I gotta tell ya, Dave and I are coming to realize how awesome it was to be in school - - - mostly because the holiday breaks are far more substantial.  I mean, BYU is getting a whole darn THREE weeks this year for Christmas break!  Three weeks!  That's pretty awesome - those cougs are some lucky suckers if you ask me.  Luckily we saved up some of Dave's PTO and were able to steal away a few days up in Provo with the Nemrows for Christmas.  It was SO fun to be back in Utah for the first time since last spring and, in case you don't already know, I just gotta tell you:
I love Utah.

I know it's funny, but those mountains are just so lovely and picturesque.  I forgot how much I love them.  And on top of the lovely scenery we got to spend time with (almost) all the Nemrows!  It was such a treat to be a part of Sunday dinner again, if only for one week.  I've practically been craving Cindy's jello (and most of the rest of her cooking) since we left.

Speaking of food, we honestly ate non-stop from the time we rolled in to Provo to the time we rolled out.  We have so many favorite spots in that town we actually didn't have time to get to all of them, but don't worry, we hit the most important ones.

Lastly, this trip is going down in the history books for me because . . . I had my FIRST white Christmas!  And boy was it white!  It snowed lightly Christmas Eve and a little Christmas day, but we got the biggest DUMP on the 26th and I'm so glad we were there to enjoy it.  It was the best kind of snowfall - light and consistent, without any wind.  Perfect for strolling around in, without needing an umbrella.  I could have stayed outside all night enjoying how beautiful it was.  

And last, but certainly not least, we had the best time playing around with the cutest little youngsters Utah County has to offer.  Dave's sister and brother-in-law just adopted the most darling little boy and we were so glad we were there to meet him for the first time.  

All in all, it was a very successful trip, and both Dave and I were very reluctant to leave.  It does help, however, that we have New Years to look forward to with (almost) all the Toblers coming up.  We're starting to refer to it as Second Christmas around here and I'm really excited to be together, even if it's only going to be for a little more than a day.

Gosh I love the holidays - too bad they only come once a year...


snail mail

The back of our front door is starting to look like this:

And I LOVE it!  Christmas cards are one my most favorite things, and even though it's just the two of us, I couldn't resist making a simple little one for us this year:

I'd love to print them off and send one to you all with a big, fat stamp on the front, but I know that's not going to happen this year.  For now I will be content with sending out my little e-cards.

Happy Christmas!

P.S. Our e-card from last year - I definitely had more time on my hands back then...



By the end of this past week I was really ready for a nice relaxing Saturday, but that was not in the cards.  We got up early, got an oil change for our car, and ran off to the stake center to start helping set up for our ward's Christmas party.  I was put on the party planning committee for the event and we had a lot to do before the party that night.
We helped arrange tables and chairs, put out decorations, arranged service projects, put up posters, and started organizing our games for that night.  Dave and I were in charge of the night's entertainment up on the stage: Minute to Win It games.  We were a little worried if anyone would want to play, but as the evening started we soon found out that we would have no problem with that issue.  As it turns out, the kids in our ward LOVED our games and were so excited to play with us they barely touched the craft and cookie decorating centers we had set up for them.  It was a little bit of a problem, actually.
Dave MCed and I scurried around in my puff paint cardinal sweater getting supplies ready for each game.  We had a pretty great, if not exhausting, time.

After the party we came home and were just about to collapse on the couch when I remembered . . . I wanted to get a Christmas tree that night!  I grew up having a lovely real evergreen in my living room every December, but what with us going to Utah this year for Christmas, and neither of us being home for most of the day I couldn't justify us getting a real tree.  So we did the next best thing - we went to Walmart!  We spotted a lovely 6 ft artificial Wesley pine for $20, and I was pretty sure we had found the best deal in the store.  I can't tell you how ridiculously happy I am to have a tree in the house.

We strung some lights around her, found a few gold baubles to hang on her branches, and topped her with a red bow.  Then, with a crackling, merry fire blazing away (on our TV - thanks Netflix), and the lights plugged in on our new little Wesley pine we enjoyed a lovely evening talking about past Christmas memories and new traditions we want to do one day with our kids.  It was perfect.

It was worth $20 and a quick run out to Walmart.  I knew it would be.



Last weekend was the first weekend in December and I wanted us to jump in with both feet, even though yes, I have been listening to Christmas music on 103.5 since two weeks before Thanksgiving - whatever.  So to start the season off with a bang we packed a whole bucket-load of holiday celebrating into one weekend:

First we went and saw the lights at the LA temple.  I became very fond of going to Temple Square in Salt Lake to see the lights when we lived in Utah, so it's really very fun to have another temple close by that goes all out for Christmas.

And P.S. we were the ONLY people taking a stroll around the grounds.  I don't know if we just missed the crowds or it was too early in December (ahem, the 1st) for people to be thinking about seeing the lights?  I have no idea, but we had the whole place to ourselves, which was pretty fun.

After our moonlit stroll and Chipotle for dinner, we made our way down to the Pantages theatre in Hollywood to see Straight No Chasers - an a capella group that favored us with everything from Adele to Silent Night - it was a good time.  Also this was probably the first performance I've ever been to when I was completely and totally on time.  I mean we arrived before they were even letting people in the theatre.  A new accomplishment for me.

Lastly, on Saturday night we jetted down to Orange County to be with the fam and go see A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertoire.  This is one of my FAVORITE Christmas traditions and I'm so glad we currently live close enough to be able to enjoy it.

And that was our first VERY Christmasy December weekend.  We're trying to live up to that same amount of holiday cheer this weekend, and with the ward Christmas party tonight we just might be able to...more on that later.

Happy December everybody!


personal progress

As the Personal Progress leader for our ward's young women, I am in charge of Young Women in Excellence at the end of the year . . . a task that more or less stressed me out to no end this past month as the holidays started coming on and my new job was taking up so much time and this and that and the other kept coming to my attention!  But somehow we did it.  It came, it went, I spoke, and we ate cupcakes. 

That's a success in my book.

A few pictures from that night:

It was crazy, but so much fun.  Now that I've been through the ringer once I think I can maybe handle New Beginning with a bit more grace.

P.S.  I couldn't have done it without the help of these two cute girls