Friday, September 27, 2013

Bone cancer blows

(Jamie and her three beautiful kids)

I don't normally post requesting donations, but my daughter-in-love knows this family and her situation is pretty dire.  If you have a spare dollar, please consider donating to this mother of three battling stage 3 bone cancer.

As is often posted on facebook - "I wish cancer would get cancer and die"


PS - side note - they are also collecting yarn because her family is going to knit pot holders to sell to raise money.  An example of ones that are doing all they can to help themselves as well.  So - if you don't have spare dollars, but have yarn (and are local) that would be appreciated too.  Get at me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday's Wrandom Wrambling

It's been a long time since I wrote a wrambling post.

Today my youngest turns 22.  TWENTY TWO YEARS OLD!   I must have had him when I was 12.  'Cause I am seriously not that old.  Nope.

Still on baby watch.  I swear to you, this has been the longest labor I have ever known.  Truly.  She's been in somewhat active labor for almost 6 weeks.  My heart goes out to my daughter-in-love.  I am just weary FOR her.  If I could do it for her, I totally would.  Poor thing.

It would be fun if Addysen decided to come today.  Being her daddy's birthday and all.  I share my birthday with my Daddy and I always thought it was super cool.  And he would make a big deal about letting it be MY day.  

*sigh*  Fingers crossed and praying hard.

I also find out today if I made it into the Boston Marathon.  Just posting a qualifying time isn't enough.  Too many people and too little slots.  The choices are made based on speed.  My two minute and 8 second cushion, I fear will not be enough.  In all reality, it's okay.  My only goal was to actually qualify.  BUT, if I do somehow scrape in, flights will be booked and accommodations will be sought.  I'm looking at YOU Countess.  

And for those naysayers who think that Big Cottonwood is an easy course to qualify on.  I ask you:  Have YOU run it?  Have YOU qualified on it?  It's harder than it would seem.  People look at the 19 miles of downhill and think it's a piece of cake.  Not so much.  I'm going to be proud of my accomplishment despite some detracting grumblings going around. Sooo...suck it.

We are back to an empty nest.  Kids are back out in an apartment.  Just me and the Splenda Daddy rattling around the house.  Makes me want to get it all fixed up and sell the sucker.  Downsize and get rid of the big yard.  Maybe closer to Splenda's work.  Decisions, decisions.

I've had some weird allergic reaction to something on my eyes and my lids are all dry, itchy and scaly.  I threw out all my make up and have been going "naked" for several days.
It isn't pretty.  I frighten people.  Good thing I replaced it all and maybe today will try to look normal.

Ever gotten an autumn cold that just kinda lingers?  Doesn't blow up into a full on sinus infection or URI requiring serious drugs, just an annoyance?
Just wondering.

Jace had a sleep over last night.  Fascinates me to watch these dogs be absolutley SO HAPPY to be with each other.  Unabashed joy. 
People could take a lesson.

Let's talk Breaking Bad.  Holy.Smokes!
Seriously, never has a series gotten a hold of my attention like this one has.  The writing, the story lines, the characters, the directing.  All stellar.  Pretty raw and not for everyone, but dang!
Series finale is on Sunday and I approach it with mixed emotions.  Part of me is ready for some closure, and part of me will miss these sad, despicable people.
Baby stepping to Sunday night.

Speaking of despicable.  Anyone else watching the news lately and just wishing for Jesus to come already?
No?  Just me?

On that note - I'm out.

Peace and blessings yo

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Big Cottonwood Marathon 2013 - Going Big and reaching my goal!

I'm still trying to absorb the feelings and come off the high that's been mine since Saturday.  Remember how I paced this race last year?  If you're interested, it was one of my better posts and actually got published in Utah Running sooooo......there's that.  You can click here to read it, but then come right back 'cause this one's good too :)

After seeing what a fantastic job the RD's did with this event, how pretty it was and the course, I decided that THIS year, I wanted to race it.  And not only did I want to race it, I wanted to race fast enough to finally reach my Boston Qualifying time.  For those that don't know, not just everyone gets to run the Boston Marathon.  Based on age and gender, you have to run a certain pace.  I've been chasing this for over 4 years now.  It's kind of a big deal, and for most marathon runners, a goal on their bucket list.

I registered early and then kind of put it out of my mind, it was months away so no serious training needed to happen just yet.  Ran a few events here and there, kept my health up and ran with no agenda other than enjoying the pure fact that compared to this time last year, I can actually RUN!

As time drew closer, I realized that I've been chasing a BQ for years with no success.  Clearly, I must not know what I'm doing.  I turned to an expert at work and D put together a plan for me.  Granted that plan didn't get started until 3 weeks prior, but I had been running and trying to increase my speed the best I knew how.

I followed D's plan to the letter. Some of the workouts, I did great, and some were, uh.....not so great.  But I followed them anyway and did the best I could.

The week before race day, I seriously started thinking about needing a pacer.  Someone who would be willing to run at the pace I needed and to help keep me focused.  I had planned on sticking with one the race provided for my BQ time, but rumors were floating that there wouldn't be one.  I knew, in my heart of hearts, I couldn't do this on my own.  I needed someone to push me when I needed pushing and hold me back when I needed holding.

I belong to several running groups out there on FB so I threw out the request and sure enough, a good friend, loyal customer, experienced runner/pacer offered.  I jumped at his kindness and after making sure he wasn't sacrificing a BQ or PR for himself, gratefully snagged his expertise.

Race day dawned bright and early as it usually does.  I got up even earlier than normal just so that I wouldn't be rushed in getting my things together.  Drank my monster, ate my maple bar (all race day tradition), gear packed and then waited for my buddy Chad to pick me up (he kindly offered to let me catch a ride to the start line since Splenda Daddy would be at the finish to drive me home).

Great time to catch up with Chad.  Since I've switched gyms, I haven't seen my work out buddies in a long time so we had a nice chat as we made our way to the parking lot and the bus loading area.
(i needed the flash...)

Once at the bus loading area, I hooked up with Galen and some other running friends of his and we got loaded.  The bus ride up to the start of a marathon is the WORST!  GAH!  It feels so long as you watch the road and realize that you are going to be running ALL OF THIS in just a short period of time.  Plus, with the winding canyon I started to get a little car sick.

As we approached a corner, we were stopped in our tracks.  A bus just ahead of us, cut the corner too close and ended up high centered.  What the NUT?!?!  Huh. exactly are we going to get to the start line?  People started getting off the bus to check it out, see if there was something we could do, while I could hear the bus drivers chatting on their radio's about how the situation was going to get fixed.
(high centered Le Bus)

(all the buses behind us with marathoners trying to get to the start line)

We finally got word to start walking and there would be some shuttle buses on the other side to get us the rest of the way.  That walking felt good.  I had started feeling pretty light headed and queasy from the bus ride and the cool mountain air, and walking was helping to clear my head.

We reached the shuttle bus, loaded and rode the rest of the way to the start at Guardsman Pass.  A porta potty break, finding some friends and snapping some pictures
(it was absolutely beautiful)

(Kris, me, Galen and Chad.  Love these boys!)

The starting time was behind schedule, but I don't think people really cared, we were just glad to be at the start line and ready to go.  I dropped off my bag, made sure I had my stuff and lined up with Galen and a few of his friends.

Next thing you know....we're off!

The first three miles are super steep down hill, so I was careful to make sure and watch my stride.  I feared getting so amped that I blew out too fast.  I made sure to not overreach and found a comfortable pace.  Galen and I were chatting and so far so good.

Several miles in, Galen began giving me some pointers on cadence and reminded me not to talk.  He would only ask me yes or no questions and then filled in the rest of the time with all kinds of chatter.  BLESS THAT MAN!  I can't even tell you how fast time and miles flew by.  I was so busy listening to him and his stories that I wasn't paying attention to what I was feeling or if I was getting tired.  I was just enjoying a nice run with a great partner!

D had warned me about coming out of the canyon too fast and if I hit the bottom at 1:50 or faster that I had gone too quickly and I would be doomed.  As we came through the bottom, I noted that we were at 2 and some change or so, so I felt good about that.  I had long ditched my hand held water bottle when Galen reminded me that it added 8 extra heart beats per minute.  I wasn't taking any chances!  If I didn't get my water bottle back, well then so be it - I wanted every advantage I could get.

As we exited the canyon and crossed the blvd to a bike path, I was thanking the officers and noticed my friend Paul among them!  GAH!!  I started yelling at him, he saw me, hollered back and that exchange amped me for the next mile or so.  Then I came upon Chad's mom Sal, waved and shouted hello to her and heard her cheering me on.  Wow - the power that comes from encouragement!

I started to feel some fatigue at this point.  Galen was doing his best to distract me.  I couldn't believe it when he pulled out some information and read to me the history of the old mill.  AND STILL RUN!

(clearly I am not a pretty runner - but hey - I don't even give a rat's a** right now)

We kept going although I think our pace was starting to slow a bit.  When we got out of the canyon I had banked about 17 minutes but I could feel that was getting chipped away.  At about mile 20 is when I felt the wheels come off.

My legs hurt.  I was tired.  I wanted to be done.  I came up on a friend who is one of the strongest runners I know, and he was walking.  What the NUT?!?!  I tried to encourage him, but he was done.  Galen called me forward and reminded me to keep my cadence.
"Cadence is your friend"

We talked military and the jody calls that are often done during drill runs.  He explained that those calls are designed to keep on cadence.  So he was would start calling something and I would answer in my head so I could keep the count.  Or, I would simply count in my head to try and stay on beat.

At one particular water stop, I slowed to walk through it and that walking felt so good, I couldn't bear to start running again.  The fast pace earlier had caught up to me, and I was feeling it.
 I thank God, for Galen.

He encouraged me to pick it back up, find the cadence and then started talking again to distract me.
As we passed by the area where the Cottonwood Mall used to exist, I passed a kid off to the side VIOLENTLY VOMITING.  Not just a lean over and puke, but it was violent.  The vomiting that comes from so far down in your gut, it knocks you off your feet.  If you know me, I am a sympathetic vomiter, so just seeing or hearing it will start the gag reflex in me, so actually, that side show helped me keep running.  

Once past him though, the sun was coming out, it was getting hot and I was fading faster than ever.  Galen proposed a 90 second run, with a 30 second walk.  Okay.  I can do that.  I listened for the beeps on his Garmin like I was watching for the Second Coming!  Those blessed beeps!

We did that for a mile or so, and then he looked at his watch calculated what needed to happen in order for me to reach my goal and flat out said to me: "This is what I need from you"
Now normally, my natural instinct would be an itchy middle finger, but too much was riding on this.  I didn't feel like I could do it, but I then also thought of all my friends who were cheering me on.  Who were WILLING me to get this BQ.  Who had even sacrificed chocolate in solidarity of my reaching my goal!  And I looked at Galen as my mentor who knew what he was doing and was being honest in telling me what I had to dig for.

Dig I did.

My whole mental focus at that point was to just.keep.running.  No more walking.  Run.  I heard Galen singing the USMC song and that got stuck in my head.  That was my song for the rest of the entire race.
"From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli......"
Oh how I love it!

We came up on another friend who is wicked fast, and I realized that the course was taking it's toll on many of us.

As we came up on Scott I said, "Hey, no way in hell are you gonna let me pass you.  Let's go!"  He turned back, smiled and replied "I've been waiting for the day to hear you to say that to me!"

At this point, the spectators are piling up. Anytime we passed someone Galen would point to me and tell them that I was going to qualify for Boston.  They would CHEER EVEN LOUDER!  Oh my gosh!  The feelings those cheers invoked are impossible to describe.

We rounded the corner and now the street was lined with people.  Galen kept pointing to me and telling everyone about me qualifying.  People would cheer.

I passed some friends and their high fives gave me some juice, I rounded the second to last corner and saw a dear friend, who I didn't expect to see, cheering me on - more juice!

As we came into the final chute, I. WAS. AMPED!
The chute was lined with hundreds of spectators and right in the middle Galen shouted and pointed to me "This is her Boston Qualifier!"

The crowd's reaction is something I will never forget as long as I live.  I have never had that many people cheering, clapping, hooting and hollering for me in my entire life!

Literally, adrenaline or endorphins or SOMETHING went coursing through my body and the physical feeling is not something I think I can ever describe.  Simply amazing.

I glanced up at the clock, realized I had made my goal with a few minutes to spare and crossed the line with a smile I think I won't be able to get off my face and soul for a long time to come.

Once I stopped, I started to sway and stumble.  I had been seeing black spots since about mile 20 and now, it was even worse.  I hugged Galen, hugged Scott, staggered around while Galen handed me my medal.  Got a water bottle pressed into my hand.  Grabbed by Ana for another hug and then staggered over to a cooler where I could sit down.  

Splenda Daddy found me, more hugs and now some tears.  I did it.  I really, finally did it!

Galen got us some popsicles and then after another picture, he was assured I was in good hands and he went off to find other runner friends and congratulate them.
(this man has my undying loyalty, love and friendship)

I sat trying to soak it all in.  Trying to absorb what had just really happened.  My head was buzzing and I still wasn't seeing clearly, but my oh good did I feel?!

Found another runner friend Rob - exchanged hugs and warrior stories from the race.  Splenda Daddy went off to see if he could find the official race results.  I found what I thought was the line for a massage and called Tib, Corb and sent texts to dear friends that I knew were waiting for word.

I found out the line I was standing in was for physical therapy.  I didn't need that so I wandered over to the correct place where Mindi found me for another sweaty hug!  GAH!!  I just don't even know how to explain how I felt!

Discovered that they were no longer offering massages, and Splenda couldn't find the official results tent so we bailed with the idea that I needed to get on line ASAP and get in the queue for Boston registration.

As I sat in the car on the way home, I relived the whole thing for Splenda Daddy.  Now I could cry.  Now I could express exactly how I felt and how grateful I was for Galen.  I could NOT have done it without him.  I can do hard things yes, but I also know that mentally, I would have given in.  And he never left my side for that to happen.  I am so blessed to call him friend and can never adequately express my gratitude to him.

Home, to an ice bath, Splenda Daddy trying feverishly to get me registered (Ended up having to wait until Monday) and trying to absorb the reality of what I had accomplished.  

A dream that almost every marathoner has.  I dream and goal I've been chasing for years.
I did it.  I finally. For reals. 
Did it!

Final Results:

And for the first time in I think, like ever, Splenda Daddy has something to contribute to this post.  In his words:
When I woke up that morning I looked outside as saw cloudy skies with no rain. I knew it was perfect running weather and would help Melissa run faster. I drove to the high school and waited for her to finish. The race had been going on for 3:30 minutes and I knew she needed to finish before the 3:55 mark to qualify for Boston. I set my phone timer to count down from 25 minutes so I could track her progress without constantly looking back at the official clock. When the timer got down to 10 minutes I found myself looking at the timer every minute. I had felt all morning she was going to make the time but began to get nervous as the time ticked away. I looked at my timer and saw 4 minutes left. As I looked up I thought I saw her about 75 yard out but was blocked out by some of the runners. As she got closer I could see it was her. I knew she is going to make the time and my adrenaline kicked in. As she came around the corner I yelled “You’re going to make it!” but she couldn’t hear me. The crowd was cheering for her because a guy was telling everyone “She is going qualifying for Boston”. As I saw her pass me she ran like she was starting the race. No pain, lots of energy and a big smile on her face. It was true happiness. Something money and fame cannot give you. Happiness comes when you do something very hard and see the positive results. I was so proud of her!

Isn't he so cute?  Love me my Splenda!  He got some fun video too, and I'll post it once we can figure out how to get it off his phone (stupid Smart Talkie Walkie Boxie Thingie's)

A huge thanks to:

Big Cottonwood RD's - You guys threw on another stellar event.  There were unanticipated hiccups, but you dealt with them perfectly!  See you next year!

D - for your training plan and encouragement.  He's a man of few words, but he gave me enough to believe in myself and to know what to do in the final weeks of training.

Q friends - you know who you are, and the thought of disappointing you kept me going.

Galen - there are no words my brother.  Simply, no words even adequate to express my gratitude for you.

Splenda  Daddy - I knew you were at the finish line.  I knew that YOU knew how much this meant to me.  More than anyone else could possibly know.  Your smiling face brought all the emotions full circle. And thank you for trying so hard to get me in the queue for Boston all Saturday afternoon.

I am such a lucky, blessed girl.  Surrounded with good friends who cheered me right through to the finish.  Some of them were clear across the country, some right there in the actual finish chute, either way, the good vibes were felt and I appreciate them.

Never underestimate the power of a pacer.  A good, experienced pacer.  They can make or break you.  G is the MAN!

More importantly, never underestimate the power of happiness, encouragement, and a smile for others.  So many complete strangers made this such an amazing experience.  What power can we have for good simply by being happy for others?  By smiling.  By offering words of encouragement?

Do it.  The world needs more if it.  

This event's tag line is Go Big.

I think of adapting that to not just yourself, but Go Big for others.  We're all running a hard race, and while some of us are struggling at a particular mileage point, maybe walking and simply putting one foot in front of another, or maybe we're off to the side on a break violently vomiting and purging some negativity, toxicity, addiction.... out of our lives or maybe we're running strong and feeling good - we never know what the next mile will bring us.  Go Big in being kind, tolerant, happy and constantly encouraging others along.  

We're all trying to make it to the same finish line.  Rather than battle and fight it all the way, 
Go Big and make the journey one of happiness, growth and friendship.

Post Script: Because of my time, I wasn't allowed to register for Boston 2014 until Monday morning.  Because there are more people wanting in than there are spots for, they are going to give slots based on speed.  Not sure that my 2 minute and 8 second cushion will be enough but it's okay.  I qualified.  For me, that will do for now. But you betcha my fingers are crossed!.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A post of love - for no real reason

This man........
is my everything.  I cannot believe that after 29 years, we are still like little kids.  He makes me laugh

Splenda Daddy = my heart

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wasatch 100 - I am in awe. I am humbled. I was reminded of a valuable lesson

So there is this cool event every year here along the Wasatch Front called the Wasatch 100.

If you didn't click the link to read about it, I'll give you the cliff notes version.  It's an Ultra Trail race.  100 miles along the Wasatch front mountain range.  Not for wussy's.  It's truly an Ultra runner's deal, and brings out some amazing athlete's to participate.

This year, I jumped on the opportunity to volunteer at an aid station.  Sent a couple of emails, and got the assignment to be at the Lamb's canyon aid station.  Lamb's is about 52 miles or so into the race.  I was excited to help, be part of the great vibe, and I was certainly more than curious to see exactly what a runner looks like after 50 miles.  I know at 26.2 and it usually ain't pretty, but what is like at 50 TRAIL miles.

Friday morning, I headed up to the aid station and began helping to sort drop bags.  The night before runners load bags with gear they will want or need to be at certain aid stations.

After the drop bags were sorted by bib number so they could be easily grabbed, the men finished putting up the canopies and we started cutting fruit, getting snacks ready, and making sure there was a nice stream line to the station as the runners were coming through.

At about 2:15pm, the leaders started heading in.  At the beginning of the race, each runner is weighed and then at Lamb's they are weighed again.  This helps to indicate how much dehydration is happening and will determine if a runner needs to stay at the aid station and hydrate for a while.

This is the leader and the eventual winner Nick Clarke

He was about 20 minutes ahead of the next person so we were able to really get our system down.  Runner comes in, gives name and bib at the table, steps on the scales, get a visual assessment from the medical personnel, I place ice cold rag on neck, they move through the chute and get water, food, or anything else the runner requires.

Each runner also has a "crew" that meets them at each aid station with other things they might need.  Runners also have "pacers".  A runner that runs the same pace to keep them going, talk for distraction, encourage when tired, etc.  One runner could have several different pacers throughout the course for different stretches of the trail.  One day, I'll be good enough to be a pacer for someone.

Right before I had to leave, a former co-worker came through!  Andy!! YAY!!  He was right there with the leaders in the top ten and I was amazed at how good he looked.  Had a second to chat with him and his wife before I had to leave.

The whole rest of the afternoon and evening, I watched on-line the progress of all my favorite runners and people I knew who were tackling this beast of a race.

Saturday morning, I really wanted to go to the finish line and see some finishers come through.  I wanted to see what it looked like after 100 miles.  100 TRAIL miles.  So I dragged my friend Mindi at oh dark thirty and headed up to Solider Hollow.  The plan was to start at the finish line and follow the trail back for 6 miles, then turn around and come back 6.  My training plan called for 12 miles with the last 6 at marathon pace.  This should be perfect.

This is where my lesson comes in.  And I'm gonna get spiritual here so if it ain't your thing, feel free to move on.

When we first got to the aid station, it was still dark, and the first place woman had just come through.  I was lucky enough to catch as she was headed towards the shower and congratulate her.  We talked to a couple of guys hanging out about the course backwards and if it was well marked.  They indicated it wasn't but gave some general directions.  I remembered as we were driving that I had seen a trail head sign and was fairly confident I knew how to get to it.

We turned on our headlamps and headed off, almost right off the bat, we made a wrong turn and quickly had to correct ourselves back onto the right course.  We hit a nice pace and began working our way towards where I believed the trail sign to be.  Now mind you, I had looked at a map the day before at the aid station and a gentleman there gave me some instructions, but I let them flow in one ear, hang long enough to get the gist and then flow back out.  I was fairly confident in myself.

We kept going, looking at our garmins for mileage and realized that we were going too far.  We turned back, and looked to see if we had missed the trail head sign.  Nope.  Mindi suggested stopping and pulling up the google map on her phone.  Okay, but in my mind, I was still pretty sure I knew where to go.  We looked at the map, got a general idea and headed out again.  We were going the right way, when I really believed we had gone too far.  Turn around again, and lo and behold, find the trail head sign I had seen when we first drove up.

Luckily there was a man there so we asked him if this was where the runners were coming through.  He indicated that it was back where we had come from, gave some specific instructions and off we went.  As we ran, I again kept thinking we missed something and had gone too far.  Mindi tried to tell me that we needed to find a particular landmark, but I was just sure we were wrong.  Turned around again, crossed paths with some runners who indicated that if we were attempting to follow the course backwards, we were wrong.  Turned around AGAIN.  Finally found the right road, and was able to see some runners go by.  Ended up with very little trail miles, but at this point, I couldn't do more and still stick to my training plan and make it back to the valley in time for work.

At this point, I have recognized the lesson and analogy in the experience.  As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, we believe we have many tools to help us through this experience of life.  We believe in the bible, and additional scripture in the Book of Mormon.  We also believe that just as in biblical times, we have prophets on the earth today who speaks for God.  Tools.  GPS's.  Garmin's.  Map's.  All right at our fingertips ready to be studied and followed to ensure our safety back to our Father in Heaven.

My mistake that Saturday morning was thinking that I was smarter than the tools I had been given.  As much as Mindi was getting the correct information on Google maps, I was just as confident that I REALLY knew how to get where we wanted to be.


Pride in thinking I know more than the proven tools.  Doesn't it seem to happen to us sometimes?  Think of daily prayers.  Even asking God to bless our life in a specific way and then getting frustrated when it doesn't happen or seems to not be answered.  Our attempts to "counsel the Lord" doesn't mean we should be telling the Lord what we want to happen because we know "what's best"  Instead, perhaps the approach should be, asking the Lord for what HE wants to have happen, and for us to gain understanding, patience and acceptance of his will.

We aren't smarter than the scriptures or the chosen leaders and prophets of God. We just aren't.  No matter how confident we may feel about something. In the end God knows what is best and he communicates that information through the Holy Ghost using the tools such as the scriptures, the prophets and our own personal revelation.

I was humbled the entire rest of the day.  I felt bad for trying to think I knew better than the tools we had at hand.  I felt worse for leading Mindi astray with me.  (Ahh.. another thought on our example and how it affects those around us), and in the end, learned that I need to rely in God and His tools, rather than my own understanding.  Period.
Look at my shadow.  Much bigger than the real me.  Totally an example of pride thinking I was much smarter than the google.

We did get a chance to spend some time at the finish line and see some runners come in.  We were both in awe of them, and their sheer physical strength.  These athletes are amazing and examples of how much our bodies are truly capable of.

The morning ended up being lovely.  Got the mileage I needed.  Saw some runners, experienced the finish line and was reminded of an important life lesson.

Gonna chalk that training run up as a win.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chloeefornia dreamin........

Holy Hannah!  This will be a long post and I'll warn you RIGHT NOW - there are a lot of pictures.  Usually, I break our SoCal trips down into days, but not this time so really, you can just move on if ya want.  I don't think anyone really reads blogs anymore anyway and it's essentially my journal so.....whatev's, don't say you haven't been warned.

August!  Our annual trip to the beautiful Camp Pendleton and Oceanside.  Time with the kids, Chloee and sunshine!

Friday night was Splenda Daddy's and mine 29th wedding anniversary so some celebration at BJ's took place

While my steak looked good, they couldn't seem to get it cooked well enough for me, so most of it went home in a box to be nuked for someone else later.   There is no denying their desserts are stellar though!

Saturday was special.  A run in the morning, and some relaxing, but then we drove south and east to meet up with a special couple of friends for a special baptism!
Me, Monique and our other special friend who is a little shy about his picture being taken.  But that's his ice cream cone  - so....there's that.

We were introduced to an excellent new restaurant

Chloee and the girls hit it off right away and had fun all evening.  Chlo and I even took another trip back during the week for a visit and some playing.

seriously, could that spider be any more disgusting?  She lives (or rather lived - she has now passed on) right on the front porch of M's house.   ICK!

The girls are so cute and so fun!  And congrats to Jaycee and her Daddy on their big day!  Thanks for inviting us to be a part of it the special day, we were honored to be there!

Monday was the day that Splenda Daddy surprised Chloee and took us all to Disney's California Venture!  WOOT WOOT!

Fun having the family name at Pixar!

Corb looks like he's just posing nicely for the pic

What a screamin fun day!  Loved, loved, loved it!  Sure, the lines were long and weren't early enough to get any fast passes, but it was so fun to just be there together and have so much fun!  Thank you Spenda Daddy!!

Tuesday was Chloee's first day of 1st Grade.  Holy SMOKES!  Where has the time gone?

She settled right in at her desk and began reading books.  There were other children not so brave.  Some tears and clinging of parents legs, but not Miss Chlo.  She was ready to go!

With some free time, we got a lot of running in

The views are stellar

Not pictured is my great trail run with Corbin on base by the armory.  Rattlesnake Canyon.  Yes, we could hear them.  Yes, it was HOT.  Yes, it was hard.  And most certainly YES - it was fantastic!!

In between all this there was swimming

Some eating at our new favorite restaurant in Oceanside - Swami's.  Holy Smokes so good!

Lot's of playing with Poppa and teasing of Mimi

And the boys got some golfing in

damn, I love these men!

It was such a wonderful week!  Kickin back, playing with my best friend, great talks with the kids and having Splenda 24/7.  Perfect way for us to celebrate our 29th anniversary.  With those we love!

Considering this is likely our last visit there, I was honestly trying to soak up as much as I possibly can.  I've made no secret of my love for the USMC and Camp Pendleton in particular.  

But as it goes in life.....good things will come to end.  And often better things are in the future.