Aila Baby

I have loved getting to know my precious Aila baby over the last eight weeks. She has filled our home with a peaceful, gentle spirit.

We can’t imagine life without her. She is our little tomato, our Squish Ball, our Jellybean, our Stinker and our cute little Barfy. She is a blessing and miracle. Continue reading

Ay, Poppies! Our Road Trip to the Superbloom

In March, the hills of Southern California erupted in carpets of color after a wet winter that followed years of extreme drought. This wildflower “superbloom” happens maybe once a decade; the last one occurred in 2005.

This year’s superbloom began just as baby Aila joined our family and was so spectacular it could be seen from space. I was determined to see this rare and magical display of color. Continue reading

Chocolate Eggs and Jesus Risen

I think often about building a home that will strengthen my children’s testimonies of the Savior. During the holidays, as I strive to create family traditions and memories, I think constantly about balancing the festal and the religious. How can Easter baskets be fun and also teach of Christ? How can I center holiday traditions and activities around Christ, and also indulge in everything else? How can I help my children put the spiritual first and still taste something of Easter in chocolate eggs? Continue reading

Brothers and Sisters

As a highly experienced mother of two – three weeks, two days and counting! – I’m starting to realize that almost nothing in the world gives me greater joy than watching my two babies love on each other. Currently that love flows most visibly in one direction: Carter to Aila. But, I’m sure somewhere in her sleeping, pooping, nursing brain, Aila Baby is registering all of Carter’s affections and learning to love because of them. Continue reading

I Gave a Talk on Christmas Day

Last year we did a lot of fun Christmas activities …Christmas is my favorite time of year!

I got asked to speak at church on Christmas Day. After my talk, I came home and crashed on the couch and pretty much didn’t move for two weeks. Stupid germs. We opened presents and stockings in the New Year!

Here is my Christmas Day Talk: Continue reading

When One Door Closes, Another One…

When I was a senior in high school, I desperately wanted to attend Stanford University. It was across the street from my high school; I applied early and was deferred. When the little rejection envelope arrived in the spring, I was devastated.

A few days after I received the letter, someone sent me a bouquet of flowers with this message:

When one door closes, another one

Just like that. Unfinished. Unsigned. To this day, I don’t know if it was a typo by the florist or if it was an intentional omission for which I was supposed to fill in the blank. And, I never found out who sent it. She or he was right. I loved UPenn, my alma mater. My time there shaped my passions, my identity, and the course of my life.

Closed doors are one way that God directs me on the right and best paths. Continue reading

Our Picture Book Advent Calendar

Two years ago, when Carter was just four months old, I started collecting Christmas books to create a picture book advent calendar. Our collection has grown and changed over the past two years as I add new books and put some on hold for later years. I’ve made an effort to include books with children of color, classics, religious themes, and humor. Each year, I wrap and number the books and put them under our tree. This year’s collection includes: Continue reading