Sunday Drive

Our church has been emphasizing the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I have to say, it has been a really good reminder for me. It gets easy to slack off a little on Sundays. When we moved out here, we felt like we were in limbo for a bit since we weren’t in our own Ward or home so we made some excuses on why we could bend the rules a bit. But now we’re back on track and trying harder to go to all of our meetings, get to church on time, and keeping the rest of the day holy and different than the other days of the week. It’s actually been a positive experience and I’ve enjoyed noticing the difference it makes in our home on Sunday.


That being said, this past Sunday we drove through the Alpine Loop and walked around Sundance for a bit. The weather was perfect-it was about 65 degrees up in the canyon and it got me so excited for Fall to come! So, if you’re looking for an activity on Sunday to get out of the house-go on a scenic drive!

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I just had to add this funny photo… we laughed so hard about it. For whatever reason, TJ was holding Eva so strangely, it’s like he had never held her before. And the lady taking the picture said, “Uhhhh are you guys sure you’re camera ready?” We didn’t realize what she was talking about until after we saw the photo! Haha too funny!




I have been trying to plan little FHE activities for our family on Monday evenings because we have gotten out of the routine of holding it in our home. It’s been casual and usually just a fun activity Eva will like and then on our way home, we read a chapter in the Book of Mormon together. It’s better than nothing and I know that our little effort of spending some quality time together as a family really will pay off. I like this talk by President Faust… he gives a lot of good ideas and thoughts about holding FHE in our home. Give it a read.

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Regular participation in family home evening will develop increased personal worth, family unity, love for our fellowmen, and trust in our Father in heaven. It is our promise that great blessings will come to all who conscientiously plan and hold weekly family home evenings.

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The Best Two Years

As you may know, we moved. 2198 miles. It was kind of a big move. And very emotional. But let’s go back a couple months.

It was the end of March and we were about to sign our apartment lease for another year. TJ was offered a full time job with Johnson & Johnson, the company he had been with for two years but as a freelance employee. It was our dream. We had prayed for the whole two years that the hiring freeze at J&J would be over and that they’d bring him on as a “full time” employee, which the only difference was a that it was a salary with benefits job, instead of an hourly wage. Well, the freeze was finally lifted and they really wanted him to stay once his freelance contract was over. He was about to say yes and sign another year for our home, when one of TJ’s old adjunct professors from BYU randomly called him and said he had a full-time senior designer position available in Utah and wanted TJ to take it.

At that point, we were so confused. Several weeks earlier we had looked at the prospect of moving away from the city just because we are expecting another kid and Eva will be in preschool in the fall, but none of the options really worked out and so we decided to stay put. But then this job just kind of fell into TJ’s lap. And when all of the details came through, we knew we had to at least consider the option. The details of the job were right but was the move? And was it right to leave J&J? We toiled back and forth day after day. We both made intense pro/con lists and then weighted the importance of each item. They were intense lists, y’all. There was the whole- we live in NYC which is really cool… do we want to go back to the burbs-attitude? It took a little bit to get over that city pride, but we really did love the city and it was something consider. The lists went on and on… We loved our ward SO much. The diversity of Jersey City. Everything to do in NYC. The simplicity of life. We had just gotten used to Jersey and considered it home. We weren’t ready to say goodbye to that life yet.

So, we went to the temple to help us decide. At the end, we joined each other in a room. As we met on a couch, we just looked at each other. I started crying. (I’m tearing up again just writing it…) We both knew. It was time to move.

The subway ride back to home was an emotional one. We couldn’t believe what was ahead of us and how this had just happened. TJ’s new job would start June 1, meaning we only had about five or six weeks until we were out of there.

We almost just wanted to move a week later because it was hard to draw it out and say goodbyes. But we decided to stop moping (well, try to… I definitely memorialized every last thing and cried if I thought about it too much) and use those next couple weeks to do some fun things! We did the bridge, saw some Broadway shows, ate at a few new restaurants, explored the city, and played hard with friends. Oh, and did the Fallon show which was on my all-time NYC bucket list! I waited until the last week to pack up the apartment because I just wanted to play and soak up every last minute.

But the day came. We said our tearful goodbyes, our apartment was empty, and with a final turn of the key (which TJ insisted we do together), we locked up our little home at The Roosevelt for the last time.

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You know, I always thought I would serve a mission. But I met TJ and got married before that could happen. I didn’t understand why my patriarchal blessing pretty much said YOU WILL GO ON A MISSION IN YOUR YOUTH when I didn’t get to go as planned. I mean, I know those blessings have so many interpretations, but guys… it pretty much lays it right out for me! I told myself I’d be an example to people throughout my life instead, and my blessing probably does mean that too. But when we were moving, I realized we were in Jersey for exactly two years, which is how long a traditional mission is (for a male… but that’s a technicality). We served with the missionaries, had new members and investigators in our home countless times, served in our ward to the primary and young adults, met so many people in our community, and shared pass along cards at Christmas. I may not have served a traditional LDS mission when I was 19 years old. But I will forever look back at my time in Jersey as my best two years, fulfilling some of the promises in my blessing.

We will love you forever, NYC/Jersey! You were so good to us.

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Temple Night

TJ and I hadn’t been to the Manhattan Temple together before and we finally got to go a few weeks back! I am so grateful for my marriage to TJ, that he understands the importance of going to the temple, and for our church that provides a place for us to get away from the noisy world (especially in NYC) and draw closer to our Savior for a couple of hours.

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Curious about these LDS temples that keep popping up around the world? Watch these videos.

Blessings of going to the temple:

Why we build temples:


Conference Weekend + Easter

I really liked having General Conference overlapping with Easter this year. Eva did a lot of Easter crafts and activities while we watched the sessions and on Saturday it was warm enough to go to the park in the afternoon.

On Sunday for Easter, I cooked up a storm and should have taken a photo of all that I made but I forgot! But I made a lot of delicious dishes:

Cinnamon Rolls
Green Bean Casserole
Corn Casserole
Orange Jello Salad
Deviled Eggs (Check out this cool and easy way to peel eggs!)
Cupcakes (Just from a box… nothing fancy)

We brought all the food over to my friends’ theater room and had about a dozen guests join us for Easter dinner and the last session of General Conference! It was a great time and a good way to celebrate our Savior’s Resurrection. Happy Easter!

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Eva’s in Primary!

This year Eva went into Primary, which is for kids 3-11 at church! One hour is with the 3-7 year olds, and then the last hour is just with the 3 year olds. I can’t believe my little girl is now old enough to be in there. She loves it though and has done really well. On the first day they asked her what her favorite food was. She gave the answer of “orange juice” which is pretty funny because we rarely drink it!

Here is Eva on the first day of nursery, 16 months old (I was a sub teacher so she got to go in a little early):

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Here she was on the first day in Primary at 3 years old:

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I’m so proud of my little Diva Eva! And side note: she hasn’t had any accidents at church this year! Amazing!


Give Thanks

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It is worth it then, now, and forever.

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Eva was kind of a handful tonight and I kept catching myself getting frustrated and yelling at her. I almost wanted to skip through FHE, but I decided to do it anyway before bedtime. As soon as I started playing through the children’s hymns, I heard Eva singing along. She had her microphone out and was singing so sweetly, seriously… so precious. I instantly felt so guilty for all the frustration I had felt and expressed earlier. Sometimes being a mom is so difficult, especially on days where T.J. doesn’t get home until 8 or 9 and I have Eva all day to myself. But those moments, where Eva is singing Primary hymns or when we are laughing together out on walks, those simple moments make it all worth it.

I came across this talk by Elder Holland tonight and just had to share it. I’m pretty sure he was writing it in April 1997 for me today in 2014. I know it’s kind of long but it’s worth the read, I promise!

In speaking of mothers generally, I especially wish to praise and encourage young mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island…

…Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Husbands—especially husbands—as well as Church leaders and friends in every direction, be helpful and sensitive and wise. Remember, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Mothers, we acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever. And if, for whatever reason, you are making this courageous effort alone, without your husband at your side, then our prayers will be all the greater for you, and our determination to lend a helping hand even more resolute…

…In light of that kind of expression, it is clear that some of those Rhode Island–sized shadows come not just from diapers and carpooling but from at least a few sleepless nights spent searching the soul, seeking earnestly for the capacity to raise these children to be what God wants them to be. Moved by that kind of devotion and determination, may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.

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These are My People


As a Mormon, we are assigned to a congregation depending on where we live. These areas are called wards. When we moved out East, we had no idea which ward we would be in or how the ward would be.

At first, I was pleasantly surprised because it was such a large congregation. No one wants to be in a tiny ward! But as weeks went by, I noticed a couple other things. To sum it up, our ward had some…. quirks. Yes, I think “quirks” is a good way to describe it. Without going into specifics, let’s just say we are a unique congregation and not a week goes by without something interesting happening! After living here for about a year and a half now, I have to say that I have completely fallen in love with our ward and all of the people.

I am the organist/pianist for our congregation so I sit up on the stand and get to look at everyone. Yesterday, during the Sacrament meeting I started tearing up looking at all of the faces in our ward and thought, “These are my people! They are really my family!”

Our ward is filled with people who are always willing to serve, act in multiple callings and capacities, and most of all, love and support each other. Our ward is also on fire with missionary work! We have had 9 baptisms in the past two months. It’s really incredible and I’m so grateful to be a part of it!

When we were praying about moving out here, we felt like it was just because of T.J.’s work. But now I know another reason is because we were needed in this ward. About a year ago I was kind of struggling with coming to church. It wasn’t anything you should be worried about (mom!), it just is hard sometimes to take the subway to and from church and stay three hours on Sunday with a toddler. But from the example of many others in our ward, I have tried to dedicate myself and serve more! It has truly made a difference and has made me embrace our ward and all of its eccentricities. They have helped me become a stronger Christian and to love without judgement. JC2 forever!

Just Another Manic Monday

It’s Monday! We are heading to a pumpkin patch today for playgroup. Can you believe October is more than half over? Out of control. I can’t even handle it.

This is random, but can I just share this message from conference? It’s a simple truth, but it is so personal and I know it is true. Recently, I’ve had a lot of direct answers to my prayers, peace for my worries, and thoughts in my mind that I know aren’t just random. Heavenly Father knows each of us and is listening. I don’t know how he does it. But I know he does.