Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jackson's 10th Birthday Party

This year for Jackson's birthday, Jeff and I decided to throw him a Minute to Win It Party. Jackson invited his best school buddies (Asher, Scott, Mark, Grant, Matthew, Will, William, and Zach), the Leclaires, the Thurmonds, the Epps, and his grandparents. Not everyone could come, but we all had lots of laughs from who did.

After the kids had eaten Jackson's requested dinner of brats, burgers, and wings, we sent the boys threw a grueling competition. There were 7 events with the top two contestants at the end of the 7 events, competing for the BIG PRIZE! The boys competed in shooting down cans, balancing dice on a popsicle stick, picking up penne pasta with spaghetti noodles, trying to move Oreo cookies down their faces, trying to unwrap a roll of toilet paper fastest, moving a blue cup from the top to the bottom of a stack of cups, and a ping pong challenge. After the boys totaled their scores, Jackson and Asher competed in the final round...fishing for pretzels.





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(Noodling Around)


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(Dizzy Mummy Champ Kailey)


The fishing round was hilarious as the sticky gummy worm stuck to everything from people's faces to the intended pretzel. Jackson won with his awesome fishing skills! What a way to celebrate your birthday. After the games, we had ice cream sundaes for dessert. Yummy!

(Mark balancing dice)

(Jackson fishing for a pretzel) (More fishing)


( An unexpected catch-SCOTT!)

Then the boys headed to the pool for some swimming in the dark. The lifeguards weren't quite sure what to make of the late night swimmers. Once they realized it was a 10 year old party, it all made sense.



(Asher, Will, Mark, Jackson and Scott)


Once home, the boys camped out back. Six campers in one tent! In the morning, they were treated to Monkey bread and eggs. I think all had a good time.



(Trying to "face" the cookie)

Jackson has this to say about his party, "It was super fun!"


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(Mark expresses his attitude towards the festivities)


Later this week, we are taking Jackson out for his real birthday with his grandparents and friend Matthew. Then, at school, we are serving rootbeer, Sprite, orange or grape floats.


Happy Birthday my dear, sweet young man, Jackson. We love you!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Running Weekend

Earlier this summer, Jeff challenged me to try and break my personal half-marathon record. About three years ago, I set my PB at the Georgetown to Idaho Springs half- 1:36:13. This summer I have been training hard in order to focus on my goal. Combining track workouts with Jillian Michael's shredding, long runs with fast finishes, I was working towards my goal.


Then came my trip home to Minnesota, and I remembered for the first time all summer that I was on vacation. All the sudden, I didn't feel like getting up at 5:00 am anymore to run. I didn't feel like doing much of anything as I realized my summer was coming to a screeching halt. Then, upon our return home, much of my attention focused on school and preparing my classroom. Before I realized it, I had taken two weeks off of running- AT called it a severe taper towards race day.


Race day emerged this past Saturday. Jason Leclaire, Jeff, Anne Thurmond and I all ventured up to the race. I was extremely nervous and yet upset at myself for working so hard, and then taking all this time off. As the race began, AT mentioned the tried and true words, "Trust your training." I did! AT was our eternal cheerleader setting the bar high appearing throughout the course cheering Jeff, Jason and me along. I worked so hard throughout the race coming to the realization at the end, that I had not been training at the appropriate pace. I was training at 7:30 minutes per mile, when I should have been training at 7:15 minutes per mile. I finished the race not beating my goal. I missed it by seconds. 1:35.15 is my watch time; And the official time from the website says 1:36.14. UGH! Anywho...I did finish 11/249 out of my age group.





(Notice that Jason and I made Jeff stand below so we would look taller)

What was the best part of the day was watching Jason race his first half. Jeff and I are so proud of him, his hardwork, and his dedication! Jason, you truly were BA and I can't wait to get you ready for your next half!

On Sunday, to follow up AT's stunning performance at cheering us on, I watched AT and KK race in Wash Park. They looked great!





Monday, August 8, 2011

Heading to the lake



Right before we head back to school, we head to Minnesota for over a week of fun. This year was a little different in that my mom was going to be still up in Anchorage taking care of Keith and Jess. Also, while we were up in Anchorage, my mom and dad's dog, TUC, was killed. We knew going to the lake this year was going to be not quite the same.

We arrived on Friday night with my brother Matt waiting up for us. My other brother Adam, and his girlfriend, Natalie, Matt's girls, and my dad would all be there with us for the weekend as well as my godson, Logan. This was the first time we were able to meet Natalie and I coudlnt have been happier with her! What a treat! She fits in great with my sarcastic, joking, fun loving family. Saturday brought lake fun- skiing, playing on the beach, tubing, reading, and of course, heading to our favorite pizza joint-Zorbaz!

Each day we spent time on the lake skiing or tubing. Will learned how to ski without bindings holding his skiis together. Jackson worked on cutting the wake and slalom skiing. Emma worked on her tubing abilities and even went skiing once just to please her mom and Papa. Jeff and I worked on staying sane by reading. I finished three books and am working on the last of the Hunger Games series. With the big beach, we even managed to test our engineering skills my building a small town complete with waterways. We all pitched in for fun here! We spent Sunday morning making stones to mark TUC's burial spot at the lake. All the grandkids pitched in. Hopefully, Nana, my mom, will feel all the love that went into making these special stones for TUC. We also traveled in one day to see my Grandma Pat and take her out to lunch. It is always so nice tto have her all to ourselves. Sadly her brother passed away while we were there.

On our final day, after skiing a few runs, I came back to the dock and told the kids I wanted to ski with at least two of them- all together! Jackson immediately volunteered, Emma adamentally declared "NO", and Will gave in. Will was to the point of tears, but as the image illustrates, he pulled through. He had never skiied behind the big boat, let alone skiied without his bindings more than a few times. Afterwards, he kept telling my dad that next year he wants to build a pyramid and only wants to ski behind the Nautique! We will see.


My brother Keith

The last couple of weeks of our summer vacation didn't turn out quite the way we expected. About three weeks ago, we were having dinner over at the Syers' home. I ignored a call from my dad that turned out to be one I shouldn't have dismissed. My brother Keith had been in a horrible car accident while on vacation up in Alaska. He survived, but the doctors immediately told my folks to gather your family and pray.





I booked a ticket that night for Anchorage. Seeing your brother in the ER, looking not quite like the boy and man you have seen for the last 33 years, sheds light on many relationships. Quickly, how time passes us all by. My family gathered up in Anchorage as we stood by Keith and stood for Keith. We continued to take time in his room telling him of our memories, our hopes for the future, and what great progress he made each day.






I was able to stay just about a week and in that time felt so blessed that I was surrounded by my brothers, Mom, Dad, and Keith's wonderful wife Jessica. Keith is being released from the hospital tomorrow and will fly back to Minnesota on Wednesday. His recovery is far from over, but I am so thankful to the friends and family that continue to stand by Keith, Jess and my family here in Colorado.






To stay updated on Keith and his progress, his wife Jessica keeps this website up to date: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kjohnson/journal