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)