January 31, 2016

utah holiday

the last two months have flown by in a whirlwind!
a whole month of that time was spent visiting family in utah.
it was honestly the best Christmas break i've ever had.
it was amazing!!!

the best part?
spending every single day with my family.
lots and lots of family time.
precious time with my niece and nephew.
special visits with some of my dearest friends.

oh how i love my family!
we're all older and quite a bit wiser, and the love we have for each other is more readily shown and received.
i can't believe how incredibly blessed i am to call this crazy bunch of awesomeness my family.

though i was horrible at remembering to take pictures, here are the ones i did (or stole from someone else ;) --

on our way to the mormon tabernacle choir Christmas concert
a bouquet of fresh flowers from one of my dearest friends

probably one of my very favoritest parts about Christmas is the food!!
Christmas baking, everyone together in holiday aprons

we squished 17 people into our home; the living room overflowed with presents
it was the white Christmas i'd been dreaming of - a beautiful Christmas day
a great end to Christmas day was visiting our neighbor's huge snow village and
watching "the grinch" in their home theater.

right after Christmas my family drove down to vegas for our sweet cousin's wedding. while there, my little bro and i had our fill of shenanigans. i've decided we are the absolute best travel companions. we prefer the short-and-sweet variety when it comes to sightseeing. i'm sure part of it is our complimentary personalities, but the biggest key: we both walk fast. seriously, though. we did the whole strip in a matter of hours. but i guess more than sights, the company i keep is the best part of any trip. i would go anywhere with my little bro!

the two of us walked the strip and hit every major sight to see!

being ridiculous runs in the family ;)
while walking through one of the huge malls with painted-sky ceilings, i convinced paul we needed to just glance inside the bath and body works semi-annual sale (c'mon. we're utah mormons. we love a good deal ;) )
paul: good thing i have my man card.
me: what?
paul: a man card. it takes a man who's secure in his manhood to go into a girly store with his sister and be the only one buying anything.
me: i'm glad you have such confidence!
paul: yeah, well, i can just pretend i'm being a gentleman and carrying your shopping bags for you.
we watched two bellagio water shows
visited the bellagio's botanical gardens, still dressed in holiday cheer

got our first taste of "shake shack" (even though i live closer to new york...
and we weren't super-impressed!)
best brother ever, right there

after walking the entire strip, we were dead. but happy!
i'm so grateful for my amazing little bro who accompanies me on spontaneous adventures, goes hot tubbing at midnight with me, indulges my indecisiveness, and puts up with ridiculousness.

being only 17 months older than him, we experienced a lot of similar things as we grew up and spent a lot of time with each other.
i'm so blessed to have him as my little brother.

two months prior to my trip home for the holidays i sent an email to my family members requesting that we take professional family pictures (it was way over-due). suddenly, it was the end of my trip and we were out of time; no one had made any plans. thankfully, paul and i have an amazing friend named chad who is an incredible photographer --- and he was kind enough to agree to our last-minute plea.

yes, these look like engagement pics. i don't care. i love and adore this brother of mine.

my parents make the most incredible grandparents. seriously.

my favorite people in the world.

the people who have to love me forever.
the ones i get to call my best friends.

i truly love my family.
they were the best part of my trip.
....they were the whole reason for it!

of course it was nice to see and visit with friends.
more than ever before, though, i realized that family is everything.

i miss them, now.
so much.
i'm sure glad we have eternity together!