Our Year recap in video

Sunday, January 21, 2018

I did a lengthy renew & review post of 2017 -- but I could have summed it up in a few minutes with our video. I only focused on the later part of the year, since I already covered the first part of the year in this video. And then the summer and fall in this video.  And now... the end of the year here...

For a Christmas present to the Gardners I made videos of Bronson, Jessica and Daymon and their childhood. STILL working on Logan's.... :) 
If you watch them - you will quickly agree with me that the Gardner kiddos were the cutest kids ever ever ever ever. 

2018 - week #3

A quick recap of our week. 
1. My parents celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. #victory #goals So happy they're my parents. 
2. President Russell M. Nelson was set apart as the next Prophet and President of the church. We drove to work and school listening to the announcement on the radio - and I instantly felt the spirit. I hope we can find that picture of me sitting on President Nelson's lap when I was 8 years old, when he called me his "buddy." President Nelson was a good friend with my Grandpa Smith as they were both attending the University of Minnesota -- often exchanging turns babysitting each others kids so they could go on dates. The cool facts you find out when you read your grandparents journal. 
3. I spent more time in the family history center. Determined to finish my family history projects ASAP. We are getting used to be the only ones under the age of 70 there. 
4. My boss gave me tickets to the BYU basketball game. So close we could hear the refs make their calls. Jessica, Daymon, Clayton and Cecily came with -- luckily so that I could get my girl-talk fix in for the week (Thanks Cecily! Bronson thanks you too!) 
5. We have a thing for working until 8pm on Friday's. And then watching a movie at home. #perfectdateforme. 
6. Saturday we got "snowed in", not really, but we pretended. And attended the temple that night. 
7. On Sunday, we went home and visiting teaching.  Had the Elder's over for dinner, and took the leftovers to a lady in the ward recovering from a hip replacement. This instant pot sure is becoming my new BFF. 

scanning family pictures

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mom, Baby Ondalynn, Grandma Smith
This 34 degree January weather is feeling like a heat wave. We didn't even wear coats to church today. Now this is weather I can get behind. On the other hand, Madison, WI choses to stay between -10 and 10 degrees in January so my love for Januarys will be short lived. 

I thought I might be one of those couples that takes a picture every Sunday of the year to see how our family changes... but yeah, but we didn't even make it two weeks. 

A quick recap of recent events: 
Last week we helped Jessica set up her classroom. It's so cute -- she definitely knows what she is doing in a classroom. We all enjoyed Olive Garden for dinner with gift cards from the Gardners (Thank you!) and felt fancy since we got salmon -- which is much above my weekly grocery shopping budget. 

During the week I spent time organizing thousands of family pictures I brought back with me after the Christmas break. Since I finished the home videos project I wondered what else I could do. I'm glad the spirit prompted me to check out the BYU Library Family History center where they have fast feed photo scanners. I can feed 15 photos through at a time. Bronson's been good to tag along with me when I go. I finished all 2,000+ pictures by Saturday afternoon, just in time to meet up with Alice-Anne for lunch - a belated birthday treat (since lets be honest, Decembers are crazy!).  I'm finding so many gems -- pictures I had no idea even existed. I feel like I'm getting to know my siblings and family in its infant stages. When we weren't at the library we went to Clayton and Cecily's to play games. #ouronlyfriends 

I also happened to bring with me some CD's of pictures from my Lewis grandparents life history that I was able to upload. I don't know any of the stories behind the pictures -- and I really wish I did -- but I intend to find out. 

I found a photo with me and my Grandma Smith, who died when I was 6. I only have one small tiny memory of her handing me a doll when I was 5 years old, the minute we walked into their house from our 12 hour drive from Oregon to Utah. 

I want to share a few of my favorites. 


6 or 36 my brother Seth still is constantly in this exact same pose!

2017 - Renew and Review

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Every part of me wants to hold on to the month of December and Christmas for as long as possible, but I love a good new year and beginning.

I wanted to reflect on 2017 before I completely close that chapter of life -- no matter how ineloquent and very personal it sounds.

2 0 1 7 - Y E A R   I N   R E V I E W

Major Life Events: 
  1. We moved to a new apartment in June 2017 - a half a mile east to be exact. 
  2. On that same day, we ran a 10K at 6am and walked home from the race to finish moving. Running a 10K was one of my New Year Resolutions!
  3. Visited Hawaii and stayed with the cutest family on the island. Thank you tax return. 
  4. Bronson got an internship. So many blessings attached to this one event. 
  5. Bronson got a full-time job for 2018. 
  1. Bronson's internship -- since it was a requirement for graduation, we were so lucky he found one in the state of Utah (so no long distance!), at a higher pay rate than his previous job, AND he could use public transportation, which means we didn't need to buy a second car. This internship turned into a job from which he could stay at home and work. Although it hasn't been his favorite kind of work, it's been valuable experience, even helping him decide what he does and doesn't want to do. 
  2. My job. I just had no idea what I was walking into when I accepted this job back in 2016. More out of necessity for a decent pay and benefits. But I had no idea how I've gained a family of co-workers while working there. A lot of psuedo mothers and a handful of labeled sisters. I've been opened to this world of caring for the elderly and caring for employees while working in HR. I feel like I've gained a skill set that will help me find other jobs in the future if I chose to do that. While work was a cuss word in my head for the first 6, 7, 8, how many months, it's become a major purpose in my life right now. 
  3. While maybe third on the list -- it is the most important of all. Family. We were lucky to see family in Hawaii, Idaho and Oregon multiple times this year. I feel like I said "yes" to more family events this year even if it meant it was expensive, inconvenient, I was hesitant, or even if it meant having to change my schedule upside down to do so. It has been the very best. I always leave happier when I'm with family. And it's also so painfully hard to leave too. These past couple months after the holidays I kept praying with gratitude that I have families that love each other. I take that for granted. 
  4. Relationship with Bronson. Sometimes I have conversations with friends that make me reflect on our first year of marriage and while it wasn't super hard I just see how far we've come and how much we've changed -- all for the better. I honestly can't remember the last time we fought, and if we did it was probably about what flavor of salsa we should buy. I may not be the perfect wife -- there were many times Bronson ate pb and j's for lunch this summer, or had to dig in the dryer for clean clothes, or had to wait until 8pm for dinner to finally finish -- but i've had fun being his wife. 
more blessings: 
* A car to drive. Even though it never starts on the first try, it still works and gets us where we need to go. And no accidents or major car problems. 

* A camera to take pictures so I can capture these memories of life. 

* Receiving boxes of personal affects from when I was younger -- things I didn't know my mother had saved. I'm savoring looking at everything and storing it in a way for future posterity. 

* Jessica & Daymon -- living in provo and doing things with them. 

* Ivan Finn Williams -- a perfect healthy baby boy. 

* JULIA IS PREGNANT. Biggest and happiest blessing of this year. 

* Marco Polo app -- that has allowed me to stay connected EXTREMELY WELL (maybe too well? ;) connected with my sisters and other siblings. We Lewises sure love to talk to each other and show what we are up to and I LOVE IT. 


  1. Not consistent with my goals. I feel very ambitious about what I want to achieve (physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and as a wife/person). But I feel like I struggle with being consistent and not letting the natural man win. Physically, I let me knee problem turn into a really extended excuse for not exercising. And now it's hard to get started again. Excuses were not limited to physical injuries, I came up for a million why I am not timely with dishes, laundry, tidying up, etc. haha. I could reallllllly work on being more productive and less idle. 
  2. Maybe this falls under the consistent category - but we weren't as good as attending the temple as we have been in months and years passed. We need to go while it's 2 blocks away from us before its 2.5 hours away! 
  3. Online shopping. A major weakness for me. Bronson and I are trying to rectify this and go on a shopping fast for January and February (for everything besides the necessities - groceries, gas, etc). 
  4. Borderline dependent on my phone -- not super proud of this trial in my life. I want to know a recipe for success with using the smart phone on an every day basis. How do you manage staying connected with others yet not needing to check your phone so many times a day. Every research published shows decreased levels of happiness when we look at social media. Yet we still do it. And do it alot. I've tried to do "fasts" from social media, and then cave, or feel like I don't know what is going on in others lives right around me. Bronson and I watched a TED talk about social media and how people can easily spend 5 years of their life just on Facebook. I could live without facebook, but I love instagram. So I need to work on this area of my life. 
  5. Fasting. This year I struggled to enjoy fasting. If I didn't get such a gnarly headache every time I fasted I'd like to think I would it enjoy it more -- but it's hard. I know it works, but the natural man in me just wants to do a half-hearted, mediocre fast (aka: eat sooner than probably should).
As I type those trials (and I know there are so many more!) I am thinking, I easily identified what I need to work on this year. 

The very best thing I did was last year was my own personal motto of "be a tourist in my own state." I think it helped Bronson and I do more things than we would have ever done. 
A final overview of things we did this year: 
  1. JANUARY : We went snowshoeing for the first time in Aspen Grove and went to the Natural Museum of History in SLC.
  2. FEBRUARY: We tried Bam Bams BBQ, hiked the Y, and tried Roll it Up - Thai ice cream. 
  3. MARCH: Ran our first race together - Rex Lee 5K, went to the Ben Rector concert on campus, spiralized alot of food, took a lot of walks to the Provo City Center temple and I won a Kitchen Aide. 
  4. APRIL: Printed a book for my moms 65th birthday (big accomplishment!), took 200 pictures of food (haha), went to the Thanksgiving point Tulip festival. 
  5. MAY: Went to Hawaii for the first time and played with the cutest kids on the island. Alot of first timers there: Pearl Harbor, snorkeling, hiking, feeling a warm Pacific Ocean,  boogie boarding, and the PCC. Hiked Stewart falls, got serious about training for our race, hiked Big Springs Hollow and went on a last minute camping trip to Utah Lake State Park. 
  6. JUNE: Ran the 10K Utah Valley Marathon race, moved apartments, got my 3rd ingrown toenail removed, walked to the cemetery every Sunday night, and one Saturday: visited the Hogel zoo, Snowbird, rode the ski tram and eye witnessed the most breath taking views of Utah. We also went on our first backpacking/camping trip up American Fork Canyon to Silver Lake. Also 100% breathtaking. 
  7. JULY: Ran in the Freedom Run in downtown Provo. Spent 4th of July with the Gardners in Oregon - Daymon came home from his mission (and finished his mission book - my other big project accomplishment this year!). We went to the Provo Saturday's market, Seven Peaks, and the best thing that moment: a food truck of Seven Brothers (a restaurant from Hawaii) came to Provo! Ran the Temple to Temple with Clayton and Cecily on Pioneer day and saw the Spanish Fork Rodeo. 
  8.  AUGUST: Took the activity day girls to day camp, went to St. George for Kyna's wedding, quick trip to Zions National Park and Kolob Canyon, stayed with Grandpa Moss & Judy. 2nd Anniversary staycation in SLC, swimming with the Johns, witnessed the Solar Eclipse (at 90% totality), camping trip to Payson Lakes (a new favorite spot in Utah). 
  9. SEPTEMBER: Hiked Sqauw Peak (all 7 miles from H*#&!). Saw One Republic live with the Mosses, Bronson turned 25!
  10. OCTOBER:  Family visited for General Conference, Homecoming spectacular (4th year in a row!), drove the alpine loop to see the fall leaves, saw Kenna (niece) in Fiddler on the Roof, and Bronson ran his FIRST HALF MARATHON! Hosted a Lewis gathering in our apartment.
  11. NOVEMBER: Went to the Meridian Temple Open House and visited the Gardner grandparents. Met Baby Myreel Shaver (cousin Myreel's daughter), traveled to Oregon for Thanksgiving (first thanksgiving with my family since 2012!). Bronson got the job offer in Wisconsin for June 2018. 
  12. DECEMBER: I turned 25, Christmas parties, Jessica graduated and got a job, saw the Spanish fork Christmas lights, traveled to Oregon for Christmas in Astoria, spent the end of the year with family!
One of the biggest accomplishments I did this year was compile our family home videos into small clips and organized into playlists by the date. And there were ALOT. I spent all the free time I had over 3 months and I am so glad I didn't give up! I am so excited to share these memories with my posterity - and for my family to enjoy right now. Because of this project I have a deeper desire to do family history work (maybe not in FamilySearch per say) but to collect, capture and organize family memories and histories. 

While I may not have completed EVERY resolution I made at the beginning of 2017 - I have seen progress in what I've done. And I know its just a day by day, step by step principle of practicing, trying and learning. 

Still chewing on what I want to focus on this year... To Be continued. 

Christmas in Oregon 2017

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Oregon Coast. 
Our Christmas was 100% perfect besides everyone getting the flu-plague. Since the middle of November Bronson and I have logged 4,380 miles driving back and forth to Oregon and Idaho. But all in the name of family -- and it was worth it.

After braving the snowy roads between Idaho and Oregon we arrived in Astoria on December 23rd in time to go see Star Wars that night. Sunday, Christmas Eve was a special sabbath for me. This time, the Sacrament felt different -- my heart felt like it was exploding with gratitude for everything that I've been given -- family, the gospel, temples, my mission, Bronson, and of course the Atonement of Jesus Christ. After church we played a family trivia game I created and watched family home videos of Christmases when the kids were little.

The Gardner's are so good about always making sure people have a home to be in on holidays. Lynette, a recent convert joined us for dinner and a message. We played games and opened presents before going to bed. And we got Christmas PJs! I honestly haven't felt so happy in a long time. I mean, how could I not, I was with family, at Christmas, and not having to worry about work!

Christmas was so fun -- even if we did open presents at 6am! That afternoon we went to the beach and walked to the jetty splitting the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River and saw a front row view of the tumultuous pacific ocean waves beat on the rocks - and we got drenched - despite being very cold, it was so cool. Easily one of the coolest things I've done.

Bronson got his Echo he's been wanting.

And I got the pair of sandals I've wanted since December 2016. Too bad we are moving to the 5th coldest state in the country so who knows how much i'll be able to use them. 

Michelle is a pro at making aebleskivers!
Bronson and I headed to Gresham on Thursday. 98% of my family was sick so overall it was a laid back time which we didn't mind. We got to see the Caudles that afternoon and played Clue.

On Friday, I was lucky to meet up with one of my best high school friends. Julie is a nurse in Salem, so she drove an hour to see me. We chatted for high school like as if 6 years hadn't even passed. It was sooooo good to see her. She's doing some amazing things -- being a nurse, bought a house, bought a car, and working so hard at everything she does. I loved getting to see her again.

Saturday morning we did a sisters breakfast with Meredith, Ondalynn, and Vivienne. We missed Julia who was in Hawaii tending Meredith's kids and Alice-Anne with her family in Utah.

It was so fun to spend some time with Meredith and Bryan. Bronson and I happened to go for alittle date to get frozen yogurt and Meredith happened to call, I told her where we were and she's like "oh that sounds good we will join you." And then we went grocery shopping together before Sunday. I told them that now they don't have 4 kids around they turn into teenagers -- staying out late and doing whatever they want.

Sunday, we got to witness the baby blessing of Ivan Finn Williams and then after Sacrament meeting we made our way back to Utah making a stop in Boise for the night with the Gardner grandparents. It was fun to spend the evening talking to them with Jalene, Mark and Emma.

It has been good to be back to a routine, but I absolutely loved our Christmas break -- it could not have been better. Well, actually I could have watched a few more Christmas hallmark movies... hah, but it was such a great break.
Some more pics:
S. P. O. I. L. E. D. we loved everything we got! (not pictured a chopping knife and Trader Joe chocolate covered peppermint cookies I ABSOLUTELY LOVE from my parents. Like seriously, I could not be happier I got the cookies. And I feel like I am top chef worthy with that new knife. Who knew a knife could make sure a difference to your kitchen expertise confidence.)


A herd of elk. Right on the side of the road. Totally normal. 

If only roads were snow-resistant. But I do love those snow flocked trees. 

Literally 100% full. 

I handed out Potpourri jars to co-workers and friends this Christmas. 

We went with our friends, the Knighton's to see the Christmas lights in Spanish Fork. It was so much fun!

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