Sunday, September 7, 2014

San Diego and Disneyland roundup

We ended our summer with a final big trip to San Diego and then Disneyland. Most of our time in San Diego was spent in or by the water.  We went to the beach two of three days and could hardly pull the boys away.

One of the greatest things about being in SD was being with family.  We got some of the Taylor cousins together for dinner our first night which was awesome.  They took about 30sec to warm up to each other because it's been years since we've seen each other, but then they were full throttle play mode.
After an awesome weekend in SD, we drove up to Disneyland for my half marathon and for the boys to meet Minnie.
 We then quickly made our way to the rides.  Cole and Wilson only wanted to stay on roller coasters and anything "scary and fast."  I on the other hand didn't like the scary rides.  Wilson had to hold my hand on the roller coaster:
 Cole and Papa Lito loved the roller coasters and went on all but 2 in the park (and the 2 were because the boys were under 48cm).
And of course, the boys got their ears ... Many thanks to Lito and Lita.

Race report: Disneyland Half Marathon

Labor Day weekend, Matt, the boys, Papa Lito and Grandma Lita (Matt's parents), and I enjoyed an amazing weekend in San Diego, and then a trip to Disneyland.  We kicked off the Disney trip with a half marathon (well, I kicked off the trip with the run - everyone else slept). 

Here's a blurb about the race from the site:
"Just before sunrise, runners embarked on the 13.1 mile course along legendary Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland® Park, through Radiator Springs in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure® Park and on to the streets of Anaheim past local landmarks, with a celebratory finish near the Disneyland® Hotel."

The hart part of the race was that it started at 5:30am (yes, AM!!!)  I had to get up at 4am and get to the starting line by 4:30.  The night before, I was of course getting nervous I'd miss the start so I woke roughly every two hours.  This is my glamor shot from race morning with no sleep.

I finished the race in 1:36 - not my PR (I missed it by 5min) and felt great!  It was surprising since I haven't been able to train much.  Here are my full results:

 My favorite parts of the race:
  • Running through the park, there were multiple characters already on rides (e.g. all the princesses on the merry go round) 
  • Running through the stadium, there were videos and names of all the runners - awesome!
  • Mickey and Minnie kissed at the starting line while wearing race clothes - so cute.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quilcene / Autrey weekend roundup

It's been a whirlwind couple weeks of travel, so I'll break the roundups up a bit... first up, Autrey family trip!  Two weeks ago, my mom came to town and after she explored Tacoma and it's amazing museums with two of her sisters, we all met up at my cousin's beach home in Quilcene.  By the way - I love writing "beach home," I want one when I grow up :).  Quilcene is an amazing place on the Hood Canal with beaches, hiking trails, and little to no cell or WiFi - all great things.

Here are some highlights ...

Day 1, we made our way down to the beach and ran into one of the neighbors.  The neighbor introduced himself, and then told us he'd been on his boat and had a "great day" - in Quilcene "great day" equates to 20 giant crabs.  He cooked them up for us and we enjoyed them making a giant shelly mess on the beach (and our bathing suits) dripping grab meat and juice.  YUM! 

Our food explorations continued the next couple days as we went clamming one morning gathering over 10lbs of fresh clams, and then picked up oysters collecting over 50 delicious oysters. Cole even got into the mix when my cousin was shucking oysters and gobbled up two.

I had never collected clams before, but was amazed that it's as easy as digging into the low tide water / muck.  Now I can't imagine spending so much money in fancy restaurants for something we gathered (and had fun gathering!)

My favorite part of the trip, though, was being with family and having family together.  The "grandkids" (aka, all the little ones Cole and Wilson's age) loved running around the house, playing freeze tag, playing drums and pool, and swimming - lots of swimming!
 I loved having my boys on the beach and just relaxing.
And it was awesome seeing my mom and her 4 sisters catching up, sharing family stories, and being sisters.

A close second to the family fun was the pure bliss of being on a quiet beach.  We kayaked, paddle boarded, swam, and soaked in the sun. 
 All in, an amazing weekend.

A letter to Cole and Wilon on the first day of Kindergarten!

I can't believe you're now officially "school age" boys in Kindergarten.  You're going to do amazing things - you already do.  You're going to learn and contribute to other peoples' learning.  You're going to help others when they need it (like the little girl you, Cole, turned to and introduced yourself to when she was scared this morning).  You're going to ask a lot of questions (a LOT - even more than you already do) and be awed by the answers.  You're going to hit some challenges and learn to overcome them.  Work on the math ones - those aren't fun - learn and love learning early, I know you will.

This morning getting ready your daddy and I kept looking at each other not believing it was already "time."  It feels like we just brought you home from the hospital.  Now you're walking, running, talking, helping, smiling, laughing, sharing, getting bumped and bruised from exploring, and everything in between.  This past week you amazed us at Disneyland going on all the roller coasters your 42cm bodies were allowed on and asking to go "again again!"

After dropping you off today, and lingering with all the other parents who didn't want to go or let go, your daddy drove me to work and we talked about you and the amazing things you do and will do.  We both kept getting teared up and couldn't figure it out - by the end of the commute in to work we think we figured part of it out - we can't protect you from everything now.  You're going to make your own decisions and sometimes mistakes.  You are the maestros of your respective shows.  You will decide to listen and to pick up in class (with the teacher asking you to often, of course).  It's a seemingly tiny step into Kindergarten, but a big step for us. 

 You are so ready for this adventure.  When you walked into the classroom you found a seat at a table and sat right down to color.  You didn't look up much - I think part was shyness, part was not knowing the exact right thing to do, and part was the 50 parents standing in the room taking pictures and giving thousands of hugs, kisses, knuckles and high fives.  I didn't want to walk out of that room.  I wanted to sit down in Ms. Beaver's room 104 and learn right along with you.  But this is your adventure. 
Just so you know, after school, daddy and I had 2-hours of our own homework to do for you / your school - paperwork!  Your homework turn is coming, and we look forward to helping you with it.  What a cool, exciting time!  I'm proud to be your mommy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A letter to my boys: pre-school going on kindergarten

To my dear sweet boys - today was the last day of pre-school.  The last day of Red Bears at NQACC.  To appease my anxiety, and likely not yours, you're still going to be going there for before and after school care in "Kid Camp" now (thank goodness it's "Camp" and not "Kamp" - I don't understand why people think it's kute to misspell things when it reduces SEO capability and reading comprehension).  It's been a wild 5 years ... FIVE YEARS!!!  And now you're "kids" and not necessarily "big kids" because leaving pre-school you get to drop the "big."  That's almost as weird as swapping a "K" for a "C".

Here's what the past 5 years brought - (1) squirming boys coming home from the hospital and parents (aka mommy and daddy) who weren't quite sure what to do with you.  (2) A big move from SF to Seattle for a bigger house, better schools, and new jobs.  (3) A swap from a Green Lake pre-school and a stay at home daddy to a Queen Anne pre-school, new house, and two working parents.  (4) Great friends, fun, swimming / soccer / karate / running / yoga / everything in between and many small trips around Washington. And (5) amazing new adventures in Kindergarten.

When we went to meet your teacher last week, I almost felt like an imposter - how am I old enough to have kids going into Kindergarten?  I once dreamed of being a teacher - shouldn't I be behind that desk instead of my desk at home and desk at work with laptop permanently lit?  And the funny questions - why are the doors so giant in Kindergarten?  Is it to make all of us feel small?  Are turtles and other swimming animals a normal occurrence in elementary school?  I hope we can stick with water animals and not move on to mice or something ickier.  Are you ready for this?  You don't seem scared - neither of you - so why am I? 

I'm proud of you my little men.  You're both so eager, smart, kind, funny, outgoing, and interested in the world.  You both love people and love learning.  My Cole - you are my little scientist and engineer with the capability to make lego sets for a 12 year old following each direction.  You are also my athlete with a non-stop running gate - I don't think I've seen you walk in the past year.  My Wilson - you are my independent happy boy.  You are an artist, a little love, and a free spirit flying on swings and playing on whatever slide you can find (or making a slide if you can't find one).  I hope you both stay happy, eager, kind, and interested. 

 So here are some things you may not know... I work and I'm proud of my work, but I constantly feel guilty like I'm not "mom enough."  But I work because I want to change the world for you and for me and I want to inspire you to work hard too.  I will drive on field trips someday.  I will do homework with you every day.  And I will be here for booboos, tears, fevers, laughs, new jokes, and questions (except the sex ones - go to your dad for those).  I can't be in class to read to you, but know your pictures are strewn around my office and on my phone and I make up stories in my head during especially stressful meetings to tell you at night.  Work aside, I am constantly entertained when new parents or "single-ton" parents (with 1 child) say "I don't understand how you did / do it.  I can't do it with one."  Here's my little secret - I didn't know any better, I got two, which is amazing and awesome.

To my sweet boys, I hope you continue to enjoy treasure hunts, make believe, flying on swings, amazing yourself with big lego sets, fart jokes (just not in public), and making me proud by making yourself proud.  I love you.  I will always love you.  I love that I get the profound gift of getting to love you.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014


This weekend Matt and I split up the boys for 1:1 time.  Saturday I took Cole to go pick out a lunchbox and walk around downtown, and Sunday I took Wilson to pick a lunchbox and get lunch.  We haven't done 1:1 time in a LONG time and it was well overdue - and a ton of fun. 

When Cole and I got downtown he was the perfect little gentleman.  We went into Nordstrom to look at lunchboxes (probably a mistake as they're kid-hipster and too pricey) and he was more infatuated with the balloons.  We landed on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (or as Cole would say "Teenage Eheh Ninja Turtle" lunchbox with a matching waterbottle.  The weird part of being downtown was walking by all the homeless people.  Cole hasn't seen a lot of homeless people right next to him, so he kept stopping just a foot or so away and saying "mama, what's their sign say?  What do they want?"  That was a hard one to explain.

Wilson and I went to U-Village mall - a big shishi outdoor mall near the college.  It was a perfect sunny day and the mall was packed with families and kids playing in the water and eating outside.  Wilson and I got a picnic from a little deli and sat to watch the turtle fountain "spit" and enjoy the sun.  Then we went to three stores to find the "perfect" lunchbox - Wilson landed on a bag from Pottery Barn with tigers on it.

I'm sure the lunchbox and bag are complete overkill ... but it's KINDERGARTEN coming up and I feel like all things Kindergarten are a big deal.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Race report: Lake Tye Olympic Tri

This is mucho overdue - last weekend I participated in the Lake Tye Olympic triathlon and youcha - it was HARD!  I haven't been able to run for about 3mo because of the sprained ankle, and I have only swam a couple times ... mainly because it's just not fun for me.  Oh my.  The race started with a rather small field for the "under 39 year old women".  One thing I am starting to really love about tris is at the in-water "starting line" people are always really nice, chatty, and sharing angst about the swim ahead.  Running people don't chat quite as much, I feel like, and biking there's more metal breaking up conversation.

The first two strokes of my swim were OK ... until I got water in my nose and throat and started panicking about what was in the lake.  Then I felt like my wetsuit was closing in and from then on the swim was horrible.  I did breaststroke the majority of the swim and occasionally flipped over to do the backstroke - both were a terrible idea but backstroke was an extra terrible idea because somehow I kept getting flipped around and backstroking in the WRONG direction.  At around the 3/4mi mark in the lake I noticed the kayakers who paddled around making sure swimmers were OK were starting to paddle close to me - I think they were prepping to save me.

Getting out from the swim my transition took a little too long.  If I'm honest, my transition took a minute longer than it should have mainly because I was trying to catch up with myself - catch breath, etc.

The bike was OK.  I rode my new (old) Fuji bike and loved it.  The ride was ~26mi, and at mile 13 after swigging water I dropped the bottle on the ground.  Boo.  No more water for the rest of the ride was not awesome, especially as the heat started spiking.

Getting off my bike I felt like I had just dismounted a horse - saddle walk was in full effect.  It took me a minute to get int he groove of running but when I got going (about halfway through the run), I felt solid.  Fast forward another 2mi and at the last mile of the run I had a different chant: "I'm never doing this again, I'm never doing this again..."

In the end, I did OK on the bike and run and horrible on the swim.  And now I can't wait to go again.