Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ryan Hall and Balboa Park

When we headed down to San Diego again this weekend for a marathon expo, we were thrilled to see that Ryan Hall was making an appearance at the Nissan booth. Ryan Hall is a long-distance runner who holds the American record in the half-marathon, and competed in the Beijing Olympics marathon. He is a humble, down-to-earth Christian.

In this photo Sam is obviously more interested in the cars than the cameras... The man on the right works for Runners World magazine, and with one look at Anna, he could tell she was the fastest runner of the family. Ryan even said that one day, he might see Anna at the Olympics.

Ryan spent a lot of time with each fan... yes, I'm in awe yet again during these photo ops. First Tim Gunn, then Pastor Chuck, now Ryan Hall.

Moving on... I don't know what kind of car this was, but it was huge... a custom Hummer?

After the expo, we went to the Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park.
There were lots of fascinating displays, which unfortunately I did not get photos of as my camera stopped working... it gave me about 4 years of blogging life... anyway Sam and Anna had a lot of fun with the interactive decor at the museum, reminds me that Sam might like some toy planes and rockets vs. more stuffed animals in the near gift-giving future.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sea World - Memorial Weekend

Last weekend we decided to brave the crowds and headed to Sea World in San Diego. We knew we wanted to see Shamu as the show filled up the last time we were there.

We had a quick lunch at the Shipwreck Reef Cafe near the Shamu Stadium so we could be seated in a timely manner for the show. Fortunately they had chicken and fries for the kids, as well as tasty sandwiches for the adults.

Our dining companions which were just a few feet away from us, the sea turtles, kept the kids engaged while we ate our lunch.


We got our seats about 30 minutes prior to the show, it filled up fast.

While Sam can be sensitive to the heat, we're the sun-loving girls!

Amazing show! Shamu did flips, turns, splashes, well worth watching!
Another recommendation, the Pets Rule show. It was so entertaining, complete with trick dogs and pot-bellied pigs!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two Open Houses

On Tuesday we attended Sam's Open House, here is his lovely teacher Ms. Laura. Even though Sam was excited to be at school in the evening, he is usually shy about posing for photos.

Always the fashion plate Anna!

Sam's Open House's theme was "craft night", each class had a project for kids to work on. I think this is a clever idea!

On Thursday, Steve worked all the way after school until the evening for his Open House night. His room looked fabulous, he even had a movie presentation made by the class showing throughout the hour.

Yumi and I posed in front of the Presidential essay display. Well done, classes!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Random Mina Photos

This is Sam's preschool teacher Ms. Laura, at her bridal shower. To say she is "sweet" is a huge understatement. Sam is so smitten by her, he even called me "Ms. Laura" the other day, which I take as a huge compliment.

Yumi took this photo of us at California Adventure. If Daddy's around, you won't get a shot of me holding hands with Sam, so this is a rare photo op.

I am halfway through my invisalign treatment, here are my teeth back in September 2008, I am now aware how crooked my bottom teeth were, you could just about extract a couple of teeth and there would be little gaping.

Now my teeth are considerably straighter. My jawaches and left-side headaches are so rare now, other than cosmetic there have been a number of benefits to straightening my teeth.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bella's Big Top Birthday

On Saturday we attended Bella's birthday bash at Tewinkle Park. Anna and Rachel were greeted by this very tall circus lady who set the tone for this fun exciting afternoon.

This party had it all, large bouncers, huge slides, tents filled with goodies... it was a child's paradise.

Here is Anna with pretty birthday girl Bella.

Annie Banannie was there for magical balloon creations for the kids. She was so kind and spent a lot of time with each child, customizing balloons to each person's liking.

Sam wanted an animal that was not too intimidating. Look, a cute monkey!

Steve and I had to get into the party action as well.

Good friend Lucy got a ladybug, perfect match!

Anna loved her pretty pony as well as her sparkly arm tattoo.

So much time and effort was put into this party, thanks so much for Bella and her family for inviting Anna and allowing us to enjoy this special day with her!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

The family had a deluxe breakfast for me, Anna created a special menu. Steve made bacon and eggs and coffee. Even Sam toasted the English muffins!

Anna wrote this sweet letter for me at school.

On Friday, I enjoyed a special dessert with the other moms in Anna's classroom.

Today after breakfast, we went to church, and then saw the movie "Earth". Afterwards Steve took the kids swimming while I had a nap! And then my mom brought over dinner... hey, shouldn't that be the other way around?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Bolsa Chica Conservancy

A little while ago we went to the Bolsa Chica Conservancy for Sam's favorite hobby, birdwatching. This area of the wetlands included a walkbridge that reminded Steve and me of our trip to Florida years ago.

It was a quiet, peaceful area with bird watchers setting up their cameras for a chance at a shot or two. We found a vacant bench for some animal viewing.

Here's something interesting I learned on the conservancy's website: "Nearly half of the birds found in the U.S. have been seen in Huntington Beach." Well, here it was definitely abundant with pelicans and seagulls.

Anna took a nice photo here. Steve and I enjoyed this outing, it was like a peaceful field trip.

The birds did not disappoint on this day, although Sam was expecting to also see the animals on the diagram he and Anna and Steve are looking at here, which included lizards, snakes, and wolves... personally, I'm glad we didn't come across those.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Tracey's Baby Showers

Tracey is having a baby boy next month! We celebrated with a shower at school. Our staff gift to her was a fancy pack-n-play.

I was also fortunate to be invited to a smaller shower at her friend's gorgeous home on Balboa. It was a lovely time.

Shelley, Nikki and I enjoyed chicken salad and french bread, yum!
Congratulations, Trace! Can't wait to meet the little guy.

Monday, May 04, 2009

OC Marathon 2009

Special thanks to:
Mari: water sherpa/photographer/movie maker/cheering squad
Rob: best running mate and fan-getter
Yumi and Mama: babysitters extraordinaire
Marilyn and Ted: creator of motivational marathon album
Family and friends: kindest words and huge support

On May 3rd, Steve and I ran in our first marathon. We prepared by training from the end of January until a couple days before the race, usually running 3 days a week. The marathon day started with us getting up at 4:00 a.m., then Yumi arrived at our house at 4:30 a.m. We arrived at the O.C. Fairgrounds, parked our car and rode in a shuttle bus to Fashion Island, we were at the start by 5:15 a.m., the race started at 6:30 a.m.

The OC Marathon took us from Newport Beach with views of the ocean, and the Back Bay Loop. At the Back Bay, my former principal Katie was there to cheer me on! Several miles later, at mile 16.5, course supporters Mari and Rob were there to motivate us and refresh our fluid bottles. I was clumsier with my handoff than Steve was.

Here's Rob handing off my bottles at mile 16.5, South Coast Plaza. The course did provide Powerade and water but we carried the sports drink we trained with.

(Whoosh! Mari, go go go!)

I've heard more than once (from Steve) that when running a marathon, you have to think of the first 20 miles as the first half, and the last 6 as the second half. No joke. Those last 6 were killer, somehow my body kept on auto-pilot despite the pain (and blisters) and the legs kept moving. By mile 23 at the Santa Ana River Trail, I was so happy to see Rob again, all ready to run with me to the end.

There's Steve, all intense and ready for the finish line.

Right when you think you can't run another step, it's amazing how motivational it can be to see the final stretch, and to hear the cheers of the crowd.

I'm sure Steve felt the same way!

We did it! Our first marathon! Let's line up for the free massage!

Happy, relieved. Steve is already considering another marathon in the near future. I think I may stick to the shorter distances.

-I'd recommend the OC Marathon to anyone considering a half or full marathon, gorgeous views, varying terrain. It is a bit hilly, and we mainly trained on flat courses, so that did make it more challenging.
-The first half of the race was more crowded, with half-marathoners and full-marathoners. From mile 12 on, where the 26-milers went on a different route, it was sparse with runners, and definitely became much more of a mental challenge.
-Steve and I only trained up to 20 miles, neither of us had run beyond that distance.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Our First Marathon

We did it! This photo deserves an entry of its own. More photos to follow!

Saturday, May 02, 2009


We enjoyed gelato at Fashion Island, Anna had strawberry.

Sam also had strawberry, and my cookies-and-cream is in the foreground. Steve ordered the espresso, yum!