Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What more can I say...It is November

So as most of you know, I have always had a psychological block when it came to the month of November.  It goes back to living in the Pacific Northwest and finding November to be one of the gloomiest months of the year.

In California, the month is typically bright and sunny; however is busy.  Typically work is winding up the year, continued changes afoot there. The weather has been unseasonable cold and we have had a bit of rain; however, not enough to turn the hills emerald green but that should be coming soon. 

We made the most of the weather.  The kids even had fun making s'mores in the fireplace.

I say this because I have always focused these blogs on the positive and not the negative.  And through this outlet, I can maintain a positive outlook on things instead of becoming overwhelmed by the negative things that try to derail us.  We have been counseled so much the last couple of years at meeting to never allow the stresses and uncertainty of this system to revert back to our old personality, justifying that it is OK to be bitter or angry just because we have hit a roadblock (or wall). 
Yes, he is a big boy!!!

I say this all as an apology for not blogging in November.  Not to say we didn't do a lot.  We did.   This is the summary of the accomplishments.

The month began with our third marathon of the year (4 in a 12 month period) in Fresno.  Why Fresno?  Well it wasn't for the excellent Mexican food, even though we found an really good restaurant.

No the reason we chose this race was that majority of the course is pretty much flat and it is a first run event.  In Fresno? Yep.  Everything about this marathon was done first class.  At the end  of the race we even got sweatshirts, sundaes, full breakfast (not necessarily in that order), fresh fruit, great medals, and messages.

That said, this was not our best marathon.  We beat our San Francisco (a much harder marathon with all of the hills) time by only seconds.  What this marathon helped us understand while we have been using marathons as what we have been using to keep on track health wise, our bodies is showing the wear and tear of doing 4 marathons in a 12 month period.  We will continue to do marathons, however, only two a year.  We will follow it up with more half-marathons and trail runs (the girls love these).

Beth and I ran 26.2 miles for a sundae?
Me, just in a bit of pain.

The weeks after the race were pretty much recovery.  I cut back on my baking, with only 2 pumpkin pies made during that time.  

So another accomplishment for the month is that Sophie can now ride her bike.   This was a long process, letting her decide when she was ready.  But once she was ready, she took on to it within 10 minutes.  The next day she road 3 miles, then 5 miles, then yesterday 8 miles.  She has become a professional bicycle rider (her words).

We also got up early for Black Friday.  This has become a tradition for the kids, so while we didn't spend much (the kids got Toy Story, I got my first meeting shoes in six years, and Beth got a couple of tops on clearance), the kids got to say that they got up early. 

We also went on a hike with the Behren's in the Brionnes Regional Park.   This was a nice hike with friends, finding salamanders, and seeing a very beautify view of the Diablo Valley.  The kids loved it, especially since they could spend time with their friends.  I think Emma and Sophie took the trails as a trail run because they never stopped running.
Another thing we did was build a headboard for Sophie. Sophie had designed this headboard on her own and asked us to build it.  It was definitely a family affair.   I was a bit apprehensive building it, not really feeling confident in my skills at building it from scratch and not wanting to let her down.  However, it came together nicely.

So the month was pretty eventful.  December is proving to be as much as a roller coaster as November, but I will write about that later.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rocky Ridge 5K

So today, Emma and Sophie got to run a trail run with Beth.  Emma and I  ran the Rocky Ridge Trail 5K last year, so this year Beth got to run this year.  It is a 5K, but is pretty challenging with a 800 foot elevation gain.  the cool fall air combined with the falling oak leaves provided for a beautiful morning.

Emma really loves trail running. Beth and I have tried several companies; but have settled on the races organized by Brazen Racing.  They are very well organized and they really go the extra distance to make sure everyone has fun.

Emma ran this race by herself and did it in a wonderful 42 minutes.  This is their toughest 5K course but she ran the entire thing like a trooper.  Sophie and Beth completed the course in an hour and they had a lot of fun.  Beth really enjoys being to run with the girls and this has become a family activity we really can enjoy together.

Myles and I stayed behind and played.  It is fun watching him play.  He looks at everything with such awe.  First he and I went looking for salamanders and scorpions in the fallen logs.  We looked at the bugs.  And we watched the runners come in.
After the race, Emma, Sophie, and Myles enjoyed ice cream from the relief station as well as other goodies.  I asked Sophie what she thought.  She said it was really tough (she had fallen a couple of times and is sporting a nice bruise); however, she really wanted to do another one.  Emma is sold on trail races. Just being able to run through the trees and seeing the deer make for a great time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

13th Anniversary Weekend

Last weekend was my and Beth's 13th wedding anniversary.  This year it was complements of AAA!!!  Long story short, half of the team I am on at work were laid off, including my boss.  She had been with the company for 25 years and it will be a major loss.

So before she left, she gave our team a bunch of gifts.  Our family got 10 movie tickets, Starbucks, Target, Coldstone Creamery, and Jamba Juice gift cards.  This paid for our weekend.

So on Friday we put the Target gift card to use for gifts for the kids.  So when the girls came home from PJ's day at school, we had gifts waiting for them.  Myles had been eyeing a Mr. Incredible costume, so he got that.  The girls got outfits for their race as well as a stuffed puppy.  Later that evening we were treated to dinner at Jamba Juice after a long run.

So on Saturday, we took the kids to a movie.  Not the greatest movie; however the kids enjoyed it.
On Sunday, we ran as a family the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.  Beth and I ran it last year and enjoyed it.  This year, with Emma and Sophie running 5K's, it was a family  affair.  For Beth and I it is pretty emotional.  Last year my mother was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.  Beth's friend Nancy went through the same this year.

After the race, we got lunch at Starbucks and had a Picnic at Chelsea Field.  It is such a beautiful area with the T]the kids flew kites and threw Frisbees.  Afterwords, we drove back to Walnut Creek to a lovely 103-degree day.  Perfect time to use the Coldstone Creamery gift cards.

The past 13 years has gone by so quickly.  So many ups and downs.  However, one thing has continued to grow stronger year over year, my love for my wife and my kids.  I love you Beth.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Congregation Picnic

The congregation picnic was this past Saturday.  It is always nice to get together with everyone outside the congregation meetings and the weather was perfect for an upbuilding time.
Normally held in September, the location is perfect.  There is a swimming pool, a volleyball pit, and a place to play football or Frisbee.  The kids especially love the pool!!!   The girls have become such good swimmers.  In fact this was the pool that last year Emma and Sophie learned to swim.

The Lessers normally organize the gathering.  We got there early to help set up.  The Lessers were already there cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken, and carne asada.  They will be moving to another congregation nearer their home in a couple of weeks.  They will be missed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Take me to the ball game!!!

Every year I have the opportunity for San Francisco Giant's tickets through work.  Typically I get the bottom of the pile (I will never get Dodger tickets). I do try to pick the tickets latter in the year on the odd chance (lately) that they are part of a Pennant race.  And unlike the lowly Mariners (sorry Jim and Kate), they are in it!!!

Last year, I only was able to get two tickets.  This year, however, I was able to get four.  This meant that I could take the kids and give Beth the night off.  While Emma and Sophie have been to a couple of games before, this would be Myles first.

The nice thing about ATT Park is that they take into consideration making the game a family event.  In fact, if I had paid for the tickets and parking myself, I would have been out $240!!  So there are slides inside a Coca Cola bottle that the kids can slide down.

The game was pretty good, even though it was 3-0 in favor of the Brewers.  That was OK, because it meant 32 points on my fantasy team!!!

While we were watching the game, Myles and Sophie had Eskimo Pies and Emma had the classic bag (not box) of Cracker Jacks.

The kids and I had a great time.