Spartan Race

Last weekend Max and I competed in our first Spartan Race!  We did the Warrior Dash last year and decided to try the Spartan this time.  The Spartan was much more challenging and fun.
The Spartan Sprint was suppose to be about 3.2 miles with 12 obstacles.  But they don't tell you what the obstacles will be.  It changes with each race location.  There are always a few classics like the spear throw, the barbed wire crawl through mud, and jumping over fire.  But if you fail at any obstacle they have people at each obstacle that make you do 30 burpees to continue.
As we were running along we came to the 1 mile mark but had only done one obstacle.  That seemed odd to us.  It was the monkey bars.  Max breezed by but I slipped 3/4ths of the way.  I tried again and fell at the same place.  So 30 burpees for me.  We continued to run up and down the mountains.
 The trail was through the McDowell Mountains.  It was cold and cloudy but incredibly beautiful.  It was a great trail that was so technical at times you needed to use your hands to climb over rocks.
Some other obstacles were climbing over a 6, 7, and 8 foot walls.  Max easily cleared them.  Luckily he could give me a little boost to reach the top of the 8 foot wall.   Then we had to climb up a 25 foot rope and ring the bell.  The bottom of the rope hung in a pool of muddy water that went to my waist.  So you were slippery and wet as you climbed up-not to mention cold because it was only 49 degrees!  We both made it!
There were some over and under sections and a section where we had to carry a 50 pound weight around and back.  After running some more we came to a obstacle where you had to pull a cement weight with a chain through the sand.
Then we ran some more and came to a military wall crawl after carrying a sandbag up a hill and back.  
Then we ran to the spear throwing station.  We both failed.  The man at that station said they only have about a 10% success rate.  So 30 more burpees.  Ugh!
 We jumped the flames and hit the barbed wire mud crawl.  At the end of it is a wall with a rope to climb.  The wall is full of mud.  We witnessed many face plants and wipe outs.  But we made it over and ran to the Spartans waiting to knock you down!  The three guys took one look at Max and decided they were going to take him out.  I was able to sneak by with just a swack on the butt!  Max tackled the one guy and lifted him up and threw him on the ground!  My hero!!
 It seemed like a really long race.  We found out the next day that it was actually 4.7 miles!!  Once again I held Max back.  We are looking for a couple to do it with next year so he can go all out with someone and I can have a buddy.  It really is one of those races that are more fun with partners.  You can help each other through the obstacles and cheer each other on.
 I placed 1678 out of 4050 racers, 337 out of 1451 females, and 56th out of 260 women in my age group.  About the top 20%.  My pace was 20:29 per mile.  Since Max had to wait for me, he was slower for a guy.  He placed 1679 out of 4050 racers, 1342 out of 2599 men, and 224 out of 458 in his age group.

I definitely felt like a warrior by the next day. A cactus had bit my butt during the race leaving quite the mark.  Not to mention bruises over my legs(that I still have a week later)  that looked like I had been in a serious fight.  We were both walking around very stiff the next day.  Despite the pain, we both really enjoyed the race and have already signed up for next year!  We have a year to improve our time.  I would love to place in the top 10% next year. :) I am going to be working on my monkey bars every time we go to the park!  

The Sweet Life

Life doesn't get much sweeter than yesterday.  It was a day full of gifts of love.
The kids woke up to a little Valentine gift of new swim goggles, pencils, watches and candy.  Siri got some new dog treats and Max got some power shot for riding.
Breakfast was heart shaped pancakes, eggs and strawberries.
 The plate I made for Max. :)
 Then the kids were off to school with Valentine's Day parties, pizza, popcorn and movies.  When Max got home the ladies of the house opened their presents from Hank.  Max has decided to teach Hank early on that ladies like gifts on Valentine's Day.  While I was at piano with the girls one night, the boys went shopping!  GASP.  Hank managed to keep it a secret.  Double GASP!!
 He picked out something special for each of the ladies in his life.  Kaitlin got a Hello Kitty mug, Karlie got a mat that says Kiss Me I'm Irish, and Hailey got a new book.  My little man even got his Mama the new Tim McGraw CD.  He was so happy to give his gifts.  Such a sweetheart he is.
 Then it was time for our Valentine's Day feast.
 Mini Lobster tails were on sale for $3.33 a piece, so everyone got one!  
 With a few crab legs, artichokes and heart pasta with fresh basil and tomatoes, it was a dynamite dinner!
Nothing but chocolate dipped strawberries would do for dessert.
We finished off our day of love with my most favorite book of all time, You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love.
It was sweet from the moment we woke up until we went to bed.

Happy Valentine's Day

My whole world...
While many people feel like Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday, I take great joy in spending the day showing my valentines how much I love them.  You can make the day as authentic and full of love as you desire.  I would like to say I show them my love every day, but today is a day to show love in every action to remind them how precious they are to me.  

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.
~Mother Teresa

Mini Mardi Gras

 We had a mini Mardi Gras yesterday!  Part of the fun was learning a little bit about Mardi Gras traditions.  We learned the masks were used to hide the identities of members of secret societies and the upper class.  Today the masks allow people to anonymously celebrate before Lent.
 Over the weekend the kids decorated masks for our celebration.   Everyone donned masks and beads for dinner.  Karlie loved busting out some of her Wordmaster words as she "jangled" her beads and told everyone not to "reveal" their faces. :)
The colors of Mardi Gras were chosen to honor a Russian Duke visiting New Orleans in 1872.  Purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power.  These colors influenced the school colors of LSU and rival Tulane.  The shops in New Orleans had ample supply of purple, green and gold for the Mardi Gras season when LSU was deciding on it's colors.  They went with purple and gold and bought a lot of it.  Tulane was left with what was left, green!
You know I will use any excuse to make a cake, so I made a King Cake.   The traditional cake has nuts and eggs, so we had a Henry the King of Scottsdale cake instead.  The King cake represents the three kings (wise men) bearing gifts to baby Jesus.   It is customary that the person who finds the baby in their cake will host the next party or bring the next cake.
We decided the person who found the baby would get three extra coins.  Hailey was the lucky one this year!  They are already talking about who will get the baby next year.  I guess we will be celebrating Fat Tuesday from now on.  Karlie is already begging for us to take her to Mardi Gras. We are in so much trouble!  I had better start fasting now!

Manic Mondays

I always imagined once the kids were in school that I would have a spotless house, have the closets, the Tupperware and the pantry perfectly organized.  I would have so much time on my hands that each day I could tackle a little cleaning or organizing project.  As time marches on I look around at my house that seems to resemble the aftermath of a nuclear bomb and the closets that are completely unorganized, Tupperware spread in multiple cupboards and a pantry that I can barely keep stocked much less organized.  How did this happen?  Reality happened.  I started examining my day to see where I could fit in a little more home maintenance time.  Mondays are crazy...

Everyone is up and getting ready for school by 6:30 while I pack lunches and savor my coffee.  There are usually many meltdowns about clothes, shoes and backpacks.  Someone must scream "Mom" about every 2 minutes!  Then Hailey is off to the bus by 7:40.  Then Kaitlin and Karlie to the bus by 8:15.  Once I am back from bus drop off I try to get the breakfast dishes and a load of laundry going.  Quickly I get Hank one more breakfast and get out the door by 8:45 to take him to school.  Drop Hank off and zoom to the gym.  Meet my girlfriend at the gym and work out/mommy therapy time for an hour.  Get home and shower and flip another load of laundry.  Eat something before I head out at 11:45 to Kaitlin and Karlie's school.  Sometimes a quick grocery store run is squeezed in there too.  Volunteer with the school nurse for about an hour.  Then down to Karlie's class to teach Wordmasters for an hour.  At 1:50 it's time to leave and pick up Hank from school.  After Hank gets home it is a snack and I put him down for a quick nap.  I then have about an hour to finish the kitchen and start something for dinner.   Kaitlin gets home at 3:30 and I feed her a quick snack before it is time to run to dance at 3:50.  Get home and have 15 minutes to keep working on dinner before we leave to pick Hailey up from play practice.  Luckily Max can pick up the girls from dance because directly from play practice Hailey heads to swim practice.  She eats dinner in the car.  I drop her off and race back home.  At 5:30 I finish dinner preparations.  We eat by 6 so we can pick Hailey up from swim by 6:30!  Back home by 7 to work on homework.  Finally it is PJs, brush teeth, stories and bed.  Max and I are usually asleep by 9!

This is our manic Monday, but Tuesday-Thursday are not much less crazy.  Usually I job share with 2 other mom's and Max to make these days work so it is not this intense.  But occasionally Max is out of town and the moms can't carpool.  Even still, I am not seeing anytime for cleaning or organizing.  With spring coming, life is about to get even more crazy as Hank starts T-ball and the K buddies do volleyball.  Looks like everyday is going to be just another manic Monday.  Maybe when they go to college my house will finally be clean and organized!

Diagram of Unicorn Anatomy

Hailey's world is colored with horses and unicorns.  Not too long ago we were driving and she had a smile on her face. I asked her what she was thinking about.  She replied, "I am just watching the unicorns running beside us."  To say she has an active imagination is an understatement.
Today she showed my this diagram of unicorn anatomy that she came up with during math class.  Yes, math class!  Today was technology day and she forgot her itouch at home, so she asked her teacher if she could make a diagram instead.  He said, "Sure." Apparently he got quite a giggle out of her "diagram."  In Hailey's alternate reality....  Unicorns drink rainbow waterfalls and eat colorful flowers. Then they pee liquid rainbows, poop rainbow cookies, and fart rainbows.  I couldn't stop laughing so I had to share.  The next time you see a rainbow, I hope you will remember that a unicorn just farted!  LOL

National Pancake Day

 Yesterday was National Pancake Day.  You could go to IHOP and get a free short stack of pancakes!

Since we didn't have time to dine because we had to race off to piano and violin lessons, we had a pancake dinner at home.  Some had blueberries, some with chocolate chips and some plain.
Our bedtime story was Curious George Make Pancakes.  I can always use an excuse to make our day a little sweeter!

Ground Hog Day!

While we didn't have Punxsutawney Phil to check if it was time for spring, Max popped up out of his ground and agreed spring is on its way.
   He spent the day burrowed in the bathroom fixing a toilet leak and yucky mold!
 We had a really good winter spell.  It rained for 3 days straight!  The kids loved playing in the puddles and dancing in the rain.  I loved cooking those heavy, comfort foods that taste oh so good when it is cold outside.  We used our fireplaces too!
 Then we had cold snap that hasn't happened since the 1978 and set a new record low for peak temperature of 45 degrees (I know!  What a joke!).  We had 4 nights of a hard freeze.  We tried in vain to save our plants by covering them.  The Goodwill had even run out of sheets.  In normal places people make a run on grocery stores and gas stations before a storm.  Here people storm the stores for sheets to save their plants.  Even Target was sold out of its cheap white sheets!  Many of our plants appear dead. :(  Time will tell if they are able to leaf this spring.
 Even with our pretend winter, we are all happy to hear that spring is on its way.  That means pool time is around the corner!
As the temperature hit the upper 70's it felt as spring is here. :) Three, or four, cheers for spring!!!!