Fast and Furious February!

With less than a week of February left I realized I have not posted once in the entire month!  February has been a busy and fun month. I am not sure I can keep up with the Fast and Furious pace!
 To kick of the the month we started the 1st off going to The Waste Management Phoenix Open Bird's Nest for a country concert.  The TPC is known for its craziness more than for it's golf.  It is often referred to the wasted management open as so many spring breakers come and get smashed in the sun.  We did our best to hang with the college kids on a school night.  But I must report you just don't bounce back the way you use to.  Five am came very early after staying out until 1am!
 We are still having fun with National Days.  Hank was so thrilled to see the return of the carrot cake.
 One Friday we had Hank's buddy and a gaggle of girls over for pizza and playing.
 We really didn't care either way about the Super Bowl this year but we will always use and excuse to celebrate and eat food!  Karlie made this super cute football field for the center piece.
 Max made the standard grinder that is always super.
 Every year the 5th grade class does a Living History presentation where the students research an American that has impacted our country.  They research the person, dress up as them, and give a short biography to all the parents and 4th grade class.  Kaitlin was Betsy Ross.  I love this project and how into it the kids get.
Karlie's best friend since Kindergarten came out for a soccer tournament the following weekend.  These girls are so cute.  They get together and you would never know 6 and half years has passed since we moved.  They pick up right where they left off.
 They play different sports 1000 miles apart but ended up with the same team bags.  Karlie had fun playing hookie to hang out with sweet Marley.
 The same weekend Marley was here friends from Canada were here working and visiting.  We had a fun night at Top Golf.  Those Canadians killed us.  Pretty embarrassing that we can't beat Canadians at golf.  It would be like us beating them at hockey.  :)
 The same weekend as our Canadian and Colorado visitors it was our turn to host Karlie's Club team building event.  Every month the girls get together to do a team activity outside of practice and games.  We organized a pizza lunch and mall photo scavenger hunt.
They had an hour to find 13 things (they are 13s team) that related to their team such as their colors black and red, a volleyball, the number 13, something that started with each of the letters of their names, and so and so forth.  They had to take a picture but each girl from the team had to be in one of the pictures and then they had to get three team pictures.  With the less than half the month over I was feeling like we had packed in over two months of fun.

13.1

 On Sunday I got to cross running a half marathon race off my bucket list and 2017 goals!
 My best buddy Aimee and I have been training for the last three months to get ready for the big race.  She had run a half in her college days and really wanted to do it again.  She was hoping to finish in under two hours while I was just hoping to finish!  LOL  I aimed for a 10 min/mile.
At the 3 mile mark we were near a 9 min/mile pace and I told her to go for it, there was no way I could keep that pace.  It took some strong convincing.  I told her I was going to sit down and wait for her to get running.   Finally, she agreed to run her best race and not wait around for the turtle!
I had a rough January for training.  We got the flu for the first week and I didn't do a single run.  Then the next weekend Karlie had a tournament in Tucson so I only got one 6 mile run in.  Then I got back into training and did a 13 mile run the Sunday before my race.  However, the Wednesday before the race I hurt my hip playing tennis and had to just rest completely in hopes of being ok by Sunday.  I was still pretty tight in my hip on Sunday but ran it off.  By the 6th mile my opposite knee was killing me.  I must have been over compensating.  By mile 12 I was really limping along.  However, the kids, Max and Aimee's family were all at the end cheering me on.  The little kids and Aimee jumped on the course to help encourage me to sprint to the end!  It was the best part of the race for sure!!  I even had enough gas to sprint.  :)  My greatest fear would be that I had nothing left and would have to walk across the finish line.
Kaitlin made the sweetest sign for me telling me no matter what I am first place in her mind.  They were all so supportive as I put in a lot of time running.  On my long run days I was pretty worthless for the rest of the day.  Max and the kids picked up my slack and never once got annoyed at me running.  In fact they always pumped me up before my runs.  I am so grateful for their support and love.
I finished 13.1 miles in 2:12:41.  I was 127th out of 319 racers and 21st out 45 in my age group.  I averaged a 10:07 min/mile.  So close!  But I am never, ever, ever doing it again.
 Afterward we all went to our favorite breakfast joint.  I had the best build your own bloody Mary and a giant breakfast burrito!  I didn't think once about the calories.
I just kept smiling as I thought how I will never, ever run that far again at one time.  13.1 Check!


2017 Resolutions

Time sure just keeps marching on.  I always set goals.  I believe in setting them and more often than not I achieve them.  They give me inspiration to be the best version of myself.  It is all too easy to just let life happen to you rather than make your life happen.  The hours, days, weeks and years continue to pass and I hope to have little flickers of pause in the time line of my life.  
I tend to review my New Year's goals around Thanksgiving to make sure I am on track to meet them all.  It seems I was a bit prophetic in last year's goal of aiming to take better care of my skin.  In April I discovered I had skin cancer and had it removed.  So I think that would be failing on that goal.  However, the doctor told me that the damage was likely done when I was a child and that the cancer had been their for a while.  Cancer is not something anyone wants to hear.  Thankfully, if you are going to get any cancer, the type of skin cancer I had is cured 99% of the time by cutting it out.  We are hopeful I am in that 99%!  It has been a great motivator for me to protect the kids' skin and mine even more.  We should buy stock in a sunscreen company. :)  Along with sunscreen I have been trying numerous anti aging, wrinkle reversing, time stopping, fountain of youth creams.  With not much luck.  Time has a way of leaving its mark and I guess my smile lines will just have to be proof of a happy life.
My next gaol was to hike Havasupai Falls.  Apparently we were not the only ones that wanted to hike it.  You can read about how difficult it is to obtain a permit here.  We began calling the first day phone lines were open in February to try to get reservations to stay at the Indian Reservation.  We were met with continuous busy signals.  My friend and I would take turns calling day after day.  Days turned into months.  We nearly gave up and then one day in June my friend got through!  However, they were booked until next June!  No chance to hike it in 2016 but we are all set to hike it this June!
 We set out to tackle more states for our Family 50.  In 2016 we visited Washington, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri!  We are down to only eight states!
For 2017 we are hoping to finish off the main land and visit Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and see the Big Apple!
My final goal was the spend the year trying to see as much of our family members as we could.
 We got to go to Grand Lake, CO with my parents, and two of my sisters and their families.
We then got to visit my Aunt Kathleen and see two of her daughters and their new babies.  All sorts of cousins!

 My sweet niece got to stay with us for a weekend for lots of cousin love.
We went to visit my sister in Redding, CA.  It was great to see them in their new house.
 Then we drove down to visit Aunt Anna in Chico!  We had a great time hanging out with her.
As we continued down California we stopped at Pops and Nana's house and got to visit with Max's cousin Alex and his family.
 My parents and younger sister came out with her family later in the summer.  My grandpa came over and we had four generations!  Later in the summer my cousin Christy came out with her son and we got to visit with them.  Hank and Christain were two peas in a pod!
 In October we drove up to Seneca, Kansas to visit my Great Aunt Eilleen.  For Christmas my Uncle Terry and his family came out to visit my grandpa so we were able to see them too.
We didn't manage to get to Southern California to visit Max's Grandma, Uncles and cousins.  We also didn't get out to Michigan to see his brother and family.  I guess we need to leave some goals for 2017!
This is Max and my year to turn the big 40!  I think I am definitely getting that midlife crisis bug and have accordingly set some outrageous goals for the year. :)

I want to run a half marathon.  There is surely no time like the present.  These knees and feet are just getting older, more creaky and slower.  If I am ever going to get a half marathon off my bucket list.  This is the year!
Along with finally getting to hike to Havasupai Falls, Max and I are going to attempt hiking the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim... in one day!  It will be 24 miles with 5,850 ft of elevation down and then 4,460ft of elevation gain to hike out.  To get ready we have a handful of other major hikes in the area to cross off our list.  This is a serious hike and less than 1% of the millions of people that visit the Grand Canyon ever do it.  So, I may get my first helicopter ride too when they have to rescue me.  Better double up on the health and life insurance.


Cactus Classic

After begging us for two years Karlie got to do club volleyball this year.  We have shied away from club because in general we feel like youth sports has gotten way out of hand.  The intensity, commitment and cost are unreal.  These are children people!  I had a friend who they told her son needed to become a one sport athlete in 3rd grade.  An 8 year old boy needs to decide if he wants to do baseball or soccer.  Really?  No wonder kids burn out by 12.  However, the sad fact is if you don't play club, you don't play high school ball.  The skill levels are very clear, even in middle school.
So we gave in.  We managed to find a club that aligns with our philosophy though.  The owner said we believe it is family, church, school, volleyball, friends.  Volleyball comes before hanging out with friends but not at the expense of important family or church functions and you must be doing well in school.
 Karlie had her first tournament in Tucson.  It was three days of volleyball.  Clubs from as far as Brazil and Mexico came to compete!  It was incredible watching the 17's.  This was certainly a different level of volleyball. 
She is already improving!  She did an underhand serve on the middle school team and is working on mastering her overhand.
 Karlie and one other girl are the only ones that have not played club before.  Some have been on club teams for three years already.  Most had left other clubs to try Ignite, so everyone is new to the team.  It is great the girls are all learning about each other and there are no underlying clicks.  They are still young enough to be silly and allow for that unique openness of childhood friendships.  Most adults won't go running and hug each other after only knowing each other for a week. :)
 They are bonding as a team and learning to trust each other on the court.
 While I love watching Karlie play, I have to say my favorite part was the night that Max and all the kids went back home and Karlie and I had the hotel room to ourselves!  We did a peel off face mask that literally took a few layers of my face off.  I think I am too hairy for those masks!  Then we ordered room service and ate the cheesecake in bed.  It is not often I get to spend quality time with the kids one on one.  We had a blast giggling, snuggling and chatting.
 The final day was elimination round.  They fought all day for number one in their division but ended up losing a close one with the rival club in town.  Of all the clubs they would end up with, it was the club two girls on our team had left.  Emotions were high and both sides really wanted to win.  I got a taste of the good and the bad club parents.  I was very happy we did not go with that club.  It was a tough loss for sure.  But they took 2nd in their very first tournament!
Still not sure if we are on the club bandwagon, but I couldn't be happier with the parents on the team and the girls Karlie gets to play with.  But I am definitely going to need to go back to work if one day we have three kids playing club sports!

Happy 91st Birthday Grandpa!

On January 12th by Grandpa celebrated his 91st birthday.  It definitely will not be remembered as one of his best.  He has a pinched nerve in his back that is giving him terrible pain.  So far no one has been able to figure out what is causing it or how to alleviate it.  He had been living independently until the pain became too severe for him to manage.  At the rehab facility they can administer pain medication and are trying to help him with physical therapy.
He was so happy to see me.  My Aunt who lives near him had come down with the flu and the facility banned my Uncle from visiting for fear of bringing the virus into the rehab facility.  If I could have given my Grandpa anything it would have been to be pain free.  I tried giving him back rubs, seeing if I could get him on his side and put pressure on the spot, but nothing worked.  If anything I probably made it worse. He did manage to eat a bite of cake and share it with others at his table.  But not a happy day.  They are the toughest generation and have weathered so many difficult times.  To see him suffering so much at the end of his life is terrible.  I am praying he is pain free soon and get back to watching football games at the high school and hitting the Casino.

Rocky Start to 2017

On Monday, the 2nd, Max and I started not feeling great.  We tried to pass it off on too much drinking and eating bad food over the holidays.  It was time to clean up our act and start the new year right!  However, by Tuesday morning it was clear we were sick, but we still tried to convince ourselves it was just a bad cold.  Max had to leave work early that afternoon with a high fever and when I picked Hank up from school he said he was feeling terrible.  By that evening the flu had set in with fevers, chills, aches pains and coughs.
 The three of us were laid out for a full week.
 Hank's best buddy from school came down with it a few days later and went to the doctor and learned it was Type A flu.  Interestingly Max was the only one in the family to get the flu shot and it took him the longest to recover.  Thankfully the girls never came down with it.  We spent many hours fitfully sleeping with fever and chills that even medicine couldn't control.
When mom gets sick she still has to take care of everyone.  It was like a zombie apocalypse walking around doing the littlest things for the boys like getting them tissues and tea.  Thankfully the girls were great at picking up my slack and making their lunches and helping make dinner. 
 However, everything else got put on hold, so I am just now digging out and getting life back on track.  We basically lost the first week of 2017.  But we are finally all healthy and running full steam ahead.

New Year's Day of New

One of the things the kids love most about going on our States Trips are staying in the hotels with free breakfast.  They especially love the waffle machine.  Hank is never able to participate because the waffles have eggs in them.  For Christmas the kids got Max a fancy flip waffle maker just like the ones in the hotel.  We had to try it for our day of new things.  They turned out perfect and Hank loved the eggless ones.  Doesn't look like 2017 is going to be a health conscious year in our house.

 Karlie is a big cheese fan.  She always wants to try exotic cheeses.  This year we tried a raspberry bellavitano, cranberry & cinnamon goat cheese, and a habanero cheese.  The cranberry and cinnamon was a bit strange but the raspberry bellavitano was delicious.  The habanero about blew my tongue off!  It was even too hot for Max to eat much of.
 My sister Mel and her family sent us a new Pictionary game.  I am not sure we have ever played it as a family.  It was really fun but not exactly fair for the team that didn't get Hailey.
 Kaitlin loves to bake, so for Christmas Hailey got her a macaroon baking kit.  Together they made macaroons.  It was the first time any of us had eaten a macaroon!
 We also tried out Hank's virtual reality goggles.  It was so strange.
 We got a kick out of watching each other experience the roller coaster ride.
 Kaitlin and I are sensitive to motion and both get car sick, so after a few minutes of virtual reality we were both feeling sick to our stomach and happy to watch everyone else.
 Hank was quite entertaining and could do it over and over.

Everyone got foam pop guns so of course we had to have a family game of capture the flag/assassin.  I am proud to say my team won!
As the night wore on we played the new version of Just Dance and had a family dance off.
Even Daddy cut a rug.  We were sweating by the end of it.  Finally got to work of some of the waffles and cheese.
For our new clothes, all the ladies had new work out clothes to wear.  Hank had a new Patrick Peterson jersey and Max wore a new hat that Karlie got him.
Our new movie was the Big Friendly Giant.
It was so bad we couldn't finish it.  The kids asked if they could go to bed halfway through it.
Despite the movie being a bust we had a wonderful day of new playing, eating and talking about what we want to accomplish in 2017!