Archives for category: Family

Claire playing “Church”

I love the two different faces Claire and Amelia are making.

I just got off the phone with my mom. There’s no one quite like a mom, I’ve decided. They just make things better and your life happier.

I can’t believe she was out here more than six months ago in April to help me with the wedding! Here are a few pictures from her trip.


Yesterday, I couldn’t work on my projects any longer and so I quit everything and went to the temple with T.J.

We decided to do sealings. There was just a small group of us in the sealing room. The sealer was so talkative, it was pretty entertaining. All of the names were names he had done and so with each couple, he would tell us their story, which was really interesting. As I waited while other couples performed the work, I stared across the room into the everlasting mirrors, which are symbolic of us being linked  to all of those who have come before us and all of those who come after us.

With each sequential mirror, I went back through my family in my head. Me. My mom. Penny, my Grandmother. My Great-Grandmother… What was her name, again? Was it Pearl? Was it Bessy? Was it Moo?” I couldn’t believe it. There were thousands of mirrors in that reflection. And when I related them to my family tree, I could only go back to my grandmother by name?

Lately at church, the theme has been genealogy and temple work. Last week our Bishop asked us, “What if you went to the temple and there were no names for you to perform the work for?” He went on to tell us that they are starting to run out of names for the women, and that we must start finding our own names.

From my Bishop’s question and my experience at the temple last night, I’ve decided it really is time to start working on my family history. It is embarrassing that I cannot even give the name of my great-grandparents.

There is a lot of work to be done. And if your families work is finished, then help me with my family’s. I like the commercial for that say, “You don’t have to know what you’re looking for, you just have to start looking.”

The blessings that come from the temple are incredible. Not only for those whom the work is being performed for, but also for us and our families. It allows us to be with our families forever and it brings peace into lives, a peace you cannot find anywhere else. For those few hours in the sealing and celestial rooms, I was able to leave everything outside the temple and put my life in an eternal perspective. Christ needs to be the center of our lives. When when we put him first and have faith, everything will fall into place and our families will be eternally blessed.

If you would like to learn more about temple work, visit and watch this video.

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Last weekend T.J. and I were going to buy our tickets to Cincinnati for Christmas break. T.J. has to leave before New Years so he can get back to work and we decided I would stay until the 3rd of January since I don’t get to go home very often. Well, T.J.’s ticket was rounding out to be about $500. That is ridiculous. No student has that type of money to spend. That’s like 2 car payments, or ten phone payments, or 3 months of groceries. Way too much.

We didn’t want to have to buy the ticket right then but we also knew it was quite a risk not to buy T.J.’s ticket because the price could keep increasing or we might not be able to be on the same flights for Christmas (which isn’t a huge deal, but it would be nice). So anyway, we felt really strongly that we should just wait to buy his ticket and pray that by our next paycheck we could afford to buy his ticket and that the price wouldn’t increase too much.

One day later after buying my ticket, we got a message from T.J.’s parents saying that they would like to get T.J.’s ticket with his dad’s sky miles (he racks up a lot each week because of his work). I was amazed. First of all, I am so grateful for in-laws who are willing to do that for us, especially when the tickets mean we won’t be spending the holidays with them. Also, we didn’t have to stress out about the situation at all because our answer to our prayers came SO fast. And three, what a blessing it is that we listened to the prompting to wait to buy T.J.’s ticket.

T.J.’s dad got the ticket for us last night, completely free.


Thanks so much, Kelly and Mark! You have no idea how grateful we are for you all!

Apparently it’s flashback day on my blog.

Once upon a time, my adorable niece, Claire, decided it would be a fun activity to shove lemons in Blair’s mouth. Claire was right. It was a fun activity, hilarious actually.

When Claire would turn around to grab another lemon, Blair would spit out the lemon and put in back in the pile when she wasn’t looking.

Claire thought she was swallowing the lemons whole.

And that is my story with the Blair, Claire, and the lemons.

Mom, I have been thinking about you all day (and the gift that I sent you that I have been so excited about)! I hope it was a great day!

We have had so many memories together. When I was a little girl, you would take me to the pond so we could feed the ducks. When I grew up, I still took the walks, but not as many as I should have. We went shopping together on the week nights and I thought it was the coolest thing ever since it was a “school night.” We laughed together watching the Cosby show, Monk, and the Office. You drove up our hill one morning when you were really tired after seminary, it was the funniest thing you’ve ever done. You sent me to all of those summer camps at the armory I didn’t want to go to, but now I get that you just needed me out of the house. You took me dress shopping for all of my dances and bore with me when it would always come to tears seeing that none of the stores had any modest dresses. You took care of me in the nights when I was sick, gave me popsicles and let me have some 7-up (I always asked for Sprite, but for some reason, you always would get 7-up). You would make me practice piano and let me practice to get out of washing the dishes. You told me and my friends that you would bottle up our laughter and treasure it forever. It was weird, but makes me cry thinking about it now. You took me to Disneyland and to many other vacations every year. You let me believe that Santa was real until fifth grade, and although you ran out screaming, “We could have had her another year!” when Mary Beth told me the truth, I know you just wanted me to always have the Spirit of Christmas. You hid our Easter baskets, stuffed adorable stockings, made the best peanut butter balls. You taught me the gospel, knelt me down to pray every night as a little kid, and taught me what it means to be a Christian. You taught me manners, told me how to set a table, and showed me that we don’t wear white after labor day. You taught me how to clean, how to love, how to be a friend, and how to be a wife. You were there for me when no one else was. You helped me get through high school and Young Women’s. We prayed together nightly for a new young woman to join the church so I wouldn’t be alone. We prayed together when the snow was falling to hard to drive to Penny’s after church. We prayed together for all of our siblings when they left the house.

Mom, you’re truly the best.

You asked all of us to share our memories with you, and clearly I got a little sentimental. But I wanted to let you know how much I care for you!

Happy Birthday, from the baby!

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. This is not the “official-happy birthday” post, but I just can’t wait any longer… I want to write a post just about my amazing mom.

First of all, let’s talk about her talent. My mom has a beautiful singing voice and is very musical. She teaches elementary school kids music and is a wonderful teacher. Her room is colorful, deccorated, and the kids always have a blast when they get to go to “Miss Swainhart’s” room.

Sometimes Mom learns new things that she wants to teach her kids, but she tests them out on us first. When I was in high school, I would always give her such a hard time and tell her how weird it was that we would sing rhymes and do these weird acting games, but it was always so funny. One time she told us to say, “Someone stole my chocolate bunny, and I don’t think it’s very funny.” You’re supposed to do it in different accents and drama styles. Let me tell you, my mom would put so much energy in that weirdo rhyme, it kind of haunts me. Oh, and one of her favorite acting games that she sometimes will want to play with you is “Mirror Me.” I’m sure you can figure out what you do in that game. Good think Blair was always around in high school, or else she wouldn’t have had anyone to cooperate with her.

My mom also loves to exercise. She is a kickboxer through and through. Don’t mess with the Nanster, she knows what she’s doing. She has the gloves and everything! I’d post a video of her doing a Billy Blanks dvd, but I don’t think she would really appreciate that. If we watch a movie at home, she turns on a kickboxing dvd on the computer and does it at the same time. When we stop at rest stops, she tries to speed walk a few miles, always seeking ways to get more steps in. She is an inspiration, along with my motivation because I know she will ask always ask me, “so what exercise did you do today?”

Next, my mother is so spiritual. I can’t tell you how many times I would accidentally walk in on her saying her prayers in the morning. And when I would try to come back in 5 minutes, I’d accidentally interrupt her again! She always reads her scriptures everyday, shares her insights with others, and is bold about what she believes. Mom would teach us the scriptures and the gospel through Family Home Evenings, reading the scriptures during breakfast where we would memorize different Psalms and Proverbs.

She was even my seminary teacher for a couple of years. It was hard sometimes, I must admit. Going to seminary (which is like a sunday-school class) everyday for four years at 6 a.m. was intense, but worth it. I remember the day I found out my mom was going to be the Seminary teacher. It was the day after Christmas and my Grandfather had died early that morning. And then our Bishop came over and asked my mom. Wow, that was an interesting day. But it all worked out and was truly a blessing to my life, along with my mom’s life. Slowly through the next years my classmates fell away, and all that was left was my mom and I. It was a struggle. We prayed so hard that they would come back to church and want to come to seminary, but usually it was just us. We’d still get up in the morning, sometimes my dad would join us. We’d hold seminary in the basement and start everyday off with a strong Spirit and peace in our home. It strengthened my relationship with my mom more than anything else in my life.

My mom is a hard worker. Peacemaker. Journal-writer. Parks & Rec-watcher. Pianist. Cook. Homemaker. Laugher. Grandmother. Positive-thinker. Cryer. Compassionate-healer. Shoulder to cry on. Provider. Best Friend.