Snow!!!! And Lights!!!!

The holiday season is officially here!!  I couldn't be happier.  They have finally lit the Christmas lights downtown and I love to drive slowly on my way home so I can take in the lights and wreaths and city decorations.  Brian and I will be spend Christmas together in Salt Lake City again this year and I can't wait to start some holiday traditions.
Things I'm looking forward to the most this holiday season:
- Going to see the Nutcracker with a big group of friends this mid- December.  We are going out to eat before and I really can't wait.
-Thanksgiving over at the Kricks.  We just finalized our menu last night.
- My friend Jennilyn and I are going to have a Christmas baking day soon.  I want to get some mason jars and decorate them with the Christmas treats inside.  They will make great gifts!
- Seeing the lights at Temple Square.  Brian and I had planned on doing this last year, but never made it out, so we will do it this year.  
- Putting up our Christmas tree in our house and watching Love Actually together.
- Going ice skating! (Sarah are we going!?)
- Going home to Kansas City the day after Christmas and spending time with friends and family there.
- Making a Christmas wreath... I need to do this soon.
- Going the the Christmas Service at our church and singing carols.  

a lately post

At Amanda's house watching a movie with her adorable puppies.
 Hello blog, I missed you!  I was talking to a friend over coffee last night about blogs and my blog, and I realized I haven't been posting very much lately and need to start again!  I don't want to forget the fun things that are happening, and really love this little journal of our lives.  
 I love going over to my friend Amanda and her husband Martin's house.  They have two great big Dobermans and one of them, Tara, loves to cuddle.  She always waits until you tell her too, then she will leap up onto the couch and lay across your lap.  If I'm not scratching Tara's tummy enough, she either licks me in the face or bumps me with her nose.  I love that dog.  Also, Martin and Amanda's house is a lot like ours.  They live in the Avenues, and our houses are both really old with wood floors and a lot of charm.
We also went over to their house for dinner a few weeks ago.  We brought salad and Amanda made the best vegetarian enchiladas and homemade guacamole.
 Beautiful birthday flowers that Brian brought home for my birthday :)
 When Brian and I were living in Saipan, a few of my friend and I would have a girls night every single Friday night. We always ordered pizza (and had the same delivery guy) and we always watched Pretty Little Liars. (Some of my favorite memories from Saipan!) My friend Anna still sends me letters signed by "A" and the week before my birthday I got a mysterious birthday card with lots of little A's in it!  Hmm... wonder who it could have been from? :)
 Here's another girls night at Jamie's from about a month ago.  Our husbands went camping this night in the mountains and there was already snow on the ground.  They asked us to go to, but already knew the answer would be no.  I adore camping, but not when it's freezing cold temperatures.  I've only done that once, in Palo Dura Canyon, and was so miserable and freezing all night long, I went and got in the car and turned on the heat just to get some sleep!  I'm really glad Jamie and I stayed home and got to spend lots of time catching up and eating Starbucks pumpkin bread.
 Seriously, have you guys ever tried cheese and crackers and cucumber slices?  It's surprisingly the best food in the world and I ate like this whole plate.


Mom and Dad Visit!

My parents came to visit Salt Lake City for six days!  They stayed with us, and after they left our house felt a little empty for a while.  Samantha really loves my parents- she would not leave them alone while they were here and was always walking around, resting her head on their laps and wagging her tail.  After we took them to the airport to go home, she stood at the front door for 30 minutes, whining and pacing.

One of the best parts of their stay with us is that they were able to be here for my 28th birthday.  My mom and I went shopping together that morning and bought my new Lululemon yoga mat that I've been eyeing for almost a year now.  When Brian got home on the night of my birthday, we all went out to eat at my favorite restaurant and then headed over to the Cheesecake Factory for bday cheesecake.
My fave picture of me and my dad hiking, even though my mom's finger made it into a few of our pics!
The weather was gorgeous for the first three days they were here, so we made sure to get a lot of hiking trips in before it got colder.  I'm so glad we did.  They loved hiking in Utah and we got to take them on several beautiful hikes in Millcreek Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon (our hike near Alta was so pretty but so cold).

My parents also loved our little historic neighborhood in the Marmalade area.  A couple of mornings while they were here, I got up and went to yoga class while they took a walk around our neighborhood.   We love living right near downtown, so we can just take a quick drive and be right in the city. I also took my dad to my favorite used bookstore downtown, which is two stories and filled from floor to ceiling with books.
My family knew our family friends here in Utah even before we met them, so on Sunday we all went over to my our friend Jennilyn's house for a huge dinner. It was so fun to have everyone together and my parents really enjoyed getting together with old friends.  My dad and I really like cooking together, and we made this awesome Thai salad to bring- it was a little spicy and so good.  Thank so much for hosting, JL, it was such a great time!
Me and my mom over at JL's house! 
Here's proof of how much my dog adores my parents.

I took my parents to Cafe Rio on our way to Park City one afternoon, and they loved it as much as we do.  Brian also really wanted to take them to the Red Iguana (which we had never been to, but is a Salt Lake City fave), so we did on their last night here.  It was just as good as everyone says it is, and we will definitely be back for more amarillo mole!  
More hiking during their visit.  They missed the fall colors in the mountains by a couple of weeks, but were able to see the last of the beautiful colors down in the valley.  This was a hike at the base of Little Cottonwood, and you can still see some colors here.

Thanks for visiting us, mom and dad- we had such a great time!  Please come back soon!!!!