Ice Box Canyon: Part Quatre

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Our friend Dallas is staying with us right now and I convinced him to go hiking with me yesterday. I haven’t been out to Red Rock in a few months and I was dying to escape the “city”. It has been overcast and grey for the past few weeks here but yesterday the sun broke through the clouds, the temperature was crisp but not cold, and everything was greened up from the recent rain showers. In short, it was beautiful. Mother Nature never disappoints!

Tonight we are all going to go see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies! Tij is stoked :)

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Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

034One of my favorite things about Christmas has always been the decorations, and more especially, the tree! My family used to always buy a real tree (that smell is still one of my favorites!) but Tij and I have been fake-treeing it the past few years for practicality’s sake. (Eventually, when we have a house and kids, I would love to go back exclusively to real trees, but until then, I just light candles and do my best to pretend.) It was always a huge process getting our tree together, (probably because my sister and I were too busy playing make-believe with all our ornaments), but it was a magical process! Even as an adult, I can’t wait to get our tree up and go for a walk down memory lane with our ornaments. One of the few Christmas traditions Tij and I have started together is to get a new ornament every year. We like to pick them out on trips we take and we usually buy bulbs. The first one we got was a pretty Ukranian-looking ball from the BYU Museum of Art gift shop. We bought one in downtown Santa Cruz one year. Two years ago, we picked out a beautiful hand-painted one in Hawaii at a gift shop where my sister worked. I spend just as much time reminiscing as I do putting our tree together. I’ve been slowly accumulating other Christmas decor as well. My parents gave me most of the decorations that I grew up with. Some of it I’ve been able to put out and some of it is too fancy or impractical in our small space, but I love seeing some of my beloved family decor in my own home. I just love Christmas. I am a big sap. I get all nostalgic and sentimental and I just loooooove everything about it. Poor Tij.

I’m really excited about presents this year. I spent some time picking out what I think are some killer gifts for my family and I can’t wait to watch them opening them. And I’ve been listening to Christmas music every day. (Again, poor Tij.) I made a playlist of all the classics a month ago so I would be ready. We are heading up to Idaho for Christmas and while I’m nervous for the cold (we’ve totally acclimated to the warmth), I’m hoping we may get a white Christmas! I would love that! This post is getting sappier by the minute so I’ll wrap things up, but I just had to write down how much I am loving this season and how it just makes me so happy and grateful. And when I remember the real reason why we’re celebrating Christmas (or should I say who we’re celebrating?) it makes me even happier and even more grateful. I hope you are all getting into the Christmas spirit!

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Christmas Card Outtake

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I’m attempting to send out Christmas cards this year, but naturally I waited until the last minute to commit. I realized last weekend that we didn’t have a family picture to send out with our card and I needed to do something about that. After church, I forced Tij into some festive flannel and set up our camera with the self-timer. We somehow managed to get some pictures that looked nice enough. (Not great, but not terrible. Maybe next year I’ll be on top of things and we’ll actually have some professionally done!) Then we just got silly and used the timer to get pictures of us with zee babies! I love the few decent (not blurry) photos we got of all 5 of us, but I decided that it would be best if we sent out cards with just our human family. I wanted to share this gem though because it is very “us”, furballs and all.

(Oh, and I chopped all my hair off. Surprise!)

Merry Christmas –
from Bianca, Olive, and Daphne
XOXOX

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5.5 Years Together

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photo courtesy of heatherblissphotography.com


When Tij and I were dating, I didn’t really celebrate monthly “anniversaries”. I had friends and roommates who would do something special to commemorate every month together, but I just never did. (I actually don’t know what day we went on our first date. It was sometime in March…?) But now that we’re married, I love marking our anniversary every six months. Getting married and staying married is an on-going project and I like to celebrate it twice a year rather than just once. Tij and I aren’t doing anything special (Tij is actually going to watch a UFC fight with guys from work and I will NOT be attending – too violent for me!) but I like being able to say that we’ve been married for 5.5 years instead of just 5.

I am so grateful for Tij. (I really lucked out in the husband department guys!) Happy 5.5 year anniversary! I love you.

(Man, looking back at pictures of us when we were first married makes me feel old! I still think I look like me, but then I see photographs and I can’t deny that I DO look different. Anyone else have that problem?! I guess I should just be grateful that Tij and I have been together long enough to have started growing “old” together.)

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Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving

We had a lovely Thanksgiving in spite of Tij having to work all day. Some good friends invited us over for dinner and they only asked me to bring a pie so I didn’t even have to cook a turkey. (That’s a win in my book.) We spent the evening in good company, eating delicious food, and watching Christmas movies. (“Home Alone” and “A Christmas Story”. You know, the classics!) I’m guilty of probably not giving Thanksgiving its due because I love Christmas soooooo much, but I just think it’s the best segue into the Christmas season. Thanksgiving reminds us to count our blessings and be grateful for the wonderful lives we lead. Christmas reminds us of Christ, to be kind and to help others. New Year’s reminds us that we can always do better and to keep progressing. What better way to finish up one year and ring in the new? Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and are ready for Christmas! (We are ready for Christmas here. I may have already decorated…)

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Just Zee Babies

I have spent a lot of time on the couch this week watching HGTV on netflix and my girls have been keeping me company. They’re so sweet. Traveling a lot can be hard. Every time I leave, I spend a lot of time cleaning and packing and getting someone to watch the rats. Then when I come back, my fridge is empty and I have tons of laundry. After San Diego I was just exhausted. Snuggling with zee babies was just what the doctor ordered. With some sleep and cuddling I am feeling good again and ready to get back in the swing of things! Here’s a few pictures of my girls doing what they do best: being super cute.
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Home Again, Home Again

We are back from San Diego and it’s like Vegas decided to jump straight from almost-fall to winter over the weekend. It was 44 degrees out when we pulled up Sunday night! (I know I’ve been harping on the weather a lot lately, but I am just so tired of being constantly hot and uncomfortable and planning my day and wardrobe around the heat. I suppose it’s just something I’ve yet to fully adjust to…) San Diego was beautiful. Tij and I went there for vacation once 5 years ago and it was so much fun! Now that my mom lives in San Diego we’ll probably be back more often than once every 5 years – lucky us!

My cousins and I wandered down to the beach one evening to watch the sunset and boy, did I get some killer photos! There’s nothing like the sun going down over the ocean.

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The wedding festivities were over Saturday night so Sunday Tij and I did some sight-seeing with our family before driving home. We checked out a few museums and ate at this divine Italian restaurant where I had the best raviolis. (I’m a sucker for stuffed pasta.) I can see why people love southern California. I think Tij and I would want to live there too if it wasn’t for the insane cost of living and the traffic!

At the Maritime Museum I walked through a B-39 Soviet sub (talk about cramped!) and stood on a sailing vessel they used in one of The Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

The NAT (Natural History Museum) was hosting a King Tut exhibit which was really well done. The curators set it up to make you feel like you were discovering the tomb right along with Howard Carter and the original excavators. There was gold, gold, and more gold! I’ve always found ancient Egypt fascinating.

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aboard “The Star of India” a 151 year-old immigration vessel

This is all I’ll say about the wedding: the ceremony on the beach was beautiful and Tij and I are happy to be home now. We are looking forward to a quiet week of catching up on sleep and household chores.

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A Wednesday Gratitude List

‘Tis the season to count our blessings! I know Tij have so much to be grateful for this year. We feel so blessed. We know we were guided to Las Vegas, Tij’s job, our ward…we feel so lucky. So here’s some things I’m particularly grateful for right now:

#1) I voted two weeks ago! It’s the first time I’ve ever voted in local elections and it just got me thinking about how grateful I feel to live in this country where I get to have an opinion and a say in what happens in it.
#2) The holiday season is fast approaching! I loooooooove Christmas and I have lots more decorations I plan on festooning our apartment with. I’ll wait to decorate until after Thanksgiving, but the Christmas music has already started…
#3) Netflix added a new season of my favorite show: “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”. If you like the 20s, plucky female heroines, and mysteries, check it out!
#4) Pei-wei takeout.
#5) Our new rat cage has been a good investment. I’ve been gone most weekends the last 6 weeks and having them in a much bigger space makes me feel less guilty about them getting less playtime.
#6) And speaking of being gone most weekends, this weekend is my mom’s wedding and the last weekend I’ll be away from home until Christmas!!! I am so happy. Tij and I have traveled more this year than we probably have in our entire marriage and being on the go isn’t as glamorous as I thought it would be. Maybe I’m a homebody, but I’m really looking forward to staying put for a while.
#7) My hard-working, hunky husband.
#8) Tij downloaded Harry Potter onto my iPod and I have been enjoying reliving the first two books. I love me some Harry Potter!
#9) Lately I have been grateful for technology. I know the internet can be a total time-suck, but I love pinterest and all the helpful apps I use. Google and I are also really tight too.
#10) Having my own car is awesome! I’ve dubbed her Leslie, after Leslie Knope from “Parks & Rec”. I anticipate many happy trips with Leslie in my future, haha.

Happy Hump Day! I hope you all feel like you have a lot to be grateful for this season.

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Fabulous Fall

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autumn in Boise

It’s faaaaaaaaaaall! And I am so thrilled. Today it is only 60 degrees here in Vegas and I am loving it.

I took a quick trip up to Boise last week to bring down…a new car!!! At least new to us. My mom very kindly gave us her vehicle as she will be shortly starting her new life (along with new car) this month. Tij and I are so excited to be a two-car family for the first time in our whole marriage! I got to spend a few days in Idaho hanging out with my family and going through boxes of memorabilia to take back to Vegas with me. My sister and I went out for brunch one morning and then took a walk along the Boise River to admire the fall colors. I miss watching the distinct change that marks the seasons. It’s just not that noticeable here in Vegas. It is slowly cooling off, and the trees that aren’t palm trees are losing their leaves, but it’s not the same as ***FALL***! Thankfully, I got my fill in this weekend!

After a few days I drove down to Salt Lake and hung out with some friends and family on Sunday and Monday before heading home. Driving by myself was a little nerve-wracking as I’ve never done a trip like that all by myself but it ended up being fine. Long, but fine. Now, I’m just so happy to be home with Tij and zee babies and I’m looking forward to life with my own set of wheels!

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I took the picture on the left from a swing

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the Boise River

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Girl’s Weekend in St. George

I have been lucky to make such wonderful friends here in Las Vegas. There is a little group of us who get together every week and I so look forward to those evenings where we get to hang out and be goofy and just be ourselves. A few weeks ago we decided to plan a girl’s getaway. And where do you go to “getaway” when you live in Las Vegas? St. George, Utah of course! Haha. St. George may be much smaller than Vegas but it is definitely different and has some attractions of its own.

To start things off right we went to see Thriller at Tuachan theater. (Tuachan is an incredible outdoor theater. I have never experienced a performance in perfect evening weather, under the stars, with the majestic red rock of the desert all around me. Seriously so cool.) Thriller is 2 hours of dance with just a hint of the creepy macabre thrown in: zombies, would-be chainsaw assassins, Chucky dolls, etc.

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creepy zombie dancers greeted us as we headed to our seats

Next morning, we ate brunch at this hidden gem of a restaurant called Xetava. It’s in this designer community (Keyanta) where all the houses are adobe and low to the ground and blend in with the natural desert all around. Then we hiked up a trail behind Tuacahn. I’m really glad we went back in the daytime – there was so much I couldn’t see when it was dark. And surprise! Our hike looked a lot like Red Rock. Mother Nature did not disappoint, as usual.

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Later we got pedicures, did a little shopping, ate delicious doughnuts, and got tasty Mexican food. It was a short trip but it was the perfect blend of relaxation and getting out and exploring. And of course, getting to spend time with my friends and feel their love and support was the best. (We travel well together! Everyone was chill and we just had a good time enjoying each other’s company.) I came back just feeling so happy and content with the world!

Sunday was our ward Primary Children’s Program. I have been looking forward to this all month! My Sunbeams have been practicing their little hearts out and I was so proud! They all had their parts memorized and they were about as reverent and quiet up on the stand as 3-4 year-olds can be. Later, Tij and I had the opportunity to go to a musical fireside put on by the missionaries in our area and it gave me goosebumps. It was just one of those magical Sundays where there was peace in my heart and a smile on my face.

Life is good. We are so blessed.

Happy Monday everyone! This is going to be a good week!

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here’s a cute picture of zee babies to help you get through your day

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