Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Silly Pictures

2013 was a great year. We got married, took some amazing trips, I started a new job and we got in lots of snuggle time with the pets. Here's a recap of the good times...as represented by the silly pictures I take. 

In the beginning of the year Olivia managed to get muddy in the back yard...only on her mouth. We don't think she really understands how the whole digging thing works. 

 In March there we took engagement pictures...which always have an element of silly to them. 

We celebrated Truman's birthday at the end of March with a party at a ping pong bar. 

 We got married in May. There was much grooming involved. 

Our ceremony was after dinner which meant we had to eat sometime between pictures and our ceremony. Enter trash bag dress protector. No one wants soy sauce on their dress before the ceremony. Turns out be safe, use a rubber has multiple applications. 

It's important not to take weddings too seriously. 

 Shortly after the wedding we left for our honeymoon in Costa Rica. They say hotel wall art, we say silly picture prop. 

I got a new sleeping bag this summer. It seems to work well in the house. 

 In October, Olivia turned 10. She celebrate by making faces and eating a home made dog cupcake. She wasn't that great a blowing out the candle. 

At the end of October Truman's parents took us to Tanzania. Truman's brother, Walker, learned it's not the size of the banana that matters. 

I ate a lot of popcorn, didn't shower for a week, and got thoroughly grossed out by the rats int he dining hall. 

 We watched pride of lions kill a buffalo. Turns out the lions eat the...um...reproductive organs first. 

We spent Christmas in sunny Southern California. Can't beat 80 degree weather and short faced bear statutes at the La Brea tar pits

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tanzanian Vacation: Safaris in Northern Tanzania

We finished up our travels in Tanzania with wildlife viewing safaris in Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro, Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara. The animals were beautiful but I will tell you that safaris are like the Olympics. No, they don't require hard work. If fact, if someone tell you they went on safari you shouldn't be impressed it just means they were driven around all day. But! They are like the Olympics in that stuff that was incredibly awesome and impressive on day one is the crap you totally critique on day 3. Day 1: Wow look at the 87 flips he did before diving into the pool. Day 3: I don't know, I think his pinky toe splashed.

We were in the national parks during the end of the dry season which meant everything was brown but the animals had limited watering holes to choose from which probably made them easier to spot.

The rarity on our trip was that we had front row seats to a pride of lions stalking, killing and eating a buffalo. I realize that this is how things work and that lions gotta eat...but I actually though it was a little brutal to watch something die. Our guide, Aron from Good Earth Tours, had been guiding for 9 years and said he's only actually watched something like that about 7 times.

People have asked how close we were to the animals. In the case of the lions, about this close:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sandos Christmas Basket Program

The weekend before Christmas Truman and I helped to assemble and deliver baskets (really, boxes) for families who needed a Christmas dinner. The Sam Sandos Christmas Basket Program was started 39 years ago out of Sam & Ethel Sandos' house and over nearly four decades it's expanded into an operation that takes up en entire high school gym. We think that the crowd assembled more than 2,000 Christmas baskets. 

Someone who sponsors some of our events at work invited me to volunteer and I was really happy to be part of the volunteer team. Truman and I were on the delivery crew which meant that we took boxes out to families which was a pretty cool way to spend a Saturday. We're looking forward to going back next year. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What I'm Reading: Feminist Mommy Books

So, my current genre seems to be feminist mommy books. Let's be honest, all my friends are having babies. And when you have a baby it becomes the only thing you can talk about. So, even though I have no plans of having a bio baby, I know a fuck of a lot about breast feeding...and boppy pillows...and tummy time.

So while we were flying to and from Tanzania I read Tina Fey's Bossypants and Jessica Valenti's Why Have Kids?

I didn't love Bossypants as much as everyone said I would. I thought it had it's moments but it largely reads like a blog. And well, if I want to read a blog I'll read a blog. This just felt like it was trying a little hard. But you know, if you're trying to kill time on a 27 hour flight...not a terrible option. Plus, it's pretty digestible even when jet lagged. Some of the highlights in case you decide to skip this one:

"Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where the inexperience is considered a virtue." 
"You would think that as a producer, your job would be to churn up creativity, but mostly your job is to police enthusiasm." 

Why Have Kids? Was the more interesting book of the trip. I've since recommended it to several people, not because it's amazing but because I think these arguments are somewhat hard to find elsewhere. Why Have Kids? isn't really an argument against having kids, but rather it's an argument against the cult of motherhood. The idea that mothers need to do everything right at all times. Even in feminist circles I hear a lot about how you must wear your baby, you must breast feed, motherhood must be the most important thing that you will ever do...the list goes on. All of this pressure (only on mothers by the way) and still you must enjoy all of it. Above all else you have to find all of this fulfilling. 

I've long suspected that parenthood isn't as amazing as everyone says it is. It simply can't be. Parenthood causes lots of stress and costs a lot of money, and if there is one thing and undergraduate psychology degree taught me it's that those things are not a recipe for warm fuzzies. It's my own personal theory that people don't feel like they are allowed to say that they are not always glad they had children. I liked this book because I feel like it encourages mothers to be honest. It creates space for them to still be good moms without having to act like motherhood is all milk and honey. It takes some of the pressure off, or at least highlights that the pressure is this weird, constructed, anti-woman thing. 

And, it did remind me of some nice studies that I'd forgotten about that say that parents, statistically, don't actually experience more happiness than people who don't have children. Which is, you know, a great data point when people want to force their life choices on you. 

For those who are interested, I also finished Wingshooters which I enjoyed but I enjoy all thing Nina Revoyr. Next up on the feminist mommy book list: Bottled Up and Expecting Better

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Not a Morning Dog

Olivia at night:

Olivia in the morning:

Like mother like daughter. 8 am is overrated.