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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Happy Now--Pregnancy

It feels ironic that during the past few months, which have been some of the happiest of my life and have made me so grateful, I haven't written a single Happy Now post.  I thought about sitting down to write one several times to document things like a three-day subbing stretch in a fifth grade classroom that made me feel like coming home, getting a new assignment in my ward to work with some amazing young women, the fun (and slightly terrifying) opportunity we had to babysit our neighbors' six kids for a weekend, and the fact that snow held off in Pinedale until the second week in November (hallelujah).  But each time I sat down to write, it felt wrong not to mention the news for which I was most grateful.  So, I decided to wait until I could make the news public.


Darren and I feel so incredibly blessed to be welcoming TWINS to our family!  They are an answer to hopes and prayers we've had for years.  Now that I am out of my first trimester and feeling a little more like myself, I'm enjoying even more the experience of being pregnant and planning for these two new additions.

A picture taken last week of a growing 15 week bump. :)
I plan to get back into documenting the simple things in life that make me grateful, but for today I'm going to focus solely on the blessing of being pregnant.  Taking a note from another pregnancy blog I recently stumbled on, I thought I would record my Happy Now 10 in 10 current stats about my pregnancy so far:

How far along? 16 Weeks

Maternity clothes? I made my first order of maternity clothes this week.  I am definitely looking forward to breathing more comfortably when I'm out and about!

Stretch marks?  Not yet, thanks to some wonderful cocoa butter cream I received in the mail from a good friend recently.

Sleep:  The nausea of the first trimester has left, but sleep (or a lack thereof) has stepped in to fill the  the open spot.  I have trouble staying asleep through the night and just can never really get comfortable.  I recently received a pregnancy body pillow in the mail and that has helped some, but it is still an uphill battle to get a full night's rest.  Perhaps it's just training me to live on only a few hours of sleep for when the twins arrive. ;) In the spurts of sleep I do catch, however, I have been having some crazy dreams that Darren finds pretty entertaining when I tell him about them each morning (mostly about teaching or protecting our family on some crazy adventure).  Any suggestions about getting more sleep from experienced mamas, though, would be greatly appreciated!

Best moment of this week?  Over the past couple of weeks, I have loved the bump that is forming.  It is starting to become more obvious in the clothes I wear and, while sometimes I feel it looks like I just had a big lunch, I catch myself feeling proud of the changing profile I catch in a mirror or store window.

Miss anything?  Sleep.  Just sleep.

Movement?  I haven't felt anything yet, but I can't wait until I do!

Food cravings?  During the first trimester I had serious cravings for red meat, fruit, and vegetables (especially oranges, apples, pickles and carrots).  While the intensity of those cravings has died down, I definitely still gravitate toward those food groups.  Sugar, in general, has lost some of its appeal (for which I'm grateful since my waistband is doing a pretty good job of expanding on its own).

Anything making you sick or queasy?  Definitely not as much as before, but I find that I am more sensitive to smells, and anything really powerful can give me headaches and make me feel queasy.

Genders:  We find out in a few weeks, but for some reason I feel pretty certain that they are NOT both girls.  I'm anticipating two boys or a boy and a girl, but I CANNOT WAIT to find out for sure!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Now--a birthday and a WEDDING

Two big events happened since my last post: first, I enjoyed a fun birthday with Darren and some friends.  Second, and certainly much more exciting, Darren and I were able to attend the temple wedding of my sweet brother Chris and his (now) wife Christiane.  I wanted to share my Happy Now in ten pictures from these two events, but I had a hard time choosing among all the pictures from the wedding.  So here are my Happy Now 27 in photos:

1.  Turning 31:  Last year my 30th birthday came in the midst of a lot of changes.  Darren and I were in the process of moving to Wyoming, finding a place to live, and starting new jobs.  Maybe because there were so many new and exciting things going on at the time, reaching the milestone of my 30th birthday felt just as new and exciting and promising.  I didn't struggle with 30 as much as I had thought I would a few years earlier.  Well ... those struggles certainly caught up with me this year as I turned the big 3-1.  I felt the last year had flown by and I needed time to slow down to accomplish the plans and goals I had set for myself.  When the day came, I wanted to keep the celebrations low-key.  Spending the evening going to dinner with Darren and the Bruce family, and then taking a beautiful walk along the river, certainly made the transition easier!

Along the river wearing the skirt Darren gave me as an early birthday present.
2-27.  The Sonne/Cannon Wedding:  Darren and I flew to Chicago on August 21 to begin wedding festivities with my parents, Chris, Christiane, and Christiane's parents, siblings, and her siblings' families.  Due to crazy schedules this summer studying for and taking the Bar and Medical Board Exams, Chris and Christiane decided to wait until next June to have a large formal reception and keep the August wedding small with only immediate family.  Chris and Christiane had a wonderful weekend planned for us, which included separate activities for the guys and girls on the evening we arrived.  The guys took Chris to a Mongolian BBQ restaurant while my Mom and I joined Christiane and the other ladies for a bridal shower at the home of Christiane's brother, Sam, and his wife.  I had not been able to meet Christiane before arriving at the shower, so I was filled with excited, and somewhat nervous, anticipation beforehand.  Immediately upon meeting Christiane, however, I knew that all of the wonderful things my brother had said about her were true.  I was, and am, so excited to have her as a part of the family!  The shower was girly and fun and was the perfect setting for me to get to know Christiane and her family better.

The next day, Chris and Christiane had a real treat in store for everyone: a Cubs game at historic Wrigley Field.  Not only was the weather great and the atmosphere perfect, but the Cubs played a great game for a win against the Baltimore Orioles.  I am far from being a sports fanatic, and I follow no professional sports teams, but there is something I have always loved about attending baseball games.  I can (usually) follow what's happening and it feels just so ... American.  I really love it.

This year Wrigley Field is celebrating its 100th Birthday.  As one of the oldest baseball fields still in use, it seemed only appropriate that the scoreboard be operated the old-fashioned way with people physically changing the panels to reflect the stats.


With the help of my Dad and Sam, Christiane's brother, Darren and I kept score on the scorecard as we watched the game. It brought back some fun memories of attending Dodgers and Angels games when I was younger.

Darren ready to chow down on a foot-long Chicago Dog and sporting his new Chicago Cubs hat :)

The second evening ended with pizza and games with the Cannons before heading back to the hotel to rest up for the big day!

Chris looked so handsome Saturday morning (August 23) as we prepared to head to the temple.  His obvious excitement for the day added to my own and made me so happy for him!


Ready to go to the temple!

The ceremony at the Chicago Temple was beautiful and touching.  I know that the thoughtfulness, sensitivity, adventurousness, and sense of humor that made Chris such a wonderful brother will make him an equally wonderful husband and future father.  I was filled with so much pride for Chris on his wedding day!

Waiting for the bride and groom ...

The new couple!



They were so happy :)


New family photo (The photographer asked Darren and I to hold hands, and I'm not sure we quite caught her vision ;)



Though it was quite humid, the rain held off and the skies were beautiful during the family pictures.  Almost immediately after the last of the family pictures had been taken at the temple, however, the clouds gathered and it began POURING rain.  I tell you, I have never seen rain like that.  Darren, ever the gallant man, sacrificed himself by leaping out of the car to run an umbrella to Chris and Christiane and their photographer who were trying to get a few final shots around the temple.  By the time we caught up to them in the car, Darren gave up his seat to the bride and groom so that we could run them over to their rental car.  By the time we finally got Darren back into the car, he was soaked through.  Everyone was appreciative, and I was reminded, once again, of the gem I have for a husband.

This picture doesn't quite capture the extent to which Darren was covered in water, but it gives you an idea.




After the temple ceremony we celebrated with a dinner at a restaurant called Pinstripes.  It was a beautiful restaurant made fun with Bocce ball lanes available for the kids ... and adults. ;)  The professional photographer shared a preview of her pictures the day after the wedding. In the preview was this picture she captured as we said goodbye to Chris and Christiane outside of the restaurant.  They have such a bright future ahead of them, and I am so grateful to anticipate future get togethers with them both!

The expressions on everyone's faces in this picture are totally candid and capture the true excitement we felt for this new couple!

Before flying back to our respective homes, Mom, Dad, Darren, and I spent a couple of hours seeing the sights in downtown Chicago.  We went to the top of the John Hancock tower to get some amazing views of the city and where Dad and Darren dared to go on "The Tilt."

Dad and Darren in line for The Tilt

The Tilt is a "ride" of sorts on which you lean against a glass stall at the top of the John Hancock Building.  The stall then proceeds to tilt 30 degrees away from the building above the city below.  Needless to say, Mom and I opted out of that experience.

View from the top of the John Hancock Building

View of Navy Pier from the top of the John Hancock Building

For our last stop in downtown Chicago, we walked along Navy Pier and had lunch.  What a charming place!
View of the city from the end of Navy Pier

Needless to say, this August was quite a memorable month!  Thank you to all of the family and friends who helped to make it so special!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Now -- August 10

I have so many Happy Now moments to catch up on from the past few weeks!  Here are the top 10:

1.  Millrace Roommate Reunion:  I was blessed to get to live with three amazing women in the Millrace Apartments in Provo from 2009-2010: Katie, Melissa, and Tessa.  That year in our lives saw us starting our careers as three teachers and a social worker.  It was with these three during that time that I also checked a major trip off of my bucket list and traveled to Prince Edward Island.  I hold those memories and the friendships I have with these ladies dear.  We were able to reunite in Utah in July, and it was a blast!  Katie did a fantastic job of covering all of the details from the reunion on her blog (mshouston.blogspot.com), so I'm just going to hit some of my favorite highlights.  One of the first highlights was throwing a surprise baby shower for Tessa, who is due with her second little girl in December.  Thanks to Katie's parents for letting us use their beautiful condo (and to Katie who took all of these pictures)!

Katie and Melissa added another surprise by supplying materials to make adorable baby mobiles!

2.  Olympic Park--After spending the first night in Provo, we headed up to Park City for the rest of our reunion.  One of our first stops was Olympic Park.  I had never been there and was surprised by how many neat things were on display! It was amazing!

Gold metals and props from the Opening Ceremonies
The Millrace 3 Bobsled Team
Ski boots from the 30s and virtual ski flying!

Ski suits from the 80s, in case you couldn't guess. ;)

3.  Flying Aces--We returned to Olympic Park the next day to catch the Flying Aces show.  The Flying Aces are a team of ski jumpers who use these ramps and pool for their summer training.  It was incredible.  At one point, they showed the progression of how one becomes a ski jumper starting with a trampoline and young kids on short ramps.  If Darren and I are anywhere near Park City when we have kids, I might have to sign them up!


Lined up and ready to fly into the pool!
video

First dive of the show!  Thanks for the video, Many!

They had quite a crowd!  Before the Aces landed in the pool, bubbles were created to help them spot the water and break up the surface tension.

4.  Cow's Ice Cream--We had great meals and stopped in several jewelry shops along Main St. in Park City, but finding Cow's Ice Cream at the top of the street was just plain serendipitous.  As roommates on our PEI trip, we visited the original Cow's Ice Cream and took a picture on the cow (top right picture below).  Now, five years later, we attempted to recreate the picture (bottom right picture).  As someone pointed out during this attempt, however, it seemed a larger feat and we lacked some of the original grace now that we're in our 30s and one of us is pregnant. ;)

Flying Aces wrist bands


I love these ladies so much.  I was so lucky not only to be able to live with them five years ago, but to still be able to see them occasionally, though not often enough!  Can't wait for the next reunion!

5.  Room with a View--At the end of July/beginning of August, Darren and I were able to join my parents on a trip to Kauai.  I loved every minute.  My only regret was that Chris and Christiane couldn't join us as they were busy taking and studying for the bar and medical boards.  We sure missed them!  As with the roommate reunion above, I'll limit my description of the trip to just a few highlights, though all of it was wonderful.  After more than 11 hours of traveling (not a big fan of layovers), Darren and I arrived at the Lihue Airport.  I was anxious to get settled in to where we were staying, stretch my legs, and start the vacation.  How lucky were we with this room assignment?  I think it took me all of .01 seconds to enter vacation-mode. ;)


(On a total side-note, spotting Phillip Phillips of American Idol fame on the last leg of our journey to Kauai was definitely exciting!  My mom and I both love his music!  I tried to subtly snap a picture to text my mom as we prepared to board. ;) 



6.  Hyatt Hike--Though we weren't staying there, we visited the Hyatt hotel on Kauai a few times for hikes and a dinner.  At one point, we decided to hike to a cave about two miles along the coastline from the Hyatt that we had read about in some brochures.  Well, not being appropriately dressed for a hike and without water on a warm, humid day can make 2 miles feel like 20.  I don't know what I was thinking.  We eventually reached the cave only to discover the hours had not been listed on the brochure and the cave was already closed to visitors.  In an attempt to find a shortcut back along a dirt road, we promptly got lost.  At one point as we were walking along this road a jeep drove past.  We flagged the jeep down and asked the family inside if they knew if the road we were on led back to the Hyatt.  The father said he thought it did.  They drove away and we trudged on.  About 15 minutes later, we saw the jeep speeding back toward us from the other direction.  That kind man, who will forever be one of my favorite people, had dropped off his family and had come back to give us a lift the last mile and a half or so to the hotel.  I haven't felt that grateful for a random act of kindness in a long time!

Views from our hike--it was long and hot but definitely beautiful!


A later visit to the Hyatt for dinner

7.  Ride 'N Glide--As an early birthday present from my parents, Darren and I were treated to an activity of my choice on the island.  I had just read about the Princeville Adventure's Ride 'N Glide that involved riding horses out to three zip lines, riding the zip lines, and then riding the horses home.  I had never done a zip line, and frankly the thought terrified me, but the idea of riding horses in that beautiful setting won me over.  I rode "Blueberry" and Darren rode "Mikey" along a huge family-owned ranch to the zip lines.  The approaches Darren and I took to each of the zip lines cracked me up and seemed so indicative of our personalities.  The men always had to go first incase some of the lighter visitors didn't have enough momentum to make it all the way to the other end of the zip line and the tour guide needed help pulling us in (gulp!).  Darren always went either first or second and took a flying leap off of the ramp each time, whooping it up all the way to the other side.  We were told we needed to keep at least one hand on our harness at all times to keep us upright.  To Darren, that meant he could use the other hand to take pictures or simply wind surf.  When it was my turn to go, I tip-toed down the ramp until there was nowhere else for me to go and I had to start to gliding.  I kept both hands securely wrapped around the top of my harness.  After the first zip line, though, I really started to enjoy myself!  We were quite high, and as soon as I realized I was secure and safe I really began to enjoy the views.  It was beautiful!

Blueberry and Mikey--I obviously should have followed Darren's example and worn sunglasses! :)






video
My final ride!

8.  Lappert's Ice Cream--Ice cream is apparently a common highlight on trips I take.  We visited Lappert's ice cream almost every day we were in Kauai.  I think it's simply the best!

Coconut, Caramel, Macadamia Nut Ice Cream--Need I say more?
9.  Waimea Canyon Bike Ride--On one of our last days in Kauai, Darren, Mom, and I took a bike ride down Waimea Canyon.  Again, the views were amazing.  We went early in the morning so it was relatively calm and quiet, and the air was filled with so many sweet smells.  There was one point on the ride when I passed under some eucalyptus trees on a shaded part of the road (we had a guide that named trees and plants on our ride and told us stories from the local history).  The temperature on the part of the road was cool, it was quiet and smelled delicious, I could see Mom and Darren riding in front of me, and I remember thinking that nothing could improve that moment.  I was completely content.  I felt so fortunate for the opportunity to be there with my family at that time.  I soaked in that moment and just felt so grateful.  Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Darren for an amazing trip!


10.  Mini-Reunion with Katie and Shelley--After returning back to Utah and before driving back to Wyoming, I was able to have a one-night reunion with Katie and Shelley.  Katie and Shelley were roommates on my freshman dorm floor at BYU, and Shelley and I lived together our sophomore and junior years.  Shelley was visiting Utah from Texas, and I am so happy our paths overlapped long enough for us to get together.  I loved getting to know Shelley's kids better and staying up late talking to these two women who know me so well.  Shelley and I realized after Katie left that we hadn't snapped a single photo of the three of us together.  That just means that we will have to do it again soon!
 
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