Our California Roadtrip: My First Half Marathon and Other Shenanigans

8.31.2013
Finally, the third and final installment of our trip to Southern California!

*****

We couldn't possibly overlook my dad's 55th birthday while we were there.  We had to celebrate!  Liz put together a great little party with friends and the whole family, of course.  We ate a scrumptious barbeque meal, scarfed down some sugary cake, opened presents, and played volleyball till it got too dark to see.  Happy Birthday, Dad!  We love you and think you deserve more credit than you're probably ever given.

^^Sorry, Lauren!  I couldn't resist posting this picture.  It just makes me laugh every time I look at it!^^

Late Saturday afternoon--after a very tiring trip from Orange County to San Diego (California traffic stinks.  Just sayin'.)--we finally made it to the harbor where my dad keeps his prized possession and latest project: Tide the Knott.  Yes, she's a boat and she's a beauty in progress.  My dad is a retired Navy Commander and I think he feels very at home on the water.  It's quiet and peaceful out on the ocean, plus the lure of excitement and adventure lies just towards the horizon.  I totally get it.  My dad began passing his love of the open water down to me when I was just a little kid.  My dad also possesses some incredible DIY talent, from plumbing to diesel engines to laying tile, he can do it all!  It's just a matter of time before he has her in ship shape and ready for seafaring.  I can't wait!

^^Yo ho!  Thar she be, Tide the Knott^^
 ^^Bow Riders at it again!
The bow is our designated spot.  It's where we sisters have the most fun and sometimes cause some trouble.  Hehe^^
 ^^Jed in the Captain's chair looking through the binoculars backwards^^
^^Levi is so attached to me.  I could never get a good picture of him with anyone else but Joe.^^

After a tour of the boat, we headed down the pier to Pizza Nova for our carb loading dinner in preparation for running a half marathon the following morning.  The pizza and pasta was delicious!  We chowed down on several unique combinations.  I really enjoyed sitting the entire family up to one giant table for one giant meal.  So thanks, family! 

Also, I can't forget to mention how sweet eight year old Brandon was to Jed.  He shared his toys with Jed and looked out for him.  Jed was absolutely awestruck with this new best friend.  It was fun to witness!  Thank you, Brandon. 


And finally, last but not least, the event our entire trip was planned around: America's Finest City Half Marathon.  My step-mom is an avid runner.  Incidentally, this was her twelfth half marathon this year.  Pretty impressive, ya?  I think endorphins love company as she always seems to get excited to involve the family.

It was my very first half marathon.  Bron has ran a couple of races (remember this one?) while I have always been tied up with pregnancy or a new baby.  Well, this summer was my summer to finally rock it!

 ^^We came.  We conquered 13.2 miles.
Bron, Jessie, Dylan, Liz^^

The four of us were up before dawn and ready to go.  Bron and I ran the entire 13.2 miles together and came through the finish line holding hands at 2:08.  Romantic, right?  Totally!  I actually think we got a better time because we ran together; we pushed each other.  And did I mention that the last TWO MILES were uphill?!?  Yes, the last TWO MILES were UPHILL!  Killer. 

We survived to tell the tale and are proud of our time.  Both Bron and I were pretty stiff and sore for a couple of days afterwards, but not too bad.  What surprised me most was how painful it was for my lady parts.  I suppose I'm not done healing from delivering my huge nine pound babies.  Jed ruined me; I'll never be the same again.  Oh well. I'm not sure if I'll ever run another half marathon again, but only time will tell.  I think I'd love to try!

^^I ran America's Finest City Half Marathon with America's Finest Husband at my side.
San Diego is a beautiful city.  My all time favorite.  Duh, it's my hometown!^^

A giant thank you to all who made our trip so wonderful!  Thank you to Dylan who gave up his bedroom for our little family.  And thank you to my dad and Liz who spoiled us rotten, for Joe who loved on my baby boy, for Brandon who took Jed under his wing, and Lauren who always made me laugh.  We love you all!  This trip will go down in history as one for the books for sure.

Change for the Better

8.29.2013

There are two 3x5 cards taped next to my bathroom mirror. They’ve been there for a couple of months. On them are written a series of goals I want to accomplish--to be a better person, a better wife, a better mother--to hopefully achieve more balance among the competing facets of this crazy thing called life.

So why then? Why is it so hard to break old habits and begin new ones? They say it takes about three weeks to reset the synapses in the brain that trigger habits, but I can’t get past day five! It’s so frustrating.

Last week I was on a roll. I was up at 6AM to exercise. I loved getting it checked off my to-do list so early on in the day. On top of the self-esteem boost that exercise gives me, it was invigorating to chirp “good morning!” to my little boys and really mean it. I felt like I could justify applying a little makeup and then we were headed out the door to play. The exercise high led to other positive changes, like reading scriptures at the breakfast table and spending less time absorbed in social media. I felt like I could conquer the world! My body and mind were getting what they needed and my boys were getting the undivided attention—and patience-- from their mama that they deserve.

Then this week happened. I fell off the horse. I didn’t exercise at 6Am. I didn’t read my scriptures. I spent waaay too much time engrossed in social media. And I snapped at my little boys… which only made me feel guilty and hopeless. Honestly, I was exhausted.  And when I’m tired everything just seems to go down the tubes because I. NEED. SLEEP.

So just how does one change a habit? Isn’t that what we’re essentially taught in church each week? To put God first somehow? Writing this, I think I've suddenly had a small epiphany, something so obvious but yet I’ve been missing it: I need to put Heavenly Father into the equation. Christ is the catalyst for change.

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take the slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”
― Ezra Taft Benson

I want to be the best wife, the best mother, the best person, that I can possibly be. I think that is worthy of some divine intervention on my behalf. So more prayers, a little more faith.  I can change for the better!  And better might not be exactly what I have in mind either.  Why do I think I can do this alone? I can’t and I was never meant to.

Our California Roadtrip: A Day at the Beach

8.28.2013

Just what is it about the sun, sand, and salty ocean that creates the perfect trifecta for an entire day of fun?!  Couple that with the family I only see once or twice a year and it becomes a memory to cherish forever. 

We spent one entire afternoon of our vacation playing in the sand and waves at Huntington Beach.  We swam, built sand castles, boogy boarded the waves, ate sandwiches, threw the football around, and buried little people alive (except for their heads, of course).  Our day was filled with a feeling of love and lots of laughter.  Thus, why I took waaay too many pictures!  I think it was my favorite day of the whole week. 

^^Run away!^^
Unfortunately, Jed was too tired to enjoy the waves very much.  He actually conked out later in the shade.  Carter, however, was a regular sea turtle!   
^^Levi's first trip out into the ocean.  It was a little too cold for his liking.^^
^^Mama & Baby at the beach!  
Yeah, I know, I've totally forgotten how to look cute at the beach.  I'm also self-conscious about my fat arms.  Totally working on that this Fall.  :) ^^
^^Isn't my sister gorgeous?!  It must be that pregnancy glow.  Carter and the little bean-to-be have an awesome mom.^^
 ^^Levi met Grandma Liz for the first time on this trip!  Liz is too young for that title, I think.^^
 ^^Carter Wade with Grandpa Wade
Brandon buried up to his chin!^^
 ^^Sights included cute sandy bellies^^
^^Jed finally fell asleep to the serenade of the ocean waves... and lots of noisy laughing and screaming.^^
 ^^Levi thought he scored his very own Pepsi.  I died laughing.  He's the cutest trouble maker you'll ever meet.^^
 ^^Lauren and her cute family... and Levi and me^^

Till next time, Beach!  Thanks for showing us a good time.  We love you so.

A Day at the Zoo

8.24.2013
^^My little brothers really enjoy entertaining Jed and Levi.  It's great!^^
^^That little pointer finger kills me every time!^^
^^Playing in the "gopher holes"
There were also dinosaurs that moved and roared positioned around the park.  I think Jed thought they were real!^^
^^Feeding the goats was most definitely a highlight^^
Hmmm... maybe that's where they picked up those germs that made us so miserable!
^^What Lauren would look like if she had giant ears^^
^^Last stop, the giraffes!  Jed was done.  Poor kid.^^


I keep waiting for life to slow down so that I can catch my breath, but it doesn't seem to be happening.  Part of that is my own fault--working on achieving new goals (like exercising at 6AM!) and living up the last weeks of summer with my boys--but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Life is good.

So let's pause for a minute and rewind time to the beginning of August when my sister was here.  On her last day with me we took a day trip to Boise to visit our mom and little brothers.  The first thing on our agenda: the Boise Zoo!  (Technically known as Zoo Boise, but that just sounds weird and backwards to me.) The zoo is undergoing lots of construction and the kids were hot and tired, but we made the best of it and had ourselves a good time anyway. How can I not have a good day when I get to see all sorts of strange animals and smiles on my boys' faces?! Those excited little smiles are the best.

Love you, Lauren!  Thanks for another great memory.

Our California Roadtrip

8.22.2013

When Bron and I first decided we were going to put 2,280 miles under the tires of our car with two small children in the backseat, I was a little apprehensive.  Luckily, there was no need for worry: Jed and Levi turned out to be two of the country's best travelers under four feet tall. 

Our trip to see my dad and family in California was an absolute blast!  We were gone a week.  Bron and I decided to break up the trip down and back with overnight stops in southern Utah to make it easier on the boys.  It was the best decision we made.  Quality hotel pool time with my two little fishies actually lands right up there with the best of our trip's memories.

I love family, every single one of you!  And I miss you all already.  Family is a special bond.  The shared histories coupled with the array of personalities, opinions, and talents keeps things fun!  And I really mean it.  I had a good time.  Let's do it again.  And again.  And again.  And never stop.  Okay? 


Some of our trip's highlights included (but were not limited to):

:: An afternoon playing with the kids at Pretend City

:: Setting eyes on Joe's infamous Porsche for the first time

:: Taking Jed to his very first big screen movie: Planes.  Jed loved it and is still talking about it.  He alternated between the seat and my lap and even gave me a sweet peck on the cheek.  Awww!

:: Late night ice cream sundaes

:: Talking and philosophizing late into the evening
(Oh yeah, plus ridiculous YouTube videos! haha)

:: A day at the beach, soaking in the sun and the sea

:: Celebrating my dad's birthday
bbq + cake + presents + volleyball = a successful celebration

:: Visiting my dad's boat and admiring its progress 
(Er, more like imagining the beauty she'll be in five years. My dad has some amazing DIY talent.)

:: Family dinner (aka carb loading) at Pizza Nova.  
Delicious and different pizza and pasta!

:: Running my first half marathon!

 ^^That's us!  An attempt at a family picture, including the dogs which are like children to my dad.  We're actually a blended family of two with three children each, except we Wade kids are a bit older.  It's a good chaotic and fun kind of mix.^^
 ^^Carter just loungin'^^
 ^^Pretend City!^^ 
The boys had the chance to do art projects, dress up as firemen, "build" a house, perform on stage, go fishing, and much much more.
 ^^Fishing ultimately became Jed's favorite area.  Play in water?!?^^
 ^^Carter talking on the phone.  How does he know?^^
 ^^Do you like my new Beamer?  Bron and Jed made a tall lego tower!^^
 ^^Jed test driving a fire engine.  The thought of Levi behind the wheel is cute but scary!^^
 ^^Speaking of wheels, Joe's porsche^^
 ^^My dad plus my little family^^
 ^^The Wades^^
 ^^Sorry, Lauren, but this was too funny not to share!  Way to bomb the photo, Carter.^^
 ^^Cousins playing quietly^^


Un-adventures included (just keeping it real here):

:: L.A. traffic

:: Jed throwing up all over the backseat after becoming car sick

:: Cranky kiddos.
Why is it that while on vacation we go out of our way to plan fun activities for our children but they're just too darn tired to truly enjoy it?  Vacation was work sometimes.

*****

I suppose if these were our lowlights then it wasn't too shabby a trip at all!  Stay tuned for lots more pictures from our time in California.

P.S.  Are you wondering just how I managed to entertain a one year old strapped into a car seat?  Well, after fishing for lost toys in the abyss that is the car floor, reading books, and singing songs, my secret weapon is... candy.  Yup, candy.  A single piece of licorice kept Levi busy for ten minutes.  The mess?  What mess?  It was obsolete at that point.