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The Spirit of Christmas!

I love December!! I love the spirit of Christmas and spending time with my family… even when we fight (which is a lot-especially with the girls ๐Ÿ˜‚). In the month of December, we do an activity every night pertaining to the holidays. It’s been a fun tradition and as my girls get older, they are having more fun with it.

Dec 1st: Christmas activity- We put up the Christmas Tree and decorated our house.

Dec 2nd: Christmas activity- FHE (family home evening) and drawing names between the girls for Christmas.

Dec 3rd: Christmas activity- Writing letters to neighbors and delivering them.

I had an easy 6 mile run today. It felt nice.

Dec 4th: Christmas activity- Make count down necklaces. My mother-in-law is taking our girls this weekend so corom and I can go with the high school cross country team to California. So she will continue the Christmas activities.

I had a 2 mile warmup, 3 mile tempo run at marathon pace, 2 mile cool down. That afternoon, Corom and I left on a Charter bus with the HS XC team (a few other coaches, the neighboring HS & their team, and chaperones) to Southern California for a race at Mt. Sac college- Footlocker.

It was quite the drive but they were a fun bunch to drive down with.

Dec 5th: Christmas activity- making soap for friend gifts.

I stayed at the hotel all day, while Corom and the other coaches went to Disneyland with the HS kids. I was sad to miss out but it was nice to be able to relax before my race. I did get an easy 5 miles in. I love taper week. ๐Ÿ˜Š At Disneyland, corom and Chad (one of the other coaches) did have a few issues-kids losing their Disney tickets, etc., but nothing to bad.

I do feel somewhat bad because my girls have never been to Disneyland… we would much rather spend our money on taking trips around the U.S. and different countries. I just told them to join the XC team. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Dec 6th: Christmas activity- watch a Christmas movie

After a short 5 mile run with strides for me…

We (the HS XC kids, coaches and I) loaded up on the bus and headed for the beach. It was a very nice morning and the weather was great… the afternoon it began to rain just a little before we were about to leave.

After we picked up their race bibs, went back to the hotel and went out for dinner.

Dec 7th: Christmas activity- make gingerbread houses at grandma’s house.

We watched some of the HS kids races, then corom and I left Southern California. We went to the packet pickup expo, then headed to my brother in laws house (Jarom).

Dec 8th: Christmas activity- make cookies and bring them to G-goats neighbors. Corom and I came home tonight so the girls sang and delivered cookies to g-goats (Sarah’s- their grandma) neighbors. Then brought the extra home for some of our neighbors.

I raced the CIM marathon and then we drove home (after a short visit with Corom’s brother, Jarom). It was a nice drive. Corom and I had a great, long and much needed talk with the 2 of us and with no interruptions.

Dec 9th: Christmas activity- went to the elementary school for a movie night with treats.

It was kind of an emotional day for me. I was so happy about my race but sad at the same time. It was nice not having to get up and run, though. I subbed at the girl’s school today, in my 3rd daughters class. There are a few kids in that class that makes it so hard at times. And it didn’t help that I was tired.

Dec 10: Christmas activity- shop for secret sister and elementary school choir concert.

Dec 11: Christmas activity- make a Christmas craft and bring them to the neighbors.

Dec 12: Christmas activity- Christmas story and hot chocolate (but the girls were fighting so much that they didn’t get hot chocolate).

Running:

I got back into training today. I’m going to run Houston marathon to give it one more shot for the Olympic trials. Here’s to another intense 5 weeks. ๐Ÿ˜

Dec 13: Christmas activity- Christmas movie and neighbor gift exchange.

Dec 14: Christmas activity- ice skating.

Dec 15: Christmas activity- old folks home. I did have to warn my kids and mainly corom the night before on this activity. The girls are pretty good about going but corom has a hard time with this activity. Today went really well! And I don’t know if it’s because my girls are getting older but we had longer visits with the residents and better interactions. The Barney’s came with us again this year.

Dec 16: Christmas activity- Christmas dinner and orchestra recital.

Dec 17: Christmas activity- leave a treat for the mail lady and garbage man and deliver neighbor treats. Piano recital!

My 3 younger girls are in piano… 2 out of the 3 don’t like it. But I’m hoping they will change their mind once they start to learn more. My oldest is in art so she does not have to take piano.

My oldest (13 years old) drew this picture in about an hour. My kids are obsessed with The Hunger Games. I have been reading to them almost every night and they love it. It has been a great way to get them to go to bed on time and for us to read them the scriptures (Book of Mormon) and have them listen (or at least pretend to listen). ๐Ÿ˜‚

Dec 18: Christmas activity- drive around salem pond and look at the lights. My oldest and I had to work at the Clarion, so we missed out on this activity. (I worked a lot this month at the clarion… mostly during the day).

After the pond, Corom and the 4 girls went to the high school Christmas performance (my oldest was able to go to that)… I stayed at work a little longer. We served an event that day for 400+ people.

Dec 19: Christmas activity- Christmas craft. Parties in their classrooms.

Dec 20: Christmas activity- serve neighbors.

Dec 21: Christmas activity- see Santa!

Dec 22: Christmas activity- Christmas movie

Dec 23: Christmas activity- sledding and a Christmas get together at the Black’s. Well we didn’t go sledding because there wasn’t enough snow! The girls did go over to our neighbor’s house for a Christmas party. The neighbors are so good to my kids!

Dec 24: Christmas activity- Greek dinner and pass around. I love making and eating Greek food (well eating it at least)! My sister and her family came over and my mother-in-law and Gary came for dinner. We did a pass around gift right after. Then it was cookies and milk out for Santa and then bed time.

Dec 25: Christmas Day- gift to Jesus (our gift to our Savior this year is having positivity in our home). I don’t write about it often but with Corom, he suffers from depression and just having really low days and extremely high days with his moods. I know with him being a social worker at the school has been a huge blessing for him and for the school kids. He can relate and understands and knows how to help. He has been so good with what he has to deal with (and has the right medication). Anyway… so we are going to work on positivity in our home this year and hopefully less fighting between the sisters!! ๐Ÿ˜‚ The girls play so well together and it’s so fun, but they also fight really well! ๐Ÿ™„

The girls could not come out of their rooms until 7:45 this morning. At the beginning of December we start the time at 6 a.m. for getting up for presents. If they fight, it goes up 15 min. If they are nice and help each other out, it goes down 15… well 7:45 it was. I loved it! ๐Ÿ˜‚

We had a very nice morning and a lazy day! I did go out at about 1 p.m. for an easy 8 miles. It was beautiful out today. So many things to be grateful for. I love my family and my Savior!

For the rest of the break we didn’t do to much. Corom worked on our shed out in our backyard for the most part of the time. We are turning it into a craft/art room for the girls. We did go to the movies, had another friends gift exchange (with this group we always get together after Christmas… lots of pranks, funny/shady gifts, and dropping off junk on you lawns ๐Ÿ˜‚) and ice skating again (with the Thompson’s) but other than that… just neighbor kids in and out of the house.

New Year’s Eve:

I had a hard workout today! 19 miles worth of a speed workout. I was glad when it was over! The girls had a few friends over and we celebrated New Year’s with New York’s time (2 hours ahead of us). It worked great. The kids had fun and then all the friends went home by 10:15-10:30. We watched a movie as a family until midnight and then went to bed shortly after that. Oh and of course, Corom had to light off a few fireworks, etc.

Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day:

I did start off the New Years with a 8 mile east run. It was great but the roads were snowy and slippery. Corom and his friends started a polar plunge tradition in our city about 5 years ago. Every year more and more people jump in. This year, Corom led a group on a 1.1k run and then jumped in right after. My 3 younger girls jumped in with Corom, as my oldest and I watched. ๐Ÿ˜‚

My 3rd daughter stepped on something in the pond and almost needed stitches. Good thing Mike was around to come check it out!

A few random pictures throughout the month of December:

I saw this write up on me in a little news article called “The Stable”:

JENโ€™S HEARTBREAKING 3 MIN PB

Jennifer Hughes ran a heartbreakingly brilliant 3 minute PB in Sundayโ€™s California international Marathon.

Hughes reduced her PB from 2:48 down to 2:45:28, just missing out on the US Olympic Trials Qualifier by 28 seconds.

With half a mile to go in the race, Hughes was on for 2:44:44 but in the final half mile, Lady Marathon swiped the legs from under our Jen.

 โ€œโ€ฆmy legs just felt like lead! I really could not get my legs to  turnover the last 800,โ€ Jen told The Stable News.

In The Stazzaโ€™s Stable Strava Group, Jen explained the bitter/sweet nature of her PB: โ€œThanks so much John!! You are truly amazing and I had that 2:48 time 4 years ago. I started a little over a year with you with a 2:50:45 timeโ€ฆ you helped me get 5+ min off since I started with you. So thank you!! Bitter/sweet today.โ€

Stablemate, Jason The Yoof Cisney captured the excitement in real time as he followed the race on the live tracker and posted in The Stazzaโ€™s Stable Strava Group: โ€œSavannah picking it up! Jennifer gonna be real closeโ€ฆMan thatโ€™s tough for Jenโ€ฆto be so close for so long. Very solid efforts all aroundโ€ฆ.That last 400m must be a tough stretch. Looks like people lose a lot of time there.โ€

Jen also took to Facebook to share her thoughts and thanks: โ€œWell another great opportunity to be resilientโ€ฆ Iโ€™m not giving up on another marathon race that I missed my time!! I was 28 seconds off qualifying for the Olympic trials. Bitter sweet today (more bitter than sweet )โ€ฆ I did shave 3 min off my previous best. Hopefully, next time I will be crying for joy.

But here we go for 1 more shot in Houston. Itโ€™s a good thing I like running. Thanks John Stazza for coaching me. Thanks Sarah for taking the girls again. Thanks Corom for supporting me. And thanks to everyone else(running friends, the kids I coach, neighbors and family).โ€

Jen will now have a few days rest and then get ready for the Houston Marathon where she hopes to give The Lady Marathon a slap and knock off those 28 seconds or so, to get the OTQ.

CIM Marathon New PR! 2:45:28

CIM Marathon: December 8th, 2019:

Time: NEW PR by 3 MINUTES!: 2:45:28

BUT I missed the Olympic Trials By 28 seconds. So Bummed!

 

So… the morning started off great. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. Corom and I left his brother’s house (in Sacramento) and drove 40 min to grab Alison B from her hotel. He dropped us off at the bus that took us up to the start. (The pic below is obviously the day before picking up my packet…)

We waited in line for the bathrooms for a while, then only warmed up for about 3 min. The least amount of warming up that I have ever done before a race. The weather forecast said it was supposed to be pouring rain and wind. We had the perfect amount of “rain” and little to no wind. It was awesome. It was very humid, though.

If any of you have run a marathon… you know that the entire race is a mental and emotionfest! I felt great, then the next mile I felt like crap, then the next it was all good, the next I kept thinking there is no way I am going to hold this pace, then I am totally going to achieve my goal… on and on for the entire marathon. Well, this race was no different. I felt great and then mile 7 rolls around, and I honestly thought, “Holy Crap, I have a long way to go, there is no way I will be able to stay at a 6:15-6:18 pace.” I held on to a few more miles, and something clicked over and I felt strong and alive! I made it to the halfway mark at a 1:22:23 I believe, a few seconds under the Olympic Trials mark of 1:22:30, and still felt great. I was a little behind the pace group, on purpose, because they were going a little faster than what I wanted to do; but still kept them in sight. Mile 15-16, I began to struggle again. My legs began to feel heavy and the negative thoughts started to seep in. I quickly took another Marten gel hoping that would help. The wheels started to click over again at mile 17 when I realized I only had an hour left of running. I became excited and knew I could hold on for 1 more hour!

I began slowly to make my way up to the pace group pack. The 2:45:00 pacers (3 guys that were pacing the Olympic Trials field) started off with about 150 ladies… by about mile 20 when I caught up to them, there were only about 20 ladies left. Most just fell off that pace and could not hold on, but still a good size group. I had emotions come on early of excitement and joy that I was going to do this! I felt great. I even held back because when I caught the pacers, I wanted to run ahead. So for the next 3 miles, I stayed right with them. They kept telling us to relax, that by mile 23, we were 10 seconds ahead of the 2:45 time.

Holy Crap… I was going to do it! I knew, I only had 19 minutes left of running and then I was done! I started to pull a little ahead but not by much. Mile 24 comes up and still feeling good, fatigued, but good. We were 15 seconds ahead of the 2:45 time!! Then with only a mile and a half to go, my legs started to feel really heavy, like lead. I popped another piece of run gum in, hoping that caffeine would kick in and carry me over. The pace group quickly caught up to me but I knew I had about 10-15 seconds to spare behind them. So for the next .7 miles, I held on behind the group. With only a mile to go, at about 25.2, I really started to unravel.

I was driving my arms and trying to hold on but the group got a little farther. I saw the mark that said 800 meters left, still kept trying to drive but my pace slowed down to a 6:25. 400 meters left, I slowed down to a 6:30ish… I could not get my body and mind on the same page. I was struggling so bad to push through the last 3-4 min but I COULD NOT do it! This is the last 400 meters of my race. Bless Coroms heart for running on the side of me just to get a video… I’m not a very pretty runner.

I crossed that finish line at 2:45:28 and I was so sad. I felt what it would have been like to achieve a goal that I have been trying so hard for. I just started to cry and I couldn’t stop.

Corom was so patient with me and just waited for my crying to stop. There were many runner friends there that were encouraging and shared my frustrations.

But it was still hard none the less. I am so grateful for a 3 minute PR. My best time before was a 2:48:12 and that was 4 years ago. Since I started training again this last year and a half… I have not been able to break 2:50. So I am so excited but sad about it at the same time.

Looking back now that it’s the next day, I keep questioning myself why couldn’t I just push on. How did I let it go that last mile. But I guess it’s back to trying for one more shot in Houston… I’m getting to old for this. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

There are so many people that I have to thank!! Corom (my husband, my 4 girls, my mother in law for watching our girls, my family, friends, neighbors, ladies I run with and the kids I coach. So supporting and amazing!

Chicago Marathon & A Whole Lot To Catch Up On!

Chicago Marathon October 13:

I love running Chicago’s marathon! The course, the people & volunteers, the atmosphere and the energy… all of it, so electrifying. I didn’t hit the time I wanted or a PB (personal best) but I loved the entire race. I did go into this race with a few hiccups along the way with training. I found out 2 1/2 weeks before the race that I was borderline anemic so trying to load up on iron pills was no fun.

I was able to stay mentally positive even when I fell off my pace. I’m not going to lie… I am way bummed about it but there’s always another race. I don’t know if I’m crazy to keep trying for the olympic trials, but I know I would regret it if I didn’t try. The weather was perfect at the start of the race.

It was about 32 degrees Fahrenheit and no wind. Which was awesome because it’s been windy all weekend (strong winds). At about an hour into the marathon (10-11 miles in), the wind started to pick up.

I still stayed on pace for another 5-6 miles but around 17 miles, started to struggle. Slowly but surely, I began to fall off pace… I finished at a 2:51 and just tired. But mentally I felt good!

Corom was awesome and all over the course! He probably put more miles in than I did. He seriously was making me laugh… I’m glad he was able to go out with me.

We had a great weekend (movies, walking the streets of Chicago, food) and met so many great people from all over the world. I do love traveling for races.

Well back to training!

September:

My 2nd daughter’s bday: She turned 12! My kids are growing up so fast. She is so fun to be around. She knows how to joke with adults which is not too common with younger kids. She is growing into a beautiful young lady and always so sweet to everyone (except to her sisters ๐Ÿ˜‚).

We had a girl from Italy stay with us for about a week. We took her around to the Hot Springs, a Sundance lift ride, the High School, etc. It was a little hard because she didn’t speak or understand English to well. But it was fun having her in our home.

We went south towards St. George Camping with my sister (missy and her family), the Thompson’s and Jeff Chase and a couple of his kids. We had a blast!

October:

Halloween: Trick or Treating (lots of it), The Witches 5k Run (and the 1 mile… my kids did both); Halloween dinner of Monster burgers, mummy dogs, pumpkin mashed potatoes and brain jello, and school parties!

November:

My 3rd daughter’s bday: She turned 11. She cracks me up! Always says whatever she wants and doesn’t care what others think or say to her. She is the best cleaner and loves doing it! She is always willing to help anyone that needs it.

Corom’s birthday was also this month. He is now 41. We are getting old. His friends left a nice surprise on our front lawn. ๐Ÿ™„ They left a living room set out there (chairs, couches, shelves, carpets, TV, a toilet and many more things). We do live right next to the high school and jr.high so that was probably pretty entertaining to them.

The girls made him breakfast as well.

The rest of the day was work and things not going so well at work. He had to do an assembly at an elementary school. He was given an hour to talk about emotions, suicide and the safe app Utah has. Well he decided to throw in some magic tricks to keep the elementary kids entertained and engaged. There was a girl in the front row that kept calling out how the trick was done because she could see everything. Corom said he was getting so frustrated. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Anyway, we had dinner with his brother and sister and their spouses. Later in the week we went out again with our friends.

Thanksgiving was good this year. My brother (Mike) came into town from California. So my other brother (John), my sister (missy), my Aunt Georgia, 2 nieces (Taylor’s) and a Chinese family (visiting from China and had no place to go to), came to our house. The week was fun with hanging out. Corom’s brother also came into town.

More cousin fun.

That morning we had a little over 50 missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint’s come to our house for cinnamon rolls, muffins and drinks. We used the facility behind us to play soccer and football with them (our families, the mission president and the cute missionaries.

August:

My bday… I started off with a 9 mile run with 2 good friends of mine (Amber-her bday as well & Beth). Beth has us run with balloons, music and little fire crackers, along the busy roads every year! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Love it!

I had some friends stop by on their bikes… I wasn’t home so I got this nice selfie from them:

I received a message from the Croatia guys:

Corom lit off some fireworks for me…

I had songs sung to me on messenger (just audio) from our Peru friends and the Republic of Georgia… and treats, messages from neighbors and friends.

I did go about my day as usual… cousins are still in town, so my mother in law, aunt Mary, and 7 cousins (4 of them being my own girls) went to the movie, “Lion King”. It was cute.

Corom and I went out to lunch at the Chinese place here in town (and a pic of some of the treats I got from friends).

I had cross country practice and ran 5 miles with them, then headed straight over to the Boat Regatta.

Corom, Sarah (my mother in law), and I had to help build 3 boats out of duct tape and cardboard. It is 2 people per boat (so my 4 girls and 2 cousins).

I actually got a few cross country runners to come over and help us build them (in the 2 hour time frame we were given to build it).

They put their boats out in the water and had to race around some buoys. My oldest and her cousin’s boat sank right away and had to be brought back in. My 2 middle daughter’s were a pair and their boat made it around great. My youngest and an older cousin also had a great boat and made it around. It was pretty entertaining to watch.

The rest of our City Day’s week: We had a 5k fun run; We had a parade; We went to the city talent show and there was many more activities!

August through December:

XC:

-High School Cross Country: I absolutely love coaching the high school kids (we are actually on our way to California right now for our last race). They had a great season. The girls team made it to state and we had a couple of boys on our team make it. They were a lot more chatty this year than in the past but they are also a young team. They Ran well and worked hard! I will have to say, they did some great service around the community when needed. Anytime someone needed help moving or whatever, they always jumped to the occasion.

-My oldest and Jr. High XC (and soccer): Corom coaches the Jr. High team. It has been nice to have him as a coach because he makes it fun for the kids where they get hooked and then they come to us at the HS. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My oldest is running for the jr. High now and is actually enjoying it. I love going to her meets and watching her. And I also threw in a soccer picture… corom and I coached her city soccer team as well and this was the 1st time we won the tournament. ๐Ÿ˜‚ The team was really good!

-Coaching the City’s XC team: The city started a new elementary age XC program and asked if I would coach it. We had about 22 kids on the team (3 of them were mine ๐Ÿ˜‚). It was actually more than I thought but fun to be out there with the kids.

Yes it is a lot of running, every day!! With my own training, HS, Jr. High and the city… sometimes I do go a little nuts.

Random Pictures:

I had a gift certificate for a a few pedicures… well I never used the gift certificate and realized it was going to expire in about a day or 2. So, my girls and I, decided to take a day out and get spoiled. It was nice! (I actually had an 19 miler that morning… so it was great to sit and have my feet/toes worked on.)

Boaz, our dog, had an infection in his mouth. It kept getting worse… we took him in and he had to get tubes in his cheek to drain the blood. If it comes back then we will have to put him down. ๐Ÿ˜ž and our cat went missing the same week… she has been spotted in the city next to us by a few random people but we cannot find her. Poor chubby… maybe she will find her way home.

The last 3 bottom pictures are of my oldest… she likes to cook. She put a sheet across the kitchen (to hide what she was doing in the kitchen) and surprised us with breakfast.

Pictures of the Southern Boil at the Clarion, hiking and a trail run…

Croatia For the Week

Well another great week of fun. We got back from Mexico on Saturday and had 6-8 people from Croatia come stay with us for a little over a week. They are here for the Springville Folkfest.

We had 6 wonderful young men (Ivan, Tommy-Tomislav, Jurica, Phillip, Z-Zdravko, Dominik) and gained 2 beautiful young ladies for the last few days.

The week was filled with touring, performing, and fun!

Sunday July 28th:

The group arrived at around 11 this morning… I had to pretend I knew what I was doing when I paired up dancers with host families… I got the left overs. Joking boys! We lucked out with such a great, fun group. I told them they were in trouble right at the beginning (for having to come into our home) and Jurica spouted right back, “No, you are in trouble!”… and yep, I think he got it right. ๐Ÿ˜‚

After the boys settled in, we headed to the SF park for a pot luck dinner with the other host families of Croatia (37 members in the Croatia dance/musician group and 13 host families).

Monday July 29th:

I began my day with a 8 mile run (and I ended my day with a 5 mile run and hill strides). I quickly headed to cross country practice at the SF park. There we met up with the 4 surrounding HS’s to go for our Monday morning trail run. It was our last time gathering as HS’s for the summer, so us coaches made a pancake breakfast for the kids.

I hurried home, so I could take the Croatians to the stage for an interview with Big Buddha Fox News.

We came home, they changed and before we headed out, my dad stopped by. โค๏ธ (My parents are leaving today and wanted to hang out with the kids before they left.) Before my dad left with the girls, my Croatian boys sang us a song. It was wonderful!

And then finally we all headed up to Temple Square in Salt Lake. We walked around there for a while, had lunch and stopped off at a couple of souvenir shops on the way home.

Then of course just hanging out and relaxing at the home.

Tuesday July 30th:

I went out for my 8 mile run early this morning and then headed for the HS for the CC team’s practice. (I also went out for 5 miles in the evening… it was so hot!)

The guys were gone most the day because they had to practice for their performance with the other countries that are here (Russia, Netherlands, Poland, Mexico, Taiwan, Morning Star-USA and a clogging and dance group from BYU). We had downtime for a few hours and then left for their 1st night of performing (in Springville).

They did a wonderful job! They are beautiful dancers, singers and musicians!

Wednesday July 31st:

I had a speed workout this morning… it was a struggle the 1st half but then it came together the 2nd half. 15 miles total (4 min on/3 min recovery with a warmup and cool down).

And once again I ran over to the HS for their speed workout. My oldest comes out every so often… I wish she would come out more but I will take what I can get (she is in jr high, though).

Once the boys were up and fed, we (my mother in law and I… Corom had to work and my girls went and played with friends) left for the Meadow hot springs.

A storm came in so we left. The Performance was canceled due to bad weather so Corom, the guys and I went out to eat.

This was a typical car ride with these guys:

And this…

I actually looked forward to the car rides home from their performances because of their singing.

Thursday August 1st:

After my easy 8 mile run and coaching the HS cross country team, the host families met up at the HS this morning with Croatia, Netherlands and Russia to learn American football. It went really well and it is so fun to watch.

The football team taught them how to throw, kick, tackle, the plays, etc.

Tommy shocked everyone with how far he could kick! He kicked it over the goal post at college level… so we moved it back even further. Of course, I didn’t record any other kicks except for his last one and the only time he missed it.

It was great to see people from all over the world interact!

We went to Ross for a little shopping (and I got a 5 mile run in) before their performance. The performers tonight did not disappoint!

Friday August 2nd:

I went out for my 8 mile run, then coached the HS cross country team on their their run.

We took the guys (and Sarah’s crew) to the Bean Museum… they were a little tired or maybe bored. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I didn’t care because I like this museum.

We then headed straight to BYU for a class the Croatians were teaching to one of the dance classes.

After the BYU class, most of us in our group went to another host families house (the Crockett’s) for a bbq. It was great to hang out with everyone… and I only got pictures of my kids. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜‚

Croatia was being featured tonight so we had the privilege of seeing a longer performance from them.

This is just a short clip of their dance (I couldn’t get it all uploaded on the blog).

Saturday August 3:

My long run… I got up early and ran 16.1 miles on the treadmill in 1:50:00. It was tough and I was so tired but I got it done. My youngest ate something yesterday that upset her stomach. So she was up all night getting rid of everything. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We took the Croatian group (well those that wanted to get dirty) to Mud Volleyball for our City Days. The Netherlands group met us there.

We normally enter the country we are hosting in the tournament but this year, they had to be somewhere earlier than the years past… so our city let us come an hour before the tournament and play.

I have never played because we wanted to give the dancers a chance… this year I did and it was a blast!!

We had to clean up and go up the canyon for a Picnic with host families and all the countries.

A little music before heading out…

They had their last Performance tonight… every country did an excellent job this week!

Sunday August 4:

Corom drove our 6 guys and 2 girls and 6 others from their group to Las Vegas this morning. They had the day off and really wanted to go. So they piled into the bus and headed on down. I’m glad it worked out for them… they had a great time.

The drive down was a little hot! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

After church, the girls and I hung out with family (on Corom’s side- Aunt Mary and her 2 nieces) that came into town.

Monday August 5:

They got in at 8 a.m. from Vegas. I was able to go on my 8 mile run before they got home.

The rest of the morning was packing and cleaning up. We had to drop our group off by 1:30. After lunch, we took off. ๐Ÿ˜ž

We said our goodbyes and we headed back home. The girls hung out with cousins (and aunt Mary and g-goat) while I cleaned house.

I then headed to cross country practice. I had to get another 6 miles in with 10 x 15 sec hill sprints… so I ran with the hs kids. A mom came after and made us Orange Julius’s. They were so good!

Our city days started (on Saturday with mud volleyball) and goes all week long. Tonight they did music in the park… it was a nice and relaxing night. The kids played and danced on the lawn while Corom and I laid on the blankets.

King’s Peak Backpacking Trip

Corom did go on a 3 day trip to King’s Peak in the Unitas (while the Folkfest was going on). He went with some men and boys from our neighborhood/church. They had a great time!

Random videos/pictures of Croatia week:

Mexico Trip to the Orphanage

What an experience!! I am not a good enough writer to give this week any justice.

As I mentioned in my previous post we headed out for Mexico on Sunday, July 21st. We drove to California and stayed with our good friends the Southwell’s! They have 4 cute boys and with our 4 girls, I am hoping that one will match up with one of theirs in the future. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We got there Sunday and stayed until Tuesday morning. Kelly and I went for a 9 mile run together and then we headed off to the beach! It was a beautiful day at Oceanside beach. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Monday evening I went for a 5 mile run and then Tuesday early morning, I got up and ran 8 more easy miles. We said our goodbyes and headed into Mexico.

Tuesday July 23rd:

We drove from the Southwell’s house (about 1 1/2 hours from the border to Mexico) to Mexico. We didn’t know what to expect getting in, but the officers here did a quick check of our van and let us in. My sister in law, Yolanda, arrived earlier then us… they took a small tour looking like bus in (with 17 people) and got stuck at the border for 4-5 hours. So we were grateful that we were only stopped for 5-10 min. We drove 1 1/2 hours in to the orphanage in Guadalupe. As we pulled in, you could see kids peaking out their windows. The orphanage had its own compound with a fence around their property. There were about 9-10 houses that surrounded a common ground play/gathering area. Each of these homes had a married couple (with their own children) and about 12-16 additional kids that the couple tended to and took in as their own.

It was so amazing to see how well “A Child’s Hope Foundation” has made this orphanage into a great, loving and structured “home” environment for these children. The parents in these homes were some of the most patient and caring people I have ever met.

We had our own living arrangements, on the orphanage grounds, but behind their homes. Our place had 7 or 8 bunk beds, with a bathroom and shower. There were 2 other homes like that to accommodate all the volunteers that come in and out. There were 25 of us in our group and a dentist and his family (that we just met when we arrived) there this past week.

Once we settled in, we were able to start interacting and playing with the kids. It was so fun.

Yolanda, Corom and a few others had to go shopping for all the supplies to start our projects in the morning.

I was able to get away for 40 min for a 5 mile run.

Wednesday July 24th

I got up early to go out on a speed workout. I ran 14 miles with 20 x 2 min on/off. It was tough doing it here in Mexico because there were a lot of dogs and some areas I didn’t feel as confident going down. I got back around 7ish a.m. and our group was already out working. It gets so hot early on that we wanted to have a couple of cool hours. I felt sluggish for a good part of the day!

This morning me, my girls, Eliza and a couple of the orphan girls sorted out a massive pile of donated clothes. It felt like this was never going to end! Others in our group went right to work on painting, tiling, sheet rocking a little tutor/school building, and helped in the main eating area with expanding it.

At about 1-2, we finished up and had a water fight with the kids. So hilarious… these kids are so funny!

Thursday July 25th

I went out for 8 easy miles. It felt better than I thought I would.

Today we worked on finishing up the kitchen, tutor room, the tiling and bathroom and we started to help build another house (we got bricks in). My girls painted trees today around the facility. It helps keep the bugs away.

Once again, we ended around 2 and took a trip to the local zoo. The zoo was great! There was a swimming pool there as well, so our group swam for a while. Corom didn’t go to the zoo, he drove to Ensenada to go surfing. I was bugged that he went there instead of hanging out with us but it turned out just fine.

We took a train ride, played on the playgrounds (at the zoo)…

and paddles around a pool with paddle boats…

That evening we attended a soccer game. The kids in the orphanage put together a team and they play against other teams around the different cities. It was so fun to be there. Our team won in a shootout!

We came back and had a piรฑata (it was one of our volunteers birthday)… so we had a “fiesta”. The kids loved it!

I headed out for another 5 mile run this evening.

Friday July 26th

I went out for a 9 mile run this morning. Our last day here. I had to run just a mile to mile and a half out only and back because there were too many dog encounters. So I knew I was safe in this radius. (Running pictures and a few others that I can’t remember if I put them in or not.)

Today we tried to finish up the main projects we started. We were able to finish the tutor/school room. We finished the tiling and bathroom, and the kitchen was 95% done when we wrapped everything up. The house that is being built, will probably take a while!!

My 2 middle children got into a good fight. ๐Ÿ™„ They we’re finishing up with painting trees when their fight broke out. My 3rd child threw some of the paint/pesticide stuff at my 2nd daughter and of course got right into her eyes. There were 6-7 of us for the next 45-60 minutes cleaning/flushing out her eyes. They burned! Yeah it was a pain and she was in pain. For the next several days after we continued to flush her eyes out.

After taking care of that incident and after cleaning up all the tools, we headed into town to do a little shopping. We all met back up for a last night taco party. The kids (and all of us) were so excited. We had a mechanical bull there, Street tacos, music and fun.

I just absolutely fell in love with all those children. They were happy and loving and they clung to you and just wanted all your attention. My kids loved them and loved to play with them as much as they could. Corom and I put our girls to work but when the kids came out after lunch we let our girls stop to go play.

We (Corom, the girls and I) left after the gathering on Friday evening to drive home. We got through the border pretty fast as well. I was grateful for that. Corom drove the whole night through (well I drove for the 1st 3-4 hours but by midnight I was too tired to drive). He drove from midnight until 7:30 a.m.

Saturday July 27

I went for my long run (16 miles- 20 min warmup, 65 min at marathon effort, 20 min cool down). It was hard to get out with the driving in a car all night. But I got it done.

My parents came into town last minute so we were able to hang out with them at my little brother’s house (my niece was able to come out as well). I love when we are able to see them. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s not too long ago… it is hard to see him go through this health issue. But it was so great to visit and hang out. We went out for dinner and celebrated my nieces birthday.

Well we had an amazing week! Words can not describe the experiences.

Running On Healthy

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Mother Racer

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Barlow Family

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