Keeping Up with Ron, Sara, Jackson and Addie

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jackson Makes the Cover Page

Jackson made the front page of KARE 11's website.  He wore his Hunter jersey to school today since Torii Hunter was resigned with the MN Twins!

Likes and Dislikes

Jackson Likes: Playing Cat's Cradle, reading detective mysteries, playing with legos, spending time out in the snow with his sister, building marble mazes, shoveling the driveway, Ginger-Ale, sleeping in, non-school days and cheeseburgers.

Jackson Dislikes: Writing, Frozen, brushing his teeth, getting scolded, bananas and red sauce (still)!

Addie Likes: Doing homework, gymnastics, My Little Ponies, playing with Rylie (Bumpa's dog), putting the star on top of the Christmas tree, Elsa and Anna, playing with her friends, reading books, playing outside with her brother, Charlie Brown's Christmas, playing barbies and eating mandarin oranges.

Addie Dislikes: Practicing her spelling words, getting out of bed and being cold.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Shared love of running

Jackson has really started to appreciate the joy that comes from challenging yourself. He's now done two 5ks and is looking to do more. This weekend he joined me at the Boo Run Run 5K at Harriet Island. We had such a great time and loved going for breakfast at Perkins in our twin racing shirts! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Another runner in the family!

Jackson did his first 5K at the Maplewood Rec Run. Mom ran with him for what was supposed to be his first 3K however we missed the turnaround! Whoops! He was up for going the whole way though and ran non stop for the entire 3.1 miles! He finished in 33:03.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Likes and Dislikes

Jackson likes: rock climbing, PAC Man, Nintendo DS, Encylopedia Brown, playing chess, turkey burgers, playing with Jordan, Swedish meatballs, American Ninja Warrior and fishing.

Jackson dislikes: cantaloupe, Not having two front teeth, red sauce, pizza.

Addie likes: riding her bike, playing with worms, calico critters, pretend play, coloring, driving the lightening McQueen car, Chicago mix, gymnastics, lake Elmo beach, singing and Frozen.

Addie dislikes: peaches, wearing what others ask her to, not getting her way.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ragnar Great River Relay 2014 -- Part 3

I smell pancakes.... I was only able to sleep for about an hour. Either the sun coming through the gymnasium windows or the smell of pancakes woke me up. Or maybe I woke up because I finally had to poop! The day's run was dependent on my being able to poop... I just couldn't do another 5 miles without my tummy feeling better.

Ron and Lisel were awake too so we all went in search of breakfast. A big plate of pancakes, orange juice, hot cocoa and coffee cost $5 and was a fundraiser for Boulder Options. So we gladly forked over the dough and piled on the syrup and butter! It didn't take long before the rest of the team joined us. We had a good couple hours before van 1 would be headed our way, though they were running well ahead of schedule by almost an hour, so I didn't have much time to get those pancakes to settle in. In the meantime the team shared stories about their families, their night runs and talked about who had or had not pooped yet. I warned you that this was a pretty common theme during Ragnar. Pooping and Sausages. More on the sausages later.

We were on a roll this morning, Van 1 was coming in early and I was off for a hard five miles. I was tired, my legs were burning and my gut was not all that happy with me after 5 lbs of pancakes but I had a good first part of my run.  What took me by surprise though was that I'd be running up a large hill on 70th street in Cottage Grove. Huh?! That's kind of a big hill I guess, but my team was cheering me on along the way and had plenty of water for me as I practically crawled by!

What really kept me going at this point was that I knew my mom and my beautiful kiddos would be waiting for me at this finish line. So even though the hill had wrecked me and the temperature was climbing, one foot kept going in front of the other and before long I saw my family waiting for me. They were yelling "Go Mom!" and before long vans full of teams along the side of the road were picking up the chant "Go Mom!" and ringing their cowbells. And me... my hand went to my chest and I completely choked up! All the training that was involved, all the pain and tears from an injury that almost sideline me was all worth it for this very moment. The moment I could see that my family was proud of me. I was showing my kids how rewarding and important it is to take care of that body of theirs and everything came together. It was like that last block I was leaping for joy!

Through all of that leaping I had managed to almost pee my pants so after a super quick walk to the satellites stationed at the other side of the exchange, my wobbly legs brought me back to our van where I gladly checked off my last leg of my Ragnar journey from our van tally.

It was only 3 miles later that my teammate Wendy got to feel some of that same joy as her husband and three beautiful children were waiting for her at the next exchange. Which was great, since part of Wendy's leg didn't have good signage and a group of runners needed to turn around, thankfully it wasn't too far, but any distance added at this point was defeating. With the good vibes still going, team May the Course Be With You kept it going.  Lisel had a hard climb at the end of her 4.5 miles and she passed the slap bracelet on to Cheryl who brought us through District Del Sol and up into downtown St. Paul.

I'm not going to lie: I briefly thought about ditching my team for a margarita outside at Boca Chica, but I motored on. It was fun to watch Cheryl climb the hill up the Wabasha street bridge where we stopped to cheer her on and take a few pictures of the surrounding area.  It's sometimes hard to figure out the route that the van should be taking when runners are on trails or on one way roads that vans can't enter. So, after getting a bit turned around in downtown we were headed out to continue to support Cheryl on her run along the running path on Shepard Road.

Then Rachana headed out for her long journey along the river but at this point both vans had met up and were each their to support her with cheers, water, Star Wars characters and shenanigans to keep her laughing and running.  I think at this point of the race we were all getting a little punchy so the silliness really came out. (We borrowed some props from Jackson's Star Wars stash)

When Rachana passed the running responsibility over to Angie for the win (okay not win, but it sounded good) we were all elated. The end was near -- we did it! Angie as always, ran the last 4.8 miles strong, even though the heat of the day was settling in around the high 80s! The rest of us raced along to the end of the course where Ron dropped us off so we could run the last block all together as our 12 person team through the orange Ragnar arches of the finish line. It was truly an amazing experience and even though I didn't hardly see the other 6 members of our team in van 1, they feel like good friends as we all went through this great challenge together!

Oh... and I bet you think I forgot.... well, I'm not going to name any names, but it was noted that someone in our van smells like sausage when they sweat. Sausages!!  HAHAHA!

That reminds me, I also need to give a shout out to the best van driver around!  With our gracious driver, we were all able to concentrate on our running, sleeping, cheering, eating and hydrating without having to think about driving to the next exchange. He rocked!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ragnar Great River 2014 -- Part 2

Thankfully, with the aid of ear plugs and my headband as an eye mask, I was able to get about 30 min of sleep before it was time to get moving again. My alarm was set for 11pm, as it was estimated that Wade would be getting in around midnight. I rolled up my sleeping bag, changed into my clothes from my night run bag, which included a reflective vest, tail-light and headlamp. I waited in a restroom line for what felt like forever as I shook off the sleepies and started to worry about my 5.1 mile run in the dark.

My view at midnight
Ron thought it was time to stretch his legs after all the driving he had done in the last 12 hours and decided to come out for the run with me. The rules of Ragnar are that during the night runs you can have a pacer run with you single-file. It was nice to know that if a bear came out to attack me, at least Ron could help. Yes, this is what I worried about during a night run... a scary boogie man finding his way to me through a corn field, stumbling upon a hungry bear, meeting a ravenous country raccoon, getting sprayed by a mama skunk or missing a pothole and twisting an ankle only to be roadkill on a Wisconsin Highway. Have you met me? I'm a bit dramatic.

As it turned out, the thing that Ron did save me from was running into a dead horse. That's right, I said, dead horse  Ron was about 30 feet ahead when I saw him looking down pointing his headlight at a large object in the road.  By the time I came up on it, I knew it was a dead animal, so I held my breath, the best I could, turned my head and ran around it. It wasn't until we got to the finish that I learned it was a dead horse! In the end, the night run turned out to be pretty uneventful, though truthfully the only thing you could see was the blinking tail-light of the person in front of you and about 5 ft ahead of yourself with the help of the headlamp. At one point, I thought I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and turned my head into the field next to me and realized that I was pretty darn close to a horse -- this one still alive.

Next up, Wendy was off for 9.5 miles and she was running strong. Part of Wendy's run was on gravel road, so she also had to contend with the dust that the vans would kick up as they went by. The hardest part at this point for the rest of us was supporting our runners. It was hard to tell who people were when all you could see was a headlamp coming at you... Wendy could be easily spotted from behind in her pink pants with reflective tape at the bottom, but we couldn't give her water when she'd already passed us!

Lisel took over for Wendy at River Falls High School. At this point it was about 2:30 am and the leftover bar patrons were still making their way around the streets of town. We watched Lisel carefully as she passed a few folks to make sure she wouldn't need any help. Not that anyone would have been able to catch her. We continued to support Lisel through her 10.6 mile leg toward Hudson.

Next up, Cheryl took charge of the Ragnar slap bracelet for her 3.8 miles into Lakefront Park in Hudson. We got out to use the bathrooms here and I spent a little time walking around on my own to try to get my stomach to feel better. I realized that I hadn't eaten much and what I had eaten wasn't settling well. At this point it was not uncommon to hear us talking about our bowel movements as most of us were really hoping for one!

We got back in the van at this spot and I crawled to the way back to see if I could catch a quick nap during the next leg. Rachana had 4.9 miles along the stretch of river without van support for most of it, so the lights would be off and the doors wouldn't be opening -- a perfect time for a small nap.  Ahhh!

Angie's nighttime leg was in the early hours of the morning, but the sun wouldn't come up until she'd be coming into the exchange. Angie's 4.4 miles brought us back into our home state of Minnesota which felt great, though we still had a lot of miles to go. Once we picked up Angie at Stillwater High School the sun was coming up and we were heading to the next big exchange for showers and a bit of sleep.

Not unlike the scene at Ellsworth High School, Park Cottage Grove offered a gymnasium floor for sleeping and indoor toilets. However, the showers were individual stalls with hot water. A shower never felt so good! I could have stood under the running water for hours, but I also could hear my sleeping bag calling my name! Normally in a locker room I am quite modest, but it's funny when you all just want to get to sleep, no one really cares what the other is doing, we just want to get our clothes on and get to sleep.  I dressed in my next day's running clothes so that I could take advantage of as much sleep as possible.

When I arrived in the gymnasium, Ron and Wendy were fast asleep so the rest of set up our beds nearby and tried to settle in. Unfortunately, this go around the school didn't have air conditioning and the gym was muggy and hot, so I slept on top of my sleeping bag. Keep checking back for part three!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Accomplishing Ragnar 2014 -- Part 1

Our friend, and Ron's band-mate Shelly, asked if I'd be interested in running Ragnar earlier this year and since then, Ragnar Great River has really been my theme. I spent a lot of time agonizing and training, then after an injury (peroneal tendonitis) in mid-July, I spent even more time agonizing. Training resumed again on Aug. 2 and I went into Ragnar weekend not feeling as prepared as I would have liked to have been.

So, what is Ragnar??  Ragnar Great River is a 12-person (2 vans), over-night relay from Winona, MN - Minneapolis, MN. It's 206 miles of country roads, winding hills, residential roads, long, hot highways, city streets and river paths.

I was assigned Runner 7, in van 2.  Along with me, were Wendy, Lisel, Angie, Cheryl and Rachana. Before we hopped in our van I had never met Angie or Cheryl. Rachana I met once at our planning meeting. Lisel and I went to the same highschool, but never got to know each other then and hadn't seen each other since. Wendy and I were roommates in our early 20s but it had been at least 4 years since I had seen her! Our van driver was my husband, the only person in our van that I knew pretty well. 10 years of sleeping in the same bed kind of well.

Since our first legs started in Modena, WI, we didn't have to meet up until 9am on Friday morning. We met at my place, where we quickly realized that fitting 7 people and all of our gear in Wendy's minivan was going to be a tight squeeze, but we managed. We made it about 20 minutes outside of Modena when all of our morning hydrating efforts signaled -- we needed to stop to pee! After a brief pit-stop, we hopped back into the minivan and through the rolling farmland of Wisconsin to exchange 6, where we needed to pick up our packets, go through safety training and take over running the next six legs.

It's at these big exchanges that everyone from both teams is finally able to connect, for only a brief time. Since I was the first runner from my van, I would be the one to take the slap bracelet from Wade and start our legs. I had been really concerned about this first leg as the leg map rated it very hard and I started hearing about the hill that came three miles in. A hill that gained 400ft in elevation in just over a .5 miles. So the hill -- it was long and steep and brought me to a walk in a few spots, but it wasn't super terrible. Truthfully, everyone had hills and this was certainly not the worst of them. My vans were cheering me on over the top and stopped to hand off some water when I arrived at the top. The last half of the run was mainly downhill, but it was hot and heat index would soon be over 100.  I was thankful to find our friends in van 2 handing out more water around the bend that I used mainly to just dump over my head!

After my 6 miles I handed the bracelet off to Wendy for her 5.2 mile run. Thankfully, Cheryl was standing by with her water bottle for me to hydrate back up again and get back in the van so we could meet Wendy a few miles down the road and support her. We basically played leap frog for much of the day, supporting our runners and meeting them at their finish so our next runner could get out and go. Lisel had 5 miles after that on gravel hills and each van that came by kicked up a mouthful of dust for Lisel to endure. Her leg ended at Nelson's Cremery, which brought back some great memories for me as my grandparents used to take me on roadtrips to this place. It was such a welcoming sight and so was the Blood Orange San Pellegrino I bought in the store!

Cheryl's run ended up being at the very hottest part of the day on 8 miles of blacktop highway without an ounce of shade! After getting to about mile 6.5 this poor girl needed some help. We were able to get her more water, a visor and some running company. Being that I already ran and was the most recuperated, I thought it best if I head out for a mile with her and Lisel met us with the last mile to go.  It was just after that run that Ragnar sent an official text warning us to watch our runners as the heat index was getting very high. We used ice packs to cool Cheryl down while Rachana started out for her 4 miles. Then Angie had a hard 6.2 that brought us to a park in Stockholm, WI. We used the porta-potties, roasted marshmallows for s'mores, took some photos all before heading into the van to decide how to spend our time off while van 1 took it from here.

We motored on to Ellsworth, WI where the next big exchange would be.We loaded up on water and ice and found a little mom and pop diner to eat. Unfortunately, the diner was a bit on the slow side and we used a lot of our break time waiting for food when we probably should have been resting. However, we had fun getting to know each other more and meeting other runners who had come in to the dinner as well.

Then, we went to the highschool in Ellsworth, which thankfully was open to runners for indoor bathrooms, showers and sleeping. Though the sleeping was on a gymnasium floor and even through the people whispering, walking hard, rolling suitcases in, I was able to sleep for about 30 minutes! Which was great because my next leg started at midnight!

As I waited for sleep to find me I reflected on the day. I realized that I already felt like these six women were my friends, they looked out for me, helped me get through a hard run, supported me and cheered me on. I also thought about how much of a disaster it could have been to put 6 women into a crowded van and expect them to get along during a time when they were tired, beat up, worn down and putting their bodies through something so exhausting. Plain and simple we were raw in front of people we barely knew and we did great!  It was pleasant and refreshing! I'll continue the blogging about our night runs next up!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Addie's Birthday Quiz

What's your name? Addie
How old are you? Five
What's your favorite food? spaghetti and meatballs
What's your favorite color?orange and pink and purple
What's your favorite tv show? Um, let's see... Barbies
What's your favorite superhero? Super Girl
What time do you go to bed? 8:30
What's your favorite book? Rapunzel
What's your favorite movie? Frozen
What's your favorite kind of cake? apple pie
What's your favorite thing to do outside? play on my scooter
What's your favorite thing to do with mom? play house
What's your favorite thing to do with dad? light up candles (they have never done this, that I'm aware of)
What's your favorite thing to do with Jackson? play videos
What are you going to be when you grow up? a cookieman with mommy that has m&ms and chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Who is your best friend? Rosie
Who are you going to marry? I don't know
What's favorite thing to do at school? play trains
Where do you like to go in the car? Great Wolf Lodge
What's your favorite toy? My cradle
What's your favorite flower? dandies
Where do you like to shop? Target
What's your favorite song? Black Sheep
Where do you sleep? upstairs
What's your teacher's name? Casi
What's your favorite animal? A zebra
What's your favorite thing to wear? this dress
What's your favorite kind of ice cream? chocolate

Saturday, July 5, 2014


The family is really enjoying this first half of summer. We've spent time relaxing, fishing and boating at the cabin, fit in some family picnics, gotten in loads of miles going on family runs, spent time at the soccer and baseball fields and plenty more time eating ice cream!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


A perfect score on his spelling test... He worked hard for this one. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Addie: fashionista!

This girl has some awesome and unique tastes. It's always fun to see what outfit she will put together next. I love her creativity!

Running Partner

One of my favorite days occurred on Saturday. I asked Jackson if he wanted to join me on my run. I thought we'd get to the end of the block but asked if he could make it around the block. The kid surprised me, not only did he make it around the block he made it just over a mile! Running, no stopping, no slowing down! He then got on his bike to join me for my second mile... I was so proud!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jackson's spring music concert

This kid was so proud to share the music that he learned with his family. He even started the show out front with the Star-Spangled Banner. He made sure to wear a tie for the occasion.

Reading my favorites

The other night Addie and I had a little girls night at home together. We read all of the books that were my favorites. I enjoyed sharing this very special one with my very own girl.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Jackson's Birthday Quiz -- Age 7

What's your name? Jackson
How old are you? 7
What's your favorite food? pancakes
What's your favorite color? blue
What's your favorite tv show? SPD Emergency
What's your favorite superhero? None
What time do you go to bed? 8:30
What's your favorite book? Diary of a Wimpy Kid
What's your favorite movie? Harry Potter
What size shoe do you wear? I don't know, I'm going to go see... 2 dot 5
What's your favorite kind of cake? chocolate
What's your favorite thing to do outside? Play
What's your favorite thing to do with mom? Snuggle
What's your favorite thing to do with dad? Talk
What's your favorite thing to do with addie? Wrestle
What are you going to be when you grow up? A dancer
Who is your best friend? Isaac
Who are you going to marry? Who Knows
What's your favorite thing to do at school? Play with Legos
Where do you like to go in the car? Game Stop
What's your favorite toy? Skylanders
What's your favorite flower? none.
If your name could be anything you wanted it to be, what would it be? Professor Jackson
Where do you like to shop? Target
What's your favorite video game? Skylanders