Thursday, February 27, 2014

4 Year Anniversary!

Today my husband and I celebrate our 4 year anniversary.  I cannot believe that is has been 4 years since we said “I do”.  So much has changed in these years we’ve been together and we’ve grown so much, as individuals and a couple.

Four years ago we had just bought our first house and were just starting out in our careers.  Today, we’ve been homeowners for over 4 years and are getting ready to move to a new chapter in our lives to start our family.  We have also both been promoted to supervisors at our jobs.  We adopted 2 adorable, mischief-making dogs who we love with all our hearts.  And most importantly, we tried to start our family last year. 

Though we all know the heartbreak we went through when we lost our baby at 13.5 weeks, we have grown and learned so much from the experience.  Though I never wish this on anyone, I’m trying to look at the good that has brought us, instead of the bad.  It was amazing to watch how we both dealt with it – we both had our own battle.  Sure, we both lost the baby we had always dreamed of, which was our number one problem we had to deal with.  But I was dealing with having surgery for the first time, recovering from surgery, and trying to understand why I couldn’t keep my baby, and so many other women who don’t even want their children don’t have any problems in their pregnancies.  Brandon was dealing with helping me recover, not wanting me to feel like it was my fault that this happened, and what lessons we were supposed to learn from this.  It really brought us closer as we supported each other through it.  And not only that, it also really helped us with our communication.  This let us open the flood gates and we really learned how to lean on the other and take the lead when necessary.

Brandon has really set his goal for getting his book completed and published by the end of this year.  It’s been a long process that he’s been working on for several years.  And he has also taken his fitness and mud runs very seriously.  He’s found something he’s passionate it about, and I’m trying to support him in this.

I’ve found that I enjoy using my DSLR camera and can’t wait until we have a baby that I can go photo crazy with.  I love taking pictures on our vacation, and they’re so much better with this camera.  I also love my embroidering machine.  I made a special onesie for my niece that was personalized with her name.  I can’t wait to make little clothes for our kids.  My scrapbooking has declined, but I love putting together photobooks on shutterfly.  It’s my new form of scrapbooking and I love having all these memory books.

We have traveled to so many places in our 4 years.  Many trips to San Diego and Disneyland.  But we've also traveled to Cancun, New York, Greece & Italy, and Florida (one major trip each year we've been married).  This year we also have a trip planned to Virginia.  Our bucket list has many more places we want to travel and can't wait to see when we are able to get there.  These vacations have made amazing memories for us, and I love looking back at the pictures.

As we look to what our 5th year has in store, I think it’s going to be great.  We have so many more memories that we are going to make.  And I think we’ll celebrate our 5 year anniversary with a party for friends and family at Cocomo Joe’s (for those of you who know how we got engaged!). 

I am so thankful that God brought Brandon in to my life.  He’s my rock and we compliment each other perfectly.  We are a great team and we’re only going to get stronger.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.  Whether it is amazing or heartbreaking, I know we’ll get through it and be even stronger, “till death do us part”.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Due Date Approaches after Miscarriage

As our due date looms closer, I find myself missing my Baby Boy a lot again.  Overall I’m doing really well emotionally.  I’ve moved on from the grief that crippled me those first few months.  There are still a few things that can trigger some painful memories, but overall, I’ve healed as much as one can heal from this.  I’ll always have a scar though.

But as our due date is less than a month away, the lost future is starting to rear its head in my life again.  As I am excitedly awaiting the birth of my niece, it reminds me that we should be welcoming our new addition just a few short weeks later.  We had our future torn from us and it’s heartbreaking to remember that.

I can’t help but wonder what our little boy would have been like.  Would he have loved to read? Play sports? What would he have wanted to be when he grew up? Would he have gotten good grades? Would he behave or push the limits?  Who would he have been friends with? I have so many questions about my little boy that I won’t get answered until I get to see him when I get to Heaven.  I know that God is watching my baby, but I just wish I would have gotten to meet him.

While watching the Olympics, there was a story on Sarah Burke, a snowboarder who hit her head while in an unsanctioned competition a few years ago and died.  It really struck a chord with me when her mother said in the interview, “I used to tell everyone that the worst thing would be to lose Sarah.  But now I know that the worst thing would be to have never had her in my life at all”.  Maybe not those EXACT words, but pretty close.  And it’s so true.  Not getting to meet your baby is so hard.  You’ve missed out on so much.  Losing a child, no matter when, is heartbreaking.  And our baby still touched a lot of lives even though no one ever got to meet him.  But being robbed of ever getting to know him is something that is hard to accept.  So many what-ifs.  I had so many dreams.  And only one of them came true: getting to see him on our first ultrasound.  That’s the only time I got to see my baby.

So I’m going to do my best to honor my baby and be happy for the time we did have with him.  I’m going to light a candle for him on March 21, so that he knows that we’re thinking about him and miss him so very much.  And I know that when we do have a family of kids, he’ll be an amazing big brother watching out for his siblings on Earth.

I miss you Baby Boy Ray.  And I remind everyone out there to cherish every moment you have with your children and loved ones.  You never know when the last time you’re going to see them is.  Tomorrow is never promised.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Review: Cress

by  Marissa Meyer
Date Read:  2/25/14
Rating: ★ ★  ★  ★ 

I absolutely love this series.  It is such a unique concept.  A sci-fi, dystopian, fairy-tale retelling story.  I have loved every character that Meyer has introduced us to.  I love it!  This book is a Rapunzel retelling.  I was so excited for this book, as Tangled is one of my favorite movies of all time.

The only criticism I can give this book right now is that the Rapunzel storyline wasn’t as wrapped in to the plot as the other stories have been.  Cinderella was very obvious – with the “stepdaughter” being treated like a slave, having a secret friend (not mice though), going to the ball, losing a shoe (or foot).  Even Scarlet had a lot of Red Riding Hood undertones that you could see.  Sometimes it was a little too obvious in that story – wolves kidnapping her Grandma.  But Rapunzel, I felt, wasn’t as strongly represented in this book.  I feel like it all happened at the beginning, but the whole book should have focused on it.  Though it did focus on her relationship with Thorne, the actual Rapunzel part was over by the end of the first part of the book and I forgot that’s what the story was titled after half way through.  There were quotes from the Rapunzel story at each part, but it tended to be more related to other characters in the book than actually Cress.

I enjoyed watching the relationship of Cress with Thorne develop.  I’ve always enjoyed him because he’s funny and sarcastic, but deep down he really cares about Cinder.  But in this story, we get to see a softer side of him.  Thorne also had quite a plot twist thrown at him and it was so interesting to see such a change. [Spoiler: When Thorne loses his eyesight, I expected him to fall apart and completely lose his cool.  But he accepted it so easily and ended up getting around really well.  I almost feel as if this change in his character is partly why he was able to finally start caring about Cress.  He had to depend on her and let his guard down.  This was a very interesting character trait that I think is great in his development.]

Dr. Erland has always been someone I’ve been a little unsure of.  He seemed like a good guy, but he wasn’t quite involved enough to know.  [Spoiler: At the beginning of this book, there is reference to his lost “Crescent Moon” and the reader knows instantly that Cress is his daughter.  But I felt like this should have been mentioned in one of the other books, so it wasn’t so obvious. I would have rather it had more of a shock value like when the characters found out.  Or at least when he did the paternity test to be sure.  And for some reason I never saw him catching the Plague coming. I definitely should have.  I should have known one of the characters would die from it (even though Peony was already a casualty to it).  And with the whole virus mutating thing so it now was affecting Lunars, I definitely should have seen it coming.  But I didn’t.  She ended up masking that pretty well.  I felt so bad for him.  But at the same time, he was an old man, so better Meyer killed him off than one of the younger, more main characters.]

There was a point in time when all the characters split up about a quarter of the way in to the book.  It was a little hard to keep up because they were in 3 different places dealing with different things.  When most of them finally got back together, the story really started to move.

Almost every character in this book had a POV at some point in the story, even Queen Levana.  Most of the time it was pretty easy to tell them apart because they were broken up by chapter.  But toward the end of the book, each character had their part to play so it would switch mid-chapter.  That was a little jarring the first time it happened, but then it started to make sense.

I really liked watching their plan come together.  It was written pretty well, like I was watching it all unfold in a movie.  I was beginning to think it was going to go as planned.  But obviously it couldn’t.  Once it got to this point, I couldn’t put the book down.

I think all of the characters have a love story now.  It’s kind of cool that they all have a person, but I think they only truly single person in their group now is Iko, the android.   The romantic in me enjoys this.  The realist in me thinks it’s a little ridiculous that all the people they happened to group up with have some sort of romantic relationship.

The best part of the book was the first glimpse at Princess Winter.  I wasn’t sure what to think of her, but knowing the final book in the series is called Winter, and based on Snow White, I’m assuming she will end up being a good guy and join Cinder and her friends in taking over Levana.  But then who will take the throne? Cinder (Princess Selene) or Winter?  I’m thinking Winter will take the throne and Cinder will come back to Earth and date Emperor Kai.  But then Adri and Pearl will have to get their comeuppance also.

I really enjoyed the end of the book.  The scene between Cinder and Kai was amazing.  It felt so real.  I felt like I was there next to them in the room.  And then Levana’s revenge was not quite a shock, but her violence is so over the top, that you can’t imagine they she just did that.  The sacrifices of people who’d helped them makes you hate Levana even more.  And Cinder resolves to “start a revolution”.

I’m so stoked for the final installment in this book.  I hope Meyer doesn’t let me down like Allegiant and Mockingjay.  I’m looking forward to an epic battle and I can’t wait to see how she overthrows Levana.  I hope the next year goes by quickly so I can finish this amazing series.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Movie Review: That Awkward Moment

I'm not sure where to start this review.  I think I'll start with how much I adore Zac Efron.  I've loved him since he was in the TV show Summerland as a side character.  Then he made it big on Disney in High School Musical (yes, I still watch the Disney channel even now).  The next real movie I saw him in was Charlie St. Cloud.  That was a great movie.  It actually inspired me to read the book, which I really enjoyed. But I thought his acting was really good in that.  I feel like his acting is pretty natural.  He was able to pull off a real sense of friendship with the other actors. The acting I love best is when they can really just bounce off each other really quick and easily (think Gilmore Girls).  And of course, Zac Efron has gotten buff also, so he's pretty easy on the eyes as well.

But lets stop oogling Zac Efron and talk about the movie.  I think the plot and concept were really great.  It was nice to see a movie from the guy's perspective. You don't see that very often.  I also really liked that they had the guy who was going through a divorce along with the guys who were trying to start relationships with girls.  The dynamic was very interesting.

Some of the dialogue was really well scripted.  And some of the scenes were so subtle but amazing - I attribute this mostly to the actors though.  You can plan to add some subtle things to it, but the actors have to be able to pull it off to make it work - and they did.

The movie had quite a few really funny scenes.  This is definitely considered a romantic comedy.  It is probably one of the funnier romantic comedies I've seen in a while.

But lets talk about the raunchiness of the movie.  This movie is rated R.  I actually wanted to find out why it was rated R before going in, because we expected it to be rated PG13.  What I found when I did research is that it was mostly rated R for language.  They use the "F" word a LOT.  Profusely.  Unnecessarily.  But I can overlook that.  My reserach said that it also wasn't that raunchy.  So I was happy.  Because honestly, raunchy movies are not my favorite.  Sometimes it can be funny, but most of the time it's completely unncesssary - it doens't move the plot along.  It's just there.  But when we watched the movie, there were actually quite a few scenes that I was surprised were in there.  Scenes that I think when they get edited out for TV, won't affect the quality or plot of the movie.

So instead of getting an A rating from me, I think I give it a B for the raunchy scenes.  It seems like a cop out to add a few more minutes to the movie and make the poeple who like that kind of stuff happy.  But honestly, this movie would have actually been very good without those scenes and the profuse use of the "F" word.

My favorite part of the movie was at the very end when he has his soliloguey trying to win the girl back.  I thought it was a great way to wrap it all up and bring it back to the beginning.

Soo....what did you think?
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