Tuesday, November 25, 2014

holiday traditions

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The holiday season is upon us! I love this time of year because it brings all my favorite traditions and has some of my very favorite memories. Ask husband, I'm big on traditions! There are so many we love participating in with our families, but since this will be our second holiday season as a married couple, and the first in our own home I figured it was a good time to start some new traditions of our own! And of course get excited about everything we love doing with our families. 
There are many, but here are some of the highlights of the season.


What we already love:
- Conner's family always eats Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, so we spend Thursday hanging out, making pies, and going to a movie. Definitely looking forward to that this year. Also, homemade pies are obviously the best, but my favorite store bought is definitely this one! Buy one, you won't be sorry!

- This isn't necessary a holiday season tradition but I associate it with the holidays... whenever we go home to California to be with Conner's family we go to Fentons Creamery to get ice cream. If you've ever seen the movie Up, it's the ice cream shop they go to and it's the best! It's something all the Whipple cousins look forward to anytime we are together in northern California.

- When we lived in Wisconsin, we picked up the tradition of making caramel-dipped cranberries. They might sound a little weird but they are seriously addicting! Do yourself a favor and make them this year. They basically taste like mini caramel apples. SO good!
       Step 1: buy a bag of fresh cranberries
       Step 2: stick toothpicks in them
       Step 3: dip them in caramel (preferably this kind) the way you would apples.

What we want to start:
- A thankful jar - we're a little late to the game on this one since I only found this on Pinterest a few days ago - but how cute is this!? I love the idea of putting out a thankful jar on the first November and filling the jar all month long. Then on Thanksgiving, we can read all the things we have to be grateful for, because there really are so many!


What we already love: 
- My grandpa was born in the Netherlands so every year we celebrate Dutch Christmas. On December 5th we put out our klompen filled with carrots for Sinterklaas to feed to his white horse, and in exchange he leaves stroopwafelschocolate lettersalmond cakes, and other goodies.

- Each year my family packs a "goodie bag" of oranges, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc. that we take to a rest home to give out as we carol and wish people a happy holiday season.
- The movies, so many movies. Both our families love watching all the classic Christmas movies - Elf, White Christmas, The Grinch, A Christmas Story, all those. And the hot chocolate, so much hot chocolate. We love a local Utah brand, Stephens the best. {Conner's favorite. My favorite.}
- Going on a special date to celebrate getting engaged. Conner proposed 10 days before Christmas, so celebrating our relationship has become a big part of the holiday season for us the past couple of years.

What we want to start:
- Decorating a Christmas Tree together! In our apartment we didn't have much room so I borrowed some mini faux trees from my mom that already had light on them. They were really cute but I'm looking forward to getting a big tree to decorate this year! Here's what our decorated apartment looked like last Christmas.

{also, I just love the sparse little tree my mom put in the family room last year}

- Last year when we were both in school and making Christmas cards didn't seem like the best way to spend our limited Christmas budget. But it made me really sad we didn't get to send them out. This year we made Christmas cards and used Tiny Prints. I can't even tell you how hard it was to narrow down on one design. They have so many, and they are all cute. Really you have to check them out. It probably took me a week just to pick which one to use. I'm really happy with how they turned out. I definitely recommend using them. I'll be sure to post a picture of ours close to Christmas!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

that one time we graduated college

Thursday, November 06, 2014

It's been a while. Things were busy. You know what with graduating, moving, vacations, working full-time, starting grad school... but we'll get to all that. One step at a time. That's the mantra right now, just taking things one day at a time - cause man - life gets crazy & stressful & busy.
But in a good way. Life really is so good. We are so blessed.

So anyway, here are some pictures from that time last April when we became college graduates! And when we took a trip with some great friends to Las Vegas to celebrate graduating from BYU and starting real life - adult life :)

For some reason husband doesn't like this picture. I wanted to use it on our Christmas card { cookin' up a post on that later } this year since it's kind of our highlight of the year and all... but it got seriously vetoed. Something about graduating being "not a big deal". Lame!

For some reason, I can't find any pictures of us with Conner's parents who also came all the way from California to support us. And brought me gorgeous flowers! Thanks guys :)

This girl. She's graduated high school and started college life and is just the coolest. Love her.

 This little lady is getting ready to graduate Elementary and move on to Junior High! Also love her.

So after graduation, we hopped in the car and drove down to party it up in Vegas. There was a whole lot of this going on, and a whole lot of eating delicious food going on. I spent a lot of my final hours in BYU classes searching Yelp for the best places to eat on our trip. Shh, don't tell. Also don't surf the internet during class, that's bad! If it makes you feel better it was just a general..
{ I linked a couple of our very favorite, must-go places below }

Sushi Mon (the one on Maryland Parkway)

Cirque du Soleil! One of our absolute favorite memories of this trip, amazing!

Babystacks. Oh my word, this breakfast (which is basically dessert) was the bomb!

New kicks, cause shopping in Vegas is the best. Obviously.

Of course we did the obligatory hotel/casino walk-throughs.

Had some fun at the wax museum...

And went into a sugar coma at Serendipity.

Vegas, you did not disappoint! Thanks Michael & Deanna for such a fun trip and great memories! We are just a little heartbroken you live so far away. But we won't pass up an opportunity to come visit you in the Big Apple when we get a chance!

After Vegas we moved from our apartment in Provo - our first ever home together - up to our cute little house in Holladay. We sure love it! :) And I'm determined to start documenting it more!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

happy birthday husband

Saturday, May 24, 2014

He's the big two-five. A quarter of a century today. So today is all about him. And I'm going to make sure his day is filled with the things he loves. {like Nesquik as evidenced in the picture below}

Conner really is my better half. He helps make me a better person every day. I can't imagine life without him because he's made mine so much better. He's probably already dying over "how mushy" this is :) so here are the 25 words that come to mind when I think about my 25 year old husband...

strong - willing - wise - generous - funny - dedicated - honest - smart - persistent
charitable easy-going - happy - genuine  - thoughtful - adventuroushandsome - handy
calm - patient - organized - forgiving - loving - spontaneous - loyal faithful

Happy Birthday Conner!
Love you always!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

adios guatemala

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our last day in La Reforma the village women put a little market together in the schoolroom to show us the things they made and sold to earn extra money for their families. How cute are the little dolls and the hand stitched cloths? I bought a bright purple table mat that now sits on my night stand.

A lot of the little girls had braided hair but they had never seen a french braid or a fishtail braid so I had a fun time teaching them how to do those braids.

Later that night we hiked up the hill to their church so that they could send us off with some prayers of safety. Since we there long after sundown the church was really dark, except for the few candles they lit and all the flashes from our cameras - hence the grainy pictures...

^ the xylophone church band  

The elders of the village were the ones praying for us - the different colored candles representing the different things in their prayers.

After the church service we walked back down to the main field and had a huge celebratory sendoff that I can only relate to our fourth of July celebrations - complete with fireworks and everything! But this was not your typical firework show, oh no, this was the symbolic burning of the bull and burning of the devil. Two poor village men put on these wooden contraptions, complete with fireworks tied all over them, which were then lit and as the fireworks went off the men danced around in a circle for our entertainment. Dangerous..

The men in the village insisted Conner get a picture with the devil because they were the only bearded men in the village :)

The next morning we got up bright and early to leave and the whole village was there to send us off.

After a few hours on the bus we go to the beautiful Semuc Champey {the seven pools} and it was seriously the best after a very long and bumpy ride and a week without a good shower. This place is breathtaking. The seven pools are connected together, cascading down the mountain and there is a hike you can take to look over the whole thing. The best part is when you can swim in the water though, which is just as warm and inviting as it looks in the pictures.

^ the stairs you climb as you hike a majority of the mountain to get to the pools and the overlook point

Isn't that amazing?
Not pictured: some of the crazy men {such as my husband} climbing to the top of a large tree and jumping about 30 feet into one of the pools below.

Also not pictured: Our trip into Antigua the last day we were in Guatemala. My phone was dead so we got a few pics on Conner's phone but he's at work all day so I don't have any of those. Antigua has a great market where we all bought our souvenirs, some awesome shops and restaurants, and great old architecture. It's kind of the ritzy vacation town of Guatemala.
A great place for a destination wedding I say, if anyone is looking for something like that :)