Saturday, May 28

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

My darling friend Maren Kinnersley Layton asked me to answer the question "How do you do it?" on her fantastic blog This Mare Eats Oats.

I just love Maren. We've been friends for years and years, ever since we were growing up in the Mt. Olympus 4th ward (that, sadly, no longer exists). I wanted to be like her so much, I tried running for her office at Skyline High. She now lives in California with her husband Ryan and daughter Leah.

Maren is incredible. Leah has Rett Syndrome - if you don't know what Rett Syndrome is, look it up, and you'll understand why Maren literally is SuperWoman. The challenges associated with Rett Syndrome are heartbreaking. Reading Maren's blog takes you through the highs and lows of the Laytons' life, and somehow (whether a high or a low), you always leave inspired and uplifted. For more inspiration, see her second blog Dear Little Leah.

Last year Maren asked the question "How do you do it?" to people in her life that had or were currently facing challenges and struggles in their lives. Their answers were incredible, and so moving. It was such a success that she did it again this year, and asked 9 new people to answer the same question, and has posted their responses throughout this past month.

I don't like writing about challenges on this blog, but that doesn't mean our life is all rainbows and hopscotch. I guess I just don't have the courage to talk about the hard stuff. Maybe that will change as I grow and mature more, but for now, I hope you'll forgive me for not putting it all out there. I hope what I had to say will be a little bit helpful to someone.

Anyway, take a peek at what I had to say here.

Wednesday, May 25

80.

mimi papa graduation

I know she checks this blog every day, so I want to say
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MIMI!

80 years - that's a lot of mornings making hot chocolate and toast!

I don't think it's possible for anyone to love their grandchildren more than you do. I think you went to every single concert I ever played in Utah. You even drove up to Rexburg a couple of times to hear me perform. I have so many memories making cookies and countless cups of hot cocoa in the old kitchen, sleeping over and giggling all night in the basement, spending hours on the water slide in the backyard, picking raspberries, making homemade jam, learning synchronized swimming moves, and almost always leaving your house with a kiss on the cheek (sometimes we'd try to see if we could escape without one).

You are so sensitive, and have such an incredible love and concern for every member of the family. You're always praising people, especially when they're not around. You're fearless - take countless trips to the Ranch while the boys shoot guns, let Papa ride his Harley, and you've walk around entire lakes in Brazil - you do it all!

Love you, Mimi!

Tuesday, May 24

Maaaaaam + Popsicle

seattle

My parents came to visit about two weeks ago - heaven! Every time an Oldroyd visits we get lots and lots of sunshine in Seattle (they'll have to visit more often).

We spent a lot of time in the city, hit the Cheese Festival in Pike Place, went to the Seattle Temple, ate lots of delicious BBQ, ate fresh seafood in a fishing village, and explored some of the nearby islands.

Deception Pass/Whidbey Island:
deception pass
We totally took that bridge and hung out on that beach behind us. Beautiful!

falling sign
I love warning signs - it can be deadly.

green

deception pass water

Port Townsend:

port townsend house

mom port townsend

lighthouse sun

port townsend

I think the highlight for Dad was Uwajimaya, where we spent over $80 on Asian snacks and ramen. The lady at the cash register thought my Dad was awesome - "You buy lots of snacks! You hungry!"

uwajimaya 1
Pot-sticker-flavored chips, prawn crackers (that had eyes!), jelly straws (straws full of Jell-O), canned rambutan (in honor of Elder Oldroyd)... if it was weird, we probably bought it.

uwajimaya 2

There's an entire aisle of ramen, so Dad had each of us pick one for a taste contest on Sunday.

ramen contest
Dad reaching for more prawn crackers.

Dad won with this gem:

dads ramen
We didn't know what that white sauce was, but it was delicious!

We also tagged along with my mom on her last long training run for the Ogden Marathon. We were loving the flowers and blossoms in the Arboretum!
Picture 9

mom dad alki
Thanks, Mom and Dad. As Elder Oldroyd would say, you are the bomb.com.

Monday, May 16

It's SPRING in Seattle

tulips

I just dropped off my parents at the airport. We had a fantastic weekend:

We spent nearly $100 on Asian snacks, ate way too many Top Pot doughnuts and Le Panier macarons, put over 300 miles on our new car, ate delicious fresh seafood (except for Taylor), and saw nearly every inch of Seattle.

Monday, May 9

Windermere Cup

cup ledge

Saturday was the 25th Annual Windermere Cup. We rode our bikes down the trail to the Montlake Cut, a canal of water between Lake Washington and Portage Bay. We cross over the cut every day to get to our house.

montlake cut
This is looking West off of the Montlake Bridge. Lake Washington is behind you, and Portage Bay is in front of you - home of the Seattle Yacht Club. If you keep going through Portage Bay, you'll end up in Lake Union, home to Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle.

We beat the crowd, and found a sweet spot near the finish line, with our legs dangling over the water.
shoes montlake cut
It was here that we decided we would never own a dog. I don't care how cute your dog is - we don't want it breathing in our faces, wagging its tail against our backs and heads for over an hour.

Uw team
Different age groups, schools, and neighborhoods competed until the culminating race (the actual Windermere Cup). The competing teams:

University of Washington
Cambridge
Stanford
Oklahoma (who knew Oklahoma had a a rowing team?)

UW wins
UW won!

I guess UW has a stellar rowing program - they've been National champions for several years (every UW team won). Go Huskies!

Saturday, May 7

Ode to Mom(s)

small world

I've decided lately that the Lord places people perfectly.

I'm amazed at how the trials I have faced, and am facing, line up perfectly with those of the two most wonderful women in my life. More on that another time, but for now...

Mom, I love you.
I love that you still do cartwheels.
I love that you will probably run until you have to have a leg amputated (and then you'll get a prosthetic leg and run 60 more marathons).
I love that no matter how many times I've bawled on the phone with you, by the end of every conversation you have me laughing.
I love that you completely get me (because I'm just like Dad).
I love watching you with Dad, and hope to have a relationship like yours in 30 years.

Mary, I love you.
I love hearing you whistle (and sing songs about gingerbread).
I love that you know exactly when to call and check in on me.
I love that nearly all of our conversations eventually turn to our mutual love for DesignMom, chocolate, and Trader Joe's.
I love you for raising the most perfect, Christlike person I have ever known (and letting me steal him).
I love your selfless nature. I don't think you've ever put yourself first - you're always worried about someone.

I am blessed.

Happy Mothers Day!

Friday, May 6

"We're just minimalists!"

Last night I was browsing through some of my favorite blogs, when I came across one belonging to some old friends of ours. She had just finished decorating their bedroom, and was showing the results.

The room was perfect - beautiful rug, gorgeous bedside tables, a fantastic tufted headboard that was custom made, original artwork on the walls, draperies and pillows made from specialty fabric you can only get through a designer - something I would expect to see in House Beautiful (who knows, it very well might be!).

Taylor glanced over at the screen, and offered the token man comment:
"What is the purpose behind all of those pillows?"

We were mesmerized. It's like a real bedroom. We kept scrolling through the pictures and description, and finally I said, "Okay, let's compare this to our bedroom."

We both burst out laughing. And we couldn't stop - really - we were laughing so hard!


Here's our bedroom (click to enlarge):


- Blank walls (except for one wall that contains a spectacular quilt made by my mother-in-law that merits its own post)

- IKEA shades on the windows

- IKEA floor lamp

- An 8-drawer IKEA dresser with an alarm clock, iPod speakers, and a picture I haven't yet hung anywhere

- An old nightstand we found in the basement of this house that actually doesn't get used

- Bedding we've had since Day 1 of our marriage


After we finally calmed down, Taylor said, "Tal, we're just minimalists!"

Maybe we are just minimalists - or maybe we're holding out until we own a home, or maybe I'm too indecisive to make a decorating decision,

or maybe we're just cheap.

Wednesday, May 4

FLEET FOXES

Last night we saw the Fleet Foxes at the Moore Theatre before they take off on tour.

They were amazing!

I love, love, love their sound - it's so different. It was incredible to hear them harmonize perfectly in tune live.

If you haven't heard the Fleet Foxes, check them out - we're hooked. Their new album came out yesterday.

Taylor still fantasizes about growing a beard and joining the band. I better start buying him some homeless-looking clothes.