Monday, December 31, 2007

Bearly There

I don't have all our Christmas pics uploaded yet, so the actual obligatory Holiday Post is still waiting in the wings. In the meantime, I thought I'd post these pictures and take a quick stroll down memory lane...

When I was a little kid, we used to visit the Christmas Village in downtown Ogden each year. Noah was kind enough to endure my need to reconnect with my 4-year-old self, and we stopped by the Village while we were downtown on Christmas Eve. It's basically a mock-up of Ogden's companies and buildings with a Christmas theme, and Santa is in a house in the middle of it all. (Tell me that's not a sweeter memory than standing in line at the mall...) Despite all the work that goes into recreating each business in the area and the mechanical elves putting on a very convincing display inside, my favorite part of the Village was always THIS guy.

My Dad took my picture in front of this bear when I was probably two or three, and from that point henceforth I just assumed he belonged to me. (A bit territorial, yeah. But I was the middle child, and ownership opportunities were few and far between. You took what you could get.) So it was sort of bittersweet this year to find the bear in this half-lit existence, I think he's seen better years. I think I'll start a "Save Allison's Bear" fund.

I also wanted to add this one with the younger siblings in tow - mainly because I loved the giant Collin on the right. Don't get me wrong, he's a tall kid. But I don't think he could swallow Megan WHOLE as this picture may have you believe.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays

In lieu of a cute picture and a run-down of the year's events, please enjoy...

The Rileys

Monday, December 17, 2007

Five Golden Rings

I'd always kind of wondered about the 5th day's gift in the beloved (although bordering on obnoxiously long...) Holiday tune, The 12 Days of Christmas. Most of us, if lucky, receive one (maybe two, if it's a set) golden ring from our true love in our lifetime. So why five? A little excessive perhaps?

No. The MoTab Christmas Concert yesterday helped shed a little light on the five golden rings situation. The rings were meant to APOLOGIZE for all the BIRDS. Am I the last human on the planet to realize how many of the 12 Days gifts were winged creatures?! Count 'em down...

Seven Swans a Swimming.
Six Geese a Laying.
Four Calling Birds.
Three French Hens.
Two Turtle Doves.
+ And that Partridge in the Pear Tree.
TWENTY-THREE Feathered Friends.

I had never paid so much attention to the list of gifts before yesterday. But the performers' rendition of the song laid it out pretty plainly. After the first few gifts I sat there thinking, "hmm... more birds. And more birds. And MORE birds."

By the time last group of swans a swam onto the stage, I started getting really nervous for the object of the true love's affection. More than nervous. I was checking for symptoms of avian flu.

I hope on the 13th day of Christmas, her true love sent over old newspapers, 17 pounds of birdseed and forbade her from ever watching any Hitchcock films.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Sometimes living 20 miles from your parents and only six blocks from the artist formerly known as the Delta Center really has its perks. Because if your dad happens to score sweet-as tickets to Jazz/Lakers game, who do the 'rents invite?! That's right. And when your little brother has to work that night, then who do they call? That's right. I've never been so happy that Collin has resigned himself to a life (at least, his pre-high school graduation life) of saving swimmers at the local pool. Because my dad is hip. And the tickets were sweet.

Noah and I had a great time with my parents, and for the most part, I stayed pretty focused on the game. I did, however, get a little distracted by the great people-watching opportunity. Among my list of people watching finds... Elder Perry and Robert DeBry. Successful crowd sifting, non?

During the game, I couldn't help getting a little reminiscent of going to games with my dad (pictured above) when I was a kid and taking binoculars so I could see the court. Which, coincidentally, usually aided in said people watching activity even way back when. People watching with binoculars?! Disturbing. I didn't realize I was such a weirdo until just now.

And a photo of the evening's "big deal" for good measure. Noah and I agreed - we expected him to be taller. Also, if you squint - Elder Perry is in the background. An even "bigger deal" in my book. And I am always pleasantly surprised by how tall he is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I enjoy reading the news (Noah, you're scoffing, I can sense it... Noah is a much more devout news devourer, and conversations usually end with me looking uber-uninformed). I'll admit, I don't read religiously. But my job is fairly news-oriented and when I'm looking for clients' coverage, I am always really interested (read: distracted) by the other newsworthy topics of the day.

But I have a problem. I cannot NOT read the comments section after stories. I can't help it. It is a scratch that MUST be itched. I'm sure I can blame it on that same slice of the human psyche that can't resist watching a trainwreck ... because wow. A trainwreck indeed.

Seriously, who ARE these people?! (Surely, not the type of people who take the time to rant about ranters on their blogs. Hypocritical irony noted. Guilty.) No matter what the story, no matter the topic, these comment trains inevitably crash toward an, "Oh yeah, utgrams968?! Bring it!" conclusion and are littered with shoddy arguments and angry half-truths along the way. Who knew "Britain's Prince Harry and Girlfriend Split" could spark such heated debates?

The best part of these comments is the fact that there is SO much poor grammar and spelling on this planet. These comments would have me believe that 80% of the world's newspaper readers are, in fact, illiterate. Trust me, cheerGRL17*, there is no quicker way to debunk your argument than a sentence that reads like this...

"Over all, you jokers that support there views are rediculous!! Stop trying to force you're Morales on everyone!!!!!"**

I particularly enjoy the excessive use of punctuation. Does anyone else have the same unhealthy obsession?

*Screen names that are used to protect the innocent have been changed to protect the innocent.
**I did not see this ACTUAL sentence. It is a combination of a few of my top picks. "Morales" was especially a favorite.

Dear Snow,

Thanks for finally showing up. I find you 11 times more pleasant than the ugly gray and bare trees we've been enduring for the past few weeks. Plus, it feels a lot more natural to listen to the all-day every-day Christmas radio stations Noah preset in the car with you around.

Fair warning: it probably won't be long before I'm cursing your very existence. Don't take it personally. It's not your fault we don't have a garage. You also didn't force us to purchase a vehicle with rear-wheel drive.

Welcome back! It's good to see you.


Friday, November 9, 2007


I just had to add this late addition... what a cutie. Laine's not bad either.

We're just a few days behind schedule reporting our Halloween activities. But this year's Halloween was a fun (and photographed) one, making it excellent fodder for a post.

We kicked off the whole season with more than our fair share of caramel apple making. Most of which was spearheaded by yours truly, so rest assured, this is not a complaint. Three cheers for the Riley family orchard... I so married into the right agrarian scene.

We also got our spooky artsy fix with an evening at Odyssey Dance Company's Thriller with the Millets. It was a lot sweeter when we were students and snagged tickets for a measly $5 each. Even still, this is such a rad performance. All those creepy girls who can pop their arms out of socket and hang them listlessly over their heads... those are the moments you wish your parents had opted for dance and socket-popping lessons over the boring old violin and piano.

This year, I was so excited to have a primary (albeit very small) of trick-or-treaters around. But because we weren't going to be in Salt Lake for the actual occassion, Noah and I decided to trick-or-treat our primary kids instead. We went as just-came-from-our-evening-workout. It wasn't a difficult ensemble to pull together, we just went straight from our evening workouts. Not creative. A little frightening. It was so much fun! We have some of the sweetest little kids in our neighborhood, and it was fun to catch them off guard on October 30. They didn't even see it coming.

On Halloween, we headed to Herriman to visit that Riley bunch. We took the chicken and the zebra out to get the goods for the eventual sugar-induced coma. Laine was so funny about it. She practiced "trick or treat" at each door, until somebody finally answered, at which point she promptly froze. Her momentary pause was inevitably disrupted by the family dog making an appearance, which sent Laine into delighted shrieks of "Doggie! Doggie!" and she quit paying attention to the bowl of sugar in front of her. After three or four houses repeating the same drill, she tired of the whole experience and we walked back home. I swear I was never such a distracted and/or apathetic trick-or-treater...

For those of you who are starting to worry a little about the picture, rest assured, I still bleed Aggie Blue. I invested in a little masking tape, face paint, a backcomb and some Aquanet and went as a Zoobie to our office Halloween party - partly because the hairdo alone rates up there with "scariests" in my book. Speaking of scary, who knew my roots were so grown out?! Yeesh. Good thing I don't sport the Utah Valley Girl 'do very often...

Thank You, Smash

So, the blog received a much-needed and much-desired facelift at the hands of my sweet sister and her wicked good talents. Thank you, Smashley!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Lost & Found

Lost: (1) pair, men's underpants, white.
(1) Hanes v-neck undershirt, white.

Found: In our laundry. So, if you washed your wardrobe in the Marmalade laundromat at roughly 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and you're now missing your skivvies, you can find them in the dumpster at said Marmalade.

How does that happen?! I prefer not to think about it...

To quote my dear Claire on her response to Ay Carumba, "ah, apartment living."

Last Leg

Sorry if you're getting tripped out (read: tired of the pictures already!), but these last few pictures were some of my very favorites from the whole trip. We spent the last two days in Palymra, NY where the leaves had turned since our first drive through the area. The morning we left, we were able to attend the temple and visit the Sacred Grove, it was the perfect way to end the trip. Below are two of my favorite pictures from the path to the Grove.

I thought these trees were so neat - I love that each one is a different color.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Legitimate New Enlgand Portion of the Trip...

For the second half of the week, we enjoyed beautiful Vermont. We spent the first evening at the Inn at Baldwin Creek - incredible. It came highly recommended, and we're passing along the recommendation. If you go, try the Autumn Lasagna and stay in the Tree House.

The Inn.

The view from our room.

We were also able to spend a few days with my cousin and her sweet family. They were such great hosts, and really went out of their way to show us all Vermont had to offer...

Middlebury, VT

The Allreds' Front Porch

Allison, Noah, Taylor, Ethan, Weston, Creepy Juggling Guy, Jen, Ben in Burlington, VT. I'm pretty sure when we were kids we used to smile in the background of people's pictures - so I should be fair and not call him creepy. Then again, we weren't 27.

I couldn't bring myself to crop this photo, because I loved the whole scene. But squint in close to the screen to see Westy TOTALLY getting into Fall. Love it.


The next stop on our trip was Schenectady, NY. Three points to anyone who can pronounce this town BEFORE being laughed at and corrected by the Canadian Border Patrol.

The church across the street from our B&B.

Union College campus.

This was the street we stayed on and I thought the town was so quaint... and then we actually drove around. I don't think we'll be relocating to Schenectady anytime soon.

The drive from New York to Vermont was unbelievable! It was literally like watching Fall happen. I couldn't believe how FAR we drove in the thick of trees after trees... it was like Sardine Canyon on steroids.

It was somewhere around this point of trip that I LOST my make-up. Blast. So prepare for Allison au naturale. Fortunately, we were in Vermont - and my no-makeupness didn't really set me a part from the crowd.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blame Canada

To celebrate the Rileys turning one, we headed to beautiful New England and joined the leaf-peeper ranks. (I know what you're thinking, Canada is NOT New England. Gettin' there...). It was a great trip! This was really the reason I wanted a fall wedding - the fall anniversary.

Like most adventures, ours started on the airplane. Where the MOMENT we hit cruising altitude, the person in front of me on each flight would inevitably crank their seat back and leave it in its non-upright position for the duration of the flight. What is WITH me and my luck in this arena? The seat cranking was followed closely by the captain's announcement detailing in full the delicious breakfast being served on the other side of the first class curtain. Like it would have been so impossible to just tell the eight people within earshot?

We flew into Rochester, where Noah and I had our first conversation about getting around. It went a lot like this...

Me: So, you Mapquested the directions to the hotel?
Noah: No.
Me: For reals, you didn't?
Noah: Yeah.

Not a big deal, after an unsettled glance from the Enterprise guy, we eventually made it to Niagara Falls, where we had our first conversation about accommodations.

Me: So, where are we staying?
Noah: In Canada.
Me: For reals, we are?
Noah: Yeah.

And it's a GOOD THING. Canada is so much more hip than the United States. They have their side of the falls thing DOWN. We saw the Falls, got drenched on the Maid of the Mist (which, from Noah's priceless grin, you can tell he enjoyed immensely more than I), and met a sweet couple celebrating their 50th anniversary - they had honeymooned there and come back every year since. So sweet.

Also, to commemorate Noah's first visit to Canada, we took a picture with a "real" Canadian Mounty. Which I kept confusing with "bounty hunters." Tell me, what's not to confuse about the two?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Established 2006

That's right. Noah and I will no longer describe our marriage in terms of months. It's hard to believe it was a whole year ago that this was going on....

and this adorable guy was born...

**Not OURS.

and Elder Christopher Riley was headed out for the two-year gig...

and this house went from old to hole to frame to new...

ALL at the same time. What a crazy week! I think my coping mechanisms really kicked in in the form of amnesia - because a few months later, while we were bouncing around from one place to another over Christmas Break, I exclaimed to Noah, "Man, I can't imagine trying to have a wedding right now! Aren't you so glad we aren't trying to fit a wedding into this break?!" To which he replied, "Yeah. Totally. We picked a much better week." Touche.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Show Me a True-Blooded Aggie

It would appear Noah and I have not existed in October. Quite the contrary - but sorry for the lack of posting.

A few weeks ago, we headed up to the spot where the sagebrush grows to stand in the rain and watch the Aggies lose. Fortunately, the soggy slaughter was sandwiched between lunch with old ASUSU/Ambassador/SAA colleagues and dessert with the Thatchers. And we watched the game with our favorite SLC Aggies - the Millets (pictured below). So aside from the heartwrenching loss (they really had me believing for a while they might seal the deal) and the guy next to Noah who reeked of meat (not pictured below) it was a great time.

I also had one of those "weird, this isn't my scene anymore" moments... like when you walk through a high school for the first time after graduating. My adorable little sister is now on the SAA board, so she and her roomie came with Noah and me to the SAA tailgate before the game. As we walked through the parking lot holding our coats over our heads as makeshift umbrellas, I saw an old acquaintance of mine and Noah's. He waved, so naturally I waved back ... just as he stepped forward and threw his arm around Megan. It was sort of a jolt to realize I was now the observer, no longer the participant.

And another Aggie football game picture (better weather, longer hair, same score ... ) from last year.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ay Carumba.

I woke up yesterday morning, and while Noah left to go help a family move a dresser (I love that about him) I was looking forward to spending a cozy morning inside while the rain drizzled outside the kitchen window. It was the kind of morning where you curl up with a mug of hot apple cider and a good book... only I didn't have any cider and I was reading the latest blog activity. Either way, I was enjoying a quiet morning inside, when ... what the mariachi music? And to add insult to mariachi, a loud, robust whistle (not necessarily on key) chimed in.

The drawback of living in an apartment with neighbors on all sides is the near-impossibility of determing from where the sound is coming. Further adding to my madness was the fact it seemed to be coming from above my head, and last time I checked, we live on the top floor. Finally, I determined it may be coming from below us. But what gives? These folks have been quiet up until now. Perhaps this is to punish me for doing kickboxing in my living room for the past few months.

Okay, truce. No more TurboKick at unholy hours and no more fiestas on otherwise peaceful Saturday mornings.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cannonball & A Broken Vase

For my birthday - and/or to make recompense for skipping town on the actual anniversary of my birth - Noah took me to the Damien Rice concert in Orem. It was a great show, he sounds AMAZING live! The "Cannonball" track on one of our mixes is pretty much worn out thanks to my over-extensive playing, so naturally I was holding my breath waiting for him to play it. He did not. Then he came back out for the obligatory encore (I think maybe encores are losing their charm) and still - nothing. Finally, as the very last piece, he gave us what we were all waiting for. Damien, you tease, you.

Before the concert, we had time for a little birthday shopping, so I picked up few sweaters (LOVE fall!) and a vase to go in the bathroom - because THIS one decided to protest the small counter space it was allotted and threw itself to its death earlier that morning.

Noah wasn't as torn up about the loss as I was - apparently he wasn't so attached to a vase that came with flowers from an old high school flame.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gone Country

Well, Noah and I are already enjoying the perks of client relations and big cities (-er, bigger than Logan). The agency that represents SelectHealth kindly hosted us at the Keith Urban concert the other night. And after a tasty trip for Thai we headed over to the Energy Solutions Arena (ugh, I've conformed. I actually just called it that) where the stellar acoustics helped level the playing field between those who knew all the words and those of us who didn't (which is probably good, because I have a sneaking suspicion the back-up vocals guy doesn't actually speak English anyway).

There we are (sans hats, boots and belt-bling requisite any good country concert-goer, we're such posers) - and Keith is the background, I swear. That's what I love about concert pictures, we could be standing in our front room for all you know. If it looks like I had a 3:00 appointment with some kid at a flagpole, that's because Noah totally checked me in the eye during his rambunctious participation in the wave. I have a staunch no-wave policy, and apparently Noah wanted to show me what a good time one might have when participating in said wave. But I don't think an elbow to the eye is quite the conversion ploy he thought it might be.

All in all, we had a great time. Keith put on a great show, and there isn't a lady around who can resist that accent.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Safe at Home

Anyone who shares my sister's in-laws' fear of all that is west of State Street may find this post's title a little amusing.

When I found this quote, I loved it - it really seems to sum us up. Well, the first sentence, at least :). Noah and I are always game for an adventure, I think it's what really drew us to one another in the first place (that and my side hugs and cold shoulder). But right now, I kind of feel like we're in the "safe at home" stage. It's really not a complaint, and I hesitate to make the observation because we really are so blessed, it's almost hard to grasp sometimes. We have an amazing little life on 6th North and life is so good. But sometimes I pine for a job opportunity in Phuket, or a shopping spree in the black markets of Shanghai (that's half my wardrobe - and I hate paying full price for anything, so I don't know how we expect to dress our future kids otherwise!), or agitating pigeons in St. Mark's square while sporting a long jacket and Jackie O's.

But until then - we're soaking up every bit of adventure Salt Lake can dish out, and loving every minute of it. We're also enjoying the great company of amazing family and friends we have nearby. Thanks for visiting our blog, we're excited to keep you posted on all the zigs and zags of this adventure we call life.