June 24, 2012

Haley and Ryan Tied the Knot!

This weekend our good friends Ryan and Haley were married in Franklin, TN.  Grant and Ryan know each other from school and since we've all been living in Clarksville we have become great friends.  We feel so lucky to have them in our life and spend lots of time by the pool and eating sushi with them!  It was a beautiful rehearsal dinner, wedding and reception.   Grant was a sabre bearer and we has a wonderful time being included in their special days!

Congratulations Ryan and Haley! We are so happy for you!

June 22, 2012

Another book...and six months!!!

A few months ago my Grandma mailed me Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  
With how busy things have been around here, I just read it yesterday!

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother 

I don't know that the book lived up to all the hype, but it was definitely a quick read and I'm glad I read the book.  But the most exciting part for me was at the end of the book when I was flipping through the notes section and I saw that one of the articles that author used for research was written by Grace Wang.  She was one of my favorite professors at the University of California, Davis.  I took several courses from her, she supervised my internships and was kind enough to write one of my letters of rec for graduate school.  Anyone attending Davis should absolutely take a course from her!

On another note, Grant and I have been married for 6 months today.  
Can't believe how fast these 6 months have gone by!  

Love him more and more each day. 

June 20, 2012

365 Days...

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I left California and flew out to Tennessee.  This past year has flown by and I still feel like we are getting used to living here!

June 17, 2012

Three More Bucket List Items

The past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for my family.  There were lots of highs, but there have been the lowest of lows.  God is testing our family right now, but we know that Grandma is at peace now and in a much better place.  Knowing that still doesn't make any of this easier, and we have gone through lots of kleenex in this apartment over the past few days.  I'll probably write a longer blog post about this later, but everything is still too fresh to post.  Grant and I wish we could be in California with them, but just a couple more weeks until we're home!  We're sending lots of love to you all and can't wait to be with you soon!

We decided we needed to have a few distractions today to keep our minds off of everything!  So here's what we tackled off the bucket list today:

#17 Visit Cheekwood
First stop of the day was the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.  There are 55 acres of beautiful gardens.  The family that owned the land is the family that created the recipe for Maxwell House Coffee.  Right now the special exhibit is a series of tree houses.  My favorite tree house was the conch shell inspired by the novel Lord of the Flies!  Overall we weren't awed by the gardens, but we were glad to check another item off our bucket list!

The photo above is the conch shell tree house inspired by the novel Lord of the Flies.

#15 Picnic at the Parthenon
Second stop was the Parthenon.  This sits in the middle of Centennial Park and is an exact replica of the Parthenon in Greece.  Although it was warm outside, it wasn't too hot yet so we were able to enjoy our lunch!  And Grant even made friends with a creepy squirrel.  He wanted to feed the squirrel one of his ritz crackers, but I threatened to throw my water bottle at the squirrel if it came near us!

# 7 Country Music Hall of Fame
Our final bucket list item of the day was a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Neither Grant nor I love country music, but we're fans and we live close to Nashville- so this item was definitely a must see while living in TN!  It was really neat to see all of the memorabilia in the museum surrounding the archives.  One of the special exhibits right now is all about Bakersfield and the movement of country music during the Great Depression and afterwards.  It was fun for us to see a little piece of home.  The tours ends with the Hall of Fame.  The room is circular with plaques filling the wall.

By the time we finished at the Hall of Fame we were hot and exhausted! So we headed across town to Tokyo for an early sushi dinner.  After a yummy dinner, quick trip to Trader Joe's, and a haircut for Grant, we finally made it back to Clarksville.

Can't believe we are almost half-way through our bucket list!

PS: I did take photos, but my camera is dead so I'll upload them soon!

June 14, 2012

Where do babies come from?

Some of you may remember our trip to the Nashville Zoo last July.

In that post, I stated: "The big male giraffe started to get a little frisky with one of the female giraffes. It was a little awkward to watch along with all of the families and small children at the zoo."

Well when I looked at our online newspaper today I saw the article: "Newborn giraffe at Nashville Zoo."  And while a little wikipedia research has informed me that the gestational period for a giraffe is 400 to 460 days, it's a little interesting given what we saw.  Looks like some visitors at the zoo really did get to see a baby being made.

June 11, 2012

2 Years and 2 Bucket List Items!

Yesterday we celebrated our 2 year dating anniversary.  On June 10, 2010, Grant and I had a 5 hour sushi date at Blue Gingko.  Two days later I knew I was going to marry him...it took Grant another few days until he was in Spain missing me to know he was going to marry me.  This year was especially exciting since last year we were on opposite sides of the country and didn't get to celebrate together!

First we decided to cross off #19 on our bucket list: Go tour the Fontanel Mansion just outside of Nashville.  The Fontanel Mansion is the former home of Barbara Mandrell and her family.  The house was then bought by Dale Morris and Marc Oswald (Country Music Managers).  Basically the house is this mecca for country music stars.  Lots of famous songs have been written here and there is lots of donated country music memorabilia around the house.

 The bears welcome you at the front entrance.

 The front entrance.

 The Great Room used for entertaining.

 It takes 6 hours to clean this chandelier in the formal dining room.

 This is the hallway where the 3 children's bedrooms are.  It was also the rehab center in the movie Country Strong starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw.

 The indoor swimming pool.

The indoor shooting range where Kid Rock and his friends went crazy with an AK-47.  
That party is the reason why the home is not lived in anymore, and only used for tours.

It looks like a house built in the 80's (which it was).  Lots of gold and mirrors all around.  And the light switches are all low...the reason being that Barbara's husband never wanted his wife to lift a finger-literally!

We were then going to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but with all the crazy events going on in Nashville this weekend parking was not an option unless we wanted to fork over a small fortune.  So instead we decided to cross off #10 on our bucket list: Wandering around Vanderbilt.  I've spent a lot of time around the campus at the Theta house as one of their advisors and we went to the Army v Vandy game in October.  It was raining so we just drove around, but it was fun to see more of the campus.

By the end of all that we were STARVING so we headed over to Green Hills to try out Tokyo (a Japanese sushi and steakhouse).  The food was delicious!! And they have cake batter air fresheners as you walk in the door that smell so yummy! We will definitely be going back there lots!

We finally made it back to Clarksville and we were exhausted.  We watched some TV and then promptly passed out from our big adventure!

June 8, 2012

For all my fellow teachers...

I can't find the link for where this is from...but I found it on facebook :)

June 7, 2012

Another Kristen's Story

In college I was lucky enough to meet Andrea Cooper.  She travels around the country presenting "Kristin's Story."  "Kristin's Story" is a presentation where Cooper shares her daughter's story of sexual assault, depression and suicide.  Cooper strives to raise awareness about sexual assault and provide resources so that no one else has to experience the pain of losing a child.  The presentation was extremely powerful and I was lucky enough to have coffee with Cooper beforehand to get to know here.

However, lately I've been hearing about another Kristen's story.  My old swim coach, Kristen, has been all over the local newspapers over the past few months because she was brave enough to speak out about the hell she experienced when a PE teacher at our middle school sexually abused her for years.  I won't go into all the details, it's not my story to share, but if you want to read more, here is an article that was recently published in the Contra Costa Times: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20711784/no-longer-victim-assistant-swim-coach-at-cal?source=pkg.

Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to be brave like Kristen.  The most recently article published by the Contra Costa Times was published on June 6, 2012 and can be found here: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20799532/moraga-swim-club-bans-cal-swim-coach-sex.   Kristen was scheduled to run a swim clinic at the Moraga Country Club where she swam for years, and coached as well.  My sister, brother and I were lucky enough to be coached by Kristen and her brother Marc.  Everyone loved Kristen.  All the boys thought she was so pretty and all the girls wanted her to be their big sister.  She made swimming fun and knew what she was teaching us.  None of us could ever have imagined the horror that was her life off the pool deck.  But Kristen is using her experience to spread awareness, but that's not all she's doing.  She is also the Associate Head Coach of UC Berkeley's Women's Swim Team.  She was scheduled to coach a swim clinic at our pool.  Yet, as stated in the article, the Club cancelled the event.

To the Moraga Country Club:
You should be ashamed of yourselves for cancelling her swim clinic.  There was absolutely no reason to do so.  And if the speculation is true, and the reason you cancelled the clinic was because parents want to protect the retiring principal at the local elementary school, then shame on you twice.  You have just sent a profound message to all the children who swim at the club.  You have told them that if you are brave enough to speak up and speak out about the horrific events you have experienced in your life, then you should expect to be punished in the most positive areas of your life.  What a horrible example to set for the children.

To the parents who wanted the clinic cancelled:
Why would you go to these lengths to support the principal of your school?  I highly doubt you knew him back when Kristen was a student at the other school he worked at, nor do you know what really happened at those times.  How would you feel if God forbid your child went through the same thing Kristen did?  Would you want them to be punished even more?  Don't you think what she experienced was enough?  And that principal is oddly enough retiring...I know people are innocent until proven guilty, but I think his sudden retirement is probably the closest admission to his guilt we will ever get from him.  You have set a horrible example for your children and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

To Kristen,
Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.  Thank you for striving for justice so that others living in silence might have the courage to speak up as well.  Thank you for setting an example for all the kids you have coached over the years and who have looked up to you--you have no idea that impact you are making on them.  Thank you for being willing to open up a very private, and difficult part of your life, so that justice could be served, others could be helped, and hopefully you can begin to heal.  The impact you are making will be far greater and long lasting than the horror than you have experienced.

Sexual assault and domestic violence have to be talked about.  The only way we are going to eliminate these horrors is to increase awareness and education.  Do your part, share this post, have a conversation with your friends, and let your children know that they can tell you anything.  If we all talked to 5 people, and asked them to talk to 5 people, and they asked those 5 people to talk to 5 more people, think about the positive impact we could make.

***Update*** The Moraga Country Club Board of Directors has reversed their decision and Kristen will be allowed to hold her clinic!  Read the article here: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20807152/moraga-country-club-reverses-decision-cal-swim-coach
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