Oct 20, 2011

Bishop’s Pumpkin Patch


What October wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Pumpkin Patch? For the 3rd year in a row, we made the hour drive up to Bishop’s Pumpkin Patch in Wheatland this past Sunday. This year we went with the Tarrs and their 12 day-old son Brayden, the Fosters and their friends Paula, Phil and Weston (20 months old) and our new friends Richard, Kristin and Evan. We met them through London’s day care – Evan is a month younger than London and is in the Toddler Froggy group with her. Every morning they greet each other with hugs and Evan often tries to kiss London. Her dad is proud that she pushes away from this, although, she also isn’t in to kisses from us or giving them to us. Whenever we ask for a kiss, she shakes her head no most of the time. We’re working on giving and getting “sugar” as we call it.

After we all met at the entrance shortly after the farm opened that morning, we headed for the the patch where all the giant pumpkins are grown. I have to say they didn’t look as big this year as last. I wonder if the mild summer contributed to this? Any how, London and Evan had a grand time wandering the patch, taking in the sights and sounds of the train going by and eventually took interest in the giant pumpkins. We did get some great photos of London, London and Evan and the family.




We still had some time to kill after the giant pumpkins and before the pig races so we wandered over to the flower cutting garden. The kids weren’t so into the flowers as they were the cows and ponies in nearby pastures. Both London and Evan were mesmerized.


While the pig races are somewhat entertaining, the stage performance by the actors is the same year in year out, just substituting new pigs, so we got a little bored with it, and with little ones like London, the attention span just isn’t there. Cameron and Richard ended up taking the kids down to visit the chicken coop located near the finish line so that the kids would be entertained in between the three races.

After the races we lost the Fosters and their friends to the crowds, while Alyssa and Brayden were ready to go home and rest. I remember how little energy and how tired I was when London was that age, but I applaud Alyssa for getting out and getting some great family photos for Brayden’s first visit to the patch. They’ll have a blast next year when he’ll be more interested in his surroundings.

From there we headed for the little farm and petting zoo, where the kids got to see colorful chickens, sheep, pigs, a donkey and goats. Poor Evan was a bit scared of the sheep but loved the donkey. London loves the goats, and enjoyed going in to the petting zoo to “brush” some of the smaller ones. At one point she actually sat down on one when she was trying to sit next to it and she doesn’t quite get how to use a brush – most of the time she brushed with the smooth, plastic side versus the bristles side.



After the petting zoo, we headed out to the field to find our pumpkins. Again, the pumpkins looked smaller than last year, and finding a good one was more difficult thanks to all the rain we had earlier in the month. Many were already rotting. But we did find one out in the patch and another near the check out stand. Since we have our Disney trip in just a few weeks, the theme for our pumpkin carving and decorating is Mickey Mouse. Here’s the first one:



We dropped the pumpkins off at the cars before heading back in for a quick bite to eat. Cameron and Richard ended up spending a lot of time in the lines, while Kristin and I tried to feed the kids while sitting on wet grass. We definitely walked away with wet butts. And the bees were ridiculous – one commandeered London’s apple sauce after only a few bites. By the time the guys got back with the food, both kids were hitting their limit and ready for naps. We ate as quickly as we could before running off to the cars to get the kids buckled in and on the road. London was asleep before we made it the one mile back to the highway!

Oct 12, 2011

Another 5K, Reno & Mary Kay

This past weekend was another busy one for us.

Saturday morning Lynde and I headed to the Roseville Fountains to meet up with Kim and participate in the Hot Pink 5K. All the proceeds and money raised from this event went to the Placer (County) Breast Cancer Endowment. It was a nice course that included some good hills throughout the neighborhood located behind The Fountains shopping area. Afterward, we ducked into Whole Foods where I grabbed a smoothie to replenish my energy since I knew the second I got home, there would be no resting.

See, we had plans to head up to Reno to get Cameron’s share of the Antelope meat from his hunt, and also meet with a taxidermist to start the process of having the head of his Buck mounted. This would take the rest of the day, so we then had plans to stay at Cameron’s grandparents’ house in Incline. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t be there to catch up with. Combine this with the fact that I didn’t pack for Reno Friday night like I was supposed to, meant that I was rushing around showering and packing as soon as I walked through the front door. I got home around 10:45 AM – we were back out the door and on the road at 12:01. Pretty good considering I wasn’t just packing for myself.

It still amazes me how much we need to pack for London when we go somewhere overnight – Pjs, clothes for the next day, spare outfit in case of blow out, play yard, play yard mattress pad cover, mattress fitted sheet, blanket, stuffed “Tulley” dog, soothing sheep and seahorse, bottles, sippy cups, snacks, diapers, wipes, not to mention toys to play with while we are away. The girl had three bags! Cameron and I had all our needs stuffed in one – together!

So off to Reno we headed. It really wasn’t that exciting of a trip for me, though I enjoyed catching up with Jason’s wife Claire, who I haven’t seen since our friends Dave and Jen Carlson got married in the summer of 2004! And it was nice to meet their two kids, Hailey and Cash. London had a blast following the older kids around and playing with the two –little- dogs. While we were catching up, Jason and Cameron headed for the taxidermist’s, which would take several hours.

Apparently this guy is one of the best, but doesn’t do this as a full time job and only is found through word of mouth, but his prices are also fair. Cameron’s buck won’t be ready until January – had he waited another week to get it in, it wouldn’t be ready until next September! But Cameron did come back saying he has a craft project for me to tackle once we do get the head back. See below this mounted head? The Rocks and Sage brush? Cameron wants me to replicate this for his. Going require some research and I need to see the one in this picture in person, but it should be a fun challenge.


When the boys got back we had a quick, yummy dinner of El Pollo Loco, said our farewells and headed to Incline. We’d been looking forward to spending some time relaxing in spa there after London went to bed, but as Cameron was getting out of the car to go through the backyard to get to an open door, I remembered his grandparents’ telling us about the bear that lives in the empty lot next door, the last time we saw them. I told Cameron to be careful, telling him not to get eaten by a bear. Once we were all inside, Cameron mentioned the BBQ on the back porch was overturned, so there were recent signs that something had been back there. We both admitted we didn’t think the spa was a good idea any more. Soon after we arrived, we discovered that there was no milk in the house. We both knew London would not stand for this, so off to the store Cameron ran.

He came back with not only milk, but a bottle of champagne, havarti dill cheese, artisan salami, provolone slices and toasted slices on garlic sourdough bread. Yum! We relaxed in front of the TV, enjoying our second dinner/dessert after London fell asleep and some quality time with each other, snuggling.

Of course, being in a somewhat strange place, we should have known London wouldn’t sleep in, especially once it started to get light out. The first time she woke up was around 6 AM. She could see us from her play yard so we did everything not to move and she did go back to sleep somewhat quickly…for about an hour. At 7 AM, we decided we had no choice but to get u. Since I had plans in Natomas at 1 PM, it would be best to just get up and go. We were out the door by 8 AM and home by 10 AM!

Back at home, Cameron and London lounged while I tackled a craft project I wanted to finish up – spray painting some wood boxes black for the entrance table that I’d recently decorated. I think I ended up spraying more on my fingers than on the actual boxes. And it didn’t come off easily. I ended running over to Matt & Lynde’s for some paint thinner before showering for the Mary Kay party I was attending at 1 PM. This made for some mad dashing and showering once again and I went to the party with grayish fingers.


A close up of the boxes


The finished table - I know I need paint on the wall and a mirror to complete it

Still, I ended up arriving 15 minutes early, so I made a stop at Starbucks where I discovered my new fave drink there – a Tazo Chai Tea latte. Think spices, honey and milk mixed together and warm. It was very soothing to my throat which is a bit scratchy thanks to an on slot of seasonal allergies. I’m still craving this drink days later. Luckily I’ve found a few recipes online for how to make it at home, so I just need to buy a few ingredients and give it a whirl. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Mary Kay party was fun – I hadn’t been to one in years and they’ve changed and added many great products. Even Monday morning, my skin was still feeling great after the facial we had given ourselves during the presentation. But I just replenished my usual face regiment products, so I was good and only walked away with a hand mask, scrub and lotion, along with a lip mask and balm in hopes I can get both my horrible cuticles and chapped lips under control. So far, so good. I may consider switching over to complimentary Mary Kay products as each of my face products runs out though. Depends on if I think about it in advance of being in dire need of each!

After such a whirlwind of a weekend, I was exhausted. Cameron and London both took naps while I was out (London took a 3 hour nap! She must be growing or she really didn’t sleep well in Tahoe). By the time I got home, a nap didn’t make any sense so instead I powered through before crashing into bed at 9 PM – that was even too early for Tulley who is usually bugging me to go to bed when she’s ready.

I ended up getting one of the best nights of sleep I‘ve had in a long time – London is finally back to sleeping through the night, so I made it until my alarm went off Monday morning!

Oct 7, 2011

Wyoming


This is a rare/first post from Cameron:

I’m very lucky to have an understanding wife who allows me to do a hunting trip once a year. In previous years I have gone to Canada for a water foul hunt and Northern Cal to assist in a Deer hunt. This year I got to take two trips. In February I went on a Canadian Goose hunt in Colorado and I just got back from Wyoming for an Antelope hunt.

One of my hunting buddies, Jason Giles, invited me to go with him and 7 others for the Antelope hunt in Alcova, WY. How Sarah agreed to a week without me is still unknown. I drew a Buck tag and purchased an additional Doe tag.

The first day we were out there was just a bit of set up and relaxing from the 16+ hours of driving the prior day. One group went out and bagged the first Doe of the season. The following day we went out for a scouting mission and saw a lot of Antelope, but not in our zone. We took this opportunity to sight in the guns. At 85 yards I was right on as was everyone else. To kill some more time Jason’s Dad brought out the 22 and it was prairie dog time. But as the day grew on the Antelope started to show in droves.


We spotted a buck that looked promising but it was too early to take a go at him as there were many more locations to check out. But as the day started to wind up we saw a group of Antelope Does that looked too tempting. So, after a small hike and a good distance of army crawling over harsh terrain including some cactus that found my shoe and palm, we ranged her in at about 180 yards. I’m proud to say 1 shot 1 kill.


The next few days we went out and began to work through our 14 tags. At the same time we spotted all kinds of wild life including Mule Deer, Badgers and a rare ferret. We also got some fishing in where Burt the elder put on a show for all us young bucks.

As the week was coming to a close it was time to make a decision on a buck and that one we saw the first day was calling. We had seen him 3-4 times in a general area all week and went back. Randy, our guide, had yet to shoot his 2 Does and the plan was to have him shoot his that day too.



So we see a small herd of does that Randy took a crack at but was unsuccessful. As we made our way back to the truck Jason spotted another doe lying down. Randy grabbed his gun and was off. But something didn’t seem right as she didn’t get up like they normally do and we were just hoping he didn’t take the shot. The doe finally got up and slowly walked over the ridge. As we glassed the area we did not notice Randy jumping up and down trying to get our attention. We finally realized what was up and grabbed the gun and we were off. Randy had followed the doe up to the ridge when he spotted a group of Antelope and he thought my Buck was in there.

Jason and I did another crawl up to the ridge and couldn’t see any. As we kept moving I finally saw a set of ears, but hardly any other Antelope. Then as I moved to the side as there was a bit of sage brush in front of me, I saw them. There was about 14-16, which at this time, is a large group that only a large buck can hang on to. I saw a set of horns looking right at me. They looked good but needed a profile to make certain and after a few minutes that seemed like forever he finally gave me the look and was ready for taking.

The result?


It was a great time and next year if we do this again the family is coming with as it is only 2 hours from some of Sarah’s family and should be a good time.

Oct 6, 2011

The Great License Plate Search

A while back, I wrote about how Cameron and I were seeing out-of-state license plates whenever we were driving – not just on big rigs, but on normal cars. Well, we have seen more states than we haven’t – by a lot. We are only missing four states:

Delaware
Rhode Island
New Jersey
North Dakota

The most recently added states were Hawaii and Washington DC (yes, we’re counting it as a state – they do have their own plates, so why not?) I got those both the week Cameron was in Wyoming.

The biggest surprise among the states missing is North Dakota. We figured since it’s a state relatively close, compared to the missing East Coast states, it wouldn’t be so hard to find. It has eluded us - apparently no one from there travels or has recently moved to California.

We’ve also seen four of Canada’s 10 Provinces. We’ve even seen several European plates, though we can’t easily identify where each has been from.

But, the weirdest find thus far was a reddish-maroon colored plate with white lettering. While it looked like a US plate, it said Turkey and US Forces on it. It must have been a soldier just back from being stationed overseas – the driver was in full camo fatigues.

Spotting all these license plates has been fun for us, so we’ve decided that we will wipe the slate clean on January 1, 2012 and start all over again. I wonder if, having a full year, we’ll get all 51 eventually.

Oct 5, 2011

Happy Fall!


I know I’m a few days late, but I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Fall. Not sure about you, but I sure am ready for the cooler weather. While we were blessed with a mild summer so to speak, I’m ready to not wait for the sun to go down around 9 PM so that it will cool off enough that I can go for a run and not suffer – I still came back from these runs sweating buckets. Now I can get home, go for a run and still eat dinner at a relatively normal time. Plus, the cooler weather that came in at the end of last week made for great running conditions Sunday.

As I drove home from work Monday, the first rain fell. I’ve been ready for a cloudy, rainy day for about a month now. When I got home, I broke out the comfy sweatpants and dove into cooking a new dish I got off of Skinnytaste.com. Cooler weather always brings out the cook in me – a warm meal on a cold night is always yummy. Who wants to deal with a hot, sticky kitchen when it’s hot outside?!

I was in an Italian food mood the last time I was browsing the Skinny Taste web site so I printed out some recipes along those lines. This included a Spinach Ricotta cheese mixture stuffed in Jumbo Pasta shells and topped with a meat marinara sauce. It turned out pretty good, though I hadn’t realized we were out of canned tomatoes so I improvised and used Tomato Sauce instead. This threw me a bit as I prefer to follow a new recipe down to the last ounce of every ingredient the first time I make it before implementing my own flourishes.

Oh well. I now know which changes I would make next time, and I’ll make sure to have canned tomatoes on hand for that attempt. What would my changes be? First, I’d add in some salt to the cheese stuffing mixture. Second, I’d mix in some of the meat sauce into the cheese mixture before stuffing the shells and baking. It’s also a recipe I think I’d save for a weekend night – between prep and 40 minutes in the oven alone, we didn’t eat until after 7:30 PPM and I was starving when I got home at 5 PM on Monday. This caused some unnecessary snacking and additional calories for the day. Plus, the dish makes so many that there is a few days of lunches and leftover dinners in it.

The good news is London likes it too – she had some of the left overs for dinner last night and ate almost her entire jumbo stuffed shell. And it looks like the rain is going to stay for a few days. Last night I woke up at 2:30 AM to it POURING! I couldn’t see out the windows it was hitting them so hard – it was like being in a car going through a car wash. I even heard thunder today while at work. Hello coziness!

This month is a busy one for us, and we still need to plan some time to go to the pumpkin patch, not to mention decorate the house for our annual costume party and get our Halloween costumes in order.

Oct 4, 2011

Back to Normal

Yay! Cameron is home. He had a great time in Wyoming and shot his prize Buck. We’re heading to Reno Saturday to pick up all the meat he and Jason hauled back with them and to find a taxidermist to mount the head of the buck. The guys drove all Saturday from Wyoming to Reno where Jason lives, and then Cameron completed the trek from Reno to home, getting back around 12:30 AM Sunday.

Since I had the Urban Cow half marathon on Sunday, I had headed to bed super early, but we’d arranged it so that he would text as he drove into our neighborhood. This way I could get Tulley up and outside to wait for him. Our main objective in doing this was to ensure that Tulley didn’t freak out when Cameron walked through the front door, barking and waking London up, not to mention freaking me out by waking me up so loudly and suddenly.

When Tulley saw the car pull up she did start to growl. I’m sure she was wondering what in the world we were doing in the front yard in the middle of the night. She continued to growl as Cameron got out of the car until he said something and then she sprinted, jumping as high as she could around him without jumping on him. We call it her rabbit jump and it’s pretty hilarious to watch. Then she did circles likes she was chasing her tail, right then left then right again. She was so excited to see her daddy.

Since Cameron had gotten home early enough, he was going to be able to watch London in the morning while I ran, so I wouldn’t need to drag her out of bed at 5:45 AM to take her with me. I’d arranged to meet a friend at the race to have her watch London for the 3 hours my race would take, but by 9 PM Cameron was sure he’d be home early enough to get enough sleep. Of course, there would be a nap in all of our futures later on Sunday. I did wish I had been there when London woke up to her daddy being home. Saturday we had been up in the loft, her playing, me cleaning, when she spied one of our wedding pictures. She picked it up and pointed at Cameron saying Dada. She continued to hold it as she walked around; investigating an area of the house she normally doesn’t have access to.

But it’s a good thing I didn’t need to worry about London when I got up Sunday morning either. The little stinker messed with my alarm, turning the radio volume down, so I didn’t hear it when it went off. It was set for 5:20 AM. I had wanted to leave at 6 AM so this time would give me one good snooze before getting up and slowly getting ready while taking in a small, healthy breakfast. I luckily woke up at 5:54 – versus sleeping through the race - and some how managed to get out of the house at 6:08 AM – even with a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter smeared on it. And I made it to the starting line a good 50 minutes before the 7:30 AM gun. The race started off slow – I’m a slow runner so I lined up just past the 12 minute Mile + marker and in front on the Walkers & Strollers marker. Well, not all the walkers were where they were supposed to be so I ended up having to navigate through many of them for the first mile. After that things lightened up as everyone hit their stride. It was a great race and a beautiful course as well as a perfect day. The sun was shining and the air was crisp with the first feelings of Fall making itself present.

I changed from my normal 3:1 pace to a 4:1 pace, which means I would run for four minutes and then power walked for a minute. I also didn’t stick to a 13:30 minute mile pace I normally train at. I haven’t checked my watch to get my official average pace, but I’m pretty sure it was around a 12 or 12:30 minute mile pace. And I ran the last mile without any walk breaks pushing hard to get top the finish line as soon as I could. The last change I made from my last race is that I listened to music the whole time and ran by myself, instead of sticking with a group and chatting. This made a huge difference half way through when some really good, motivating songs came on. I actually had to hold myself back from running at an even faster pace. Note to self: these songs need to be at the end of my next race.

With all these changes, I finished in 2 hrs, 42 minutes and 58 seconds, according to my watch (official results have not been posted yet). My first half marathon time, back in April was 3 hrs, 11 minutes and 3 seconds. So I pretty much took off around 25 minutes from my previous time. Awesome!

Plus, I felt better at the end of this race. Sure, I was going to be tight and sore (hell, I’d pushed myself pretty hard), but I didn’t have the aches in my knees like last time. My right knee would bother me some by Sunday evening and into yesterday, but its fine today.

I did learn I need to invest in some new sports bras. I think the one I wore, like most I own are from high school or at least college days and it ended up rubbing a little burn into the spot where my ribs join together. I didn’t notice it during the run or even afterward until I got into the shower and felt a burning sensation. It also made a similar mark on my back. Good lesson to learn I guess.

I was home by 11 AM and soon all three of us were napping. After a Costco run in the afternoon, we all lounged around the house as one happy family. And of every one, we think Kelsey missed Cameron the most. She wouldn’t leave him alone all day!