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!