Monthly Archives: June 2013

Beading Each Other Up

My Aunt Mim beads.  I mean she’s genius, creative, amazing, talented.  She brought some of her finished work which OF COURSE I bought.  I seriously can’t get enough.  I want everything.  I got lucky and got four things but I want another 5.  At least.  My kids were in awe since the jewelry making skills I’ve passed down have been rudimentary at best.  Mim gave classes to them which I’m so thankful for.  Not just the beadwork and beautiful bracelets they’re learning to fashion, but the memories she’s creating.  The bond.

Me with Mim and Ruth.  I was about 2 here so they were 8-ish.

Me with Mim and Ruth. I was about 2 here so they were 8-ish.  Yes, we’re adorable.  Naturally

I’m the eldest grandchild and Mim and her twin sister Ruth are only 6 years older than I am.  My sister was the next grandchild and is 3 years younger than I am, then another 4 years until my cousin.  Growing up I was very close to Mim and Ruth.  I have beautiful memories of them and now my girls do as well.  That is priceless.

Mim and Me at the Grand Canyon this week

Mim and Me at the Grand Canyon this week.  We’re still pretty adorable!

I got a bracelet (which I haven't taken off) and two necklaces!!  I love the orange and tourmaline but I also love the blue....

I got a bracelet (which I haven’t taken off) and three necklaces!! I love the orange and tourmaline but I also love the blue….  Then there’s the green one that’s not in the photo…

Me with one of my necklaces on.  Nothing like some homemade (with love) bling!!

Me with one of my necklaces on. Nothing like some homemade (with love) bling!!

Mim and the girls certainly have a ball and I’m hoping they can take what they learn home with them and use it to continue making memories.  I know every piece they create will be beaded with love passed down from my Aunt Mim.

 

Grand Canyon

I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon in 23 years. Part of the reason we chose Flagstaff, AZ for our family reunion was the general proximity it is to several of us and the amenities surrounding. Today was our trip to the Canyon.  We had heard that 3 miles of the highway was closed due to an earthquake a couple months ago so traffic was rerouted and would take longer.  So we planned on a two hour trip.  Also, we heard that there was a 2 hour wait to get in to the park.  So we called a family council (which was huge in case you were wondering) to see what the kids thought, what our alternatives were, etc…  Most of us decided we’d come this far and we’d truck on through.  We also decided to leave around 6:30 am so we’d get to the park close to opening to minimize our wait…..  Absolutely worth it.  We had a blast and got to see one of the countries most amazing natural beauties.

Crazy Times At The Reunion

Family reunions. It’s been 9 years and the only reunions I’ve ever attended were in New England where I’m from. Moving one to Arizona has made it possible to go.  Just my family and my sister’s family comprises 19 people.  Yes.  19.  Then the rest of the gang brings us to nearly 30.  My sister Kim and I menu planned a month before the trip like we always do so we spend less money and don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people.  Today was day 3 and all is a well oiled machine.  Organized chaos.

Kids playing a team computer game

Kids play a team computer game.  Taylor looks possessed. 

My Mom gave me a belated birthday present

My Mom gave me a belated birthday present

Eating out with just my kids

Eating out with just my kids

This is my sister.....  I'm excited to see her

This is my sister….. I’m excited to see her

Kitchen and dinner is a fun event

Kitchen and dinner is a fun event

Gabi and my sister Kim

Gabi and my sister Kim

Road Trip

The road trip was a success. 12 hours almost exactly and the kids and I arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Working Out The Kinks

Yesterday I ran another 4 mile out and back at the bike path. My body felt stiff and it was a relief to go slow and flat and flush out the lactic acid my muscles had accumulated.

Today the kids and I (only 9 of them!) are driving to Arizona. I’m in the car now with 3 hours down. I’m from New England but my grandmother generously offered to rent a house in Flagstaff for all of us West coasters to congregate in since its been 9 years from the last reunion. I’m excited to see her and a few of my Aunts, my mother and my sister who also happens to be my best friend. It’s been 2 years since I’ve seen her and her family. 2 years since my last trip. It’s been too long and I feel euphoric on the open road. I’m thankful for those who stayed behind with the house and dogs to make this trip possible. Expect to be inundated with posts packed with pictures of lots of laughter!!!!

In the meantime I have my awesome photographic skills from yesterday!!

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Just Run

Amen

Amen

I was trying to figure out when I’d get a run in – especially after pushing so hard the last two weeks and my last run being Wednesday.  I’m an every other day kind of girl but finding the time on Fridays has been challenging and Sundays I have to get my butt to Reno Running Company but can only get there every other Sunday….. I do 100 body weight squats, abs and triceps with my little at home routine a couple times a week to try to keep things in check but it’s not the same as a run.

Yesterday Chris decided to do 4 miles.  I was in the middle of doing “stuff that needs to get done” especially with my trip to Arizona this week and planning a move but I figured A) It will be waiting for me when I get back and B) the run should be on that list.  It was nice and slow, not too much of a push, hilly and pretty hot.  In other words:  Perfect.  I run several times a week and still I forget how much it clears my head, organizes my brain, decompresses me, relieves stress and tension, puts me in a better space, grounds me.  I suppose I know it will – I get in to the unfortunate mode of believing I can do it all on my own without a run and I’m being selfish for taking that time.  Bull pucky.  I’m a better version of myself if I take that time.  Afterwards – although I hadn’t felt tense – I felt so much better.  My brain felt streamlined (if that’s possible) and I was me again.  I don’t have a picture to share because I didn’t take any of myself.  You’re welcome!!  But I do have something else….

Two of my favorite people as well as teammates - Pete and Olivia!!!  They did a triathlon yesterday - Pete placed 5th in his division and Olivia placed 1st!!!!  I LOVE THEM!!!!

Two of my favorite people as well as teammates – Pete and Olivia!!! They did a triathlon yesterday – Pete placed 5th in his division and Olivia placed 1st!!!! They inspire me!!  I LOVE THEM!!!!

 

Life Happens

Indeed. Life happens. When it happens smoothly, all is well.  When life hiccups, when it’s hard, even moments that aren’t difficult can seem insurmountable.  I’m planning a move in the next 6 weeks – although I haven’t found a house yet- so my kids can be in a better school district.  I’m going to my family reunion in a few days – the first in 9 years – thanks to my Grandmothers generosity and my tax return.  With that tax return I got all the work done on my 9 year old van – which was far more substantial than I had anticipated- but I’m grateful that it’s all fixed up.  Sometimes life seems overwhelming, but the blessings are there if you take a moment to breathe and look.  I have healthy, amazing children that I have the privilege of raising even if it’s as a single Mom.  I have a profession I enjoy in a location I love.  I have an amazing team of men and women who aren’t just teammates, I am honored to call them friends as well as friends close by and far away.  I love where I live, I have a happy, full life.

3748_10200617612457795_952999601_nI’m pretty much a glass full person.  Not half full – it’s filled with 1/2 water and 1/2 air – both of which are necessary for life.  There are times, however, when the minutia of life clouds my vision and it seems as though a long nap – say 2 months – would take care of everything.  Times that for a second I look at the Ostrich with his head in the sand and acknowledge that he may be on to something.  At that moment I must remember the beauty of the story of my life is not in the laughter, the joy, the beautiful poignant moments however I appreciate those.  The beauty of my character has been forged through the trials – if not always in the trial itself, most assuredly in the lessons I’ve learned and the stronger person who emerged because of them.  In the end, I believe I am strong enough.

182499_606583616019693_1042318744_nIn the heat of the moment, it is easy to be distracted by the trial, the stress, the sadness, the disappointment, the failure.  It is challenging for me to bear in mind that I am never alone in my struggles because I have tremendous faith that God is with me and that no struggle is in vain.  I am regularly given the gift to learn something and the ability to pass that knowledge on.  In our day to day lives, we are unable to calculate the impact we have on others even in passing.  Every day, no matter how seamless or brutal, I contemplate how I can make that count.  In the end, I hope I embrace the beautiful moments and soldier on through the difficult to embrace changes and struggles and become a better version of myself.

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Snow Cones Make You Feel Like A Kid

Coach’s wife Shaunna surprises us at track practice with a treat. She likes to bake and we like to run hard and eat so it all works out perfectly.  Last night she brought a snow cone machine.  YAY!!!!  No matter what’s going on – as in utter exhaustion from a brutal track workout – hand me a snow cone and I feel like a little kid again.

Kids "HELPING" with the snow cones

Kids “HELPING” with the snow cones

Me post run eating my delicious snow cone.  Makes track practice seem easy.  OK, not true.  But it does make it more fun!!

Me post run eating my delicious snow cone. Makes track practice seem easy. OK, not true. But it does make it more fun!!

Track will probably never be my “fun, easy run” but it sure does push me.  Every time I show up, coach tells us what we’re doing and I think, “He’s crazy.  No way.  Does he subscribe to running masochists dot com????”  Then I do it.  It’s hard.  But I finish and then I feel euphoric.  I have the best team ever and misery loves company so we all sweat and push together.  Then we eat snow cones.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

Ran 5 of the 8 workouts with Darby - coaches daughter.  I figure if she does them and then has to go home and live with the guy, I can do it!!!  Soon she'll pass me and never look back and I'll be proud!

Ran 5 of the 8 workouts with Darby – coaches daughter. I figure if she does them and then has to go home and live with the guy, I can do it!!! Soon she’ll pass me and never look back and I’ll be proud!

Me.  Done.  Smiling?????  It's a lie!

Me. Done. Smiling????? It’s a lie!

I LOVE HILLS!!!!

This statement was one of the first things I heard my teammate Olivia say when we met. We were going on a team run last summer.  Not just a rolling hill run. An elevation gain of 1800 feet in 2 miles, nearly straight up, please install a rope run. Galena Mountain South end trail is considered a “day hike” if you Google it. From the parking lot, it’s a slow warmup for nearly a mile with a 200+ elevation gain.  Then the trail splits.  The smart person would turn right for a still challenging trail run with lots of hills.  Our team, however, goes left.  2 miles straight up to an elevation of over 8100 feet.

Climbing 1800 feet in 2 miles on a “run” for me means walking as fast as possible, throwing in a jog when I can and having a 2 mile PR of 36 minutes.  Last night, I did it in 38-39 minutes.  Even though I wasn’t first to the top, I wasn’t last either and I was proud of my time.  This is the run that – when it pops up on the training schedule – I think to myself, “I love trails.  This is a beautiful run.  I can push it harder tonight.  I’ve got this.”  Then, during the nearly 1 mile warm up I think, “Screw it.  I don’t care if it takes me an hour to get up this mountain.  I just want to crawl to the top to say I did it.  This is a day hike.  I love working my quads though.  I’ll just work them more slowly.  Holy crap this is just the warm up!”  It is not only physically challenging, it’s a mental battle to push up this beast.

View from the top!!  Everyone except Coach who took the picture

View from the top!! Everyone except Coach who took the picture

Getting to the top,however??  Priceless.  Badass.  Amazing.  Exhilarating. Euphoric.  Insanely proud feeling. I love it more every time.

Being silly together.  What's with the Can Can??

Being silly together. What’s with the Can Can??

Then there’s the 2 miles back down.  I love running down, but this is so steep, so trail slippery, so many rocks and tree roots that a 9 minute mile down is fast.  And a little scary.  And fun.  Super fun.  At the bottom when we all regrouped, Coach took us back towards the parking lot, but veered in a different direction.  For hill repeats.  Seriously.  4 of them.  As hard as we could push. I thought, “No way.”  and then did it.  Holy cow my team rules!!  Even though Olivia couldn’t be with us last night, her voice of optimistic encouragement is always in my mind.  “I love hills!  You can do it!  We are awesome!”  Indeed, my friend.  Indeed.

After one of the hill repeats.  Sam was above us (which means he made it further) and thought it was funny.  We did a caption this and it was punchy funny.  But I know Sam was in this same position while taking the shot....

After one of the hill repeats. Sam was above us (which means he made it further) and thought it was funny. We did a caption this and it was punchy funny. But I know Sam was in this same position while taking the shot….

 

 

Good Times

I’ve been crazy busy lately. Running hasn’t suffered at all – actually it’s going quite well. It has been challenging working the second job in, balancing everything but not in a derogatory way. The kids school year just ended, I’m looking for a house to rent in a different school district, I’m learning the ropes as a sales rep for BodyRock Sport which I’m thrilled about, I’ve weeded through my Facebook account to remove anyone or anything in my life that doesn’t add positive energy.  There have been graduations and planning a much needed vacation with the kids next week for a family reunion as well as unusually hot temperatures and trips to the lake again which I adore.  It’s been a good kind of busy.  Here’s a snapshot of our weekend.  Graduation party and lake trip.  Yesterday, an epic thunderstorm with golf ball sized rain drops and thunder that shook the house.  I took a nap during it.  Good times!!