Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oh me, Oh my

little Indiana Jones

This time of year is my absolute favorite. I love how it is just packed full of excitement, pure and simple ones. The fall colors, leaf piles, dressing up, baking goodies, roasting pumpkin seeds, carving pumpkins, the endless parties, and squeezing in as much outdoor time before it turns bitterly cold. It is full to the brim with real quality family time.

I'm leaving today. And can't help be sad for all I'm going to miss. Yeah, call me spoiled. Who wouldn't want to celebrate turning 30 with their honey in paradise? Me, I guess. My kids love parties. Who else would I want to celebrate with? I'm going to miss dressing my kids up and seeing their faces glow when they look in the mirror, watching their faces turn sour as they reach their little hands into their pumpkins. The light in their eyes when they receive their first full candy bar while trick-or-treating. I LOVE running door to door with them. It is all so priceless. 

Who is going to take their pictures in the school Halloween Parade?
That is just one little thing that is haunting me.

I didn't start this post to cry and whine but to be glad for all I have already been able to do with them, continuing fall traditions and making new ones. xoxo
Snuggled up for the full moon lift ride at Sundance
decorating sugar cookies
making loads of apple chips with Jarom
finding a sleeping zombie
still harvesting a hearty bounty
Being adopted by a new little furry friend. Our very own Halloween cat, Link!
who can always be found cuddling
fall field trips
Getting lost in a corn maze
A new tradition. Hiking Donut Falls among the beautiful aspens.
It was colder in canyon than we thought. The boys were lucky enough to find little wraps and scarves in the car to keep them warm.
Brandon scooting his way up to the falls
Isn't she lovely?
Can't hike Donut Falls without actually eating a doughnut - just you try.
Our Nanie came to visit!!!!! It was her tradition to come visit us every fall but she missed the last two, we are so glad to have her back, and her new husband Jack. It was like CHRISTMAS!!!!
Spidey led the way 
Everyone else gladly followed
Finished with Halloween bedtime stories xoxoxo
How blessed am I?
I cannot count all the ways.

Rachel, Ade, and Dolly -
Thank you
For your love, time, and energy spent loving my kids while I'm gone,
it REALLY means the WORLD to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Day 11: Coromandel

Our last day was an exciting one for me, because in reading my travel books there were three things that jumped out at me immediately - the first was the doing the Tongariro Crossing, which we were able to do on Thanksgiving Day, and then the other two were saved for last.

Good thing we crashed the night before, because we needed to get up bright and early to make it to Hot Water Beach while the tide was still low.

walking down the beach to find the hot spots
here we are sitting in our very own little hot sandy bird bath
A better picture of it. As you can see we didn't need to dig too far. Even this much water was hard to bear because it was boiling hot. From this very spot I watched the cutest old man in a Speedo have to get into the ocean to cool down, and then he hit a hot spot in the ocean and had to run back to the beach. It is kind of a dangerous beach.
Matty relaxing. We took a couple videos of the water boiling.

Last on my to do list was a hike to Cathedral Cove. You might recognize it from one of the Narnia movies. It is the one where they watch a train rush by, and then they see glimpses of the most gorgeous beach EVER. And then magically they appear there.
The trail goes along the cliffs and is oh-so-scenic.
When we started this trail it was still early in the morning. It is a popular one and we didn't see anyone the whole time. When we got there, there were two other couples already lying out on the beach. But other than that, everyone else was coming in as we were leaving.
A little disappointing to get down there and see it roped off. We walked back and forth a few times and then just said, what the heck, we're going through.
on the other side!!
and all alone xoxo

And then the mad rush along the rest of the Coromandel highways to make it to Auckland in time to return our cute little rental car and hit the plane headed home. New Zealand, we will see you again soon.
--- ---

 -- more NZ 2010 --
Pre-trip preparation
Day 1: Auckland
Day 2: Orewa to Paihia
Day 3: Paihia to Kaitaia
Day 4: Ninety Mile Beach to Rawene
Day 5: Rawene to Hamilton
Day 6: Hamilton to National Park
Day 7: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Day 8: Taupo to Rotorua
Day 9: Rotorua
Day 10: Thames to Hahei
Day 11: Coromandel

Last days

Day 10:  Thames to Hahei

last days

and moments were spent on trails along the beach and swimming in Tairua
making a run for it
never tiring of these endless empty beaches
We read that if you climb to the little peaker on top of Mt. Paku that you will visit again in the next 7 years. We wanted to put it to the test. It only took 11 months for it to come true. xoxo
The beach we just swam at was already calling our names again
The trail took you through charming backyards - they all had their own private dreamy paths down to the beach. The views got better with each step.
Beautiful blue ocean on all sides
Loving those mountains way in the background, little Pauanui in the foreground. This place has got it all.
We drove on to our last bed of the trip, and on the way I finally got a picture of my favorite "panda bear cows." We decided to go all out on our last night and throw our budget to the wind. We booked a nice room right ON the BEACH, in Hahei!!
collected our last gifts for the kids in the sunset, up on Cooks Beach
We went to a tiny little ritzy place for dinner - it is a tiny beach town so there was nothing else open. We were just glad we were going to get dinner.
And made sure to drink one last L&P - mmm

We had romantic dreams of walking the beach at night, but once we got back to our deluxe room we only had enough energy to take showers, and for some crazy lame reason we spent our last night all cozied up watching tv, never taking advantage of our beach. The things we regret later in life - not really though. We were so darn tired.
--- ---

 -- more NZ 2010 --
Pre-trip preparation
Day 1: Auckland
Day 2: Orewa to Paihia
Day 3: Paihia to Kaitaia
Day 4: Ninety Mile Beach to Rawene
Day 5: Rawene to Hamilton
Day 6: Hamilton to National Park
Day 7: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Day 8: Taupo to Rotorua
Day 9: Rotorua
Day 10: Thames to Hahei
Day 11: Coromandel

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Snow to Sun

Matt's work signed up to have a team compete in the race, the very race Matt and I have wanted to do ever since it started just a few years before. The race takes you from the lovely lushness of the mountaintops at Brian Head, then down into the redrock country and through St. George, and ending at the ever beautiful Zion.
 Here we are at the start!! Well, we are part of van 2 (the "sun" van) and van 1 (the "snow" van) has already started!! At this moment we are feeling pretty good. It didn't take long to realize that van 2 had 99% of all of the hard runs. They go downhill, we go uphill.
rendezvousing with the other half of our team at our first exchange
Matt had the first leg in our van. Those mighty clouds came rushing in and out, with him.
He ran uphill, sucking in wind at the high elevation (9000 feet), pummeled by balls of hail, and still was smiling. Matt was out-of-this-world amazing. He totally thrived and had the hardest runs by FAR. He is insane.
Little ol me came right after Matt. Enjoying the freshly cleansed earth.
ever so happy to remove the slap bracelet relay "baton", and slap it on Crystal
and true to the name - there was snow!!
 Jared found the perfect remedy for his sore feet - Ashdown Creek
Lillian, she is special, and just never could get that slap bracelet to SLAP!! Mike was our last runner, who also brought our theme music, which carried us to the very end, and whether we liked it or not, it was ours, it was us, guiding and leading, never leaving like a true friend:
Cause baby you're a FIREWORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and that was the only part of the song we knew. And we sang it to each other NON-STOP!!
After our first runs we were supposed to get some shuteye in the tiny town of Newcastle. But it was only 8:00 pm, and you know that you have to get up at midnight to start running, plus you are trying to sleep in the middle of a race. The whole time you just hear people yelling and clapping, screaming and singing. The sleep wasn't happening, well, at least for a few of us.
Mike helping Matt gear up for the first night run.
Here I am pretty darn stoked to start my second run. This was my easy run - no uphill, just short and flat which meant I could get it done fast. The name of this leg was called Cap'n Kirk (Enterprise was the nearby town), hence my tricky hand pose.
YES!! I'm done. Feeling like a million bucks. Amazed I only have one run left. It was all seeming a little too easy....
Bed #2 for the early morning rest at the awesome Washington rec center. I was so happy, and finally feeling at ease and it was quiet and I was tired enough to think I was going to get some sleep before my last run. And I did, all blessed 30 minutes of it. I'm just going to let it all out here, because I sure did there. I was DEAD asleep until that pang in my gut tells me to hurry to the restroom. I'll feel better, I thought. Back to bed, which now seems really hard, and oh, there's that pang again, and again, and again and again. That was it. I was feeling like a goner, but for some reason felt like I was going to still do well on my last leg knowing it was my last leg.
 Me and the ladies of van 2. Most teams are very creative, silly, and competitive. But one of the really great things of being in van 2 was being with all the other van 2s. A lot of them had really funny things written on their van about how being in van 2 totally sucks, or you must have lost a bet, to just being real hardcore. We all felt the bond between the van 2s.
trying to muster up the inner peace, and really enjoy my last run
Matt blasted through once again in the heat and like always, all uphill, he is a machine. The things I'm still learning about this guy. It just blows my mind!!
Dead, slowly coming back to life. I had a picture of my face right after that last run but I really did look dead in it. So I'm doing you a fav and posting this one instead. I started off at what seemed like a good steady pace. But by mile two I knew, I just knew, I was going to faint soon. I was praying and hoping my van was waiting for me right around the corner or at the top of the hill ...... and so on. I needed water, I had nothing to sweat out and I needed some substance. I, like a fool, had not had one thing to eat or drink that morning because I was afraid my belly was not going to hold it. And I had heard the horror stories of people going in their pants while running. I made a promise to myself that that was not in my future, at least not today, on my last victory run. And then, what seemed out of nowhere - another car parked on the side of the road waiting to help their runner offered ME!! an ice cold water bottle. I couldn't believe it. I think tears would have come to my eyes but since I had no water in me they just sweetly stung. And right after that my van came and sprayed me down with pure lovely mist and had a sports drink for me. It all saved my life and my run.
Another one done!! Victory!!
our cozy home
This is what we look like after no sleep and lots of running - it was joy!!
After the miracle of the spray bottle and cold drinks bringing me back to life, I swore I would not let another runner suffer. And I became the mister and Mike my partner was always ready to hand you a new cold one. Here's Mike and I waiting to bless Jared with our life-saving gifts.
we will chase you down
Almost everyone's longest run was today. So we would drive a little up the road and wait. How would you wait after sitting in a car for hours on end?
Proof of the mister is all caught on the pictures baby - before ...
... and after!! You're looking at a new man!
Works wonder on women too. She likes to act like she didn't like it but she loved it!!
Mike running towards the finish line after miles and miles. The whole team was supposed to run in with him.
But we later found out that van 1 went home!! Those twerps!! Oh well, we were the "hardcore" ones.
Proudly showing off our hard-earned stripes. It was always the best feeling to finish your leg and earn a stripe. We really made sure to make them nice, "thick and sturdy," which is our one of our many inside jokes - sorry, I couldn't help myself. The other leg has each of our "kills," which is a notch for every person you passed during your runs. We found great pleasure in every kill.

In the end we wanted some good food, but settled just for food, and sleep. But before we got either of those, we knew we would do it all again.