Family and Fun

We had a wonderful visit with my parents this past weekend. We live 15 hours apart, so it is not exactly easy to get together, so we enjoy every minute we have to share. They happened to be here for a track meet on Saturday, so it was really nice that they were able to see the kids run. Unfortunately, Liam has an injury, so he was not able to compete, but they got to watch the twins. They even took home souvenir sunburns!

Nathan had such a great day! He placed 2nd in the 110m hurdles and also ran the 800m leg of the 1600m medley relay where they also placed second. In fact, he did so well, that he found his name on the Varsity roster for the meet in Albuquerque today! He is so excited!

Go Nathan!!!

Catheryn ran the 800m and did really well. She was disappointed with her time, which was slower than usual, but she is just going to work harder. In the meet today, she will be running the 1600m instead of the 800m. It will be her first race at the mile distance, so we will see how she does. I can’t wait! Liam is still out with an injury, but he will go with me to watch his team run.

Catheryn in the 800m open run.

On Sunday, we went for a hike through the park and climbed up Alcove House. That was something my dad really wanted to do, so it was fun to be able to take him out there. It was really just a nice, relaxing day. In the evening we went out to watch the turkey vultures start coming in for the night. They roost here in the canyon, so there are quite a few circling up above before they land in the trees. They are neat to watch. And of course, we took family pictures.

The kids with Grammy and Grampy.

Me and Rob with my parents, Bill and Caryn.

Our crazy family

Like I said, it was a wonderful weekend. I am so glad my parents were able to drive all the way down here so we could spend some time together. They are planning on coming down for Thanksgiving, so we have another great visit to look forward to!!!

~Special Thanks to my parents for being so incredibly awesome! We love you so much!!!~

Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park is only about 70 miles from our house, so I am little embarrassed to admit that it has taken us two years to finally make it there. We pass it all the time on the way to wrestling tournaments or football games, but we never really have time to stop. On our way home from Kansas, we finally took the time. It was a great history lesson with a chance to stretch our legs for a bit.

Ruins

My crazy kids are photo-bomb happy…

I think if they heard “Hey, let me take your picture!” one more time, they would have hog-tied me and left me along the road somewhere…

A little over an hour after Leaving Pecos NHS, we arrived back home. As fun as it is to take trips, it is always nice to get back home. I am pretty sure the kitties were happy to see us! Charbie had fun out exploring with us, but I think even he was happy to have his favorite lounge spots back. Only two days left, and then it was back to school for the kids. There are just two months remaining in the school year, which seems hard to believe, but apparently time really has gone that fast.

Time to start planning our next adventure!

Dodge City and Beyond

We got up in the morning and walked around downtown Dodge City a little bit. We stopped into the Visitor’s Center and checked out an antique shop I had read about. It is definitely the off season because it was pretty quiet. The Visitor’s Center has a map for people to put pins in their home towns. Each month has a different colored pin, and there were not many locations pinned yet. We were showed the map from last year and it was filled! As it was, we were just the second pin in the state of New Mexico, the first being in Albuquerque.

A fun sign we found on the way to Dodge City.

Kansas Countryside

Dodge City

Dodge City

After lunch we decided to hit the zoo. The Wright Park Zoo is very small but cute, right in the middle of town. It is free to visit, but they do accept donations. We always enjoy visiting the animals, and this little zoo was the perfect place to do that.

It is true what they say about the wind never stopping in Kansas. It blew and blew the entire time we were there, well, except for a few minutes at Fort Larned when the flag was practically still. That probably does not happen very often! We had a wonderful time, though, and western Kansas is beautiful. (I am a sucker for farmland and cows.) Our plan was to start driving towards home until we found a nice place to camp for the night. That happened not too far inside New Mexico at Clayton Lake State Park. It was a great place to spend the evening.

After a good night’s rest, we would head for home in the morning.

 

Exploring Kansas

We had originally planned on staying at the same campground for our entire stay in Kansas, but ended up deciding against that. It turned out to be a good decision, because after a couple hours of driving across the state, we did not really want to go all the way back to where we had started the day.

Packing up camp.

Our first stop was Pawnee Rock. This was the half-way point on the Santa Fe Trail. It is basically a small mound out in the middle of flat farmland. They have built a small monument on the hilltop now, and you can see for miles and miles in every direction.

Pawnee Rock

Liam actually let me take his picture…

Once again, we appear to be all alone…

From Pawnee Rock, we continued down the highway for about 7 miles or so until we came to Fort Larned National Historic Site. We pulled into the parking lot at about 4:20, hoping that they were going to be open until 5pm. As it turns out, they close at 4:30. We ran to the Visitor’s Center to get a pin and a stamp in our passport, assuming that would be all we had time for. We were all prepared to simply admire the grounds on the walk back to the car, but we were invited to go along with the Ranger as he locked up for the night. We thought we would simply be able to peek inside the buildings as he locked up, but he ended up giving us a personal tour! We did not end up leaving the park until 5:45pm. They closed at 4:30pm. That was completely unexpected, and we couldn’t be more grateful!

Names etched into the walls.

Sleeping quarters. Two men to each bunk level, head to foot.

Special punishment for the really bad guy. They put Nathan in there…

From there, we drove to Dodge City. There was a campground we were going to check out, but it turns out Dodge City is a much larger town that we had anticipated. Not very comfortable tent camping in an unfamiliar city, we opted for a hotel for the night. We stayed dry during the night rain, and after a nice hot shower, we were all refreshed and ready to go explore Dodge City in the morning.

Spring Break!

Spring break is always such a great time for a road trip. It’s not too hot, and if you head the opposite direction from the rest of the crowd, you don’t bump into too many people. This year we decided to head to Kansas. We are trying to get the kids to all of the lower 48 states before they head out on their own, so now we are one state closer to that goal! Only 13 to go!

Nathan did not make it very far before falling asleep.

Our first stop was at Capulin Volcano National Monument. It was quite cold and very windy, but we practically had the place to ourselves, so there were no complaints there! What a neat, perfectly shaped volcano! I realize now that I did not take any pictures of the volcano itself, so I feel a little bit silly.

The view from the top was amazing!

We did not have too much trouble finding a place to park!

Mr. Amazing himself. 🙂

It was windy on top of the volcano!

Quiet country roads are my favorite, and we saw only a handful of cars on our way to Lake Scott State Park in Kansas, which was where we made camp the first night. It was great! We arrived later than planned and it was somewhat difficult finding a place to camp in the dark. Once we figured out which loop we needed to be in, though, we were able to get set up pretty quick. Again we found ourselves practically alone. Apparently not many people are up for camping in late March in Kansas. Who knew?

Bright sunshine not only makes it hard to look, but also makes it hard to stop laughing!

Beautiful sky on the Colorado/Kansas border.

This kid loves to photo bomb, and he dove right into my sky picture!

My camp pictures will not load with our blazing (not) fast internet, so I will have to leave that to your imagination! Just picture a pretty state park right on a lake, with no cars except ours. Join us tomorrow as we venture a little further into Kansas to see what we can find!

On Your Mark!

Last week was the first JV meet of the season. We have a relatively small JV team, so Varsity runners were invited to participate as well. Liam chose to run with the team, so I picked Catheryn up from school early and we drove to Santa Fe to watch the boys and the JV team run.

Nathan watching some teammates practice hurdles before the meet.

This was Nathan’s first meet ever, so he was a little nervous. He was running the 100m hurdles and the 400m, and since he had not had a whole lot of practice on the hurdles, he was most nervous about this race. He did a wonderful job, though. Afterwards, he said his whole goal was to make it without falling over a hurdle, which he did successfully. His goal now is to work on his arms.

Nathan’s first ever race in the 100m hurdles!

Such a great run. 🙂

The 400m was equally successful. He ran his best and did a great job.

Back stretch of the 400m.

Liam again ran the 400m and the 4x400m relay. His goal for the 400m is to get sub-60. He ran in 1:01, so he does not have far to go at all. They have an amazing 4×4 team that is always exciting to watch.

Back stretch of the 400m. Both of these runners are on the 4×4 relay team.

Liam also had time during this meet to participate in the high jump. This is an event he loves. At the final meet last year, he cleared 5’0″. At his first meet this year he cleared 5’6″! He was pretty excited about that and I think he is anxious to see how much he can improve over the season.

High jump buddies. These two are really evenly matched, and they love to compete!

A successful jump near the beginning of competition.

The next meet will be a Varsity/JV combined meet here at home the first weekend after spring break. It will be fun to watch all of the kids, not to mention my parents will be here, so they will get to see them as well!

Five Events for Five Decades

As you already know, Rob will be turning 50 (!!!!!) this summer. I have really been wanting to do something crazy, or at least out of the ordinary for us, so I started looking up running events. One event didn’t seem like quite enough to mark such a momentous birthday, but 50 was a few too many, so we decided on one event for each decade of Rob’s life. I found five events, all slightly different, and all close to home. Rob has been wanting to get into better shape, so he has agreed to participate in these events with me.

We are going to kick off our Five Events for Five Decades at the Albuquerque Half Marathon. Of course the title is a little misleading because while the half marathon is the main run of the day, they also have smaller runs. Since it will be our first run of the year, we decided to run the 10k together while the kids are all going to run the 5k. We will be running this event in mid-April.

Our original plan was to participate in the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs in May, but the shortest distance there is 15 miles. Rob has never run a half marathon, so this distance seemed a little too much too fast. And since we do not need any injuries or craziness, we decided to skip that run for this year and add it to the calendar next year.

Next up is the Los Alamos Triathlon in July. This is a sprint distance tri with the swimming taking place in the local pool. It is a good triathlon to start with since it is both short, and there is no open-water swimming involved. Since I already have Rob talked into participating in an Ironman 70.3 (Weee!) with me next year, this will be a good starter race to see how we like it.

Come August we are heading up to run the Red River High Mountain Half Marathon. In this event we will actually be running the half marathon while the kids are planning on doing the 5k again. Liam has expressed interest in running the half with us, but we will have to see how he feels when the time comes to register. This will be Rob’s first half marathon, and I am really excited for him! The course looks amazing, so it should be a great experience!

In September we have the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon. I have not asked the kids about this one yet, but I think they will probably be up for running another 5k. There is at least one other person from the park who will be running this one as well, perhaps more, so it will be a small group event. Should be a fun run!

To wrap up our Five Events for Five Decades, we are going to tackle the Duke City Marathon in October. I think after a year of training and running smaller events, this will be a great place for Rob’s first marathon. Plus, according to their website, it is ranked as one of the top 25 marathons in the world. Not to mention it is a Boston Qualifier, so who knows, we just may get lucky in our old age!

The only run we are currently registered for is the 10k in April, so of course everything is subject to change. This is our plan for the year, though and we will do our best to see it through. I’m thinking we will end this year in pretty good shape! Then it will be time to get ready for Boulder 70.3!!