Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sister Update!

Sorry it's late, but better late than never!!

Last week:
  • Helped put on a successful Lower Lights Christmas concert. It was held at the Masonic Temple which was beautiful and intriguing.
  • Did lots of Christmas shopping & shipped off all out-of-town packages. If Christmas had come already I could have been done. But more time means more ideas which means continuous shopping. But at least the pressure's off for the main things and it's just the extras now.
  • Enjoyed discovering a few new-to-me items from the maternity boxes.
  • Started listening to Cutting for Stone. I'm liking it a lot. I have a lot of Indian colleagues so the accent and inflections of the dialog are very familiar to me.
Next week:
  • Finish up Christmas shopping and START WRAPPING!!! There is absolutely no way this is going to get left until the last minute again this year. NO WAY!!! Hear me! I don't exactly have a plan for getting it done early, yet, but I know I must come up with one asap
  • Friends Christmas party tonight - costumes, white elephant gifts, and all.
  • Goodie plates for the neighbors. I made a bunch of mint surprise cookies but haven't packaged them up yet. I fear they're going to get too old to be any good for giving away soon.
  • So excited for Rachel & Ken and Christine to arrive this week
  • Christmas Carol at the Hale Center Theater
  • Zackrison Christmas party
  • We need to find a time to go up to see the lights at Temple Square. I think we missed this tradition last year and don't want to miss out again this year.
  • Catch up on end-of-year finances.
Last Week:
  • avoided subbing at all cost. Had a job lined up on Friday but stayed home all the other days. Darin was sort of around (always with some annoying due dat looming). We did lots of shopping. Some mailing. Lots of planning. I made stuff. Cleaned stuff. It felt very productive.
  • I feel like that really sums up most of my life lately. The mile-a-day challenge sadly got swallowed up by Darin's finals and working every single day the week before last. I ran three times last week and that felt like a crazy accomplishment.
  • also I feel like so many of the things I'm doing right now involve Christmas secrets so there isn't much to say.
  • I did host a primary teacher appreciation open house at our house a week ago. At one point we maybe had 35 people at our house. It was kind of crazy but I'm really glad we did it.
This Week:
  • today is George's 10th Bday!! Double digits. It feels like my boys are truly growing up. I feel a little weepy about that today. I stayed up til 2:30am making a giant bean bag chair. Darin stayed up with me acting as my assistant and wrapping all the other present and decorating. I'm slowing realizing how hazardous this crafting lifestyle can be. I might need to retire. I fell asleep somewhere around 3. George woke up too excited about life at 6:30am I am just hanging on until 9pm. Just need to make it until then!
  • had two classroom Christmas parties to attend this afternoon. Now we're trying to decide how to celebrate this evening. Unfortunately "nap" didn't make the party list.
  • last day of school tomorrow for the year. It's a half day. Meaning the Earnest children have an optional half day of school tomorrow. I'm not making anyone go if they don't want to. Waste of time in my opinion!
Last few weeks:
  • Trying to get all our Christmas shopping done early before jack is out of school for winter break this Friday. He is already searching the house for presents and one night when I was tucking him in told me he'd tell me my present if I told him his. Nice try!
  • Try to get us all healthy again after Jack brought home a bad cold. He and Will both have miserable coughs.
  • Worked when I could find time. Like at 2 am when the house is quiet.
  • Napped with William who I couldn't put down for naps because he had a hard time breathing and sounded so pathetic. Caught up on almost all Christmas movies on tv for same reason.
  • Got pictures taken of Jack and Will. Let's just say picture days are my least favorite days of the year. I would have walked out but Zack was there and helped convince me to stay despite William sobbing.
  • Had Baba and Tai down to meet William. He loved being in Babas arms and cooing at her.
  • Enjoyed a visit with my dad and Karen. Family is the best
This week
  • Mail out the last of our presents.
  • Buy Zack some presents. He's hard to buy for this year.
  • Work out 4 times each week. I got my four in last week but it wasn't pretty.
  • My mom gets into town today. Can't wait for company!
  • Figure out how to get William to sleep in his bassinet at naptime again. Ugh.
Last couple of weeks:
  • Steve was out of town for five days. We all held up very well until the last day.
  • Work Christmas party.
  • Mei Li's ballet recital. It was so much fun for me to watch her dance. She did a great job.
  • Christmas shopping, Christmas card addressing, toy-making
  • Visiting teaching
  • Watched my friend's children overnight
  • Made these brussel sprouts for dinner one night. They were so good. Mi Na loved them. My other two did not, but one out of three ain't bad, right?
  • Heard the most amazing musical number at church. A pianist, cellist, and a vocalist performed "Oh Holy Night." They were all teenagers and they were perfection! It was so inspiring. I think I'm going to remember it forever.
This week:
  • Tri-ward Christmas concert
  • Temple lights
  • Finish up Christmas cards and shopping
  • Christmas!
  • Leave for California.

Last Weeks:

I don't have my planner with me at the moment so I can't remember much of what we did...

  • The Christmas party was a success. You can see a couple pictures on my instagram profile. I am glad we get to have a break now. It is much needed.
  • Got a new calling - teaching 5 year olds in primary. Ken was called to be the 2nd counselor in Elder's Quorum.
  • Saw A Christmas Carol in Alexandria with CZ and some friends. It was a great production.
  • Bought tickets to Chicago so we could get through security and spend a couple hours with Ken's sister Melissa. She was passing through Dulles on her way to Ukraine on her mission. Great to meet up.
  • Mailed our Christmas cards!! So excited to get that DONE.
  • Went to a couple Christmas parties. Made a lot of Grandma Z's Mint Surprise cookies. Wore festive, matching attire a lot.
  • Helped Ken have a fun shopping spree-ish at Urban Outfitters with the discount. Glad he finally got the enjoy the fruits of the appreciation period.

Next week:

  • Wrap up as much as I can at work in the only 2 days I'll be working this week. It feels like I'll be gone forever so it seems I have LOTS to do. Ugh.
  • Finish getting more things for Ken. This has been a hard year to shop for him because he gave me basically zero guidance and I haven't had any great inspiration. It's really important to my feeling of Christmas that I surprise him, because that's where the magic comes in! I don't feel like I've succeeded at that yet this year.
  • Fly to Utah on Wednesday! I am SO excited to see everyone but I'm already dreading packing for this excursion. It's going to be SO HARD. I am setting aside 6 hours on Wednesday morning to get it done. Must happen.
  • Thursday see Christmas Carol in Orem! Get my haircut with Christie. It's been 4 months. Ew.
  • Friday is the Z family Christmas party so I'll help mom decorate and cook for that. Get our white elephant gifts pulled together.
  • Help Sarah with all final to-dos
  • Christmas Eve! I hope we have our traditional In N Out meal, right?
  • Split Christmas Day between Provo and Alpine, probably the morning with the kids and the afternoon in Alpine. And go to church? It's weird when Christmas is on a Sunday b/c we feel like that's a major disruption to our day when for much of the world Christmas is the only day of the year they actually GO to church. Funny.
  • Finalize our plans and schedule for visiting CA after Christmas. Let's all go to the rose parade, ok?
Last Couple Weeks:
  • Had a quick trip to Utah for a Woman in Accounting dinner at BYU. It was fun to get to see family and friends briefly, though it definitely seemed too short. It was also fun getting to go to campus and see some of my old professors. It's always nice to see that they remember me and seem to like me, I always figured none of them knew me or liked me since I felt like I never went to class.
  • While in Utah I learned that I passed my first CPA exam! That was pretty happy news!
  • Got back to DC in time for the big PwC holiday party. Jon came to town to be my date for the party and we carpooled there with my roommate Jaklyn and her date. It was a pretty fancy party with lots of delicious food. Got to meet up with Rachel&Ken and Steve&IeLi at the party, it's times like that that make me really love that I work with family.
  • Went to Philadelphia the next day with some friends. There was a Yelle concert in Philadelphia Saturday night that some friends wanted to go to and we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the city. We got to see some of the sites and enjoy some good food, and the concert was a pretty good time. We ventured into the large Macy's in Philadelphia to escape the cold and found what is apparently the largest playing pipe organ in the world.
  • Sunday after church Jon and I went to see the National Holiday Tree and the lights at the DC temple. It was freezing and when we first got to the tree for some reason it was closed. They couldn't tell us why or for how long, so we waited around listening to rumors of the president visiting the tree, hoping they'd let us in soon. Luckily it wasn't that long of a wait and we soon got to enjoy the tree, which was kind of a disappointment in the end. I think it could definitely use some better decorations. The lights at the temple were impressive and got me excited to visit temple square when in Utah.
  • I can't remember much of what I did the next week, but the next weekend I went to visit Jon in Morgantown. On Saturday we went to a WVU men's basketball game then ventured up to see what Pittsburgh is like. Sunday night we went to a Lady Antebellum concert, Jon has been introducing me to some country music since we first met.
This week:
  • Finally got some real work to do at work, so Monday-Wednesday I'm out at a client site instead of in the office.
  • Pack and get some Christmas shopping done.
  • Wednesday night fly to Utah!! So excited to be with family and celebrate Christmas! Didn't quite realize when I bought my ticket out that I had a layover in LA, kind of a lame route to Utah from DC.
  • Haircut and see A Christmas Carol on Thursday.
  • Zackrison family Christmas party on Friday.
  • In-N-Out Christmas Eve dinner.
  • Christmas!!!
  • Make time for studying and exercising. Try to decide if I'm going to push back my next test date.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apparently I Only Blog When There's a Sister Update.

But I'm ok with that, I think their lives are more interesting and exciting than mine anyway. So here they are!


Last Week:

  • Drove back from NC with CZ. I checked my local craft stores for more Halloween items when I got back and they had NOTHING. Completely sold out. Thank goodness we got so much shopping done while at Annee's!

  • Saw Midnight in Paris with my friend Kirstin. It was so cute! I've been reading David McCullough's The Greater Journey about Americans in Paris in the 1800's so it all tied in very nicely.

  • Went to lunch with Ken on day at the mall by the office. Ran into CZ also having lunch at the same time. That was cool!

  • Had a full-day training in the office on Wednesday. Turns out Steve was the teacher! That was cool too.

  • I sewed the felt garland and finished cutting the paint chip garland.

  • Went VTing and was visit taught.

  • Went to Truckeroo on Friday afternoon. It was AWESOME. So convenient having all the food trucks in one place! Ironically, there was no truck selling Mexican food like tacos, taquitos, quesdillas, etc which is the original of all food trucks. Wish one of those existed.

  • Setup the gym Friday night while listening to the sad BYU game.

  • Saturday it snowed pretty hard. Random for the area.

  • Ward Halloween Party! Everything went really well. People were happy with how everything looked, and very surprised that we went to so much effort. The dry ice Ken brought was a huge hit with the kids. Everyone was shocked that we made the tombstones from scratch. I wonder if we'll be asked to help with the Christmas party. If so, maybe we should make a giant gingerbread house from cardboard... That could be so cute right?

  • Sunday was the primary program.

Next Week:

  • Not a ton going on this week. I haven't mentally wrapped my mind around the fact that it is November!! October FLEW by. We need to sit down and plan out the month.

  • I'll be in training all week at a nearby hotel. This means I should be able to be home each day by 6pm.

  • My goal this week is to run every day. Highly correlated to the success of the above point.

  • Ghost Walk in Alexandria on Halloween. Wonder if we should wear our costumes... It will be freezing.

  • Rotate out our dead plants and put in the new mums and pumpkins I have for November.

  • Pack up Halloween decorations and pull out Thanksgiving ones. I want to make this Thanksgiving advent tree.

  • Birthday dinner with Ken at J. Gilberts on Friday. Finally getting around to this! Other than that, we should eat out zero times. Our Eating Out envelope is at $0 so I really want to stick to this goal!

  • Cook a turkey dinner on Saturday.

  • Dinner at Steve's on Sunday I think?


Last Week:

  • Ran twice. We didn't do our nine miler. We are doing that on Monday.

  • I did pilates once.

  • Stephen's preschool praise and celebration thing.

  • Preschool Halloween parade. Stephen was Spiderman and he kept his character the entire time. He kept his hands on his hips and did his shifty-eye thing. It was really funny.

  • It snowed on Saturday! I was kind of sad about it. Our kids loved it and played in it for a while. But it was so cold and our heater isn't working!

  • Mei Li lost her first tooth. She diligently wiggled it for over a week, and it came out painlessly while eating some chips.

  • Went visiting teaching twice.

  • Brought dinner to my friend.

  • Cleaned the house really well.

  • Kept up with the laundry all week, but of course the washing machine broke on Saturday.

This Week:

  • Nine mile, five mile, and ten mile runs.

  • Halloween!

  • Look for a couple of tall things to put on my mantle to fill in the sides around the mirror.

  • Continue to sand down other mirror.

  • Stay away from Halloween candy.


Last week:

  • Finished Jack's iPhone costume right in the nick of time! He was super excited to wear it and get all the not my child.

  • Tried to figure out Will's "schedule.". So far all I've figured out is he doesn't have one.

  • Got two 6 hour sleep stretches at night last week. Thought it might be his new "schedule" but the next night proved us way wrong. Like up every 90 minutes all night long wrong.

  • Only went to the doctor twice. Things are looking up!

This week

  • Month end at work. I am super nervous to have to work as much as i will have to this week. Like pit in my stomach nervous.

  • Say goodbye to my mom. She has been heaven sent this last month. I don't even want to think about how much of a spaz I'm going to be without her help.

  • Get lunches made before I go to bed each night so Jack and Zack will have an easier morning while I'm busy with Will.

  • Figure out how to better read William's crys. Right now I just hear one, and it's loud.

  • Only one doctors visit scheduled next week (and it's for William and not me). Try my hardest to convince my body to keep it that way.


Last Week:

  • Drove back from NC with Rachel Monday morning just in time to make it to work at Anthropologie where they kept me until 11 pm. It was a long day.

  • Worked again at Anthro Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

  • Broke my phone. I don't want to talk about it. Went a few days with a really awesome $20 pay-as-you-go phone. I was scared to leave my house because I was sure I'd get lost without the map of the iPhone that I've come to rely on so much. I started out each of my days mapping out where I wanted to go and getting the routes from Mapquest. It was a small victory every day when I made it home at night without having gotten lost.

  • Visit taught one of our girls, unfortunately couldn't get ahold of the other girl.

  • Ran what felt like a million errands and got an oil change, I guess all in preparation of starting work the next week and realizing that I would soon no longer have any free time.

  • Went back to blonde! It was kind of a sudden decision, but once I made it I wanted to move quick so that I wasn't suddenly changing things after starting work.

  • Made one last trip out to Morgantown before starting work. Participated in some Halloween festivities with Jon and his friends and got to enjoy some Mountaineer appearances Jon had to make. I got to be a judge for the childrens' costume contest at WVU's Family Fun Day.

  • Got stranded on my way out of town Sunday evening when my car broke down. I went a little bit into panic mode since I needed to be at my first day of work Monday morning. I had left myself plenty of time to get back early Sunday evening had their been no issues. A friend came and looked at the car and couldn't tell what was wrong with it but said it definitely couldn't be driven back to DC. Jon and I rushed up to the local rental car places only to get there right as they had closed. Looked into flights from Morgantown to DC but they were pretty expensive. Jon saved the day by driving me back to DC and helping me get to work the next morning on his way back out of town to get back to his Monday classes.

This Week:

  • Start work! I know I've been waiting around forever for work to start, but it still feels like the time sped by, it's kind of crazy that it's already time to start!

  • Find a solution to my car problem. I currently have a rental car which is a good immediate solution, but I need to get the car looked at to find out what exactly is wrong and what it will take to fix it. Hopefully it isn't as bad as I've built it up in my mind to be.

  • Try to exercise at least a couple times. I'm a little worried I'm not actually going to be ready for my big race in Richmond...

  • Really all I've focused on for this week is starting work, so we'll see what else the week brings.


Last Week:

  • Ran 22 miles!! Last long run before the marathon!

  • Henry turned 12. Spent Monday afternoon finding him presents. Darin went one direction, I went another. By Monday night we had a plan.

  • Tuesday sent Henry to school then we had to find a few other gifts. Got home in time to cook up two dozen chocolate chip filled cupcakes before Henry got home! Later took the whole family out to chili's for dinner.

  • Wednesday had to do some housekeeping damage control, then locked myself in the garage to make Ruby's costume.

  • Thursday early morning run followed by a Costco run to get the rest of the food for the ward trunk-or-treat. Followed by a massage. Followed by parent-teacher conference. Followed by dinner/homework madness. Followed by book club at my house. Stayed up til 3am finishing the costume.

  • Friday morning went to church to set up the trunk or treat. Came home to make Henry's costume. Straight over to the elementary school for the girls parties. Straight home to change into costumes and grab last minute items to take over to the church.

  • TRUNK-or-TREAT!!

  • Saturday, slept in. George's double header was cancelled due to rain. Total blessing!! Ran, did laundry, fed people. Then made costumes for the rest of the afternoon for me and Darin for a family Halloween party later that night.

This Week:

  • No school on Halloween. That was okay because I feel like I could sleep through this entire week! Didn't wake up until 9:30. Spent the rest of the day returning things purchased throughout our frantic week last week and getting ready for Halloween night. Oh yeah, and helping 3/4 kids enter a writing contest which had me typing a story until 12:45 on Halloween night! Due date was today.

  • Thought I'd just spend Tuesday getting caught back up on life. Instead got called in at the last minute to sub for a teacher who had to leave with her sick kids! I'll be subbing tomorrow too.

  • I'd love to make it to the temple this week. But it's not looking real promising.

  • Can't think of anything else right now. I can't even keep my eyes open!!

PS - Sorry for the super lame formatting, I'm on an older version of IE and I can't figure out how to change anything in Blogger.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sister Update

Last week:
  • Major doubts about our piano...What the heck was I thinking painting a piano? Its going fine, but really a blue piano in our living room? Somehow I feel like I remember Elvis having a blue piano. Am I decorating my house like Graceland? But it's done, and it will remain blue forever.
  • Gained 7 pounds in 5 days. My doctor picked up one of my feet, and said, "There's half of it, the rest is in the other leg. Welcome to pregnancy." Honestly I have no ankles. Think elephantitis and you'll be close. Made no other visible progress. This baby is still floating up high. Also Zack can't seem to remember how much time I have left which makes for some bitter exchanges. Like, hey only 3 more weeks. Thats something to never say to a women 1 week away from her due date.
  • Stopped myself from making nasty comments to the guy asking where I was carrying the bowling ball to? Honestly has the world totally lost all politeness?
  • Started to force Jack to have a snack and glass of water as soon as he gets home from school. It has helped with the massive meltdowns that were happening as soon as he walked into the door.
  • Got a new calling. I'm supposed to teach the 6 year olds. I wondered if the Bishop saw my swollen belly as he was giving me the calling. A few days later I got a nice phone call from the Primary president making sure I knew they weren't expecting me until January. Bless that kind woman.
  • Went out on a date with Zack. It was blissfully perfect.
This week:
  • Plan an out of school friend gathering for Jack. I want to help him feel like he has friends at school. Its something I never really had to think about because I always had a built in friend.
  • Figure out a way to stay asleep. Maybe I should stop blogging at 4am?
  • Figure out how to tie my blue piano in with the rest of the room...
  • Deliver this baby.
  • Get as much tied up with work as possible.
  • Stop eating for two.

Last Week:
  • Visiting teaching
  • Preschool, kindergarten, ballet
  • Picked up trash for the Virginia day of service
  • Prepared for Michiko and sons' arrival on Monday!
  • Play dates
  • Finished sanding down all the drawers of the dresser that Rachel so kindly picked up for us.
  • General Relief Society Meeting. I think I should plant some forget-me-nots in my garden next spring.
Next Week:
  • See some sights with Michiko and boys
  • Play dates
  • Run
  • All the usual stuff

Last Week:
  • Fruits and vegetable week came to an end, and I just didn't plan sufficiently to cook at home consistently this week. I was telling the kids what a failure it was that we hardly ever had a dinner plan, and how often we were going out to eat. Funny that they didn't see it the same way that I did. Fruits and vegetable week was fully awesome. I loved it, though I was kind of starving in the beginning. By the end I had the hang of it, but then it came to a crashing end when I needed some sort of sustenance for my 16 mile long run. It was a steady spiral down from last Saturday until this Saturday. Why does that sort of thing always have to happen?!
  • Attended a back-to-school PTA picnic. Marveled at what a difference a year makes. Remembered vividly this same event last year where we felt totally unacquainted and alone. This year the kids wanted to go to see their friends and teachers. I had fellow moms to sit around and chat with. It was nice.
  • Subbed in 5th grade all day Thursday and Friday. There was a half day of school on Wednesday that we opted out of. This week went by really fast!
  • THE PRIMARY PROGRAM!!! It was today. Hallelujah! It went really well. Now I have eleven month to relax until it's time to do it all over again :)
  • Had to take Henry to get a tetanus shot booster before he would be suspended from middle school for not complying. He kept telling me to let him get suspended. I decided scheduling a doctor's appointment was the more responsible route. He measured just under 5 feet 1 inch tall. He is almost 100 pounds, and he has perfect vision and hearing. Where have the past 12 years gone?!
  • Darin and Henry had an 11-year-old camp out to go on on Friday night. This put a hitch in my Saturday morning long run plan, and since I had been working Thursday and Friday I hadn't been able to do it early either. This means my 17 mile long run remains on the to-do list. I'm aiming to accomplish it on Tuesday. I'm subbing tomorrow too.
  • Darin needed to reconnect with civilization after his grueling 11-year-old camp out over-night :) We needed to go out for Mexican, and then follow it up with the opening night of "Monday Ball" at the theater. It was a lovely Saturday night date night.
This Week:
  • Sub on Monday.
  • 17 mile long run on Tuesday
  • Go to the Temple on Wednesday. I'm aiming for once a month. I'm cutting it really close!
  • Get ready to host my sister-in-law Amber Earnest who is flying out on Thursday and staying through Sunday. It's a birthday trip for her. I'll have to remember all the fun things to do here in Chapel Hill. I'm excited she's coming.
  • Darin would be really annoyed if I didn't express my excitement over the big Wilco concert we'll be attending up in Raleigh on Tuesday night. I guess they're on tour again. I guess we have tickets. Can't wait to frame another Wilco poster!
  • I miss the fruits and vegetables, and the eating at home. Maybe there will be a return to all of them this week. Maybe.
  • Finish a baby quilt. Hopefully before the baby gets here...
Last couple weeks:
  • Celebrated Brenden's 12th birthday! Can't believe I'm (I mean he's) that old! We had a great weekend including the Wasatch Elementary Fall Festival, the Fathers & Sons campout, a whole day at Lagoon amusement park with the whole family plus Grandma & Grandpa, presents, funfetti cake, and best of all getting to go to Young Mens. I remember being that age and being so anxious to be done with Primary - just like Brenden is now.
  • Witnessed Brenden's ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood office of Deacon today. What a sweet experience watching Scott confer the Priesthood to Brenden with Dad right next to him in the circle. I'm so proud of Brenden and loved watching him pass the sacrament today. I splurged on a sharp new Sunday outfit for him - nice not-too-short slacks, crips shirt, & cool tie.
  • Made lots of progress on my living room makeover - lamp & side tables arrived in the mail, ordered coffee table - hopefully it'll arrive this week, ordered throw pillows and this fabric for drapes. I know it's probably foolish to spend the time and energy and money on a room that was kind of already done, rather than one of our undone rooms, but for some reason I was just really hit with the bug and I'm loving the changes. A new rug and upholstery will probably have to wait a while, though. I've been trying to decide what to do with the old Pottery Barn tables set I have - move them to the basement? They're not quite right there. I think I'll try to sell them.
  • Applied for a grant from the Utah Arts Council for the Rooftop Concert Series - lots of paperwork - should hear next month if we got it.
  • Went to two concerts last week at Velour - which is kind of a lot all in one week and maybe we are getting a bit old for it, but I really do enjoy being a part of the music scene here still.
  • Found a dresser for June's room at DI - and the next day dropped it off to the wedore-dos people to paint it - no need for me to add anything more to my or Scott's already ridiculous todo lists.
  • Saw a commercial for Dumbo coming out on DVD, and before it was over I had pulled out my phone and purchased it on Amazon. I'm trying to build up my classic Disney movies collection. We got Bambi a while ago and have been loving it. Can't wait for Cinderella and Little Mermaid to come out again someday!
This week:
  • Work - I have a new project that I need to get started on (as in I should have started it 2 weeks ago)
  • Exercise - I feel like total garbage. I have got to do something about that. Plus, I won't let myself buy plane tickets to go to DC on Nov 12th until I at least get on the treadmill once.
  • Drive up the canyon to scope out a location for a family photo shoot. I really don't want to take fall pictures, but I fear I've nearly missed my window for summer shots.
  • Sign June up for gymnastics lessons. Poor girl asks me every day whether I've done it yet or not. Wish we didn't need to sign up for anything else that requires driving and schedules, but alas, she deserves to learn stuff too I guess.
  • Catch up on sleep - I'm falling asleep between every bullet point as I write this list. Huck & June have both been waking up in the night the past week which is really disruptive to me. I have definitely inherited Dad's outlook on having extra kids in my bed - I hate it! Unfortunately I'm not nearly as scary to them as he was to me as a little kid.
  • Time to get new Sunday shoes for Huck & June - had to have one more week of sandals today when their old ones I pulled out were way too small.
  • Need to stockpile some baby gifts - we have lots of friends and family (yay Ana!) having babies soon - and pretty much all boys. I bought a bunch of yarn earlier this summer thinking I'd be able to knit booties or hats or something. Too bad that never happened.
Last 2 weeks:
  • Not a lot of sleep! Between the work deadline and preparing for my lesson my nights were packed! It felt good to deliver the tax return I've been working on every day since May.
  • Took the Friday after the deadline off to run errands, buy plants, cook and bake for the weekend.
  • Made Boeuf Bourguignon for CZ's bday gathering. Concluded it is better when served with egg noodles as we've done in the past.
  • Watched a really sad BYU football game. Then a much better game the next weekend!
  • Went to a networking event for work for the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. It was really fun! I have a solid conversation starter, "I went to school in Utah" which inevitably starts a conversation about The West and what are you doing here.
  • Ken went to Utah for his sister's farewell so I was on my own this weekend. Two nights in a row I was SURE I heard someone breaking in the front door while I was in bed. Wimp.
  • Came THIS CLOSE to buying a worn out dollhouse at a garage sale to participate in this blog activity. Spent a couple hours perusing doll houses at our small town toy shop. I could REALLY enjoy that hobby. I'm penciling it in for retirement. Because it turns out a doll house coffee table costs as much as a real life coffee table...
  • Ran and went to the farmer's market on Saturday to make this soup.
  • Went to dinner and the RS Broadcast with CZ and my friend Kirstin. Forget-me-not was a lovely talk. Barbara Thompson's was spot on in answering some of the covenant questions I've been thinking about lately. Also, I painted my nails in a sparkly gold.
  • Started redesigning the blog finally.
  • Completed our set of wedding china.
  • Tested out a couple spinach smoothie recipes. Surprised that my favorite one was blueberry!
Next week:
  • Bake cupcakes for 2 of Ken's classes and his home teachees.
  • Pick up our order from Polyface Farms on Wednesday. Their turkeys are ready! I order a 10 lb turkey. I plan to practice a couple times before Thanksgiving. I'm so excited!
  • Work a ton this week. Hopefully I can accelerate most of the work I have left between now and the deadline.
  • Register for the Richmond 1/2 marathon! Price goes up after Friday.
  • Truckeroo is on Friday - all the food trucks in the DC area gather in one spot!
  • See I Don't Know How She Does it which is in theaters now. (Actually not going to happen. There's no time.)
  • Go out to a crepe restaurant in Alexandria after conference on Saturday.
  • Brunch at home during conference on Sunday. Start planning this early so we're ready.
  • Continue working on Christmas cards.
  • Upload all pictures onto the computer. I haven't done this since July but if I'm going to start blogging again this needs to happen.
  • Sync my iphone.
  • Finish our taxes?? Our state returns are so complicated for 2010.
  • Finish taxes and bookkeeping for Hud.
I'll add in my update in the morning when my eyes aren't so tired.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sister Time

Here it is!! Sorry it's getting up a little later than planed!

  • The majority of the week was spent in Roanoke, VA. It's a small, random town that's quite run down. Homes on Zillow were listed between $2500-7000 for a 5 bedroom house. No joke. Staunton, where Polyface Farms is located, is a lovely simple rural town which reminded me of La Canada or even Pasadena in size. Meaning it's quite liveable. But how do you live in small towns removed from the city? What do people do for work in such places? I don't think a life like that is anywhere in our future.
  • I spent time at the pool, which was mostly IN the pool because it was so hot! Ken feels great about his test! We'll find out for sure in November.
  • I worked on Thursday and Friday. It's getting busy.
  • White House Tour on Friday. Nowhere on the website do they mention the hour long line you'll wait in despite having an "appointment". It was HOT outside. Ew. But it was neat inside to see them setting up one room for an interview with the president later in the day. While we were in line outside the house we saw the Motorcade bring the President home and then leave an hour later. It was pretty awesome to see how they shut down the roads so smoothly.
  • Saturday we went up to Philadelphia for a quick day trip. The drive was lovely and there were about 100 tiny antique stores and garage/estate sales I wanted to stop at but didn't. We explored the city and ate some cheesesteaks. It was too hot to really enjoy life so we plan to go back in a couple months.
  • Sunday afternoon we helped a lady in our ward move which wouldn't be too noteworthy except for the 30 bug bites I received on the 6 inches of skin exposed below my running capris. My legs/ankles have swelled up so painfully that it's actually rough to walk. Lame!
  • Work all week. I can't make it all the way through my to-do list each week, which is the hallmark of busy season. Yikes.
  • No sweets, no eating out, strict control. We're getting back in the zone where I believe we'll be until December. If you do the crime you've got to do the time.
  • Early office close on Friday. I hope I really get to leave early!
  • Finish The Girl Who Played With Fire. Only 2 hours left. It's good but I don't recommend, too gross.
  • Run on Saturday!
  • Book photoshoot with Bluelily for when they're in DC in October.
  • Watched Theatre in the Woods at Wolf Trap. The two performances were The Maryland Youth Ballet and The Monumental Brass Quintet. Mei Li left with an even more fervent desire to become a ballerina, and Stephen decided he'd like to play the trumpet. I didn't get to see much with all of Mi Na's wiggling.
  • Played in the sprinklers and in the pool.
  • Went to Costco as a family on Saturday and spent so much money. Feeding five people is no joke. I can't believe how much we spend on food these days.
  • Started turning our second walk-in closet into a sewing room. Right now, the closet, the storage room, and our bedroom are a complete wreck.
  • Steve spent about ten hours this week helping people move.
  • Tried to make our bookshelves look pretty. I ran out of books. Hmmm.
  • Temple
  • Organize
  • Clean
  • Swim
  • Continue to agonize over what I'm going to put on the living room walls. I'm so terribly indecisive.
  • Make progress on my year-long piano hunt. I'm going to look at two this week.
  • Searched wearily for a home to rent and finally put in an application for one in Carmel Valley. It is 15 minutes to Zack's work in one direction and 15 minutes to my sisters house in the other. Our movers dropped off our 6 crates of belongings last Friday, only 2 of which we had with us in Boston. What was in the other 4 crates that we lived without for the last 2 years? With the exception of my bedroom end table, the crib and all of the kitchen goodies I have missed, I think we should have just told them to drop it all off at Goodwill.
  • We bought a piano off of craigslist to help fill the empty room at the front of the house. It was super cheap and pretty ugly but we are now on a mission to paint it some bright color thanks to a suggestion from Sarah. We'd love color suggestions! The good news is that Jack cant keep his hands off of it. He was even trying, and almost succeeding to recreate "Pioneer Children Walked and Walked..." by ear.
  • Was surprised by an impromptu visit from Grandma Z. She called Zack one night and surprised him by saying she was in Oceanside and had decided to drive the Honda down for us to borrow for a bit figuring an extra car might be helpful in our first few weeks in town. We were definitely surprised but happy for any excuse to visit and eat yummy pancakes with her.
  • Signed Jack up for Kindergarten. From what I have researched the school seems amazing and it's only half day Kindergarten because it is the Del Mar School District and not San Diego which is full day (7:45-3:30 each day for Kindergarten is just ridiculous in my humble, inexperienced opinion). He will be going from 8-12:40 every day. I spent our last few months in Boston crying that I was going to have to send my baby to school, and the last month in San Diego having nightmare after nightmare about sending him to school, but now that I see the school, and know its half day and see my bored out of his mind almost 6 year old who is so sad he has no friends in San Diego, I can't wait for it to start for his sake. (I can't wait for it for myself too about 1/2 of the time...hey that's progress!)
  • Enjoyed a visit with the Wiley clan, minus Scott this weekend. It was great to see them and so much fun to have so many kids around. It helped make our house feel like a home. We are so grateful they made the trek down to visit.
  • Had two doctors appointment, the last of which included an ultrasound which showed my complete placenta previa has almost completely resolved itself. If I delivered today I'd still have to do it via c-section, but they are hopeful that it could still resolve itself by 34 weeks (I'm 31 today). I took the news hard. Not that I wasn't excited to not have to worry about hemorrhaging to death anymore (as Zack lovingly pointed out when I looked so dejected), but I was really looking forward to having this baby by 37 weeks and not having to go through labor at all. I have had to be so inactive because of the placenta previa that I am dying to be more mobile again. The baby is measuring about 2 weeks larger then 31 weeks so he might just come early on his own...although I know I am setting myself up for disappointment by even writing that.
  • Send Zack to work. I can't tell you how great it sounds to be going back to a dual income household.
  • Try to figure out what life is like without Zack around all day. I don't think its going to be a pretty transition for either Jack or myself.
  • Get some pictures hung on the wall. Seriously this has been my one goal every day for the last week and has yet to happen. What the heck have we been doing with our time if not spending it hanging pictures?
  • Try to get Jack together with some of his old friends from San Diego. I don't know that I can see his defeated, "I have no friends, Mom" face anymore.
  • Get some sheet music and start piano lessons for Jack, if only by yours truly this week. But then again, isn't that the fastest way to get your kids to hate something? Try to teach them something and make them practice? :)
  • Had a great time in California with the kids - it was a lot of work on my own but really a nice visit and nice change of scenery. Drove both ways straight through without much incident. Spent 4 nights at the beach house, 2 nights in LC, and 2 nights in San Diego. Got to see Zack & Ana's new home, boogie board at 3 different beaches, go on lots of bike rides, and listen to all of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" on the various drives. Got myself new Rainbows and got new mini Toms for Huck (so cute!), successfully loaded/unloaded the bikes on the bike racks 4 times, and took the boys to go on the roller coaster at Circus Circus in LV (it was raining in Primm and they wouldn't let Oli on the one at New York New York - too short by 1/2 inch). We were all so happy to get home last night and see Scott. I had pretty much thrown up my hands and given up for the last hour of the drive - it was a bit of Lord of the Flies back there.
  • On Friday Brett took Brenden & Oliver to the X Games, so I took Huck & June and spent the day in South Pasadena. We went on a train ride, played at Garfield Park, went to My Sweet Cupcake (winner of Cupcake Wars), went to Mix 'n Munch (Cereal & Grilled Cheese cafe), and did some antiques shopping
  • While we were gone our postal box cabinet (found in an antique shop in Sandpoint, ID) was delivered. I love it. I have no idea what to do with it.
  • On Thursday Laurel watched the kids while I went on a quick business trip up on Mountain View. I was there for some department-wide meetings and team building activities, but ended up also getting a promotion - new title "Staff Software Engineer" - so that was exciting. I don't think it'll really change much in terms of my work load or projects since apparently I've been performing at that level for a while now, but it's fun to be recognized. (also fun to not get fired - I never quite know where I stand with these people since I think surely soon they'll find me out and the jig will be up)
  • While we were gone Scott did some covert improvements to the electronics situation in the basement - added a projector and screen, which included doing some electrical work and drywall repair. Fun surprise!
  • Recover from last week's trip - laundry, unpack, grocery shopping, cook at least a few meals
  • Acknowledge Huck's 2nd Birthday - I was out of town on his real one last week so we pretty much just ignored it. We should have some sort of a party this week. So I guess that means plan something and maybe get him some presents?
  • Our next rooftop concert is on Friday. So this week I need to hang more posters, figure out how to get screens/projectors there, get the merch stuff ready, make sure the volunteers show up where they said they would when they said they would, print next month's posters, and make arrangements to be there most of the day on Friday to set up. Also pray for good weather. So far we have lucked out big time for all of our concerts. The weather report calls for rain and overcast most days this week but sunny skies and no rain on Friday. Let's hope that holds. We don't have a great rainout plan.
  • On Saturday morning Scott and I are going with friends back to the beach for our annual Couples Retreat. Thanks to Mom & Dad for watching the kids for 5 days! Oliver will start Chinese camp, which hopefully he'll realize is a good/fun thing to be back with his friends and back in a routine, and won't be too resistant - need to help mentally prepare him. Maybe I need a new bathing suit?!
  • Finally see a dermatologist about my fungus disease on my chest (what is it called, Rachel?)
  • Catch up on yard work.
  • Catch up on the blog.
  • Do I dare even hope to make it to yoga this week?
  • Work on the postal box cabinet - clean it up, pull together a crew to move it into the house and move other furniture around to make room for it. Should it be functional or just decorative? Might need to change the combos on the boxes if we want to be able to open them easily. Or do I put it backwards so all the cubbies show? The doors are so pretty though. Can't decide.
  • I really want to get a round gilded mirror for the living room - need to make the rounds to the local antique stores and should probably check out the Springville antiques mart. Would be fun to find one for under $100. I guess maybe I could do that in CA when we're there next week.
  • Oh man this list is way too long. I already know I'm going to fail on most of this stuff. That's kind of demoralizing.
  • Ran 30 miles. Including a 12 mile long run on the American Tobacco Trail. It's darn hot here in the south!! I can hardly wait for autumn.
  • Obsessed over a Crate and Barrel floor sample chair, which was more than 50% off it's regular price, until I finally broke down and bought it. When I went in to make my BIG purchase, the lady said to me, "Are you the lady who's been calling to see if it was still here?" I had been calling every night to make sure it was still there. When I told her that I was that same girl, she said, "Oh good, because otherwise, I thought that poor girl was going to be pretty sad". She was right, I would have been!
  • Took the whole family to the dentist all in one day. It only took us three hours! In the end, we needed only one follow up dental appointment to fill one single cavity! We all need to floss better. And Ruby and George need orthodontic consults ASAP!! What?! How can we be ready for braces already?
  • Darin and I got to sneak away on a fun two day trip to Charlotte, NC. We spent the time looking for a suitable desk for Darin's upcoming school year. He needs a dedicated "office" space of his own. In the end, though we looked thoroughly at the world's biggest furniture store in High Point, we ended up at an old Fabric Mill turned antique mall, which was also the world's biggest antique mall that I had ever been to. We found this perfect, old library table, that had been painted blue, just sitting there waiting for us to buy it! We shoved it in the back of the van and spent all of Sunday night rearranging three rooms in the house to accomodate the new study spaces. The kids now have the new library table as their computer desk, and we have our old desk back in our room. I really hope I don't have to move any more huge pieces of furniture up and down our stairs anytime in the near future! While in Charlotte, we even managed to go out to dinner with my long time high school friend Sandy, and her husband Randy. That too made the trip totally worthwhile.
  • Thank you for coming Christine. The kids loved having you here, and we loved getting away.
  • Summer is starting to feel long and hot. Need to remain positive and optimistic. Need to keep the kids doing good things. The boys have decided to re-read the entire Harry Potter series. I can totally endorse that activity. Too bad it's too hot for bike riding and basketball playing. We're inside too much.
  • Take Jane back to the dentist. She maybe inherited the weaker teeth? Poor Jane.
  • Take a day-trip to the beach. Variety in our days seems to be the only thing that brings an extra spring to my step. I simply can not have each day be exactly like the day before.
  • Finish my quilt. So help me!!! Will I ever get to sew again? Will I ever finish my beloved quilt? It seems so doubtful.
  • More running, and trying to mix in a bit of core strengthening as well. November is starting to seem closer and closer! I said I was going to register for the marathon on August 1st. That's today!
  • Finally met my current neighbors on Monday after one of the apartments in our complex got broken into. It was pretty crazy and the cops came and questioned us all and a witness was found. Most likely the guys followed a girl into the building when she got home from work, which calmed our nerves about someone possibly having a key to get in. Luckily Melissa's apartment is the only one with a deadbolt, so it should never be targeted.
  • Spent Tuesday touring around DC with Ryan and his sister for their shared birthday (not twins). This included walking all over Arlington Cemetery, unknowingly breaking onto an army base, eating dinner at a delicious pizza place called Matchbox in Chinatown (it actually reminded me a lot of Pizzeria 712), and riding bikes all over downtown visiting the monuments.
  • Had dinner with a group of friends at Cheesecake Factory on Wednesday night. That place is always delicious.
  • Thursday I drove down to Chapel Hill where I stayed until Sunday. Friday morning Annee and Darin left me in charge of entertaining the kids for the next couple days. I think everyone had a good time, which included some time at the pool, going to watch the new Smurfs movie (while eating a whole lot of popcorn), and a trip the Life and Science Museum. The kids were fantastic, no fights or complaining really, and I even got to sleep in a little each morning.
  • My study materials finally arrived so I can now actually try to set up a good study schedule and hopefully figure out when I can take the tests.
  • Finally work at Anthropologie again! I didn't actually make it onto the schedule this week, but luckily I was included in all the emails and was able to pick up shifts for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I'm excited to finally have some work.
  • Look at more apartments. It seems to be a never ending search. I have found some possible options, but really nothing I'm in love with yet.
  • Go running at least twice, I've gotta start training for my big 8K in November! I'd also like to find somewhere to start going to yoga again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Last Couple Days in Jerusalem

On Sunday we started out the day exploring the tunnels that run along the West Wall all under the city. There are tons of excavations going on all over under the city since the original ground from the time of Christ is buried deep down. It's kind of crazy though, it seems as though the whole city is eventually just going to collapse into itself if the excavations continue much longer. As we were walking along Jim kept telling us that we were right under people's basements.
After the tunnel explorations we went up to the top part of the temple where the Dome of the Rock is. The top part of the temple is controlled by the Muslims, and they're pretty strict about letting people in. Some people in our group had to buy scarves to cover their arms and legs a little better (and this is a group of LDS tourists who are already pretty well covered) and Carol ended up sneaking her New Testament in under her clothes since they would've taken it if they had seen it in her bag. Pretty crazy all the power struggles that are clearly apparent all over the city of Jerusalem. And all so that they can have control of the temple.
The rest of Sunday was spent touring around the old city following along the path that traditionally people believe Christ walked while carrying the cross. I'll be honest, I don't remember a whole lot from this day. It was a pretty hot, long day, and ultimately it seemed like a lot of the places were more so just tourist traps rather than actually significant locations. We ended up at the southern steps of the temple which was actually a really neat place. This is where Christ would've entered the temple daily and where a lot of the miracles he performed took place. It really was pretty incredible being in all of these places and being reminded of the wonderful things that took place there hundreds of years ago. I can't really do it all justice here just trying to explain it all.

Monday was our last full day in Jerusalem. First thing we did was head out of the city to Bethany where we visited Lazarus' tomb. Hundreds of years ago it was just a short walk between Jerusalem and Bethany, but nowadays it's about a 20 minute drive because of a large wall that has been built, separating the Palestinian territory from the Jewish territory. I continued to be shocked by the segregation and anger of these groups and how built into their way of life it all is. It all makes one pretty grateful for the overall unity that is felt in our country, despite the differing political views and religious backgrounds.
After Bethany we made our way back to the city, stopping at some great panoramic lookouts of the city and walking along the path Christ took into the city on Palm Sunday.
After our walk we went to the upper room where tradition holds that the last supper took place. It was pretty interesting being in the upper room with a group of Muslim tourists, as well as some Christians from India. Even with the different religious beliefs we were all coming to it as a sacred place and the spirit was so strong.

We ended up at the Garden Tomb which was definitely one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. It's was so amazing how even being in the middle of a busy, loud city, as soon as you entered into the garden there was a sense of quiet and peace. Luckily huge churches were never built over the Garden Tomb since it wasn't found until the 1800's, so it's been well preserved and nicely secluded. We had a wonderful testimony meeting among our group and had some time to walk around and just enjoy the gorgeous garden. It was a great way to finish our time in Jerusalem and was definitely one of my favorite stops.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hezekiah's Tunnel

On our first full day in Jerusalem we ventured out to Hezekiah's tunnel first thing in the morning. This was a very fun activity and required water shoes and wading through water up to our thighs in the 1,500-foot-long tunnel. A few times we had everyone in the group turn off their flashlights and it was complete darkness, you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face. One time we sang Lead, Kindly Light in the darkness, the sound of it throughout the tunnel was pretty awesome.

After the tunnel we headed out to Jericho, stopping along the way to see the original road between Jerusalem and Jericho.

After dinner that night we ventured out to the Western Wall of the temple to observe as the Jewish people celebrated the start of their Sabbath which goes from sun down on Friday to sun down on Saturday. It's pretty impressive the way they are so excited about observing the Sabbath every week and the celebration that ensues at the Western Wall.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We Made it Across the Israeli Border!!

But before we did we spent another morning in Petra and a night at a Bedouin camp in the middle of the Wadi Rum desert.

On our last day in Petra most of the group woke up extra early for a 6am hike through some new parts of the city. Jim had arranged for a Bedouin man to meet us at the treasury at 6:30 dressed in his traditional robes so that we could get some good pictures without all the other tourists there. It was pretty fun watching Jim have basically a full on photo shoot with this man, ordering him around and getting all the good angles.

We hiked up to the High Point, where they had an alter for sacrificing, and also where they had built a huge temple up on the top of a mountain. It's always very interesting seeing these types of places and the views were incredible. Not much of the temple remains because most of it was destroyed in a giant earthquake which happened in 749 (which earthquake apparently destroyed everything that was great, we definitely heard that number an awful lot), but there was enough to see how huge it must've been, all up on the mountaintop.

After the High Point, we followed Jim back down the mountain, then started are trek across the desert to the place where he had been working the previous weeks excavating some tombs. It was a pretty long and hot walk through the desert, and Jim does not slow down for anyone, so we had to keep at a quick pace to keep up. When we first arrived at the dig site I was not too impressed, but then he started telling us stories about some of the things they have found and it was pretty awesome. Jim gets so excited when he talks about history and the work he does, it's so obvious how much he loves what he does everyday, it's awesome and in turn gets us all excited about it as well.

When we were done at the dig site we followed Jim on the "short cut" for getting out of Petra. In the end I'm not sure exactly how much of a short cut it was, and there were definitely a few obstacles along the way. It was a lot of fun and a little scary at times, and definitely one of those things that I look back at and am so glad I did. I was a little hesitant about doing the early morning hike, thinking that I didn't need to see more of Petra, but the hike at the end made it all worth it. Jim admitted to us that he took us on the more adventurous route that he usually doesn't take people on since it involves scaling some large rocks and wedging yourself in between the canyon walls so as to climb to the top. It was great. We realized after that we would pretty much follow Jim anywhere he led us.

When we were done with Petra we headed out to the Wadi Rum desert where we did some four-wheeling and visited a Bedouin family in their tent.

The Bedouin people are some of the most generous people ever and would basically give you anything you wanted, even if it was the last thing they had. It's so impressive that often the most generous people are those who have the least. They live such a simple, outdated life that you almost feel bad for them at times, but in the end they don't know anything else and they don't want anything else, they are completely happy with the way they are. The number of truly nomadic Bedouin people is decreasing with each generation, though, as more and more move into little towns that are a little more permanent. This may be the last generation that actually lives in the middle of the desert in tents.

The family we visited have a 7-month-old baby camel that they love and are very proud of, it is one of their prized possessions.

That night we stayed at a Bedouin camp, but luckily not in the tents, we actually had little rooms with bathrooms. Because it's out in the desert away from any cities, it's the perfect place for looking at the stars. As we were out stargazing, we started noticing that the moon looked like it was slowly disappearing, and soon learned that there was a total lunar eclipse that night. It was honestly amazing. We were told that a total lunar eclipse happens only once every 100 years out in the Wadi Rum desert, and we just so happened to be there the night that it was happening. It all made for a pretty unforgettable night, complete with a little Bedouin dancing following dinner.