Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Books 2017 - Post 4

I've gotten a little behind blogging about books with our move and everything, so here's a little catch up post!

Babylon's Ark - Lawrence Anthony. This was written by the same guy who wrote the book about elephants on his game reserve. When the Iraq War came to Baghdad, Anthony hopped on a plane to save the Baghdad Zoo. He was the first civilian allowed into the city, and even though a high percentage of the animals had been killed by bombs or killed for food by rampant looters, Anthony was able to save most of the remaining animals, including a herd of man-eating lions who had been kept in Saddam's palace. This book gives an interesting perspective about how war touches civilian lives.

A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson. So I can't decide if I liked this book or not. Bryson writes about attempting to walk the 2000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. I loved the parts about the trail's history because there were some fun little tidbits of American folklore. But guess what? They don't even hike the whole trail, and at the end of the book, the author is like, "We got to know the trail and spent a lot of time on the trail so we basically hiked it." Um, no you didn't.

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury. A Zollinger Book Club book. I thought some of Bradbury's observations about technology in culture were so spot-on. I didn't find myself really drawn to the characters but this book really makes you think. So many nuggets of wisdom. I will always remember how at the end of the book, the keepers of the literature head back to help those in a city that has just been totally bombed out. They are the only ones who remember Shakespeare, and the Bible, but rescuing humanity is more important, ultimately, than safeguarding the books. Books and literature are only valuable if they help us remember and learn what is really important.

Flags of Our Fathers - James Bradley. A good book to read around Independence Day. This book is about the six flag-bearers who put up a flag on Mount Suribachi. The picture that was taken became iconic for so much more.

Three of the men who raised the flag were killed within days. Sometimes we only hear the life stories of the men who came back from war, so I think it's important to learn about the background of common soldiers who didn't come back too. The twist here is that just a few years ago, they figured out that the man whose son wrote the book was mis-identified, and wasn't actually in the picture. 

Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt. A pulitzer prize winning memoir about a boy growing up poor in Ireland in the 1930s and 40s. I love memoirs, but this one got rather crass at the end and seemed to lose substance to me as it did so. I skipped a few parts, but the coming of age story was memorable.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

So We Bought a House

When we moved to Florida for the first time (technically we've moved to Florida three times), we didn't think we would be here long. It was for a co-opt and we were just excited to explore and go on adventures and experience something different. I mean, Utah is cool and whatever but FLORIDA IS FLORIDA.

You get the picture.

Since then, we've been really on the fence about what we wanted to do for Greg's graduate school. Education is so important to us and he's always wanted to do an MBA, and he even considered doing a Ph.D. in managerial accounting as well. So I guess we always tentatively planned on going back to school full-time either next year or the year after. And you know, we were okay with being all poor again and doing apartment living for another 1048 years.

But this past spring we've had to reevaluate some things. Greg likes his job and his company and THEY STILL DO PENSIONS, WHAT? Also J and J will help pay for a master's degree if he works while he's doing it. And, it just so happens we live very close to one of the best part time MBA programs in the country, which is the University of Florida in Gainesville.

And, guess what? We have embryos here. (Like a lot of them. Funny story...PCOS women who do IVF have tons of eggs and therefore lots of embryos, they're just not very healthy). We've been struggling (again) with the 'build our family' thing and it was super stressful to feel like we were on a time crunch or we had to move our frozen children across the country or we had to be okay with not having kids through the two years of an MBA or whatever. It was all just stupid.

So one night we were talking and one of us said maybe we needed to just stay here in Florida for school and quit being on the move for awhile. And for the first time in a long time, we had some peace. It felt right.

Well, if you are going to stay somewhere, it is super annoying to rent. So after a couple of weeks of looking we put in an offer on an adorable little house, negotiated a little bit (AHHHHH), and we've found ourselves in a great little neighborhood just having a blast putting our first home together. We didn't even need to leave the ward.

Excuse the mess. Brynn's been playing and I'm too lazy to clean it up. That's the best excuse I have. But look at my cute fireplace. 

Backyard! Yay! 

With all the moving and a few pieces of new furniture and stuff, Brynn's been very helpful. She loves to play with Daddy's tools. Here she is repairing(?) her crib. 

Kitchen! This was when the other people were living here. It looks different now because we painted over the lime green wall. I could go take a picture of it, but again, I'm very lazy. 

Speaking of painting, choosing paint colors is literally the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. This is me trying to paint our bedroom a buttery yellow. (Isn't the wainscoting fun?) I'm not sure we ended up with the right color but eventually you just get sick of painting. For the record, we went with Cornstalk lightened by 10% and then with some white paint dumped in. It was a very organized process, not a desperate late-night thing the day before we moved at all. 

The rest of the house is gray. We painted the ENTIRE house before we moved in, with some help of our dear friends the Leishmans who now own our souls. Doesn't the gray look truly horrible on top of this pink? Funny story, Brynn's bedroom was two-toned hot pink, and the paint had sparkles in it. I mean, I didn't even know you could buy paint like that but now I know. 

I'm sure we'll be sharing some more pictures soon, because we've really been having so much fun making this house our own. Greg's already been building some furniture in our garage (!) and I've been blowing all sorts of money at Hobby Lobby. I'm going with farmhouse decor which I think just means going rustic and putting cotton stems all over the place?? Who knows. All we know is that we love our little yellow farmhouse in Jacksonville. 

It's good to be home.