Three-Year-Old Brooke

Brooke has been looking forward to her birthday ever since we celebrated Drew’s birthday in January.

She is a girl with a lot of personality. She loves to laugh and make others laugh. She has the best smile, although it’s almost impossible to get her to smile when I’m trying to take a picture. Below are facts about 3-year-old Brooke.

– She is full of energy. She rarely naps in the afternoon anymore, and even though her bedtime is 7 p.m., she often stays awake in her room until 8:30 p.m. or so.

– She loves all things baby shark.

– Her favorite book series is “Little Blue Truck.”

– Her favorite food is chicken nuggets. She loves pretty much all fruit, especially grapes and berries. She recently discovered she also loves sliced bell peppers.

– She is quick to apologize.

– Purple is her favorite color.

– Adventurous and curious are both accurate descriptions of her.

– She often wants to “help” in the kitchen. When she sees me preparing lunch or dinner, she’ll run and grab a stool to stand on and say “I help you?”

Brooke’s birthday began with donuts and presents. The kids played with her new toys in the morning. I took Brooke and David to get McDonalds for lunch. Then Brooke and I went to get our nails done. When we came home, we popped popcorn and watched Encanto. We then headed to Cracker Barrel for a celebratory dinner and came home to have birthday cake. It was a fun-filled day! On Sunday, we had a birthday dinner party for Brooke and my sister, who’s birthday is three days prior to Brooke’s.

Christmas 2021

Last year, I think I wrote about Christmas in July, so I’m ahead of the game this year, even though Christmas was nearly two months ago ha.

We were able to see both sides of our extended family this Christmas season. My parents came out to Virginia (my brother living in Virginia had his first child, whom my parents were eager to meet). We were able to spend time with them before and after our trip to Iowa for Christmas (we spend every other Christmas in Iowa with John’s family).

Spending time with both sides of our family meant our kids had many present opening opportunities, which they loved. We did our immediate family Christmas gift exchange the day before my parents arrived. (On the years we go to Iowa, we open our immediate family presents before we head out of town. Only Santa presents make the trek to Iowa.) Having three kids ages four and under at Christmas makes it magical! One of the presents we got David I wasn’t sure if he would like (they were tinker toys) but they ended up being his favorite toy. He has such an engineering focused mind. I had fun taking Brooke and David individually to pick out presents for each other. It was adorable to see what they picked and fun to watch them open those specific presents. Both Brooke and David are so appreciative of their gifts. Brooke says “thank you so much” in the sweetest and most sincere tone. Drew is still a little too young to really understand what’s going on.

Highlights of the time we spent with my side of the family include: Shopping on Main Street in Luray (they have such cute shops!), hiking in Shenandoah State Park, visiting DC to see the National Christmas Tree, meeting baby Will (the first cousin for our kids!), and a pre-Christmas dinner and white elephant gift exchange with my aunt, uncles, and cousins, who also live in Virginia.

Highlights of our time in Iowa include: Going for walks, playing at parks, Christmas Eve gift exchange and Christmas Day dinner with John’s extended family, and playing games.

Below are photos from the Christmas season.

One aspect of the Christmas season I loved was being able to read my scriptures each morning with the Christmas lights glowing inside our house. I took this photo one morning to remember how meaningful that was for me. I made a concerted effort to read my scriptures each morning (versus reading them at the end of the day when I’m exhausted). It has made such a difference in centering me and enabling me to feel closer to God.

Washington D.C. LDS Temple Opens to the Public

For the last few years, the LDS Temple in Kensington, Maryland near Washington D.C. has been closed for renovations. In August 2022, the Temple will be rededicated, and we will once again be able to worship there. But before the rededication, this temple will be open to ALL people (regardless of religious affiliation) to come and tour and learn more about what happens in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tours will begin on April 28. You don’t need a ticket, you can just show up any day (except Sunday) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Parking is limited and you can register for a free parking pass at You could also park nearby and uber if you can’t get a pass on the day you’d like to go.

This is the temple where John and I were married. It’s a special and sacred place to me, and it’s literally one of my favorite places on earth where I can go and feel peace and feel God’s love.

To learn more about this opportunity, visit