Those Moments

I have loved the ocean as long as I can remember. It’s unknown depths, countless lives beneath the surface, and breathtaking beauty are simply mesmerizing. I always come away from the beach stunned and in awe of this extraordinary planet.

We’ve had the distinct privilege of living near many oceanside locations:

Beach on NAS Whidbey Island

Maylor Point Trail, Oak Harbor, WA

Hanama Bay, Honolulu, HI

Waikiki Beach/Fort DeRussy Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI

Washington Park 3 mile loop, Anacortes, WA

Front Street, Lahaina, Maui

Washington Park, Anacortes, WA

Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi, TX

The white sugar sands of Pensacola, Florida were intoxicating and such a far cry from the barnacle-laden rock beaches I was accustomed to growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Living on Oahu of course was paradise, no question. We spent many days out on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, while living in Corpus Christi, TX. It really doesn’t matter where we travel, the ocean is a must. Pretty much the only thing I love as much as the ocean are my dogs!

Knowing our time in San Diego is finite, I’m determined to make the most of it before we head back to the evergreen state. What better way than to check out a new beach?! And what better beach than one where dogs can roam free and play?

Yep – Dog Beach!

They played and raced and sniffed all the smells!

As I looked around, there were dogs as far as I could see. People were are smiling. Dogs happily barking, splashing and playing chase. Whitney whined to be let off of her leash. Her joy is running, and she had some running to do! Buck didn’t really enjoy the beach in Corpus Christi when we took him a few times, but the waves were calmer today and far off the wet sand so they weren’t as scary.

For dog people, we get that our animals are something special. They are more than pets. There aren’t words to adequately describe the way we feel – the way I feel – about them. They soothe the ache of being human.

Walking amongst the myriad dogs of all shapes and sizes, joy couldn’t help but seep in. Looking over at my “grumpy old man” Buck, seeing him trotting happily and rolling around in seaweed – those moments of pure joy and content – I simply inhaled the the view around me. I savored the feeling of wanting to be no other place than right there, feet in the sand watching them be free.

Dogs….and beaches.

That’s just about heaven on earth if you ask me.

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The Things I Do….

It has been said that “If you are interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”

That pretty much sums it up for me lately, today in particular. I do what it takes to get a run in whenever I can.

I started the day with a massage this morning and it was FABULOUS! Long overdue and much needed! I came back to the house and the long-missed “ball of fire in the sky” made a rare appearance. After playing with the kids in the yard for a while, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t seize the opportunity to run on such a nice day. November in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t lend itself to nice days like this very often. So inside to grab some running clothes, get shoes for the kids (they run around barefoot whenever they can, regardless of the temperature) and load up the bike, trike, and stroller. And 3 bananas. And apples. And water. Oh! And I now have a Garmin – gotta test it against the app on the iPhone….okay – I think I got everything. Down to the trails!

Last week my mom watched the kids so I could run – and I ran 6 miles. In the cold. And rain. Chilled to the bone by the end – but it was still good! I’ll take my miles however I can get them! Even if it means jumping through all kinds of hoops to get it done….

Today’s hoops included the following: Hannah had a pooptastrophy. So after quickly getting the bike, trike and stroller out of the back, in went Hannah the hot mess. Let me just say this: she had to don her backup outfit because it was EVERYWHERE! (Meanwhile, 3 or 4 other people have parked and ran along on their merry way while I wrestle an now clean and redressed Hannah out of every single mud puddle AND trying to keep an eye out for Jake so he doesn’t careen into another runner on the trail while he races up and down the hill.

Multitasking at its finest.

Here’s our deal: Kids get to ride bikes up and down the trail a bunch of times, then mommy gets to run. Run with kids in the stroller AND strapped in, so I can plug my ears (with music) and for 30 minutes TRY to imagine that I am not, in fact, pushing 80+ pounds! Usually they have no problem sticking to the deal. Once in a while Jake decides to ride his bike alongside the stroller, only to want to turn around and put the bike in the car a quarter mile in. Today I got lucky and he was cooperative and gladly climbed into the stroller. Bribing him with a banana helped.

It was a nice easy 2 miles, scenery was fabulous! (See picture: fall at its finest!) and the best part was as I was finishing up a sprint to the end, a very sweet couple gave me a standing ovation! Well, granted they were already standing/walking, but the applause was a nice touch and a great boost to my run!

Endorphins, sunlight and a little applause made all the “hoops” worth jumping through today!

Happy Running!

The Walk

About a week ago (I think?! ¬†Two weeks? The days are starting to blend together a bit for me lately ūüôā we went on a walk on the trails near our house. We went with Grandma and Grampa and had a GREAT time!
It was, however, a groundhog-day sort of walk. The kind of walk you take with preschoolers. Meandering. Looking at a twig. Looking at the drain. Throwing a leaf into a ditch. Throwing a leaf into the ditch 500 times. Picking blackberries. Getting stuck by stickers in said blackberries. It was comical, fun, and a hilarious 2.38 miles. And Hannah and Jake were troopers having walked almost the entire thing!
I should point out that they were troopers AFTER about the first half mile….poor Jake and I had a standoff that rivaled the one at the O.K. Corral. Sheesh! That boy can be strong-willed. Can’t imagine where he gets that from…..anyway, once he got that we were in fact going to walk the loop and not just turn around and go back, he starting having fun, too!

 

Grandma and Hannah running along, side by side….most all of the way!

 

 

Pit-stopping to do some “happy feet”. (Think football drills.)

 

Hannah and Grampa stopping to wave at EVERY dump truck that drove by….

 

 

And Jake too!

 

 

Walking with Grampa! She asked him to carry her for a bit! So cute!

 

 

 

Happy Feet with Grampa!

 

 

And she nearly crashed at the end. Wanted to be carried. Can’t imagine why! Two miles on those two little legs was tough work! (For the record, I did have the stroller. She chose not to use it.)

 

 

 

 

Grandma took a turn!

 

And of course, Jacob had to get in on the carrying action!
So much fun with these crazy kids!

A Little Fall…A Little Gratitude….

After a couple of days of grey, wet, and typical Pacific Northwest weather, I am trying to not be such a Wendy Whiner and instead embrace the things I am grateful for.
Not having had actual seasons for a few years, it’s actually kind of fun to teach my kids and have them notice all the beautiful colors that are EVERYWHERE right now! Even in our own front yard!

 

 

Jake would barely let me rake this mini pile before diving in to kick them all around! He had such fun!

 

Hannah on the other hand was content to play in the “river” as both her and Jake refer to it….it’s the side of the curb. It was a “rushing river” that they felt compelled to toss leaves into and watch them float away.

 

 

These are a couple of the trees that have changed colors in the past couple of weeks.

 

And in one of our “inside recess” kind of days, we made beaded necklaces! Jake was loving them. Cracked me up! They love to wear the pjs EVERYWHERE. I can barely get Jacob out of them!

 

Does this girl know how to rock her accessories, or what?!
I am thankful for this fun little girl and boy and all their silliness, playfulness and boundless energy! They definitely keep me on my toes and keep me moving!
I am so very grateful for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Oh how I heart thee! If you have never tried one…seriously – it’s like drinking pumpkin pie. If it wasn’t 11pm right now I would be going to get one for myself!
I have been moved from the responses from my last couple of posts. I am in awe of some of the responses and humbled by the kind thoughts expressed. We are all connected and I am feeling the love!
I am grateful for the ability to run. While I don’t get to do it as often or whenever I would like, I do have my health and the physical ability to do it. I signed up for 5 races (2 5ks and 2 1/2 marathons) between November and April of next year. I am so excited and have to remember to keep goals to shoot for. It keeps me motivated. I am grateful for motivation.
I am so thankful that a friend turned me on to the show “Downton Abbey”. Its a PBS drama (I’ve been watching on DVDs from the library) It is such a fun ‘brain-candy’ escape!! Love it and can’t wait for season 3 to start!
The kiddos need some pretty extensive dental work done probably by the end of the year. Because of Jake’s inability to be a rational person where doctors and dentists are concerned, and Hannah’s age, they both will be put under anesthesia for the processes. While I am sad that they have to go through the ordeal, and frustrated that it costs so stinkin’ much, I am so VERY grateful that we have the ability to pay for it.
I am thankful for my nieces. We had such fun making homemade milkshakes and watching movies. I love that the cousins can be close and see each other often!
I have much to be thankful for. For that I am grateful.

A Little of This, A Little of That…..

I’m just loving having a garden this year. While we didn’t plant that much, it’s amazing to me just how much we’ve been able to harvest! We’ve been eating snap peas like crazy people!

And look what was hiding… A few cukes!!

The pumpkins are growing OUT of the garden!!

 

The kids wanted to go for a bike ride so down the road we went, to be met with a neighbor spreading fresh dirt in his flower beds. He was very kind and offered to give the kids some dirt for their dump trucks!
They LOVED it!
They played…..¬†
and dug……

 

all morning long!!

 

Had to break for some swing time!

 

 

Somehow,  Jake always manages to rope Hannah into doing the pushing!! Smart little stinker!

 

 

 

Later they played “coal”. This is their new favorite game where they dig up rocks to put in Hannah’s tricycle and pretend they are trains. They come by Mama’s gas station and I fill them up and put air in their tires. They pay me in rocks! I love it!

Gathering that coal!

 

Just couldn’t resist a few of that cute little face!
Oh how I love them so.

Wild Hairs and Crazy Ideas

Waking up this morning at o’dark thirty to a screaming, fit throwing, apparently possessed Hannah, I got the wild hair to get the workout done today before anything else. As I contemplated a run, (location, should I bring Jacob’s bike, just the stroller, decisions, decisions….) I got the genius idea to go for a bike ride with the kidlets in the bike trailer.
“Yeah, that sounds good. Just got the bike back from her tune up – she’ll be good to go!”
We dressed and were out the door by 7:15. I thought riding from my house to my sister’s coffee shop couldn’t be that¬†far. I could do it. Probably only take me a half hour or so. It’s only like 7-10 miles, at most. I biked to bootcamp on Ford Island from Honolulu and discovered it was only about 5 miles. If I could do that, surely I could do this.
Smh.
Yeah, took me an hour to get to the coffee shop. Let’s not forget I have to ride all the way back! We stopped and had coffee (milk of course for the kids) a treat and a fun little visit with Uncle Dan at the roastery before hitting the road for the LOOONNG trek home. And of course I had forgotten to set the GPS before I left, so even if I had gotten a ride back home – I wouldn’t have wanted it because I was dying to know just how far it was (and how BADLY I had misjudged the distance)! So when I got home – I discovered, to my shock, that it was about 26 miles round trip.
Yeah – that’s a marathon.
And what’s even more ridiculous, is that elite marathon runners actually RUN (on legs) the same milage in the same time it took me to BIKE it! HA!
The kids were such troopers. I still can’t believe they rode that long in the trailer (mom fail!) ¬†Here are some pictures from the ride:
I let them out of the trailer to walk over the bridge…..amazing views! And a good break to get out and stretch their little legs!
Looks like they are in jail!
The view back home…..
The direction we were heading – to Moka Joe! This part was pretty daunting. Just like in life’s obstacles – “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” Or pedaling.
This is looking out over Swinomish channel
Me! The Crazy Idea Girl!
Driving cars along the “track”!
Beautiful morning views that I usually don’t get to appreciate much as I am usually driving over this bridge.
Funny little side note: I had texted my sister and let her know where I was headed. You know, back when I thought it wouldn’t be more than about 10 miles! If I hadn’t texted her my plan, I SO would have turned around and gone back to the house before I’d even gone 5 miles. That just goes to show the power of accountability! There was NO way I was going to¬†quit what I set out to do, after I had “announced” it to someone else! Accountability partners are KEY!
FINALLY we make it back home. And did I mention yesterday’s leg workout day was, to quote my workout partners, “gnarly”!? Yeah, I was feeling the “weakness leaving my body”! I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to turn down my street and see home!
After a much needed rest and down time at home, we (I) then get the crazy idea to go to Washington Park! There’s a playgorund, the beach and a 3 mile loop road with spectacular views of the ocean, with trails that are simply stunning. I actually used to walk the loop often when we lived here before and when I was pregnant with Jake.
After riding 26 miles pulling 70 lbs, what better way to relax and recover than to walk a couple of miles herding kids on bikes and trikes while I push a double jogger in the fairly predictable chance that one or both of them is going to get tired and not want to ride/walk anymore!?
B.E.A.Utiful!
Down to the water we go!
Washington Park is one of my favorite places on the planet!
Looking for critters in the tide pools – no luck today…maybe next time! And notice the coats and long sleeves. In August. Really Washington? This is summer? Sheesh!
What a cutie!
Needless to say – they crashed early tonight. I think my wild hairs and crazy ideas wore them out! (I don’t think we’ll be leaving the house tomorrow!)

Preparation

Today was the last race before Eric’s departure. Kind of bittersweet, but I really didn’t have time to dwell too much on it because I was SO completely unprepared for today in every way that I just had to muddle through.

Flying by the seat of my pants, I snoozed longer than I should have (after staying up the night before longer than I should have), tried to get some breakfast and get dressed before Hannah woke up…no luck. She woke up so I was stuck nursing while watching the clock tick down the minutes before we needed to leave! Ugh. Normally, I am a person that plans and prepares and sets out the race gear/number/water bottles/breakfast the night before so I don’t have to think too much! Not so much this morning….

Then it dawns on me – hmmmm…. there was no race packet pick up. I don’t have a race number. I never got an email about one. Crap! But then Eric wondered aloud if I’d registered for this race way before I’d gotten hacked and changed it….Crap! Crap! ¬†I quickly got online and found there wasn’t a packet pickup – just a number pick up at the start line. Okay cool. Now – where the heck did I put my armband for the gps/iphone for my tunes?? Crap! Crap! Crap! (Perhaps the title should be renamed CRAP!) Ha!

And of course by this time, Jacob is throwing a fit about something or other (there has been a few lately so it’s hard to keep track of them!) I then look outside to see it POURING buckets. Permeating, drenching, soaking wet rain. By the way – I got a sunburn yesterday from sitting in my yard. What?! I think I could deal with the weather better if there was some kind of consistency, but man! Is there something wrong with 2 days of sun in a row?! But, I digress……

Finally we make it – I have all my gear and I’m ready to go. Kiss Eric and the kids goodbye and I’m off.¬†There is no chip timer. No gun start. Just a loud “3….2…..1….GO!” And there were maybe 75-100 people. TOTAL. Talk about a small race. And many runners seemed to be on the elite side because about 5-10 of us were bringing up the rear of the pack and I was running a 9-10 minute mile. Usually that pace puts me in the middle of the pack. Not a ton of beginners in this neck of the woods! Part of going from a city to a small town I guess….maybe that will help me get faster! Ha!

I did pretty good coming in at 2:21. The EXACT same time as the last half I did a few months ago. There was a definite difference this time in that with the lack of preparation – it just seemed to make the whole race that much harder because I felt like I was 3 steps behind before I’d even started! Mentally I kept hearing Christina (my Hawaii trainer) SCREAM at me…..”What?! You are stopping to walk?!!! You aren’t even breathing hard! GOOOO!!!!!!”

It’s a miracle we made it out the door! And I was totally sporting my Dumbell-Fit shirt! Gotta represent yo! 808 Baby!

Then there was the rain. Whoa. You know you are a “real runner” when even this soggy mess of a day doesn’t deter you! Whew. Even with a hat on, the water poured through the bill and my face was SOAKED. Afterwards I was getting the chills (Yeah, in June-uary!) So when we made it home I took a HOT bath! Felt great!

So moral of the story…..(or rather note to self) – PREPARATION IS KEY. Diet, sleep, rest, recover, run, cross train, hydrate – it’s all preparation. It’s all needed. And I will never again schedule a race in the last two weeks before a deployment!! Silly me!

Speaking of races…I better start looking for some to fill up the summer!!