Sunday, June 28, 2015

Girls camp and Chris drives cross country by himself with the kids

Well, the U.S. Opened ended on a Sunday and around 4:30 the next morning we were driving to UT to pick up our boys. Ohhhh, I missed them, and they missed Freddy. The few times I spoke with them during the whole time we were gone they would always ask, "Can I say Hi to Freddy?"  Here's the younger two on the drive out to UT: 

Then around 5:30 the next morning, I was off to the airport to fly to MS by myself. I kept feeling like I was forgetting something with only my bag and purse to care about. Then I had a few hours to unpack, do any laundry I needed and repack for girls camp and finish my presentation. I got 3 hours of sleep before needing to wake up to meet the girls and the YW president from my Branch so we could carpool up to girls camp! Chris had our van with the kids, so I was driving the little '95 Honda Accord with no air conditioning and a nonfunctional drivers-side window. About 2 and a half hours into the drive  I felt and heard a CLANK BANG CLANK right under my feet. Then two seconds later the exact same thing. CLANK BANG CLANK. After that the car seemed to swerve on its own even on straight roads, then I noticed a big grinding sound when I turned and I my stomach started tying itself up in knots. Sister Oglesby was following me in her car with 3 young women and I had 2 with me in mine. I so desperately wanted nothing to be wrong and told myself I would just keep driving until I couldn't possibly drive anymore. We were driving on windy country roads in the middle of nowhere Alabama. Then we rounded a corner and I saw a little gas station on the edge of a small town called Winfield.  Something told me to just pull over and at least talk about it with Sister Oglesby. She thought it needed to be taken to a mechanic right away and marched into the gas station to ask about a nearby mechanic. She got a recommendation for one just a mile or so down the main street but the lady didn't think the mechanics would be up yet. It was about 7:45 am. We went on a hunt for it and after not too much searching figured we saw something that could be it, and we pulled in and stopped. Within a few seconds a guy walked toward me and I was able to get out and explain the situation to him. Within 5 minutes, he had my car up on a lift and within 30 min had diagnosed the problem. A small, specialized screw connecting a rod from the turning thing to the wheel somehow had come out. It was an easy fix.... if they could find a correct replacement screw. He said we were very lucky the bar and/or screw hadn't banked up and got the whole tire stuck. With a serious expression and eyebrows raised he said "you don't want to be driving with it like this for long, not long at all."  The girls in their matching camp t-shirts were good troopers and just played games and practiced their skit all smiles and giggles for the 3 hours we waited. Then $65 dollars later we were on the road again and only an hour and a half late to camp since we had left so early. $65!!! That is the cheapest car fix I have ever had.... by far. Those mechanics were so nice and God definitely was watching over us. 

The next 4 days were filled with smiles, certification, skits, dancing, eating, laughing, praying, reading, and more dancing. With a theme of Be[YOU]tiful we talked about true beauty, righteous women, and finding happiness and contentment in being and in developing yourself. It was great. I learned a lot of names and took a lot of pictures, and slept not as much as I would've liked. I did the ropes course, went on a hike and shot a bow and arrow...or is it 'used a bow to shoot some arrows'...? 


The first couple of days Chris was texting me updates on how his cross-country drive with the kids was going. Remember, I left him in UT with all the kids? Apparently the morning I left for the airport, he packed up the kids from Jared and Ashley's, stopped by his parents house to pick up a few boxes where his sister Jess met him so our kids could have cousin time and she watched them play for a bit so Chris could take a nap.  Then it was a stop at Walmart to buy some new movies and a few pillows before he set off on the 29 hour drive home. With a few stops for food, gas and bathrooms, he drove until 4:00 in the morning before pulling over and getting a few hours of sleep using his new pillows to get some horizontal sleep across the driver and front seat.  Then he pushed hard again for most of the day (stopping for breaks during meals at sit-down restaurants) and by early evening he was ready to find a hotel. The next day they got off mid morning and drove the whole day getting home with enough time to have our traditional Friday night Movie night eating pizza in the living room.  WHEW. I was so worried for him. He's amazing. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.... in U.P!

Wow. I don't even know where to begin for this post. This story starts like 7 years ago, whenever the USGA first announced that the 2015 U.S. Open would be, for the first time, in the Pacific Northwest, at the new Chambers Bay golf course in University Place, Washington.  Chris and his parents and siblings all really enjoy golf both playing and watching. They even have a family Golf Association with tournaments, two sportswriters, a blog, paraphernalia, and trophies. Chris made us call my parents that very night and reserve their house for his family. I laughed at him and said something like, "who else would be wanting to stay there?" And he said something like, "Oh, people will be coming out of the woodwork to stay there! I mean, its 1 MILE away from THE U.S. OPEN!" My mother took the request quite seriously and for 7 years has told anyone that has asked to stay in their basement apartment for any length of time, "... well, as long as you realize my daughter and her family will need this space the third week of June 2015"

7 long, wonderful years of thinking, dreaming, planning. Over a year ago, it was decided that this U.S. Open Archibald family trip would be an adult-only trip and that all of Chris' brothers and sister's kids would stay home with the 'other' grandparents. 1 year ago, we all bought tickets and a series of serious and not-so-serious email chains ensued as we emailed back and forth about every aspect of the week. It was all of our first major golf tournament experience and we wanted to do it right. 6 months ago, while we were home in U.P for Christmas, we took the financial hit to get Chris some inside perspective on the course as he played a round at Chambers Bay. Its a tough job, but someone had to do it. (It actually was a tough job for him, since he had just been diagnosed a few days earlier with shingles and his chest was painfully itchy -another lovely spin off from his cancer treatment the year previous)

Then. Finally. The time had come! My 1/2 marathon race in Seattle was on a Saturday, then Sunday Chris' family arrived at my parents house and the tournament practice rounds started on Monday. Our plan for most of the days were to walk the mile and half to the course then walk around the course during the practice rounds to get a feel for it, watch our favorite players and find some good spectator spots, then walk back home. No food allowed in the course and no parking near it either.  (THIS IS A LOT OF WALKING) My foot was still hurting from injuring it on my race and I couldn't walk normally without pain. I was sooooo sooooooo sad that I was going to mess up this once in a life-time chance. I didn't want Chris to feel like he had to stay by me but I also knew I couldn't keep up. Rocking Frederick to sleep Sunday night, I prayed hard and cried and felt like some of the reasons why I wasn't able to train as well for the race was because I chose to do other more important things. I missed some of my long runs because of needing to be at church functions, or TREK or going to the temple and I only manged to get in 2 runs a week for the last month because of putting my family's/children's/house renovation needs above my own. I know some of the fault still lies squarely on my shoulders for not making the time and energy necessary to train properly, so I just felt sad that I messed up and got injured. I asked for a miracle and I got one! My foot quickly and steadily got better despite not really resting it, walking about 10 miles a day on it during the week of the tournament. I still limped up and down the hills of the course the first couple of days, but by the last day I could hardly feel any pain. Heavenly Father really blessed me. And my Mom and Dad were amazing and drove me to and from the course every day, waking up a 5:30AM some days to take me and picking me up at a moments notice.

The second (OR THIRD?) day, we met this awesome couple, Dan and Christi from Gig Harbor. We and they, along with a bunch of others, had decided that the best spot to watch the tournament would be the top left side of the grandstands by 5 green, on the back row. They beat us to it on that day, and we beat them to it on the next day. After sitting next to people for 10 hours a day, 2 days in a row, you feel like you really know them. I was sad that our plan changed for the last couple of days and we didn't sit there. Then on the final day of the tournament, we're up in some really good seats on the 18th green grandstands and up walk, Christi and Dan! We wave them over and give them some seats in front of us we had been "saving" ... well, really Chris was using them as a pillow, but hey it works.  We even had them come over for dinner and trifle at my parents house after the tournament ended. It was super fun to experience the excitement of seeing live golf action. I especially loved the few times we popped a squat down by some tee boxes and sat within 10 feet of the worlds best golfers, watching them swing.  I mostly loved just being with Chris and his family. We did crosswords together and joked around. Most evenings we were SO TIRED from walking/sitting/being outside all day that we just crashed when we got home. Chris and I still had kids to feed and put to bed most evenings. But most evenings we did manage to play some games or watch a movie, eat amazing food, and strategize for the next day before getting to bed around 11 since we were up by 5:30 most mornings.  Missing from this picture of us on Sunday is Chris' sister and bro-in-law Jess and Ryan. They have a crazy stressful life right now and how to leave a day early to get back to UT. We missed them!

But... what about the GOLF? Yeah, that's Chris' area of expertise. I'll let him write out the golf details...maybe even Farfell Miller III will do a sportswriters commentary...

Meanwhile...Alec and Charlie have fun with Utah cousins

My brother and his wife Ashley were sooooo kind to have Alec and Charlie stay with them during the U.S. Open. They're oldest 3 kids were still in school (they have year-round school) and yet Ashley still managed to give my boys one of their best vacations ever. She took them to museums, the lake, on bike rides, to parks, not to mention all the fun stuff they did when they're older kids came home or in the weekends: more lake time, watching a parade, outdoor movies, science experiments.  They even did 5 k race! 7 kids under 11 is no easy job so Ashley and Jared - Thank you thank you thank you! We're so glad our boys could have some good quantity time with their Utah cousins. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Seattle Rock n' Roll 1/2 Marathon

The very next morning, we drove up to Seattle to spend time with our good friends, the Talbots, Amanda, Brooke and Britton and Renee  from our grad school days. Amanda led a Zumba class on Amy's back patio and then we drove down to the Seattle to pick up our bibs for our race the next day. Chris took the kids back to my parents house and let me have some girl time with my friends. We talked and talked and talked and chatted and talked for pretty much 24 hours. We went out to dinner just us, women, and carb-loaded on pizza and some delicious dessert from Hot Cakes. Amanda and I were staying in a room at Amy's house and for the first time, in a LONG time, I went to bed 'early' around 10:30pm.

We woke up at 5:00 to grab a bus to the Seattle Science Center where the start of the race was. We met up with Renee and took some pictures. Then at 7:00am the race began! By 7:50, our corral had moved up enough to actually cross the starting line! haha. We ran for a mile or so and then used the porta-potties (for like the 4th time that morning!) and then ran the rest of the race. It was fun to have live bands every so often - I wish they were more often - and it was nice to have so much room (side to side) to run. Entire streets, on ramps, off ramps, bridges, over passes, etc.. were blocked off for us. There were around 20,000 people doing either the full marathon, 1/2 marathon or 8 K race.

This time was the hardest 1/2 marathon I've ever done.  The first 7-9 miles were actually super fun. I loved running with Amanda and Amy again and enjoyed the gorgeous views of the Puget Sound, Downtown Seattle, and Lake Union. It was also really nice NOT to be running in 90 degree, 100% humidity weather.  But the last few miles were brutal. Around mile 9, we ran through a super super long tunnel where my GPS watch lost the GPS signal and so didn't track the distance for a good mile or so... meaning that I had no idea how much further we had to the end. I usually rely heavily on knowing that. I pep myself in my head, "Only 2.5 miles to go... wow, already another 1/2 mile down... now almost 1... almost 1 mile left. YAY, only .75 more to go..etc..." My feet were hurting, my hips were hurting and I had no clue how much more distance was before me, and the finish line was out of sight and uphill - terrible end for a race.  I pretty much moaned for the last 2 miles. I wanted to walk a bit and not push myself too hard so we walked through the water stations towards the end of the race, and even about 100 feet further past the water station around mile 10, but then my friends were like, "ok... you good now? lets just finish" and so somehow I just kept running, putting one foot in front of the other.  We all crossed the finish line together, somehow picking up the speed at the very end, and finished around 2:30. Not my best time, but pretty good considering how little I trained.

The problem was, I hurt. I hurt bad. Both my calves cramped up and my legs just ached, and my left foot was abnormally painful with every step. I almost threw up getting my medal and some chocolate milk then happily hobbled into Chris' arms. He, Gwen and Freddy came up to Seattle to meet us at the end of the race and spend the rest of the afternoon with our Grad School friends. I saw them cheering for me about 100 feet from the finish line and I just about cried. I love that Chris braved the crowds and parking mess (Freddy in a hiking backpack, and Gwen in a stroller) to do that for me.

Us runners took long bath/showers at Amy's and then played a few games and talked so more until the babysitters came to watch our children so we could go out to eat as adults. Justin, Amy, Chris, Amanda and I met Brooke at this yummy Mediterranean restaurant near their house and had a really really pleasant time together. I miss all of these dear friends so much and enjoyed every minute with them.

Friday, June 12, 2015

From MS to WA, via UT

Saturday afternoon we got home from Trek and then we had less than 24 hours to unpack, do laundry, pack up, get some sleep, take Grandma Dixie to the airport, go to church and start driving out to Utah. We left around 3:00pm on Sunday and made the 29 hour drive in good time, stopping for food a few times, and once at a rest stop somewhere in Kansas for 3 hours to sleep. The big kids did pretty good and Freddy is just at the tough car-driving age.  He whined for most of the time during the 5:00-9:00pm hours and woke up crying once or twice during the night but luckily by the time we stopped to sleep at the rest stop at 2:30am, he was too exhausted to be bothered by stopping.  We arrived around 9:30 pm in Provo and enjoyed seeing Grandma and Grandpa Dixie's renovated house - its beautiful!! We also got to meet Edward and Kayla's puppy Darla for the first time. The kids were excited to see her, but could hardly stand to be within 6 feet of her. Silly kids.

The next afternoon, after some play time with Jess and her kids and a lovely visit with my Grandma Hardy, we loaded up to drive to Herriman and stay with my brother Jared and his wife, Ashley and their kids for 2 nights.  I love talking with my family and hanging out. We've done this often enough that their homes feel like home. I wished I would've remembered to take pictures of my Grandma Hardy when we saw her but alas, I didn't think of it at the I made it a point to remember to take pictures when we visited our next great grandma on Wednesday. We drove up to Ogden to visit Chris' Grandma Archibald. She fed us lunch and made sure we picked and ate some fresh raspberries "razzies" from her garden.

That Wednesday night, all of my other UT siblings came over for dinner and we talked, ate, and played Spikeball until late. Its so hard to make sleep a priority when theres so much fun possible! But early the next morning, Chris and I slipped out with Frederick and Gwen to drive 14 hours to Washington.  Alec and Charlie were getting the lucky chance to stay with my brother Jared and my angel sister-in-law, Ashley.

The drive to WA was like a dream. Gwen was so happy and content and Freddy did really well too. I mean, it was only 14 hours! When Gwen realized she could pick the movie by herself since Alec and Charlie weren't there, she started hypothesizing about all the benefits of having a mom a dad and only 1 kid and a baby... then she dropped 'the baby' out of her aloud day dream and explored the concept of an only child. Her voice was mixed with awe and such lives couldn't actually exist. By 7:00 pm we made it to our final destination: University Place, Washington. Home sweet home in the beautiful Northwest.