Saturday, December 29, 2007

a roller-coaster year

one year ago today, i joined my mom at the huntsman cancer institute in the "infusion suite" to sit with her while she experienced her first of four rounds of chemotherapy infusions. although i would never wish her experience on anyone, how grateful i am for the experience to try and be a shoulder to lean on. i was also able to go to her 2nd infusion on january 19th (when this picture was taken...don't mind the chubby, 7 1/2 month pregnant face) and then i moved to california the next week. it has been a year of ups and downs, goods and bads, highs and lows...but i am happy to say she came out on top. and she won the hair growing contest. we love you shmoj.

kelli, karen and maren - january 19, 2007 - 2nd chemotherapy infusion

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

10 months!

our sweet little leah is growing up so fast! this month, she was put on a new diet of calories, calories, calories...and it seems to have worked. she has gained at least 2 pounds and loves to eat everything in sight. she will shove whatever is on her tray into her mouth at once, so we have to be careful to not put too much on her tray at a time. she is starting to scoot and turn herself in circles on her stomach, but she still doesn't like it much. she is very vocal and says things like, "ma ma," "da da," "ba ba," and "hi dad" (i'm not kidding...she really does!). she is so interested in things around her and understands so much. she still loves to be scared and tickled and her favorite person in the world is her daddy (good choice, leah). and we think she's pretty cute.

christmas time is here...

the past week has been's what we've been up to:

i took leah to santa's workshop to see the jolly man himself. she wasn't so sure...

so we put her on the other santa's lap. she liked him muuuuuuch better. but the santa hat could only last for so long...
ryan and scott competed for the best gingerbread house. i think ryan won on grounds that his entire ceiling didn't cave in...

rachel and i made delicious caramels...and not-so-delicious toffee. yes, that is congealed butter sitting on top of the chocolate. better luck next year, i guess.
we enjoyed a quiet, christmas eve dinner...complete with chicken cordon bleu i made myself from scratch!!!we opened up our new christmas pajamas (that's one tradition i will not let go...)enjoyed a wonderful christmas morning. leah loves her new shopping cart. ryan loves his new external hard drive (no more deleting "unnecessary" programs from our computer). i love love love my new kitchenaid!!!and we love leah (she was our favorite gift this year). and had a wonderful christmas day dinner with the mcphie's. crab legs, ham, potatoes, salad, cornbread, jell-o, rolls and banana slush. yum!

we have been so very blessed this year by our heavenlyl father and are grateful for all of our wonderful friends and family and for the gift of his son, Jesus Christ. we hope your day was as wonderful as ours. know we love you and miss you and wish we could have been with you this christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

layton piano studio

so, last thursday, i hosted my first-ever layton piano studio recital. what a blast! besides the fact that one of my students had the flu and couldn't attend, which made the entire program go no more than 13 minutes max, it was a smashing hit. what a fun little group i have. they performed flawlessly...despite the fact that little winn played his entire piece, ode to joy, in the key of G minor rather than the key of C (but i don't think he even noticed because he was so scared)...they were wonderful.

left to right: winn, charlotte, isabel, maren, josef, melissa, sarah, and emma. not pictured: audrey

and leah was an angel throughout the entire performance. everyone is in love with her. she even got 5 christmas presents from all the kids and their families!!

it's beginning to...feel...a lot like Christmas

so, it doesn't look anything like Christmas...not one bit. in fact, it kind of bothers me to see lights and blow-up decorations strewn about snow-barren lawns...but, that's just the scrooge in me speaking. so, to get some Christmas cheer, we went to "christmas in the park" in san jose with our friends, the mcphies. here is my cute little family. no, i didn't really need the coat. i have a closet full of coats i love...colors to match every outfit so as to not commit a fashion faux paux, and i'm dying to use them. i was actually quite hot by the time we were all done. sigh.

here is scott and ty mcphie with ryan and leah...and santa! we contemplated standing in the long line so leah and ty could sit on santa's lap. the sign said he'd be back in his workshop in approx. 10 minutes. then we decided we were too hungry to wait. on our way back to the car, we spotted santa crossing the street. we tried to get a stealthy picture as he walked by and said hello to our kids...and he noticed the camera and offered to take a picture with us! i love how scott and ryan are so happy in this picture...and leah and ty wouldn't stop staring at santa. what a jolly fellow. this was one of my favorite parts. i know the picture is blurry, but the fuzzy stuff coming out of that ornament decoration is snow. yes, fake snow. they had a snow machine that would go off every 5 minutes or so. it was so cool to watch all the little kids twirl underneath the fake flakes like it was magic. it made me miss a white christmas all over again...

and this is how leah put herself to sleep. she was tuckered out...slept all the way home and then through dinner!

and what blog post would be complete without showing leah's latest...this is her new favorite face to pull. she scrunches up her cheeks and eyes and just giggles...kind of a mischieveous little giggle if i do say so myself...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

you've GOT to be kidding me...take 2

...that is what Leah said when she went back for her weight check and found out she gained 1 lb. 12 oz. in just two weeks.

she now weighs 15 lbs. 8 oz. and is in the 2nd percentile. she also grew nearly an inch.

i think it's all the cheese she ate...ryan thinks it's the bow.

an old friend...

singing at christmastime is one of my very favorite things to do...i was in choirs in high school and some in college that gave me so many opportunities to sing and i loved it... now that i'm not in a choir, i realize just how much i miss it! but, this last saturday, i was asked to sing in a trio at our ward christmas party. i know, they didn't sell tickets to the event or anything, but it was so welcoming back and old friend. we sang "mary's lullaby" during a reinactment of the nativity story. and yes, i sang bass.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

26.2 take one

Alright, folks, the much awaited commentary on the insanity that was this weekend. Running a marathon has been a goal of mine for a little while...knowing now the hard work, effort, time and exhaustion (physical, emotional and mental) it takes to train for one of these things may have deterred me from starting to train. But, now knowing the feeling of overcoming so many obstacles and pushing myself harder than i ever have before makes it all so worth it.

I was pretty on edge Saturday morning...I was kind of emotionally overwhelmed and I was definitely taking it out on Ryan. I'm pretty sure he was wondering what he was thinking when he asked me to marry him. hmmm... We drove up to Sacramento where we met up with Julia and Jona (soooo good to see them, by the way). Leah was so scared for me this weekend that she actually peed on Julia when she first saw her (really, she embarassing). When everyone else arrived, we went to a delicious dinner (albeit not the best for carbloading - sorry julia), we all headed back to the hotel for a good night's rest. i didn't fall asleep until about wasn't restless and i wasn't scared. i just didn't sleep. hmm...

at 5:30 am, we were dressed and ready to go. we dropped off leah at jeff and sarah's hotel (thanks, guys!) and ryan drove julia, jona and i to the starting line. chilly, but not as cold as expected...bonus. we met up with molly and kaylynn - our fellow marathoners - and paul and ed - the first leg relayers. paul and ed had were definitely entertainment for the first 5.9 were the townsfolk who had seriously just rolled out of their beds to cheer us on from their driveways. by the end of the first leg, molly passed us up and kaylynn was just ahead of us, but ryan joined us for leg 2. how great to see his bright, smiling face...even though he HATES running, HATES getting up early and was wearing the world's ugliest sweatshirt. he was constant throughout the next 7.8 miles and really kept julia and i going. brook was the other leg 2 relayer, but he was running just ahead of us with kaylynn.

brook and ryan...see...i told you his sweatshirt was ugly

we passed the half marathon point about 10 minutes faster than we ran the nike half just over a month ago...i was feelin' pretty good! leg 3 brought rebecca's bright smile, fresh legs and wonderful stories. that girl knows how to keep you going. poor julia hit a bit of a rough spot about half way through. through tears, she turned to me and said, "how horrible would it be on a scale of 1 to 10 if i just stopped right now?" an option. she had to take a pitstop at the port-a-potties and told rebecca and i to keep on going. an option. we walked for a little while and then stopped on the side of the road until she caught up to us. i think she really thought we were going to leave her behind! after this little mid-race-crisis, the julia we all know and love was back...and i mean really back. the girl had so much energy!

ryan, paul, brook, rebecca, lindsey, liz and sarah...
the relayers...minus ed
i was doing better than i expected. it was so great to dash past the huge flags indicating another mile of our insanity was behind us. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21...sarah joined us for the last leg and she was a hoot. she pretends she's a novice, but she kept me going for sure. at mile 23 we took our last gu and julia said we were running from here on stopping at all. i was 1) very glad she said that because i probably would still be running the marathon right now had she not and 2) going to kill her for prohibiting any stops...i was TIRED!
the girls
i can honestly say i was doing just great until about mile 24. i think i was just mentally done by that point. my legs were on auto pilot. my feet were numb. we could see the 25 mile flag ahead of us and everyone got so me, it just looked way too far away. around mile 25, rebecca, lindsey (the other 3rd relayer) and liz (the other 4th relayer) joined us. they had way too much energy for me. we ran past the hotel and i really thought, "okay, guys, i'll see ya later...i'm just going to go up to the room now." you would think i should have been happy when i saw the marker for mile 26, but i wasn't. i thought, "there is no way in hades i can go another step, let alone .2 miles." I never thought .2 miles was very much, but when it's tagged onto the end of 26, it seems like eternity. we turned a corner and saw brook, kaylynn, paul, ed and brad. i don't remember much. my legs kept moving and julia, sarah and i turned the last corner. the finish line was in sight...legs still on auto pilot. then i heard this great big, "YEAH MAREN!!!" Ryan was cheering with jeff and jack (and leah sleeping peacefully in her stroller). and then it was over. i could NOT believe it. tears started to seep out of my eyes...and i have no idea why. elation? exhaustion? i'm still not sure...
A goal completed.
jona, julia, kaylynn, maren, molly - the marathoners
And only because there were so many people to help support and encourage me along the way. Including, but not limited to: Kelli, Morgan, Amber, Crystal and Danielle - some of my earliest running partners. Mom - my first and most memorable race partner. Ryan - my everything. Leah - this one's for her. Ed, Paul, Ryan, Brook, Rebecca, Lindsey, Sarah and Liz - the relayers. Molly, Jona and Kaylynn - the marathoners...and Julia. This girl didn't complain a bit when I could only run 2 miles last April. She slowed her pace to keep me company through 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 mile runs (and every run inbetween). She encouraged me through 2 half marathons and she kept me alive during the last 2.2 miles this weekend. She has this indescribable aura about her that makes you feel like you really can do anything, and for that, i am grateful. 26.2 completed.

Monday, December 3, 2007

too tired for words right now...

...but overall, a great race. more pictures and comments to come. thanks to everyone for their support!

Friday, November 30, 2007

"mommy, mommy, my ponytail is too tight..."

So, today i put Leah's hair in a "ponytail" for the first time...just a teeny tiny litte one on the top of her head, but i thought it was so cute. The front of her hair isn't long enough yet, so she had a few bangs, but i think it worked well for the most part. And, about 8 hours later, it's still in tact. yay!

p.s. mom, i now understand why you made Kelli's and my pigtails/ponytails so tight...sorry for all that complaining...
in other news...we're off to Sacramento tomorrow for the big race. ryan is running the marathon relay with 3 others as well. wish us luck!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"you've GOT to be kidding me"

...that's what leah said when the pediatrician told her she was in the 0.23 percentile for weight today. yes, i said zero-point-two-three-percentile. i knew she was little, but come on! we have a new diet regimine for her to follow and will have a weight check in two weeks to see if she has gained anything. the doctor would like to see her in at least the first percentile...i told her that means she only has to be able to beat up one out of 100 babies. that's doable.

if any of you mothers out there have good ideas to fatten this girl up, let me know!
and this is the face she pulled when she found out how large and in charge she was...

(if you're interested, she is now 25.5 inches long...2nd percentile and weighs just under 14 pounds. her head is in the 25th percentile, so at least she's smart, right? hehe. and let's give her a little credit here...i think she lost at LEAST a pound this morning after ryan changed her diaper.)

9 months

indesign is back up and running; and for that, i am grateful. our little 9 months old enjoys any and all foods. she hasn't quite figured out the opposable thumb, so she grabs the food, squishes it in her fist and then proceeds shove her entire hand in her mouth and scrape off the food. still no teeth (she's asking for her two front teeth for christmas). still no crawling (we're just fine with that). she is rarely found with her mouth closed and is always talking or singing (or yelping). she loves shaking her head no and loves when we say bye bye or play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. she enjoys books more and more every day and gets so calm when i sing to her. her smile is contagious and she seems to make friends wherever she goes. she is such a blessing.

turkey trot

knowing we would most likely overeat later in the day, we decided to run a quick 5k on thanksgiving morning to burn those extra calories. we ran with scott and rachel mcphie (pictured) and paul and kristin hepworth. i had a p.r.: 26:40! yaaaaaay!

a day of thanks

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have so much to be grateful for. Pictured are some highlights of Leah's day: eating "turkey and vegetables" (yes, i bought her that specific baby food for her first turkey day!), playing in the park, bathing with her boyfriend (and then sleeping in the jammies he wore at 8 weeks old) and just being cute.

We had dinner with 5 other couples from our ward and everything was so delicious! It's so nice to know that even though we weren't with extended family this year, we have good friends to keep us company. Rachel did such a great job on the turkey!!

Things I am grateful for:
10. A warm home and food on the table every day
9. Ryan's job
8. A body that functions properly - I am continually amazed at the human body and how it can be pushed and strengthened and used for our benefit and the benefit of others. I also realize more and more why it is so important we take care of our bodies.
7. Mothers - I realize more every day how wonderful mine truly is and how much I have to learn
6. Fantastic friends - both near and far
5. Two wonderful families: the Kinnersleys/Hauleys AND the Laytons
4. My health
3. Leah - her smile brings such joy to my life!
2. Ryan - he is so wonderful and works so hard both at his job and at home...I coudln't ask for more.
1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ - without it, I am nothing

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

2,344... the number of jumps I completed while jumproping today.

I needed to shake up the workout regimine a little bit and i have a semi-busy day ahead of me (but i still have time to blog, of course); so i couldn't take a ton of time out to go running mid-day (and, when running with leah mid-day, it takes a lot of time out...promise). So, i decided to jump rope outside of her bedroom window during her morning nap. i set my stop watch (yes, julia, i got a stop watch!!) to 30 minutes and off i went.

Can i just say that jumping rope as a 26 year old is much harder than jumping rope as a 6 year old? I was the third grade champion for those jump-a-thon things when i was little and don't remember sweating or being tired at all. not the case today.

I did go 412 jumps without messing up, though. yay. and now leah's awake. perfect timing.

a little bit of leah

so, i wanted to upload some videos of leah from the past few weeks, but after lots of trying, they would not upload. and trust me when i say i tried. we're talking every day for the past week, i waited while the upload bar spent hours slowly creeping to the right, only to show a big, fat, red "X" and say, "Error: a timeout occured during your upload." Barf.

So, here is the sole vidoe that would upload. leah is our little star. i will post more if they ever decide to cooperate. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

20 miles


And I'm still alive to write about it.

my cute niece

my sister, kelli, had a "sleepover" with my cute neice and nephew so their parents could have a much needed weekend together. it also happened to be my brother's birthday the following monday, so kelli recorded his cute little girl, arianne (almost 4 years old), singing a birthday song for him. so funny.

Monday, November 12, 2007

there's no place like "fale"

(at least that's what the english-tongan online translator told me "home" was...)
Ryan's parents have been serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the past 18 months in Nuku'alofa Tonga. They were able to stop through San Francisco on their way to Salt Lake so they could meet their first grandchild. We had fun eating American food, shopping at Target, looking at pictures and taking naps. Welcome home!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

she's a heartbreaker...

Leah has a dilemma. There is an abundance of boyfriends for her to choose from, she's just having a hard time deciding who is right for her.

Initially, she was betrothed to Zach Low, then he moved to Canada. Enough said.

Then, she was destined to be with her twin, Jack Smith...but we all decided incest is NOT best (they are second cousins, born 30 minutes apart!!).

Her most recent love interest is Tyler McPhie. They seem to have a lot of fun together and have been on multiple dates. We've even caught them playing footsies and holding hands.
leah playing with ty and jack...
what's a girl to do???

Friday, November 2, 2007

leahs and tigers and...pumpkins, oh my!

happy halloween...a few days late.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

yes, we're okay...

a few people have called and emailed to ask us if we are doing okay after the earthquake on tuesday night...and yes, we are just fine! the epicenter was near milpitas, which is about 10 miles away from us. it was a 5.6 on the Richter scale and we definitely felt it. our entire apartment (which is on the second floor with only a carport underneath it) was kind of rolling back and forth slowly with a slow, low rumble. there was no damage and we are all doing just fine. thanks for your concern!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

spaghetti face

We had spaghetti for dinner the other day and Leah wanted to join in on the fun. The noodles kept sticking to her fingers and she couldn't figure out how to get them off...this seemed to work the best. For those of you who know my childhood experiences with spaghetti, I just want to say that Leah did this to herself. There was no smashing any spaghetti (or hot marinara sauce) onto her head/hair/face.