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!!

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 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 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.

Charlie and Buzz

September 23, 2017

If this doesn't melt your heart, I don't know what will.

our first summer as a family of three

August 31, 2017

To be honest, I thought my glorious summers would end once Max started med school and I became a mom... but I can add that to the list of the things I was definitely wrong about. Whether it's baseball games, drive-in movies, quick weekend trips, hiking (not my favorite - nor will it ever be), and lots of swimming in our free time, it has surprisingly all been sweeter with our Charlie and the time I do get to spend with Max. Yes, he's busy. And yes, leaving the house requires way more effort than I thought it would with a baby in tow. But now that summer is slowing down, I realized I am sure going to love the memories of our first summer as a family of three.

Below are a few of the random pictures I still had saved on my phone. If I get around to finding my hard drive I will add more soon. Better to post late than never!

Lots of JW trips


The aforementioned hike in the arctic tundra... misery.

Diet Coke is my love language and Max put my birthday fridge collage to shame.

Seeing Ed Sheeran was hands down one of the best concerts of all time. He's incredible live.

So long softball games, so long summer. See you next year!

Charlie's first haircut

August 23, 2017

Who would have thought a haircut could make me emotional?
(actually, just kidding. i've had several bad haircuts that have definitely made me cry. 
this one was happy tears)

what i've been reading lately

August 16, 2017

I don't have any good quotes to pull from this book, but it still deserves a shoutout. Erik Larson is incredible at bringing history to life. Every time I read his books I think, How have I not heard about this before!? I'm going to read In the Garden of Beasts next, but if you are new to Larson, put Devil in the White City and Isaac's Storm on the top of your reading list too.

“But you can’t have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it. In my rampant yes-yes-yes-ing, I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to groundedness, to listening, to deep and slow connection, built over years instead of moments."

“And so one of the tiny little things I'm learning to do is play. To purposely waste time, to strategically avoid strategy, for five minutes at a time. Intentionally not be intentional about every second. Have no purpose on purpose.”  -Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”  -The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah

the one and only wallowa lake

July 19, 2017

You just can't beat a week at Wallowa Lake. Bear Lake, Lake Powell, I've heard all the reasons why they're the best, but I don't think anyone can convince me there is anywhere on earth as special as Wallowa Lake.

I've been going to the lake for 23 summers, and for 23 summers we've done pretty much the same thing while we're there (if you've read my blog through the years, you've already heard it all before). And to a lot of people that might sound like it could get old or boring doing the same thing summer after summer, but it's one of the few places on earth I feel close to heaven. I love that lake, I love the sea monster myths, I love star gazing on the back deck and telling scary stories on the dock with a bag of sweedish fish; but even more, I love the people I spend my time with there. So as I watch a documentary right now on Netflix about an inevitable earthquake that is going to destroy the Wasatch Front, perhaps I just might move there one day too.


a few facts about charlie

July 13, 2017

Just a few pictures of the cutest baby boy I've ever laid eyes on.

A few facts about Charlie:
1. Charlie is SO HAPPY. All the time. I googled about it once to see if this was normal, and then was introduced to about a million possible syndromes he could technically have. Word to the wise: DON'T GOOGLE. Anyway, he's teething right now and you'd hardly be able to tell because he is always smiling (and allllways drooling).
2. He loves when Max plays the guitar. He bounces and giggles and it's making me slightly jealous that I have no musical talent to contribute to this family.
3. Charlie loves to fake cough to get our attention. We like to call him the black lung baby. He won't cry in the morning when he wakes up and wants someone to holds him, he fakes a cough and I love it.
4. He has a huge teddy bear we believe he thinks is his little friend. He would chat and giggle with the teddy bear all day long in his crib if we let him.
5. Charlie does NOT like Gerber's ham and gravy baby food. Literally makes him shudder.
6. He also does not like when Max meows like a cat. He must love dogs like his mama.
7. I am 99% sure Charlie never has a dry diaper. I think I could change his diaper every seven seconds and it would be wet every time.
8. Charlie has no interest in crawling, and will keep his legs stiff as a board when we set him down because he prefers to stand. He'll be walking before he ever crawls.
9. On average, Charlie is sleeping 9 hours through the night right now with an early morning feed before he goes back down for another 2 hours. Knock on wood. It's made everything so much easier.
10. I don't know how Max and I will ever be able to love another human being as much as Charlie, but he makes me want to have a million more babies because this has been the best thing that's ever happened to me. He has brought so much happiness in just seven months.

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