Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Family Fun

As I write this, I am sitting on my parents' couch with my fiancé in California! The past few days have been pretty busy for us.

Sunday, the last time we blogged (ok, it was all Thomas, really), seems like it was ages ago!

On Monday, Thomas and I both worked. I worked in the morning, and he worked in the afternoon (will our schedules ever kind of match? I hope so...). That evening, after wrapping a few final gifts, we headed for Salt Lake City to attend the Italian-themed Bradshaw Family Christmas Party hosted by Thomas' gracious aunt and uncle at the St. Ann Catholic Church.

(Judi & John Morrell)

At the party, we enjoyed mingling for a while with all of the Bradshaw aunts, uncles, and cousins who were in attendance. It was fun to see many relatives we hadn't seen since before our engagement was official. They shared in our excitement and wished us well.

(Party Scene)

We also got to spend some time around Thomas' brother Robert and his wife Camille and their darling twin daughters. They were in Utah to visit her side of the family and so they were able to come to the party. We hadn't seen them since our trip to Seattle over the summer. It was so much fun to see how the girls have changed! They've both grown a lot and they're almost walking.

(Camille and Ruby)

(Robert and Lydia)

Thomas' sister Elizabeth and her husband Saki and their kids were also still in town. Mere had a fun time following Thomas and me around at the party and also coloring on the plastic tablecloths (fortunately, as it was an Italian-themed party, the tables were equipped with writing utensils and disposable coverings for guests to write on!) Thomas' dad also made it to the party so their branch of Bradshaws was well-represented!

(Tablecloth message)

After getting to chat for a while, we enjoyed a delicious Italian feast. We filled our plates and our tummies with fresh salad, pasta, chicken, meatballs, sauces, etc. Thomas' cousin read a few Christmas-themed stories and poems and then Grandma Bradshaw briefly addressed the attendees.

(Jordan, reading)

(Grandma Bradshaw)

After the party (well, we kind of left a bit early), we headed back to Provo in order to facilitate packing and resting in preparation for our trip on Tuesday. As luck would have it, Thomas happened to lock his keys in his car (for the first time ever) when he finally made it to his apartment.

Tuesday, we got up early to get started on our way to California! I packed up my car and headed over to pick up Thomas and his luggage around 6 AM. From there, we drove to my cousin Kevin's place in Salt Lake to meet up with my dad. Once his truck was packed up, we commenced our journey west.

About 30 miles east of Wendover (a city on the Utah/Nevada border), the weather changed to work against us. We hit a snowstorm and were forced to drive around 20 mph through almost white-out conditions. We were relieved when about 15 miles on the other side of Wendover the roads were much clearer and the storm had passed!!

The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful until we reached South Lake Tahoe. There, we hit another storm, just in time for us to have to cross Echo Summit. Thankfully, the storm did not drop much snow and our crossing was successful.

We reached my parents' house a little after 7 PM. We had a lovely time settling in and eating dinner with my family. I don't know about Thomas, but for me, it took almost no time to fall into a deep sleep when I went to bed!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Free at Last (x2)

Of note these last eleven days are a few things, although to the reader they may not be noteworthy at all. Lisa has been interviewing with a few places on campus and working, and I worked many an hour extra along with finishing the semester up. But now the year is winding down and we are looking forward to Christmas at the Paulsons.

Particularly interesting was an event on Thursday the 10th, in which we were "blessed" with eight tickets to Christmas at Temple Square (justification for this verb can be debated with my roommate). Lisa, I, Sterling, and a friend headed up to Salt Lake at around 5:45pm in order to be in our seats by 7:30. Our parking tickets that came with the event tickets were in the best location possible, across from the Conference Center. However, it also happened to be a hotbed of stopped traffic. We finally parked at around 8:05pm or so, but it was too late, so we perused the Church History Museum, briefly attempted to see the lights but were chilled off (temperatures were hovering around 0°F), and stopped into the Tabernacle to see the end of the concert via broadcast. Although we missed the concert, the other four tickets we received were successfully used by another roommate Andrew and a friend, as well as a coworker and friend. The first six mentioned above all went to Village Inn for an enjoyably late dinner.

On Thursday (three days ago) my sister's family (blog) flew into town for the holidays. They had their computer stolen at the airport, so they came down to Provo to see us and to finish a school assignment. Lisa made pizza (for which the recipe will someday appear on our other blog (link), and we got to see them and their children, which was quite enjoyable.

Friday Lisa went up to Salt Lake to visit her dad, who was back in town to finish up her cousin's roof. She also went to a few places with my dad, who is in town for a few things (primarily to see the release of his book (link)) and helped with a few photos he took for a few upcoming articles. That evening we all (Lisa and I and the dads) went out to dinner at the Sizzler in Sandy.

We also got to go to church together for the fifth and a half time today.

But enough rambling. For your viewing pleasure:

(Our group at the Church History Museum)

(One of my favorite paintings there)

(Roommates and friends at Village Inn (we have no gang affiliations...))

(Glenn Vakalala determining the plausibility of Thomas as his uncle)

(Some of the family)

(An ecstatic Meresiana)

(Group photo at Lisa's apartment)

(Thomas and Meresiana)

(Glenn with his new bear that Lisa got for him)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

24 Years, a Lot of Snow, and Some Ornaments

(My Nativity Set - Merry Christmas!)

So... I guess it's my turn to write.

First bit of news: I purchased a wedding gown! Yes, the rumors are true, I managed to find it on Craigslist. A recently married gal here in Provo was selling a gown in my size. I called her, tried it on, loved it, and left on Tuesday. On Thursday, after doing a little more shopping and realizing that buying her gown would likely be my best chance to have a dress I loved for the least cost, I called her up and made an offer. She accepted and now THE dress is hanging in my closet! I'd post photos, but.... Thomas can't see yet. So. If you're really interested, let me know and I'll email you a picture.

Less exciting, I finally finished the last of our Thanksgiving turkey leftovers on Saturday. After turkey-noodle soup and turkey salad pita sandwiches, I'm turkeyed out for a while!

Back to exciting news, Thomas' birthday was on Sunday. Since I had to work for a few hours on Sunday afternoon, we spread out the celebrating over a few days. On Friday I made him dinner, along with this lovely yule log cake:

We're planning to post the recipe, but since I didn't take any pictures of the process this time, you'll have to wait for us to make it a second time before you enjoy this bit of heaven for yourself.

On Saturday I also had to work... both of my jobs... in the morning and the evening... but we did get to spend a few hours together in between, and headed to Target to work on our registry some more. Can I just say how GREAT I'm feeling about how much we've accomplished toward this wedding? It's so nice to be able to add to our registries here and there and not feel rushed, and to have the large majority of our invitation envelopes addressed! I've even stamped about 1/3 of our invitations. The details will probably kill us in February and March, but wow. We're really getting somewhere right now.

We got some snow in Provo over the weekend. I'm basically terrified of driving in the stuff, so on Monday, Thomas and I went out so I could practice. I'm grateful I got some driving time in without needing to be in a rush or anything, as I've had to work in Orem early in the morning the past two days.

My home town (and county) was also blanketed in snow this weekend. My family is without electricity for the third day today, and schools are open for the first time this week today. While it is normal for it to snow in the mountains, where my family's home is, it is EXTREMELY RARE for it to snow at the altitude levels it snowed at this past Sunday/Monday. Here are links to some local coverage of the storm: #1 (about power outage), #2 (about the snow).

Thomas is finishing up his classes right now. Tomorrow's his last class day and then we'll be on to finals week. We're looking forward to attending the Bradshaw Family Christmas Party coming up in a couple weeks and spending time with Thomas' immediate family members!

Yesterday we got in the spirit of Christmas after watching Home Alone. What fun!

Last but not least, last night I was in charge of a Relief Society activity for my ward. We made a few different types of Christmas ornaments I found online. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera to the activity, but these are real ornaments that I made with my very own hands!

(Corsage Pin Snowflake)

(Paper Snowman)

(Felt Christmas Tree)


Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Festivities and Other Stuff

(Lisa's family)

This Tuesday, the remainder of Lisa's family (read: Lisa's mom and sister) drove out here from California. As aforementioned, her dad has been fixing her cousin's roof up in Salt Lake, so for Thanksgiving we had turkey, family, and all the trimmings, followed by a few bites and pie (and, not of...ask Lisa for an explanation) at another cousin's place.

Clockwise spiral: Olives, rolls, coleslaw, turkey, cranberry sauce,
almonds, candied yams, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole,
broccoli, stuffing, gravy, butter, Martinelli's, salt and pepper

(Sample plate)

(Lisa: "Time to eat at last!")

(Pouring Martinelli's)

(Morgan pouring A&W cream soda)

(Lisa's mom)

(Lisa's dad)

(Lisa's dad: "No turkey!?")

(Feasting frenzy)

Lisa also had the opportunity to try on several wedding gowns. If some loyal reader is willing to donate $900, please contact us to make a bride's dream come true...or they can reimburse me for my much cheaper suit I bought the same week...

(Evidence of her meager income: a diet of ice cubes)

We also had some photos taken for wedding invitations. All credit for the shots goes to Lisa's sister, Morgan, along with the probable wrinkle-removal and other modifications she'll do in PhotoShop. Remind me to make her promise to leave my head in, though...

(Lisa's look of...adoration?)

(Turkey Bowl substitute)

(Attack of the ducks!)

Last but not least, below are some of our favorites. Happy Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) to all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life as an Engaged Couple

For only being engaged a week and a couple days, we've surprisingly accomplished quite a bit! Last Friday night, Thomas and I sat down to discuss wedding stuff. We set a date and compiled address lists for our invitees. On Saturday, we scheduled my endowment and our sealing with the Sacramento temple. Since then we've been chasing down missing addresses. We've also come up with a to-do list for ourselves.

(Sacramento Temple)

On Saturday night we went to a BYU production of the musical "Children of Eden" thanks to a friend of my roommate who gave us some tickets. It's based on the first 9 chapters of Genesis. While not quite doctrinally correct, it did offer some new perspectives on a few things and was very entertaining. You can find more information about the play here.

On Sunday I had the pleasure of announcing our engagement in my ward. The first counselor in my bishopric gave me a big hug when I told him :o) I also got to tell the Relief Society during our meeting. Interestingly, a temple prep class began just last week so I get to go to that now instead of the regular Sunday School class.

My dad's apparently coming to Utah today to help fix my cousin's roof. It'll be fun to see him while he's here!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can't forget the photos!

Lisa's the one with words...the last (or was that the first?) post quite adequately describes what's happening. But the treat of coming to our blog is seeing photos like:

(Lisa talking to her mom on the phone)

(Lisa's engagement ring)

In more exciting news, Lisa got a new phone. Same number, so no need to panic. I went deaf for a bit, perhaps to be cured by blaring brass sections of the Cougar Marching Band. Oh, and Lisa got a new computer cord a bit back.

I've run out of things to say, so go read Lisa's post.


Our First Blog Post!

Well, now that Thomas and I are engaged, we figured it'd be fun to set up our very own blog to keep everyone up-to-date with the things that are going on in our lives!

We hope our readers will stop by often to check out new photos we post as well as thoughts and ideas and updates. We're also setting up a blog for our favorite recipes. It can be found here. We like to eat and cook and thought it'd be a great idea to keep track of our successes and failures online!

So far as news goes, this week we're coming to terms with the NEW level of commitment we've reached in our relationship! We both knew it was heading in this direction and now we've got a lot of work to do! It's fun to call him my "fiancé" and seriously think about wedding plans (luckily I've stocked up on wedding magazines and books in the last couple of months...). We're looking forward to a spring wedding in the Sacramento, California temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Anyway, I'd better go spend time with my groom-to-be!