Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ragnar Relay-SoCal 2011

In December of 2010 as we were in Calif celebrating Christmas with our family we were talking and the subject of running was brought up. My sister Heather that is just younger than me has been participating in 1/2 marathons and has run the Ragnar relay 2x's. She was getting a team together and she, my other two sisters, Amy and Sara, John, Amy's husband, nephew Chase and others were all going to run the Ragnar in Southern California in April 2011. They asked if I wanted to do it also. I used to run but it has been many years since I have done this. I do walk and work out regularly but running is whole different thing. I naively agreed and began my training. I started with short distances and built up from there. April quickly approached and my goal was to do the relay and live to tell the tale. About a week before the race someone else on the team dropped out and so Taylor decided to take their place. Oh, the advantage of youth.

The Ragnar relay is a 12 man relay that covers about 200 miles. There are two vehicles for the team with 6 team members in each. Each team member runs 3 different legs of the race. You start with #1, proceed through each one and then start all over doing this 3 times. The lengths of run and difficulty vary so there is places for everyone from the novice runner to the experienced. There is continuous running, so you catch sleep just in between your legs. There is usually about 4-5 hrs for a regular team between each vehicle's turn. Pretty crazy but lots of fun.

Taylor and I flew to Calif. and met up with everyone and we were ready to go. The race began by my sister's in Corona so we went there the 1st night to get the supplies all ready. We had two suburbans and each needed food and water. This is during the process. We also checked our race legs and how this would all work out.

Our start time was 6:30 a.m. The teams started at different times to accomodate for their estimated running times. The race started in Huntington Beach and it was pretty chilly that morning. Our team name was the whole Fam Damily as indicated on the car. Our vehicle had myself, my 3 sisters and two brothers-in-law John and Chris.

As each runner runs, the support van follows and goes to the designated exchange place. Then the next runner waits and prepares for their turn. This continues throughout the 200 miles. This is the motto of the race. You see the sleep portion is with question.

There is day light approaching and the race is ready to begin. My sister Heather was the 1st runner. From 6:30 p.m. to 6:45 a.m. the runners are required to wear reflective vests, and headlamp and red butt lamp. So Heather had to start all geared up.

After all of us in our vehicle ran our 1st leg, we were right by Heather's house. We went and crashed for a bit, and cleaned up since that would be the last time before the end of the race. It was porta potties from there on out. This was the four sisters at the 1st main exchange between vehicles.

This was the 2nd vehicle for our team. It was my nephew's friend, my nephew Chase, Taylor, and 3 others from the area. The ladies were friends of a friend and wanted to participate in the race but didn't have a team. The guys were good about taking care of the driving and navigating. They had the harder, more strenuous parts of the race but did great. Again, youth is a great asset.

My last leg of the race ended at the beach. It was beautiful California weather and wonderful to run in. I was just so happy that I was able to complete my part without any real issues.

The four sisters at the end of our last rotation. We weren't as fresh as the 1st picture.

This race goes through all sorts of areas, urban, stream beds, residential etc. These are some of the scenery along the way. It was Chamber of Commerce weather for Ca.


San Diego Harbor

This is Taylor coming in from his last leg. Each runner had to wear a slap bracelet and that is what is used for the hand off.

Taylor and I at the Finish line. The race ended in Coronado Island by San Diege. Everyone got a t-shirt and medal

Our whole team. This was the only time we were all together.

The 4 sisters-we did it!!! And we want to do it again. We'll see.

Jordan turns 22

My boy turned 22 this year. Unbelievable. It was probably pretty uneventful to him since he had to work all day. (the reality of being an adult). He did get a cupcake at work (thanks Holly) and then we had our celebration in the evening.

Each year the kids get to choose where to go for dinner. It used to be McDonald's and the playland was sufficient but unfortunately their taste for better food improves with age. Jordan chose El Rancho this year. They recently changed their location so we had to go and see their new place. Same great food.

Jordan with his presents

In the midst of opening.

Making a wish. Happy Birthday Jordan, we can't believe the past 22 years have flown by. We are so grateful for having you in our family and blessing you are.

Texas bluebonnets

The Texas state flower is the bluebonnet, they bloom March through mid April and are beautiful when you see a whole meadow full. This spring because of the draught conditions there were not the plentiful blossoms as we have had in years past.
We go the 1st weekend of April each year to take pictures in the bluebonnets and this year we thought we were going to have to miss. We drove to all the usual spots and found a small clump here and there but no meadows. Just before we gave up we came across this one. It's by no means the usual spendor but we went for it.

The girls in the bluebonnets

The boys

All 4 of my kids.

We always go with our friends the Boyers and then we can take turns with the camera. Afterwards we share a picnic dinner. We have found this great city park in a small town along the way.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring break camping

Spring break we take a few days and head out of town to camp. There aren't a lot of times that are fun to camp in Texas but this is one of them. It was awesome weather and there were great friends and we had a great time.

The kids made themselves capes out of pillowcases. Lexi decorating hers

Our traditional 1st night meal-milkjug dinner. Ham, sausage, cabbage, corn, potatoes, carrots all steamed and yummy. A little dijon mustard and it's all good.

All the kids on the playground. It was quite a feat getting everyone there without anyone falling

One form of entertainment this year was the marshmallow guns. We all had a good time with them. They are a blow gun design, just don't inhale. The racoons loved cleaning up at night any leftovers. Beware-marshmallows can hurt!

The adults even got involved. Thanks Harolds for bringing the fun.

Jordan loading up the ammo for the big boy fun. The little kids were dying to get in on the action.

Here they are with the launching slingshot.

And these are the catchers. At least trying to, many times the balloon broke before ever getting to the ground.

All of us in front of our tent. Taylor didn't get to stay the whole time, he had to work but we were glad for the time we had to spend together.

To celebrate St. Patrick's day Taylor had green temporary hair dye. Michael was the willing victim here.

The big crowd pleaser S'mores

Warming up the tortillas for fajitas

The girls had dish duty for breakfast dishes.

There was entertainment for all ages. crafts for the little ones

and the big ones

games for the teenagers

and even an egg hunt

Most of the kiddos before heading home. It was a great couple of days and we look forward to next year.


One thing we looked forward to each spring is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. For 2 weeks it is all things rodeo in Houston. There are great performers, awesome food, and lots of fun to be had. We almost missed it with our other trip but went the last week. We got 1/2 price ride tickets but we were surprised by how much the rides cost. The girls did ride a few and then we all went on the skyride. We enjoy getting above the crowds and being able to look out and see everywhere.

With all the yummy food Ken and the girls chose the foot long corn dogs.

I went for this new concoction. It's sausage on a stick with potatoes spiral cut and wrapped around the sausage and the whole thing fried. Love it. We didn't take pics but we also enjoyed fried oreos. No, we don't count calories, we can't count that high.

All of us in front of the old Astrodome. It always makes me sad to see it just sitting there unused. We have many great memories of going to Astros games there and the rodeo used to be there before the new venues were built.

I don't know if you can tell who performed that night but we went and saw KISS. It was wild to see all the people dressed up. We did not get tickets ahead of time so we had standing room only which got old quick. We stayed for the 1st couple of songs and then the girls and I and some friends went back out to the displays. It was enough to say we saw them. The funny thing was as we were leaving the stadium to head to the car we were stopped by the security because a car was coming through. Ends up it was the van holding the band members and they drove about 6 ft. in front of us. They look just as scary close up as they do far away. Gene Simmons can still rock it though.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lexi turns 12

The beginning of March our Lexi girl turned 12. This is a age of great change and it's hard to believe our baby is already there. She was very excited for this day, Paige and I had gone to the jr. high to decorate her locker. She got the birthday girl banner to wear at school.

This was actually while we were at Disney. Our rite of passage at 12 for the girls is to get to shave their legs. Most dread this but Lexi was so excited as you can tell by her face.

The night of her birthday Lexi chose General Tso's chicken for dinner. She got the red plate to eat off of.

Lexi with her birthday loot and showing how old she is. This has been a great way to keep track of what birthday the pictures are from.

Another part of turning 12 is being able to attend the temple and participate in baptisms as proxy for those who have died. The 1st time she went both Ken and I were able to be there as well as Jordan. What a great spirit.

As a mom this was a special time to be with my girls. Twice a year there is a general broadcast for the women throughout the church. In March it is for the young women and their mothers & leaders. In Sept. it is for the women 18+. I got to go with both girls and we had a fun dinner before with the other young women from our area.