this christmas

Needless to say, my first married Christmas was lovely. There was an abundance of love, family and food which insures I am very happy. I like to believe Christmas lasts for at least a week. But why not spread Christmas cheer, all year?
Christmas Eve... shrimp dipping.
It was obvious we were excited.
After dinner, we all gathered for songs and chats. I love how classic this photo is: Zach, in the middle. Everyone looking his direction :)
Linda beat us to it--- we really were planning on buying matching pj pants for Christmas. But Linda handmade some!!
The beautiful tree and the soon-to-be-discovered radio flyer.
"car, car, car..."
I loved it when Zach would get on the floor and play with his cars. It cracked me up.
Car discussions.
3 generations.

Christmas vacation has been blissful and loverly, lovely. I love family time and enjoying the snow.


tea and snowboarding

Our Christmas vacation has been very lovely so far. Well... aside from the 16 hour trip from DC to SLC... where we were delayed 5 hours, I was forced to check my bag, which resulted in waiting for it to come to SLC (an additional one and a half hours) and then getting home to Provo at 2:30am. Thanks again, Linda and Dave!!

Saturday, the 20th we all went to tea at the Grand. It was fabulous.
Katie, me and Christina waiting for tea.
The beautiful China and my raspberry tea. AMAZING.
This amazing flower that took 15 minutes to open once our server poured boiling water on it. It fascinated me. (Ben took this.)
Us and baby Zach... he really was happy to be with us, I swear.
All of us...
We had a lovely time. I loved the raspberry tea, the cute tea sandwiches and the pastries for dessert. Of course, being with the fam was a grand ol' time. Oh, and I love to dress up!

Monday and Tuesday, Ben and I were lucky enough to brave the amazing Snowbird slopes and snowboard!! I must admit, I was feeling nervous that it wouldn't snow too much before we got to Utah... but we were so fortunate! POWDER!!!

My very cute mountain man husband.
Me with my ginger board. I love her.
See how the cables from the tram disappear... yes, visibility was scarce :P
See how we are frozen? Literally. Snowboarding was COLD. FRIGID. FROZEN. But so, so worth it. Watch the below video of Ben in 'd' powder. ...funfun...


trader joe's heaven & christmas party

friday, Ben and I celebrated our one-year-since-we-got-engaged! we drove to far, far nw DC and parked, since there is parking that far out on a friday night. we went to our newest favorite sushi place, where the prices are low and only the beatles play on shuffle. it was fabulous.
our little rosslyn
we then went to visit the largest trader joe's we've ever been to. since it's huge there are so many things on sale there, that we haven't even seen them at our regular tj's location.
needless to say, it didn't hurt but HELPED my not-so-secret desire to live in the District. probably just so i can live across the street from the wonderful grocery store. a dream come true.
i love DC.

friday, we also visited a Korean-French bakery in Annandale, VA. we both got little cake thingys, ben got strawberry and I got mango. we shared a smoothie with "bubbers" and had a lovery time.
last night, we drove all the way to Maryland (heehehe) to my work Christmas party. talking to all my elitist-christmas-sweater-wearing coworkers, I wondered how my life would be different if I had grown up on the east coast. someone said last night, so many people leave the east to move to Utah to "have the fresh air" and why would we want to move here? change can be good.
I also loved speaking with the people about Utah, who are so blown away by Zion, Bryce Canyon and the wonderful ski resorts N. Utah has to offer. It was a lovely time and I won't drop any names... but the hosts of the party had a beautiful home and I so wanted to take pictures... but of course I didn't want to say, "can i take some photos of your house and post them online??" i have a feeling that wouldn't go over so well.

this beautiful building is union station. we drove by it on our way to the party.

i love parties. i love trader joe's.
i love christmas. and i love snow in the mountains! i can't wait for all that.


o christmas tree!

last week on wednesday, ben picked me up from the metro after work so we could go to home depot to get a christmas tree. a "natural" christmas tree. it was cold and exciting to pick out our first christmas tree together.
which one to choose? douglas was about $10 less than fraser... so douglas it is!

luckily we were able to put down the back seats in our passat and drive home without the fear of the trunk (of the tree) being torn off. the smell of the pine made me instantly nostalgic for my childhood, especially the times my family would go into the woods, pick out and cut down our own tree. we had the "subhuman" (suburban) back then, which could handle just about anything, including 5 hyperactive children. ...and then i thought, "am i old enough to be thinking nostalgically about my childhood?"

a homemade centerpiece from the lower branches of the tree
our first virginia snow!! (see how happy we are??)

my mom has a massive amount of white lights for cmas trees, so i snagged a couple boxes (with her permission) before we left saint george. whatever poor newlyweds can do to cut on costs is grrrreat! making the tree look perfect with its somewhat unruly branches was an adventure, but very worthwhile.
we spent the next few days putting presents under the tree and making sure all the ornaments had hooks. friday night we watched "elf" and we became inspired--- so we made paper snowflakes and decorated glass ornaments with glue and glitter. i'm pretty sure i was much better at making ornaments when i was young and my hands were nimble. perhaps it was the glue's fault.
who's obsessed with snowbird?! ben!!!

we decided last week that today ben would meet me after work (since i work extremely close to the white house) and we would visit the national christmas tree.

so i think it's amazing this is a real tree--- that is always around and i haven't noticed it until now. it's huge-mungous!!
it was cold
there was a tree for each state or commonwealth. for the commonwealth of virginia, there was this stained glass heart on the tree. i figured it was there because virginia IS for lovers :)


it was thanksgiving time...

After 12 hours+ of traveling home yesterday--- I realized, the exhausting process of getting home was completely worth spending the past week with my family. I love how simple it is to get together, to love and laugh together. I know it sounds cheesy, but I think that's what family is for--- to bring out the cheesy in you.

Ben and I were super excited to be able to enjoy Cafe Rio, Twentyfive Main, In 'n' Out Burger and Bajio. Even though we love our home in Virginia and we love the benefits of living where we do--- we do enjoy those things in Saint George. The warm weather was quite the bonus as well.
(the following two photos are my favorite of the trip!!)
Ben and I were the first to arrive, on Sunday. Paul and Eunnie and b Paul arrived later that night, this is when I learned I love to hear b Paul say "Elmo." Monday, we enjoyed a small hike to the quaint white sand dunes near Snow Canyon, where b Paul just wanted to play more and more. We also enjoyed some Cafe Rio: pork salad mmm hmmm. Later that night, Kristen, Edee, Brooklyn, Sam and Annie arrived. All the baby cousins together is way too much fun to handle.

Tuesday we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the fab Twentyfive Main with Linds and Randy. Cupcakes and panini... yummmmm. We love you guys!!! Later, the ladies and I shopped for food and other things--- since we planned to have a mini Christmas on Saturday.

(below: brooklyn & sam really enjoyed dressing up :))
Wednesday was a rainy day so we visited the Wildlife Museum: a collection of animals of a certain family's travels around the globe. It was really fun and fascinating. Cafe Rio, again. Then, Ben and I started to make things for the following day--- his wonderful mashed potatoes and I made cupcakes as well as white cheddar apple pie. We did this early so we could avoid the crowds on Thanksgiving. Shayna & Eric, Brandon and Alan arrived on Wednesday, making the family gathering complete.

Thursday was a mad rush to get the feast prepared. I was feeling very grateful for the oven and for the large kitchen. The oven managed to fit about four things at once. My mother did a smart thing and borrowed a turkey roaster from a generous neighbor so the turkey did not take up any spare space in the oven. Everything was delicious and stuck to tradition, which is always nice. I think I manage to stuff myself less and less each year, which is sad. But I kind of just sat at the table for a while after and munched and munched. Ben started a 750 piece puzzle later on, a tradition in his family--- and soon many in my family were working on it. Puzzles are hard!
Friday we had toyed with the idea of braving the masses at 5am for black Friday deals, but instead we slept in. We went to In 'n' Out: totally packed. Later we got a babysitter and all the adults went to see "Australia." It was beautiful and I heart Baz Luhrman.

Saturday we had our mini Christmas. I got the most excited about the things Ben and I were giving. I love to give successful presents. The kids loved the mini Christmas and got the most, of course. Baby clothes and toys are too fun to pass up. Thanks all for the very nice presents!! We had Cafe Rio again. Eun and I tie-dyed. I'm stoked about Ben's Christmas tie-dye and my new skirt! Later we decorated gingerbread houses, a must around Thanksgiving time. Then we watched Kung Fu Panda: really funny! (below: my "green" house & the A,S&A masterpiece)
Sunday we took some family photos. It's amazing to think our family is continually getting bigger and bigger. Then we endured the sadness of departures of S&E and K,A,S&A. Later, the remaining people went to feed the mean ducks near the golf course with a rock hard baguette. Good times :) My dad surprised us and made caramel popcorn, one of his masterpieces. (below: one of the mean ducks)
Monday P,E&bP left at 1am and then at 4:36am we went with B,E&B to the airport in Vegas. (Turns out they missed all their flights that day= awful. Sorry guys!!!) We got back to SG and we were able to run some errands and then meet up with Linds and Randy again for lunch at In 'n' Out. L&R are my favorite SG lunch buddies!! Ben and I got things for Christmas cards, which was nice because we were able to make them at home and put some of them together. That evening we enjoyed Bajio with my parents and a nice chat!

We loved our trip and we miss you all, already!!