Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas Eve dear family and friends! We are feeling so blessed this Christmas season with the amazing year we’ve had.

We started off 2014 with a welcome surprise: I was expecting! For several weeks I had felt like I might be pregnant but we were both in disbelief. After two drugstore pregnancy tests, we believed. That semester Carter finished up his Junior of his two-major (Math and Economics) degree and I worked part-time at a group home for boys teaching math and science while starting a degree in Web Design and Development and suffering through morning (all-day) sickness. After finishing my Neuroscience degree at BYU back in 2013, I decided to return to school and pursue a degree in web design. After months of researching different programs, I discovered BYU-I had an online program and I instantly knew it was the right fit. If I take three classes every semester, I should be able to finish my second Bachelors in Fall 2016. Surprisingly, I’ve loved the development side of my degree much more than the design side. I’ve learned so much already and am excited to continue my education.

Carter was accepted for an internship at the New York Federal Reserve Bank so we traveled to New York, New York for the summer months. We lived just off of Central Park West and 103rd street and loved it. According to Carter, working just off of Wall Street with researchers who directly affect fiscal policy was one of the most amazing experiences of his life. I spent the NY months taking walks in Central Park and shopping in Baby Gap. With the impending birth of our child, I figured I should just enjoy one last childless vacation :). From Shakespeare in the Park to the Bronx Zoo to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and more, we tried—and succeeded, I think—to maximize our time as New Yorkers. Carter and I still have high hopes that we’ll return to live in NY in the future. 

In October, we welcomed Noah Carter Davis into our family on his due date, the 18th. The labor and delivery went well and Noah was born just 5 hours after I was admitted to the hospital. Noah did spend three days in the NICU due to low blood-sugar issues, but is healthy and well now. At his two month check-up he came in at 11 pounds and 23 inches. So he is definitely on the smaller side, but growing. After our NICU scare, we are even more grateful for temples so that we can be sealed to Noah for this life and the next. Caring for an infant has been a wild ride that we are happy to be on (at least most of the time)!

Carter is now applying to graduate schools in finance—I’m rooting for Stanford—and economics so we are excited to see where next year takes us! We have a testimony that God loves us and cares about all the little things we care about, even if it is just a New York vacation for a pregnant mama. His infinite grace and mercy astounds us every day, especially at this time of year as we focus on the miracle of Christ’s birth. This season, we are sharing the gift by doing more family history work (#HeIsTheGift). Some weeks that just means recording and sharing more of our own family’s stories of faith and hope.

We are thankful for our wonderful friends and family and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Him and Her: 5 Surprising Things About Being New Parents

To continue what we started in 2013 with Him and Her: 5 Surprising Things About Marriage, for our second anniversary we're sharing 5 most surprising things about our latest great adventure: Parenting.

Photo credit: Kent Davis, December 30th 2014

  1. Breastfeeding, like the rest of parenting, is 10X harder than you think it's going to be. I am honestly surprised the human race has perpetuated itself this long.

  2. Possibly because I'm the least sentimental person I know, I didn't bond with Noah right away. At first everything is so surreal and it felt like I was caring for someone else's baby. For the first two months, I didn't even get the 'it's so hard but worth it' feeling. Even though I was happy to have him healthy and whole I was just stuck with the 'it's so hard' part. I mean, cognitively, I knew it was worth it (for celestial and old age purposes) but I didn't feel it emotionally. It's been a slow process that's still building.

  3. I didn't know that almost every conversation I would have with Carter from the moment Noah was born would revolve around how Noah is sooooooo CUTE. And that I would like it. He's deliciously adorable. Also, I have a lot more conversations with strangers since Noah was born.

  4. I'm totally one of those moms who watches video of my baby after he's gone to bed, even after I've spent all day with him. He's an addiction and I'm in denial.

  5. Carter is a hilariously (and adorably) protective father. If the people sitting next to us in church cough, Carter is already whisking Noah away. He told me the night we brought Noah home from the hospital he remembers wishing he had driven a less bumpy road home. Watching Carter become a father has been a particularly sweet part of this adventure.

  1. Baby doesn't even freakin' know how to sleep!

  2. Before we had Noah, I thought we would let the baby play on the floor by himself when he was awake and then put him in his crib to sleep when he was tired. I had no idea that we would have to rock him to sleep then hold him the entire time or that he would get bored when there aren't people around to entertain him.

  3. Seriously, babies don't know how to sleep.

  4. You can always hear when Noah poops.

  5. I always say parenting is more work that I thought it would be and it's sweeter than I thought it would be.

Here's to one more year of marriage! And may the next one be a good one too. Happy Anniversary, Carter Kent Davis!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

6 Weeks

I took these photos at 6 weeks, just before we blessed Noah at church. It was beautiful and I cried. We named Noah with the biblical prophet in mind and Carter blessed our little boy that, though he would encounter opposition, especially in his religion, he would be blessed with the strength and determination to follow God's will. It was the best blessing I've ever heard.

I'm obsessed with his tiny fingers and toes! They're a bit of a trick to photograph though, because they are constantly moving. At 6 weeks Noah started to smile and coo. I can't even tell you what a godsend a baby smile is to a tired momma. Oh the validation!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Noah Carter Davis

Noah was, miraculously, born on his due date, October 18th. Only 1% of babies are actually born on their due dates, hence the miracle. I first felt cramping the night before at 8 pm, after my mucous plug fell out. They were mild, consistent cramps so faint I wasn't sure if I was imagining them. The cramps grew a little stronger over the next hour and a lightbulb went off in my head. This was it! In our true last-minute fashion, Carter went to install the carseat and we realized the car seat we had was all wrong for a newborn. So we purchased an infant carseat from Target the hour before it closed and then after installing it, debated for way too long whether we should climb Y mountain to see it lit up for homecoming (my last chance). In the end, I decided if I had to eject a baby in the next few hours then I should avoid strenuous hikes.

Awaiting the inevitable. At this point I'm thinking, "There is only one way this baby can come out..."
So off to bed we went, though I laid wide awake from both the contractions - which, by this point, were too strong for me to sleep through - and the excitement. I spent an hour googling "when to go to the hospital in labor" before I dragged Carter out of bed. We headed to the hospital where I sheepishly told the nurses, "I think I'm in labor?" They monitored me from 2 am to 3 am and then kindly told me to go home and not come back until I was really in labor. Disappointing. I, however, knew this was the real deal so we made a plan to eat bacon and omelets at Magleby's when they opened at 7 am and then come back.

I spent the next few hours perusing Facebook and Pinterest to distract from the increasing contractions and then, when that wasn't enough, I tried to imagine my cervix opening up and my baby moving down the birth canal. It helped, at least until the pain became too much for even that. A contraction would hit and all I could do was double over and wait for it to pass. At 7 am Carter woke up to intervalled moaning and he insisted we go to the hospital immediately. I agreed that we would go to the hospital and not leave at least until I received some kind of narcotic - preferably, a really strong narcotic. I self-diagnosed at 7 on the pain chart.

This time I shuffled into the maternity ward very slowly and huffed at every nurse that would listen that I was in labor. Although my water still hadn't broken, they admitted me at 8 am because I was dilated to 6 cm and progressing. I repeatedly asked for an epidural but FYI ladies, the process takes about an hour before the anesthesiologist can even get to putting the epidural in. So keep that in mind. Finally, the very nice doctor started the epidural and the heavens parted and angels sang hallelujah choruses and all was right in the world again. The greatness of epidurals cannot be overstated.

After the epidural, everything progressed quickly. They broke my water and in an hour I was dilated to 9 cm. Another half hour and I was fully dilated at 10 cm. At this point I was in shock so when they suggested I wait at 10 cm for an hour before pushing to let the baby descend down the birth canal, I readily agreed. I imagine if I hadn't had an epidural, Noah would have been born two hours earlier. When the nurses decided it was time to push, I pushed for ten minutes in 3 segments and then waited another 10 minutes for the doctor to get off her lunch break. She took her sweet time and then blocked my view of my birthing mirror, so I'm now wondering how necessary her presence was. In any case, twenty minutes after I started pushing, Noah was born and then my memory gets hazy. I remember wondering if something was wrong because I couldn't hear any crying and the doctor asking me questions about holding the baby or washing and weighing him first and then holding a little bundle on my chest and thinking the whole situation was too surreal. He didn't feel like my baby. I spent several minutes craning my neck to get another look at him because I kept forgetting what he looked like. Carter held Noah and I could tell that he felt something for Noah that I didn't feel. A belonging or ownership, I guess. I think it took me several weeks to get to that point. There were many moments where I felt like I was caring for someone else's baby and I would have just preferred if they would have taken him back. Cognitively, I knew that having a baby would be worth it (mostly because I need someone to take care of me and spend time with me when I get old) but emotionally I didn't feel it. I know many people feel bonded to their baby immediately, but I also think many other people have experiences like mine.

Now, of course, I feel very bonded to Noah. I enjoy the connection I have always heard other mothers talk about and I very much feel as though every moment is worth it. I feel grateful for Noah's physical health and inquisitive little spirit.

Carter: "Are you OK? You just had a baby!" Me: "What are you standing there for??? TAKE PICTURES."
7 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches, just like his mama!
A first hold.
A second first hold.
Awe, adoration, love and surprise.
A new face.
So so beautiful.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mormon Questions: Book of Mormon Musical

I've started off every post of this series talking about how hilarious I think it is to be asked these questions about Mormonism. So why stop now, right? (But really and truly, being asked about Mormonism has never been offensive, only varying degrees of amusing. Keep on asking away!) Every time someone asks me if I've seen the Book of Mormon Musical I can't help but think they are joking. Except they never are. They're always asking in order to ask the follow-up question: What did you think of it? The problem is, I've never seen it! Or ever wanted to see it, or ever known another Mormon who has seen it. So. . .

We watch musicals, just not ones that make fun of our religion. You understand, don't you?

The thing is, I already know about Mormons. . . I am one. And I don't really care to watch several hours of Broadway that make fun of not only my beloved religion but all organized religion in general. If you have more specific questions about the musical then maybe I could address those? Like, post a comment or something? e.g. someone once asked me in the subway if we really believe that Joseph Smith pulled gold plates out of the ground and translated them into the Book of Mormon. Yes, we do. You can read more of what I believe about Joseph Smith in a past post.

If all you really wanted to know is how I feel about a Tony-winning musical making fun of my religion, then I can say most of what I feel is eh with *shoulder shrug*. Haters gonna hate. Though I do know some people who take offense. You can read my friend's response to the musical on her blog Valpo Studio (I don't think she's seen it either).

The official statement released in response to the musical by my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is only one sentence:
The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.

Other posts from my Mormon Questions series:
Do you practice polygamy? // Do you really believe Joseph Smith was a prophet? // I don't understand all this Mormon jargon. // Do you have special underwear? // Why do Mormons get married so young?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Baby Love

My little sister, Alexa, truly is a godsend to my money-poor, photography-loving self. She has a natural talent  that cannot be denied and that I will wake up at 5 a.m. to sneak into an orchard and take pictures. Bless her talented heart.

These were all taken on a nice DSLR camera and then edited on my phone because I'm swag like that. Or because Photoshop is now a subscription service that I can't/won't pay for. Can anyone recommend a good, intuitive editing app for Mac?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Him and Her: Top 3 New York Experience

Let it be said, Carter and I did not waste any time in New York City this summer. We hit pavement almost everyday exploring the sights and generally being annoying tourist who like to act like New Yorkers. Carter has high hopes that we'll live here again in the future and after a truly spectacular summer I think I can see it.


  1. Bronx Zoo - Carter and I crowned the Bronx Zoo as THE ZOO OF ZOOS after we spent one afternoon killing ourselves se we could see every. single. animal. We failed, alas, because this zoo happens to also be the largest zoo in America, but we did see more animal activity and gorillas than we ever have. The gorillas, man. The gorillas are where it's at.
  2. Natural History Museum - Not only is this the museum where we first learned about the mantis shrimp and saw a giant squid, but also Carter had every boyhood dream fulfilled in the dinosaur exhibits. 
  3. Financial District - Walking to work as the sun hit the financial district was Carter's greatest daily joy. He also loved working at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he worked with people who have and still do influence financial policy. 

  1. Shakespeare in the Park - I skeptically waited in line for a couple of hours for free tickets but even though I don't consider myself a "shakespeare person" and there was a torrential downpour during the second act, I triple-L loved it. Shakespearian actors are a league of their own and these particular actors were obviously the best. 
  2. Central Park - It's big, it's beautiful, and the north woods remind me of western Oregon. It's worth it to spend at least a few hours, if not a full day enjoying the park.
  3. 9/11 museum - New York has no shortage of world-class museums, so the fact that I chose this one as my favorite should speak volumes to it's quality. I loved that they choose to make the final message of the museum one of hope and endurance. Democracy and freedom can't be crushed by the will of a few violent men.

Aaaaaand just for fun a one-week to-do list for NYC (that you'll never be able to do in one-week):

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Statue of Liberty
(reserve tickets in advance to enter the statue)
Ellis Island
Wall Street
NY Stock Exchange
Federal Reserve Gold Tour
9/11 memorial and museum
(free tickets Tuesday after 4:30)
American Museum of Natural History
Bronx Zoo (free on Wed)
Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Juliana's Pizza
High Line Walking Tour

Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
MoMA (free entry Fridays after 5)
Grand Central Station Tour
New York Public Library
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Top of the Rock
Times Square
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Cloister's Museum and Gardens
Central Park (Bethesda Fountain and Conservatory Garden)
Riverside Church
Riverside Park (go at dusk)
Abyssinian Baptist Church Visitor’s Service (11am on Sun)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Landon Family 2014

We're united again after 18 months but mostly it just feels like nothing has changed! They will be changing very, very soon though. Primarily, in the form of a melon-sized fetus. We are all weirded out by the size of my belly and excited for this baby's arrival. I'm feeling increasingly anxious about caring for a baby. Everything is perfect right now; am I ready to let a baby alter everything? I don't know but I also don't know that there is anything I can do at this point. He's coming whether I'm ready or not!

Monday, August 11, 2014

New York! New York!

The best part about living in New York is having so many strangers tell me congratulations and offering up their subway seats to me! There's no better way to make this pregnant lady happy. The housekeepers in my building are especially hilarious. They always call me mama in their heavy Mexican accents, "Rest, mama, it's too hot" or "Mama, take it easy." It quickly became obvious that they don't speak very much English.

"Where you from?"
"My mom is from Korea."
"Where you having the baby?"
"I'm going back to Utah."
"Oh, not going back to Korea? You have the baby in New York,  it will be a citizen."
"Well, I'm having the baby in Utah so he will be a citizen...and I'm a citizen."
"Have baby in New York. It will be citizen."

That conversation is, in a lot of ways, representative of life in NY, in that the range in the human experience is overwhelming.  I'm here relaxing in New York for the summer while these ladies work menial jobs, only wishing for their children to be citizens. And don't even get me started on homelessness.

Despite my earlier reluctance to move here, I love New York, too. Did you know 1 in 50 people in the U.S. live in New York City? Apparently, it can't be helped! It's a disease and I've caught the bug. We live in the Upper West Side right next to Central Park. It's practically a dream come true! I'm talking, long strolls in the park at firefly dusk and mid-morning breakfast picnics. Soooo dreamy.

So in short, Carter and I would be happy to come back to New York for a couple of years but we have other considerations that might get in the way of that. Ultimately, our future family and Carter's career are our priorities. We're not sure right now what that means for our next couple years but we've called upon the oracle of Delphi and we are waiting for the response. I guess, let you know when we get it?

p.s. Those pictures were actually taken a month ago. Right now I'm at 30 weeks!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mormon Questions: Polygamy

A pregnant lady and her boo hitting up the sites in Washington D.C!

All the time when I tell people that I'm married and Mormon they follow up by asking - very politely - how many wives my husband has. LOL. I get it, it's a unique cultural heritage and Big Love is a popular television show. I explain that I am and will continue to be Carter's ONLY wife.

Polygamy was practiced by my church over a hundred years ago. In the late 1800s polygamy was outlawed in the United States and, in accordance with the new laws, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stop practicing polygamy as well in 1890. There are still polygamous groups of people in Southern Utah and Nevada who may call themselves 'fundamentalist mormons' but these groups are not affiliated with my church. In fact, any person currently practicing polygamy cannot become or remain a member of our church. So in short, no polygamists here.

So - as I imagine some people might want to ask - how can I belong to and believe in a church that used to practice polygamy, even if it was a long time ago? It's a valid question and one I've even wondered myself. After some thought, the answer comes down to the fact that I faith that God commanded it and it was necessary and important at the time. Having faith doesn't mean having all the answers, it just means that I choose to believe despite questions that I can't answer.

Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that marriage of one man to one woman is God's standard, except when God has commanded otherwise, as in the case of Abraham, Jacob, and some of the early Mormons. Somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of the Mormon population (including children) lived in polygamous households. All polygamous relationships had to be approved by church authorities. Women and men were free to choose whether to enter polygamous or monogamous relationships, or none at all. Those who practiced polygamy did so because they believed that they were following a commandment from God and obedience to His commandments would bring blessings. I don't know the particular reasons God asked His people to practice polygamy but the Book of Mormon identifies at least one explanation in Jacob 2:30, "to raise up seed unto [the Lord]" or to increase the number of children born into the gospel. Today, we honor the sacrifices made by these early saints but do not practice polygamy ourselves. If you are further interested in this topic I would recommend this in-depth article written by my church.

In a last interesting note, I am descended from polygamists on my dad's side. One of my ancestors, Edwin Rushton, had three wives married in 1842, 1857, and 1862. He had children with each of his wives for a total of 21 children, though many of them never survived past childhood. I am descended from the third wife. In 1887 he was prosecuted by the United States Government for polygamy and elected to serve a four month prison term rather than renounce his wives and children.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Some Thoughts

On hair...

I'm the type of person who is very emotionally attached to their hair. I usually follow trims up with a cry, but last week I cut off more than eight inches and I loved it! No regret at all.

On driving in Utah...

I never really thought about road rage until I moved to and started driving around Utah. I used to think it was just a stereotype that Utah drivers are crazy but as it turns out,  it is 100% true. At any given intersection you can be sure that at least two cars will run the red light. It's also the only state where I can reliably drive 5 mph over the speed limit and still be the slowest one on the road. And signaling? People only signal in Utah after they are already entering your lane, like it or not. I eventually realized that people in Utah are just used to driving like this. They don't realize they are being unsafe or rude. If I got upset over everything I thought other drivers were doing wrong, I would develop full blown road rage. In fact, I'm certain I was developing road rage because suddenly I felt like cutting rude drivers off and driving slow when someone rode my bumper. I'm learning to let go and move on.

On diets and fad foods...

I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix and while I was enthused and amazed and inspired, as a true believer in science, I'd like to tell everyone that a juice-only diet or 'juice-detox' is not necessarily healthy. Sure vegetable juice is healthier that a Mickey D's but fat and fiber are an essential part of diet, none of which you can get from juice. In fact, omitting fat and fiber causes the sugar in your juice to be absorbed into the blood stream too quickly, spiking blood sugar and thereby increasing your rick of diabetes.

On living in New York...

I'm slowly feeling more and more like I'll love living in Manhattan, partially because of my Aunt's New York tour book and partially because of prayer. I guess that's the beauty of putting things in God's hands. You end up loving things you never thought you would love and doing things you never thought you would do.

On Blackfish...

I watched the documentary and was horrified. Whether or not anyone values animal life, everyone should be repulsed by how obviously little Seaworld values human life. I could not believe the cover-ups highlighted in Blackfish. Instead of being candid with the trainers about the danger they were in and developing effective emergency protocols, they refused to acknowledge the orca were responsible at all! Totally sickening.

On doctors and dentist...

I'm dying young and letting my teeth fall out. On the whole, going to doctors and dentist has been throughly not worth the medical bills. Sorry Carter.

On pregnancy...

I'm almost 20 weeks and will very soon find out the gender of this child. Carter and I already love this baby more that we ever knew would could love a fetus. Little fetus, I'm going to the gym and eating vegetables for breakfast just for you!