Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

This year we stayed in town, but we had so much fun just hanging out, being with so many of our friends. IronGreg's parents came from Wisconsin, so we went over to Greg and Laura's for dinner and game night:
IronTim and IronKaren (who is pregnant!!) and Laura's dad and sister (the one I run pretty much all my marathons with - gray sweatshirt) were there, too. Here's our group photo:

On Christmas Eve we went to the midnight service and Ally and Bobby got to read the scripture and prayer and light the advent candle. They did great, and the service was beautiful. 

Then on Christmas day, Greg and Laura and Greg's parents came for dinner at our house. First we went for a group hike (Laura and I classic skied), and we followed a HUGE grey owl in the woods for a while - it was so cool. I don't know how he managed to fly from tree to tree with that gigantic wingspan. I kept wondering if he was eye-ing up Zurich to determine if he should eat her.

When we got back to the house, we found that Ally was painting pink and blue streaks into Pat's (Greg's mom) hair - it's called Girl Crush hair painting and the label says it washes out in one washing but she JUST got it for Christmas so I hope it really does wash out. ;-) She and Ally really bonded it was so sweet it almost made me a bit weepy. When she was done, she also gave Pat and Laura makeovers with eyeshadow and lipliner and the works. Let me just say Ally doesn't have the steadiest hand for lipliner, but it was so cute that Pat was such a good sport!

Bobby and Ally kept calling her Grandma Pat, so we just made her their honorary grandma since they don't ever see grandparents. (My parents are in NJ and my mom basically takes care of my dad who is in a wheelchair after a debilitating stroke 3 years ago; Bob's dad passed away, and we just never see his mom). They really adored Greg's parents.

For dinner I made (yes - you read that right - I actually cooked even though I think cooking is a big waste of time -- aside from Christmas, of course. If I've got three hours,  I'd rather go for a bike ride than stand around a stove drinking and stirring)... but anyway, I made a lemony-buttery, lightly garlic-y chicken with capers over angel hair pasta. It was great! Pat brought an assortment of desserts and we all ate and drank, and ate and drank, and ate ad drank... I feel so FAT that even my socks are tight - but it was all good. ;-)

This is how much we ate - this huge pile of dishes is just what didn't fit into the dishwasher -- and that left side sink is ultra deep and it's completely overflowing.

Then we played balderdash... I love that game...

... and then everybody left. It was a perfect day. Last year we went to Hawaii, but I would have to say that this year's celebration was just as beautiful because we all loved being together so much. I am truly blessed with amazing friends.

So today I get back in the saddle with working out relatively regularly. Uffda - so much rich food! I called Nick and Steve and they came over for an emergency kitchen spin, and then Nick and I also ran afterwards. Tomorrow is the Gear West team spin at the shop, and Sunday morning is the group run, and Sunday afternoon, Steve and Helen are having a x/c skiing party. Much as I enjoyed eating everything in sight, it'll feel good to actually zip my jeans up all the way again... hopefully soon.

Hope you all had a great day, too. God bless us. Every one!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the Season...

... blizzards in Minnesota. It is what it is. We deal.

... and then we get outside! Here is Bobby - we are out on the trails behind the house.

... and Ally who brought along her friend Jordan.

On the last day of school, Ally's class room invited the parents to look around the room before they regaled us with carols. Here she is proud to show us that one of her papers made the penmanship bulletin board - whoo-hoot Ally!

... And Bobby's 5th grade class put on a full musical that was amazing! These kids put on a 45 minute play - memorizing all their lines and singing and dancing --- it was fanTAStic! We were so impressed.
Here he is with his friends Isaac, Mark and Ryan. I just have to say how glad I am about the school change. Bobby has so many more friends at our new school. They genuinely like him, and it is such a relief to see that he fits is so seamlessly here. He doesn't even bite his fingernails anymore. I continue to be amazed at how wise a move it was for us. 

... the cast picture.

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The one good thing...

... about the -10 degree temperatures we are "enjoying" is that it makes the snow for x/c skiing really, really fast. 

Now if it were only warm enough to go out and ski...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Lights Run; Lego League Tournament

Christmas Lights Run
Friday night I went to the Start Line (local running store) for a beautiful night time run around the marsh and through neighborhoods to view the Christmas lights. It was a full moon, so we really didn't even need our headlamps. Afterward, the owner, Charles, had wine and sandwiches for us. How can you NOT love Minnesotans - we definitely make the best of our less-than-desirable weather.

Out on the run. Hard to see but there is a great light display behind us:

Me with Jessie and Charles:

Post run spread at the store:

Lego League

What? You never heard of Lego League? I hadn't either until we switched schools, and Heritage Christian Academy has a team. 
Bobby loves Legos, so when he learned that five other kids in his class were on the team, he decided to join and be the 6th member. It's been amazing. It's sponsored by 3M and there are 160,000 kids worldwide who participate. Here's what they do:

Build a robot (base materials are Legos) that can accomplish tasks on a field course. 
You use a little computer to program your instructions and if successful, your robot will accomplish it. The course is a vinyl mat on a table, and all the teams get the same mat to practice on and to compete on. But the robots each team made varied widely, and had assorted attachments. The robot has to maneuver around the course, performing tasks, like picking up and dropping Lego people into a specific area, knocking Lego boulders off of rubber rings, pulling levers, turning out lights, etc. So these 5th graders used motion detectors, light sensors, and battery operated motors to program their robot to do all this stuff - I was so amazed and impressed. 

They also had to perform a 5 minute skit about Climate change. Theirs was a TV newscast. It was great!

Next they had a head-to-head competition with the 32 other teams. 

Anyway, their team is called Steel Claws, and at the tournament yesterday they won 1st Place in Programming and came in 2nd Place Overall, so they are going on to the State Tournament next month! 

The boys were so excited they were jumping up and down. They really worked hard on this project.

The boys with their 1st place plaque for Programming: Daniel, bobby, Spencer, Isaac, Josh, and Tanner in front.

What a smart way for 3M to get kids inventing stuff - then 3M can hire these little geniuses in the future!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ironman this weekend!

Someone named Barry Roesler asked me to post this: (His name is familiar, but do I know this guy? Anyway, here it is...

For the 18th consecutive year, NBC will present the ultimate showdown of raw athletic competition and human perseverance -- the Ford Ironman World Championship in
 Kona, Hawaii -- on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET.  The 90-minute special, a network television staple since the 1980s, has won a total of 14 Emmy Awards during the race’s illustrious history and Emmy Award winning narrator, Al Trautwig will provide the voiceover for this year’s broadcast.  Please follow this link to a photo of the chaos that begins the race.


This year, among the highlighted athletes are a T6 paraplegic that was injured in a Motocross accident, a Navy SEALS member that has raised more than $300,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and a two-time terminal cancer survivor, to name a few.Below you will find a link to the trailer as well as a link to the Ironman Web site broadcast page.


Ironman Online Media Center

 Ironman YouTube Trailer



Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Reindeer Run

Guy, his son Jeremy, Ally, Bobby, Holly and Josie and I ran the Reindeer Run around Lake Harriet last weekend. It was SOOOO crowded! We never did get to really run, and had to be happy with 34:30. Jeremy started dodging the crowd and pulled ahead and finished in 33:30 and earned a $20 gift card at a running store - great job Jeremy!

Here we are huddled in the tent before the start.

Afterwards, we stopped for coffee and then headed home to get the tree up. We are fake tree people, so it goes up in about one minute. We have some ornaments that contain verses from 'Twas  The Night Before Christmas, so the kids take turns reading them and hanging them.

Bobby taking a turn.

Then Robert took out his Rock Band and Guitar Hero game for his Wii, and played with Bobby and Ally. 

We cracked up when Robert said, "I'm so good at this game it's embarrassing." The kids and Bob and I were duly impressed. 

We did finally get some real snow! And I just learned that the country club down the road actually grooms a trail for us - I can't believe I've lived here three years and didn't know that. I'm heading over Thursday morning with my neighbor Lynn to check it out.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Spin, a Soldier, and a Kona Qualifier

Kitchen Spinning
is back in season - here are TriNick and Dia sweatin' to Coach Troy. They (and Bob and I) did a two-workout session and then had beer and beef stew. yum!

Our good friend Robert will be re-deployed in February, and since his lease was up on his condo, he's going to stay with us for a couple months. Some of you know him from IM Florida, which he did with us in '07. On past Veteran's Days, he's gone to the kids' school to visit and have them sing songs to him and many other servicemen and women. He was recently promoted to Major. Bobby and Ally love him, so obviously they are thrilled having him around.

A couple days ago he delighted them with an MRE: 
That's "meal- ready to eat" for those of you civilian folks. This is an enchilada... and while it was fun to cook up (a few tablespoons of water in a mystery chemical in the outer bag heated it up in about 30 seconds - seriously), this meal was intended to be fuel, not gourmet.  But Ally nonetheless was all excited about it so he gave her another one to take to school to show her class. What a hit! They were talking about chemical reactions in science, so the timing was perfect. Her teacher, Mrs. Goettsche, helped her prepare Meatballs in Marinara and they also shared the other goodies like crackers, cheese spread and gum. 

Robert left yesterday morning for a couple days of training prior to deployment. I have to admit it saddened/scared me to see him in his uniform, knowing he's going back to the scariest place on earth in just a few short weeks. 

On a happier note, Holly, Diane, Merilee and Iwent to General Mills for lunch with Chae (who works there). GM has the BEST corporate cafeteria and we often go there to meet Chae for lunch! This is much of the crew that I did Whistlestop with a couple months ago. I love these girls. Gigantic kudos to Merilee who qualified for Kona at Arizona a couple weeks ago with a 10:55... congrats Merilee!!!
... yeah I know I look pregnant in this picture, but I'm not, okay? ;-)