Good Morning [NYC]


Today is beautiful so we are going into the city for the afternoon.  On days like this, I want to sing and dance the following song as I go out into the city, except Eva would probably scold me saying, “NO SINGING!” like she did a minute ago when I played this music video:

Have a good Monday!


4th of July Video

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Memorial Day Weekend

Before I start telling you about our weekend, I want to share a little video of what Memorial Day is all about.

“It is well to set aside a day in their honor to reflect on the cost of the freedoms we enjoy.”
Thank you to all those who have put their lives on the line for us, for our country, and for our beliefs.


Memorial Day Weekend started off with lots of rain, which was kind of disappointing. We just walked around the mall Friday night while there was a HUGE storm. Eva learned the phrase, “A big storm’s coming.” And now whenever she sees ANY clouds she says that. It’s pretty funny, but is getting quite repetitive.

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On Saturday, we had a slow morning and eventually went into the city right around Eva’s nap time. I convinced myself it would be okay, but it was not. She was a major grump the rest of the afternoon and was very strong-willed, to say the least. Also, as soon as we finished at the playground at Madison Square, “A big storm’s coming,” as Eva would say. Yeah. It POURED on us. We had umbrellas and a stroller cover, but our feet and pants got soaked. We were going to go to an AIGA graphic design exhibit nearby, but once we got there, we realized it wasn’t open on Saturdays. Really? So dumb. So we headed down in the pouring rain to The Container Store. I love that place so much. I just got a couple of small plastic containers for Eva’s toys, but it sure made me happy.

On Sunday, we had a different day than usual. I had a cousin come in town for work and since we rarely see family, especially these guys, we went into the city to meet up with them for lunch. Afterwards, we took their youngest to the park while they went to see a show. Later I took my little cousin back to nap at the hotel, Trump Tower on Central Park West. Wow… I never wanted to leave. Such an awesome hotel. Very swanky.

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When my cousins got back from the show, we walked through Central Park together and caught up some more. It was so nice having some family in town!

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On Monday, we couldn’t have asked for better Summer weather! Our friends who have a pool at their apartment building invited us over to swim. The water was heated so it was actually pleasurable to be in the water early in the season! There’s a huge wading area, so we got to relax while Eva splashed in the pool. So much fun! I can’t wait for more summer days!

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To end the weekend, I scored a new shirt at the Loft for six bucks while Eva napped. And then we had Family Home Evening at the park, with a little picnic. What a great weekend! Of course, now we’ve had clouds and strange weather for the rest of the week, but it’ll be the weekend before we know it!Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 10.03.44 PM


What makes you HAPPY?

I’ve been reading, and rereading, The Happiness Project for more than a year now. I’ve read it a couple of times and just really like the motivation it continually gives me. Plus, it gives me a lot to think about and makes for good conversation with T.J.

One of my favorite parts talks about how we should figure out what makes us most happy in our spare time and do those things. And then cut out the extra stuff when possible. Simple enough, right? But you’d be surprised when you think about it a lot. How are we spending our time? If I have extra time, money, and a babysitter, what do I do? What should I really be doing to maximize my everyday happiness?

I instantly thought about eating out. FOOD. I love food, my hips don’t lie! But then I dug deeper. I’m just as happy eating from a taco truck as I am at a fine restaurant in NYC. In fact, I’m happier eating at a taco truck because it doesn’t cost as much money and I don’t feel so full at the end of the night. I also like trying new things, but often times feel overwhelmed in NYC because there are SO many choices. We end up going to the same places over and over. So, to maximize my happiness, I need to do a little work beforehand to find a casual, yet new spot that is good on the budget and doesn’t have a heavy menu.

There are a couple other things that I thoroughly enjoy and feel like I’m happy when I’m doing (other than the obvious churchy/family stuff… no judging, okay?).

  • Bargain shopping, I love getting great deals! I can’t remember when I bought something at the mall for full price. Just today, I was walking around the mall and found my favorite sweater from this past Winter on sale for $4! Soooo, I bought three more in all different colors because IT IS MY FAVORITE SWEATER SO WHY THE HECK NOT? And then I had a 20% off coupon on top of that! Next Winter is going to be awesome.
  • Seeing a great movie. I say great because movies out here are about $15 a ticket and so we don’t see them often, but when we do, it’s got to be a good one and we always enjoy it!
  • Exploring. Sometimes I’m reluctant to go explore in the city, but after an outing, I’m always SO happy I went out and had fun! Sometimes it seems like it’s a lot of work, for example, it took about an hour to get to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, but I’m so glad I went because it was a new adventure, a fun memory with Eva, and a great FREE activity!
  • Going along with that, just being outside. After such a horrible Winter, I’m really trying to take advantage of every warm day outside! In Jersey, it tends to be overcast quite often so I think, oh it’s a gross day, can’t go out. But then I make myself take Eva out to the park anyway and it turns out we have a wonderful time! If it’s not raining, it doesn’t matter what it looks like! Being outside and enjoying all of the nature (though there’s not as much out here in the city) makes me happy!
  • Finally, going to concerts and Broadway shows. When we were at Piano Guys, I literally cried out of happiness. I’m ridiculous. But I just enjoyed the concert so much. And then when we’ve seen Broadway shows, I can’t stop thinking about it for days! Those are my MOST favorite dates! And fortunately, my husband loves it just as much as me so we get on these happiness highs together. So, after seeing Piano Guys, we decided we would start saving up to see more shows and concerts because we’re in New York and need to do it right! We just saw Les Mis… Matilda, Newsies, and Rocky are on our list for the next couple of months!

So, what makes you happy? Are you doing those things? Sometimes the things that make us the happiest in our spare time take a lot of effort or money, but it really can be worth it. It’s easy to fall in a rut, be lazy, or make excuses, but I when we figure out those activities we enjoy the most and start doing them… it makes all the difference in our overall happiness!

And since we are talking about things that make us happy, this video falls into that category! Such a cute proposal!

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A Quarter of a Century with The Piano Guys

Growing up, my Birthday was always a HUGE deal. Well, to me it was, I mean. My parents also always made sure we had a fun day. Either we had a birthday party with friends, or went somewhere special as a family.

Fast forward to about three years ago when I was graduating from BYU, having a birthday, and realized a birthday just marked another year that blew by and I’m officially getting old. In the scheme of things, I’m still so young, I know! But if there’s one thing I know for certain is that the days can be long, but the years are SO SHORT! I wrote the date, “2004” on a check a month ago, for goodness sake! I’m not a freshman in high school anymore… I’m a mom in New Jersey!

Anyway, that was a meaningless rant. This year for my birthday, I hadn’t planned anything special or made any requests for the day, but then I came across the concert schedule for The Piano Guys and saw they were in NYC on my actual birthday. Well, T.J. bought us tickets (I thought they were sold out so that was a fun surprise) and we made a fun night out of it by having dinner next door at The Brooklyn Diner.

The Piano Guys were absolutely INCREDIBLE. I’ve always been a fan of theirs on YouTube, but seeing them in perfect was so fun! The music was beautiful, I cried about a dozen times out of excitement, and laughed at all of their corny Mormon jokes. It was fun to have a bit of the Mormon culture out here for a night!

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So many friends and family wished me a Happy Birthday and sent fun packages/gifts. I really appreciate it, you all. I love you guys so much!

Here’s a sweet video from the Piano Guys:



What to do, what to do?

So, here’s the deal. We have to let our leasing company know if we are resigning our lease for another year by April 1. And I can’t decide what to do. I know none of you care, but I thought maybe writing a post about it will help me clear my head and perhaps seeing it in writing will help.

Please enjoy this video to prepare you for my intense pro/con list:

The pros of renewing our lease:

  • No hassle of moving
  • We love the location
  • We’re safe
  • It’s clean and renovated
  • Laundry in building
  • Elevator
  • Mall, grocery, Target all nearby
  • Close to the train
  • Close to parks
  • We feel comfortable and feel at home now.

The cons of living here another year:

  • Rent and utilities are expensive
  • Rent is going up an extra $75
  • Only one bedroom
  • Too expensive to have a car

The pros of moving:

  • Cheaper rent
  • Bigger apartment
  • Could get a car
  • T.J. could have a shorter commute

The cons of moving:

  • Such a hassle to find a new place and actually move
  • New apartment might require us to have a car, which is a major expense.
  • Have to get used to the new area and try to settle in again
  • T.J. could have a longer commute

The pros of having a car:

  • Can get anywhere we want
  • Can visit family in the East
  • Convenient

The cons of having a car:

  • A car payment
  • Have to drive it across the country to wherever we move next
  • Parking, traffic, paying for insurance, gas, and tolls
  • Probably gain weight from not walking everywhere (I know that sounds silly, but it’s a serious con)

So, there you have it. All of that is going on in my head, so I’m about to lose it! If you have any tips or would like to tell me what YOU would do… PLEASE SHARE! On top of that, we also need to sign up for insurance by the end of the month. Which brings me to my final Office quote that parallels to my life:

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Hump Day Update

    • This week is going so fast. I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday… awesome!
    • It’s supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny on Saturday! I’ve got to think of something fun for us to do in the city so we can take advantage of the warmth! Maybe we’ll go to a splashpad… haha just kidding. After months of crazy weather, 50 really does feel like summer.
    • Have you guys been watching Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show this week? We love Jimmy SO much and are so excited for this new change, even though it’s pretty much the same as his old show… still neat. Seeing his show live here in NYC is on my bucket list before we move. Last night Jerry Seinfeld was on and it was HILARIOUS. You’ve got to watch it below!
    • After 7 straight days of Eva not napping, today she FINALLY took a nap. She’s been asleep for almost two hours… sweet bliss! Let’s hope this breaks the no-nap cycle! Eva is not ready to transition to no-nap/quiet time. She is high strung (wonder where she got that? 🙂 ) and needs the nap still to get through the day or else she has a major breakdown at night.
    • Another Eva note… for the past two days she has eaten SO much. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s awesome. It’s not like she’s eating more than a toddler should, but considering it’s a constant battle to get that girl to eat a normal meal or more than a couple bites of anything, this is a big deal! I’ve been praising her nonstop since she’s gotten this big appetite and doesn’t fight me at meal time. Who knows what’s going on but I hope it stays! I was actually worried she would throw up because she’s not used to eating so much at meals, but she hasn’t had problems yet!
    • Sometimes I watch those olympians and just think how it’s crazy what the human body is capable of. Isn’t it amazing? They have so much dedication and motivation – it’s inspiring. I teared up when Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal in ice dancing because they’re so incredible! Ahh… I’ve just loved the olympics this year!


Carry On

Warning, this post might make me sound like I’m in high school.


Last March, I was visiting my parents in Kentucky and driving on a long windy road home from my mom’s school. I was by myself, which as a mom, rarely happens. So, I turned up my music really loud. The song Carry On, by Fun came on my shuffle and boy, did it hit a chord with me. (I know, it’s a really popular song and so please feel free to skip this post because it’s nothing you’ve never heard before.)

Last March, well… really, last Winter and Spring was difficult for me. I have never been through so much struggle and stress in my life. T.J. was never home because he was crazy busy at school and I was left to myself to worry about our future. So, when that song Carry On came on, I lost it. The words seriously spoke to me (I told you, this makes me sound like I’m 15 years old). But I bet everyone has a song that has spoken to them at one time or another.

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone.
Carry on.
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

Carry on, carry on

I vividly remember that drive. That song made me think things would be okay. I wasn’t sure of where we were going but we would get there and we would be okay.

Well, flash forward to now… Almost a year later. I was at the gym, looking over Jersey City. Music blasting through my head phones. Carry On came on my shuffle again. Guys, I started crying! There was only one other person in the gym, so fortunately I didn’t look like a crazy person. But I just couldn’t get that memory out of my head from last year. And now. Here we are. Everything worked out. We are where we are supposed to be.

‘Cause here we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
Sun will come
We will find our way home



“Where was your God that day?”

I posted this video on Facebook last week, but I keep thinking about it, especially the part where the mother of Emily, one of the 20 people killed last year at Sandy Hook, explains how God can let something so horrible happen, a question that I often struggle with when I see such awful things happening around the world and in others’ lives.

“People ask ‘where was your God when this happened’? ‘Why didn’t he stop it?’ God allowed others to kill His son. He allows for all of us to make our own choices – good and bad – because that’s the only way good can be in us is if we freely choose it over all else. Evil didn’t win that day, we will carry that love like she had. It’s quiet, it’s not on the news, it takes effort to find. But what I’ve realized through all of this is how strong and how big God’s love really is.”

This mother, who has suffered such pain that I can’t even imagine after losing her little girl, explains a question that most people have asked at one point or another. Where was God? How could he let this happen? We all have agency-the ability to choose between good and evil. But when horrible things happen, or maybe just a series of things happen that just add up to tear us down, we have to choose. We can let it destroy us, or we can learn and grow from the situation and continue to love when all else fails.

This Christmas season, my goal is to remember Jesus Christ, the meaning of the season. It all started in a humble manger, but it ended as a sacrifice for all of us, so that we can choose to do good in this world amidst all of the evil. God gave us the best gift of all for Christmas, and I hope we can all remember that this season.

Please share this video with others on social media. I think everyone can benefit from listening to the mother’s powerful words and story.


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In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

I’ve read a couple of blog posts and Facebook statuses recently about people getting annoyed with the November gratitude lists. I almost found myself joining in with their negativity. But then I started thinking more about holidays and what they really mean. Aren’t all holidays, in essence, just days set apart to help us remember that we have been given so much? So, shame on me for momentarily judging. The lists are such a great way to celebrate the Thanksgiving season and to remember all of the blessings our God has given to each of us. I’ll be writing up mine soon in a blog post!

“We should thank God for our adversities and pray for guidance in meeting them. Through that attitude and through our faith and obedience, we will realize the promises God has given us. It is all part of the plan.”