in which Adam goes on a mission

Today is a big day for the Pullan family. Adam heads to the MTC, where he’ll spend twelve days learning a lot about being a missionary (and not overeating at the cafeteria or taking sports time too seriously, if he listens to the sage wisdom from his brother-in-law) before flying out to Baltimore. We videochatted with him last night before he was set apart and I kept it together until we hung up and then I cried just a little bit. This is so weird.

When I was little I longed for a brother. Every year I asked for one for Christmas, little knowing that Santa had no hand in these kinds of things. When my mom was expecting Mariel, we learned from an ultrasound that the baby was a girl and I wouldn’t believe it. I was sure they had made a mistake. (Of course I was very happy to have a sister in the end! Do not be sad, Mariel!)

I was eight when Adam came along and I remember sitting at Jerry’s Dairy, a now-closed Salem ice cream joint with a full-size plastic cow on the roof, looking at a baby name book with my parents. I also remember that I was eating bubble gum ice cream, and that it was before I learned you should not just swallow the bubble gum. No wonder I always felt gross after eating it. We couldn’t pick out a name for Adam, so we called him “The Boy” or “Mr. X” for his first month or so of life.

I also really wanted a puppy when I was little, so I trained Adam to walk on a leash and drink out of a bowl when he was too young to walk. He used to run around the house wearing a pajama hopper, his Batman ears, a cape, and his underwear on top and backward (so you could see the Batman on the back). When people asked where he got his big brown eyes, he responded matter-of-factly, “The store.”

My dad was worried that with three (somewhat overbearing) older sisters, Adam might be suffocated by female energy. He made a rule that we could never dress Adam up as a girl. Dad and Adam would also flex and say “We are men!” as a reminder. When Adam and Grant were little, my parents let them camp out on P Mountain. The next morning, my parents went up to check on them and they had a fire going and breakfast ready.

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There gets to be a time in Adam’s life, though, where I moved out and away, and I missed some things. It seems like one day I came home and he’d gotten tall and that my lovable baby brother had turned into an even more lovable teenager.

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He and Grant are agreeable and fun. They’re up for anything, even running a half marathon–and subsequently a marathon–on little or no training. 20130913-143434.jpg

Adam is fully committed to the things he loves. He and Grant used to chase after the balls when we would play tennis and they developed a passion for the game, far surpassing their sisters along the way. It’s fun to listen to the two of them banter about their favorite tennis players (and by default to hear my mom go on about how “you’ve really got to see classic Monfils from 2012.”) I initiated the PHS tennis tradition, Hannah made it to state, Mariel was sidelined with a broken leg, and Adam and Grant brought honor to the family.20120518-220933.jpg

Adam is also hilarious. He has a great sense of humor and he has my mom’s genuine laugh. Last year when Jason and I went camping with the boys, they kept us laughing for hours around the campfire (and I learned more about scout camp than I ever needed to know).  More than anything, Adam is kind. He looks out for other people. I’m always impressed when I go home by how much work he has done on the cars and the house. At Mariel’s wedding, he and Grant were so excited to pick up the fifty dozen donuts in the pickup truck.

Adam’s smart, driven, and will be an incredible missionary. We’re so excited for him. This is going to be great.

I think I’ll miss Adam most at the St. George Marathon this year. I’ve promised that Grant and I will buy a maple bacon-flavored GU and squeeze it out at mile 20 in his honor. There’s no way either of us are eating it.

the frosts go back to Kentucky, part 2

Early the next morning we met up with my former boss Lisa at Old Lime Coffee & Donuts. I can’t speak for the coffee, but the donuts and hot chocolate were delicious. The donuts are square and huge and an order of a dozen comes in a pizza box.

It was so fun to see Lisa and hear about all the changes in my old office. She was a great mentor and friend and I’m so glad she made time for us before t-ball.

After breakfast we drove up to campus, where new construction is rampant. Seriously, there are so many new buildings that have gone up and old ones that have been torn down in the 3.6 years we have been away.

We stopped by the site of our old apartment, which is memorialized with a marker.  

As longtime readers of the blog may remember, this was the apartment whose hall my dad described as smelling like curry and feet. 

The Soviet-era buildings (thanks, Lexington Herald-Leader) have been replaced with incredible new dorms. No cinder block walls here. It doesn’t even look like the same place anymore.  

We headed over to church next. We always preferred the Bluegrass Ward, but attended the Tates Creek Ward on Sunday because it was at 11 am.

I sneaked into the gym to get a picture of my favorite thing about the building.  

Many of our friends have moved on from Lexington, but we ran into a surprising number of Bluegrass Ward families who still remembered us. 

We drive around campus for a bit after church.  

Then we met Sue and Tom at Josie’s.  

They are so great. We spent two hours eating great food and catching up, and then we at 3 pm we realized the Josie’s staff were stacking the chairs. Turns out Josie’s closes at 2 pm on Sundays, but the employees had just let us stay without saying anything. Southern hospitality is real.

We drove back to the Harris home and immediately fell asleep. When we woke up, Steph and Josh were back and had made dinner. We had steak, sweet potatoes, salad, and Brussels sprouts with bacon. It was so good! Then we played a FIFA soccer game tournament with Josh, in which he soundly beat both of us. We watched Guardians of the Galaxy, which I can’t say I was really getting, until Kim arrived home. We stayed up later than we should have because we were having so much fun talking and reminiscing. We are so glad she made it home just in time for us to say hi.

Now it is 6:10 am and we are sitting at the Blue Grass Airport again with our wonderful Lexington weekend behind us. We had such a great time. This is such a wonderful place. 

the frosts go back to kentucky, part 1

We had an incredible sunset view as we flew in to Lexington on Friday night.    

The Blue Grass Airport is tiny and so easy to navigate. When we disembarked there was literally not another person past the security checkpoint: just rows and rows of empty seats at the gates. 

We picked up our rental car and headed to Raising Cain’s for some chicken strips and French fries. My prevailing memory of Raising Cain’s is that the combo my friend Mary liked to order came out, with tax, to $6.66, and we wondered why they didn’t increase the price just a penny to make it a more palatable number.

It was nice to just sit and hear about Jason’s adventures of the previous week. We talk on the phone most nights, but sometimes I am too sleepy to remember what we discussed.

We sure love Kentucky.  

We stayed with the Harris fam, some of our dearest friends in Lexington. Josh, who we used to babysit (ahem, hang out with) when he was little is now a full-blown teenager! 

The next morning Stephanie very kindly made us breakfast, and then we headed out to Crestwood.

I was so excited when the GPS took us on Versailles (say it with me: Ver-SAILs) Road past the castle, one of the weirder homes in Kentucky.  

We made it to the church in plenty of time, no thanks at all to my misinterpretation of the GPS.

The ceremony was beautiful. There were five things I especially loved.

1. The church. There were big windows along each side so there was lots of natural light.

2. Audience participation. There was a part when everyone in the audience agreed (in unison) to support Laura and Stephen in their marriage.

3. Music! The service features two congregational hymns, which I thought was neat.

4. The homily (from Laura’s cousin’s husband). He talked about centering the family around the table by making time for family dinner, bringing the spirit into your home, and welcoming others. This seemed like the perfect theme for Laura (and probably Stephen, but I don’t know him at all yet) because she is so gregarious and always seems to be making new friends.

5. Toward the end, the pastor blessed bread and juice for what I would call the sacrament, but may be considered communion, and Laura and Stephen presented them to each member of the congregation, saying “[insert name here], this is the body of Christ, given for you.” I liked that they were, as a unit, essentially serving everyone present, which seemed like a fitting symbolic act at a wedding. Also, administering to each person individually made me think about how Christ knows each one of us personally, and that the atonement for made for each of us. I loved it.

Afterward we headed to the reception, which was out at a lodge about a mile away. We signed the book and picked up our seating assignments/drinking glasses/wedding favors. Such a great idea!  

Laura put us at a great table with her old boss and his family. I actually read and reviewed his book a few years ago. We had some great conversations and we got some good fiction recommendations out of it.  

We danced and ate good food and enjoyed the festivities. Laura made a beautiful bride (seriously, her dress was incredible! It was so flattering and just her style) and I think she and Stephen will be so happy together.   

On the way home we stopped at the Louisville Temple for old times sake.   

Many times during this trip I have been reminded about what our Kentucky 18 months meant to us. I received so much comfort at the temple during what was a tumultuous and stressful (but also wonderful) time in our life.

We got home around 5:00 pm (I may have slept on the way home) so we changed out of our wedding finery and headed out for a night on the town with Josh. 

First stop: Jurassic World, which was good a second time around.

We asked Josh if he was up for Thai food and his response was, “Sure. I’ve never had it.” He’s a good sport. We went to Planet Thai and it was as good as I remember. At dinner we spent quite a while discussing our ideal hybrid dinosaur, sparked of course by the movie.

We capped off our evening with a trip to Graeter’s, greatest ice cream shop in Lexington and maybe the world. Midway through our Kentucky sojourn all the Graeter’s locations closed down. A few have since reopened, about which we were very excited. 

We had such a great time out with Josh. It felt like we had never been away–except that he grew about a foot!

some things that happened this week

On Monday night I taught calligraphy to a family in our ward for family home evening. It was fun and went better than I expected!

I made blueberry scones and I loved them. I also made charred cauliflower quesadillas with cumin crema and Mexican slaw because I was feeling ambitious and that my dinner choices while Jason is away need to be more intentional.  

Wednesday I got home early from work but was totally beat (8-miler that morning + DC is too hot right now), so I did not clean as I had intended to do and instead read for a while before deciding to go to the fabric store. It turns out that the fabric store does not bring out the best in me. I stood in front of the printed cottons for forty-five minutes. Seriously. I felt like my brain had stopped working and I couldn’t pick out anything that matched. Ugh. I finally made my questionable selections and headed out!

Next stop: a bonfire.

Every summer I try to eat at least one fire-cooked s’more. I achieve this goal less often than you would think. Anyway, Courtney hosted a bonfire for the under-thirty-and-childless crowd of our ward and it was awesome. I may have exceeded my goal by 200%. Victory.

Plus I got to hang out with some awesome girls (ladies? women? chicas? None of those sound right)! 

Oh, I overcame my fabric and notions-induced brain cloud, so when I got home at 10:45 pm wired, I started cutting out pattern pieces. I sewed until 12:30 am. The adult side of my brain kicked in and reminded me that I have a job and should probably get some sleep.

The shenanigans continued on Thursday night with a trip to the ward’s craft group, where I finished my project: a little sundress for my niece. I am 97% sure it is too big, but I am 100% sure I don’t have a tape measure and that babies don’t seem consistently sized, so I consider the effort a success–nay, a rousing success! 

I also packed that night for our weekend jaunt to Lexington and ate a bunch of chocolate chips to prepare me for my ten-miler with Dani the next morning.

We hit the asphalt at 6 am (right at 6 for once. I am usually 2-5 minutes late but on Friday there was no room for tardiness). The weather was perfect, or as perfect as it can be on a DC summer morning, and I felt awesome. I love having a buddy on these long runs.

I hauled myself and my backpack downtown on very tired legs, worked a full day in spite of it being Pioneer Day (such an infringement of my cultural practices!), then met up with my world-traveling husband at the airport. Actually I was supposed to meet him at the Delta counter but was so empowered by my own capable handling of the metro and the finding of my terminal that I just bounded through the short security line. Oops. He made it through a few minutes later and we caught up after a week apart. Plus he shared some Mexican gummy Lifesavers with me, which assuaged my hunger until we reached our destination. Next up: the Frosts go Back to Kentucky!

sew great

My sewing machine arrived on Tuesday, but I didn’t have time to go to the fabric store until Saturday. (This week has been a crazy one.) I did leave our newest addition out so I could admire it all week long. It is shiny and pretty and mint, my color of the year.

I suggested to Jason that my first project be a sexy chemise and set of drawers. He was unenthused by that prospect.

Why does Simplicity even manufacture such a pattern??

Anyway, on Friday I got my hair cut and I’m not happy with it. It’s short and more layered than I like and I hate that now I have to wait for it to grow out again. To be fair, it isn’t that short and I didn’t cry that much and my hair should improve exponentially once fall rolls around and we’re free of 99% humidity weather. Winter is good to my hair. Anyway, I assuaged my Friday night sadness with the thought of breaking in my sewing machine the next day.

On Saturday morning I went for a run with Dani. We did eleven muggy miles, and saw four deer with antlers! We also saw a tiny baby bunny. Afterward I went home, changed my sopping-with-sweat shorts, and did three more miles. Ordinarily, I would then take a nap. However, Jason had agreed to help with a move, so we did that for a while, then had Cava for lunch and Jason got around to packing for his latest and greatest trip. He headed out the door around 3 p.m., at which point I took that well-deserved nap. When I woke up, I went to the fabric store at Seven Corners (getting there was a tale all its own. Seven Corners is so confusing) and spent the next hour perusing the fabrics and patterns. I finally landed on a simple apron pattern and some navy and yellow fabric. Since I’m starting from scratch on this sewing thing, I also picked up thread, pins, and some sewing scissors. I now understand why my mom wasn’t pleased when we stole her sewing scissors and used them to cut construction paper. Sorry about that!

When I got home, I turned on the machine for the first time and played around with some stitches. It sews like a dream. I love it.

I completed my apron (which was admittedly not a difficult pattern) and only had to unpick one seam! I’m not opening an Etsy store any time soon, but I’m pretty proud of my effort. Next up: a skirt.

Today was ridiculously hot, so I sent the following picture to Adam to let him know what kind of awesome weather he has to look forward to in just a few weeks! I can’t believe he is leaving so soon (so I am choosing not to think about it).

a baby shower and other weekend adventures

We had a baby shower at our place on Saturday. I say we, but Jason was off with the other husbands at the Silver Diner. A bunch of us from the ward helped throw a shower for Annik, who is expecting her first baby in August.

Thanks to Tina we had cute decorations… …and Lara, Courtney and I worked on the tablescape: muffins, fruit (with an awesome watermelon from Tina. I need to learn to pick a good watermelon), candy, chips and salsa, and Rice Krispy treats.  

Annik is from Brazil, so I tried my hand at brigadeiros. My old roommate Jess used to make them and I tried to remember her tips from seven years ago. They were pretty sticky, but you can’t go wrong with sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cocoa.  Plus they were kind of pretty.

Bekka brought great shower games (no tasting of baby food, thank goodness). Annik got lots of great gifts and we generally had a good time. I did discover that our apartment lighting concept isn’t great for daytime iPhone photos.  

When the husbands returned after their bounteous breakfast we made them try their hand at one of the games: diapering a stuffed animal blindfolded.   Jason did not win. We’ll give him a few more years to practice.

Overall I think it was a success. Things like having people over to my place for a social event make me feel like a real adult (though to be fair the job and bank account and responsibilities and end of college should also affirm my adult status).  

I came into an unexpected (and sizable) gift card recently and made use of it on Saturday afternoon to buy a sewing machine. It’s not here yet (I ordered it on Amazon. Prime, baby!) but I am so excited! 

On Sunday I went on a four mile walk while Jason was in meetings. Then I walked the two miles to church, just for fun. Our lesson in second hour was about convenants and I started a sentence “Since we are fallible humans…” 

There was an audible gasp, but I kept going. Then one class member said “Well, that’s kind of rude.”

“What?”

“You just called us foul humans.”

And then we all learned what the word “fallible” means. Hilariously some of them thought I had accused them of being birds (fowl). I sure love my class. 

Jason and I had this delicious sautéed Meyer lemon chicken for dinner with a big load of no-knead bread. Best part: the recipe produced lunch-ready leftovers for tomorrow.

final feliz

We headed down to Cuahetemoc the next morning. Every week the city shuts down Reforma for the morning and families ride their bikes and walk and rollerblade (and moon boot. We saw some of those.) down the carless streets. It is adorable and awesome. There were tons of people out while we were there and we discovered later that it was because that day happened to be the eighth annual ciclopaseo! According to the newspaper, about 50,000 people participate in a given week, but this week there were over 75,000, and they opened up a 55km loop connected to Reforma. Very cool.

We stopped for breakfast at Frutos Prohibitos, where Jason tried to get a tuna juice but they recorded his order incorrectly. Turns out tuna is also fruit. He said it was confusing on his mission because people would offer him jugo de tuna, which really sounds terrible if you only know tuna as the chicken of the sea. 

We headed back to the hotel. Fifteenth floor view. That flag is huuuuge.

We went for a late lunch at Ouzeria, a Greek place in Polancito where Jason had never been. Our pitas were served in little shovels, which was kind of hilarious.  

Man, there is nothing better than sitting out on a patio with my husband in perfect weather. Not shown: the palm trees in the adjacent plaza. Mexico City is pretty incredible.  

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Lincoln Park. Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly, considering this is Mexico?) Lincoln Park features facing statues of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we walked through the park, we couldn’t help but notice a crowd of people, all of whom looked confused. There was a tent with some musicians inside nearby, but nothing else seemed suspicious. Then, this woman in the crowd started singing opera and everyone in the crowd started going crazy with enthusiasm. Everyone has their iPhones out recording her performance. She was dressed in regular clothes and just walked around the crowd while singing. She finished and everyone applauded and it was silent for a minute. Then, the policeman on the park beat started singing! It was the operatic equivalent of a flash mob. 

Judging from the signs (see below) it was a publicity stunt for an opera company. Worked on me! If we’d been staying longer I might have insisted we go.
We watched some kids sail boats. 

We sat on a bench and talked.    

We also wandered over to a little market and picked up some birthday earrings for me (thanks Mom and Dad!) and the Mexico equivalent of Grandma Funny tried to sell us a healing neck beanbag. She explained that it was full of essential oils (so maybe she was also the Mexico equivalent of Utahns) and that it would help stomach aches, fevers, joint pain, colds, and my womanly troubles. It was kind of hilarious and I was grateful when Jason extricated us from her booth.

In the evening we went to La Chinampa again because tacos al pastor never get old. Ever. Also, for the first time this trip I experienced Mexico’s nightly rainy season deluge.

My man wears pink like a pro.  

We also stopped at a French pastry shop for a late night lemon tart and eclair. Like many shops in the city it was open air, and it was fun to just sit back and listen to the rain and enjoy being together in what has become one of our favorite places.    

 The next morning we got up bright and early, but not too early for breakfast at the hotel. Any desayuno buffet that includes chilaquiles, pan dulce, and all the fruits (figs! Again!) is fine by me. Also, Jason finally got his fresh tuna and I tried some too. I liked it better than fish tuna.

We took a cab to the airport and made it to the gate in plenty of time for our flight. Jason upgraded me to economy plus so we even got to sit together (he has some insane number of points so he automatically gets economy plus). I planned to finish One Hundred Years of Solitude, and I did, but only between three or four naps. We got back to DC around 3:30, and enjoyed a ridiculous line to leave customs at the airport (how is that the best system??) and a return to swampy humidity. Our kitchen light also hadn’t been replaced, in spite of placing the work request a week earlier, so I made us a pizza by reading lamp. It was nice to have time to unpack and relax before heading back to real life the next day.

When we went to Moab for our first anniversary we got breakfast on our last day and sat outside to eat it. I remember feeling perfectly relaxed: happy to be with Jason and grateful for where we were in our life (which at that time, two days from moving to Kentucky, was pretty precarious). I felt the same way on this trip, just overwhelmingly glad about getting to share a life with Jason. Maybe that’s sappy, but it is true. He is good to me.