Blessing Day

March 8, 2017




This last Sunday was Charlie's blessing day. It was such a special experience, and I tried to write down everything Max shared during the blessing in my journal so I would never forget. I felt so honored to be this little boy's mom. Throughout the day I kept thinking about what I've shared before on this blog a handful of times.. I even read it at my sister's wedding dinner. It's in my quote book, it's in my life book. There is nothing else that so perfectly describes the sweetness of life and family as this quote:

"My young friends, there is much happiness and joy to be found in this life. I can testify of that. 
I picture you with a companion whom you love and who loves you. I picture you at the marriage altar, entering into covenants that are sacred. I picture you in a home where love has its fulfillment. 

I picture you with little children about you and see your love growing with them. I cannot frame this picture. I would not if I could, for it has no bounds. Your happiness will have no ends." 
- Boyd K. Packer

what I've been reading lately...

February 8, 2017

When Charlie got really sick at the start of the year, our pediatrician recommended we basically keep him indoors and away from crowds until he was at least 3 months old. To say I didn't go a little bit crazy some days would be a lie, but these books kept me company during the long afternoon hours while Charlie would nap:


“The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.”

“Literature not only illuminated another’s experience, it provided, I believed, the richest material for moral reflection. My brief forays into the formal ethics of analytic philosophy felt dry as a bone, missing the messiness and weight of real human life.”

“That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.” 

“Those burdens are what make medicine holy and wholly impossible: in taking up another’s cross, one must sometimes get crushed by the weight.” 
-Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

(This has become one of Max's favorite books of all time -- mine too)

--

"Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever."

“There is a humility of being a father to someone...as if he were only a narrow conduit for another, greater thing. That's how it feels right now, he thinks, kneeling beside her, rinsing her hair: as though his love for his daughter will outstrip the limits of his body. The walls could fall away, even the whole city, and the brightness of that feeling would not wane.” 
-Anthony Doer, All the Light We Cannot See



--

“Cora didn't know what optimistic meant. She asked the other girls that night if they were familiar with the word. None of them had heard it before. She decided that it meant trying.” 

“But nobody wanted to speak on the true disposition of the world. And no one wanted to hear it...
The whites came to this land for a fresh start and to escape the tyranny of their masters, just as the Freeman had fled theirs. But the ideals they held up for themselves, they denied others. Cora had heard Michael recite the Declaration of Independence back on the Randall plantation many times, his voice drifting through the village like an angry phantom. She didn't understand the words, most of them at any rate, but created equal was not lost on her. The white men who wrote it didn't understand it either, if all men did not truly mean all men. Not if they snatched away what belonged to other people, whether it was something you could hold in your hand, like dirt, or something you could not, like freedom.” 
-Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

(I actually read this book while I was still pregnant and though it is heavy, it is definitely a book worth reading; it stays with you for a while.)

--

Other book excerpts here and here

unpopular but relevant

January 22, 2017

-"Woman with a Parasol" - Madam Monet and Her Son
Painting by Claude Monet
(I received this painting as a gift before having Charlie, and I love it)

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity... 
May [women] understand their own great capacity for strength."
-Margaret D. Nadauld

Baby Charlie

January 19, 2017


How did we go from this...


to this so fast? 

Our sweet Charlie is eight weeks old today, and time is flying by. Although he has had more hospital visits and shots than most his age, he remains the most content and consolable baby (in my own biased opinion). He now weighs ten pounds and is 21.5 inches long, though he still only fits in his newborn clothes. He loves to eat, be held, take baths and look at twinkle lights and lamps. He smiles occasionally, but usually keeps a serious and thoughtful look on his face (just like his grandpa). He has his dad's chin and his mother's ability to sleep through anything, (he's already sleeping six-seven hours through the night(!!!)) and is the best part of every day.


As you can tell, Charlie is just as anxious and concerned about hospitals as his parents are 
(though let it be known Primary Children's is amaaazing)


 I didn't know my heart could hurt the way it did when he cried as they took his blood. I am so, so grateful Max was just five minutes away in class and could run right up to the hospital and be with us for that dreadful experience. 


Everything I've ever heard or read when it comes to having children, as cliche as it always sounded, is true. It's often shared on social media, but I've found the words Elizabeth Stone once wrote so perfectly describe the way Motherhood feels: "Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside of your body."

 

His face. That video. My heart.
I will never be the same.

thanksgiving day

January 11, 2017


We were at dinner with friends when I first started noticing what I thought were just cramps. I wasn't due for two more weeks so I didn't think much of them, at least not until we got home and got ready for bed. I remember telling Max to pull out his phone and start timing what for sure I knew were contractions at that point - I had learned in my birthing class that it would probably take hours, maybe even days, for the contractions to be close enough to have to go to the hospital - (ps. birthing class really deserves a post of its own one day, and so do the forceps the size of salad tongs that they feel the need to pass around... but we'll save that for later).

Sure enough, though, my contractions were coming in at only six minutes apart.

I remember Max giving me a blessing before calling my parents and telling them I was going to the hospital. I also remember feeling a wave a nausea come on and all of a sudden my water breaking. I started to cry at that point. I was terrified.

We walked into the hospital around 12:30 AM. The security guard who buzzed us into the labor and delivery unit smiled when he said "I think it's time." I nervously laughed - I still don't know why at that point I wasn't convinced that that would be the day I would go into labor, but that changed when the nurse who checked us into triage said that I was 90% effaced and 4 cm dilated. I didn't have much time to register what that entirely meant, because the contractions suddenly began coming on stronger and stronger. I remember holding the nurse's hand through one of the more painful ones (her name was Sarah and she was an angel) as Max ran to go park the car and grab my hospital bag.

Sarah held my hand again as Max watched the anesthesiologist put in the epidural and chat about medical school. I admire those who are willing to have a natural birth, because for me that epidural was a gift straight from heaven.

Within four hours I was ready to go. I silently prayed over and over again that my doctor would be the one on call that night. Even though he wasn't, he would still be the doctor to deliver our son, which was just one of the many, many blessings that early Thanksgiving morning.

At about 6 AM, I started to push. I pushed for two and a half long hours, which in retrospect, I'm still amazed I survived. Even with an epidural, the pushing and the crunching and holding my breath soon became exhausting. There were several times I can remember looking up at my Mom and saying over and over, I can't keep doing this; every time she'd reassure me that I could. Finally, just minutes before 8:30 that morning, at 8:27 AM to be exact, I distinctly remember my doctor looking as serious as I had ever seen him. This was it.

Anyone who has been through this will most likely tell you the same thing I always heard, that there are no words to describe the following moments or feelings. I heard his little cry for the first time. I remember looking up at the faces of my own Mom and Dad, and most especially my best friend and my husband Max. I remember realizing that he was now a dad. I remember my tears blurring everyone's faces and this feeling of love that overcame me. It felt so instant and unconditional. I remember the first time they rested this baby boy on my skin, and I remember whispering that I was his mom. Those moments are so sacred and so special. They all will forever be saved in a part of my heart I never knew existed until that Thanksgiving day.

--

The following hours and days are a blur of love, and exhaustion, of tears and prayers filled with gratitude. Even now, almost two months later, I look down at this baby boy and still can't believe he is ours. I've always believed that families could be together forever, but had no idea how much more that would mean to me when I began a family of my own. Max is the champion of all fathers and husbands, who even though he had his first semester of medical school finals looming when we got home from the hospital, loved and cared for us in a way that will forever cement our relationship. They say that there are no words to describe the love you have for your child, but the same goes for this new aspect of love you will feel for your husband.

I have never felt so thankful as I did that Thanksgiving morning for the plan of happiness, and for this new profound sense of true happiness I was just now experiencing as a new mother. I can honestly say, it was the best day of our lives.

(And just so you know - the first thing the doctor gave me after delivery was an ice cold Diet Coke. It should be noted that this was the best Diet Coke I have ever tasted, and by that act alone, my doctor will always remain one of my true kindred spirits).

the end of 2016

January 2, 2017


Aside from the arrival of our baby boy which will forever be the highlight of our year, I wanted to update my blog regarding the rest of 2016 since my journaling habits are still being graded at an F-.


We had our usual fall getaway to Park City, but this time we went with family instead of friends whose lives and busy schedules are hard to match up with. Still so much fun.


I had an endless to-do list on my phone this fall of things to finish before the baby arrived, and for some reason the night we built the crib as Max watched the World Series will remain one of my favorite memories. Nothing extraordinary about any of it, but for some reason that night remains a special memory for me.


Speaking of Mr. Max, he's still enjoying medical school. It's the one question I'm asked most, aside from anything about becoming a mom, is how is Max enjoying school? I can brag about him since he would never brag about himself, but not only is he excelling, he's top of his class. Maybe I just expected and went into this medical school chapter of our lives thinking this would be the death of our marriage, but it's been surprisingly manageable for both of us. In fact, I think I see him more now than I ever did during his undergrad at BYU (knock on wood). Might I add he makes a very handsome future doctor.


Woof. Third trimester was not good to me or my frame. I ballooned like Violet on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. So excuse the picture, but this documents one of our baby showers, which we happened to share with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Heaston Dahl and his wife, who are expecting a baby girl next month. The best part of the night was Heaston assuming that babies have teeth by the time they are three weeks old.


Even though I write more about this special day in the following post, this was one of the first pictures we took of our little Charlie. Some of his nicknames include baby, bubby, sunny, honey, lovey and toad man. I don't know where the last name came from, or his perfect olive skin considering he has ghostly white parents this time of year.


Last but not least, Christmas of course was special this year because we had a family of three. I just wish Christmas could be on a Sunday every year. There is something special about going to church and the reminder of what Christmas is really all about (as I post a picture of a Christmas tree and presents ha ha... this picture will have to suffice).

2016, you were too good to us.

fally pictures of fally things (is fally even a word?)

October 3, 2016



September flew by and I can hardly believe Max is already prepping for his midterm assignments and tests in the next two weeks. How is his first semester at med school already halfway over? And how am I already 31 weeks pregnant? Both are really exciting and overwhelming and anyway, I thought I'd just post a few pictures to look back on since I'm already online, and also because I don't feel like reading anything to do with Trump, Clinton or Kardashian at the moment either.

A few weeks ago we went to the Farmers Market in downtown Salt Lake and although I wish I could say I picked out some yummy fruits and vegetables, all I took home were some very sugary, very unhealthy and very un-organic cinnamon rolls.




We also had a mini "unofficial first day of fall", which I'm proud we pulled off in spite of the fact it feels like neither of us have enough time for anything lately. We drove down to Sundance on a rainy Wednesday afternoon for a fall picnic and called it good, even though this six-year-running tradition usually includes quite a bit more. One part of the day I will never forget is listening to a Casefile podcast about Annelise Michel on our way down. Oh my. Don't google her or her story. We had to turn it off ten minutes in, we were both traumatized.



I discovered Banbury Cross Donuts too, which might deserve it's own post if I considered myself any sort of a food or sweets connoisseur, but I'm not at all and I can't pretend to be. Turkey and cheese sandwiches for life. (but i'll be honest, these cinnamon donuts were pretty amazing too!)



Last but not least this cozy little library in Sugarhouse is also a new favorite. I finished reading In A Dark, Dark Wood and The Underground Railroad this last month, and am currently on the lookout for any other good reads. It's time to pull out the hot chocolate and oversized blankets, both of which combine wonderfully with a good book (but most anything does anyway).

Here's to hoping October slows down jussst a little bit.

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.

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