Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pictures


I am honestly not sure if anyone reads our blog anymore (why would they? I never post). But I thought I would put up some recent pictures for good measure. Thanks to my brother Spencer, who took all of the warm weather pictures during our trip to St. George.


First photo together as a family of 4.

Taylor's first ski trip. He loved it.


This is what happens when I try and take pictures of my boys.


St. George fun with the Cook cousins. Adrian taught everyone how to do headstands and front rolls.






Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ezekiel

Introducing Ezekiel (Zeke) Philip Dayton
Born January 14, 2013
7 lb. 14 oz., 21 inches





Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Mitt Romney Winning Matters

In 1929 the stock market crashed. The following year there was a run on over 9,000 banks. Nobody trusted the economic system and so instead of investing their money it was hidden safely under their mattresses. When money is kept out of circulation, it has a devastating effect on the economy. Companies can't borrow money, families can't buy houses and unemployment remains very high. 

In recent years we have experienced a deep recession, and while it wasn't as acute as the Great Depression in the beginning, it doesn't show any clear signs of stopping. Many economists point to one word to describe the problem: UNCERTAINTY. Investors aren't hiding money in their mattresses, they are simply keeping it in their bank accounts. Billions of dollars are just sitting on the sidelines because of this uncertainty. Companies that are experiencing good quarters aren't investing in new hires, they are saving up against another possible downturn. Middle income families that used to trust index funds and other safer equity funds- aren't so sure anymore. So they wait to invest.
Mitt Romney

So what does Mitt Romney have to do with this? The US economy is fragile and those with substantial money to invest are waiting for the right moment to jump back into the market. They are waiting for a signal. If Mitt Romney is elected it will send a very strong signal that we have someone in the White House that understands the complexity of our economy. Obama is good person, someone who I think is very intelligent, but he doesn't have the same skill set as Romney. 

In the second debate, the town hall format with Candy Crowley asking the questions, I think the crucial moment of the debate was completely missed by much of the media and the public. Candy interrupts Romney to question his budget plan, "If somehow when you get in there, there isn't enough tax revenue coming in. If somehow the numbers don't add up, would you be willing to look again (referring to possible tax hikes)...?" Romney's answer here is key:
"Well of course they add up. I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget. I ran the state of Massachusetts as a governor ... and balanced the budget all four years."
Romney isn't guessing that he will have the ability to make the numbers work, he has built his reputation and his personal fortune by making the numbers work. Now Democrats scoff at this reply, claiming Romney's plan won't work, his numbers don't add up. This is where I part ways with the Democrats. They are trusting a Junior Senator-turned President with 4 years of experience and $6 trillion of deficit spending to come up with a better budget? They think that somehow a savvy politician will do a better job managing the largest economy of the free world? Democrats may feel secure in this ignorance, but investors don't. They are scared of what Obama might do in his second term, and this uncertainty will only persist if he is re-elected. 

Obama did have a chance though, there is no question that there was a moment when the stars were aligned for the President. A few days after he was elected, he rounded up all the leaders of both parties into the White House for a meeting. In this meeting Obama could have secured his future right then and there by building consensus and looking for the best ideas in the room, but that isn't what he did. Instead he shared that he would be willing to listen to ideas, but reminded the Republicans "we won." Making it clear that the Democrats were in charge. In this moment he torched any chance he had at building consensus. Obama lost his moment and opportunity to be a real statesmen. 

Some place the blame on Congress, but Obama had 2 years with both houses to put through whatever legislation the Democrats wanted. All we have to show for it is the National Healthcare Plan. When Obama had both houses at his command, he was effective, but once he had to work together with Republicans there was gridlock. Would Romney have fared better? He did in Massachusetts. As a Republican Governor in one of the most liberal states in America he balanced the budget all four years. Mitt Romney has a track record of getting things done in the face of opposition, we don't know what to expect from Obama- and that is the problem.

But what about the social issues? Mitt Romney isn't running as President to repeal Roe v. Wade or pass an amendment to ban gay marriage.  Mitt Romney has never been about hot button social issues, he isn't looking to get elected to advance some social cause. He wants to get elected to serve his country and lead America out of this recession, and I believe that he has a very unique skill set that could help accomplish that.

Either way, we will recover from this recession. Eventually Americans will do what they always do, pull themselves up from their boot straps and find a way to rebuild. They don't need the government's help to do that, what they need is the confidence that nobody is going to stand in their way. Four years of Obama have left us with nothing but uncertainty. I think it is time for change. Four years ago I voted for Obama, next week I'm voting for Mitt Romney.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

St. George Marathoner

After a fitful sleep, I was fully awake at 3:45am. 20 minutes before my alarm went off. Today was the day I had been training for the past five months, and I was very excited. I walked up the stairs to the dark kitchen that was lit only by the St. George city lights out the large windows.

I poured a bowl of honey-nut cheerios, but could only eat three or four bites. I was too nervous to eat, and that was not a great way to start out my morning. I took a shower, put on my running clothes that had been neatly laid out the night before and took a look at myself in the mirror. I was nervous, but I was ready.

Natalie and Taylor jumped in the car to take me down to where the buses shuttle the runners up to the starting line, and about two minutes into the drive I asked Natalie to pull over. Those of you that know me well, know that when I get extremely nervous I also get nauseous. On the morning of my wedding, just before giving my homecoming talk, and while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (well that last one may have been more due to the altitude,) but they all resulted in me throwing up.


I didn't realize it at the time, but my marathon was doomed before it began. I arrived at where the buses were congregated and hundreds of anxious runners were in line. I got in the back of the line and started talking with my fellow racers. It was very cool being able to say I was a first time marathoner. I climbed onto the yellow school bus and took the front seat to avoid the chances of compounding my troubles with car sickness.

As the bus climbed through the black and grey hills I chatted with those around me and my spirits started to lift. This was going to be fun. After about 30 minutes I saw some huge spotlights in the distance. We were almost to the starting line. I exited the bus to a rock concert like atmosphere. Music was blasting, bon fires were raging and there were tables full of oranges, bananas, coffee and water. The nausea was subsiding a little bit, so I grabbed a glass of lemon-lime Gatorade and joined my fellow runners alongside one of the closest bon fires. I was able to drink about 4 oz. of Gatorade, but still felt a little queasy.

After warming up by the fire, I waited in the long line for the restrooms, applied anti-chaffe and vaseline as necessary, threw my jacket and pants in the provided bag to the drop-off area and suddenly it was five minutes till race time. I hurridly consumed my Gatorade pre-race GU and found a place in line near the "4 hour" pace. The gun went off, and it took about 5 minutes to cross the starting line. There was great energy, and I had to hold myself back. The energy was inviting me to start fast, but I had a plan. 9:10 during the first half, and then if I was feeling good enough, 8:50 miles during the second half. It was a realistic plan, especially since the St. George Marathon had a second half that had much more downhill than the first half.

I blasted Explosions in the Sky from my MP3 player as I started the run, and the first mile I finished in just over 9 minutes. I was feeling pretty good. The next 4 miles passed the same way, a couple of the miles were downhill, so I really took advantage, clocking a few 8:40 miles. I wasn't drinking very much though, even though I was feeling good, my stomach didn't feel great, but I took sips as I took my walk breaks. I was running the Galloway walk-run method with 4/30 second splits. So basically I was running for 4 minutes then would walk for 30 seconds. During my walk breaks, when I remembered I would drink from the bottles of gatorade I carried on my running belt.

At about 45 minutes in, it was time for me to have a few bites of my Powerbar Triple Threat. I had experimented with a half dozen bars over my long runs, and this was the tastiest and most digestible in my experience. Not today though. I took two bites, but couldn't eat anymore. In retrospect, I should have stopped and walked until I had eaten half of it. This bad decision, along with not drinking enough in the first two hours would come back to bite me.

 At mile 7 we hit the infamous Veyo hill. A monster of a hill rising up over the horizon. I had my strategy set for the hill, I would slow down, move my legs faster, but take smaller strides. There were a lot of runners passing me, but I was confident in my strategy. "You are saving your legs for the second half," I thought to myself. Not worrying at all about the overanxious runners passing me. When I got to the top of Veyo hill I felt a pretty good sense of accomplishment, what I didn't realize is that the next three miles were going to be a steady uphill climb. I was trying to make up from my 10:30 mile while climbing up Veyo, so I kept my miles around 9:00 even though I was going uphill. I should have just slowed down.

At mile 10 or 11 I was finally getting to the top of the series of hills, to the point where it would be almost all downhill for the rest of the race. Unfortunately, I would never be able to enjoy it. The next two miles went by fairly quickly, I was almost to the halfway point and my mile times were very strong. I crossed the halfway point of the marathon (13.1 miles) at just about 2 hour and 2 minutes. Right on schedule for my goal of 4 hours. Only one problem, my legs were really starting to hurt. I had done 20, 22 and 23 mile training runs and my legs always started really hurting by mile 18 or 19, but never this early. Then I had my first surprise, I heard something land behind me- my iPhone had fallen out of my pocket, shattering the screen. It was an omen, this just wasn't my day.

A few minutes later a wave of nausea hit me, and I had to slow down. Maybe if I just walked for a minute? That didn't help. Maybe if I drank some Gatorade? But I was too nauseous. At the next water station I tried to drink a little water but I couldn't really drink much, looking back on it, I guess I was already pretty dehydrated. So I just kept on walking. A sinking feeling hit me, I had just hit a major wall and there were still 12 miles left to run. Nothing in my training runs had prepared me for legs so cramped and dead that I couldn't even run downhill. I was done. My watch read 2 hours 28 minutes and I realized that if I finished at all, it wouldn't be for a long time.

I watched my mile times go from 9 minutes to 12 minutes to 15 minutes. I could normally walk faster than 15 minute miles, but normally my legs didn't feel like they were on fire. I did the math, it might take 3 more hours for me to finish this marathon. Ugh.

Over the next 3 miles I just tried to think positive, but every time I started to jog, the nausea was back. I couldn't afford to throw up again, so I just kept walking. I stopped to stretch next to another casualty of the marathon, and he had these positive words for me,
"I'm retiring from marathons after this. Just hoping I can preserve the little hydration left in my legs to finish the race."
And suddenly it hit me. I was massively dehydrated. It wasn't just that I hadn't been drinking, but that I started the race somewhat dehydrated from throwing up, and hadn't been drinking nearly enough since. So after stretching for a few minutes I started up again, forcing more fluids into me. Over the next 20 minutes I drank maybe 8-10 oz. of water, followed by Gatorade over the next mile. By about mile 21 my legs were still burning, but at least the nausea was gone. I started jogging a little off and on, it wasn't very fun but at least I was moving again.

At mile 23 I saw Natalie, Taylor, Brandon and Annie, Phil, Charlotte as well as Brooke and Spencer. I smiled for the camera, but you might be able to tell it comes across as more of a grimace than a smile. I wasn't having very much fun at this point. It was great to see my family, but so disappointing to be hitting mile 23 a full 25 minutes after I had hoped to finish the entire race. Phil ran with me for a while, but it didn't change the face that my legs were totally dead. Those last three miles were really the toughest. I was fighting just to beat a 5 hour time- and that was pretty disappointing for me.


When I finally hit mile 26 with just .2 miles to go, I saw the crowd ahead and was able to dig down to find a little bit of energy to at least finish strong. They announced my name as I came through gate and I looked up at the time, wondering if my chip time would be more or less than 5 hours. I didn't find out until the next day, but I was 7 seconds over 5 hours. My final time was 5:00:07.

I lifted my arms in the air as I crossed the finish line, even though I wasn't all that thrilled with what had happened. I stepped through the cool mist bridge, had a moment of emotion to reflect on what I had just been through.  I drowned my sorrow with a chocolate milk as I sunk down in the shade of a tree and chatted up a few of the other marathon finishers. This isn't how I had planned it, but at least I had my first marathon under my belt and a personal best that was extremely beatable. It was a strange feeling, this combination of achievement and defeat. Even though I had just finished a marathon, I felt like I still had unfinished business.












Friday, June 1, 2012

Committed

It's nearly impossible to convince Adrian to do something he hasn't decided himself he wants to do. The dishes, gardening, cleaning, etc.

But once he decides he wants to do something, he couldn't be more committed. When he sets a goal, he most often accomplishes it. And his goals aren't always small. I was first made aware of this "quality" while we were dating (we were 25 years old).



"I'm sorry, but you have to go home now. I need to practice the piano." Adrian would say to me.

"What? Are you serious?"

"Yes, I made a goal to practice every day for an hour, and I haven't gotten to it today. I don't want to be rude, but I really don't want to miss a day." And so I would leave.

My first reaction was, "you'd rather practice the piano than hang out with ME?" But I soon realized that he was willing to sacrifice for the things he had set his mind to do.


Another example is when he decided he wanted to write a book. A lot of people say that one day they will write a book, but few of them actually do. Adrian is not one of those people.  Adrian got started as soon as he began talking about it. He woke up at 6am every morning to start writing before work. And a book he wrote. Or two, or three. And he was persistent in getting them published (2/3 are now published).


 When Adrian was laid off by his law firm, I cried. But not Adrian. To him it was an exciting opportunity to do what he really wanted to do - start a business. He had an idea in his head, and he went with it. He started by attending conferences, trying to find/convince clients he could consult. The first few conferences he went to, he wasn't even quite sure what his product was. He laughs at himself now, because he had no business being at those conferences as if he was a seasoned veteran. But he persisted, found his niche, and created a successful business.


As you may have learned from his earlier post, Adrian's new obsession is running. But he didn't just start running here and there. He set GOALS - run 4 days a week, run a half marathon, do time trials, run a marathon, etc. Once his goals were set, he has not deviated. Within two months he has run regularly, done a half marathon, and signed up for a marathon (which I have no doubt he will finish).


Many people think that Adrian is lucky . And he is (he did, afterall, win a Nook and a Kindle recently). But I believe he creates his own luck by setting his sights high, working hard, and accomplishing things. And I am proud of him.



So while I am often best at focusing on the things he hasn't decided he wants to do (things that I want him to do), I should admire his ability to accomplish great things. And then follow his example and accomplish great things myself.






Sunday, May 27, 2012

Running with my shoes off

On Saturday I decided to run on the UB trail that goes along the Erie Canal. It was a gorgeous day, and I got started early enough that it was pretty cool. Since I got an early start, and I had two 10oz bottles strapped on, I decided to go for my longest run yet, 14 miles.


Since a couple of weeks before the marathon I have been running using the Jeff Galloway walk run method. It is pretty simple, you run for about 4 minutes, then you rest from anywhere to 35 seconds to a minute, depending on how fast you want to run your next marathon (8 or 9 minute miles.) I'm a big fan of this style of running, because it keeps me fresh throughout the whole run. It was tested Saturday though, as I was trying my longest run since the Half Marathon I completed this past May.

The first small problem surfaced at mile 8, when the sun started beating down and I realized that my supply of gatorade in my water bottles was almost gone. The next 6 miles would likely take me over an hour, so I started to panic a little bit. What if I couldn't find water anywhere? I hadn't passed a single drinking fountain, but fortunately there was a restroom at Elicott Street Park that I was able to use to fill one of the bottles with water.

Once I had enough fluids, I was pretty confident that I could finish the run. At mile 10 I thought, "man, I could run at this pace all day." Just two miles later, I realized I had a long way to go to train for the marathon this fall in St. George. It suddenly felt like someone was poking me in the bottom of my foot with an ice-pick, right in front of my heel. I tried to walk it off. No good. I tried to stop, and stretch - it didn't help.

Then, I remembered the lessons from the book, Born to Run. Maybe it wasn't the 12 miles that was hurting my feet. Maybe it was my $120 pair of thick, padded shoes. I had tried everything else, and I was still 2 miles from my car. So I stripped off my shoes and socks and held them in my left hand as I ran on the grass next to the running trail. The pain was gone. I was still exhausted, and my muscles were shot, but I was able to finish the run without anymore pain in my foot. I think I'm ready to make the switch to some minimalist footwear. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Little Frosty

After 3 1/2 years of fertility treatments, 3 IVF cycles, one frozen embryo transfer, a lot of disappointment, a lot of love, a lot of prayers, and a lot of support, we are happy to announce that it has all paid off!

I'm pregnant!

I know because I took 3 home pregnancy tests (all positive), 2 blood tests, and an ultrasound to confirm. 

It turns out, he/she just wanted to live in the freezer for a little while before implanting. That's why he/she will be known by the name Little Frosty (temporarily).

We are very excited and very grateful for everyone who has been so supportive throughout everything.

We are still very early on, but don't want to keep it a secret because so many people have been following our fertility journey.