Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chicago get away!

When my sister moved to Chicago 5 months ago I was so excited to have family within driving distance. It took us awhile but we finally got a road trip organized and headed out there over the Memorial Day weekend. Naomi and Kevin showed us a great time and really packed in the fun. Here are some pictures from the day we went on a tour of downtown Chicago.

We took the train from the suburbs where they live into the city. It popped us out right in front of the enormous Sears tower. It was quite the sight to see coming out of the train station.

I really wanted to check out the Navy Pier area so we hopped on a water Taxi and headed towards the pier.
Teya couldn't believe she got to ride on a train and then a boat! Brooklyn and Brinley loved it too and all three of them spent the majority of the ride hanging onto the side of the boat and staring out at the busy city.

When we got to the Navy Pier there so much to do it was hard to know where to start. Teya really wanted to ride the "steering wheel" (aka Ferris wheel) so we decided to start with that. When we got closer though she decided it was too scary we opted for a carousel ride instead.

While we were there we also grabbed some Chicago hot dogs (which was the one priority I had going to Chicago)And we stopped for some ice cream because calories don't count when you're on vacation, right?

With all the traveling and excitement our little girls got pretty tuckered out. Brooklyn took a nice nap on Kevin's shoulder and later on Brinley passed out in Taber's arms and slept there for quite awhile.

After the Pier we had about 2 hours to get back to the train station so we started walking since that's about how long it takes with a pokey 3 year old and two little girls. It was cool walking through the city and taking in all the big buildings. We stopped at Millenium Park to check out "The Bean". It was even cooler in person than in the pictures.

The girls did great on our long adventure in the city. Teya and Brooklyn fell asleep on the train ride home and never woke up again till the morning. Brinley on the other hand got such a great power nap in Taber's arms that she was in hyper mode until about 11 o'clock when we finally got her to sleep.

It's definitely awesome having family that lives near such a cool city. I'm sure we'll be back again to explore some more!

Hangin' with the Hanks

One of the coolest parts about going out to Chicago was for the girls to hang out with their cousin Brooklyn and their fun Auntie and Uncle. The night we got there we took them over to a little park and let them burn off their energy.

At one point uncle Kevin sat at the bottom of the slide and let Teya come down and crash into his back, causing him to catapult off the edge of the slide and land a few feet away. Teya thought this was the most hilarious thing ever and made him do it over and over again. What a good sport!

After the park the Hank's introduced us to the most sinfully delicious pizza I've ever eaten. They said I'd only be able to eat one piece because it was so rich and fattening. I normally eat at least 3 pieces of pizza so I had my doubts until I actually bit into the thing and was like "WHOA!" Yeah, definitely a one piece meal. (and sorry for yet another food shot, we really like food, what can I say?)

I also had to include these morning shots of the girls hanging out together in their jammies. 3 girls under the age of 3, pretty cute stuff!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Swell Hotel

Since our kids are lightweight travelers when it comes to road trips, we actually split up our drive to Chicago and stopped at a hotel half way there. We found a real gem of a place in Madison WI that had kids suites ( a room with a separate wall and bunk beds for the kids) and an awesome pool with a shallow play area for little kids and a water slide that was just the perfect size for Teya. As soon as we got to the hotel Teya wanted her swimsuit on and we could barely contain her she was so excited to get swimming. She swam for almost two hours and then woke up the next morning and the first thing she asked for was to put on her swimsuit again.

This was Teya's first time going on a "big kid" waterslide. She did great, even the time when mommy was supposed to catch her and ended up frantically fishing her out of the water instead. (didn't realize she'd be coming down so fast!)

Daddy was much better at the catching thing.

Brinley had a lot of fun too. She crawled around in the super shallow part till her poor little knees were red. I finally had to take her back early to go to bed and she wasn't happy about leaving.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Unplanned lake adventure

Yesterday was just so beautiful I decided to take the girls outside in the late afternoon before Taber got home. I thought we'd just go to the little park a block away so I didn't pack much. When we got in the stroller though Teya said she wanted to go to the big park with the lake and sand (about a mile away) I felt up for some exercise so I agreed.

When we got there I directed Teya towards the playground and hoped she'd forget about the lake since we didn't bring bathing suits and the water is still pretty cold. I should've known better though. She asked if she could dip her feet in. The next thing I know her pants were on the beach. Not long after that her shirt was too.

Several other children followed suit and happiness ensued. I couldn't help but smile at the joy of childhood. Teya had no inhibitions, she saw the lake and had to jump in. She saw other kids and decided they would be her friends, that simple.

Brinley had fun at the lake too. This was her first experience with sand and water. She didn't hesitate to explore. As soon as I sat her down she was off to see what this lake was all about.

Found a treasure! The hardest part was keeping her from putting all her treasures in her mouth. I was probably only 50% successful.

We ended up being there for almost 2 hours and even then it was hard to pull Teya away.

Luckily Taber showed up to help me lure her away from the beach. He also brought a towel, dry clothes, and some much needed water and snacks. We ended up getting home a little late but it was worth it to see how much fun they had. I guess sometimes the best outings are the ones I don't plan!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cheap entertainment

Teya had her little buddy Clayton over yesterday for a playdate. While he was here I learned that the most entertaining part of my house is not a toy or a snack or the t.v., it's my couch and it's seat cushions. I'm glad they had fun : )

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Maple Grove Half Marathon

After 4 solid months of training we finally got the chance to put it all to the test at our first official half marathon.

We woke up Saturday morning to be greeted by a biting 37 degree temperature with winds at 20 mph. The cold didn't really faze me but the wind was daunting. Still, we've trained in all kinds of weather, including high speed winds so we added a couple layers and headed out to the stadium.

I was so glad I grabbed Taber's puffy warm coat before at the last minute to put over my warm up jacket because even in that I felt cold!
Before the race we stretched out a little and talked about our strategy and how we hoped everything would go. I ran down a list of different finishing times and told him how I'd feel for each one. If I finished in 2:15 I'd be okay. If I finished in 2:10 I'd feel good. 2:05-Great! 2:00-YES! AWESOME! Anything under two hours would be WOWIE WOWIE WOW!!!
I was fairly confident that I could hit the my 2 hour goal, especially because we were going to run with a pace group that was shooting for 2 hours. Still, a lot can happen on the race course (injury, cramp, blister, potty break, etc...) So I knew that even with the pace group it wasn't a done deal.
At the starting line, if you look closely you can tell that people were freezing their buns off! I shed my big puffy coat but kept my warm up jacket on because it was just too cold! Here we are just before we got going.

And we're off! Okay, so we were a little bit hyper and totally carried our camera with us through the whole race. It's really tiny and fits easily into our running belts. Anyway, so yeah, we have a couple fun shots from the race and some video as well. I'm sure the people around us thought we were so goofy taking pictures but hey, it's not like we have family out here to come watch us and take pics so we had to improvise!

We ran the first two miles with our jackets and then ditched them by a fence after we were warmed up. I think this next picture is from mile 5 or so, yeah I was cruising!

The course was pretty diverse. We ran on main roads, neighborhood streets and on trails. Here's Taber heading into one of the prettier sections on the trails. Those were definitely my favorite.
Here's another favorite trail. It wraps around Rice Lake and has such a pretty view. I wish we could've stayed on it longer but with so many people running I'm sure the streets were easier to avoid congestion.
Here's one I shot of Taber by the lake around mile 7. Nice form!

And here we are back in the neighborhoods coming up on mile 11. At this point my legs were getting tired but I felt good! I knew I had more left in me and as we ran through the last water station with just over a mile to go our pace leaders said, "If you feel like you've got more in you then go for it! Push it in hard!" So Taber and I left the pace group and starting pushing it in. It felt good to pass people as we made our last effort to cross the finish line. Taber was 7 seconds ahead of me but I still finished strong with my WOWIE WOWIE WOW time of 1:59:10!!!! WOO!

Here are the official results:
1:59:10 time/9:06 minutes per mile/28th out of 80 for my age division/76th out of 315 women/
202nd out of 569 runners total.

Taber: 1:59:03 time/ 9:06 minutes per mile/50th out of 104 for his age division/124th out of 255 Men/ 197th out of 569 runners total.
Afterwards we felt a little beat up since we normally do our long runs at a much slower pace. Still it felt great to finish my first half marathon and definitely got me pumped up for the full 26.2 next month!