Monday, December 24, 2012

New Traditions

Traditions make family events enjoyable and memorable. Some may be more habits than traditions but it usually boils down to "this is what we have always done". And thats perfectly okay. Over the last several weeks we have been telling stories about what the kids used to do, what mom always does, what the kids did to each other and of course what Dad did, said, bought, told us, or even what he used to sing. Yes, it is the common understanding that Dad is a bit goofy at times, some times.....most of the time.

I have shared some of our traditions in the past blog posts so this year I am going to share a few more that we have recently started. The reason we started new ones? Well the kids are pretty much grown up now and we don't have them all upstairs waiting for Santa.  They come over later in the day or cannot come home for the holidays at all so we needed to adjust what we have always planned.  Basically a method for me to keep things lively and crazy in the house.

Some thing with the Tree:
You have probably already seen some of our posts about the tree experiments. Most certainly Dad must have gone crazy.  Yep pretty much.  This is only the second year we have done anything special with the tree but it most certainly has started something. After only one year, everyone was expecting me to do something. I guess they know me pretty well. It started out last year as a sort of confession that I was really bummed out.  One son and his wife couldn't come home for the second year in a row making it three out of four kids.  And then another son was in a foreign country and wasn't going to make it home either. Batting .500 wasn't acceptable.....but understandable. Our daughter had gone through a rough patch which we are so very blessed and thankful that all has gone well for her this year. Christmas 2011 was just turning out a bit topsy turvey......what better way than to reflect this in our tree. Our Christmas was going to be a bit upside down so therefore so was our tree. Nobody else knew my plan other than me. We have always gone out and cut our tree down and of course we need a large tree.  When my daughter was asking me about a certain tree while we were walking around the farm trying to pick one, I told her it didn't really matter this year.  Why? Because we are doing something different with the tree.  What are we doing with the tree? Don't worry you will see. Why doesn't it matter? What are you doing? What are your plans?  On and on the questions kept coming like a three year old persistent in getting answers to questions that she wouldn't understand even if I told her. She was three.....17. So finally to keep the blabbing from continuing I told her.  I am hanging the tree upside down! No you aren't! MOM! Dad says he is hanging the tree upside down! Oh goodness, you are so gullible was her mother's response. Boy were they ever surprised.

This year we decided to keep a theme and connect the tree, the star and the stocking pins all together. Although the plan was still for only 2 of the kids and their spouses (or soon to be spouses) would make it home for Christmas all of them were going to make it home the second week of January for our daughter's wedding.  We would just postpone Christmas.....well nobody is  patient in our family so it meant two Christmases. And since we were getting everyone home from all over the world (well sort of....Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Colorado Springs and Bolivia) it must mean the only way we could possibly achieve this is by on Star TrekBeam me up Scotty!
We will have a portal in our living room that is sucking up the tree.....and another with the tree returning.  Therefore two in the ceiling (right side up this year) and another coming up out of the floor with a ring of blue lights and clouds (representing smoke...I guess.) Actually the top of the same tree (yes I cut it) is coming up next to where the bottom (yes I hung it) is disappearing into the ceiling. So there you have it.  Everyone is already guessing what next year will bring......we will just have to wait and see.  This will get challenging!

Christmas Eve Pajamas:
Last year the girls ran out and bought some PJs to wear for the night before and we watched the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life". One of our favorites. This wasn't ever planned before just happened......they even had to run out and grab some flannel pajamas on the eve.  Oh and guess what? There were any left in the stores at 8PM on Christmas eve for what did he get to you go.  No telling what they will buy me this year. I even wore the same outfit in my Surf n Santa 10 Miler this year. A little more planning this year. Last year was spontaneous. Make cookies for Santa (me), Watch the movie, Wear the PJs and just be silly. Oh yeah, we will read the "Night Before Christmas" too.  I always tried to do that when the kids were little but it never quite kicked in. Maybe now I am just preparing for grandkids.....did I just say grandkids....ahhhhh.

Whatever your traditions are, just be sure to have fun and enjoy yourselves.  It isn't about the money, it isn't about the gifts, it isn't about the giant meal.  It is about family and friends and enjoying the time we have here together.  Merry Christmas my friends.  Have a great and fantastic holiday.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

COLD Weather Running Gear

Here’s what you need to say comfortable and safe when Mother Nature goes frigid:
Trail running shoes
Trail running shoes
Your usual running shoes are fine in dry weather, in temps down to just above the freezing mark. But when it’s slushy or icy out there, opt for more protection. A pair of sturdy trail runners should see you through all but the harshest winter conditions. Many are waterproof, and their thicker top construction adds warmth and stability. Importantly, their soles are made to grip uneven, unstable terrain, so they can provide extra traction in slick conditions. Many trail runners are versatile enough to wear in spring and fall, too.
Base layer shirt
Base layer shirt
The only thing that will ruin your run faster than a sweat-soaked cotton tee-shirt is a cold sweat-soaked cotton T-shirt. So never wear cotton as a base layer, especially in winter (when hypothermia is a greater risk, hence the adage, “cotton kills.”) A synthetic, form-fitting, sweat-wicking base layer will keep you warm and dry — and allow you to pile on layers without feeling bulky.
Half-zip shirt
Half-zip shirt
On top of your base layer, you’ll want a long-sleeve, synthetic shirt with a zipper extending several inches down from the neck. Unzipping will allow more air to circulate once you’re warmed up, and you can zip up again when the wind picks up. Look for one made from the same moisture-wicking material as the base layer. This can be a top layer in fall or spring, but it’ll be your middle layer on cold winter runs.
Waterproof running jacket
In dry weather, above the freezing mark, you may only need to put a spring or fall running jacket atop your half-zip shirt. But to run in harsher winter weather, invest in a waterproof jacket that will keep out wind and moisture. Be certain it has reflective strips to make you more visible to drivers, as short winter days make night runs more likely. Some models boast extra insulation¬ for the coldest climates.
Running tights
Whether they’re skin tight (which can provide more warmth and sweat-wicking power, but leave you feeling a little…self-conscious) or a bit looser for guys with a few pounds to lose, tights made from technical, sweat-wicking material are a must-have.
Wind pants
Wind pants
On extra-cold, windy days, tights won’t cut it. These looser, wind-proof pants provide an extra layer of protection between your hard-working legs and the elements.
The most essential of base layers, a pair of snug-fitting, sweat-wicking underwear will keep you warm and dry where it matters most.
Your grandma was right: you lose most of your heat through your head. A stocking cap made from sweat-wicking material keeps you warm in cold, dry weather, and a waterproof hat with a visor will keep an unexpected drizzle off your head.
Gloves or mittens
Never run in winter without them. Even in moderately cool temperatures, your hands can become icy cold. Some companies make gloves from material designed to warm up as you start sweating. Runners in wetter climates favor those made from waterproof material.
Look for a pair made from breathable Merino wool, or at least from a heavier-grade technical material than your typical summer models. As with all base layers, avoid cotton unless you literally want a bad case of cold feet.
Head lamp
Head lamp
When it’s pitch black at 5pm, a small, lightweight head lamp made for running will illuminate your route and make yourself more visible to oncoming cars. New models are comfortable, so you won’t feel like a coal miner.
Balaclava or neck gaiter
A face covering not only protects your skin from the wind, but also warms the air you breathe, protecting your airway from bitterly cold, dry air.
If you run often during the day in a snowy climate, wear shades to keep the snow glare off your retinas.