Wednesday, December 31, 2014


We drove to Gilbert, dropped Tommy off at my friend Kristi's house (she was kind enough to babysit him), and then went to the Gilbert temple (my first time!) to do baptisms for the dead. My mom even brought family names so it was extra special.

 After my siblings and I were done, we went outside to wait for my parents who were going to participate in a sealing. We entertained ourselves by making up life stories for the people we observed outside the temple. We saw at least 5 couples getting married! I loved watching them with their families and loved ones. Everyone was so joyful and beautiful.
13. I am grateful that families can be together forever. Because of temples and the sealing power, we can live with our families for eternity as long as we are righteous. This knowledge brings me so much peace and happiness.

After picking Thomas up and eating at Culver's, we continued on to Snowflake. This is my Grandma K's house. We love her and Grandpa Gordon so much.

On the one run I did in Snowflake I made sure to run by the Snowflake temple. The waterfall was pretty much frozen. It looked awesome!

My siblings and I got to go on a shopping spree with Grandma and then we ate at Papa John's and watched Unbroken. Yes, these pictures look super blurry and it's because my dad couldn't really see what he was doing because of the bright sunlight. But let's just say this is exactly the look he was trying to achieve.

After our shopping trip, we had to have a fashion show for Grammy. Fiona picked out both of these shirts by the way.

 This is when Grandma, Fiona, and I went through all of Grandma's jewelry. We polished everything, organized it, and picked out the pieces we wanted to keep. Grandma told us stories that went along with each piece of jewelry. There were some eccentric earrings as you can see.

I got some adorable little fish earrings that Grandpa Gordon bought for Grandma K. When he gave them to her, he told her that they swam all the way to Madeira for her. Isn't that cute? (They were on their mission in Madeira at the time). Now I have them to remind me of my grandparents.

This is my favorite decoration in my Grandma's house. The pussy willows are cut straight from her garden. They look simply lovely in that gorgeous vase.

Tommy was not happy when we had to say goodbye.
It was wonderful to visit Grandma K and our relatives in Snowflake. We got to see Grandpa Dany, Uncle Troy and Aunt Jennifer, and our cousins and second cousins. The beautiful baby in the photo is Elyse Marie, one of my second cousins. She's such a sweet little girl and I think her name is just beautiful. I didn't get any other pictures, but we also got to see Dallas, Kellen, Brayden, and Adalyn. Fun kids, all of them! Tommy had a blast playing with them.

Grandma K stood outside and blew kisses to us until we were out of sight.
Funny story: Grandma K told Tommy that when she asked him, "What time is it?," the proper response was, "Cuddle time!!" instead of the actual time of day. Well, Tommy came up with his own thing and Grandma liked it just as much. When she would ask, "Tommy, what time is it?," he would enthusiastically respond, "Huggle time!!" and go give her a bear hug. I guess "huggle" is a combination of the words "hug" and "cuddle" and "huddle." Who knows. Point is, kids are adorable.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Thought for Christmas Day

Today on my run I went by a golf course. On my way home an elderly man called out to me and asked me if I could hand him his golf ball. It had gone over the fence and he couldn't reach it. So of course I stopped and picked it up and handed it to him through the fence. He thanked me profusely and called me an angel and said I had made his day. He was so heartfelt and kind! I was overwhelmed by his expression of gratitude and appreciation for such a simple act.
I wished him a Merry Christmas, continued running, and thought about how good that felt.
12. I am grateful for kind people. That man was so nice! Sure, he was happy that I had happened along so that he could get his golf ball. But honestly, he did way more for me than I did for him. He made MY day. I couldn't stop smiling for awhile after that little experience. I want to remember this and show more appreciation for acts of service as well as working on being more willing to help people out. That's what Christ would do. It's very fitting to receive that gentle reminder today on Christmas :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

Things I forgot to mention that have happened this break and things that happened today:
  • Diego broke his collarbone so we've all been helping him since there are certain things that are difficult for him to do. So yesterday, for the first time ever, I shaved a boy's face. Quite the nail-biting experience, let me tell ya. I wanted him to look and feel good when I was done. I did not want him to be angry with me for nicking him and causing him to bleed and I also didn't want to leave him with a scraggly chin. Despite some scary moments, it was a success. Apparently Fiona did a better job though, so I guess I'm not cut out to be a barber. 
  • I read As Always, Dave by Jack Weyland. Well, I reread it. It's a great book. I highly recommend it. 
  • I got a haircut! I love growing my hair out super long and then getting 5 or 6 inches chopped off. Then I get to experience the feeling of having short hair (because it's so much shortER), but it's still pretty long. So I get the best of both worlds. I love long hair, but it's a hassle to take care of it when it gets too long.
  • We watched Gone with the Wind. It's four hours long! Even Diego stayed the whole time so you know it's gotta be good. I need to finish reading that book. The movie really got me riled up. If a movie adaptation of a book can stir up that strong of emotions, then the book must be pretty dang good. I hate Scarlett O'Hara and she's the main character. But it's probably because she reminds me of the bad in me. In fact, I can relate to all of the characters in the movie since they each highlighted certain characteristics that everyone has within themselves. And I won't ruin it for you, but suffice it to say that the ending leaves much to be desired. But I will read it nonetheless. And I'll dream up a better ending.
  • I ran the 12 mile power line run out at Picacho with my high school coach and some former teammates. A great way to start the day, that's for sure. 
  • I went shopping with my little sister. Definitely one of our favorite things to do together. I love trying on things that I would never prom dresses and platform shoes and hideous fuzzy sweaters and so's so fun. Fiona has become quite the fashionista. I definitely value her opinion on clothing styles these days. 

  • My dad got a text from a lady in Josh's mission. She had my brother Josh and his companion over for dinner and even sent us a picture of him! That was so kind of her. And we get to Skype him tomorrow!! :D

    • We had pozole and tostadas for dinner. (Those words look so weird spelled out!) It was absolutely delicious!

    •  We went to Smucker's park. We've created lots of memories there. It's funny how things are never exactly how you remember them from the memories stored in your mind as a younger, smaller person. For example, this swing was not as thrilling to me this time around. Yet Tommy was really scared by it. He had to be holding on to someone or something to feel secure. Crazy, but that's how it goes.(That's a line from a song, I just know it.) Anyway, things change. And speaking of change... 

    These are my parents the year they got married, 1993.
    Aren't they adorable?

    And these are my wonderful parents in 2014.
    Still gorgeous as ever.
    They are the best parents ever. I have learned from them how a home should be. They aren't perfect so I learned from them what not to do as well as what I should do. But they did a marvelous job and I love them so, so much.

    • We Tim Tam Slammed. This was my Christmas present to my family so we had to wait till tonight, Christmas Eve, to do it. When I first got home, I raved about it so much that they became skeptical about the whole thing. They didn't think dunking cookies in hot chocolate would live up to me talking it up so extravagantly. But they had a change of heart. It was heavenly. Mmmmmmmmmmm is all I have to say about the experience. New family tradition, for sure. 

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    Christmas break is here!

    11. I am grateful for Christmas. I love this time of year so, so much. Hot chocolate with whipped cream, twinkle lights, festive decorations, and being with people I love. Christmas break is the best break because finals are over and I don't have to think unless I want to.
    I'm sitting here feeling pretty overwhelmed with all I could write about right now. A lot has happened since my last post. I really should blog more often so I don't have so much to catch up on. But I've never been very diligent at this sort of thing. I'll do better in the future.
    Oh, random side note: I had an appointment with the dentist today and guess what...NO CAVITIES! I tend to have at least one cavity when I go to the dentist. Not because I don't brush my teeth, but because I love to eat sweet things. It's a problem really. But one of my New Year's resolutions for 2014 was to floss every night before brushing my teeth and going to bed. And I did it. I was diligent at flossing (That's how I got started on this tangent.) and it paid off. So yeah, pretty exciting. This next year I should make some better resolutions. Like about being more charitable or studying the scriptures or going to the temple. You know, things that actually pertain to my eternal salvation.

    Anyway, here are a few of the pictures I've collected so far:

         My roommate sent me this. It made me laugh, but hey, I think it's a great perspective.
    Thomas, rocking PJs and a Santa hat.

     Just something I got at church that made me ponder. I'm glad I went to Young Women's with Fiona because I do not feel old enough to belong in Relief Society in my home ward. Plus we got cupcakes.

     So much love.

    AZ sunsets are the best.

     I seriously love looking at the sky. It is magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful. It reminds me to be grateful to my Heavenly Father for all of His marvelous creations.

     My mom made a gazillion conchas for the Spanish branch. I think I ate a million before they made it out of our house. My mom is so generous.

    Me, Josh, and Diego (check at those chubby cheeks!)
    I love these boys so much. They are such great examples to me. Josh is on a mission and gets home this summer. Woohoo! I am so glad I grew up sandwiched between two brothers. They are hilarious and fun and they tease me incessantly. I wouldn't have it any other way. 
    (Fun fact: Diego and I used to get asked if we were twins when we were younger.)

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    Flashback to Thanksgiving break

    Thinking back to when I was home, I realize I can add so many things to my gratitude list. I could honestly write pages and pages. But I'm going to try to keep it short and sweet.

    6. I am grateful for FAMILY. My family is seriously the best. I love them so much. We are all crazy, but it's okay because we are stuck with each other for eternity and have so much fun together. I didn't get a pic with my parents, but here are my cute siblings (minus my older brother, Josh, who is on a mission and gets back next summer!) 
    That's Diego throwing up the ASU pitchforks. Fiona, Tommy, and I are in the front. Oh and that tiny dog I'm holding is our new puppy, Pippin.

    7. Birthdays! Birthdays are so fun. Especially when they are for your six-year old brother. We had a party and my mom invited some of his friends from school and church. It was a blast. Not to mention exhausting. Kids + party + sugar + bouncy house + puppy = absolute madness. 
    Tommy, the birthday boy himself.
    At one point Fiona and I were in the bouncy house with a ton of kids and we got them started singing "Let it Go" from Frozen. It was fantastic. I don't know why that song resonates so well with little kids, but they know every word and we were all singing our hearts out while jumping around and bumping into each other. Good times. 
    Another great moment was when we were all gathered around the table and Tommy was sitting there in front of his cupcakes and candles, and I stopped to take a picture and yelled, "ready, one, two, three..." I meant ready as in get ready to take a picture, but right when I said "three," the kids broke into song. So yeah, I unintentionally jumped the gun and got them started singing the Happy Birthday song. It all worked out though.  

    8. Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general. Holidays mean I get to go home and be with my family. They mean decorations and good food and music and fun. I'm all about the holiday season. This Thanksgiving we pigged out on food that we all pitched in to make. My mom was the main contributor to the feast because she is AMAZING. Homemade rolls, a wide variety of pies and cheesecakes, turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn and sparkling cider. I love it all. Then we went to the movies. My mom and dad watched Interstellar which I still haven't seen and I watched Big Hero 6 with Tommy and Fiona. We thoroughly enjoyed it. 

    9. I am grateful for crafts. I love making things with my own two hands. It gives me a way to release my inner creativity (yeah, right...usually I just copy something cool that someone else came up with.) While I was home I took pictures of some of my masterpieces. They make great gifts and home decor as you can tell.
    Fiona uses this Rapunzel tower to house her earrings.

    I just stole this image from Pinterest probably.

    And the ceramic piece to the right I made in college my freshman year as my mom's Mother's Day gift. Now it's on the windowsill in our kitchen so she can remember how much I love her as she washes dishes. Hopefully that helps make such an awful chore bearable.

    10. My sister, Fiona. I know I already said family. But each one of my family members deserves to be on this list as an individual. I'll get to them all eventually, promise. Fiona is a remarkable human being. I hope she knows how much I love her and that she, along with my beautiful mother, is my very best friend. I can talk to her about anything and everything. I love to hear about her successes. She is so talented and such a hard worker. I look forward to hearing about her continued career in volleyball which is one of her biggest passions. She is gorgeous, inside and out. We had our own mini photo shoot when I was home. Thomas was our main photographer so you know we got some great pictures. 

    And there's the little cutie pie giving me a smooch while still keeping his eyes on the camera. He's hilarious.

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Temple Friday

    And the list continues!
    4. I am grateful for temples. It's so nice that there's one in Provo. After being in the temple, we felt renewed and refreshed (and not just because our hair is wet). The peace and serenity that is present in the House of the Lord is just wonderful.
    Here's me and Maria!

    Which leads me to #5!
    5. I am grateful for friends. Or as Anne from Anne of Green Gables would say, "kindred spirits." Maria is definitely one of those :) She is super fun and genuinely amazing! 

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

    Gratitude Journal

    I've always wanted to start a gratitude journal, but I never have...until yesterday! I was on my solo morning run and was thinking out loud* about all that I have to be grateful for and I realized there are SO many things to be grateful for! I felt so blessed and so happy just thinking about it all so I decided to write it down. Because, you know what, writing things down helps you in so many ways. You put your thoughts down on paper which makes you excited because you are actually DOING something with all those thoughts swirling around in your head and then you have a physical record of those thoughts AND THEN flash forward a couple months or years and eventually you stumble upon that physical record (e.g. journal) and can feel those same feelings of excitement and gratitude and happiness all over again!! It's wonderful. This is why I love writing. And reading.

    All of the above not only explains my decision to begin a gratitude journal, but also my decision to start my own blog. It's not something I ever imagined myself doing in a million years. But really, the same principles apply...only digitally! Now I can keep a record of my thoughts, pictures, and experiences online. I'm pretty pumped!

    *side note: I try to run where there aren't many people around, but if anyone does happen to see me, I'm sure they think I'm absolutely crazy. When I say "thinking out loud," I mean it. I literally talk to myself and my Heavenly Father as I run. That's one of the (many, MANY, MANY) reasons I love to run. It provides me with so much time to ponder things and communicate with God.

    ...So what am I grateful for??
    Here's the beginning of my gratitude journal: I am grateful for..................
    1. RUNNING. Shocker, I know. But really, it is such a spectacular thing. It makes me happy and provides time for me to meditate and pray to my Heavenly Father (as aforementioned). It helps me take care of my body and stay in shape and feel good about myself. It gives me an opportunity to meet new people and make lasting friendships (my running buddies/teammates are stellar!). It has helped me learn so many life lessons like setting goals and working hard to achieve them, being patient through injury, giving my very best effort and putting my whole heart into the things I love, and so much more.
    2. My Savior and older brother, Jesus Christ. He atoned for my sins and helps me become better than I could ever be on my own. He helps me accomplish my goals and recognize my blessings.
    3. This beautiful world. It is magnificent. On the morning that inspired this whole gratitude journal fun, I was especially grateful for the nice, cool morning, the beautiful mountains, and trees! Nature is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. (Another reason I love to run - I get to enjoy nature!)

    That's all for now, but I will continue to blog about things I am grateful for by adding to my list.