Fall: Fabulous, Fearless & Fast

With school back in session it was time to capitalize on all things fall. Of note ...Now that Annika is in full day pre-K and capable of crafting her own stories it is time for this blog to revert back to the original voice of this blog now better known as Mama Jen Jen. 
Mama Jen Jen will be the primary storyteller of this blog. The stories will largely be inspired by the cast shown in the photo below.
Photo taken on top of Sugarloaf mtn overlooking Lake Superior. Annika was deeply submerged/immersed in role playing the character of "Thundercloud The Snow Leopard"

After Annika's  8 a.m. drop off Isaac and I play at a nearby park before heading out for  run. It is quite a "dynamic warm up" for Mama Jen Jen indeed.
Family time and trips are awesome. Multiple airline changes, delays, time zones and endurance sports really are not so awesome for kids. This fall Mama Jen Jen and Papa Tim Tim each flew the coop for a weekend. It wasn't really an "I need a break" trip so much as this seems like an awesome opportunity to do what we love and reconnect with old friends.
Papa Tim Tim scored a weekend in St. George. Gooseberry Mesa is awesome.
Meanwhile Mama Jen Jen, Annika, And Issac had their own adventures
Soon Mama Jen Jen had her turn....
The Grand Canyon
In all it's glory. Rim to Rim to Rim. 48 miles of South Kaibab. North Rim and back up Bright Angel. Complete with a mountain lion sighting ...Yikes!

18 hours of awesome. It really was great to reconnect with Julie and Jon. ..and yes Julie and I can talk non stop for 18 hours. Unfortunately I realize there were subjects we didn't do justice to...So I guess we'll have to reconnect for another adventure. 

Training for R2R2R is really awful...one must commit to long runs with exposure to the below scenes
5 hours running along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Oh boo hoo. I got some mud on my shoes. The day was no fun at all.

Fall and trails...they go together like peas and carrots.
And every nice day we spend some time outside
I spend a lot of time attempting to keep up with younger athletes.

So this fall I entered an NCAA XC invitational as an independent runner. Yes, I'm 39. Which makes me ...ohhh just about 20 years older than the average competitor. So technically yes...I could be the mother of one of those athletes. Maybe someday I will race my own daughter. That would be swell.

I tried very hard not to make a spectacle off myself. Isaac sat in a wagon groggy from a nap. Annika dug in the dirt with her pals. Tim played the bugle. I ... I blended in. I stayed in the thick of things. All in all it was a very forgettable performance to anyone but me. Showing up to a collegiate race 20 years late and blending in is something I define as success. To run a 6K well you have to hold on to the knife end of intensity.... It takes a tremendous amount of courage. I tried to be brave. I tired to be as brave a lion.

Often I say that "intensity is hard for me". It's easy for me to just do the distance. Raising a child,  racing a child, and racing alongside a child has reminded me of many, many  things. Mostly that you become what you believe and that skill acquisition is a process of patience. The end result is worth the wait.
So is intensity really "hard for me"?

I doubt it.

Next up was Halloween. Annika had the creative and bright idea that she would be a Chippy (Chipmunk) for Halloween. In case you are wondering ..there are no Chipmunk costumes for purchase in a size greater than 2T. I could have bought one for Isaac. That would have gone over so well when it was Annika's idea. Of course pinterest didn't even have any easy patterns (Yes...I have oodles of extra time to spend crafting up pinterest creations.) PINTEREST IS A LIE anyway. In the end Chipmunk costumes were homemade and a big hit. 
Unfortunately Isaac pinched his finger in the baby gate that was supposed to be keeping him safe  just before the party. Yes...for many children baby gates are more dangerous than the actual stairs.

Annika was pretty happy with her costume...and I didn't have to explain to more than 75% of the crowd that she was a "Chippy" and not a skunk.

I don't claim to be the best crafter around...but have you ever seen a brown skunk? Seriously... I inhaled toxic paint fumes turning a halloween pumpkin into an acorn for people to mistake my beloved children for skunks.

No fall season would be complete without multiple Halloween costumes and football games.
I'm sure it is a perfectly average experience to be concussed while playing football and be examined by a Doctor who utilizes a small lion as first assist.
Most of the time we are much more average and can be found sliding down slides. 

or swinging from bars and monkeying around.
A fall outing to Hayes corn maze can not be missed