Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hall 2008 Christmas Letter

As always Doug writes a very clever Christmas letter to go along with our Christmas Cards. If I had your mailing address you received this letter in the mail. It not, here you go:

Tamara asked for a top ten list but I couldn’t do that. Instead, I’ll use numbers to represent our year.
1-The ranking of LA’s weather, where we now live. It’s amazing how quickly you can adjust to no seasons when the weather’s perfect year round.
1.5-Number of seconds it took Tamara to start crying from happiness after the beginning of the Bon Jovi concert. Also the number of hours she continuously screamed and danced during the concert.
2-Number of bedrooms in our new place. We’re moving up in the world.
3-The number of times we went through the IVF process this year. It was emotionally and physically draining (more on Tamara than on me). We’re now going through the adoption process and hope that yields better results.
3’x3’x3’-The size of the biggest boxes we could use to ship our stuff across the country.
3.6-Number of liters of displacement of the engine in Tamara’s new car-an awesome Buick LeSabre. Also, the average number of time a day Tamara wonders how she got a LeSabre and I got a motorcycle.
4-Number of wins UCLA football has where I am attending the MBA program. As this goes to press, we still haven’t played USC but I’m pretty confident this won’t change.
5-Number of days we were in Idaho for Tamara’s family reunion-I was invited this year.
6-Number of banks assuring us they’ll be hiring interns this year. Also, the number of banks stringing us along and shattering our dreams.
7-Number of days we were in Costa Rica doing some decidedly non-missionary approved activities. Hiking, surfing, mountain biking, napping, hot springing.
8-Number of hours a day I expected to be working out, playing video games, napping, or being at the beach while in school. That number is zero for most of those ventures.
9-Number of hours a day Tamara has to work at her new job producing at Motive Films. The unique combination of better hours, better use of her skills, and better pay convinced her to take this job.
10-Number of minutes it takes us to drive to the beach.
18-Number of the kids we watch in nursery on Sunday.
33-Temperature of water in Bodega Bay. How long it took Tamara to paddle back to shore after hearing we were on one corner of the red triangle.
44-Number of heads of cattle we herded the day after Thanksgiving.
45-SPF of the zinc oxide I rocked in San Clemente
73-The temperature outside as I type this. In December.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas Day finally arrived!!! I had my video camera so most of the details are captured on film. Just wait until I show the video of all of us playing Rock Band. I just have to brag that I scored 100% singing Bon Jovi:) I also got a new camera from my wonderful husband, does he know me or what. It was so fun to watch the kids open up their gifts and to see their excitement. A long time tradition is to have dad make breakfast, this year he went all out and made reindeer waffles.

Luke very much enjoyed this moment and I have to say, so did Doug.

Bree got the doll of her dreams and carried it around with her everywhere.

We had dinner at my aunt Kathy's home. She goes all out when it comes to entertaining, I must have gotten that from her.

It has been three years sense I spent Christmas with my family, it was so nice to spend this wonderful holiday with them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Eve

I know that I am writing a lot about Christmas and splitting everything up but I want to remember all of these memories so bare with me. Christmas Eve was spent at my parents house in Arizona. My dad wanted to do a "cowboy cookout" so everything was cooked outside dutch oven style.

It was oh so good.

We ate inside in the cowboy room

My cousin Gina came and I had to show how cute her little girl looked

Bree showed off her magic slippers

Of course the guys played video games

While I was showing Angela how to start a blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Leading up to Christmas

Roberts family was not going to my parents house after the Polar Express so we had a little pre Christmas at the hotel. James family was very missed this week. The kids exchanged gifts, then played in the snow and swam in the pool. The adults did what we do best, eat and talk. We gave dad his gift. He gets to ride his own Nascar around the track about 20 times, this is something that he has been wanting to do for awhile. It is always fun to be together as a family.

We then went to the Mesa Temple to see the lights. It worked out perfect because we were able to meet up with some of Doug's family and visit. Doug's grandparents were there visiting his aunt and uncle. It is always nice to see as much family as possible.

Polar Express

Thanks to mom and dad Finck, the family got to enjoy a ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express. The family all met up in Williams Arizona. Some were not sure if they would be able to make it due to being dumped on with snow. Even us coming from California had a heck of at time getting there. But we all made it and had a wonderful evening. We all loaded up on the train in our PJ's where we went through the "magic tunnel" to get to the Polar Express. We were feed cookies and hot coco, sang Christmas songs, were read the story of the Polar Express, and got to meet Santa Claus. The children that believed were also given a special bell to take home and always remember the true meaning of Christmas. It really helped with getting in the Chritmas Spirit.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Update

We were also able to enjoy some lights at the temple tonight after a huge Christmas feast.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Time in LA

This is the first year of my life that I have spent the month of December in a warm is taking some getting used to. I have not worn a winter jacket once. Some may say that this is great (Doug) but I like my winter jackets...they add an eastern style. But it is still the Christmas Season and one must celebrate. We had an MBA Christmas party at our home (minus Doug, he was at the AC/DC concert. I was voted coolest wife that night). We had a great dinner:

Then had an white elephant exchange and ate lots of amazing desserts. There were just a couple tears shed over David losing the popular whistle to the other David. Everyone left happy.

The house felt like The Griswold's Christmas by the time everyone left. It started off with shelves falling down, followed by the lights not working on the Christmas tree, to the wreath following down, to more shelves falling down. The place just falls apart when Doug is not around.

The next week we went to check out the lights on 3rd Street....kind of let down LA on your Christmas lights. I am in search of more before we take off to Arizona.

We did enjoy some very yummy Hot Chocolate

Monday, December 8, 2008

For those about to rock

A few years ago I went hometeaching with my roommate Bill. We were chitchatting with the girl's roommate and she asked us where we went to school and where we worked. I worked in finance at a hedge fund of 200 and went to BYU. Bill worked in finance at GE, the world's largest conglomerate, and went to the U of U. She says-'So you guys are basically the same.' Well, by the narrow definition of going to school in the same state and working in the same general field, yes, we are the same. Now, we have one more similarity. Bill had told me several times how awesome AC/DC was live and I hadn't really lived since I hadn't seen them. Saturday night that changed as my dad took me to an AC/DC concert at the formerly Great Western Forum.
By way of background, fifteen years ago I really wanted to go to a Nirvana concert and the only way we could go is if we were chaperoned but nobody wanted to take us. So my dad stepped up to the plate and we went to this same Forum for my first concert. We sat in the second to last row way off to the side. While it did rock, we were far away and part way through could hardly see the stage through all the haze. As we left and Nirvana destroyed their instruments, I really thought they might do some damage to the building because it was shaking so bad.
This time, dad called me up and asked if I wanted to go. You may recollect this conversation Tamara and I had. Tamara said yes even though we had plans that night (I'm sure a post detailing those will come). I was so stoked. When we rolled in, none of the ushers knew how we actually got to our seats. We were on the floor six rows back from where the stage juts out into the middle of the floor. Angus' sweat nearly landed on us as he rocked. A bit of a different situation this time.
You can see a set list here. They played all the ones you'd want. The songs from the new album sounded just like the old AC/DC. A few of the big highlights were Thunderstruck because that song just rocks. They played an extended version of The Jack which is one of their mellower songs. During the end I pulled out my earplugs to see how loud it was. I lasted as long as I could, about 30 seconds, before I had to put them back in. It was unreal. I have no idea how those guys do it every night. It was loud with earplugs. I'll give them this though. While loud, the sound was amazingly clear and crisp. Angus also played like a ten minute solo at the end of let there be rock. Here's a youtube clip. The guy was on fire. He doesn't get as much credit as he should because AC/DC's stuff tends to be straightforward but this guy can rock. Even at 53. For such an unattractive guy, you can't take your eyes off of him while he plays. Maybe it's the duck walk. Probably not the balding. Either way, it was a highlight. The background of the stage was a huge locomotive train and during the Dirty Deeds there were four holes that were blowing fire along with the song. Pretty rad. As for Rosie, you'll have to look that one up.
Anyway, pics are forthcoming. I used a disposable camera in case there were metal detectors and they still have to be developed.
As a final thought, I hope I still have as much life as these guys do when I'm that age. I'm not sure what we'll do for an encore but I'm sure it will be epic.

Clippers VIP Style

Papa Hall once again had the hook-up. Last week we took a bunch of us from the family to go see the Clippers VIP style. We went to the game about two hours early and got to watch the teams warm up and get their autographs. We then had great seats to watch the game in style. If anyone knows Doug you know that he is a huge Clippers fan so this was a night to remember for him!!

Here are some pictures of the evening:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Appreciation #18

This weeks appreciation goes out to Karly Nielsen. I first met Karly two years ago, our husbands worked together so we got to hang out at all the work socials. We became fast friends. I was so excited when I learned that her husband was also attending the MBA program at UCLA this year. Karly and her husband moved out here about two months before us and what a blessing that was for us. When we got her, Karly had already found the best way of doing things and helped give us advice everyday. Not only was that a huge help she also helped us move in and made lunch and dinner for us while we were getting everything organized. Our friendship has grown so much in the three months that we have lived in LA together. I can always count on her when I am having a bad day or not feeling well. Just last Sunday she made us dinner because I was just to tired, she is a true friend. We had to pick four families to write reference letters for the adoption process and they were so excited to do it for us. They will have no idea how much it means to us that they put so much time and effort into their letters. Here is a picture of Karly and her three adorable children. We went to the Getty museum together a couple weeks ago, check out that view. LA is a beautiful place.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving, we sure did. There is something about family that always makes me so happy. We spent Thanksgiving day with about 30 members of Doug's family at his parents home. I was in charge of the desserts and I went a little overboard. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, banana pudding, pear pie, and chocolate mouse pie times two....I will be eating the desserts for the rest of the week but they were so good. It was so fun to see family, especially our little niece Lexi.

We then went to stay with my brother Robert and his family for the weekend. We live a very different life then my brother. He also lives in California but runs a 26, 000 acre ranch. They get up at 5am in the morning and take care of what needs to be done. I was called lazy for sleeping in until 8am but it sure felt good. We had an eventful weekend riding motorcycles, riding horses, picking oranges, and herding cows...yep, cows. It was an adventure. My eight year old niece can ride a horse much better then me and sure knows how to work those cows all on her own. I loved spending time with all the kids, I don't get to see any of them enough.