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Santa Flashback

Two flashback posts in one day? #sorrynotsorry

2016

Santa at church (Finn is 1 and Eva is 5)

2015

Santa at church with two kids (Finn is a newborn and Eva’s 4)

2014

Santa at the Plaza Hotel (Eva’s 3)

2013

Santa at Macy’s Santaland in NYC (Eva’s 2)

2012

Santa in Cincinnati with cousins (Eva’s 1)

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Christmas Flashback

You know how I love a good flashback post! Here are videos and photos from Christmas past!

2015

Living in Lehi. Christmas in Utah. Eva’s 4 and Finn is a newborn.

 

2014

Living in Jersey. Christmas in Kentucky. Eva’s 3.

 

2013

Living in Jersey. Christmas in Utah. Eva’s 2.

2012

Living in Provo. Christmas in Kentucky. Eva’s 1.

2011

Living in Provo. Christmas in Utah. Eva’s a newborn.

2010

Living in Provo. Christmas in Kentucky. First married Christmas.

2009

Living in Provo. Christmas in Kentucky. Almost engaged to TJ (he came out to KY for Christmas then proposed in Jan).

2008

Living in Provo. Christmas in Kentucky. About to meet TJ in January.

It’s so fun to see how it’s all changed. Bittersweet.

Dear Freshman Katie

It’s that time of year. Kids are going back to school. A new set of kids are heading to BYU to start their journey as a cougar. It’s almost been a decade since you started. 9 freaking years. Insane. Now that I have the bigger picture, I’m going to give you some words of wisdom. Your bff Danica has done blog posts like this in the past and they’ve been awesome. Don’t worry, you’ll meet her in a year. Give her a chance, for goodness sake… take out your headphones and talk to her at work!

Numero uno. Don’t get a boyfriend. Yup. I said it. It’ll be a complete waste of your time and efforts. I’m not saying don’t go on dates. Oh yeah. Go on tons of dates. That’s what BYU is best for. Cheesy, corny, scavenger-hunt, typical dates. Go on those. Have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously or think you’re too cool. Go on double dates, group dates, dates to the creamery, dates to the bowling alley on campus. But don’t get a serious boyfriend. Just don’t. And while we’re at it. There’s a curfew for a reason. You signed the honor code, so learn that lesson early and follow it. You’re 18 and think you know so much but you’re dumb.

Number two. Go to as many on campus activities, devotionals, and games as possible! The all-sports pass is your best friend. Do you need to do this sophomore year? No. But freshman year? Yes. It will help you fall in love with your school. Become a real cougar. It will help you meet people, develop true friendships, and make incredible memories. You will get to see a college student wear a pumpkin on his head for an entire football game. You will get to see Jimmer make so many 3-pointers (okay, not your freshman year but I promise it will happen). You will get to see the prophet speak on just a regular Tuesday morning. You will get to hear Mark Zuckerburg and Condaleeza Rice speak. You will get to dance your heart out at homecoming in 80s clothes. So get out and get out often! You did pretty well with this, so I’m not too concerned here.

Three. Don’t be weird with your roommates. And I say weird because I really don’t know what other word to use. Yes, it’s hard to live with five other girls. Yes, it’s also hard to be in classes with them and go to church with them. Realize you don’t have to best friends with them but you can still be their friends. Talk nicely to them, don’t talk behind their backs, if there’s some problem going on, find a cordial way to deal with it or you know what, just suck it up. It will pass. They’re all great girls and you’re not that easy to live with anyway, so just be nice. Oh and don’t write passive aggressive notes to roommates asking them to clean up or do their dishes. That’s SO obnoxious and I’m extremely embarrassed that you might even consider doing that.

Four. School… listen to what your brother says, first of all, and do not take American Heritage yet. It’s too hard for you. You don’t really know how to study yet, gosh… you haven’t even found your spot in the library yet! Plus, you’re going to be out having a great time enjoying being a cougar, remember? So, you don’t need to weighed down your first year by crazy hard classes. Take a light load in a variety of subjects. Going along with this, don’t take any classes before 9. If possible, don’t take any before 10. You will think you can do an 8 AM class because you went to 6 AM seminary all during high school. Yeah, that was because your mom dragged you out of bed every night and you went to bed at a reasonable hour. Things were different then, you didn’t even have a cell phone. You cannot get to a class at 8 AM and you NEVER WILL. I repeat, DO NOT EVER sign up for an 8 am class!

Five. Get an on-campus job. Don’t make it hard on yourself and find one off campus. You will have to take a bus and sit next to sketchy people or trade a ride for a date… yeah… don’t ask. So, just don’t do it. There are TONS of jobs on campus that are great opportunities for you and will start long lasting friendships. Not only will it be good to make a little extra cash, it’ll be good for you to learn how to balance school and work a bit!

I should wrap it up here so I’m just going to give you a couple more pointers for the rest of your time at BYU. Hang out with your brother. You will regret this for the rest of your life if you don’t. Go to conference at the conference center. Buy that red plaid coat. It will still be classy in nine years even though you bought it from Buckle. Hike the Y and hike it again at homecoming when they light it up. Go to as many football and basketball games as possible. There’s nothing so collegiate as singing the fight song on an October night. Don’t dye your hair. Nope. Bad bad idea. Go to the temple and go often. Eat chocolate covered cinnamon gummy bears in the library while studying. They will be your study food. Watch LOST with Hannah Judd, a cute little mexican girl who’s in your freshman ward. Work hard once you get into your major. Don’t keep dating that guy who talks Spanish to his buddy the whole time on your double date. He’s a complete d-bag. While we’re at it, don’t date that other guy who you were smitten with just because he was going to be a doctor. There’s a guy wearing an aeropostle shirt who you’ll meet at a dessert party who you should date though, and don’t worry… his clothing style changes. Go to all your church meetings, do your visiting teaching (those people will become some more of your good friends), and be active in your callings. You’re an adult so start acting like it. But you’re also a college kid so have fun. And last of all. You’re a cougar now and forever so be loyal, strong, and true!

xoxo,

The 2016 Version of You

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Going along with that last post…

Growing up we always listened to tapes in the car, and we had a couple family favorites. There was one in particular we still sing parts from. It’s called Standin’ Tall with Gratitude. I looked it up on Youtube and I found it! It’s pretty long but it was so fun sharing it with Eva today! Of course, the video won’t allow embeds, so just go to YouTube to watch it!

gratitude

To the Homeless Man in Jersey

When we lived in Jersey, we saw homeless people every day. I remember one of the first few days of being in NYC when looking for an apartment, there was a homeless man, laying on the ground while the rain poured on him. He looked so dirty, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever seen. But the sad thing is, you end up seeing so many homeless and needy people every day when living in NYC/Jersey, that you almost become numb to the fact and stop noticing them. It just becomes part of the everyday sights.

But there was one homeless man in Jersey I saw nearly every single day. He had crutches, always was holding the door outside the Newport mall, and generally always had a smile on his face. It started hitting me that I was seeing this man more than my family. He literally saw Eva more than her grandparents saw her. So, I kind of had a change of heart towards him. If I was going to see the same man every single day while I was out walking, I thought I should try and make a small difference in his life. Try and make his day a little better. I rarely gave him money, but I did start carrying extra granola bars or fruit snacks to give to him. Mostly, I tried to just tell him to have a good day, while making eye contact. We never look homeless people in the eyes, have you noticed that? I think it’s because it makes us uncomfortable.

Well, months have passed, we moved away and I’ll never see that man again. I haven’t thought about him really at all since moving. But the other day, I was driving to the grocery store and there was a man asking for money on the corner, a typical sight. I really doubt he was homeless, he’s just a man looking for handouts. Usually out here in Utah, I’m so negative towards these panhandlers. “Come on, go get a real job! There’s a McDonalds RIGHT there!” So, I drove by and didn’t do anything. And I definitely didn’t make eye contact. But when I came out of the grocery store, there he was again on the corner. Suddenly, that homeless man in Jersey City popped into my mind, out of the blue. He taught me that we should be kind to those we come across everyday. We should be sensitive towards those around us. And we should spread God’s love, especially to those in need. I thought to myself, “Look, who cares if this man is not homeless. If he’s in a place where he is on the side of the road asking for money, he definitely isn’t in a great place.” So, I handed him a protein drink I had just bought from the store, smiled and told him to have a good day.

It wasn’t much and I definitely am not saying to give handouts to everyone you see. But I am grateful for the chance I had to serve that man back in Jersey and for the lessons he taught me. When we feel a prompting to do something, to help out in some way, or just smile and look someone in the eyes, we should do so. You never know what impact you can make by just stepping out of your comfort zone a bit.

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

-Acts 10:34