Monday, December 16, 2013

A Start to Holiday Happenings

So usually around the holidays, I tend to not blog for a while, and then catch up later. Not this holiday! I'm determined to be dilligent in documenting our holiday season. Starting with this week. We haven't done a ton of super "holiday-ey" things yet, but we did have a busy week spent with friends and family, and some of it was holiday-ish, so here goes!

Starting last weekend, Ben had a closing ballroom social that we went to. They do them after every semsester, and they're fun to go to because they're fancy! You get all dressed up in a snazzy dress/tux and there's a nice dinner, a program, and then dancing. The ones in December are always all decked out for Christmas, and they usually have a live band playing for the dancing part. It's all sorts of fun :) Somehow, I neglected to take a picture :(

Let's see moving on, last Monday for FHE we got our Christmas tree!! It's a live 6 foot beauty and my favorite part about it is how it smells! I love fresh trees! We actually weren't going to get one, but Ben's parents decided to give us one as a Christmas gift. They have this cool tradition where they each year, they get the kids 3 gifts; a gift of gold, a gift of frankenscence, and a gift of myrrh. The gift of gold is their big, fun present for the year, and I always mix up the frankensence and myrrh, but one is a spiritual gift and one is a gift of comfort. For example, last year our gift of gold was tickets to Georgia, the spiritual gift was a ceramic figurine of the Salt Lake Temple that was actually on top of our cake at our reception in Georgia, and for the gift of comfort we got cozy pajamas :) Isn't that an awesome tradition?! Anyway, so this year the tree was our gift of comfort. We went to one tree lot to look and were super dissapointed, so we went to Lowe's where we knew they had them for a good price and low and behold, we found a BEAUTIFUL tree! It's full and nicely shaped and is pretty much the perfect tree :). We brought it home, wrapped it up in lights, and now it serves as a wonderful Christmas addition to our home. Did I mention it smells like heaven? LOVE IT!

Here's our tree, this is before we decorated it.
This is a crummy picture, because it's from my phone, but here it is with the lights and star.

Moving on, Friday I had a wonderful suprise! My dearest husband came home and suprised me with a beautiful floral arrangement! It had a card in it asking me out on a date :)

Our anniversary is actually tomorrow (3 years!!!! I can't believe it!) but because it's finals week and it's going to be a crazy day, he took me on our anniversary date early. First we went out to dinner at Carraba's, this divine italian restaurant, then we went shopping at one of my favorite decor places for a christmas decoration to add to what we have (side note, we decided to add one decoration a year to our stash and build it up slowly, and we make a date out of shopping for it every year. It makes for a great date! This year our new decoration was a star for our tree) and then we stopped by our favorite frozen yogurt shop for a yummy dessert. Perfect evening :)

Saturday was a great day too! We carried out another tradition on Saturday, although we changed it up a bit :) All growing up my family had this tradition of going to Winder Dariy (just a little dairy near my parents house) and having scones and hot chocolate during the holiday season. the last few years Winder Dairy's scones and hot chocolate have become a bit more popular, and our family has gotten a good deal larger, and getting us all in that overly crowded tiny little dairy doens't really work anymore. As a result, we adjusted and decided to make our own scones and hot chocolate! Everyone came down to our house, and we had a grand old time! We have this great scone recipe, and a heavenly homemade honey butter recipe and so we put them to good use. Along with Steven's hot chocolate, it made the perfect cozy holiday dinner. It was really great to have everyone over and continue our longstanding tradition :) There was also a little present exchanging going on, mostly from my aunt Kim because we won't see her and her family on Christmas Day. The only thing I really took pictures of was Ellie and Ethan opening their presents, so here they are!

Coloring with her new, only-writes-on-paper marker. Thanks Kim! 

Sully helping Ethan assemble his present

Oh, and the remenants of our yummy dinner! 

Then came Sunday. My old roommate and her husband (Kelly and Josh) invited us over to their new house for dinner, and it made for a wonderful evening! We hadn't seen them in far too long, and it was great just to spend time with them and their little guy who is just a month older than Ellie. We had a delicious dinner, then started playing games. Right as we were pulling them out, the little ones both crashed (luckily we had brought Ellie's portable crib, so we were able to just let her sleep in a spare room), and we were able to enjoy a kid-free evening just talking, playing games, and enjoying ourselves.

Today was the start of finals for Ben, so Ellie spent the Monday just about like we always do (going to book club/play date) and we also went to the library and spent some time playing with the toys in the children's book area. It's great, they have the children's books in a whole seperate area accross the hall from the normal library and they have a big story time ampitheatre, kids tables with toys, interactive computer for small children, and plenty of cozy reading areas to just curl up and read together. We tried to read some Christmas books, but Ellie was just not in the mood for sitting and reading, so we ended up mostly playing with the toys. While we did that, Ben knocked out a final. One down, three to go!

Guess that's it for this last week, more updates coming next week!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Beautiful Fall

Here is a brief synopsis (mostly in photos) of what we've been doing this fall:

Family Pictures.
We went up the canyon with a tripod and enjoyed a beautiful fall evening smiling and trying to beat the self timer and get in the frame of the picture :)

Playing in the leaves.
We don't really have leaves in our yard(or we didn't two weeks ago. Now we do!), so we went over to the church one evening and played in the leaves there. Ellie had fun for a few minutes while Ben was dumping leaves over her head, but overall she wasn't super interested. Next year I'm sure she'll be more so. After our short little leaf play time, we were heading home and the light was so beautiful that I couldn't ignore it. We drove west down Center street and found a nice spot to just take a few pictures.

I just love this picture.  Her expression in it just shows her truly sweet little nature. Most pictures we take of her show her silly or wild nature, so I love this one!

Ben's Trip.
Ben just got back from a 4 day trip to Silicon Valley. It was a business/networking trip he took with the finance department at BYU, since that's what he's studying now. He LOVES it. He had the chance to visit some awesome companies while he was there, and came away with some good connections that he's hoping will turn into an internship next summer. If it does, we'll be living in the San Jose/San Fransisco area for the summer, which would be fun. He visited Intel, HP, Google, Cisco, Intuit, Actelion Pharmaceutical  and a place that I can't remember what it's called but they make surgical robots. They got to play with one of the robots (which he loved!) and he also got to have dinner at this guys house (The previous CFO of the pharmaceutical company. He recently broke off to open his own company, and he's a BYU alumni so he invited the group over) who lives a block from where Steve Jobs used to live, and a few blocks from one of the founders of Google. Ben said the house was stinking incredible and he had a blast. He also got a lot of good advice about what working in the finance industry is like, and what living in the area is like.Coincidentally, he also ended up sitting next to this guy on the plane who was just returning from a business trip, and who also gave him lots of good advice. The guy looked over his resume for him, and said he was very impressed. He said if Ben had already graduated, he would have probably hired him on the plane because he was looking at that time for someone with Ben's skill set and qualities. He got the guys email to stay in touch, and who knows, maybe that will help him score a job after graduation.   It turned out to be a very productive and wonderful trip. 

Pumpkin Patch.
While Ben was in California, Ellie and I went to a pumpkin patch with my mom, sister, nephew, and aunt. The best part of the whole evening was when we got Ethan to walk Ellie through the corn maze. They were so stinking cute! The funniest part was that she kept picking up corn stalks and handing them to Ethan, and he was taking them with this "fine, I'll take it if I have to" attitude. She just kept handing him more and more, and he grudgingly took them, what a good cousin :)  After a while, he finally decided to stop humoring her, and he refused to take any more. So funny :) You can see the corn stalks in his hand in the corn maze pictures.

There are actually 6 people in this picture.....both my sister and I are expecting! Both boys too, Ellie will be surrounded. Good thing she can handle herself :) 

note the above mentioned corn stalks Ethan is dutifully collecting from Ellie 

Ellie's favorite part about the pumpkin patch was the corn cobs lying around. No interest in the pumpkins whatsoever, just interest in navigating around them to find more corn. 

26 weeks and counting! Next year we'll have another addition to our pumpkin patch trip :)

Sadly, some of the pictures are terrible! They're weird colors and the light (especially on faces!) is awful in some. I guess that's what happens when you try to shoot on manual but aren't able to constantly adjust because you're carrying a wiggly toddler in addition to a camera :) I learned a lesson......It's WAY easier to take pictures when Ben is around! 

Fall Carnival/Trunk or Treat.
So we went to our ward fall carnival/trunk-or-treat last night and dressed Ellie up as an elephant! She was the same thing last year, but the costume still fits this year and it's the cutest stinking costume on the planet, so we went with it. With her skinny little legs sticking out the bottom, and then the huge stuffed elephant hips and the little tail that wags when she walks, it was just too good not to do again!  Last minute, Ben and I also decided to dress up. I used my default pirate costume that I've had since high school, and Ben threw on some scrubs to go as a doctor. Maybe next year we'll plan ahead and shoot for a theme. Heck, it's possible I won't be able to resist the elephant costume again and so baby boy will wear it, and then we'll go as a family of safari animals or something.

We started out by decorating a cookie

Which she then happily devoured

Then she went to color a mini halloween puzzle

She kept going back and back and back to that station. We'd color for a few minutes, leave, she'd wander back and color some more, leave, and on and on. The best part was the first three colors she picked were yellow, black, then purple. VERY halloween-ey colors!

Back again! Still munching on that cookie

We also spent a good amount of time just following her wherever her cute little elephant legs took her

At one point she decided to wander in and try the cupcake walk. Mostly she just wanted to pull the spiders off the floor. 

She decided to skip most the activities, she just kept going back to the same ones. We had fun though, and ended the night outside for the trunk-or-treat. 

I think that's it, whew. Lots of pictures. What a great time of year! We love fall and all the fun activities it brings!