Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Celebrations!

I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone!  It seems like we were just sitting down to our Thanksgiving dinner last week!  I sure hope time slows down so I can enjoy every moment of these fantastic holidays!  Our first Christmas couldn't have been better :) Attempting to evenly split time between both families on Christmas Eve was a little difficult but we made it work in the end and had a lot of fun.  We ate dinner at Logan's sister's house with his family and it was delicious.  (Well done, April!) After hanging out for a while after dinner we made a beeline for my parent's house and had a great time singing Christmas songs, reading the story of Christ's birth and exchanging gifts with the siblings and cousins.  There's nothing like family traditions on the holidays!

(Please forgive my lack of pictures from Christmas Eve.  We were so busy running around from family to family that I nearly forgot I even owned a camera!)

We had such a busy Christmas Eve that by the time we got home that night I was exhausted!  I would have loved to watch a Christmas movie with Logan but I could hardly keep my head up any longer so we just ended the night early and went to bed.  I woke up around 6:30 so I could have enough time to get ready for the day and then when Logan woke up around 7:45 we opened our presents :) One of my favorite parts of Christmas growing up was always opening our stockings and I loved it again this year!  

Logan completely spoiled me and I couldn't have asked for anything better!  There's a section of our apartment that is pretty dark so I've been wanting a lamp for a while and Logan picked one out himself and surprised me with it!  I must say I am impressed that he ventured out and got one because I know many guys wouldn't have dared.

My cute hubby also got me a new robe (I LOVE robes and mine was getting pretty old!), some perfume and of course a children's book to add to my collection :)  Those are a few of the best gifts he showered me with!  I definitely wasn't as creative as Logan was but I still had a great time shopping for him.  He has now added some new cuff links, Jazz accessories for his car, Jazz PJ pants, Zelda & Planet Earth to his collection of possessions.  Maybe next year I'll bring my game up to his standard!

I thought he'd feel pretty cool using this notebook at school!
After opening presents together and setting up our awesome new lamp, we headed over to my parent's 9:30 church meeting.  My mom narrated the Christmas program and did an amazing job!  Anyone that knows my mom also knows that she has a gift of public speaking (or just speaking in general).  One of the young men in the ward said afterwards that if he could choose anyone to narrate his life he would want it to be either Morgan Freeman or Janet Rowley.  That just about sums up how great the meeting was!  It doesn't happen often where we have the opportunity to go to Church on Christmas and I am SO glad Logan and I went!  I know I often forget to remember the true meaning of Christmas in the wake of the presents and delicious food so I am very grateful for the reminder I received this Christmas by going to church.

As soon as church was over we ran home and changed and then headed straight over to my parent's house to open our presents from them to all of us kids.  I had a few surprises and a few things I knew I was getting and loved all of it!  My highlight was probably the new boots I got and Logan's was definitely his fancy electric razor!  He loves it!

We spent the rest of the afternoon at my parent's house hanging out, eating my mom's famous Christmas Brunch with all of the cousins and watching basketball (Finally!).  Around 4 o'clock we took off and went to be with Logan's family at his aunt and uncle's house.  We had a delicious dinner and loved seeing everyone and many thanks to Logan's parents we are now Costco members!  I think I'll have to contain Logan just a bit!

We made it back home around 9 o'clock and loved the peace and quiet of our own little home.  I am so grateful for my husband and both of our families that made Christmas so memorable!  I am already looking forward to next year!  We have had such a fun time celebrating long and hard during the holidays but it looks like tonight (New Year's Eve) is going to be a quiet evening at home.  Both Logan and I are under the weather and don't have much energy to go out.  I know that doesn't sound like the most exciting evening but we're both looking forward to bringing in the new year!  I have a feeling 2012 will be a great year for us!  Happy new year to you all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gingerbread Houses, Temple Square & Fun with Friends!

I can't believe that in 3 sleeps and a wake up Santa will have come!  My goal was to have this blog completely updated by Christmas and it looks like I'm gonna make it!  We have had so much fun the first three weeks of December thanks to our awesome family and friends.  I know Logan is loving his break from school and I think I am loving it just as much!  I definitely stress when he stresses over homework and tests.  One semester at a time!

After going to the Festival of Trees and looking at all of the awesome gingerbread houses I was quite inspired to have an FHE dedicated to making a house of our own so we did just that a couple weeks ago!  We had such a good time and hopefully started a fun tradition!

Please ignore the blob above the front door!  That was definitely my fault.

One of the many things I was super excited for this year was going to see the lights on Temple Square.  Logan hadn't seen them since before his mission in 2008 so I couldn't wait to for him to go for the first time in 3 years!  My family has a fun tradition of going out to dinner, going to see the lights and getting hot chocolate after.  Unfortunately Logan couldn't make it this time because he was trapped at home studying for finals but we still had a great time with those of us that could make it!

Going with the kids always makes it 10x better!
For about 3 weeks a group of our friends were working non-stop trying to get a Christmas dinner/date planned.  It's a little tough to get all of us together because everyone is so busy but we made it work in the end!  We all met at the Murray TRAX station and rode downtown to go to dinner and see the lights after.  Riding TRAX saved us gas and parking and it was fun!  Our original plan was to go to CPK at the Gateway but when we called ahead to put our name on the list they told us it was a 2 1/2 hour wait!  There's no way we were going to wait that long.  We eventually decided on Olive Garden, which was delicious, and only had to wait about 40 minutes.

Asking for a picture where everyone is smiling normally is quite a stretch for this group so we had to settle for this picture :)
It was freezing the night we went but once we were outside for a couple minutes my whole body was numb so I couldn't feel the cold anymore and we got some fun pictures so it was totally worth it!

We capped the night off by taking TRAX back to Murray and crashing at Russ' house for hot chocolate which helped us thaw out a bit!  Thanks to everyone who made the night so much fun!

Next in line: Our First Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

One of my favorite traditions growing up was always looking forward to Black Friday.  I didn't love Black Friday because of the shopping (I've actually never been shopping on Black Friday), I loved it because my mom and I would get all of the Christmas decorations set up!  I love my mom's trees and all of the fun Christmas decor she has collected over the years and couldn't wait to finally have a home of my own to decorate!  I was more than ready to get our tree set up as soon as Halloween ended but was able to make myself wait until the day after Thanksgiving.  Logan and I both love how it turned out!

Don't let the color scheme fool you--I am true blue through and through!
Yep, I know the top section of the lights are out!  We got the tree set up and everything was working great and then when we were basically done decorating it the lights went out =(.  We messed with it for a while but were resigned to the fact that they weren't coming back on and there's no way I was going to take everything off.  We'll just have to take it back to Home Depot when Christmas is over!  

Our cute, little apartment is just that--little!  There's not a ton of room to decorate with so we don't have too much set up.  It's perfect for our first Christmas, though, and I'm sure I'll gather much more over the years!

Love my little Christmas corner!
A couple weeks ago Logan and I went with some of our friends to the Festival of Trees and had a great time!  I hadn't been for years and forgot how neat everything is!  Here is the Barton's amazing tree for Brynn!

Their tree looked so neat in person!
I knew I would love all of the trees but I forgot about the awesome gingerbread houses that would be there too!  Here are some of my favorites:

The Burrow!
I think they would have dried their sweaters with magic, though
This might have been my favorite one, it was so well done!
D.C. Capitol
The animals were awesome!
I loved the balloons!
Angry Birds
This one wasn't the most well-done but I loved idea.
There were so many more that I couldn't take a picture of but were just as neat!  Thanks to Annie, Tyler & Joe for the invite and keeping us company!  Maybe one day Logan and I will be in a position to buy one of the trees and we would be donating to the hospital! ;)

Stay tuned for mine and Logan's own gingerbread house bash!  Don't expect it to be anything like what you see above or you will be sorely disappointed!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thanksgiving Festivities!

Every 5 or so years I have the fun opportunity of sharing my birthday with Thanksgiving. Many people say they would hate having their birthday fall on a major holiday but I love taking a lot of the focus off me and giving it to the yummy food! My family is still very good about celebrating with me early when this happens and that didn't change this year! My brother, Paul, was in town from Minnesota for a long weekend so we celebrated my birthday a week early so he could join in the festivities. We went to dinner at Red Rock and it was delicious! The food was a little pricey but I felt like it was definitely worth it and would love to go back. After dinner we went back to my parents' and had cake and ice cream and my family spoiled me with presents! Unfortunately I don't have too many pictures from my birthday because I am the one that usually takes the pictures and couldn't really take them of myself. Here are a few I was able to capture:

My husband is such a stud!

My mamma and Benji!

Me and my girls!

My birthday was on Thursday, the 24th, so Logan and I went out and celebrated together on the 23rd. It was so much fun being together with just the two of us--especially becuase he spoiled me, like always! We left as soon as Logan got done with his afternoon class and did some shopping. He was so good to let me go wherever I wanted even though I knew he would probably rather be doing anything else. After I had shopped myself out we went to dinner at Chilis (I have always loved that place!) and then spent the rest of the night hanging out. There's nothing better than just being able to hang out with nothing else to worry about!

Sorry the picture is so dark--it was taken with my phone

A couple weeks before my birthday I was looking online and found this Harry Potter Christmas village that I immediately fell in love with! (For those of you who weren't aware of my obsession with Harry Potter, now you are. I've read the books way too many time to count and I listen to them non-stop in my car on CD. When I finish the series, I just start back over again with book 1 and I LOVE it!) The village is a little pricey and is going to be released in several different installments and the first one isn't even available yet. Logan knew how much I wanted it so he surprised me with the first part, "The 3 Broomsticks", for my birthday! He ordered it a few weeks ago but they said there's a chance it won't be here for Christmas. At least I can look at it and have it for Christmas next year! Thanks, babe, for knowing exactly how to get to my heart! :)

After having such a wonderful birthday, I knew Thanksgiving was going to be fantastic! Logan and I had every intention of sleeping in becuase we didn't have work or school but I guess our bodies are just trained to wake up so we were up and at it before 7:00. At first I was bummed that I didn't sleep longer but it actually turned out great becuase we had a fun morning together. Logan had to make sweet potatoes to take to his family's dinner and my mom asked me to make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for their dinner so we spent the morning cooking and watching Home Alone. That movie is a classic for sure! Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of Logan's sweet potatoes but they looked wonderful and everyone that tried them said they were delicious! I have a great recipe for pumpkin chocholate chip cookies from Logan's sister so they were pretty yummy too!

Thanks, April, for the recipe!

Waiting to eat at my parents' house!

This was a very large turkey that Logan's uncle cooked!

Sharing time with both families on Thanksgiving worked out really well and it should be the same for Christmas. My family gets together and eats a little earlier in the afternoon and Logan's family doesn't eat until later in the evening so it worked out great! We had so much fun playing games, eating and hanging out with everyone and I loved being able to celebrate twice! I have such wonderful in-laws that couldn't have made the night end better! Thanksgiving was fantastic but I wish it came around more than once a year so we could all focus more time on what we have to be grateful for. Thank you to everyone who made the day so great!

Stay tuned for an update on our lives so far in December! We're only halfway through the month and have had a blast already!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Halloween Festivities

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays because of the traditions our family had growing up so I couldn't wait for Halloween this year so Logan and I could start our own fun traditions! In order to free up Halloween night so everyone could do their own thing, we had our family Halloween party a couple weeks before the 31st. My niece's birthday is on the 17th and she actually wanted a Halloween birthday party so it was a great way to get everyone together to celebrate her birthday and Halloween on the same night. Unfortunately Logan and I never got around to figuring out a costume that early so we were party poopers and didn't dress up for the party. It sure was fun to see everyone else's clever costumes, though! I have no idea why I didn't take any pictures that night but really wish I would have! My two favorite costumes were probably Bronco Mendenhall and a "minion" from Despicable Me--I'll try to track down pictures of them!

Staci, her friend Kate, Logan and I tracked down the best pumpkins we could find a couple days before Halloween and had a great time carving them! I absolutely hate cleaning the pumpkin so it took me a few minutes before I would really dig in but then I get super OCD about how clean it is and spend more time cleaning than I actually do carving! This picture was taken with my phone so it's a little blurry but you can get the gist :)

It's hard to actually see what the pumpkins are supposed to be because it's pretty bright in the room but Logan's was this scary face thing and mine was a bat inside the moon. Staci and Kate made lanterns :)

By the time Halloween night came around Logan and I had finally made a trip to the trusty D.I. and came up with these costumes:

Us in 50 or so years!

I'm not quite sure how or why we came up with the idea of being old people but the clothes were pretty easy to find and I already had the wig from when we did "100s" day at school when I was student teaching. A little silver hair spray and a pillow in his tummy topped Logan's costume off nicely!

Our good friends Spencer and Nicole put on a great party at their house filled with food, fun and friends! We had a great surprise when we were playing the game "Things" (I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a fun game to play!) and our other good friends Annie and Tyler announced to the group that they're expecting next summer! We couldn't have been more excited for them!

It was so much fun seeing everyone's costumes and hanging out with most of the Crew! Here's our group picture:

Love us :)

Many thanks again to Spencer and Nicole for hosting such a fun night! I already can't wait until next year!

Next Adventure: Turkey Day!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cruisin' With the Cash

I have always considered myself extremely lucky to have some of my closest friends today the same friends I met long ago in either elementary or junior high. I've heard so many stories of people falling out of contact from their childhood friends for a variety of reasons. While I've definitely made some amazing friends in recent years, I feel like my childhood friends could (and hopefully will!) be around for many years to come. Let me introduce you to...

...The CMC aka the Cash Money Crew!

Yes, I will admit it right now that I am slightly embarrassed that my guy friends (my husband included) call themselves the Cash Money Crew. I like to say "Cash" so I don't sound too gangster. Haha. All jokes aside, the neat thing about this group of guys is that they have all known each other since elementary or junior high and still get along fantastically! I have had the privilege of knowing most of these guys since kindergarten and couldn't have asked for better guy friends than these! Now I must set the stage for the better half of the Crew...

...Aka the wives of the Cash!

Just like we've known the guys since we were wee ones, the girls have also known each other since we were in junior high! The best part about this story is that 4 of us couples dated our spouse in high school, waited for them while they served missions and then were married when they got home! You couldn't write a story better than that!

Towards the end of the summer, Jeff and Ally's grandparents let us stay at their house in Bear Lake for a few days so we could hang out and play on the lake. It was so much fun! It's such a hoot getting everyone together because we always have so much to reminisce about. Here are some of the pictures from the trip:

These pizzas were HUGE and we finished two of them!

I know the guys had way too much pride to let the pizzas sit there unfinished!

Meet Joe's head

I couldn't possibly blog about our trip to Bear Lake and not post this picture. We had to go out on the boat in two groups because there were too many of us and when we were on our way back in one evening we were looking around for Joe until we saw his head sitting under the chair. Maybe you had to be there but I almost died of laughter!

I'm so happy we were all able to make it out to Bear Lake and hope this can become a tradition! (Thanks again Jeff and Ally!) Although it's somewhat embarrassing, I am definitely glad I am part of the Crew :)

Up Next: Me & Logan in 50 years!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth!

Shortly after returning from our honeymoon, Logan and I had the opportunity to go on another awesome vacation with my family and some really good family friends. After what seemed like the longest 10+ hours in a car ever, we finally made it our destination of....

The Newport Coast Villas!

As always, pictures never seem to do some things justice so you'll have to take my word for it--this resort is amazing! The villas are big so the whole family can spread out and they have killer views of the ocean! Here's a few more pictures where we stayed:

Each "room" had 2 bedrooms, a nice kitchen, a big family room and balcony!

The swimming pools had an amazing view of the ocean! You can imagine why we spent so much time at the pool.

On top of hanging out on the beach and at the pool just about every day, we had a week full of so many fun activities! Logan and I have started a fun tradition of going to as many temples as we can outside of Utah and we were lucky enough to be staying less than 10 minutes away from the Newport Temple. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to do a session but we did take a picture so I can count it, right?!

Even though we would have been completely happy hanging out on the beach all day, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend a couple days at the "Happiest Place on Earth"! It had been a long time since our entire family was in Disneyland together and 4 of our nephews had never been before so we had a blast! Goofy's Kitchen is where we started it all off and the kids loved it. They were able to meet a bunch of the characters and seemed to be in heaven. Here's a few of the pictures I was able to get:

Everybody but one person (David) was able to be there!

Will & Dale

Mady & Klary were in heaven even if they were a bit shy!

Even the boys were awed by the princesses!

And of course they didn't pass up the chance to dance!

Breakfast was delicious (thank you mom and dad!) and definitely worth the early morning wake up call to make our reservation but there's nothing like that first moment you get into the park!

The kids were so excited!
Disneyland is 10x better when you're with the little ones!

For some reason I seriously failed with my camera duties from here on out but don't let the lack of pictures fool you--we definitely had such a ball! Disneyland had a couple new rides and the World of Color in California Adventure never disappoints! To top it all off, we had a great time swimming and hanging around the campfire with the friends we went with. I hope we can make this a yearly tradition!

Next stop: Bear Lake with the Cash!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Beginning of Our Forever...

I can't believe I've neglected blogging so easily since we've been married when I've had so much to blog about! Rather than bore the few people who read this by talking too much, I'll use mostly pictures to recap the first fantastic 5 months of marriage! Our adventures begin in...

Oahu, Hawaii on Waikiki Beach!

Logan and I were fortunate enough to spend 10 incredible days in Hawaii for our honeymoon and had experiences to last a lifetime! Here are a few of the MANY highlights:

Laie, Hawaii Temple

Scooter rides around the beach and anywhere we could get to on the island!
This might have been my favorite thing we did the entire time!

The Dole Plantation
Their fresh pineapple and pineapple ice cream were incredible!

The Polynesian Cultural Center
This is an absolute MUST the next time you're in Hawaii!

Horseback riding!
We were able to ride through the mountains, along the beach and near several movie sets that have recently been filmed there. Our sore legs the next day were definitely worth it!

Last, but definitely not least...

Our days spent on the beach that literally had us jumping for joy!

There's no way words or even pictures can do our time in Hawaii justice! Waking up next to your best friend AND the beach is something I could definitely get used to! I'm so happy we spent the money to go to Hawaii because who knows when we'll be able to make it back! Waikiki Beach will forever have a place in my heart.

Stay tuned for our next adventure as young newlyweds...Newport Beach, California!