hidden ice cave hike in utah

Brad and I spent Christmas in Salt Lake with my family. It was a perfect weekend- it snowed all  Christmas Eve night and we woke up on Christmas morning to find the earth covered in a blanket of snow. It continued lightly snowing all day long.

Since my siblings are older, we decided to spend the holidays doing fun activities outside. We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon, which was a treat by itself, to go sledding and on a snow hike. Our hike was to Donut Falls, which is a 3.5 mile hike round trip. The views were dazzling and we felt like we were in a winter wonderland. The evergreens looked almost edible like they were coated with globs of vanilla frosting. We followed the barely visible trial to the frozen waterfall and didn’t stop there, we continued to climb right on up. At the top, there was a small cave that had thousands of icicles and a small stream that carried the mountain’s run off water. It was such a fun experience. If you live in the Salt Lake area, I recommend going.

 

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sister sister road trip across the country

When I found out that Mads was moving from Boston to Salt Lake City, I knew that her driving alone was not an option and that this could make for a really fun sister road trip. So I jumped a plane and flew to Boston! It was great because I got to spend time with my Grandma Williams, Aunts Tarryn & Becky, and I also got to see my cute cousins!

Brad provided Mady and me with the best cross-country itinerary:

  • Day 1: Drive from Boston to Palmyra, NY and explore the Hill Cumorah, Sacred Grove and other LDS church history sites. Then drive to Buffalo, NY to stay the night.
  • Day 2: Take a quick 20 min car ride across the Canadian boarder to see Niagara Falls from the Canada side (it is the better side). Then drive 8 hours to Chicago and spend the night there.
  • Day 3: Tour Chicago in the morning, then start the 7.5 hour drive to Omaha / Winter Quarters. Stay night in Omaha.
  • Day 4: Look at Winter Quarters Temple in the morning, then drive to Salt Lake City (12 hour drive).

This is the best itinerary, we think, from Boston to Utah… but Mady and I only followed it for the first two days because we wanted to stop in Iowa to visit our sister Kenzie and her husband.

Drive Highlights:

  • Being stopped by the  Canadian border patrol with a car so full the doors look like they might pop open at any moment. We learned that we fit the profile of drug smugglers: two innocent-looking girls.  For about 20 min, they questioned us while going though our phones and after reading our family text about which is better between almond milk and real milk, they figured we were harmless and let us cross over to Canada. We drove away laughing so hard I thought I might pee my pants.
  • Driving through a HUGE snow storm in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois.
  • Going off random exits to roam slowly through dusty farm towns in rural America.
  • Singing all our favorite country songs at the top of our lungs and then laughing about it afterwards!

I will always cherish this special road trip with my sister. Here is a short video of the highlights from our exploration across the country.

 

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Hello family and friends!

I think it’s safe to say that this has been the best year of both of our lives! We were married in the Salt Lake temple this March and are so grateful we could see many family and friends at our wedding ceremony, as well as at our receptions in Utah and Arizona. Thank you everyone for your kindness, love, and support. We appreciate that and are grateful for you.

In addition to getting married, we’ve also had an eventful rest of the year! We moved into our first apartment together – we live in a small, but cozy and well-decorated apartment in the Crown Point neighborhood of Pacific Beach. We are fortunate to live a short bike ride away from Mission Bay, which we enjoy quite a bit. We’ve also been fortunate to make a lot of good friends in the area and have enjoyed our time in the San Diego 7th Ward so far! We’re currently serving in the Nursery, which has been a great experience!

Another big highlight of the year was when Alexis graduated from college! Alexis finished up at San Diego State University, where she majored in Marketing. All of our parents came in town for that, which was very nice. Keep your eyes open for big things around the corner from Alexis!

Brad has continued working the same job and is now in his final year of the 4-year Research Associate program at Brandes Investment Partners. His exciting news is that he has been accepted into a couple different MBA programs now, which we’re excited about! We won’t know for sure for another month or two where we’ll be going next, but it’s currently looking like it will be Chicago. New York and the Bay Area may also be in the running, but we’ll have to wait to find out for those.

We’ve also been fortunate to go on a few trips this year! We went on our honeymoon, a “second honeymoon,” and various trips to spend time with our family. We’ve also had the pleasure of having all of our immediate family come to visit us in San Diego at some point or another this year, as well as a lot of extended family and other friends. To anyone who hasn’t visited, come visit! To everyone who has, come again!

The final, and most important thing, for us this year is that we’ve come closer as a new family, both to each other and to our Heavenly Father. We love Christmastime for many reasons. The most important of these for us is the opportunity we have to think about our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are incredibly grateful for Him and the many blessings our faith has brought to our lives. We would like to share our testimony of Christ, of the Book of Mormon, which testifies of Him, and of the love God has for us. If anyone is curious and wants to learn more about that, please reach out to us or visit www.mormon.org!

We wish all of our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Alexis and Bradley McMullin

 

 

 

 

 

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Surprise Birthday trip to RiSE Lantern Festival

This is a VERY late post… but better late than never! Brad knew a lantern festival had been on my bucket list and he was sneaky and surprised me for my birthday with tickets to RiSE Lantern Festival, which is in the Mojave Desert.

First, let me tell you that this festival was amazing. If you live on the West Coast and are dying to go to a lantern festival, I would recommend going to RiSE. On the way to the festival, we took a day to explore the Valley of Fire which was 20 minutes east of the festival grounds. For all my Utah friends and family who make the drive to Vegas or California often, the Valley of Fire is only 20 min off the freeway and is a really cool place to check out!!

Here is a little video I made from our experience at RiSE!

 

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our first christmas tree- how to make popcorn garland

We had the most fun time picking out and decorating our first family Christmas tree. We wanted to save some money, so we decided to not buy ornaments and instead string popcorn and cranberries. We both had never done this before, so it was a learning experience and if you follow these tips it is really is quite simple and fun!

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Tips:

  • What you need:
    • Popcorn, cranberries, fishing line and a needle
  • Use stale popcorn or the popcorn will crumble. I popped the corn the night before and left it in the fridge to accelerate the process.
  • Try to only use the harder cranberries because the soft ones are somewhat messy and might stain the popcorn.
  • Have your popcorn garland be no longer than 4- 5 ft. If you do it too long, it can get tangled easily.
  • Always start with a cranberry and end with popcorn.
  • Don’t use burnt popcorn because then your living room will smell like burnt popcorn all month long.

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Note: Clearly we had not strung the popcorn yet lol!

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