Normal on Purpose

Last Sunday when we were planning our week we were taking things off the calendar so that we could have as “normal” a week as possible. After the celebrative busyness of the holidays, we wanted to keep things simple this week.

00 James and Eliza having a tea party
Eliza and James having a tea party

Monday we had our normal family home evening with the kids. We had our lesson on “The Book of Mormon Teaches Me About Jesus Christ.” We showed some pictures from prophets in The Book of Mormon who talked about Christ, and we talked about when Christ visited the Americas. We also sang “Search, Ponder, and Pray” with hand actions for the kids. I’m so glad that we started doing this when the kids are young. They know to look forward to FHE on Monday and it’s just what we do now.

Good morning hugs
Good morning hugs

Tuesday I had my normal day at work and went to scouts in the evening. This week we worked on preparing for our next camp-out. A few months back we challenged the boys to cook a meal that was something other than hot dogs and they’re taking us up on the challenge this time. I think they’re going to do pizza for dinner and mountain man hash for breakfast. We also worked on leave no trace training and talked a bit about how we can better be prepared for cold-weather camping.

Playing the triangles at music class.
Playing the triangles at music class.

Thursday I was assigned to bring snacks to work. We have a tradition on my team called “Snack Thursday” where people are assigned each week to bring something to share. This week was my turn. Sarah and I made energy bites and the team loved them.

James playing peek-a-boo
James playing peek-a-boo

Friday Eliza and James had music class. We started paying for James this year too so that he can participate in all the activities. He probably loves the class as much as Eliza does.

James after his haircut
James after his haircut

Today we had church at 9:00 again. We’re still adjusting to to this schedule a bit with the kids. They didn’t get to bed super early last night and I had to wake them up to get them ready for church in time. I don’t think that Eliza got enough sleep because she broke down after 20 minutes in nursery today. She was excited to go and usually she does fine but her lack of sleep last night made it hard for her.

Saturday chores
Saturday chores

Sarah taught a good lesson today in Gospel Principles class about the Atonement. She has become a really good teacher and shared a great lesson. We both had meetings tonight. I had my scout committee meeting and Sarah had a coordination meeting with the stake Relief Society presidency about the upcoming women’s conference they’re doing. Sarah is doing a musical number and apparently it’s a pretty big production.

Eliza needs a bigger bike
Eliza needs a bigger bike
James playing peek-a-boo again
James playing peek-a-boo again

 

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.