i heart ny

July 16, 2018

I've delayed writing this post mainly because I have over a hundred pictures to choose from and a million things to say about how much I loved our trip to NY.
Our hotel was directly across the street from Central Park, which is probably why I loved this trip so much more than any other time I've been before. I figured that taking a little one to the city might mean spending more time in a park than out and about, and I'm soo glad we planned plenty of time for that. In my next life I'd like to fall in love on Gapstow Bridge, please and thank you.

The view from Gapstow Bridge. I mean... can you blame me? The night I took this picture will forever be a highlight of my life. It entirely felt straight out of a movie.

Then of course I insisted we stop by to try Momofuku ice cream and I was SORELY disappointed. Overrated is an understatement.  At least Levain and Magnolia made up for it.

Other highlights include: Making a wish on top of the Empire State Building at midnight (Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan where you at), Broadway shows, Shake Shack (naturally), and reading books with Charlie at the midtown NY public library.

Last but certainly not least was the 9/11 Memorial. One of my friends had just gone a few weeks before I did and had told me all about it, but I still wasn't prepared for how moving it would be. I could have spent an entire day there.



I'll stop myself here. I spent our entire drive upstate searching for two bedroom apartments on the Upper West and East (one day??) Side because I was convinced our next move needs to be to the city that never sleeps. I heart New York a million times over. And over.

And over.

happy independence day!

July 4, 2018

(whenever I drive by this house I stop to take pictures because it's all the house goals I dream of)

Even though John Adams wrote this passage to his wife 200 years ago, I think his foresight and the profound patriotism expressed is always worth posting on Independence Day:

"I am apt to believe that [Independence Day] will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will triumph in that Days Transaction."
Happy Fourth!

give me your tired, your poor

June 19, 2018


Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Though I remain mostly silent (at least on this blog) about my political opinions, seeing pictures of children being taken away from their parents in response to the Trump Administration's "zero-tolerance" policy made me cry today. (By the way, I didn't even cry when Romney lost the 2012 election). Hearing audio taken from these detainment camps was even worse. And that’s just the tip
of the iceberg. I could go on about equality for women in the workplace, gun control, gay rights, religious freedom, immigration laws, border control, violence, racism, etc... but I’ll stop myself here. Although my Dad (who is mostly joking, by the way) teases me when he says that I've been brainwashed by the liberal media, I've recently thought a lot about why so many of my own political opinions have shifted over the last two years.

Though there are plenty of reasons I could list for this change, (i.e. Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump), the one thing that has changed me most to my core was becoming a mom. Seeing the world through the eyes as a mother who is raising an 18 month old son; a son who will one day grow up and live in this world without me always right by his side, has changed my perspective on absolutely everything. Politics aren't just black or white, left or right anymore - these are policies affecting human beings. People worth just as much as I am in the eyes of our Creator. They are mothers and sons. Fathers and daughters. And for the most part, these are people just trying to create a better life for their children, just like I am.

I won't take the time to argue why I think drastic steps need to be made when it comes to X,Y and Z (though if you know me you know I’d try);  if anything, I've learned well enough by now that my opinions are just that, my own. And though I don't know or understand the complications behind every legality, policy or procedure, I try to remember that there are people just as genuine and concerned about one side of an issue, as there are on the other.

But most importantly, more than ever as a mom, I hope I continue to look at this world and its people a lot more compassionately than I ever have before. 

PS. 
Currently working with the Mitt Romney campaign here in Utah as we speak ;) Go Mitt.

May Recap

June 5, 2018

MAY MAY MAY:

First and foremost, it should be noted that though it is not pictured here, Max DID NOT forget Mother's Day this year. Blessings on blessings on blessings.
Also worth mentioning is a quick 48 hour girls trip to AZ to see Taylor Swift in concert on her opening night. I've never seen her before, but I thought she was magic live. I don't know how any artist can make their music or your experience seeing them feel personal in a stadium filled with 50,000+ people, but you really do with Miss Swift.

Even better (if that's possible) than the concert, was the time I spent with some of my faaavorite cousins. We ate cheese crisps, coconut pancakes, played with makeup and I don't think I've ever consumed as much Diet Coke as I did in those 48 hours. I couldn't have had a better two days even if I tried.
Doesn't this picture make you want to cry? Unfortunately, while I was away for my quick trip, Charlie (who was still at home being watched by my parents, while Max studied for boards) became realllly sick. The night after I got home we had to take him into the ER for dehydration and, as with every other time we've been with him in the ER before, it was a nightmare. I cry every time he cries when they take his blood. I sit in the corner of the room, while Max holds him down, and I cry. Doctors appointments and immunizations are a cakewalk compared to what we have gone through in the ER so hallelujah! We survived that ordeal and he finally got back to being his usual self within a few days. All I can say is no more nursery for us, at least for now.

Max also had a birthday in May in which he entered the final year of his 20s. What is this and how is this happening? It was a busy day with golf and lots of black and white cookies (his favorite), but unfortunately I couldn't do as much as I would have liked since we were leaving early the next morning for NYC.
This is the third time I've been to the city, and I should also say it's the only time I've ever felt like I loved it so much I could move there. I mean I seriously, really, want to move to NYC after this last trip. I will post more about it all later, but I think this last trip to New York has to be one of the best trips we've ever been on.

So far, I'd say May takes the cake for 2018.

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.

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