Sunday, March 30, 2014

lambs and lions and such

March came in like a lion and out like a lamb, that much is true (thank goodness for that lamb part). But it was a really, really big lion and an unusually small lamb. And it was also pretty confused in between. We wore our snow boots, rain boots, regular boots and then some shoes. We donned our winter coats, rain coats, light jackets and once just t-shirts. We had warm days then frigid days. Sunshine then rain. And then more snow. 

Always more snow. 

There were a few afternoons I walked out into the warming Iowa air and thought, "Okay. I can do this. The sun might actually exist." And then the next morning, I did my best to hide my tears as I felt the bitter wind and more freezing temps. 

Always more freezing temps. Painfully freezing temps.

This March, more than ever before, I despised the lion days. Mostly because it wasn't just snow. It was bitter cold winds not meant for human life. And it had just gone on for too long. But this March, more than ever before, I also relished the lamb days. I lived for them. I soaked in every second and sunbeam they had to offer.

So here's to leaving a confused, muddy, mucky, cold and snowy March behind, or I just might make good on my threat to divorce Iowa. Bring on spring!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nauvoo for the day

Today we drove to Nauvoo so Ryan and I could attend the temple. As it's a 2 hour drive, one way, and each session is 2 hours, this was an all-day activity. We planned to leave just before 7am so I could catch the 9:00 session. We were a little sluggish getting out the door, so as we started our drive, I knew there was no way we were going to make it until the 10:00 session. I fell asleep for part of the drive and when I woke up we were a few miles away from Nauvoo, and it was 8:35. 

Needless to say, Ryan may or may not have obeyed the posted speed limits. But, I made the 9:00 session! 

Ryan took the girls to the visitor's center and to visit with some family friends who happen to be serving a mission there right now. When I was done, we swapped. I was hoping for some sunny weather, but it was completely overcast and really windy. So we took our picnic lunch and ate it in the back of our little car. We were seriously cramped and it was seriously fun. Those girls. 

After lunch we still had more than an hour to spare. We walked around the visitor's center, but after wrangling Kate while watching the movie, I realized that was a futile plan. We loaded up in the car and drove to Carthage Jail. I planned to get the girls out and walk around the grounds, but Kate fell asleep and there was no way I was waking her. So, Leah and I chatted about Carthage for a bit and then we drove back to Nauvoo. 

By this time, Kate woke up and Leah had crashed. As we pulled up to the temple waiting for Ryan to finish, the sun broke through the clouds and the wind stopped. I rolled down the windows and Kate and I got out to enjoy the sunshine. It was good for the soul! 

When Ryan finished, Leah woke up and we walked to the Fudge Shoppe (of course) and soaked in the sun for a few more minutes before turning around and driving home. 

Kate apparently thought her 20  minute slumber was plenty for the DAY and didn't sleep a wink the entire drive home. Instead, she serenaded us with her screams and whines. It was all around lovely. And made me reconsider potential travel with her in the car this summer. I might invest in some ear plugs. For me and Leah. 

All in all, a day well spent with three of my very favorites. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

spring pictures

When I was little, I used to BEG my mom to purchase the spring school pictures. You know, the ones withe the props and the neon and the fake floral backgrounds. Those school pictures. She always always said no (except one year...but there's no way I'm posting those pictures here). 

And now I totally understand. 

I mean, the girl is cute, but come on...

Sorry mom. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

march madness, adapted

This is how we do March  Madness bracket picks, eye gaze style. Rett syndrome's got nothing on Leah. We went through each match-up, one by one, to chart her picks. 

(Post MM Update: No million dollar brackets here, but they were 100% her choice. And let's be honest, Ryan and I didn't fare so well either.)

Monday, March 10, 2014

a newfound appreciation...

Today marks six weeks until the 2014 Boston Marathon. And I've had a realization, a new found appreciation, if you will. You see, thanks to Mr. Polar Vortex (x5 now is it?), Iowa has been a frozen tundra for the last few months. Its coldest and snowiest on record, I've heard. And, though I'm no stranger to cold weather running, a few things have to align to allow me to get out the door:
1. Temperatures that don't cause frostbite in less than 5 minutes.
2. Sidewalks not lined with ice, underneath a fresh layer of snow.
3. Wind chills conducive to running with a one year old. 
So far, not even one of these things has happened for me in the past two months. Seriously, the warnings were to not go outside for more than five minutes for risk of getting frostbite. FIVE MINUTES!

As for number two, I actually like running in snow. I find it relatively peaceful and calming. But I like to leave the skating part to hockey players and ice dancers.

Those wintry conditions + dark skies until 7:30am and then again at 4:30 pm = no running sans kids for me = no outdoor runs. I'm still not completely familiar with the roads in my area, so I'm not going to risk running alone in the dark. And pushing a stroller on ice while trying to run is most likely less fun than run/skating on it myself (but in full disclosure, I haven't tried).

The dreadmill and I have become very close in the last few months. Too close, actually. Of my 207 miles of training since December 30th, a measly 54 of them have been outside (and that includes 18 glorious miles in California). For all you number crunchers out there, that's 26%. 

Which leads me to my realization/appreciation. Because the other 74% have been inside on my trusty treadmill, I've had a lot of time to stare off into space at my 1960s wood-paneled basement wall, feeling like a mind-numbed lab rat. Running round and round and round on my rubber wheel for hours at a time.

But that's when it hit me. 

A lab rat! 

Research for Rett syndrome! 

That's what this whole thing is about! 

And honestly, underneath all the moaning and complaining about where I'm running, I am truly grateful for the ability to run at all, and for the opportunity to run for Rett syndrome. For Leah. To raise funds for life-changing research. To finish what we started last year. 

I'm grateful for my treadmill. And I'm grateful for those little rodents. 

And so I run. And run and run and run. Sometimes on a treadmill, sometimes outside. It doesn't really matter. For Boston 2014, I run for Rett. 

Please consider a donation to our 2014 Boston team on behalf of Leah's runners:
or Elissa:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fiji bound

Over the holidays, Ryan's dad was called to serve the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a mission president presiding over the Fiji Suva mission (the special late night FaceTime I referred to on our Chicago weekend away was when we found out). This is a three year calling for both his parents!

Though we are sad to not have them around for the next three years, we are excited for them and for the experiences and adventures that are sure to await them in the Pacific! And we obviously can't wait to visit (though I'm considering giving Ryan a turn flying solo with the girls, and this 15+ hour flight might be the perfect opportunity???).

After calls for new mission presidents are made, the Church features each couple individually in the Church News. Here's what they wrote about the Laytons.

LaMar L. Layton, 58, and Lynnette Stark Layton, two children, River View 6th Ward, Draper Utah River View Stake: Fiji Suva Mission, succeeding President Kenneth D. and Sister Janis Klingler. Brother Layton is a former stake president, counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, senior missionary in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission and missionary in the Illinois Chicago Mission. Founder of Decisive Investor. Born in Salt Lake City to Lawrence Martin Layton and Lida Marlene Prince. 

Sister Layton served with her husband in the Tonga Nuku'alofa Mission and is a former stake Young Women president, ward Relief Society president, ward Primary president and counselor in a stake Relief Society presidency. Born in Rexburg, Idaho, to Earl William Stark and Loretta Ririe.

Racing for Rett

In the span of 8 days, we've been a part of two virtual races for Rett syndrome, both supporting Team Rett for the Boston Marathon. 

The first race, Outrun Rett, was a 5k held on March 1st or 2nd that people all across the country participated in, including some of our good friends. A simple thanks just isn't enough Michelle, Tara (and Layla), Candace and Krista. But hopefully you already know how much we love you. (And Michelle, I have to admit I might have said a few swears in my head when I was running on my treadmill for fear of frostbite and you were running in sunny California. Forgive me.)

The second race just Ryan and I participated in. It was a 5k held on March 8, but I ran 18 miles instead. I just couldn't resist? We'll say it was the first 3.1 miles of my 18 total as those were definitely the best. That was a loooooong run. But it was outside so I will refrain from further complaints. 

We love the idea of bringing people together for a good cause with a virtual race. Thinking about putting one together for Leah this fall - anyone interested!?!?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sixty years of mom

This past Monday, my mom turned 60 years old. For a brief moment, my three siblings and I talked about surprising her in Utah that weekend. With one child in Utah, one in California, one in Arizona and myself in Iowa, she doesn't see us all together very often. I may have been the child who ruined the whole let's-all-get-together plan, but with nearly $500 plane tickets, unpredictable weather and some already planned trips right before and after, it just wasn't feasible for a quick weekend. 

I was feeling really horrible about it all - I wanted to celebrate my mom and show her how much I love her! So, I got an idea to try and contact friends, co-workers and family members from all stages of her life and have them all send me a message for or memory of her so I could compile it all in a book. 

What an incredible experience it was to receive email after email, facebook message after facebook message, even some snail mail letters, all honoring an incredible 60 years of someone I love more than words can say. Some messages had me in tears while others made me laugh out loud (sometimes in inappropriate places!). And the pictures! Oh, the pictures!

I am, obviously, not the only one who thinks my mom is awesome sauce. And the time I spent creating the book was absolutely worth it. I had it in my possession for one brief afternoon before I had to ship it right off to her to make it in time for her big day. 

She says she loves it and feels it is a treasure for her to have. More than anything, I just hope she knows that she has been a treasure to me and many others during her sixty years. 

Happy 60 mom. Here's to 60 more!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

february in an instant

February has never been my favorite month. Growing up in Utah, it was always cold (though I will now admit, humid cold is a whole different monster that I simply did not meet until I left Utah). And it wasn't pretty cold - it was a crusted-filthy-snow-on-the-side-of-the-road kind of cold. A 'when-is-this-winter-ever-going-to-end?' kind of cold. 

Then I married Ryan and we celebrate him in February, so that gave the month a bonus point. 

Then we moved to California where February was all about refreshing rain and blossoms and the beginning of spring (gasp!). So February got some thumbs up for that. 

Then Leah was born. In February. And she's awesome, making February a little more awesome. 

So, though February (especially THIS February in Iowa) is still cold, a crusted-filthy-snow-on-the-side-of-the-road kind of cold and a 'when-is-this-winter-ever-going-to-end?' kind of cold, and a 'let's-see-how-many-more-days-we-can-cancel-school?' kind of cold, I've found things to celebrate in the meantime. 

Inside, of course. 

(And visiting that rainy, blossoming California in the midst of the ridiculous cold this year didn't hurt.)

So, here's to February while it lasted...