I became an Aunt

It was the craziest thing. I didn’t even really see it coming.

It happened while we were at the Willis Family Reunion in Utah. (More on that very soon) Grant and I, and his parents arrived in Park City for the reunion on Friday afternoon. His sister Holley was expected to arrive later that evening with her four children, ages 2-12. Although I hadn’t yet met Holley, it sounded to me like she was most likely something like super woman, driving across the country (from Ohio to Utah) with four kids in the car, all for the reunion.

Holley & Co. arrived as the sun was setting on Friday evening. Mackenzie, Logan, Joelle, and Emma all jumped out of the van, eager to stretch their legs and excited to see their grandparents and uncle Grant. Naturally, they were initially shy and reserved upon meeting me, the stranger named Brittany who would soon be marrying their uncle and staying with them this weekend.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, if it was the night they arrived or the next morning, but all of a sudden and so unexpectedly, they started calling me “Aunt Brittany.” I don’t know why I was so taken back by it initially, maybe because i’m so technical and so literal, so I didn’t expect to be their aunt until after we got married. Kids are pretty good at surprises though, and becoming an aunt to Mackenzie, Logan, Joelle, and Emma was one of my favorite surprises of the weekend.


The rest of the time we got to spend with them was so fun. Kids are just so honest. One night, as they were getting ready for bed, Logan said to me, “Brittany, I am so happy you are in our family.” Heart. Melted. He is such a sweetheart and so kind to his sisters and his family. He loved playing games with everyone, and we loved watching him.

Mackenzie, the oldest of the four might be the kindest, most mature, and even-natured 12 year old I have ever met. We got to play volleyball with her in the yard (she has some serious potential) and talk with her about her upcoming school year. They are all moving to Idaho right now, and she is starting a new school. She said she is most looking forward to being close to family with the move. She didn’t ever say anything negative about moving, leaving friends, etc., and she was so good with her younger siblings, especially little Emma. I am excited to get to watch her grow up.

Sweet Joelle, had so much energy. She was always so excited to see us and to do anything with us. To celebrate her recent baptism, Grant and I got her a picture of the Savior to hang in her new room and gum. (Holley said she loves gum, haha) I told her it was my favorite artwork of the Savior (because it goes with the scriptures in Matthew 18:12-13), and that I have the picture as well, and so now we will both have it in our homes. Can you tell she was thrilled?


I didn’t get much bonding time with sweet little Emma, but i’m sure when she starts talking more, she be just as sweet and lovable as her older siblings. Right now, I’m content with her cuteness…


Becoming Aunt Brittany was such a sweet and unexpected surprise. What a blessing it is to become part of a family that has already accepted and loved me so completely. I can’t wait for the next time we get to see their sweet faces. Until then, we will enjoy other expressions of their love.

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A while after we returned to Minneapolis, Holley forwarded this instant message Joelle sent to her.


I am so lucky.

Toilet Paper

Yes, toilet paper.

Here’s a fun fact: Grant has provided all of my toilet paper since we started dating. I think the story is fun and worth recording for future reminiscing.

Two weeks after we went on our first date, my mom and step-dad were in Minneapolis for a short visit. My mom asked if Grant would be interested in having dinner with us. Grant, being the sweet, wonderful person that he is, said he would be happy to, despite the fact that we had really only been on a few dates, and definitely hadn’t done any defining the relationship (DTR-ing) at that point. So, we all met up for a nice, casual, no-pressure dinner, (or so I kept telling myself) and the conversation turned to toilet paper. How, you ask? Well, my mom commented that she was surprised by the seemingly low quality of the toilet paper in my apartment. I responded with some shock. I actually thought that the Costco toilet paper was quite a steal given the price to quality ratio. We then started talking about toilet paper. (And I am internally kind of freaking out. I had no idea what Grant was thinking, but he seemed to be enjoying the conversation.) The dinner ended on a pleasant note, and Grant left saying how nice and easy-going he thought they were. Phew…

So, the following week, we had a date planned, and he told me he got me a “present.” I had no idea what it was, but he seemed to be pretty giddy about whatever he had in his bag as we walked to my apartment. Once we got inside, he pulled out a lovely bouquet of flowers and…you guessed it…toilet paper. High quality toilet paper. It was adorable.


A couple of months later, my birthday rolled around, and Grant seemed to once again be pretty excited about the gifts he had picked out for me. I remember telling my mom how giddy he seemed about my birthday gifts, and she suggested, “maybe he got you toilet paper?” To which I responded, “that would be great actually, I’m almost out.” So, once it was time to open my gifts, guess what I found?!…

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Toilet paper!!

Finally, I recently made a comment to Grant about how he had provided my toilet paper since we started dating, and I didn’t know what to do because I was almost out. I should have known better. A few days later he showed up to my apartment with just enough toilet paper to last until…we get married.

Yep…that’s happening soon.We are pretty excited.


Isn’t he the sweetest? 😉

Moral of the story, we have fun together, and he is so good at taking care of me.

I wonder what kind of toilet paper we will buy once we share a home?

The Best of Friends

We have the BEST friends. Seriously, we do. There isn’t anything anyone can do to convince me otherwise.

I’d like to share with you exhibit A:


Our friends, hard at work, addressing our wedding invitations for us. The process of getting our wedding invitations turned out to be quite a fiasco. Sparing unnecessary details, the invitations got here two whole weeks after we ordered them despite the fact that we paid for overnight shipping….

But I digress. The purpose of this post is to highlight the amazing, wonderful friends we have. So, the invitations finally arrived on a Monday, the day before the bar exam. I’m guessing it was pretty easy to recognize how not ok I was at that point. To say I was stressed and anxious would be an understatement. So, our sweet friends took it upon themselves to hand address all of our invitations.


Although I was there, I did not write on a single envelope that night. I got put on “quality control.” Aka…just sit there and pretend you’re making yourself useful while horrible visions of bar exam nightmares flash through your mind. They kept telling me I didn’t need to be there, but I figured being there was the least I could do, considering their willingness to give us their evenings.

After a couple hours, they had all the invitations addressed for us. I didn’t even stay until they were all addressed. I got sent home, so I could get a “good night’s rest” before the bar exam.”


This isn’t even all of them…

Since then, i’ve only had to do a handful of them myself, mostly the ones that I didn’t have addresses for that evening. Can you believe that?

They are truly the best friends. They have always been there for me, for us, and have always given us so much love. We are so grateful for unwavering kindness, generosity, and love.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.

I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

-Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


July Little Things

Our life in July according to my iPhone:

I learned a thing or two about granite running an errand for my mom:

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Isn’t that granite so cool? I don’t think she is going to use the one on the right, but I think the one on the left might be making its way into their new house.

After a long Friday of studying, Grant swept me away for a fun Friday date night. We went to one of the places on our “list of things to do,” called the Blue Door Pub. Although it was all very delicious, we both ended up feeling a bit sick afterwards…But really, when you have a burger stuffed with cheese and topped with barbecue and coleslaw, what do you expect?

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After dinner we went for a walk (we go on a lot of walks) down beautiful Summit Ave in St. Paul. The street is known for its old, beautiful, historic homes. The Governor’s Mansion is on this street. We think we found a great starter home for ourselves.

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Our sweet friend Megan sent us flowers to congratulate us on our engagement. Aren’t they so beautiful? I love how the colors transition together.


Another Friday night date night surprise! (He really is so good to me) This time Grant swept me away to a Middle Eastern festival in St. Paul. That’s a falafel pita you see on the right. The band on the stage was pretty good, but not nearly as entertaining as the small child who danced like no one was watching (and everyone was watching) for at least 30 minutes.



I was asked to teach a class for the Minnesota Youth Conference. The Conference was hosted by our Church for any and all youth who wanted to attend. There were over 800 youth from all over the state in attendance. Their energy and Spirits were kind of amazing. Specifically, I was asked to teach a class to the 14 and 15 year old boys (I know, what? I don’t even have a brother.) The class topic was about standing up to peer pressure. Preparing for the class was pretty challenging, but fortunately I have a wonderful fiance who was able to provide me with awesome ideas and guidance. There were almost 40 young men in my class. It’s hard to know how it went overall, but they were very respectful, and I was very grateful to have been able to work with them and learn from them.



Gift registries. This was sort of awkward for both of us initially because we don’t really like the idea of suggesting to people that they should buy us things. But, we jumped in with both feet and ended up having way too much fun. At Bed, Bath, and Beyond we seemed to have an additional goal of hiding in different sections to avoid the sales people who were oh-so-eager to assist us in finding the perfect items for our newly-wed home. We had a lot of laughs registering there. (Did you know that bone china is actually made out of bones??)

A couple weeks later we hit up Target. I was feeling guilty as we were going through the kitchen stuff because I realized that we registered for most of our kitchen stuff at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. (I have always had an allegiance to Target, and it’s gotten worse since I started dating Grant…) However, once we left the home goods section and realized we could register for anything in the store, we kind of let loose. We registered for camping stuff and a bunch of games. Think: scrabble, catch-phrase, bananagrams, etc. We also wanted to register for a Wii, but when the team member pulled it out for us to scan, we couldn’t register for it because it was on clearance, so we did what any normal couple registering for household necessities would do: we bought a Wii. This is so totally out of our character, but it was so exciting. Naturally, we had to then register for extra controllers and some games to go with our Wii. We went with the essentials: Mario Kart and Donkey Kong. There was also some dancing in the aisle with the portable speakers. And finally, we might have come home with some stress relief outlets…

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We may have also hit up R.E.I. as a fun gift registry adventure. We are having visions of Minnesota camping adventures.

Looking back, I don’t know how I managed to do so many fun things in July when in reality the vast majority of my time was spent studying for the bar exam. (More on that later) I saw A LOT of this in June AND July. (That’s one of my many online lectures)



This wasn’t just one specific time, but I just love when he plays the piano. He is so good at it. Sometimes he even sings for me.


I’m glad I took all those photos. We hope you had a warm, wonderful July!



























Lucky Ducks


Earlier this month we had the opportunity to go to the ALL STAR GAME which was being held in Minneapolis.  It was an exciting few days in Minneapolis. All of a sudden there were tourists all over down town, police at every corner, and far more excitement in the air than usual. The days leading up to the game brought with them some rare opportunities…


Like sneaking away from spreadsheets for a few minutes to say hey to Bullseye.

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And strolling along the red carpet that covered the pavement on Nicollet Avenue. (Seriously, it was actually red carpet, for the length of many city blocks) That’s my sister Mackenzie, isn’t she pretty?

We had such great seats, in the left field bleachers, just above the field. We were so close to the players, this guy in front of us actually got Harry Trout (from the LAA Angels, who was playing in the outfield) to turn around and acknowledge his incessant cheers.


Naturally, we ate some pretty delicious food, none of which I remembered to take a photo of…But, let me just say that the nachos in the plastic helmet and bucket (it was a small-ish bucket) of mini donuts were delicious and perfectly complimented by the root beer Grant found for us.

I was pretty impressed with this photo I snuck during the fly-over at the end of the National Anthem.


It was so fun to spend some time with Gerard and Mackenzie. Thank you both for driving all that way to hang out with us.

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We even got to catch up with Gerard’s brother, Gary and his wife and son who we haven’t seen in FOREVER and Gerard’s sister Gayle and her husband Dan, and some other long-time friends from North Dakota. (Of course, I didn’t get a photo…)

But, I did get a photo of us before the night was over.



It was a lovely evening in Minneapolis to spend some time with family and enjoy the excitement of the All Star Game.



Did you see us on T.V.?


(Just kidding, we weren’t on t.v.)