Utah visit (from Sarah’s point of view)

In September, Adam and I took a quick trip home to do some recruiting for Adam’s work at our alma mater. (I even got to go as the wife recruiter to convince all the wives that Austin is the place to be.)

The BYU Engineering Career Fair was two days long (plus one day of interviews). We flew in the weekend before so we could spend a little time with our families and friends. It was the first time we’ve seen one of Adam’s brother’s since he returned home from his mission in Finland. It was so great to see him! He left very much still a high school senior (albeit mature) and came home a man.

Joint family dinner. So fun!

Our week was packed! It seemed like every free moment–wait, no, we didn’t really have any free moments. Adam and I were going, going, going. We both got sick and got barely any sleep. It almost felt like I was a college student again. (I’ve gotten so used to 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night; it’s hard to go back to 4-5  hours a night.)

Even though it was such a crazy week, I loved seeing so much family and so many friends. I didn’t feel completely coherent whenever I was with them, but it was still great to be with them all. Our families are wonderful. We got to see three of our grandparents, all of our siblings (except Sarah, who is serving a mission), and our niece and nephews, who are a blast! I also got to see various friends from my major and my dear friend, Jenny.

Family at Sister’s concert. (Isn’t she lovely?)

Some of my best friends from high school and I were able to get together for a couple of hours. These gals are amazing. The seven of us haven’t all been together since I think 2009 (and you’ll notice that there are only six of us in the picture. One of the ladies came early and had to leave before I got there because she is a nurse who works really early in the morning). It was fun to get most of us together.

Six of the seven ladies

Oh ya. Adam and I saw the Mitt Romney bus. Too cool.

I got to spend two lovely days at the Family History Library while I was there too! If you live close to the Family History Library (and by close I mean within 2 hour’s drive) and you have never been there, then shame on you! Set a goal NOW to go there. I’m serious–go grab your planner or calendar or ipod or post-it notes or whatever you use and pick a day right now to go there and learn something about your ancestors, okay? Your life will be enriched by the experience. There are hundreds of workers and missionaries who will gladly help you. Just go do it! (You don’t know HOW BLESSED YOU ARE to live sooooo close to the largest family history library IN THE WORLD!)

Okay, so off my rant. I did a ton of research while I was there. I’ve been working on one of my family lines in Württemberg, Germany for quite some time. Here’s an example of a record:


Marriage entry for Philipp Jakob Keppler and Eva Maria Kalmbach on 26 June 1792 in Oberschwandorf, Nagold, Württemberg, Germany. They were my fifth great-grandparents!

Oh, doesn’t it just make you so excited?! I LOVE Germanic family history research!

Anyway, it was a lovely, jam-packed trip, but I am so grateful we could go. Yay for families! Yay for friends! Yay for Adam’s great job! Yay for BYU! Yay for ancestors and the FHL!

Our Last Weekend in Utah

Here’s a little breakdown of what we did during our last weekend in Utah:


  • Finished packing up things we needed to bring with us to Austin.
  • Watched the packers pack all of our things.
  • Ate Del Taco for lunch.
  • Went to Adam’s eye appointment.
  • Both got our hair cut by our friend, Nicole.
  • Went to the Manti Pageant with my family in their big blue van. Ate delicious, homemade 9-inch corn dogs.
  • Rode with my family back from Manti.
  • Picked up things from our apartment and drove to my family’s house to spend the night (since our bed was inaccessible).
  • Slept


  • Got up early and drove back to our apartment.
  • Adam got our car checked out and new brake … put on.
  • Watched the packers load everything into a truck. …and break one of our dinner table chairs.
  • Cleaned our apartment with Adam’s sweet mother, who brought some cleaning supplies for us to use.
  • Went to Adam’s family’s house and cleaned up ourselves.
  • Watched How to Train Your Dragon with Adam’s family.
  • Slept


  • Slept in a titch…ahhhh.
  • …did something….
  • Went to the Provo Temple. It was wonderful!!
  • Said “see ya later” to my dear friend, Becca.
  • Ran to Macey’s grocery store.
  • Went to a family reunion for my dad’s side. It was so sweet.
  • Went to my friend’s wedding reception in American Fork and then to Adam’s friend’s wedding reception in Provo.
  • Went back to my family’s house and did laundry at 10:30pm.
  • Slept


  • Got up early.
  • Went to the dear old American Fork 1st ward (my old ward) to see my longest-time friend speak in church after returning from her mission in Manila, Philippines. (That is where Adam served too, so he really enjoyed her talk.)
  • Hastily said hello and goodbye to many friends.
  • Sped down to the BYU Family History Center to teach our Sunday School class about the resources there…but no one showed up, so we did some of our own research because we didn’t have anything else to do until our church started.
  • Went to our ward and taught our last family history Sunday School class.
  • Went to my dear friend, Jenny’s, apartment and said “see ya later.”
  • Went to my family’s house. We had a sweet experience together, but it was really hard too. You see, Adam and I are the first in both of our families to move away from our families permanently. My family has lots of girls, and we’re all kind of emotional softies, so it was a bittersweet experience.
  • Said “see ya later” to part of my family.
  • Went to Adam’s family’s house.
  • Ate dinner.
  • Gave a wedding gift to Adam’s old roommate, Peter, who stopped by the Arnesen’s house.
  • Said “see ya later” to our good friends Brian and Devri and their son, who also stopped by the Arnesen’s house.
  • Spent time with Adam’s family.
  • Slept.


  • Got up before the crack of dawn.
  • Packed up our car.
  • Ate breakfast.
  • Said “see ya later” to my dad, who came by the Arnesen’s house.
  • Said “see ya later” to Adam’s family.
  • Swung by my family’s house to get the atlas.
  • Said “see ya later” to my family.
  • Drove…all day.

Spring Term

Spring term was an adventure. I’ve never done a spring term before. The term ran from April 26 to June 16. I enrolled for two classes: an internship and an advanced writing history class.

I interned with a company located in downtown Salt Lake City called ProGenealogists. They are a professional family history research firm. I was able to do some Germanic family history research as well as a lot of U.S. research. Overall, it was a good experience. I learned a lot about what I do want to do when I take on clients….and some things that I don’t want to do. Like I said, it was a good experience, and I learned a lot. 🙂

I completed 120 hours for my internship. I usually slept on and rode the bus to and from SLC three times a week.

The other class I took–the advanced history writing class–was…an experience. In six weeks, the four students in the class were asked to each write a 25-35 page history paper that dealt with U.S. foreign relations and was worthy of publication. While it was an interesting class, I struggled to write my paper. (My topic: why Great Britain didn’t interfere in the American Civil war. Interesting, right? I thought so–and it was interesting, but I had far too little time to do all of the research I needed to do.) Somehow I squeaked out a C-grade in the class, for which I will be eternally grateful. However, I do not recommend taking that class during spring term if you 1) are taking other classes, 2) are burned out, 3) are getting ready to move across the country, or 4) want to do anything besides school during spring term.

Anyway, spring term was a good experience, and I’m grateful that I could be stretched so much. I learned so much. And my sweet husband, Adam, worked long-distance (at home) during all that time so that I could take my classes and earn a degree. Poor guy. He got kind of bored being alone at home all day. He even turned in two of my papers for me because they were due at times when I needed to be at my internship. What a wonderful man. 🙂

BYU Graduation

Adam and I graduated! (Well, I sort of did…read on.) Adam got a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Adam and I walked together in the College of Engineering convocation ceremony. (I will technically be done by Thanksgiving. I took two classes during spring term and have three online classes to finish before Thanksgiving. Then I’ll have a BA in Family History and Genealogy. I’m almost there! Hooray!)

Winter semester was crazy. Adam wrote and defended his master’s thesis. He worked so hard on his thesis! That was about all he did for three weeks straight. He really had enough information to make it a doctoral dissertation, but we felt like he should just finish his master’s degree for right now. Adam’s angel mother is an excellent editor, and she edited Adam’s thesis several times. I am so proud of Adam for working so hard and for finishing that 148-page work!

I did oodles of research during winter semester. (It’s what family historians do!) I was in a seminar in professional family history research class (like a practicum for family history majors involving four 25-hour research projects), an advanced German research class (where I got to learn some awesome things about my own immigrant ancestor), and a beginning Hispanic research class. (I have no Hispanic ancestors. Germanic and U.S. Midwest family history are my emphases, but since I knew we were going to move to Texas, I figured it would be helpful to know at least a little bit about Hispanic family history research.) On top of these classes, I also had a German language class and Concert Choir. I traveled to the Family History Library usually once or twice a week. By the end of the semester, I logged over 200 hours of research. Honestly, it was a miracle that I survived and somehow got it all done. Adam supported me in everything that I did, and I am so grateful for his patience with me while I was running around all the time.

Anyway, the graduation ceremony was wonderful. Elder Richard G. Scott spoke to the graduates. He gave some wonderful advice. I love how sensitive and sweet Elder Scott is. 🙂

After the ceremony, Adam and I rang the BYU victory bell together! It was so cool (and loud)! I got a picture with Dr. Minert. He mentored me through most of my undergraduate work and is the only professor who teaches Germanic Family History in the United States. I was also able to work for him for two years. I feel so blessed to have gone to the same university where he teaches! (What are the chances of that?? I had no idea that I would focus so much on Germanic family history when I declared my major.)

After all our picture-taking, Adam and I were starving. We didn’t want to try to find a restaurant that didn’t have a long wait, so we went to the Wendy’s drive-through and got dinner. Then we went to the Malt Shop drive-through for delicious shakes. Mmmm. We went home and ate dinner while watching a movie.

Studying at BYU has been a great blessing in our lives. The time passed so quickly! We’re grateful that we were able to spend so much time learning and improving ourselves there. We know that the things we learned and the experiences we had will bless us for the rest of our lives and that they have prepared us for the mission we have ahead of us.

Daily Affirmation

This morning I heard this video playing in the back room. I think this little girl has a great attitude and outlook on life! Sometimes its important to have a positive outlook on life and on our ability to weather the storms that come into our lives. Sometimes we just need to decide that we can do anything good.

Going to the (Y) Ball

Tonight we went on an awesome date.

Some background though.

Today was not-so fun. I got up really early and drove an hour to Salt Lake City to the Family History Library. One of my classes was meeting there. In addition, I had a project to finish up there that was due at 3pm. It stunk being away from Adam all day (poor guy–he stayed at home without a car and cleaned and did homework), and I ended up staying longer than I had originally planned. Blah. I learned some good things though, so that was good.

Then we had leftovers for dinner. I ate this incredibly-2-jalapeño-spicy soup. Oh man. I’ve been trying to finish it off. I really don’t like throwing out food, however untasty it is. Anyway.

The evening was much better though. First Adam and I went to the adult session of stake conference. Elder Richard G. Hinckley from the Quorum of the Seventy came. The talks were all really good. I was touched by the testimonies and inspired to be a better Sarah.

After stake conference, Adam and I whisked away to the Hinckley Alumni Center for the Y-Ball! The Y-Ball is a free dance for married couples at BYU. Adam got the second-to-last ticket. It was sooooooo exciting. Adam and I haven’t really been to a dance together before…unless you count dancing at someone’s wedding, but that doesn’t really count because it was only part of one song.

Adam was so patient with me. I’m not really a very good dancer, but he’s amazing (to say the least). He taught me all sorts of good steps, and he’s really good at leading. It was a blast. I fell in love with him all over again. 🙂

Isn’t he handsome?