Meet Ashbo, Eva’s Fish (aka the animal in the humidifier)

I was going through my Instagram and I realized I forgot to post this little story on my blog.

A month or so ago, Eva woke up coughing and I bought her a humidifier (I wrote about that a while back…). After filling up the tank, Eva was crying and so I was trying to do anything to get her to settle down since I knew the tears would make her cold worse. Nothing worked, so I told her to come look at the humidifier. The next part went sort of like this:

Me: Eva, come look at the humidifier.
Eva: (Still crying)
Me: Look… what does it look like? Does it look like a fish tank…?
Eva: (Starting to calm down and acting curious)
Me: (Then my mind just led one thing to another and I started telling a little white lie…) Yeah… Eva… it’s a fish tank! Maybe you should look in there and you might see a fish!
Eva: (Running over and getting excited)
Me: You know… a fish… yeah… an ANIMAL! There’s an ANIMAL in here… COME LOOK!

There you have it. I felt so bad because for about a whole week, Eva would try so hard to look for the fish in the tank. Then she started calling it Ashbo. I have no idea where that came from but she STILL talks about Ashbo to this day.



Lately-grams from Jersey

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I was glad my stroller tires have a good tread on them when I had to walk home from church in the snow.

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Eva’s little nativity!

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I’m trying out new hairdos on Eva..

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Babysitting Swap

My friend Ashley in our ward who lives very close has a six month old. Two weeks ago, I watched Brooks for the afternoon on Tuesday when she ran errands in the city. Then on Wednesday, Ashley watched the kids while I went to the temple. Eva and I picked up Brooks from her apartment and then walked back to our place where I put both kids down for a nap. I was expecting it to be horrible and so hard, but of course both kids were angels and went down without crying and slept for hours. I made Ashley remind me how newborns don’t sleep well through the night to get rid of my VERY mild baby hunger. 🙂 It did the trick.

Anyway, it was really nice how it worked out. We both got a much-needed day out and the kids acted well on both days. I’m hoping we can do this more often since it’s hard to get out much in the winter with kids.

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Grateful Heart

This past week, I got a cold and then inevitably gave it to Eva. She woke up Sunday morning with a cough that sounded croup-like and it made us worried. As you may remember, Eva was in the hospital back in February for a night because of RSV and Croup and so I get overly nervous when she gets any type of cough or has trouble breathing. We got rid of our old humidifier in the move because it was very cheap and barely worked, so I knew I needed a new one. I got all bundled up early Sunday morning to make my little trek to the grocery store.

On my way there, I was thinking how I really missed our Elantra. I wished so badly I could just jump in the car and run over to the grocery really quickly. But no… I had to walk five blocks to the grocery. Oh, the horror. But then on the walk, I saw a couple homeless people sleeping between bushes and the back side of the Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They had made a little fort out of cardboard and had just slept outside in the cold, as they probably do every night.

That is one sight that instantly puts me back in me place and makes me realize how good I have it. There are homeless people everywhere out here. Not a day goes by anymore without seeing someone in that situation. I even recognize a couple of them because of how often I see them.

I don’t really have much more to say. I just wanted to make it known that I am grateful for my life. I do complain about stuff going on, like having to walk a couple blocks in the cold. And sometimes I am ungrateful for all the many blessings I have because it’s just easy to focus on the negative. But I am sorry about that. Because I have so much. So much.

Happy Monday and hope you can join with me to be extra grateful this week!

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart


Halloween 2013

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, maybe I’m just growing up or maybe it’s because we aren’t close to family? But I wasn’t as excited for Halloween this year. Usually it’s one of my favorite holidays. I love baking Halloween sugar cookies and pumpkin bread, but I just wasn’t in the mood. It’s also a lot of work, so maybe that’s it. I’m just lazier than I used to be. I need to kick it in gear before Christmas though because holidays aren’t as much fun when you’re lazy and lame. Ha!

That being said, we still had a good Halloween. I just didn’t feel like dressing up much or carving a pumpkin. But I enjoyed watching Eva get dressed up and seeing T.J. carve that great pumpkin of his!

We also didn’t throw a Halloween party like in the past three years. Most of my friends’ husbands work in the city until late everyday and so trying to find a time to host a party at our place just didn’t seem worth it. But we went to our ward Halloween party last Saturday, and I must say… I was VERY impressed. Since last year I helped to put our Ward party together, I know how much stress and hard work goes into planning a ward party. But tons of people helped out, there were activities for the primary and nursery half of the time so us adults got to have a little break from our children (that was an awesome idea), and it was a HUGE turnout. Way to go Jersey City!

Other highlights from this Halloween… I took Eva to the mall yesterday for trick-or-treating. I wasn’t sure if we’d be the only ones there or what the situation would be. But the later it got, the CRAZIER and more packed the mall was! It was really fun actually, but I’m glad we got there early before they ran out of candy. There were so many kids and families in adorable costumes, it was really fun to people watch.

We also saw a fight in the mall between a woman and a man who might have been drunk and looked pretttttty sketchy. I was genuinely concerned about my safety… in the world we live in… who knew what could have happened and seeing that fight got me really nervous one of them would pull out a gun! But the fight dissolved and then the woman ran after the guy through the mall screaming in slurred words, “I need POLICE! POLICE! POLICE!” It was crazy!

I tried to teach Eva how to say, “Trick-or-treat!” But she only said the OR TREAT part. I know it’s because it was hard to say, but I thought it was pretty funny and fitting. She’s asked me for a treat over and over since we got back from the mall.

Last night, I was going to take Eva trick-or-treating through our building but there were so many kids that it was a little overwhelming for Eva who did not nap yesterday (the mall trick-or-treating was during nap time and I couldn’t turn it down!). But we had chili together as a family and then danced to the Halloween pandora station.

As soon as I put Eva to bed and while T.J. was napping, I took down all of the Halloween decorations, even the pumpkin nightlight. I kind of felt like the Halloween Grinch when taking the nightlight out of the plug and putting everything away while everyone was sleeping in our home. But I couldn’t look at those Halloween decorations any longer that had cluttered my kitchen table and counter space all month long! Wow… I really am turning into the grinch!

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

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Goals for the Week


I’ve been quite a Debby-Downer since I came back from Kentucky. It mostly stems around the fact that Eva doesn’t like to sit in her stroller anymore, making life so much harder. That leads to me being in a bad mood and then complaining about everything in my life. But the fact is, life actually is good. We are healthy, my husband has a good job, we are living in an exciting area (a place I prayed we’d get to move to), our apartment could be a lot crappier, our ward is friendly, and I’ve got a good friend to do things with now.

So, last night I decided to make some goals, like I did back in the early summer when I was having a hard time. Making and accomplishing goals always cheers me up as I have something to work towards everyday.

  1. Kneel in prayer every morning and night. I’ve been getting lazier recently.
  2. STUDY my scriptures everyday-not just browse through a chapter.
  3. Hold FHE on Monday where we listen to a conference talk.
  4. Don’t spend money (NO EXCEPTIONS!) for 5 days! More on this later… and don’t worry, Mom, we have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to make this work.
  5. Open my Etsy shop by Friday! I haven’t talked about this at all on here (which is surprising), but something exciting is coming to Silver Linings! It might be a collaboration with my friend Rachel if we can figure it out… she lives in CA though, so it’s difficult.

There you have it! It’s going to be a good week!

A Pedicure and a Hurt Ego

One day this week, Eva was quite a handful so as soon as T.J. got home, I went to the mall. We walk through the mall almost every day, since it’s the way you get to the train and to the river path. So, to take up time (I didn’t want to go back until Eva was asleep), I got a pedicure! Turns out they are way cheaper out here… who would have thought? Milk is $4.00, rent feels like it’s million dollars, but a pedicure is close to $20.

But along with the pedicure, I also got a lot of one-liners that sounded a lot like put-downs. I actually had quite a laugh and didn’t get offended. But I had to share what the lady said to me while I was there:

  • Wow, you need a manicure too… they REALLY need it.
    • Oh, I shouldn’t spend the money, but thank you…
  • You’re trying to SAVE money?
  • Your feet need a LOT of work.
  • [Your feet] are in very bad shape.
  • The bottom of your feet are very rough.
  • Do you cut the bottom of your toes?
    • No, they just got beat up wearing sandals all summer…
  • It is very weird.

Thanks, lady. She told me my feet needed a lot of work about ten times. I hadn’t had a pedicure for over a year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t taken care of them! Anyway, I thought it was too funny not to share.

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Oh, and sidebar… this was the first nail salon I’ve been to that had Essie colors. Awesome! I picked a grayish purple and am obsessed.

Jersey Life: Apartment Tour

Well, I’m finally letting you have a tour of our apartment. It’s a humble size, but for the greater NYC area… quite a find, I have to say! My favorite parts of the apartment are the wooden floors, our view of the city with the Empire State Building lit up at night, and the new countertops. We still have decorating we want to do, but we can’t do it all at once.

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The little hallway to Eva’s bedroom.

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Our kitchen. To get to our cabinets, I usually have to get on a chair.

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The kitchenette area

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Our view of the city… the picture doesn’t do it justice because I cropped it so much (you can still see the Empire State Building). I don’t want any crazy stalker to find my blog, figure out where we live from the photo, and then come murder us.

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Our bed is in the living room. Oh… to have a bedroom… how nice that would be.

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Our new couch!

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Our walk-in closet stuffed to the brim. Seriously, the storage on the sides go up to the ceiling. I also put in an extra tension rod below T.J.’s clothes for Eva’s clothes.Photo Sep 12, 12 52 40 PM

Changing station

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The futon in Eva’s room.

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Reading corner

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Eva’s crib

Not shown: Our bathroom( which currently needs a good cleaning so I’m not going to show it to you) and our entryway closet (filled entirely with storage).

So, there you have it. Our little Jersey City apartment. T.J. and I always talk about how when we move out of here, it’s going to feel like a mansion. But until then, we’re trying to make the most of this little Jersey life of ours!

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Summer Flashback

I can’t believe that summer is coming to an end. Part of me feels like we didn’t do a thing, but I think that’s because it wasn’t our typical summer at Seven Peaks and going on hikes in the mountains. But as much as I have obviously missed my Utah summer and a visit to Kentucky, we actually did do a lot and I feel like I’m okay with moving on to Fall.

We spent May going to BBQs, saying bye to friends, hanging out with the little kiddos, and just soaking up those last few days all together as an extended family.


End of May, we moved out to NYC, had our first night in the city on our anniversary, and spent the first couple weeks in a hotel. We depleted our savings while we desperately searched for a place to live, but finally found a nice apartment in Jersey City, NJ.


In June, we started to explore the city, went to Coney Island, had dinners on the Hudson, spent our days at the park and splash pad, and went to DC to visit my sister and her family.


July we went on vacation with my family to Chincoteague Island, had my parents stay with us for a couple of days, did more exploring, and grew together as a little family.


Finally, August. The weather cooled down, so we spent the days at Hamilton Park and splash pad again, made a step towards adulthood by buying a used TV, explored more fun sights in NYC, had visits from Hannah and Kendra, watched the Bachelorette finale with friends, and went to a couple ward activities.


When I map it all out like that… holy cow, we really did have a great summer. But most of all, we made NJ our home. I don’t know if you remember, but the day before we moved out here, I had a quote from The Office:

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.”

This summer, we made this crazy place our home and boy, does it feel good!

Oh yea, one last thing I did this summer was watch the finale of The Office and I’m still crying over it.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Usually when I’m on walks, I use the time to count my blessings because it’s finally a moment away from the media, entertaining Eva, or doing work. It feels good to get unplugged from the world every once in a while. And goodness knows I need that. It won’t come as a shock to you to hear that I love social media.

Well, today as I was pushing Eva, I was thinking of things that I’m thankful for here in Jersey (skyline above) and started looking around for ideas. Upon leaving the parking lot of Target, I saw a dead, smashed rat that I almost walked on last week (thank goodness Hannah warned me in time). And don’t confuse this gross rat with the dead mouse TJ ran over with the stroller last night. Two separate creatures, two horrifying sites. Anyway, the smashed rat kind of halted my blessings list and made me start thinking about the bad things out here. But then I came up with a little game in my head. For every bad thing, I tried to think of the bright side. The silver lining. Horray… the title of my blog is finally applicable!

No car. More exercise, lose weight, save money.

Our bed in the living room. Get to watch TV in bed… every kid’s dream.

Living in a city instead of suburb. H&M is within 100 steps of my door, and thousands of other incredible places to see are close-by.

Take the subway everywhere. See lots of interesting people, very humbling.

Very humid. Don’t have to do my hair, because the humidity would ruin it anyway.

Always smells like curry in our building. Maybe one day one of my Indian neighbors will teach me how to make authentic curry.

Roaches under sink. At least they’re not mice.

$3.25 to do a load of laundry. Not doing as much laundry anymore.

Rent costs a fortune and I want to cry each month as the money vanishes into thin air. At least it’s going to a mortgage… WAIT… no, it’s not. There’s no bright side to this one.

I haven’t been able to think of a silver lining to seeing a dead mouse and a dead rat either.  Let me know if you can.