What's meant to be, will be

Christmas in California

Our road trip to California started with a night in Las Vegas that included Top Golf and the Cheesecake Factory. The Top Golf is in the middle of the strip and everything was lit up when we got there.

The next morning, we stopped at the Seven Magic Mountains. They are colorful rocks that are displayed off the highway outside of Las Vegas.

Jack, Owen, and Lucy thought we were arriving a few days later than we actually were, so we got to surprise them when we showed up. The boys and Helen had to pretend that they were in the mountains skiing for a couple days as an excuse not to be on FaceTime with the California cousins on our drive out. They were surprised 🙂 We spent most of our time relaxing, baking, playing cards, and enjoying the warm weather.


Kat and Walker were able to drive over from Tucson for a couple of days over Christmas ♡


For Christmas, Jack got a truck. This picture makes it look like Helen and Lucy own it though

The 5 kids did a Secret Santa… They aren’t very good at keeping secrets, so it wasn’t very hard to figure out who everyone had. Theo bought for Helen and got her these slippers as a joke (and a few other nice things)… but she has been wearing the gold slippers ever since 🙂

We went to the beach on Christmas to watch the sunset. It was so pretty and a few of the kids even went in the chilly water

Helen tried to teach Walker how to cartwheel. The picture of her ended up much better than the picture of him 🙂

This child is not related to us… he just happened to be in the perfect spot

I’m sure Helen would want to be pointed out in the background of this picture. We all got funny Christmas sweaters/shirts for Christmas, but Kat and I were the only ones who weren’t too cool to wear ours to the beach.

Before Kat and Walker had to leave, we took a couple family photos

I am just now realizing that Jeff is not smiling in this picture… there is a nice one somewhere though…

He was obviously not in the mood for nice pictures. There is also a boys picture with Walker in it and he was also offered a kiss on the cheek from Jeff

Family photos were followed by the best ice cream I’ve ever had. It was called Cookies for Santa. It’s probably good that it is seasonal, otherwise I would eat it all the time.

Theo, Jeff, Owen, and Dad took a little road trip to Phoenix to meet Kat and Walker for the Fiesta Bowl. Penn State was playing, they won, and the boys were on ESPN, so it was a good trip for them. The girls went to see Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Chris for a day and did some shopping while they were gone. New Year’s Eve was filled with a family ping pong tournament and some crazy dances.

When we left, Theo, Jeff, and Helen were so sad. They are in a sad mood for days after we leave and they started calling it “post-cousin depression” this trip. Even though we live far away from all of our extended family, I think my parents do the best job of making it feel like we live close by. The kids even said “California is only 18 hours away? We actually live so close to them… we should come here more.” An 18 hour, or most of the time more, car ride is worth it to be with family ☺️

End of 1st Semester!!

First semester this year was so busy and I pretty much did homework 99% of the time (which is why I am 4 months behind on here…), but I met the best people in my classes. I’m mostly just putting some of my favorite pictures from the fall in this post.

Kaia’s 21st Birthday!

Wedding dress shopping with Kat over Fall Break!


Hurt’s Donut 5k in Lincoln

Joey’s 21st birthday!! He is not the best at being patient, especially when it comes to food, so that explains why he is rolling his eyes that I had to take a picture

Rilee and I went to Arbor Day Farm for a day to pick apples. It was actually one of the warmest days this fall and I was way too hot in my sweater.

I am kind of obsessed with doing seasonal activities, so this was very exciting for me.

Ever since I learned that this barn existed, I wanted to take a picture of Rilee in front of it. She will probably have a mural like that on the side of her house one day. And one that says “RECYCLE”. She is leaving for Australia in February and I am so sad that she won’t be in Lincoln, but I am so excited to hear about all of the adventures she has there.

Dining Out #3

Thanksgiving break in Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia started with a rainy Penn State game

Papa showed us the view from his “office”. We each got a turn riding in the tractor with him. We were in the same field that he worked in as a teenager. He wants a video made to the song “International Harvester” hahaha


This pretty much sums up how my mom feels about Jeff’s constant shenanigans…

On Thanksgiving, we were in Virginia 🦃 Last year I talked about how excited I was for Thanksgiving for at least 2 months, but this year I started celebrating Christmas in October, so I was very excited to set up 2 trees over break

After Thanksgiving, the last few weeks of the semester flew by. They included…

Thomas Rhett concert!

Nebraska basketball games!

Decorating my room for Christmas!


And finishing a semester of Kindergarten practicum! With my favorite practicum parter

Yay for another semester done ✔️

Kansas City

Over the summer, Joey and I decided it would be fun to spend a weekend in Kansas City together to go to a Royals game… so we did! And it was so fun! We have officially been in 10 states together. My only complaint about the weekend was that it went by too quickly.

This is a picture of Joey reading me all of the health benefits of drinking coffee because he is convinced that I am going to become a coffee drinker 🙄 It has been tempting a few times this semester…

We asked someone to take a picture of us and it really isn’t the best, but I still like it 🙂

Funny story… While we were looking at this view, the weather was perfect, but there was one gust of wind and it lifted up my whole dress and I pretty much flashed everyone in Kansas City… so that’s lovely. About 5 minutes after that, Joey climbed on one of the walls to sit on it and he got yelled at over the loud speaker by security… so we are pretty lucky they didn’t just kick us out of the city right then.

It usually takes this kid so long to agree to take a nice picture, but I’ve learned that if I offer him food or dessert, it speeds up the process 🙂

We had to walk a little farther than I expected to get to this wall, but I was determined to find it


 My first Royals game!

Insomnia Cookies=Best Place Ever

When Joey was about to take this picture, I fixed my hair and he said, “Your hair looks fine. This picture really isn’t about you anyway. It’s mostly about the cookie!” Also if it looks like I’m too excited, it’s because I was 😂


        Weekends go by too fast… especially the ones that are the most fun. It was such a fun weekend and I can’t wait to go back. Unfortunately, on Sunday morning, I woke up sick and I did not feel well the whole car ride home. I was so sad because when we went to Chicago, I got sick too. When we got back I took a nap and when I woke up I felt even worse. Joey came and brought me these cough drops, Emergen-C, a bottle of orange juice, and flowers.  It was a good reminder that people who care even when life isn’t the most fun are the people who I want to keep around because they are the ones I want to spend the fun parts with 🙂

•simple things•

I have a heart that wants to be going somewhere new or doing something exciting all the time… It’s just the way I am. There are days when I cannot focus on anything besides places I want to go and new things I want to add to my bucket list and I love that… but, I also love the people I’m with and the time I have right now to appreciate less extravagant things, so I need to work on doing that, too. I started reading the book Present Over Perfect while we were in Hawaii and I really love it. It has helped me to focus on simple things again and be genuinely amazed by them. I think I have been doing a good job because Joey says I am like a kid on Christmas morning about little things all the time these days. This post is mostly just for me, so I can see the little things I have been able to appreciate over the last month.

This picture makes me the happiest. I wish they lived closer to me so I could have them here all the time.


I guess I just really apprecate food…

 I met these three boys at the very beginning of our Freshman year… I am so grateful for each of them.

We decided it is still acceptable to spend days at the lake even after school has started 🙂

Everyone should have a roommate who makes homemade Chipotle and shares it with you. I love Chip (I’m trying to make Chip a thing, so please join me), but Sam’s honestly might be better than the real thing. She also makes the BEST pumpkin chocolate chip muffins… She is the greatest roommate and I absolutely love living with her.

I saw this picture recently and I just really loved it. I have been spending three days a week in a kindergarten classroom and it makes me wish that I could see the world the way 5 year olds do. They really believe that there is no such thing as an inconvenient time for a hug. I can always count on AT LEAST one hug everyday that I am there and they don’t let the love they have to give go to waste. They believe in “trying their best” all the time. They believe that their stories are worth sharing… even if it in the middle of a lesson. They believe in walking through the halls with their arms around each other, helping others without being asked, and they believe that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness… and we should, too. But… that’s just my opinion and like the picture says, the world will only be changed by our example, not by our opinions, so I plan on acting like a kindergartener starting now 🙂 Hopefully I will be able to tie my own shoes and not pick my nose in public though 😉


Big Island, Hawaii🌴

I’m a little late on getting this up because of school, but Helen and I got extremely lucky and we got to go to Hawaii with our aunt, uncle, and cousins who live in California. The best part was that we didn’t make plans to go until about 2 weeks before, so it was kind of like a surprise vacation. I had been trying to find my way to a beach for awhile, so I had no complaints about spending my last week of summer on the Big Island.

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View from our bedroom balcony

One of my favorite things was that I woke up early every morning (and got to look at this view from our bed!!) because of the time change and I got to sit out outside and read. I decided I like waking up early in the morning… As long as I’m not tired 😉

We also loved morning walks on this lava trail that looked out over the ocean

We saw several of these little guys INSIDE our house

On the first day we got there, Helen snorkeled in the pool😂 Cutest snorkeler I’ve ever seen

We had access to a neighborhood pool called the Grotto. It was one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen and we had it to ourselves every time we were there

Helen celebrated her 12th birthday in Hawaii with a brownie sundae and coffee ice cream (her favorite)

Hawaiian ice is the type of food that I eat once and crave for at least a year after… seriously


The stars were amazing because the Big Island is a “dark island” because of the observatory

I don’t know if I have ever seen such clear ocean water before. It was pretty amazing

I usually don’t like swimming in the ocean or wearing goggles, but I knew I would’ve been missing out if I didn’t swim

The truth is, I really can’t float at all and this is the closest I will probably ever get. If this were a video it would not look cool at all because it would show how much I was really struggling😂

These girls really should’ve been born as twins. They are absolutely inseparable and they are the definition of “two peas in a pod”

Uncle Jeff, Michael, Owen, Helen, and I went parasailing in Kona. We got to go up 1,200 feet and the guide told us thats about as high as you can go anywhere. This adventure is how my GoPro got lost. I know I can buy a new one eventually, and I am sure I will, so I didn’t let myself get too sad about losing it. It is just a thing and it can be replaced. We were in Hawaii and I had better things to do than think about my GoPro… Like the fact that I had just been attached to a boat by a rope and flying 1,200 feet above the ocean… or that I was in Hawaii…

This whole post is kind of a picture overload, but I love them all


We took a day to go to Volcanoes National Park


The night Helen and I left, we got to see the first half of Jack’s football game against a school that had a perfect ocean view from their field. That might be the only time I ever get to see him play a high school game, so that was really cool.

We took a redeye to LAX and then we flew home to Colorado. Helen had no problem taking a little nap in the airport 🙂

On our second flight, we flew over the Grand Canyon

This isn’t a great picture, but it is one of the only ones we took together. I loved every moment that Helen and I got to spend together because it is very rare that I get to be with just her. My little sister is getting so old, so I want to spend as much time with her as I can before she grows up and realizes she is way too cool to be hanging out with me. I also realized while I was typing this that I need to take as many pictures with her as possible before she is taller than me and I look like the little sister…

We had a such a great time on this trip and we are so thankful that Aunt Jane and Uncle Jeff were willing to bring us along. Hawaii is the only state I have been to before that I wasn’t old enough to remember being in, so being there on this trip felt like the first time for me. I have been back at school for almost a month now, but I am still wishing I was in Hawaii. It was a dream and I can’t wait to go back…



Weekend Trip to Tucson ☀

Over the weekend, I flew to Tucson to visit Kat and Walker. I was there for about two and a half days total, but we squeezed in as many activities as we could. I’ve decided that weekend trips are one of the greatest things ever because I know I don’t have time to waste going into them, so I make the most of every moment. It is something for me to look forward to before it happens and it keeps me going for awhile after it’s over.

We went downtown to The Hub for ice cream. Sprinkles are pretty much the only thing that can make me get ice cream that doesn’t have chocolate.


One of my favorite things we did was an eight and a half mile hike to Seven Falls! We were lucky because it rained everyday for about two weeks before I came to visit, so there was plenty of  water for us to swim and we got to walk through the river to cool off several times 🙂


You can see the waterfalls and the swimming holes in the background

Kat also took us to a cactus and succulent farm… one of her favorite discoveries since moving to Tucson.

The last time she was there, she did’t buy anything, but this time, she got a cactus for her living room and succulents for her kitchen table. There are not a lot of things that make her more excited…

They look like they’re straight out of Dr. Seuss and if I could’ve found a good way to bring one on the plane with me, I probably would’ve.

Kat and Walker (well mostly Kat…) wanted me to take some more engagement pictures for them. Walker cooperated (almost) the whole time and these are just some of my favorites 🙂

Thanks to a stranger for this beautiful front door that we borrowed…

Of course we had to get some pictures out by the cacti🌵

This is one of my favorite pictures… Have you ever seen two people look more excited??

It’s crazy that they’ve already been engaged for 8 months and that they’re getting married in less than a year!! We are so excited 🙂

I’m so happy I could go visit for a weekend. Kat and I always have the best time together… We literally wake up singing in the morning 🙂 I’m so thankful to fave a sister who is my best friend and who lives in a place where it is warm year round. Hopefully I can escape the cold and come visit sometime during the winter 🙂


Joseph comes to CO!!

On our way home from the East coast, we picked up Joey in Lincoln and brought him home with us for a week. I pretty much spent the whole summer thinking of things for us to do while he was here, so I was SO excited to finally do all of them. The night we got home, we went to the new park that opened while we were gone and played wiffle ball 🙂

The next day, we took Theo, Jeff, and Helen to the mountains for a night of camping. I really wanted to sleep in a tent because it has been so long since I have done that, but there was a chance of rain, so we got a tiny cabin with no electricity. We spent the day laying in hammocks, fishing, and exploring a little.

Here’s our little cabin 🙂 Joey made a fire for us and we made hot dogs and s’mores. Once it got dark, we set up all our flashlights in the cabin and played cards for a few hours

While we were making dinner, it looked like there were rain clouds coming, so we were trying to get the food done quickly in case it started raining… We had a cooler with food in the trunk and we kept going in and out to get stuff and at one point, Jeff mentioned that the battery was going to die if we kept going in and out like that. We closed the trunk and before we went inside for the night, we started the car to make sure the battery was okay. It started fine, but in the morning guess what happened… the car wouldn’t start. We found someone to help us jump it and he was “an electrical engineer at a high tech firm” so he sounded like he knew what he was doing… but guess who hooked up the jumper cables wrong and blew a fuse in our car… yes, our electrical engineer friend… So, we had to go to the checkin building to use their phone and call Mom and get a tow truck. Type 2 funny…

The next day, we took tubes to Palmer Lake and laid out and floated around

After floating around for a couple hours, we were starving, so we got hot food from Safeway and took it to a different lake that was close by and had a little picnic

We went home and then left with the rest of the family to go zip-lining in Manitou Springs. The whole ride there we could see thunderstorms building and moving over the mountains, so I was convinced that we were going to get rained out, but we got a couple hours in before the lightning got close enough for them to stop us, so it was perfect!

After we were done zip-lining, they made a fire and had s’mores supplies for us. Luckily there was a tent for us to sit under too because it was pouring, but a few people (not me…) went out in the rain to roast marshmallows for us 🙂

The next morning, I took Joey to Over Easy for breakfast and I think it is his new favorite breakfast place, too 🙂

In the afternoon, we went to Denver with my family for a Rockies game

After the game, we went met Aunt Jane and Jack for dinner at Cinzetti’s before they went to Fort Collins for Jack’s football camp

The next morning, Joey and I woke up really early and drove to hike to Devil’s Head Fire Lookout. When we got there, we were the only car in the parking area, so we had the whole trail to ourselves. It was a fun hike because the trail only gives you small glimpses of the view, but when you get to the end, there is a staircase to the lookout and you really can’t see the full view until you get to the top.

We saw on a sign that on a clear day, you can see 100 miles in every direction… that same sign also said there had been recent mountain lion activity in the area, so that was really comforting for me…

This is the only fire lookout that is still used in the state. At the bottom of the steps, there is a cabin that an 84 year old man lives in full-time and uses the lookout to check for fires.

We were glad we got up so early to go because even though there is nothing that could make this view unimpressive, it wouldn’t have been the same if we had to share it with a lot of other people. Also I think it should be a rule that if you grew up in Colorado, you should be automatically used to the altitude for the rest of your life… Joey thinks they should provide visitors with oxygen masks…

That night we went to the El Paso County fair and rodeo. This was Joey’s first rodeo and I honestly think watching his reactions was more entertaining than the actual rodeo…

Our favorite thing to say when we’re together is “THIS IS SO FUN!!” and this week was no different. I love all of the fun adventures we have, but I also love how we are able to make unfortunate circumstances, like being stuck in the mountains with no car and no phone service, or simple things, like playing games, fun. I can’t wait for our next our next adventures 🙂



June & July 2017

My family spent the end of June and most of July traveling. We spent one day in Colorado after moving Kat to Arizona before driving to Chicago. While we were in Chicago, we did a little sight seeing and went to a White Sox game because we have never been to that stadium before. Mom, Helen, and I were pretty much on the “Stadium Tour” to try food in all the different stadiums. 

After Chicago, we stopped in Cleveland to go to an Indians game since we had never been to a game there either.

This is where I decided to start photographing the stadiums and my food 🙂

After Cleveland, we went to Grandma and Papa’s house in New York for a couple of days. The day we got there, Dad and Papa helped the boys build a soccer net in the West lawn. We celebrated Theo and Jeff’s 14th birthday while we were there and I spent a lot of time working on homework for my summer classes…

After we left Grandma and Papa’s house, we went drove through Vermont and New Hampshire to go to Boston. This we the first time we have driven that way and I loved the drive. We stopped in a small town in Vermont for ice cream and we stopped in New Hampshire and had dinner at Roger’s Pizza with Dad’s relatives.

While we were in Boston, we went to a Red Sox game and did a little sight seeing.

After Boston, we headed to New York City for a night. No baseball teams were in town while we were there, but we went to a NYC FC soccer game in Yankee Stadium. It worked out perfectly because we have been to the Mets’ stadium and to Yankee’s games before and the soccer game was one of the best games we’ve been to.

We stopped at Shake Shack in Chicago and it was too good not to stop again in New York City!

After NYC won the game, there was a celebration in the street. The boys and Helen started out just watching, but it wasn’t long before they were in the middle of the crowd… This picture was taken before Theo and Jeff had their shirts off…

After New York City, we drove to Virginia to visit our grandparents and go to Holly and Russell’s wedding!

We love Mrs. East!! And Mr. East too

One of the days while we were there, we went to Arlington Cemetery and then went to Aunt Kim and Uncle Andy’s house and made homemade pizza’s on the grill!

After spending the 4th of July in Virginia, we drove back to New York. When we got back, Aunt Sherry, Kendall, Jackson, Aunt Jane, Jack, Owen, and Lucy were all there. We spent most of the week relaxing, hanging out, and eating ice cream. We also did another Amazing Race game for the 8 youngest cousins.

This picture isn’t the best quality, but the boys tried to shave lines in each others hair and when they didn’t turn out how they had hoped, they asked me to fix them…

Dad helped us make a volleyball “net”

I didn’t get many good pictures of the amazing race, so Mom sent me this picture of the teams doing the egg toss

Our trip this summer wasn’t as crazy as our trip last summer, but we got to spend most of our time enjoying simple things with family. Trips to Europe are fun, but this summer was a good reminder that very little is needed to make a happy life. All we really need is family… and ice cream 😉


August → June in Pictures



Sorry to the stranger whose child this is, but he just looks too cute looking at Memorial Stadium





Thanks to Taylor and the Skram family for Fall Break in Kansas


Joey would hate that this picture is on here, but he probably won’t ever know and I like it 🙂



First year living together ✓




Fake Patty’s Day at Kstate thanks to Taylor and friends





Spring Training in Arizona


Eric Church concert!!!


Easter at Notre Dame


Weekend in Chicago (while I was still smiling through the mono…)



Kat is officially a Notre Dame grad and 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force!!





Rilee and her sister came for a short visit



We just moved Kat to Tucson and they have these “be kind” reminders all around the city. Be kind. It’s not that hard.


Germany, Denmark, Sweden

The last part of our trip was spent in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. We spent a few relaxing days in Germany, visited Anne and went to Labori (a week long festival with music, food, rides, and shops), saw our Great Great Aunts who still live in Germany, and went to Marieke’s house for dinner, before we went to Denmark for the weekend. We stayed in an airbnb outside of Copenhagen. When we got to the village where the house was, we were a little confused because everyone parked their cars in a parking lot and walked to their houses… Then we got to our house, which was very cute on the outside, but when we walked in, Jeff saw a spider within the first minute. Something you should know is that Jeff is terrified of spiders ever since he got a bad spider bite a year ago… the spider sightings continued for the whole three days we were there and Jeff only begged to sleep between Hannah and me once. Also something that should be noted is that when we walked in the house, there were 2 plastic Tupperware containers on the kitchen table with a note that said, “Please do not kill the flies… Catch and release”… So that was entertaining for about a day, but then we started having contests to see who could kill the most. The village had a really cute park with a soccer field, zip line, trampolines, and pond and all of the people living there were very friendly. A neighbor came over to see if we needed help with anything and she asked us how we liked the eco-village… when we found out is was an eco-village, the fly catching, the no car rule, the compost bins, and the spiders all made more sense. For the record, I do not support keeping flies or spiders living inside a house. No, thank you.


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That nice decorative bowl in the middle of the table was actually a compost bowl…


We thought about getting one of these for the house


We drove into Copenhagen for a day and the 6 “kids” walked around alone for most of the day and Mom and Dad walked around on their own. We went to the Little Mermaid Statue, to Freetown Christiania, past Tivoli Gardens, by the water, and through 9 miles of streets. Theo wore his slides the whole entire day and we had to stop and wait for him to rest his feet because they hurt from walking so much. It rained for pretty much the entire day and we were soaking wet. I don’t remember the last time I was in the rain for such a long amount of time. Theo and I were walking next to each other and we were talking (I guess you could call it complaining…) about how wet we were and how our fingers were pruney and how we couldn’t even look up at the view because rain would go in our eyes. About two seconds later, we walked past a brown paper bag that was soaking wet on the ground and it said “It’s a good day” on it. It was the best reminder and I have thought of those 4 words every day since! Who would’ve though that a soggy paper bag would be so inspiring? We even laughed when a lady tried to dump a bucket of water on us from her apartment… Joke’s on her because we were already wet.

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One of the many breaks Theo took for his feet

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Theo after Jeff pushed him down this wet hill


Between the slides, the bird that pooped on him, sliding down the hill, and getting this beautiful scrape, Theo was killing it

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Take a look at this fit man riding his elliptical/paddle board around the water

We drove across a super long bridge to Sweden. The bridge was very impressive and we maximized our time on it because we had to pay a steep toll to go across… 108 Euros to be exact. And 54 Euros on the way back because we got lucky and they made a mistake. We went to Malmö and went to the beach. It was a little chilly, but we put our feet in the Baltic Sea. Helen got all the way in the water, but after I saw a jellyfish, I was too nervous. I’m still scarred from our experience in Italy. We went to Lund and walked around for a few hours and got lunch before taking the bridge back to Copenhagen for the rest of the evening to go on a boat ride.

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Helen, fully submerged in ankle deep water

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I was using her as my model for the day and she was clearly over it

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On our way home (to Germany) from Denmark, we stopped to see Peter and Vera and baby Jakob! We had a short visit with them at their house. The last time we saw them, they were getting married and now they have a cute little baby 🙂 We spent some time back at  the Thiele house and went to Wuppertal and rode the suspension railway with Anette before heading to Frankfurt where we stayed on our last night in Germany. We will miss adventuring through Europe, but we are excited to be heading home to sleep in our own beds!