Jun 30, 2011

Tulley Update

On Monday, Cameron finally got an email back from the dog trainer Tulley is with currently. Apparently his modem had died and it took a while to replace it. Understandable, since he pretty much lives in the middle of nowhere. Cameron had emailed to see about arranging a visit for us this weekend and to see how she’s progressing in her training.

Tulley is doing great. She’s doing very well both with obedience and hunting commands. Plus, she loves birds now! She’s doing so well in fact, that the trainer thinks it would be fine if we wanted to bring her home for this holiday weekend instead of just visiting for an hour or two. Yippee!

The original plan was for me to go pick her up tomorrow after work, but Cameron can't wait that long and will be heading up there after a 1 PM meeting in Sacramento instead. He'll then take her back Tuesday, since he’s lucky enough to have the day off.

Three full days of Doggy love and cuddles. What are we going to do with ourselves? It seems like she’s been gone for so long already. We are a bit worried of how she will react to coming home. Will she be excited? Will she think she’s in trouble? Or will we be in trouble for sending her away? And then, how is she going to react when Cameron drops her back off at the training facility?

We also wonder how London will react to having her dog around again. It’s definitely evident that she misses Tulley. London more and more is trying to get Jake to play with her. Poor Jake can’t get a minutes peace when London is around, chasing him from chair to chair and over the baby gate several times a night. Jake will be happy just for the peace that he should get with Tulley's return, as long as she doesn’t pester him to much to play with her.

Melody and Kelsey will probably not be all too happy with Tulley’s return. Melody has enjoyed being the only dog again. And Kelsey won’t like that she has to share her bed with Tulley (she hardly likes sharing it with us!).

Cameron and I on the other hand, can hardly wait for tomorrow night to get here. Gonna make for one long Friday at work. It’s like Christmas in July!

Jun 28, 2011

Growing like a Weed

Our little girl is growing like a weed. Yesterday was her 12-month check-up. While London wouldn’t say Hi or Bye for Dr. Grant, she showcased her walking skills, following the nurse from the waiting room into the exam room, babbling up a storm the whole way there. Because we had to keep the exam door closed to prevent London from wandering the whole office, she showed off one of her latest tricks – knocking on the door. I swear she picks new things up faster and faster. We literally purposefully showed her how to knock on a door last week. Now when we go over to Lauren’s every morning, she makes sure to help me knock.

London also showed Dr. Grant how she can patty cake and the other of her latest tricks, blowing kisses. Took us a few weeks to get her to do this when we ask, but now if you ask for a kiss, you get one blown to you. One of these days she’ll learn to kiss our cheeks like we do hers.

Here are her latest stats:

Weight: 20 lbs. 8 oz. (40th percentile)
Height: 31 ¾” (3 squares above the 100th percentile line)
Head Circumference: 17 ½” (25-30th percentile)

If you remember her last stats, you make think her head shrunk. The nurse said she probably measured wrong last time – not that I can blame her, as London does not sit still. We also think she may be closer to 31 inches, as we had her stand against the pantry door frame to take her measurement (and begin the family growth chart) and what we got was 30 ¾ inches.

Whatever her height, we’re sure London will be over 32 inches tall when we go to Disneyland in November, which means she’ll be tall enough to go on Autopia, a ride we are sure she will enjoy. When we’re driving home from Matt & Lynde’s (two blocks away) we’ll let London stand at the steering wheel with Cameron and let her think she’s driving – she loves it, though she lets go of the steering wheel a lot. Hope that’s not an indication of her future driving style.

I can only imagine how much more she will have advanced in personality and developmentally by the time we go. So far we’ve got my parents on board to go to Disneyland with us and possibly Cameron’s mom and Joe. We’ve yet to book our hotel, but are looking at staying at one of the Disneyland resort hotels.

London’s doctor visit ended with shots of course. Not either of our favorite parts, but she now only goes every three months versus two and after the 18 month mark, she won’t have to go even that often.

Jun 23, 2011

Away at "Finishing School"

On days when Cameron gets home before me, Tulley usually is out and about so she comes to greet me the second our alarm chimes announcing that someone has walked through the door. But for the last 3 ½ weeks, it’s been eerily quiet. Tulley has been away since May 27th at what we’ve been calling “Finishing School”.

While Cameron did a great job with her initial training for both obedience and hunting, both he and his hunting buddy Dave agreed she needed some extra hunting conditioning, which required some attention that Cameron just doesn’t have time for to make happen before this year’s hunting season. After a phone call with a trainer and breeder up in Oroville, Cameron took her up there for an evaluation that Friday, since he had the day off for the Memorial Day weekend.

I didn’t say goodbye that morning, thinking Cameron would return with her that evening. It was just for an evaluation after all, and to provide Cameron with an idea of how much it would cost as well as find out how long the trainer thought he would need to get Tulley into top notch hunting form.

When Cameron found out the price, he couldn’t pass it up – the price included food, flea & tick control and heartguard for the two months the trainer would need work with Tulley. And so Cameron left her there. The next morning, Saturday, we all piled in the car go say goodbye to Tulley and drop off some papers as well as sign some paperwork, but she’d already been moved to another kennel location.

It’s been a long 3 ½ weeks for me. She’s my baby. Being that I was pregnant and laid off right after we got Tulley, I like to think she and I have a special bond. I miss my cuddle monster and greeter, though London does what she can when Cameron’s already picked her up for the day and she’s working on the cuddling part. Cameron is also missing her. Our bed feels huge these days without our 65 lbs heater taking up space in between us.

Even London appears to be missing her, carrying around and patting a stuffed animal that looks like Tulley and snuggling with it when she goes to bed. When she sees a dog she gets really excited but then seems disappointed when the dog doesn’t react like Tulley would.

At least we’re almost half way through the training. We can go to visit her, but our weekends have just been so busy. We’re looking at arranging something over the long July 4th weekend, but haven’t confirmed anything. It seems that by the time we do have a weekend free up, it will be near the time we will be picking her up!

I can’t wait to see how the training is coming though. The trainer raises his own pigeons and mallards for dog training purposes, so she’s supposed to grow more accustomed to birds and retrieving them. She was a little apprehensive last season, sometimes running up to the birds and barking at them.

Cameron has called in once to check in, and from our understanding she is doing well, but does have that short puppy attention span. At least I didn’t have to deal with her being in heat for too long. She went into heat the day before Cameron took her up there and should be through her cycle now which means she can play with the rest of the labs at the facility.

Jun 22, 2011

5th Annual Wine Trip

The weekend of May 21st was our annual wine trip with friends. Cameron and I took on the task of planning it, given that it was my 30th birthday year. The whole thing got started when I planned a wine trip for Cameron & Pat’s 30th birthdays.

We thought it would be fun to taste some wines from our own backyard so we set our sites on Lodi wineries. Cameron did most of the planning, securing the limo and selecting wineries to visit. He even scheduled a special tasting for us at the Lodi Wine & Visitors Center to start the trip off right.

We started the morning with everyone meeting at our house for a waffle breakfast. We know the importance of a hardy breakfast before wine tasting after so many years. At 10 AM, the limo arrived and we headed the ½ hour away to Lodi.

Loading up for a day of fun!

The Lodi Wine & Visitor’s Center features wines that use grapes from the Lodi area – the winery doesn’t necessarily have to be located there. The gentleman that Cameron worked with to organize this tasting even started the tasting off with a birthday candle in a cork for us May babies to blow out. Plus, he set us up outside on a nice, shady patio, which was smart as it kept the tasting room clear for other visitors.

My favorite wine at the center was from a winery called Lobo Loco – it was a delicious, woody yet buttery chardonnay. Mmm, reminds me there is a bottle of that chilling in the fridge for me right now.

Next, we headed to Lucas Winery. I have nothing nice to say about them as they turned us away. As soon as the limo pulled into the gravel parking lot, a gentleman we assumed was the owner came running out and yelled at our poor driver, saying parties our size needed to be called in ahead first. I’ll give him the fact that we had 14 people with us, but his winery wasn’t that small from what we could see. And we didn’t appreciate that he yelled out our driver versus discussing the issue with us. We would learn that his tastings were complimentary on the drive to the next winery – but we don’t taste and run. We taste, wander the gift shops and purchase wine at every winery we go to. With 14 people, that can be a lot of bottles sold, and more than enough to cover the complimentary tasting. Oh well, his loss. We climbed back into the limo loudly stating we were happy to take our money elsewhere.

So it was on to Woodbridge by Mondavi. Here most of us paid for the $10 tasting so we could taste wines all over the tasting menu, versus going for the $5 tasting or complimentary one. It definitely helped that the $10 tasting allowed us to take our glasses home with us. We’d originally picked this location as it offers complimentary tours of the facilities, but we were enjoying ourselves too much when that time rolled around and were gearing up to head to a few more locations. After some purchases, we found ourselves back in the limo, snacking on cheese, crackers and salami, winding our way through the beautiful vineyards.

All The Boys at Woodbridge

Next stop: Heritage Oak. This vineyard had converted an old barn into the tasting room and had an outdoor patio with live music going that day. Not that I noticed much, as I spent much of my time in the tasting room. Tasting was complimentary and they had a wide range of wines to choose from. When they learned it was some of our birthdays, they opened a $20 bottle of port for us to try. It was delicious, and Lynde ended up buying a bottle for a special occasion. They also gave us some very nice, branded bottle openers. I found myself another nice white and Cameron a nice red to take home.

Cameron & I at Heritage Oak

We ended our day at Vino con Brio. Here they had a delicious Pinot Grigio that I couldn’t pass us. And the tasting flights included glasses once again. Time was running short, so we didn’t get to spend too much time here, which would have been nice as they had an interesting array of product throughout the gift shop. But, we were already running over on time with the limo, and my poor mom was probably ready for a break from London after watching her for three days straight.

Back at home, we barbequed from hamburgers and garlic bread to soak up all the wine from they day. Most everyone quickly dispersed after dinner to go home and sleep. Wine tasting is a tiring activity for us it seems.

I wonder where next year will take us?

Jun 10, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday London!

From London Yvonne

From London Yvonne
It’s hard to believe that our little girl is already a 1 year old and entering toddlerland! She’s been such a joy to have in our lives. Cameron and I couldn’t help but reminisce last night as we headed to bed at 10:30 where we were at that time a year ago. I had been in labor for just over 12 hours and wouldn’t get to start pushing for another hour and a half! At 3 AM I was prepped for the c-section.

This morning we couldn’t help but laugh that at that time last year we were trying to get in a few precious moments of sleep while our newborn little girl also slept. We were both delirious from lack of sleep and completely out of our element as new parents. My, how things have changed!

Now we know how to read our little girl like no one else. She has such the sweetest little personality now too. She hates the word no, is adventurous - she attempts to pull herself up on the couch or climb over her baby gate, loves to play with water, especially in the bathtub and has the best smile (ok, so I’m a little biased). I wonder what the next year will bring?!

Jun 9, 2011

Lions, Tigers & Whales Oh My!

Like every May, this last one was a busy one. Our friend Lynde’s birthday is a week after mine. This year Lynde wanted to go to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Marine World Africa USA to all of you old-time Nor-cal kids), and invited us along. This would be London’s first visit, and after how much fun we had with her that day, it's definitely not the last. We half debated on buying season passes for this year, but think we’ll wait until she can tell us she wants to go often. For now, she’s pretty good at just going with the flow and only demands food and naps.

The place has definitely changed since my visits as a child, and even changed some since Cameron and I last visited the weekend after our wedding. Most notably, the tigers have a new show pavilion and all the shows seemed much shorter in length. I swear the shows only lasted 15-20 minutes, tops, when they used to be 30-45 minutes. I’m sure there’s a limit at how many minutes a day the animals can perform and being that it was a Saturday, they may shorten the show lengths to have multiple shows each day.

We started the day off watching Shouka the whale. We got to the show stadium early, so Lynde and I took London to watch Shouka swim in her tank out back. As soon as London saw Shouka, she got excited and mesmerized. She watched Shouka for a good 5 minutes, squealing every time the whale swam by the window.

London remained mesmerized during the show. We also worked on her patty cakes when people were clapping throughout the show. Every time it was time to clap, I’d tell London “Patty cake” and she’s clap her hands. By the end of the Tiger show, London would clap when she heard claps. We’ll see if this sticks, but everyone seated around us sure enjoyed it when she clapped.

Matt, Lynde and Cameron headed to a ride after the whale show. The tigers were nearby so London and I went to watch the white Bengal tiger pace around its cage while one of the orange Bengal tigers lounged next door. London seemed to enjoy the coaster cars rushing by over our heads. By the time the crew made it through the line and finished the ride, it was time for the tiger show. And after that a diaper change was in order.

I have to say, who ever designed the bathroom we used to complete this task was an IDIOT! Discovery Kingdom is about conservation, so the bathrooms are equipped with air hand dryers – noisy ones, which are only amplified by the cinderblock and concrete buildings that house the bathrooms. The diaper changing station in this one was located next to all the dryers, one less than two feet from us! London was not a happy camper between the scary noise and being strapped down on the table. I know it reminds her of the doctor and being pinned down for shots, but she’s just too wiggly to not use the straps and be able to change her diaper at the same time.

To say I left bathroom stressed and anxious is an understatement. Luckily, Matt & Cameron wanted to go on a ride Lynde had no interest in this one so she volunteered to watch with London so I could go on it. Twirling in fast circles upside down is a great stress reliever! That would be the last ride for all of us that day. Matt & Lynde would stand in line for one, but give up after a 30-minute wait – all the lines seemed to be 90-120 minutes long.

While we were separated from Matt & Lynde, we checked out the Walruses. One was showing off, swimming back and forth right against the window and clapping, which was captured with an underwater mic and broadcasted through speakers. Our new patty cake champ was clapping right along with the walrus. We got an up-close view of this huge beast and its tusks several times.

The last big attraction we took in, after walking the park while London took a nap, was the Shark tank. London had loved the sharks at the Aquarium in Minnesota, and she loved the ones here. At one point, she was standing up leaning against the tank window and would keep looking back at Cameron and me and pointing back toward the tank. We have to take this kid to the Monterey Bay Aquarium soon!

My First Mother’s Day

The plan for my first Mother’s day was to go with Cameron and London to the Monterey Bay Aquarium as we’ve missed being as close to the aquarium as we used to be and can hardly wait to take London there. She likes the Zoo, but movement is what gets her attention, and she loved the aquarium at the Moffetts’ on Christmas Eve so much, that we just know she’ll fall for the aquarium like we have. We’ll probably get season passes once she’s a bit older.

And that was the plan until our friends, the Fosters, showed up for my birthday celebration the day before. Jeff works for a company that sponsors the San Jose Sharks and one of the perks to that are tickets to the games. Employees get to put in for a lottery and often times Cameron has gone with our friend Pat, who works for the same company, when he’s won tickets. Jeff won them this time and offered the tickets to us as a birthday gift! The game was on Mother’s Day and it would be Game 5in the second round of playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings. San Jose was leading the series 3 to 1. All they needed to do was win this game and they’d be on to the conference finals and one round away from the Stanley Cup finals.

Cameron was on the phone immediately to his mom to see if she’d watch London. Of course she would. Now, remember, Mother’s Day morning we got to sleep in as London was two doors down at Lauren’s. When I got up and over there to pick London up, she was asleep so I decided to leave her there until she woke up or we had to leave for Yuba City. London arrived 15 minutes short of us having to wake her. We whisked her off to Yuba City where Vicki was having lunch with Cameron’s stepbrother, James’ family. And then we were off to the game.

No in-person Sharks game at home is complete without walking past the old man that plays rally songs on the Trumpet underneath the Highway, and always has his pet black bunny on a leash with him.

The game was great and it looked like the Sharks had the game in the bag until they lost in the last period. The Red Wings would come from behind to win the game 4-3. Bummer.

But, it was an afternoon game so Cameron and I had time to go have a late dinner at our old sushi restaurant in Fremont that we miss so much. I should say missed, as they’ve changed the menu, and possibly ownership, as the prices have gone up and one of our favorite rolls wasn’t even close to the same and another was missing Cameron’s favorite part, tiny smelt roe that crunches and pops in your mouth. By the time we made it home, we were pooped and went straight to bed. We’d pick London up from Vicki and have a nice dinner for all of our birthday’s in Yuba City the next night.

My 30th Birthday

I’d planned on heading to Lowe’s and Safeway before coming home from the Race for the Cure the morning of my 30th birthday, but when I got to the car I saw I had a text message from Cameron asking me to call him when London and I were done. Turned out, he hadn’t gone skydiving and wanted to run the errands with us. Perfect – he could help me get ice at Walgreens as well.

London was asleep when we arrived home, so it took me a couple of trips from the car to the front door before I looked down toward the kitchen and saw the fresh flowers my wonderful husband had bought for me that morning. When I actually made it into the kitchen is when I saw my real birthday gift – a new laptop! I’d been complaining for several months that the old laptop (a hand-me down from Cameron after he’d completed his Master’s degree) was not working well. It was almost 6 years old and couldn't hold a battery charge to save its life. Not to mention it would stall out for no real reason and the only way to get power from the power cord was to wrap it up and over the screen, pull tight and secure underneath the laptop.

The new laptop was a beautiful sight, and Cameron added a nice touch with a flower sitting on it, which I would learn later, had fallen victim from trasnporting the flowers home.

But there was no time to play as we had errands to run and things to do before company arrived that afternoon. At Lowe’s I got more flowers, but these were for planting in two planters on our patio and our one wine barrel that has failed to keep a grape vine alive in it (we stopped trying after two casualties). Safeway had the last ingredients for my favorite pasta salad.

Once back at home we set out to get all the last minute cleaning completed, drinks on ice, as well as the planting and pasta salad done, before getting cleaned up ourselves. Cameron had to ran back to Walgreens to get more ice just before the party, which is of course when he discovered the power was out in the family room again. Luckily I wasn’t born in winter-time so the need for lights in that room for the day was low and we wouldn’t be watching TV.

Before we knew it many of our friends were arriving. We had a great time at the BBQ, getting a huge laugh when our friends Kim & Pat’s daughter Paige, 2, walked into Tulley’s crate. She was quickly followed by London and then Kim and Pat’s older daughter, Kaley, 6. We locked them in there long enough to get some great photos. London was walking around like crazy during the party - I think seeing Paige walking around inspired her.

When London’s bed time rolled around, I walked her over to Lauren’s for an overnight. Lauren had offered to take her for the evening so we could go to the bars, stay out late and sleep in. It was so nice to let loose down at The Streets of London in downtown Sac with no worries. Cameron and I also took advantage of the sleeping in part as best we could before we had to get going Mother’s Day morning. Tune in soon for that story!

All in all, I had a wonderful 30th birthday and love starting a new chapter in my life. I’m exactly where I had wanted to be, with a loving husband and darling daughter. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.

Jun 6, 2011

Race for the Cure

The Susan G. Komen foundation’s Sacramento affiliate always hosts its annual Race for the Cure on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, which is also the weekend of or right after my birthday and the one I always celebrate my birthday on. This year the race coincided with my actual 30th birthday.

But that wasn’t an excuse for me to not do the race and support a cause that is important to me.

I’d originally planned on running the 3.1 miles of this year’s race. The distance seemed like nothing compared to the half marathon I ran the week before. But I was still feeling pain in my knee and walking around in high heels at work all week had not helped it heal any. Cameron mentioned that he might want to go skydiving that morning and if I ran we would need a babysitter. Knowing plenty of people are out there walking with their young kids in strollers, I decided to power walk the race route with London in her little umbrella stroller. She seems to like walks, as long as we’re actually moving, any way.

There we were at 7:30 AM on my birthday, dressed in our pink waiting for the race to begin. London got a little upset with the waiting but a nice lady standing next to us, wearing a survivor shirt, helped me keep her entertained with rounds and rounds of peek-a-boo and her binky.

London Waiting for Her First Race to Start!

Around 8:05 we finally counted down from 10 and set off out on the course. We power walked our way past many of the 20,000 participants to complete the course in under an hour, though we had one casualty – we lost the binky somewhere around the 2-mile marker. Oh well.

After catching a quick breakfast at the finish line, we wandered the exhibition booths a little on our way out. Before heading home, we asked another participant to take a picture of us in front of one of the golden Cal Expo bears wearing a pink scarf as proof of our morning.

I really enjoyed doing the walk with London and think I’ll make the Race a nice Birthday/Mother’s Day tradition for us as long as she’ll do it with me.

Jun 5, 2011

My First Half Marathon

All my training since January was tested Saturday, April 30th. That was the day of the American Parkway Half Marathon, hosted by my running group, SacFit. The week leading up to the event had proved to be a cold and windy one, and that was exactly the same weather I experienced when I arrived at the starting line at 6:30 AM. That was my given parking and arrival time – the organizers assigned parking areas and arrival times to reduce congestion on the small neighborhood roads. The race wouldn’t start until 7:45 AM. I quickly found some of my running partners and we huddled and jumped around trying to keep warm until the sun was high enough to help us out.

The race kicked off with a group of bagpipe players marching to the start line, followed by the National Anthem. Next thing we knew, we were off. My 14-minute mile pace group stayed close together a major portion of the race, with our coach keeping us on pace, and my Garmin watch (an early birthday present from my dad!) alerting us to when we should be running and when we should walk so that we didn’t loose steam at the end of the race.

My Running Group Before The Race

Around mile 9 we lost our coach as she wanted to stay on pace while most of us were ready to run a little faster. I kept the group on track for our run/walk intervals, until mile 12. That’s when I took off and ran the last 1.1 miles in just over 10 minutes, not walking once. I was definitely struck with a second wind at this point in the race.

Around Mile 9 or 10

It felt amazing to finish the race, feeling strong right through to the end of the 13.1 miles. It took me 3 hours and 11 minutes, but that didn’t matter. I’d achieved my goal.

In My Final Mile, Going Strong

As soon as I got home I logged on and signed up for the Summer/Fall session of SacFit. We start up again in June 11. I ended up taking the month of May off from running as during the race my left knee started to bother me. I ran the Kaiser Pemanente's Women's Fitness Festival 5K today and my knee did act up some, but luckily I see a sports medicine doc tomorrow to have it checked out.

And while I’m not ready to take on 26.2 miles (a full marathon), I’ll definitely be doing a few more ½ marathons and trying to improve my time. My next running goal is to move up a pace group or two within SacFit.