laguna beach

as part of our christmas, my parents took the whole family to laguna beach.
to say we were thrilled would be an understatement.

dawson always says that we belong in california, and after this trip i might have to agree.
we really thrive in the warm weather and salty air.
so if you see a post soon about us moving to CA, don't be surprised.

the trip included…

a beachside hotel, morning walks on the beach, amazing sunsets, swimming in the pool, eating at local restaurants, an overtime chargers/chiefs game, pre-game sideline passes for the boys, mexican dinner at old town, paddle boarding shenanigans, overcoming fears of sharks, amazing sunrises/sunsets, family workouts, bonfires on the beach…

the whole trip was non-stop amazingness.

huge thank you to my dad for taking us and to my mom for planning it all.

in case you missed it...

it was an epic year for us to say the least.
here are my favorite memories of the past 12 months:

went to the bathroom in toilets in the ground
walked on the great wall of china
visited the birds nest where olympic history was made
became one with the people of china
welcomed home a missionary
put ourselve through hell with bikram yoga passes
lost our luggage in lima, peru
ate alpaca and octopus in the sacred valley
explored cuzco and visited dawson's mission friends
i went to the taylor swift concert and cried tears of joy
went camping with our family of 3
went to dana point with the kents
went to lake powell with the whittinghams
celebrated our 2nd anniversary
the barlows took us to lake tahoe
dawson took me on a surprise weekend getaway
had an epic friends giving
attended almost every single utah football game
ended with spending christmas with our amazing families

2013 took us around the world and taught us so many things, but i think the main thing it did was make our relationship so much stronger.  i know that daw and i are perfect for each other because both of us love each other and are committed for forever no matter what.

i couldn't imagine a better person to spend 2014 (or the rest of my life) with.


merrrrry christmas!!!

in case you haven't noticed, i have slacked in taking decent pictures lately.  everything has either been crappy, lame pics on the iPhone or pictures of food.  i know it's good to "live in the moment" but i'm sad that i don't have more pictures of christmas (although dawson, aka mr. anti-memories, appreciated it).

we had a great christmas morning and amazing breakfast made by my mom at my parents house.  it was  a mellow morning until we started playing a card game.  to say we are all competitive is an understatement, but i'm happy to say it ended without any bloodshed.  although kylie was pretty upset that tyler beat her after trying to find numerous ways to cheat.


then we had a second christmas at the kents.  watching the grandkids open all their presents was the highlight, along with the yearly christmas bingo.  i can't say it enough - we have the cutest nieces and nephew ever.  i'm proud to be their favorite (blonde) aunt!
both the kids and us adults (wait, am i really one of the old "adults" now?) were very spoiled.  i don't think we could say enough thank yous to either of our parents for all that they did for us.

the night ended with just the two of us, planning on going to bed early but ending up staying up til 1am.  partly because we were setting up and putting away all our new stuff, and partly because dawson had to play with his new toy helicoptor.  we went to bed happy, content, and a little sad that the most magical time of the year was over.


christmas eve

i have to be honest, this just might have been the best christmas eve of my entire life.  bold statement, i know, but it really was just that great.

we started off the morning with a snowy walk at tanner park with dash and his new best bud benji miller.  they were the smallest dogs in size, but they had hearts of lions.

then daw and i went to try melty way and even though it wasn't as good or filling as we wanted, the main ingredient was cheese so i was happy.  i was supposed to work from 3pm-11pm but i was lucky enough to be first call off so right when i was about to get ready for work, i got the blessed call that they didn't need me!

we decided to go see hunger games since it was practically a crime that we hadn't seen it yet.  it. was. amazing.  maybe it's just because i am obsessed with katniss/jennifer lawrence but i loved the movie.  i don't even know how i am going to wait for the last one to come out.

after the movie we went to provo for the traditional mi ranchito christmas eve dinner with the whittinghams.  i got the cheese enchiladas with only mild concern for the fact that i had consumed enough cheese that day to clog at least a few arteries.

we had done our usual christmas eve nativity/white elephant exchange the night before because the nursing home we perform at asked us to do it on monday for "family night".  our performance this year was sub par, but grandma nancy did pull dawson aside and tell him that his acting skills were superb and stole the show.  i am so proud.

anyway, since we weren't ready for the night to end we headed over to the kents to watch it's a wonderful life and the christmas story.  on the way there dawson and i were talking about the east coast, and i realized that i had never met anyone from delaware.  dawson laughed at me and said "oh you mean maryland silly, delaware is the capital of maryland".  i knew the joke was really on HIM, since everyone knows delaware is the smallest STATE.  duh.

so i challenged him to a test of states and capitals.  we made blair and diana join in on the fun (i know this makes us sound extremely nerdy and it doesn't sound like fun, but oh it was).  between the four of us, we remembered an average of about 46 states each and only 10 capitals...  and i am not going to say who won the contest because i'm convinced that he cheated.

after our mental exertion we headed home to bed... and then decided we couldn't wait until the morning to open each other's presents.  don't judge us.

we both did surprisingly well with presents, considering neither of us asked for anything and we were both shooting in the dark.  i guess after 4 christmases we know each other better than we thought.

and so ended christmas eve 2013.  it might not sound like much to anyone else, but for me, getting to unexpectedly spend the whole day with my amazing husband and family, it was perfect (cheesyyyyy).


eggnog, cookies, and white elephants

we might not be hip and single, but we sure felt popular this holiday season.
all of our friends threw fabulous christmas parties that we were more than happy to attend.
they helped us to have the most holiday cheer we've had in years, 
as well as achieve our goal of gaining a combined 15 lbs in december 
(it didn't start out as a goal, but since it was happening anyway we just decided to embrace it).

first off we had the annual cookies and cocoa party, hosted by chase and nakita.
the cookies might have all ended up being store bought instead of homemade, but don't judge.
everyone brought some of the best white elephant presents i've seen, and we were thrilled to come home with a leopard fuzzy scarf and edible underwear.

next we went to the snows for an intimate christmas party of five.
if you are thinking that doesn't qualify as a party, listen to this...
comfy clothes, baby crew, dinner, britt's secret recipe sugar cookies, and the grinch.
all of those things add up to the best party ever.

after that we went to the white elephant party at liz and jeff sorensen's.
no pictures were taken, but we did come home with more gems - fight club on dvd and a 80's VHS workout video.
i gotta find a VHS player so i can pop that in and start sweating off these extra pounds.

the barlows threw a christmas party/going away party, which was exactly what it sounds like. 
joy mixed with sorrow.
there was even a surprise guest appearance from santa clause herself himself,
followed by some christmas caroling that no one seemed to appreciate, in spite of our angelic voices.

and last but not least, my very best girlfriend ashlyn threw her fab party.
i stayed up way too late considering i worked the next day, but it was so worth it.
i almost felt like i was being a rebellious teenager again by breaking curfew.  it was exhilarating.

thanks to all of our friends who hosted such fun parties.
i hope we made a good impression so we can be invited again next year!!!