Tuesday, November 29, 2011


In my church, young men and women have the opportunity to serve a mission if they desire to. Boys go for about two years, and girls go for about eighteen months. During those two years, they teach others about Christ and about our faith and gospel principles, amongst other things.

About two months ago my cousin Jacob left to go to her Mission Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. A few weeks later, my other cousin Austin left for the MTC as well. Austin spent a few weeks learning how to be a missionary and then on November 16, he left for the mission field to serve in California for the next two years. He is doing so well and from his letters, it seems he really is enjoying himself.

Jacob spent a little bit longer in the MTC--he was there for about two months total. In those two months, Jacob spent countless hours and days learning Tagalog. Although these guys spend hours and hours every day learning the language, it still amazes me how quickly they pick it up! Last night, Jacob and his district (everyone headed over to the Philippines) left the MTC and are currently in transit for the Philippines. While in the airport, Jacob had a chance to call a few family members. I knew he would be calling around 9pm California time, so after midnight here. I didn't want to fall asleep in case I missed Jacob's call, so I did random things until the phone rang at 1:43 am! I got to talk to him for about 5 minutes, and wish him safe travels. He seems so excited to be in the Philippines!

It's been really exciting and fun having two cousins out serving as missionaries, and it has definitely made me so much more aware and appreciative of the work and sacrifice that young men and women have made for the efforts of the gospel.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Late Night Beach Trip

Evan is a night owl at his young age. It's never rare if he is awake around 10 or 11, and Tuesday night at Grandma's house he was still up at about 10:30, so mom decided to take him for a drive because he hadn't slept at all the entire day and she just wanted him to fall asleep! So she said she was going to drive down to the beach, and I hopped in the car to go with her! When we got there, Evan was asleep in his car seat, but we woke him up anyway (I know, totally defeating the purpose) and decided to walk on the beach since we already drove that far and found a close spot to park! The beach was a complete ghost town! Nobody was there at all, so it was a little eerie, but it was fun!

Ghost town!! There were several hotels with only one or two rooms lit up!

Evan with his feet in the sand!

In front of the water!

The rolling waves behind us--so peaceful!

breaking tradition

Usually we have Thanksgiving each year with my Dad's family... my grandma, aunt, and her three boys. This year my cousin Jacob is in Utah at the MTC, and my aunt and grandma are in Texas while my aunt works towards her masters degree until June. Because of school and long traveling, they weren't able to come up to Virginia from Texas this year, so we broke all tradition and came to Virginia Beach for the holiday.

I don't like breaking tradition.

Monday, November 21, 2011


The past few days it seems I cannot remember anything and I am loosing everything!

Saturday I left my make-up bag at Portrait Innovations after family pictures.
Sunday I lost my recommend for my Patriarchal Blessing after just getting a new one a few hours before because I forgot my original back at school.
Today I went for a run, and because I take as little with me as possible, I left my keys in my room. Locked myself out.
Today at dinner I lost my ID. I spent 20 minutes looking for it before finally finding it, thank goodness. One of the table cleaners picked it up (I dropped it on the floor at some point). Did not want to pay $20 for that!

Let's hope this pattern ends pretty soon!

Awesome Weekend

I finally went home (although now I am back at school until tomorrow night...then I meet back up with the family in Virginia Beach)! I was so glad to be home!

Friday night Mom and I went to BJs to get some needed groceries for our dinner Saturday. I also loved on this little man:

Saturday (early) morning we had our family pictures at Portrait Innovations. They turned out okay, but my favorite family picture is still the one Mom took herself in Alum Springs Park. We do have a pretty cute family, though. Waiting around for pictures:

After pictures Mom had to run into the bank. Ryan has this little kid's coin collecting book, and he has started getting really into it. He has a bunch of pennies in there, some of the state quarters, nickels, dimes, and when we went to the bank, Mom got him some of the 50 cent pieces and a Susan B. Anthony coin. He still has so many coins to collect, and the Presidential Dollars (they won't even all be in circulation until 2017!), but it is like an addiction! Every coin I get I inspect for him now! I even bought a buffalo nickel off eBay for $1.35. It's going in his stocking. Anyways, after we came out from the bank, he was showing Dad his new additions:

After pictures Mom and Dad also took the family over to Chick-Fil-A for a little lunch. After we ate, this is what the table looked like (below). Dad and Gray found some new zombie game app, and were playing it all weekend.

We got home from pictures about 1pm, and were in the chicken for the rest of the day! We were supposed to feed the missionaries from church on Saturday, and since we aren't going to be home to cook on Thanksgiving (we will be in Virginia Beach), Mom decided to do a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. I seriously love cooking and baking, so I was perfectly fine with it! We had a delicious turkey (the secret is Montreal Steak Seasoning... put it on every type of meat imaginable), homemade stuffing, blueberry jello salad, sweet potatoes, green beans, homemade Lionhouse rolls, and homemade apple and pumpkin pies. Mom, Dad, and I made the rolls and they were SO good. The best rolls I have ever had, and they were so pretty, too. Dad and I made the apple pies, which were a bit tricky. They were the first pies that we had ever made homemade crust for, and the dough was a bit tricky to work with, but they ended up tasting SO good. Mom went apple picking earlier in the week so we had fresh, crisp granny smith apples. Delicious. Needless to say, the missionaries didn't end up coming, and all of the little boys and Suzanne ended up leaving, so we had tons of food!

Harrison was having a lesson in church on Sunday about the Law of Chastity, so Dad thought it was a good time to sit down and give Harrison and Tanner the good old sex talk. The facts, very straightforward. Mom and I were sitting there for a while, haha. Dad usually does most of the talking (he did all of it with the boys, but when they talked to Gray and I years ago, I remember Mom in there too). Anyways, Dad is seriously so good about it. I think it's definitely one of the most important things parents have to do for their children, and I'm glad the topic of sex was never too taboo in my family (however, everything is pretty dang open in my house). It lasted for about an hour, and Dad draws diagrams and everything haha. We had to borrow Suzanne's whiteboard, and she was out at a church dance. Before she got back, we hung the board up with Dad's drawings and words on it still. Haha, her reaction was humorous :)

See, even Evan is interested...

Sunday we went to church, then I ended up baking up some goodies for our cousins serving missions. Austin is serving in California, and he just left the MTC last week. Jacob is still in the MTC preparing to leave for the Philippines on November 28. We sent chocolate fudge, chocolate walnut fudge, peanut butter fudge, and chocolate chip cookies! Hopefully the get to them pretty soon!

Now I am back at school. I've finished classes for today, and tomorrow I just have two classes to suffer through before heading to Virginia Beach for Thanksgiving! Can't wait for all that baking, cooking, eating, sleeping, and Black Friday Shopping (if you are a girl in my family, Black Friday is like a second holiday in and of itself).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

phones are great.

I called my parents 6 times today and chatted about random things. And Mom and I text back and forth all day. It's like this every day. Man, I'm grateful for modern day technology. Chatted with some of the little guys today, too. It's funny how attached to my family I am.

PS. this is totally normal for college kids, right?

Blood Drive

There are blood drives on campus every month or so, and I tried to donate blood back in September. I got there and went to do the screening, but I was slightly anemic (the minimum iron number is 12.5, and I was a 12.4!). Anyways, they had another blood drive today, and I went again, hoping to make it past the screening :) I was 14.0 today, so I was in the clear! The hooked me up, and pumped out my blood. My blood came out really quickly and filled up the bag in no time compared to some of the other people who were hooked up before I started, and after I finished! The guy said being really hydrated helps, so that was good. While my blood was being pumped out, I was trying to take a picture, and the guy looked at me weird and asked if everything was okay. I laughed, and said, "Yes! I was just taking a picture!" But hey, now you can enjoy some crappy cell phone pictures of my first blood donation!

The set up in the center of the blood drive.

My arm hooked up--the needle is covered by that gauze sheet, but the red tube is my blood :)

That package at the bottom is my blood... it rocked back and forth to get any air bubbles out the whole time.

All wrapped up for the night!

It was a neat experience, and I'll definitely do it again! Hopefully the blood I donated can help somebody else and improves somebody else's health! I am definitely so thankful for my health and all of the blessings I am able to enjoy because of it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

i might not survive.

I haven't been home in almost THREE weeks. Quite frankly, I'm going through withdrawal. I cannot WAIT to be home this weekend and see the family. I don't know how people who come here from California and Canada do it. They are seriously crazy. All I know is that this week has been dragging out, and Friday, 4pm needs to hurry up.

And, yes, I know that next week is Thanksgiving Break and I'll see the family again Tuesday. I can't wait that long. I'm weak.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

busy busy

Today I had my second Regatta as a rower on the Crew Team at VCU. It was at Occoquan again, and it was awesome. I row in an 8-man shell, and I am 6th seat (port). Our boat improved today, and our 5K time was 23:34. But we all had a great time. Mom got the team Panera bagels and pastries for breakfast and bought a bunch of cream cheeses and spreads. Then Mom, Dad, and Evan came to the race today, which is awesome because I presume they are actually pretty boring to watch. You can't really see anything, and you wait around a lot. Bonus points for the parents. Also, they brought me my iPod that I left at home last weekend, and some lunch! After the Regatta, one of the girl on the team had a barbeque at her parents house, because they live about 10 minutes from the race and they wanted to feed the team! It was awesome and so fun! We finally got back to VCU at about 8:30, so it made for a pretty long day!

This week coming up is the last week of crew practice for the fall semester, so we are done going out on the water. We have Head of the South in Georgia next weekend, and I am super excited about that! It is going to be awesome! So that will consume next weekend.

Because of all of these regattas, it will be three weeks of not going home, which is a record for me. I've only made it two weeks so far, and that's because I had to stay here! Too funny. At least I'll keep myself busy, but you better believe on Friday the 18th, I'll be back in Fredericksburg!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time Out for Women 2011

Two weeks ago we also had our Time Out for Women conference for church/fun. It was so awesome! Usually it's just Time Our for Women, but this year they broke out into a session for Girls, too. Mom, Sister Therrien, Suzanne, Rachel, and I (and Evan too) drove back down to Richmond Friday afternoon, and we met up with my Grandma, Aunt Amy, and Katelyn. Friday the conference started at 6:30, so we got there, waited in line and sat down. They had some awesome speakers the first night talking about service and looking for ways to serve in our lives, and they also had Jericho Road (an LDS band) and Jenny Baker perform. It was awesome! That night we found Shawni and her mom Linda, so of course we had to take a picture with them since we love their blogs/books. The conference ended for the night, and then we went back to the hotel where we munched on way too many cookies and stayed up just a little late eating pizza. Very fun bonding time!

Saturday we went back to the Convention Center for the rest of the conference. They automatically split up the girls (Suzanne and Rachel) from the rest of the women, and the girls went downstairs for their own little conference. I know they had some of the same speakers we did, but they also had a girl who went pretty far on American Idol and some other speakers. One of my favorite speakers was Mariama Kallon, who is from Sierra Leone. She suffered a great deal and almost lost her life, and she lived in a great deal of fear. She came to Utah (Temple Square) to serve her mission for the LDS church, and since then has become an inspirational speaker. She is hilarious, too. I also enjoyed Brad Wilcox and hearing more of the music that was played. It was such a great event to go to with Mom and Suzanne and Rachel and I had a great time! The next one is in April for the Spring tour!

Suzanne and Rachel with Jericho Road--Rachel loved them!

Virginia Hinckley Pearce talking about mothers

Mariama Kallon

Some of the gang! Thanks Mom for an awesome time!

Pumpkin Patch with Bryce

About two weeks ago Bryce's second grade class had a field trip to the pumpkin patch on a Friday. I was home on Fall Break, and his teacher still needed a few chaperones, so I went with Bryce. As much as he teases me (he is super sarcastic), he was pretty excited that I was going on his field trip with him. I was sleeping on the couch because I got up at 6am with Harrison to cut his hair before he showered, and then went back to sleep. Bryce woke me up over and over and over starting at 7am (we didn't have to leave until 8:40!). I just kept falling back asleep because I know it doesn't take me almost two hours to get ready, but every 5-10 minutes Bryce would come wake me up. Also, he was worried that I wouldn't be ready in time so he made me my packed lunch: peanut butter and jelly, apply, chips, and a granola thin. We left for the elementary school, and got there in plenty of time :)

We rode a school bus over to Belvidere Pumpkin Patch, which was about 20 minutes. Bryce saved me a seat next to him and his friend, so there were three of us on his seat. Too funny. Everyone was really excited, but across the isle there was a boy who was being really mean, so I gave him the evil-eye a few times. During the field trip I ended up taking his Pokemon cards away too, so I'm sure he wasn't too fond of me at all :). We got to the pumpkin patch, waited for a while, then we were off. Each chaperone only had three kids to look after, so it was pretty easy.

Bryce and a scarecrow

Marcus (one of Bryce's friends), Bryce, and a boy I don't remember

The first thing we did was take a hayride over to the pumpkin patches and picked our pumpkins. Those little kids sure were picky when it came to finding their pumpkins! After they were picked out, the loaded them back onto the buses which was nice!

Bryce feeding the goats at the petting zoo... he didn't want to at first!

Washing hands after the goats in the nasty washing station.

The Pumpkin Patch has a really cool rope barn filled with hay where everyone swings back and forth. It is awesome!

I had a great time with Bryce!! On the bus ride back, so many of the kids were dropping off like flies because they were so tired! It was definitely a fun day!