Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh, Canada!

Last week Brandon and I met my parents and my brother in Canada. They spent several days in Banff before we met up with them at Lake Louise. Lake Louise is a glacial lake (you can see the glacier in the background) and it gets its unique color from the sediments in the glacier. It is absolutely beautiful. We hiked up and around Lake Louise and I thought they were trying to kill the pregnant lady between the elevation gain and how fast they were going. But alas, I lived, and my legs hurt like hell the next day.

Lake Louise

After hiking around Lake Louise we headed for the more remote town of Jasper. The drive to Jasper was incredible as you pass through the Icefields and see from the road at least 5 or 6 more glaciers. Because my family was foolish enough to let me read the guidebooks we had to make a few stops. I never know if the places I make my family stop will be worth it, but most of my tourist choices were good this time. We saw a gorgeous waterfall with a sign that I found slightly comical despite the message...

Athabasca Falls

If you saw the force and drop of this waterfall this sign would also seem ridiculous to you. Because obviously.
One of the features of Banff and Jasper is the wildlife. They are known for bear, moose, elk, bighorn sheep and a variety of other wildlife the rest of us city and suburban dwellers only see at the zoo. So we were definitely on the lookout for animals. We found this first guy at dinner. He isn't so wild anymore.
The Post Hotel
Next we came upon these guys on the side of the road. No one in the car appreciated them as much as me. A little mangy--yes. But I love them!
Even though I desperately wanted to see a bear (from the safety of the car...) we never did find one. We saw sheep and a few elk along the way, but when we left early on Sunday morning we saw this beautiful guy. He is no bear, but man he is spectacular looking.
When I wasn't busy directing our tourist stops or hunting animals with my camera, we hiked and biked around Jasper and the lakes near where we stayed.
Sixth Bridge, Maligne Canyon
Brandon biking near Pyramid Lake
We also spent quite a bit of time relaxing and enjoying the area. The men especially enjoyed staring at the water.

Overall we had a fabulous trip. It is so serene there. We played cards, sat on the dock and the boys even went for a polar bear swim. I spent a lot of time taking pictures, most of them of bodies of water. Here are a few of my other favorites!

Pyramid Lake

Maligne River after the falls
Patricia Lake. This picture is taken at 10:00 at night! Sunset is at nearly 10:45!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Erin's best friend

As I mentioned yesterday, I found a gazillion pictures on my camera when I finally decided to put them all on my computer. So today you get an assortment of Molly pictures. She is so cute. I dare you to say otherwise.

Let us remember that Molly isn't really even my dog, although I share "joint custody" of her with my parents. She is the baby in our family, the dog my parents got when we were all grown and I was living at home temporarily. For the last 6 years that dog has obsessed my camera and my time. I love when she comes to stay with us and I love going to my parents and throwing the ball for her or taking her swimming. Perhaps when my babies are born my obsession with the dog will wane (I hope not!), but always I will love this little pup.

Don't worry. The monkey survived this game of tug-o-war.

I seriously love this dog.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Catching up

Brandon and I joined my family in Canada last week for a very brief vacation. In short: it was fantastic. We were in the Banff/Jasper region and it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. I spent every moment of driving, hiking and bike riding looking for a bear (although I desperately hoped it would be from the safety of my car); unfortunately no bears wanted to be seen by me. So I have to go back. Obviously. I will have pictures to post tomorrow (not of the bear. Because I didn’t see one. Duh).

Speaking of pictures, I uploaded more than 1000 pictures to my computer last night. Apparently I have not taken the time to do this since sometime in March. There are pictures from showers, weddings, trips, parties, animals, babies and Easter that somehow have never made it to the computer. Needless to say, I think you will find a few pictures on my blog in the days to follow... Which leads me to a question—so many of you post fabulous pictures that I know have been slightly edited. I am not about to throw down the money for Photoshop quite yet. Are you using free editing software or any inexpensive ones that you want to share?

I was walking through Target yesterday when I discovered the back to school section. I don’t go to school or teach school anymore, but that doesn’t mean a girl doesn’t need supplies! I found my beloved Ticonderoga pencils and will spend the next several months in bliss with sharpened yellow pencils and untainted erasers. Oh yes, I am a dork and I love Ticonderoga pencils. Don’t judge.

We are having twin girls! We had an ultrasound last week which revealed that the babies are sharing a placenta, very likely meaning they are identical. I have flutters all the time and it feels like someone is tickling me. I will be 20 weeks on Thursday and it is hard to believe that it means we are half way there! Actually, it is more than half way already, as my doctor has declared that I shall not go past 39 weeks. Now that we know they are girls I am so excited to start planning the nursery. Any ideas?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot, hot, hot!

The California State Fair is one my favorite yearly traditions. When I was younger my mom took us every year and after she dragged us through all of the shopping and exhibits, we were permitted a limited number of rides. I usually spent my tickets on the Super Slide as I was leery of most of those carnie rides even at a young age. Now that I am older I enjoy the exhibits that my mom used to drag me to: I love the county exhibits, the barn animals and the as-seen-on-TV shopping. The only time I spend in the Midway is to play Skee Ball, because you certainly won’t find me near those scary rides. I love a corn dog, deep fried artichoke hearts and barbequed corn on the cob. I just love the fair.

Usually the fair is in August, but this year they moved it to July hoping that a date change would increase attendance and profit. Sadly this isn’t working well with my schedule, since most of my nights have swimming and I will be out of town next week. Except tonight. Tonight is the first totally free, unplanned night that I have had since March. Between all the other commitments that I have gotten myself into, tonight may be my only chance to go to the California State Fair.

So when I woke up this morning I thought about going to the fair tonight. But if the Geneva Convention taught us anything it is that you will be punished for torture. It is supposed to be 102 today. I don’t care what you people say, 102 is hot and it is certainly a form of torture to go to a mostly outdoor fair with smelly, unwashed people.

I am not always a complainer about the heat. I generally tolerate it under one condition: it has to cool down at night. This week the weather is not cooperating with me. When I went to bed last night it was a tolerable 76 in my room. Brandon wanted to sleep with the windows open. For the second night in a row I woke up sweating around 1:30 am. When I looked at the thermometer it said 81. It actually got hotter in my room. You have to be kidding me.

“They” say that women forget about the bad parts of pregnancy and birth and that is why women continue to have children even after going through it. I think the same is true of all humans and the weather patterns in their cities. Because while I always remember that it is hot in Sacramento in the summer, I always forget how absolutely miserable it is to live here when it gets above 100. Every time we get this weather I curse this town and swear I am moving to more moderate temperatures. But by the time fall comes around, all I can think of is how lovely it is to live in such a beautiful place. *Sigh*

I don’t really want to go to the movies tonight. I want to go to the fair. But I will go with Brandon to see “Inception” on opening night because there is no way I am going to suffer at the fair when I have a chance to sit in a super cool theater and eat popcorn. And hopefully by the time I get home, my house will have cooled down too.

My feet hurt. And they are swollen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salt in the wound

My mom worked when I was growing up. And it was fine. I don’t remember her ever missing anything important or not having time for me and my two younger siblings. She was (and is) a great mom. As time passed she was able to work part time and that gave her the freedom to do more things with us as we grew up, especially with my younger brother and sister.

Sometime in my early teens I realized that my mom never had time to go on field trips with my classes. But since she worked less when my siblings were in school, she was able to go with them. The snotty teenager I was made sure she knew I knew that she did things with them that she couldn’t do with me.

But this post isn’t about parenting. It is about pointing out weaknesses.

Yesterday I got an email documenting pretty much every mistake I have made in the last three months of coaching. There was nothing shocking or eye opening. They were all things I knew. Some were things I had addressed, some were things I let slide. They aren’t the sort of mistakes that make me a terrible coach. Just the kind that I would do differently if given another chance. But reading it hurt. We know things about ourselves and our choices that we wish we could change and sometimes we suppress those things in hopes that they will be forgotten or ignored.

And I thought of my mom. I feel bad 10 years later that I gave her a hard time for not going on field trips because she knew she couldn’t and there was nothing she could do about it.


By the way, the pregnancy hormones have finally hit me. I am emotional and people who I used to tolerate are going to be lucky if they are alive in the next 6 months.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On our third anniversary...

July 7, 2007

Today Brandon and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary. But sometimes I think it is silly to remember only the last three years when really Brandon has shaped the last ten. He met me before I was confident enough to believe someone would want to date me. He knew me before I had decided who I wanted to be. Brandon loved me from the beginning and has made my life better because of it.

Before Brandon met me he had other loves: the San Francisco Giants, The Simpsons, music, movies and pugs. These things are sacred to him. These are the things that I cannot question or challenge. If I had been a Dodger fan, this whole relationship would never have started. I have pushed the envelope on some of these... he has even (reluctantly) agreed that our first dog could be a lab. He allows me to watch "crappy" movies and listen to "bad" music. But I knew he loved me (or at least liked me a lot) very early when he lent me his Gin Blossoms CD-- music that til this day still gives me butterflies as I think about the first weeks of our relationship. A man who loves his music doesn't part with CDs that easily. If Brandon knew then how good I was at losing CDs, I am pretty sure he would never have lent them to me in the first place.

Brandon put up with me leaving the country when I decided to live in Spain for 10 months. I returned the favor (with much less grace) when he moved to Colorado to pursue his career. I am independent, strong and opinionated. He has never asked me to be anything different.

In the last three years we have started jobs, lost jobs, endured financial struggle and personal struggle. We have argued a little, laughed a lot. Since we got married we have watched the entire series of LOST, The West Wing, The Gilmore Girls, Sports Night, Firefly and half of The Simpsons. Now we are tackling The Office. Last December we bought a house in a suburban neighborhood where we could raise a family. In May we found out that our family would double by this December.

On our first anniversary I locked us out of the house on a night when it was still 95 degrees at 10pm. He gave me a journal for us to write about our lives together. On our second anniversary we walked the streets of San Francisco and he gave me a camera lens so I could document our lives in photos. This year for our third anniversary he gave me a leather bound book of children's stories, so that in this next year of our marriage, we could introduce to our babies the tales of magic and mystery that we have both loved since our own childhood.

Happy Anniversary Meshugga! I love you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Anniversary, the coast and a little more about babies

Next Wednesday Brandon and I will celebrate our third anniversary. We spent the last two years in San Francisco on our anniversary, but this year our situation is a little different and a little better, so we are spending TWO whole nights at an old inn on the coast! I will have plenty of pictures and stories to share next week.

I am tired and I need this trip. Since the beginning of April I have been working two jobs. I leave my regular job at 4:30 and drive 40 minutes to the pool where I coach from 5:30-9:00 pm. Around 9:40 I drag myself into the living room, try to stay awake while we watch one episode of The Office, and then put myself to bed before starting all over again. Saturdays are claimed by swim meets and it seems that every weekend has also been full of weddings, showers and parties. And I have been doing all this while in the first trimester of pregnancy. As I said, I am tired and I need this trip!

So tomorrow morning at 8am, Brandon and I will get in the car and drive several hours to the coast near Bodega Bay where the high will be 70 degrees. We are going to the local Independence Day celebration and to watch fireworks. On Sunday we will probably go hiking, but mostly I plan on staring at the ocean and enjoying a few days that are entirely ours... no work, no commitments. Although we love every celebration of love and life that we have been to this year, this weekend will be about us.


Just when I thought that I had given enough details about my pregnancy, Kim got all demanding "I appreciate the baby details, and now I need more, please. These are the questions you will be hounded with, so let us practice here, together." Here you go, friend!

1. Will you find out the genders? If so, when? And will you tell the world?
Before we knew we were having twins, we did not want to know the gender of our baby. We wanted it to be a surprise. But I don't think we had even left the office before Brandon said we could learn the gender with twins. I am super grateful to him for this... because I am a planner and not knowing the gender of TWO kids was going to kill me. We will find out on July 20 and yes, Kim, we shall tell the world!

2. Have you thought about names? If so, which ones?
We have thought about names and we have 1 boy name and 2 girls names. The first and middle names almost all honor someone we know or are named after a particular person. Although we will tell the world the genders, we ARE keeping the names a secret ;) Who knows, maybe we are naming a baby after you?

3. Where are you delivering?
I will deliver at Kaiser Roseville. Hopefully. Please don't let me go into labor in an obscure location.

4. How are you feeling?
I feel great. I did not have any nausea in the first trimester, just extreme exhaustion which was only made worse by the extra work (see above!). I get a headache almost every afternoon but it is pretty mild. At this point, the worst feeling is that I don't fit into my clothes. And for a girl who has dealt with weight issues for more than 10 years, that is indeed stressful. Thank goodness the cotton dress is in style... it is a lifesaver!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Holiday in Spain

I miss Spain.

The other morning I rushed out of Starbucks with my coffee in hand and I had sudden urge to be sitting in a plaza enjoying my cafĂ© con leche. The Spanish don’t rush their coffee. “To go” cups are practically unheard of. Friends and family sit around small tables in plazas and leisurely enjoy their coffee. I miss the slower pace. I miss taking the time to enjoy my coffee. I miss the company of my friends as we chatted. And oh boy, do I miss the delicious pastries.

I made amazing friends in Spain, especially one Spanish family with five siblings. They welcomed me into their family. Every time I visit them I feel like I am home. We laugh and enjoy each other’s company alternately in English and in Spanish. I even made a point to visit these friends while I was on my honeymoon. There is something beautiful about having friends that live half way around the globe. But I miss them. Madrid is hardly a weekend trip and with babies on the way, I am sure it will be years before I can visit again.

Spain made it out of the second round of the World Cup and I couldn’t be more excited. The Spanish are fiery, passionate people and their love of soccer is amazing. I can only imagine how crazy it must be in that country right now! A por ellos! Viva Espana!

Some days I just want to be there—walking on old, stone streets, listening to the beautiful language and enjoying the tastes of Spanish tapas and wine. Today is one of those days.


I realize I didn’t give many details in the last blog post... so to update you: I am 16 weeks pregnant with twins. I am due December 16 but twins don’t like the timeline of singleton babies, so we expect them any time after mid-November.

When I first found out I was having twins I started reading. Unfortunately most of my reading was full of horror stories about bed rest, preterm labor and NICU. I spent weeks panicking about how I could possibly care for two babies, wondering how we could afford day care and just in general shock about double everything. Since then I have found more positive reading on the realities of being a twin mother. Although I know it is going to be difficult, I know that with the support of family and friends that we will survive.


Now that my coaching job is winding down, I plan to blog more. My husband loves when I write, which I think is funny because I tell him everything anyway. So even if it is just for Brandon, I will be back more often. I promise.