Friday, November 27, 2009


Sometimes life feels like the funnies.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ragnar: Run. Drive. Sleep. Repeat.

What an experience it was to run in the Ragnar Relay from the Valley of Fire to Las Vegas in the warm state of Nevada. I now get the phrase, "Run. Drive. Sleep. Repeat." that is on all Ragnar logo stuff. There was plenty of all of that (except sleep) during the whole experience. And it was totally worth it!

When I told people I was running in this relay race I got a lot of funny faces and remarks. A lot of people seem to think they could never do something like this. Well, yes, you can. Running is only part of the experience and if your team is there for fun and not to be the first across the finish line, GO! DO IT! You will never regret the experience. Here is what you get if you run a Ragnar:

1. An opportunity to make friends.

The only people on my team I knew at all were Wendy, Melanie and Lisa. At that, I knew Wendy the best. Through our training runs and the race itself I got to know Melanie and Lisa better and made lots of new friends.

Van #1 - Yolanda, Laura, Melanie, Me, Christine, and Cheryl.

I spent the next two days with these awesome women racing around the Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Henderson and into Las Vegas. We shared food, laughter and lack of sleep. I will always remember our choice of conversations and topics. The honesty of it all! Wow!

The hand off from Melanie to Yolanda. Everyone of you ran a great run!

2. In a race like this your teammates give you lots of support.

Cheryl handed off to Melanie but Melanie forgot her gum. Christine set her right.

We were always supportive of the girl on the run and did our best to offer them whatever they needed to make their run good. Everyone had different preferences. Thanks for spraying me down with water, the drinks and lots of cheering. Cheryl was an amazing sprayer. She was always on top of that with everyone. I hope we didn't let you down when you were out on the road! You all rock!

This was my favorite run - into the Valley of Fire. It was beautiful. The moon and the sun where out. The rocks were a beautiful red. We also got to talk with the gals from van 2 at the exchange. I was the last to run from my van everytime and got to hand off to Tiffany in their van. It was just nice to see them there.

3. The scenery you encounter on a Ragnar is varied.

Dusty straight roads. Winding sandy roads. Mountains, desserts and city scapes. We got some of all of this during the race. Early morning sunrise, late afternoon heat and moonlight trails. For an area as "out there" as Nevada, there was actually a lot to see. This is one of the reason I prefer to run outside instead of on a track or treadmill. The view outside is so different from riding in a car.

In the city - Yolanda offers Laura a drink.

A long straight road outside of Las Vegas. Tiffany is greeted with a drink from Rachel and a cooling spray from Libby.

One of my favorite pictures. Lisa is running out of a canyon and into Las Vegas. This was the last leg of the race. It was a beautiful area. Can you see how the experience would be different from driving it?

4. Running makes you feel good.

Whether you feel good because you get the runners rush of adrenaline or because you have done something you didn't think you could do, running will make you feel good in one way or another.

Rachel hands off to Libby. Check out Libby's smile. She's feelin' good!

Here is our team captain Wendy with Jamie. Wendy. I hardly know the words to describe the admiration I have for Wendy. She organized the whole experience. I would never in my wildest dreams take something like this on. BUT - I will happily take part in anything she plans in the future. I told her she make my dreams come true. I apparently have a hard time nailing down what those dreams are, but she gives me a heads up when she finds one for me.

Here's a hightlight - Carp drove down to Las Vegas and cheered me on for my last run. Then we road around together to cheer on the ladies from Van 2. It was really fun to have him there!

Wendy's family also drove down to give her support during her last run. I love this picture of Carp and Jeff. They are so GQ, aren't they?

Back: Libby, Tiffany, Wendy, Jamie,Laura and Lisa. Front: Melanie, Kellie, Yolanda, Christine, Cheryl, and Rachel.

After we were done, with medals in hand we checked in our hotel, showered, dressed, and headed off to the Rio for a buffet. We were all tired but were still able to enjoy ourselves.

The entire experience was great. I am grateful I had this opportunity and that we all arrived safely home. Not everyone made it home from the race. One runner was hit and killed in Henderson - the first in a Ragnar. His family and friends have been in my prayers and will continue to be.

Thank you to all you fabulous women I ran with. Thank you.

Monday, September 14, 2009


We had two birthdays in July. Seth turned 14 and Sam turned 4.

For Sammy's birthday we did had a hot dog roast in the backyard compete with chips and gifts.
The kids really like to roast marshmallows around the fire pit. Carson also picked out a few tunes on the guitar.

Sammy loves shoes. She use to have a pair of pink sparkly shoes and out grew them. So, she now has red sparkly shoes.
Sam also got a new scooter. She use to have one just like this that got some heavy use. It was mostly pink. This one is mostly purple. She loves it.

Seth's birthday was the day before Sammy's. He got some yummy brownies. We made the number 14 on his cake.

Seth was so excited to have Sammy born the day after him. He tells everyone how cool that is to share birthdays so close.

Happy Birthday Seth and Sammy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


K. So I finally got some pictures for Philmont up. Yes!
Carp had an opportunity to attend training for the BSA at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, NM the middle of July. We returned home a while ago, but you know, I'm not good at keeping my blog current. So here's the low down on what we did on our family vacation to Philmont.

We packed up the kids in the van with lots of stuff and drove to Raton, NM in one day. That was about a 12-13 hour day of driving. The next day we drove out to the Philmont Scout Ranch (hereafter refered to as PSR) and check in. Within the hour, Carson left for a week of back country adventure while the rest of us unpacked and set up home away from home in our assigned canvas tents before attending an evening church service and opening ceremony.

We each were assigned groups that we did stuff all week with. Here are pictures of our groups:

Sammy was a "small fry."

Gabby was a "roper."

Nathan was a "sidewinder."

Seth was a "trailblazer."

Carson was a "mountain man."

I was a "silverado." I hung with all the significant others of those that came for training.

Carp was a training member of "put more outing in scouting."

Yeah, 5 star accomodations were in order for our trip. We slept two to a tent - canvas tent, that is. HOT during the day, but not too bad a night. The tents were on wood platforms. How do ya like the deer Carp caught a picture of?

This is Carp and Sammys tent. We claimed the first 3 of these closest to the playground. It was quite convienent to be so close to quick entertainment for the kids. Sometimes Carp and I would sit outside and let the kids play while we read or chatted with other folks. Relaxing.

The great thing about this training for Carp was that they offered a family program to participate in if you wanted to bring your family with you. Every day we ate all three meals together in a mess hall. After breakfast we dropped the kids at their assigned stations and Carp went to training while I did, well, whatever I wanted. We picked them up for lunch and then dropped them off again. Carson would go back to training and I would do, well, whatever I wanted. We picked them kids up again around 4:15 p.m. - Carson, of course, was not in the training center with us. He was gone the Sunday we got there and got back the Saturday we left.

We had fun everyday we were there. Here's the week at a glance:


Sammy: Played at the small fry play center and visited the greenhouse in the afternoon.

Gabby: Made bagel pizzas in the morning and hiked to the T-Rex footprint in the afternoon.

Nate: Hike to Abreu in the morning and had rootbeer at the cantina. Went to the Kit Carson Museum in the afternoon.

Seth: Did archery and Rifle shooting in the morning. Hiked to Lover's Leap in the afternoon.

Carson: Hiked to Clarks Fork. He did branding and chilled with his buddies.

Kellie: Had an adult meeting in the morning to introduce what options I had while I was at PSR. Hiked to Cathedral Rock in the afternoon.

Carp: Training

After Dark: We had a play ground right next to our tent and were right by the South Tent offices and picnic area. We had cobbler and let the kids play.


Sammy: Pony rides in the morning. Played and did crafts in the afternoon.

Gabby: Archery and Rifle shooting in the morning. Villa Philamonte tour and pony rides in the afternoon.

Nate: Archery and Rifle shooting in the morning. Hiked to Lover's leap in the afternoon.

Seth: Handicraft and Villa tour in the morning. Horse back riding in the afternoon.

Carson: Hiked to Cyper's Mine. Had the strong man contest. Had the stomp which was a music thing.

Kellie: Did an all day hike to Carson's Meadows. We stopped at the original woodbadge lodge for a tour and Abreu.

I ate lunch at Carson Meadows with my hiking crowd. I was interested in this hike mostly because they said we would get to sample what the mountain trekers were eating everyday. Afterward, I started saving apples and oranges for when Carson got back. The lunch was, well, high on fats and processed food. I just knew Carson would want something fresh.

We stopped at Abreu for a tour and checked out the cantina. Those on the Mountain Men/Women Treks also stopped at places like this. Nathan had a rootbeer at this cantina on one of his hikes too.

Carp: Training.

After Dark: We had a Buffalo BBQ for dinner and played western games and danced. All the kids enjoyed the line dancing.


We had a family day on Wednesday. We drove about an hour and a half to hike the perimeter of Caplin Volcano and then down the the center. It was totally cool to see the massive amount of lady bugs.

Nathan was in bug heaven. Sammy was not. She is not a big fan of bugs.

The kids and I at the top of the volcano.

This is what it was like all over the volcano area. Kind of creepy, crawly in a way.

Carp and Gabby resting before climbing out of the center of Caplin Volcano.

We meant to get a of picture of all of us by this wagon when Carson got back from the trek. Yep, forgot that one.

We also spent time at the handicraft lodge. They have tons of stuff to "whittle" away the time.

The girls decorated aprons. Look how steady handed Sammy is. Gabby's was creative.

Seth assembled and painted a space shuttle.

Nathan made a bug cage.

After we were done we visited the trading post and bought way too many souvenirs. Well, maybe not too many considering how many kids we have.
After Dark: Some of the kids went to watch "Follow Me Boys" while others (including me) just relaxed and read or played on the playground.
Carson: Hiked to Saw Mill. Shot 30 odd 6.
Sammy: Played and did crafts. Went to the handicraft lodge in the afternoon.
Gabby: All day hike to Cathedral Rock and Hunting Lodge.
Nathan: All day hike to Carson Meadows. Campout with Carp at Rayodo.
Seth: All day hike to Window Rock, then overnighter at the Hunting Lodge.
Carson: Cimarroncito. It hailed on them so they had hail fights. Carson saw Seth because they were hiking in the same area. They did indoor climbing.
Kellie: Went horseback riding in the morning and relaxed in the afternoon.
Carp: Training.
Here I am on the lighter brown horse with the "Tooth of Time" landmark behind me.

Okay. So Carp didn't do boring training everyday. He did FUN training much of the time. He did a bit of photography, archery, the COPES course and much more. He had a great time. You know, this picture kindof turns me on. He looks so . . . . manly.

Here is Nathan and two friends he made at Philmont - Matthew and Greg. They ended up hiking in hail and rain on their all day hike. All their shoes were trashed when they got back. I had to clean Nathan's up so he could go camping that night with Carp.

Carp and Nathan on their overnighter campout at Rayodo and Kit Carson Museum.

After Dark: There was cobbler and story telling. The girls and I were the only ones at camp from our family. We showered and had a girls late night.


Sammy: Played and movie in the morning. Pony rides in the afternoon.

Gabby: Hike to Lover's Leap in the Morning. Handicraft in the afternoon.

Nathan: Got picked up at 7:00 a.m. from Rayado campout. Met at the Handicraft lodge and a Villa tour in the morning. Listened to Western Lore at the pony ring in the afternoon.

Seth: Kit Carson Museum in the morning. Handicraft in the afternoon.

Carson: Did outdoor climbing at Cimarroncito and then hiked to Window Rock. It had a beautiful view.

Kellie: Hiked Urraca Trail. Ice Cream Social in the afternoon.

Carp: Finished training and received certificate.

Gabby and Sam made friends with lots of kids on the playground. Andrew and Elizabeth's tent were right across from us. These guys played together a lot!

This is were I spent 3 hours reading on Thursday afternoon. It is really beautiful around the Villa Philamonte.

This is the belt that Seth finished at his handicraft time with his group. He wears this with his scout uniform. Each of the kids spent time at the handicraft with their separate groups.

Carp's group had a little ceremony to celebrate the end of the training and hand out certificates. In true scout fashion, Carp had fun walking up to get his.

Carp receiving his certificate.

Carp and Tracey.

Carp and I became friends with this couple, Phil and Tracey Mathews. They were totally fun!

Nanette, her boys and then some. Seth and Josh (in the middle) hung out quite a bit. They are from the Atlanta area.

Sammy did a cute song in the closing program. Actually, we all did a skit with out groups. So scoutlike.

Gabby pulled Sam around in this cart after we loaded the van on Saturday. They are just outside the mess hall.

We left Saturday morning at drove to Gunnison. Sunday morning we got up and drove home. It was an enjoyable time!
Now - here's a treat. Carp wrote some notes about the trip. All you kind people that actually read this whole post get to read more! Philmont, in Carp's words. Enjoy!
It has been one week since we returned from Philmont and a good time to reflect on the trip/experience.

Friday night Carson and I loaded the car so we could leave early in the morning. We got on the road pretty early and started the trip with a fast food breakfast in the car, so we didn’t leave dirty dishes is the sink. Kellie drove the entire trip (because she likes to.) Also, since Kellie drove, she got first dibs on the radio which meant that she played “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”, to Philmont and back. The book literally ended as we pulled into the driveway on the way home. Coincidence, I think not; listening to the book keeps her awake, it serves to put me asleep. There is a method to her madness. On the way down we did hear several times how much longer till we get to the hotel. Since the drive to Raton took 12 hours I can’t really blame the kids. Kellie really enjoyed driving over the mountain passes, the highest was 11,300’.

We stopped in Raton and stayed at what recently changed from the Sands Best Western. We had connecting rooms, so the boys stayed in one and the girls stayed in the other with Kels and I. They all thought it was great and would run from one room to another. We unloaded all the gear and ate dinner. Thanks to a special celebration in the town that evening, there were free ice cream cones for the 4 younger kids. Thank you Raton!

In the hotel room next to us was a Scout and his mother. He was being dropped off at Philmont in the morning for a week of Youth Leadership training. Nice young man, who I gave 2 patches from our local council he also gave me a patch from his council.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

On Sunday morning we awoke and had a cold breakfast of muffins and milk at the hotel. Showers for those who did not bathe when we arrived then Carson and I reloaded the car and roof rack which we were beginning to build our proficiency. After we arrived we held a family service in the hotel room as we were not sure if we would be able to attend services at Philmont that evening. We drove into Cimmaron and saw the couple blocks of business then turned down the road to Philmont. We went to the Philmont museum and then to the trading post to pick up a backcountry map for Carson. We then drove back to Cimmaron for lunch. After lunch it was time to check in, so we drove back to Philmont and checked in at the PTC. We checked in right around 1 PM, because Carson had to check in for the Mountain Trek at 2 PM and would be gone until Saturday Morning. We stayed in South Tent City. The van was unloaded with the help of Carson and then we got him over to the greensward and said our goodbyes. We set about arranging our living quarters, tents 235, 236 and 237. Sammy and I were tent mates and she sure enjoyed the freedom of not being with Mom. We went to dinner and then had the kids get ready to attend church at 7 PM. We went to church and to our surpise Carson was there. He was staying in the trailhead tent city that night and would start on the trail in the morning. Carson had the opportunity to administer the sacrament and Seth passed the sacrament. Elder Wilson told the young men, this would probably be the only time they were allowed to do so without a white shirt and tie. We said our goodbyes once more to Carson and headed back to our tents for what was hoped to be a restful night of sleep. Of course I tossed and turned all night, and at 4 AM heard a loud thump! Sammy had rolled out of her bed. I picked her up and put her back in bed and lay semi-awake until 6 AM when I got up to shower.


First full day was an experience. We ate breakfast in the cafeteria with the kids and then dropped them off at 8:20 AM with their counselors. Sammy to the Small Fry group, Gabby the Ropers, Nathan the sidewinders and Seth the Trailblazers.

The routine was shower, breakfast, drop off at 8:20, class, pick up at 11:20 AM, lunch, drop off at 1:20 PM, class, pick up at 4:20 PM, dinner, evening activity, brush their teeth and go to bed. Six hours of organized activity each day for the kids was quite nice for both them and Kels. Kellie spent her time hiking each day except for Thursday when she went horseback riding.

About my class, Tracey and Phil.

My training class covered a lot of ideas for getting Scouts in the outdoors. We went covered COPES course, Climbing & Rappelling, Ecology, Conservation, LNT, Outdoor Photography, Rifle and Archery Shooting, Aquatics, Map and Compass, Geocaching and other topic. It was well worth the week away from work.

On my first day of class I met a lady who is a Scoutmaster, Tracey Matthews. When I came back Kels and I talked and she had met her husband in the Silverados group. Tracey told me the next morning that her husband was telling her about a lady he met from Pleasant Grove, UT. Tracey chuckled and said “that has to be Carson’s wife.” Phil and Tracey brought their 12 year old son Colby with them to Philmont. Kellie and Phil hiked together on three of the days. We became friends and exchanged contact information with them.

Monday was craft night, but the craft building was so crowded, that we decided to forgo this activity. As there was a playground next to our tent, this did not seem to bother the kids in the least. They were regulars their every morning and before meals and evening. Nathan made two friends quickly Matt from Virginia and Greg from Texas. Sammy and Gabby befriended a 8 year old girl named Elizabeth. Seth and Josh from Georgia also hung out. Seth also would watch out for and entertain a 2 year old little Emma.

Tuesday night was Western night BBQ buffalo western games and dancing. The kids had a great time and danced for about an hour and a half.

Wednesday was family day we drove 60 miles to Capulin Volcano, came back to the trading post for souvenirs for the kids and made crafts in the craft building.

Wednesday night was movie night with a showing of the movie Follow Me Boys. Since we have the movie at home and have seen it about a dozen times, we opted out of the movie and instead relaxed in camp with the kids playing in the playground.

Thursday was quite a busy day. Kels went horseback riding, Seth, Nathan and Gabby went hiking all day. Seth did not return back to tent city as he had an overnight campout in the backcountry. After dinner, Nathan and I left for a Webelos/parent overnighter at the Kit Carson Musem in Rayodo. He an I had an 8 mile bus ride to the camp with the other parents and Webelos. The counselors and kids sang camp songs on the bus. We arrived, set up our tent then the boys threw tomahawks and had a foot race. AT dark, the staff put on a musical program and had hot chocolate for the kids. We got up about 6:15 a.m., packed up our stuff and rode the bus back to Philmont Training Center arriving in time to shower and to eat breakfast.

Friday night was the closing campfire program. Each family group had a skit or presentation. Yes, even Kels who reluctantly went up and sang with her group. It was difficult, but I was able to get a picture of her by going to the side of the stage area. (She tries to hide behind taller people.) We then had a slide show, but Kellie nor I got to watch it since Sammy decided to bolt off and sit somewhere away from us in a crowd of several hundred people. Near the end of the slide show, Kellie signaled me from across the crowd that she found Sammy. The Philmont staff must have known Kels and I did not get to see the slideshow as they kindly put a CD with the slides in my departing folder.

Saturday morning we got up, ate breakfast, then went to pick up Carson. However, he was no where in sight. We went towards the tent and there he was with Sammy outside the cafeteria. We took him into the cafeteria so he could get a cooked meal. We then went back to our tents and required Carson to shower. Apparently since he was on the trail, he decided to go green and help save the environment. He changed his clothes once but left on the same pair of boxers for the entire week! What can you do but grin (plug your nose) and bear it! Carson actually did not smell too bad. When we went to the trading post for Carson to pick up some souvenirs you could tell a crew that returned from a trek as opposed to once that was getting ready to leave by their scent. There are two reasons to have a boy shower before the ride him. The first reason is obvious; you don’t want to be inside your vehicle with the stench. The second related reason is to keep the paint on your vehicle from melting off!

We spent more money on souvenirs at the trading post and Gabby got a pair of earrings at the museum. We then went into Cimmaron and bought an ice cream cones at the Art Gallery so Carson’s rangers can get a free cone next time they are in town.

Kels drove for about 6 hours and we stopped at our hotel (Holiday Inn Express) in Gunnison, CO. We went out for Pizza at a NY style shop and had a good dinner. We went back to the hotel where we enjoyed the pool and hot tub. The kids enjoyed the cinnamon rolls for breakfast then reloaded the car and were back on the road again Sunday morning. Another 6 hours or so and we were home.

It was an enjoyable trip and everyone has said they want to go back. Carson is talking about a three week trek next time around!