Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Resolutions-End of the Year Update

Here it is, the end of 2014.  How did that happen?  It went by so quickly.  I decided to recap and see how the year went as far as my resolutions go.

 1.  I want to run 1,000 miles this year.  I was about 50 short this year.  I think if I add a mile a week that should be close to hitting the 1,000 mile mark.  I want to keep doing races, but the races won't be part of my resolution.

I was able to meet my goal of 1,000 miles.  Partly it helped that I decided to run a marathon, and the training for that gave me the miles. 

 2.  I want to read at least 10 books this year.  I get stuck reading magazines or the newspaper, and I don't read that many books.  I want to change that and do more book reading this year.

I didn't read 10 books, I think I read about 5.  Again, I just get caught up reading my magazines.  I will probably continue to work on that, as I do enjoy a good book when I can find one.

 3.  Continue giving away at least one bag of things a month.  I fell behind last year, and since we will be moving in a year (or two), I'd like to get rid of more stuff!

We have given away a lot of stuff, it usually happens in clumps and not necessarily a bag a month.  We did end up moving, so that has prompted us to give away things.  Since we haven't unpacked completely, I will continue to go through boxes and probably give away more things.  And even after all of that, I will continue to evaluate our things and say, if we don't need it, let's give it away!

 4.  Continue spending time with Jeff on a regular basis.  Last year it was trying to get away at least every other month without the kids.  I'd like to continue that.

We did pretty well for this during the first half of 2014.  But due to things outside of our control, Jeff and I have had to put our time away together on hold.  We've had some family things come up, which has made it hard for us to get away.  And with the buying of a new house, we needed to save our money.  But hopefully this next year we can make this happen again.

5.  More blogs!  I want to keep writing.

I did write more blogs.  I hope to continue more writing in 2015.  Especially since I'm off Facebook, I use this as a way to keep people informed as to what we are doing.

 6.  Go off Facebook.  I will be deleting my account on January 1.

I successfully went off Facebook and really never thought about it again.   I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would.  I've tried to reach out to people more in an individual way.  At this time I have no plans to go back onto Facebook.

I hope you all have had a wonderful 2014, and I wish you the very best in the New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Zoo Lights

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is to go to the Oregon Zoo where they decorate the entire zoo with thousands of lights in the shapes of animals and fun decorations.  They also have a train, which wasn't running last year because of the new elephant exhibit they are building, but this year the train was up and running, so we had to go ride the new train.  We thought we would be clever and go on a Monday night, when we thought they wouldn't be that busy, but we were wrong!  The lines were quite long, but we stuck it out anyway and rode the train.  The train ride itself was lots of fun and the lights were beautiful.  Here's a look back.

The boys

The boys find a furry friend

Trying the hula-hoops

On the train

Elephant Lights

Bird Lights

Monday, December 22, 2014

Play Time

Daniel's class was in charge of chapel a couple of weeks ago.  They did a cute play/reading about the Christmas story.  The children enacted the play as the narrators read the story.  Daniel was one of the narrators.  He did a really great job, and I was so proud of him.  Simon's class was also part of the performance.  They acted the part of the angels and came up on stage for their one line.  It was cute.

Simon, getting ready
The Cast
Daniel, with friends Abiola and Siddanth
Daniel with friend Grant
Daniel with friend Cody
Daniel with friend Jakob

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Train Ride

This year we added another adventure to our holiday season, a train ride.  It was about a 40 minute ride, going one direction, then back the other direction, then back again.  We rode on old passenger cars from the early 1900's and were pulled by an old steam engine.  It was so exciting for the kids.  And then, when they thought it couldn't get any better, Santa and some of his elves walked through the cars, saying hello, taking pictures and handing out candy canes.  The boys were overjoyed, as evidenced by the huge smiles on their faces.  I hope you are enjoying the holidays too, I know our family is!

A Photo with Santa

Simon & Jeff

Jeff & I

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Tree

The boys and I with our tree
What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been.  I haven't been able to sit down much since moving, but I can say we are in the house and enjoying our new home so much!  I have lots of things to say, but for now I will talk about getting our Christmas tree this year. 

For the past few years we go out to a farm north of here.  We select and cut down our own tree.  Then we enjoy a little hot chocolate around the fire.  We try to get out early before the crowds hit.  Then we come home and decorate.  We had to unpack our decorations and locate them.  And we've slowly been putting up things around the house and outside too.

We hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.  Take a moment to breath, and take it all in.  Enjoy!

Daniel helps push while Daddy cuts

Some hot chocolate for Sam

Simon working on the selection process

Friday, November 28, 2014

Moving Reality

We are moving...tomorrow!  So today is "throw everything in boxes" day.  One good thing this time around, I actually feel like I am ready to move.  We will just have to throw our bedding and stuff in boxes in the morning, but everything else is in boxes.  One nice thing about moving so close (it's only about 5 miles away) is that we have been able to run a few items over to the new house already, the stuff that is hard to put in boxes.  And we can make another trip or two after the movers leave in case there are small items to throw in later.  Life is upside down here at the house.  We are eating a lot of take out and watching TV since kitchen and toys are packed.  It's pouring down rain today so the boys can't go outside.  I can't wait for tomorrow, when we can finally start unpacking!  Moves are hard, but I'm looking forward to being in our own house again and feeling settled for the first time in a long time!

And we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We enjoyed dining out this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Day at the Zoo

Last Monday the boys had the day off from school.  It wasn't raining, so we decided to go to the zoo.  Grandma Youker came along with us.  We enjoyed looking at lots of animals.  Also, the Oregon Zoo is putting in a new elephant home, so it was fun to check the progress on that, too.  And, each year around this time, they put up lights and people come into the zoo after dark to look at all of the zoo lights.  It's become a family tradition.  Along with that, is the train that runs through the zoo.  They've been working on the train for the past two years, and last year the train wasn't running.  But this year they promise to have it going for the zoo lights, so we checked out the train to see it's progress, too.  It's almost done!  We had lunch at the zoo and enjoyed a fun day there.

I also wanted to say that we are moving!  We are super excited to have finally bought a house here in Portland.  Not since first being married and living in Placerville have I felt this settled, or will feel!  We are moving in 2 weeks.  I can't wait!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Sunny Day in Portland

This time of year, Portland doesn't get many sunny days.  Most of our fall and winter days are filled with rain or at least lots of fog and clouds.  So when we get a nice sunny day, we try to get outside and enjoy the day.  Yesterday was one of those days, so we made the most of it.  Grandma and Grandpa Youker joined us too.

We started by taking MAX to Washington Park.  From there we hiked up to the Hoyt Arboretum.  After that, we hiked down to a park.  It was about a 3 mile hike, but it's mostly all downhill, so it's not too hard for the boys.  When we got to the first playground, we let the boys play a little and had a little snack.  After a while, we hiked down to the second playground, about another 3/4 mile.  They played a bit more there too until it was time to hike down to the city and have pizza at one of our favorite places, Hot Lips!  It's another 3/4 mile hike down.  When we got there, we ordered our pizza and sat and ate.  It was a great dinner after all of that hiking, playing and running around.  When we were done with the pizza, we got back on the MAX and rode it back to our car.  It was a fun day!

On the Hike

Simon Enjoying his Mango Snack

Daniel and Sam at the Playground

Sliding Sam

Waiting for MAX

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Plumper Pumpkin Patch

Simon's preschool class went to one of the local pumpkin patches here in Hillsboro called Plumper Pumpkin Patch.  It was a cool fall day.  And we got to do lots of fun things.  They first sat us down and talked to us a little about the farm.  Then we all got to ride on a hayride around the farm.  Next we got off and got to see some of the animals.  They had cows, pigs, alpacas and a few others.  They had some play equipment that the kids enjoyed exploring.  Then we got to pick out our pumpkins.  It was a fun field trip.  Simon and I enjoyed ourselves!

Arriving at the Farm

On the Hayride, Simon and his friend Chase

Simon and his friend Marcus playing in the water

Exploring the Slide

Finding a Pumpkin

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kruger Farms

Last Sunday we took the boys out to one of our favorite places for pumpkins and fall fun: Kruger Farms.  We go out there regularly throughout the year for seasonal produce and just to enjoy the farm.  They have summer concerts that we go to at times as well.  This season, Sam has a project to do for school about farms, so this visit worked out nicely with that too.  It was a warm sunny day.  We started out at the corn maze.  The older boys love following a map, trying to find all of the spots to locate.  Simon enjoys following along.

Sam Studies the First Location

Daniel & Sam, Map Readers

Next we got on the hay ride for a ride out to the pumpkin fields.  While out there, the boys enjoyed walking around looking for just the right pumpkin.  We made our selections and headed back.

On the Hay Ride

Simon & Sam Atop the Lookout

Sam Found His Pumpkin
After we got our pumpkins, we went and enjoyed some candy apples and pumpkin pie, some corn on the cob and a slice of pizza.  It was a good thing we had a big snack, because it took us a really long time to get home.  Apparently the rest of Portland thought it was a good day to go to a farm too!  We had fun in spite of the traffic and are glad we went that day!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Portland Marathon 2014

Us, At the Finish
 Life has been so busy lately.  But I wanted to take a minute to write about my marathon experience.  A few years ago, I decided that running a marathon was something I wanted to accomplish.  After running my first 1/2 marathon in 2012, I wanted to someday push myself to run the full.  Well, that time came this last year.  I signed up for the Portland Marathon back in April, giving myself plenty of time to train for the October event.  I found a training schedule and started my training this past summer.  I felt good about my training, and I stuck with the schedule.

Such a Sweet Sign Daniel Made for Me
On October 5, the day for the marathon came.  I was nervous leading up to it, not know exactly what it would all feel like.  Many questions filled my mind.  Had I trained enough or adequately?  Had I fueled and hydrated correctly days leading up to the race?  How painful would it be to eek out those last miles?  I had only run 20 miles in my training.

The day was warm and sunny.  At 7:00 in the morning, when the race started, it was already 60 degrees.  While I was thankful it wasn't raining, I was a little nervous about the heat.  We started in packs, and my pack began a little less than 15 minutes after gun time.  I was excited to start.  The first few miles I felt great.  Around miles 8-9, I was still feeling pretty good.  We were running with half marathoners too, and they split off around mile 11.  When the marathoners broke away from the half marathoners, it did start to feel a little more serious.  I knew that I still had a ways to go.
The Boys and I
My parents had come over from Idaho to see me run.  Jeff was able to track my running route, so they agreed to meet me along the route.  So Jeff, the boys and my parents first met me around mile 12.  It was great to see them, and I got a boost of energy when I saw them. There were a lot of people cheering at that point.  But after mile 14, the spectators were sparse.  Here the route was along a very busy road.  The shoulder to run on was small.  So as a runner, I started to feel a little more on my own.  We headed out toward the St. John's Bridge, a bridge north of Portland.  Around mile 15-16 I started to feel it in my knees and hips.  This was how I had felt in my training, so although I was sore, it felt like a "normal" soreness.  I kept on going.  There was a little uphill to the bridge.  At the top of the bridge was a beautiful view of Portland.  I almost wanted to stop and take it all in.  But my desire to finish kept me going.

My family met me again about mile 20 or 21, I can't remember exactly.  And at this point, I was very tired.  They later told me they were a little worried about me after seeing me.  I quickly said hi.  They asked how I was doing.  I said, "I'm tired, but I'm going to finish".  I knew I could finish, but I also knew it would not be easy.  Up to about mile 20 I had been able to keep my running pace the same.  But after mile 20, my pace started to slow.  It was also getting warmer, and I was very tired.

My Parents and I
My family met me again around mile 23.  They said I looked a little more lively at this point, and they knew I would finish.  I felt it too.  I could see that the end was near.  I kept going, although more slowly now.  I even walked a bit in mile 24.  But when I got to mile 25, I started running again and tried to pick up my pace.  I started seeing spectators again, and I just wanted to finish.

The finish was very emotional for me.  I started to cry a little, more at the sheer emotion of having finished something that had not been easy for me, but I did it anyway.  I felt a sense of accomplishment.  I also felt so grateful to Jeff for helping and supporting me in this challenge.  For every long run I'd had to do in training, he'd had to watch the boys.  Also, after my long runs, I was often too tired to do much else for the rest of the day.  He stepped up and helped through it all.  I was thankful for him, and I know I couldn't have done this without him.
Jeff and I
I don't know if I'll ever do another marathon.  If I do, it will be a few years from now, when the boys can stay home alone by themselves while I do my training.  I don't feel a strong pull to do another one anytime soon, but maybe I will.  I still really enjoy running, but for now, I'll keep to the shorter distance races. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm Back...I think

I'm sorry I haven't been writing as much lately.  Things have been so busy lately.  Last month, I subbed for 2 1/2 weeks straight!  Then, the week after that, I went in to help administer some tests and then subbed again last Thursday and Friday.  So I literally worked for 3 1/2 weeks.  I was beginning to get a real feel for what going back full time would feel like.  And the funny thing is, I really enjoyed it!  I loved being in the classroom again, and I enjoyed getting to know the students.  The down side to this is that I get so behind with things that I normally do at home.  Jeff and I talk about what life would be like if I went back to work full time, and we both realize some things would have to change around here.  Managing housework, meals, errands would all take some reconsidering.  But now things are back to normal, and I am looking forward to a regular week.  I've missed hanging out with Simon, too.  While I was subbing, he went to preschool.  I was a little nervous about letting him go, but he loved it, and I was happy for him.  But I missed him terribly.  I'm not ready to let him go full time.  However, since he loved it so much, we have decided to let him go a couple of half days a week.  We hadn't planned on doing that this year, but things have a way of changing and taking on a life of their own.  I've just decided to roll with it.  And if that means I do or don't go back to work full time sometime, I'm okay with that too!

While I've been away...
...Simon hung out at school...

...Sam lost a tooth or two...
...and we've done some hikes!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sandpoint, ID Scenic Half Marathon

Last Sunday, Sept. 21, my sister and I did the Scenic Half Marathon in Sandpoint, ID.  This was her first 1/2 marathon, and she started her training last Spring.  I told her I would come run it with her if she decided to run it, and she did, so I went.  It was a great run, and I was so proud of her.  She did great, although she ran with a stress fracture in her foot, poor sis!  But she was determined, and she finished.  Way to go!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pink Trolley Tour

Here in Portland you can ride a pink trolley around town and tour the town of Portland.  I suppose it's more for tourists as a great way to view the city, but a couple of years ago, Daniel saw it and wanted to ride it.  We've been trying to make it happen for a while now, and we finally did it this last summer, right before school started.  We took all 3 boys along with Jeff and Grandma (Jeff's mom).  It was actually a fun thing to do.  It stops at various places around town.  You can get off at any stop and get back on again.  The trolley stops each hour, so you can stay in a place for an hour, then get back on and keep riding.  We did this.  We stopped in Washington Park and let the boys play.  We also stopped in the Pearl District and had lunch.  Then we also stopped at OMSI and played in there too.  Overall, it was very fun.  I would recommend it for tourists and locals too!

Starting Out

A Stop at the Rose Gardens

Lunch at Hot Lips Pizza!


Waiting for the Next Trolley