Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Second Video Project

A couple of months ago Paul showed me a video that some guy made with one second of footage every day for 6 months or something.  It inspired me to take more videos of the little things we do (and okay, some of the bigger, fun things too) and collect them in one place, but when I started compiling videos I felt like 1 second wasn't long enough for each clip, so I did 2 seconds.  And I only did it for a month (well, more like a month and a half) because I kept forgetting and missing days.  But mostly this short 1 minute video is of a clip each day for the last month and a half. 
 


Two Second Video Project from Amy Nash on Vimeo.

It was actually a lot of fun and I may try to do another one of these if I can commit to taking daily videos (and then remember to follow through with that commitment).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Splits and S'mores Bars

Today I ran negative splits on the treadmill at the gym.  I didn't even know what these were until a couple of weeks ago when I started following a running blog of a girl who was at the Favorite Things party.  It's called "Hungry Runner Girl" and it really is cute and motivating.  She posts pics or talks about the food she eats and what her runs are like.  Only she is crazy fast and she eats like a mostly normal person, I think. 

Anyway, I'm not about to start posting all my running stats on here but I never document my exercise which actually is a fairly substantial portion of my daily routine most days so I thought I would possibly start including updates every now and then.  So negative splits are basically where you start slow(er-ish) and speed up for the latter portions of your run.  I ran three miles today and did the first mile at a 9:40 pace, the second mile at a 9:31 pace, and the third mile at a 9:22 pace.  I know, nothing to brag about (especially since Hungry Runner Girl runs 7 minute miles - ugh, I hate her.  Not really, I sort of love her).  But good for me since I consider a 10:00 mile a laudable effort.  There, now you all feel better about yourselves and your mile times now that I've confessed my speed (or lack thereof), don't you? 

Afterwards I walked another couple of miles for good measure.  Which was pretty necessary because another thing I learned from Hungry Runner Girl was how to make S'mores Bars.



She brought them to the Favorite Things party and they were so yummy.  I made a batch on Monday and Paul took them to work where one of the partners he works for told him that he had to have the recipe so that he can take them to any parties he gets invited too and have the best dessert there.  Apparently he was a big fan. 

So you should definitely try these.  Like, today.  The recipe is on my Tastebook page HERE and if you want to sign up for Tastebook, send me a message first so I can send you an invite and get credit for the referral so I can get a free book!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Concert in the Park

One of Paul's best friends since childhood, Mark Oshida, is an amazing violist and has performed with major orchestras and in major concert halls all over the world.  I became friends with Mark during the Finance core at BYU since we had all our classes together, and Mark was so nice to offer to perform classical violin at our wedding, which was amazing.  We have been able to go to a couple of other concerts he has performed at over the years.
 
 
Paul got an email from Mark a few weeks back letting us know that he was going to be in town to perform at the Los Gatos Concert in the Park series and to see if we wanted to come.  We were really excited to see him again and since we love symphonic music and Clara has never seen a live performance, we thought that was perfect too. 
 

We had a nice time visiting with Mark's parents before the concert and during intermission since they have known Paul since he was really little and are good friends of Paul's family.  We had anticipated having to sit at the back in the grassy area since we knew we wouldn't get there until shortly before the program was about to start, but Mark's mom waved us down and brought us up to the very front where they had saved us seats in the section reserved for family of the musicians.

 
The weather was a little uncooperative - the musicians had all their music pinned down so it wouldn't blow away in the wind but every now and then there were still problems of clips slipping and sheet music flapping and being almost lost, which I guess is an inherent problem with performing outdoors.  But it was a lovely evening and the orchestra was incredible.  It was a group of musicians brought together just for this concert - kind of like an all-star orchestra made up of the concertmaster from the San Francisco Opera, the principal clarinetist with the San Francisco Ballet, etc.  We were a little concerned about how Clara would do, but she sat in her chair and paid attention most of the time and she loved clapping at the end of each piece.  And when she needed extra entertainment she played with her sticker book and ate her snacks.  You can see how attentively she sat in the first video below and her reaction to the first piece in the second video below.
 
video
 
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After undergrad Mark went on to get his MBA from Harvard and Paul and I visited him there while we were in law school because we were attending a J. Reuben Clark Law Society conference in Boston.  We talked about going to visit Mark in Singapore where he worked after graduating from Harvard but that just didn't work out.  Now he is in London working and we are hoping that we can somehow swing in a trip to Europe next year and visit him there.

Going to this concert made us realize that we are really missing out on the arts in our lives and we want to do better about getting out to more performances since we both love the symphony, opera, ballet, and theater and we never go.  We've definitely decided to take Clara to the Nutcracker this year though. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Parties!!

This week I got to go to TWO parties!  I love parties.  And these were really fun ones.

The first party was on Thursday night - two friends got together and decided to put on a Girls' Night Out for a bunch of us by hosting a "My Favorite Things" party.  I had never heard of these before but it was such a great idea.  Basically everybody brings three things (all the same) that they really love under a set price limit (ours was $5).  Then you all sit around and give each other presents all night long!  We just put our names on three slips of paper and one by one would go grab our three gifts, explain what we chose and why, and then draw three names and those people were the recipients of our favorite things. 


I ended up going home with dry shampoo (I have never tried it before - does it work? how much do I use? do you use it? it must be popular since 2 people brought it as their favorite thing), some super organic granola bars (like, the girl rolled the oats herself and doesn't eat animal products so she made them with coconut oil in place of butter - that kind of organic), and organic sunscreen from Trader Joe's. 

A lot of the favorite things were healthy/organic things, so I was a little sheepish when I got up to explain that I brought cupcake liners for my favorite thing.  haha.  Seriously though, a couple years ago a friend's husband got fed up with always running to the store just to buy cupcake liners since she was always forgetting them so he ordered her a crate of like 5,000 cupcake liners (they're cheaper in bulk, of course), then they gave a bunch of them away as Christmas presents and they gave me a carton of 500 cupcake liners.  I am just now reaching the end of my supply.  So I ordered 3 sets of 300 cute patterned liners for $5 each off Amazon and said that my favorite thing was never having to make that extra run to the grocery store for cupcake liners (we have all done this, right?).  I also got a set for myself so I am set for at least another year or two.

There were 22 people who came to the party and some of the other gifts were things like a favorite brand of nail polish, issues of a favorite magazine, water bottles with a freezer insert, and some kind of flat bread for sandwiches.  I forget everything else but it was a really fun night and now I totally want to throw one of these parties myself. 

Then last night Paul and I were invited to a Pie Party.  The idea was each couple made a pie, then we would all have some of each.  I was not told beforehand that we would be voting on these pies, otherwise I might have taken a different approach to my pie choice (since we all know I get a little competitive about baked goods). 

I made a Razzleberry Pie with Clara.  It's my favorite pie but I have only ever had the Marie Calendar's kind and had never made one myself.  To be honest, I didn't love the recipe I ended up using, which was a bummer.  I mean, it was okay and the crust was good, but the filling was not what I anticipated.  But it lit a fire and now I am on a quest for a perfect recipe for Razzleberry Pie since I can't find it in the freezer aisle where we live. 



Clara and I had lots of fun making the pie together.  Whenever I am busy in the kitchen cooking dinner or baking, Clara is right there helping.  She likes to dump ingredients into the bowl for me and she thinks "sneaking" tastes is the funniest thing in the world since I always give her the reaction she is looking for of mingled surprise, mirth, and reprimand.  And I love her giggle and impish grin as she "defies" my by sneaking another "little taste!" (the phrase she always uses) right before my eyes. 

When we were making the pie, Clara ran into her "kitchen" in her room and grabbed her tiny rolling pin, then came back to stand on her chair at the island where I gave her some of the leftover dough trimmings from a pie crust I had already rolled out, then showed her how to sprinkle a little flour and roll her dough flat.  She told me "Clara make apple pie!" because she has a book called "Apple Pie ABC" so that is the pie she is most familiar with.  Incidentally, whenever I make or eat pie, I tend to think about Kayli's parents who had pie for their wedding instead of cake because they love pie so much.  I mentioned that to Kayli's mom on Instagram and she thought it was funny that I remembered that.  

The party was so fun - I mean, what party with 8 different kinds of pie is NOT going to be fun, right?  We all filled up plates with slivers of each pie and voted on presentation, crust, and overall favorite.  I got a prize for best crust (a dough scraper! which I had just been thinking about that morning while cleaning up my pie crust scraps).  Paul told me on the way home that he had voted for the apple pie that somebody else brought for all three categories.  All least he had the decency to sound ashamed that he wasn't loyal to the pie I brought regardless of its qualities.  haha.  In fairness, it was a delicious apple pie and I voted for it too, knowing the razzleberry pie recipe I had chosen was sub-par. 

Hooray for having awesome friends who like to throw parties!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Swim Lessons

Has anyone else noticed that Blogger has made life SOOOOOOO much easier by allowing you to upload multiple files at once and grouping them in chronological order automatically?  I am loving it.
 
Anywho, today was going to be Clara's last day of swimming lessons, but I think that we are going to extend by at least another week.  She has absolutely been loving our daily swim lessons for the past three weeks (except for when we were on vacation) and has really improved a ton.  I was really, really hoping that she would actually be able to swim by the end of these lessons (not sure if that is a legitimate expectation for a 2-year old or not but if she can do it with floaties then I guess I don't really know why she shouldn't be able to figure it out without them), but I don't know if that will happen this summer or not.  But by next summer I definitely think she will be swimming completely unassisted. 
 

For the first week Clara had private lessons since nobody else had signed up during her time slot.  It was just me, Clara, and Coach Grace.  I actually think Clara has liked the past two weeks better with more kids in the class.  We take turns practicing "swimming" (basically just being passed back and forth) with Coach Grace and Clara (who knows the other girls' names already) likes to tell everybody the order they go in (i.e., "Ashley's turn!", then "Jade's turn!", then "Eliza's turn!", then finally "Clara's turn!", ... repeat).  We (the adults) were cracking up about this because none of the other girls in the class will say a word and I almost said something about Clara being a little bossy when I remembered this quote from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and how I felt growing up and being told often that I was bossy:  "I want every little girl who's told she's bossy, to be told instead she has leadership skills."  Because Clara was definitely NOT being bossy - she wasn't being rude or demanding or anything - she was just trying to keep things running smoothly in the class and narrating the world around her.  I love that she is exhibiting this life skill already at age 2 and it is something I want to remember about her and tell her about herself as she is growing up.


In class we practice getting her wet up to her chin, then up to her nose, then up to her eyes, and my heart melts every time Clara comes up from getting her eyes wet and exalts "unda-watta!"  She still resists floating on her back a little but has definitely improved and at least tolerates that exercise for ten seconds or so at a time.  What she really loves to do is monkey crawl around the edge of the pool by holding on to the side of the pool and moving hand over hand. 


She also loves jumping off the side of the pool into the water where I catch her.  As if you couldn't tell that from the picture below.


When we are getting ready to "swim" to Coach Grace, Clara revs up by kicking as hard as she can while I struggle to hold her in place.  She is SO close to being able to swim on her own - if only she could get her arms going better I think she would have it because she definitely has the kicking part down.


When Paul's parents were in town, they were able to come see Clara at lessons one afternoon and they took these pictures for me.  And Paul was able to get off work really early one afternoon so that he could come watch his little mermaid too.  Incidentally, Clara still declares herself to be a mermaid most every lesson.  I love seeing her face break the surface of the water after which she immediately grins and splutters "Clara mermaid! Clara mermaid!".



After lessons we dry off and usually sit and watch the synchronized swimmers practicing while Clara eats her afternoon snack before we head back to the car and go home.  In all honesty, swimming lessons isn't my favorite activity because I don't like feeling all chloriney every day but I keep doing it because I know that Clara loves it so much.  That, and the fact that if Clara is having any sort of problem falling asleep for her nap at all the only thing I have to say is "after your nap we will go to swimming lessons" and she immediately puts her head on her pillow and tells me "bye-bye mommy!" then goes right to sleep.


We sure love our little fish!

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July Roadtrip

Well, this is going to be another one of those marathon travel journal posts with WAY too many pictures for its own good. 
 
Our Fourth of July plans came together last minute but we have talked for a long time about doing a trip to northern California to see Redwoods National Park.  So Thursday morning (the morning of the 4th) we headed out early.  In true roadtrip fashion, we stopped at tourist traps all along the way north.  First up was a drive-thru tree.  I got out to take pictures and to let Clara sit up front with daddy while they drove through a tree so large that a tunnel has been carved out of it.
 



We made another pit stop to stretch our legs at one of the many wood carving stores along the way where there are a bunch of kitschy figures carved out of redwood stumps. 



Oh yeah, and apparently this area is known for Bigfoot sightings.  We didn't catch a glimpse.  Maybe next time...


We got to Ferndale, CA right around lunchtime, just in time to catch the start of their Independence Day parade.  Ferndale is a tiny town with a bunch of Victorian houses along a cute main street.  The guidebook says it basically hasn't changed in over 100 years.  It seemed like half the town was in the parade and the other half was lining the route watching. 



There weren't any floats or anything - just old cars and tractors and a few horses - but people threw candy which Clara thought was pretty awesome. 


We stuck around after the parade and enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich for lunch then found a shop on main street that sold pie and ice cream.  I ordered apple pie a la mode (because what is more American than that?) and Paul ordered a chocolate milkshake.  It was all divine.  


I love pie.  Clara was clearly pretty excited about it too.


After leaving Ferndale, we made it to our destination for the first night - Eureka, California.  We checked into our hotel (an awful, gross Super 8 but it was pretty much all that was left since we didn't book until the day of for this trip and apparently that leaves very few options on a holiday weekend) and then went to a street fair where Clara and I went down the giant slide at the carnival a couple of times and we listened to a band play music while people watching (and boy were there some interesting and bizarre people to watch).  We claimed a spot for the fireworks around 9:00 and enjoyed watching them go off out over the water.


For a couple days before the holiday, we had been telling Clara about the fireworks to get her a little hyped up about it and boy did it have a big impact.  All day long on the road she would ask "fireworks?! boom! boom!" and we would tell her "once it gets dark".  She was not disappointed.  Her little oohs and ahhs and hoorays! were so fun to listen to and she would narrate by commenting on the color or the size of the different explosions. 




The next morning, July 5th, we had breakfast at an awesome creperie, then went for a walk on Trinidad beach.






Then we headed to Redwood National Park, which is where the Ewoks live, or at least where scenes from "Return of the Jedi" were filmed.  Clara was so good about taking her naps in the car while we drove between destinations.  And she was a great sport about all the hiking that we did.


 
 
I like being the one to carry her in the hiking backpack because she likes to play with my hair while I hike.  She also likes to pull my hat off and wear it herself but if that is the price to pay for some extra time having her "braid" my hair then I will take it.



These aren't even the tallest trees but look at how huge they are.  It isn't like we are unfamiliar with redwood trees since we have them where we live, but to see a forest of them with huge 6 foot ferns covering the forest floor is a whole different story.  It was beautiful.


I taught Clara to be a treehugger.  You might not be able to tell from this picture, but she was reaching her arms out to hug the tree just like me. 


We had heard about another hike in Redwood National Park called Fern Canyon, which is where scenes from "Jurassic Park 2" were filmed.  It is a really narrow canyon with steep 50-60 foot walls going straight up on both sides that are completely covered in ferns.  It was beautiful and cool and very ancient feeling.  I have no idea why Paul and Clara were doing gun poses in this picture but it cracks me up.




 

 
 Clara wanted to walk on the "balance beam". 



We made another stop at a tourist trap called "Trees of Mystery" just so we could take a photo with the giant statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  On our way there we actually had a really scary experience where we saw a bad accident happen maybe 5 seconds in front of us on the highway.  A car just sort of veered off the road up an embankment and flipped, landing upside down on the windshield and skidding to a stop, trapping the driver and passenger.  We immediately pulled over along with another car and I jumped out already dialing 911 (Paul was driving so he stayed in the car with Clara) while two men from another car ran over to help.  I could see diapers in the back of the car and the woman driving was screaming "my baby! get my baby out!" and there was blood going all down her arm (pretty much the only thing I could see).  I don't know why she had diapers in the car, but it turned out that she was talking about her 8 year old son who was with her and the guys who had stopped were eventually able to get the doors open and pull both her and her son out of the car (I think everybody's initial fear was that the car was going to catch fire and explode given the way it had crashed) and we stayed until the police got there.  Her shoulder and arm was pretty messed up but they were going to be fine.



We spent the night in Grant's Pass, Oregon where we swam in the pool and tried unsuccessfully to get Clara to fall asleep before 10:00 p.m.  The next day (Saturday) we wanted to go blueberry picking at a farm in Medford, but the berries had all been picked over, so we headed back to California (we were doing a big loop) and made a pit-stop in a town called Weed to fill up with gas. 


A shop in Weed had a bigfoot carving that was just Clara's size.  He is her new little buddy.  Pretty cute, right?


We drove up Mt. Shasta as far as we could go, then did a little hike until we decided we were ready for lunch.



The town of Shasta at the base of the mountain was doing their own little street fair that day so we wandered up and down the main street looking at the goods for sale and grabbing a bite to eat, including a phenomenal freshly squeezed lemonade. 


Our last stop for the day was Burney Falls - a really beautiful set of waterfalls that Theodore Roosevelt described as the 8th wonder of the world.  We think that is going too far, but they were very beautiful.  We did a nice little hike around the falls and Clara even hiked a substantial part of it on her own.












Paul always picks wildflowers for Clara when we are outside and she loves holding them and smelling them while we hike.


After Burney Falls we drove through Lassen Volcanic National Park but only stopped for a few minutes to take a picture of this beautiful meadow because Clara was asleep through that part of the drive and we didn't want to wake her up. 


We stayed the night at a motel just outside of the park since we planned to go back in on Sunday morning.  It was such a dive with half the walls and the ceiling being covered in wood paneling from the 60's and the other walls being cinderblock but Paul said he loved it.  I, on the other hand, thought it was something straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie or an episode of Criminal Minds and had nightmares.  But again, you take what you can get when options are limited and most places were already booked. 


Clara just thought it was cool that there were cows in the meadow across from our room. 



We headed out early to drive back into Lassen National Park and spent some time at the visitor's center, then went on a really nice hike.  Apparently there are 4 different types of volcanoes and Lassen is notable for being one of a very few places on earth to have all 4 types in one spot.  The last time a volcano erupted in Lassen was back in 1914-1921. 


Clara was such a good sport the whole trip about hiking and was always pointing out trees and rocks and birds and flowers, but this hike was not her favorite.  I think she was tired and hungry and we were hiking to an area with mudpots so there was a strong stink of sulfur in the air that she wasn't loving. 



You can see from her pose here that Clara was getting pretty bored with this hike and was ready to be done.  Poor little gal being dragged all over tarnation by mom and dad to experience the wonders of nature...


This area of the park is known as Bumpass Hell because back in the 1800's a man by the last name of Bumpass was acting as a guide for some tourists and right after warning them to watch their steps because of the delicate ground here his leg broke through the surface and was coated with boiling mud.  Mr. Bumpass ultimately lost his leg because of it and since the area smells of brimstone and the unfortunate Bumpass went through such agony here, it is aptly named Bumpass Hell. 


If you notice the clouds of steam behind me, they stank something awful.  Paul was taking a picture of me and Clara later on when a sulfur cloud engulfed him and he said he just about threw up it was so disgusting.  But it is worth suffering the nasty stink to see such an unusual volcanic area and watch the mud bubble and hiss and plop and know that the crust of the earth is super thin there. 


Even when Clara is tired and hungry and ready to be done with hiking, she will oblige with a cheesy grin when coaxed.  When she would get tired on this trip she would ask to "go home!" and on the way out of the park she was repeating "go home! go home!" over and over.  Paul asked her if she wanted to go home or to Disneyland thinking she would say "go home!" again, but she mulled it over for a second then squealed "DISNEYLAND!!!"  Oops. 





And that was our trip!  It was a ton of driving with a bunch of random stops but we felt like we saw a part of the country that we had never seen before and it seemed very patriotic to get out and enjoy the country that we are so grateful to live in and be a part of over the holiday.