Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkins for the Punkins

This year we didn't make the trek to the mega pumpkin farm. The month already seemed so busy with sports, plus our mountain weekend (where I hoped we might sneak in a visit to a patch). In hindsight, I sort of regret not going. Fortunately, Tim and his parents managed some pumpkin procurement while I was in Cape Cod, so our porch is not bereft!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Running Away

Last February, in Tahoe, I made a bet that, frankly, I didn't think would come to pass. If Mallie ran a half marathon, I would go skiing again. Evidently I underestimated her, and it would seem that I will, at some point, be strapping on some skis, as this past weekend we ladies of 329 completed the Cape Cod Half Marathon. And I really hope it becomes a tradition.
Kettle corn at the finish was a major incentive for Mal Pal.
 October is my favorite month, and autumn is my favorite season, no question. So a tour through one of New England's glittering gems at this time of year was a slam-dunk as far as I was concerned. (Bonus points for a fairly flat course.) I had already sworn, after last November's Atlanta half marathon, that I was through running through the ATL for long distances, because the views simply do not match the effort required for the incessant hills. This vow, paired with my desire to make more of my girls' trips active ones, led me to a fabulous April race with Sheryl (the Chickamauga Chase 15K, through picturesque Chickamauga National Battlefield on the border of Georgia and Tennessee) and now this Cape Cod half marathon.
I remain supremely impressed with Mals' dedication to run this, considering she had never run more than a 5K. Breen overcame injuries, Susan snapped out of her semi-retirement, and together we had a truly wonderful weekend. We stayed in Charlie's aunt and uncle's incredible home on the Cape, ate ourselves silly, and gabbed and gabbed and gabbed.
The view from the house where we lodged.
We're all now nestled back into reality, but I am already scheming for the next race, fueled by my memories. You can't run away from your problems, but you can run away to good times!
Post-race lunch and beverages.

Monday, October 21, 2013

3 Years and Counting: Mountain Weekend with the Francos

Writing stories on the porch.
The GA-TN line.
The third time was just as charming, and sealed the tradition of our fall mountain getaway with the Francos. We blended essential elements from years past (glow sticks, hiking, wine and cards) with new ventures (fishing, camp fires) and came away with wonderful memories, as always.

This year's house was an online find located in Blue Ridge, GA and right on the Toccoa River. And when I say "right on," I mean that if your car doesn't navigate the 45-degree angled driveway properly, it will wind up in the river. Driveway aside, though, the location was fantastic because the river provided gorgeous vistas, and enabled Danny to fulfill his long-harbored hopes of fishing. Actually, we primarily have Luis to thank for that. Thanks to his pursuit of a fishing license, rods, and bait - and Tim's patience in hooking worm after worm on rods - Danny and Gabrielle happily fished for nearly four hours on Friday afternoon in the glorious sunshine (Clare and Isabella kept themselves otherwise occupied). Danny caught a small one, and later Luis and Gabrielle a larger one, but mostly they reveled in perfecting their casts and absorbing the fresh air. Saturday afternoon saw them fishing again, but the fish weren't biting and it was a bit chillier, so somehow the glory wasn't quite recaptured...but Friday was spectacular enough for all.
Posing with the conductor on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
Fishing gals.

The riverside fire pit was also a major highlight of this year's house, especially on Friday night when the moon was full (and there was no football competing for our attention). S'mores and moonlight are a magical combination, and provided Clare's favorite moment for the weekend. It also brought out Tim's inner pyro...

Caught one!
Campfire kids.

We managed to find a hiking trail that didn't test anyone's limits this year, and surprisingly Clare and Isabella led the way. What a difference a year makes!

We also checked out the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, opting for the open-air cars which were, in fact, a bit chilly but provided some nice views. Not sure we need to repeat the experience, but we did get the chance to stand on the Georgia-Tennessee line and witnessed a "Drug and Gun" emporium that really made us wonder. We also enjoyed the charming town of Blue Ridge, where Tim found an olive oil store to his liking and the kids spent a loooooong time with some animals up for adoption. But clearly the best times were had back at the cabin.
Happy hiker.

It's always a bit exhausting to vacation with kids, particularly a toddler, but well worth it, especially in the company of solid friends. Here's hoping to many more mountainous weekends!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Between the Posts

Life according to the blog may seem slow, but day-to-day life during the school year is anything but. Not always remarkable, but definitely busy. A random sampling of things lately includes:

A visit to the doctor, when she passes the waiting time by getting stylish.

Decorating for Halloween, an eagerly-awaited task each year.

Breaking in the Halloween costume.


A victorious chestbump after a Danny-to-Will touchdown pass and run.
As always, stay tuned.