Thursday, May 24, 2012

Green Valley

St. George, Utah was named after George A. Smith, an apostle to Brigham Young. Originally it was a settlement of around 300 Latter-day Saint families who grew cotton for the Utah territory during the Civil War, and eventually became the site of the first LDS temple in Utah, and the winter home of Brigham Young during the later years of his life. 

While we were in St. George we decided to visit a few of the historical sites, including the temple, Brigham Young's winter home, and the St. George historical tabernacle. It was the perfect way to spend a blazing hot Sunday afternoon. Both Caitlin and I loved St. George, and of all the places in Utah I've been, I think I could actually live there. BUT - I don't think I would ever actually want to live in St. George, but it seems like a really nice place. 

The temple there is so big and white. Surprisingly white. Like really, really white. We've never been inside this temple, but we love the outside. We spent a few minutes on the grounds and in the visitors center - and the weather was simply perfect for a stroll around the temple. 

We had fun posing all over the place. Caitlin on the stairs.

Me sliding down the banister. 

Since most of our pictures are alone or at arms length, we decided to set the camera on a timer to get a full body shot of us. :)

We also visited Brigham Young's home. It had this ugly green paint all over the deck (as you can see from the fencing on the handrail) and we were curious why they would paint anything that hideous shade of green. Luckily the sister missionary who gave us our tour (Sister Kestler from Salem, Oregon) knew the answer! She said that the Saints ordered paint for the temple from New York City and when the hundreds of gallons of paint arrived it was green! They didn't want to waste any paint so they used it to paint their homes and furniture. Because of this, St. George received the nickname of Green Valley.

We also toured the tabernacle which was really cool inside. There were spiral staircases leading up to the balcony, and beautiful chandeliers with S and G metal decorations on it. It was all pretty cool. The senior missionary couple that gave us our tour let us play around in the tabernacle after we finished so we went to the pulpit and downstairs to the art exhibit about Christ's life. It was pretty neat to see.

We also went around to a couple of the statues on the same block as the tabernacle and snapped a few pictures. They had some unique art including a bicycle made out of scrap metal (including silverware) and half of a moose. 

There was also a water park right next to the tabernacle. Had we been dressed more appropriately we would've loved to get wet in the fountains since it was sooooooooo hot outside. But instead we just walked around and watched the little kids frolic in the stream and fountains while their parents lounged in the shade. Clearly we aren't ready for kids since we wanted to be in the fountains with them rather than hanging with the oldies on the sidelines. :) 

Behind us there are two frogs (a prince and princess) that shot water out of their mouths... and we think some other holes in the statues, but we're not exactly sure where those ones were. 

There was also a man-made waterfall and river that you could splash in. It smelled slightly like chlorine so we're thinking the water may circulate through the river and fountains. It was a pretty sweet outdoor (free) water park. Maybe next time we go down we will bring our bathing suits and frolic with the children. Maybe we'll have to bring one of our nieces or nephews so we don't seem too out of place. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

As you may have already guessed based off the blog title, this entire blog will be about Las Vegas. So push play on the video and listen to a little bit of the King as we reminisce our Vegas vacation. 

So we went to Vegas for my works 35th Anniversary Celebration that was held on Friday, May 18th. So we actually had to help get ready for that, set up, blow balloons, get powerpoints ready, etc. And it was actually a lot of fun. We filled (with all the other employees there) 150 balloons with helium and decorated the venue. Here is Caitlin (our designated balloon holder) with a couple dozen of the balloons. The celebration was great and it gave me even more of a reason to miss my job once I leave. I really work with the greatest people.

So after the celebration we got to go out and enjoy some of the Vegas attractions. We didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on the shows and things in Vegas, so we decided to spend the majority of our time looking at the sights, architecture, and free shows around the strip. 

Excalibur was right across the street from our hotel, as was New York, New York. We loved seeing the casinos as we walked. I was in awe at how much detail goes into every casino to make it something special. The architecture was simply amazing!

My work friend Jeni found her boyfriend at the MGM. She was so excited to be able to take a picture with him too. She lived in Vegas for a few years so she was able to take us around a little and unlike us, she wasn't confused when she walked into a new casino. We went with her (and my other work friend Erin) to preview a new TV show at the MGM where we were able to rate it based off how much we enjoyed what we saw. 

Erin and Jeni went with one of Erin's friends to dinner and Caitlin and I took a trip down to the Venitian. This is my favorite hotel on the strip. It has a canal running down the middle of it with gondola boats - just like in Venice! We also love the clouds painted on the ceiling that give you the feel that you are outside. 

We loved watching the Belaggio fountains and managed to see 3 or 4 shows while we were there. It is so entertaining watching water shoot out of a pond synchronized with music. We may be easily entertained, but this was by far one of our favorite things we were able to see this weekend.

Walking down the strip was amazing. There are so many lights and people - especially drunk people. It is always entertaining. 

Here is New York, New York again. I think this is one of my favorite hotels from the outside. Such a unique concept to make skyscrapers into one hotel.

We also went to the M&M store and bought $12 worth of M&M's. It is so cool to see the different colors that they make there, and the entire store smells like chocolate!

Caitlin made a new friend while we were there. :)

We also went to Caesars Palace (above) and the Paris hotel (below) Both were beautiful and great - but again, I still love the Venitian most. 

Also while we were in the City of Sin, we decided to make a trip out to the Las Vegas temple. It was crazy similar to the Portland temple and we were glad for the peace we were able to enjoy while in the temple walls. Erin came with us and afterward we went with her and Jeni out to dinner at a great Thai place that Jeni frequented when she lived there.

We probably enjoyed the temple the most out of everything in Vegas - especailly since things get a little crazy on the strip and the temple is a good refuge. But everything was great about the weekend. Later I'll have to blog about our time in St. George (we were only in Vegas Friday/Saturday and spent all day Sunday in St. George). So keep excited for more to come!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nothing to Do

We spent some time shopping this past week - but rather than buying a lot of stuff, we just played around with beautiful clothes at WalMart and the curtains in Bed Bath & Beyond. I hope that doesn't make us sound like losers. I mean - who hangs out at WalMart? Well we do. Not really - but when we do go, we decide to make it a Disneyland type experience. 

Caitlin found these beauties tucked away in the mens section. We're thinking that they would make great gifts for our closest friends. There were several varieties, and the patterns were both front and back. So lovely.

The curtains at Bed Bath & Beyond were like our best friends. I don't know what posessed us to wrap ourselves up in them, but we spent a good 5 minutes parading around the curtain section looking for the perfect wrap.

Too bad we're not in the market for curtains, otherwise we could've gotten these shiny red ones! 

Now I know what you're thinking - do these two really not have anything better to do? And the answer is... no. We can do whatever we want cause we're not students and we don't have kids. We're enjoying that while it lasts cause come August I'll be a student and in a few years I'm sure we'll have kids and I don't think BB&B looks too kindly on you using curtains as swaddling clothes for your baby. :)


So this picture isn't the best, but it is a drawing of Caitlin and I "Together in Love." If you look closely you will see that Caitlin is wearing a lovely dress with a heart on it, while I'm crying by her side. One of the girls in the CTR 5 class we teach drew it for us. 

We have been loving our calling. Our kids are great although sometimes a handful, but still they are great. We have loved getting to know them and we really enjoy teaching them the gospel. We're going to Vegas this weekend so we're not going to be able to teach them and we're actually really sad about it. Who would've thought that a group of eight 5-year-olds would make us miss going to our quirky ward.

We love spending time every week in primary, singing songs, coloring pictures, learning the gospel basics, and seeing the kids we teach absorb the principles we try to teach them. Some weeks we really struggle to get through to them, but we're always surprised with how much they remember and how much they want to live the gospel. One little girl in particular always remembers everything - like if we said we would do a certain activity or talk about something in particular, she remembers. I'm so impressed with how their minds work. It has been such a blessing for us to be in the primary - but maybe in our next ward we'll get to work with some of the adults so we can make a few friends that we can call by their first name rather than the parent of so-and-so...for real. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We Keep Busy

We've been trying to keep busy lately. Here are some of the things that we've been enjoying via a very bored Instagram user. Seriously though - sorry for the plethora of Instagram filters. 

We enjoyed making a blanket fort and watching a movie in it. Actually, we've been watching a lot of movies lately. It's rather strange actually. We never really watched movies when we were dating, but now that we're out of school and have every night and weekend free, we've been enjoying the occasional movie night. I've been dying to see The Avengers but since we're trying to be frugal and save for school we may have to wait until it hits the cheap theaters. 

We enjoyed a BYU Lacrosse game in the blazing hot sun and received our first sunburns of the year. It was such a beautiful day and we loved watching lacrosse. I didn't know anything about the sport so luckily Caitlin was able to explain everything that was going on. It made it a lot more enjoyable and we screamed every time BYU scored a goal. 


We also enjoyed a BYU volleyball game with some friends. We met up with Julie and Alex to watch BYU kill Long Beach State in the Quarterfinals. It was a pretty intense game, and although Caitlin and I were nursing our sunburns we were still able to have a blast.

We have been enjoying exploring Provo recently. We started biking, sometimes to work, and other times just for fun. This past weekend we biked out to Provo Lake. We had never been there and were surprised with how huge the lake was. It even had waves crashing into the shore. The ride was beautiful and we LOVED being outside and hearing/smelling nature. 

 We really want to be good bike riders so we try and go at least once a week. Maybe that isn't very good, but it still isn't always warm and inviting outside. 

One of the trails we went on had a huge farm full of cows and tractors. We decided to take pictures posing in front of the rural scenery. 

Don't mind the traffic cones behind me. They were only there to show that where the tractor was working wasn't in the best shape. Can you see the tractor over my shoulder? 

We have also been playing a lot of tennis. I have loved tennis since forever and Caitlin asked me to teach her. She is getting really good! She's to the level where we can keep a rally going and we're almost to the point where we can play a game. It's kind of the best thing to do after work on a sunny day.

We've also been doing a lot of preparations for our move. We're kind of nervous to head all the way to the other side of the country and we don't really know what to expect, but we're really excited for the change. Provo has treated us well, but we're super excited to enjoy all the new adventures that lie ahead.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Video Touring Vermont

So this is a little video about where Caitlin and I will be moving in August. It seems like a great/funky town. Reminds both Caitlin and I a lot of Portland. Should be an exciting time! If anyone wants to visit us in Vermont we will keep our doors open. We love visitors. :)