Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Well, that went fast!

The week leading up to Christmas was really busy but we got to do a lot of fun things, so it was good busy.

On Monday, Lisa got to go Christmas shopping with Shari. It was fun to get together and not have any tight time constraints! We hit up several stores and got a fair amount accomplished. Lisa made stockings that night while Thomas did some shopping of his own.

One for Thomas & one for Lisa

Tuesday, Lisa had a party at work. She was pleasantly surprised to receive an award for being a top producer for the year. Only the top 5 producers in her department were given awards.

Each evening, we worked to get Christmas gifts together for various people. Lisa finished up a couple of projects on Wednesday. Just before bed, we heard a knock at the door. We were so pleased to find the Magnussons, our original upstairs neighbors, when we opened the door! Since we last saw them, they have had a little girl. It was so much fun to catch up with them.

On Thursday, Thomas and Lisa drove to Bountiful for the annual Bradshaw family Christmas party. We enjoyed catching up with the Bradshaw relatives and eating lots of yummy food.

Thomas and Carlye take pictures of each other taking pictures of each other at every family event
We sat with Amanda & Ryan during dinner.
Lots of folks!
The group in the middle is the Fogg family minus the twins.
On Friday, we went to Draper right after work to meet our friends, the Childs, at the temple for a sealing session. Afterward, the four of us went to Ikea for dinner!

On Saturday, Christmas Eve, we mostly stayed home and got into the groove of our 3-day weekend. Since we were expecting dinner guests Sunday, we tidied up the apartment and did what prep work we could, including making a carrot cake. In the evening, Lisa found a surprise under her pillow: a cute stuffed gator! She decided to give Thomas an animal of his own, too: a chocolate penguin.

We enjoyed our first Christmas "on our own" together. Last year we spent Christmas at Lisa's parents' house.

We slept in and then opened our gifts. Thank you friends & family for your thoughtful gifts and yummy treats! We feel very spoiled. For breakfast, we had our favorite cereals, that we had gotten for each other (neither of us knew!).

Our tidy tiny living room was trashed very quickly...
Thomas played with his camera a bit and got this cool image of the lights on our tree
After cleaning up, we went to church. Since it was Christmas, we only had Sacrament meeting, and we had it a few hours earlier than normal. We sang more songs than usual. It was a very uplifting meeting.

After church, we took a walk. Thomas wanted to get a picture of this sign on a local Seventh-day Adventist Church:

We also put together our Christmas dinner. Our guests were unable to come, but it was kind of fun to have a fancy meal just the two of us.

We spent most of the remaining hours of the day talking to our families via webcams... and trying to talk to our families via webcams while our internet service was acting up.

On Monday the 26th, after sleeping in, we headed over to the mall to see the Tintin movie! We saw it in 3D. It was very good and very visually pleasing. Thomas even wore his Tintin shirt.

(huge) Christmas tree at the mall
Hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas too!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Is a-Comin'

...and the geese are getting fat, but we're planning on a ham next week instead. Still, now's the time to be generous and reach into your pockets and help those in need.

As easy as it can be to hate people, don't be a Scrooge; instead of waiting to see the phantoms, like life! You, only you, can be Father Christmas to Christmas children on December the 25th, and it will bring you happiness that beautiful day. Thank you very much!

If you haven't guessed, the above is both good to keep in mind, but by the end of this paragraph I will have referenced all of the song titles from the 1970 adaptation of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. If you're not familiar with the story, please do look it up. I'll now begin again.

We've enjoyed the last few weeks with several outings. We were pleased to enjoy the company of two friends in attending the 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, which can be seen here. It was a great experience albeit numbingly cold outside. We're starting to call it a tradition.

The Utah State Capitol before the devotional
Our group...thanks for coming!
We also went to Tucanos Brazilian Grill to celebrate Thomas' birthday. If you join their birthday club you get a free meal with the purchase of another, so we take advantage of that twice a year, and always leave stuffed, as they have both an excellent salad bar and good all-you-can-eat meat.
Us after a filling meal at Tucanos
We set up our fake tree again this year. We already have many ornaments and lights (more than we could fit), so it'll be interesting to see how full it'll be in a few years.

Some of our ornaments
Finished product
Lisa also put up various other decorations and put our Christmas/winter books on display.

The wreath on our door has real holly and (maybe) real ivy from our backyard
Door bells
A perennial decoration from Thomas' grandparents
Christmas plates from Lisa's mom
Our Christmas book display
We both love nativity sets.

An advent calendar/nativity from Thomas' sister's family
Thomas' parents give each kid a piece a year for Christmas...
...and when they get married, they get the core pieces (Joseph, Mary, and Jesus) along with the others!
Lisa's miniature nativity
A foam nativity
A gourd nativity from Thomas' mission (made in Peru)
We both like food, too. Lisa's been the busy one since she finished finals.

Grasshopper ice cream cake
Delicious. Perhaps it will show up on our bistro someday...
Sausage-stuffed acorn squash (this will definitely be there)
Lasagna al spinaci (delicious)
Egg rolls (recipe here)
Oh, and thanks for the birthday wishes!

Holding and wearing some of the gifts received (the pie didn't last)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving in California

With Thanksgiving, traveling, and an important research assignment, it's been very easy to neglect the blog the last few weeks. There are lots of pictures, so I will keep text to a minimum.

A while back, Thomas' sister Liz sent us a "date in a box" that we finally were able to get to :o) We played a game and did some spousal trivia and made the yummy oatmeal cookies Liz sent.

We especially enjoyed the evidence of Mere and Glenn's love for us :o)
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, our ward had a "Pie Social" where people brought pie and played games. We spent much of the evening playing Bananagrams with some of our ward friends:

The day before we embarked on our journey to California, we attended the temple. While I waited for Thomas and his brother, Samuel, in the lobby, I caught a glimpse of Russell T. Osguthorpe coming in with his wife.

We left early the day before Thanksgiving to drive out to California with Samuel. Here are some pretty pictures Thomas took, a little past Wendover when the sun was rising:

On our arrival in the Central Valley of the Golden State, we dined at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Rancho Cordova:

...and then we drove up the road a little bit to visit the Sacramento, California Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where we were married. We had hoped to be able to attend a session on our trip, but it was closed Wednesday (at least, after the 10:00 session, which was long before we were in town) and we were unable to make it Friday or Saturday.

White fire hydrant
We met up with Liz and Saki at the temple and sent Samuel home with them, while we headed to Grizzly Flats and the Paulson abode.

Among our activities there, we explored Lisa's family history by going through an old trunk with some Paulson artifacts inside:

Unfortunately, some things have been damaged by moisture/termites/mold, but a lot of things were in surprisingly good shape...
...like this picture of Lisa's great-uncle Lloyd Paulson, who was killed in WWII...
...and a box of love letters between Lisa's great-grandparents.
Lisa & her dad trying to decipher the manuscript copy of Moses Clawson's autobiography
We also photographed some of the more evident family history, recorded in pictures on the walls:

This photo of Lisa's parents reminds us of ...
... this photo of us, taken over the summer at the Bradshaw family reunion by Yuen Lui studios
Our Thanksgiving meal was a veritable feast:

we actually enjoyed 3 kinds of homemade pie...! (and 5 kinds of ice cream to wash it down...!)
On Friday, we headed to Lisa's favorite fall hangout, Apple Hill and the High Hill Ranch and Boa Vista farms.

We went out to Round Table Pizza that night for dinner, and ran into some of Lisa's dear friends, Willard and Eileen Smith. Eileen was Lisa's Sunday School teacher for some of her teenage years and they share a special bond:

On Saturday, Lisa's friend Lanessa came up to Grizzly for a visit. Somehow we neglected to take any pictures :o(

On Sunday, everybody headed to Camino for church.

(minus the pets...)

Zip (the cat) and Rosie (the dog)
We took Rosie for a walk afterward:

... and in the evening we enjoyed a night filled with good food, friends and family when the Spencers and the Vakalalas and Julie King and Morgan's friend Jacob came up for dinner and discussion.

We played with the Spencer babies:

And with our niece (Mere) and nephew (Glenn):

In honor of Thomas' upcoming birthday, we enjoyed a cookie forest and some homemade ice cream, courtesy the Vakalalas and Samuel:

This is a picture of some of us who were there... after others went home:

The funny thing is Glenn, a very happy kid, just isn't smiling in the pictures we took :o)
Since our return, we've gotten back into the normal routine for the most part. Lisa has one more week of school, plus a week for finals, before a short break for Christmas. We have been slowly getting out our Christmas decorations...but we're waiting to set up the tree on Thomas' birthday :o) Lisa attended a bridal shower for her friend Beth yesterday after we went grocery shopping.

us after attending the Provo temple