Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Explore California: San Francisco Bay and the Blue Angels

A few months ago we had the opportunity to go to San Francisco as part of a work weekend for Brett's job. Brett's boss has family that work on boats in the San Francisco Bay so they took employees, family, and friends out on the Bay to watch the Blue Angels show during Fleet Week. I had seen the Blue Angels once as a teenager and it was impressive, but it was a different experience to see it from the water as they flew directly above us. During this weekend I was about 24 weeks pregnant, and sometimes you could tell, but other times, not so much!

^ Just after we took off from the dock and headed out into the Bay. Rules stated that the boat had to keep moving, so we went all the way from the dock in Oakland, around the Golden Gate Bridge and back.

^ The number of boats out on the Bay was fascinating. And there were so many different types of boats, too. People watching was pretty great as we passed all the different groups out to watch the show.

^ We love finger foods! And Martinelli's Sparkling Cider! And mostly this picture is just proof that my hair looked good before we got out in the wind. 

^ The Bay Bridge between Treasure Island and the Financial District of San Francisco.

^ Alcatraz Island. I promised Brett that next time we were in San Francisco for a few days we would go out on a tour. This time we only had a little less than two days so we didn't want to spend a significant chunk of that time on one excursion. 

^ The Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory. Also on the list for next time, biking across with a baby in tow!

Until next time, San Francisco! It was a great weekend and we can't wait to do it again.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January Book Club: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Summary from Goodreads: Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as Gone With the Wind does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives. 

In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.

My Thoughts: Since this is such a long book, I decided to select it as my Christmas Break book this year. I knew that the weather would be cold and that I would be feeling super pregnant so I was planning on spending a lot of time in the armchair next to the fireplace. I am so glad that I read it when I had so much down time! I truly is incredibly long, but long books have never intimidated me, I just know that I have to read it quickly so I don’t lose interest. That was so easy with Gone With the Wind, I honestly couldn’t put it down!

I have always been a fan of historical fiction novels and this book covers about a decade spanning the Civil War and Reconstruction Era in the South, and from the perspective of your classic Southern Belle. This unique perspective gave many points of view to the Civil War. As a reader, we get to see the men leave to fight for The Cause, women stepping up to run the family businesses and households, the extravagance that persisted while the South thought they would win the war, the utter destruction of lives and livelihoods as the North secured victory, and the harsh conditions of reconstruction for an entire society was expected to change overnight. By following the life of a woman, the reader is able to “stay home” and witness all these effects rather than following a male character from battle to battle.

Then of course we have to talk about the love story. Even though I had never watched the movie or read the book until now I haven’t lived under a rock, so I knew the general gist of how the love story would end, but reading it and observing all the events happen in ‘real time’ leaves you with the “will they or won’t they” question over and over. And seeing all the reasons for marriage, love, and childbirth from the perspective of true “Lady” and her opinions of others’ choices was fascinating!

This is one of those books that I already wish I could forget so I could experience reading it again for the first time. I think in the future I will need to keep reaching back to some more of these classic novels that have stood the test of time.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 Family Pictures

A couple months ago we took a quick 30 minute trip to the park with one of our friends to snap some updated family pictures for a Christmas card. Now that we aren't in college anymore and are out doing real adult things we decided it was time to send cards. In addition, I was just starting to show the pregnancy and we had to get our new address out to our extended friends and family. It just worked out well. Now that Christmas is over I thought I'd share some of my favorites from that quick photo session. We had to rearrange the time to meet our friend a couple times, so the sun was a little bright in some, but even the ones that are bright doing a good job of catching our personalities.

So there they are, the results of our impromptu picture taking. I can't wait to do this again with our new little addition that will be here so soon!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 Theme: Development

2016 is full of amazing things for me and for my little family. First and foremost on my mind (and the mind of everyone around me) is this little baby that I am about to bring into the world. My official due date is a little under three weeks away, but this baby is measuring big so my doctor doesn't think I will make it that far. So that means that we are playing the waiting game to see what happens.

With the new addition to our family I know that my life is going to change dramatically, and I can't even list all the ways. It's a little hard to wrap my brain around! Since I don't know what to expect I don't want to set myself up for failure by setting super specific goals, so the goal setting process was a little unique this year. After I had my goals written out and I was talking them over with Brett I noticed the theme that had emerged-Development. 

Several months before I became pregnant I saw this quote and it really hit home for me. 

2016 is about finding this new self that is a mom. What are the routine's that I can create for myself in order to make sure I am the best mother possible for my children? This includes routines for myself, and all that I have to learn about parenting as well. How can this new stage of life be a positive experience for me, my child, my husband, and everyone that I interact with? With all these thoughts floating around in my head, this is what I will be working on for the next year to develop into the best version of myself that I can be. 

2016 Goals

  • Daily study of the Book of Mormon beginning by working through the Sunday School Manual, then the Institute Manual.
  • Magnify my work in Primary without procrastinating under stress.
  • Create a habit of exercise that is effective and sustainable with a baby.
  • Be more friendly and do a better job of reaching out to both friends and family.
  • Be honest  about how I am feeling in my new role with myself and husband. (I have seen friends and family go through periods of "Baby Blues" and know that the best way to combat this if I begin to experience it is to be honest that it is real, and take necessary steps to ensure my mental health.)
  • Develop a hobby that I can be consistent with and find joy in. In recent years I have rekindled my love of crochet, cooking, sewing, and discovered blogging. It would be great to grow even further in at least one of these categories. 
  • Go on play dates with other moms. Luckily, I know lots of moms in our area who I can do this with and I can't wait to develop these friendships. 
  • Plan a monthly family outing ranging from little activities to more extravagant ones too!
  • Learn parenting skills. Read books, talk to friends and family, anything I can do to continue learning and implement what I learn. 
  • To look for specific goals, continue working on my 101 Goals in 1001 Days

So here's to 2016, the year of Development!