24 December 2011


Christmas was great. We spent the traditional Christmas Eve with the rest of the Headleys, enjoying all our family traditions.

On Christmas day, we opened presents. Laura and I hosted a Christmas dinner, making only the second turkey of our married lives. The Souths, friends of ours, made Christmas dinner complete — great food and great company.

Laura, the chief elf in our household, loves to see the kids open lots of presents. As you can see, she made sure that happened this Christmas.

The "Welcome Home" sign is left over from our house sitter after our return from Disneyland.

03 December 2011

Fear and no fear, plus the blue knight

For Saturday, we spent a lot of time at California Adventure. Abigail showed no fear and took Mom and Dad (separately) on the fast roller coaster — Screamin'. And, Laura showed some guts by following everyone else on the ferris wheel. Apparently, there are only some scary rides she likes to go on. We went on a swinging cage. The first time it swung, Laura crawled up into a ball, leaving the boys to slide off from their seats. She caught one, but missed the other. I think the whole family was laughing very hard during that ride. We all enjoyed it, but Laura.

It was fun to go on rides together. We all went on the together. Unfortunately, Gabriel is out of view on these pics, but is sitting next to Laura.

That evening we had dinner at Medieval Times, which was a blast. The kids loved cheering for the blue knight. He came in second place, doing a pretty good job, overall. But, for Laura and I, it was really great seeing the kids get into the performance and cheer for the blue night.

The picture of Benjamin with his blue flag exemplifies how all the kids got into the cheering. I don't know what was happening with Gabriel here, but I love that Collette is ready to smile for any picture.

Family picture at the event:

02 December 2011

Genies, water shows, & night sights

Day 2 in Disneyland

Friday, we spent our time at Disneyland & California Adventures. The kids favorite ride (except Gabriel, because he didn't quality), was Soarin'. It was always good to have a ride that everyone agreed to. While the other kids were at Soarin', Gabriel and I watched a Monsters Inc. parade and went on the Monters Inc ride a few times.

We also saw a few other shows, including Aladdin and Playhouse Disney. Aladdin was great, despite the magic carpet ride not working. All the kids really loved it.

We took a break from the park at dinnertime and came back to watch the water show. We tried to race over to see the fireworks, but the line was too long to get back into Disneyland. So, we took the kids, once more, on Soarin'.

A bit from the World of Color water show:

Then, we went over to see the night lights at the castle and decided to spend a late night getting onto Small World.

It was a slow moving line. They were doing some recording of the characters with what looked like a news reporter. Then, there was also a line held up so that a celebrity (Chaz Bono and his former girlfriend). Apparently, if you're a celebrity, you get to get a boat to yourself. Well, we probably should have gone on a different ride, since the line here was so long. But we got a good family shot out of it.

Jedi Training

Some time ago, Laura introduced the Good Deed Jar, which we've been adding beans to for a good deed done in the family. We told the kids that at 500 deeds, we'd take them to Disneyland. So, Wednesday, after school, we picked up the girls. They were surprised to see me in the car, since I'm usually at work. Then, Laura mentioned I counted the beans before going off to work, found more than 500, so we packed the car and started driving directly to Disneyland.

Yesterday, Laura & I loved watching Collette and Abigail battle it out in the Jedi training. We took Abigail, Ben, and Gabriel on the Matterhorn. Did all the Fantasyland rides, and overall had a great time.

Off to run for the bus! We'll add more pictures later.

Favorite moments of the kids:

Gabe: Matterhorn

Collette: Star Tours

Abigail: Jedi training

Ben: Buzz Lightyear shooting

27 November 2011

Abigail's Baptism

Abigail was baptized today. We had cousins come and friends come to support her. Uncles and grandfathers participated in the ordinances with Grandma talking about the gift of the Holy Ghost and G-ma giving the closing prayer.

She was baptized with her friend, Hailey, who has a musical family, and was able to share a lovely musical number. Plus, Hailey's uncle gave the talk on baptism.

 The day of her Baptism with Hailey:

The day with me:

Abigail was so happy to be surrounded by her cousins.

We also did pre-baptismal photos for the program. Here's one of my favorites:

Here's a little slideshow we put together for the event. In part, we used it between the baptism and confirmation.

21 November 2011

Pumpkin Patch

I am so behind that I'm just now blogging about going to a pumpkin patch just before Halloween. I took the kids up to Half Moon Bay since I had never been there for pumpkin patches and had heard how fun they are. I had also heard how crazy it is to go on the weekends. So, I ditched Joel and battled the four kids alone so I didn't have to worry about the crowds.

Ben had tons of fun on the horse ride. Go ahead. Click on the picture. See that happy face blown up.

Then there's Gabe, who is so hard to please

It's hard to beat Collette's love for animals, though

However, we might have a winner

After pony rides we saw the petting zoo. Happy kids there. Even Ben.

Collette was in HEAVEN (sing it with me... I'm in heaven...)

Gabe was happy at this distance

And Abigail was just as happy here as with the ponies

They went on a train ride. A lot.

Played in the pumpkin patch

And on the hay bales. It was fun!

22 October 2011

Ragnar 2011 (and possibly the longest post I've ever done)


I was lucky enough to have 11 good friends that love to run. Or at least love to be involved in a 36 hour, 200 mile, get max 3 hours of sleep, car full of girlfriends that inspire, laugh, and love an overall amazing time. Yes, talking about Ragnar. There are a number of Ragnar's across the country and for the first time, they came to Northern California for the best launch race they have ever had. We raced against 333 other teams. I can't remember how many all girl teams but there weren't too many.
I had the best time ever on this race. I much prefer racing with a team for a bigger purpose than just racing by myself. And I had a blast being in a car full of good girlfriends for almost 2 days.
I want to do this again. Southern California Ragnar is mid April. I plan on running that one as well. You even get a special race medal if you've raced in both Northern and Southern California Ragnar. This will be a picture heavy blog. It's mostly for me. I have a horrible memory and hopefully, if I blog this well, I'll keep those memories :)

Our team was Victorious Secrets and we wore pink. We wore pink like no tomorrow. I was in heaven. I was lucky enough to be in Van #1. I didn't realize it would be a lucky thing. More on that later. In Van #1 was Jessica Kazmucha, Liz Boyd, Elaine Guthrie, Afton Parker, and Chelsea Ham. Van #2, who we didn't really get to see very much of, which was disappointing to say the least, consisted of Whitney Shafer, Lindsey Harman, Laura Long, Julianne Geddes, Heidi Beckstead, and Sarah Collins.

Up at 5am. Leaving Sunnyvale with a car full of girls ready to run!

San Francisco Ragnar welcomes us!

Van 1 before go time!

Afton is our first runner up and she's super ready to go

Photo op while waiting for Afton to get in

Chelsea was set to go but we did take a second for another quick photo op before she was off. She is such an amazing runner, she still beat her expected time. By far. Our van, however, *may* have gotten a bit off track in our effort to get to exchange 3. Sorry, again, Chels!

Here's me starting on my first leg (see the pink shirt running away?). It was a long one. And unexpectedly long. *Maybe* because the course was not marked well and I *maybe* got lost for a little bit, but all in all, I only went about 1 mile out of my way. My mileage on my first run ended up being 9.6. It was suppose to be 7.

See, here's me when I was still in good spirits (even AFTER I recovered from my missed turn) But before I was realizing that this was NEVER going to end. And the hills. I hadn't yet gotten to the hills at this point.

There was a lot of this in the car in between runs. Don't mistake this for sleep. It's just moments of exhaustion.

So here is Van 1 again, ready to take over. We've completed our first round, tried to rest at the hotel, which was a loss on the runners (too much adrenaline to calm down enough to rest) and we're ready to get started on our second runs. It's about 6:30pm as we begin our second sets.

Afton started out in the evening hours but it quickly turned to dark. Here is our official start of the night runs :)

Here is Elaine, our 6th and final runner in van 1. She was bringing in our second legs around 12:15am. We passed off to van 2 and made our way back to the hotel as fast we could. We knew we had limited time to rest and we were all getting a little delirious by this point. *This is the first point where it was advantageous to be in van 1. To not have to run the middle of the night shift and get *some* amount of sleep.

We got to the hotel room, and I barely was alert enough to get out of my running clothes, throw on some pajamas, and lay as close to the edge of a queen size bed as possible so that Jessica and Chelsea could also fit. Did you know 6 girls could fit on two queen size beds? It's true. Last time I saw the clock, it was just after 1am. I had been up since 4:45am the morning before. So far, I've run a total of 15.1 miles. Laura Long lovingly called us at 3:45am to tell us when they would be in. Why, Laura?? Why didn't you text?? :) Some of us fell back asleep, like me. Others couldn't. The alarm went off at 4:15am. I was up, in the shower, and back into running clothes, yes clean ones, and out the door with van 1 by 5:15am. This was the last time we were to be in the hotel, so we packed up and headed back out to start our last legs.

Here is Afton, around 6:30am running leg 3. The funny part with Afton is that she got lost. Every leg. Every. Leg. But, we followed her for awhile on leg 3 and drove the course, and figured there was NO WAY she could get lost on this course. It was marked well and there were plenty of runners around. Side note: for such a HUGE race, you often run alone. Teams are staggered and rarely are you keeping pace with runners around you. You either run slower or faster and end up running solo for most of the time. BUT, this time, we saw lots of runners around Afton, so we thought she was good to go. Nope.

Here's where we last saw Afton in the early morning hours:

We were at exchange 25, waiting for Afton to come in. Then we saw a woman that Afton had passed. And we knew there was no way Afton would have let her pass her to come in first. So, here's Elaine's face as they raced into the car to find missing Afton.

Elaine and Jessica found and picked up Afton. As well as another runner, who she was following and blamed for her poor sign following skills. They were 1? 2? miles out. I can't remember which. So, Elaine and Jessica threw them in the van and dropped them back off where they took their wrong turn. Here they come, racing their butts off to make up time

Here's Afton and ??? (we knew his name once, and my case in point why I need to write this stuff down, my memory is broken).

Side notes:
While they were gone picking up Afton, Liz, Chelsea, and I sat making fun of a volunteer, who was barking orders at runners, which we hadn't seen happen up to this point and we found it funny. But we were entertained for awhile. She was wearing mom jeans and a really old sweater. Why do I put this in my blog? Because it was hilarious at the time. It was also hilarious when Liz was running her night run and we drove up along side of her honking our horn and screaming to encourage her. She turned to us, waved, and proceeded to fall off the edge of the asphalt into a ditch. That was funny, people. We felt badly, of course. And we made sure she was ok. But, really, it was funny. It was also funny to me when I laid down at 1am to sleep to stay sane. Jessica was laying right next to me. We just hit the pillow. It was totally quiet in the room. We both sat straight up at the same time and yelled, "the alarm!" It was funny when Jessica and her magic smelly essential oils (which smelled like a Christmas candle) were smelling up my van. Many of used them to see if they would help our sore muscles. But it somehow became a joke that if someone drank these, would there poop smell like Christmas? I know it's not funny now, but in our altered states of mind, these things were hilarious and kept us going. It was NOT funny when we had finished our final legs and stood in front of our van to take a 1/2 team picture when a guy came up and said he LOVED our team name and could he take a picture with us. Could he? Sure...why not. He stood right in the middle of us and right before his camera clicked, he dropped his shorts. Really? Yes. Really.

Almost done with the race...

Afton is done. DONE. Chelsea starts her last leg. Her hardest and longest. It is an understatement to write that this girl ROCKED her last leg like nobody's business. She ran/paced along side a guy who was in a team of 4. FOUR! He was running every fourth leg. Insane. He was a crazy good runner and our girl was pacing him! Here they come as we sit in the van around mile 5.

And she's in good spirits, too!

And here's us. Again. In, what I imagine, has to be the prettiest setting for a race. Seriously, Golden Gate Bridge to wine country? Amazing. (Note: see the bright yellow/black bag in the middle seat? That's a breast pump. There was a lot of pumping going on in van 1. Two ladies who were running this were still nursing babies! That is also amazing).

Waiting for Chelsea to get in there was a makeshift, spur of the moment dance in the little parking lot. Some van decided we all needed a little running break and it was time to DANCE. Elaine agreed and hit the floor!
Chelsea finished with a ridiculous time for 9 miles and a bunch of serious hills. Chelsea is done.

Liz took off for her last leg and we snagged this picture of her coming in getting ready to hand off to me. Liz's goal during this race was, "to not die." She did it. She finished all three legs, sometimes she might have been in a ditch, but she did not die. Rock it, Liz. Liz is done.

Liz just passed off to me. I'm JUST starting out my last run. The face? I was in SO. MUCH. PAIN. I managed to pull a muscle in my ankle on my first long, hilly run. That hurt. But with ice and lots and lots of ibuprofen, it was manageable. However, my knee started hurting during my training. About the last week I noticed it causing me pain when I would run over 3 miles. But, after pounding the crap out of it running hills and not resting and doing whatever else to it that made it start in the first place, it was killing me the second I started out on this run. Killing me. I wasn't sure how I was going to finish but there was no way I wasn't going to finish the last leg of this race. So I was trying my best to run limping. I felt like the pace of a turtle and felt so guilty that I was going to slow the pace of the whole team down with however long it was going to take me to finish. And then, while listening to my music, the voice on my running app came in to tell me I had gone 1 mile in 8:52! I was shocked and so excited that even though I felt like a turtle, I was actually moving! Around the same time, the pain left me and as long as I kept moving, I was pain free. It was only when I stopped that the reminder of the pain returned.

I finished my last leg with a decent time. 3.6 miles in just under 33 minutes. Total running mileage= 18.7. I am done.

I pass off to Jessica. We then lost Jessica. We thought she didn't run past us. We apparently didn't see her run past us. We waited for awhile to try to wait for her. Meanwhile, Jessica was sitting at exchange 30 for 10 minutes waiting on us. Nice job van 1. Jessica is done.
Elaine takes off to tackle these fun hills, which she handled so well!

Elaine is done. Van 1 is DONE. It was around 12pm on the second day and we were finished. (this was seconds before indecent exposure boy came along)

We wanted to eat. A lot. Not bananas. Not muffins. Not energy bars. Not almonds. We wanted to EAT. But FIRST, we found a giant cow print chair. And what else is there to do but stop and take a picture in it?! So we did. And then we ate...

Then we headed up towards the finish line. We were hopeful to see van 2 runners. I took a few turns and sure enough, we found Ragnar runners. And then, in the not too far distance, a bright pink shirt! It was a van 2 runner! Julianne was at the tail end of her 7 mile, asphalt only, burning hot sun beating down on her, run. It was getting REALLY hot. (insert second big reason why I lucked out being in van 1. It was so freaking hot by this time and only got worse as runners 10, 11, and 12 finished up our race.) We didn't want to scare Julianne into the ditch off the side of the road, so we passed her just enough to not scare her and honked and yelled and screamed and sent our love to her. Apparently, she told us later, that she was just about to start walking. It was all getting to be too much for her (van 2 didn't get the three hours of sleep we did, they were running on empty) but seeing us and hearing us yell for her and honk for her, gave her enough energy to finish that last half mile running. What a CHAMP! We pulled over at exchange 34, saw van 2, and then van 2 was off to catch their next runner. We drove up to the finish line and waited for van 2 to come in.

We made it!!

Joel was volunteering at the last exchange. When his time was up, he waited for us to make it up there. It was fun to see my husband at the end of such a long, hard race!

Here's our last runner coming in! Go Sarah!

Van 1 and Van 2 are DONE. We ran Ragnar!

Official now with race medals and all :)

And a silly face one for good measure