Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sun, Fun, Friends and HUBBY TIME!

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The first day back at work after a long weekend is always so difficult! At least you get to share your fun stories with friends and coworkers, clinging to the memories of the weekend. Sadly, all good things must come to an end :(

This Memorial Day weekend was especially awesome, since it was a 3.5 day weekend. For me, it was filled with a few hours by the pool, a few hours reading books, a few hours at the gym and tons of hubby time – in a nutshell, it was FANTASTIC.

It’s rare that Chad and I have a full day together – one or both of us is usually working. Luckily, he had Memorial Day off, so we spent the entire day together. Breakfast, working out, a little shopping and then having our friends over for some pool time, grilling and games – it really was the perfect day! Wish we could have more like it, but it really makes you appreciate the few you get :)

I texted him on the way to work this morning, saying I missed him already and really wish we could do it more often! This weekend spoiled me :)

Book Review: Divergent

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In direct opposition to my last book review, Divergent was AWESOME!! If you liked The Hunger Games, you will love this book – they are definitely in the same vein.

Divergent, like THG, is about life in a dystopian, post-apocolyptic society that got there after a big US war. The capitol of this society is present-day Chicago (not Denver), and rather than being separated into Districts by what is locally produced, the people are grouped by personality into Factions (brave, selfless, scholarly, honest and peaceful).

At age 16, every child must choose what Faction they will be a part of. Each is given a test to determine which they are best suited for, but ultimately it is their decision as to which they belong. The main character, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, was born into Abnegation (selfless), but her test results are inconclusive–deeming her “Divergent” (meaning she falls equally between several Factions). This is deemed dangerous in the society, as people are easier to control when their behaviors are controlled and predictable. Ultimately, she chooses Dauntless (the brave Faction) and then endures a grueling initiation process. During it, she finds out a lot about herself, those around her and the nation–and even finds love.

This book is extremely well written and engaging from beginning to end. It’s the first in a trilogy, and the second in the series came out just a few weeks ago. I finished this 500-page book in less than 48 hours, and then immediately went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the second book, Insurgent (no spoilers, but that title should give you a hint about what happens!). I cannot wait to read this book (I’ve read a little bit of it, but yesterday was devoted to spending all day with my man!) – it’s sure to be great. My only sadness is that I don’t know when the last book is going to come out, so there will be a gap between books 2 and 3! Sad!

I highly recommend this book – it’s a great read, perfect for beach and poolside relaxation, great plot and character development, and it really sucks you in. Adventure, love and action – what more could you ask for? READ IT!

(PS – Dear Hollywood: Please make these books into movies!! I will go see them!!!)

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars

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I get a lot of my book recommendations from friends and the Internet. Okay, I get ALL of my book recommendations from friends and the Internet. I heard of this book first on Twitter, and then read a synopsis on Amazon.com before adding it to my reading list.

Everyone had such great things to say about The Fault in our Stars. Twitter raved. Amazon praised. The stars were all aligned (pun intended).

I mean…it was good. I guess? But had I not read it, I would not have been missing anything. It was definitely no Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter or To Kill a Mockingbird (my personal favorites).

First of all, TFIOS is classified as young adult fiction. Not that that has ever deterred me before – Harry Potter and The Hunger Games could be classified in the same genre, and their writing was impeccable. I’m just letting you know. It’s the story of two teenage cancer patients who fall in love at a support group and who have ridiculously impressive vocabularies (kind of like Dawson’s Creek – y’all know what I’m talking about). They bond over her favorite book, and he gets a wish from The Genies (a mirror of Make A Wish), and uses it to take her to Amsterdam to meet the book’s reclusive author. Life and love take their course. The end.

First, the good: It’s a really easy read. It’s a fast read. Now, the not-so-good: The plot is very predictable. I never got really invested in the characters (the author just didn’t make me care about them that much – which I think speaks volumes, as they are teenage cancer patients…I’m not THAT heartless). There are no real highs and lows – it just kind of felt flat the entire time.

In a word: meh.

It’s a good read if you’re just wanting something to pass the time in an airport or on a plane, but I’m sure there’s something you’d enjoy more. Amazon and Twitter – you’ve failed me.

Baseball, Anyone?

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Friday night was a night full of food, fun and baseball! Chad and I headed to Dickey-Stephens Park to watch the Travelers (AA Angels) take on the Naturals (AA Royals) with our friends Sara, Katie and Seth.

Sara and I had to do a bit of work first – there was also a group of our coworkers there for an appreciation event, and as the news/communication girls, we had to snap a few pictures – and Chad tagged along. He was totally okay with that, since it meant he got to come into our VIP area with all you can eat burgers, hot dogs and popcorn :) After the first inning or two, we headed to our seats on the third base side, where Seth and Katie were waiting for us.

Sadly, the Travs did not win – but I’m headed out to the day game now, so maybe we’ll have better luck today! It’s a team building activity :) We’re also going next Thursday for a church outing – so much baseball!! LOVE IT!!!

Greek Food Festival!

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Chad and I went to the Greek Food Festival at the Greek Orthodox Church after church on Sunday, and it was DELISH! We LOVE Greek food and were super sad we couldn’t go last year (I think I was at my bridal portraits…that sounds about right).

Naturally, we headed straight for the gyro line. Chad got a lamb gyro and I chose the chicken gyro, and we inhaled them in approximately 30 seconds. Seriously. They were SO GOOD! And we had to hurry, since Chad had to go to work shortly thereafter.

Our second stop was the pastry tent. Obviously. We chose chocolate baklava (with some help from our friend Katy!) and indulged over the flaky layers and conversation before having to walk back to the car. I wish we could have stayed longer (and I wish we’d had more money – the Greek appetizers were calling my name!!), but it was a great first trip to the GFF. Until next year!

(No pics of us there, as we were in a hurry and didn’t hold onto our food long enough to take a photo. Yes, we are fat kids.)

Book Review: Two Kisses for Maddy

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First of all, if you are pregnant, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!!! Seriously.

Two Kisses for Maddy is one of the most honest, heart wrenching books I have ever read. It’s a true story, told from the perspective of a father whose wife passed away 27 hours after giving birth to their first child. I laughed so hard I cried, and I sobbed alongside the father as he recounted losing his wife before she even got to hold her baby girl.

The book starts out as the love story of Matt and Liz. They met the summer before they both went off to college (he in Minnesota and she in Los Angeles), but decided to give the long distance thing a try. After 4 years of cross-country flights and phone conversations, she accepted a business consulting job in LA while he went to Grad School in Chicago (the LDR continued). After his graduation (and 6 years of LD dating), Matt moved to LA to be with Liz. She stayed in her cushy job (she was a raging over achiever and was quickly climbing the corporate ladder) and he took a job with Yahoo. Both jobs required extensive travel (he was in India for 6 months, she was in Connecticut Monday-Friday), so they STILL weren’t together much (sound familiar??).

During all of this, they are world travelers (my dream!). They got married, honeymooned in Greece, and visited half a dozen countries that I can think of off the top of my head – probably more. And then they bought a house. And they Liz got pregnant. They really were living the dream.

After a few months, Liz’s pregnancy issues caused her to go on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. When the baby’s heart rate went dangerously low, the doctors made the decision to perform a C-section, 7 weeks early. Maddy was born a beautiful, healthy girl, but had to spend 24 hours in the NICU for observation. Mom was wheeled into recovery where she slept and rested until it was time to visit Maddy.

Finally, the 24 hours passed (and then 3 more, since mom was still sleeping). Because she’d been on bedrest for months, the nurses made Liz walk three laps around the hospital room before she could be taken to the NICU. She did it and then made her way to the wheelchair – but 1 foot before she got there, she hit the ground, unresponsive. We later learn that a blood clot in Liz’s leg, likely caused from having not stood for months, traveled to her lungs and led to her sudden and unexpected death.

Matt’s account of those moments is so vivid, you feel as if you are there, experiencing it alongside him. His agony and anguish are palpable, as are his fear and anger. He’s now left to be a single father to his newborn daughter (and he describes himself as a hipster – unmotivated, dirty and utterly irresponsible). Maddy was her mother’s biggest dream, and this was Matt’s biggest nightmare.

The book then goes on to show what Matt’s life looked like during his first year with Maddy. Liz’s funerals, trips to see family members, the inability to get out of bed (if it weren’t for Maddy), international trips, holidays and anniversaries (wedding, birth, death) – each are painful, yet make Matt a little bit stronger.

I mean it when I say this was an absolutely AMAZING read. I’m so glad I’m not pregnant, because it would have given me a serious complex about birthing my child. I would definitely recommend this book to any non-pregnant woman out there.

Book Review: Radical

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Remember my last book review, Crazy Love, and how it was one of the books that it seems like everyone in my church has read but me? This is another one of those.

Whenever someone talks about Crazy Love, they usually bring up Radical in the next sentence. These are like the Christian book peas and carrots – they just go together. Like Crazy Love, I have nodded along in agreement when people bring up this book in the past – and now, I’ve read it.

Also like Crazy Love, Radical made me uncomfortable. It’s all about how the “American Dream” goes against God’s design – that we shouldn’t seek comfort and luxury, but live in a way where we give more than we have. If you know me at all, you know that I want a house. Badly. And I want certain nice things in the house – none of which are “necessities.”

Now don’t get me wrong, having nice things is NOT bad. It just shouldn’t be our goal to store up lots of nice things when there are billions of people out there in great need. This is a particular challenge for me, because there is nothing more that I want than the American Dream – house, paid off cars, kids and vacations. I just want to not have to worry about paying bills for crying out loud! But considering billions of people live on less than $2/day, I’d say I have a lot more room for being thankful than for complaining in my life.

I’m still processing this book, and I think I will be for a while. But I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking to challenge and grow your faith!