April 2018

April 30, 2018

There are so many times I think about quickly getting on my computer to update this online journal, but I never seem to find the time anymore. So here is a quick April recap with pictures.

This little boy is the main reason I don't find the time to get online and post. He is about as busy and messy as they come, but I wouldn't change even the craziest parts of him for anything. Max and I love him more than we can put into words. What did we ever do without him?

These days we take what pictures we can get.

I feel like this is what I look like 24/7, honestly. I'm chasing Charlie nonstop so he won't climb on everything in sight just so he can jump off and break his leg.

Easter!!! Can you tell how tired Max is? This was the week before finals. Woof. Year 2 is done but boy it was not a joke.

LOTS of park dates and stops at Temple Square.

We even stopped by the tulip festival for an afternoon. 

Happy Month of April!

girls trip to california

April 16, 2018

I've said it before... or really I should say, Walt Whitman said it before, and I have just repeated it since: I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends. And I mainly just repeat it for the last part of that quote, because I have no known enemies that I'm aware of, but it is worth repeating again and again: I don't know what I did to deserve my friends.

Friendship is an interesting thing. Friends come and go and things change and you change and what connects you with people changes over the years; and then you have married friends and mom friends, and I guess what I'm trying to get at is from my very first friend that I can remember, (Betsy Stevens who I still love to this day), to the 7up girl squad and college roommate days and so on, friends have always been a second family to me. I would not/could not be who I am today without the friends I've had through the years.

Anyway, this is all a lengthy introduction to share some pictures of a girls trip we took out to visit a friend living in Southern California a few weeks ago. I'm telling you, nothing bonds a friendship like sitting in LA traffic for two hours with screaming children in the car. Nothing. And these girlfriends have become even greater blessings after this trip, because there's only so many people in this world I can share the things I do with them. Like I said before, I don't know what I did to deserve them.

The trip started off a little rough (if you've seen this Seinfeld episode, you'll understand), but the rest of the time was a dream. It was so nice just to spend time with friends eating out for every meal, listening to Taylor Swift on the beach, going to the movies, staying up late at night talking, and filling them in on the latest comments on Tristan Thompson's Instagram.

Taco Bell forever.

professor walker and sunday thoughts

March 25, 2018

Years ago, (although sometimes it feels like yesterday), I took a British Literature class from Dr. Steven Walker at BYU. Years before that, my Dad had also taken similar English classes by Professor Walker, and credits him to this day for his love of literature and why he pursued law. Needless to say, he's somewhat of a hero between us and we both continue to admire him. (In fact, the picture above is from a college quote book I kept, in which I realized he was one of the first men I quoted... clearly, I love him, and his kissing assignments and crying quizzes.)

Anyway, my dad sent these excerpts from Professor Walker to us the other day and it was too good not to share, especially lately as we've talked a lot about some of the things he discusses:

"The pattern in every loss of faith I've observed is not overreaching into too much learning. It is, rather, uninformed expectations. It is an insistence on perfection in anything religious that sets up over-idealizing believers for inevitable disillusionment. Far from being too much learning, the consistent cause of the loss of faith I have seen is in fact too little learning,..." 

He goes on: "So when I hear unbelievers claim that "knowledge undermines faith," I only half believe it, believe it for them, but not for me. Awareness has clearly disillusioned some of my friends, but it appears to me the facts may have disillusioned them from their own uninformed expectations. And when I hear that same "facts threaten faith" assumption from the faithful, sharing the faith as I do, the notion seems to me nonsense, or worse: defensive, a little cowardly at best, not having done its homework." 

And finally, Professor Walker's earliest remembered experience and testimony of the Book of Mormon:

"When I was six, showing off my newfound reading abilities to my Uncle Clyde, I seized the Book of Mormon, nearest book at hand, to read aloud to impress him. Hardly aware of what I was reading, reading for audience effect only, I was stunned to find how moved I was by such unprepossessing words as "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents..." (1 Nephi 1:1). Not half a dozen verses into that quiet prose, I found myself in tears. Chagrined at having failed to impress my Navy-tough uncle, and nonplussed at such a reaction to any words on any page, I asked my mother what had come over me. She said then, and I believe her still: "It's the Spirit, Steve. God is in that book."

Professor Walker, you continue to make my heart grow three sizes.

what i've been reading lately

March 21, 2018

“There are no heroes here, at least not of the Schindler’s List variety, but there are glimmers of heroism and people who behave with unexpected grace.” 
-In the Garden of Beasts, Eric Larson

I just have to say, as with anything Larson writes, this book is DENSE. It took me a while to plow through it, but in the end I'm glad I did. As fascinated as I've always been with WWII, Hitler's rise to power is something I'm only vaguely familiar with, so it was interesting to read about it from the perspective of the US Ambassador and his family who were living in Germany pre-world war.  

“Back then, there weren’t channels dedicated to subcategories of the population. There was no Disney channel, no Food Network, no ESPN, no Bravo. There was Sam Donaldson, Peter Jennings, and, my personal crush, Tom Brokaw on the news, and we got cartoons for three hours on Saturday mornings until CBS switched to golf at 11:00 after the Smurfs. Oh sure, MTV hit the scene in 1981, but we couldn’t watch it because of the devil. Apparently we could watch a show starring two outlaw brothers, their half-naked cousin, and a car painted with the Confederate flag but couldn’t watch Madonna sing “Like a Virgin” because we might get secondhand pregnant.” 
-Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of This Wild and Glorious Life, Jen Hatmaker

This is a book club read, which I picked up knowing nothing about. So far, I've been surprised at how often it's made me laugh out loud, and would definitely recommend.


“Elder Neal A. Maxwell suggests that the prime reason the Savior personally acts as the gatekeeper of the celestial kingdom is not to exclude people, but to personally welcome and embrace those who have made it back home.” "  

“President Ezra Taft Benson taught, "There is no human condition - be it suffering, incapacity, inadequacy, mental deficiency, or sin - which He cannot comprehend or for which His love will not reach out to the individual." This is a staggering thought when we contemplate the Mount Everest of pain required to make it so. What weight is thrown on the scales of pain when calculating the hurt of innumerable patients in countless hospitals? Now add to that the loneliness of the elderly who are forgotten in rest homes of society, desperately yearning for a card, a visit, a call - just some recognition from the outside world. Keep on adding the hurt of hungry children, the suffering caused by famine, drought, and pestilence. Pile on the heartache of parents who tearfully plead on a daily basis for a wayward son or daughter to come back home. Factor in the trauma of every divorce and the tragedy of every abortion. Add the remorse that comes with each child lost in the dawn of life, each spouse taken in the prime of marriage. Compound that with the misery of overflowing prisons, bulging halfway houses and institutions for the mentally disadvantaged. Multiply all this by century after century of history, and creation after creation without end. Such is but an awful glimpse of the Savior's load. Who can bear such a burden or scale such a mountain as this? No one, absolutely no one, save Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of us all."

So I mainly wanted to write this post just so I could write about this last book; it's the one I've been reading most recently in light of Easter. I've read this book before, but this time I've tried to highlight/annotate it as I've gone through because there are SO many amazing things in it. Tad Callister has been a longtime friend of my parents, so I had known prior to reading it that it took him nearly 18 years to finish (!!!) If you haven't read this book before, or are simply interested in understanding more about the Savior, I couldn't recommend it enough. It has to be one of the best books ever written about the Atonement.

last night

March 16, 2018

Last night I went in to check on Charlie after he had gone to sleep. I do this every night, but last night I stood by his crib a little bit longer than I usually do. I watched him breathe in and out, and noticed how his long eyelashes rested on those chubby cheeks. I watched his long legs twist from side to side, and how he'd rotate his binky over and over in his sleep. Max came in and stood by me for a minute or two, and I couldn't help but want to cry. This last week was tough. Honestly, Tuesday in particular I thought I just might die. Charlie and I have both been sick as dogs and I spent most days guzzling down Dayquil counting down the minutes until nap-time or bedtime. Max has been busier than usual, and has been gone all days most days as he gets ready for Step 1. It was actually one of the first times I actually thought to myself, I will never be able to have another child because this is too hard.

But last night I felt differently. Because instead of reading the stack of parenting toddler books, or stepping on blocks or cleaning up a never ending messy kitchen, I let myself forget all the stress for a minute and just feel how much I love this little boy. And it's not that I ever don't feel that way, but sometimes I let everything else get in the way. And not just for Charlie, but for Max too. So I just stood by his crib longer than I usually do, and let myself feel how much love I have for this family of mine.

I know they say these years go by in a blink, and I try to live consciously of that, but I'm not perfect at it nor do I expect I ever will be. But last night is worth writing down, because it reminded me (again) that what matters the most is what lasts the longest.

"Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach. T. Berry Brazelton. Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with 'Goodnight Moon' and 'Where the Wild Things Are,' they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories...

The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make... I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of my children sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of a summer day... And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
-Anna Quindlen

the ballet on valentine's day

February 14, 2018

Max originally led me to believe that Valentine's Day this year would be somewhat of a nonevent since he would need to be studying for his upcoming finals.. so imagine my surprise when he came home early that afternoon with a bouquet of flowers and tickets to see the Cinderella ballet that evening! (I think someone is still making up for forgetting Mothers Day last year... ;)

Because we were running late, we picked up Wendy's before hopping on Trax and heading downtown. The entire performance was beautiful, but in my opinion it was the stepsisters who really stole the show. Though Max claims he only goes to the ballet for me, I think somewhere deep down he actually enjoys it as much as I do too. The live orchestra alone is always worth it to me. 

Unfortunately, these are the only pictures I have of the evening, which is a shame because any night Max and I dress up is worth about a dozen pictures. Date nights are less frequent now that we're parents, and lets be honest, also because we're still in the thick of med school. We spend pretty much every date night we do go on being extremely careful with how much we spend, and what we spend it on. I never want to come across as someone who complains about having a husband in medical school, because I realize that it's a huge blessing in so many ways. But if I'm being completely honest, sometimes being poor has its cons... obviously. Whenever I am reminded of the cons though, I remind myself of a journal entry I had written years ago in which I declared I would live in a box in Kentucky if it meant I could marry Max. And luckily, we're still not that poor yet.

Anyway, thank you to my dear, sweet, funny, smart, best Valentine for a date I'll always remember. You make me happier than you'll ever know.

mele kalikimaka

December 30, 2017

Thanks to my parents, we spent our Christmas in Hawaii this year and it was absolutely beautiful. This was our first time traveling this far with Charlie, so we kept most of our trip pretty low-key and tried to relax during one of Max's last breaks before Step 1 and rotations begin this upcoming summer.
Max has a friend from Honolulu who told us about an easy hike to King Kameahameha's summer palace ruins (which you can see in the pictures above). "Easy" was what grabbed my attention, so one morning we decided to drive down the island to try it out. The only trick was finding it. After about half an hour of searching, we found the hiking trail entrance. You have to walk through a bamboo forrest in order to get to it, and after about 100 yards, you are supposed to turn right up a small hill and voila! You're there. Somehow we missed that memo and ended up crawling through trees, knee deep in mud, while carrying a baby. You can then imagine my delight when we heard something snorting nearby and Max, who was convinced it was a wild hog, made me carry a stick the remainder of the hike in case it came charging. 

ANYWAY, we DID end up finding it and we DID survive and these pictures literally cost us blood, sweat and tears but it really WAS amazing. Apparently during one of the celebrations at the palace 150 years ago, there were thousands of Hawaiians gathered in that same spot for this amazing luau. They still consider the grounds really sacred so a plaque asks that you whisper to respect it's reverence. In the end, I'm so glad we risked our lives for the experience. (Ha Ha I'm being dramatic. I am glad we did it though.)

One of my very favorite places that we also visited was Pearl Harbor. Though this was Max and my third time going together, I was so happy we went. It's always a humbling experience. It was there I read that Eleanor Roosevelt kept the following poem in her wallet during WWII:

Dear Lord / Lest I continue my complacent way / 
Help me remember somewhere out there / A man died for me today / 
As long as there be war / 
I them must ask and answer / Am I worth dying for?

We also spent an afternoon at Sunset beach, swam in the waterfalls up Waimea Valley, ate plenty of food, (even at the BYU-Hawaii cafeteria; happy to report my Apple Jacks are still there), but most of all we spent time with family which was my favorite part.

We're pretty sure Charlie's first words will be nana and papa. He loves his grandparents.

Even though we tried to spend our time relaxing, 
this was pretty much what we looked like at the end of every day.

Hawaii will always be a home away from home. Whenever Max and I drive along the North Shore we point out little homes along the beach where we feel like we could live someday (if only in our dreams). It's just a special place.

Charlie Turns 1

November 25, 2017

"Birth will always be the most commonplace of miracles, an event at once familiar and phenomenal, timeless and immediate, briefly making angels of us all. When a child is born the world is altered in an instant. A new voice is heard, a new love comes into being. Years later, we pause and say, 'Yes that's when it all began, on that day, in that room, when I saw that face.' Birth is the smallest of magnificent things and the greatest of little ones."
-Call the Midwife

Charlie, you made me a mother one year ago today, and it has been the happiest year of my life. Before you were born, I had no idea how exhausting and humbling becoming a mother would be. I also had no idea how silly or affectionate I'd become. I didn't know it could make me love your dad in a way I had never loved him before, and how close it would all feel to heaven, those first few days especially.

It's been a year of reading lots of baby sleep books and searching Google for tips like how to get you to use a sippy cup; figuring out how to carry you, and an arms worth of groceries up three flights of stairs. It's been holding your hands when you learned how to walk, and holding you close when you are feeling sick. It's been lots of happy songs, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. It's been everything to me.

Words will never come close to being able to express how much I love you, or our family of three. Happy Birthday Charlie boy! I love you forever.

a trip to the pumpkin patch

November 7, 2017

This last weekend we visited our very favorite pumpkin patch with Charlie for the first time. Max and I have been there many times before, but as is the case with most first-time parents, everything just seems a little bit more magical when you are bringing your little one along. I can't even imagine what Disneyland will be like ;)

Charlie was terrified of the goats but didn't even blink going down the silo slides. We've also learned that Charlie is a people-watcher and perhaps sitting at the airport would be just as exciting as the petting zoo. Whatever the case, one thing I try to remember is that the day will come when Charlie will prefer to hang out with his friends rather than his parents. Is it weird that I already think about that? I don't know why, but on days that are particularly exhausting the reminder that it's already going by too fast keeps me grateful for afternoons like these.

park city with friends

October 31, 2017

Our annual fall break getaway was another success... at least when we forget the fact that everyone who went ended up with the flu the following week. Max and I actually had to leave around 4 AM Sunday morning because Charlie's fever was getting out of control and he refused to sleep. So okay, maybe it wasn't an entirely successful weekend but I continue to count those lucky stars of mine that our group of friends are ours, and that these traditions continue.. Come hell or high water, as Zac Efron once said.

Seeing Charlie "become friends" with your friend's children is surreal. Weren't we all still living at home and calling each other on landlines just yesterday? Charlie also went on his first mini date with little Willow who is so cute I could scream.
Perhaps another arranged marriage is in the making?

Charlie and the rest of us are still on the mend, so we will spend Halloween night with some friends eating Halloween candy and finishing the rest of Stranger Things in our matching skeleton jammies. Hope all of you have a Happy Halloween!!

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