Monday, September 29, 2008

A Day in the Life...

This video is really for my mom, who hasn't seen Kendall since June, and she's changed so much since then! I like this video (even though it's really long), because it shows everything that she does now - talking, singing, laughing, clapping, dancing, waving, etc.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

By Slightly Popular Demand

OK, despite my lack of writing skillz--I'm an engineer after all--I am a man of the people. So here goes. I hope this is sufficiently long and boring that no one requests any more posts from me:)

Back in June, John made a reservation for a group to hike Mt. Whitney in early September. As a little background, Mt. Whitney is in the Sierra Nevadas and is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states at right around 14,500 ft. The main hiking trail is about 11 miles to the top and starts out around 8,000ft. John had hiked to the summit two years earlier, but they broke the hike up into a few days, camping about halfway up and then stopping again for a second night on the way down. Then last year, he and some officemates went again with the intention of doing the whole hike in one day. They got about 2 or 3 hours from the summit but had to turn around due to a lot of ice on the trail (it was late September). So John and three other guys from his office wanted to try to do the whole 22 mile hike in a day once again. So I decided to join the group.

I was a little nervous because I knew it was going to be a physically demanding hike. But the altitude concerned me the most. You just never know how the altitude is going to effect you and, with so much work being done above 13,000 and 14,000 feet, it could be a recipe for disaster. So I started training immediately. I mainly ran up and down hills. I could tell a big diffference from the training, but there's only so much this can do for a person living at sea level. The only real altitude preparation that I got was when John and I hiked Mt. Baldy. Baldy is about an hour outside of LA. It only goes up to 10,000 feet, but 10,000 feet is much better than 0 feet.

So we got to the campground at the trailhead two days before the hike. I took this picture above from the visitor center on the day we arrived (Whitney is one of the peaks on the right). This allowed us to get a little more acclimated to the altitude since the campground was around 8,000 feet. Then on the day before the big hike we did a little hike to Lone Pine Lake, which was around 10,000 feet up.

It was beautiful up there. Dave (one of the other guys from the group) and I decided the water was too beautiful to not go for a swim. Not surprisely, it was FREEZING! But it was defintely worth it. It's not every day you can go swimming surrounded by that kind of scenery.

So then came the day we had been anticipating. We got up around 4:00 so we could break camp, eat breakfast, and hit the trail by 5:00. As it turned out, we started at 5:00 on the dot. Everyone was pretty quiet as we hiked in the dark. It seemed like we all just tried to plod along and not think about the fact that we'd still be plodding 12 hours from now. But the scenery was beautiful and the weather was great, so things seemed to be on our side. Here's a picture of John; you can see Lone Pine Lake below him.

Here's a picture of four of the five guys from our group.

After about three or four hours, we were above the tree line. Things seemed to get more and more barren as we went on. After about five and a half hours the trail was pretty much going through nothing but boulders. The view was even more incredible than before; it was strange having such a beautiful view as the backdrop to such a harsh environment.

I was feeling pretty good the whole way. The worst part was when we were just about to summit. It seemed like we were right there, but we never seemed to get there. And each step had to be done with less and less oxygen. But soon we made it!

The sense of accomplishment was great, but knowing we still had to go all the way back down tempered the sweetness. It took us 7:05 to get to the top. We hoped it would be about 5 hours to get back down.

That was our hope...but then...YACK! Dave (the guy in the right in the summit pic) started feeling the altitude, and so he left his lunch up on the summit. That was followed by several more extreme projectile vomits over the next hour or so (I'm sad to say I do not have a picture of this). Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of altitude sickness is to get down. The problem was that he had no energy and was extremely nauseated (which, by the way, can cause problems when you're trying to walk a narrow trail with a 2000 ft drop next to you). So getting down was very slow-going. He was absolutely miserable, and it was a good reminder of why you always have to be careful when you do these kinds of hikes.

But after about four and a half hours, he started feeling better. And eventually we made it down! One of our members had to turn around at 13,000 feet and another got pretty bad altitude sickness, but we made it--14,500 feet and 22 miles. It took us just over 14 hours to go up and down, but we were off the trail before dark which was good. So it was a great experience and a cool accomplishment, but next - if there's a next - maybe we'll do a little camping in between the 22 miles.

Mama's Lil Helper

Friday, September 26, 2008


I should've just put these in the last post, but I didn't, so here they are.

I've been wanting to post pictures of our "view," but it's very rarely clear enough to turn out for pictures.

Except last week. We had several clear days, where you could actually see Catalina Island (literally, the marine layer is so thick on most days, you would never know it was out there). So, try to block out the grocery store parking lot below, and focus on the gorgeous ocean and rare glimpse of Catalina!

Busy, Busy, Busy!

That's about all I can say for us lately. Grant's mom came for a visit. Oh, and Kendall had her first fever for 2 days, followed by a rash, that's apparently Roseola. For those days when she had a fever, she only wanted to be held. I loved that part of it, but hated the part where she was crying, and no amount of holding her made her feel better. Thankfully, she's back to her chipper self.

That's all for now. Just wanted to give people an update on us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Prison Break

Not that my house is a prison, but I just thought that title was clever.

I might win, "Worst Mother Of The Year Award" for this, and I'm surprised I'm even blogging about it. But I couldn't help but laughing when I saw this (I know that if she had gotten hurt, I would be doing the exact opposite of laughing, but she didn't, so I laughed).

I'm sitting in the living room, doing my internet thing while Kendall's doing her exploring thing. She loves to go in the dining room and play under the table. Well, I noticed that it got awfully quiet, which, as every mom knows, is not usually a good sign. When I went to go check on her, this is what I found:

(Obviously, she's crawling back inside. I wish I had my camera when I first saw her, because she was just sitting out there, checking everything out) I forgot that I left the back door open for Watley (I do that a lot, but usually remember to close it once he comes in. In fact, when she crawled towards the dining room, I even did a mental check and thought I had closed the door). I don't really know how she got out without hurting herself, but hopefully this will be a one-time incident.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's election time, people!

Forget Obama or McCain. I have a poll of my own:

Who thinks Grant should take a page out of Mr. J's book, and become co-author of my blog?

He keeps bugging me to blog about HIS hiking trip last week. I think he should blog about it himself. He refuses. So, I'm taking it to the blog world to settle this dispute.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

Mrs. J tagged me, but I'm pretty sure I did one of these not too long ago, so I'm asking Grant for help to come up with more quirks of mine:

1. According to my loving husband, I pick things. Like eyebrows or other little things that are out of place.

2. Another one that he tells me is that I watch MTV too much, even though I really haven't been watching it as much lately.

3. When I told him that I don't think the MTV-watching is too much of a quirk anymore, since it's minimal, and that he should probably say that my Bravo-TV-watching is worse, he said that should be number 3. I pretty much watch anything and everything on Bravo. And if you're wondering how I have so much time to watch TV, all I have to say is, thank goodness for DVR. I catch up on everything I miss at night once Kendall goes to bed.

4. I very rarely iron anything. I hate ironing, and will only bring it out if something is really, really wrinkled.

5. Another one from Grant, "I insist on people helping me with dumb online quizzes." His words, not mine.

6. I love cookies. I blogged about this a while ago, but nothing's changed. I can eat cookies all day long.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Day At the Park

Jen and Maddy, Melissa and Mookie, and Kendall and I had our girls day out yesterday. And what a fun day it was!! We found a totally awesome fabric shop, and then we went to a park for a picnic. The last time we went to a park, was the first time that we all met Jen and Maddy back in May. That time, we went to a park close to Jen's house, and we were disappointed that it was apparently lawn-mowing day.

This time, we went to a different park, but as you can see from the pictures, we're 2 for 2 now with park lawn-mowing days. Kendall and I tried out the slide for the first time. I think I enjoyed more than Kendall did.

Despite the loud lawn-mowing, we still had fun. We're just enjoying our time with Jen and Maddy before they move to New Zealand (!) next month.

Thursday, September 04, 2008