Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Move for the Woods

On Eclipse day, this guy was battling a virus and home from school.  It worked out for him, as he had more time to gaze at the eclipse from his backyard!

The Woods are on the move.  Literally.  After 12 years in our home, we are moving.....across the street.  For some, this may seem odd.  To us, this seems just right.

For the last year, we've been praying about our home.  Our house had arrived at the point where money was needed to renovate and repair.  In my heart, I wanted to live on land.  I had dreams of my four sons running around in any endless field of grass (our grass) with trees aplenty.  (Of course, in this vision the boys are all getting along perfectly, and I have my feet up without a care in the world.  Can any house promise that?)

During our year long search and prayer, door after door closed.  In fact the ways the doors closed would be the great topic for a future blog post.  We said if by the start of school "our house" didn't appear, we'd feel confident that God wanted us to stay in our current home.

A week before school, a house opened up across from our neighborhood.  In house size, it is smaller than our current home.  But the land outsizes our current lot.  We've grown by two acres.  And there is a front porch that wraps around the home and offers views of the seemingly endless grass (and the boys playing happily...right).  The best part is the neighbor friends are just minutes away.  Hopefully they will jump across the road and keep us all company.  The minute we walked into this home, we knew this was the home that God had provided.  So glad we waited!

A few days ago, we accepted an offer on our home!  For the next few weeks, we'll be occupied with fun stuff like inspections, appraisals, and mortgage agreements.  My hope is that I continue to blog even when the time seems crunched.  (Look for a future blog outlining our journey to our new home and God's hand in the process.)

If you don't see a blog post for a few days, please don't think I forgot about this electronic journal (therapy).  I just might be busy for the moment, until I'm situated on that front porch watching my boys....getting along.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

First Injury

Sweet friend Nicole drives the ship.

Running friends celebrating grieving our kids return to school with a lake day.

One of the best presents ever.  My friend Nicole gave this to me to cheer me up after the injury.  It's a framed picture of our Runner's World article and photo.

Caleb gave me a crash course on marching band on the football field.   My takeaway: it's harder than it looks.

The perk to having a Dad who is a Doctor is that when croup hits in the middle of the night, you know who will take good care of you.

I sat on the crinkled exam table, a foreign position for me.  Certainly, I never envisioned stepping into the role of patient.  For 27 years, I have run without ache or injury.  I imagined that an injury would hit someday.  But I thought that someday would be about the time I was handed an AARP card.

Friends, there is a reason 40 year olds don't waterski.  Our rapidly aging bodies aren't meant to balance, swerve, and jerk like those half our ages.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

When the doctor arrived in the room, I outlined the accident and pointed to my throbbing hip and bum.  He stretched; I yelped.  He frowned; I wanted to cry.  In a soft tone, he uttered the bad news.  

"A hamstring strain or tear," he affirmed.

An X-ray followed with an MRI two days later.

While I'm awaiting the results, he told me the best case scenario (six weeks off running and PT) and the worst case (surgery and 20 weeks off running).

I tried about a million ways to get permission to run, but technically not run.

"What about the elliptical?" I asked the doctor.

He shook his head and said "no."

"How about the weightless treadmill?"

Same response.

"What about stairs?"

No change.

"Jogging in place?"

"Thinking about running?"

Every question was met with the same answer.  Running or anything similar to running was done, for awhile.

I asked my friend Nicole what I should do with my free time while I wasn't running.

"You should blog and write," she replied.

And so I am using my time to write.......about running.  

It's the next best thing.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Freshman Son

Yes, these three neighbors are all middle schoolers.  (Although neighbor Stephen's height leads one to think otherwise.) 

Every year, I think "This is the year where Cooper will take the stellar first day picture."  His fifth grade shot was just as goofy as last year.

 Neighbor Ryan did what I thought was humanly impossible to do.  He convinced Connor to "dress up" on his first day of school.  Sometimes peer pressure isn't so bad.

My new 7th grader.

3rd grader

I think Chris was clutching Collin especially hard in this photo because we just didn't want to see him go back to school.

My new freshman.

When the boys were little, a silver-haired lady often sized up my crew and uttered, "Time goes so fast.  Enjoy every minute!"  Inevitably, these comments were tossed out while one son was engaged in a massive fit at Target.  Because those words were said during a not-so-precious moment, I internally disputed her words.  I wanted nothing more than for time to in fact speed along.

I couldn't wait to get past the potty training years, the sleepless nights, the soiled diapers and bedsheets, the weighty diaper bags, and the endless baby food bottles.

But somehow all of these things came and went. In a blink.  And somehow I ended up with a child who is months away from a learner's permit, battling acne and facial hair, and entering high school.

Now I plead for time to slow down.

Our oldest son had a rough start in the world.  To say he was a "pistol" would be an understatement.  I wore the skin off my knees with all the prayers I shot up for this son.  What I learned is that our prayers don't have expiration dates.  The prayers I so desperately prayed while he was in the height of his "energetic, determined state" came to fruition as a teen.

Now he can discuss North Korea, Kurt Vonnegut, stem cells, and Pokemon.  He makes witty comebacks and thoughtful responses.  If he sees the kitchen a wreck, he'll pitch in on the clean up....really!  We enjoy watching him blossom into his own person.  And he's transformed into all of these lovely things within four years of leaving our nest.

Time slow down.

I'm vowing to be intentionally present in his life for the next four years.  I don't want to wish away the inevitable teen angst and school-related rigors.  I know when you wish away time, it happens.  Then, you wish it would come back.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yellowstone/Teton/Idah Trip

Almost two weeks ago, we hopped on a plane and headed West.  It was Wood family vacation time.  Ten days where we planned to see  God's handiwork on display in Yellowstone, Idaho, and the Grand Tetons.  

(Warning: This blog post contains an enormous amount of family vacation photos that may only be of interest to blood relatives....and  blood relatives may even roll their eyes:)).  

Day One:  A favorite podcast for me is listening to Levi Lusko's Fresh Life Church out of Montana.  He has a satellite church in Salt Lake City.   We found out the church service was meeting within the hour that we arrived in SLC (and the church was just a few miles from the airport).  In addition, the preachers that Sunday were Katherine and Jay Wolf, authors of one of my favorite books: "Hope Heals."  I knew we had to go.  Fortunately, fresh off the plane, we made it to hear them speak!

After church, we made the four-hour drive to West Yellowstone, Montana.  At our cabin, a campfire and s'more kit welcomed us to stay.

Day Two:  We traveled into Yellowstone National Park.  Our first stop was the iconic Old Faithful geyser.

One of my favorite trip photos.

The ranger suggested we take a half-mile hike up a mountain to get a better, ariel view of Old Faithful.  Caleb and I waited patiently.

Old Faithful was not so faithful.  She was three minutes late!

Old Faithful is not a lonely geyser.  She has lots of companion geysers in near proximity.

No two geysers are the same!

We stuck around long enough to see Old Faithful a second time.  This time we watched the eruption from the lodge.

Yellowstone Lake was breathtaking!

The colors, shapes, eruption patterns, etc. were captivating.

These guys couldn't get enough.

During every hike, Caleb filled us in on the science and ecology behind each geyser.  I tried to follow all the scientific terms and theories, but my favorite reply was "it's just so pretty."  

We could feel the heat radiating from the geysers from a distance.

Day Three:  More geysers!  I loved how geysers popped out of the landscape and decorated the scenery.

Geysers everywhere!

I'd love to say this is how every minute of the trip went:)  I definitely wanted to capture this moment to remind me that they could all be friends and get along.

The colors are amazing!

But the mountains were equally amazing!

 Connor took this picture.  He loved to capture the most unique of landscape.

My crew.

This isn't's volcano ash.


Most days, they hiked 5-6 miles (and amazingly with few complaints).

My very favorite part of the park: Lamar Valley.  It was teeming with wildlife and lacking the crowds found on some of the other trails. 

In Lamar Valley, we parked at the end of a desolate, dusty path.  Chris and Collin traveled over to a river, and I watched from an upper bank.  A few minutes later, I noticed a bison sitting just feet behind them!

Their unexpected trail buddy!

Day Four:  Valleys, Lakes, and Falls.  Cooper's very favorite part of any day was the time when he was given the freedom to just explore the landscape, off the grid, without a trail to hinder his wanderlust.

On the way out of Lamar Valley, this fella came up to our car window.  This was the best picture I could snap before having an inner freak out moment.

The last day in the park we visited the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

We shuffled down about a zillion steps (and then huffed up the same steps) to get this view.

 Red-faced, dog-tired, but still happy to see this!

On the other side of the canyon, we griped the guardrail (hard) and looked at a view straight down the waterfall.

My second favorite portion of Yellowstone was Hayden Valley.

It was similar to Lamar Valley with the abundance of wildlife and lack of people.

These two savored the view.

At Yellowstone, there is a zillion signs warning you about the dangerous wildlife.  The problem is that the wildlife don't seem to think they are dangerous (and neither do the majority of the tourist).  On an afternoon hike, this guy sat just feet off our trail.

And the crowds (including our family), didn't mind snapping shots of this celebrity bison.

Last sight in Yellowstone was Lake Yellowstone.  If we had more time, I would have gladly enjoyed a day gazing at these waters.

We just had enough time to grab an ice cream (an essential part of every good day) and stare at the gorgeous lake with the endless mountains.

Our goodbye photo of Yellowstone.  Hope we meet again.

Last night in West Yellowstone called for hotdogs over the fire.  We felt like true cowboys and adventurers.

Day Six (Day Five was Traveling in the Car): From West Yellowstone, we traveled to Boise, Idaho.  We were met with our dear family friends, the Brinkruffs.  The first morning in Boise, we all took a jog on the iconic Greenbelt trail.  

We loved it so much that we grabbed some bikes.  All the kids enjoyed (yes, enjoyed!) biking 13 miles along the trail.

We were smitten by the trail.  It showed off the very best parts of Boise.  But the Boise heat (103!) was unforgiving!

Day Seven:  Saturday morning, Claudia and I participated in the Boise Women's Half Marathon.  Claudia's daughter Audrey ran in the 5K.

Despite the heat, we both were pleased with our finish. 

Claudia earned a 3rd overall.  Audrey followed in her mom's footstep with a 3rd overall wining place.  I snagged a 5th overall, and 1st place in the age group.  It was Claudia's 45th state, and my 21st state.

We cleaned up and headed to the Tetons.  On the way, we stopped at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

The volcanic landscape was so unusual.

It sort of appeared out of nowhere.

The kids loved to hike around the park.

 In the middle of Idaho, this is what you see.

We couldn't stop gawking.

Showing off our race shirts.

The hiking gang.

From the volcanic landscape, Idaho suddenly turned green and mountainous.

Rainbows greeted us.

By the time we hit the Tetons, the sun was starting to hide.

Day Eight:  The next morning, these hot air balloons decorated the Teton countryside.

Teton Village.

The first day in Jackson, we traveled down the Snake River via whitewater rapids.

My rafting partner.

Day Nine:  This was the hardy crew who traveled up the ski lift trail and have pictures to document their hard work.

Grand Tetons did not disappoint!

I could never get tired of this view!

The whole crew took a 10-mile hike through the Tetons.

We saw three bears (from a distance) and battled rain/storms.

But Jenny Lake was worth the hike.

Uphill....a lot.

Hidden Falls.

The youngest in the family, but typically the fastest hiker.

Lunch at Inspiration Point.

Still smiling six miles into the hike.

Before the rain.

A dream for Cooper: rocks galore to climb.

All of our eager hikers.

The finale of the trip: chuckwagon dinner in Jackson.

Jim snapped this picture on his camera.  I think it is absolutely amazing!

In the stagecoach.

Under the supervision of a cowboy.

About ready to eat.

Excited to chow on cowboy grub.

Guns up.

Day Ten:  On the way back to the airport, this guy stood in the street.  He was not going to budge from his turf.

Back home.  Grateful for the memories.