Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

It was mostly like the many Thanksgivings before it, but this year there were a few changes too.  

Like the Turkey Trot.  

It was as cold as usual, but this year, I got a new running buddy.  (Though I don't know that 'running buddy' is accurate since he was far in front of me before we'd even made it past the first block.) Caleb has never run it before and he was the only one to accompany me.  After the race, I thanked him for joining me and he replied, "Yeah, I figure you won't get to see me run anymore, so it would be nice to come with you."  (As if I needed any reminder that his time in my nest is running short.)  

Our Thanksgiving feast was as delicious as it always is.

And the Turkey Bowl was filled with the usual questionable calls and iffy sportsmanship.

I did very little shopping this year, which was a departure from my typical Thanksgiving routine.  I did, however, buy the girls some paints and clear Christmas ornaments.  They had a great time being crafty.

Of course we ate at Staggering Ox, that will never change!

It's the best sandwich on the planet.

A post-Thanksgiving spaghetti dinner also seems to be a tradition.

(No one touched that veggie tray, in case you're wondering.)

Christopher and I hiked Mt. Helena to take in some spectacular views.  It was really cold, but really beautiful!

The BYU/USU game wasn't available at Grandma and Grandpa's house, so we watched it in Jen and Christopher's hotel rooms.  Wanna know what's really different?  Jen is an enthusiastic BYU football fan!  I remember when she rather be shopping than watch a football game.  But now?  She was my favorite person to watch with!

Way to go, Cougs!!

The girls didn't watch a whole lot.  They were busy doing this:

Tradition says that we adults go to Chili's on Saturday night for dinner.  We've been doing it for so many years in a row that we'd forgotten how bad the service had been the last two years.  Last year, Christopher put a reminder on his phone warning us not to go to Chili's.  For some reason, we just couldn't break tradition and we went anyway.  We will remember next year to break this tradition!  Well, not really break the tradition, just take the tradition somewhere else!

Waiting patiently for refills while shivering in the drafty booth:

This year, we also missed Aunt Sarah and Aunt Maureen.  They were enjoying a Thanksgiving together in Ireland.  In all the years we've been going to Helena for Thanksgiving, I don't think Maureen has ever been absent.  We missed them both.

One thing that was definitely the same as it's always been: It was a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dance Party!

We've thrown many birthday parties at our house, but Natalie thought this one might be deemed "best ever."  Alyssa invited nearly 20 of her favorite friends to celebrate her fifteenth birthday with a garage dance party.  

Jon got pretty involved in the party planning, too.  He hung a black light and a rotating dance light that sparkled in various colors.  He ordered 100 glow bracelets, found some glow-in-the-dark face paint and created a play list of all of Alyssa's favorite music.  I stapled a massive sheet of black plastic to the ceiling to cover our "junk."  Don't get me wrong, it was still a garage, but it was as awesome as a garage could be.

After dinner and gifts inside--Alyssa's friends spoiled her rotten!--the girls went out to the garage and danced the night away.  

Such a fun party for such a great girl!

Friday, November 20, 2015


Since the cross country season ended, Caleb has been asked multiple times if he will continue running.  His usual response is something like, "Nah, I pretty much consider myself retired."

It's too bad because he really is pretty fast.  And though I've said it a million times, I'll say it again: I love cross country and am so grateful for what it's done for my boy.

Some races this last season were HOT!

One was the rainiest I've ever seen:

Over the years, Jon and I have cooked pre-meet spaghetti dinners for the team.  The coaches have always been incredibly appreciative, so we've been happy to do it.

Cooking spaghetti for 50 teenagers at a park in Portland, Oregon.

Caleb will tell you that his favorite part of cross country was the spaghetti feeds.  They were often held in teammates' homes--the boys and girls eating separately.  The night before subdistricts however, I cooked the food in the school's home economics room and the entire team ate right in the middle of the hallway.

Subdistricts is always Caleb's best race of the season.  His senior year was no different.  He placed 24th out of 312 with a time of 18:36.  That's a 5:59 pace!

The Riverside JV boys placed first!

Non-quals is a two miler for all runners that don't qualify for districts.  It's mostly just for fun.  Some runners even wear costumes.  Caleb was among those that ran it hard.  His time of 11:02 earned him a seventh place ribbon.

First race as a freshman to last race as a senior.  Look how he's grown! 
At the banquet he was presented a second year letter, academic achievement and scholar athlete awards.  He was also given a new AR hoodie for being a four year participant.

What an amazing program with amazing coaches!  As a young freshman, reluctant to try new things, I considered it a miracle--a literal answer to prayers--that Caleb joined the cross country team.  It turned out to be everything I'd hoped it would be for him.

And now he's retired.