Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holy CRAP, I ran 600 miles!

I know I said there was no way I'd be able to run 46.5 miles in 22 days to round out my last minute "run 600 miles in 2008" goal, but I DID IT! And I still have 4 days (including today, because it IS morning still) left. :) A certain someone made a comment and a little challenge that it would only be about 2 miles a day, and well, when he put it that way it didn't seem so unobtainable. I posted my daily progress on my Facebook account until I'm sure everyone stopped looking at my page because they were tired of the countdown. Someone even asked me if I was doing some sort of marathon, in pieces. I'd like to train for a marathon, maybe when I finish my masters and have more time to train those longer distances.

I've been thinking about a New Year's Resolution a lot these past few weeks, and while I really want to make another goal to run 600 (or more!) miles in 2009, I'm afraid to set such a daunting task for myself. Who knows where 2009 will take me? I try to be religious about getting up early every morning to stretch and do my core workout so that my back will stay strong. It seems about once a year I throw my back out really good so I have to take off a month from any kind of exercise, and it makes me about nuts. I can't sit still for very long, and I need some kind of outlet for my pent up energy so I don't go stir-crazy! My legs are bouncing up and down right now as I type this. Anyway, my friend Jessica suggested breaking up the miles and concentrate on them month-by-month so it doesn't seem so huge. She has a great talent for putting life into perspective. 50 miles a month = 600 miles for the year. If I can stick to that (ish), then perhaps I can stay on track... (Yes, pun intended!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post-Chrismas Catch Up

Whew! Talk about a couple frenzied days, and once again I'm behind with my posting. Here are Sean and Ashton playing "Santa" passing out the presents at my parents' house on Christmas Eve. That's always been our tradition, to go to church and open presents the day before, then check our stockings in the morning. The boys did an awesome job reading the tags on the gifts- not something they could do last year!
And my grandma, in full holiday spirit. :)

Let the frenzy begin! (Just kidding- it was actually very organized, everyone taking their turn. The boys were very good- super patient for 6-year-olds!)

A Leapster with a Wall-E cartridge- that was a great surprise! Thanks Grandma!

Next, it was Scott and Sara's turn- here's Sara modeling the new cold-weather running cap I got her. Which I went back and bought for myself after Christmas. Hee hee! I needed one too, I decided, that covered my ears properly, and that sported a nice pony-tail hole in the back. Ever do that? Find something really cool for someone else, and then end up getting it for yourself too? You know you have!

Scott and Sara are taking a trip to Patagonia in a couple weeks to celebrate her completion of her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Berkeley. Yeah, I know. Wow! Here is a link of to a clip of a video that was on the History Channel on which she was interviewed about her research on how things burn in outer space. If you've got a few minutes, watch it. It's fascinating. Yes, she actually works for a branch of NASA. We're so proud of her! :) Anywho, back to presents and Patagonia. Most of the stuff they got were for their trip, including ours. Here's Scott opening our gift- one of those multi-purpose scissor/knife/plier sets.

My mom and dad opening their presents:

And a two pictures taken by Ashton- I think I might need to get this kid a camera for his next birthday. My parents and grandma,

And Kevin, Me, and my brothers Scott and George.

Finally, one of all the "kids."

The next day dawned with snow, and a drive down to Gardnerville to spend the day with Kevin's parents and some fresh homemade tamales! Superb. Greatly enjoyed by all- and I should have taken a picture to post. Oops! Presents were a little more spread out in the morning- in fact, we did some migratory present opening. Presents in every room- talking on the video cam to Boston with Kevin's brother and family and opening presents in the bedroom, and in the dining room talking on the phone to aunts and uncles in L.A. It was great this way, making the Christmas spirit last all morning. Here are the boys opening their first gift:

And the watches we got them- they are learning to tell time, and the digital watches I got them at the Dollar Store lasted a whole day, but both of them insisted on carrying around the stub of a clock face in their pockets. The ones I found for them have hands, and the minutes (by 5's) around the outside rim. Plus they are water resistant and sport Velcro wristbands. They won't even know they're learning.

Think they like them? :)

Elf Ashton trying out his new hat:

And Kevin's parents opening the wine charms I made for them. We even got a chance to use them.

I love the surprise on Astrid's face. Makes it totally worth the time it took me to figure out how to make them.

I made Alice a flower necklace (which I had to take back home to fix- the thread came off the end link and I had to add a jump ring instead- think key chain). Yes, I was very crafty this year. Ha ha!

Me and my girl together:

And one last one of the man getting some opening time too~

Wow! That is a LOT of pictures! Enough to represent the fun and very special time we were lucky enough to share together as a family. Many tremendous thanks to everyone for all the wonderful gifts you gave us. Here's to a great New Year! (Sorry, had to end with a little sap there... :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pre-Christmas Catch-Up

Wow, I am behind with my blogging! I'll try not to make this too long. Backing up to Saturday: First off we went to cut our Christmas tree with Kev's parents up by the Mt. Rose Ski Resort. It was a beautiful crisp morning, and I would put up a picture of the sparkling snow, except it didn't quite turn out. So instead, here we are hiking out into the woods~

I put off my run on Saturday because my throat was a bit scratchy, but after the hike we got in, I don't feel guilty at all! Here are the boys taking a breather~
And Ashton peeking back at me~

"This one?" It was my pick, even though it looks a little small with the tall trees behind it, and bare at the bottom. But actually we were able to save a couple feet for firewood for camping, and made the perfect sized tree for our living room all trimmed down.

And the trek back to the truck, which included spotting a small grove of several awesome trees close to where we parked that we plowed right past in our excitement.

We set up the tree and headed out for an annual concert that Kevin and I play in every year: Tuba Christmas! It's free, and this year was held at the Wilbur May Center in Rancho San Rafael since Parklane now has a new owner. Now, I do not play tuba, but I did play euphonium in high school and in college, but other than that, this is the only time I get to play anymore. Kevin brought home a sousaphone and a Wilson euphonium for me for this special occasion. Here he is, being his usual self before the concert:
And a picture of me- sorry for the Holy glint off my horn. :)

Here is a pretty good one of Kevin playing too:

The concert went really well, and there were a TON of people there! There were probably three times more people in attendance than I've ever seen at any of the previous concerts I've participated in. And I'm estimating about 40-50 tuba and euphonium players as well!

After all that excitement, we went home and decorated the Christmas tree- Kevin set up the lights and the train and the boys did the decorating, with a little help from mommy with the high fragile pieces. Here is Sean~

And Ashton~

And the three of 'em settled in for the evening watching the train go 'round and 'round and 'round...

And Max watching warily from the corner as well- until the train derailed and she high-tailed it out of there! Ha ha!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Finger Trama (Warning: Graphic!)

This morning Ashton slammed his finger in the car door for the first time. 6 is not bad; I remember doing it much earlier in life, and still vividly remember the pain. He got his finger stuck on the inside of the door, on the side with the hinges- he had his right hand fingers clutching the frame while he closed with his left hand. He managed to open the door again, but then the blood started flowing. It was a nasty cut, one of the worst car door slams I've seen. Poor baby! I'm pretty sure he didn't do any bone damage, but he is going to lose that nail. Here's the shot I took this evening after a bath and a second bandage change because it hasn't quite stopped bleeding yet.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Runnin' Miles So Far This Year

I guess it's a running thing, to calculate the total miles you've run in a year. I've always kept track of how much I run (yes, the old fashioned way, with paper and pencil), but I've never done a total at the end of the year. But since it seems to be the trend with more serious runners- both to keep a total and make a yearly mileage goal, I pulled out my calculator and hopped on board. (With the tallying part, not exactly the mileage goal part.) I have two separate totals, and then one final total, because I count my walking distance separate from my running distance. This way I can include my hikes and warm up/down before and after my runs. I'd feel guilty if I tried to say I actually ran up and down Mt. Rose! So here they are, as of today, 12/08/08:

Running miles: 553.5
Walking miles: 48
Grand total: 601.5

This does not include all the biking and swimming distances I've accumulated in 2008, but they are far less anyway. I could try to set a running goal of 600 miles before the stroke of midnight on 12/31, but I know there's NO way I could run 46.5 miles in 22 days. I'll post a final total after the 31st, and possibly the total for previous years if I get around to totaling them up too...

Maybe it will be a new goal for me in 2009 to start keeping track online with my new Garmin ForeRunner 50. And perhaps I'll set a running goal of 600 miles as well.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mexican Pumpkin Soup

So I had this sugar pumpkin that I bought around Halloween that needed to be either eaten within the next week, or tossed. (You know me, I love anything pumpkin!) So I checked out a Vegan cooking blog I subscribe to, and today a recipe on what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers (namely pumpkin) was posted. I chose this one from the list because the picture had the best looking soup. And also because I must have 3 pounds of leftover potatoes. It is a very hearty (read: filling) and healthy soup, not to mention savory and tasty! Here is a picture of my lunch bowl before it was quickly emptied.

If you're looking for something to make with your unused portions of pumpkin (fresh or canned) since most recipes only call for half of a can, there are lots of good ideas on FatFree Vegan Kitchen. Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE fall foods?

Climbing with Uncle Scotty

It's been about a year since we took the boys to the climbing gym, so Friday we headed out to RockSport with Scott and my cousin Michael and harnessed Sean and Ashton up. Last time we went, the boys were a bit trepidatious of the heights of climbing, Ashton especially. This time went much better. Sean wouldn't quite climb all the way to the top, and Ashe would only climb to just above the red bouldering line. Here is Sean just getting started:

And another one of him at his highest point (couldn't quite talk him into ringing the cowbell at the top):

Ashton really didn't like the feeling of the rope pulling him- he might just climb all the way to the top if I'd let him without it though.

My cousins Michael and Peter are attending UNLV (both are on the water polo team) and drove up at about 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving to spend time with family. Peter didn't come today, but here is Michael bouldering to warm up:

My brother Scott is the real climber of the family. He has ripped abs like you see in magazines because that is his job- he works at the climbing gym in Berkeley and sets routes for a living. Here he is lead climbing (meaning he is clipping the rope in to the wall as he goes, instead of hanging from the top, aka top rope) one of the more difficult routes.

This picture of Kevin was taken from across the gym, but as a close up, and as a result turned out a little dark.

And finally, some fun little videos. First is Sean on a joy ride:

You can tell Ashton is still afraid to be up high in this video.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner at Casa de KASA

After earning our Thanksgiving dinner at the Turkey Trot, we had a massive gathering of all our extended family both on my side and Kevin's side (minus only my parents-not bad, eh?). Total number in attendance? 2(ohgoodlord)8. Plus it was Kevin's 31st birthday. Happy Birthday Kev! And since it was his birthday, he wanted to do all the cooking on his own. He wouldn't even let me help him. Well, he let me help with the menu decisions, and I got to do all the baking beforehand, but other than that, I was on clean-up/hostess duty. Which was great by me! I made 3 pies: Light Mint Chocolate Mousse, Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake, and a Cinnamon Blueberry Pie. I also made the biscuits- whole wheat pumpkin and classic Joy of Cooking white dinner biscuits. Flaky hot goodness that went right from the oven to everyone's plates (I popped them in the oven as soon as the turkey and ham came out). Here's how awesome Kevin is- he made the following:

*French onion soup, from scratch (everything was from scratch), and man was it ta-STY!
*turkey and (spiral-cut-honey) ham
*baked potatoes and sweet potatoes
*dirty rice (instead of stuffing, 'cause I can't stand the stuff for whatever strange reason- I like everything in it! Just not combined and cooked in a turkey, I guess.)
*green beans and bacon
*green salad
*cranberries (of which there is so much left over that I made fruit leather out of the extra)
(plus there were my biscuits and pies, and Kevin's mom surprised him with a sheet carrot cake, also from scratch of course!)
*Bottles upon Bottles of wine, sparkling lemonade and cider. I don't even WANT to know what our our recycle collectors think of our house with the amount of bottles they will be picking up next week! Ha!

Now for a picture for you to appreciate how many people this is all in one place (Kevin got permission to borrow some extra tables and chairs from his school in order for this dinner to happen):

You can't even see everyone from this angle, so here's a shot from the other end (and again it's hard to see faces, but you get the idea):

And a picture of a couple of my cousins- Dave and Michael, and my brother Scott being himself.
And then some twin-on-twin ping-pong action with Aunty Alice and Ashton against Sean and cousin Georgie.

It was a bit of some all around crazyness trying to get dinner on the table, but once everyone was settled, there was a lot of passing, and all went smoothly. It was wonderful to catch up with family from as far as Alaska and L.A., and even from across town! Wonderful food, and memories~ Thanks everyone for traveling to the south side of Reno, and letting us host Thanksgiving this year!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Trot Thanksgiving!

I am happy to report that many of my extended family participated in the 10th Annual Sparks Turkey Trot with me (my first!) before coming over to my house for an even more extended Thanksgiving dinner. We all met beforehand for a quick picture before heading up to the street for the race start~ first, my library posse, Dave and Turi:

Next is the family picture. From left to right- Lori, her husband Mike, Aunt Linda, Me, and Lori and Linda's parents. (Not pictured, Sara, because I couldn't find her until about 2 minutes before the race started.)

Linda and Lori did the 10k with me, and their parents did the 2 mile walk! L&L were going pretty quick- they started ahead of us in the initial sardine pack, and Sara and I didn't catch up to them until mile 5.5. It was a chilly wait for the race to begin, but it didn't rain on us, and was actually the perfect temperature for a run. :) Sara and I kept to an almost 9 minute mile pace, running negative splits for a finishing time of 56 minutes even (although our watches said 55:39 since we didn't start them until we reached the start line). Thanks so much for running with me Sara, even though it's difficult coming up here from sea level to run at this altitude. You set a perfect pace, and I greatly enjoyed our run together! Here is a 3 second video clip of Sara and I finishing, compliments of my Uncle Paul:
My friend Dave also finished the 10k in under an hour. As for Turi, he took off with the fast runners on the front line with a 45 minute goal to beat- which he shattered with a 43:16 new P.R. Yeah, congrats Turi!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On Coffee

Yes, two blogs in one day after a week of nothing. That's what homework does for a girl. I had some thoughts on new (to me) controlled substance I've let in my life this year: coffee. I've always been a tea drinker, and decaff mostly at that. Caffeine has an adverse affect on my system- I get super wired from even a small amount of it, and then an hour later, I'm dragging like I haven't slept for a week. I've always loved the smell of coffee, but never much liked the taste of it. Unless it has chocolate in it. Almost anything tastes good with chocolate in it! But even with chocolate added, it's not something I drink very often. Until now. Over the past year I've started having a cup here and there when I needed to stay awake at work- usually because I was tired from staying up ridiculously late the night before doing homework. And now, I drink it everyday! With chocolate and vanilla soy milk in it, of course. Lots. I look forward to my daily coffee, even. But is that because I want the chocolate, or the caffeine? I don't get wired anymore, but it's not like I get headaches if I don't have any. And I've also come to appreciate different flavors and brands. Like flavored coffees. And the Trader Joe's Wintry Blend.

Does this mean I'm an adult now? (And is that a good thing?) Almost 30, and I want coffee everyday. Seems like a sound definition to me.

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

This weekend we had some friends over with their children, so we had a craft night! In honor of the upcoming holiday, we made Turkey Breadbaskets. It was pretty wild at our house, but they did manage to sit still for about 45 minutes and color, while I stapled everything together and tried to keep the crayons all in the same room. Here they are, all hard at work:

Sean and Ashton and I worked on their turkeys for a bit more detail the next day- a waddle, some feathers, and GLITTER! My kitchen is still shiny. :) The baskets (which will be used for the dinner rolls I'll be baking- white, herb and possibly pumpkin spice) make for perfect center pieces, along with the mini-daffodils the boys grew from bulbs in their classroom. Well, the fun part is taken care of; now for the cooking, cleaning- both inside and out- before the people come...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My little baseball players

Today was the perfect beautiful day for hitting some balls, practicing catching and throwing with Sean and Ashton. Kevin did all the pitching, whilst I helped race after the successful ball-bat contacts. While their fine motor skills need more work (although their handwriting is improving greatly!), the boys' gross motor skills have always been very advanced. They can drop-kick a ball, ride scooters, dribble a basketball and shoot (successful) hoops, ride two-wheelers, catch a ball, throw with an amazing arm (Ashton throws a perfect spiral football!), and yes I am bragging here. Here is a little sample of their hitting abilities. I have a couple of pictures (Sean is in the red wearing glasses, and yes he did throw us off all day by wearing Ashton's signature color), and a couple short video clips. First up is Ashton:

And next is Sean:

I think I need to get them in tee-ball next season... :)