the Christmas tree aglow?  I love love love Christmas time!

Are you guys all decorated?  Do you feel a sense of happiness when Christmas nears?   I haven't been to Ohio since August, so I can't wait to get there and celebrate with my family.  I can't wait for a white Christmas, the Wellman traditions, and spending quality time sitting around the kitchen table laughing.  Oh hell.....Nothing compares to Christmas with the Arnolds.

Oh, and the presents!  The presents are always fun too!


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