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Friday, October 9, 2015

Italy Day 2: Rome: The Sistine Chapel

Italy Day 2
Location: Rome, The Vatican: The Sistine Chapel 

Cost: 20 Euros per person to get into the Vatican Museum including the Sistine Chapel, purchasing online. Definitely book these online well in advance- the line is outrageous even very very early in the morning

Time: Plan a half day for the Vatican, and if you are truly a fan of art or history in any form, I'd give yourself a half hour to an hour to sit in this chapel and soak it all up. 

Tip: Buy tickets in advance, read a little bit of the history before you go. 

They save the Crème de la Crème for the end of The Vatican tour and have you finish in the Sistine Chapel. We are talking 11 years of painting by the famous Michelangelo to stare at and ponder upon. Fun fact, he originally said no to doing this when asked to paint the 12 apostles, but when the pope asked him again and told him he could paint anything from the Bible he wanted, he said yes. 

I had a very spiritual experience in the Sistine Chapel, I honestly believe at a time and place where religion was very confused, where Roman Gods and Goddesses and self promotion of leaders met Christianity, and a lot of blurred lines blending the corruption of Ancient Rome with Christian philosophy ensued, there was Michelangelo who may have been the most inspired painter of all time. He just seemed to understand the Bible and who Christ was. I've always believed God errors on the greatest side of mercy and the least degree of justice with his children. I believe He's love, and hellfire and damnation are only a necessity to the least degree. I've found many religions, particularly ancient, had the opposite belief and truly taught the fear of God. Michelangelo seemed to see things the way I, and most of modern Christians see things. His paintings are bright, vivid, and convey the Bible in a loving way that helped the illiterate learn and the learned people ponder. He's touched millions of people and helped them better understand the nature of God and their relationship to him. I teared up as I sat there looking at this beautiful place and identify the Biblical scenes. 
The Sistine Chapel

There's a really good chance you aren't supposed to take photos, and you get yelled at if you do so. It was VERY worth being yelled at twice!

I couldn't stop looking at the center and thinking of God touching Adam. God is clearly the one reaching so hard and Adam is giving far less effort. I sat and thought deeply about how God touches each of us when we put in the smallest effort. I also thought a lot about the brain structure behind God, and the intellect He imparts to others. I just couldn't stop staring and reflecting.
Guide to The Sistine Chapel
 I soaked it in for quite a while. I don't ever want to forget the feelings I had- spiritual feelings, feelings of awe, thoughts of what man can achieve when they put their mind to it, thoughts of leaving something behind for others. I don't want to forget how vivid the colors were. I don't want to forget what the Sistine Chapel smells like. And something tells me that the half hour spent soaking up the greatest piece of art history in the world will never leave me.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Italy Day 2: Rome: The Vatican

Italy Day 1
Location: Rome, The Vatican 

Cost: 20 Euros per person, including the online fee. Definitely book these online well in advance- the line is outrageous even very very early in the morning

Time: At least a half day, you can spent a lot of time looking at everything or about a half day hurrying through and spending the bulk of your time looking at the big stuff. We had two days in Rome total so opted for the quicker tour. 

Tip: Buy tickets in advance, and carry an umbrella! It rains often and we were soaked even with umbrellas and jackets by the time we got in with advance reservations. 
This is also a religious place, so be sensitive with your pictures, and remember to dress modestly. They don't do bare shoulders or anything about the knee, so plan conservative dress even if it's a hot day. 
There's also a good amount of crime in Rome, so watch your back! Taxi drivers will rip you off and subways are ridiculously crowded. Plan to walk a lot, and don't worry- it's worth the views walking the city! 

We broke up our time in Rome into two days, one we called "Catholic/modern Rome day" and one "Ancient Rome day". I wish we would have had one more day in Rome, and at the same time, I was ready to be done with the crime and hustle and bustle and give my pregnant body a little bit of rest. 

I couldn't get over how amazing the Vatican is though. It was pouring rain all day and it just made the ancient structures stand out even more. 

We started in the gardens, and admired about a million amazingly impressive statues of famous Romans and Gods and Goddesses.

When we entered the gallery of Greek and Roman statues Jacob kept things very fun asking everyone to find the doppelganger of their spouse.

We decided we definitely have no Roman genes in any of us, but we did our best and snapped a pic with whatever one had at least one similar feature.

Did I mention it poured all day? There was so much rain it was crazy, and so beautiful!

We made sure to see the most noteworthy and famous statues and snag pictures with each.

This was one of the first domes, patterned after the Parthenon. The White House was patterned after these domes too, as are many other famous buildings.

My mythology loving self had quite the time seeing all these pieces in real life. I took mythology in high school that served as an English class for seniors (in addition to my AP English class, I really loved English), and it really made this trip come alive even more than a decade later. Mrs. Crampton if you ever read my blog I can't thank you enough for the education you gave me and how much I still remembered for this trip! I was "that person" who turned to my husband and brother and sister-in-law and mentioned details of each God and Goddess I remembered with pieces of myths.

Let's talk mosaics for a minute. We had to do a square foot of one in mythology and I remember it taking over a week in class and lots of time outside of class to complete. I have such appreciation for these things, and I just couldn't get over the floors and murals and how many there were!

As we moved closer to the Sistine Chapel things became increasingly more Christian, more reverent, and the art forms changed to painting and tapestry.

I couldn't get over the ceilings and the intricate paintings in each crevice.

I also sat in awe of how well everything has been preserved/restored. The colors are vivid, the details are articulate, and you really get a feeling for ancient Rome.

There was also some modern art on display too. Ten points for anyone who can name this piece.

The Sistine Chapel was so incredible it honestly deserves its own post, so I'm going to break up the picture overload and share that one separately. But even without that amazing piece that was one of my favorite parts of Italy, I was in awe of the amazing and vast space that is The Vatican. What an amazing gathering place it is! What an amazing marriage of ancient Rome, modern, and even the setups for hearing Pope Francis speak in modern times. I'm so grateful for the spiritual experience this was, and that's coming from someone who isn't Catholic! It's definitely a bucket-list place and one I feel so lucky to have toured!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Postpartum Breakdown

I'd had a friend warn me about "The Postpartum Breakdown" being a real thing. Apparently a few days after you have the baby and your body is releasing a crazy amount of hormones there's a need to have a release through a deep crying session.

I'm not talking baby blues or postpartum depression, just an immediate release from pent up feelings and hormones. For many it's legit, the baby is fussy, the stress of being a parent, or just the pain of recovery triggers a day of needing to release all the pent-up emotion.
My mom had one over finances, she realized my dad was still a student and she couldn't work full-time anymore. She knew this ahead of time, but the stress of this though hit her in the hospital and she just needed to cry over the fact my dad worked at the recreational building at BYU.
I have a coworker who returned from maternity leave just two weeks before I left. She let me know hers was ridiculous- her baby head-butted her and they both got upset and she needed to go cry for a good 20 minutes in her room.

I wasn't sure this was going to hit me. We'd had a rough go with nursing in the start and I seemed to release the frustration and fear one night in the hospital, and I did cry because my baby was screaming in pain and an aggressive lactation consultant late at night was making things worse instead of better. I thought maybe this was my big release. But alas, there was a ridiculous day the day after we came home that definitely counts as my big postpartum breakdown.

I looked at the tiny baby feet in my hand while holding him, and I realized they looked just a little bigger than they did the day he was born. It dawned on me, he was only going to be this very tiny newborn for a few weeks, and we were already out of the hospital- he was going to grow up faster than I could have ever thought. Queue the water flow of tears!

Jacob was working from home this day and ran in asking if I was okay and if the baby blues were hitting. I told him I couldn't handle that these little feet were going to get huge and that I only had a few days to really enjoy them. He smiled and told me I'm a sweet mom and hugged me while I ugly cried for a solid 30 minutes over the fact that my newborn time was limited.

And then I thought of this movie, and realized I'm not the only one who has had a postpartum breakdown for the very same reason!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What's in a Name?

I have to be honest, I had a long internal debate whether or not we'd share the name of our baby boy on the blog and on social media. As a blogger it's so flattering how much people care, but it's also a little scary to think you'll be creating an identity for your child online without their permission. I've had friends on every realm of the spectrum- from not mentioning their kids at all, to giving nicknames or pen names on blogs and social media, to making their blog and social all about their kids with all the details and pics out there, to honestly kind of exposing children in the name of freebies and easy content. I think after a lot of internal debate I've decided we will be somewhere in the middle, I'll share the name, but likely still mostly call him our baby boy and try to balance content/social shares with a lot of other Whiting happenings. He's a huge part of our lives and I just don't think I could blog authentically without sharing motherhood as one area of content. I've shared so much and connected with so many about fertility and our miracle baby, it's hard to stop building friendships about this sensitive area now! I don't plan to turn into a full-time mommy blogger by any means, but I do want to document certain parts of his life and who he is, and I do plan to have a weekly series about him to compliment our date night post and other lifestyle posts throughout the week. Because I can't leave him out, I've decided it's time to open up, and tell the world a little more about this tiny human we get to call ours. His name is super significant to us, and I couldn't help but share not only his name, but also the meaning of his name.

A lot goes into the naming of a child, and there's a lot of pressure to choose the perfect name; not too common, not too weird, something they can be taken serious with while applying for jobs, and something you won't get sick of as a parent saying a hundred times a day. I have always known I wanted my kids' names to not just be something cute and something I like the sound of, but something meaningful.


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