Wednesday, December 16, 2009

my "little" brother


is my little brother. His name is Eric. Cute, right?

He is the best little brother a girl could have.

Now wait, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that your little brother is the best little brother someone could have. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you're wrong. Plain and simple. Mine already filled that spot long ago. I apologize for any offense taken. Here are a few reasons why Eric is the best:

- He didn't hate me after I would pour glasses of icy cold water on his head while he was in the shower as a small child. Okay, okay...maybe I did this even when he wasn't a small child.

- He still loves both Jeff and I after we used to squirt him in the face with a spray bottle every time he'd walk into a room as a little boy. He used to talk a lot. Like...a LOT. Jeff and I tried using that tactic to achieve silence. It might have had the opposite effect of what we were hoping. Mean, I know. I have since repented.

- He forgave me for threatening to bring the hose in through his window while he was sleeping and spray him to wake him up. Again, I know what you're thinking. Why all the water? ...No idea.

- When he was about three or four, I told him that his ravioli was monkey brains. He cried, but he still loves me today. I am fairly certain he even loved me then.

- He lets me give him hugs in front of his friends. Those of you with little brothers know this is a big deal. He even tells his friends that I'm cool sometimes. I know.

- He set up my computer on remote desktop so that he could fix my computer from his house when it breaks down, which happens to be a lot, I might add. I take no credit for this. Is it my fault if technology hates me?

- He is a technology genius. Seriously. You may have figured that out from the "remote desktop" thing. I didn't even know that existed until he told me he was going to set it up. Who knew.

- He is an incredible runner. He runs many-a-mile and barely breaks a sweat. When Eric goes running with me, I "run" and he walks nonchalantly beside me while I wheeze my lungs out. He is very encouraging the entire tme.

- Eric can fix things, let me tell you. If you need anything fixed, he is the one to call. No matter what it is. If you need anything broken, I am definitely the one to call. Again, I take no credit for this. In this case, I'll blame my parents for passing on their genes in a biased manner.

-He is an interesting mix between a skater and a redneck. Didn't know that combination was possible? Neither did I until about a year ago.

- Eric is incredibly musical. He plays guitar (which you probably figured out from the picture above) and trumpet and is pretty dang good at figuring things out on the piano for never having had a lesson. He also sings like a pro, in spite of denying it fiercely.

- He has the best heart of anyone I know. When I am talking to Eric, I always know he is being sincere.

- Eric is the best listener. When I need to vent or cry (or do both simultaneously), Eric is often my first choice, because he just listens and rubs my back, and it's obvious he really cares (again with the sincerity).

- In spite of the fact that there are four years between us in age, I can safely say that Eric is one of my best friends. Hands down.

Once again, I think I know what you're thinking. How did so many awesome traits end up in one kid? I'm honestly not sure. And I don't hold it against him either. He can't help being so awesome.

In case you couldn't tell:

I am so proud of my "little" brother.

Love you, Bud.

Friday, December 11, 2009

strange paranoia


I have a very strange paranoia of walking into a men's restroom. Even if I have been to the same ladies' room a million times, I still check the sign outside the door every time...just to make sure. Hey, you never know when they'll decide to switch things up. I don't have any memory of ever having done this before; it's just something that worries me. Not like I sit at home at night and worry about it kind of worry. Just like I don't want it to happen in the near future. Or at any point in the future, for that matter.


Yesterday, I went to the restroom in the building where I TA. Been there a thousand times (give or take a hundred). I walked all the way in and realized I hadn't checked the sign outside the door, so I turned around, walked back out the door, checked the sign, glanced at the quizzical expression on the face of a studying student, and walked back in, satisfied that I hadn't just done something that I was going to regret.

Sometimes you just have to be sure, ya know?

Friday, December 4, 2009

instant replay

My brain does some very odd things.

We don't need to get into all of them today (I just don't have that much time), but let's talk about one of my favorite things that my brain does.

I call it...instant replay.

So you know how when someone tells a joke, everyone laughs, and then the moment is gone? Well, not for me. When someone tells me a joke, my brain replays it instantly and it's funny the first time,

the second time,

the third time,

the fourth time,

the fifth time,

(let's just say plus infinity) and I just laugh again and again and again.

It's really awkward, though, when the moment has passed for everyone else, and I'm still sitting there giggling to myself.

But to be honest, I don't worry about it too much because I'm just too busy laughing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

my saving grace

I am tired.

I wake up every day (after my alarm has gone off about six times), go to school (which is inevitably getting harder), sit in my office hours as a TA (do you even know how many students don't read the syllabus?), go to work (...well, at least they feed me. sometimes.), then come home and study for hours on end (depending on how many tests I happen to have that week) until I fall asleep.

Except that I left out my favorite part.


Running has become my saving grace (or at of them). No matter how much tension I have built up in my neck or how badly I want to just cry (sometimes. not every day.), running always makes me feel better. At least until I start studying again. Ha.

I found early on in the semester that attempting to get up at 6:30am and go running didn't work very well. At least for me. No one's ever accused Katie Sparks of being a morning person.

So, a few weeks ago, I started running directly after I got home from work. And it was wonderful. The weather had finally cooled down to the point where I could do that and not die of heat exhaustion.

Then it started getting dark early. And I kept running. When Jason and Jerod found out that I was running while it was dark, they decided to make it their personal mission to make sure I didn't run by myself at night. I'm sure my dad will be eternally grateful to them. So now I have running buddies.

At first, I wasn't sure how I would like that, since trying to talk while I'm running has never been a strong suit of mine. But it's so fun. I love it. My favorite is when we've been running a while and one of them says something to make me laugh. It comes out as sort of a wheez-laugh-wheez-laugh while I'm half-running, half-falling over, which only makes me wheez-laugh-wheez-laugh harder because it's such a funny predicament. I can only imagine what people driving by are thinking as they see "that special girl" running down the block.

Moral of the Story:

I am inexpressibly grateful that Thanksgiving break is next week.

Moral of the Story #2:

Please don't throw rocks at me while I'm running.

Monday, October 26, 2009

the icing AND the cake

Today, I have been feeling especially happy. I just can't stop smiling. Here are a few reasons for this:

1. I got to go to institute. And it was awesome. It's only 50 minutes long, but it reminds me who I am, where I came from, and why I'm here. It makes me excited to read the word of God from the scriptures and apply those concepts in my life! Brother Calton always challenges us, and makes us do lots of little self-evaluations to aid us in making necessary changes. And I find myself wanting to make changes for the better!

2. Today is Matt's P-Day, which means two very exciting things: I got an email from him today and will get a letter from him in a few days! He sounds so happy right now, which always just makes me happy, too. Heavenly Father always blesses us when we strive to do His will. :)

3. The semester is about half-way over! The end is in sight! And that means Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up quick! Hallelujah! I get to see my family and friends very soon!

4. The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day! I don't know how to explain the effect that this has on me. It's as if the rays beam down and come straight back out my heart. The sun makes me smile, and I can barely contain my happiness. It helps to go to school on a scenic campus. If you ever see a nerdy girl outside in the sun reading (hopefully not a textbook) may or may not be me. But it probably is.

5. I am thinking about doing a double major and going to grad school. I can't say exactly why this makes me as excited as it does, but thinking about it just makes me feel empowered somehow. I must confess, there are some days where the prospect of more school does NOT make me excited, but today it does.

6. I just recently started thinking about possibly trying out to be a Young Performing Missionary in Nauvoo, Illinois. Recent as in, like, today. Yeah, it may or may not happen (I would say the likelihood of me getting accepted isn't very good as there are only 20 spots), but it makes me excited to think of it as a possibility.

7. Sometimes I like looking up quotes about random subjects. Today, I decided to look up quotes on happiness. I found this one (which is probably a little tongue-in-cheek):

"Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory."
-Albert Schweitzer

But I think this one that I found on expresses the feelings of my heart in a much deeper way:

"True conversion yields the fruit of enduring happiness that can be enjoyed even when the world is in turmoil and most are anything but happy."
-Elder Richard G. Scott

That is the true source of my happiness--that incredible knowledge that I have of a loving Father in Heaven and his son, Jesus Christ, and their plan for us--ALL of us. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

no thank you, homework

Remember that back to blogging post? I might have been lying. Not intentionally, of course. But lying nonetheless. I can't lie on purpose. Like really can't. At least lie and make it sound believeable. I should never be a spy...

School is HARD this semester. Whoever came up with the idea that classes should get harder as you become an upper-classman? Rude. Not only are they harder, but they are more stressful and MUCH more work. Redundant? Possibly. Whoever you are, I am NOT your number one fan. I'm not even your number one HUNDRED or one hundred THOUSAND fan. That's right. Take that. Now if you could just change that policy, please. Thank you.

I never realized how much time Matt spent calming me down every day as I would stress out about every little thing until he wasn't here to do it. Go figure. However, his letters still do a world of good.

School, I love you.

Homework, I don't. You make my life much harder. I'm trying to love you; they do say that trials make the heart grow stronger, don't they? Well regardless of whether they do or they don't, I'm pretty sure trials do just that. So I'm sure someday I'll thank you. In the meantime...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

yep. i do this a lot.


I have two classes in the same building an hour and a half apart from each other. They are on different floors, but the floorplan on each floor is exactly the same.

Story (for which the Background info. is needed):

So the other day, I walked into one of my classes, and saw a bunch of kids I didn't recognize. This is actually not uncommon for me since I sit in the back and don't normally pay very much attention to the other kids in the class except for those that sit in my direct vicinity. Then a girl that I recognized from one of the past semesters called out to me, "Hey, Katie! Have you been in this class the whole time?!"

I looked around, now uncertain of my surroundings. " this Abnormal Child Psych?"

She gave me a look that suggested she was about to laugh. I knew the answer already. "Haha no," she replied.

"Okay...bye," I said. Then I turned around and walked out.

Explanation (for the Story):

Yep, that's right. I went to the location on the first floor where my class is on the third floor.

Confused? So was I.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, September 11, 2009

my happy place

I have come to discover that there are several small things in my life that take me to what I consider to be my "happy place." (It's similar to "Kate-land," for those of you in my high school choir class...thank you, Ms. Van.) Here are the ones I've recently discovered:

1. Letters/Emails/Pictures from Matt (Duh.)

2. Chocolate (Okay, yeah, maybe I've ALWAYS known this one...but I still had to add it to the list.)

3. Sugar Babies (It just doesn't get much better than that.)

4. Jon Schmidt's Love Story combined with Viva la Vida (Produces uncontrollable dancing...therefore, happiness.)

5. The early 80's TV show "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." Never heard of it, right? Neither had I until my (awesome) new roommate Jana showed me the first episode and I got addicted. It's definitely not what I would call "intellectual," but heck, I'm in school for like 6 hours a day and then at work for another 2. My brain just doesn't handle intellectual when I get home from school. (That it handles intellectual at all is still in question.) It's cute and romantic and just...cute. Watch it. You'll be happy you did.

6. A 44oz. Mr. Pibb or Dr. Pepper (Okay, so maybe this is another given, but I still have to add it to the list anyway.)

7. Emails from Ashley or Cait. Awesome. (Still best friends even though we're hundreds of miles away from each other. LOVE.)

8. The song "You Can Close Your Eyes" by James Taylor. Awesome memories, good song. Happy Place.

I'm sure there are dozens more (it doesn't take much to make me happy, fortunately), but here are a few for starters. "Count Your Many Blessings," even if it's the small things, right? :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

motto for life

"Now, the most important principle I can share: Anchor your life in Jesus Christ, your Redeemer. Make your Eternal Father and his Beloved Son the most important priority in your life—more important than life itself, more important than a beloved companion or children or anyone on earth. Make their will your central desire. Then all that you need for happiness will come to you."

-Elder Richard G. Scott

You can find the entire talk here. It has become one of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ralph the night hair dresser

Possibly one of my favorite things to do in my day-to-day activities is make fun of myself. This happens to come in very handy, because, let's be honest, there is a lot to make fun of. And if I just got embarrassed every time I did something dumb, I would be embarrassed the majority of my time. And that just wouldn't do. I much prefer laughing heartily throughout my day.

That being said, I did something really dumb yesterday. Shocker, I know. I had some leftovers from Oregano's in a styrofoam container that I wanted to reheat for lunch, and I've always heard that putting styrofoam in the microwave isn't good for you. (I have absolutely no idea if this is just one of those rumors that was disproved like 10 years ago, but I've never had the inclination to look it up.) I had planned in my head beforehand that I was going to get one of the paper plates from the kitchen where I work and heat it up on that instead. So I got to the kitchen, got a plate out of the cupboard, poured out the food from the styrofoam container onto the plate, and heated up my meal. It wasn't until I got back to my desk that I realized...

...the plate was styrofoam, too.

I know I've speculated about this before, but my suspicions are getting stronger that Ralph the Night Hair Dresser (he's similar to the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny) not only makes my hair look like a tumbleweed for when I wake up in the morning (seriously, I think he gets a kick out of this) but also dyes my hair brown every single night. There are simply no other logical explanations.

Have I mentioned logic isn't a strong suit of mine?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

matt's mission blog

I've started a new blog that I will be working on for the next two years. Specifically the next two years while Matt is on his mission. I will be posting Matt's addresses, regular emails, and any pictures I receive. You can find this blog here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Yesterday, I wanted to get my hair cut. It turned out to be a surprisingly awkward experience.

After work I drove over to the little place where I usually get it cut. I walked in and there were two haircutters (stylists? umm...yeah) on staff at the moment, and one was already cutting someone else's hair. The other girl was sitting on one of the chairs texting. She looked up at me as I came in as if I was some sort of annoyance. Awkward moment number one. Then she came over and unenthusiastically "welcomed" me and ushered me back to one of the chairs. I proceeded to tell her what I wanted to do with my hair, explaining that I had a "love-hate relationship" with my bangs; that some days they looked cute and other days I wished they didn't exist. She looked at me blankly; then, as understanding dawned, she said, "So...some days you love them and some days you hate them." Awkward moment number two. Yes, that is what love-hate relationship means.

When it became obvious that I was not going to be able to have an on-going conversation with this woman, I tuned into the conversation betwen the other stylist and the man whose hair she was cutting. She was explaining that she and her husband had met over, and the man seemed unduly surprised by this. Indeed, he began yelling, "You met on! I've never heard of that before! I thought it didn't really work! There must be something wrong with me!" Awkward moment number three. Actually, awkward moment number three turned into awkward-sequence-of-conversation-number-three as the man proclaimed his astonishment for the next 20 or so minutes. Yeah. That'll teach me to eavesdrop. Not that I really had the choice to not hear what he was saying.

I suppose awkard moment number four would be when the woman who was cutting my hair said, "I think I'm going to part your hair over a little farther just to see what's going on with your bangs, then I'll put it back." Okay. Then she said, "I think I like it better over there." Totally open to suggestions, I said, "Oh yeah, why's that?" I didn't think this was a strange question--I was just curious as to why she liked it better that way, but she just gave me another blank look and that was that. My part stayed further over on my head.

I've never really thought about this in-depth before, but since yesterday, I have come to realize that good communication between myself and my hair stylist is very important. Or any communication at all. That would be nice, too.

Fifth and final awkward moment. I walked out to my car after getting my haircut, and my truck wouldn't start. This is actually a very common occurance, so I wasn't at all surprised, and I know a few tricks that usually work to make it start. I tried the first few, and, not succeeding, moved on to my last resort. This involves (as strange as this sounds, it really does work) pushing the entire truck back and forth in quick succession. I was in the process of doing this when a mother and her teenage son got out of their car and walked quickly away from me, their eyes darting back and forth from their destination to me with just a hint of fear. Yeah, I know I might have looked crazy, but come on, people. Fear? Flies aren't even scared of me. I am not an intimidating person.

Needless to say, I am glad it will be another six weeks before I get my hair cut again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

helpful hints

As one of my assignments at work, I had to look through an old book called "The Bride Guide" to see if I could find any helpful hints for one of the many events we plan daily. Although there were no helpful hints to be found for any of the kinds of events we plan, there were some interesting facts I had not been previously aware of.

Case in point. Under the origins of traditions section, these were some of my favorites:

  • Rings date back to a time when cavemen tied braided grass circlets around the bride's wrists and ankles to keep her from escaping. Later, rings were made of leather, carved stone and crude metal.

This made me laugh way longer than it should have.

  • The best man and ushers were originally burly friends who helped capture the bride-to-be. Suitors often had to fend off overprotective brothers or other suitors. It made sense to bring along the best man for the job.

I'm imagining cave men here.

  • Old shoes used to be thrown at the bride by her father to signify he was giving her to the groom. The shoe was a symbol of possession and authority in the good old barefoot days. Another version says they were thrown at the groom as he kidnapped his bride.

Either way...

Nothing says romance like tying the bride up with grass and kidnapping her or pelting her with shoes.

There have been approximately 32 engagements in my ward since March. I am definitely recommending this book to anyone who asks.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

matt's mission

Elder Loper has hereby been called to the Massachusetts Boston mission, Haitian Creole speaking.


I originally wrote a very lengthy blog based on Matt's mission call. Then I realized...people probably don't want to read a long blog about what I was feeling when Matt opened his call. Suffice it to say...I can't remember ever being more excited about anything. And now that the shock has worn off for Matt...I'm not sure he's ever been more excited about anything.

The upcoming months are going to be some of the most difficult he has ever experienced, I believe. But I feel confident that they will also be some of the most rewarding, the most exciting, and the most spiritual of his life. They will be months (and years) that he will never forget for the rest of his life. He will reflect on them every day as his love for the people and for the Lord grows greater than he ever thought it could.

I am so proud of Matt, his life, and his decisions, and I support him with my whole heart. :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

secretly blonde

Yesterday, I was working on an event for my job. One of my tasks was to tape up a sign that gave directions to our event on a glass door. I had been rushed all day to complete my assorted tasks, and I was already mildly frustrated as I took the sign and some masking tape outside to tape it up. I held the sign and pulled some of the tape from off the roll, cut it, and exhaled loudly as the wind suddenly picked up speed and tape stuck to the front of the sign. My first reaction was to pull the tape right off the sign, which of course took off some of the lettering of the sign as well. I growled inwardly. Again I cut some more tape off the roll in an effort to tape up this sign. And once again, the wind blew with perfect timing and tape stuck to the front of the sign. This time, however, I restrained myself from pulling it off the sign, but instead left it, which still looked pretty silly considering the new shiny, diagonal streak that ran across the front of the sign. Finally, after several very frustrating minutes, I had taped up the sign to the door.

It wasn't until a few minutes later that I realized.... was a glass door.

I could have taped it on the inside.

*I think someone dyes my hair brown while I sleep.*

the "oh yeah?" factor

Most of the time, I don't do things to prove anything to anybody. I do most things solely to prove to myself that I can do them.

Every once in a while, however, I do something partially because someone told me I couldn't do it. That the odds were against me.

Oh yeah? Watch me.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I love sitting in the sun! This weather is perfect.

When I get out of class and have a few minutes to kill, I always grab a good book and find a quiet place to read. Outside, of course. Or, if Matt is out of class at the same time, I sit with him in the sun (which is even more preferable than reading a book!).

Arizona is the best state in the United States. No arguments.

Also, I have the best boyfriend in the world. No arguments.

Friday, March 20, 2009

happy day

Matt is going on a mission. This summer. And I could not be prouder. :) I love him!

Friday, March 6, 2009

a week and a day

My entire life, I have been generally resistant to change. There have been a few things that I was more than happy to change about my life (graduating high school falling into that category), but most of the time, I'm pretty content with the way things are. I blame this on my dad. If you've seen Father of the Bride, the character George Banks is my dad. Every person who's seen that movie and met my dad knows exactly what I'm talking about. It's a bizarre resemblance, really. Anyway, if it's possible to inherit some sort of change-resistant gene, I'm pretty sure that's what happened to me.

Let's take example number one. When my family moved from Yuma to Prescott in 2001, I was absolutely terrified. My life in Yuma was everything I had ever wanted (riding bikes around my neighborhood and catching lizards in my backyard), and the thought of moving just...didn't go over well. Luckily for me (actually, I don't know if lucky is the right word; I don't think Heavenly Father uses luck), I met my best friend of the next 8 years the day after I moved to Prescott. From that day on, Ashley and I were inseparable. We went swimming, caught lady bugs, explored in her vast backyard, had too many sleepovers to count, and when school started, we even hung out at school, though she was one grade ahead of me.

Then another tragedy occured. It was time for Ashley to move on to high school. And I was stuck in the 8th grade. I was definitely not a big fan of this change, but thankfully, Ashley did everything in her power to make this change as easy as possible for me, and we still hung out more often than not as soon as school was out. Cait moved into town my junior year of high school, and though it took me some time to get used to having a third member in our inseparable group, I eventually realized that Cait fit in perfectly. In far too short a time, however, it was time for Ashley and Cait to move on a second time without me. But this time, it was much further away. College. This was probably the hardest change of all for me. I went from having two best friends with me all the time to having two best friends come and visit me over Christmas break.

I finally realized that Ashley and Cait moving away to college was a positive change a year later when I moved away to college myself. Although I still missed Ashley and Cait dearly, I talked to them all the time on the phone and through our incessant emails. More often than not, I felt like I was writing a journal entry as I wrote the details of my day and every emotion that went along with the events of the day. Everything was going great. Until I learned about one more upcoming change. A big change.

Ashley got engaged.

To a normal best friend (if there is such a person), this probably wouldn't be a big deal. But, after all, this is me we're talking about. Normal has never been a part of my vocabulary. When she told me the big news, I told her how happy I was for her. I told her that this was the most exciting news I had ever heard. I was lying. I spent the next couple of days moping around and telling everyone who asked how I was that my best friend was getting married. I'm sure that wasn't quite the answer they were expecting. And it was probably made weirder by the fact that I probably looked like a hurt puppy. Things would just not be the same for us!

Though those intense feelings of disappointment finally assuaged slighly, I still felt like this was not okay. I felt that way right up until I was able to spend some time over Christmas break with Ashley and Jared. It hit me that night that this was exactly what Ashley needed. That Jared understood her, and was (and is), dare I say, perfect for her. That this actually was the right thing. From that night on, there was no more moping, no more complaining. I was okay with Ashley getting married. No, more than that--I was ecstatic that Ashley is getting married!

Ashley is getting married in one week and one day. And I could not be happier for her.

Yesterday, Cait hit me with the news that she started her mission papers. I'm...going to try not to mope for so long about this one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

valentines day

I know this is a little belated, Valentines Day was the best ever.  Basically. 

However, for the full effect of what I experienced on this day, I need to back up even further than Valentines Day.  A few weekends ago, Matt, Ashley, Josh, and I traveled to Casa Grande to hang out and do some exploring.  (I don't really recommend it as an exciting tourist spot; the stench of Casa Grande reminded me a lot of my 4-H days at the Yuma County Fair. Plus it's not really a terribly exiciting town anyway, although we did have a good time!)  While in Casa Grande, we stopped of at the local Target to pick up some snacks for the movies (yes I realize this isn't strictly legal, but it is much cheaper!).  With the intention of killing some time before our movie started, we meandered around Target for quite some time.  My meandering stopped altogether, however, when I saw a picture frame that I absolutely fell in love with.  I just couldn't walk away from it.  A picture frame doesn't really sound like it should be that exciting, but this thing was beautiful!  Matt saw how much I loved it, and I'm sure noticed the far-off look in my eye throughout the rest of the evening as I kept picturing the frame in my head.  But I knew I shouldn't spend the money, so I kept trying to forget about it.

Fast forward two weeks to Valentines Day.

In the morning, while Matt was at basketball, I "heart attacked" his room.  I felt like a ninja because of my incredible stealthiness.  (Disclaimer: There were no intense acts of violence during my ninja mission.)
That night, Matt made Ashley, Josh, and me chicken and brocoli alfredo and garlic bread.  It was amazing.  And sweet.  And romantic.  Right before we all ate together, Matt pulled me into his room and gave me his Valentines gift.  It was all I could do not to cry when I unwrapped the beautiful frame I had loved so much at Target.  Matt is so good to me!!!  (All the time....not just when he buys me one of the the most beautiful frames ever.:)

Here's one of Ashley and Josh.  YAY! :)