Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

All right family, this blog's for you. Here are pictures of your wonderful/beautiful/darling/cute daughters/granddaughters/neices as they celebrate the one day of the year when it's ok to beg for candy. No, I'm really not that cynical about the holiday because I get to steal the good candy out of their bags when they're not looking :)

Mom, I hope you get a chance to see this on your long voyage back to the United States. Oh wait, you never left the US, it probably just feels like you did.

Sara starts us off with the "oh honey, will you stand there while we take your picture and look really really really cute?" picture. It's not hard for her to do since she is adorable. Caitlyn refused to have her picture taken: she's 4 (that should explain it). She said she'd rather have her picture taken while she was begging, I mean, trick-or-treating. So here it is.

Still no smile from her but it's early. The day started off drizzly, chilly and a bit windy but would get better as the morning wore on. Her attitude improved with the weather. Outside Tess' Kitchen Shop, Snow White and the 7 Drawfs (is that still politically correct?) were giving away candy. Here, Snow White tempts Caitlyn.

I guess I should mention the event we were at. Every year Grass Valley shuts down the main street in town and the employees from all the businesses dress up and give away candy to younger kids who don't normally go out at night to trick or treat. I've gone every year with Caitlyn and now Sara and it's a lot of fun. The weather kept the crowds down a bit this year but it was still enjoyable.

Caitlyn finally warmed up and decided it was ok to get her picture taken with Sara. She wanted her Nana to see her whole outfit so she took off her sweater.

After collecting candy we headed over to Paulette's for brunch. The girls are getting to an age where it's actually a lot of fun to take them out to a restaurant. After getting home we went through the candy and goodies and here's Sara showing off her zebra finger puppet.

The Center of Performing Arts gives away books each year and here's Caitlyn showing off hers, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Shortly after we got home I had to head over the summit to work at the fire station (I had taken the first part of the day off). It was hard for the girls to see me leave and it wasn't any easier on me. But tomorrow it is suppose to be cold and rainy so I made them a promise: as soon as I get home we'll have breakfast, watch cartoons, movies, and football, eat popcorn, and stay in our pajamas all day. A family day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cross Training

I haven't had much opportunity lately to write about running because I haven't done much. I was able to see another doctor who did confirm the stress fracture in my left shin. But at least now I'm willing to do whatever I have to do to get better. He gave me some good stretching exercises to do and actually said I could run a couple miles occasionally on the treadmill if it felt ok.

Last week I ran a couple miles on the treadmill and it felt ok. It was more of a run/walk, walk 5 min, run 2 min. What's interesting is how my attitude has changed. I'm finding that I'm hesitant to try running again because if my leg starts to hurt I know I'll just get depressed. I'd rather just wait and let it heal and try running again in a while. But then part of me wants to run tomorrow.

So that leaves cross-training. I've been doing a lot of Bikram Yoga and loving it. Also swimming where I've been doing drills to try and get faster in the pool. Just before Pat had his little accident we went to Morro Bay for my mom's birthday and we took the mountain bikes. My dad gave us a tour of the wonderful trails around Cerro Cabrillo between Morro Bay and Los Osos.

Dad and I climbing

The singletrack is so much fun with some short but intense climbs and lots of great rollers. It's a small area and it wouldn't take more than a week to find all the trails but you can mix them up and keep it fresh.

Pat had to head home early so it was just my dad and I who headed out to Montana de Oro early one morning. For anyone who has done the trail races with Pacific Coast Trail Runs in that area would recognize the trails we rode. We headed out Islay Creek Rd for a nice warm up then hike-a-biked up Barranca Trail.

My Dad and I at the top of Barranca Trail

Descending East Boundary Trail

The fun really started as we headed down East Boundary and Ridge Trails. Eventually we climbed up near Hazard Peak for some gorgeous views of Morro Rock and the surrounding hills.

Morro Rock and Bay in the background

Fun Ridge Trail fans out behind my dad

Just this summer the CCCMB opened a new trail to descend down from Hazard Peak that involves more rollers and less steep hills so it improves run-off. It still needs a little work but is a real joy to ride. The CCCMB is incredible with their trail work and anyone who rides in the area should be very thankful to them.

I'm sorry Pat couldn't be there for the beautiful views since when we did the trail race over Labor Day it was completely foggy. And to everyone who offered such supportive comments since his fall, I can let you know that he's definitely getting better. The shoulder is still problematic but he's in physical therapy for that and it should be fine. Thank you everyone.

My mom showing off her trike

The girls have been getting older and Caitlyn is now riding her bike. So we all take off on our bikes and my mom finally got tired of getting left behind. Enter, the trike. She's thrilled because she can now go everywhere her granddaughters go.

Exploring the beach boardwalk with Caitlyn

Pat and Sara enjoying some trike time

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Phone Call

This morning the phone rang at 1:30am. Pat was on duty and it was his Battalion Chief. My heart sank, this couldn't be good. Turns out Pat had slipped on a metal roof during a structure fire and fell about 10 feet to the ground. He landed on his head and shoulder and being in full structure gear with SCBA (breathing apparatus) adds quite a bit of weight and makes for quite a landing. Fortunately, as his BC was quick to say, he's all right. He escaped with a laceration to his head and a painful shoulder. No loss of consciousness.

I loaded the girls into the truck and we headed for the hospital. You have to love a small town and the firefighter/EMS community. The lady on the ambulance is a friend of mine and watched the girls for a bit while I got my first visit with Pat. Seeing him bandaged up with doctors and nurses attending him made it finally sink in that he really did get hurt and I was so thankful that it wasn't worse.

I eventually took the girls to a friends house so I could focus my attention on Pat. He got staples in his head to close the laceration and an x-ray on his shoulder which came back negative so it's probably a muscular injury and hopefully isn't too serious. This morning I asked how he was feeling and he chuckled sheepishly and said he feels like he fell off a roof, his humor still intact.

On top of all this I had to take the truck in for new brakes and rotors, an expensive fix. It makes me realize how quickly a nice, comfortable life can be turned upside down. We're lucky and will get through this fine with the help of some very good friends that I'm extremely thankful to have.

I know it's so easy to get caught up in the business of life and forget to appreciate what we have. This "middle of the night" phone call reinforces what's most important in life: family.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An Apple A Day.......

Last Monday Pat and I and the girls headed south on the very windy Hwy 49 to Placerville to visit Apple Hill. Made up of more than 50 ranches, there is everything apple as well as wineries and Christmas tree farms. We had never been so we thought it was high time we got over there.

We were armed with only a guide book included in the Reno Gazette Journal newspaper and the various descriptions of each ranch. Our first stop was at Abel's Apple Acres. Being a Monday (one perk of a firefighter's schedule) there was no crowd and we were able to browse freely. A nice little gift shop helped me get started on some Christmas shopping.

Enjoying apple struedel

After the long drive there we were hungry of course so what to start with. Something apple!! We decided on the apple struedel and were not disappointed. Afterwards the girls were able to run around in the field a bit.

Unfortunately, since it was a Monday, the hay maze was closed. I'd rather deal with a few things that weren't open since it wasn't a weekend and have the freedom of no crowds. After talking to a few of the locals it sounds like it can get pretty crazy on the weekend.

Our next stop was Boa Vista. They had a wide selection of apples and we picked up some for an apple pie in our future. We kept the kids fortified with a couple of hot dogs then headed off to the next stop, Honey Bear. What an absolute treat.

This one's for you Aunt Anne

For our lunch we had turkey sandwiches on croissants with potato salad and WARM apple pie. Delicious. Seating was in a wonderful grassy area on picnic tables under apple trees. The girls busies themselves by picking up and stacking the apples that were on the ground. The above picture shows a book called "How to Make An Apple Pie And See The World". It's from Caitlyn's Aunt Anne and she absolutely loves it. She was showing it to everyone and explaining how to make an apple pie.

Shoulda had the pulled pork

There was a small pond with Koi fish that the girls were able to feed and trees to climb.

After Honey Bear we decided to call it a day. The weather was perfect, no crowds, and the girls were terrific. We had picked up a couple of caramel apples as a treat which we enjoyed after dinner.

Caitlyn had never had caramel before and was not disappointed.

All in all it was a great day and I highly recommend getting over there if you have the opportunity.