Category Archives: Adventures

Honeymoon Part 2 – Torres Del Paine Circuit

Good morning from another bus!

We left off with our bus ride to Puerto Natales. Puerto Natales is basically the gateway town to Torres del Paine National Park. It’s filled with backpackers and travelers.

It was Friday and we decided to start our trek Sunday so we’d have all day Saturday to prepare and rest. We wandered the town with our backpacks and suitcase in search of a hostel. We ended up staying at Hostel Geminis for two nights and it worked out great.

Friday we converted US dollars to Chilean Pesos and ate an amazing dinner at a little cafe that I need to look up the name later. We had ceviche, salmon, ravioli filled with salmon and a berry cake dessert. It was all delicious. While we were there a photographer was taking photos of the salmon for a magazine and they used the exact salmon we ate for one of the pictures! We need to find that magazine, we’re basically famous! Patagonia is known for its Salmon and Lamb.

After dinner we went to a local beer brewery and restaurant. I think it’s the only beer brewed in Puerto Natales. They had 2 options. A pale and an amber. We had tasters of them both and we both ended up drinking the amber.

Saturday we listened to a talk at Erratic Rock hostel about trekking in Torres del Paine. There are two trek options, the W-trek which has 3 out and back sections forming a W shape or the full circuit which includes the W but also wraps around the back side which they call an O. Initially we planned to do the W-trek for time purposes but they talked us into the whole thing.

The rest of Saturday was spent buying food and necessary supplies for the trip. It was tough preparing backpacking food in another country. We opted for lots of ramen for dinners, found salami and crackers for lunches, oatmeal and cereal for breakfast, and trail mix, cereal bars and peanut butter and dulce de leche (a thing in Patagonia) on pitas for snacks. We really missed Matt’s beef jerky!

As for supplies we forgot a good amount. Water bladders, duct tape, Todd’s chacos, etc. etc. We didn’t end up needing bladders because there was so much water on the trail. We didn’t have to carry any or a filter as you could drink straight from the streams which was amazing!

Saturday dinner and pre- trek carbo loading was pizza and beer! Much better pizza this time!

Sunday we took the 3 hour bus ride to the park and then the Catamaran boat ride to the start of our trek!

The next 6 days and 5 nights we were immersed in the Torres del Paine National Park soaking up all it had to offer. The sun came out at around 5:30 am and went down around 10:30 every night. We had lots of time for walking in the daylight. Because we opted to do the full circuit, we had to kick it in overdrive to get done in time. Typically they say to do the circuit in 8 or 9 days, we ended up with 6.

If you google ‘best treks’ in the world, Torres del Paine will come up. This meant, it was popular and crowded, especially in the W portion. The trail had options for sleeping in huts and eating meals at the huts or traditional camping cooking for yourself but you had to stay and pay for the campsites they had. Everything on the trail was expensive for the most part. Campsites were like $15 per person per night. If you stayed in the huts I think it was $50 per person or something close to that.

Being at the Southern tip of Chile, the weather was crazy! I have never experienced wind like we did in that park! The weather changes very quickly. It will rain every day but not very hard or for very long. We did come across one storm. During that storm we walked for hours in the rain with 50mph winds. I was knocked down at one point by a gust! We made it to camp soaking wet! But for the most part we lucked out with weather!

The trails were pretty well maintained for the most part and very easy to follow. You really didn’t need a map at all. We did come across mud, water crossings, rocky terrain and some dicey ladders and bridges which made it interesting. We have lots of pictures I will share when we get back and can upload them from the camera! We had one pass to navigate. The top was at 1200 meters. The one thing I think they could add to these trails was switchbacks! There were plenty of steep sections.

The scenery was unreal. We walked through fields of daisies, forests with moss covered trees, alongside glaciers and lakes and up and down mountains. It was nothing short of beautiful! My favorite views were the Torres at one of the W legs and then the view at the top of the pass looking out at Glacier Grey.

After 6 days of around 9 hrs of hiking, we were exhausted and my feet had seen better days.

Christmas Day was spent hiking the Gardner Pass, enjoying amazing views of the glacier and eating ramen and chatting with new friends. It was weird not to be with family. We missed you all and wish you were with us but we do know there will be many more holidays to come!

From now till the 31st, we will be in El Calafate and El Chalten. We will explore Glaciar National Park and Mt. Fitz Roy and do some trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier. Hiking will be minimal until these blisters heal! We splurged a little on a couple hotels as we are ready for a comfy bed and some honeymoon luxury!

Last night we both had massages and ate at La Zaina in El Calafate. We had some amazing braised lamb and a salmon salad capping the night with an ice cream cone that hit the spot.

Now we are off to El Chalten.

Hope all is well at home!


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Honeymoon Part 1

Hello from a bus in Chile!

We are almost done with a bus ride from El Calafate Argentina to Puerto Natales Chile. At the moment we are waiting our turn at the Chile border.

Let’s start from the beginning. Tuesday we flew from Pittsburgh to Miami and then to Buenos Aires. It was uneventful as it should be. We landed in BA at around 9am. We are a couple hours ahead of Pittsburgh now. From the airport we found a bus to take us downtown and then a taxi to our hotel. We got there around 1pm I think.

We checked into Five hotel which was a small boutique hotel in the Palermo Viejo neighborhood. The guy at the front desk was very friendly and spoke English which we’ve learned many do. We also learned he worked at Cache Creek casino and lived in Woodland, CA for awhile. If you don’t know, that’s very close to Davis. Small world..

After checking in, showering and changing into shorts and a t-shirt, we headed out to exchange $$ and find lunch.

Argentina is interesting for exchanging US dollars. This is how I understand it.. Argentina has fixed the official exchange rate to about 8.5 pesos to 1 US dollar. Due to the fixing of the rate, their exists a Blue Market where you can get closer to 13 to 1. Dollars are very desirable and there isn’t a way to get them hence why this Blue Market exists. The only problem is it’s technically illegal so it’s best if you know someone. Without knowing someone the other option is Florida St which is a bustling downtown street with lots of people and shops. There are guys all over the place yelling ‘Cambio Cambio’. That means they want your US dollars. This would be where one would partake in this kind of activity. But it’s illegal.. So do at your own risk.

We found a restaurant for lunch that took our US dollars at a 12 to 1 exchange rate which was nice! A pretty good steak lunch to start our trip.

We also had to buy outlet converters as we forgot about that before coming.

Dinner that night was at La Cabrera, a very highly rated steakhouse. We were seated around midnight and the place was packed. I had a Filet that was amazing, Todd had the Rib Eye and we split a bottle of Malbec from Mendoza that our server recommended. It was very good as well. The portions here are huge! We are starting to learn that.

Thursday we woke up bright and early to catch our flight to El Calafate.

Once in El Calafate we took a bus to our hotel El Quijote. The hotel was very nice looking but it was empty, Todd says it gave off a Overlook Hotel from the Shining kind of vibe.

Once we settled we ate lunch at a restaurant nearby called Isabel Disco or something like that. Once again huge portions but delicious! Todd ordered a lamb dish that had a wine broth and some veggies and mushrooms with French fries on top. I ordered a steak that came with fries and sunny side up eggs on top of the fries. This steak was much more fatty.. I may stick with the fillets from now on. :). We really should’ve split Todd’s dish. It would’ve been plenty!

After that meal we napped for a couple of hours.. Apparently we were tired. The rest of the evening we did research as to what was next. Our late dinner consisted of pizza and beer. We ordered the German sausage pizza that I wish I took a picture of. It was cheese, lettuce, hot dog and whole olives with pits. Interesting, and the beer was just ok.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel as we had an early bus ride today. The bus left at 8:30am and it’s now 3:30pm.. Hopefully we are almost to Puerto Natales! :). We stopped twice where everyone had to get off the bus. Once to exit Argentina and then again to enter Chile and check our bags.

Alright, I’m seeing a town! Hope all is well back home. 🙂

Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine up next!

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Weekend Shenanigans!

This post was intended for Monday after last weekend.. But here I am Saturday finishing it up.

I wanted to tell you about last weekend.. So I’m still going to!

Our weekend started Thursday night, kind of. We decided somewhat last minute to head to Cleveland for a Rise Against concert. Rise Against is a punk band we’ve followed for years now. It was awesome to see them in a new city. We stayed at an Airbnb where we left Stella, and Ubered (that is a verb now right?) it to the concert. After the concert we hit up a couple of bars in Ohio City (a community of Cleveland) before heading back to the house. We were up early to head back to Pittsburgh! A quick but fun trip!


Friday I worked, Todd did school stuff. We hung out in Pittsburgh Friday night which was really fun but our plan of going to bed early didn’t work.

Saturday morning we drove to Annapolis to meet our friend Nick and check out the Navy football game. We crashed a 10 year college reunion (kind of – not really). It was awesome.. free food and beer all day.


It was so fun to see the stadium and see some of the Naval Academy traditions.



Sunday we went to brunch and then hit the road back to Pittsburgh. It’s a 4.5 hour drive, but a pretty one!

There are these things called Turnpikes over here .. Like toll roads but expensive and not optional.. At least that I know of. That was a learning experience. On the way back from Cleveland, the Ohio turnpike took the rest of our cash and then 5 minutes later we hit the Pennsylvania turnpike! Luckily I had my checkbook otherwise I’m not sure what would’ve happened…

On the way to Annapolis we bought an EZ Pass, you place it on the windshield, load money on it and then you don’t have to worry about carrying enough cash. For reference, on the way home from Annapolis, the PA turnpike tole was $15.

This is probably normal to so many people.. Just humor me as we are continuously learning. 🙂

All in all fun times seeing more of the East Coast!

We are planning a trip to NYC over Thanksgiving. Thinking Airbnb, Thanksgiving parade, running in Central Park. Any suggestions?

Oh! We booked our flights to Patagonia for December!! Big news! It’s getting real! Now it’s time to plan what we do! So excited!

Hope you’re having a great weekend so far. Todd and I had a little date night out last night. Ate Thai food and then went to see Gone Girl. It’s tough watching a thriller knowing how it ends. (We both read the book). But I think it was entertaining.

Today I ran 7.5 miles training for the Pittsburgh 10-miler. It was somewhat sluggish but I made it out and back before the rain, so that’s a win in my book!

Now I’m doing laundry.. Ugh.

Any exciting weekend happenings??

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Memorial Day & Pre-Marathon Thoughts

Before I get into some deep thoughts about my upcoming marathon, here’s a few pictures from my Memorial Day extended weekend!

I’ll spare you repeat pictures of skydiving & Fish 101.

Sunday morning I was feeling a bit festive & made pancakes!

Memorial Day Yogurt Pancakes

adapted from Kath’s recipe.

  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp regular salt
  • blueberries
  • bananas (sliced)
  • strawberries (sliced)

Combine all ingredients except for bananas & strawberries.  Pour about 1/2 cup of pancake batter into skillet & add banana and strawberry slices on top.  This made 5 pretty large pancakes!  Top with syrup or more fruit & enjoy!

After a tough yoga class and a lovely day at the beach on Monday, we spent our Memorial Day evening BBQing at the casa.  With Jesse’s help, we threw together some amazing burgers!

Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers  (makes 8 large burgers)

  • 4 lbs lean ground beef
  • blue cheese or gorgonzola
  • Laughing Cow cheese original (~4 triangles)
  • salt & pepper

Mix together equal amounts of laughing cow cheese wedges & blue cheese. Microwave for ~20 seconds or just enough time for cheeses to be mixable.

Form (16) 1/4 pound patties of ground beef (rolled out thin).

Spread about a tablespoon of cheese mixture onto half of patties.

Use remaining patties to cover & enclose cheese mixture pressing down edges to fully enclose.  You will now have 1/2 pound burgers with cheese inside.  They will shrink when cooking but will still be good-sized burgers!

Action shot!

We enjoyed our burgers with sweet potato fries, potato salad, pasta salad, & beans!  What a delicious meal!

Look at that cheese!!

What a great way to end this holiday weekend.  Great food & great friends! If only I would’ve taken photos of the ‘friends’ part!

Pre-Marathon Thoughts

In 5 days I will be celebrating the completion of my first marathon (crossing my fingers)!  After months of training, I know I am prepared for this!  Even still, my head is filled with thoughts: Good ones and bad ones.  I thought it’d be fun to document the thoughts that have gone on my head in the weeks before my marathon! I apologize in advance because I’m rambling.. that is how thoughts work.. at least mine anyways 🙂   Ok, here we go..

  • What if I do not enjoy running 26.2 miles? Is this distance not for me?  Will I be deterred from running anything more than a half marathon?  What would I do about the NWM & Ragnar coming up next October?
  • Ever since my 22 miler I have not wanted to run.  Is this bad?  Normal?  Every run I have had since then has been sluggish (heavy) & not necessarily enjoyable. I feel I am digressing.. Is this all part of the taper process?  I sure hope so..
  • Should I set a time goal or just run to complete it and have fun?  I initially thought I should try for 4 hours.. then changed that to maybe 4:15.. 4:30.. but now I’m thinking my goal should be to run the whole thing and try to enjoy myself.  It is my first marathon.. thoughts?
  • How fast do I start running? I’m afraid of my pace. I don’t want to crash hard because I started too fast.. but at the same time if I run a slower pace it’s harder for me to increase that pace later on. I am typically pretty good about negative splits (run slower in the beginning and get faster at the end) .. I just don’t want to mess this one up!
  • What food/fuel am I gonna want during the race?  I should be ready for this but unfortunately I am not..
  • What am I going to feel up for after the race? Celebrations? Sleep?  I will never know on this one.. we will see!

If you can’t tell, I’m excited but extremely nervous!  This waiting game is horrible.. tapering is not fun! Sunday will be here before I know it!  In the mean time, I will try to enjoy this time (and excessive carbs) as much as I can!


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Skydiving & Fish 101

My present to Todd (for Christmas) was a pass for both of us to go SKYDIVING!!  There was a ‘Groupon like’ coupon so I jumped at the idea.  I had never been skydiving but Todd had once before.

Yesterday, we finally got around to using it!

After a quick stop at Triple Crown for some liquid courage and a couple shuffleboard games (I won both 🙂 ), we were off to jump out of a plane!

Before they allow you to skydive, you basically have to sign your life away!  We watched a very boring video telling you that if something happens, it will not hold up in court because I signed this paper.  A little scary but we signed the papers!

While waiting for our turn, we watched as many other people got in the airplane & came falling down.  Every single person looked like they had a great time!

This plane was so small (in my mind) but supposedly it is large for skydiving!

This is probably what it looked like when I came down!

After about an hour and a half of waiting, it was our turn to get up there!  We suited up in our gear, met our tandem professionals & were sent up in the airplane!

As the days counted down leading up to this event, I was nervous but when it came down to it, I enjoyed myself.  I was no longer scared but excited!

I really wish I could’ve had my camera in that airplane.  It was crazy!  All the professionals (for lack of a better word) had watches telling them the altitude.  We were waiting for 13000 ft and then the jumping would begin!

My turn came before I knew it!  My ‘professional’ was strapped to me kind of like a backpack.  I stood at the door to the plane watching as Todd was falling into nowhere land.  He said it was time, we rocked back and forth and before I knew it I was free-falling.  I got into the arched position as I was told and just held on to my straps.

For the first half of the free fall I was somewhat in shock.  There was sooo much wind I couldn’t really breathe!  I also had trouble moving because of that wind!  He said I could ‘fly’ with my arms and such but I couldn’t move!  Once I relaxed and realized this wasn’t going to last long, I gave up on worrying about breathing and enjoyed myself.  I think we spun around so I could see the views.  I played with the air.. it was amazing.  I thought I’d lose my stomach on the free fall but I did not.  I was told that since the plane was already moving so fast, we jumped out at similar speeds preventing that sensation.

After about a minute of free-falling, we released the parachutes and loosened some of my straps to make it a little more comfortable.  We did some spins giving me a bit of the lost stomach sensation & looked out at the views.

Before I knew it we were landing and my ride was over!  If only that could’ve lasted longer.  I had an amazing time.  I want to go back up there.  If only this was a cheaper hobby!

We took our skydiving certificates and headed home.  Back to life on the ground. sigh..

Everyone should try skydiving once!  You will not be disappointed.. maybe we should skydive in New Zealand.. just a thought! 🙂

We got home around 8pm & decided we should get some dinner.  We decided to eat out for dinner but take it easy the rest of the night.

It was time to try Fish 101! Fish 101 opened pretty recently into a location in Leucadia that has had some difficulty in the past.

I have high hopes!

The beer I started with was Orange Wit I think.  It was similar to a Blue Moon.

We sat on the back heated patio.  This is new!  I’ve never seen this with the previous restaurants.  It was a great addition.  We started with 1/2 dozen oysters.

As well as the crudo of the day which was Hamachi.  The fish had a slice of Serrano Chile on each piece as well as some sauce that was amazing.  The flavors were awesome!

We then shared the Fish of the Day plate and chose the Salmon with steamed rice & seaweed salad.  This salmon was as well cooked as I think we’ve ever been served in a restaurant.  There was not a single dry spot!

Fish 101 you did not disappoint!  We will be back.  What a great start to this Memorial Day weekend!


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Yosemite Part 2 (Finally!!)

It’s been almost two weeks since I was in Yosemite and I am just now getting to this post.. oops!  Time flies, it is almost June!  Where has the year gone?  Excuses excuses.. sorry..

Where did I leave off?  Friday I ran 22 miles, went on a mini hike, hung out at the beach & then ate Matt’s awesome burgers!  Aahh.. good times..

Before I get to Saturday, I wanted to show the three bear canisters where we kept our food!  Every year we have so much food.  This year was no different, but it’s better to have too much then not enough right?

At least this year we attempted to be organized!

The bottom of all three canisters was where we put the ice chests.  In the top portion of this one was where our snacks were!  Even little Theo knew where the good stuff was!

The second one was half bread and the other half fruit.

The last one was filled with drinks!  Lots and lots of drinks!

Ok back to Saturday.  We woke up Saturday and prepared for a big hike!  About half of the group decided to hike up to the top of this waterfall!

Upper Yosemite Falls is 3.5 miles up & 3650 ft in elevation gain.

The hike has multiple sets of switchbacks to get you up to the top!

This view of the waterfall is maybe half way?

Can it get any better than this?  That’s halfdome in the back.

This is Todd at one of the overlooks.  It took us about 2.5 hours to make it to the top!

The top was where all the good photos were taken!

The waterfall looks a little different looking down on it!

Teresa & I are taking in the scenery while making sure we don’t slide off.

Once you get to the top there is an overlook that you have to hike down some sketchy steps to get to!

Looking down on the overlook with the waterfall to my left.

We enjoyed the scenery and ate a little lunch! Salami & cheese on crackers with Matt’s famous beef jerky and all sorts of other snacks.

Mark, Teresa & Matt went up a little farther to get to this point! You wouldn’t believe Mark’s afraid of heights from looking at this picture would you? 😉

Todd & I went down first & the others came a little after.  It took us 1.5 hours to get down for a total hiking time of 4 hours.

Todd & I were in charge of Saturday’s dinner.  The kebobs we brought last year were a hit so we did it again!

Todd cooked the kebobs over the fire.

Teresa was on fire duty!  She did great, our fire was going strong until bedtime!

We used Seaside Market’s Burgandy marinated Tri Tip for the meat & added onions, bell peppers & mushrooms.

For our side dish I made Angela’s Back on Track Wheatberry Salad.  I loved the chewiness of the wheatberries.  I’m excited to use them more!

Food always tastes so much better after a great workout & while sitting in front of a campfire!

I had to sneak in some Bea & Theo pictures because I miss them already!  What a happy family! =)

Beatrice looks so happy in this one!

Grammy/Mimi & Theo giving hugs!

Here are some s’mores pictures!  Beatrice made a nutella & peanut butter s’more!  Theo wanted a s’more but then hated the sticky marshmallow on his hands.  All he wanted for the rest of the night was chocolate and I’m pretty sure he ate a whole Hershey’s bar!

What a great night!  Little did we know what we would wake up to!

SNOW!!!  I woke up to use the restroom at 6ish and there was double this amount of snow!  Unfortunately, my camera was dead so all these photos were ‘borrowed’.

The snow was beautiful but a big pain.  It was coming in at an angle so it was on everything! Trying to pack the cars was tough.. my hands were frozen.  I did not come prepared for snow!

We had the best of both worlds.  A sunny day on the beach & then waking up to snow on Sunday!  Who would’ve thunk it!?

One last Gleed/Carvajal family photo.

Yosemite 2012 is booked!  See you next year Yosemite!


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Last But Definitely Not Least (Weekend Part 3)

Ok.. one last weekend post & then I’ll get back to real life. Not that last weekend wasn’t real life but.. you know what I mean!

After a late late night Saturday, Sunday started with a bang!  By bang I mean, the alarm clock yelling at me way too early.  It took some extra time to get the rest of the house awake and out of the door.. but we made it! Phew.

Why, you ask?  Todd was running the Sparkle & Shine, Girls on the Run 5k near downtown San Diego!  He was running it with two of his coworkers.

After some group stretching to get their muscles all warmed up, they were off!

Here they come..

..and there they go!

They even had a sprint left in them for the finish line!

Congrats on your first 5k Frank!! Hopefully there will be many more to come =)

After the run we went to brunch at The Tractor Room.

If there’s anything you need to know about the Tractor Room, it’s that the entrées are HUGE & they have an EXTENSIVE bloody mary menu.

Jamie, Jesse, Todd & I shared two entrees and did not finish it all.. that should give you an idea as to how big they are!  Oh and if everyone ordered their own entree, your bank account would hate u!

We ordered the ‘House Favorite Chocolate Banana Pancake’

It had slices of bananas we could see!

It also came with two eggs & a meat of your choice.  We chose turkey sausage.

The other entree was the Smoked Salmon & rock shrimp cake benedict.

It was beautiful & came with roasted potatoes.

All in all a good brunch to get us ready for nap time!  We went home, slept for a couple hours and only woke up to go eat again!

We attended Foodtrucks and Fun at Boomers!  This was definitely a ‘Tammy’ event and I’m so glad I was able to drag everyone else to come with me! =)

Boomers hosted ~20 food trucks from San Diego & Los Angeles at three different locations throughout the weekend.  Sunday’s location was in Vista and it fit into my schedule! woohoo

We ordered a random assortment of things from different trucks and all took a bite of each.  This way we could try lots of items!

Here it goes..

Lobsta Truck

Lobster Roll = Amazing

We ordered it with butter and the lobster was cold.  I prefer the whole thing hot like I had in Boston but it was still very good!  It was small and a little pricey.. but that was somewhat expected.  I would order it again anyday!

Grill Em All

Did anyone besides me watch the Great Food Truck Race?  It was a reality show where food trucks competed in different challenges trying to win $$ for their business.

Anyways, Grill Em All won!!!  These guys are celebrities now!

We ordered a burger with peanut butter, jelly, bacon & sriracha.

It was nothing short of awesome.. we may venture to LA one of these days to get another!!

Check that out!! Hungry yet?

Ahn Joo

Some sort of Korean sandwich.  It was pretty good.

Food Junkies Catering

Prices got us to this one!

Grilled chicken on a biscuit with gravy, corn & peas.  Pretty good for $3!


They were closing but made an exception to make us one last taco.  We got the spicy pork with seared pineapple.

This taco was pretty amazing.  The pineapple and pork went so well together!

Frank joined us and ordered from Tabe.

He got some sort of slider with what looked like carne asada fries but not.  I tasted the fries and they were awesome.

The food trucks were awesome.  I am sooo happy we got to try Grill Em All.  I was a little sad that Miho wasn’t there as I’ve been wanting to try them for awhile.  I also missed out on Devilicious and their lobster grilled cheese.   Next time!

Our weekend guests once again.  I think we showed them a good time.. even if we woke them up at 6:45 Sunday morning! =)

Instead of going home and napping again from food coma, we decided to play a little Mini Golf!  We were at Boomers after all!

It was a pretty competitive game!  Leader changed a couple times.. never me though!

It’s hard to see but Todd won!

We headed to the arcade to spend some tokens.


 dance dance revolution.. etc etc!

Oh man.. what a weekend!  Who needs real life anyways?

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