Saturday, December 6, 2008

Disney World recap

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get this out and that I've been so out of the loop. I've been super busy with work, orders, Skyler's school, Christmas, you name it! I wanted to get this recap written down before I forgot all about our trip!

Day 1: Magic Kingdom and Epcot
On our first day we woke up bright and early and headed over to Magic Kingdom to be there when it opened at 10. If you've never been to Disney World, you arrive at the "Transportation Center" where either you park or a shuttle drops you off. Then you can get on either the monorail to take you to Epcot or the Magic Kingdom or you can get on a ferry to take you to Magic Kingdom. We chose the Ferry and it was a beautiful view from the dock.

We've been to Disneyland multiple times so we knew most of the rides at the Magic Kingdom but what we didn't expect was for those familiar rides to be different. It was so strange riding Pirates of the Carribean or The Jungle Cruise and to have them be different than the ride we've been riding all our lives! Here's Skyler and Steve on Thunder Mountain Railroad:

After spending a while at MK we took the monorail over to Epcot. We didn't have a lot of time but managed to ride a few rides and have dinner in Japan.

It was FREEZING in Florida but we still had a good time.

Day 2: Hollywood Studios

After arriving in Hollywood Studios we immediately went straight for the Tower of Terror (which last year was Skyler's favorite ride at Disneyland). She was so excited to go again. I think she forgot what it was all about because after getting off she was so terrified she probably didn't talk for about 20 minutes! She said she would NEVER go on it again! Toy Story Mania is a really fun ride but probably our longest line we had to wait in. You get to wear 3D glasses though which is always fun.

We also discovered Skyler's new favorite ride, The Rockin' Roller Coaster. She's never been on an upside down roller coaster and this one goes upside down 3 times! We went on it 4 times that day.

Day 3: Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom

We had special tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas in the evening so we spent the afternoon at Downtown Disney having lunch and shopping. Then over to Magic Kingdom for the party. They had free hot chocolate, cookies, and apple slices,

a special Christmas parade (which we were front row for), a special lighting of the castle,

(Skyler thought this was pretty cool!)

and SNOW on Main Street! It was a lot of fun getting to go to a special party. We've never done anything like that before. Oh, did I mention it was cold? Skyler is wearing 2 sweatshirts in this picture!

Day 4: Animal Kingdom

We started out at Animal Kingdom by going on the safari ride which was cool to see some animals a little closer up than you would at a zoo. Then it was off to Skyler's new favorite ride, Expedition Everest!
We went on this ride 5 times this day. We really got good at figuring out how to go on a ride as many times as possible. Skyler even met a friend in line and after much sweet talking, got her dad to let the two girls ride together on the ride. I'm so sad we didn't get her contact information because Skyler talked about her for 3 days straight!

I think this was our favorite park. The streets are decorated exactly like they would look in Africa or Nepal. It's just amazing. You really feel like you're there. We could have spent a lot more time here.

Day 5: Hollywood Studios and Epcot

At this point we were just trying to get to everything that we hadn't seen the first time around. We saw a couple of shows and went on a few rides. We were able to go on Rockin' Roller Coaster 3 more times bringing our total up to 7 times on this ride! Then it was back over to Epcot. We tried to get reservations to eat at some fun restaurants but everything was booked so we ended up having fish and chips in the UK. Steve was happy with his Guiness!

Day 6: Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom

This was our last day in the parks. We started out by getting fast passes for Everest, meeting all the characters and getting Skyler's face painted,

looking at a few animals, and then grabbing some lunch. While we were getting situated and josteling food I looked over and spotted a friend of mine, from California, and her entire family! I knew they were going to Disney World and that this would be their first day in the parks. I assumed they'd start in the Magic Kingdom and I had left her a message but didn't hear back from her. How random that we would run into each other! We managed to go on Everest another 4 times bringing our grand total to 9 times! This was everyone's favorite ride! Then it was back over to the Magic Kingdom for one last whirl wind around the park. Skyler decided she wanted to stand in line to see the princesses. She's never done this before so we let her. She was so excited!

Here's my summary: it was really cold, really hard to get around (the monorail only goes to 2 out of the 4 parks), and really tiring. We had fun but I think we'll stick to Disneyland from now on!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

mystery revealed!

Most of you guessed the "mystery vacation." We went to Disney World! We just got back on Monday. I'm still downloading pictures so I'll post those probably this weekend.

We woke Skyler up at 5am last Monday and of course I had to take a picture! Good morning sunshine!

A friend of ours got her a Disney World sweatshirt a year or so ago for Christmas so after we got her dressed we asked her if she wanted to know where we were going. We put her sweatshirt on her and told her to look in the mirror (remember, it was 5am so she was a little out of it, not at all aware of what we were dressing her in).

She was so excited and couldn't believe we woke her up "IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!" More updates to follow...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

mystery vacation

We've been planning a vacation for a while now, maybe 3 months or more, but we've kept the destination a secret from our 5 1/2 year old. At first we just didn't talk about it and she had no idea we were going anywhere. Then, as it got closer, we mentioned it because it was apparent on the calendar that we were traveling in November.

However, we didn't want to tell her where we were going because she'd be so excited, all we'd hear about every day is her asking when we were leaving. So, we decided to do something different.

We are giving her a clue every day (or each day she asks). At first she was trying to guess with every clue and I finally told her that even if she guessed correctly, I wasn't going to tell her. I said she could keep all the clues fresh in her mind and think about how they all go together, then the day we leave she can guess, and if she guesses correctly, we'll tell her.
Here are her clues:
1. It's far away
2. there's wild animals there
3. there's water there
4. she knows someone who lives there
5. we can eat food from around the world
6. lots of people go there
7. mom and dad have never been there (this totally stumped her! She thought for sure we were going to Disneyland but we've been there before. She also wondered how we knew what was there if we had never been there before?)
8. there are pirates there
9. we might go on a boat while we're there
10. there will be lots of walking
11. there are hotels there (and therefore, she concluded that we will be staying overnight)
We leave Monday. Do you know where we're going???

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Eek! Has it really been almost a month since my last post? I guess I've been a little busy. It's apparent by the fact that I've got 273 posts to catch up on Bloglines! Life will slow down a little next weeked since everything I'm doing right now is leading up to that. Here's what I'm working on:

1. my sister-in-law is moving in with us this weekend for 5 months! I love her to death but this means getting her room ready. My mom stays in our guest room when she comes over every week and it's also where I store all of my wrapping paper, prom dresses (yes, I still have my prom dresses!), my wedding dress, old momentos, and a whole cabinet full of gifts for upcoming occasions. Now, not only do I have to clean all of that out and find a new home for it, I have to clean out the playroom so that, when my mom comes over every week, she has a place to sleep. Goodbuy play kitchen, hello grandma!

2. My church puts on a Holiday Boutique every year that I'm participating in again this year. It's next Wed. and Thurs. so I'm frantically trying to sew and get everything ready for that. I'll post some things I'm working on later. No time now!

3. My MOMS Club puts on a Regional Luncheon every year for all the chapters in our Region and ours is next weekend in San Francisco. Because it's local, I've foolishly taken on some of the coordinating. With another volunteer we're doing ALL of the centerpieces for the luncheon, 34 tables! I'll post pictures of those later, again, no time! This year I've also taken on the task of the slide show. This is something that someone else has done every year and just couldn't take it on this year. For some reason I agreed to do it. It's a BIG deal people! Everyone is going to stop what they're doing, all 300 people, and watch and listen (yes, I have to pick out music too!) to my slide show. Aah! I'm already getting nervous! In addition to this, I'm also in charge of our chapter's raffle basket. Again, wait for the pictures but let me just tell you, this one's a doozie! So far the retail value of the contents exceeds $1400 and there's still one thing I'm waiting on. It's going to be sooooo cool!

And just because I like to include pictures, here's a random one from my yard:

So, aside from the above things, I'm not up to much. What have you been up to???

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

we have a visitor!

Over the weekend we had a visitor set up house outside on our porch!

She took over the porch light:

the pumpkins:

and then later came back and brought all of her babies with her!

I'll think we'll keep least until Nov. 1.

Monday, September 29, 2008

First Triathlon...


My first triathlon was this weekend and it was so much fun! This is going to be a long post because I want to remember everything.
I had been training for 4 months for the See Jane Run Triathlon and the day was finally upon me. I was feeling pretty nervous for a couple of days before the race. On edge, not able to concentrate, with a million things to do before Saturday. On Thursday, after picking up Skyler from school, we drove out to Oakland to the See Jane Run store and picked up my race packet. Then I had to stop by the bike shop on the way home to get my brakes adjusted. On Friday night we met up with my friend Carrie for a carbo load dinner. Then home to pack my bag and get everything ready.
On Saturday I woke up at 6am and got dressed in my swim outfit (tri shorts, a sports bra, and a tri top) with warm clothes on over (it was 57 degrees outside). Then I got all my water and electrolyte drinks together, quickly made a bagel with peanut butter, grabbed a banana and hit the road. I was meeting at my friend's house at 6:30. We arrived at the lake (Shadow Cliffs) at about 7:15. Our wave was hitting the beach at 8:20am.

I had been feeling really anxious about the swim so about 9 days before the race I started positive imaging. As I fell asleep at night I would envision getting in the water, slowing down my breathing, taking each stroke, rounding the bouy, crossing the lake and heading toward the other bouy, etc. until I was exiting the water feeling great and strong. Well, I think it totally worked! When we got to the lake I wasn't nervous about the swim AT ALL! I even brought a little anxiety spray that you spray inside your mouth and I didn't even need it.

After setting up our transition area, getting our time chips, and getting body marked we were ready. A friend of ours, who was originally doing the triathlon with us but got injured, showed up to cheer us on and take pictures. Thanks Tracie! We walked down to the beach and got in the water to warm up a little and get used to the temperature. Then they were calling our wave to get into position. This is us just before warming up. I'm in the middle, number 327:

The water level was really low in the lake this year so we had to go into the water a ways before starting. This meant we were standing on ground that isn't usually stood on because the water is usually too deep. Let me just tell you, it was DISGUSTING! It was like standing in pudding up to your knees. Every step you sunk down into...something. Everyone was happy to start swimming so we wouldn't have to stand in it! I did the swim in 12:26 (1/4 mile swim). This is really good for me because each time I had practiced the swim in the lake it had taken me 14 min. That's me on the far left in the pink cap starting my swim:

The bike was pretty easy. Nothing to really report. I had taped some food to my bike so I could eat it during the ride and I think that really helped. It was 11 miles and I did it in 40 minutes. It normally would take me about 50-55 min. to ride 11 miles (I'm not a very strong bike rider) so I was very pleased with this time!

This was a lot easier than I had anticipated. I felt great and maybe it was the food I'd eaten on the bike but I had more energy than I thought I would. It wasn't too hot so I was able to push myself a little more. I did walk some of it because there are about 4 hills on the course that I wasn't about to run over. The 3 mile course took me about 38 min which is a little longer than usual but I'm attributing that to the hills.

Here we are afterwards with "Super Jane."

Of course we had to buy some comemorative gear to celebrate our success:

All in all, my goal was to finish in under 2 hours and I finished in 1:36! I'm very happy with my time and I had so much fun. I couldn't have done it without my 2 friends right along side me and my friends on the sidelines cheering me on. And of course it wouldn't be the same without the free celebratory beer afterwards!

It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do something like it again!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall Decorating

I just love Fall! I'm so happy it's officially only 2 days away and that the weather is starting to chill around here (we even had a few sprinkles last night!).

I was inspired by Chris to work on my Fall decorating this weekend. Here's what I've come up with so far.

These pumpkins are ones that my mom bought me for Christmas last year so this is the first time they're out and in my kitchen. Sorry about the ugly sweet potatoe sitting next to them!

These are on my mantel in the living room. They may not stay there though. The mantel is a little narrower than I thought and these are breakable. I love them with the clock that my friend Tracie got me for my birthday though!

This is my favorite Southern Living item. She stays up year around but just happens to fit in with my color scheme and with Fall!

This is another Southern Living inspiration. I bought the urn from my favorite SL at Home rep then had her over to put together the arrangement for me. She just has an eye for these kinds of things. This also has been up all year but I just love it! It's in my entryway.

I got these pumpkins from Target today! I just love them and wish I could afford to go back and get more. Can you tell I love pumpkins?

Now I just need to work on my front porch. I'm thinking of something like this:
Do you think it's a little much??

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Virgo Celebrations

This past weekend was filled with birthday celebrations. First, on Friday night, all my girlfriends got together for our annual Virgo Birthday Dinner. There were only 2 Virgos there. Myself and a friend:

but there were a couple that had Virgo children and the rest were just along for a fun dinner. We went to a new Mexican restaurant in town, ordered a pitcher of Sangria, and just enjoyed each other's company. Afterwards we went outside to talk for an hour or so. When we all get together it's hard to leave at the end of the night because we're having so much fun!

(Inside joke on the pose...please excuse the silliness!)

Then Saturday night a good friend of mine was celebrating her 40th birthday in the city (San Francisco) at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Here I am with the birthday girl on the left:

She was in the Harry Denton suite and Harry Denton himself came up to wish her a Happy Birthday! We hung out in her suite for a while where we ate dinner and birthday cake and then headed up to the Starlight Room for a little dancing.

It was a really fun night! Happy 40th Gina!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Practice does not necessarily make perfect...

On Saturday, See Jane Run put on a practice triathlon to get us ready for the real thing in 3 weeks. It was meant to be just a training day, no pressure, just to get us used to the course and to practice our transitions. It was going to be an early day but I was really excited to get some practice on the course, try out the swim, and test my transitions.

WARNING: This is going to be a long post. Mostly so I have record of all my notes and thoughts. If you're not interested in reading all the boring details about something you would never do anyway, just scroll down to see the pictures. Those are always my favorites to see!

According to the email they sent out it was supposed to be 1/4 mile swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run. My friend Carrie and I got there and set up our transition area. Hers was much more organized than mine but it totally worked for me.

After setting up our transitions we hit the beach for a motivational talk from some training coaches and LUNA Pro Triathlete, Linda Gallo. With 100 degree temperatures looming in the near future, they finally started the practice, 30 minutes late.

As you've probably read in the past, I have a real problem with swimming in the lake. I'm trying to talk myself out of it, trying to have some positive conversations with myself but so far it's not really working.

The lake water is REALLY low right now and the See Jane Run people apparently didn't tell the Regional Park we were even coming so there were no bouys. Instead of the 1/4 mile swim we were told to swim one length of the lap lane which I think is 140 yards. The water there is only chest high. This is good because if anyone panicked they could just stand up, hard though because then you're tempted to stand up instead of actually swimming it.

I'm assuming I was feeling a mixture of anxiety about the lake and adrenaline from doing the practice but I could NOT catch my breath once I hit the water. The funny thing about swimming is you actually have to hold your breath in order to swim properly. When you can't catch your breath, you can't hold your breath, and you can't swim! I probably only did about 3 strokes of freestyle the whole way. It was all breast stroke and side stroke. Anything to get me through it!

Everything else went pretty smoothly. I passed 3 riders on the first hill out of the park which is huge for me. I don't pass anyone! And this was evident in the rest of the bike ride (which ended up being about 8.2 miles) where I was getting passed up like I was standing still! I just kept telling myself "I'm saving myself for the run. All these women are going to die on the run because they're putting it all out there on the bike." I'm not sure that was actually the case but it helped me mentally.

The run started and my calves were a little sore and throughout I had a side ache (which I've only ever had when I'm trying to run too fast.) I've never had sore calves after getting off the bike but maybe I was pushing it a little harder than I thought I was. I also didn't have a lot of fuel in my body. I had only eaten one egg and a corn tortilla for breakfast and no snacks along the course (it just didn't sound good to eat at any point but now I know that was probably a mistake).
The run (which ended up being about 2.67 miles) included a lot more hills than I expected and it was HOT. It ended up being about 101 that day but I'm not sure what the temperature was at this time. No water was provided on the course and I didn't bring any with me so I tried to just take it easy and go as fast as I could without hurting myself. There was a lot of walking and I saw Carrie once during this portion so that was fun and a motivator to keep going. Here we are after the run.
In the end it was fun and a little bit hard but mostly scary to think that I have to do 3x the length of that swim on race day. I know I can complete the swim. I do it twice a week, just not in the lake! I need to figure out how to get the adrenaline out of my system, or at least in check, before I start the swim. I think that will help a lot. I'm so thankful that I have friends to do this with. There's no way I would be able to push myself to do it alone. Friends are a great thing aren't they?!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday and normally I wouldn't advertise that but I just had to pass on what my darling 5 year old gave me. My husband asked what she would like to get mommy for her birthday. "A toothbrush and toothpaste!" So, that's what I got. This coming from the girl that LOVES her toothbrushes and even sleeps with them, so to her, it's a pretty special gift.

I got lots of great phone calls, emails, and gifts dropped on my doorstep from loving friends and family. And my husband got me a pretty special gift too:
This is not the exact necklace but very similar except that instead of rubys it has Aquamarine stones. It's beautiful! I'm so lucky and aside from having a touch of a cold, it was a great day.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

First day of school! First day of school!

Monday was Skyler's first day of Kindergarten! She's been so excited all summer to start. She really feels all grown up now. Going into a new school, a new class, new teacher, and all new kids I would have been a ball of anxiety...not her! She was excited to get in there and meet a bunch of new friends. God bless her!

I swear she's not throwing gang signs already. Does this look like a "k" for Kindergarten??!

She'll probably be the tallest in her class for a while :)

Welcome to your new school!

After school (her first day she only went for 90 minutes), we met up with all of our friends, who were also starting Kindergarten that day, for lunch. The boy to her left she's known since the day they were born and all but one of the others she's known since she was about one. Can you tell they're saying "KINDERGARTEN!"?

It was over 100 degrees and they had all been playing on the playground (and running through the sprinklers) at the restaurant, which explains the red faces.
She, and I, made it through her first week. We've already had talks about not teasing people about their names ("Why would anyone name their kid after a clown fish?" If you need more of an explanation let me know), being gracious when someone else succeeds ("I'm mad at them that they were chosen to be the teacher's helper. I wanted to be the teacher's helper."), and trying to pull inappropriate or "disgusting" jokes out of her ("Why did the lady kiss the toilet?" We don't know the answer and neither does she but this is a joke that someone told her at school.). I can't wait to see what the next 9 months bring us!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Training Update

I'm finally coming out of the fog that is the Olympics. I was totally sucked in and found it hard to do much of anything else, except train for my own personal Olympics.

My triathlon training is coming along well (that's me on the left, my friend Carrie on the right). Only 5 more weeks to go! AGHHH!! Things are really ramping up too. The times that I need to train each week have taken a significant increase over the past week. Riding my bike for 70-80 minutes at a time, swimming for 35-40 minutes, and running for 35-40 minutes. All of that twice a week. You'd think right about now, after 11 or 12 weeks of vigorous training that I would have lost some weight? Right? NOPE! Actually, I take that back. I've lost 1 pound. ONE POUND!

Yah, Yah, muscle weighs more than fat, I've heard it over and over. I'm not that strong, there's no way I have THAT much muscle. I need to start losing some weight in order for me to see a change and start getting motivated. People have told me that I look different but I really don't feel different. The only thing I've noticed change is the fact that my endurance has increased. When I first started I had a hard time doing anything but I've definitely seen a change in that. That's good I suppose.

Oh, and apparently this is what I look like when I swim. I'm in the background.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Olympics are here!

The Olympics are here! As I’ve said before I am a HUGE fan of the Olympics. From as far back as I can remember I’ve been following along. I even won a car during one of the past Olympics!

At tonight’s Opening Ceremonies we will see the Parade of Athletes as over 10,000 athletes from around the world file into the stadium. Greece will lead the way with China coming in last. During the festivities watch out for 5 year old pianist Li Muzi who has been playing since she was 4!

The games start tomorrow morning and will run through August 24th. The event I’m most looking forward to? Swimming! This is who I’ll be watching:

Michael Phelps – At 23, Michael, a Baltimore native, won all 5 of his Olympic Trial races, broke 2 World Records during those trials and holds 4 World Records in the 5 events he’s participating in. Is he good? I’d say so! Can he be beat? Absolutely! It’s going to be some great swimming. (And he's not bad to look at either!) And watch their new suits too. Laser seams, absolutely streamlined.

Katie Hoff – Katie could be called the female version of Michael Phelps. She’s 19 and also from Maryland. At the Olympic Trials she won all 5 of her events breaking one World Record and 2 American Records!

Natalie Coughlin – I root for Natalie mostly because she’s from the Bay Area (where I live) but also because she’s darn good. She swims 100 meters (2 lengths of a normal pool) backstroke (not the fastest stroke) in under 1 minute! You go girl!

Dara Torres

– At 41 Dara is the oldest woman to qualify for an Olympic Swimming competition. This will be her 5th Olympic games! She won both of her events at Trials and set an American Record but she will be dropping one of her events in order to concentrate on her 50 freestyle (one lap of the pool, a race from one end to the other).

(by the way, swimmers from other countries might be fast but we don’t want them to win so why even talk about them.)