Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey trot, turkey bowl and just plain turkey...

About a month ago, my friend, Misty invited me to run the Modesto Turkey Trot with her.  It's a 5k run/walk that Modesto Junior College hosts each year on Thanksgiving.  Without hesitation I signed up, thinking it was the perfect solution to getting my derriere in gear since lately I have been a less-than-dedicated runner.

There was a mix up with the time, and until Tuesday, I had 8am in my head.  It seemed perfect, allowing Neil enough time to bring the kids and cheer me on before heading to his "turkey bowl" at 9.  Unfortunately I learned on Tuesday that the race didn't actually begin until 9:30!  Seriously?!  I know Neil would have dropped football to come watch me if I'd asked him to, but I couldn't bring myself to deny him the enjoyment of getting dirty on the field with his boys.  After all, it's something he looks forward to annually,and considering the events of last year's game, I felt that he was especially deserving of a happy experience this go around. 

Here I am on the porch, ready to rock 'n roll in my cheesy shirt.  Initially I was regretful about having paid $5 for the silly thing, but Neil, who always looks on the bright side pointed out that it was my first race, therefore the shirt was an absolute necessity.  :)  Notice Ryan representin' my Niners.  Too bad they didn't deliver that afternoon.

The start of the race was crazy chaos, and Misty and I were about trampled.  Things quickly thinned out as several people ran ahead of us and several fell behind.  We kept a good pace for the first two miles and I felt surprisingly energized.  I think we carried on a full conversation for at least the first mile and a half, which I never thought I could do.  Around mile 2.3 I started to feel like I might die, but a slight burst of energy (and I mean slight) hit me around 2.8 and I was okay until the final stretch when it all became mind over matter.  Even seeing the finish line didn't push me to go faster like I thought it would.  By that point my legs felt so weak and jiggly, that all I could do was tell myself to keep going.  I had to laugh when I crossed the finish line and saw the clock.  Going into this I had both a hope and a goal in mind.  My hope wasn't realistic and very unlikely, but my goal was within reason and very possible.  Well, as expected, I did not fulfill my hope.  But I did reach my goal with about 20 seconds to spare.  And that was good enough for me.  I checked the results page the following morning but didn't see my name anywhere, so I'm wondering if my number was covered up as I crossed the finish line and the camera therefore couldn't identify me.  Oh well.  3.1 miles really isn't far at all, and compared to you crazy marathoners who read my blog, I'm sure the above paragraph sounds pretty pitiful.  Nevertheless, I'm really proud of myself and would definitely be interested in doing another race in the future.  I'm by no means pumped to try for even a half marathon, but a 10k doesn't sound too unreasonable.

Here we are after the race, looking oh-so-gorgeous!  We ran side by side the entire way.  I loved having Misty with me.  She was such a great distraction and truly made it go by so much faster than if I'd ran it alone.  I think I may be in the beginning stages of understanding the concept of a running buddy.  I still prefer doing it solo, but I am definitely open to running with Misty again any time!  She actually did this 5k last Thanksgiving, 5 months pregnant.  What a girl!

When I got home I ran next door to relieve my neighbor, Christie, who had my kids.  Within twenty minutes Neil and Richie got home from their turkey bowl.  And I am pleased to announce there were no broken fingers this year!  From what they said it was an awesome turn out.  They had four teams of eight with two games going at a time.  Richie's team won two games, including the championship, so he earned a trophy.  Neil's team, on the other hand, won one game and did not earn a trophy.  Luckily, Richie was nice enough to allow Neil to be in the picture.  :)

Neil was so quick to take off his obnoxiously bright yellow knee high socks, claiming they were soaking wet (boohoo), that I was unable to get a picture.  It's really too bad because they were the epitome of picture worthy, and easily the same pair of socks he's worn to every turkey bowl for the last ten years at least, so you can imagine the magnificence of which I speak.  In place of the hideous(ly awesome) socks are Neil's (crap) slippers, which are covered in paint and falling apart.  Not quite as classy but close.  Richie was sporting his wife's girly slippers, and literally had just taken his shoes off and slipped these on when I asked to take their picture.  While it all seemed like a pure coincidence I'm now wondering if they planned it out this way beforehand.

It was a really nice (and active) Thanksgiving morning.  I am thankful for great friends who made it even more fun for both Neil and me.  We have been very fortunate in the friend department since moving to Ripon.

Early that same afternoon, we headed over to the Ivers', a family we know from church.  Tammy is the second counselor in the Young Women's presidency and so we work closely together in our callings.  She invited us last minute and while I was prepared to cook our own little feast at home, we accepted with gratitude.  We had a nice time, ate well and hung around until halftime of the 49ers game.  On our way home we stopped at Toby and Tami's (also very last minute) and ate pie while the kids played for a few minutes.  It was a great day from start to finish.

In keeping with the Thanksgiving spirit, I asked each of the kids to tell me what they were thankful for.  Chloe said, "I'm thankful for flowers, my blanket, my family and my whole house!"  Ryan said, simply, "Elephants!"  So profound.  My silly, sweet children.  I love them to the moon and back times infinity.

They were watching a movie together yesterday morning and I suddenly caught them cuddling and had to capture it. Naturally once they saw the camera the calm and sweet turned to rowdy and silly.

"Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward

It has been a rewarding experience this month taking more time than usual to ponder the many reasons I am thankful. It has been humbling to recognize that the things that make me the happiest often seem "routine" and "ordinary," but truly are the biggest, most significant things.  Love my life, and am so thankful for it.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ryan turns three!

Ryan turned "fwee!" on the 9th of this month.  What a perfect day, spent with and reminiscing about my sweet little boy.  The morning prior when Neil asked him, "Is tomorrow your birthday?" Ryan said, "Yep!  And I want green cupcakes!"  The birthday boy kicked things off just right with the birthday morning ritual of racing through balloons on his bedroom floor and streamers in his doorway - a tradition we started a few years ago.
This was actually taken the night before just after I'd blown up the balloons and hung the streamers.  He remained sound asleep while I snuck around his room doing my mommy birthday duties.

Sooo happy was he!

After breakfast, dropping Chloe off at school, and "helping" me vacuum out my car, I asked Ryan what he wanted to do for his birthday.  Naturally, he said, "Go to McDonald's."  That's always what he wants to do.  When asked which friend he'd like to take, he said, "Grandma Jill!"  When I told him that, as honored as she'd be to accompany him on a play date to McDonald's that she was a little too far away and that he'd need to choose a more local friend, he said, "Umm, how 'bout Josh!?"  Well, the birthday boy got his wish.  Lunch and playtime at McDonald's with the second pal of his choice!

Can you tell they both had chocolate milk with their happy meals?

Every time I'd ask Ryan how old he was he'd say, "four!" and hold up four fingers.  Silly kid.

Not long after we finished our lunch, it was time to pick up Chloe from school.  When we got home, I somehow convinced Ryan to take a nap so that he'd be rested and happy for birthday festivities later that evening, and also so I could make his cake!  Success!  He got up from his nap just as I was finishing.  We ordered a Round Table pizza, and shortly thereafter, our next door neighbors, Richie, Christie, Ariana and Gabby showed up bearing gifts and waiting to celebrate with us.  We sang to the birthday boy, helped him blow out his candles, ate cake and watched him open gifts.

Shortly after Ryan suggested green cupcakes for his birthday, he changed his mind to chocolate cake. Done! I made a simple bundt cake with drizzled frosting. The "red" turned out to be more of an orangy-pink, but I ran out of red food coloring along the way. Spider-man was from Josh. Ryan loved it, though if he'd had his choice I'm sure Superman would have been atop that cake. We searched and searched for a Superman figurine with no luck. Spider-man did just fine though, and Ryan is still loving him.

So many presents!  Where to begin...

Opening the gift of the night. 
So just a little background on that there cape.  A while back, after observing the kids using dish towels as super hero capes, playing "hero" and "victim," and watching plenty of old Superman and Spider-man episodes on Netflix, I decided that handmade super hero capes would make great birthday presents for both kids.  I immediately knew what I wanted them to look like and found some inspiration online, then got to work.  Neil, who had planned to help me, ended up sewing the actual capes because everything else (ie, cutting out letters and circles, stitching them together and to the capes and making the masks) took waaay longer than either of us anticipated.  It was all pretty easy but surprisingly time-consuming.  Neil and I were up until 2:45am the night before Ryan's birthday.  It was all worth it though when we saw the excitement in Ryan's eyes upon pulling his cape and mask out of the bag.

Pausing for a moment of silence before heading off to save the world.

More fun being had.

Chloe was so excited to get Ryan Buzz Lightyear for his birthday.  Last year she got him Woody, so it only made sense.  He was very happy with his gifts and his special day all around.  He also informed me at the end of the night that next year he wants a dinosaur birthday party!  Gifts from Grandpas and Grandmas showed up over the weekend and he was thrilled to get to do the presents thing all over again!  Here he is showing off two of Grandpa David and Grandma Susie's presents.

What a great football season this has been for us!!  Go Niners and Geaux Tigers!!

And here's a cute outfit from Grandpa Roy and Grandma Jill, which he wore to church on Sunday!

You guys sure have good taste!  Thank you for your contributions to a very successful third birthday! Ryan seemed very pleased.  He is such a joyful little boy, and I could never imagine life without him.  I have lots more to share, including Ryan's birthday interview, his well-check up stats and photos and other updates.