This past weekend we headed out to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to visit Jason’s family and to run the Dam to Dam 20 K race. It was a refreshing break with family after the whirl wind of packing and busyness that we have been accustomed to lately. Mark, Justin, Jim, and I ran the race but the whole clan came along for the adventure in Des Moines (Jorie and the boys; Joel and Silas (Anni was thrilled!), Jason and Anni of course, Rhoda, and Annie). We arrived first and went to the expo to pick up every ones’ packets. Annikah and Jason scarfed the free food while I ran around trying to estimate shirt sizes. We also killed time by sneaking into a school playground where Anni made some new friends with the elementary kids. After a couple hours everyone else arrived and we went out to dinner and then swimming with Jorie, Mark and the boys. Lest anyone needs another reason to be sure I am a forgetful and scatter brained Mama I forgot both Annikah’s swimsuit and a swim diaper. Luckily, SuperMama Jorie came to the rescue with a swim diaper for Anni which she proudly sported solo at the pool earning many “your little boy is so cute” comments.
Although I also forgot my swim suit I concluded just my undies was not as age-appropriate (last time we traveled I forgot my underwear, I will spare you the details). The kids had a blast in the pool (see video). We finally got Annikah to bed a couple hours late and were exhausted. We were staying in the same room with Annie and Justin (sorry guys!as sleeping with a toddler in the room is no fun). At the slightest noise her little body springs up and utters “mama? papa?” and with those 2 words you know you have a long night ahead. We thought it better to surrender the room and camp out in the hallway until we were ready to stealthily sneak into bed without a sound so not as to disturb her slumber. Once everyone was back from dinner we tried to plan details for the race the next morning in the hallway. As we discovered this task can be difficult when no one is ever there at the same time, when no one has a map of the race route, and when no one is familiar with Des Moines. It was amusing.
Anni did wake up in the middle of the night and after protesting going back in her pack and play we let her sleep wedged in between us in the double bed. When Justin and I got up at 5:25 am (they make you take a bus to the Dam start of the race (ok, that is still funny to me) I was dragging but I smiled looking at my sleeping Annikah snuggled into Jason’s large protective arm. It was so sweet and warm and perfect, there is nothing sexier than a man who loves his child. I took a moment to feel the blessing they are to me but made a quick exit so not to awake the sleeping duo. The race went well although the first 10 miles were in the blazing sun with no shade at all. I made some friends along the way after my cell phone began to ring and I picked up to Jason asking “where is the sippy cup?” As I answered, without slowing one step I might add, that it was exactly where I told him it was last night 4 guys in front of me started laughing and turned around to say “are you kidding me?” We chatted it up for the next few miles about why men cannot seem to find anything necessary for child rearing and how if their wives were suddenly zapped by aliens they would certainly starve to death and their kids would run around naked. At about 6 miles I could not remember why I like running as my legs were clearly protesting but I kept on keeping on and made it past a few hills to “my happy place” (read here almost done). After 10 miles the scenery and cheering crowd picked up as we neared the actual downtown and I called Jason who was waiting at the finish line with Anni. Considering I did not really train I did pretty well finishing the 20 K (12.4 miles) in 2 hours and 8 minutes (or so as they did not have official chip times, pretty lame for the advertised “biggest 20k in America”).
Immediately after the race I b-lined to the free bomb pop booth and quickly inhaled 3 of them and Anni followed my lead by doubled fisting. She was very proud of herself as she kept repeating “two, two” as the fake sugar coloring ran down her chubby arms. She also enjoyed sporting my medal. All the glory, none of the pain.
After the race Jason’s parents had some friends over to celebrate and for some post race eatin’ which in my opinion is one of the only reasons to run any race…the food!! We all played parlor games until most of us were ready to fall asleep. The next morning we got to see Justin and Annie’s new house in Iowa City before heading back to Chicago (congrats guys!). Annikah was absolutely amazing in the car, no crying, no fussing, just some sweetness and dancing (see video). It was a great chance to spend time with the Engstrom clan before we leave and as we pulled out I was sad to think we will not be back there as a family anytime soon. We are blessed that Annikah got some quality cousin time in and we loved spending time laughing, running, and hanging with everyone.