Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Dan's sister Robin came to visit us for Memorial Day weekend, and we had so much fun! She arrived the evening of Dan's last day of school, so between the school year ending and having Robin in town to do fun things with, it really felt like summer vacation was here! We only had Saturday & Sunday to spend with her, but we made the most of it. We spent the day at SeaWorld on Saturday and had the best time seeing fun shows & animal exhibits. On Sunday after church, we went downtown for lunch and a musical - "MixTape - the musical journey through the 80s". Dan and I had seen it before and we knew Robin would love it since she grew up in the 80s and appreciates good music and cheesiness. :) It's such a good show if you're in San Diego & have the chance to see it. Dan & I enjoyed it even more the second time around. We made sure to take a nice long walk on the beach and stopped for frozen yogurt in the afternoon, and then we watched Dan play roller hockey that night. Robin had to fly out on Monday morning, but we were so glad she made it out to visit us! She has a full-time job and also serves as her church's music minister, so we know how hard it is for her to get away and we appreciate it! Here are some pictures of our fun times.

At the penguin & puffin exhibit at SeaWorld

These penguins seemed to really enjoy the sunshine & warmth!

We saw two hilarious sea lion shows - one during the day and another show at night where the sea lions made fun of all the other SeaWorld shows. :)

He didn't quite make it over the bar, but he kept the ball balanced on his nose! Impressive!

The magical floating dolphin show!

We went through the shark exhibit, where they did their best to make sharks seem interesting and beautiful instead of nightmarish. But directly afterwards, you go through the shark aquarium where they play music that sounds like a heartbeat while the sharks float eerily over your head. Yeah, I'm going to stick with nightmarish.

Then you get to see the world's largest (prehistoric) shark mouth!

Robin bites back. :)

They have a summertime Cirque de la Mer show with clowns & acrobats. The preshow was hilarious, where they pulled a couple of burly men from the audience & had them prove their manliness in a variety of embarrassing ways.

The most spectacular show of the day was of course the Shamu show!

As we were waiting for the fireworks show at the end of the night, we spotted these sleeping seals. a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e.

Dan & I have seen this fireworks show dozens of times from across the bay where we live, but this was the first time we saw it from inside SeaWorld with the music playing.

Going old-school with 80s music!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Final Push

We had a busy weekend, full of friends and activities. On Friday night, we went to see Christopher Titus (a comedian) perform live in Escondido with Eric and Millie. Dan knew Eric back on Long Island, NY and hadn't seen him in at least 15 years! He and Millie and their two sons were recently stationed in San Diego (he's in the Marine Corps), and we were finally able to connect with them. Christopher Titus was hilarious and his comedy act was almost 2 hours long! That's a long time to keep an audience engaged & laughing! Dan & I liked the fact that he had a real message in addition to being just plain funny. He threw some serious issues out there, like racism, parental responsibilities, abortion, etc. There was quite a bit of language, but his topics were pretty clean, although controversial.

On Saturday morning, we helped our friends Paul and Ann move out of their condo (they just purchased their first house!), then went straight to a farewell party for my friend, Amelia, who is moving to Ohio this week. Amelia and I have been in a Bible study together for the past couple of years, and when my company moved to a building that was close to her workplace, we started meeting up for lunch dates on a regular basis. I'll really miss her!

Dan, me, and lovely Amelia

We had time to take naps late that afternoon before getting ready for PROM! Dan's favorite event of the year - haha. Actually, since prom always falls so late in the year, it's a good indicator that Dan's in the final push towards the end of the school year. In other words, he is s-t-r-e-s-s-e-d. I'm sure all the other staff & students feel it, too. They only have two more regular weeks until finals week, and then graduation is on May 27th! No pressure!

Anyway, prom is always a fun time because at Dan's school, there are clear expectations & guidelines that keep everything innocent and fun. Lots of parents & staff get involved and attend, and the kids don't seem to mind at all because they're all like one big family. They just want to be together and have fun, and it's a breath of fresh air to not have to watch out for indecent dresses, alcohol, drugs, kids sneaking off to have sex, etc. One teenager even danced with his mom during a song, which got me all choked up because it was so sweet and it would've NEVER happened at my high school. Private Christian school payoff right there, people. I'm sure it's now worth every penny of the thousands of dollars that mom has paid over the years. :)

Our grown-up prom duds

Dan bought a brand-new tie for the occasion, and I battled valiantly to accomplish something pretty with my hair before admitting defeat and pulling it back in a bun. Note to self: Hairspray is a non-negotiable. Buy some next year.

On Sunday morning (after about 5 hours of sleep), I dragged my tired butt out of bed at 6:15 to get ready for my half-marathon practice run! I've been slowly working up to the full distance during my training, and I decided that when I got to my 13 mile long run, I was going to simulate race day as much as possible. Hence the early morning, and actually the terrible night's sleep was probably good too, since I'm sure I won't be able to sleep much the night before the race. I wore all the clothes I plan to wear on race day, ate a peanut butter & banana sandwich, drank plenty of water, stretched, and took off. I ran a route where I'd have to confront a few hills and I took the shortest breaks possible to drink at water fountains along the way. And two hours & nine minutes later, I had run 13.1 miles! I was really happy with the time, since on my registration packet I said I'd finish in about 2:20. So I hope I'll be able to keep the same pace on race day! They have official "pacers" who run the race as guides to help other runners finish at the time they want, so I plan to follow the 2:10 pacer during the race if I can.

So now I'm in the final push to my first half marathon on June 5th! I'll cut back the mileage on my long runs for the next few weeks to give my body a breather. Apparently, tapering during the last couple of training weeks is supposed to help you perform better during the race. And I will cheerfully accept any advice that tells me I don't have to run that far again, because it hurts. For days. But at least I know I can do it! This is actually a pretty recent revelation for me since I was never an athlete in school. I stayed in shape, but stuck to aerobics, weights, the elliptical machine & walking - things that didn't involve competition, bruises, or ice packs. But about 10 years ago, I decided to run a mile. Then I eventually worked up to my longest run of 3 miles. When we moved to San Diego 5 years ago, I saw recreational runners everywhere and we moved close to the beach, which is the most beautiful place to run & bike. Dan & I cheered on the runners during the Rock 'n' Roll marathon one year (it went right past our neighborhood) and I saw people who looked a lot like me running 26.2 miles. Who knew you didn't have to look like a distance runner to be a distance runner? And at this year's Rock 'n' Roll half marathon, there will be a girl at the end who looks just like this:

Red-faced, sweaty, and smiling! Dan took this picture before I jumped in the shower & hobbled to church. Then I put my feet up and watched movies for the rest of the day. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The "7 Year Itch" is Bunk

We celebrated our 8th anniversary on Tuesday, and I don't know what the 7 year hype is all about, but I think marriage just gets better & better every year!

I took my gorgeous roses to work so I could see & smell them all day and make the other ladies jealous.

We enjoyed a gourmet Italian dinner at Il Fornaio on Coronado Island. The restaurant has a breathtaking view of the harbor and downtown San Diego. V-e-r-y romantic. :) I ordered the butternut squash & walnut stuffed ravioli and it. was. incredible.

Nope, no itching here. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Amazing Day

This weekend, our friends Chris and Adessa came to visit us! They moved to Anaheim last year, which is only about an hour away, but it's sadly far enough that we don't get to see them very often. They solidified their status as some of my favorite people when they brought dinner with them on Friday night, so I was greeted with the aroma of warm delicious pizza when I got home from work! We followed that up with Coldstone's and a walk on the beach, and then played Carcassonne until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore. Carcassonne is Dan's & my new favorite board game. If you haven't played it yet, you're missing out! It's really fun with anywhere between two and four players. Trust us, even people who normally don't enjoy board games love this one!

Saturday was EPIC as far as packing as much as possible into one amazing day! We started the morning off with a big breakfast, then walked down to Mission Bay near our house. Five ladies from Dan's school were competing in outrigger canoe races there, and we made it in time to cheer for them during their last race of the day.
Next, we met our friends, Paul and Ann and their son Eli, at Lil' Piggy's Barbeque on Coronado for lunch. Paul, Chris, and Dan met each other through work years ago, and it didn't take long for the six of us to start hanging out. Since then, Paul and Ann had their little boy Eli, and Chris and Adessa have moved out of San Diego, but we still spend as much time together as possible. It was a gorgeous afternoon, so we walked off some of the heavy lunch afterwards.

But wait, the day's not over yet! We had made reservations for a sunset kayaking tour at La Jolla Cove that evening. None of us had been in a sea kayak before, and of all people, Chris seemed the most nervous about it (he's the only surfer in the group)! The lady who made our reservations said that it's more fun to rent double (tandem) kayaks if it's your first time, so you've got someone with you to share the experience.

All geared up and ready to go!

We didn't have a waterproof camera, so I double ziplocked our digital camera and hoped for the best! Our guide stopped the group a few times once we were mid-ocean and had us link together by holding onto each other's kayaks so he could point out landmarks and tell us about the area. The good part was that sitting still for a little while gave me chances to take a few careful pictures on the water. The bad part was that just sitting still & feeling the waves made me realize I was getting very seasick. I tend towards motion sickness, so I pulled out all my tricks - gazing at the horizon, drinking cold water, breathing deeply, etc. The thing is that when I feel sick on a windy road or in a turbulent stretch of air, usually everything is smooth again within a few minutes. When you're on the ocean, the. waves. never. stop. So eventually, the inevitable happened and the fish got a nice BBQ meal served over the side of the kayak. Suffice to say, it was not my most glamourous moment. We were linked in with the other kayaks while our guide was talking, and I remember looking back at Dan and saying "I think I'm going to throw up." He acted fast & paddled us away from the group a little bit, but unfortunately he was stuck with a front row view. I guess that's what the "in sickness & in health" part was about at our wedding - haha! Afterwards, Adessa said that she was feeling horribly seasick, too, so I'm glad Dan got me out of eyesight so I didn't start a chain reaction! He is yet again my hero.

I felt better then, and got to enjoy the fact that we were watching a beautiful sunset from the middle of the water. We didn't get to kayak inside the sea caves since the tide was too high that day, but we got good views of them from a short distance away. We had a huge pelican swim *this close* to our kayak, and man, they are scary looking up close! We also saw a curious harbor seal poke its head out of the water & watch us as we paddled our way back to shore. It was adorable!

Our guide tried to prepare us for the rough ride back into the shore with some tips on staying upright, but nevertheless the ocean won this round and Dan & I got dunked about 12 feet from the sand. We rode a big wave and it was awesome for about 3 seconds until we turned to the side & flipped over! I was so busy trying to escape from underneath the kayak and hold the camera out of the water that I forgot to hold onto my sunglasses. They, along with my lunch, were left behind as a memorial to our sea kayaking adventure. And I was reminded of exactly why I don't spend more than $15 on sunglasses.

Dan soaked from head to toe after our less than graceful landing.

Chris and Adessa made out much better than we did, and I got this amazing picture of them looking like pros with the ocean & cliffs behind them.

And thus concludes The Amazing Day.

Chris & Adessa joined us for church, lunch, and one last beautiful walk on the beach on Sunday before heading back home!