Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Running Around.....

 So last week we got back into a normal summer time schedule.  For the last three weeks we have had our schedule a bit sideways, in a good way, with theocratic activities with the convention and circuit overseer visit.

The Bay Area Fire Prevention Crew
So we had a nice weekend volunteering at an aid station for the Bad Bass 5K, 10K, and half-marathon on Lake Chabot.  This is something Beth and I have wanted to do and have been on the receiving side of things so many times that I was amazed at how much work and organization went into it.  We were given the first aid station assignment which meant that we got the half marathoners and 5Kers once and the 10Kers twice.  I haven't been so busy filling up cups of water and sports drink!!! But it was really fun and worth the reward of a couple of free race entries.
A Jungle in Golden Gate Park

Alan and Diane, and they ran the day before!
On Sunday morning we went to the SF Marathon to support some of our friends who were running either the half or full marathons.  This is the first time in  three years we haven't run this marathon and were a bit jealous.  That jealousy quickly faded though when we got to Golden Gate Park near Stowe Lake and and faced a heavy mist/drizzle.  That said, all of our friends did well.  One of the young sisters in our hall completed the half marathon in a blazing 1:38, while her parents finished 40 minutes behind her.  Another sister and her husband ran the first half and did very well, especially since he had ran another half marathon the day before and she had run a 5K.  Finally, a good friend from a neighboring hall completed the full marathon.  Excellent job to all.
Great Job Pat!!!

One last note, the mouse....he left our house.....he didn't ease the pain by going down the drain....no mouse today, he's gone away...he is in the garbage can due to his love of peanut butter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A day at the horses!!

Another week of summer vacation is done for the kids, a go-cart race at work, as well as an awesome achievement for a good friend of ours.  All of this during our Circuit Overseers visit!!  Yes, we had a busy week.

So on Wednesday, Beth made a wonderful picnic lunch to share at Lafayette Reservoir.   Earlier in the day she had taken the kids for a run on Lime Ridge and they took advantage of the dried out ponds to pick cattails.  So they met me at BART and off we went.  It was a beautiful day for it, especially since San Francisco has settled into the summer gloom.

While I lap around the lake, Emma and Sophie got out their paints.  Sophie asked if she could paint her favorite tree and she did an awesome time.   Beth made an awesome chicken dish with peach schnaps pineapple.  It was a nice relaxing day to spend at the lake.

So one of the activities the kids have been looking forward to all summer break has been being able to feed the horses that a sister in our hall takes care of.  She has been doing this for a few years now and mentioned to the girls that she would take them at some point.  All of the kids love horses so they have eagerly been waiting.

It was a beautiful day too!! Between the sister and us, the kids ended feeding over 30 pounds of carrots to the horses.  They also learned about the different kinds of horses, how to identify a Quarter Horse and an Arabian, and they got to see a Mustang.  They also got to go in the stables with the sister and walk the horse.

All of that would have made the day; however, one of the owners asked if the kids would also like to ride a horse.  As Beth said, you have never seen Myles smile so big!!  The kids had a wonderful time and just didn't make their summer, it will be a lasting memory for years to come.

While the Beth and the kids were doing that, we had my first official team build event at PLOS: Go Cart Racing at Go Cart Racer!!!  This was a fully catered event, with the office of over 100 being closed down for the afternoon.  I have had team building events before, but this was really fun.  Beth had gone to this place when she was a kid and still talks about it.  I can see why!!  Basically we were broken into teams of five and given 50 minutes to complete as many laps as the team could within that time.   Our lead driver crashed on the third lap, so we were always 5 laps behind the entire time. But boy was that fun!!!

That pretty much sums up last week!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Another milestone down....kindergarten on the horizon!!!

  Another relaxing weekend in the books with a new milestone for Myles!

Friday after work met up with some of the old team from AAA.  I hadn't seen many of them for over a year and some it has been two years.  Since I haven't really done this much in my career, and having worked with some of them for over 12 years, it was strange to see everyone on to the next phases of their life.  A couple of them are still at AAA, another is now at a Northern California power company, and my old Manager from two years ago.  It was nice visiting with them.

Beth met me back at the Pleasant Hill BART station where we were greeted by the East Bay Bicycle Party.  I guess it is the East Bay version of critical mass.  The funny thing was that I wasn't aware, being in the lead car, that the train was filled with bikes coming over from Oakland and Berkeley.

On Saturday, after a productive morning in field service, we did our after payday grocery shopping.  Over the last few years, we have made it a practice to do our shopping together as a family.  The weather was beautiful.

Beth got Emma and Sophie their first latch hook project and the girls have really been enjoying it.  I think Emma is looking at it more as a puzzle while Sophie has fully embraced the art side of things.  Any free moment, they are at it and are so proud when they have completed a row.

Yesterday after meeting, I took the kids to the nearby school to see if I could finally teach Myles to ride his bike.  He will be turning 6 in September and will be beginning kindergarten.  For the girls, they learned at about 6.5 years; however, we always began them getting used to their bike at 4.  The biggest challenge for Myles; however, is while he is very tall for his age, he is not maturing as fast as the girls.  This means that I didn't have really high hopes that he would want to really learn even though that is what he was asking to do.  In fact we have taken him already to the school a couple of times and he would really scare himself when we would let him go.

Well, after walking next to him on the bike to the school, it took him about three minutes to ride his bike by himself.  Next was teaching him how to stop....not by falling or planting his feet on the ground but using the brakes.  The on thing he still has to master is how to start by himself.  Once we got back to the house, I had Emma ride ahead and get Beth and had Myles ride the block back to her.  Boy she was surprised.  That said, this morning, he is back to being nervous riding his bike. But hopefully this means that we can soon retire the jogging stroller!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Safeguard Your Heart!

This weekend was our convention which is always an event.  This was my fortieth and it was just as special as the first.  I do remember parts of my first one.  I was three and it was at Dodger Stadium in 1972.  There was a big Bee made out of flowers out in left field and I remember that I had blueberry cheesecake ice cream, rolling rock soda (before the conventions had Shasta) and we had food coupons. In those days they were a week, and I truly appreciate the effort it took my parents to get us there, being new in the truth.

The conventions have always been a highlight to me and my family.  We have been to conventions at Dodger Stadium, the old San Diego Padre Colosseum, the Long Beach race track, the LA Colosseum, the Seattle Arena, the Seattle Colosseum, the Tacoma Dome, Yankee Stadium, and the Cow Palace.  While the conventions are now three days, we receive so much spiritual food and encouragement.  We get to see old friends, meet new ones.  The kids are now getting to an age where they are paying attention to the entire session with Emma taking notes for 90 percent of it.

This years talks were awesome since they really focused on our motivations as well as really stress the need to fortify our hearts so we do not allow this system to wear us down or to be terrified when things get really tough.  Our strength and wisdom comes from Jehovah and not ourselves and the more we realize that and take steps to keep a strong relationship with Him the less likely we will be swayed by the system of things.

The releases are awesome!! The kids had the Saturday release memorized before we even got out of the parking lot and since then have been singing the song.  Not since the release of the My Book of Bible Stories in when I was 9 have I been so excited about a release for the kids.
I also really enjoyed the talks for the youth and related to marriage.  The drama on Sunday was especially good (they are always especially good) and we had members from our hall in it as well as a brother I had served with at Bethel.

We always try to make the assemblies a special time for the kids.  So on Saturday night we went with a family in our hall to dinner at Guadalajara Grill which serves awesome Mexican.  The kids shared the nachos and Beth and I shared there awesome fish tacos.  On Sunday, we decided to have a picnic after the session on Chrissy Field in San Francisco.  We stopped at Safeway and I got chicken tenders and jo-jos.  We brought the kites for the kids to fly.  The wind was a bit intense but the kids had a great time as Beth and I bundled up.

This weekend is really a highlight to the summer.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bobcat and Roasted Hot Dogs

So we had a nice weekend filled with field service, a run around Lafayette Reservoir for Beth and Emma, a run up Mt. Diablo and back for me and another brother in our hall, and a hot dog and S’more roast in the backyard with Jill and David.
We are in our final week of the Convention invitation work and had a wonderful time the last few weeks placing them.  We have had nice groups out, and the final Saturday we met at the hall.  This means that this coming weekend will be the Convention, which we are really looking forward to.  Look for pictures early next week on this blog as well as Beth’s.

Later that afternoon, we went the reservoir. I took Sophie and Myles to the play structure while Beth and Emma did a lap around the lake.  Beth has been taking the kids during the week, so it was nice for her to be able to run unhindered by the jogging stroller.  Sophie and Emma have no problem running a couple of times around the lake (2.8 miles each lap) but Myles is still wanting a ride.

Sunday morning I got up early and went on a run with Ryan who is currently training for his first 100 mile run in Tahoe on the 21stYou can find the recap of the run here.  But the most outstanding part of the run was that we got to see a bobcat!!  While common on the mountain, these cats like to stay out of view, so this was something truly special to see.  It also highlighted that really Mt. Diablo is definitely its own ecosystem surrounded by cities. 

After meeting, Jill and David took the kids to the skateboard park and to ice cream at Guanatos.  There Emma had talked them into trying cheese ice cream as well as avocado ice cream.  Myles favorite is Lacuma, which is South American fruit that taste like a combination of sweet potato and maple syrup.

Later that evening, David broke out his Sky Hog, which Myles promptly landed on the roof.  It was nice to have them over to experience the “Latham Cookout” of roasted hot dogs.  Have you ever tasted the Guy Fieri Tequila Lime Chicken sausages?  Boy they are good.   Later on we played spoons.

All in all, it was a pretty nice weekend.