Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pound The Ground

This was my fifth half-marathon with a lot of firsts.

This is my first time running for a cause.  I didn't know it when I signed up for this race, but it was an event held to benefit a great cause.  The race was called, "Pound the Ground for Ultrasound."  It was put on by a charity called 4US which provides ultrasound equipment to pregnancy resource centers.  Did you know that 96% of pregnant women who have an ultrasound choose to keep their babies?

This was my first time running a race on trails.  Only a small amount of the race was run on pavement.  It was a new experience and harder in some ways, but I liked it.

The course also had a big hill that I had to run twice.  The mile 12 marker was at the top of the second ascent. Yikes!  I think it no coincidence that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" was playing on my iPod as I struggled toward mile 12.  Hills are not my friends.

This was my first time to get blood blisters on my feet.  I started feeling the blisters come on at mile 6.  I told myself, "Just keep running.  Just keep running," kind of like Dory from Finding Nemo.

This is me saying to Jon, "I've got to get these shoes off of my feet!":

Those trails made for filthy legs and feet!

This was my first race running without my original running buddy, Stephanie, who moved away just one week before this race.  I'm so thankful that I still have Camille.

Camille is a rock star on hills and she's way faster than me, but how lucky am I to have such a great friend to train with?

This was the first race where I didn't get a medal.  Instead, finishers are given this pin:

The pin shows the exact size and shape of a 10-week unborn baby's feet.

This race also marked my slowest time ever.  By a long shot.  But it is always an accomplishment to cover that many miles and I was glad to finish.  

Lots of firsts.  Lots of fun.  I think I'll do it again someday.

Friday, August 30, 2013

More Fun With Cousins

After the family reunion, Erin's family spent another week with us and we packed in as much fun as possible.  We gave the Mariner's another go and though the game itself was disappointing, the pre-game induction of Griffey into the Mariner's Hall of Fame was well worth the price of admission.

The atmosphere was positively electric and it was fun seeing so many Mariner greats.  I had no idea that Erin had such a crush on Dan Wilson!

We made a quick stop to see the falls on the way home from Remlinger.  Beautiful!

One day we went to the park for free lunch, summer concert and some runs through the sprinkler park.  Anna was thrilled to see Roly Poly Guacamole in concert and Clara danced her pants right off.

For one final outing, we paid a visit to the zoo.  Feeding the budgies is always a highlight.

And the new baby tiger is adorable!

It was a great day and a great way to end a great week with cousins.

Thanks for coming, Youngstroms, we're so glad we got to have so much fun with you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Remlinger Farms

Once upon a time, I had an adorable toe-headed three-year-old boy.  He was full of energy, loved to play outdoors and had an affinity for Thomas the Train.  

One day, some friends invited us to visit Remlinger Farms, a most charming country fair with amusement rides especially suited for small children.  They also have ponies, a steam engine train and their restaurant has a play area with Thomas the Train tables.  From his very first visit, my boy was smitten!  Remlinger Farms was his kind of place.

So we went often.

Caleb at Remlinger--2002

When Erin came to town, and being that her young girls are the perfect ages for Remlinger, we paid a visit to this ol' familiar place.

My toe-headed boy now has legs that are much too long for those canoes and he's altogether too heavy for the ponies.  But he wanted to come along so that he could watch the girls make the fond memories he cherishes from his childhood.

Seems like yesterday I was the one waving to him.

Caleb found a cougar in the bushes:

And did some talking to the goats:

It seemed like every ride we rode, I just kept imagining my three-year-old little boy smiling back at me, having the time of his life.  

It was Anna posed in the firetruck, but in my mind I was seeing this:

How does time go by so fast?

But you know what?  You're never too old for the best kiddie coaster in the whole world!

Visiting Remlinger Farms was a little bittersweet.  It was a painful reminder that my kids are growing up but the memories made are certainly sweet and I've decided it's great fun at any age.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Reunion Part II--How to do Leavenworth

When you're in Leavenworth, a delightful Bavarian village, you simply must experience it's many unique shops.  (And float the river, but I already talked about that.) Walk up and down the beautiful sidewalks and enjoy all the overflowing hanging baskets and the towering mountains in the backdrop.  See the nutcrackers and sample the cheeses and sausages.  

You'll definitely want to stop at the hat shop.  Because who doesn't love trying on crazy hats?  Just don't think about the hundreds of people who may have also tried on those very hats before you.

How awesome do we look?

All that hat-trying will get you thirsty so you should walk around the corner to Fizzy's.

There you'll find floats and sodas in all sorts of flavors.  You may actually love it so much that you'll want to come back the very next day.  

When you come upon the cutest bench with heart-shaped cut-outs, you must stop for a photo.

And then photo bomb the otherwise adorable picture of Grandma and Grandpa with some of their grandkids.

Make sure you make your way to the other end of downtown to The Taffy Shop.  But watch your kids carefully because they might be so taken with the endless flavor options that before you know it, their fill-your-own sacks of Taffy cost more than $40!

Enjoy the unique buildings with their alpine-inspired architecture.  I loved this little church on the left:

Also, be sure to visit The Gingerbread Factory for the most delicious cookies.

And that is how you do Leavenworth.  It's fun and touristy but not at all too crowded.

Before you go, pose the grandkids for a picture.  (One of these things is not like the others?)

When all efforts to coax Clara to smile prove futile, ask the kids to "show their Clara face."

Hearty laughter will ensue so asking for "Grandma's laughing face" will seem an appropriate follow-up pose.  But it will, of course, make you laugh even harder.

It won't, however, make Clara laugh.  In fact, she may just get downright mad in .025 seconds.

That'll be your cue to pack up and hit the road.  All that fun is tiring, though, so just lean to the left and have a little nap.

Be sure to take the scenic ride home.  It's gorgeous!  And since you've got lots of leftover reunion food in your car, stop for a picnic at a campground on the way.  (Just beware of the port-a-potties.)

Since this will be a spontaneous picnic, just use a blanket for your tablecloth and a carrot to spread your mayonnaise.

After lunch, head down to the river to throw and skip rocks and dip your toes--or your whole lower half--in the chilly water.

You'll find you've had a most wonderful family reunion with great memories of time spent together.