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. I love you always.

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. 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!!

chicken enchilada chili soup (from zupas!)

October 27, 2017

Truly the best soup I've ever made. And it's fail-proof. If you can fail a recipe, even following the directions to a T -- I will fail that recipe. This one is impossible to get wrong though, at least for me, which means, at least for the rest of you too. I made it for my parents who came over for dinner a few weeks ago, and again last weekend for friends up in Park City. Every time this recipe has worked like a charm!
  • large chicken breasts
  • 2 cans (10 oz) red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (10 oz) green enchilada sauce
  • 2 cans (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild) with green chilies
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 c. sour cream
  1. In a large slow cooker, add the chicken breasts and both enchilada sauces. Cook for several hours on low for 3-4 hours until the chicken is cooked. Remove chicken, shred and return to crockpot.
  2. Add all the remaining soup ingredients, except the sour cream and cook for 1-2 more hours or until heated through.
  3. Whisk in the sour cream and turn off the heat.
  4. Top with tortilla strips, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. 

robert frost in the fall

October 12, 2017

I remember first reading Robert Frost in my Dad's home office years ago. At that time, we lived up in the mountains, surrounded by trees, which at first I hated because I was so used to living in a city. But I distinctly remember that autumn afternoon, when I pulled a book off his library shelf entitled The Poetry of Robert Frost. It was a 1969 edition and the only reason I chose that book in particular was because the cover had a picture of trees, somewhere in the woods, at dusk. It seemed fitting.

Anyway, it was one of those 'snapshot memories' as I call them, reading the poem below in my dad's office, feeling grateful for that home sitting in a large leather chair, watching the falling leaves outside. And even now, years later, it's the one book I pick up to read every year around October (aside, of course, from the Tales of Sherlock Holmes).

So I thought I'd post a favorite:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(you can read another Frost favorite I posted here)

a brief bingham update

October 10, 2017

The fact Charlie is going to turn 1 next month is beyond me. Where does the time go? The pictures above show off his newest goose egg in all its glory. We've got a walker on our hands who bumps and plows into just about everything. Charlie also has two little teeth coming through (!!!) and loves to eat cheese (mama's boy!), play in the bath, and go for afternoon walks. He says mama and dada (though we aren't sure he knows what it means) and remains content most of the time by playing in the fridge, hitting the dishwasher or chewing on the remote control. Don't get sucked into buying baby toys! They want everything else instead.

Max, on the other hand, is busy with Year 2 of school. He started school back in July (yikes!) and can add the gynecology unit to his repertoire (as pictured above. he'll have to tell you about giving his first prostate exam sometime too...) Though the weeks leading up to finals can get rough, I have to be honest and say I must have really prepared myself for the worst, because medical school has not been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

As for the debt, yes it continues to grow, and yes, it haunts you in your sleep, but knowing residency begins in just a few years (and with that comes a paycheck) eases the anxiety a little bit. Max still remains mostly undecided when it comes to what he wants to specialize in, but once he begins rotations next June he will get a better idea, (though right now I'm rooting for emergency med or anesthesia).

As for me, all is well and dandy. We're lucky in that we live near so many friends, family and people in similar stages of life, and I find myself constantly reaching out to other moms trying to navigate all the ups and downs of motherhood and everything in between. I remain convinced more than ever that women need to be each other's team mates and cheerleaders and friends, and will forever count the amazing women around me as one of the many tender mercies I've been blessed with.

Now, before I get all preachy zoom in on that dummy's face in the picture above. It will give you nightmares for weeks.

my very best friend

October 6, 2017

I used to think it was a funny and strange thing when a mom would refer to her child as one of her best friends. Maybe when they grew up, sure. But when they're just little and can hardly even phrase a sentence? It didn't make any sense to me. It even came across as a little bit cheesy.

I get it now though. I really do. And I apologize to any mom anywhere who said something along those lines to me and I pre-judged. I watch Charlie across the room and when he looks over and smiles at me I think the same thing every time: He's my best friend.

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