Tuesday, May 29, 2007

God Bless America

For Memorial Day, Ryan, Leah and I went to the Golden Gate National Cemetery. We saw it about 2 months ago on our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the neatest thing to see as you come around a bend in the freeway - just rows and rows of white headstones on rolling green hills.

It was neat to go yesterday as every single grave was lined with American flags. There were graves from people who had died in the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. I think there were also some newer ones as well.

The graves were etched with symbols for various religious affiliations such as crosses for Christians and Stars of David for Jewish people. We even saw a couple of headstones that had the Angel Moroni engraved on them! There were men and women, husbands, fathers, mothers, wives, sons, and daughters and there were people from all aspects of a war: soldiers, marines, naval officers, cooks, nurses, engineers, etc. Some had names; some didn't. Some had birth and death dates; some didn't. There were people from nearly every state too! It was strange to think that a lot of these people were just kids themselves - lots of them younger than us!! It was quite an amazing sight.

I kept trying to get pictures that could depict what we actually saw, but I couldn't get one I was happy with - you'll just have to see it for yourself! It made us very proud to live in this country and very grateful for so many men and women who gave their lives so we could enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.

And yes, Ryan and Leah were twins. hahaha. Leah was dressed first and Ryan came out in a matching shirt and didn't even realize it. I thought it was cute.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

three months

here is leah at three months old next to the pillow. she's definitely grown...and she is becoming more aware of the world around her every day.

and i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her cheeks and her beautiful, big, blue eyes. it looks like she just got her wisdom teeth out or something with those cheeks. love them.

this is how i show my affection...

true californians...

today i spent at least three hours traveling between the DMV and the smog check place trying to get our car registered in california and get california plates (i know, i know...we've been here 4 months now, it's about time...but we had a pretty good excuse named leah). i decided i really hate being at the dmv. not only because of the long lines but because no one there speaks english, the employees always treat you like you're an idiot and they are not happy to be there either. but...we got it done and are now true californians with plates, registration and driver licenses. (please excuse the picture...it was an early morning and definitely a no-makeup day...but at least i don't have three chins unlike someone else i know.)

but you'll always be larry muv to me...

we love you, larry muv. just because you have not-so-cool license plates now doesn't mean you are any less cool. we love you just the way you are...were.

a day in the life...

this is a little bit of what i do every day...

early morning pilates with mom

tummy time outside...some days i like it better than others. today i don't like it.

model my new swimsuit...now i just need a place to use it...

take naps...

study for the cfa exam with dad. i'm sooooo smart.

stay up late to watch jazz games...

read a book with dad every night before i go to bed...

all interspersed with eating, pooping, smiling, cooing and more sleeping...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

el nino is spanish for THE NINO...

Has anyone else noticed that the months listed to the left of my posting are in Spanish (at least that's what I think it is)? I have no idea how they got that way...just showed up a few days ago. I even checked my settings and the language says, "English - USA." So, I guess English - USA means part English, part Spanish??? Like the time we went to Burger King and ordered hamburgers and the cashier said through the microphone, "dos hamburgers." Nice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

let's give it a try...

i'm just figuring out how to post videos and such...so this was a trial to see how it worked. we made a video for my mom's birthday when leah was 1 week old (march 3rd)...can you believe how much she's grown in the 11 weeks since this video!?! that onesie is a newborn onesie and it fits her perfectly now. Leah 'ugly dances' in this video - we were helping her practice for the dancing that will undoubtedly take place at aunt kelli's wedding in 3 1/2 weeks.

i'll try my best to post newer videos soon...and sorry that it's sideways...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

to my mother...

Elder Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said of mothers, "You are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you...will strive to love God and live the gospel; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you do to." I know my mom has done these things and more as she raised four children - all of whom I would say have turned out quite well! She even did for a few years on her own while working full time - and I still cannot comprehend how one can do that. I'm not sure I can express in words what I want to express to my mom, but I want her to know how much I love her. I love her for the example of a mother she has been to me. She shows me every day that she loved and still loves being a mother - that she chose that path in her life and does not regret it. She sacrificed more than is imaginable. She has shown me it's okay to make mistakes, but that it's important to learn and grow from them. This past year has been quite a battle for her, but she has been a pillar of strength for me every minute of every day. I love you, mom.

to my daughter...

On February 23, 2004, I went to the communications week capstone lecture given by Jane Clayson-Johnson, a very successful broadcast journalist who also happens to be a Latter-day Saint. My whole life, I wanted to be a bradcast journalist, but changed my major halfway through college because I knew the lifestyle wouldn't mesh with my desire to stay at home with a family. Jane knew this too. She married a little bit later than she expected in life and, at the time she gave this lecture, she had turned down a lucritive offer for a four-year contract with a national television station because she was expecting her first child. She was ridiculed for her decision, but knew it was the right decision for her. She said (as recorded in my journal two days later), "I believe you cannot have it all. There will always be a sacrifice. And if that sacrifice comes at the expense of your family, as your role as a wife and as a mother, it is not worth it." I'm not sure why, but this message really got to me. I was in tears and went to thank her for her message after she was finished. I was 22 years old and had been married for less than one year - I was nowhere near the point in my life where I would be ready for children, but I knew, at some point, I would need to make the same decision as Jane - that my role was to be a mother and I shouldn't let anything get in the way of that. Who would have thought that one day short of three years after the date of that lecture, I became a mother. I love Leah more than I can describe and the joy that she brings to my life is worth every sacrifice I have and will make. Being a mother truly is one of the best gifts I have been given. Though it may be hard to remember that during late nights, tantrums, or mundane tasks, I have been entrusted with one of God's children and will try my best to raise her in righteousness. I love you, Leah.

back in the running...

Today I ran my first race since having Leah. It was actually only the third time I have been running since she was born...but it felt good. Ryan and I ran the Los Altos Hills Pathways 5k with some others from our ward (most of them ran the 10k...). It was probably the hardest route I have ever run mostly because it was so hilly. If you look at the pictures, off in the distance it drops off down into a big valley...we ran all the way down and then all the way back up. Yes...a gigantic hill at the very end. I did have to walk it, but so did nearly everyone else. It was the worst race time I have ever had for a 5k, but I came in 5th place in my age category! hahaha. We had a good time...and I'm hopefully getting hyped up to run the san francisco half marathon (across the golden gate bridge!) this summer and a marathon in northern california in october...we'll see how it goes! (Pictured: top: Kaylynn Olsen, Maren, Julia Wade; bottom: Ryan, Maren, Julia and Jonathan Wade).

life's a picnic...

I know it's not the best picture in the world, but Leah went on her first picnic on Friday! I packed a lunch for myself (see sandwich in bottom left corner) and we walked all the way...downstairs. Yup, we had a picnic on the lawn just outside of our apartment complex. It was a really nice day and Leah really enjoyed just basking in the...shade. Although, if you look closely, she is now holding onto her toys quite well...and she mostly loves to suck on and lick them. It was a fun afternoon and she looked so cute in that little denim jumper.

Monday, May 7, 2007

leah's blessing

What a wonderful day! Ryan blessed Leah this morning at our chapel in California - the Los Altos Ward. He did such a good job and Leah was great. Ryan said she had her eyes open the whole time, but she just sat there as he blessed her. She looked so beautiful in her long white dress - it was actually the dress I was blessed in!! i love her chubby little cheeks...
what a pretty dress!
in the bonnet that i wore when i was blessed. we opted for a bow, but the bonnet was cute too!
before the blessing...leah wore a white onesie, her bow, ruffle socks and shoes all morning. the dress wasn't worn until we got to the parking lot of the church!! hahaha. She was such a happy girl all morning long.
daddy and leah on their big day!
cute little toes...

first babysitter!

Ryan's work had a dinner last Friday out at Half Moon Bay, so Leah spent the evening with Julia (pictured) and Jona Wade. When we got home, Leah told us she had a great time. Thanks Julia and Jona!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Trip to Salt Lake

Leah and I took a trip to Salt Lake to surprise Kelli for her graduation from BYU. It was quick and we crammed lots of things into it, but it was a lot of fun. We both missed Ryan like crazy and are glad he can come with us next time when Kelli gets married in June. Here are some of the exciting goings-on of our trip...

Please excuse the crazy layouts - i tried to get the pictures to match up with the typing that refers to them, but my computer is going psycho, so i gave up after many attempts...

thursday - surprise!!

Thursday was such a good day. I had almost blown the secret for Kelli 3 or 4 times, so I decided to not email or answer the phone on Wednesday or Thursday. We boarded the plane in San Jose at 8 am and arrived in Salt Lake around 4 pm. It was a looong day on the plane with connections in orange county and las vegas, but leah was an absolute angel (this is her stretching out on the plane seat during a layover). My mom picked us up and then we went home to get ready to surprise kelli. She moved home a few hours earlier than we initially expected, so it was a close call, but we still surprised her. We put Leah in the car seat in the corner of Kelli's room. When Kelli walked in, she said, "Mom, who's that?" It took her a few seconds, but once she realized it was Leah, the tears started coming. It was priceless.

friday - pomp and circumstance

Congratulations to Kelli and Ryan. Kelli received a BS degree in Exercise Science and Ryan received a BS degree in Business Management - Finance with a minor in Chinese Studies (we also found out from the program that he graduated Cum Laude!!). My mom, Richard, Scott, and Ed were also there to celebrate (and Ryan via a photograph). Leah slept right through it; well, through most of it. She slept on my mom's lap for most of the ceremony and I took her outside for the last little bit. I was able to see lots of friends from the Counseling and Career Center at BYU where I used to work and shop in the overly-crowded BYU Bookstore. We took lots of pictures and then ate at Goodwood BBQ in Orem. It was a fun day and I'm sure they are both so glad to be done. We are so proud of them!

saturday - meeting the cousins

First thing on Saturday we went to a funeral for a lady we lived by in South Jordan named Deanna Dowdle aka "Wanda". She passed away of a rare form of cancer found near her stomach and liver. Although funerals are never the happiest of occasions, we were glad to see so many old friends and neighbors.

After the funeral, we spent some time with Scott and his two kids, Arianne and Wesley. I'm sure Leah won't remember much about meeting her cousins, but it was sure good to see them. Wesley (7 mos.) has grown a ton and his hair is getting so light! Arianne (3 yrs.) was a doll. She sang songs from Wicked and Cars for us and was so excited to be able to hold "both babies" in the pictures we took. My favorite quote of the weekend from her is, "These are my socks. I wear them on my hands at night. Mommy and Daddy say it's not good to scratch my face." Hilarious. We were sad to not see Marisha as she was working, but wish her luck in her final semester and hope to see her in June!

Later, Leah was able to meet her friend Nora Winterton and Nora's mom and dad, Kim and Ryan. It was a lot of fun to see them.

Nora is a super smiley 8 month old who was very curious to know what would happen if she poked, prodded and squeezed Leah. We intervened when necessary, but it was pretty funny to watch.

Later that day, my mom, leah and I walked the Bonneville Shoreline trail by our house. Leah slept the whole way and we guarded her from the brigh sunlight, but it was nice to get out into the open air.
After the walk, we relaxed on the grass and Leah and my mom had a tongue sticking out contest - you can decide who won.

sunday - church and family

Sunday was full of excitement. Kelli and Ed drove me and Leah to Provo to go to church at our old BYU ward. We had a great time seeing most of our old friends, but I'm sad we missed some of them.

Leah was also able to meet her future husband, Zachary Low...he's 6 weeks younger than Leah. Zachary's parents, Justin and Amelia, are our friends from Provo. Justin and Ryan served in the bishopric together, which made Amelia and I widows during sacrament meeting together. When we found out we were having a girl and they were having a boy, we arranged the marriage right then and there. Zach will have to grow a bit first to catch up to Leah, but boys usually bloom later than girls, right?
After church, we went to dinner at my cousin Rachel's house. Leah got to meet Rachel, Mike and Anna Uffens and Brittany and Lance Bergeson. (This is me and Leah, Rachel and Anna, Kelli, and Britty.)
Annie was the most interested in Leah and tried to maul her a few times. But, with intervention, we all came away unscathed. Annie was so cute with Leah and even held her hand by the end. Rachel was also kind enough to lend us tons of clothes that Annie has now grown out of. Leah basically has a new wardrobe - she is modeling a new outfit in this picture.

monday - shop 'til you drop

Monday was a day of shopping - only after I had a dental appointment and found out I had a cavity for the first time in YEARS! I was so upset. Richard fixed it right then, and since anesthetic doesn't work on my mouth, I felt quite a bit of it. I was then "numb" for the rest of the day and couldn't eat much, but at least it's fixed, right? We had a great time shopping and Leah was a trooper. She did have her biggest blowout ever...through her diaper, pants, shirt, and the blanket she was sitting on in her stroller. We changed her in a super posh restroom in Nordstrom and she was a much happier girl afterward. Later that night, Megan Johnson and her two little girls, Rachel and Bria, came over for a visit. This time it was Bria who was very interested in Leah, but no one was harmed.

tuesday - do you know the way to san jose?

Tuesday we did a little more shopping, Kelli watched Leah for a little bit while my mom and I ran some errands (as you can see by the picture, she did a great job - hahaha) and then Leah and I boarded the plane to san jose to come home.

We were sad to go and had a great time, but Ryan was very happy to have us back and it was really good to see him again...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

from me to you...

So yesterday Ryan walked in the door after work and said, "Do you want your anniversary present now?" Obviously. So...he hands me a piece of paper with a picture of this sweet shoe on it. He told me I could get running shoes...but they had to be these running shoes. Hahaha. What a great present! He knows I want to train for a marathon sometime soon and I really need new shoes. Now we are trying to figure out how devoted he really is to running and if he's committed, shoes will be his present too. Yay for anniversaries!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

happy anniversary

Ryan and Maren Layton - May 2, 2003 at the Bountiful TempleRyan, Maren and Leah Layton - May 2, 2007 Today is our four-year anniversary. Can you believe it?!? I am so grateful to have Ryan as a husband. He is such a wonderful person; he is loving, caring, hard working, trustworthy, funny, respectful, honest...the list could go on and on. He is a fantastic father and I know how much he loves and cares for me and Leah. I continue to love him more and more every single day...and am grateful to know I can be with him for all eternity. I love you, Ryan.