Friday, April 27, 2012

The Boston Marathon

Monday arrived sunny and HOT.  Not ideal weather for running, let alone running 26.2 miles.  Dan left the hotel early to catch a shuttle to the start of the race.  The girls and I slept in a little and then got ready.  I was pretty anxious about finding a spot to watch the race.  I knew we would not be able to get close to the finish line, and I was right.  It was so packed!  The girls and I just started walking down the sidewalk (a chore in itself with the crush of people) looking for a place we might be able to see something.  At about mile 26 we found a spot behind four chairs and more than four people.  We could see the race, barely, but we wouldn't be able to see Dan coming.  Over an hour and half later, we were able to move up to the front.  Not only did we get to see Dan, but we all got to hug his neck :)  It was very exciting!!  After he ran by, we gave up our spot and walked to the family meeting area to meet him.  

Dan finished 5,816 out of about 22,000!!! in 3 hours and 47 minutes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo

Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful.  Actually, a bit too beautiful for those preparing to run 26.2 miles the next day.  The forecast Sunday was about 77.  The forecast for race day was 86!  Dan went down to meet a few runners from the running message board he participates on.  He watched part of the Boston 5K and then they all took a pre-race day jog of about 3-4 miles. He enjoyed meeting with fellow crazy people like himself.  :)  The girls and I slept in a bit.  

We then headed out to the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo held at the Seaport World Trade Center on the Harbor to pick up his bib number and enjoy the convention.  It was huge!  Much bigger than the one in Indianapolis.  Very comparable to our homeschool convention in the spring.  There were a lot of people there so parts were very tight but we enjoyed looking around.  It took longer than expected, though, partly because of the crush of people.  We left with his official goody bag, running shirt, and bib number, as well as a few other fun things.  There were lots of freebies and samples.  Good thing, because we were there longer than expected and all were getting hungry.  We consumed a lot of Gatorade, Powerbar, and Cliff Bar samples.  Dan and Aly picked up a free Spartan Race t-shirt after doing 10 push-ups :)  He never did decided on another t-shirt, but did buy a pullover with the official Boston Marathon logo.  

 Dan picking up his Bib

 his official Boston Bib #7502

 There were so many fun little things set up.  Here they were taking free pictures.  It turned out real nice.  Mine was just a quick snapshot.  Dan and Aly running with Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, and Mona Lisa who were wearing brightly colored Brooks running shoes.  

The official mascot of the Boston Marathon, Spike the Unicorn.  It was so fluffy they could die!  Lol! So we bought it for Skyeler and Aly to share.  Skye wanted to walk around the Expo with him on her shoulder like this but both Aly and I knew he would get lost and said no.

Boston Marriott - Copley Place

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."  That is how I felt as we  traveled into Boston.  From the American Girl store, we drove through the outskirts of Boston into downtown.  Rabbit (our GPS) decided not to take us the highway and so we saw some beautiful neighborhoods on our way to downtown.  There were people everywhere.  Walking, biking, riding trolley's.  Rabbit took us the wrong way at first (he gets confused in big cities) but we finally found the Marriott. Our hotel (thank you so much Mom!!) was huge!  38 floors!!  And only 2-3 blocks from the finish line of the Marathon. It was a little confusing figuring out the parking and we ended up doing it backward.  We parked, checked in, went to our room, and then went back for our luggage in the parking garage.  Oh, and we got lost after getting out of the elevator in the parking garage and had to walk through the attached mall with some of our luggage to even find the hotel lobby.  We should have unloaded all the luggage and then parked. :p  Now we know.  Our room was on the 23rd floor.  Crazy!  Our plan was to attend the Expo and pick up Dan's bib number after checking into the hotel.  Unfortunately, I had the spot of the Expo wrong and it was not within walking distance.  By this time it was 6pm and the Expo closed at 7pm.  I wanted Dan to have plenty of time to walk around and look at the Expo (I know how much fun those conventions can be...I love the homeschool one), so we decided to wait until Sunday morning to go pick up his bib number.  We decided to get out and walk around a bit and get some dinner.  People in the city walk different.  You don't stop and say "sorry" or "excuse me" if you bump into someone, you just keep going.  It took a couple days for me to get that. :)  And while I was looking out for anything and everything because we were in a big city, people were walking by me very unconcerned going about their normal daily life.  Boston didn't see so scary, just very overwhelming for a country girl like me :)

the view from our hotel room
(I took a better one a couple days later but this one is ready)

our hotel, the tall skinny one

these fountains were visible from our room

Skyeler taking pictures of the fountains

American Girl - Boston

After staying the night at a Hampton Inn somewhere between Syracuse and Albany, New York, it took us a little bit to get going on Saturday.  We were all pretty tired so we left for Boston later than we had planned.  

Our next stop ... American Girl-Boston.  Aly just bought her American Girl doll, Julie, this January.  She was very excited to visit the store with her doll.  One of the things she most wanted, a picture with her and Julie on the cover of an AG magazine, was not available at the Boston location.  It was ok, though, as the store did not disappoint.  We let Aly pick out something, and then she also spent the souvenir money that Grandma Am had given her at the store.  

Aly came home with an American Girl Boston t-shirt for herself and her doll, a skirt to match for her, and a new outfit for Julie.  It was such a cool store.  

 Aly and Julie in front of the Julie display

 looking at more Julie stuff

Aly and Julie and her purchases in front of the store

Boston or Bust!

Ok, so this picture is a bit out of order.  :)  But we really were heading for Boston when we left Niagara Falls.  Dan's managers put together a basket for him and made him a card.  It was full of all the little things he eats and drinks ... Emergen C, Reece's, Cliff Bars, nuts, Vitamin Water, etc. ... they also put in a couple Runner's magazine and a towel that said "Boston or Bust 2012."  It was such a sweet gift.  The sign was too fluorescent green to put in the window of the car but we put the towel in the back window!

Niagara Falls, New York

We began our Boston Marathon Adventure on Friday.  After being in the car for hours traveling through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, we surprised the girls with a stop at Niagara Falls.  When planning our trip to Boston, Aly asked to go to the American Girl Store in Boston and Skyeler asked if we would be close to Niagara Falls in New York.  We told Aly, yes.  We told Skyeler, too far. :)  Once we started looking at routes from here to Boston (there were three ways we could go), one took us within 45 minutes of Niagara Falls, so we planned to stop and surprise Skyeler.  It was a great surprise (she doesn't like them very often).  I couldn't believe that they didn't figure it out sooner.  There were signs all over for Niagara Falls, but the girls didn't realize that meant they were right there.  They thought it was just the highway leading there.  When we could see the mist in the distance, then the rapids, then finding a parking place, THEN they got it :)  

It really was beautiful.  An awesome work of God's hand.  I had never been there before either!  We took a lot of pictures.  A LOT.  I wanted to get a few up quickly so I just picked some and hurriedly fixed them for the blog ... which I really didn't need to do quickly because we didn't have internet in our hotel at Boston, so I couldn't get them up anyhow, and now we are home and I could have taken my time looking through and picking them out and fixing them properly ....  C'est la vie!

 Skyeler, me, and Aly
(at the top of the falls)

 me and Dan
(in front of the rapids)

Niagara Falls, the American Falls
(the mist in the back right is the Canadian Falls and the skyline is Canada)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

"Oh What a Saviour!"  was the title of the Cantata we sang this morning in church.  How truly blessed we are as we celebrate the fact that we have a risen Saviour!  Happy Easter!

I wanted to post some pictures of the girls and their Easter finery.  I apologize...these are purely snapshots, not the greatest quality, and I even used the flash (gasp!).  We had a sunrise service this morning.  We were up at 5:15 a.m.  Add to that the fact that it was not very warm here today, and I was really in no mood for picture taking.  :)  

 Aly & friends
Nina, Priscilla, Aly, Skyler, and Brianna
(the matching dresses were not planned)

Skyeler & friends
Riley, Tori, Calleigh, Lizzy, Skye, and Lorin