Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Flashback: July through December

So, it's now 2012 and I realize I've still got the second half of 2011 completely untouched in my flashback plan. So, rather than a post per month, I'm going to give you a true flash flashback. A couple lines per month and a few pictures for the year all in one post. Enjoy!

(I could insert that my New Year's resolution is to post on here more often, but I won't lie. I enjoy doing this at my leisure and right now, as I've mentioned before, being on the computer at home any more than I have to is not something I typically choose to do in my leisure time. I'm sure you understand! :) )

July was great! We celebrated our nephew, Kyler's, 6th birthday in the first half of the month, then finished it off by going to Cali to visit Daniel's family and go to his cousin's wedding.  (pic below of Daniel and said cousin, Rebecca. Yes, that's an earring in his ear. It was short-lived - guess being in L.A. got to him. ;)  ) Lovely wedding and great time with his family! Got to visit Six Flags while there and it was a blast!

While in Cali Daniel received a phone call with a job offer from a fantastic banking software company. He, of course, accepted and began work there in August. Since then he's become a supervisor in the department he works in. So proud of him!

I traveled quite a bit for work in September and Daniel was so sweet to take care of the dogs and keep things moving without me. I visited Antlantic City and then Houston and Galveston. I loved Galveston! We were just there for a short time but I wouldn't mind visiting again, for sure. If  you ever go, be sure to stop in at La King's Confectionery - great old-time, 1920s style candy store. They even have the classic soda fountains where they mix the syrup right there before handing it to you in a classic soda glass.
Left: The hotel we stayed at in Atlantic City has an atrium with a variety of Miss America gowns and crowns in the lobby. This is the very first Miss America and her crown on display.
Right: Walking along the boardwalk in Atlantic City, it's fun to think of the history that's there. And of course we took the time to put our feet in the water! :)

My birthday month! My birthday fell on a Saturday so we had a great day of just hanging out together. The weather was gorgeous so Daniel and I went to Branson Landing and walked around for a while, had lunch at my fave restaurant down there (Cantina Laredo) and then did a little outlet shopping and ended the night with a movie at home. It was great! The next weekend our house was full of 8th grade girls from our church as we were a host home for Disciple Now (actually called Engage at our church). It was a great weekend and we were so thankful for the opportunity to get to know the girls and to open our home.

While Daniel went back to my hometown to stay with my family and go deer hunting, I had the opportunity to host/drive Angela Thomas while she was here for Fresh Grounded Faith. This was my third time serving as a host/driver for this even and what a blessing it is. Daniel didn't get a deer this year, but he's going to keep at it! We had a great Thanksgiving with his family. We planned to do our first 5k together at our local Turkey Trot but I ended up sick Thanksgiving morning :(  Thankfully, we weren't doing dinner with his family until evening so I basically slept the entire day which helped a ton. We got up at 5 a.m. the next day because we'd picked out and saved for a couch at Ashley Furniture and we knew they were giving 25% off purchases made from 6 to 7 a.m. on Black Friday. So, we got up, bought our couch and then went right back to bed. I crashed most of the day Friday as well which was definitely needed.

It definitely feels like December flew by pretty quickly. It was truly pretty low-key for us overall. One weekend Kyler came and stayed the night with us which was super-fun. He was determined to stay up 'til midnight but he came about an hour shy. Of course his mom wasn't super-excited about that but I told her that's what aunts and uncles are for. ;)   Then we got to watch him score a point and have an assist at his basketball game.  Christmas was fantastic. We were thankful to have December 23 off of work to be a travel day to Van Buren and then spent a great weekend visiting my family, immediate and extended. After breakfast with my dad on Christmas morning, we headed back to Springfied to spend the afternoon with Daniel's family. Then, we finished off the night like anyone else who loves horses would - we went to see War Horse! :)

Left: Uncle Daniel giving Kyler some tips before the game.
Right: We took this picture in my car one night. It's not great quality but you get the idea - we have fun together! :)

And now it is January 1 and we're at the start of a new year. This morning at church we sang a song that I think was great for remembering years past and looking forward. It reminds us we're never alone. No matter what is going on around us and if we're in the highs or lows of what life brings, I'm so thankful that we never walk alone and that God is soo faithful. May you find Him surrounding you today and into the new year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

June Flashback

June started out with our SIX YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY on June 4th! We celebrated by attending a wedding, of course. We had originally hoped to go on a big trip for our anniversary since it fell on a weekend but since the Lord blessed me with my new job, vacation time is not an option yet; plus, as mentioned, we were preparing for a big event at work. So, we went to a wedding and then drove through Andy's Frozen Custard and rented a movie. Regardless, we celebrated our love and how far God has brought us over the years. And pray for many more years of learning, loving and growing together!

June 12th I was on my way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for my first ever RCI Annual Convention & Confectionery Industry Expo. The convention and tradeshow are the entire week so we left on Sunday and returned Friday night (by the hair on our heads we made our flights!). My first RCI event was fantastic. The whole week I'm pretty sure I was asleep by 2 a.m. and back downstairs by about 6:30 a.m. but I was going on adrenaline. The people of RCI and in the confectionery industry are fantastic and I couldn't ask for more!

While there, of course, we had one night to quickly do some touristy things so we had dinner at the famous Primanti Brothers. Yes, it's a turkey sandwich that has fries on it and then it was cooked on a griddle. Delish!

The first night we got to attend a Pirates game with a bunch of RCI folk. To get back to the hotel we rode a boat across the river. The pic below is not great quality but you get the picture. :)

The Monongahela Incline is a must while in Pittsburgh! The view at night was spectacular.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to do some traveling while working and to meet and work with so many great people. And yes, I (and my family and friends!) enjoy the chocolate too. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

May Flashback

**I started this post over a month ago and hadn't published it because I needed to take time to rotate the photos. Well, I still haven't done it but I'm publishing it anyways. :)  Enjoy the sideways photos! :)

My mouth just dropped! How in the world am I so many months behind on this!? I'm sorry, friends. When I'm on the computer all day at work (not complaining because I still love it there, thank You Lord!), I just don't feel like more computer time when I get home. Tonight I opened my personal email and my Google reader and I have 60+ email messages to sift through and 780 unread items in my reader. Now, mind you, many of those emails are those daily deals emails which don't do me any good if I don't read them on a daily basis to see what deals are out there. :)

Anyhow, here is a good catch-up post for you and I've already got two more in the works. :)  As far as life now goes, we are doing so great and couldn't be more thankful for God's faithfulness.

Flashback time!
May for me was very busy at work as we prepared for our June Annual Convention to be held in Pittsburgh. At the end of the month, Daniel and I took a road trip to visit our friends that had come to Ozark/Springfield in April. On our way to Illinois we made sure to stop by a Nicaraguan restaurant we'd found online a while back ago, Fritanga.

We also had to visit one of the chocolatiers of the association I work for that happened to be just down the street. (sorry, no chocolate pictures. We ate it all! :) )  But here are the pics of our food. It really was delicious!!

Our time with Shane, Brittany and kids was even sweeter than the chocolate. ;)  You might remember
from my April flashback that they have three kids (and now a fourth on the way!). It was truly a blessing to watch them and the godly way they are parenting their children. We learned a ton about what Biblical parenting looks like and were very encouraged and challenged in our own lives. And Daniel was a big help, jumping in to entertain and help out whenver and however needed. That was a blessing to me, for sure, and hopefully to them as well. We're so thankful for the gift of these friends!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

April Flashback

April seems like forever ago.  Thankfull, I made some notes in my draft post forever ago so I remember what all happened in April.  It was a full month!!

1.  Soccer
Kyler played soccer again this spring.  Fortunately for us, his games were in Ozark so I made it to all but one or two of them.  He and his team improved sooo much over the course of just a few weeks.

2. Visiting Friends
Our great friends, Shane and Brittany, plus their three kids came to visit in April as well.  We hadn't seen them in more than 2 years so it was soooo good to hug their necks and meet their two littlest kiddos.  (Their oldest was just 5 1/2 months old last time they visited.)

Me with our other good friend Christy, Brittany, and the Drury three.  So sweet!

3. Visiting Friends - from Nicaragua!
Daniel's dad came to visit in the spring and joining him was a sweet family from Nicaragua.  They are preparing to be missionaries and so came here to learn English and receive some triaining. We had so much fun with this family - and with Daniel's dad, of course! (somehow, there are no pics of him on here!)

4. Celebrating Birthdays
Birthdays were not lacking the month of December.  We remembered my beloved friend, Kaitlin's, birthday on the same day as my dad, celebrated my sister's just a few days later, my Aunt Brenda had one in there, and then Daniel and my grandma share a birthday!

While it kind of stinks that I'm just stuck in 'always behind' mode on this blog, it is kind of fun to stop and look back.

Hope you've enjoyed this edition of the Alvarez Flashback!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

March Flashback

March started with a work trip to San Francisco.  The event we had last week in Pittsburgh will be in San Francisco next year, so I had the opportunity to go on the planning trip with my boss, Kelly.

It's really a very pretty and neat city.  We didn't have a ton of time to do touristy type things but we did spend some time driving around to get a feel for the city for planning purposes.

The Golden Gate Bridge - wow!

Alcatraz - we didn't visit but I hope to tour it next year.  This was my view of it from the piers.

We visited Muir Woods - the winding road makes it not an option to take our group to, unfortunately. Beautiful, nonetheless.

The view of the bay from our hotel room....

Again, so thankful for my job and the opportunity to do a little travel.  It's been a little weird not traveling with Daniel since he's been my travel partner since we met my freshman year of college. But, hopefully, he'll get to join me on some of the travel or at least tail-end it so we can have a few fun days together at the end of some of my events.

Are you impressed? Two posts in a week!
I'll try to keep it up but no promises. ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

February Flashback

Since I'm so far behind, I'll give you just a few words of what's up now and show you some February flashback pictures.

I just got back from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Friday night from my work's Annual Convention.  It's the major event we plan each year on behalf of candy and chocolate makers across the country.  Each night (err, morning) as I went to bed I could do nothing but thank the Lord for this job.  What a great group of people! What a great opportunity to use my skills to help business owners! And, of course, chocolate! ;)

I don't have as many February pics as I'd hoped.  Here's the rundown:
We started out with lots of snow in February.  I actually did have a picture of this but didn't want to revisit the cold - even in pictures!

Daniel and I (plus Noah and Kobe, of course) went to hometown of Van Buren for Valentine's Day weekend.  We enjoyed some great family time and I had the chance to visit with lots of great Van Buren peeps by going to their first ever Upwards games.  It was not only great to see so many hometown friends, but also to see this awesome opportunity for lives and families to be impacted by Christ through the Upwards games.  See what I mean here.

Here's part of my "second family" including bro Jeff and two of his five precious girls, Grace and Chloe:

Honestly, I don't remember much else about February events at this point.  I'm going to go now so I can attempt to work on a March recap before August!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

January Flashback

Apparently not much was picture-worthy in January because I only have three pictures from the entire month.  The major news in our home was the Lord opening up a new door of employment for me.  It was in His perfect timing, as it always is.

I'm the new Marketing Manager at Retail Confectioners International, a trade association for chocolate and candy makers across the globe that's headquartered here in Springfield.  We don't make the chocolate/candy - our job is to serve those businesses that do.  I'm really excited to be there and so thankful to God for the opportunity.  Our local business journal even interviewed me about my new job. Check it out here.

Well, that's the gist of our January.  :)

9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; 
   I will sing of you among the peoples. 
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; 
   your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Psalm 57:9-10

Two of the three pictures I took were of a gorgeous sunset that I watched from our backyard deck.  Enjoy!