Warning: there are a ton of pictures in this one, so it might take a while to load.
For her big Christmas present, I got Jenny chopsticks.
They have our names on them, and after her name are the Chinese symbols for Yuanfen, her favorite word.
Even with Google Maps on my phone, I still end up drawing my own on Post-Its half the time.
A quick meal at Alexander the Great, which we had a coupon for...
... before heading out to watch the Geminid meteor shower. We ended up laying on top of the Jeep, which wasn't too cold once we got the blankets settled. The only problem with watching a meteor shower is you have to go out in the middle of nowhere to watch them, and I'm terrified of wolves or crazed murderers or who knows what. After we got back inside, the roof popped up a bit, which scared us both; my first thought was some giant wolf jumped on top and I was ready to drive like a bat out of hell to get away from it. That's what too many scary movies as a kid will do to you.
There are lots of neighborhoods around Houston that are known for their Christmas Lights. Here's the first one we went to: Pecan Grove.
A bull. There were actually a lot of these; it's Texas.
Animated reindoor pulling Santa out of a chimney.
Probably one of the best houses there.
I really like when they use solid colors on trees.
A video of some of the lights synched to music.
Another pretty sunset over Houston = time for more lights.
This time we went to River Oaks, which is where all of the massive and expensive houses (and lights) are. I like these hanging balls.
One of my favorite single trees.
This house was awesome.
Another angle of the same house.
It's hard to get a feel for how utterly gigantic this angel is without seeing it in person.
"Hey, those are hanging over the road. I bet we can touch them!"
Jenny was more interested in the houses, whereas I liked the lights. So she loved this one; I didn't.
Three wise men, very cool.
This tree was gigantic!
Loved this house, too.
Another really neat one.
These were my favorite trees.
After River Oaks we headed to the Heights. Not nearly as expensive, but much more original decorations.
This was one of our favorites: a spaceship that dropped presents. Plus, you could see it from a long ways away.
This was awesome; a reindeer!
This was by far the best: a beach theme (giant sun, lifeguard chair, surf board, palm tree)...
... complete with a boat and Santa flying through the air on a wakeboard.
This guy lives near Jenny. I always see him dressed up as Santa, even in the summer. At least now he's in season.
Ugly car wreck; it was on its side.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Architecture Center Houston had the 2nd Annual Gingerbread Build-Off, and you could go see them this week.
Kirksey + Canopy - Villa Savoye - Grande Prix de Show
Housey-house, Rice Architecture Graduates - Rice University's Lovett Hall
PDR - CCTV & TVCC on fire - Best Non-Traditionally Themed
Where's the Tylenol?, Culture Pilot - Breadzilla Attacks Gingerville - Best Traditionally Themed
The Spice Girls, PageSoutherlandPage - Partridge in a Pear Tree - 2nd Runner-Up
Ginger Girls - Gingerbread Doll House
Courtney Harper + Partners - San Jacinto Monument - Tallest Standing Structure
Caroline Collective - Chocolate Spill
English + Associates Architects - Chartres Cathedral - Best Architectural Icon
PDR2 - Alice in Wonderland - Most Creative Interpretation of Materials
Ginger & the Snaps, A&E The Graphics Complex - Sandcastle - 1st Runner-Up
They also had some posters of different places around Houston. I always loved the architecture at Discovery Green.
I drive by this every day and thought it looked really neat.
It's nice how they made it so more people could see.
It's actually faster on the main highway than on the HOV lane.
Well, this is weird. A cop has a guy in handcuffs just standing on the side of the HOV lane with no vehicle in sight.
Those are some big strawberries.
This night we went up to Prestonwood Forest to view the lights. They're supposed to have the best ones around Houston, and they didn't disappoint. Each of the streets has a different theme.
This house was insane.
Jenny liked this edited note to Santa.
Another video. It was fun trying to figure out the theme for each street. I knew the Rudolph movie one the instant I saw the first character. (Click on the video to make it open in another window so you can see the comments as it goes.)
And this was 3088 Quincannon Lane, a single house that's just amazing.
If you look at the Google Maps street view, you can see that they leave the decorations up all year round. And a satellite view shows that they might have their own private mini lake, beach, and golf course? Crazy.