Plus one

One baby girl, coming right up!

Nate and I are really excited--and still can't really believe it, to be honest--that we're having another baby in January. I still feel like Eleanor is a baby in many ways. And having two girls under two for the first half of next year is going to be quite the party, I'm sure, and thankfully I have the best support system I could ask for. Nate has been so patient with the woes of pregnancy while parenting this time around, and while the morning sickness has subsided at this point (15 weeks), the fatigue is REAL, you guys. It's like I got hit by a train sometimes. But never fear, Nate walks me to bed every single night when I fall asleep on the couch watching Jimmy Fallon, but not before he puts away whatever snacks I was eating during our couples ritual of enjoying comedy every night before bed. If you'd told me on my wedding day how much this small action would change my life, I probably wouldn't have listened. But it's true. I don't know how people manage pregnancy on their own.

Being pregnant the second time around doesn't feel as real somehow. I still forget sometimes that I'm going to be having another baby, and that that baby is in my belly right now. And is the size of a lemon. And arriving in six months.

We are happy as clams. Some days are really, really hard, but we fall into bed each night feeling glad we are who we are and happy that our future is bright.

Any tips or advice on how to get one's house clean when one's to-do list is a mile long and one's baby is very on-the-move... are desperately needed.

Comedy and chocolate everywhere

I'm thinking a lot about my baby and what I am doing to help her grow. At church this past Sunday, we had a male teacher in our Young Women class, which was the first time I'd ever had this happen to me, in all my years as a girl and a leader in YW. He went around the room and spoke to each girl, made her laugh, asked her name, asked her something interesting about her week. At first, I wanted to signal to the clock and say, okay bro, don't you know we only have twenty minutes left, get to your lesson, but he surprised me. After each person had said their name and highlight of the week, he explained that at church, "in Zion," we often focus on doctrine and repentance and ordinances and scripture. Which are all critical aspects of growing oneself in one's religion. But Zion, he said, is about people, it's about relationships and understanding and compassion and growth. And I realized how meaningful it was to me when a whole room full of people asked and wanted to know how my week was, and listened when I told them something that made me happy. It made me feel loved by my Father and Mother in Heaven. The rest of class we talked about why women are important, what makes women important, and why we each love being a woman. I said I love being a woman because of my great capacity for sacrifice. Which is something I have learned as a mother. Because it seems that everything I've learned in life has happened as a mother, apparently.

There are parts of being a mother that everyone talks about. There are other parts that people don't talk about as much, but not really anymore, since our culture is so willing to bare all. One thing that I always heard about, that people always seemed to be blogging and posting and publishing and reminiscing about, is these little moments that happen. These moments when you just look at your kid and you're so in love with them. I heard about those and thought they seemed nice, prior to becoming a mom. It was impossible for me to internalize them because I had no context, at the time. But now, those moments happen to me. Not all day long, but one or two a day maybe, if I'm paying attention. This morning I was just feeding my daughter and watching her, and we randomly started laughing at each other, and it was like a miracle happened. As I observed her observing me, and understanding the joy of comedy, it was incredible. To anyone else reading this, it probably doesn't make sense, or I am probably not properly recounting the moment. But it was magic and I'll never forget that feeling of "This is exactly why being a mother is divine."

Aaannnnddddd because there seem to be so very many moments where we are kind of in survival mode, here are some photographs of my child the mess. Yes, I stopped and shot some film before hosing her down because ALL good mothers would. Right?

For heaven's sake

Our baby bunny is about to turn one year old and I need to write it all down. Here I go. 

Lately she is less of a baby and more of a person. Like a full on person. She likes jokes. She has unique posture. She's kind of bossy. Church is not her favorite place. Swinging on the swings is her favorite thing on any planet in any universe. She responds to her full name and her nickname. SOMEHOW SHE LOVES LEMONS. 

I like letting her explore her world. I tell myself it's okay to let her do that while I focus on emails or editing or 100 other things I have to do staring at this screen. Hopefully she knows I love her? Hopefully she will always want to hang out with me like she does now. I've already decided a lot of things I want to teach her, how I want to teach them, when, why, how often, with or without humor, alone or with her siblings. Things like being kind, being creative, using fear to keep you safe, what modesty means, what covenants mean, what I believe about this life and the life to come. 

Kindness is the most important attribute a person can possess. It is something she has taught me uniquely and now that I am a mother I am so much more focused on being kind. My dad recently taught me that his dad taught him, "John, in life always extend as much mercy as you possibly can." That is written on my brain right now and I want to write it on hers. Every person on the planet--me, my landlord, Barack Obama, my mother, her mother, her mother, supermodels, homeless people--every person was born, through a woman's body, in the most immense amount of focus and pain and emotion imaginable in a few human seconds. Everyone. And everyone's mother looked and them and thought, what in the world has just happened. This? This is a miracle. It's impossible and incredible and I don't know what to say. And that's why we must all be kind. Because women. 

Women, who are so often treated weirdly or badly, in my culture, in other cultures. Women who uplift and laugh and dedicate thousands upon thousands of hours to the betterment of themselves and the people they love and the earth they live on. Women who cruelly cut down others and themselves because they believe other women have set up a standard to which we must adhere very exactly in order to be desired. I want Eleanor to be a woman who loves caring for other women, emotionally and literally. I want Eleanor to be a woman who knows her own divine worth, and does not worry whether her choice of clothing will affect another person's thoughts, but rather looks in the mirror and says, "Do I look happy? Do I feel happy? Am I comfortable? Would I feel comfortable wearing this in the presence of the people I love most in the world?" Because that's what makes beauty, and that's what makes modesty. Not skin or shoulders or floor length or cover-ups or standards. Modesty and femininity are determined by an individual woman, not by a rule book or the mistakes a boy might make. I want Eleanor to know that in her bones, I want her to know it so well that it would seem silly if anything else were argued to be true. 

I want her to know that messes are okay, cleaning up is important, struggling is part of it, creating something you're really proud of is magical, sharing creative things is scary but so very rewarding, that there will always be someone more clever, someone who has done it before, someone who thinks your work or your style is stupid. But you create anyway. Because your creativity is god-given. And mother-given, thank you very much. I will give you the finger paint and the silk flowers and the glue gun and the fabric scraps and the paper and pencils and cameras and palettes and nail polish and scissors.

All of these things are so much a part of me, and I feel that she is so much a part of me as well, that I am desperate and giddy to teach her all of this. I'm in a rush and I'm taking my time, I'm thrilled and freaked out, but beyond all I just love her. That's all. Here I go.


Let me begin with this video because it's funny even while slightly obnoxious.

To parents who choose to forego vaccines, I'm curious if you're as fearful as I am of your kid catching the measles? Does it worry you that your baby might get exposed to polio? Forget all the other children in the world that you're putting at risk, I'm just wondering if you worry about your OWN KIDS catching diseases long-eradicated. 

Also, I'm wondering if you require your kids to wash their hands. If so, why? Are you concerned about germs? 

Don't really see the difference. 

In the meantime, if you don't have your shots, stay away from my kid.

Mother things and other things

I have been keeping a journal of Eleanor's life elsewhere, but here I am again and the internet doesn't have enough stuff on it, yet does it? Here's some more, even though it's been a while.

Mother Mag is one of my biggest "mom treats" these days. I love them. I eat up pretty much every article they write and instagram they post. It's as though we are in middle school and I am me and they are that bright friendly girl that always made my day when she said hi to me during PE because she was so cool. They're that. Read them.

These quotes and images really touched me today. Eleanor is sleeping as I write this, and somehow I magically got the apartment tidied slightly more than usual before 9 am, and I'm 80% caught up on emails. I wonder how these quotes and images will affect others, with and without children, with and without a passion for photography. Today when I looked at them, I took my time. Instead of just clicking/ scrolling through as I do with so many hundreds of others photos each day, I looked for myself in each one. And these quotes from women of all kinds really spoke to me as well.

Hope this means something to someone.


"Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials," said Meryl Streep.

"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child," said Sophia Loren.

"Over the years, I learned so much from mom. She taught me about the importance of home and history and family and tradition. She also taught me that aging need not mean narrowing the scope of your activities and interests, or a diminution of the great pleasures to be had in the everyday," said Martha Stewart.

"I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you're just thinking, 'This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.' And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible," said Tina Fey.

"Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary–it’s an act of infinite optimism," said Gilda Radner.

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path," said Agatha Christie.

"Motherhood is the most completely humbling experience I've ever had. It puts you in your place, because it really forces you to address the issues that you claim to believe in—and if you can't stand up to those principles when you're raising a child, forget it," said Diane Keaton.

"A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled," said Emily Dickinson.

all images and quotes via Mother Mag