Happy Birthday Grandma Judi!

 A birthday is to be celebrated of course.
 But a 70th birthday? Now that is a birthday to do up right!
 Time to show Grandma exactly how we feel about her. Talk is cheap. Action. Action. We want action!
 Smother her with kisses!
 And by all means...have some cake!
Happy Birthday Grandma Judi . We love you!

Aloha San Diego

San Diego!

San Diego has a special place in my heart. I may not have grown up in San Diego but I grew there. I arrived in San Diego in 2004 with a 12 week contract and stayed for 9 years. As a professional  I went from being a basically untrusted and unknown travel nurse  to a charge nurse the ICU. 

To be honest when I arrived at Scripps Mercy the environment amongst the ICU nurses was a little a lot  like the photo in the picture above. The nursing staff was the most well educated, highest functioning and the most competitive group of people I had worked with. I struggled but I took ultimately decided it was better to struggle to do the best work than have experience a cake walk of mediocrity someplace else. Plus outside of work there was so much to do.

While in San Diego I learned to play in the sand box nicely with others. More than that actually.  I met my best adult friends. Although we now live far I treasure these friendships. I really feel they will be the deepest friendships I will have in this lifetime. Not just because I am too busy trying to keep my children from swinging from chandeliers to be a good friend. I am convinced that the bonds formed while riding bikes for over mountain passes and thousands of miles, running miles, and swimming with seals, dolphins ,and maybe even sharks  are unbeatable. This may be a little bit of magical thinking but when I embark on new adventures I take my old friends with me and when I read about my old friends current adventures I feel included. 

I met my husband in San Diego. My prophetic Grandmother predicted this.  She said I would meet the love of my life in San Diego. He would be an orthopedic surgeon. He would set up his practice at the base of a ski resort....given we live in a meca for nordic skiing I'd say she was right. It was the last conversation I had with her and the last time I  saw her.  I poo pooed her but don't think I won't teach my children to listen up when Grandma starts talking.

I gave birth to my daughter in San Diego and spent the first year of her life there. 

Currently she loves splashing in the water and animals....What could be more San Diego than that?

This was Isaac's first visit to San Diego. I true "traveling with children" form both kids got sick upon arrival. Isaac had/caused an evacuation of "Sammy's Woodfire Pizza" so bad both parents had to storm the women's bathroom for clean up. Clothing was left in the trash can.. Famous last words uttered by his Mom prior to going to dinner were" should I even bother to bring a diaper bag it's such a short walk?" Turns out Grandma knows best after all and thankfully said...."I would in case somebody has a blow out" . Turns out bringing just a diaper and wipes was not such a great idea this evening. Approximately 30 seconds into the walk back to the hotel Isaac attempted to wriggle free and crash some middle school soccer practice. The moment he was happily running free with no desire to ever stop playing I looked down to notice a perfect brown shoe print on my thigh. This was a slight disappointment not just because the pants were my favorite skinny jeans but the only full length pants I packed. Sometimes hand washing is just not enough. After weaving my way through the hotel with Isaac's button pushing elevator assistance we made it up to our 3rd floor room. I inserted the key into the lock with a sigh of relief as the key failed to work. It was an interesting conversation at the desk having a new key made while holding my nearly naked child and modeling my "shit print" jeans . Did I mention Isaac had a bruise/goose egg on his forehead and sand stuck in his snot. Awesome! Exhausted we turned in for a night of sleep only to have Annika wake up at 3:45 a.m. complaining of a stomach ache...which of course led to vomitting. I'm not sure if it was the Bisckoff cookie I caught her trying to eat from under the seat on the airplane, e-coli from the previous nights dinner, or the just a community acquired virus. Thankfully, it wasn't the worst bug we ever dealt with, and with a grown up to kid ratio of 3:2  the situation  was handled with relative ease.
By 11:00 a.m. all was not forgotten regarding feeling under the  weather but a little fresh air and ocean breeze seemed to help.

You can't keep kids down for long and the next day it was off to the zoo. The San Diego zoo is an incredible experience for all.

What a great place. 

Carlsbad beach where Tim grew up visiting his Grandparents. So many memories to share. I must have turned my bike ride around here so many times. So many memories.

It's pretty incredible the amount of growth in San Diego. It was a clean and vibrant city when we left but now even more so. From our perspective they have done a great job. Although we love where we live ..it's easy to see why people would want to live in San Diego. When people ask about different areas of San Diego my usual response is "you can't go wrong".
I might possibly be the meanest Mom ever. ...but I was that Mom. The Mom who leads her child to the entrance of Sea World and then says actually we can't go...
A little word of advice ...check the prices before you go because if you are thinking you might only want to be there for 1-2 hours and want more of a quiet educational environment it might not be worth the $200 it would cost for the two of you to go.
Luckily Grandma had Isaac covered and Annika and I crafted a better plan and headed to the Scripps Birch aquarium.
We had a great time with zero meltdowns. Not having meltdowns nor spending $200 for entry even allowed the purchase of a "stuffy" from the gift shop....When you are 5 years old a stuffy is so important.  Annika got about a 40 minute 1:1 session with an educator. She was entranced.
Tidepool exploration.
All to soon it was time to go home. We didn't do the greatest job getting photos. It sure is harder than it seems to photograph and share amazing keep alive small children. We'll try to do a better job next time we travel

Sprinter 2017!

It really isn't winter and it really isn't spring. So I guess I'll continue calling this the sprinter season.

57 degrees and nordic skiing is a unique. In all truth I'd prefer 28 degrees. It's easier to wax for and the snow is faster. ... but we take what we get. Diligently applying sunscreen in mid February is not too bad.
Speaking of slow and sloppy snow....It didn't stop the sled dog races.

The fans were not disappointed.
The downside to this yo-yo warm cold weather has been sickness.
Everybody in town has had multiple respiratory viruses or worse.
I'm blaming the weather..although I think it's been a nationwide epidemic.
When caring for a loved one with the stuffies...make sure they are tucked in with a beloved stuffy. Thanks Annika for sharing your germs your Georgie. When you are sick of being sick and after 10 days of amoxicillin you have an ear infection...don't have a pity party. 

Have a popcorn party.. Go ahead...take off your clothes and dance naked. Thanks Dyson for repairing our vacuum and returning it in a box that was chucked full of loose popcorn. No really, thanks for the memory. At first an effort was made to try to remove the vacuum from the box without the popcorn being noticed. Kids can sniff out trouble and treats from a block away. At some point the battle didn't seem worth fighting.  Plan B went something like this  "Kids it's time for a party. I'm setting the time for 15 minutes . When the timer dings we all have to work together to clean it up or there will be no dessert".

 Isaac likes cars and ramps. Car ramps are his favorite things. We don't have one at home for him yet  but he loves to play with the one at the Y and in Annika's school. I find it ironic that he stole a sign from behind my treadmill to make his ramp.  A friend made if for me after I coined the phrase "running is the easiest part of my day" and that includes running with children in the jogger. ... still so true.

A Saturday morning date with a Dad, 2 kids and donuts. What could be more all American than that? Isaac is a fairly mellow fellow but don't even think of getting between Isaac and a creme filled long john from the Huron Bakery.
All was going so well until the moment a man walked up and said is that your mini van?...I'm really sorry I backed into and there is damage are not the words a Dad wants to hear moments after his 5 year old daughter  has gone to the ladies room independently. Isaac was joyously squeezing the cream out of his long john. From what I am told the children were immediately escorted to the van to be confined into carseats while damage was evaluated and discussed. Isaac's vise like grip on the long john was successful until he was secured in his seat. The creme squirting long john was then yanked from his loving little hands and with the greatest despair Isaac witnessed his father toss his beloved long john into the snow bank to prevent further damage to the inside of the vehicle. Maybe instead of a movie titled all dogs go to heaven there should be one called all parents go to heaven. I'm certain it would be a scream.

 On a happy note our family is growing. No...not in numbers. We are expanding our ability to broaden our horizons a make new memories as family.

 We bought a 1968 Airstream. It needs a lot of work but that's part of what makes it special. For some reason looking at the picture makes me think of a trilogy. The life we once had.  How lightly we lived and freely we rolled. The life we  now have, where our physical home is an integral part of our heart and family life  and the life that lies beyond the early years of our children. It is easy to take for granted how short the years are when some of the days seem long.
 Before you get all misty eyed about how quickly children grow up I thought I'd throw this picture in to keep it real. In honor of International Women's Day Isaac head butted me. I was attempting to distract him from an electrician working on an outlet. I don't know for sure but I think hot wires and toddler curiosity seem not to mix. Luckily the electrician had two under 2 and a third on the way so he wasn't phased.  Not a bit. Technically it was domestic violence and assault .. however I've decided not to press charges because he really is cute and most of the time very sweet. It really wasn't even a fit of rage, just some reckless bouncing and poor choices.
Annika would like to introduce her newest doll named Hannah. She would like you to know Hannah isn't an American Girl like the ones she saw in the catalogue last September. Hannah is a "knock up" . Yes, a knock up, the ones from Target that look like American Dolls but are cheaper.

Home for the Holidays

 Christmas 2016 did not dissapoint
 Grandma and Grandpa came.
 There were books to be read.
 Gingerbread men to be baked
Muffins post a cold muffin run
 Christmas Program !
 Christmas dress that just so happens to match the angel on top of the tree!
 Snowboarding in the front yard!
 Skiing at Marquette Mtn. No... you need not be capable of saying your own name to score a pair of skis in this town. You better bet it was 100% advised by at Issac's 18 month check up.
Teaching is the highest form of learning, so may as well save money on ski school and put the 5 year old to work teaching ski lessons rights. I promise Mom is not checking Facebook or sipping Bailey's at this moment.
 Sledding. Sort of like the U.P. 200 sled dog race only Mama Jen Jen is the musher.
 YMCA fun ..the Mom's run. The kids craft and play. Can you beat it? Doubt it

 Christmas Eve Ski session. You have to be super cool or super geeky to wear goggle/glasses like that. ...and yes ..they are awesome!

 Candy on the jersey! Don't forget the gingerbread house!
 It was a team effort. Constructed and consumed by all.
 We so advanced from last years near disaster and didn't even need to utilize bbq skewers for extra support

 Santa delivered!
 A clubhouse and a bike!
 Seat dropper!!!!!
Party in the house!
The only way to keep Isaac out of trouble.

Time for Mom to step it up a notch. "Plank with no legs" as ordered by Annika. I double dog dare you to try this move. 
Plastic skis for an evening yard ski session. 

Gymnastics showcase!

Issac's first time wearing a chef's cap

He loves to cook.

and helping make dessert

and maybe his last?

Who can say no to a face like that? .... I don't know...maybe the person cleaning the mess

 Take it back outside....First day of Ski Cats. kid nordic ski program.

 Issac tags along.

Issac is technically too young for the official program

He feels he is the exact right size for the donut table.

Let's be 100% honest right here and right now. There is no child on this earth who will choose to nordic ski over alpine. Nordic skiing is about patience and grit. Alpine is about speed! However, nordic skiing is a great lifelong sport and bribes of donuts are acceptable and appropriate if we hope to keep the sport alive and well in future generations.

Let the record state Annika would like to try ski jumping. I mean it looks so easy on tv in real life. Can you spot the figure flying through the air? For the records ...we offer no bribes to encourage ski jumping in this family. 

How's the Boston training going? Well, the only injury to report around here would be a stress fracture to the treadmill deck. Just imagine being in the final minute of your last 5K  paced interval and hearing a crack.... as Annika said "Wow Mom, I'm glad that wasn't your leg." Yeah, me too.  It seems ironic that for years I would go so much longer in terms or time and distance just to avoid the intensity and fear of interval training only to come to a place of understanding and enjoying the need for intervals to break my treadmill...Ironic because the one thing more important that intensity is  consitency..and when you are a Mom of small children who nap and get sick....the easiest way to  maintain consistency is utilizing a treadmill.  After multiple knees scopes and hip replacements..my husband performed a deck replacement on the treadmill ...only the treadmill then needed a cardiologist accumulating static electricity and delivering shocks to the runner. I'm competitive and I love to run....but we all have our limits. I'd rather loose fitness and have to walk the Boston marathon than be repetitively shocked while training.  

 Let's be honest when it comes to the Boston marathon...I'm not really looking at a podium spot. I think what I have done over a lifetime and what I am doing will trump a few workouts missed due to not having a treadmill. OK and new treadmill is on the way
It's been a strange winter. It should really be called a Sprinter for half Spring half winter. It was above freezing all week , rained, then was beautiful for the kids race . 
And then dumped fresh ungroomed snow on to the race course and proceed to blizzard throughout the entire race.  I have been told that "I'm scary." Apparently racer #556 heard this rumor.
That's right. I'm coming for you!!!!!
In all honestly ...I passed racer number 556 at some point and then he edged past me entering the finishing chute. I was so tired from heaving myself through ungroomed snow for the entire race that I thought if I fell I would never get up. Experts say....The difference between me and really good female nordic skiers is they do "40 dips " in the weight room without a struggle and NOT baby dips....to think my strength regime consists of carrying a baby.

Tim won the Fatbike race at the Noque the day after the nordic race. He's not sure if he was the fastest or most skilled but he was the smartest and did not skip half the course like most of the field.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to go with the flow.
Pre race excitement. 
Catholic schools week....St.Elizabeth of Hungary for the win. You see when your veil gets tangled in the basket you are carrying ...the basket that really is a bit too big and heavy. It's full of bread to feed to poor ...and you almost fall over but persevere...there is no costume that can outshine your heart!