Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Girls!!!

So on Friday we held a birthday party for Tyree (who turned 4) and Parker who turned 5 on Sunday.  The princess bounce castle was a big hit.  And the kids had fun with everything.  The birthday girls were especially excited.

 I don't think Jesse and I have taken a picture together in over a decade.  So that was fun.

 We managed to successfully bust two different pinatas without maiming anyone.

Monday, March 16, 2015

My two tours of D.C.

 So I had the opportunity to return to Washington D.C. to run the Rock N Roll D.C. marathon.  I flew in early and was met there by my sister Skye and her two daughters Reagan and sweet baby Annabelle.  We spent Friday touring D.C. and I got to spend lots of time taking Reagan around the monuments and memorials at the national mall. 
 Reagan enjoyed her first ride on the metro, almost as much I loved getting lunch from the line of food trucks parked near the National Mall.  It was great. 
 We visited the Washington Monument first but were too late to get tickets to go to the top. 

 It was still pretty funny because when Reagan ran up to touch the monument she starting screaming "Run away!!  It's going to fall!"  It was pretty hilarious.

I walked up with Reagan to visit President Lincoln while Skye was feeding baby Annabelle. 
 One memorial that I hadn't previously was the Korean War Veterans Memorial.  Reagan and I took a few minutes to walk through it on Friday afternoon and I'm so glad I did.  It was absolutely haunting.  I was blessed to have a grandfather who flew in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and live through them all to get to become a grandfather and great grandfather. 
 Anyway, it was one that I was really touched by and I'm glad I took the time to visit this little section of the national mall. 
 My camera battery was dying the entire day, so I didn't get many pictures during the day, but we were able to visit the FDR memorial.
 And go to my new favorite monument, honoring President and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. 

We spent so much of the day walking around seeing everything cool, that I realized too late I was developing a blister on the bottom of my foot.  Not the best sign going into a marathon, but what can you do.  We met up with Shiloh and Jason and friends of theirs for our traditional pre-race Greek food.  Tried to get to bed early on Friday night, but of course I was so excited, that doesn't really lend itself to a restful night.  Still I got decent enough sleep and felt good going into the race.
 Bright eyed before 6am.  Jason an I were ready to run while Shiloh chose to cheer us on. (Something about being pregnant again so she decided to skip the race and just support us.)
 The only downside was the weather.  Although it wasn't cold necessarily (50's & 60's) it was pouring down rain by the time we started and the downpour didn't stop until around mile 20.  It never did stop raining, but it lightened up to a sprinkle. 
 Jason and I didn't really have a strategy.  Just take it easy and enjoy each other's company.  And we did.  The first 15 miles just flew by.  Even after that it never got difficult or painful.  We never hit the wall.  We didn't even really take walk breaks until the final 3 miles when we were just soaked and exhausted and hungry.
 So we finished strong and felt really good.  Although we were soaked to the bone.  I seriously don't remember ever being so wet in my entire life. 

 It was slow and steady but honestly it was the very best I ever felt after a marathon.  And even two days later I'm much less sore and swollen than I've ever been. So we must have done something right. 
The medals were great and the finisher's jackets were even better.  We finished the afternoon with hot showers and our traditional post-race burgers and fries.  Hey, we earned it.  It was a great weekend and I'm so grateful I have wonderful family to share it with.  Especially the ones who are crazy enough to run these things with me. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Same Spouse. Different Story.

Everyone knows that a relationship, any relationship, is a living thing.  It grows and changes as the people in it grow and change.  All relationships evolve over time.  Some of them grow stronger and deeper through good and bad shared and individual experiences.  And some of them cool and become casual acquaintances.

Marriage is especially tricky to navigate because it has such far reaching effects. Marriage is never just about the two people making the vows.  And that's part of what makes it so damned hard.  Knowing that there isn't an easy way out when the going gets tough.  With marriage there are other considerations.

And the going WILL get tough.  In fact, there are days when staying married seems impossible.  And there are days when you loathe your spouse more than any other person on the planet. 

Husbands and wives, no matter how much they love and respect each other are going to grow and change as individuals.  You are not going to be the same person at 30 that you were when you got married at 25. Or 19.  Or 35.  And you're not going to be the same person five or ten years down the road at 40 or 50.  And so at some point you're going to wake up one morning hardly knowing yourself and lying next to a virtual stranger.

So you're faced with a choice: stay together and put in the hard work and effort to try and make things work as the people you are today.  Or give up and walk away.

In all fairness, divorce is probably the easier option in many cases. Because working it out is HARD.  And it hurts.

With all of that in mind, we have decided within our own marriage to write a new story.  It hasn't been easy getting to this point and I don't expect it to be easy simply because we've made this decision.  But starting now, we start fresh.  In the absence of being able to have a new wedding and recommit to one another with new vows, we decided that the best way to really symbolize our new relationship was with new wedding rings.  Of course with the rings, come new promises to one another and new hope for a bright future.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Birthday Weekend

 Okay so...... this is a long post, but fear not Cami and Jesse, it's mostly pictures, so you won't have to read too much LOL.  Because we don't have friends yet to invite to a birthday party here, we decided to spend the birthday weekend on an adventure.  So Travis took off work early Friday and as soon as we picked Gideon up from school we headed out.  We arrived at our hotel in Deadwood at around 8pm and ordered pizza and wings for dinner.  We had bribed Parker to be good on the trip by promising her she could open one birthday present when we arrived.
 And because Nana was worried about Gideon feeling left out, she had sent a present for him to open on Parker's birthday and he got to open his when we arrived as well.

 I love that Parker is such a girly girl, because it means she doesn't get disappointed when she opens presents that are clothes and underwear.

 After opening a present and eating a little bit of food, we changed and went down to the pool for a bit.  So once we finally got kids to bed around 10, we decorated the hotel room as best we could so that Parker could wake up to something fun.

 Oh and here's a picture of the cake.  The decorating job is pretty weak, I mean, I could have done that.  But Oh well, they stuck a "Frozen" thing on the top of it and a few snowflakes, so she was really happy.

 Parker loved her new clothes and underwear so much, she insisted on wearing them for her birthday.  Happy Birthday my little pixie! And she opened one present before breakfast.

 Breakfast waffles for the birthday girl, which she only ate about a quarter off, because she wanted to get back to the room and do birthday stuff.

 Parker had lots of help opening presents from her big brother.  And he was as excited about some of her stuff as she was.

 And finally after Parker opened all of her gifts, it was my turn.  The first gift I opened was a pair of pearl earrings from my in-laws that are gorgeous.

 I love that Parker decorated the envelope of my card with her Frozen stickers.

Oh my children are absolute geniuses!  How on earth did they pick out the perfect purse and shoes for me? He he he... Okay, I may have steered them in the right direction by ordered the items I wanted online myself, but still they were my presents from the kids.

 Alright sisters dear, prepare to be jealous.  Travis seriously went a little crazy at the jewelry store last week.  So I already got an alexandrite necklace and a ring that he just couldn't wait to give me. And so at the hotel I opened up a sapphire necklace and a pink pearl necklace.
 And a rose gold and diamond ring.
 And rose gold earrings to match the ring.
 And a rose gold and diamond necklace to match the ring and earrings.
 Check out that rainbow cake.

 So after breakfast and presents, we went out to sight see.  Our first stop was the Mt. Moriah Cemetery.  We went there of course to see where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried, but it turned out to be a really cool cemetery for many reasons, not the least of which is because it's in a great location on the side of the mountain.  Sure they must spend a fortune in retaining walls, but still, it was very cool.
 It's the only cemetery I've ever paid to get into but it was only $1 for adults, so worth the price of admission.  And sure enough, they're neighbors in death.

 The story Calamity Jane told was that she and Wild Bill were lovers, but historians and accounts from people who knew her differ.  Most say that she carried a torch for him, but they were never more than acquaintances or perhaps casual friends.   The truth is, Wild Bill was shot less than a month after arriving in Deadwood on the same coach as Calamity so they likely wouldn't have had time to develop any sort of attachment even if he had reciprocated her feelings.  Most of the people who've done the research say that Hickok was a very handsome man who had his pick of the women around him and preferred the soft feminine type, which Calamity Jane decidedly was not. (In fact there are accounts that say she tried prostitution but couldn't make a living at that because of her lack of feminine charm.)  By the time he came to Deadwood, Hickok was newly married to a lovely young woman named Alice who, by all accounts, he adored.  He'd left her behind in Cheyenne to seek his fortune in Deadwood.
 And per her final request, when Calamity died more than a quarter century later after suffering from a variety of ailments (chief among them alcoholism) she is buried next to Wild Bill Hickok.

 Many cool headstones and stories to visit at Boot Hill, but one of Deadwood's most prominent found fathers, Seth Bullock, is buried on top of the hill, 780 feet above the cemetery proper so he could face Mt. Roosevelt and overlook the town.  So we climbed up to see the grave and the view.

 Deadwood was so much prettier than I ever imagined.  Honestly I knew it was an old wild west mining town, but I never figured it would be in such a picturesque spot.  It really is a beautiful area.  After the cemetery we visited the Adam's House museum, an almost perfectly preserved victorian home with original furnishings, wall coverings, rugs, everything.  It was gorgeous.  After that outing we were hungry for lunch.  I'd read online before we got to town that the Deadwood Social Club restaurant had the best cheesecake for miles, so that's where we chose to go for lunch.  The Deadwood Social Club sits above the No. 10 Saloon in what used to be the brothel. (Hence the name.)  It was still a very quaint old building and they had great food. 

 And the cheesecake did not disappoint.  After devouring two slices at lunch, we ordered two more to go so we could enjoy them later in the day. After lunch we walked down to the 4 Aces Casino to see the shootout. 

 They have about a half dozen different shootouts and gun battles that they reenact during the summer season.  We got to see the story of Tom Lunt.  Who got shot in the head, walked away from the bar (seriously with a bullet in his head) and continued to walk around carrying on his normal life in Deadwood for the next 67 days before complaining of a headache one afternoon and lying down at the Continental Hotel for a nap, never to wake up. 
 Then we bought some souvenirs at the original Saloon Number 10.  As you can see from the sign, where Wild Bill was murdered.  The bottom floor (where the shooting took place) is a museum area, the upper floors a shop that sells antiques and souvenirs.

 So after a successful day in Deadwood, we headed 47 miles to the south to visit Keystone and Mt. Rushmore.  Both kids fell asleep in the car almost immediately.  Yes, that's a stuffed Mowgli that Parker is snuggling with.  She received him and King Louis for her birthday and has been walking around singing "I wanna be like You-ooh-oooh" ever since.

 We checked into our hotel and headed straight up to Mt. Rushmore.  It was around 5pm when we got up there so the light wasn't really that great for taking pictures, but the kids loved it anyway.

 After walking the trail at Rushmore and hitting up the gift shop for some postcards and souvenirs, we found another old saloon with a restaurant for dinner.  The Ruby House has antique furnishings and decor but the food was amazing as well.  I had chicken penne with an asparagus cream sauce that was divine. And back at the hotel once the kids were asleep Travis and I ate the rest of the cheesecake.
 This morning first thing, we headed back up to Mt. Rushmore, with a stop along the way for the kids to get pictures with their faces in the monument.

 Much better light for picture taking this morning.  And gratefully, both kids were super excited to go back and walk the trail again.

 And this time we finally found someone to take a family picture.

It was definitely a fun weekend, but completely exhausting.