We started off Christmas break with a trip to Lander, Wyoming to visit our good friend Garrett's hometown for a snowmobiling trip. 

Although I had to stay back with Elle while they went snowmobiling, it was such a fun weekend. We played ping pong late into the night, ate delicious food, and laughed until our abs were sore. It was sad to leave! We are so lucky to have these friends!

Elle was a dream traveler on our way up to Canada except for about 2 hours of the entire trip. (It's a 10 hour drive so she did pretty good!) We split the drive into two days which was great. We were planning on doing it all in one day, but Tyler's parents could tell we were tired on the phone and got us a hotel. After being in the car for that long we were so ready to be with family!

The Vance's have a fun Christmas Eve tradition to go out on the balcony around a fire and read a letter that their grandmother who has passed away wrote to her children and grandchildren. It was so sweet, it totally made me tear up. I feel so lucky to just adore my in laws like I do!

Okay and this bear suit?! Tyler's little sister Emma (in the picture above) absolutely adores Elle and hardly leaves her side. She was dying for Elle to open a gift early and we were so glad she did because it kept her so warm! 

Gotta love those tacky Christmas sweaters!

For Christmas, Tyler's family spoiled us silly! They are so gracious to us and we feel so blessed this holiday season. We didn't finish opening presents until Christmas NIGHT. At my house, we are done with presents by 8am because we are all too anxious, but those Vance's man! They drag it out all day long! It's always interesting to spend your first Christmas away from home but the Vance family made it so so easy for me. We had a very Merry Christmas!



My cute friend Hanna took our holiday pictures this year! I take a lot of photos.. you all know that by now right? Right. My husband calls it an obsession but it's really just a hobby. Okay wait, it's probably more than that. A serious hobby. Maybe obsession. Yeah, it's an obsession.  So what, I love documenting life through photos. Sue me!

It’s nice every once in a while to have someone else who is actually a professional (instead of an amateur like myself) take your pictures. Hanna lives in Rexburg and took our photos for a steal.. if you need pictures, seriously contact her

Ever since earlier this year in January.. I've had my eye on this little hidden gem of a location. It's this little rustic christmas tree farm that is kind of in the middle of no where about 5 minutes outside of Rexburg.  We pass it our way to Canada & each time we do I have this vision come to mind of the most perfect place for holiday photos. (cue the word obsession I was talking about earlier)

I tried so hard to get the timing right so Elle would be napped and fed and happy for our pictures, but of course it was just one of those odd days and Elle was exhausted for our photos. I was secretly crying inside because I tried so hard and she was so unhappy the entire time! I was also worried about her being cold so that didn't help much either. This photo below is proof..

I left the farm feeling a little bummed (and also exhausted. I have a new appreciation for my mom rallying us together throughout the years for family pictures.. it's hard work!) Although the senery was beautiful, Elle had been crying and fussy the entire time. Well.. Hanna worked MAGIC I tell you because even though Elle isn’t smiling, the photos turned out even more beautiful than I ever could have imagined!

On our way to get the pictures taken, Tyler was asking why we always have to take photos. “Can’t we just take them like once a month and call it good? We do photo shoots every single day.” 

Haha! Funny how in a man's mind taking a single photo is classified as a "photo shoot". 

Sorry babe, it's in my blood! His family is obsessed with photos too. He always says he thought getting married would get him out of his families photo-taking ways, but instead, he married one just like his family!
Choosing outfits for photos is a whole other subject, but I will say that it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! We found Tyler's shirt and Elle's coat at Old Navy (that store surprises me with cute finds all the time!) and I got my sweater at Spark! Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about Trolley Square and how I love it there so much? Well they have this store called Spark there. I had never even heard about it before, but I fell in complete love with it! They have so many unique clothes and it's got to be one of my new favorite places. Two cheers for successful family photos. 

Excuse me while I go drink hot cocoa by the gallon. It's a new thing for us over here.



I haven't blogged about the rest of our trip to California which was almost a month ago. Yikes. I try really hard to record the major things that happen in our lives so here goes nothing. 

We spent the weekend before we picked up Tyler's sister in San Francisco and it was an absolute blast! On Sunday we drove down to Palo Alto to meet up with Scott Stonehocker who is one of the Vance's best family friends. We adore Scott so it was really fun. We went to the Stanford campus which was sooo beautiful. 

Can you even imagine walking around here to get to your classes?! 

Monday I met up with my old roommate Morghan and her mom - we shopped all morning! It was so much fun to see her. My mom always warned me that my roommates from college would become my best friends. She was right! (Poor Elle did not want a photo haha)

We went to the lookout over the Golden Gate Bridge. I've been here before and it's the most breathtaking view. The wind was horrendous, but here's a picture for your humor. 

We started driving up to Santa Rosa afterwards to a fireside at the mission home where we would be meeting Tyler's family to pick up his sister. We got a call that his family's flight had been delayed and they wouldn't make it until later that night. So - WE picked her up from her mission! haha! It was so fun to surprise her because she had no idea we were coming. It was quite the sight.. picking her up with all of the other missionaries and their parents. And then there was us. But it was so great to be reunited!!

We got to meet a lot of Becky's investigators. They were all such wonderful people and Becky was the BEST missionary. I am so so happy to have her home. I truly am so lucky to have her as a sister-in-law!

The rest of the week was spent eating amazing food (Panera 9 times whoops..), spending time together, playing, and shopping. 

Lucky for me, my father-in-law loves shopping (possibly more than I do..) so he took us out a few times. Clothes (and well.. everything in general is more expensive in Canada) so my in-laws love coming to the states to shop. If you've been to San Francisco, you know that Union Square is such a fun area to shop.  This was one of my favorite nights!

I have such wonderful and generous in-laws and it was a blast to spend time with us all together for the first time in 18 months. We can't wait until Christmastime when we get to see our family again!



Tonight I went shopping with my cute sister Isabelle at Trolley Square in Salt Lake! Why? Christmas shopping! I seriously cannot believe that it's that time of year again. But I love it. I love every single bit of it! 

Trolley Square is seriously so magical at Christmastime. They decorate it so beautifully!

I grew up coming to this mall on occasion.. mostly because of their pottery barn store! What I love about this mall is that it has a lot of specialty stores that you can't get anywhere else. Plus, I heard a rumor (not sure if it's true) that they may be getting a Zara….  Crossing my fingers it's true!

We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory (carb overload? yes please.) And I am more than ecstatic about the fact that I got about half of my Christmas shopping done tonight. The best part?! It's not even Thanksgiving yet! Call me crazy… but there's just something about being prepared that makes me so so so happy. 

Now, I know you can buy all of the gifts in the world, but sometimes I love to give sentimental gifts as well. I need some ideas… any good ones out there? Shoot them my way! Slideshow, video, picture, anything. Help me! 



^ That's a word, right? California + vacation? Anyways. Today we went to this stunning beach. Our morning started off rough. Sleeping in until 10, drama because I was a little PMS-y and on edge (sorry to my poor husband) and was starving with nothing to eat because we just had gotten to our resort the night before with no food really. I'm so glad we went to the beach because it completely changed my attitude for the day. It totally looked like it was right off the Oregon coast, but nope - California! The drive to get there was absolutely stunning. Through redwoods and miles of windy roads through the most beautiful trees. We pulled over at one point to take pictures - I was in love!

We chose a random pull off for the beach, and boy did we get lucky! We hiked down this lovely path to a little beach that we had all to ourselves (except for the couple we stumbled upon making out.. they were embarrassed and quickly left haha)

We had so much fun playing in the water, oh my goodness. We were on cloud 9 and ended up all getting so soaked. 

Although it looks cold in the pictures, it was actually PERFECT weather. We're having such a fun time in California!

My sister-in-law Rachel (the one in the pink sweater) just leaned over as I was writing this and asked to write a little something. I should probably be a little scared but here goes nothing….

Hello gorgeous ladies (and gentlemen;),
I just wanted to tell you all how flipping awesome Madeline is!! She's one of the greatest examples I have. Not only is she kind, bubbly, absolutely gorgeous, and the best wife to my brother, but she is seriously an awesome sister in law and i just always look forward to being with her, making memories and laughing hysterically at the stupidest things!! Right now she's nervously sitting next to me, can't sit still as she has no idea what I'm saying!! BUT I LOVE HER TO THE MOON AND BACK and so should you!!! Keep smiling and have a FABULOUS week.

Ps. If your having a bad day, go and google Bruce Jenner
Love, Rachel

Okay it's Madeline & I'm just reading this ^ HOW SWEET IS SHE? Anyways, goodnight!



Tyler's sister gets home from her mission next week, and we are over the moon excited! A couple months ago, Tyler and I devised a perfect plan. We had told her we were too busy with school to make it to her homecoming, but we were hoping she could drive down with my in-laws at some point to visit us and meet her new (& first) niece! She was totally fine with it and so understanding. Our plan was to drive up to Calgary and surprise her - ohh we were so so excited. 

Because Tyler's family hasn't been all together since she left 18 months ago, my mother-in-law really wanted to go on a family trip before Becky (Tyler's sister) starts school at BYU again in January. Because Becky is speaking spanish on her mission, my in-laws thought a cruise to Mexico would be perfect. We had it all planned until we realized that you can't take babies on cruises until they are 6 months old! So after a lot of thought, they decided to postpone this family trip until Elle is a little older and able to come on it with us. Tyler was really bummed, so my in-laws called us a few days ago with the perfect solution to his disappointment with canceling the cruise. They invited us to come with them to pick her up - AND surprise her! Tyler wasn't too impressed with the new idea at first, but I knew it was going to be so much fun!

Because this would be happening just a few days after my birthday, my in-laws let us fly out a few days early and got us a hotel and a car to have some fun here! It has been the most wonderful little getaway before we pick Becky up next week! We are currently in San Francisco having the time of our lives.. We feel so blessed to be on this trip and we are soaking in the break from our school work! The best part? We get to see Tyler's sister SO SOON. We cannot wait.

So we took Elle on her first plane ride and we were terrified. It wasn't even bad! We made sure she was sucking on something like my mom suggested as we took off, and as we landed she was asleep so it worked out perfectly. 

We picked up our rental car and luggage and headed into the city! Our first stop was at Ghirardelli Square. We were in heaven.

We then walked around and had an amazing dinner! Tyler has been working SO hard on studying for the MCAT that it felt so nice to have him all to myself tonight. I kept telling myself to soak this in, because the moment we go back to Idaho I have to give him back to his textbooks haha!