Wednesday, May 2, 2018

april: what we did this month.

Hopefully, I'm back on track for our monthly updates haha.

I feel like I started to slack on documenting our lives when we were apart, so I'm trying to get back into it because my forgetful brain enjoys going back to see what we were up to a few years ago.

April was essentially winter and it was unfortunate. Spring is finally here?! I've been hesitant to get my hopes up because it snowed roughly two weeks ago, but I'm going to say it's spring.

In early April we went to a shadow puppet show titled Feathers of Fire at Hancher, the show told one of the stories from the Persian Book of Kings which contains old epics/fairytales. It was a unique presentation and we really enjoyed it! After the show they went behind the scenes to show us how they created the effects and we were even more impressed. If you're curious you should check out this youtube video of it, it's a really creative and technical show. The creator (Hamid Rahmanian) also authored an amazing pop up book that we purchased called Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King. If you're ever at our house you should remind us to show it to you because it is an amazing piece of art.

We celebrated my birthday! I already told you about that, so check out my previous post for that mellow, snowy day.

We had a lot of time spent with friends this month, we...

- spent most of our Sunday's with the Bodin's. Jeremiah has been teaching everybody how to skate/longboard, but other than that we just hang out, go on walks, and eat all the snacks.
- the Day's visited us for a weekend and we were able to share some of our favorite Iowa City places and see Julien Baker at the Englert. it was such a good weekend, those two are so sweet and encouraging.
-Jeremiah's parents spent a night with us in Iowa City and we were able to have some of our favorite eats and play board games.
- finally had a long overdue facetime with the Alsbury's! they are also the kind of friends that you can have real conversations with and that fill you up with encouragement. we have the best friends.

We have tried to spend as much time as possible outside now that it's finally nice out! Our bikes are aired up and ready for a new season and we are so ready for more sunshine. We did have a less than ideal moment of biking to a member/business meeting at church and realized that the bike path we were planning on taking was completely covered and under construction. Oh, and on the way back one of Jeremiah's spokes broke and I patched it with a band-aid so that we could make it home hahaha... oh the adventures that we get ourselves into.
(here's more photos of us doing nothing. sorry. he's my favorite and he's HERE and that is still something that makes me so happy.)
In May we are looking forward to more bike rides, some camping, and visiting friends! Yay for spring and sunshine and just outdoors in general!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

on turning thirty...

My birthday was pretty full of good things, except for the SNOW. ugh.

Jeremiah planned a very "Layla" day so we went to brunch, the new Wes Anderson movie (Isle of Dogs), Target, and ended the day being lazy. He crushed it.
The next day my d group tricked me into a surprise party and it was the sweetest.
A few weeks ago, when discussing birthdays, the girls mentioned that they try to list as many pieces of advice/lessons learned as the years they are old, which seemed like a good challenge. Also a difficult challenge, which I learned trying to come up with THIRTY things. (even they admitted they skip numbers because sometimes they just don't think they have learned enough yet haha. I feel that.)

I honestly kind of forgot about this whole conversation for a few weeks and then I was reminded of it at brunch, on my birthday, where Jeremiah and I spent some time discussing... so here it goes...

1. as Jeremiah would say, "stay posi" (positive) (I'm still learning this)
2. the library is the best. you can remotely download books for your kindle and audiobooks on your phone and it's amaaaaazing.
3. always ALWAYS read the book before seeing the movie.
4. in general, just read more. you'll never regret it.
5. buy a king size duvet/comforter/quilt for your queen size bed. (you may ask "what if I already have a king size bed?"... well, I have no answer... maybe I'll learn by 40?)
6. have GOOD friends, this has meant so much to me, especially as I get older. these people have made me feel known, have encouraged me, and loved me so well. they have been the best support.
7. dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate.
8. it's okay to cry.
9. experience is more valuable than money and things, go do!
10. ice cream makes everything better and smoothies can totally be dinner.
11. when you can, it's worth it to invest in quality items.
12. find best friends that you can travel with. not all friends are created travel equal.
13. it's worth it to spend a little more to get a decent vacuum cleaner. (especially if you have a pet... and you, yourself shed a lot)
14. being pushed out of your comfort zone isn't the worst thing that could happen.
15. life is unpredictable, no matter how much you want to control it, and you have to be okay with that. (I have not mastered this one, I have to repeat it to myself all. the. time.)

things that I have found that have been helpful that are (what I imagine to be) more Layla-specific...

16. find favorite pens, even if it means splurging a little, they bring a simple happiness.
17. never buy a colorful coat. (here's looking at the teal, corduroy peacoat I purchased in high school)
18. have spouse that is silly and tells you you're a goddess every day (while dancing). not everybody needs this, but my unsure, introverted, pessimistic self needs it.
19. give up on trying to look cute in the winter, it's all about being warm and it's 100% worth it.
20. it doesn't hurt to be a little less selfish with your time.

and because I can only come up with so many things in a few days, I'm going to round out the list with things that I have learned make life easier and/or better... a "favorite things" list...

21. mandolin slicer
22. ninja blender/food processor.
23. persian rice cooker that makes the perfect tahdig every time.
24. ninja crockpot. (I see the trend too, I'm a sucker for kitchen stuff)
25. kindle.
26. facetime.
27. all-wheel drive.
29. Aldi.
30. london fog. (the drink, since I can't have coffee)

Maybe by next year I will have learned more insightful, helpful things... here's to a fresh decade!

Friday, April 13, 2018

what we did these two months: february + march.

February wasn't that long ago! I'm almost caught up! (I know, I still need to you catch you up on our trip)

We kept pretty busy weekends in February and March, but I slacked on really taking any photos so this may seem a little dull?

We spent one weekend of February in Savanna with the Meyer fam, we had a lot of food and played games, it was very chill. Board games felt like the theme of our February because we played A LOT of them. We spent the last weekend of February with a whole weekend dedicated to playing games with friends who visited from Ames/Des Moines, it was so much fun! We've enjoyed mixing things up with new board games, sometimes winter can draaaag when you feel like all you do is stay inside and watch movies for fun.
We also spent one of our February weekends in Des Moines to help Lauren and Austin with their new home! Manual labor isn't always the most fun thing to do (hah) but we really enjoyed the opportunity to help out our friends while simultaneously spending time together! Jeremiah missed out on some adventures with the Days while he was in Cuba so we are working to rectify that.

What else did we do?

In March my littlest bro turned twenty-one! Whaaaaaat? I know, how are we all now grown-ups?

 We celebrated Persian new year by making Persian food twice in one week.

We joined a gym, again haha. We haven't been consistent with things since Jeremiah returned, so it's been good to jump back into good habits.

Our weekdays filled up quickly with my weekly discipleship group, connection group, groceries/general life errands, and having my little bro over for dinner, so it felt like our months were busy but clearly not very exciting... here's hoping spring comes soon and we can get outside!

Friday, March 9, 2018

winter catch up: january.

January was two months ago, but I'm still going to tell you about it (although I know most of this is for my future-self).

We threw a small New Year's Eve party at our place with some friends and it was a really great night! It was low pressure and very chill, exactly how we wanted 2k18 to start. 
The first weekend of January we headed up to Waterloo for a belated Christmas celebration with everybody. I enjoyed nephew snuggles, played games, witnessed some amazing dance moves, and Jeremiah tricked the boys into easing his back pain from his first snowboarding adventure haha.
Speaking of snowboarding, Jeremiah was able to go snowboarding twice in January! No photo evidence to share because it was so cold that everybody's phones were dying, but I'm sure he could recap it all for you. Attempt #1 was harrowing and disappointing but by his second attempt things came together and I'm sure he will be a pro by attempt #4.

Raleigh spent most of January berating us for abandoning him repeatedly in December and leaving him with my little brother, he has made it clear that he only has enough love to share with two people.
We saw Rory Scovel at The Mill, another show/comedian from Jeremiah's bucket list!
January marked our lives falling back into normal. November and December we ran on a high of being back together and having SO MUCH to do, and it has been nice to get back to a routine and real life. Jeremiah picked up where he left off on his classes, our connection group and my d group started back up, we were able to spend time with friends, and get back into all our ordinary routines like grocery shopping and meal planning... it has been a welcome change for our new year.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

winter catch up: december.

December was the busiest month, maybe ever?

Our first weekend of December was packed full with my dad coming to celebrate Christmas with us and packing for our European vacation! This is the first trip of my entire life where I have had months to plan, and I was. so. ready.
We spent two weeks traveling to Iceland, London, Paris, and Amsterdam... and within 48 hours of collapsing into our home sweet bed, we were back on the road to make it to family Christmas in Oklahoma with the Meyer clan. Needless to say, by the time 2018 rolled around we were ready for a nice, winter hibernation. We have lots of photos of our trip, and I will share some blog posts recapping our adventures, but my first priority is to catch up on our monthly updates. After this post I will at least bring us to this year, it's been slow going haha.

Other than on our trip, we failed to document the rest of our December.... no photo evidence of Christmas with my dad + brothers and here are our only photos of our Meyer Christmas...
I know, half of them aren't even human... but their cuteness counts!? right? We spent Christmas eating good food and playing a lot of board games, so it was a success (even if we were jet-lagged and ready to pass out by 8:00pm each night). We did have the ambitious goal of listening to all of The Silmarillion on the road, but it was a bit... much? So we had to break it up with some podcasts and music, as of today we are *nearly* done with it.

I'll leave you with the Christmas card we sent out for 2017... like last year, we went for a "choose your own adventure" so you can decide which one is ostensibly "better" haha.
Happy (very late) Christmas from us!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

fall catch-up: november.

NOVEMBER! November was the month we counted down to for nine months... and if we are being honest November 2017 was the month we had been counting down to for seventeen months. Essentially, we had been counting down to Jeremiah's homecoming since we found out about his deployment in June of 2016, what a looooong year and half.

Jeremiah came home a day later than planned, of course. (insert sarcastic, irritated face here) BUT he did come home and it was amazing and weird all at the same time. It was surreal standing next to each other at the airport after such an extended time apart. I took a week off from work and we packed a lot into that week! I believe it was good for us to have a lot to do when he came back, it kept the excitement up and made what could have been an awkward transition really exciting!
We spent the first few days Jeremiah was home catching up with friends. We had a pizza party at the Bodin's where they revealed their newly remodeled kitchen (Fixer Upper style) with a curtain to reveal the new space haha, it was great. That family took me in and loved me so well while Jeremiah was gone, I have no idea what I would have done without them! When Jeremiah first left I spent five of the first ten nights of this deployment at their house, that obviously wasn't necessary as time went on but it made the transition of living daily life on my own more manageable. I could not have been more blessed by the community of friends Jeremiah and I have.
I surprised Jeremiah with tickets to see LCD Soundsystem in Chicago and I wish I would have recorded the moment I told him where we were going! I had been keeping this adventure a secret since July, which felt nearly impossible, but my love of surprises (just barely) kept me from spilling the beans until after I told him to pack a bag and get in the car. We had a really enjoyable couple of days in Chicago staying downtown, going to the Lincoln Park Zoo + Conservatory, grabbing a Persian lunch, and everything in between!
With such full days with friends and in Chicago we were ready to rest, so we settled in by binge-watching all of season two of Stranger Things, going to the movies, and hitting up all of our favorite Iowa City eats.

This year was our year to spend Thanksgiving in Waterloo, but that ended up being moved up so we spent a weekend celebrating Thanksgiving with family up there and spent actual Thanksgiving day with friends here in Iowa City.

The weekend after Thanksgiving Jeremiah and I ventured to Chicago yet again to see Hamilton! We purchased our tickets wayyy back in February, and I spent a lot of solo road trips with the soundtrack, so by the time we reached the theater and showtime I was very excited! Needless to say, we loved it! The stage was super simple, the choreography was amazing, and I'm constantly amazed that one guy wrote all of those clever, catchy, educational songs. So good. Jeremiah still plays King George's songs when he wants a chuckle.
November was full and busy which typically wears me out, and while I was certainly worn out it was a really happy month for us. We spent so much time apart that it was exciting to get to pack a month full of trips, spending time with people we love, and just having fun together. (we even prematurely put up our Christmas tree, which makes me a verrrry happy camper)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

fall catch-up: october

I'm going to tryyyy to get caught up on all the haps from the last few months, as I am now four months behind in our monthly updates... yikes!

October was the LAST month Jeremiah and I spent apart! There was a lot of excitement built up because we were getting so. close. but we found our excitement levels were also reflecting our frustration levels, because something about being so close to this deployment being over made us way too ancy and irritated with time. We didn't quite finish inktober, but it was a really fun exercise to do together! We both got so busy in those last couple weeks before he came home that we just didn't make the time to finish up our drawings... next year!

Jeremiah spent part of October in Cuba and the last two-ish weeks stateside in Virginia going through debriefing. The last few weeks in Cuba involved moving out of his "permanent" home into barracks and training the newbies that were there to replace him. His whole transition from Cuba to Virginia went as well as most Navy related things go for Jeremiah... poorly, but after all the bureaucratic mess was over he got to come home!

My October was busy! I....

... chopped off more hair! haha. It ended up shorter than planned, but I wasn't bothered and it was still cute.
... while in Waterloo I was able to spend one night with Bauer family and I got lots of new nephew snuggles in. I also received some good book recommendations from the older boys, all in all an enjoyable and amusing evening with some sweet boys.
... dove deeper into building relationships with my d group girls, a lot of early mornings and a nice afternoon hike later and I'm loving them. they are the sweetest and are so encouraging to each other and me, they make it easy to walk with them through life.

... went with Holly to see Leslie Odom Jr. on the lawn outside of Hancher! I love his voice. (it also got me real hyped about our tickets for Hamilton in November)
... had one of our seasonal ladies nights with Taraleh, Sarah, Kaylee, and Randyl where we knocked it out of the park with our meal. we just keep getting better and better! haha.
... headed up to Cedar Rapids for dinner with the brothers. we devoured Persian food and caught up, it was pretty chill.
... ventured to Des Moines to see Regina Spektor with Lauren and Austin! They were the sweetest and bought me a ticket to go with them and it was a great show. Regina is the most whimsical and talented performer, I loved it. She was on our "bucket list shows" that Lauren and I just talked about after 80/35 so it was really fun to get to see her together, and so soon!
... spent Halloween night hanging out at the Bodin's, what else is new? haha. I saw a lot of cute kiddos in costumes, it was a fun night. ALSO their kids made a paper chain to count down how many days until Jeremiah came home, how sweet?! they are the best.
... spent a lot of the last two weeks before Jeremiah came home trying to deep clean everything and make our little home look perfect for his homecoming (he was certainly not concerned about it).
 Hold tight! November is coming! hahaha