Family, Life, Pictures

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I have a baby now. This event has changed me in a lot of ways.

For example, I can no longer remember irregular past tense verbs—they get conjugated just like the rest of ’em. One time I said, “I waked up at 3am,” and Nathanael had to point out my error. The other day I said, “I already shaked it,” and I KNEW in my heart that something was wrong, but it took me an entire second to figure out what it was. That’s like a decade in editor years.

But besides that, I’ve gotten a much needed dose of humility (but obviously I have a long way too go if I’m still quantifying my own humility). I say, “Good job,” when a certain someone toots instead of reprimanding him. A smile has become the most wonderful thing on the planet.

I’ve never been a fan of newborns, but I am a fan of this one!! Not to mention the man holding him.

M and N

Trying in vain to get him to look in the mirror instead of at the lights.

Marius faces
Everyone should be a mom. And if you can’t be a mom, be a dad.

I mean, it’s a struggle sometimes but a good struggle. It just wouldn’t make sense if keeping another human being alive and teaching them everything (we’re talking everything, people) they need to know weren’t at least a little hard. However, hard things yield greater rewards. I’m thinking exercise, reading scriptures every day, peeling fresh garlic, dating, practicing a skill, detangling curly hair, making friends in a new place, acquiring Christlike attributes, getting through the Waterloo chapter in Les Mis, etc. etc.

Okay, you get the idea. The end.

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Family, Life, Pictures

I’m Bad at This

Blogging is so tedious! But here I go to #sharegoodness.

This is what has been happening lately:

Christmas break.

I wasn’t a grinch this year! I even suggested Christmas music a couple of times, which is an enormous deal. I was really trying to enjoy my last obligation-free time with my love while he was on Christmas break and while I’m in this delightful period of no work, no school, no nothing.

Christmas 1

Nathanael and I recreating our post-engagement picture two years later. | My dad had a fancy choir concert at Abravanel Hall. | My sister bathed our cat and he looked so pathetic afterward! | Making slushies out of freshly fallen snow (just plain snow for me).

Gingerbread 1

My family made gingerbread houses (from kits, naturally), and theirs looked a lot cooler than ours.

Gingerbread 2

Piping icing is apparently harder than it looks.

Christmas

Nathanael’s first Christmas with the in-laws!

New Year’s.

My friend Anna, who has put up with me for the longest of any of my friends (16+ years), threw an awesome New Year’s Eve party which was perfectly timed because Nathanael had been saying, “I’ve never had a NYE in Utah before,” like it was going to be something special. That made me nervous because I had zero ideas of what the crap married people even do in Provo on New Year’s (hello, the singles dances were the obligatory activity for like 6 years of my life*). So thank you, Anna.

Also, the picture on the right is from the amazing moment where Nathanael actually picked the right box for Deal or No Deal at the local arcade.

Also, the picture on the right is from the amazing moment where Nathanael actually picked the right box for Deal or No Deal at the local arcade.

* Those singles dances. Maggie, Kenzie, and I always had such high expectations for them, which were sometimes met but usually not. My favorite New Year’s memory is when Kenzie and I sang “Drink with Me” (from Les Mis) in her kitchen while drinking Martinelli’s, while her mom looked on in amused disbelief that we were actually that weird. Which reminds me of the time Maggie sang the entire “Star-Spangled Banner” in that same kitchen. Okay, time to get off Memory Lane because no one can even appreciate how funny that was unless you were there, and I know you weren’t there.

College.

Nathanael started his last semester. THAT IS AMAZING.

Being pregnant.

My stomach gets bigger every day. This is a weird experience. I also have to say that pregnancy is approximately one gajillion times better than people make it sound, so for all you ladies out there worried about it—don’t be. As with most things, pregnancy is what you make it. (Excluding those few people who do legitimately get really sick. That seriously blows. But even then, a helpless attitude certainly wouldn’t improve the situation . . .)

Lots of lunch.

  1. Had lunch with Rebecca. Everyone needs to know her, but since this is impossible, read her blog. I found out at this lunch that she can read minds.
  2. Had lunch with Maggie and Kenzie, naturally. Loved talking to them about all the important stuff, like circumcision. 😉

Fancy film festivals.

Not really. But sort of. The putter-onners of the Ash Festival sure did try to make a fancy black tie event, the sort of effort I appreciate, even if I can’t appreciate the artsy movies they showed. But mostly, Caitlin and I look soooo bored and entitled in this photo and it amuses me.

“Dad, you’re taking pictures of us WRONG.”

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Family, Life, Pictures

Halloween 2015

On Halloween Eve, my friends and I threw an awesome murder mystery party using one of those old boxed sets they used to make called How to Host a Murder. They’re so much better than anything you can get online now and I wish they still made them! Plus you can never go wrong with a bunch of funny people with terrible British accents.

Here we are as Dame Allison Bigh, murder mystery writer, and Dr. Malcolm T. Praktiss, “Healer to the Rich.” I bought that dress at DI two or three years ago and I was so ecstatic to find out that it still fits!! More than six months pregnant, woohoo!

Murder Mystery

On Halloween itself, we went to a party hosted by our friends Jake and Anna, to whom we are forever grateful for giving us an excuse to wear our Snow White and Prince Charming ensembles. I don’t know anyone whiter than me or more princely than my husband, so I thought our costumes suited us perfectly :). And clearly I need a new pose!

Snow White

I am so looking forward to coercing my children into wearing family costumes in the years to come. Why yes, I already have next year’s planned!

We also participated in the glorious tradition of pumpkin carving. Nathanael and I like working on one pumpkin together, because we’re good at brainstorming ideas together, I’m good at drawing it on the pumpkin, and he’s good at the execution. Tada!

One Ring Pumpkin

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Life, Pictures, Traveling

A Summary of Weeks

Time here has been flying by through my two favorite months: September and October. Let me catch myself up a little bit.

At the end of July (back in NH), we finally flew kites. When I bought them, the cashier (imagine a mix between Urkel and Carlton) asked me, “These are for your son and daughter? Nephew and niece?” No, sir. Myself and my husband.

Flying Kites

In August, we stepped aboard the USS Constitution in Boston, which was a gorgeous ship. Unfortunately, the lower decks were closed so there wasn’t a whole lot to see. Fortunately, we were with Nathanael’s cousin Mariah, so it was fun anyway.

USS Constitution

And these two put on a puppet show for me in the USS Constitution museum.

3 Puppets

During Nathanael’s last week of his internship, Westinghouse took all the interns (and me!) on a Portsmouth Harbor cruise to Star Island. I realized that I really like being on boats, because it makes me feel like Edmond Dantes. Getting in the water, not as much.

Plus, I look like one of the three blind mice, which is reason enough to put this picture up.

4 Harbor Cruise

And for our last major event in New Hampshire, Nathanael had a softball game. I love having an athletic husband. His team might have won the league championship, but I can’t remember. But it was nicknamed the “beer league,” so you can imagine that winning wasn’t very hard to do.

5 Softball

Next, we started the long drive home! When we were passing through New York, we saw signs for Niagara Falls and decided on a whim to take a detour to visit the Falls (I’ve never been there). We were richly rewarded with this amazing view.

6 Niagara Falls

I felt really bad for the millions of tourists there who had clearly flown here from other countries to see the thing.

We passed through Omaha to once again impede on Megan and Greg’s kindness. While there, we went to the Omaha Zoo, which was the highlight of my summer. I love animals. That lemur in the second photo was RIGHT by us, but we were forbidden to touch it. I was sad.

7 Omaha Zoo

Omaha also has a big museum about its history, which, no offense, wasn’t all that interesting since we don’t live there. However, they had an exhibit about ancient Egypt, which is one of those things I am randomly interested in. The interactive stuff was the best.

8 Omaha Museum

At some point during the drive, we acquired some Taco Bell. Nathanael had been deprived of it for months, so I felt that a photo of his reunion with his fast food burrito was a must.

9 Taco Bell

Oh, no one cares but me? I don’t believe it.

And then, the climactic event of the summer: the creation of the Davis family. It was the perfect summer wedding! And who says you can’t hide it when you’re almost halfway through your pregnancy? (Oh yeah, I’m pregnant by the way.)

10 Bryn's Wedding

I also was privileged to see my favorite sight/hear my favorite sound:

11 Piano

Luckily, we made it back from New Hampshire in time for the Utah Valley Renaissance Faire! I’ve never been to one of these things before, and I’ve always wanted to go. I was not disappointed. How often do you get to see fake jousting and sit in thrones?

My only complaint is that a lot of people didn’t seem to know there’s a difference between the Medieval period and the Renaissance, and I wish the faire throwers would set up some guidelines regarding historical accuracy. Alas. Not that I was remotely historically accurate in acid wash jeans . . . Alas again.

12 Renaissance Faire

We also keep taking remarkably attractive pictures of ourselves.

13 Amazing

And we went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Tuacahn with Bryn and Chad! Going to plays is truly a joy for me, and it was even better watching my favorite play with my two loves (Bryn and Nathanael). I wish they could have had the Beast and Gaston from the movie, though.

That theater has such cool scenery. Go there.

14 Tuacahn

Nathanael also turned TWENTY-FIVE! So I baked (that’s the second time this month, very out of character for me), and his sister let us come over to make pizzas with siblings and cousins! Nathanael sure has a good family.

16 N Birthday

And finally, I started this:

17 LOTR

I’ve supposedly read it before, but it kind of went in one ear and out the other. I think I was about twelve and was reading it to impress someone? Maybe? Anyway, I decided it was high time I really read the thing. I love it. I think about it when I’m not with it. It’s getting pretty serious.

Oh yes, and please go watch General Conference if you haven’t. That deserves a post to itself, so I’ll just say it was amazing and insist that you watch it or re-watch it or re-re-watch it.

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Life, Pictures

Fourth of July

I’ve grown somewhat discontent with the travelogue nature that my blog has taken on. But I can’t NOT write about the Fourth of July, because it was amazing!

I had anticipated being somewhat miserable on the 4th this year, simply because it is uncontestedly my favorite holiday and a particularly amazing 4th was being planned back home: my dad’s fireworks company did the Stadium of Fire fireworks, which I heard were to die for, and Journey performed for crying out loud (my mom instilled a love of Journey in me). Plus Utah just does the Fourth of July right.

I envisioned myself waking up on the 4th and weeping at the thought of missing out.

Enter Nathanael Neil.

He took me to my favorite big city to watch my favorite sport at Fenway where we ate one of my favorite foods. We can all agree that hot dogs are theoretically disgusting but actually delicious, right?

Fenway

Sorry if you didn’t want a picture of my half-eaten food . . .

Then he took me to one of my favorite restaurants (yes, it’s a chain—shocker!) to eat another one of my favorite foods: CRAB WONTONS.

Crab Wontons

Nathanael had been so insistent and had smiled so mischievously when he told me we should go to P.F. Chang’s that I became a little suspicious. Then, when we were sitting there eating, I suddenly realized what he was up to. I said, “I see right through you! You’re trying so hard to make me have a good Fourth of July so I’m not depressed that I’m not home!” And then he smiled mischievously again. That’s a small taste of what it’s like to be married to a sweet man.

Then we bummed around Boston Commons and took a nap in the car before heading down to the Esplanade to watch the fireworks (thanks, Therese and Dan for the recommendation). We definitely didn’t realize that we needed to get there 12 hours in advance to get a good spot by the water, so we found a mediocre one in a nearby street. But hey, at least there were fireworks.

And then we sat in Subway with a million other people waiting for the traffic to die down while munching on salt and vinegar chips. What a good food day. It might just have been my favorite fourth yet!

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Life, Pictures, Traveling

For Aslan! And for Narnia!

I spent the greater part of last week in Virginia with my sister! It was fun, but I also took no pictures. No one is surprised. (I guess technically I did take a few pictures, but they were mostly of UVA gardens so…)

When Nathanael picked me up from the airport upon my return to New England, we took advantage of the airport’s proximity to Boston and decided to walk the Freedom Trail!

My sweet husband had all these plans to take a picture at each stop so I could blog about it properly, but we kind of forgot most of the time. So here’s what we do have.

Boston Commons

The trail begins in Boston Commons, the oldest park in America. Please note the man in period costume behind me (with whom I was too shy to take a picture).

Freedom Trail 1

Granary Burying Ground

That attractive man is sitting next to Paul Revere’s tombstone. Maybe he’s even sitting on Mr. Revere . . . ???

Freedom Trail 2

King’s Chapel

These pew rooms were amazing. They probably don’t encourage listening, but they’re preeeetttttyyyy.

Freedom Trail 3

Benjamin Franklin Statue

Freedom Trail 4

Paul Revere Statue/Old North Church

That church in the background is the one where Paul Revere instructed someone to hold up lanterns based on how the British army was traveling.

Freedom Trail 5

Bunker Hill Monument

This was the site of the first major battle of the Revolutionary War. Nowadays, it has the most amazing townhomes surrounding it.

Freedom Trail 6

USS Constitution

You know, this thing was probably pretty cool. But we wouldn’t know, because we arrived five minutes after they closed. Oh well, we’ll just have to go back to Boston!

Freedom Trail 7

Take your pick: ugly picture where my eyes are open, or a good picture where my eyes are closed. (Story of Nathanael’s life.)

It was super awesome. And even I didn’t get pooped until the last couple of stops. We learned a bit about history and took in possibly the most picturesque town I’ve ever seen.

Plus, the best part is that Boston has a Prêt a Mànger.

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Life, Pictures

Photoland: May 2015

Okay, some photographic evidence that we exist and do things. At least during the month of May.

USS Albacore

The USS Albacore is a dry-docked submarine that the government still won’t tell anyone what they used it for. *Do do do do do do do do* (That was supposed to be The Twilight Zone theme song, as I’m sure you guessed.) It seems to have a rich history, but I’m not super into history, so I mostly liked it because we could wiggle stuff around, press buttons, and hope we were the first people to discover that they accidentally left the engine running or the walkie talkies on or something. No such luck.

#1: Thar she blows.  | #2: Captain Neil and co-captain Neil piloting the boat. | #3: Me smiling inside a submarine that smelled pungently of diesel fuel.

USS Albacore#4 and 5: People voluntarily slept in these. I hope they were well compensated.

USS Albacore Bunks

College Woods

This is exactly what it sounds like: woods near a college. It was a very lovely forest filled with some interesting humans.

#6: During our walk through here . . . | #7: . . . We almost stepped on this. Nathanael flicked it off its perch with a stick and it played dead (supposedly). Frogs give me the heebie jeebies.

College Woods

Bowl-o-Rama

How could we resist going somewhere with such a name? When we walked in and saw the bowling balls, we laughed aloud because do you see those? I can hold it in the palm of my hand! It’s called candlepin bowling and it’s so much better than regular bowling.

#8: I wanted to show you what you will look like if you go bowling in a skirt (like an idiot). | #9: That’s a good-looking bowler. | #10: Candlepin bowling is designed for people like me (those with weak arms). And if you’re wondering why our scores are so low, there’s none of that strikes-double-the-next-frame nonsense with this game.

Bowling

Boston

We went to Boston very, very briefly. But I think I fell in love with it. All we had time for on this excursion was the Boston Massachusetts Temple, Faneuil Hall, and a bit of walking around.

#11–12: The temple is the best place in the world. It’s the only place besides Disneyland that I get the “Disneyland feeling” (a different person might call that joy or bliss), and that’s because the temple is the House of the Lord and His joyful presence is there in such great abundance. Seriously.

Temple

Faneuil Hall is an old marketplace hall that has been refurbished and transformed into a super-hip food hall. My two recommendations would be to NOT eat falafel at the Greek food place there and to NOT buy a smoothie from Starbucks (I watched the server dump spoonfuls of sugar into a supposedly “no sugar added” smoothie).

#13: Not sure if that photo even looks like anything if you haven’t been there. I was just trying to capture the cool old balcony. | #14: I’m very into fancy ceilings, and this one was super fancy. | #15: Boston itself. Notice the tiny historic building beneath the shadow of the relatively huge skyscraper.

Faneuil

Wentworth Coolidge State Historic Mansion

Despite the long, regal name, this place is basically a lawn. You can’t even go into the historic mansion. Random and not what we expected, but it’s not every day you see a lawn that touches the ocean.

#16: That’s my husband. | #17: That’s me and my husband. (NO WAY!) Those rays of light are the precursor to an angelic visitation we received right after this photo was taken. Go figure!

Mansion House 1#18: There was an extremely large anchor that raised a number of questions like, How did it get there? Why is it there? Surely it must be an important historical artifact to be so perched upon the grounds of THE historic Wentworth Coolidge Mansion! But no. There was no plaque of explanation. | #19: The Neils trying out the camera timer for the first time.

Mansion House 2

. . . And when you have a husband like Nathanael, sometimes you come home from an audition to see this:

Dinner

And that was May.

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