Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Gosh, I can't believe it! I don't have any pictures of our Thanksgiving!  I still wanted to blog about it for memories' sake.  We spent it at the cabin and for the first time ever, Sarah joined us this year.  I was so happy that she got to come!  She got to enjoy my "favorite holiday meal of the year" and to see the cabin, a place that I've told her about all these years.

We had a wonderful week-long visit with Sarah and then we had to say goodbye... We won't get to see her until summer time.  I was extremely emotional and so sad to see her go. I'm very blessed to have a sister who I consider to be one of my closest friends. I'm thankful that she chose to spend her vacation time with our family.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ice Skating in Fresno!?

I grew up in Edmonton, where every school has its own outdoor skating rink.  Ice skating was a pretty normal outdoor activity in a place where snow covers the ground for at least four months of the year.  As we raise our kids in Fresno, known for its heat, I never thought that we'd ever take our kids skating, much less at an outdoor rink!  This year, downtown Fresno has an outdoor ice rink (albeit small, but a rink)!  Our family went together on Veterans Day with some friends, and the kids took such a liking to it, we ended up buying a family season pass.  I was shocked by how well our kids did.  They fell plenty of times, but had great attitudes and got right back up.  Pretty soon, they were skating from one section to the next without any help.  I was joking to Jason that it must be the Canadian in them, hahaha.  We went again during Thanksgiving Break with the Wiens family, my sister (who didn't get into ANY pictures), and brought our friend, Jackson, again, too.  We plan to go a few more times this season!  Fun times!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Welcome to San Francisco

At the last minute, my sister decided to visit us during Thanksgiving Break.  She has the least seniority in her new job, which means that her coworkers got first choice to take time off around Christmas.  Sarah knew that no one would be wanting American Thanksgiving, so she decided to head on down.  This worked out great for our family since all of us had the week off. 

We went to pick Sarah up at the San Francisco Airport on Sat. morning. Our kids have never been to San Francisco, so we decided this would be a great weekend to be in the city!  Since it was raining off and on, our first stop was the California Academy of Sciences.  At Grace's school carnival last year, we bid on a family pass to the Academy at the last minute and won.  Our family got to go for $40 instead of the $120 it normally would've cost!  Wow!  Our kids had a great time as we explored the rainforest exhibit, the aquarium, and we even saw a show in the planetarium.  There were baby ostriches on display and we even got to experience their current Earthquake exhibit.
On Sunday, we did all the usual touristy things that a first time visitor would do- went to see the sea lions, Pier 39, looked at the naval submarine/ship at Fisherman's Wharf, discovered Musee Mecanique (museum of antique arcade games), ate clam chowder at Boudin's, had amazing sundaes at Ghiradelli's, rode a cable car, and shopped!

Before heading back to Fresno on Monday, Jason wanted to take some time to drive around the city.  He has signed up to run the San Francisco Marathon in June, and he wanted to have a visual of the route.  So, we drove the course and discovered an area on the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge.  We never did find the name of that area, but it had old bunkers and an amazing view!  We drove across the bridge and ended up walking partway across.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect! 

Before we left the Bay Area, of course we had to visit an Ikea.  Jason even stopped at the outlets in Gilroy for a little shopping (in which he came home with tons more than I did) before we drove home to Fresno.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jeremy and the Lightning

This was Jeremy's second year playing soccer.  In hindsight, it probably would've been ok if we had skipped this season.  Last year, Jeremy got to play on a soccer team with many of his friends and so it was fun to cheer on not only Jeremy, but his friends, too.  He had a drive and a go-to attitude.  This year, it was just him and his buddy, Luke.  The rest of his team was somewhat flaky, and their team was consistently outnumbered on the field.  Other changes this year included a smaller field, a smaller net, and a goalie.  This year was truly "bunch ball" and I think that's part of the reason why Jeremy lost his competitive spirit.  There could be up to fourteen players on the field at one time, all chasing after one ball.  It wasn't long before Jeremy could be seen dancing on the field, being completely silly and goofy.  The highlight of the season was having Jeremy and Luke play together.  Next year, Jeremy will be in kindergarten, so we'll probably play in his school's league.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jason's Two Cities Half Marathon

I am really, really impressed with people who run.  I mean, it takes incredible determination and an inner strength that I definitely don't possess.  Whenever I see people running, or whenever I read about people's running accomplishments on Facebook, I am always in awe and really inspired.  I am so proud of Jason because he completed his first half marathon today!

After competing as a sprinter for many, many years, Jason decided to give long distance running a try this year.  His goal was to run in the Two Cities Half Marathon, which was held today in Fresno/Clovis.  He has trained consistently for several months, waking up early at least 4 days a week to run.  A few weeks ago, he actually injured himself.  The injury, combined with him catching a cold threw off his rhythm and he didn't run for over a week.  Luckily, he recovered and was able to slowly get back into things.  He was as prepared as he could possibly be heading into today's event, aside from his nerves and excitement.  Our friend, Randy, who has been one of Jason's biggest supporters during his training, pointed out to me that while a lot of people would be satisfied just to finish a half marathon, Jason wasn't one of those people.  He's the kind of person who thrives on competition- he will always expect more of himself and so what he was striving for was a strong finish with a memorable time. Randy was right!

I brought the kids to cheer Jason on near the finish line.  We got there in plenty of time.  We were so excited when we finally saw him as he headed towards the final stretch.  This was the only picture I got of him running since he flew by us! 
Some time later, he came out of the Finisher's Area to greet us and shared that he finished in 1:46 mins.  I don't know much about running, but I know that this is an amazing feat.  His average pace was around 8 min./mile.  After looking through people's times, he found out that he was the 5th fastest time on the Fresno course for his age group.
 What an example he has been to our kids.  Grace said several times today that she really wants to start running with him.
 Jason's Fan Club
Jason: You set a goal, worked hard, and went over and above to achieve it.  You're such an inspiration to me and I am so very proud of you! 

Halloween 2012

For the past few years, we've basically done the same thing for Halloween.  We spend time at our church's Fall Carnival and then go trick-or-treating right by our church.  For the past few years, the kids' costumes pretty much matched with whatever their party's theme was.  This year, they did end up continuing this tradition, but there was a month of uncertainty in which they considered other ideas.  First, they wanted to be Power Rangers (thanks, Mrs. Karen)... Next, they wanted to be Star Wars characters... And then after shopping with me to get a few things for their sports themed birthday party, they decided to go as athletes.  
Here's  my Olympic gold medalist in Soccer (I wish I had taken a picture of Jeremy's shirt- I made it with a logo that said "USA Olympic Team")
 Here's my Olympic gold medalist in swimming (another missed photo op- Grace's swim cap has a USA flag on it, but of course none of our pictures show this)
 Jason went as an Olympic medalist in track (his uniform is "real" in that American track and field athletes wore it to compete several Olympics ago.  He had to wear it to compete in the Masters USA Track & Field championships a few years ago)
 My family was decked out as Team USA, but not me! :)
 Jason turned a lot of heads in his track shorts
 Our kids went trick-or-treating with the Wiens family
Our last stop of the night was our next door neighbors/friends, David and Sasha

Our Annual Pumpkin Patch Visit

Every year, we go to the pumpkin patch on Grace's birthday.