in which my parents come see us

I am lucky that every so often my dad has a work-related reason to come to Virginia. This time, he brought along my mom. We had a great time (as we always do).

I met my mom at the metro and we commuted home together. We picked up Jason and the three of us went to Lebanese Taverna–by way of Paul, of course, for pastries. Also, we discovered that Wednesday is bellydancing night at Lebanese Taverna, so there’s that.

Jason and I went to work. My mom met up with my aunts and a cousin and Alex for lunch. Work was uneventful, except for when Emily and I found what appeared to be branded fanny packs. Turns out they are lunch boxes.


Thursday night we ate pizza and watched the Kentucky-WVU game. My mom and I picked up my dad from the airport sometime around midnight.

Jason and Dad went to work. Mom and I slept in, worked out, lounged, and decided to go to Cava for lunch. Then we went to Old Town Alexandra ostensibly in search of a bookstore. We got ice cream instead.

I love being with my mom. She’s great.

We spent the evening with Sara, who very kindly fed us dinner and let us hang out talking until way too late.

As I’ve mentioned, my parents are tougher visitors than most because they have already done everything here. We decided to go to Annapolis, which they hadn’t visited since the late 1980s. Like the last time Jason and I went to Annapolis two years ago, it was cold and a little breezy, but we had a good time.

Seriously, Annapolis is so pretty.

We had seafood for lunch (as one must do when visiting a waterfront town) then headed home. My parents and I started a game of Scrabble and Jason napped (since, as the driver, he had been unable to sleep on the way home). Eventually Mom and I went to the women’ broadcast; the men stayed home and made guacamole and watched basketball. When we got home Kentucky was in a dead heat with Notre Dame. We were relieved (though Jason never lost his faith) when UK pulled out the win.

Jason had some meetings early. We went to church together and my parents got to meet my Sunday school class. I only had seven of thirteen kids in attendance thanks to spring break, but they still made short work of the two bags of candy and fifteen peeps I brought them. After church we made chilaquiles and finished off the Scrabble game. My mom killed us all, though both she and my dad had 48-point turns.

Dad, Jason and I went to work. My mom went to the Building Museum with Aunt Amy and my cousins and their kids. She met up with me at the end of the day and we commuted home together (as much as I love reading, I far prefer having someone I love to talk to). We had dinner at Founding Farmers, which was excellent. Jason got the weirdest meal out of all of us: fried chicken and a Jefferson donut (which is kind of like a cronut, I think?). It looked so good that the rest of us had to try our own Jefferson donut too.

Mom and I went to Paul for lunch before her flight. I hated saying goodbye. That is all I will say about that. Dad had some things to do in the evening, so Jason and I spent a quiet night at home.

Because this is my second of three four-day weeks, I had a really hard time keeping my days straight. Those of us who remained in DC went to work and we had north African meatballs and couscous with golden raisins for dinner. I think this was the day I brought contacts to work, intending to run outside. When I got into the office and had cell reception again, I had several texts from Jason: “You took my contacts.” “Don’t put those on.” “Yours are still at home.”

Once again, we all worked. I got out a little early in anticipation of the long Easter weekend, so I came home and did the dishes and read. When Jason got home, I headed to the library to pick up a raft of holds, then picked up my dad from the metro. We went to Silver Diner for supper, which is so good. I had roasted vegetable huevos rancheros with roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, black beans, avocado, goat cheese, guacamole (and beets, which I promptly removed) and I keep really wanting to eat it again. We also had chocolate chip cookies when we got home.

(Good) Friday
Jason went to work. I ran a couples miles outside, my first outdoor run of 2015, I think. (It has been very cold.)  y dad and I went to the mall and picked up some fun things for the fam. He also bought me the Barnes and Noble-published Hamlet, which is my preferred Shakespeare layout (the notes are really easy to read without breaking up the action). We had lunch at La Sandia and then hung out at Rosslyn talking until it was time for my dad to leave for the airport. See my Tuesday note about goodbyes. I really wish my family lived closer to Virginia.

I’m so glad we were able to spend the week with my parents. They’re as busy as anyone I know, so it’s good of them to make time for a visit. Now that Adam’s mission papers are in (!!!) we’ll have to start planning our next trip west.

last hurrah

Saturday morning we all woke up late-ish after our hard partying of Friday night. Somehow we also all still wanted donuts for breakfast…

Jason, Grant, Adam, Dave, Mom and I played tennis (after eating donuts). Those boys have skills. I should practice more.

After tennis we watched some football, ate a pizza, and took naps. Then Jason and I headed up to Provo for dinner with Dave, Jake and Justine, after which we stopped by Sue Anne and Harold’s for a visit (and mostly to see tiny new baby Allie Sue, who is 100% adorable).

On Sunday morning we went to church in the Page Ward. My mom made Adam’s famous lamb and beef gyros for dinner (which were, in a word, awesome). When my dad got home earlier than usual, we played The Bowl Game, a charades/catch phrase hybrid we learned from the Thompsons what feels like a lifetime ago in Lexington. We played twice and had the best time; seriously, I think watching my mom’s charade portion was a highlight of our trip.

The next morning my parents drove us to the airport bright and early and we headed back to our Virginia life. After such an amazing trip, I’ve resolved that all of our Utah vacations should last eleven days and include a perfect wedding. Until next time, Payson.

in which Mariel and Jordan get married!

With the bridal shower, St. George trip, camping, and Bam Bam’s out of the way, we were ready for the main event: Mariel and Jordan’s wedding! We all woke up extra early on Friday, October 10, to get ready for the big day. I was really antsy that morning (having a sister getting married makes me feel really old) so I jumped on the treadmill for a couple miles at 6 a.m. Much clothes-ironing, cereal-eating, hair-drying, make-up applying, and tooth-brushing later, we were good to go. Mariel and my parents drove up together and the boys, Hannah, Jason and I followed a few minutes later.

We’re all excited, but we are also very tired.

We made it up to the beautiful Oquirrh Mountain temple in plenty of time. Adam and Grant waited in the waiting room with Rachel and the little cousins while the rest of us attended the sealing. Click here for more about temples and why being sealed there matters to Mormons.

My Grandpa Pullan–who also married us five and a half years ago–officiated. He did a beautiful job. (I feel like the word “beautiful” is already over-used in this post, but it really was a beautiful day all around!

After the wedding, Jason, Hannah and I went back downstairs and met up with Adam and Grant.20141020-133547-48947345.jpg

#1 I can’t believe my brothers are so old and tall.

#2 I always think my hair is long and lustrous and then I see Hannah again.

#3 How sharp do we all look in our wedding finery? 20141020-133548-48948249.jpg

Finally Mariel and Jordan emerged from the temple! I have no pictures of this because we were just reveling in how happy they looked. Oh wait, here’s one from Laurisa!


Mariel’s dress was perfect, her hair was gorgeous, her flowers were stunning, her ring is insanely shiny, and her veil is mine (heart), but the best part of the whole day was her huge smile. She and Jordan just glowed. I couldn’t stop smiling when I just looked at them!20141020-133547-48947657.jpg

We took lots and lots of pictures (“Everyone! Now Pullans! Now Deans! Now Pullan and Dean immediate families! Pullan immediate family! Dean immediate family! Bridesmaids! Groomsmen! All together now! Look at each other and pretend to laugh!”). Mariel’s photographer was awesome, though, and handled all the crazy–and believe me, with our family there can be a lot of crazy–with aplomb. Also, I am exceedingly excited to see a picture of me and Hannah Pippa Middleton-ing Mariel’s dress. Yes, that happened.

While the newlyweds took kissing pictures around the temple, we basked in the perfect October day.20141020-133734-49054403.jpg

At noon, the boys, Hannah, Jason and I (a group I will now just refer to as the siblings, as we spent much of our time together) embarked on our most exciting duty of the day: retrieving 45 dozen donuts from Payson Market. Mariel loves donuts and especially loves Payson Market donuts. Thus, it only made sense to serve these fabled confections at her wedding reception. I drove us back down to Payson (which was fun in spite of Hannah’s radio station tips, which inadvertently led us to accapella and NPR, which is great for every day, but not for a wedding day). We stopped at Fat Jack’s for our second box of cheese sticks in 18 hours, then popped over to the house to pick up a few things we’d forgotten in the morning rush. Adam and Grant drove the truck over to Payson Market and loaded up the boxes and boxes and boxes of donuts.

We followed them to the Springville Art Museum, where we left the donuts in the kitchen in anticipation of the reception. I have never seen so many donuts in my life.

Oh, and those are definitely maple-bacon donuts, Adam’s favorite. So gross.

The siblings drove over to the Chillon in Spanish Fork for the luncheon. I haven’t been to the Chillon since Hannah had choir there and it is a beautiful space. We had a great lunch and got to share a table with my moms sisters and Chris and Christie. 1488757_1294590423889948_5703607898273724263_n

The dads said nice things about Mariel and Jordan and I cried (emotions, man) and Hannah slept (after the lunch, of course). 20141020-133548-48948624.jpg

At this point I too felt like taking a nap too, but there wasn’t time! We jetted back to the Springville Art Museum for family photos. Again, I don’t have any of these, but I did steal a picture of the bridesmaids and flower girls from my Aunt Laurisa. The bridesmaids were (from left) Jordan’s sister, our cousin Rachel, Hannah, and me.20141020-133734-49054850.jpg

I like to call the next series of photos “Hannah and Amanda Posing With People They Love.”20141020-133842-49122696.jpg

We love our brothers!20141020-133549-48949569.jpg

We love Mariel!20141020-133734-49054001.jpg

We love our beautiful mom (how great does she look?)(and our dad, but we didn’t get a picture with him)!20141020-133734-49054726.jpg

We love our cousins!20141020-133733-49053682.jpg

We love cousin, friend, and fellow bridesmaid Rachel, whose hair looked best out of all the bridesmaids!20141020-133843-49123085.jpg

We love Aunt Sharla (and all our other aunts and uncles)!20141020-133843-49123602.jpg

If you can’t tell, Hannah and I were all about our bouquets. Seriously, I wanted to figure out a way to dry it and bring it back to Virginia with me. Also, the boutonnieres had succulents in them and were awesome.

With some patience, we also got a picture of my Grandma and Grandpa and all of their grandchildren (except Mariel and Jordan, once again off taking kissy pictures. Those two…)20141020-133735-49055001.jpg

We love Jason too, but I love him the most. 20141020-133734-49054294.jpg

The reception got underway and we settled in for three hours of laughter, talking, and donuts. Oh, and I wrote on a chalkboard sign. I am so glad Pinterest wasn’t around when we got married because I am pretty sure it would have just made me feel pathetic. Mariel, on the other hand, had a clear vision and pulled it off!20141020-133549-48949262.jpg

Mariel and Jordan stood in line while the rest of us ate and socialized. Jason and I were so glad to see Dave and Jake and Justine! We can’t wait to meet our little niece in November!20141020-133842-49122315.jpg

We also got to catch up with Roni and Amelia. I may be wrong about this, but I think the last time the three of us were together was at Jason and my wedding? Anyway, they are great.20141020-133842-49122020.jpg


There were so many people from my past Payson life, including my second grade teacher, several young womens leaders, our neighbors from the old house, Roni’s mom/my old boss at Fat Jack’s, and a panoply of ward members, family friends, and my dad’s colleagues that I didn’t recognize right off. Of course, they were all there to see Mariel because she is very well loved, but I had fun reconnecting with old friends too.

Panoramic view. The first version of this photo left one of my aunts with four legs. I won’t say which one. You have to be careful with that panoramic iPhone pano


As you can see, the floor at the museum is tiled and very very hard. I kicked off my high heels after about an hour.

I also ate more donuts than I’d care to admit and Jason and I had a fantastic evening. We got one quick pick with the Deans right before they headed off for their honeymoon in California. wedding

After they departed, the rest of us made short work of the decorations, gifts, and extra food. It was weird and sad to drive home without Mariel, knowing Jason and I wouldn’t see her again before we left for home. We were also all exceedingly exhausted from a long, wonderful, beautiful day, one of the best yet in the Pullan family. Congratulations Mariel and Jordan!


24 hours to go

On Thursday Jason and I got up kind of early and drove up Provo Canyon to the Timpanogos trailhead. We don’t get away to the mountains (or “mountains” as I think of our Virginia hills) nearly often enough, so we take every opportunity we can while we’re out west.

Look at that ruggedly handsome man.

We visited at just the right time! The aspens were brilliant gold and the weather was perfect. I wish we’d had time to actually hike Mt. Timp. 20141020-133231-48751368.jpg

Jason got some great shots with the camera and I got some decent ones with my phone.20141020-133231-48751810.jpg

I’m most baffled by the wilderness silence when we’re in Utah. Even in our (quieter new) apartment back home we can hear cars and people and dogs and children and sirens. There are few times (visiting the temple being one) in the greater DC metro area when you experience complete quiet. I love it. 20141020-133231-48751116.jpg

When we got home, we helped out with some wedding stuff and watched tennis. I think Jason may have also taken a nap?

Mariel remembered that when she had her alterations done, she forgot to have her dress bustled. My mom is awesome and took on the task. Let me tell you, making that first needle hole in a wedding dress is terrifying. The dress layers (tulle, satin, three layers of organza?, more satin) made stitching the hook and eye really difficult, so I crawled into the dress. My mom pushed the needle through from the outside and I’d push it back up from the inside. Yes, those are my little feet poking out from the hem.20141020-133229-48749368.jpg

It was insanely hot in there, so Mio kept holding up the front to air it out. We got the bustle finished, though, and it looked pretty great if you ask me.

We had cheese sticks and homemade pizza with Dad, Jason, and Dave and settled them in to watch the BYU football game while Hannah, Mio, Mom and I went out for a last-day-of-singlehood girls’ dinner. We dropped Grant at the Payson football game en route and Mio and I ran into the school (which, ew, smells the same) to see Adam’s senior banner. He’s one of just a few seniors highlighted on these seriously larger-than-life banners throughout the school. He and Grant are so much cooler than I ever was.20141020-133229-48749721.jpgWe had a ton of fun at dinner, but it was weird thinking that the next day Mariel would be getting married!


in which we go camping

Monday was not a good day, walking-wise. My quads and shoulders and hips (so, basically everything) were still killing me. Adam had it the worst, though, as he had to do the 40-yard dash in weight training. I could barely walk 40 yards.

Jason and I stopped by campus which is, per usual, just beautiful.

We met up with Hannah and (unexpectedly) one of Jason’s old bandmates from his single days. Jason bought a workout shirt he liked and I bemoaned the lack of attractive options for women. Is a hoodless sweatshirt with the retro logo too much to ask?? I shared my frustration that the bookstore is “great if you’re looking for unflattering modest attire!” before realizing we were behind a Seventy (who used his Seventy card that I didn’t even know existed to get the Seventy discount, which I also didn’t know existed). If there’s a talk next conference about the merits of unflattering modest attire, you’ll know who to blame.

We also stopped by The Wall, a student lounge of sorts that wasn’t there when we attended. We are getting so old.

We met up with Mio and my mom and headed to Traverse Mountain for some outlet shopping. While there, I found the elusive BYU running shorts I’ve been wanting for years, but that are not sold at the bookstore (see the unflattering modest attire rant above). We also ran into a woman from our Virginia ward who grew up with my mom.

Jason and my last camping trip was our ward camp-out during the summer of 2009. It was our married ward and we spent the whole evening keeping the child of a particularly negligent family from falling into the fire. Also, lots of people brought babies who were unhappy. All. Night. Long. Every year we talk about buying a tent and every year we are 1. busy and 2. reminded that camping in Virginia in the summer is just a bad idea. I resolved that we would camp in Utah, darn it, even if it killed us.

20141014-103339-38019658.jpgWe set off Monday night later than expected with Hannah in tow. The boys were to follow us as soon as Adam finished work. We changed our destination at the last minute, which made me a little nervous about the boys finding us. It was getting dark, and we encountered several black cows along the way (just another of Payson’s charms). We finally reached Payson Lakes and picked our campsite. I sent a text to Adam with the site number (though in retrospect we were the only people there and I’m sure he could have found us), hoping it would somehow go through in spite of absolutely no cell reception.

The three of us (but, let’s be honest, mostly Jason) started building a fire. The moon was so full and bright we didn’t even need headlamps to get it going. I refused to let anyone unpack the tent and sleeping bags in case Adam and Grant never showed up and we had to go down the mountain to search for them. I find that my active imagination really kicks in out in the wilderness.

Just as we got the fire going, Adam and Grant arrived! Adam had gotten my text (which my phone said wasn’t delivered until the next day) and they made it up the canyon safe and sound. Adam and Grant had the tent up and sleeping bags rolled out in less than five minutes (seriously, it was an incredible feat) and we got our tin foil dinners going.

That tripod came in handy again for a group picture! 20141014-103339-38019163.jpg

We ate our tasty foil dinners, then stood around the fire talking and laughing for a good couple of hours. We had s’mores and Starbursts and Hannah and I sang some of our awful Young Womens camp songs for the benefit of all. Here it’s important to point out that one year our camp theme was ROCK ON, which of course stood for “Righteous Offspring Centered, Knowing One’s Nobility.” What is wrong with people?? (Also, a creatively placed hyphen can really change the meaning of that phrase.)

Sadly Hannah had work the next morning and had to leave around eleven. I was really worried sending her back down the dark canyon road by herself so late at night, but she made it just fine. She also accompanied me to the scary camp bathroom before she left, for which I was very grateful.

The boys, Jason and I stayed up another hour or so and put the fire out. We also saw a tiny little mouse. The only other wildlife we encountered was a chipmunk, though Jason claims he heard an owl in the night. Grant was supposed to bring games, but he forgot. Then he told us he had thought of one. “It’s called Memorizing European History,” he said. He stayed up in the tent studying while the rest of us went to sleep.

I slept pretty well. My zero-degree, giant puffy sleeping bag was awesome and one of the boys inflated a Big Agnes backpacking mattress for me. Jason was not so lucky and got (per his estimate) about two hours of sleep. I woke up before the sun rose and lay on my back looking out the tent window at the trees above thinking about how nice it was to be far away from Washington, D.C.

When we finally emerged from the tent, we discovered it was painfully cold outside and our tent was covered in frost.

Adam and Grant boiled up some water for hot chocolate on the backpacking stove (which is so cool!) and we stood around trying to get warm.20141014-103335-38015592.jpg

Our campsite!20141014-103337-38017773.jpg

The boys had to go to school (it was a Tuesday, after all), so they packed up the gear and we set off for home. We had so much fun, and I’m so glad we were able to go. I think this gives us even more impetus to buy a tent!


On the way home from the airport, we stopped by Runners’ Corner for some marathon fuel: gummies, jelly beans, and GU. We even found the perfect flavor for Adam: maple bacon. Ugh. He pledged to eat it at mile 20.

We got everything ready to go on Friday morning and headed down to St. George. I love southern Utah and was so excited to be there. We stopped by Arctic Circle in Cedar City so Jason could get his favorite halibut sandwich, then headed to the expo to pick up our packets.

Everyone say “Let’s run 26.2 miles tomorrow morning!”

The race shirts are long-sleeved, which I was happy about. After we grabbed our stuff, we headed off to drive the course. It was long. The Veyo hill was terrible, as advertised. I remembered how I hadn’t actually run in 2.5 weeks and got more than a little nervous.

We unloaded our stuff at the hotel (also home that night to the Simon Fraser University football team, in town from British Columbia to play Dixie). We fueled up with pasta and a million rolls at Cappelletti’s, then headed back to the hotel. Jason stayed up watching the (very sad) BYU football game and I tried to get some sleep before our 3 a.m. wake-up call.

It occurred to me right before I went to sleep that I hadn’t brought anything to combat heartburn. In my tiredness, though, I ignored the thought and went to bed.

I think the most sleep any of us got that night was five hours. We were up while it was still dark lacing up our shoes and trying to figure out where in the heck our safety pins had gone. (Answer: who knows? We ended up with three pins apiece.) My mom, who is always selfless, got up too and made sure we were all ready to go. She drove us to the loading zone and we boarded the buses for our long ride to the starting line.



My shin was a little tender, so I took some ibuprofen and used KT tape (for the first time ever).

It was freezing cold at the start line. We hit the bathrooms (twice), ate some of the protein bites my mom had packed, and stood around the fire in our super cool mylar blankets. We stashed our gear bags and lined up in the mass of runners. The race actually started a few minutes late, just as the sun was peeking over the mountains to the east.

Here’s how it went down:

Mile 1
The four of us stick together. Grant makes fun of my pace and claims he can walk faster. This may be true, but I don’t want to start out too fast and kill us off in the first bit. At the first mile marker, we separate from my Dad. He’s had some ankle issues lately and I’m nervous to leave him. I know he can do it, though. Every few miles for the next bit, one of the boys or I say something along the lines of “I wonder how Dad’s doing” or “I really hope he is all right.”

Miles 2 – 6
Shin is feeling great! I’m not sure if it is adrenaline, ibuprofen, or that I am SO HAPPY to be running after so much time off. The boys are doing great. We are all surprised by the number of people who have to go to the bathroom already, and are grateful to not be joining their ranks. We are laughing and talking and having a great time. We have a shotblok and some water.

Mile 7
Veyo Hill. We slow up a bit and attack the hill. We run all the way, a feat of which I am personally very very very proud.

Miles 8 – 12
Uphill. I knew the course had some uphill sections and that the big hill was a beast, but this is gross too. We’re in direct sunlight, so we’re getting kind of hot and the gradual hill is interminable. We split a tiny Clif bar three ways. It is kind of gross.

Mile 13
Hooray! Halfway! The boys have never run farther than a half marathon. I’m so proud of them. I think we took a quick bathroom break here. Grant and Adam are doing great. My shin isn’t hurting, but I’ve started to develop some heartburn. Suddenly this seems all too much like my last long run.

Mile 14
Heartburn in full swing. (I probably never should have eaten that Clif shotblok). I want to die. At one point I run over to the side of the road and crouch in the fetal position, convinced I might throw up. I don’t. We keep running.

Miles 15 – 19
Not a lot of talking going on now. We are in full-on survival mode. Adam develops some pretty severe leg cramps. At one point I ask if he needs the sag wagon (seriously, he looked like he was in so much pain) and he gave me an incredulous look. With some convincing, he gets his legs rubbed out by a volunteer at a water station.

Mile 20
I take a bathroom break. The heartburn is still ridiculous. I almost throw up. We keep going. I bemoan that Adam’s legs hurt and my chest is exploding but Grant, who trained not at all for the marathon, is fine. His response? “I’m kind of tired.” Adam is true to his pledge to eat the maple bacon GU. He says it tastes like tar. Ugh.

Miles 21 – 24
I don’t remember a ton about these miles except that I really wanted to lay down and go to sleep. We can finally see St. George ahead of us. A family is out on their lawn offering soda to the runners. Nothing sounds more terrible to me right at this minute.

Mile 25
Grant: “I wish they’d stop telling me we’re almost there. We’re not.”
Longest mile of my life.

Mile 26
We are so close. I assumed Jason and my mom would meet us at the alphabet signs and am thus surprised and delighted when I see them! Hannah and Mariel are there too, which is another awesome surprise.

Mile 26.2
FINISHED! We cross the line together, then pick up our medals and chocolate milk. Grant says “Amanda, we ran the marathon!” and I start sobbing.

The boys and I wandered around in the post-race yard for a bit, then headed out to see the fam. 20141014-103226-37946304.jpgAt this point I felt absolutely awful. Water, walking around, and sitting down didn’t seem to help. I heard my friend Elaina’s husband’s name and sent Jason to find them. Turns out he had taken sixth place overall (what?!) and was getting his award. Jason and I went over and caught up with them for a bit, which was so nice.

My fam went back to the bleachers and watched for my dad. He was listening to music and almost didn’t see us. We were so glad to see him, though!

The seven of us went over to meet him. On the way I felt really horrible, so I sat down. Then (TMI alert!) I threw up, after which I felt great! We found my dad and got some pictures.

We hobbled back to the cars and drove to the hotel. I fully intended to watch the second session of General Conference, but fell asleep almost immediately. After the session ended and the runners woke up we went to dinner at our favorite Mongolian barbecue restaurant, Mongolian Barbecue. It is so good, and a perfect post-race feast. We swam in the pool for a bit, after which Jason and my dad and brothers watched the Priesthood session of conference while we ladies picked up frozen custard at Nielsen’s. All eight Pullans and Frosts sat around one of the breakfast tables at the hotel eating our frozen custard and plotting out the next (very busy) wedding week.

The next morning we drove the course again to show Hannah and Mariel how awesome we are. Then we went to Oscar’s (over near Zion National Park) for lunch before driving home.

I’m so proud of Adam and Grant and my Dad. They are awesome. I would also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Mom, Hannah, and Mio for coming all the way to St. George to cheer us on, and Jason for being the best, most supportive husband ever.