Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I will never be an old man.

"I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am." 

-Bernard M. Baruch 


That statement was made for me. For real. I turned 26 on July 18th and I don't feel old at all. Actually, I'm surprised that I was more freaked out about 24 and 25 than I was about turning 26. Luckily I have the greatest wife and best friends that helped me celebrate my birthday.

Rick Lee Roper, the best friend I could ever have, threw me a birthday party up in Rexburg. The annual Birthday Bash went down just like usual (only with a great deal fewer people). We had live music and cupcakes, and it was awesome! I loved seeing friends in Rexburg that I hadn't seen in forever. It was a blast.

Here are some cupcakes that Alison Bates made for me. She was so creative!

My old FHE sister Megan Butler was there and we had to take a picture without our braces. The birthday bash two years ago we both had braces on our pearly whites.

Tandem (Tandy and Emma) wrote a song for my birthday bash. Emma was in Canada/Utah (I never really got the story) so they couldn't perform live, but I loved the video!

We had some other really great music and creative songs. It was so much fun - even though it was raining. I got to see a lot of my old roommates too, which is great because I probably wont see them again for a few years. 

On my actual birthday my sister Carley, and her boyfriend Mike came down to Utah to visit us. They were in Idaho for the week and decided to spend the 17th and 18th with Caitlin and me. Carley and I were both born in July, so I signed her up for the Tucanos Birthday Club and we both got free meals. It was superb food, and SOOOO much fun to have them there to celebrate. I can't wait until they come to visit us out in Vermont.

Caitlin asked me if I wanted a cake for my birthday and I said no since I figured we would never be able to eat the whole thing, so we just had ice cream (and burnt cookies - my bad!) and she gave me the greatest gifts. She is really so thoughtful. She bought me a dictionary. I know - kind of nerdy, but I really wanted this particular dictionary. It is a Spanish/English picture dictionary. I checked one out from the library a while back and absolutely loved "reading" it. I'm excited to have one of my own now. She also got me BYU shirts since I've been talking about how I need to sport BYU pride in Vermont, and she bought me a new bag for school - which was very much needed. She is the perfect gift giver. 

Then the Smith family surprised me by bringing by a "birthday cantaloupe" - which is the first time I've gotten a cantaloupe for my birthday. The whole gang showed up and sang to me, lit the candles (which were actually matches) and allowed me to make a wish. It was so great, and they are so thoughtful for coming over.

The next day when I got to work (I took the 17th and 18th off) my coworkers had decorated my office. There were streamers and confetti everywhere. It was a little excessive, but it was great to see how much they cared. 

Turning 26 was amazing. I really loved everything about it. And I can tell that 26 is going to be the best year for me so far!

Packing

We've been packing quite a bit lately, and last night Caitlin was having a good time reminiscing about her childhood when her and Lindsey would put plastic hangers on their heads and pretend they worked in a veterinary office. The hanger was their headset and they would play with their stuffed animals. The headset would "beep", Caitlin would answer, and talk to a concerned pet owner about the state of their creature. She was always empathetic and made sure that the animals were well taken care of.

Since she couldn't play veterinary office alone, I played along. Although I don't have any experience answering a plastic hanger headset, Caitlin was sure to put me on hold whenever she felt necessary. It was a little ridiculous, but helped us break up the dauntless task of packing and moving everything out of our apartment.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Are You Ready?



The Olympics start tomorrow. Caitlin and I are so excited to see them. Unfortunately we put our tv in storage already. Looks like we'll be spying through our neighbors windows in order to catch a glimpse at the action.

Are you ready for the Olympics to start?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Restaurant Hopping

Have you ever been restaurant hopping? The concept is simple. You go to one restaurant for drinks/appetizer, a second for the main course, and a third for dessert. When our chain suggested we do this we were super excited. We went straight from work to Outback to try the Bloomin' Onion. Caitlin had never tried one and I hadn't had one since high school so we thought it would be a good choice. 
We also got flavored lemonades. Mine was pomegranate and Caitlin had strawberry. The drinks were better than the onion (although it was tasty as well). But we forgot about the delicious bread they give you - so we had two loaves (they're tiny) of that as well. After eating the majority of a bloomin' onion and the bread we were stuffed. We felt sick thinking about having a main course so we decided to go get dessert instead. 

We went to this cute little dessert shop in Orem. It is a house turned restaurant. I got a triple berry pie (Caitlin doesn't like cooked fruit so I try to eat it whenever I get the chance) and Caitlin got a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. The dessert was AMAZING! We would for sure recommend this place to anyone who wants to satisfy their sweet tooth. 

And it has a super cool ambiance. Check out the sweet mirrors on the wall! And the cool leopard print chair and sweet window! Yeah, we really liked that place. 


The next day we used my birthday coupon at Red Robin and decided to count that as our main course and cross this chain off the list. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Family Pictures

While we were visiting family in Brigham City, one of Caitlin's cousins took family pictures for us. It was a lot of fun having our pictures taken and being able to be with the whole family. 

We like how this one turned out of the two of us. We especially love the color of the doors behind us.

Here is the entire family. It was so much fun taking pictures all together and we love how this one turned out!

New Section of the Library

Every good countdown also includes a good book, so Caitlin and I went to check out the children's section of the Provo City Library this past week. We picked four books: Harold and the Purple Crayon; I Have to Go!; For You Are a Kenyan Child;  and The Cow that was the Best Moo-ther. 

As you can tell, we really enjoyed reading to one another. Caitlin had never read Harold and the Purple Crayon, which is one of my favorite children's books so that one went first, followed by I Have to Go! Which is basically a book about peeing/holding it when you're in the car. 

Caitlin got really animated as she read about Kenya. She had a difficult time pronouncing all the Swahili words, and we wondered how any American children would be able to read a book with such a complex set of words. But we really liked it and will keep Kenya on our bucket list of countries to visit.

The Cow book was about a beautiful baby contest, only the cow that was in the book only had a baby chicken to enter into the contest with all the other cows. She didn't win (her chick was not a beautiful cow) but she did win the award for the best Moo-ther. Such a tender story.

Celebrating Independence

Independence Day is normally celebrated with fireworks, barbecues, parades, picnics, and for the Hendricksons, a family reunion! We went up to Bear River City to celebrate the Fourth of July with the Hendrickson clan. Hundreds of them. It was a ton of fun. Amber and Alan came from California and Alex and Brittany came in from Seattle so we were able to see all of Caitlin's siblings, which was a ton of fun. 

We spent the whole week playing games and hanging out with family. We got to see a lot of the Hyde (Caitlin's moms family) family as well during their family reunion and just partying at their houses. 

The night of the 4th we went to a church parking lot to watch the fireworks. We're not really huge into fireworks, but for a few minutes they are a lot of fun to watch. 

Brittany and Alex enjoying the fireworks show.

We sat on a blanket and watched the fireworks.

Justin, Lindsey, and Caitlin taking a break (maybe intermission) during the forever long firework program.

Did you know that the first fireworks were held a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence? A few New England towns have bon fires in celebration of our country's independence. I had to research what they did back in the day so we can keep traditions alive as we move back east. Less than a month until we take off!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vocal Few Concert Tour

video

Last night Caitlin and I went to the Vocal Few living room tour. If you haven't heard about Vocal Few yet, do me a favor and buy their EP on Itunes. It will be the best $4.00 that you'll ever spend on Itunes. For real. I'll just wait here while you jet over to Itunes and make your purchase. 


Ok - now that you have their EP and are probably listening to it as you read, I'll continue with our news about the concert. 
It was AMAZING!
We loved the show sooo much! Matt and Kristie MacDonald are the artists and they are extremely talented. You can read their bio here. All of their songs have great lyrics, harmonies, and vocals. I love them because their songs are all duets and they always talk about meaningful things - but not in a weird way, but in a way that you would like to make a cool design with their words on them. Caitlin loves them because they're good musicians and because they give her the desire to practice the guitar/piano so that we can play music together. 

Anyway... the living room tour was exactly how it sounds. We went to someone's home with around 50 other people and watched them perform an hour long set of their songs (and a few covers). They sound amazing live (which you can see in the short video clip I posted above) and were super friendly. 

Here is a family picture of them in Salt Lake (stolen from their Facebook page).
 
We didn't stay long after the show, even though it would've been awesome to meet them, we didn't feel like waiting in line with 50 other people to get 5 minutes with the band. Maybe next year they'll do a tour to the east coast and we can see them again. 

Really, this is one of the best times we've had since being in Utah. I would highly recommend going to their tour. If you live in Arizona, California, Oregon, or Washington - make sure you don't miss their tour. They'll be there later this month! Seriously, our new favorite band.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ikea

What do I love about Sweden? IKEA! 
Actually, I don't know a lot about Sweden. We have Swedish Fish, Swedish massages, and Abba - but other than that, IKEA is what I associate with Sweden. Caitlin and I love going to IKEA and shopping. Unfortunately, the last time we went (part of our chain) we didn't buy anything. Since we are moving in a month, we don't really need any furniture or decorations. But we did have a fun time looking around and dreaming of the day when we can buy anything we want to decorate a home.

I don't really know what this tunnel could be used for in our home - maybe a doorway between our kids room. Wouldn't that be so much fun?

We found a lot of cool artwork that would look good in a large home (including the bridge in the background of this picture) and we really want to include maps in our decorating. IKEA has a huge world map that we would really love to hang up - but at $149 it just wasn't very practical. But maybe one day we'll have enough money (and space) to hang a VERY large map in our home.

Breaking In & Washing the Car

This past weekend Caitlin and I accidentally locked ourselves out of our apartment. Good thing we were extremely resourceful and daring cause we had to break into a second story window! 

It would've been really easy to just call our landlord and get a key, but it was 7:00 on a Saturday morning and we had no way to get to our landlords house so they would've had to bring the key to us. It was much more simple to break in the window. 
It was a little terrifying to jump from the balcony headfirst into the window, but Caitlin really enjoyed watching from below and snapping pictures. 



After we finally got our keys out of the apartment we went to the gym and then washed our car. It was much needed and was one of our chain link tasks. 

Notice how we now have Utah license plates on our car. :( It's weird that everyone in Vermont will think we're from Utah - but maybe that'll give us some missionary opportunities. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rainbow Cupcakes

Have you ever seen rainbow cakes? Well thanks to Pinterest, Caitlin and I learned all about these bad boys and decided we should try making them. They are actually really easy to make. You add 12 ounces of Sprite to a box of vanilla cake mix and separate it evenly into 6 bowls. 
You then dye each bowl of cake batter a different color. We used gel coloring since we wanted really vibrant colors. 

Then you scoop it a spoonful at a time into your cupcake tins. You put the colors right on top of one another. The upper left hand corner was what they all looked like when we finished scooping the batter. Then you bake them and they look like this: 

Of course I stole this picture from Ourbestbites.com. We didn't use their recipe, but we forgot to take pictures of them after we finished baking them. They were so good that we had to devour them right away! They are really sticky cupcakes when you just use the Sprite, but we think they will be perfect to make with our primary class the next time we have a party.



Colorful Date

Our countdown this week included buying coloring books and coloring in them. I wanted a "boy" coloring book, and Caitlin wanted a "girl" one. She got Strawberry Shortcake and I got a Marvel comic book one. I'm a crayon colorer and Caitlin likes colored pencils. We spent probably a good 30 minutes coloring and were really please with the results of our pictures, can't you tell by Caitlin's excited expression?

Caitlin colored a picture of Strawberry Shortcake and some Plum girl. I did Cyclops (my favorite X-Men character when I was younger). We are much better at this style of art than we were when we tried to water color

Getting our Pageant On

Last weekend we went to Manti, Utah to watch the Mormon Miracle Pageant at the temple. I had never been to a pageant before so I didn't really know what to expect. It started at 9:30 p.m. which was extremely late for us, especially since the pageant is about 2 hours long. But we really enjoyed being outside and getting to see the LDS history (and Book of Mormon history) displayed in a unique way.
There are hundreds of people who participate in the pageant who play Nephites, Lamanites, and LDS pioneers. None of the actors talk, but the show is narrated. Even though, it would be a bit difficult to follow if you didn't already know the story of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon plot.

Caitlin had been to Manti before, but I had never seen the temple. It was absolutely gorgeous - and HUGE! I couldn't believe how huge the temple was, especially since it is in the middle of nowhere. Literally. Manti is about an hour and a half southeast of Provo and there is not a whole lot surrounding the area. Lots of farms. We actually got to visit one of Caitlin's old roommates, Kayna, who lives with her husband in Ephriam (an even smaller town outside of Manti). They live/work on a farm there. 


We got to the pageant about an hour early to get good seats (it wasn't too difficult - there were actually tons of seats set up) so we played around with the camera on my phone for a while while we waited. 
We were fascinated by the color of the sky. It was actually pretty dark when we took these pictures, but my phone made it look bright blue outside. 


After watching the pageant (although it was a good show) I'm not sure if I'm a pageant type of person. I enjoyed watching it, but I'm not dying to see another one. Although, if I'm in Palmyra or Nauvoo during a pageant I would for sure attend - but I wouldn't plan my vacation around one. 

Jake & Ashley Cannon

On Saturday two of our good friends here in Provo got married. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony. I served my mission with both Jake and Ashley and was so happy to see them tie the knot. Jake's dad married them and Ashley's grandpa walked her down the aisle. She was a beautiful bride. They looked so happy together too!

Since I didn't really know a lot of people at the wedding, we hung out with Maureen and Joe Brandon, one of the senior couples from my mission. They were really close with Ashley in Houston and they loved Jake as well.

We stayed at the wedding/reception for nearly three hours but since we had to finish up stuff for the night we missed the cake cutting/first dance type stuff. We did get to watch some of the guests dance though and that was a lot of fun. They also had some of the best wedding foods there. We didn't get root beer floats (not big soda fans) but we loved the cookies and other treats they had there.

We're actually pretty sad to be leaving Provo since Ashley and Jake are our favorite married friends. Maybe we can convince them to come to Vermont to visit. :)

Their cake was beautiful so Caitlin had to pose next to it before we left.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Macey's Ice Cream Cones

You scream, I scream, we all scream for MACEY'S ICE CREAM!!!
  
Since living in Provo Devin and I had to scope out all of the ice cream places around town and find a favorite one (since that is our favorite dessert of course), and we most definitley did find a cheap and very delicious place to go! 


Shockingly it is actually just the ice cream cones sold at our local grocery store, Macey's, just in their food court. It's a great deal for us because we can get 2 smalls for exactly $1. So we crave this ice cream quite a bit so I decided that I would make it one of the things on our count down...why not force us to go get an ice cream cone, because we have to do everything our countdown chain tells us :)

Well, we finally got to that part of our chain and we were able to enjoy this delicious ice cream cone before we went to watch the Hunger Games in the cheap theater! What a great way to start a fun evening!