Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Its JULY!!!

Officially my favorite month of the year!

July holds so many special days: my birthday, Joel's birthday, and our anniversary. But it all gets kicked off with the 4th of July! I'm not sure why this holiday brings out so much joy for me. It could be: 1) Being a military kid and wife has made me very patriotic, 2) fireworks are the best thing ever, or 3) I always felt like the whole country was throwing me a party. No my birthday isn't July 4th, but who cares, you may celebrate my birthday all month if you chose to do so...hehe.

So how did we kick off July this year? We had friends from my childhood come and spend 3 days with us, including the 4th of July (and it may have also included a race).

Meet the Heck family from Columbus Ohio! Kendra and Andy have been married for almost 14 years, and have 2 amazing children Abby and Sam. Kendra is the cousin of Hillery Gaiser (my best friend since we were 7 years old). My friendship with Hillery resulted in her family becoming like my family. Kendra and I have celebrated many birthdays, holidays, vacations, and marriages together. It has been a few years since we have seen this wonderful family. It was awesome to reconnect. They are on a mission to see as much of the west side of the country (and middle) as they can and included us in their cross country adventure. We did our best to show them why we have fallen in love with Colorado.

First we tool them hiking. We chose the Devil's Head trail which is almost a 3 mile hike round trip with plenty of rocks for the kids to scramble over and under. There is a fire look out at the top of 148 stairs, counted by Jesse, with a 360 degree view. It was breathtaking.
 There was a ranger working in the lookout, and our kids bombarded him with questions. He was so kind and patient with them, telling us all about the forest fires he has seen over the years.

 Kendra and Mary at the top

 Abby and Anna, now BFFs and planning all kinds of trips between Colorado and Ohio.

One of the many rock climbing adventures along the hike.

And remember when I said there was a race involved? Well, there always seems to be! I am now working part time at a local running store called the Runners Roost. My boss wanted the staff to run the Independence 5K together, and then we had a float in the Highlands Ranch parade! It was a super fun way to start off our 4th of July holiday. Joel and I decided to make this one a Thorson family 5K and we got everyone involved. Asher had a goal to PR, Anna is on a mission to run to stay in shape for dance, Jesse wanted to complete his 1st 5K, and Josie just didn't want to be left out! Kendra and Sam wanted to run in the 5K too!
 Jesse (in the grey shirt) looks miserable here at the start because he was SO UNBELIEVABLY nervous! He had tears in his eyes and wouldn't even talk on the car ride to the start line.

But he did amazing! Here is at the finish. It took him 40:28 (and it was a VERY hilly course). He had a death grip on my hand here, and refused to let go-not even to run across the finish line. He ran the whole 5K clutching Joel or the stroller. I ran the 5K with Asher with the plan to pace him for his desired goal (under 27 minutes) and he pushed it to 26:42 (an 8:37 minute per mile average). Then I headed back out on the course to find the rest of the family. Anna came in at 38 minutes, and Jesse not far behind, and Josie barked "faster" from the stroller. I am so proud of kids and tickled pink that I got to share my passion with them on this special day. A big shout out to Kendra and Sam too! It was Sam's 1st 5K as well, and he did it at 5,00 feet elevation!! They rocked it all in smiles. Then all the kids made out like bandits at the parade with bags filled with candy.

Then it was straight on to our next stop: the top of Pikes Peak!

 We took the 1.5 hour cog railway trip instead of the 13 mile hike. We saw deer, marmots, waterfalls, and as far as the eye could see-to Kansas! 

 Jesse, Asher, and Sam at the top of Pikes Peak

 The Thorson crew. 

 Then we did more hiking and playing at the Garden of the Gods. This picture is like where's Waldo but I promise every Thorson is in there!

 Can you see us now?

 The kids had so much fun together.

After this we spent the evening eating, playing with sparklers, watching fireworks, making s'mores, and camping in the backyard. Kendra and Andy had to practically drag Sam to the car the next day to leave (and Jesse tried to get in their car!). Thank you Heck family for making our holiday so memorable and out of this world special! 

I hope every one of you had an equally memorable 4th of July!!
God Bless the USA