Thursday, January 30, 2014

Grandpa's Visit

Dad doesn't seem to have a lot going on at the farm in January and February so he drove in for the week to visit us and the boys.
Sharing a bowl of (pistachio-almond) Blue Bell ice cream.  A tradition that has continued with every one of dad's visits to Amarillo.  

The Discovery Center just happened to change their exhibit so we checked it out one afternoon. 
It was perfect for Kaden & Owen as one area was ALL Legos.  From 6-foot tall structures made out of tiny pieces to giant foam Legos designed for babies & toddlers.  
There was another area called "Under Construction" which was all about wearing a hard-hat and building. 
Owen saying, "Cheese!!" when I took his picture atop the Lego bench. 

Mr. Owen kept sneak out of the Lego area to peek at the snake in the lobby.  

The building continued throughout our living room with one of Kaden's Christmas presents. 
Grandpa teaching Kaden a thing or two about "balance".
grandpa & Kaden's design
I think dad was content building on his own and just used Kaden as an excuse to play.  

Afternoon at John Stiff park, about a 1/2 mile from our house.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Phoenix Rock 'n Roll Marathon

In June, at least six months in advance, it sounded easy just to tack on another marathon since we "would be trained."  As it turned out, after the Dallas fiasco, going to Phoenix for a 26.2 run was a fabulous idea. 
No wind.  No snow. 
Instead, we had to prepare for the opposite end of the weather spectrum: 
sunglasses, sunscreen, shorts and tank tops… in January.
Mary snapping a few photos as we were getting ready...
Slamming down a bit of coffee & a few final bites before leaving #20. 

Doug chauffeured us to the start line in downtown Phoenix.  
Posing by the Porta potties; should've planned for a better background. ;)
Lining up in our corrals for the marathon. 

I wasn't sure how I would feel about having two completely different courses – the half marathon runners and the marathoners never saw each other during this race, except for maybe at the end. 
Mary & Doug did such a wonderful job of taking care of the boys all morning/day while we ran. Has the course when wound it's way to downtown Scottsdale (mile 17), Mary, Doug, and the boys were waiting on a street corner to cheer us on. It was such a great feeling to see them! 
Kaden looked excited as Abby & I approached, while Owen looked somewhat confused and then upset (started to cry) as we ran by.
We gladly took a 30-second break to make him feel better...

Grateful for these photos that were taken along the course.
nearing the finish, near Tempe, Arizona

Abby and I finished together with Laura a couple of minutes ahead. 

I know I say this every time, but it's just such a euphoric feeling to be DONE!
(and remind me to never wear these shorts in public again)

Laying down with my legs up in the air seem to be the best form of relief. 

Luckily the boys were passed out on Mary's bed as she came to pick us up at the end.

We. Did. It! 

Soon as we crossed that finish line and I stumbled towards the water/ wet towels/ food, I swore to everyone that I would never do a marathon again.  It felt as though knives were stabbing my hamstrings & calves...  Went so far as to say that Laura should slap me across the face if I begin to romanticize that far suggest we train for one again. To make sure, I got on the phone with Ben and told him the same thing…

 Fast forward about 24 hours and the car ride home with the 5 of us...
"Maybe next year..." somehow came out of my mouth with nods in agreement. 
We'll see...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Scottsdale, Arizona

driving through western New Mexico... 
Every time we saw a train, Owen loudly announced it to everyone, 

We like to drive through Holbrook and take the diagonal down to Phoenix by way of Payson.  
So incredibly beautiful to drive through the mountains. 
Palm trees awaiting us at Mary & Doug's house.

We had two mornings of fun with Stephenie and Brayden. 
Stephenie and Owen (and Tyson) on the Kern's back patio.
Mr. Brayden

We took the three boys to "The Fun Place" the day after we arrived in Scottsdale.  
Things to climb, slides... two full hours of running around.
Love this photo.  
I was so proud of Kaden wanting to put on the harness and attempt the climbing wall.   
He is a very good climber at school, but is sometimes reluctant to try new things. 
Helping Kaden get his footing.  Kaden realizing it is more difficult to climb a vertical wall rather than the climbing wall outside at school. 
Kaden getting the hang of it.


Excited to be aboard the train at the park.

The best way to ride in a kiddy swing: back-to-back.  

Owen happy to be on his own horse.  Not afraid of falling this time.
Kaden all smiles.
Stephenie holding Brayden on his horse. 

This Ikea tent was a big hit at Mary & Doug's house.  They the boys the same tent at Christmas, but this one was complete with an attachable tunnel. 

Kaden getting his own private art lesson from Mary.
(Mary is a retired art teacher.)
days of drawing at Mary's kitchen table

Kaden & Doug

A fun high-light was getting to pluck citrus from the big grapefruit tree in Mary & Doug's backyard.
Laura & Abby thrilled with their steal.
Finding a good one with the boys' help.