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.

Ciao.

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.

who more than self their country loved

July 4, 2017


Oh how I love the Fourth of July, and oh how I love this country. There are so many political opinions I often express (especially these days) because if you know me, you know I have a lot of them. Maybe too many of them in fact. However, if there is any day to put differences aside and recognize all the amazing things about this country and its people, for me that day is going to be on the Fourth of July. I'm grateful for those "who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life." I'm grateful for President's like John F. Kennedy, whose presidential plea in 1961 is more necessary than ever:

So let us begin anew - remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

--

My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. 

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 


Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

five years

June 21, 2017


In a special blessing I received when I was fifteen years old, (you can read more about them here) I was promised that one day I would marry in the temple and share with my husband many things, the first being unity. I'll keep the rest private, but I always thought that unity was such a peculiar word to use, (and frankly was maybe hoping for something a little bit more romantic sounding at the time) - that is until years later, I read the following definition:

u·ni·ty
ˈyo͞onədē/

Unity: Integrity: an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting.


Isn't that beautiful? I've loved the word ever since.



Now, with that being said, I won't pretend that everything has been roses and cherry blossoms these last five years. I know blogs can get a bad rap for being too glossy and sweet and shiny. Marriage has taken a lot of learning and growth and sacrifice which has included plenty of tears and disagreements and frustration. However, it has truly brought me more happiness than I could have ever imagined, and has been the most beautiful five years of my life, this last year especially. There is no one else on earth I would rather share unity with than with my high school sweetheart and Laurie Lawrence, Max Bingham. I love you forever.


a few more family pictures

June 20, 2017


These were the first professional pictures Max and I had taken since our wedding. This is 100% because of the fact I am the least photogenic human being that has ever lived. However, Jessica Janae Photography was amazing, and I'd recommend anyone to them in a heart beat. Also, look no further than Sundance for your next photo shoot location. Sometimes I forget how beautiful Utah really is. And last but not least, these pictures make my heart melt for a million and one reasons, but mostly because of that little blonde haired, blue eyed boy. I really don't know if there is a happier baby on earth, or anything on earth that could make me happier. I feel so blessed.

fathers day

June 18, 2017


Max can be described in a lot of ways. He's really funny and really smart. Like, extremely, unbelievably smart. Max is kind. My grandpa says Max is the kind of person whose never met a stranger. He's personable and inviting. Someone also once said that Max is the kind of person who can find happiness in a mud puddle. And it's true, he's the eternal optimist and is always looking for the best in any situation and in everyone around him. And he's cute. I love his round cheeks and his cheerful countenance and the freckles he gets in the summer.


I fell in love with Max years ago for all of the above and more, but something new I've witnessed and love with all my heart is the way Max has taken on the role of dad. I could go on and on about it. He fell in love with Charlie as fast and as hard as I did. The moment he walks in the door from work or school, Charlie will turn his head and smile his gummy smile because he knows just like I do, Max loves him like crazy. Max is so many things to me, but he's been the most incredible father, and I love him more than ever for it.


mothers day

May 14, 2017

This blog is gathering dust, and I know it. I've been blogging on and off for almost ten years (!!!) and even though I've grown terrible at it, I feel like this still remains one of the best ways for me to document the comings and goings of life. I'd like to think that maybe one day I'll print off most of these posts and put it in a book for my children to look through with the pictures I've added, and the random things that their mom once thought about years before. So with that being said, let's kick off a mother's day post:



Mothers Day. My first mother's day as a mother! Last year I suppose I technically was one, but since Charlie was still a tiny grapefruit growing inside of me, this year was the year it was supposed to be a big deal, right? But you'll never believe it - Max forgot all about it. Haha! I can laugh now, but let's be honest... Mothers Day morning I wasn't laughing.  When Max realized the catastrophic mistake he had made, he quickly made me breakfast while I was getting ready for church and wrote a sweet letter. I was hopping mad, but luckily when you're at church it's hard to stay angry for long, so I ended the silent treatment about halfway through Sacrament Meeting. Needless to say, Mothers Day this year was one I'll never forget (and won't let Max either!) All joking aside - he promised to be my slave the entire next day, which I fully took advantage of.

On a much more important note: I'll say it for the rest of my life, until I turn blue in the face and to the day I go to my grave, there is nothing on this earth I could possibly love more than being a mom. Nothing has brought me more joy than starting a family with Max, and nothing can compare to those feelings I have when I sit back and realize this is life. Imperfect and wonderful all at the same time, this is the sweetest chapter I've had so far. I will always be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for being chosen to be Charlie's mom, and to do it alongside with Max. I know Mothers Day brings out a lot of feelings for a lot of different reasons which I will always try to be sensitive to, but this Mothers Day for me, (even though Max forgot all about it ;) I felt more grateful than I ever have before.

easter sunday

April 18, 2017


We spent Easter Sunday at Temple Square this year, and I have to say this tradition is one our little family needs to stick to. We used to do the same thing while I was growing up, and after doing it again this year I'm sold. A highlight was seeing this Easter video the Church came out with in the Visitors Center. Though I had seen it online before, it was especially moving for some reason watching it again that morning with Charlie on my lap and Max by my side. I felt overwhelmed with my love for them and for my Savior.


Max and I have abstained from sugar for most of the year (special events not included), so I was especially excited when I found these these cute brown sack bunnies to fill with Cadbury eggs! 


Believe it or not, this was the best picture out of all of them.


I could eat this blonde haired, blue eyed boy right up! (and his dad too, for that matter).
They make my world go round.

Charlie Bob Marley, Maximus and Me

April 7, 2017


I'm pretty sure it was Jim Gaffigan who said, "I have more pictures of my children than my father ever looked at me." Hence, the onslaught of photos. Charlie is my favorite part of waking up. When I hear him stirring and start making his little noises next to me in his bassinet, I can't wait to be with him. He loves trying to make all sorts of sounds with his lips, sucking on his hand (video below), and getting tickles from his dad. We got our first giggle out of him a few weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon while I was changing his diaper, and it made me and Max both cry. Haha! What is this life?


Max landed his first paid research project (!!!) studying pediatric head trauma, and is working on co-publishing his first paper which he gets to be first author on. Like I've said before, he's ever the genius. He's also volunteering this semester at the Anatomy Academy and at the homeless clinic downtown. He works with a family practice doctor out in Stansbury Park (last time he helped with a cervix exam... thanks Aunt Cindy for preparing me for that one), and was just made a co-president of the U of U's Neurology interest group. Of course on top of all that he's my best friend, supportive husband, an amazing dad, and last but certainly not least, the king of curry. His curry is amazing, by the way, and clearly, so is he.


I, on the other hand, still consider it a feat I am walking again (I honestly didn't think I would be able to move again aside from maybe a shuffle). I won't get into the details on a public blog about what went on during delivery, but call me sometime and I'll tell you about it. The fact I'm still a walking and functioning human being only means MIRACLES HAPPEN.


All joking aside though, I'll be honest. I wasn't much of a "nurturer" growing up. I didn't like babysitting, I hated cooking, I can't craft or sew and I was never one to answer "a mom" when asked about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Frankly, I didn't know how I would feel about staying at home at first and raising children when the time came.

Now, before I go on let me say I know it's only been four months. But like I've asked most of my friends, am I just in the honeymoon phase? When does this feeling go away? Because becoming a mom has been the best thing that's ever happened to me. I might live on dry shampoo these days, but I've never felt more fulfilled or blessed or grateful in my entire life. I wish I could say this all so much more eloquently than I am, but it has truly been the most incredible thing that's ever happened to me. I can't imagine my life without having this little boy in it, or without being his mother. It feels like everything was always meant to be what it is right now.

count your blessings instead of sheep

April 3, 2017



Charlie has been our champion sleeper from pretty much the beginning. I heard all the horror stories about how exhausted I would be, (don't get me wrong, those first few weeks I thought I was going to die I was so tired), and I became even more worried about the thought of eventually sleep training that I read about 5 books in a week before he was ever born all about babies and sleeping and essentially surviving. Unfortunately, a lot of those books contradicted each other anyway, and it left me more confused than anything, but in the end, we were extremely lucky in that Charlie started sleeping soundly through the night early on without any coaching from us.

Anyway, one of the few things I did takeaway from those books was the importance of a bedtime routine; and out of all the things I thought about, it might sound silly that one of the things I did worry about was finding a special song to sing to Charlie every night. I can still remember the lullaby my mom sang to me when I was a little girl, and I wanted my own for Charlie too.

A few days after we were home from the hospital, I was up late one night feeding Charlie while watching White Christmas. When the part of the movie above started playing in the background, Charlie finally started drifting to sleep. It was almost like magic. Since then, it's become the one thing I do sing every night as I hold and rock him in his nursery. Though I can't do Bing Crosby or Rosemary Clooney any justice, I think it's just about the best lullaby there could ever be.

this.

March 29, 2017

“But how? How can you just get over these things, darling?...You've had so much strife but you're always happy. How do you do it?'

'I choose to...I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget.'

'But it's not that easy.'

He smiled that Frank smile. 'Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things...I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount. That I did a proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic! No' - his voice became sober- 'we always have a choice. All of us."

-M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans

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.

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