Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blast from the Past

Burdean served his mission in my ward in PA while I was in high school. My two best friends were taking the missionary discussions so we got to know him really well. Now his family is moving to the DFW area. While in the area on business he came to see us and ask us about the Keller area. We are trying to get him to move into the ward. It was fun to catch up about the Reading Ward.
Alycia, Burdean (a.k.a Elder Oliverson)., me with rainy day hair

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Sam had a ton of homework, so I took the kids to Dinosaur Valley Stake Park. It is close to Glen Rose, TX, which is about an hour and a half away. I wanted to see the fossilized dinosaur tracks. We hiked for about two hours and then swam for two hours. Carter cried for the first half hour that he wanted carried. This prompted a call to Sam complaining that Carter was ruining our trip. Then all of a sudden, Carter decided to like the hike and was pleasant the rest of the time. The kids didn’t make it into their swim suits before getting soaked. When they did change, Renée and Gavin spent a good 30 minutes playing on a log floating in the water. I don’t know why I buy them pool toys. I should just get a big log. Jinx loved the water and jumped right in. Carter is a natural swimmer too and loved our water time. On the way home we stopped at Dairy Queen. It was a great day trip and I am sure we will be back.

Dinosaur track

Dinosaur Track

View from the hike

There were great rocks to climb.

Carter and Jinx in a cave.

Renée swimming in her clothes.

Soaking wet

Enjoying the cool water.

Swimming with Jinx

Jinx is a natural water dog.

Jinx and Gavin swimming together.

Carter playing in the water.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Botanical Gardens Picnic

My friend Jessica lives in Mansfield, TX which is about 45 minutes away. It is hard to get together because of the distance but we often meet in the city. With our husbands both in the TCU MBA program, we often have evenings alone with our kids. We decided to meet at the Botanical Gardens for a picnic. The kids had a wonderful time running around and I loved spending time with my good friend.
Renée, Kendall, Kamryn, Gavin, and Carter.

Playing in the art.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dallas Symphony

I found a smoking deal for tickets to the symphony so I invited the Collingwoods knowing that they are music lovers. We ate dinner at a hotel close to the music hall and climbed to our seats that were about as high up as you can go. The symphony was incredible. There was a piano soloist that blew me away. He would have to wipe the sweat off his head every so often with a rag because he was playing so fast. After the concert we stopped at sonic to make our sweet evening even sweeter.

Jerry & Michalann

View from our nose bleed seats.

Grasslands Half Marathon

I fell in love with trail running when I did Palo Duro in October. I love getting out in the woods and running with beautiful views and good friends. I convinced Lindsey and Kelli to run this race with me and we trained appropriately and one week before the race I felt confident and prepared. The week of the race was our Grand Canyon trip that consisted of hiking, hiking, and more hiking. The altitude zapped my strength and the being in the desert left me dehydrated. To make matters worse, I drove through the night and got home and 24 hours before the start of the race. I started out too fast and there was about four miles of sand. At mile seven a big group of us made a wrong turn. After figuring that out it deflated me mentally and then I started realizing my physical fatigue. I ended up walk a lot of the last half. I felt like quitting but I didn’t want to disappoint my kids so I pressed on. I have never felt so bad after a race, but I finished and that counts for something. What did I learn? I guess I am not super woman after all.
After the race Kelli, Lindsey, and I went out to lunch with our families at Sweetie Pies in Decatur, TX. We have chicken fried rib-eye that was fantastic. I ended up taking a long nap when I got home and woke up with really sore feet.

I know I look cheerful, but that was all show for my kids.

Lindsey has been my faithful running partner this year.

Me, Lindsey, and Kelli

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The Biglers raved about Sedona, so we changed our plans and headed down there on Thursday. It was two hours from the Grand Canyon but it was a gorgeous drive. We picked out a hike online and then followed the Biglers map to the trail head. We had to take a dirt road which was really rough. So rough that the only other vehicles on the road where dune buggies, SUVs, and trucks. The whole time I was driving, stressed out, Gavin kept saying, “We should have rented a dune buggy.” The area was so beautiful with red rocks everywhere. Our hike took us to an arch and rescue workers were practicing on it with ropes. The kids just loved watching that. I didn’t because now I am going to have to photoshop the people out of my picture. While at the arch we were talking to people and said we were from Texas. They asked, “Are you the ones who drove that mini-van out here?” Good thing we were driving our 2000 Toyota Sienna (aka Bus of Shame).  The clearance is a lot higher than newer vans and we really don't care about it's appearance anymore.  After our hike we went to the town center and visited an art gallery and had lunch before heading home. We ended up leaving at 3pm with a 16 hour drive ahead of us. I drank a 5 hour energy and got us home at 7:30am. What a trip!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grand Canyon Day 4

On our last day at the Grand Canyon, Gavin, Renée, and Carter were sworn in as junior rangers. They had a work book to complete with age appropriate activities. They got a little badge and we got them hats to wear. We met up with Ben and Amory Bigler and their kids Sydney and Landon. They were staying in Williams, AZ so we thought it would be fun to get together one day. We hiked along the rim and then attempted some of the Bright Angel Trail. There was a lot of snow and mud which made it really tricky. We didn’t hike for long because of the mud and ice. After a really muddy hike we went back to our hotel pool where the kids all swam together. We actually made it through the day without Renée throwing up. I am so glad that we are able to go on family vacations. I love getting away for all the obligations at home and just being together.
Carter would start out at the bottom of the bed and always end up all over the place.

We got to see the mules after they came out of the canyon.

Carter, Landon, Gavin, Renée, and Sydney

Hiking with the Biglers

Renée's shoes after the hike.

Gavin's shoes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grand Canyon Day 3

Everyone woke up healthy so we decided to hike into the canyon. It is something I have always wanted to do. We talked to the rangers and learned that the Kiabab trail was in the best shape. There was some ice, snow, and mud at near the top, but most of the trail was mud free. It was a mile and a half to Cedar Point. We took a lot of rests and brought plenty to eat and drink. A lot of the hike was right on the edge of the cliff which made us nervous with our wild children. Carter didn’t want to hold our hands and would say, “This is the careful part.” The trip took us four hours and the drop was over 1000 feet. Gavin begged us to go on to the next point, but Carter wouldn’t have made it. Carter hiked the entire thing and was so proud. After our hike we returned to the hotel pool to rest. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape with all the running I do, but I was feeling that hike. That evening we went to a Ranger presentation on endangered species. The kids wanted to become junior rangers and going to a presentation was a requirement. Renée threw up on our way there outside the visitor’s center. Gavin had my camera at the time and was taking pictures. I will spare you for seeing those images.

Starting out on the trail.

They found a little cave.

Carter didn't want his picture taken at Cedar Point even though we hiked the whole way down there.

King of the Mountain ( or the Canyon)

On our way out.

It was the prettiest hike we have ever been on.

Can you see the switch backs up the side of the canyon?  That is where we were headed.

We did it!