Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to Reality...

Well, I got a call Sunday morning as we were heading to the airport from my mom telling me I just may want to stay in Arizona!! The weather was turning nasty and I might not like it. And how right she was!! We left a beautiful, sunny sky in Arizona and flew into a windy stormy SNOWY Minnesota!! Not nice. And the turbulence caused by the weather made me quite motion sick, which is never fun. But here we are... back to reality!!

We did end up having a wonderful time in Sedona. If you have never been, I would definitely put it on your 'to go to' someday list!! We took a wonderful 7 mile hike on Friday. We basically walked through a canyon through trees that were in their fall color and red rock all around. It was beautiful!!

We found this neat rock overlooking the creek. I am not a big one for going too close to the edge, as you can see in the previous picture. Even that was pushing it for me!! Now Steve, he likes to live dangerously and just hangs his legs over the edge. Of course he also used to jump out of perfectly good airplanes* when he was in college, so he's a little crazy that way. I like my two feet on solid ground, thank you very much!! (*He did skydiving in college... yikes!)

There were over 11 stream crossings that we had to do on the hike. This was the easiest by far. Not that we were ever in real danger of falling in.. but our feet did get wet on occasion!

More of the beautiful red rock that Sedona is famous for!

Although I took along quite a few knitting projects, the only one I really worked on were these Fetching gloves for K. All I have left is to do the thumbs and weave in the ends. I'll be able to give them to her Friday when I see her. I made them very long (44 rows in the main section and an extra cable repeat on top to cover more of the fingers). I hope she likes them.

Sumo and Sophie were happy to have us back. Probably not quite as happy as A was to have us back, tho!! They all survived and we are getting back into our routine. More puppy pictures next post.

Until Next Time.....

Friday, October 24, 2008


On Wednesday Steve and I left early for Minneapolis to catch a flight to Phoenix and then rented a car and drove up to Sedona. Steve has a conference that he's attending here. I'm along to enjoy a little break and some warm weather. I'm feeling a little guilty because it is rainy and cold back home and sunny and 80 degrees here! But I'm over it!

The scenery around here is unbelievable!! The red rocks are gorgeous! This isn't a great picture, but you get the idea. We're going on a long hike today, so I will try and get some better shots. (This one was taken out of our car window!)

Yesterday we went to Montezuma's castle. It is a dwelling that was built by the Sinaqua Indians into the face of this rock formation. It's hard to imagine living in a dwelling like that! It makes me thankful that I was born in century I was!!

Of course one of the highlights is eating out. There are some AMAZING restaurants to eat at. The problem is being here too short a time to get them all in!! Steve really wanted to go to Shugrues, which is a place we had eaten at when we were here four years ago for this same conference. There was a sandwich that he really wanted to have again!! We sat out on the balconey and enjoyed an incredible view of Sedona!

I ordered a soft shell crab sandwich, which was delicious, but a little strange! I had a little trouble with the legs of the crab that stuck out over the edge of my sandwich. Kind of grossed me out. I kept trying to tuck them in under the bread!! I wouldn't say I'm a convert to soft shell crabs, but it was tasty!

The sandwich Steve ordered was a Ahi Tuna sandwich, served raw on roasted vegetables over a slice of bread. He raves about it, but I was having a hard enough time with my cooked crab legs to think about sampling his raw tunafish!! But overall it was a wonderful lunch.

Our other meals have also been incredible and I think we have mapped out the rest of our meals. It's some sort of food mentality that we have acquired over the years!!!

One last look at the castle and then I'm heading out to try and find some breakfast. Steve is in his meeting until 1:00 and then we'll head out on another adventure.

Back home, Sumo and Sophie are being well taken care of. A neighbor watched them for the first couple of days (Thanks M!) and now they are enjoying having A home from college taking care of them until we get back Sunday. And I just know that A is enjoying it as well. (Maybe not the 7:00 a.m. wake up time to let Sophie out and walk her around the field.....) Probably doesn't help that it is cold and rainy as well. But as we all know, it builds character!!

Until Next Time....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Growing Up

K came home this past weekend and couldn't believe how much Sophie had grown!!! It had been quite a while since she had seen her. We didn't get much time with K... but enjoyed what time we had! She'll be home for a week around Thanksgiving (A will be as well) so we are looking forward to that!!

She did come with me on a couple of our walks around the back pasture. These walks have quickly become one of my favorite times of the day. The dogs love them too!!!

It is amazing how Sumo's stamina has increased since we started. He even breaks into a run now and again!! I really do think that Sophie has added a missing element to Sumo's life. The puppy in him is emerging and I do believe he's happier.

Sophie still enjoys her daily fence visits to the llamas. I am pretty sure that Sophie would love to play llama round up or something. If we'd only let her inside of the pasture....

She's content to play fetch with whatever ball she can find. This is one of her favorites. (A semi deflated red rubber ball). When she first came she could barely drag this thing around. Now she can run full speed with it in her mouth!

And just for fun I thought I would share this picture of the lone Alpaca who lives next door. His name is Hoover and he just cracks me up. Whenever I feel that I am having a bad hair day, I just need to go stand by Hoover and the feeling goes away!! Isn't he a riot?

Sophie's tip for the day: Find someone that you really look up to and want to learn from and go for a long walk. (You may not want to lick their face and nibble on their ears... it's not as socially acceptable for humans as it is for dogs!!)

Sumo's tip for the day: Take advantage of nap time. (Both your own and that of annoying little puppies!!).

Until Next Time.....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back To 3rd Grade!

I got a call the other day from M asking if I could come help in her 3rd grade class. They had been to a pumpkin farm and she now had 23 3rd graders that needed help cutting the tops off their pumpkins and counting the seeds etc.. I didn't know there were so many math lessons you could teach with a pumpkin!! It was so fun to meet M's students and to see her in her classroom! She is a natural teacher and you can tell that the students and staff all love her!!

R was also recruited to help since he doesn't have classes on Friday. He has always been great with kids and seemed quite natural in the classroom as well. This particular little boy told me I looked as young as his teacher!! I think he was my favorite student......

I got a box from The Loopy Ewe with a few skeins of yarn; a go knit pouch and a fun sock pattern. I purchased two new yarns this time... a skein of Perfect Day yarn in Night Tide. This is dyed by Sarah who I met at the Spring Fling. I love the combination of blue/gray and white in this skein. The other skein is Numma Numma saucy in the Saturday Shoe Shopping colorway. This is dyed by another gal, Allen, who was also at the Fling. Yes, I am often drawn to blues.. why do you ask?

Sophie thought the best part was the box that she killed and destroyed! She is just very lucky that I had already emptied it of my treasures!

I have cast on a new project... A pair of Fetching fingerless mitts for K in Berroco Touche. It is 100% cotton, which I am hoping her hands will be able to handle. We figured out a little late last year that her skin was quite sensitive to wool. I was hoping to have these done this weekend, but it took me several attempts to get the right needle size. I think I'm on track now, though!! K is coming home in a few hours and I'm looking forward to some knitting time while she's here. Who knows.. I may get them done yet!

Sumo has started playing for short periods of time with Sophie!! I think it may be a major break through!! (Ok, it may look like they are fighting, but trust me, this is playing!!)

In the end, Sophie goes overboard trying to lick Sumo's face, which is a sign of submission in dogs. She gets a bit carried away, however, and then can't seem to help herself and takes a little nibble of his ear. Too funny. She was over 30 pounds at the vet the other day, so has doubled her weight since we got her! No wonder she is looking so big!!

Well, only a few hours and K will be home! Better get a few things done so I can enjoy the few short hours that she'll be here!!

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday Already.....

Well, here is is Tuesday already. I can't believe how fast the weeks go. We had a great weekend and managed to keep quite busy. We had tickets to the UNI Homecoming Football game on Saturday which was fun. We had 6 tickets and went with R & M and our good friends Rick and Tracie.

R & M gave Steve and I UNI t-shirts to wear to the game so we could show Purple Pride. Our team won, which is always fun! With a child at all 3 state universities we have never become true fans of any one team. It's just best to stay neutral...... But I'm happy when any of those teams win. (Always difficult when they play each other, however!!)

Sophie is growing by leaps and bounds. She is getting more and more daring with her interactions with the llamas. We even caught her in the pasture with them and had to put cattle panels up across the gates so she couldn't slip in there any more. When she is bigger and the llamas are used to her it won't be a problem, but I'm afraid that they could stomp on her. (Which is how they defend themselves!)

It's a good thing she doesn't know how to climb a fence. She so wants to play with Hoover the alpaca!

The weather is certainly cooling off. Great for running! I did a 2 mile run yesterday (my first in 10 days) and it felt great. My heel twinged just a bit, but no pain really. I hope to do 3-4 miles today and slowly build up. Oh, I had to show you these fun socks I got from my friend Renae. They are my favorite socks to wear when I'm not wearing my hand knit ones.

Sumo is still adjusting to life with Sophie. He actually 'played' with her for 25 minutes the other day. It was fun to watch. Completely wore him out!! He still prefers the SFZ (Sophie Free Zones) but does join us when he thinks it's safe. I keep telling him she will grow up one day. I don't think he believes me.......

Until Next Time....

Friday, October 10, 2008

TNT Update

Well, here it is Friday and it has been a week since my last run!! I have an injured Achilles tendon that has given me a major set back in my marathon training. Very discouraging.... I am thankful for a good friend who is a Podiatrist who is walking through this injury with me and assuring me I WILL cross the finish line. Our Team in Training coach has been great as well and re-written my training plan to ease me back into training next week with the goal also being to cross the finish line. Steve is very motivated for me to heal and cross the finish line on my own because the only other option is for him to carry me which isn't too appealing :-)!! It is feeling better each day, and I am hopeful next week will once again see me hitting the trails!

Even as I have gone through the minor pain of this injury, I have been reminded of the pain that those with Leukemia go through as they endure chemotherapy and all that goes along with that. I have been rereading the Caring Bridge journal that Lindsay's mom kept during her 3 month battle with AML (acute myelogenous leukemia) and it brings tears to my eyes as I read about the pain and the suffering that sweet girl endured. I can remember when the chemo she was on caused extreme blistering on her feet. My achilles injury pales in comparison to all Lindsay went through. It is my hope and prayer that the money we raise doing our marathon will help in the race to find a cure and wipe out leukemia!

In other sad news, our dear friends Renae and Mike had to make the difficult decision to have their sweet Sadie put to sleep on Monday. Sadie is Sumo's litter mate and good friend! Sumo was the first born, Sadie was the last born. They had many good times together when our families got together camping or at the cabin. She had a wonderful life and helped Nae and Mike raise 3 wonderful kids. Good dog, Sadie. Rest in peace.

Until Next Time......

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Once More

Another week is here! It's hard to believe that we have now had Sophie for 5 weeks! She certainly has livened things up around here!!! She can look so cute and innocent at times
But she has her moments!!!!

Like yesterday when Steve didn't quite have his bowl far enough in on the table. We are working on her jumping up on furniture but it's a hard habit to break. And as she gets bigger, the further we have to move objects in on tables, counters, etc.. Good thing we're trainable as well! (Oh, and Sophie was VERY willing to 'help' Steve clean up the mess!!)

She has a favorite toy that her friend Molly next door gave her to play with. We call it 'Mr Quacking Duckhead' because that is what it is. When Sophie bites the head, the toy does 3 series of 8 quacks. And if she keeps biting it the quacks never stop! At first we deemed it an 'outside' toy, but were told we were 'killjoys' and so it is now an inside toy. It does keep her entertained for long periods of time!

She loves to sit in and run through this end table. I really think it is a mini-den to her. Many times she will sit in the end table and have a barking match with Sumo. This goes on until we kick them both outside for making too much noise!!

Running and being outside are still her favorite things to do. I'm looking forward to next Spring when she will be big enough to join me on my runs.

In knitting news, I haven't been doing much. I have made a little progress on my Vikings bag and have a stack of patterns on the table that I would like to cast on. I wish Sophie wasn't quite so 'helpful' when I was knitting!!

We drove down Friday and spent some time with K and her boyfriend SC. With her work and class schedule (and not having a car) she hasn't been able to come home this fall which has been hard. I brought down a big bin of yarn for her to 'shop' through and she picked out some fun ones for some projects she wanted to start. Just wish we could have curled up and done some knitting while we were there. I guess I'll just have to wait for Thanksgiving break!

It was a fun week last week package wise as well! The first package that came contained my new friend, Cosmos, who came all the way from Europe to join his pal, Pablo. They are both knit by Julie. She knits the most amazing toys and they are virtually impossible to purchase because of the demand. I was up early one Sunday and my computer made it's little sound indicating a blog/shop update and when I checked, Julie had put up 2 toys on her Etsy shop and they were still available! I was so excited! You can bet that these two toys are WAY out of Sophie's jump range!!

The next package was a complete surprise! My friend Allison in California sent me a hat that she knit with the colorway that was named after me - 'Janice's Sunshine in Winter' and that matches the socks I made with the same yarn. It was so sweet of her to do that!! I never thought when I started this blog that it would lead to some wonderful friendships with people around the world!! Thanks Allison for making my day!! (Oh, and the card is one of the many beautiful photos that Allison takes and blesses us with on her photo blog!!)

Until Next Time....

Thursday, October 02, 2008

TNT Update

Hi everybody! I know that it has been awhile since I have done an update on our marathon training. Steve and I are training with Team In Training for the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon November 16 to help raise funds and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There hasn't been much of interest to report lately, but thought I would at least give you a glimpse into what our training looks like these days.

To begin with, it is now only 45 days until the marathon. Or, more importantly, 46 days until the day AFTER the marathon which I think I am looking even more forward to!! (How's that for being honest?) I do think the race itself will be fun with all of the bands and with our kids there to cheer us on, but the training has gotten long and hard.

Our training runs each week consist of three days doing 5-mile runs and then a long run on the weekend. This past long run was 18 miles. Many of you may wonder how long that takes. Well, the way I looked at it is if Steve had taken off in the car at the same time as I started on the run, Steve would have been to Minneapolis before I had completed mile 18. (Minneapolis is about 240 miles away!) Actually, I like the picture of me driving to Minneapolis and Steve doing the run better!! We have been especially thankful for the cooler weather as our runs get longer and longer. Running in the heat is zero fun.

In the fund raising department we have GREAT news!! We have met and exceeded our minimum goal of $8200 raised for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!! We have been humbled and blessed by the generosity of friends and family. We are continuing to raise money until the day of the race. Every dollar that we raise above our minimum goes 100% to The Leukemia and Lymphoma society for needed research. (The original $8200 has administrative costs included in it). Personally I would love to see us reach $10,000. Wouldn't that be incredible??

Thanks again for all who have encouraged and supported us. Keep thinking of us as we are in the final days of training.

Just found this on the marathon site and thought is was blog worthy! I bet you all wish you were running the marathon now!!

Top 5 Reasons to Run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio:
  • 5) Flat Fast and Scenic Course- the course is flat and runs south (away from Hill County!) capturing a great mix or urban and rural scenery- from downtown San Antonio to historic sites along the beautiful Mission Trail- you will see all of the sights and sounds that San Antonio has to offer.
  • 4) Perfect Running Temperatures- Average temperatures in San Antonio in November are in the mid-60s. Translation: ideal running weather!
  • 3) Location, Location, Location! From the Riverwalk to the Alamo, San Antonio’s got it all. With the perfect mix of authentic culture, rich history, lively nightlife and family fun, you'll want to stay a few extra days.
  • 2) There’s only ONE inaugural race- Certain bragging rights go hand-in-hand with inaugural races. From inaugural branded race gear to the finisher medal, you will always be able to say that you were the FIRST to rock San Antonio!
  • 1) 26.2 Miles of Non-Stop Music and Entertainment! Whether you are setting out to finish your first marathon, set a PR or walk for a charitable cause, why not have fun while doing it? With live music and spirited cheer teams every mile and a post-race headliner concert, this is one race that you’ll enjoy from start to finish!

Until Next Time.....