Bismarck vs. Dubuque

It was July 20th that we moved into our house at the seminary in Dubuque.  The day before we packed all of our worldly belongings into a truck and made the 800 mile journey to where we live now.  We have a lot of transitions to make and we are settling in, though we do occasionally look back at where we came from.

For me, this is far from my first big move.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, I first had to make my way out to the Midwest.  At that point it was with the help of my parents, and everything I needed fit into my Volvo station wagon and my parents Areostar.  After graduating from college I moved 100 miles west.  At this point everything fit into my Areostar and a medium sized u haul trailer.  A year later I moved in with my wife, which took a small truck.

All these moves got slightly bigger and slightly bigger, vehicle wise.  But they were all really short, less than 200 miles.  The most major move was when we bought our house in Bismarck.  It didn’t have to do with the stuff we had, but the settling down that we were doing.

Six years later, we have added three kids and a lot more stuff.  All our kids had ever known was Bismarck.  That is where they went to church, school and played with their friends.  They were excited for the move, but also knew there would be changes.

The House

Our house was a 4 bed, 2 bath house with a nice living room and family room.  We had a small deck overlooking our modest back yard.  Across the street was a great playground that the kids spent a lot of time at.  Our house was a beautiful house.  It was perfect for a family like ours.

The house we live in here is also beautiful.  It has a basement, which our house in Bismarck doesn’t have.  It is only a three bedroom house, which means we have to have our boys sharing a room.  We also have to use some of the basement as a family room or do without.

The Community

This is a big difference for us.  We lived on a busy street that had a variety of ages and backgrounds of people who live there.  We would walk through the neighborhood frequently, yet we didn’t know many of our neighbors that well.

Our neighbors here are all involved with the seminary in one way or another.  The kids go outside to play, and I’m not very worried about who they are with or what they are up to.  The hardest part is breaking them away from their friends so they can come in for dinner.


North Dakota is very flat.  It changes a little bit further to the west in the badlands.  Bismarck has some hills, but relative to most places the hills aren’t much.

Dubuque is one big hill.  If it isn’t rolling one direction it is rolling another.  Personally, I love it.  I have always loved hills.  My running is reminding me that I really am not used to running hills, but it is still fun.  The rest of the family is growing accustomed to it as well.

The Weather

If you know anything about Weather in North Dakota you probably know it gets very cold and windy.  North Dakota has several windfarms across the prairie.  This is part of what makes North Dakota an energy rich state, especially in the area of zero emission and renewable.  It also happens to be one of the things I have hated about North Dakota.  I don’t mind some wind from time to time.  North Dakota’s wind is far too frequent and far too strong for my taste.

Dubuque doesn’t have the wind, thank goodness, but we have traded that for another climate factor that I could do without.  The humidity here seems to be more than I can handle.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, I am used to having more humidity than North Dakota.  Dubuque seems to be on the extreme end of it.  While attempting to finish one run I realized how hard I was breathing compared to other runs.  I then realized just how humid it is.  My Facebook read, “Will I ever get used to this humidity?”  A graduate of Wartburg who is from North Dakota gave me a simple answer.  “NO”

As far as the cold is concerned, I have a few more months to determine how that will go.

Life in General

There are plenty of changes to get used to.  My body is still trying to adjust to not working shift work anymore.  We are all trying to adjust to our schedules.  The kids are adjusting to the new school as I am adjusting to being a student again.  As we work through these adjustments it is hard to not look back, occasionally with a heavy heart.  Sometimes it is easier for us to see what we miss instead of what we love about where we are.  We occasionally try to remind ourselves to, as the song says, count our blessings and name them one by one… see what God has done!


Disheartening Perceptions

The past two months have gone by in a crazy way.  I am excited to be where I am, but it is not exactly and easy place to be either.  One thing I’m still working on is getting used to telling people that I am an seminarian.  When I’m asked what I do, I usually have to state that I’m a student.  It seems that many are surprised to find out that there really are seminarians out there.  (I should be used to this by now.  That was the same response I often got when people found out I was a 911 dispatcher.)

Today caught me off guard.  I took a trip to the local Verizon Wireless store.  As I’m waiting a young man approached me.  We started with some conversation which led him to telling me he is a trucker.  I found some common ground to visit with him as I talked about my history of driving as well.  The conversation soon led to me coming here.

“I’m a seminarian.” I explained to him.  “What’s that?”  I explained that it was theological school, but he was still confused.  I explained that I am going to be a pastor, but he still wasn’t sure what that meant.  As I was explaining what a pastor does, he asked if it was different that a priest.  I finally felt like I was getting somewhere.

As we continued talking he mentioned that he does not go to church, which wasn’t exactly any news flash to me, and continued to say that most would say that he is going to hell.  It appeared he expected me to have a similar response.  I didn’t.  I did my best to keep a good conversation going, but I was heartbroken.  It was an uncomfortable feeling to me to know that this young man expected me to condemn him when I didn’t know him.  I pulled the conversation back to the mutual interest of driving, and other topics came us as well that we found some common ground on.  He left before I did, but was sure to say goodbye before he did.  I felt good about this.

Perhaps some out there are wondering if I believe he is going to hell or not.  I will simply say that I am not here to make that judgement.  I did tell him that I don’t believe that simply based on our conversation there.  But it still hurt that he believed I would say that.  It hurts to know that this is the impression that exists.

I am not going to use my blog to preach, at least not yet.  I do, however, want to encourage.  I want to encourage everyone.  When it comes to music and running, I always encourage to do what you can to the best of your ability.  I don’t expect a runner’s first race to average a 8 minute mile.  I don’t expect someone to perform Vivaldi for their first concert on an instrument.  (That comes from experience as my first performance on the string bass was Vivaldi’s Seasons.  I was highly unprepared to perform it on the bass, despite my musical background to that point).  I don’t expect someone who has not been in church much to understand Christian beliefs and heaven and hell.

When I left to go to the store, I had an intention of activating my iPad.  I had no intent of converting anyone or sharing God’s word in that moment.  I sure would have, if it had seemed he was looking for it.  I would have loved to have told him about my beliefs and even why he shouldn’t listen to people who tell him he is going to hell (assuming they are doing so with the little information I had and not something I don’t know.)  Instead, I felt it was important for him to have a connection with someone who wasn’t going to condemn him on the spot, so I kept it at that.  Instead of being concerned about him, I’m much more concerned about those who condemned him on the spot.

If I’d known 20 years ago!

I have finished my first class at Wartburg Seminary.  As a prerequisite to classes during my first semester in the Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) program I needed to pass biblical Greek.  In my case I took a residential Summer Greek class.  It was a six week class that started with the Greek alphabet and concluded with translating scripture from the Bible.

With small exception, learning a new language is not easy.  Learning a new language in your mid thirties (or in my case after a few 29th birthdays) is even harder.  Luckily for me, I had a background that took the edge off.

As a kid, my family held close to our Swedish heritage.  My great grandfather was a pastor in Brooklyn, preaching in Swedish to his congregation.  My grandparents would use Swedish in the house, but didn’t pass it along to my mother and aunt.

When my sister was in high school she chose to attend a two week program at Sjölunden, Concordia Language Villages’ Swedish village in Bemidji, MN.  After her first year, my parent let me go with her.  I spent five years as a two week villager before one year as a credit student.  That year I earned high school credit after studying Swedish for four weeks.

Concordia Language Villages’ method of learning language is immersion.  From the moment the campers wake in the morning to when they go to bed they are surrounded by the target language.  The counselors avoid using English, using a variety of styles to convey what a word means to the campers.

Over the course of my six years with Sjölunden I grew to understand and speak Swedish at a fluent level, tough some of my friends who studied it further learned it to near perfection.  I have to admit, I don’t know English to near perfection (and I have a lot of English teachers who can vouch for that) so I doubt I’ll get any other language that well.

A few years ago, as a 911 dispatcher, I started learning Spanish to a point that would be able to work with Spanish speakers on 911 calls.  I was not able to follow through as well and never did get to a point of knowing Spanish, but I was at a point that I could listen to interpreters and understand the gist of what was being said, helping prepare me for what was coming before they told me.

Learning Spanish never became a focus for me, and I was not able to devote a lot of time to it.  I was learning through a computer program, which is much different than working with people.  I would get frustrated that the computer wasn’t happy with how I was saying a word when I was convinced it was the mic not picking me up well enough. There were key practices to learning and understanding a language that I developed at Sjölunden that came to the surface and helped me learn as much as I did in the short time I worked with it.

Fast forward to July of 2016, roughly 22 years after starting at Sjölunden, I sit down to learn Greek.  Another thing to understand about Greek is that there are different kinds of Greek.  The Greek I learned (and to an extent am still learning) is the Greek used in the Bible, not Greek used on the streets in Athens today.  This language is “dead” and not spoken anymore.  While we have an understanding of the language, it is still debated how some of the specifics of the language work.  Having a conversation in Biblical Greek, not so much.

In Biblical Greek, the same word can mean so many different things based on how the word ends.  Most of the past six weeks has been spent focusing on those endings and how the endings relate to one another to create an understanding of what is meant.  While I still need more practice to develop my own abilities with Greek, but I am at a point that I can start interpreting the New Testament myself.

Now I am not trying to say that there is any close relation between Greek and Swedish, or that learning Swedish gave me any ability that I would not have already had to learn Greek.  If I had gotten further in Spanish, it may have helped me more with Greek.  To my understanding, there are a lot of similarities between Spanish and Greek.  But the foundation of learning a language is the same.  The connections made in the brain are all the same.  Learning one secondary language opens the ability to learn more languages.  I believe strongly that my ability to learn Greek was helped by starting to learn Swedish twenty years ago.

I had no idea where I was going to end up with my life when I started at Sjölunden twenty years ago.  I would not have believed to be learning a new language at this stage of my life.  I am thankful, not only for those years at Sjölunden, but for the foundation that I learned at that time.

Now, just how well did I do with Greek?  Similar to being a credit student at Sjölunden, my grade was one thing, but the real test was when I was in Sweden two years later.  For Greek,  I haven’t gotten my grades yet though I’m confident I passed.  The real test isn’t here at Wartburg, but when I answer my call to be a Pastor in God’s church.

Hit the Ground Running

It is almost three weeks since we left Bismarck for Dubuque.  The journey was a little crazy, and may have involved a mishap or two, but isn’t that just assumed when it comes to moving?  I’ll have a video soon showing a small amount of our fun traveling, but how much can you really show in a 15 minute video.

I did know that we were not doing well packing in advance as I had hoped.  We worked at things, but with 3 kids around and a lot of other excitement it didn’t go as planned.  By the time my folks arrived I was able to see how much was left to pack rather than how much we had packed so far.  We slaved away for 3 days putting all of the stuff in order and getting it into the truck. While we had been working on downsizing, we still had too much stuff to pack.

I had one deadline that I had to hit which altered when we left.  When I picked up the Uhaul they didn’t have a car transporter for me in Bismarck.  I would need to stop in Jamestown to pick that up.  This meant that we had to leave with enough time to get it before they closed.  I thought we’d have plenty of time for that.  As it turned out, we were pushing the clock when we left.  My mom and I pushed ahead, leaving my dad and Jill to finish.  My nephew and niece also helped in the last minute push.

Ultimately we had five vehicles going (not including the one being towed) that were loaded with people and household goods (aka stuff).  We put in about 6 hours on the road that night, staying in St. Cloud, MN.  We didn’t leave that early the next morning, but gave the kids a bit of a chance to run around and stretch their legs.

As the trip went on and on, it seemed to get longer and longer.  I had plans to arrive around 5:00 pm.  We were still about 2 hours away at 5:00, stopping for gas and dinner.  I grabbed things and my nephew and I jumped back in the Uhaul, pushing down the road as soon as we possibly could.  The rest of my family caught up as they could, but it took most of the time driving to do so.  I was so happy to be there that I couldn’t quite explain it.

Then came the real fun, moving in…

Moving, then it’s all Greek

We are in the final days and the final push.  Our house is being boxed up and moved out.  Every day the rooms have less and less in them.  The grocery store is starting to get used to me coming by asking for boxes.  We have had some friends come over to help take some of the load off our hands.  Our neighbors have been great, helping watch our kids as we work on packing.

Today is a big day as we have reinforcements arrive.  My parents and my niece and nephew are arriving from Pennsylvania.  I have three more days of work (including today).  Monday morning I pick up the truck and we begin loading it.  I am hoping that we are on the road Tuesday and arrive Wednesday.  This will give us Thursday through Saturday to start setting up our new house before I start my summer Greek class.

On top of all of the moving, driving, planning, and all the other details, I am expected to come to the campus knowing the Greek alphabet.  I’ve been working on it a bit, but I know it won’t actually set in until I start using it.  Being that I will be learning everything I need to know about Greek in one months time, I think I will have it down pat pretty quick.

My kids are already used to me speaking Swedish to them, now they’ll need to adjust to a language they’ll never learn. 🙂

Two running adventures, not at all alike

After working a night shift I had slept pretty well during the day.  I knew that I needed some fresh air and a little extra pushing on my body to help prepare me for the night shift that lay ahead.  A run it is.

Now I should teach you about this cool app you can have on your smart phone.  It is called… weatherbug.  That’s right, this amazing app can tell you things about the weather like, the temperature, the humidity and even the UV exposure and heat indexes.  It is an unbelievable app!  I’ve had this app on my phone as long as I’ve had a smart phone.  If I’d have known the power of the app I could have realized it was 95 degrees outside my air conditioned home.

I get dressed in light clothing and walk out the back door into the sauna we call our backyard.  I then proceed to begin an intended 4 1/2 mile run on the trails of Bismarck.  The first 1/2 mile was great.  As I got close to my 1 mile mark I knew I was going to be in trouble.  I expected it to be hot, but I didn’t expect it to affect the rest of my body as it did.

I started thinking back to reading another blog, bravelittlerunner, a runner from Florida.  I was laughing at how she was ending her racing season as our season was just starting here in the North.  It was finally getting warm enough for us while it was getting too warm for them down there.  I had a taste of what she was talking about.

By the two mile mark, the only reason I was running was to find shade.  I was hot and worn out.  I couldn’t breath very well and my skin felt like it was burning.  The breeze that had held me up in the first two miles, now going in my favor was no long cooling my skin.  I had a good drink before I left, but I was as thirsty as could be.  Fifteen minutes longer than it should have been, I completed my four miles, skipping the last part that I had planned.  I text my wife while I was still a little ways from the house asking to have a glass of water ready for me!  She was right there when I got home.

Lucky I recovered from it and I was able to pull off a few more runs in the time.  I’ve been spending most of my time packing the house for a move.  I believe that has helped my performance in running.  I have been taking the kids for lullaby runs and those seem to be getting easier as well.

Yesterday I had two very cranky kids that needed a nap.  I knew there was only one thing to do.  What I didn’t expect was my oldest wanting to come along.  I was planning to walk and was less than prepared for a full run.  The weather was beautiful, cool and somewhat overcast.  My oldest starts running faster than I was prepared for.  I didn’t think it would last, so after 1/2 mile I was rather surprised.  This is the first time he has really let loose running like this.  3/4 mile I didn’t want to say anything hoping that he would push beyond.  .85 mile he started slowing down a bit and I encouraged him to push a little more.  He pushed.  He pushed until he got to the bench at .9 miles.

11:46 minutes and .9 miles straight of running.  I was one proud papa!

A quick look back!

The day has come!  Among other things I needed to do today I took a trip to the bus company I work (or worked is more like it) for.  It was time for me to turn in my keys, and close the chapter of that book.

To a professional driver, miles are an important thing.  It is the equivalence of the years experience for most professions.  I started driving in 2005, spending most of my days in a stub-nosed school bus.  I was fresh out of college and a young go-geter. I quickly moved to take another job, but quickly found myself behind the wheel of a bus again (and loving it).

A couple years back I calculated my professional millage.  I was close to 100,000 miles.  Perhaps that sounds like a lot to most, but to a professional driver that is pennies in the bucket.  When I was looking for a job before I started dispatching there were companies that wouldn’t even look at me until I had 250,000.  Still, the 100,000 that I have under my belt mean a lot to me.  That is what I earned in my spare time, not my every day job.

While a driver counts experience by the mile instead of the year, I was able to reflect a bit on my service with the company.  I’ve worked for them over close to eight years.  I had one year that I didn’t drive much for other reasons, but that is the longest I have had any job.  Perhaps the miles weren’t the most (I had one company that I put a lot more miles in a shorter time, but the experience was much different) I learned a lot more about myself as a driver through my time with this company.

One of the reasons I wanted to drive motor coach is to see the experiences that so many others set out on.  I have experienced tennis, gymnastics, speech, music, farming, track, football, meat packaging plants, national parks, and so much more.

What is more important than the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had are the people I’ve met along the way.  Some mornings I’m trying to pull smiles out of groggy high schoolers as they board the bus at 7:00.  Some nights it’s wishing the passengers who enjoyed the night at the casino a safe trip home.  But I always feel that there is someone in every group that has stood out to me in a lasting memory.

My look back, however, is quick.  I am proud of my eight years of experiences, but I’m ready to look forward too!  Dubuque has so many experiences in store of us.  I’m wondering how I will reflect on this blog four years from now.

Every New Beginning…

Perhaps the statement sounds like something you’d hear from Yogi Berra as a statement that says so much and absolutely nothing at the same time, but it actually dates back to the Roman Empire.  A Philosopher named Seneca is who this quote is attributed to.  While I could take a lot of time poking fun at philosophers for spending so much time on so little, I instead see just how much this applies to my life right now.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.  Almost eight years ago I closed the chapter of delivering agricultural chemical for a regional wholesaler to move to Bismarck.  At that point I had no idea what road was ahead of me.  I had no job lined up, no money, but with some help we had a place to live.

I quickly went to work trying to find a job.  As I spent hours looking for what would be best I put in applications at various places.  I was offered a job as a local trucker, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted.  Soon enough I was lined up with a school bus route with the local bus company.  While it was something, it wasn’t going to cover the bills.

As time has gone on we have dived into the community.  Between all the schools in the district that Jill has taught in, our involvement with church and other community events, we have begun to settle in.  It is harder and harder to look back at these past eight years as I start to look ahead.

Fact is that the new beginning has already brought about some other beginnings ends.  We’ve said goodbye to the dance studio that has raised our little ballerina.  We’ve said goodbye to the school that has provided a welcoming environment for our kids to learn and worship in.  And now, I’ve driven my last route for the bus company that went out on a limb hiring me when I didn’t know what job would be up ahead.

We’ve started getting things ready to pack up in the house.  We are starting to get rid of things to downsize.  In a month we will say goodbye to that, the only place that two of our kids have ever lived.  And front and center on my locker at work is a countdown.  Currently it shows 14.  14 shifts  left.  That two sets of nights and two sets of days.

While I look forward to the new beginning, I think I will take the moments of the next month to recognize the ends that are upon us.  Moving to Bismarck wasn’t the same.  Moving to Bismarck was saying goodbye to a past that we were ready to move on from.  It was a kick in the butt in a direction other than where we were.  We rejoiced in the new beginnings as a promise of what was up ahead.  It was the beginnings that have landed us where we are now.

So I will not rush these ends of the other beginnings.  I will savor the time here.  By the time the new beginning is upon us again, I will, again, have no job and no money, but enormous possibilities ahead.

No More Running in Cotton Socks

Now I have to say that I ran frequently when I was in high school.  Even when I didn’t go for a jog around the neighborhood I was out running the dogs with the sled or our 3 wheeled rig.  At the time I didn’t have much for special running attire.  I would usually wear a pair of shorts and… whatever else I had worn that day.  When I was running the dogs, or mushing, I would wear clothing geared toward getting messy and protecting myself, but not running gear.

I had no idea until recently that cotton was not good for running.  When I was mushing I would wear multiple layers of cotton socks to help keep my feet warm.  I don’t think I owned a pair of socks that weren’t cotton until after I graduated from college.

In the past few years as I have moved back into running, I started learning what I have done wrong for so many years.  I bought socks that are nylon or other synthetic materials recommended for distance running.  I can’t say I really noticed a huge difference, but I trusted what the experts had to say.

A couple of weeks ago I was gearing up for a run when I couldn’t find any of my running socks.  I wasn’t too concerned as I grabbed a pair of my everyday socks, laced up and went out the door.  Three miles into my four and a half mile run I was feeling the blister on my foot.  I had to slow to a walk before mile four.  I made it back and nursed my wound.

I came across the same problem again last night.  It was last minute, with the sun going down, that I was hurrying around trying to get myself out the door.  Cotton socks it was (again).  After lacing up, I was out the door for what I was hoping would be close to a 10k.

Pacing has been my biggest nemesis.  Ever since I have been holding steady at a 10 min/mile I have been having a hard time pulling back to a 12 min/mile.  I focused and planned and payed attention and felt the groove of the 12 minute pace.  I would allow myself to speed up from time to time to practice pulling back again.  Forty minutes and three and a half miles later I allowed myself to walk for a bit.  My 11:27 minute pace was okay, and I still had two and a half miles left to go.

My walking was brief at that point, and I started to run again in 1/4 mile.  3/4 mile later I was walking again.  I tried to pick it up again when I noticed it.  The blister on the foot.  I walked to push through it for a while.  I looked at my mileage to see how close I was to a 10k, and picked it up for one last push.  Not happening, Not today.

I turned myself toward home and had a little ways to walk yet.  I spent the time thinking back.  I wonder how I was able to run when I was young, but now my feet can’t handle it.  I wonder if I wasn’t so used to the discomfort that I had no idea how uncomfortable I was.  I wondered if my feet had been so much more callused by the lack of care that I provided for my feet, or if there was another explanation.  Any which way, I knew I would be paying the price.

I consider it like a speeding ticket to remind a driver to lay off the gas peddle, but this blister will be a reminder for a few more days, a reminder of how important it is that I DON’T WEAR COTTON SOCKS.

Two Personal bests… then Ouch!

Let me start by saying that I’m okay.  I will reassure you of a happy ending.  I am also aware of the old saying, “No Pain, No Gain.”  I’m looking forward to the result of the latter part now.

I had a really good week this week.  My days off were filled with some great adventure.  I finished my shift of days on Saturday, and was eager to see my daughter perform in a ballet rendition of “Alice in Wonderland” produced by Northern Plains Dance in Bismarck, ND on Sunday.

Now I should say that my wife was out of town for another event and wasn’t able to help get our daughter ready.  No sweat, right?  Well, I’m not very skilled with makeup, mostly due to lack of experience.  I’ve used stage makeup before, but that isn’t hard to just smear on.  I didn’t have the confidence to try to apply her makeup before a performance.  I was confident with her hair, and was successful making a suitable bun for the performance.  I did, however, refer to a friend who’s daughter had been in Dance at the studio to do a good job.

It was a good performance, though I was eager to see my little princess take to the stage.  Her last performance with in “The Nutcracker” at Christmas.  She had a very short part and was on and off the stage in no time at all.  For “Alice in Wonderland” she had a bit more detail and interaction.  I could tell by the look on her face that she loved it.

Afterwards I found her among the dancers, raced her home and raced back over to help break down the set and get it from the hall back to the studio. That night called from showers, especially for our little ballerina.  She had three days of hairspray holding her hair all but solid.  It all washed out with enough shampoo.  I was also thrilled when mom got home that evening.  So were the kids.

Monday was back to the normal grind.  My wife had plans for the evening, so I gathered the kids and we went for a run.  The older two biked in front of me and we did 1.8 miles of varying speeds.  Most importantly, it was a lot of fun.  This was the first run since my personal best last week.

Tuesday gave me another chance to get out and pound the pave.  I had already decided that I wasn’t going to set any main goal at the start of my run.  Traditionally, I don’t make my goal and I complete some other goal that I didn’t have.  So I started out at an average pace looking for some extra distance.  Before I knew it I had been running longer than I’m used to, and I was setting up for another personal best.  I wound up going for a negative half, which included a sub 10:00 min/mile.  I finished my 5k in 33:08.  I couldn’t have been happier.

Calling this week a success so far, I prepared to drive bus for my kids school on Wednesday.  First I dropped the 5th graders off for a city-wide field day.  Soon after I picked up some 3rd graders to take to a small town not far from here.  I was guessing as to what we would be doing.  Perhaps it would be a dairy farm, or possibly a grain elevator, I really had no idea what we were doing.  I asked the principle as I was waiting.  She told me we were going to… a pile of rocks.  I figured there was more to the story and I’d find out soon enough.

Yes, There was more.  After a 40 minute drive we were at a rock formation out in the middle of nowhere.  I only saw one vehicle over the three hours we were there.  They climbed on the rocks and ate their packed lunches, which they shared with me as I hadn’t thought to bring lunch.Rocks

I drove the bus up around the rocks in the center (you can see the teardrop loop around the rocks) and parked there.  There is a small cave and tunnel under the rocks.  The kids had a great time crawling through.  To top things off we played the class’ favorite game, Capture the Flag.  It was boys vs. girls.  (The father of one of the girls joined their team.)  The boys were thrilled to have me on their team.

Boundaries were large.  We played from the rocks on the south side to the rocks on the north side.  The whole field from the rocks on the left to the fence on the side of the picture on the right was all fair game.  The girls put their jail at the rocks at the rocks at the bottom.  We hid our flag at the top.  We ran and we chased on rough terrain, jumping over rocks and zigzagging past each other.

By the end of the game, my legs were done.  I did get caught, but I had slowed down a little bit as to make sure I didn’t trip over the rocks in front of me.  See, I was the only one there that absolutely couldn’t get hurt.  I was the only one who could drive the bus back.

At the end of the time, for the 3rd day in a row, my legs got quite the workout.  I’ve been working hard to change things up a little bit to see some improvement.  I think Wednesday qualified.  Thanks 3rd Graders!  Now, I need my legs to heal!  Perhaps a few days of work will help me recover.