Friday, October 30, 2009

In Memory of Let's Reborn

In its final moments, a memorial of Let's Reborn:

I've given this blog a passionate 3+ years and just as it lived, would like to have it go out strong. Otherwise I fear it may completely dwindle down to entries so seldom they are only entered out of guilt of neglect. While I haven't necessarily minded its slow evolution into more and more of a mom-blog, I've decided that the large amount of previous personal entries may outweigh my efforts to change the blog's nature and for now I would rather put it to rest.

Let's Reborn began on August 4, 2006 reluctantly. I've never been very successful at keeping a journal, but I wanted to have my say too when when I saw the opportunities and benefits of social feedback and sounding boards in the lives of others.

So my goal was for it to be a place for sharing my outlook on life, thoughts, philosophies, and yes, adventures, though I did want to avoid the trap of only reporting events in my life. I wanted it to be a place where I could be myself. But even that had to be constantly compromised, both for audience consideration and for the feelings of others. I don't think I succeeded at being considerate enough though and am sure that I hurt others. My intentions were not malicious but were to ignite more social awareness and to encourage people to think about what they want in life and what they're doing about it.
Also, it seems that I am constantly in need of serious psychological help.

I was raised a Mormon and I consider myself a Mormon though a "less active" one. I believe that many of my readers are LDS as well. Unfortunately the Mormon culture has been very prominent in shaping what is appropriate and / or inappropriate to discuss in public and private arenas. Specifically I've struggled with the fact that while we preach the necessity of opposition in all things, the social consequences of discussing negative experiences and the emotions that accompany them makes it unthinkable. My own drive for shared honesty about life and relationships combined with my social naivete have become too much for this blog. I have no desire to only discuss and share negative thoughts and feelings, but I have no desire to pretend that they don't exist and can't be addressed.

I recognize that it was a mistake to use my blog to share personal information that sometimes put others in a bad light. I wish I could inspire more honest conversations without hurting others. I sometimes wish I didn't crave connection and intimacy so much.

I'm including a quote from a book I thought was pretty lousy, but has made me think about what kind of person I am: "Maybe this inflammation of the spirit is a gift that can only be received by those whose prayers ask for a daily hunger than for bread."--Theo Grutter, Dancing with Mosquitoes

Lastly, I'd like to refer anyone seeking family updates to the blogs that survive mine:
My family outdoor adventures blog and my husband's blog.

Perhaps the end of Let's Reborn may give birth to a more family-update type of blog for the benefit and ease of sharing photos and stories with my loved ones who are far away. We shall see.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Moab part 2

My trip to Moab for the race of course included a trip to Arches National Park. It was Bailey's second time there. My friend Aimee and her baby rode down with me to watch Bailey while I raced and hang out for the weekend. Tyler met us in Moab Sunday afternoon after the race to hang out for a bit before heading to Grand Junction for some work on Monday morning.

First stop was the easy Sand Dune arch. Bailey absolutely loved the sand. It was probably her first real time playing in fine fine sand like that.

Arches NP Oct09
Arches NP Oct09

Did a quick climb into Skyline arch.
Arches NP Oct09

The next morning we visited Double Arch and the short Park Ave hike.
Arches NP Oct09

It was the perfect time to be in Moab. I loved just taking Bailey for a little walk down main street and also she really enjoyed the pool at our hotel with the big lamps on outside at night and still pretty warm out.

The Other Half

Remember back in March when I ran the 5 mile run at Moab's half marathon? I admitted that I liked the payoff even though I've never considered myself a runner and I doubted that I'd do something much longer despite common cries that races are addictive. Well I'm about to eat my words right now.

Again, I signed up with my sister April, honestly because she got me excited for it--she would be a great coach or personal trainer. She gets you pumped about doing stuff you hate to do just because she has so much enthusiasm of her own and then even when you tell her you're not sure you can do it, she keeps believing in you like no one has ever believed in you before.

I signed up sometime in May I think, but didn't start my training til I had to according to a 12-week schedule, that put me starting in late July. I wanted to do the race, but I just hated the practicing.

That was until I was finally able to do 5 miles comfortably. Then I only hated the longer practice runs, each time psyching myself up for them and praying I wouldn't have to walk at all. But I really liked my 5.6 mile loop run once a week.

Before race day my longest run was 10 miles and I'd clocked just over 10 minute miles. My goal for the half marathon, the 13.1 miles, was 2:09. My final time was 1:58:48, which works out to be a 9:04 mile pace. I finished 4 minutes behind April and she was there to watch me come in. When I looked up and saw the time and there was only a 1 in the front, I was so excited I sprinted to the end.


Thanks April for believing in me and I've been on a high for a week now based on my finish time. I'm not sure I'd ever go for anything longer or that I want to start from ground zero again, so I'm going to keep up with the running, at least once a week. I almost wish I could do another half marathon in a week while I'm in the zone and practiced. But I'm going to stick with my offer from my last race post: For now, hit me up if you want to go hiking or waterskiing, I enjoy those activities much more and am better at them too.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Dear son,

Your visit was the most wonderful gift I could have ever imagined. About six months ago when I wrote about getting in touch with the adopted family of my son it still didn't seem real that I would actually get to meet you. Again, I have to thank your wonderfully warm-hearted mother for being so loving and open and for bringing you with her for a visit all of the way from Alaska.


My heart pounded just seeing you and yet strangely, I didn't know what to say. I didn't even want to say anything at all, I just wanted to hear you really, to hear what your voice sounded like, and I was afraid that I would miss something if I moved when you spoke. Because of this, afterward I was a little worried that I didn't express my love enough. How could you really know how much I love you and how proud I am of what a fun and sweet and ambitious boy you have become? And what if I said too much and it was overwhelming or awkward to have such expressions coming from someone you have only ever heard about?

I didn't want to make you embarrassed, but I also wondered if you knew how much I would have poured and poured and poured out my love to you, but it would still have not made a good or very happy life for you had I not placed you for adoption at the time of your birth. Most importantly, I wondered if you ever knew how much your birth has defined the shape of my own life and my journey into adulthood?

My son, you have been a bigger influence on me than anyone in my life without ever even knowing it. I've always thought of you with such pride, and now that I've had the chance to meet you, I am convinced that you'll be able to do so much with your life and live it to the fullest!

I am so happy to know your mother and I can't say enough how grateful I am to her and her husband for giving you such a wonderful life full of family and friends and wonderful memories and experiences! I will be eternally grateful for her opening her heart to me as well. I never expected that I would have the chance to meet you, though it was something I had always hoped for.


I loved watching Bailey giving you kisses! I am sure you are a wonderful brother!

I love being a mom and with your visit, I again feel a renewed sense of purpose. Thank you! I can't wait to get to know you better over the years.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

30-year Adventure

Check out my outdoor blog for April and I's 30-year celebration hiking/camping trip at Zion National Park

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

In Bailey's room

I finished Bailey's room a few weeks ago. Yes, it had been "finished" once before, meaning we had painted the room downstairs intended for Bailey to move into once she started sleeping through the night. Tyler had given me permission to do pink and so I picked pink and purple for the walls. Unfortunately, I didn't like it, and again, Tyler was willing to bear with me. But I knew the time was coming soon to move her out of the attached room to ours and into the one designated hers downstairs.

I wanted not a gender neutral room, but one that wasn't overwhelmingly feminine. I picked out some stencils online and ordered them and used leftover paint from some of the original colors as well as from Caiden's blue room. And this time I absolutely love the room. It feels perfect! I realize it's still not all matchy-matchy as far as furniture and design, but I love the colors now and the feel of it.


She started sleeping through the night almost the exact week of her 1-year-birthday. She occasionally does an early morning wake-up around 5:30 or 6:30, but has now been a pretty consistent sleeper until about 7:30 am 5-6 nights per week. I can't help but wonder if its because the room downstairs is a bit darker and more removed from the action upstairs after bedtime. But I honestly think it was just perfect timing, she finally just hit that period where she can sleep through the whole night. I don't regret keeping her up in the attached room for just past her entire first year and I don't think I could have done anything to ease the sleeping problems that were so persistent for so long.


She's such a beautiful dreamer!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

All Her Favorite Fruit


And does she ever whisper in his ear all her favorite fruit
And all the most exotic places they are cultivated
And I'd like to take her there, rather than this train
And if I weren't a civil servant, I'd have a place in the colonies

from Camper Van Beethoven's "All Her Favorite Fruit"

Okay, I know it's a love song, a sexy one, but I have to say that it's perfect for Bailey. All she wants to eat is fruit for the last 2 weeks, won't touch a cracker, cookie, vegetable, cheese, or anything else hardly. So I show her on our world map where the fruits come from and all the places I wish I could go with her someday. And we have fun even when I'm frustrated that that's all she eats.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

30 "Times-of-my-life" ---Long post!

I just turned 30 and for my own sake wanted to recount my best 30 times of life so far. It's long. I wrote these kind of randomly, but it appears that either my memory isn't that good or that the last few years were just pretty awesome because most of them fall into the last few years. Also, it's pretty likely that I'll think of even better memories once these are actually published and regret not mentioning them, so forgive me if I forgot about the time we were on an incredible road trip together or saw the craziest thing ever.

1 & 2. The day I gave birth to Cade and the day I gave birth to Bailey, both totally different circumstances but I can't imagine any experience more rewarding and beautiful than having a baby.

3. When Tyler and I were dating in 2004 I think I fell in love with him the day he took me to the cemetery. We just skipped out of Sunday school and walked around there a bit and I don't know if I fell in love that day or just realized that day that I really liked him.

4. The day Tyler and I got married in 2005. We had our reception the night before and I loved the way it turned out with the Japanese lanterns and the lilacs and landscaping Tyler had done in his parents backyard.

5. Lake Powell day--I've only actually been there this one time but it was a perfect day, or mostly. I was at my archaeology dig in Escalante in 2001 and my sister, her boyfriend, and my oldest brother came to visit me. We drove down the Burr Trail to the lake and stopped at the first sign of water. Spent the whole rest of the day jumping off a rock into the water, over and over and over. Then when we were sunburnt, starving, and exhausted, we went looking for a campsite, but it was June and they were all full. Ended up throwing up our tents in one of the Deer Creek day use sites and attempting to eat the burritos April and Bill made, but they'd gotten soggy in the cooler. Still, a great time.

6. Petra, Jordan--We visited these Nabatean ruins when I was doing my semester in Israel in 2000. It was just plain awesome. Much more there than just the first building seen in Indiana Jones.

7. The day I really got up and waterskiied around a lake for the first time. It was at a Speer family reunion in Oregon in 1990. All summer I'd been working on waterskiing but not been able to stay up for very long at all. Then suddenly I could do it.

8. Climbing Ichizuchisan 2002--This was when I lived in Japan I scheduled a day to climb the tallest mountain on my island, (the 2nd tallest in Japan. Not huge or anything, but I loved doing it. Apparently its something a lot of Buddhist pilgrims do. The day I went was really rainy and I had anticipated a beautiful view from the top, instead the peak was enshrouded in fog, but I loved how much more mystical that made it seem. Coolest part was the last 1/3rd of the way required hanging onto some huge chains against the side of the mountain.

9 & 10. The day my sister had each of her boys. April has always been my best friend and maybe because she became a mom before me I've always felt very protective of them both and love them to pieces. That and they are my nephews too of course!

11. The day I got my bachelor degree from BYU in 2002. I totally bawled through the ceremony. I'm into rituals. They may not be necessary, but I love creating rituals around events and so graduation was a big deal to me. Traditions and ceremonies make things more meaningful to me I guess. Graduation just felt like a big accomplishment at the time.

12. The Modest Mouse concert I went to with Tyler in 2005. I love live music and have been to a lot of shows, but this one beat them all I think. We saw them again in 2007 and will see them again next week, but I have a feeling the 2005 one will remain the best.

13. Hiking Horseshoe canyon with Tyler in 2008. We normally make our first camping / hiking trip at the end of March, but this time we ventured out in late February, just Tyler and I. It was wonderful for us to break away and be alone for a weekend and for me to share a great hike with him.

14. Escalante trip 2007--I loved the hikes we did on that trip but have to isolate this to the day we actually arrived in Escalante. It had been 6 years since I'd been there for my dig and when we arrived I just felt as if I belonged there. We stopped and ran along the slick-rock for a bit to stretch our legs before checking into the campsite and setting up. Some of Tyler's family met us later on that night and the next night and we did some really cool slot canyon hikes, but I think the best part was just arriving there.

15. trip to the San Rafael Swell with Tyler in 2006. He'd been there once before with me, when we were dating, but hadn't liked it that well and it made me sad because I'm so in love with the Utah desert. Then when we went again the next April he had a great time and from then on has loved it as well.

16. When I got my MBA my parents gifted me with a weekend trip to Portland with Tyler. He had just been reading "Undaunted Courage" about the explorers Lewis & Clark. We took one of the days in the Portland area to drive along the coast up to Fort Clatsop. It was early January and though we didn't expect it to be warm, snow is not common in Portland. It was a breathtaking view the whole drive and cool to see the juxtaposition of snow on the beach with pine trees just behind the sand.

17. Liberty Jail day--When I got my BA in 2002 my mom took me on a congratulatory trip where we visited a number of LDS church history sites. I loved them all, but was most affected by our visit to the old Liberty Jail where the prophet Joseph Smith was held for a number of months along with some of his followers. Regardless of religious beliefs, it's a profound experience to learn of one man's persecution and horrible mistreatment by the law and yet hear of his continued faith and fortitude during that time. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

18. In high school I saw a play done by the University of Montana of the book "Grapes of Wrath." I read that book and didn't care for it much, not like I loved Steinbeck's "East of Eden." However, the play really touched me. In this case, the play was better than the book I thought and seeing the dire circumstances made it more real to me. The orchestra pit had been filled with water for a river that at one point someone was thrown into. And at the end of the play when the family is being poured on and they hide in a railway car as everything is being flooded around them, the theater had water dripping from the rafters. For some reason, this just really struck me about what an important story the story of the Depression is.

19. War and Peace--I remember the 2nd day on site for my dig in Escalante it snowed. It was early May and Escalante is high in elevation. The day before we had all gotten sunburns setting up camp and suddenly it was snowing. We went back to our tents and in the next 3 days I think I read the first 500 or so pages of War and Peace. I finished the book just about 8 weeks later when field school was over. It's one of my all-time favorite books.

20. When I saw Arlo Guthrie in concert at the Gallivan center in Salt Lake in 2004. It was a free outdoor concert and totally packed, but his performance was awesome. When he was singing "This land is your land" I felt so connected to the whole world.

21. My Kolob arch hike--I wish there was more opportunity for me to go on long hikes at my own pace, but there's just not. So this was a great great time for me. The hike totals 14 miles and I did it in about 5.5 hours and enjoyed every minute of it. It was early November 2007 and perfect hiking weather, I only saw 2 other people on the trail that day, the fall colors were out, the red sandstone was magnificent, and the creek was especially cool where it had carved out the rock.

22. the drive-in movies in Fairview Utah, 2008. This was at Tyler's family's reunion in Fairview when I was over 8 months pregnant with Bailey. We went to the drive in and watched a pretty stupid movie, but I had a great time just because it felt so incredibly good outside that night.

23. SLC Bee's baseball game in 2003. It was the 24th of July and my friend had scored some tickets to the game that night. I'm not into baseball, but it just perfectly cooler that day in mid-summer, and right at the end of the game when the fireworks were going off in the field it started raining. Very cool.

24. Las Vegas bowl game for BYU in 2006--this was the 2nd out of 3 trips to Vegas for the bowl game in December, but this one was the funnest I think. Tyler and I made a little longer trip out of it, it was the first road trip we took alone and thankfully it was great because I was beginning to think we weren't good road-trippers together and for me, that was a big deal. I remember having a great time when we went out to eat after the game with his younger brothers and sister at a little Mexican place on the strip that was hidden and practically empty, I think it was already closed or closing or something when we got there super late at night. They were super friendly and gave us free drinks because they forgot something?

25. Sundance festival 2006--okay this is a 10 day festival and I worked 80 hours of it on top of most of my 40-hour a week job and 3 or 4 school nights in the mix but it was by far my favorite year. I was the outside assistant manager which basically meant being in charge of crowds, waitlist lines, and the volunteers who helped out outside. I was absolutely freezing cold. I wore handwarmers on top of my toes, hot pants under my jeans, and as many more layers as you can imagine. But it was also the year I saw the most great movies and some actors and musicians I really dig.

26. First Call to Prayer experience in Jerusalem--I flew to Jerusalem for my semester abroad on my 21st birthday. The next morning in my little dorm room at about 5 am I heard the loudest wake up call ever in my life. Probably I imagined it so loud due to the exhaustion of having not slept before leaving combined with jet lag, but it sounded as if someone had a megaphone and was shouting the Muslim Call to Prayer right on the balcony of my room. I will never forget that.

27. 2 week stay in Galilee--I really prefer Jerusalem to Galilee just as I prefer the Old Testament to the New which is what each of those areas represent to me because of the way my classes worked in each location. However, the couple of weeks we stayed in Galilee during my semester abroad blur together kind of like a sweet dream. I remember sitting on the beach every day it seems for a while to read my book and swimming in the water everyday despite all the schoolwork we also had to do.

28. Florida trip with my family in the 80's. We took a week-long vacation to Florida, visiting Cape Canaveral, Disneyworld, Sea World, Epcot center, Daytona beach, etc. To be honest, I remember the trip pretty well, but because I'm an emotional person the only thing that stands out to me was how cool it was when at Sea World there was a little storm burst, just as there was on most days we were there, but this one had a brief but torrential downpour. I remember running to find cover and we ended up running to the "rainforest" portion of Sea World and just for a few minutes it felt like I was in the middle of the jungle and it was totally awesome.

29. Osaka trip in 2003--Just before I left Japan I took a second weekend trip to Osaka. I just love exploring places on my own and maybe it's because I can follow whatever impulse I have, to spend my whole day just walking walking walking or to stop wherever and whenever I want. Anyway I loved walking around Osaka and just taking it all in, all the lights and signs and shops and shrines, and figuring out which trains to ride, though sometimes aggravating, was part of the adventure of it.

30. Exploring Washington DC in 2003. My second trip to DC, I did this one staying at my cousin Amanda's place where she and her husband graciously hosted me. We went out to Mt. Vernon together and also got poured on briefly while there. We hit up an outdoor concert on Pennsylvania Ave and they showed me how beautiful old Alexandria was. I did some exploring on my own as well around the Smithsonians and the new spy museum and the subway system.

Again, as you can see, a lot of these memories are from trips and as trip hungry as I am, it's true that I've had a ton of great ones already. I have a ton of other great trip memories and others as well of simple things like walks and bike rides, but these 30 are the best I could do as far as what really sticks out to me when I look at the entire 30 years.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Highway signs for moms

I laughed out loud reading these highway signs for moms on the back page of my Babytalk magazine. Maybe because I just made a trip to Boise with my twin sister and our kids crammed in the back. We got kicked out of the McDonald's outdoor playland area in Burley, Idaho because our kids weren't wearing socks. We were the only people out there and somehow the management saw fit to kick us out. There was no sign saying they needed socks though there were plenty of signs saying they needed their shoes off. And while I do understand germs can spread through bare feet, I'm positive those playlands aren't kept very clean to begin with and that's the risk you run when allowing your children some playtime along the road.

Boise aug09

So, here are the Mom highway signs from the magazine:

Diner where folks won't give you the hairy eyeball for nursing--Exit 9

Forget Route 118: It's so bumpy your baby may barf up his entire last meal

Scenic overlook of three thrilling bulldozers in action--Exit 24

Rest stop with picnic area that's not insanely close to traffic: 300 yards on right

Only playland in tri-state area where they occasionally clean the ball pit--Exit 29

Pop in another Dan Zanes CD (no decent radio station for 50 miles)

Restaurant where waiters don't hand your baby a balloon just before you climb back into your overstuffed car--Exit 38B

Weight limit: Way, way heavier than you

Eyes crossing, next 60 miles (make your spouse drive--you need a nap)

Exit 4--Restroom with crud-free changing table