Two Years of Heaven on Earth

An excerpt from a letter that my mom wrote to Jack on his first birthday about the day he was born:

The veil seamed thin that Sabbath morning, and although I was racing the clock, time did not exist. I was already in Brigham in time to observe a beam of early morning light pushing through the clouds and spilling onto the spires of the brand new temple, as if heaven were so full of joy in anticipation of your birth that the light could not be contained. As I traveled the final stretch, the skies brightened with a new day and a new era and I soon descended into Cache Valley with the Logan temple in the distance. I arrived at the nearly empty hospital and that bright, peaceful, sacred hospital room just in time to see you, my beautiful, glorious, grandson make your quiet entrance into this world…significant, and nothing short of a miracle. It has been a year of heaven on earth.


Happy second birthday to my sweet baby Jack! It truly has been two years of heaven on earth.

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In August of 2011, Spencer began his application process to graduate schools all over the country ranging from Washington to Minnesota to Michigan to North Carolina to New York to Virginia to Alabama. I distinctly remember one August afternoon walk in the neighborhoods of Kaysville, UT where I said to Spencer:

"I could be happy living in any of those places, but if God wants to really test me, he'll send me to Alabama. I just can't picture myself living there..."

And of course, Alabama it was.

This summer, as Spencer prepared applications to fellowships all across the country I told him, "I can be happy anywhere, but I don't really want to live in the midwest..."

(I bet you know where this story is going)

DAVENPORT, IOWA here we come!!!!! (In May)

It's going to be great!
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image via


Things I'm loving and foods I'm craving

  • The Little Rascals! Somehow I have convinced Jack that it is the best movie ever - which it is. Fun fact for the day: the only two movies that I can quote from start to finish are The Little Rascals and While You Were Sleeping. I have seen those two movies more than any other movies. 
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  • Jack's fishing skills. I'm impressed with his focus, patience, and squatting action. 
  • Mix and Match Famliy, a blog that I added to my favorite blog list above. I started following Shay about a year ago for an embarrassing reason... she is Sean from the Bachelorette's sister. (I'm telling you I have amazing blog stalking skills) I can honestly say (now) that that is not the reason why I read her blog (anymore). She is nothing like me, but somehow I am super fascinated by her blog that is mostly about clothes from Nordstrom, expensive vacations, and recipes). Plus, I think she is funny. Now go check out her blog!
You would think that I would be craving Thanksgiving dinner this week, but instead I am craving:
  • Fredricos Pizza's lunch special
  • French fries and fry sauce from Juniper Takeout
  • A gelata from Zeppe's Italian Ice
  • A crisp bean burrito from Taco Time
  • A gyro from Logan's Heros
  • A raspberry cream cheese roll from Old Grist Mill
  • Praline Pecan Aggie Ice Cream
  • Egg Nog Creamies
Sadly, all of these extremely healthy foods are in Logan, not Birmingham. If you are in Logan, will you please indulge and think of me?!


Things I'm loving

  • The Birmingham Museum of Art. I cannot believe I didn't know about this place until now. The children's area is amazing and it's free! I'm sure the art there is pretty amazing too but I couldn't tell you...
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They have a photo booth with a green screen that we spent way too much time on.
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This is what was really happening where the photo booth camera couldn't reach...
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  • Fire pits and s'mores at Tannehill State Park
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  • Jack's baking skills
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  • Jack's Sam's Club pizza eating skills
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  • The lizard at the library that entertains Jack for a surprisingly long time
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  • The fact that Jack finally adjusted to stupid daylight savings time. No more 5 am! (knock on wood)
  • November hikes
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That Thy Light May Be a Standard for the Nations

A letter to my brother from my mom on his 21st birthday in Mexico. Happy Birthday, James!!!!

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Dear James,

For nearly two years your “official” missionary picture (the one where you’re holding a Book of Mormon) has stood on a small end table in our family room. In 2012, the year you left for Veracruz on your mission, the church’s youth theme was the scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 115:5, ”Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.” Sometime during that year I purchased a small print with that scripture on it and framed it. Because it became an inconvenience to haul that picture to and from church each week to display in the Young Women’s room, the framed scripture eventually made it’s way to the same end table in our home where rests your missionary photo.

Your missionary picture is no ordinary photograph. It greets all who enter the heart of our home. Your smiling, radiant, handsome face is the one that welcomes me when other family members are away at work or at school. Your photo has seen a lot of drama and a lot of arguments and even a few knock down drag out brawls between Elizabeth and Isaac over the last two years. But it has also seen a lot of family fun, family service, family meals, family home evenings, family prayer and family love. It has welcomed Annie, Spencer, and Jack home, witnessed the aging and passing of your beloved dog, Nera, and it has greeted grandparents, cousins, friends, and ward members. Yes, in your absence has been your missionary picture as a constant reminder that all is well in this world still full of truth, and light and goodness. It is no accident that my small framed scripture, “Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations”, ended up next to your shining, light-filled face.

For the past two years, you have been an ambassador of light bringing hope to a darkening world, and as long as there is light and hope, complete darkness cannot exist. Celebrating your 21st birthday as a missionary in Mexico is not the typical way an American young man celebrates his 21st birthday. On your 21st, you overlook the lighthouse on Sacrifice Island of Veracruz, the lighthouse that is the symbol of your mission and symbolizes hope and light to those that are lost. “Look to the lighthouse of the Lord….There is no fog so dense, no light so dark, no gale so strong,…but what the lighthouse of the Lord can rescue.” (Thomas S. Monson)

Thank you, my missionary son, for being a bright light to our family and to the rest of the world, particularly the people of Mexico.  “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 14-16)

With all my love on your 21st Birthday,



The day after

We started out our trick-or-treating early yesterday morning at the library with Ruby. They were very serious about it.
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We also went to a Halloween parade:
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We were totally planning on going trick-or-treating afterwards but Jack had already trick-or-treated four times this week and he was DONE wearing his sweaty puppy costume so he took it off on the way home from the parade:
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Jack likes to get into his race position and wait for Spencer to say, "Ready, set..... GO!" before he starts running. Sometimes it's super cute and sometimes it's super awkward.
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Instead of trick-or-treating again, we got Indian take out, checked out non-Halloween movies at the library (The Goofy Movie and About a Boy), watched both of them, then called it a night. The Goofy Movie plus too much Halloween candy equals this craziness:
Non-Halloween things that I've been loving this week:
  • Jack's face when he found out when we dropped Spencer off at the airport that he wasn't going on the airplane too. Jack is obsessed with airplanes.
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  • This:
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  • The kindest person ever ahead of us at the drive-thru who paid for our fast food and drove off! Who does that?! I want to do that now.
I would also like to take this time on November 1st to jump the gun and announce that I am grateful for EVERYTHING! Now that that is taken care of, there will be no more November gratitude posts on this blog ;)