in which grant comes to see us and we go to a baseball game

Grant came to see us last Friday. He’s been the only kid at home since Adam left (which I can’t even comprehend since I can’t remember being alone with both of my parents very often growing up).

Anyway, a couple weeks ago we formulated a plan for a long weekend with Grant. He flew himself across the country (again, the first time I flew alone I was 22 and married. He is 16.) and I swung by the airport after work to pick him up. While walking through the terminal I saw a pair of brothers, one big and broad and the other less so and for a split second I impossibly thought it was Adam and Grant. Hard to not miss Adam these days.

Anyway, it was wonderful to see Grant and I almost couldn’t believe he was really here! We headed home on the metro. We had a few minutes before our dinner reservation, so we went out to play tennis. Grant has become quite the tennis player since the days when his racquet was as big as he was. While we were walking to the courts we saw a groundhog! I’m accustomed to the bunnies we have everywhere in Virginia and even the occasional fox, but a GROUNDHOG? It almost didn’t look real, but it turned its little head and waddled underneath a nearby shed. Perhaps it is his home?

We drove over to Founding Farmers by way of Sports Authority so Jason could pick up his newly restrung racquet in anticipation of playing with Grant the next morning. Grant and Jason had the fried chicken and Jefferson doughnut, while I had my first burger in a looong time (but not my last of the weekend). 

At 5:30 on Saturday morning I ran two (point three) very dark miles to Dani’s house. We met up there, then did 16 miles together. The run was tough for me for two reasons: 1. I went to buns, hips and thighs on Thursday night and 2. I went to another weights class that turned out to be almost all legs on Friday at lunchtime. My legs were dead. Our clock time didn’t reflect it, but I felt like I was really slowing us down. We survived, though, and I went home for a quick shower, breakfast and a little lounging before joining the boys at the tennis courts.

When I got there, Grant and Jason were nearly done with their first set. I watched for a bit and tried–with limited success–to take some action shots.

I joined in for a few minutes of hitting around, but walking was still a struggle. Grant went easy on me. The men played one more set and then we headed home for pizza.   

We went out for frozen custard and I returned my library books. Then we all took much-needed afternoon naps before heading into the city.

I’m glad the Nationals were in town for Grant’s trip. He has been to more Bees, Orem Owlz, and BYU baseball games than any of the Pullan kids, but hadn’t yet been to an MLB game. (Also, before we go on, can we talk about how cool his hair is?)

I love Nationals Park, and we had perfect weather for the game.  

Our seats were pretty good. The best part was that we could hop over the backs of them to procure food, which we did after about the fourth inning. I’m glad baseball exists so I have a reason to eat a polish sausage with onions and peppers every once in a while. Jason also picked up some butter-slathered pretzel bites, which we all enjoyed.

This particular evening happened to be 80s Night, so the Presidents’ Race turned into pac-man.

The Nationals won, and we saw three home runs! (Well, there were four home runs if you count the one from the Marlins.) I think Grant had a good time.

Coincidentally Adam went to his first MLB game last week too. I guess it was Faith Night at the Orioles, so they let the missionaries go. I’m sure my dad is proud.

One unexpected bonus of our outing: getting home was a dream. Usually it takes a while and we spend forever crowded on the platform with a zillion other people. Not so! We got right on the first train and made our transfer with no crowds at all. Awesome.

36 hours in New York City, part II

It snowed during the night, which made for a very nice view the next morning.


By the time we got out, though, the streets were mostly cleared off. We had breakfast at Applejack’s, where our waiter misheard Jason’s request for a Spanish omelet as an order for an asparagus omelet, which I hope is not the same thing. Surely the Spanish omelet has chorizo in it or something? Either way, breakfast was good. We packed up our things and set off for Penn Station.IMG_1662


Come on, Church, it’s January! Still cool to see the ad in Times Square, though.IMG_1673

Took a Times Square selfie for good measure. IMG_1704

We didn’t have anything planned for the day and every Google search for “what to do in nyc in bad weather” turned up something about bowling (which we can do at home) or visiting the Met (which we are saving for another trip), so instead we dropped off our bags at Penn Station and started meandering. Then I remembered the High Line, which I was pretty confident Jason would love. We headed that way, going the wrong direction at first because, while I’m normally very proud of my sense of direction, I get so turned around in the midst of tall buildings. I need either West Mountain or the 5/3 Bank Building to guide me. IMG_1474

In the part of my imagination where I could be a cool New Yorker dressed in black and not getting lost in spite of the grid system, I think the High Line would be one of my favorite places in the city. I see myself spending summer days there reading. As it is, I’ve only been when it is very cold, but you can’t beat the views!IMG_1705.JPG

We were really excited to stumble upon Frank Gehry’s IAC building. Jason spotted it and we de-High Lined to take a closer look.IMG_1683.JPG

It was pretty rad.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Oh, and the building across the street was pretty cool too.NouvelGhery

We stopped in at Underline Coffee for a hot chocolate and blueberry cornflake muffin and to warm our freezing hands for a few minutes.IMG_1701.JPG

I try not to be that person who takes pictures of all their food, but I loved the swirly top of my hot chocolate so much.IMG_1697.JPG

So hipster.IMG_1696.JPG

When we were sufficiently warm, we headed out to finish our walk. IMG_1680.JPG

Cool art along the way…


…and more interesting architecture.IMG_1452IMG_1449

I just liked this with the snow and the trees and the train tracks in the middle of a huge city.IMG_1689.JPG

We made it as far as we could go (an upper section was blocked off because of snow) and headed back.IMG_1469

Our train tickets were for later that night, but in part because of my sinus thing and in part because we wanted to get home at a decent hour, we moved them up a bit. We still had some time to kill, so we wandered around town in the rain. I’m a big fan of meandering, especially in NYC.


I slept a lot on the train ride home, which was uneventful. On the metro ride home, however, our train was stopped for a few minutes at McPherson Square and one of our fellow riders got off for an unknown reason. When the train chimed to signal the doors closing, he rushed back over to the train and tried to squeeze the doors open again with his hands, in which he was holding, wait for it, a LIT CIGARETTE. Yes, he had gotten off the train to smoke on the indoor platform. As a regular metro rider I was incensed and not at all sorry when he was unable to get back on the train. Those doors don’t work like elevator doors, buddy. Anyway, it was kind of bizarre.

Total miles walked on Saturday: 9.8 miles.

I used to wonder what people talked about when they had been married for a while. Wouldn’t you get bored of each other?? I shouldn’t have worried. I’m never bored of Jason and there’s no one I would rather be around. Even though every day is just the two of us, it was nice to get out of town together and have an adventure. He’s the best.


Here’s how our Saturday went:

8 a.m. Jason arrives home from work (hooray!). I am still in bed reading, but have been awake since 6:45 a.m.

We proceed to purchase groceries, make pancakes (which I mess up by adding twice the buttermilk because I’m trying to halve the recipe in my head and can’t figure out why the pancakes are so runny and flat) and get the laundry started.

11 a.m. Jason naps on the couch. I clean the kitchen.

Noon Jason still naps. I fold the laundry.

2 p.m. Jason wakes up. We have homemade pizza for lunch.

5 p.m. Jason goes to sleep for the night. I think, “Oh, I’ll just lay my little head down for a short nap. Then I’ll (fill in productive activity here, including building lasagna for Sunday dinner).”

Midnight I wake with a start, fumble around for my phone, and realize I’ve gotten seven hours of sleep. Oops. The good news: I’m wide awake. The better news: Jason will be too in one hour. I build the aforementioned lasagna and get some reading done (All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting).

1 a.m. Jason wakes up and is surprised to see me awake and alert. I still feel pretty good, so I just decide to stay up with him until I crash.

2 a.m. We play Yahtzee!

3 a.m. We watch Netflix!

4 a.m. We make pancakes for the second time in eighteen hours! We eat said pancakes while watching another of our photography DVDs from the Teaching Company.

5 a.m. I start to get a little drowsy.

5:30 a.m. I head to bed for 1.5 hours until it is time to get up for church.

While staying up until it was time to go to sleep again on Sunday night was not easy, I loved spending time with Jason when we were both reasonably awake. Same time next weekend?

On Monday Jason came into the city to try on suits for Mariel’s wedding (and because we haven’t gotten the man a new suit in five years), so I met him up in Georgetown for the fitting. Afterward, we went to Good Stuff Eatery for hamburgers and a raspberry-blueberry shake. We walked down M Street, then headed to Charles Tyrwhitt for Jason to try on another suit (which turned out to be not nearly as great as the first one).

When we had concluded our errands Jason went home to sleep and I returned to work (after which I headed to an overnight retreat and thus missed seeing Jason again until Tuesday night after Young Womens).

home run weekend

Saturday was rated a 10/10 by the Capital Weather Gang–because DC is the most weather-obsessed city ever–so we decided to use our last standard at-home weekend in a while to take in a Nationals game.

The weather actually was perfect: 75 degrees, no humidity, and a light breeze. We took the metro in for the 12:05 p.m. start.

I really like Nationals Park.

After the fourth inning the Nats were ahead by something like six runs, so we had ourselves some Italian sausages with peppers and onions. So good.

I’m not sure if this is a this-year thing (because I don’t recall it from previous games), but the Nats fans have appropriated a version of the “C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats!” UK cheer, but instead of a deep cheer at the end, it’s this sort of helium-voiced “WHOOOOOOO!” which made me laugh every time.

20140601-123947.jpgIn the evening we went to Trader Joe’s and Safeway (twice, after forgetting to pick up dish soap and a card). I had a moment of pride at Safeway. Our checker, in an attempt to be more personable than the Safeway checkers tend to be, suggested we each wager a guess as to the final bill. I guessed within $0.41. Yeah, I’m a savvy grocery-shopper. Jason was off by $7.

We ate barbecued chicken twice-baked potatoes for dinner and watched Monuments Men, which we have been meaning to do for some time. I knew George Clooney was in it, but the rest of the cast was a (pleasant) surprise.

“Hey, is that Lord Grantham?”
“Hey, is that Phil Connors?”
“Hey, is that the guy from Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show?”
And, at the very end, “I didn’t realize that was Cate Blanchett!?”

On Sunday Jason had early-ish meetings and I walked to church, but didn’t give myself quite enough time to freshen up before sacrament meeting, so I was a little red  in the face and sweaty. The walk is a cool two miles, after all, a distance I consistently cover in less than 30 minutes. We went home and read a bit and I took a nap and then we headed to an Eastern Orthodox wedding.

Best news of the week: Jason’s mom is coming to see us!

highlights, saturday

– Dave and I headed out for a bright and early (and chilly) run to finish off those last stubborn miles of 2013. For not running since his mission, Dave is a champ!
– We all went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which was fantastic!

– Post-movie, we dined at the Front Street Bistro.

– We got home just in time to catch up on BYU’s second disappointing sports outing of the week.

– Jason joined the rest of us for another rousing game of Scrabble!

– We all sat around playing innumerable rounds of QuizUp. Dave is good at all the categories, especially US States. Jason’s mom is awesome at Children’s Literature. I am still seeking my QuizUp niche. Jason fell asleep on the couch.

christmas-y things and a reunion

Last week my office celebrated nondenominational wintertime holiday party three of four by visiting the capitol Christmas tree and the botanical garden.20131216-092804.jpg

The botanical garden, as it turns out, is pretty awesome at Christmas time. There’s a pretty big model of the mall, with the buildings made of plant-based materials (bark, I guess?). To be honest, I initially thought the capitol was made of chocolate. 20131216-104928.jpg

The party went long and I ended up meeting my dad at the metro around 7 PM. There was insane traffic (more to come on Friday), so we didn’t get home until after 7:30. By then I didn’t really feel like cooking, so we went to Nielsen’s. Now, I love Nielsen’s, but their customer service that night was not great. The sandwich station had apparently been put away, so we had frozen custard for dinner. Jason also had a soup and my dad ordered a soup, but let’s just say Nielsen’s does custard better than soup.

Friday was Christmas party four of four and the day my dad left for Utah. I woke up at 5 AM to bake pistachio cookies for Jason’s work Christmas party. I grossly overestimated the time it would take to bake them, so I had time to also make a big breakfast, unload and reload the dishwasher, and finish a book.

On Friday night, Jason and I had plans to meet up with the Oswalds and Grant, some of our favorite Bluegrass Ward friends. Traffic, it turns out, was once again horrible, so Grant and I waited at the metro for an hour while Jason battled to drive four miles in that time. We did all make it to Cafe Rio (of course) in one piece and actually ended up right behind el auto de Oswald in the last turning lane. There was much catching up and eating of nostalgic salads and cooing over adorable children, which by and large made for a wonderful evening, traffic notwithstanding. The thing I hate about moving so much is missing people that we like, which is definitely true of the Laytons.

We took Grant to Trader Joe’s for some stocking up, then dropped him off at the metro.

Saturday morning I went for a bold earlyish morning run with a friend from our ward. I haven’t had a running buddy in some months and it felt good to run outdoors. It was pretty cold out and even started snowing the tiniest little bit at the beginning. Worth it to feel hard core.

The rest of Saturday: naps on the couch, reading, watching of basketball, ward Christmas party with excellent food, Trader Joe’s, listening to the BYU-Utah basketball game until I couldn’t take it anymore and fell asleep. Jason stayed up because he is a true fan (or a masochist).

snowy days

We got back to beautiful (snowless) Virginia on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday was a long back-to-the-real-world adjustment, but Friday was my first of four work holiday parties, so I got home a little early and took a nap.

On Saturday morning, we picked up my dad and headed to the temple. Afterward, we stopped at Silver Diner for breakfast. I feel sort of a ridiculous amount of pressure to provide memorable dining experiences when we have visitors, and I’m glad Dad enjoyed Silver Diner as much as we do. The Oaxaca omelette is where it’s at, I tell you. We dropped my dad off at the metro and went home to get ready for a Christmas party we thought started at 5. Upon further inspection of the invitation, we discovered it had started at 3 and we’d essentially missed it. Instead, we spent a quiet night at home.

Sunday brought our first snow of the year! The second and third hours of church were cancelled and Jason only had early meetings. Hooray!

We went to church, got home a little after 2 PM (I could get used to that) and settled in to read while our turkey and black bean chili simmered away in the crock pot. I woke up a few hours later and got supper on the table, after which we played half a game of Settlers.

Jason and I both had a delayed start on Monday morning, thanks to icy conditions. I am a huge proponent of the delayed start.

Tuesday morning was when the real fun began, though. Right around rush hour time, we had heavy snow, to the tune of 3-4″. Jason was off, along with everyone else in D.C., and I opted to work from home. Highlights of the day included surprise donuts for breakfast because Jason is the best, spending an entire weekday together, and finishing our Settlers game with my dad in the afternoon.20131211-160344.jpg

I don’t think a few more snow days this year is too much to ask.