white coat ceremony

September 2, 2016





“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt


I had read this quote somewhere online a few days before Max's White Coat Ceremony, which reminded me of the last few years in a few ways. As we sat in Kingsbury Hall on Friday morning, I thought about it again as I watched 120 other students receive their white coats; I felt so proud of allll of them because I've been able to see in part the amount of "dust and sweat and blood" (metaphorically, for now) the profession of Medicine requires. 

(I also felt like going up to every wife/husband in attendance and giving them a hug, because I know even better what's been required of those unsung heroes (just kidding/not really).

Over the last few years I've read countless of articles weighing the pros and cons of Medical School. Most of them discuss the negative changes the Affordable Care Act has created for practicing physicians; the drastic increase in medical school tuition over the last ten-fifteen years; the amount of stress school/work/debt can bring those attending and their families; etc etc etc. And of course being me, I worried about it all and then some. But at the end of the day, Max always has and always will want to be a doctor. It's why he hasn't stopped trying and I guess why I haven't ever tried to persuade him otherwise either.

So as I sat next to my parents during that White Coat Ceremony, I told myself that when things get hard and as the debt continues to grow, I will do my best to remember this day. The day Max received his white coat on stage, and waved to us with a big smile on his face as he walked passed our row on his way out to take pictures. I will remember what he looked like with that white coat on and really do my best to remember the feeling: I am so happy he chose this.

diy goodbye mugs

September 1, 2016


Some of our best friends moved to California earlier this month and I used the resourcefulness of Pinterest to help me figure out some sort of a goodbye gift. Honestly, my history with Pinterest isn't great. I made "skeleton brownies" for a Halloween party and "s'mores in a mason jar" on a date, both of which could have been featured on any one of those Pinterest Fail slideshows. It's kind of a shame because I used to watch Martha Stewart religiously when I was younger. Anyway, with that being said this is the reason why I'm sharing a DIY because 1. It's easy and 2. It actually turns out like the pictures!

DIY Goodbye Mugs

1. You'll need a white mug, (I just found mine at the dollar store) and a few sharpies (make sure you find Sharpies that are oil based, I found some at Hobby Lobby). 

2. Draw/write/create whatever you want to on your mug! I used this picture as inspiration.

3. Once you're finished, let the mugs dry overnight. I let mine dry for 24 hours just to be safe. 

4. After they finish drying, place the mugs in the oven while the oven is still cool. Turn the oven on to 425 degrees and once it reaches the correct temperature, turn on a timer for thirty minutes. After the thirty minutes are up, turn the oven off but keep the mugs inside the oven until cool.

5. You might need to re-trace some of the words/designs again with your Sharpie after you take your mug out of the oven. If you do, you will need to repeat the same steps above.

Before I delivered the mugs, I hand washed them just to make sure the paint wouldn't smear/wash off (it didn't!) and that's it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. You're done.

a baby on the way

August 18, 2016


A few months ago, as I was walking down the hall at work and into the kitchen to grab what was probably my seventh diet coke for the day, I felt something inside that I hadn't felt before. It caught me off guard because it seemed so sudden and out of nowhere. A few days later, as Max and I sat quietly in the temple, the same thoughts and feelings came suddenly, and I felt the same way I had felt just a few days earlier at work. It was something I had occasionally thought and prayed about, but all of a sudden it was constant and didn't leave. And without sharing too much of those special experiences I have jotted down somewhere in my journal, I just knew that there was a spirit in heaven ready to come down to our little family. Within a few weeks, Max came home to pick me up for lunch one afternoon and the first thing I did was hand him the positive pregnancy tests (I honestly took six that morning, just to be sure!) - I wish in hindsight I had filmed the entire thing because words can't explain it. It was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Since then, being pregnant has been a roller coaster of ups and downs and everything in between. If I were writing this post any time during the first trimester, I'd probably share that I had been hit with a 2x4 of nausea that just never went away. Morning sickness was a beast for me. I was sick all day, all night, throwing up into plastic bags I stashed on the side of my bed, (I can't throw up in a bathroom, it's so gross to me), and I cried a lot. I remember going on nighttime walks with Max and having to find bushes to throw up into when cars would drive by. Luckily my Doctor eventually prescribed me Diclegis, which became my saving grace. That and peppermint oil seemed to be the only things that helped me survive the first trimester, which at the time, I never thought would end.

Now that I'm nearing the end of my second trimester, there isn't as much to report. No weird food cravings, and no food aversions (at least not anymore!). The first time I felt the baby kick tied with the first time I got to hear his heartbeat. Unless you've experienced it, it's hard to describe, but it's the most amazing thing in the world. I'm definitely more emotional than I've ever been, a McDonald's commercial can make me weep (the one where the Dad gives a Big Mac to his daughter on her wedding day.... don't judge me) -- But if there is anyone out there who is about as kind and patient and understanding as one can possibly be, that's Max - whose both figuratively and literally held my hand through everything over the last six months.

Most of all, I cannot express how much happiness this growing baby has brought into our life in just a few short months. My heart feels extra full always, knowing that I'm already a mother in some ways, and that my life will never be entirely my own again. Sure, there are plenty of times it's overwhelming, and I have to ask Max or my parents or even my friends to remind me that I can do this, (and they all deserve the biggest hugs in the world because I couldn't do it without any one of them!), but most of the time, in fact all of the time - it's just this feeling of love that doesn't ever go away.

the end of summer

August 8, 2016

Max and I treated this last summer as a grand finale in a lot of ways, knowing that with medical school starting in the fall, and our baby boy arriving this winter, our lives would drastically be changing for the better by the end of the year, but drastically changing nevertheless. Neither of us worked for a minute, and we spent our entire summer traveling and eating out and sleeping in and crossing off every last bucket list item I could think of. I don't know how any other summer will ever be able to compare!

Now that school has started, our routine has too. Max comes home every day with an hours worth of stories about meeting new classmates, dissecting his first cadaver and how great his professors are going to be. Our new apartment feels more like home every time I walk in the door, which is a real feat since leaving our first apartment in Orem made me cry more than once. The baby usually kicks as I read in bed late at night, and though I didn't think it would happen this quickly, this new chapter in our life isn't feeling as new or foreign anymore. It's all beginning to feel like home.

So here are some pictures I quickly grabbed off my phone to post of our grand summer finale. It was so, so good to us.



My first adult purchase (after a house of course, and perhaps an upgrade 
from my slowly dying honda civic, will definitely be a boat)





Wallowa Lake never really changes, (mini-golf tournaments, talent shows, mourning over nonexistent dole whips, etc) except to say that every year our family seems to grows bigger and closer. I'm lucky to have cousins that double as best friends.

Thanks to Mandie, the curse of the car is real and has been passed onto me. RIP Ford Fusion.

I now live five minutes down the street from Trader Joes. 
I honestly wrote this down as a blessing in my gratitude journal one night.

Hell has to be eternally packing and moving and unpacking boxes.

Saying goodbye to the Cherry Hill 1st Ward Primary after 3 1/2 years left me in tears. I don't know if that's because I love those children so much, or because I have to start attending Sunday School again.


Fourth of July always remains one of my favorite holidays
(though RIP Republican Party)



And finally, though this has nothing really to do with summer, here is a DARLING video of our little friend Nora who I can never get enough of.

faith is for the future

July 31, 2016

"I remember one fall day—I think it was in the first semester after our marriage in 1963—we were walking together up the hill past the Maeser Building on the sidewalk that led between the President’s Home and the Brimhall Building [at BYU]. Somewhere on that path we stopped and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Life that day seemed so overwhelming, and the undergraduate plus graduate years that we still anticipated before us seemed monumental, nearly insurmountable. Our love for each other and our commitment to the gospel were strong, but most of all the other temporal things around us seemed particularly ominous.
On a spot that I could probably still mark for you today, I turned to Pat and said something like this: “Honey, should we give up? I can get a good job and carve out a good living for us. I can do some things. I’ll be okay without a degree. Should we stop trying to tackle what right now seems so difficult to face?”
... I said, in effect, “Let’s go back. Let’s go home. The future holds nothing for us.” Then my beloved little bride did what she has done for 45 years since then. She grabbed me by the lapels and said, “We are not going back. We are not going home. The future holds everything for us.”
She stood there in the sunlight that day and gave me a real talk. I don’t recall that she quoted Paul, but there was certainly plenty in her voice that said she was committed to setting aside all that was past in order to “press toward the mark” and seize the prize of God that lay yet ahead. It was a living demonstration of faith. It was “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So we laughed, kept walking, and finished up sharing a root beer—one glass, two straws—at the then newly constructed Wilkinson Center.
Twenty years later I would, on occasion, look out of the window of the President’s Home across the street from the Brimhall Building and picture there on the sidewalk two newlywed BYU students, down on their money and down even more on their confidence. And as I would gaze out that window, usually at night, I would occasionally see not Pat and Jeff Holland but you and you and you, walking that same sidewalk. I would see you sometimes as couples, sometimes as a group of friends, sometimes as just a lone student. I knew something of what you were feeling. Some of you were having thoughts such as these: Is there any future for me? Will I be safe? Will life be sound? Can I trust in the Lord and in the future? Or would it be better to look back, to go back, to go home?
To all such of every generation, I call out... Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there... And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."

-- I'm posting this because I've listened to this talk probably 25 times in the last few weeks; in the car while driving, before falling asleep at night, and while I'm cleaning or doing the laundry. If there is anything I need to remind myself of most lately, it's that faith is for the future. 

celebrating four years at merlins magical lake

July 18, 2016

Ten Years Ago:



One of my friends snapchatted this picture to me a few months ago and I am left to treasure this screenshot since it's the only picture I have of our fateful Sadie Hawkins date. Heaston called it witchcraft at the time, but no one in this picture had dated before that Sadie Hawkins dance in 2006, and 6/8 of the couples did afterward. Three of us married those same high school sweethearts, and we can only blame it on Merlin's magical lake.

Four Years Ago:



Engagements at the very same spot.

June 21, 2016:



We celebrated our FOUR YEAR anniversary in June, picnicking with Subway sandwiches just like we had when we were sixteen. The sun was setting just in time for our arrival, and as we walked around the lake I couldn't help but think back ten years ago, and never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that I'd marry that really cute and really loud boy who I sat next to in Mr. Jepson's English class. I'm so happy I did.

i heart london.

June 20, 2016



London quickly tied with Sydney when it comes to places I would love to live outside of the United States. The first night we arrived, Max and I went off exploring and I'll forever remember walking along the Thames as Big Ben chimed 8 that night, just as we were heading back to our hotel. Seeing London in the movies and pictures, and imagining what it might be like honestly can't compare to the real thing. I love London, I love it so much, and although we only spent a few short days there, I hope with all my heart we will be back soon.



We tried to fit in as much as we could while we were there, but in order to keep this brief the highlights would have to include morning prayer at Westminster Abbey, Les Miserables at Queens Theater, and strolling through Hyde Park on a Sunday afternoon.



Once we left the city, we visited Stratford and Oxford (both incredible!), and stayed in a legit haunted hotel at Ettington Park. In fact, as soon as you arrive they hand you a little pamphlet detailing the hauntings and recent ghost sitings throughout the hotel. I was so excited about this part of the trip... right until we pulled up that evening. Just look at it. It screams haunted. I'm not one to get creeped out easily, but after exploring the grounds that night, and walking through the small church and cemetery in the back (nearly 1,000 years old) -- frankly, the best way I can describe the place is constantly feeling like you're being watched, even though the rational part of your brain knows you're not. I quickly learned that eerie just isn't my cup of tea, and I may/may not have had to sleep with the lights on.











And last but not least, the Upper-Slaughters in Cheltenham had to be the most beautiful place I've seen in all my life. There are no words I can say, or pictures that have been taken, that could do anything about this place justice. I imagine Cheltenham was created with heaven in mind; I never wanted to leave, and it was the best possible way to end our time in England.

maybe it's time to move to amsterdam

June 19, 2016



For years we've talked about visiting Europe as a family, and this last Christmas an envelope waiting underneath the Christmas tree announced that 2016 was finally going to be the year! Amsterdam was the first stop and the canals, bicycles (it's a miracle none of us were run over by one, they're everywhere), the windmills, the small villages - ALL OF IT was right out of a picture book.



I think I took this photo just right before we turned a corner and stumbled upon the infamous Red Light District. You could smell the weed from a mile away, and some of the shops, toys, and girls in the windows, not even Vegas can compare to.



Max illegally snapped this picture of me touching the real bookcase that hid the Frank family during WWII. I wish we had been allowed to take photos, because the whole experience was incredible. Walking into the actual room Anne Frank once shared in the "secret annex", and seeing her pictures of Greta Garbo and Ginger Rogers still taped on the wall, was moving beyond words.








A painting of a Holland windmill at the Rijksmusem, 
and then seeing the real thing the next day









We visited a few Dutch windmill villages, but my favorite of all was Zaanse Schans. Put this on your bucket list ASAP.



If you follow me on snapchat, you would have seen our stop at Muiderslot Castle. I've never laughed so hard in my life, it really felt like some sort of a Twilight Zone episode when we first walked in. Everything was weird and it was totally not worth the 20 euros, or the claustrophobia, but at the very least it's a good memory.



And finally, the little village of Edam. When Ken snapped this photo I immediately had her send it to me! Who knew Holland would be such a dream?

this is a true story.

June 12, 2016


People don't refer to me as Monica from Friends for no reason. For years I've always been more anxious than probably your average teenager or 20-something-year-old, and if you've got something to worry about - I'll usually worry about it for you.

With that being said, imagine anxious-me (alongside with Max) meeting with a financial aid advisor at the U to discuss tuition/loans (edit: unsubsidized loans)/cost of living/etc. over the next four years. About an hour later, as Max and I were sitting at a mall in downtown Salt Lake, and after a realization of the amount of debt we are taking on sunk in, I started to cry. I don't know what came over me, aside from that all too familiar feeling of anxiety, but I cried. In the middle of the food court. In the middle of the day. And the worst part is, I couldn't stop. Max eventually had to grab napkins at the Subway counter because the mascara was streaming --- which thankfully was right around the time I remembered something dear Oprah Winfrey once taught me: "Say thank you!"

It's a lesson I've learned, will continue to learn, and one that I hope to practice a lot in the months and years ahead: Say thank you! As Oprah would say, for the blessings you have, or even as Pinterest put it, to interrupt anxiety with gratitude. 

And maybe just like any other twenty-something year old, or any other wife whose husband is about to begin medical school, or really any other person alive on earth, there are times we'll all feel tremendously uncertain, or for a number of reasons feel inclined to doubt ourself or our circumstances instead of having faith. Whatever the case, when I try to remember the things that I have been blessed with, and I remind myself of the way things have always fallen into place, my faith as well as my gratitude increases. 

I'll jump off the soapbox. But maybe at the end of the day if I work really, really hard on all of this, people will finally refer to me as Rachel from Friends instead. That's the goal.

one can dream.

June 5, 2016

Though it might be a long time before we can actually buy a house, my daydream home is a hybrid between the following three:

Father of the Bride Home (which was just listed!!)



Kathleen Kelly's You've Got Mail Apartment:







And this Cottage in Bewitched:



Dream, dream, dream.

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