Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ready to Run, Run, Run

I wanted to do a post a while ago about the three 10-K's I ran this summer/fall, but never got around to it. I'm doing it now because I just completed the first week of a friend's fitness challenge to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) per week, every week until the end of the year. The challenge definitely encouraged me to get out and run, when I otherwise would have stayed in. This post is to provide some inspiration for next week.

My first 10-K was at the end of August in Ashton, Idaho. My dad has been running the Mesa Falls Half-Marathon (and Marathon a few times) for a while and they've started to add shorter distance races to go along with it. This year my sister and I ran the 10-K together. The route was flat and empty and wound through lots of farm fields. Our goal was to finish in less than an hour and I think my time was 59:23 or something like that, so we made it, but just barely!

Pre-race

Post-race, with my dad

The next 10-K was in September, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was called the Run to the Rock and the final stretch was along the waterfront and passed Plymouth Rock. I did it with a group of friends from church. When the weather was warmer we had a running group one night a week, but now that's it winter we've stopped doing that. There was a big, big hill right after the first mile and the course ran the gamut from residential streets, to industrial areas. I didn't really like the course, but it was really fun to visit Plymouth. My time was 54:15, which was great, especially since I got hot in the second half of the race and slowed down quite a bit.

Sophie in front of Plymouth Rock (can you see it way down there?)

Heading to the finish line. We made t-shirts for the race, which was fun

Our group after the race. The woman on the left, Emily, won the women's race!

Family pic with the reconstructed Mayflower in the background

My last race (by this point I was pretty raced out) was the Tufts Health Plan 10-K for Women on Columbus Day. I had run this the past two years, so I thought I'd continue my streak and run it every year we had been in Boston. They changed the course this year, which I didn't like, and it was REALLY hot. The race started at noon and normally in October that's fine, but I think it was in the 80's, so that really slowed me down and made everyone miserable. My goal was just to finish and my time was over an hour, but I was happy to be done. My dad came out to watch the race, which was fun.

My friend's husband took this awesome picture along the river

After three races in three months I was ready for a break. There's a Valentine's Day race that I've done before, so that is my new race goal. And so far, the winter here has been really mild, no snow or anything. That means my training prospects look good. Did I inspire anyone else to go for a run?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We have video!

I am posting the first ever video on this blog! Sophie has been going to a co-op preschool with three other kids from our church. It's once a week and the parents take turns teaching. So far it's been going really well. Yesterday they learned about musical instruments and her teacher of the day, Christian, shot this cute video of her playing the piano and singing her ABCs. Enjoy!

video

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween 2011

I have a couple of things I've been meaning to post about for awhile now, but I'll start with our Halloween activities, since I'll bet those are the pictures people most want to see. We had a fun and eventful October leading up to Halloween night. We kicked things off with a pumpkin carving party, hosted by our friends C and E Parker. Sophie had picked out a pumpkin when we went apple picking, but Loren and I needed a potential jack o'lantern, so we stopped by the same pumpkin place we went to last year to get one.

A repeat pose of Sophie with the pumpkins, just like last year (if I was ambitious I would make the "year" a link to the actual photo... ha ha oh well)

Sophie was not interested in affiliating in any way with the pumpkin innards, so Loren took care of them for her. He carved a happy face for her jack o'lantern

Loren and I both cleaned out our pumpkin, then I did the outline and large-scale carving, while Loren refined it after I was done. We did three ghosts. I don't have any finished pictures because we put our pumpkins in the hallway by our door, but pretty soon they got moldy and yucky, so Loren made us throw them away. He was so concerned about spores that he wouldn't even let us take a picture with them :( He's kind of a germ-a-phobe like that

The week before Halloween Sophie's playgroup had a Halloween party, which was her first official opportunity to dress up in her costume. She decided that she wanted to be Rapunzel, based on the movie Tangled, and I was happy to comply, since that meant I wouldn't have to put in too much effort. I'm usually not very gung-ho about Halloween costumes since they're just for one night, but I was proud of my effort this year.

Scary Rapunzel!

Sweet Rapunzel

She didn't wear a wig, but I did put all of the flower clips we own in her hair, found her a lizard which Loren creatively tried to attach to her costume, and she carried a frying pan from her kitchen set. I think she looked amazing, but if you haven't seen the movie then you won't fully appreciate it.


The Friday night before Halloween I insisted that we go to Salem. I had heard that you had to visit in October and this was our last chance, so we rode the commuter rail up there and wandered around a little. It was fun and we got there early enough to avoid the adult Halloween celebrations, which get a little crazy. We had a plethora of witch-related museums and attractions to choose from. We ended up going to the Witch History Museum (I think that's what it's called...? All of the museum names are also very similar) It was kind of corny, but I expected that, so I still had a good time. They had a bunch of diorama scenes in the basement that we got to walk around in. Pretty spooky.

Tituba telling the girls about witchcraft

Sophie and I in front of one of the scenes - I think it's depicting the hanging tree, where the victims of the Salem witchcraft trials were, well, hung.

And of course we had to take a picture with the Samantha statue. Samantha, as in from the tv show Bewitched

The Saturday before Halloween were went to the annual Donigard Halloween party, which is co-hosted by two families in our ward. They go all out! The apartment where it was held was decorated very spookily and everyone must wear costumes. I knew the competition would be fierce (they give out trophies for the best costumes!) so that motivated me to actually put effort into our costumes. Since Sophie wanted to be Rapunzel, Loren and I also chose to be characters from the movie. He was Flynn Rider and I was the old, drunk, cupid guy. Again, you have to have seen the movie. We did not win a prize, but check out katewangsgard.blogspot.com to see the competition we were up against. You should definitely check it out, because there were some cool costumes. We had a great time at the party and they even had babysitting downstairs for the kids!

Flynn, cupid and Rapunzel

Loren giving his best Flynn Rider face

The awesome poster Loren made for his costume. He even changed his nose!

Friends who were the Mad Hatter, a bowling ball and a Sprite bottle

And then finally, on Halloween we managed to get out the door after a rough dinner with Sophie and went trick-or-treating around our neighborhood. She had a great time and after every house kept asking, "Are we still trick-or-treating?" She ended up with quite the candy haul too, but now agonizes over which piece of candy to choose.


See, I told you October was eventful. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple Picking

I have been waiting to post this until we used all of our apples, so I could report on what I made with them. On Sunday I finally used the last of them! I ended up making: apple crisp, apple pie, applesauce, caramel apple pudding cake and apple cobbler. The apple crisp was my favorite, but the homemade applesauce was really good, as was the caramel apple pudding cake. Anyway, I had to list what I made so people could appreciate how many apples we came home with after going apple picking with our church playgroup. We had been picking once before in 2009, but didn't go last year. Apple picking is quite the tradition here and I wanted Sophie to experience it before we leave, so we were happy to have the opportunity to go with our friends. Sophie had a great time running around, climbing up the ladders and of course, eating apples.

The mini pickers, getting ready to head out


The new poster girl for apple orchards?

Climbing up the ladder. She wanted to climb all the way to the top of every ladder she got on, so I constantly had to talk her down!

The orchard we went to also had pears, pumpkins and cider doughnuts, which are the best reward for carrying around a heavy bag of apples. We had a great time picking - welcome fall!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Money Smarts

"Sophie, where did you get your sucker from?"

- "From the quarter store."

"What store is that?"

- "The store where you get money and suckers."

"I think you mean the bank."

Can you tell we have coin-operated laundry facilities?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Big News!

I have several important items to bring to everyone's attention. Each one deals with one member of our family. I'll start with mine, as it's clearly the most exciting. I got a haircut! The humidity in Boston wreaks havoc with my long hair. I used to have stick straight hair, but in Boston, I have wavy hair. Sigh. I was tired of having it look bad unless I put a lot of time into it, so I decided to chop it off. I've had my new haircut for a week and so far I'm very happy with it. As a side note, Sophie was not so happy with the new cut. As soon as she saw it and for several days afterwards, she kept saying, "I don't like your new haircut. I want it to grow back longer." I knew she was coming around though, when one day she said, "I love your beautiful haircut, Mommy." I'm happy she changed her tune. And of course, here's a picture.


We'll move on to Sophie's news now. She has been potty training, hooray! When we went to Utah in August she finally started to get it and since we've been back, she's been doing pretty good. She can make it through naps wearing underwear and yesterday she conquered her fear of using strange toilets, when she went to the bathroom while we were apple picking (more on that later.) For your sakes, I don't have a picture of that, so instead here is a picture of us on a river cruise that our ward did. I love Sophie's crazy eyes, plus it shows a before-haircut picture of me.




And lastly, Loren's news. After much consideration he accepted a job offer in Boise!! He will start working full-time for Clearwater Analytics in June or July 2012. We are very excited, but also a little sad to leave Boston, so we're trying to make the most of the time we have left. Also, consider this a notice to all of you: You have until June to come visit us in Boston, so please come! Here's Loren with his hand-painted congratulatory sign and a homemade pumpking pie. I tried to write "Boise" on the pie with whipped cream, but it was still too hot so it just melted. I am so proud of all your hard work, Loren!



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rain in Maine

We went on a weekend trip to Maine at the end of June. We decided to go to Old Orchard Beach because some friends had gone a few weeks before and loved it. Unfortunately for us, the weather did not cooperate one bit! It was cold and rainy the entire time we were there, so no beach days for us. We drove to Portland one morning and went to the Children's Museum there, but other than that we tried to find things to do around the boardwalk and downtown of Old Orchard Beach. The trip was definitely a disappointment for me, but I guess that means we'll just have to go back and try again!

Eating my obligatory lobster in Maine. It was big! I eventually got tired of trying to figure out how to eat it and settled for the easy to find meat. Sophie was afraid of it!

Lobster fisherman Sophie, at the Children's Museum

Playing dress up on the stage. She was desperate to find a crown to wear.


Can you spot the crazy swimmer?

On the boardwalk, that sticks out over the water. Gray skies the whole time.

Playing around in one of the shops

Thanks to Loren wearing my Wellesley sweatshirt, we did meet an older alumna at the candy store, who asked us all sorts of questions about Wellesley. Ahh, connections.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Fun

Here comes another one of my signature long picture posts. Yay! These pictures cover most of our activities before we went to Utah after the 4th of July. And if you make it all the way to the end, the last picture is probably one of the cutest things you'll see that day. Or ever.

While Loren's mom was in town for graduation, we went to Prospect Hill Park, which was where the first American flag was raised during the Revolutionary War. There is a big tower you climb up and you can look out over Cambridge and the surrounding environs and it's pretty cool.




Later that day we went to Walden Pond, made famous by Henry David Thoreau. There is a little beach you can swim at and there is a trail that goes around the pond and passes by the site of Thoreau's cabin.




Walden Pond is a place for deep thoughts, clearly.






Pond monster


Then of course we've been doing other assorted summer things, including lots of outings for playgroup, including going strawberry picking for the second time.



Painting picture frames for Father's Day presents




And as promised, the sweetest picture of all

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fire Station Visit

Here are some pictures from when Sophie and I went to visit the fire station with our playgroup. At first Sophie was a little hesitant about the fire truck, but once she saw her friends playing on it then she relaxed.

The wheel is as big as she is!

They gave plastic fireman's hats to everyone

Sitting in front of the truck

Sophie at the wheel. The kids could also ring the bell and of course, they did it constantly, so it was a noisy visit.