Friday, June 29, 2012

Still Around

With the husband finally home & block leave about to begin in a few days, blogging will take a backseat for awhile. We have a lot of family activities planned since my soldier rarely get's more then a couple days off here & there. Some of you think no way we hear about four day weekends & leave. Well my soldier has OVER 130 days of leave!! He deploys so often we have yet to even begin to get to cash in on all the so called "free" leave days. That is about to change finally!! Here is a few things we have planned for July & we are so excited!

None of the pictures are ours just wanted you to get the idea of the fun we are about to have!







These are just a few things already planned . I'm sure we will fit a lot more into the next four weeks. Don't be surprised if the blog is super quiet until Block Leave is over. Then I'll have a lot of fun posting all the great pictures of all our fun.

Continue to be on the look out next week for our LINK to sign up for the Chelsea Hutchinson Virtual Epilepsy Walk. Team Jeremy & Banyan will have their own page where you can join us! More details to come as soon as they open up the website for registration. This virtual walk you can sign up for anytime & I WILL post all the information before we leave to go camping. It's for a super great cause.



Have an AMAZING Friday everyone & enjoy your family as much as I plan on enjoying mine.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Splish Splash


We learned Banyan loved the pool if he could watch everything & get treats! It was very hard for him to watch little people jump into the pol & go under water. He kept looking at me like he was asking " are you sure they are ok?". I just treated & told him it was OK so he could try to relax. When Jeremy was around he watched him carefully. Anytime Jeremy would squeal Banyan's ears would perk up to make sure it was a happy squeal. Finally after an hour & a half we knew he needed to go home. He was exhausted & showing us signs that he needed a break. We left the pool to come home & he fell right to sleep. 

We will continue to take Banyan to the pool once or twice a week so he can get use to all the distractions. Hopefully by the end of the summer he realizes that all the little people are having fun & he can focus on just Jeremy. Right now he wants to help everyone who goes under the water. He is such a kind soul & we are lucky he is ours.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kick Off to Summer

We've enjoyed a nice family weekend even though the weather has been cool & rainy. Paul left with two of the boys last Thursday to go on a camping & fishing trip. It was a belated birthday trip now that he is home. They came home Saturday night soaking wet & cold but with huge smiles on their faces. They where just happy to have dad's undivided attention for a couple days.



On Sunday we woke up & held our breath as we looked outside to see if the rain was gone. We had a Welcome Home Bar-b-que planned as well as the first lake day of summer. Thankfully it was only partly cloudy with a few sunbreaks here & there. We got all the food together and headed to the lake. 

We took Banyan along for the first two hours so he could play & swim in his new custom vest that Ommie made . He loved it! As soon as he realized we where going to let him swim with his vest on he had so much fun! He still is not the best swimmer so we laughed, but he could care less. He listened to Jeremy really well and came almost every time Jeremy called for him in the water. He actually listened to Jeremy's commands better then mine. I wonder if it was because I was on shore watching & not in the lake with him like the younger boys  ? 




Banyan was also  taken on his first boat ride. Jeremy goes on the boat some in the summers to fish with his dad. We wanted to see how Banyan would respond to being in a small boat out on the lake. At first he was a little anxious to be away from shore.


Soon he settled down & enjoyed the short boat ride with Jeremy. We only kept him out for about 10 minutes so he wouldn't be to frightened. We will repeat this again in a few days so he can continue to get use to the boat & lake.


After awhile we enjoyed some great food & the kids played all afternoon into the early evening. They even swam in the still cold lake while us parents hung out. Paul enjoyed visiting with old friends as well as meeting a couple new friends.






By early evening the kids where tired & cold so it was time for me to head back to the house. Paul stayed down at the lake with a few of his fishing guys . I made it home with one extra teen but Matthew went to stay with a friend so it all evened out. We all enjoyed a quiet evening watching movies and fell fast asleep from all the activity. Now we can't wait for July 3rd when Paul can sign out on leave for a month. We have some camping trips planned, a visit from my parents who are flying out , as well as Hawaii for Paul & I. It looks to be shaping up to be a good start to summer for our clan & I can't wait to share it with my whole family.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Virtual Walk

Stay Tuned on July 1st I will post how you can join us in a Walk or Run to help raise funds for SUDEP. Chelsea Hutchinson Foundation does the walk every year to help raise more money for children in need of Grants for Seizure Alert Dogs & Emfit Monitors. This is the amazing foundation that hopes to help Jeremy get the last bit of money needed to finish Banyan's training. We are more then happy to help them with this walk. We can't be in Colorado or the other locations to participate in person. Therefore we will make a virtual team to walk here in WA. Anyone will be able to join Jeremy & Banyan's team to walk whether they live in WA or around the globe. You will receive a T-shirt to wear that day you complete your walk or run. As soon as I get it all set up I'll post & you can join us and help spread the word!

 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Team Wonder Woman

Our Spartan race experience started as Stacie came by in her invisible car & honked her horn so we would know she was there to collect us all. Four of us Chicks & one friend who agreed to tag along for our insanity to take pictures took off to Washougal, WA on Friday night. We laughed and chatted with nerves in full swing all the way to Vancover. Once there we settled into our hotel only to learn that there was a lot of marathon runners checked in for a run the next morning. How  you may wonder did we learn this? Well in between fits of loud laughter as we tried to go to bed there was a soft knock on the door. Four of us girls scrambled to hide because we where still laughing. Finally Bekah stood up & went over to answer the door. It was security who had received a couple of complaints about us being to loud, which only made us all start laughing more! At that point it was 11PM so we all turned out the lights and tried for a good fifteen minutes to stop laughing & fall to sleep. Oh to have been a fly on the wall people in that room with the crazy conversation. I haven't had a sleep over like that in a few years, it was just what we needed.

The marathon runners must have banned together at 4:30AM & decided to pay us back as they opened their doors to let them slam shut. I was asleep on my mat on the floor so I laid there for thirty minutes before I could take it no longer and got up. Thankfully two of the girls where also awake so we decided to make coffee and start our day. We laughed some more as Bekah teased us that the bill that had been slipped under the door had a $25 security fee charged- we where shocked then she let us in that she was joking. We prepared our protein smoothies, peanut butter bagels , & dressed in our outfits in preparation. Then we headed out at 7:15AM to the lobby so a couple of the ladies could grab them a much needed Starbucks. Excitment & nerves had kicked in as we where all set to hit the road for the thirty minute drive to the course.





We all cheered when we finally saw our first sign that led us towards the race course.
At this point we where listening to some fun old school music trying to get us all pumped up & ready to ROCK the run. We where texting Ashley our last Chick who was waiting for us at the race site. Once we parked and arrived full on insanity moment started again. Just when I thought we couldn't laugh any harder it started again as the nerves where really starting to affect us all. We knew we had all trained for five months for this day. But would it be enough? Would all the burpees, pull - ups, trail runs, hills, squats all of it keep us alive on the course? We where ready to find out.

Meet Team Wonder Woman!

From left to right: Stacie 29 year old Chick, Bekah 31 year old Chick, Amanda (me) 39 year old Chick, Ashley 27 year old Chick, & Jaime 35 year old Chick.

We loved our outfits as did everyone we saw. We knew most people would be wearing basic black so we decided a long time ago to make this experience as fun as possible , to stand out for our unique group. We where asked to be in random people's photos from before we even made it into the registration line. It was great! Here are a couple shots people asked if they could have of us all.


Nicest Superman grandpa ever who was there watching his great grandson run.

Random dude who had his friend ask us if he could take our picture .
These where just the first of many photos. We chose to stay together through out the entire run so after almost every obstacle we where asked for pictures from the spartan volunteers or other competitors who had their cameras during the run.

As 10Am approached the sun had risen pretty high & it was already 70 degrees. Which doesn't seem like much but for us PNW ladies it was HOT! Our normal run days 70 is as high as it would be at the end of the race not the beginning. We got in line listened to the MC screamed "We are Spartans" a few " AROOS" later  and OFF we ran then BAM- traffic jam on the first major hill. It was a super steep hill so we all where forced to walk a lot of it but managed to make it up to hit the first mud pit barb wire crawl. As we slide down laughing we soon realized it was  deep water pits that you had to swim through in spots for us shorter ladies then low crawl up gravel muddy hills with out getting the barb wire stuck. Just when you thought you where done you got to the top only to see another slide down with more crawling. We all made it through and ran on to the first set of walls. We took turns hoisting us up and over. Thanks to an amazing Chick who was on a other team who helped me get over the last 12 foot wall to my team so no burpees where involved.

We ran on up a lot of hilly trails staying together as much as possible in pairs switching off the lead to avoid wearing ourselves out. As we hit the bucket pulley & sandbag carry we ran through easily chicking A LOT of guys! This we had trained for & it paid off big time. The first true challenge hit when we had to pull the 50llbs cinder block up hill on a chain. We all lifted our blocks & started pulling. Trying to go backwards, forwards, then I settled on a one arm pull that worked. Dragged it back down the hill chucked it in the bin & took off. Next was a hill up where the volunteers swore it was the last hill so we sighed a little relief. Yeah that was much to early to be thinking " we got this". We came around the corner & hit the tire flip which was cake for all five of us!



As you can tell we where all business at this point and super muddy.


This is what happened when we realized we all Flipped those tires like they where light weight pancakes.


This really sums it up for our day. We where all smiles even after obstacles that hurt . We loved every muddy minute!

Next we moved on to the rope climb which I had been dreading. I had practiced & still never made it to the top . Off we all go into the watery mud pit.


Pretty sure right here Bekah & I are thinking " WOW that sure is high, but here we GO!".
Well here Jaime & Stacie go... AROO!!



Jaime celebrating her first successful rope climb- AROO!! Stacie followed right behind her WAY to GO Chicks!

Mean while I had headed over to burpee it out as I fell when my feet slipped on knot number three. But I was Okay with that as I had made it higher then I thought I could.


Soon I was joined by Ashley & Bekah where well all finished our burpees . Thankfully Jaime & Stacie came over to help wrap them up so we could move on to the dreaded spear throw. This is one thing we had no way to practice for & the volunteer was screaming about burpees with push ups & a jump Ugggg was not the word we all used as we headed over. At this point our arms where tired so the thought of any more burpees was not very appealing. We took our time aimed then threw our spears. Mine looked to stick & I jumped as it then popped back off, grrr. None of us got our silly spear to stick so it was thirty more burpees for all of us chicks with push ups and jumps at the end. Yeah to say that ate up a lot of our time is about right we where smoked after wards. we looked ahead & there was the climbing wall. We had practiced only once before the run.


Yes chicks we know we had our hands on top & that was cheating. But the practice wall was to little to really do correctly. Now when we where in our race no hands where placed on top of the wall at all.


I was looking at that wall after just finishing sixty burpees from the rope & spear toss like I wanted to cry. But NO WAY was I not crossing that wall!
 





Off I go with Stacie on the wall and Jaime leading the way for me. Jaime jumped up I watched her until she got to the middle & off I went where I helped her with encouraging motivation hang on as she hit the bell! Next it was me & I was surprised of what fast work I made of the wall to stretch & hit the bell! I looked around & all five of us Wonder Woman had crossed the walls- NO BURPEES!! Next we take off running to come to a dead stop at the bottom of a 300 meter straight up rocky , muddy hill climb from hell folks. We all discussed just taking the burpees until we where told that if you skip the obstacle you must complete 200 Burpees. Let me repeat that incase you missed it 200 BURPEES!!
Yeah we all said No FREAKING WAY!! We watched the course for a minute mapped out our plan & off we went!

This is not my picture of the now famous " Hill crawl from Hell"  as our photographer could not get to us there. But this gives you a small idea of why my legs & elbows will take days to recover.


It may look like the barb wire is high but there where sections that you had to lay flat down and pull with only your arms to get under that wire. I got hung up only twice on this crawl. We had an amazing volunteer dressed as a Spartan in his kilt on my side of the crawl. He talked us through a lot of sections as well as asked a dude in a not so polite way to move out of this 39 year old moms way because I was cruising along! That's right folks four of us girls where chicking the dudes right & left on this crawl. All those planks & awful bear crawls paid off! As we got to the top we had lost Bekah when suddenly she appeared about 25 feet from the top. Our awesome Spartan loved us & let us walk down the side to talk her through the last section. We where able to put our feet down in 2 foot sections as she pulled herself up & planted so she didn't slide back down. She MADE IT to the top & Team Wonder Woman got a ton of cheers from chicks & dudes alike for our strong show of team support. Then OFF we ran to the monkey bars. Going into this race I had never conquered the money bars even though I've been practicing daily for months. I stepped up & took off. The bars where much further apart then what we expected but I cruised along to the middle before I dropped. I was pretty happy with that as it was further then I had done before. Ashley our resident monkey bar queen speed through at lightening fast speed. Bekah & I where the only ones left to burpee it out. Our awesome team split up the sixty burpees and off we went to the cargo net which I smoked through & I think someone said it was forty feet high. Then we saw the soaped up wall climb. This gave me fits at the Gladiator last fall. I had watched every youtube video available & took pointers from fellow chicks on making it over this wall. I attacked that wall in a wide low squat & flew right up it! I was pretty impressed with how quickly we all got over that last wall because exhaustion had set in at this point. 



Shaking hands, my knee was almost toast, & we where all seriously needing water. We all looked forward & it was the fire! I was not sure I could jump at that point but we all cheered because we knew that meant we where at our last obstacle! Off we went as a team & jumped that fire!



Jaime went first- look at that form!
Stacie followed her then Ashley, Bekah , & I brought up the rear.  There was no way for us to all go across side by side as we he had hoped. But We so didn't care!



If you can't tell I did an awesome hurkey over that fire wall! You can sort of tell the height by my feet not being on the ground yet.
Then we headed into the home stretch with Jaime in the lead of course. We finished just the way we started as a team.





We where met with a lot of cheering, Zico coconut water, bananas, our coveted Spartan Medals, & our t-shirts. We where so shaky and tired but all smiles!


 We where so excited that no one got seriously injured & we all worked together as a team to make it through the course.



 My I LIVED pose!


 My amazing trainer for the past four years has helped me get my fitness back in check. Love her & I would have never made it on this course with out her help & tips along the way during training.



Ashley's Finisher Pose & also my AMAZING workout partner.
 


Stacie's Wonder Woman Pose


Bekah's I ROCK Pose


Jaime's Finisher Pose

Our photographer Kim said she believes we finished in the 1 hour 41 minute time range- YAY!! We had hoped to keep it under 2 hours. 

After a much needed cold shower we headed to our car to try to change & somewhat clean up.

After a lot more laughter over all our awesome cuts, abrasion, bruises & mud in places that would make some squeamish we where ready for some real food.


We headed back to eat & cheer on other Spartans as they crossed the finish line. I finally understand what they say when they say " you know at the finish". I knew we all had just completed the hardest 4.2 mile obstacle race I had ever done. I new it took all five of us laughing , high-fiving, cheering each other on to make it through that course. I knew that without the training and long hours of hard work for the past five  months there was no way I would have finished that course. I knew that I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to go on and complete a super in the future which is 8+ miles . But most of all I just felt proud. Proud of us all for not stopping even when we where exhausted and my knee gave way after the fire jump. Not letting any of the girls quit or get discouraged when the thought showed on their faces. It was an experience of a lifetime & one that I can honestly say today I can't wait to repeat again in 2013. I already talked with Paul and I see a road trip to Montana in my future- AROOO!!

We soon headed to the car to start our trip home. We where all finally exhausted and ready to leave. We decided one last stop at Vodoo doughnuts in Portland was in order. We wanted to surprise our kids and husbands with some yummy treats for Fathers Day.


It was a GREAT RACE ladies & I am honored to have completed it with you five. A special shout out & thanks to Kim our photographer of the day as well as Josh , Ashley's husband. He has some awesome video of us jumping the fire. I 'll post it later once it's posted on Facebook. I can't wait until next time we run together thank goodness it's in 14 days!

If your still with me here is an AWESOME video recap set to music.

video

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

3 Sleeps Left



As Saturday approaches my nerves have kicked into high gear. My left knee is aching & sometimes has shooting pain. I've been icing it since yesterday as well as taking ibuprofen. I hope that it survives Saturdays' Spartan Sprint. We just received our first email for Saturday & this is what it said:

PacificNW Spartans!

 This course is going to be awesome.  It has a few Spartan “firsts” such as designing much of the course on a motocross track and a barbed wire crawl “treat” that we can’t disclose in advance (why ruin the surprise?).

A few very important notes from the Race Director:

All final pre race Logistics will be sent out 
tomorrow. Please continue to check the event page for updates!

The course is around 3.0 miles of hills.   Even the motocross track has a lot of ups and downs and little flat sections.  Race smart!

The 1st 3/4 mile of the course is uphill, in the woods, and lean on obstacles.  Consider it a warm-up for everything you will encounter after that.

There will be ONE aid station on course with water.  Plan your nutrition and hydration accordingly.  Forecast is for heat.  Most of you will take over an hour to complete this course, some over two, and some over three.  You will be thirsty.  Don’t be that racer who bonks because you didn’t come prepared.

Follow the marking arrows and marking tape, never assume the person in front of you knows where they are going! Do not modify or remove the marking tape!!!

It is OK to pass other racers on the course, including on tight single-track trails.  Simply let them know what side you are passing on (e.g. “On your left”) and say some supportive words as you pass by.

Don’t forget your ID to check-in at Registration.  You must have it.  Along those lines, make sure you read the Racer Packet that was put together for more information on what to expect.

Getting to the venue can be tricky, make sure you know where you are going!

Most importantly, race safe and have a blast!

AROO!


I am OK with the mud crawl craziness as I love this part of the races. What scares me is all the hills. If my knee was 100% I would have no worries. I know I can run it or walk it we've been training for this for 5 months. But with a hurt knee I just hope it doesn't slow the ladies down. I am fully prepared to tell them to go ahead of me so they can finish faster. Keep your fingers crossed that it works out & we all have the fun we are anticipating.

I know some of you think I am a little crazy for doing these runs. But I am in the best shape fitness wise of my life! I love the challenges of the work outs as well as race day adrenaline rush!  I love that I have a group of ladies who enjoy the challenge of pushing ourselves to our fitness limits as well. They make me realize I am not crazy that I am putting my health & fitness first. If I am healthy then my family reaps all the benefits. Tonight's dinner menu was a yummy roasted garlic & red pepper Quinoa burger with steamed veggies. I have never made the Quinoa burger before tonight. I had to wing it because I didn't have a couple items on the list- but it still tasted fantastic! It boasted 10 grams of protein and a ton of flavor. I just added the veggies as my side to help me keep my clean diet going into race day. Wish us luck & watch for some fun muddy pictures to come later this weekend. Paul will take the boys fishing overnight while I venture off to my race. It's a fun filled weekend ahead for us all.



Monday, June 11, 2012

It's In the Books





After eleven months & two weeks deployment number four is in the books folks. My husband landed around 10:30AM at McChord Airforce base & relief settled into my whole body. It's a hard feeling to explain unless you've gone through it yourself the sense of constant worry just washed away.  I use to think people where crazy who told me things like you'll never know until you've been there. But those words are so true. I woke up at 4:30AM and laid in my empty bed for what I hope is the last time. Finally I got up and made the coffee & paced around my house. I checked my facebook for any updates no news was good news. As soon as 6:30AM rolled around I woke up the children who for once jumped up & got ready! The excitement was electric in the house as we patiently waited to leave. Once we arrived at the designated gym we had been seated for less then twenty minutes when the "DELAY" announcement was given. I was not surprised but still groaned along with everyone else. As the hours ticked by I thought we where never going to see that Plane come through the sky.





After I saw this they announced at least another hour & a half so they could turn in their sensitive items I voted to go grab food. We where all starving at this point. I thought if we ate lunch then came back it would help pass time. Plus Paul wouldn't arrive to hungry cranky children. Jacob  & I walked a little ways down the road as I wasn't giving up my awesome parking spot! We grabbed two pizzas and headed back to the gym. The boys happily ate saving three slices for their dad. Then came the next best part of the day.






We had a quick three minute speech then chaos ruled as soldiers reunited with their families.













This is my favorite picture, my heart is back with me. Unfortunately know one was able to tag along like in the past to get better pictures. But that's okay, who needs pictures when I can reach out & touch the real thing!

Now we are happily relaxing as he chats with the older boys who haven;t left his side since he showered & sat down. Soon I hope to get some time alone with my man. But for now it warms my  heart to have all my boys back under one roof. Who knows for how long, but I'll take whatever time the Army gives us today.