Halloween and Thanksgiving 2021

Our neighborhood isn’t ideal for trick-or-treating. There are only seven houses, including ours, and they’re a bit spread out. So we opted to go to Luray and trick-or-treat on Main Street. Luray’s trick-or-treating was on Saturday, October 30, which was perfect for our family. David was a robot; Brooke a unicorn princess; Drew a skeleton. It was drizzling rain the entire time we trick-or-treated, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. Brooke fell asleep minutes after we got back to the car after trick-or-treating, which was surprising for Brooke. Clearly it tired her out haha.

We were home for Thanksgiving this year. On the years when we’re home, we like to go out to dinner on the eve of Thanksgiving. My brother Trevor, sister Melissa, and friend Keri joined us for dinner. Afterwards, we like to walk around and look at the Christmas decorations. Melissa and Keri also joined us for Thanksgiving. They made some delicious food for the meal. John did a great job with the Turkey and pecan pie. I was in charge of rolls, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and chocolate banana cream pie. The kids and I also created the centerpieces. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of those.

Halloween and Thanksgiving 2020

I’m playing catch-up here, so I’m doing a Halloween and Thanksgiving combo post.

Halloween 2020

David has been alive for four Halloweens but has yet to go real trick-or-treating. His first Halloween, he was only two weeks old. His second Halloween, he had just turned one and couldn’t walk. His third Halloween, there was a terrible thunderstorm. And this year there was a pandemic.

We still tried to make it a fun Halloween. The kids wore their costumes all day long. Brooke was a ghost and David was a train conductor. My brother/his fiancé (now wife), sister, and friend Keri brought candy to our house. David and Brooke rang our doorbell over and over. Each time, a different person opened the door and gave them candy.

After we put Brooke down to bed, we lit up our fire pit and roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. We let David stay up late and hang out with us. He made it to about 9 p.m. and then fell asleep sitting in John’s lap. It was a fun Halloween!

Thanksgiving 2020

We had a small but lovely Thanksgiving. Normally we like to head to Reston Town Center the night prior to Thanksgiving for dinner and to see all the Christmas decorations. Because of the pandemic, we decided to skip that tradition. Instead we drove to a rural Virginia gas station, where they sell Godfather’s Pizza (one of John’s favorite chains), and picked up a couple of pizza’s to go.

On Thanksgiving day, the weather was warmer than I expected. We spent the morning outside in the backyard with the kids. After we came back inside, John and I spent a good part of the day cooking. John ended up cooking more than I did, and I didn’t mind that one bit! After dinner, we made fleece tie blankets for children in need and then played virtual games with my family in Utah before indulging in pies.

One funny Thanksgiving note I mentioned in my last post… David thinks Thanksgiving is the turkey’s birthday. It was fun to ask him all day, “What’s today?” and he’d respond by saying, “Turkey’s birthday.”

Our Thanksgiving spread is above. John is a masterful turkey carver thanks to a YouTube video a colleague shared with him. It’s fun to watch him carve the turkey.

Thanksgiving 2018 in Iowa

These two are at the top of my thankful list.

This year for Thanksgiving we went to Iowa. We left the Saturday before and drove back the Saturday after. I was actually somewhat excited for the long drive there because during the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, John had been in Hawaii and Europe. I looked forward to spending time with him on the drive. We discussed many things on the drive to Iowa, including potential baby girl names. We narrowed our list to five names.

We left at 6 in the morning the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The first few hours of the drive were extremely beautiful. It had snowed just a few days prior, and the tree branches were coated with frozen snow as we drove through the mountains of West Virginia. David was a champ the entire drive. Prior to the trip, we bought a headrest iPad holder to prop up one of our iPads for David to see. We didn’t end up using the iPad until the very last hour (it was a 14-hour drive). We turned on the iPad not because David was whiny, but because we wanted him to stay awake so we could feed him, bathe him, and put him to bed once we arrived.

Highlights of the trip included visiting the Festival of Trees, watching David interact with his 2nd cousins who are close to his age, watching David interact with John’s parent’s dog, a family lunch date to a trendy, new restaurant in downtown Davenport we had heard about (truth be told we would give the restaurant a B- if we were grading it), a visit to the Chocolate Manor (they have amazing chocolate caramels), visiting with John’s extended family, celebrating John’s mom’s birthday, a getaway to Chicago for a night without David (thanks to the grandparents for watching him!), and a visit to the Chicago LDS Temple. John, his dad, and his uncle also went to the Hawkeyes last football game of the season, which they won thankfully!

Family snapshot Thanksgiving 2018



David and Grandma Lori at the Festival of Trees


Thanksgiving Weekend 2017


We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family this year and took full advantage of the long weekend. The day prior to Thanksgiving, we went to my parents’ house. I headed there in the afternoon with the baby, and John joined us after he got off work and took his car to the dealer for a tune-up. That night we ordered burgers from The Breeze and watched State of Play with my parents.

I was in charge of making a roasted kale and yam salad, bacon mac n’ cheese, and a pecan pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. While I made items for the dinner, John and his Uncle David hung Christmas lights on the outside of our house. And let me say, I think they did a mighty fine job! We headed to my parents’ house around 3 p.m. and had a fun time visiting and eating. My brother Blake was back home from BYU, and this was his first time meeting the baby. The food was delicious and the company even better.

Group selfie.

John snapped this picture, and I think it’s adorable.

On Friday, John and I set up our Christmas trees and began putting up Christmas decorations inside the house. My Christmas tree is on our main level, and his is in the family room in the basement. I prefer white lights on a Christmas tree, and John prefers colored lights. So, it works out great to have two trees that are each reflective of our own style. I just finished decorating my Christmas tree yesterday. We still need to hang ornaments on John’s tree. (We also watched the final Iowa game of the regular season on Friday. Go Hawks!)


On Saturday, we hiked Murphy’s Farm in Harpers Ferry, WV with my family and our friend Keri. The weather was beautiful, as was the scenery on the hike. From different points on the hike, you could see the Shenandoah River. After the hike, we picked up Mexican food from a delicious, authentic Mexican restaurant in the town where we live. We ordered the food to-go so we could get back home and watch the Alabama vs. Auburn football game. John was pleased with the outcome of the game; my dad on the other hand was not.




On Sunday, John and I went and visited a couple members of our church congregation and geared up for a new week. Baby David and I loved having John home with us for a couple extra days during this holiday weekend!



What Are You Thankful For?

I watched this video this morning. In it, people in Arlington, VA share what they’re thankful for. The video was created by a young man serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Northern Virginia. Watching the video inspired me to write a post about what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for: My experience as a full-time missionary…

This week I was back where I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Nauvoo, IL). I am so thankful I had the opportunity to serve a mission. I didn’t grow up with a strong desire to serve a mission, but doing so blessed my life in so many ways. The greatest blessing of my mission was learning what it means to truly have faith and trust in God. I learned about faith as I learned the stories of the Mormon pioneers and shared those stories with the visitors who came to tour Nauvoo. The Mormon pioneers passed through tribulation that I can’t fully fathom, yet they trusted in God. I find we often think that if we live as God wants us to, then bad/hard things won’t happen to us, but that’s not true. The pioneers were faithful men and women of God, yet they were driven from their homes multiple times, faced great uncertainty, and suffered the loss of loved ones amidst their journey. Some of these loved ones even died in the service of God as missionaries.



I am thankful for: Fresh starts…

I struggle frequently with feelings of inadequacy. This is especially the case when I am alone. My husband travels every other week for work, and I find myself getting stuck in my head. I think of ways I could have spent my time better. I think of ways I am more selfish than I want to be. I analyze to the extreme every purchase that I make wondering if the purchase was wise. I then beat myself up for being so critical of myself. It’s annoying and not healthy. Recently, I woke up one morning and the thought occurred to me that “today is a fresh start.” It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. If I dwell on the ways I could have been better yesterday, then I am robbing myself of joy today. I don’t believe God wants us to be overly critical of ourselves. He sent His Son Jesus Christ for us, and He makes up the difference (and all the difference) when we fall short.

I am thankful for: My family…

I love my husband and my family. I love laughing with them, eating with them, talking with them, and being around them. I look forward to having a family of my own in the future, and I am grateful to be able to have this family with John.



I am thankful for: God the Father and Jesus Christ…

A fews days ago, while saying my daily prayer before bedtime, I felt great gratitude for Heavenly Father and His willingness to listen to my prayer. I am grateful to know that I am a daughter of God. That anytime I need to reach out to Him in prayer, He will listen. I am thankful He sent His Son Jesus Christ to suffer for sin and overcome death so that I could have someone to turn to when I need comfort and so I can return and live with God again and with my family forever.


Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Day 33: 100 Moments of Joy (Laughter)

After Thanksgiving dinner last night, we played Telestrations, a very fun game that’s bound to make you laugh. I laughed and laughed during the game, and it felt so good. Laughter seems to have a healing power that just makes you feel good. It was a joyful evening full of family, friends, food, and laughter.

In other news, I held a dog last night. This is a big deal because I’m kind of scared of dogs. I had to document this occasion. Hence the picture below 🙂 Meet Watson.