Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Adventuring Out with a Baby

One of our goals for 2016 (which I know I didn't share here like normal, but oh well) was to be more intentional with our activities. Getting into a rhythm in life is great, but I wanted to make sure we weren't always do the same things just because we always have. We have our favorite parks, walking paths, restaurants and beaches, but it is nice to have more planned outings as well.

Since having Corinne all of our outings have been planned! That is the biggest thing I have learned about leaving the house with a baby. Its totally possible, but boy does it take planning and preparation. We have been easing back into the "world" with smaller excursions getting ready for larger adventures like family visits, family reunions, weddings, and generally a summer outside. Last weekend was a great trial run where we were busy all day. So here is the start of our monthly outing reports, the first of which may not be that exciting. Haha!

We started out the day headed to the Mermade Market where a couple of our friends were selling some handmade goods. We love spending time in Dana Point and walking around the shops was a fun way to spend the day. And as per usual, Corinne is a rock star in her stroller.

After that it was a quick drive up the coast to one of our favorite beaches for our first real beach day with Corinne. A few weeks ago I took my siblings there with Corinne, but she was having a hard day so we were only there long enough for my siblings to get their experience of swimming in the ocean. This time wasn't much different, but due to the weather. Corinne was loving it at first and was A-dorable in her little sunhat, but the wind was getting worse the longer we stayed and she was not a fan. By the time all was said and done we were there for nearly two hours so I count that as a success.

At this point it was definitely time for some quiet relaxation for all parties, so we headed home for some food and naps. Corinne and Brett napped together like they do nearly every weekend, and I was able to work on a few projects for Primary. The house got all clean, we got dinner all marinading, and life was beautiful.

That evening the weather was still so good that we almost had no choice other than to grill up dinner. We called some of our friends, made some extra food and spent the next couple hours eating, laughing, and playing with our babies.

All in all it was a fabulous day. As important as it was for us to get out of the house and have some fun, I think it was more valuable as encouragement. Now we, me in particular, know it's possible and I'm even more excited for the coming summer months. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

10 Things I Love

  1. Cozy blankets, particularly when curled up with a good book
  2. Road trips with my husband (although I am nervous about doing one with a new baby)
  3. Warm food, the kind that warms you from the inside out (soup, oatmeal, hot chocolate, etc)
  4. Hair washes at the salon-so relaxing! Brett uses the word "violated" to describe it though. :)
  5. Cooking good food. I love the satisfaction that it gives me when I'm  done, but not the dishes.
  6. Learning a new skill. Or developing one that's gone rusty. 
  7. Teenagers. I studied secondary education and I don't think teenagers get enough credit these days. See this post for everything I wanted to say.
  8. A good book, the kind that stays with you and makes you think. 
  9. Exploring local places and feeling really grounded in a community. 
  10. And of course, my little family. Being a wife and mother is hard sometimes, but it's the best decision I've ever made. I mean come on, how can you not melt at that big smile!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Corinne's Blessing Day

We were so lucky to have my parents, grandmother, and two of my siblings along with Brett's parents make the trip to California to celebrate Corinne's blessing day. Having family here to celebrate with us helped make it even more special and it was fun to see four generations of women on my side all together.

Also making the day special was that it was Easter Sunday. There is something about The Atonement and the chance that we all have to live up to our potential and become the best versions of ourselves that really hits home with the birth of Corinne. I have always really appreciated Easter Sunday and all it celebrates, and now I have respect for that day on two levels.

On a funny note, we didn't do newborn photos with Corinne and instead arranged to have a friend take some pictures of Corinne alone and some group shots after her blessing. So of course, she cried most of the time! Luckily we were able to at least get a picture of our little family of three, but all the group shots turned out a little ridiculous. Way to go, Corinne!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles

Summary from Back of Book (Goodreads is too detailed): As seamstresses, the young sisters Emilia and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, mend, and conceal - useful skills in the lawless back country of Brazil, where ruthless land barons feud with bands of outlaw cangaceiros, trapping innocent residents in the crossfire. Emilia, a naive romantic, dreams of falling in love with a gentleman and escaping to a big city. Quick-tempered Luzia also longs for escape, finding it in her craft and secret prayers to the saints she believes once saved her life. But when Luzia is abducted by cangaceiros let by the infamous Hawk and Emilia stumbles into a marriage with the son of a wealthy and politically powerful doctor, the sisters' quiet lives diverge in ways they never would have imagined.

My Thoughts: To be blunt, I loved it. This book has everything that I'd been looking for. First off, I have always loved historical fiction. This view of post WWI Brazil is one I had never seen before. Of course it's fiction so events are condensed and simplified (the author makes a specific point to stress this) but seeing the effects of industrialization, the Great Depression, and then the beginning hints of WWII tensions from a perspective that is not American or European was so interesting. I highly recommend looking for this unique perspective. 

Beside the historical setting, this book touches on lots of great topics. Are you a result of where you are from? Are anyone's dreams more worthy of pursuing than others'? To what extent do your decisions affect other people? Is it more important to survive or be yourself? What happens to an old way of thinking when another way becomes popular? What impact does positive or negative activism have on society? What is a better motivator, fear, love, or duty? The book club discussion for this was right after Corinne was born, and I'm really sad that I missed it!

Initially I was annoyed with the writing style because it's one of those books that starts at the end and then jumps back to the beginning. I tend to think this is a cheap way to hook a reader that often is just out of context with the majority of what you read, especially with books like this that cover multiple decades of time. The saving grace of this book was that there was just the one chapter out of order at the very beginning. Even though the story is told from the perspective of two sisters, the story follows chronologically allowing the reader to witness the character development as it occurs. 

The more I think about this book, the more I enjoy it. It's one I would definitely recommend and might be a new favorite. 

Total review: 5 of 5 stars. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Explore California: Also Summit Hike, Take Two

When my brother and sister were visiting us for an extra day and a half from Northern Idaho, spending as much time enjoying the nice weather as possible was a given. They few hours we spent at the beach were nearly a requirement, but that wasn't enough. Brett got home from work early and took them on the Aliso Summit hike we did when we moved here a year ago.

The night before they did the full hike we all went as far as the first look out point while it's nice and flat for the stroller. That was when Brett got the idea to help get the teenagers out of the house. This area is one of our favorites to spend time in, and this particular hike is the far edge of a large wilderness area in the bottom of the canyon with fantastic walking and biking trails

All parties involved were impressed with the sunset, the weather, and my siblings were surprised by the amount of wilderness space and just how normal of a community we live in (more on that here). Going on even these small excursions never ceases to remind me how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful area. It's such a blessing, and one I've had my whole life living in Idaho, Utah, Seattle, and now here. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Break at Salt Creek Beach

Well, its Spring Break time of year, and this time my family came to visit. Brett's parents, my parents, grandmother and two of my four siblings came to visit for Corinne's blessing day (more to come). Since it was the week of my siblings' spring break from high school and junior high, my parents decided to leave them with us for a couple extra days to enjoy their time in Southern California. Because of the way flights lined up, we had only one full day for fun, and Corinne was sick from all the visitors, but we were determined to make the day worthy of Spring Break. We talked it over and decided that since Corinne was a little iffy, we would commit to one big thing we could do for a couple hours, and anything after that would be lots of little adventures. The thing they wanted to make sure to do was swim in the ocean, something neither of them had ever done before!

The three kids ready ready for the start of fun! At this point Corinne was sleeping soundly so they took off to the water and I sat down with a book. What a heavenly 30 minutes!

They were a little surprised to realize that the water was still cold. The fact that it was windy wasn't much encouragement either. They came back to me and asked what I would count as swimming in the ocean and I said they at least had to get in up to their waist. Little Brother decided it wasn't worth it, but Baby Sister was determined. She did want to make sure that she had a fast escape, so rather than walking in deeper, she just sat down! I decided to let it count. 

It is my biggest goal (okay maybe not biggest) to get Corinne comfortable in the wrap or the Baby Bjorn carrier, so when she was happy for 20 whole minutes while we walked back and forth, I was in total heaven. I'm hoping she gets comfortable enough for us to carry her around during hikes and other activities when we have family visit next month and then have a family reunion the next month. 

Making it to the beach for a quick trip like this was great not just for my brother and sister, but also for me. I have been excited and terrified to take Corinne to the beach, but doing this small excursion showed me that it's possible and also let me find out what I did or didn't need to take with me. This next summer hanging out at the parks and beaches with all the other moms is going to be great!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Corinne at Two Months

Corinne Eve,

You are our fun, smiley, happy baby girl. You love it when its time to wake up in the morning and get so excited to play. Slowly but surely you are gaining confidence that the wrap and carrier are sturdy and fun for walking around. Most of the time your favorite place to play is on the floor, and you aren't ready to play with toys yet, but you love it when I shake a rattle for you. Your hair is still totally out of control, it stands up too straight to do anything with, but its almost long enough to put in some piggies. Sleeping seems to be coming easy to you, and after the excitement of a week of visitors, you started sleeping for 6-8 hours a night! Every time we go on a walk you fall a sleep or smile the whole time so we go on as many as we can, and you've even gone on a few jogs with Dad. Speaking of Dad, he is your number one fan and always reaches for you as soon as he comes home from work. You love meeting new people and don't cry often, but almost always have a skeptical look on your face while you try to figure out the world.

Your happy smiles light up the room and we melt when you lock onto our eyes and we can see recognition staring back at us. Every day is a new adventure and it makes us supremely happy to be your parents.