Changing Decades

Birthdays are always fun, but I think perhaps milestone birthdays are the best. After all the youth milestones, it is the decade changes that get our attention. As many of you may already know, Rob is having just such a birthday this year. Come August, he will be saying hello to the big 5-0.

The puzzle board

I usually try to make the milestone birthdays stand out just a little bit from the rest. Whether the gifts are a little more special, or we go somewhere new, or the cake is just a little bit bigger, making them different is always the plan. This year I felt like we needed to do something really special for Rob since he is a full half century old!

He’s figuring it out!

I went through many ideas in my head and the one I had originally decided on was quickly becoming unrealistic. As soon as I realized that, another idea popped into my head. Rob’s best friend lives up in Alaska, and they have not seen each other since our wedding almost 17 years ago. That is a long time! When Rob and his buddy both lived up in Alaska, they spent a lot of time fishing together. So I thought it would be fun to send Rob to Alaska for a week to hang out with his best friend. I contacted his friend to arrange the best dates for salmon fishing and made sure he was on board. He was, of course, and has it all planned out that they will spend the week at his cabin. Should be a fun man week!

Impatient kids looking on…

Once I purchased the tickets, I had to decide how to give them to Rob. That was actually the hardest part! The kids had introduced Rob to a game where you have to unscramble letters to make words that match pictures. I now find him playing it almost every night. Catheryn thought it would be fun to make a word board just like in the game. That was a great idea, so she and I spent the morning putting together a word puzzle.

Almost finished!

Since Rob will be going to Alaska in July (better salmon fishing apparently…) we decided to give him his gift now so that he has time to get the time off from work as well as plan for the actual trip. The kids and I were excited to give him his gift, so we decided to do it over his lunch break. Unfortunately we picked a day when he was very busy, so he did not really have the luxury of taking his time. I realize now that we should have just waited until after work, but it is a little too late for that now.

Prize time!

He was pretty quick at solving the word puzzles, and I think he was a little surprised at the ‘prize’ at the end. Normally you get tokens for finishing a level, not plane tickets. I am so excited for Rob to be able to go back to Alaska, I just wish I could have managed a little more. After all, it is not every year you turn 50!

He liked the comic I put with his tickets. ūüôā

(I apologize for the terrible pics!)

Let’s Go Hawks!

As promised, here are some pictures from the boys’ first football game of the year. They lost to Taos, 26-18, but they had a blast! Last week they won against the Elks, 6-0. They are already looking forward to their Thursday game this week! Let’s Go Hawks!!!

Game Day!

Nathan is #16

Liam is #85

Liam’s 4th down attempt.

Great Game!!

After game huddle

Dino Prints and a Tri-State Marker

As I mentioned yesterday, the dinosaur prints in Kenton, Oklahoma were pretty amazing! We spent quite a bit of time there feeling pretty cool that we were walking in the exact prints of a dinosaur. We were hoping to find out what kind of dinosaur it was, but since the Heritage Center was closed, we were unable to do so.

Sweeping out a print

Walking with the dinosaurs

A line of prints crossing the creek bed

A pretty cool spot to be!

This little guy tried to trick us, but we weren’t falling for it!

After leaving the prints, we kept on down the road until we came to the tri-state marker where New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado meet. Dirt road, felt like the middle of nowhere (my favorite place to be), nobody around. It was perfect.

Where three states meet

Where is my family?!

Rob and I don’t tend to spend time apart, so when we do, it is quite an adjustment. Our original plan was for all of us to travel from Pennsylvania to Chicago, and then down to Kentucky for our new season at Amazon. SInce Rob’s job was extended (yea!), I had to go to Chicago by myself, and then continue on to Kentucky since I already had a planned start-date. William had the choice of whether or not to accompany me, and he chose to come, so we have¬† enjoyed some quality time together. The twinnies stayed with Rob, since he works right by our summer RV pad.

William and I have¬†been tent camping in Kentucky, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the rest of our family. Rob’s last day at his summer job was yesterday, and they were planning on hitting the road today. Nathan called me this afternoon to let me know they¬†were rolling! They¬†are still a couple of days out, but¬†it is so¬†nice to know that they are¬†on their way. By the¬†time they arrive, it will¬†have been¬†almost two weeks since we parted. Too long, if you ask me.

Tent camping has been an adventure, though. The RV park we are it is located right across the street¬†from Amazon, so all the¬†RV’s here, close to 100 already, are part of the CamperForce¬†program. People from all walks of life come here for the peak season, so there are fancy motorhomes and more simple travel trailers, big 5th wheels and truck campers. We, however, are the only tent. I have heard everything from¬†“So you¬†are the ones in the tent,” to “I told someone I thought the gal in the tent was¬†blonde.” There¬†was even a “You’re¬†in a tent, is everything alright?”¬†I think¬†there is a mix of concern and the desire to gossip, and perhaps a lack of other conversation topics.¬†¬†

We have been doing great, though. The weather¬†has been amazing, William has been even more so and besides the¬†fact that my bones are aching for my own bed, we have been very comfortable. I have¬†rather enjoyed the time William and I have been able to spend together, and I know Rob can say¬†the same thing about the twinnies. We don’t get this opportunity… well, ever.¬†

That being said, however, I miss the other 3/5 of my family, Charbie, Remington P,¬†Wiggy Wabbit, Flash the turtle,¬†sleeping on something other than a bed of rocks¬†and a¬†bathroom that doesn’t require a walk up¬†a hill in the middle of the night.¬†¬†

One thing this wonderous lifestyle has taught us is that you have to be able to go with the flow. Things change, they rarely go as we plan, but somehow they always work out, and we are usually stronger because of it. In a couple of days I will embrace my entire family once again, and the mere thought of the reunion makes my heart want to burst.

Fox Valley Marathon

Well, I did it. I am officially a marathoner! I could not have asked for a more amazing experience.

The weather was absolutely perfect, cool enough for a sweatshirt in the morning, but warm enough to take it off before the race even started. It warmed up as the day went on, but not too much. The course was a little crowded in the beginning, but eventually the half-marathon and marathon routes split, so it was not too crowded at all on the trails.  

The crowd along the course was spectacular, cheering for everyone as they ran by. Their signs were great. Even the chalk writings on the sidewalk were fun to read. There was everything from “You Rock, Runner!!” to¬†“Don’t Stop Now!”, followed almost immediately¬†by “That’s what she said!” My favorite signs were “Run¬†faster… I just farted!” and “Marathon runners never die, they just smell like it!”

The course, as promised, was relatively flat, scenic and shady. I took pictures along the way, determined to remember as much about this day as possible. 

I didn’t really have a time goal in mind, but I knew what I could expect to finish in. 5 hours was realistic,¬†so I lined up behind the 4:45¬†goal pacer.¬†Eventually, though, I lost contact with the pacer and was¬†running my own race. I had read too many stories about people who forgot to enjoy the experience because they¬†were so focused on time, and I was not going to allow myself to be in that group. Especially not in my first marathon. So, I just ran. And looked around. Read signs. Took pictures. And I loved¬†it. Every. Single. Minute. Of course, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of the half-marathoners at the 13.1 mile mark…

In the end, it took me 5 hours, 8 minutes and 50 seconds to cross the finish line.¬†I wasn’t fast at all, but I finished.¬†And, since this was my first official marathon, I set a Personal Best. How could I possibly complain about that? ¬†¬†¬†