August 27, 2014


Cora was blessed on Sunday, February 2, 2014. It was a really special day surrounded by family and friends. Parker and I were extremely nervous that she would scream and cry throughout the entire meeting, including her blessing. So, I asked all of our family members to pray that she wouldn’t and, you know what, those prayers worked! Cora even fell asleep in my arms all by herself for a little while as we took a few pictures afterward. This had never happened before, and it was absolutely wonderful! 

Parker wrote the following letter to Cora about her blessing day.

Dear Cora,

Today was a special day. It was a day that your mom and I have been waiting for, for a very long time. It was today that I had the privilege of giving you a name and a blessing. For so long your mom and I have been praying and fasting that you would come into our lives. As I prepared to give you a blessing I was overcome with emotion knowing that you are finally here with us.

Your mom and I were a little nervous that you would have a hard time and cry throughout the blessing, but as soon as we arrived at the church you had a peaceful demeanor about you and you rested calmly and quietly in your mom's arms throughout sacrament meeting.

When it was time, I carried you up to the front of the chapel to give you your blessing. I felt confident that together we would make it through. As I began the blessing, the spirit confirmed to me what I already knew—that you are our little miracle, given so graciously to us by our Father in Heaven because He loves us. You are one of His most precious and beloved children. In that moment I felt an immediate and overwhelming sense of gratitude as well as a tremendous responsibility as your father to help you become the woman you are destined to become.

I blessed you with intelligence, confidence, love, and understanding. I blessed you with the knowledge that you will do many great things throughout your life. Your Father in Heaven loves you so much. He has a great deal of trust and confidence that you will give the world a righteous example. As I blessed you, I also felt a strong confirmation that you will bless the lives of many because of your light and your love for the Savior.

Not only are your mom and I so blessed and fortunate to have you in our lives, but those who are lucky enough to know you in this life will be also. You are our miracle, our future, and our everything. We love you so, so much.


August 22, 2014

Summer Nights

San Diego summer nights are my favorite. The weather is cool and balmy, the sunsets are vibrant and soothing, and the overall vibe throughout the city is tranquil and happy. It’s no wonder they call San Diego “America’s Finest City.”

One of the things I have fallen in love with this summer is Twlight in the Park and Balboa Park. Twilight in the Park is a summer concert series put on at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion every evening throughout the summer months. Different ensembles perform each night, and the atmosphere is relaxing and refreshing. We like to pack a picnic dinner to eat as we listen, and Cora loves being outside and spending quality time with mom and dad before being whisked home to never-never land.

Balboa Park also hosts an annual Silent Movie Night at the organ pavilion where they bring in famous organists from all over the world to accompany the movies. This year the guest organist was Scottish organist, DonaldMcKenzie. He was fabulous!

This was our first year going and so we put out an open invite for friends to join us. We ended up having a huge turnout. It was awesome, and we will definitely be going back next year.

The summer concerts will be coming to an end next week, but if you want to check out the schedule before it ends (and you totally should) you can do that here.

August 21, 2014

Sprinkle Love

(Image found here.)

“What if we are all part of a great pattern that we may someday understand; and, one day, when we have done what we alone are capable of doing, we get to rise up and reunite with those we have loved the most, forever embraced? What if we get to become stars?” – Winter’s Tale

I really like that quote, and I feel very fortunate to know that the answer to this question is: yes, we are. We are all part of a great pattern, and we, most assuredly, will reunite with those we love forever.

The recent news of Robin Williams’ passing struck me in a way that caused the wheels in my head to start turning. I felt incredibly saddened to find out that he had been suffering from the debilitating disease of depression, and that he, perhaps, left this earth feeling alone and unloved. I watched the flurry of condolences and loving tributes flood the feeds of social media in the name of this beloved actor and human being. I sure felt the love that was being sent his way, and it made me wonder if he did too.

It got me thinking about all those I know and love in this life, and how each of us struggle at different times with mortal infirmities and often feel alone. Some struggle with illness or addiction, some with loss, some with want. And somehow, at the end of the day, our pain all feels equal to us individually in those moments.  

None of us are free from challenges and heartache; but, we are all divinely endowed with something that is much bigger than any of our pains. We are all endowed with the healing power of love, and love can lift the heads that hang down and heal broken hearts. That is what Christ’s love does for us, and we are all extensions of His love. What greater service can we offer to others than to share that love with those around us, especially those who are suffering? Let's sprinkle our love everywhere, my friends!

I imagine that if each of us could take a step back and be, for a moment, as the stars in the night sky gazing down at the earth, we would see, shining back at us, millions of twinkling lights illuminating in the hearts of those who love us and who hold a prayer in their hearts for our happiness. I believe that Robin is doing that right now, and that his heart is at peace knowing that he, like each of us, is loved far beyond comprehension.

August 20, 2014

Cora's Newborn Photos

My good friend, Mandy, took some newborn photos of Cora at 12 days old. This photo shoot was quite the feat and ended up taking all the live-long day because almost every time we would get Cora in position the snap of the camera would startle her and cause her to wake up and burst right out of position. Either that, or she was crying. It gave a whole new meaning to that Shakespeare quote that's become so Pinterest-cliché: "Though she be but little, she is fierce!" 

I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or to cry; but, I think I laughed. And if not, at least I'm laughing now. Thankfully, Mandy was her sweet, talented, patient self and was able to capture these tender, tiny moments that we will cherish forever.

August 19, 2014

Becoming a Mother

There are moments in life that take our breath away. There are moments that take everything we have to offer, yet leave us feeling completely whole. There are moments that change us forever. This is a story about one of those moments. It is a story about strength. It is a story about endurance. It is a story about love. It is a story I will cherish forever. It is my story about becoming a mother.

At 11:41 p.m. Thanksgiving night I felt an intense pain in my lower abdomen that lasted for the duration of almost one minute. Parker lay in the bed next to me, drifting off to sleep, as I uploaded photos to my computer—the final thing I had to do before baby girl’s arrival. I was one day past my due date of November 27th. I had been expecting labor to ensue at any given moment for the last few weeks; but, I was not expecting it to come on so suddenly and so painfully. Within a matter of three minutes the next contraction came, as strong and as painful as the first. I decided not to wake Parker until I was completely sure that this was the beginning of full-blown labor. So, I spent the next hour pacing back and forth, experiencing one excruciating contraction after another on my own.

Around 1:00 a.m., I tugged on Parker’s shoulder. He turned and looked up at me—his sleepy eyes tired, but telling. Exhaling through the pain, I smiled as I told him that I was pretty sure our little girl was finally on her way. I asked him to help me monitor my contractions for the next little bit just to be sure. The following hour was a revolving cycle of just that. Each time a contraction came I would write down the start time as Parker timed the contraction on his phone. By 1:50 a.m. it was absolutely, positively clear that baby girl was on her way.

Parker grabbed our bags while I got dressed and ready to leave. Finally, around 2:30 a.m., roughly 3 hours after my contractions started, we exited our quiet abode and headed for Sharp Mary Birch Hospital. I took one last glance over my shoulder, knowing that when we returned our lives would never be the same. The pain of our struggle was about to be a distant memory; the future before us beaming brightly with a new measure of sacrifice and love. One journey was coming to an end and a new one was about to begin.

A mixture of emotions welled up inside me. First and foremost I was absolutely ecstatic to meet our baby girl. I felt ready. I felt excitement and gratitude to experience labor, knowing that each experience is so unique and individual and that not all have the opportunity to personally experience such a miraculous event. I felt equally nervous about all of the unknowns. But, mostly, I felt love—love and gratitude.

We arrived at the hospital around 3:00 a.m. and checked into triage. I was dilated 4 cm and my water was about to break.

We waited there for about 45 minutes before being transferred to labor and delivery. Once we got to the labor and delivery room, the relatively short time we waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive and administer my epidural felt like forever. The pain steadily increased and doubt began to creep into mind. Will I be able to do this? Will my body and mind be strong enough? Will there be complications? Will my baby be okay? Just then, the tiny cap hanging from the radiant warmer across the room caught my eye.

I envisioned the moment they would place that cap on my baby’s head and lay her in my arms. I thought, as I had many times, of the first time I would hear my little girl’s cry and how sweet and soothing the sound would be to my soul. Those comforting thoughts replaced my fears with peace. Around 4:10 a.m., the anesthesiologist, Dr. Breen, administered my epidural. It was magical. I felt great at that point, with the exception of the wretched heartburn raging inside my esophagus.

As Parker and I waited for things to progress I texted family and a few friends to let them know what was happening. Oh, the joys of modern technology!

My OB/GYN, Dr. French, came in to check on me just before her shift ended at 7:00 a.m. I was dilated 8 cm. 30 minutes later, my dear friends, Lela and Renata, arrived to join us for baby girl's arrival and to take some photos. I'm really lucky to have such awesome friends! We spent the next couple of hours just hanging out and waiting for baby girl to arrive.

(It must be noted that Parker's snack bag was the first hospital bag packed. Ha ha!)

A couple of hours passed by and the shift changes brought me a new doctor, Dr. Brahmbhatt, whom I had never met, and a wonderful nurse, Desiree. At 9:00 a.m., Dr. Brahmbhatt broke my water to get things moving. At 12:00 p.m. I was dilated 10 cm. It was finally time to begin pushing. The pain was becoming extremely intense at this point, and I could feel my epidural starting to wear off.

Desiree called for the anesthesiologist, but unfortunately he was held up in the O.R. I silently prayed and then trusted that my body would be strong and resilient enough to handle the task at hand. I mustered up all the energy I could, breathed in a deep breath, and then pushed with all my might. 1—2—3—4—5—6—7—8—9—10.

My throat burned like fire. I continued to push, and push, and push every couple of minutes for the course of an hour. I felt like I was getting nowhere.

Another hour passed. And another. It was now 3:00 p.m., and I was absolutely exhausted. At this point I had been awake for 32 hours, in labor for 15, and pushing for 3. The mirror staring back at me had been shouting discouragement my way for hours and the dreadful heartburn which had tormented me throughout my pregnancy was baring its angry flames in full glory, making it extremely difficult to get the deep breaths I needed to push. I was feeling discouraged and defeated. I begged Desiree for some Tums from my bag; but, unfortunately, she could not let me take anything other than what the hospital issued me. I prayed aloud to my Heavenly Father to "please help me." I was giving my all, but felt as though I was getting nowhere. I began to worry about my little one, but Desiree assured me that everything was going to be alright, reminding me that in all the hours I had been pushing, baby girl’s heart rate had never dropped or struggled.

My baby girl was so strong. I knew I could do it for her. She needed me to give her physical life, and I needed her to give a renewed sense of life to my spirit. I could feel us working in tandem—each desperate to fulfill the need of the other. My exertion was hers and her exertion was mine.

After another hour of pushing, Desiree agreed to turn a blind eye and let me take some Tums. Thank heaven for that! The Tums suppressed the flames in my throat, and I was finally able to get a good enough breath to push. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. I was giving it everything I had, but was so utterly exhausted at this point that between every contraction I would fall right to sleep, awaking again with each painful contraction only to push, push, push. (I guess that is what 33 hours of no sleep, 16 hours of labor, and 4 hours of pushing will do to a person. And if hours of painful pushing was the worst of it, sans complications, I was completely fine with that.)

My cheering squad, made up of Parker, Lela, Renata, and Desiree kept me going with their words of encouragement. They were right there by my side the entire time cheering me on. I’m convinced that I could not have done it without them. Just after 4:00 p.m., baby girl was close enough that Dr. Brahmbhatt was called in to the delivery room to deliver our baby girl. Parker and I were ecstatic to meet her! So, when Desiree told me to push for 3 sets of 10, I pushed for 4 sets of 10.

Finally, at 4:27 p.m. on November 29, 2013, the wait was over and our little angel was born. She was 7 pounds 10 ounces and 20.5 inches long with lots of dark hair. They placed her in my eager arms. She was screaming and crying, but the sound was sweet to my soul.

My heart was healed. As I looked up at Parker I could tell that his was too. 

I held her tight against my chest and with all the love in the world I knew our lives would never, ever be the same. For that I was infinitely and eternally grateful.

This perfect little being was ours and we were hers. It was almost like I had touched heaven for a moment and taken a little piece of it with me. I stared down at her tiny hands and feet and my heart felt as though it might burst into a million pieces. Never before had I known a love like this. Our little Cora was everything we dreamed she would be—a little bit of her daddy, a little bit of me, a little bit for us all to discover, and a whole lot for us to love.