Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oh, what do you do in the summertime?

We moved. Again. Is anyone surprised? We've actually been here for over a month. It was nice coming back to a place we've already lived. People are so nice and welcoming and I already knew all the cheap grocery stores. The best part about this move is that Dave and Teresa and their kids moved here the same week that we did. So we have FAMILY that lives only 35 minutes away. Isn't that awesome?! We're so excited. We've already used and abused them, just like we always dreamed we would.

Moving is awesome for so many reasons.

Cousins sleepover! My kids adore Ivy. And I loved having two little kitchen helpers.
Amelia prefers to dress herself. Her swim shorts are her favorite and she tries to wear them every day.
Imagine my dismay when I came out to find Reece doing yoga on the Wii. I certainly didn't teach him that.
Paul shaved his head. Not bad, right? Did I already post this?
She's the best.
So where have we been since July? Well...do you really want to know? I'm assuming you don't, since only about 7 people ever view this blog, and of those 7, only 2 actually know me. But for the two of you who do, here's a quick list:

  • Layne's mission farewell in Utah
  • Paul's final weeks of work in San Diego
  • Disneyland!
  • Packing and sending away our stuff
  • Costa Rica and, for the kids, a week with cousin Owen
Disneyland!

Pretend like I actually rotated this picture. Costa Rica was great.

You should go there.

But be careful if you do.

Or don't.

I would recommend it.

  • Moving in, unpacking, settling, meeting old friends
  • Paul starting his job again at Davis Polk
  • Spending lots of time at parks, libraries, gyms and mini-hikes
  • Spending time with cousins
  • Exploratorium, Jelly Belly factory, Oakland temple, Santa Cruz beach
  • Paul and I running the Big Sur Trail Marathon
That's the one I want to focus on (because I can't remember the rest beyond the fact that we did them). Last weekend Paul and I dropped off the kids with D&T and spent a night in Monterey. The next morning we woke up bright and early and headed down to Big Sur for our MARATHON!!! I am so proud of Paul for accomplishing this feat. He really really hates running, but he had a goal to run a marathon at some point in his life. He has bad knees, and he's never really trained before for any race, or even anything like it. But he trained consistently for over four months, encouraging and motivating me the entire time, and ran this super tough marathon in under five hours. I seriously couldn't be more proud.

Let me just expound a bit on how hard this marathon really was. I was expecting it to be tough. I picked it because it was a trail marathon and it was on a Saturday. I neglected to notice the 5700' incline, plus (obviously) 5700' descent. We literally climbed three mountains...twice. It was crazy hard. I probably walked 8-9 miles of the race. And now, four days later, I'm still having trouble moving my body. There were a lot of runners there who had done 70+ marathons and they all said to add at least an hour on to your time. All of this is just to make me feel better for my 5:36 marathon time. No one should ever feel bad about a marathon time, no matter what. That's why I love the race. You work so hard and the race is completely your own. But still. I kind of thought I'd be a little faster than that. Throughout the race I kept seeing other people who were either faster, stronger, slower, sicker, more exhausted, less exhausted, more tan, less clothed...but I would tell myself any time another runner psyched me out, "This is my marathon, right here. That's their marathon. This is mine." That said, every runner I encountered was amazing. Everyone was so encouraging and uplifting and it turns out that running 26.2 miles alongside someone really makes you care about them. I saw runners struggling at different points, and I honestly cheered for them when they'd pass me later. Or one woman I passed on an uphill (yeah, baby) was clearly struggling when she reached the top. I was genuinely happy to see her after the race and congratulate her on pushing through. Maybe this only surprised me because I'm not normally a compassionate person,  but struggling alongside someone at least makes you respect them, if not genuinely care about their overall well-being. That's a nice feeling.

One final marathon note: Paul finished 38 minutes before me.  What would you do if you were waiting after a huge, exhausting race? Would you go down the hill to the car, get your camera, climb back up the hill, convince someone to take your picture, then hike a half mile further up the hill to wait for your wife? He ran the last half mile with me and we crossed the finish line together, holding hands. At the time I called him a show-off, but really it was just another reason for me to be head-over-heels in love with Paul Weitzel.

So anyway, we live here now. We're happy. We get to see Paul a lot more than we expected. If you come visit us, remember that Dave and Teresa have a HUGE, beautiful house and they only live 35 minutes away. If you still want to stay with us, we have a tiny apartment and would love to have you. But you've been warned.

At this point he was yelling "Camera!" I had no idea what he was doing.


We did it!

Pre-race.

Post-race. We were caked in sweat. Yum.
See you soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amelia's First Year

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Summer in the City

Oh boy, I just keep putting this off, and now it's become this huge task to attempt to update my blog. The last time I really updated was in March and, well, it's July. We may or may not have done some interesting things since then. I will say that this is pretty difficult to type because I currently have TWO wrist braces (which I am very tired of, I might add). Also, this coming weekend was going to be the first in a very long time that we didn't have any plans (but I'm happy to say that our status is now "busy" for the coming weekend). So a quick recap of events as I remember them, then some random pictures to accompany the list:
  • June - Reece took gymanstics classes from our YMCA. He LOVED them and now he can do a real somersault. I am very proud.
  • Walking - Amelia is still very cautious about her walking. She is not cautious, however, in any other aspect of her life. She is definitely our little monkey. She not only climbs on everything, but she'll pull the chairs out from under the table so she can crawl onto them. We had to dismantle Reece's slide from his bed (sad, I know), but she already figured out how to climb two rungs on the ladder. How do you childproof against that? Good thing she's so cute.
  • July - We spent the 4th of July relaxing, then planned to watch the fireworks from our roof with our friends the Brooks. About five minutes before 9 PM we heard a HUGE explosion and saw brilliant pink lights out our window. We thought the fireworks were starting early, but it turns out some glitch caused them to all explode at the same time. That's right, three synchronized fireworks shows went off in about 12 seconds all at the same time. I wish I had seen it. It sure sounded awesome, though.
  • We spent the following weekend at Big Bear so that I could run the Tough Mudder with my brother, Ryan. It was amazing, and super hard, and I proved to be less tough than I hoped. I fell off the very first obstacle (a set of climbing walls), landed on my wrists from about 6 feet up, and sprained them both pretty badly. Ryan was very kind and patient with me through the remainder of the race, but I couldn't use my hands at all. It was interesting to figure out how to climb over logs, swim under barrels, crawl under barbed wire, through tunnels, slide down a slip 'n' slide, climb a wet half-pipe, and more without the use of my hands. And now the adventure continues as I try to figure out how to take care of my kids on a daily basis with two big braces on my wrists/thumbs. Still worth it, though. Thanks, Ryan!
  • The next weekend Ryan, Liz, Owen, Dena and Markie all came down for Comic Con. I think we all got exactly what we expected to get out of it. It involved a lot of people-watching, line-waiting, and a few moments of sheer joy (such as: meeting the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, Paul being five rows from William Shatner and joining him in shouting "Khan!!!", Markie going on a photo spree and taking pictures of literally every person she saw with a costume, Owen refusing to take a picture of anyone with a costume...I don't blame him, Reece saying excitedly, "I saw 10 Spider-Mans!", seeing the entire cast of the Twilight movies and being unimpressed, seeing that my head was the size of Lou Ferrigno's bicep, and oh so many more). We're glad we had this authentic San Diego experience.
Now we're gearing up to have Dave and Teresa's family come visit us for the weekend (yay!) and then next week heading to Utah for Layne's mission farewell (oh yeah, he's going to Rome, Italy...jealous, anyone?). Then it's packing and moving and five weeks of time off work for Paul (double yay!!!).  I say it often to myself and to Paul, but we have a pretty sweet life.

Camping in April with Owen and our friends, Sam, Garin and Elijah.


Disneyland in May with Dena's family and Ryan's family.


I have no recollection of this day. But I love my family.


 My sweet Amelia at Mission Bay park.


 Amelia turned one! Then we found out she had a mild allergic reaction to both chocolate and peanut butter. Whoops.


They are not allowed on the balcony, so whoever let them is in big trouble...


I just love her.


 Paul went paint-balling with his brothers in June.


Our Tough Mudder victory dinner. Did I mention it was at a ski resort and they made us climb the mountain probably six times? Who does that? Ridiculous.


 Owen and Reece-ter at Big Bear.


 Liz and the crew at Big Bear.
Paul shaved his head and grew his beard. Super hot, right? Kinda not fair that he can dramatically alter his look and have it be so successful. I don't think I would fair so well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

You have your fear, which might become reality; and you have Godzilla, which IS reality.

She's walking! Or at least she's very very close to walking. Yesterday, out of nowhere, she stood up and took eight steps. She's such a good crawler now that she just hasn't been interested in walking, and I don't blame her. If I could get away with people me carrying me most everywhere I went, I would. So she'd take a few steps here and there, and cruise along the furniture, but now I think she's really catching on to how walking can change her little world. And it terrifies me. Sure, there are good things about her learning to walk: I can put her down in a public restroom and not worry about her being covered in a million diseases. She can walk from the car to the elevator when my arms are full of groceries. But she can also run away (she crawled under the bathroom stall the other day while I was helping Reece go potty. He was mid-stream and I couldn't just put him down and she certainly wasn't coming back...Thank goodness for nice women who stop mine from escaping, or worse). And reach a higher shelf of books (which she will subsequently throw on the floor). So here's to a new toddler in the house, a new level of independence for said toddler, and a new level of difficulty in parenting. Good thing she's so cute. And so proud of herself for her big accomplishment. I just wish she'd slow down a little so I can enjoy it a bit longer.

Also, I realize it's been a very LONG time since I've posted anything. We've just been having too much fun. I'll fill in the blanks eventually. For now, please enjoy some serious cuteness:


Okay, so it's not letting me upload any more videos. For now, this is all you get. This was supposed to be one of three videos in the sequence, to show how she acts when she's tired. She gets pretty hilarious, just kind of laying around and waiting for us to put her in bed (it was 7:30, by the way, so she's being a bit melodramatic).

video

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Disneyland!

What better way to celebrate turning 30 than visiting the fountain of youth: Disneyland!? Paul and Ryan collaborated to make my wildest dreams come true (I'm trying to see how many times I can type that phrase today) by getting us discount tickets to Disneyland. We got a hotel for two nights in Anaheim and, together with Ryan and Liz and Owen, we spent our Saturday at Disneyland. Well, most of our Saturday. We were lucky enough to be there the same day as a "geocaching incident" which kept us out of the park until noon. But I'm sure the bomb squad enjoyed the park while we couldn't.


The boys went swimming at the hotel while we waited for the park to open. I signed up for a Twitter account just so I could find out exactly when the park opened. It worked! Thank you, Twitter. No, I will not actually start using it.



We had a blast. Everything was just what I hoped it would be. Except being incredibly tired (I got home from Portland late on Thursday and we left for Disneyland after work on Friday), and Liz being sick. And big crowds. And the bomb scare. But even with all that, we still had a great time. Seriously, so great.



Ryan, Paul and I took advantage of sleeping kids late that night and used all our saved-up fast passes to hit all the cool rides. I love the kid rides, but I'm not passing up a chance to go on Space Mountain.


I love this picture. Owen is so nice to my kids. And I love Ryan and Liz cuddling in the background.

Thanks, so much, to Ryan and Liz and Owen, for helping make my birthday weekend so super rad! And I can say "rad," because I'm almost 30. Happy my-birthday to all, and may all your wildest dreams come true!!!

Wheel of Fortune!

That's right, folks. I did it. I auditioned for Wheel of Fortune!!! As embarrassing as it may be, I have actually been dreaming of this audition for (at least) four years, when Paul got a chance to audition. I remember watching the show as a kid, and it's still around because it's just that good of a show. I'm all about family-friendly TV programming, so I am, and always have been, a Wheel fan. We don't actually get any TV channels right now (except ABC, but only sometimes), but last year when we would watch the show, Reece would call it "the Letter Show," and call out letters along with the contestants. And once I solved a puzzle without any letters being called (the Phrase category is always the easiest). So hopefully that dispels any myths that I am actually cool, and you can approach this description of my Wheel of Fortune audition with extremely low expectations.

Here's how it all went down (for those of you thinking of auditioning, or those of you going through the process...good luck to any and all of you!): I sent in my application online at least five times over the last four years. If you go to their website, you can also apply online. I know they have several Wheelmobile events, where they take their big truck around the country and have a raffle-type event where they call contestants on stage to solve puzzles. While that sounds fun, that was not my route for getting an audition. I simply applied online over and over again until I finally wore down their defenses and they gave me a chance. Actually, I just got lucky. I happened to be living in Portland last year when I applied, and they happened to be taping four weeks of shows in Portland this month. So I think they just pulled my name from their list of Portland applicants because they needed to fill some extra slots. Either way, I was happy to be included.

I received an email two weeks ago telling me that I was invited to audition in Portland. We currently live in San Diego, so it was a risky decision (replace "risky" with "foolhardy," "stupid," "expensive," or "awesome") to fly all the way to Portland just for a chance of getting on the show. But as I said, I've been trying to get on the show for years, so I wasn't about to pass up on this chance. Who knows if I'll ever get another? Plus, it's just fun.

So my awesome, amazing and incredibly supportive husband said "Of course!" to me traveling to Portland, and arrangements were made. I took my nine month old daughter with me and left her with babysitters in Portland, while my almost-three year old son stayed in SD with my husband. I got to stay with my incredible aunt Staci, and the whole trip just worked out beautifully (it's actually a super long, faith-promoting story, with canceled flights, extreme airport delays, lost drivers licenses, expensive taxis, MAX rides, miraculous heart-healings, and very little sleep...but I won't regale you with that information. That's for my journal).

So now to the audition. It was held in the Courtyard by Marriott ballroom in downtown Portland. There were about 60-75 people there (I'm terrible at estimating numbers of people in a room. Could have been anywhere from 50-1000), and we were seated in rows and they took our names for a seating chart. After watching a video meant to pump us up for the experience (and it did), we were told that we would be called at random to solve the puzzles. The puzzles were projected onto a large screen, and one of the producers spun a mini-Wheel to determine dollar amounts. The producers kept emphasizing certain strategies, and I'm sure they were watching to see who paid attention to their advice, and also who showed "genuine enthusiasm," "big smiles," and picked "smart letters" (all quotes from the producers). I knew you had to play the game their way (clap a lot, smile a lot, speak loudly and clearly...I even wore a cardigan because I noticed that most women my age on the show wore brightly-colored cardigans), but I didn't realize how structured they really wanted you to be. So when you get called on (in random order), be quick, be smart, be happy, and be LOUD. Pick obvious letters (like if there's an IN_, be sure to call out "G"). Buy multiple vowels. And, if you can, SOLVE THE PUZZLE. On my turn, I called an obvious letter (L), bought a vowel, and solved the puzzle (Before & After: The South Pole Vault).


This is the swag I got for solving a puzzle. I've never been more proud!

Once everybody gets a chance to call out letters, they ask a few people to stand up again. I don't think these are people they necessarily liked or not, just people who didn't get a chance to play very much the first round.

They then had us do a written test, consisting of about 16-20 word puzzles that were semi-completed, with five minutes on the clock. I got about 12-13 done. After the written test, the producers take a break to grade the tests, and afterward they dismiss about 2/3 of the group. I made it through to the second round, where it really got fun.

They kept about 20 of us for the second round, and we were asked to stand up in groups of five to solve more puzzles. They keep the rounds moving pretty fast, but this time they also had us pretend to spin the wheel. That was pretty funny to watch, but we were all willing to dance, jump, sing, or spin. Whatever we had to do to get on the show, right? I was about to solve the puzzle TWICE but the producer landed me on Lose a Turn. I'm not sure what that means, but I do know they want to keep the rounds moving, so sometimes she'd purposely land it on Lose a Turn just to give the other players a chance. Or maybe I just wasn't as good as I thought I was.

After we got a few chances to solve, they had us give a brief bio of ourselves. Try to be enthusiastic, brief, and interesting. I think my mistake was mentioning that I currently live in San Diego. They were looking for Portland contestants, and I am no longer a Portland resident. So when I don't get invited to be on the show, I'm blaming it on that.

Everybody got a chance to solve a few more puzzles and introduce themselves, then they dismissed us. If we get on the Portland show we'll be called "within the week." It's been six days, so I'm saying I didn't get on those shows. I'm holding out for the other option, which is getting a letter "within two weeks"of the audition saying I'm invited to a taping of the show in Culver City. That would be better for me, anyway. So I'm crossing my fingers, wishing on a star, throwing salt over my shoulder, hanging a horseshoe over my door, and searching for four-leaf clovers. Anything I'm missing?

So that's it. I'll keep you updated as to whether I get dismissed or my wildest dreams come true (yes, my wildest dream is making it on Wheel of Fortune. What? I never said I was creative).

Sometimes you need a break from paradise

I'm WAY behind on this whole blog thing. Probably why nobody ever checks it. Well, we went to Arizona in February for Eva's baptism. It was awesome. Eva is just a beautiful, smart, talented, witty little firecracker, and we've adored her for eight years now. We remember visiting their house five and a half years ago for Thanksgiving and getting a taste of Eva's personality as she bossed us around the house and won us over with her big blue eyes and loving personality. Now we love her even more because she is probably the only person who can get Reece to eat his dinner, AND she loves playing with our kids. In short, we love Eva (we love all our nieces and nephews, but she's the most recently baptized).



I was even more impressed with Eva's wisdom and spirituality. The morning before her baptism I tried to get her to sin. Nothing serious, but I said, "Hey Eva, this is the last time you can sin for free. Once you get baptized you'll have to work harder to repent. Come on. Do it. Go yell at your brother or something." She told me, "No, I don't want to do that." "Why not?" I asked, somewhat embarrassed that my little joke was so handily refused. "Because that's not the right thing to do." Okay, Eva. You win this round. And probably every other round to come. Who taught her how to make good decisions? It certainly wasn't me.



Anyway, we really have loved being in San Diego because we have family so (relatively) close. We loved spending the weekend with Dave and Teresa's family as well as Ryan and Liz and Owen. Family is the best. Especially mine.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Family Pictures

Our friend Garin took our family pictures last Saturday in Balboa Park. As Paul put it, "We are not beautiful people." So Garin had quite the task to try to make us look presentable. I think she did a stand-up job. We look downright decent. It may be just that our kids look phenomenal and so they counteract the troll faces that Paul and I pull. Either way, we're happy. Enjoy! If you'd like a hard copy of any of them, let me know and I'll send them to you.





















Which ones are your favorites? If you're one of the few people who read this blog not for phishing purposes, I'm going to assume that you care about us and therefore have a favorite picture. Let me know so I know which one to put on my wall. Thanks!