Sunday, May 1, 2016

We are still really far behind on the blog and are going to try to catch up so here are a few highlights from the last few months of 2014!

Fall means that it is time for the Texas State Fair! We love going and trying all the fried foods and enjoying the fun atmosphere. 

Dan, Launa, Tracie, and Jayden came to visit. We had been wanting to go and see the pumpkin patch at the Dallas Arboretum so we took everyone to go see the 70,000+ pumpkins!

Fall also means anniversary time, and this year was our five year anniversary! Crazy how fast time flies. Even after 5 years I still can say that I am the luckiest guy alive. I married a beautiful, smart, funny, amazing woman and she has only gotten more beautiful, smarter, funnier, and more amazing every year.

I wanted to do something special so we started out with dinner at The French Room in Dallas. It was the most amazing meal I have ever tried, and the room was spectacular as well.

Anniversary #5 is the "Wooden Anniversary" so I rented out a wooden cabin and put all of the gifts in wooden boxes.

The next day I rented out a jet-ski and we went out on the lake and rode it around for the day. We drove to the shore and had a picnic. Luckily we had good weather!

Thanksgiving came and sadly Natali had to work. We had some great home teachers so I traded a pie for some Thanksgiving food.

Thanksgiving means Christmas is right around the corner. We loved sitting in our apartment and looking out at all the Christmas lights around the city.

And it wouldn't be Christmas in Dallas without seeing the huge Christmas tree at the Galleria mall.

And Christmas means work Christmas parties and a reason to get all dressed up. Dang my wife is hot.

The yearly kazoo tradition.

The christmas store in Grapevine. It goes all out, inside and outside.

We had heard about a huge ice sculpture display at the Gaylord Texan resort so we decided to check it out. Inside the hotel they go all out on the decorations.

And the main event inside is called "Ice!" Artists from China come and sculpt over 2 million pounds of ice into different shapes. every year they have a different theme.

This year the theme was...

Frosty! All based on the old cartoon "Frosty the Snowman."

They even had a slide you could go down!

It was chilly inside so they gave us big jackets and a fire to get warm by. The fire wasn't working very well, I think it was broken.

And at the end they always have the Nativity carved out of clear ice. It is a shame it is at the very end because by the time you get to it everyone is freezing and ready to get to warmer climates. But it is always great to take a moment, no matter how cold, and think about the real meaning of Christmas. Christ's life was not comfortable, it was not easy or normal. But He willingly passed through all of His trials so that we might have everything that He never had in this mortal life. And it all started in a lowly manger, many years ago.

And Christmas cannot be Christmas in the Wyson house without a gingerbread house competition. Well, I use gingerbread, house, and competition all very loosely in this case as this has become an over-the-top, all-day, crazy event that results in very creative ways to incorporate a gingerbread house into some bigger, more amazing scene.

For example, an Incan Temple by Dana and Jason. And yes, if you are wondering, that is a whole lot of Ramen noodles under all that frosting.

The Hunger Games by Jared and Sydney. Complete with blood rain, tsunamis, and crazy monkeys. And yes, those are broccoli trees.

Rainbow Road by Jaimee and Joey (and Jayden?). Looks like Luigi is winning

The Minions and the Photo Copier by Randi. Wait, where is the gingerbread house... oh who cares. Look at those guys! They are soooo funny!

Tranquil Winter at the Farm by Sam and Melissa. Now here is how gingerbread house-making is supposed to be done, complete with indoor lighting.

Alice in Wonderland in the House by Tracie and boy friend. Notice the space between boy and friend. Can't remember his name, but he was a trooper all day. And look at the amazing results.

And last but not least, Noah's Ark by Natali and Reed. The ostriches are ready with their floaties, the donkey is jumping into the pool on the Lido Deck, and the rainbow there to overlook it all.

And the REAL reason why there aren't any dinosaurs anymore. Their short little arms didn't allow them to climb on board. Poor Rex.

And last but not least, Christmas pictures!

One last bonus shot, back in Dallas, ready to hit the town!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Work Travels to Germany

One of the more enjoyable aspects of my job is the occasional opportunity for interesting travel.  In 2014 I had the opportunity to travel to Frankfurt Germany a couple times to take witness interviews for some internal investigation work I was doing.  Of course the main purpose of the trip was work but I was able to stay an extra day to see some sites on my first trip and also was lucky enough to be there during the famous Christmas festivals so I was able to enjoy those a bit at night after the interviews were finished.  Here are a few photos from around Frankfurt during my first trip and then taking one of those red tourist buses around :-).  First up, here is the hotel I stayed in (The Steinberger Hotel):

The room was great and I loved the touchscreen bathtub!  You just set it to the temperature you want and turn the water on to fill it up.

Then up next are pictures from my walk around old town Frankfurt when I first arrived:

Dinner with my team after the interviews (this was our dinner on the second night...we had given up on German food by that time and went for Italian--we were NOT fans of German food):

 My co-worker Melissa and I hung around for an extra day and took a tour bus ride around Frankfurt and then took a train to this CHARMING little town called Heidelberg outside of Frankfurt.

 Love that the windows open in this skyscraper! That would be awesome in my building.

 And now on to Heidelberg.  I highly recommend visiting this gorgeous town and its beautiful castle if you are in the area.

 Europe AND an adorable Christmas store...The only thing that would make this better would be Reed :-).
 And I had to include a photo of this super quaint little bookstore.  It just feels so European.
And these next couple photos are from my second trip when the Christmas festival was going on :-)

Well it's definitely not as fun without Reed but certainly better than sitting in my office in Dallas all day and I certainly enjoyed flying first class (my firm bought business but I seem to have pretty incredible travel luck and got upgraded both times! Though business still would be awesome to Europe...).  Hopefully looking forward to more exciting work trips in my future.  Maybe one of these times Reed can meet up with me ;-).