Friday, September 19, 2014

Judges Classic

The same day that I had my half marathon, Brad had his first big cross country meet of the season.  He had run in a regular season meet on Thursday before, but this was a huge meet that included all of the area middle schools.

The meet was held on the Kernstown Battlefield - which was nice and hilly.  It was the perfect day to run because it wasn't humid and it was cool.  The rain came and went, stopping in time for the race.

The girls race was first.  Our girls did a really good job and earned 2nd place overall.  And then it was time for the boys. 

 Here is Brad as he hauls buns down the huge hill they had just climbed.

 And here he is as he swoops up and around the crowd toward the finish. 

I really like to run from point to point to be able to cheer the kids on - not just Brad.  I love cross country because it's a sport where everyone cheers for everyone else.  There's a lot of good vibes at these meets.  So my friend Anna and I were running around taking pictures.  And I was able to be at the end right by the clock to take "photo finishes."

Brad came in 7th out of 81 runners.  By the time his foot hit the mat, his time read 11:46.  Now this course was not a true 2 miles, so it can be a bit misleading when comparing to other times and other courses.  But it was still an AWESOME time!!!

James Wood boys went on to earn 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th places.  Those finishes, plus the finishing times of the rest of the team led them to win 1st place overall - by a landslide.

So it was a really good day of running.  We should do it again sometime! (haha)

Run Like a Diva

Last spring I saw posts on Facebook from friends that had run all kinds of races.  It was an inspiration to me to get off my duff and do something.  I took the plunge and registered for the Diva Half Marathon.  13.1 miles was a bit daunting, but I had a few months to train.  So after a little research I came up with a regime to follow to get myself ready.

Fast forward to September 13 at 5:15am.  It was chilly and raining and I was on my way to the race.  Thankfully it quit raining about the time that I pulled into the field for parking.  I followed the crowd to the table where we checked our bags.  After dropping things off I headed for the port-a-johns.  The lines were getting longer and longer.  
The race kicked off at 7:30am.  I was in the 3rd wave, so my time actually began about 10 minutes later.

Here I am waiting to take off.  It was COLD.  I was ready to get going to warm up.

Here is the arch we ran under to start our times.

My goal was to finish in 2 1/2 hours.  Up to that morning I had never gone more than 11 miles.  Thankfully on race day there is a bit of adrenaline that helps push you to the end.  Unfortunately at about mile 8 I had to stop at the port-a-johns for a quick break.  Thankfully it didn't set me back too much.  I had a pretty good pace through the whole race - better than in training.

I had worked up some pretty good calluses on my toes during training, but my piggies were hurting a bit in the last few miles.  Walking from the finish to get my bag was pretty painful.  My body was trying to figure out how to recover from it all.  But I had done it!!!!!

Here is my reward!  And it was totally worth it!

So later that day Amber asked when my next race would be.  I told her I doubted I'd do another in the spring because we may not have good enough weather to train in this winter.  So I'll do the Apple Blossom 10K and then do another long race in the fall.  13.1 miles wasn't easy, but there is something invigorating about it all.  I'll definitely be doing more!!!

And to help things even more, my good friend Lisa asked if I would help her train.  I should have a running buddy for next year!!!  Yay!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Travis' baptism

Travis' baptism was a little different than Brad and Wyatt's.  Since Youth Conference was going on in the Stake Center, we asked for permission to have him baptized in the river.  We got the OK and arranged with Brother Stickley to use his property.  The weather couldn't have been any better - not too hot, not too cold, and not raining!

Here is a shot of everyone in attendance.  It was an intimate meeting that was kept short and sweet.  Travis asked Johnathan Pearson to give the talk on baptism, and Jonathan Crowley to give the talk on the Holy Ghost.  Both were directed at Travis, simple and concluded with a simple testimony.

When we first arrived, there were many kayakers moving down the river.  Some were noisier than others.  During the opening prayer we could hear a bit of talking, and during Johnathan's talk on baptism, one of the kayakers caught a fish.  But when it was time for Travis and Jake to enter the water, it was calm and quiet - and it stayed that way until we were done.

Since Grandpa Shorter couldn't be there to be a witness, we asked Frank to stand in.  So PawPaw Hambrick and Frank stood by the river to have the best view.  The rest of us stood on the hillside looking down.

 This is my favorite picture, probably because they're holding hands and moving with great purpose.
Obviously we didn't take pictures of the actual prayer and submersion, but here they are climbing the hill again after Travis was washed clean.
Although there were few in attendance (because that is all that we wished), 2 of his best friends in primary were there to be with Travis.  On the left if Elijah who will be baptized later this fall.  And on the right is Jackson, who was baptized earlier in the year.
Nana Hambrick and Granny Myers made this Choose The Right towel for Travis.  It was perfect for the day since he didn't change after the baptism.  That's the beauty of doing it outside in the middle of July.

And here are the cousins.  We wish everyone could have been there but completely understand that it wasn't feasible.  But we're so glad Maddie, Ian and Kenzie could attend.  Maddie's baptism is coming up in October!!!
Nana & PawPaw Hambrick
It was a wonderful experience that none of us will easily forget. 
Thanks to all of those that were in attendance:
Bishop & Tanya Groll, with Elijah
Doug & Therese Golden
Erik & Jenny Nyholm, with Jackson, Wyatt and Anna
Rusty Stickley (it's his farm)
Jonathan Crowley
Johnathan Pearson
Frank & Amber Pearson
Clay & Jessica, with Maddie, Ian and Kenzie
Nana & PawPaw Hambrick

Back to Lexington

On Friday, we got up and leisurely packed everything up to go.  We decided before heading back up north, we'd stop in Lexington again to see some other places we weren't able to see earlier in the week.  Our first stop was Stonewall Jackson's grave.  At this cemetery we find his grave and those of his immediate family members.  But there are other Civil War soldiers buried there, and even a few Revolutionary War soldiers.

We then headed back to VMI to the museum again.  There was so much more displayed that we weren't able to see.


The park has activities every day for the kids.  Some you have to pay extra for, and others are free.  One day the boys tie dyed shirts.  Another they went geocaching.
So geocaching isn't anything new...  All 3 have done it, or seen it done, at Cub Scout camp.  But this time they each got their own gps and got to play around with it to see how it all worked.
 Brad is searching for one of his caches.
 Travis got a little help from Jake at first, but seemed to catch on pretty quickly.

 And Wyatt was the fastest to get all 10 caches.
Brad has been obsessed with the whole thing since.  He's done research on caches in our area, different types of caches that people hide, and some of the history of it all.  That's all he would talk about for days after we got back.  I think we may have found an item that's desired enough to add to the Christmas list!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Visit to Lexington

On Wednesday we went into Lexington for a little touristy visit.  We parked and had lunch and then walked around town.  We hit the jackpot when we stopped in at the Visitor's Center because we picked up some maps and got good directions on where to go and what to see.  A big part of our trip was to see the universities.

These are the barracks at VMI.  The building is extremely long, so this is just the main part of it.  It's pretty impressive.  The campus is immaculate and the kids thought it was pretty cool to see the cannons scattered here and there.

And here is one of the main buildings of Washington & Lee.  This is another gorgeous campus with large, mature trees scattered throughout providing shade and a beautiful view.  And literally the 2 schools are directly next to each other.  It really bothers Brad that right now the only thing that separates the 2 is a construction fence (because they're doing renovations at VMI).  Because he voiced this irritation, we don't let it go and remind him of the fact that it bugs him so much.
So a big bonus to having family that lives in the Buena Vista Stake or serving in the Singles Stake is that they have connections.  Clif set us up with a member of the stake presidency of the singles stake.  (He works at VMI.)  He agreed to meet us and take us on a tour.  Upon meeting him face to face, I was a bit surprised to find the President Clark is our age!!! 
He attended VMI back in the day and actually knew a couple of people that Jake and I went to high school with that then graduated from VMI.  Small World!!! 
He told the boys about the parade field and the cannonball that sat along the road that was always painted throughout the school year by the cadets.  He shared a bit about the campus and then took us to the museum.  That's where the big treat was.  We met up with the curator of the museum and got to go behind the scenes into the archives to see some cool items that were once Stonewall Jacksons.  (Jackson taught at VMI before the civil war.)
The boys take a look through the spy glass that was said to be given to a family by Jackson at some point during the war.  (The story is still being researched to be validated!)

Here is a book that belonged to one of Jackson's students.  In the back of it he drew of picture of Jackson and wrote a note of how annoyed he was that he was called on and didn't know the answer.  Funny!

This is a piece of fabric with pockets that were labeled with letters of the alphabet.  Jackson would lay this out in his classroom with graded papers in the slots that corresponded with the cadet's name.  Students would pick up their graded work here.  It was interesting though, because the "N" was backwards.  It is thought that Jackson may have had a touch of dyslexia.
While at the museum we also got to see Jackson's stuffed horse, Little Sorel.  On display was his rain jacket that he was wearing when one of his men shot him (accidentally).  This was the shot that took his life 8 days later.
It was so cool to see such old stuff and her the stories.  We also saw parts of one of his pocket watches.  He was crazy about being on time.  Everything he did was punctual.  So the boys think we should start calling Grandpa Shorter Stonewall.
After the curator left, Dallas (President Clark) took us to the replica of a cadet's room in the barracks.  He explained how everything was organized and what certain things meant.  He also told the expectations of cadets and how they received demerits and such.  It is pretty amazing how regimented it all is.  Jake and I immediately liked the idea of the boys attending VMI!!! 
The boys got to try on parts of the uniforms (they were all displayed in this room). 

Brad said it was kind of itchy.  I reminded him it was wool and that he'd always be wearing a dress shirt under it to help cover the scratchy parts.  I think they look sharp!!!  I'd be OK with our boys being cadets. :)
On Washington & Lee campus is Lee's Chapel.  It was never used as a church, but a gathering place for students to pray and then also used for other meetings.  There is a dedicated statue of Lee in the main room.  He is depicted as resting on a cot.  His wife didn't want one of him lying dead, so he looks like he's napping instead.
In the basement is his office with all original furniture pieces, books, papers, etc.  And there is now a mausoleum of Lee and his family down there too.  Outside of the doors is a stone indicating where his favorite horse, Traveler is buried.

We really enjoyed the day in Lexington.  Brad asked if we could move there.  It's definitely a quaint little town with LOTS of history.

Hiking & Fishing

We went on a couple of hikes - one short one and another a bit longer.  The tree that the boys were sitting on was in the path of the horse trail.  We're still not sure how the horses got around it since I doubt many of them jumped over it.

 Here Jake teaches the boys what a Sassafras tree seedling looks like and shows them that you can chew on the roots and taste the sassafras.  The boys reminded Jake that you shouldn't pull plants if you're trying to Leave No Trace.  Of course I had to remind them that collecting rocks falls under the same rule if you're going to really follow the guidelines of Leave No Trace!!!
This is the view from the highest point we reached on our longer hike.  I like how the tree branches created a picture frame!

The boys are sitting on a rock beside a waterfall.  Unfortunately most waterfalls in Virginia in July aren't too amazing.  This was merely a trickle.  But I'm sure it was nice this spring after all of the snow and crazy rain we had!!!
The lake at Douthat is stocked regularly, but that doesn't make it any easier to catch anything.  So they established a place for younger children to fish so that they might have a better chance at getting something.  Both Travis and Wyatt were lucky enough to catch a couple of fish in the Kid Pond.
At one point Travis slipped on a rock and fell in the water.  He wasn't having very much fun until Jake pulled him over where they were standing and he started catching fish.

Brad was too old to fish at the Kid Pond, so he climbed the hillside next to the dam and sat on the wall to watch the others.
There is a "sweet spot" to the side of the lake where there are tons of larger fish, but NONE of them would bite.  People kept trying and trying, but I guess the fish were smarter than that.  So the only catches Jake made were small ones like the one in the photo above.  But at least he got something!