Saturday, November 26, 2011

More mud + rain = a Christmas Tree!

Remember last week when we went to the Tough Mudder and there was mud, mud, and more mud??  Well, this weekend was not much different.  No, Ryan didn't race again this weekend, but we did find ourselves slopping through tons o' mud to get our annual Christmas Tree.

Ryan has been cutting down a live tree since he was a little lad.  This was a whole new experience for me when I met him because we always had a fake tree.  Don't get me wrong, I've always loved our fake tree.  There was something about getting the whole family together to form an assembly line to haul all the decorations and the tree down from the attic, but since I met Ryan (over 4 years ago), I've adopted the McGrath tradition of hunting and cutting our own prefect tree.  The nature of nature means that no tree is ever the same and each year we get something slightly different, but that is part of the fun of it.

This picture made me laugh soI just had to include it. 

Last year our tree was a little too small.  Ryan was adament that our tree was the perfect size, but once we got it home we both agreed that we could have gone taller and fatter, so that was our goal for this year. 

This year Chris and Brenna joined us.  After some discussion about whether or not they were going to get a tree, Chris won the battle and the also walked away with a beauitful tree for their house!

What a cute holiday couple!!  Love them....and Brenna's attempt at the "Lindsay pose".

That's our typical tree cutting picture.  I am 99.9% sure we've got one of these from each of the years we've gone hunting.  Now that I've got this great blog I will be able to reference back each year to our old pictures, so here goes nothing!! 

Somehow I missed getting a picture of Dan and Ellyn's tree.  They were the first ones to settle on a tree and start cutting.  While Ry and I were searching for our perfect (extra chubby) tree, Dan was hauling his tree back to the truck and paying.  I almost gave the "first tree" award to Chris and Brenna since they were technically the first ones to "choose" a tree, but they didn't end up cutting that one, so Dan and Ellyn get the First Tree award. 

Ryan and I were the second ones to cut.  While Ryan was helping Dan carry back his tree, I found an extra large tree that I was sure Ryan would veto.  But, after getting enough grief from me last year about the size of our tree, he pretty much let me pick whatever I wanted.  **SPOILER ALERT** It's perfect!!

Finally, Chris and Brenna settled on their perfect tree as well.  They have extra tall ceilings so they went for a taller tree, but since they are in an apartment, one the second floor, they went for a skinnier tree.

Check out those muddy knees!!  See, C&B have adopted our traditional Christmas Tree picture.  I hope they adopt our tradition as well, it's so much fun!!  And, I've got to say, the house smells great with a freshly cut tree(although, it isn't strong enough to cover up the smell of Ryan's farts!!!!).

Because video is my newest favorite thing to add to the blog, here is a quick action video of the boys cutting down one of the trees.

At the end of the day, we got three beautiful trees.  We were all pretty well soaked, and the boys were covered with mud, but it was a sucessful day overall.

Ain't she a beaut!?!?!  I love it.  It looks like it has a little bit of a lean in this picture, but it's perfect in person!  Less than 12 hours from the ground to our living room and I'm so happy with it!  Staley seems super excited to have the outside, inside so we will see how it goes.  This is her second Christmas with us, but I think she forgot.  Ha!! 

It's officially the holiday season!  How is your Christmas tree coming??  Did you have your decorations up before Thanksgiving??  Ry and I are definately "after Thanksgiving" folks.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mud + Tough Men + Cold Water = Tough Mudder 2011

The weekend before Thanksgiving (yes, I'm once again behind), Ryan raced one of his most extreme races yet.  It's called Tough Mudder and if you can't tell from the name, it involved a ton of mud!  What you can't infer from the name is the additional combination of cold and water.  But first, lets start back at the beginning.

About 2 months back this group of hot and sexy men decided that they would take on the challenge of this race.  So, quickly, from left to right, we've got Pat (Betsy's husband), Frank (Nick's younger brother who drove all the way from the UP for this race), Nick (a friend of Ryan's from high school, who gets the award for longest travel as he came all the way from AZ for the race).  Then, Ry with his typical picture pose, Nate (another friend for high school) and rounding off the team is Brian (yet another Marmion guy, and Lo's husband). 

It begs mention that the cheering squad was me, Lo, Betsy, and Jess (Frank's girlfriend).  I don't have a picture of all us ladies but I think Bets does and I will try to update the blog with additional pictures once I get them.

So, for those of you that didn't choose to click on my Tough Mudder link, here is a quick run down.  Imagine a 10 mile course where racers go through about 25 military style obstacles.  Racers can choose to run alone or with a team, but teams teams are definately the way to go.  Obstacles were anything from running through huge pits of mud, to jumping into ice (literally) and swimming, to crawling under barbed wire, to running through electrical wires, to scaling Berlin Walls.  Without a team, any one of these would be hard, but 25 would be nearly impossible. 

See how muddy they all are??  This is about 1/3 of the way through the race.  The temperature was about 45 degrees that day which individually wouldn't be so bad, but add in water, ice and mud and our boys were freezing by the end of the race.  The 10 miles of running didn't faze them, it was the cold and wet that really got to them all.  By the end we were sure we'd have 3 car fulls of hypothermic boys by the end of the race, but luckily everyone was fine, there were no injuries and everyone crossed the finish line.

The ladies spent the day (about 4 hours from race packet pickup to beer drinking at the finish line) trapsing around the park getting pictures and video of our men.  They had 3 suggested viewing areas and once we figured out the map we were able to see our boys quite a bit.  There was a decent amount of the race time that we missed though because the boys were routed through the woods, but we will be ready for next year.  We've already started planning our picture taking/racer supporting.

So, pictures speak louder than words right??  Well, I've put together a little video for you all, including some action shots of our boys during the race.  It's not perfect, and yes, the music ends while the video is still going, but it's what you are going to get today.  I hope to update the video with shots from Lo and Bets, but it's been a week since the race and I've got to keep the blog updated so here is what I've got right now.  If I update it, I will let you all know, but for now, enjoy!  I'll get better at the video's shortly!  Promise!!

Come on back in a few days and I hope to have the video updated!!

Happy Thanksgiving y'all (one day late!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adding a splash of color!

I've been planning another little art project like my hartfetti picture for quite awhile now.  And I am finally ready to show it you guys.

Can you tell what it is yet?  Do you love it?

Have you guys joined Pinterest yet?  It's a strange new website that allows you to "pin" pictures from the web to your board.  Using it lets you take all of those great ideas you find while searching the web and put them in one convenient spot so you can reference them later.  Anyways, I'm bringing up Pinterest because I just want to make it known that I didn't come up with this idea.  If you google, or Pinterest, melted crayon art, you'll find tons of these out there.  Personally, I used this one as inspiration. 

So, first, the final product, and then a tutorial.

I've got to say that I just LOVE how this thing turned out!

A quick tutorial for those of you that care:

First grab a box of crayons and a white canvas.  I got the biggest box of crayons I could find from Meijer and it cost me less than $4.  Then, the harder piece was the canvas.  Have any of you ever bought canvas?  They can be expensive!  So, I waited and waited until Michael's had them on sale 50% and I picked up this huge one for just under $20.  Its 16' x 40' and will fit perfectly above our bed. 

Probably the hardest part of this whole project was figuring out the order I wanted the crayons in.

I started by laying out all the crayons I was going to use and getting them in order.  I didn't have enough to make it from end to end so I did some measuring and figured out where to start so it would all line up straight.  Then using a hot glue gun I ran a small line of glue down the back side of each crayon and glued them down. 

Looks pretty right?  All lined up and perfect.  It's a organizers dream come true!

Then, once I had them all glued down I had Ryan dig through his trailer to find his heat gun.  It's just like a hair dryer, but super powerful. 

After about 2 seconds of heating, this started to happen.  And, I started to get excited!!

Ryan even snapped this terrible picture of me while working.  Don't mind my wet hair or my sweatpants.  It's Sunday!!  A lady can relax!!

After about 10 minutes, I had that.

And there's the finished product.  It adds just the touch of color that I was looking for above our bed.   And, for less than $25, you can't beat that. 

Cyclecross on Saturday

The weather this weekend has been amazing.  It's warm, by fall standards, and the sun was shinning all day on Saturday.  Today, I can tell the cold front is pounding on our door, so I've got the windows open and am getting all the fresh air into the house that I can. 

Fox River Millwork has been so busy these past few weeks that this is one of the first weekends in a long while that Ryan has actually been home, and we've been able to hang out the whole weekend. He's still building a bench and table in the garage while I type this, so it's not exactly like he isn't working, but at least he is home, and for that I am grateful. 

Yesterday he raced Cross at Indian Lakes Golf Course.  For those of you that don't know what Cross is, check out this post I did a few weeks back where I explain the whole thing.  He raced Masters 30+ again, so he found himself towards the back of the pack but he had a great time and that is all that matters.  This race was far less muddy as it took place right on the gold course.  It felt like walking on sacred ground when I walked onto the putting green and up the fairway to watch the race. 

The race organizers clearly have a sense of humor.  Signs like this were posted all over the course.  I just had to caputer a few of them because they made me laugh. 

The bikers road for 45 minutes and crisscrossed all over the course.  They rode through sand pits, up a huge muddy hill, and through the putting greens of 3 holes. 

I don't have a ton of great pictures from this race (I feel like I always say that!), but I do have some videos to share with you.  I figured vidoes are more fun to watch and a better representation of the race.  So sit back and enjoy my commentary.  Ha!

Here's a quick video of the sandpits during the race.  Ryan isn't in the video, a lovely man walked in front of me while shooting that part, but it will give you an idea os what the races are like.

And here is one of the racers on the muddy hill:

And one more, featuring my main man:

Hope y'all enjoyed it!  Next weekend Ryan is racing a Tough Mudder with some of the guys.  I promise to have a fully charged camera battery and some entertaining videos to share.  Keep stoppin' back!