Archive for the ‘ Family ’ Category
While in California I was surprised by an early birthday party from my sweet in-laws. I loved the gifts I received so much, that I wanted to tell you about them… just in case you are in the market for any of these goodies…
My sister-in-law, Chelsea, gave me a collection of gifts inspired by my love for Team in Training purple, and which also happen to line up with the February’s amethyst birthstone color:
I recommend all of these items — they are my new favorites!
I sure got lucky when I married into the Johnson family… and for many more reasons than just lovely birthday gifts. xoxo
It was confusing to walk out of the airport last Friday into the perfect sunshine of California after being in snowy Utah and dreary, grey New York. It was a welcome confusion, however. California is nearly always sunny, and nearly always fun.
The reason for the trip was the Tinkerbell Half Marathon that Chelsea and I ran on Sunday, but we also made sure to spend lots of time visiting with family and friends. (Unfortunately, I managed to take more photos of palm trees than I did of Travis’ sweet grandma, aunt, and uncles. boo.)
Travis, Chelsea, and I stayed for the first two nights of the trip at the actually-pretty-swanky DisneyLand Hotel so that we would be within walking distance of the race start and the expo, where we picked up our race numbers and t-shirts. The expo was fun, with food and clothing vendors, but it wasn’t quite as extensive as I had anticipated. Of course, we picked up a few souvenirs! (Thanks, Brad & June!)
The morning of the race, Chelsea and I woke up at 3:30 am! Early, but it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be. I had coffee and a Luna granola bar before we headed over to the race start. The starting area was very well organized, with plenty of porta-potties and an easy bag check area. We were in our corral at the starting line before we knew it!
I was amazed that 12,000 people ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. That is a lot of people!! Runners were stretched out as far as we could see in front and behind us at the start. Most were wearing costumes, so Chelsea and I actually looked quite tame in our hot pink shirts, sparkly headbands, and running skirts.
After a few fireworks, the gun sounded at 5:45 am, and we were off!
The race started in the Disneyland Hotel parking lot, then we ran through Disneyland backlots and then right through the theme park, down Main Street USA, under the castle, and around through Adventureland. We stopped to take photos with a few characters along the way. We continued the race through the streets of Anaheim, through Downtown Disney, and then through the California Adventure park before ending back where we started. The Johnsons were out cheering us on in four separate spots — June even made a sign! — and they said we were smiling the whole time. It was a very fun, flat, easy course.
Now, it is considered slightly bad form to ask a runner their time when they complete a race since everyone’s speed is so personal, but I am happy to report that Chelsea and I came in at 2 hours 38 minutes. I am actually impressed! Disney races are known for being very leisurely and overall much slower than other races, plus we stopped for many photos and even waited in line for a few, so our time was actually much faster than I was expecting. Chelsea is completely strong and had no problem finishing her longest run ever. I am so proud!!
The day after our big race, we headed out early once again to spend a tourist day at Disneyland with Travis and our friend, Kristen. We rode all of the rides (my favorites are Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, and California Screamin’) and ate our fair share of treats, like churros and cotton candy. A day walking around theme parks may not be the optimal activity after completing a half marathon, but I actually felt quite good. Disneyland is always a fun time.
What a great weekend! What a great trip. The weather in California was amazing and my strong, sweet, enthusiastic sister-in-law and I ran 13.1 miles in and around DisneyLand. Just for fun. And because we can. We had an awesome time.
I have a lot more that I want to share about the trip, but for now I feel a little sad that it is over. I want to reiterate that I don’t run because I think it is important, or because I am good at it, or because I like to tell people how far I can go… I do it because it is fun and it teaches me a lot about myself. I recommend it. We don’t have a ton of opportunities as adults to have exhilarating/special/totally-fun experiences, but training for and running road races is one sure way to create one of those life-is-REALLY-good days for yourself. Chelsea & I shared one of those days on Sunday.
You already saw Travis’ photo with Santa when he was just a cute little babe… so I felt compelled to show mine. While we were home for the holidays I took the opportunity to scan a few old photos. Above is my Santa shot from 1981. Below are 1982, 83, and 84.
Our expressions are pretty great. Somewhere between “how do I look? and “what the heck is happening?” Also, I think I am wearing a sweat suit in 83.
For reference, here is a photo of me and my brother, Seth, this Christmas. There’s no Santa, but we look about the same.
I woke up thinking about The Bahamas this morning.
My family took a trip there for Christmas in 1998. With four kids, I am actually amazed at the amount of traveling we did — The Ozarks, Saint Louis, Rhode Island, Chicago — but our trip to The Bahamas was our first (and only?) exotic family trip outside of the “main land.” It was my senior year of high school and I was a year into my romance with Travis… so my attitude wasn’t the best.
I can’t imagine traveling with four teenagers (turns out, my parents were saints) but I think we actually had a good time. My favorite part was when we took a chartered boat out to a tiny island for a day. We hung out on basically our own private beach and were fed lots of coconut and pineapple. That is where this photo (the only one from the trip that I have in digital format) of me and my brother, Adam, was taken. The water was very clear and blue.
My dad also arranged for us to swim with dolphins, which was a thrill. They feel like wet rubber, but are very cute and friendly.
The rest of the trip details are a bit fuzzy… I know that we snorkeled a bit, went to a botanical garden that had seen better days, rode in a crazy taxi, and went out at midnight one night to see the Junkanoo celebration… where I almost passed out. (In retrospect, I think I was dehydrated, but also overwhelmed.)
Our trip was definitely a unique holiday celebration. It was also a valuable opportunity for four midwest high school kids to see something outside of our daily suburban lives. I know that was important to my dad. Now that I am an adult (and have trouble planning a quick trip to KC for the holidays for me, Travis, and a little dog) I am amazed by how well he planned, organized, and paid for a tropical vacation for six people!
These photos pretty much sum up the Johnson’s trip to New York last week. We did some touristy stuff interspersed with a LOT of sweets. We visited Magnolia Bakery, Crumbs Cupcakes, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Serendipity III, and the brand new Laduree macaron shop. Thank goodness we also walked many miles each day!
I want to blog more about the fun I had exploring the city with Travis’ family, but my goal of blogging every day sort of fell apart (once again) while I’ve been getting caught up on work after their visit. The good news is that you can pretty much re-live our whole adventure via my Flickr set — be warned: it is over 300 photos!
I always thought I could create one of those beautifully styled homes you see in decor magazines. I know that they are not reality, but I still thought I’d be the one person who could make it a reality. Ha! In my actual reality, I have a love/hate relationship with clutter. I want a tidy home, but I love to surround myself with little tidbits that remind me of the people and experiences that I love.
This is my office desk area. It is craziness. Really. So many little things — hung on the wall, arranged on the shelves, stacked on books, and pinned to bulletin boards. I really worry people who visit will think I am a hoarder, but I actually do have a semi-successful organization system.
All of the things near my desk are reminders. Reminders of things I need to get done or reminders of people who make me happy. In this photo you can find representations of nearly every one of my family members, plus Swap-bot goodies, Team in Training memorabilia, and just plain, pretty stuff that I like to look at. I don’t think I’ll ever change my cluttered ways.
Thinking about my original crew today. I have three younger brothers who are three of my favorite people in the world. We are all very different adults now, but you can’t shake the bond of growing up together.
The 1984 kids seen above turned into…
Brothers, I haven’t talked to you in weeks/months. Call me.