Saturday, August 31

TEAHUPOO | TAHITI

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Taylor's fortune cookie at LAX. You know Panda Express has to be planting all of those fortunes in airports.

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We spent the first week of our trip on Tahiti. My parents rented a home in Teahupoo (said "Tcho-po"), a small village at the "end of the road." There is only one main road in Tahiti, a two-lane road that goes nearly all the way around the island, but it dead-ends at Teahupoo (the eastern tip of Tahiti is not protected by reef and is not inhabited - it's all wild jungle!). Teahupoo is also home to the Billabong Pro Surfing Competition, as Teahupoo is home of one of the best surfing waves in the world. We were lucky enough to be in Teahupoo right as the competition was kicking off.

What I loved about Tahiti is that it is not touristy at all - the main city, Papeete, is busy but more like a small port city. There aren't any big fancy resort hotels and no big-name fancy restaurants. For a week we felt like Tahitians as we ate their food in their homes, went for long morning walks along the coast, went on daily hikes in the jungle, and slept under mosquito netting. Robby was an incredible tour guide.

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Opening ceremonies for the Billabong Pro Surfing Competition on the Teahupoo wave. This area was a 5-minute walk from our house. You can see the wave crashing on the reef in the background. That grandstand is where many of the cameras are stationed.

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The river by our house in Teahupoo. You walk by this every time you go out to the Teahupoo wave.

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Waiting for lunch on the beach!

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Robby kept busy fetching coconuts.

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Anna with our first Tahitian lunch - turns out we would be eating this every day for the rest of the trip. French baguette filled with ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato and french fries. I feel I should mention that Tahitians serve fry sauce! Our order ended up closing down the lunch shack.

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Tahiti has the best juices.

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Hanging out in the front lawn of Uncle Robby's first mission apartment/home. Unreal.

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Hanging out with the family that housed Robby and his companion in his first area. Lots of dogs mean lots of dog poop, which means for two hours we were watching every step that Sam made. 

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Robby and Anna - 8 days after their wedding!

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On Sunday, the Bishop and Relief Society President's families (good friends of Robby's) came to our home and made us a Tahitian feast. This is tapioca, taro, and some other vegetable at the top that I don't remember.

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My favorite Tahitian dish! Poisson cru - raw tuna in coconut milk and lime juice with fresh cucumbers and tomato. Delicious!

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Eating dinner on our front porch. Taylor is holding his favorite Tahitian dish: Pineapple juice (ananas).

By far, my favorite part of Tahiti was the people. They were all so friendly and loving - they say hello and goodbye with a kiss on each cheek. Of the six nights we spent in Tahiti, five of those were spent eating with the members - three times in their homes, twice at our place. It was incredible to visit their tiny, sometimes windowless homes right on the ocean - tiny, immaculate and spotless, with pictures of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and the Temple everywhere you look.

When we showed up to sacrament meeting on Sunday a half-hour early, at least half of the ward was already there, waiting in the chapel. Their examples really made me think about several things I can do to show greater commitment in the gospel. The church really is their life there (as it should be for anyone, anywhere, really). I was nearly scared to death when they asked me to be the ward organist/pianist for Sacrament meeting.

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Billabong Pro Opening Ceremonies

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Bless you, Ergo carrier. We would not have survived this trip without you.

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Sam loved the water! We loved his Gilligan look.
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These two made it possible! We love you, Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, August 21

We're back!

08-17-2013 Sam dock bora bora
We flew home yesterday from Bora Bora after spending 12 days with my family in French Polynesia. What a trip, and what a little boy to travel with. It wouldn't have been possible without my incredible parents, and especially without my brother Robby, who served as an LDS missionary in the Papeete Tahiti mission a couple of years ago and made one excellent tour guide. 

I have so much to share, I hope that you don't mind a couple of posts about the trip. For now, though, I have a living room full of laundry to tackle.

12 MONTHS

My friend Becca did a compilation of all her son's monthly pictures, and I loved it. Loved it, as in I went back to that post again and again, eagerly anticipating the same growth and development for Sam. It was fascinating to me (sorry for the 1,000 hits from Seattle, Becca!). I didn't succeed in getting pictures as perfectly similar as hers (Becca, how did you do it?!). The rocking chair seemed like a great idea when Sam was immobile, and not so much when all he wanted to do was rock and crawl off that thing. Anyway. This is mostly for me and the grandmas, so here we go - 12 months of Sammers!  

ONE MONTH

sam 2 months
TWO MONTHS

 sam 3 months 2 10-24-2012
THREE MONTHS

 Untitled
FOUR MONTHS


FIVE MONTHS

 SIX MONTHS

 02-24-2012 sam 7 months
SEVEN MONTHS

 
EIGHT MONTHS
  
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NINE MONTHS

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TEN MONTHS

06-24-2013 sam 11 months
ELEVEN MONTHS

[picture to come]
TWELVE MONTHS

I remember wondering what Sam would look like as he became more of a little boy and less of a baby. Now that I look back on these photos I see little hints of Sam in that baby face. Oh, this happy boy. He is so active and all over the place ("Does he ever stop moving?!" was a question we got at least a dozen times while in Salt Lake), but he is so happy that I could care less how much I have to wrestle, move, pick up, or redirect him every day.

WEIGHT: 23 lbs. (50%)
LENGTH: 30 1/4 in. (76%)

AVERAGE NIGHT'S SLEEP: 7pm-6:30am. Naps are still all over the place - he took regular 2-3 hour naps while in Salt Lake, so nobody believed me when I said he doesn't take long or consistent naps.

FAVORITE THINGS: People, walking, dogs,

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Started dancing (squatting) to music, blowing kisses, giving hugs and kisses, and said "Mama" to me - as in made eye contact, and said just "Mama" slowly. Haven't been able to get him to do it since.

PLACES HE'S BEEN: Salt Lake City, Provo (the Rec Center is amazing!). Explored some splash pads and swam in grandma's pool - we have a very brave water baby on our hands.

WHAT MAMA LEARNED: We made it a whole year! He's still alive; we're still alive! Victory! 

What an incredible ride this past year has been. I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for the opportunity to be a mother. After the seemingly eternal struggle to get Sam I expected motherhood to be easy, but it hasn't been. Motherhood has really, really stretched me and taught me things I know I would not be able to learn any other way. I have learned to forget myself, to realign my priorities, simplify and focus on the things that actually matter to God and our family. More than anything, I have learned that if I keep a strong relationship with God, stress is low, emotions are controlled, struggles seem manageable and we have a peaceful spirit in our home (easier said than done, of course). The trials Taylor and I continue to experience seem to weigh on us so much less because of Sam because of the joy and happiness he brings into our home. What a miracle he is, and continues to be for our family. We love you so much, Sammers!

Friday, August 2

60 Marathons


My mom ran her first marathon in 1996, the Deseret News Marathon on the 24th of July. After about a decade of running, Mom decided it would be fun to set the goal of running 60 marathons by the time she turned 60. At first she averaged maybe one marathon a year but some years she was up to 5+ marathons. I remember her saying how excited she was that my dad's business trip to Paris overlapped with the Paris Marathon, though she ran the Paris Marathon to train for another marathon! She has run all over the world - London, Boston, Whidbey Island, Maui, Big Sur and many others. In her office she has a wall of medals, plaques and trophies from winning her age group, and lots of other fun race memorabilia.

For a long time I thought that Mom was crazy. Why would anyone want to run for more than 30 minutes, let alone 3-4-5 hours? Why would you want to run a marathon on your vacation? I never thought I would run a marathon, nor did I have the desire. It didn't even look like fun, especially when I saw the aftermath of lost toenails and hobbling as though one's joints stopped working. But she seemed to get real enjoyment out of running these races - even when running Boston with bronchitis? That tells you how tough she is!

Growing up, we would sleep in Saturday mornings only to wake up and find out that mom had already run 20 miles that morning and was at work on another project for church or her tennis team or had been to Costco and mowed the lawn or was putting on a wedding shower in a couple of hours. Then there were the weekends when she would run a marathon and nobody knew. I remember one afternoon she came home and set something on the counter while on her way to take a bath, and when I looked it was a marathon medal. "Oh, was that race THIS weekend?!" Whoops!


Marrying Taylor not only converted me to olives, cantaloupe and red peppers, but running. We started running together every morning when we were first married, and a few fake asthma attacks later (I'm an idiot, and have never had asthma), I had completed my first half marathon. A year and a half later I ran my first marathon!

Once I started running longer distances, I started thinking about how neat it would be to run a marathon with my mom. Not just run the same race, but run alongside her for all 26.2 miles. When Mom started having knee trouble earlier this year she suggested that her 60th may be her last marathon, Taylor and I booked tickets to Salt Lake to run the race with her. The Deseret News Marathon is always held on July 24th, also known as "Pioneer Day" in Utah. It seemed fitting that her 60th marathon would be the same marathon as her first.

Mom and I took our time due to her knees and some other health problems, but we were determined that no matter what we would finish under 5 hours (we finished at 4:58!). Unfortunately Mom said it was her hardest marathon ever, but it was still so special having Mom to myself for those 5 hours, even when things got really hard for her toward the end. As we turned the corner to run into Liberty Park, the tears started coming as I looked at Mom and realized that we had done it together - every mile, every step. The announcer called out Mom's name and her big accomplishment as we neared the finish line and we both started crying, we were so happy to be finished and together! Standing at the finish line was my family (Taylor had finished over an hour earlier - go Taylor!) and Mom's closest friends with banners, flowers, and big smiles to congratulate her on completing her goal.  

Somehow I didn't get the pictures off of my family's phones, so I had to rip some off of zazoosh and Mom's Instagram (@runsuerun):


Approaching the finish line!


Mom, you're amazing! You've set a standard with your toughness and endurance that none of us will be able to meet. Thank you for letting me run with you! I love you.

ONE.

We asked my mother-in-law if we could invite some close family over to grill some burgers after the marathon to celebrate Sam's birthday. We woke up from our post-race nap that afternoon to a charming birthday wonderland. My mom and I call Mary Anne the Queen of Parties, and Molly is right up there with her. I feel so lucky to be in a family with these fun and creative women!  


And now for picture overload:
Sam's cake!
Molly made that chocolate cake and it was honestly the best chocolate cake I've ever had.







Sam wore the same suit Taylor wore on his first birthday.
Take a picture! We had a wonderful time with this group, and boy did they spoil Sam.


Terrorizing Lorenzo.


 
We point at everything these days.



   
 
I hope you run 60 marathons one day, Sammy.
 

Thank you for the spectacular party, Turners! We love you.