Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tired Dog

Yesterday I ran 15.7 miles, breaking my former distance record by 0.7 miles. New route, and I feel fine today thank you very much. Only a little joint soreness. I am thinking a marathon may be within reach for me next year.

The title of this post is in honor of our neighbor's dog. A week ago, when I went for a 10 mile run, Amaya came with me on her bike. About 0.5 miles into the run, this little dog comes out and starts yipping at us. I tried to chase it away, but it kept following. So then we tried ignoring it. But it still kept following. In fact, it ended up following us the whole 10 miles! Poor dog looked pooped by the time we got back. It was all matty from sweat, and sort of running sideways like he (she?) had real sore feet. The next time I ran by his house, though, he just yipped and me and stayed in his yard.

Ice Skating

It's been ages since we last went ice skating. I have a friend at Cooper, Rene, who skates regularly. So yesterday we all went skating. That's (from left to right) Joe, Anna, Rene, Gabrielle (Rene's daughter), Amaya, and Will. We had a blast. Joe got the prize for fastest skater. Elydia got the prize for biggest grin when we took her out on the ice. Grandma Ellene would have been proud of everyone.

Kickin' off Christmas

We love Christmas. We start the season by remembering our blessings at Thanksgiving, and by hanging out with family and friends and eating lots of food. Just after Thanksgiving, we always buy our Christmas tree at Brinkman's Country Corner. The trees are brought down from Michigan by the farmer - Rod Hose. He must be a real people person because he always remembers us. Or it might be the Mexican Hot Chocolate that Linda brought to share. Here are some pix of 1) Joe picking out our tree, 2) Anna stringing lights, and 3) Elydia helping. There are all sorts of Christmas traditions in our community. Pic #4 - That's all of us with Santa at the Benton Ridge fireman's pancake breakfast. This was the first year we went to that. We always take the older ones to go see Handel's Messiah in Bluffton. There's also a wonderful Live Nativity put on by a local congregation. It's a busy, busy month with cookies and cards and shopping. Linda has a book of Christmas strories that we read each night in December. Sometimes all of the activity can be stressful when our many plans and high expectations exceed our capacity. (We are still trying to get our cards out, and to procure the last few gifts!)

This year, after we open our gifts with our kids, we will travel to Akron to visit with our extended family. The WHOLE Mars clan will be in town - an event that seems to happen with less and less frequency. We're going to launch a BIG rocket - 40 lbf of thrust!

The culminating celebration is, of course, Christmas. We exchange gifts on Christmas morning, remembering the Father's gift to humanity in his Son. We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Friday, November 24, 2006


We spent Thanksgiving with my sister Jan, and much of the rest of the Mars Clan. Mom and Dad were there, along with the families of Erik, Dan, Dave. And several of Jan's friends from church. The kids all enjoyed hanging out, watching movies, jumping on beds, etc. Those of us who run ran a 5 mile race in the morning.

We have so much to be grateful for. During our traditional 'candy corn sound-off' (each person gets two candy corns, and tells about two things they are grateful for) Eliza (age 3?) touched everyone's heart with the sincerity of hers - Jesus.


Linda and I had the opportunity to visit Paris, and it was wonderful. I had been invited to participate on the Ph.D. thesis jury of a student at this University: After discharging my duties at the University, we spent the weekend exploring Paris. Here's a photo of me in front of the 'champ de Mars', and another of me in front of the University.

Here are some photos of Linda. In front of the Eiffel tower, biking along the Seine, at the Arc du Triomf, and in front of the Louvre.

This is a strawberry desert that we got from a bakery. We decided that its true that the French know how to make the best food. We tried a number of French cheeses, many of which were completely new to us.

The professor who invited me turned out to be a great lover of organ music. So much so that he had a full blown organ in his basement, which he played for us. Of course the pipes were 'electronic'. But the sound was incredible.

I took several runs along the Seine while staying in Paris. I was surprised at how compact the city is. I was able to cover the distance from our east-side hotel to the Eiffel tower and back in one run.

Running Update

I've been running plenty lately, about 5 miles a day. For the year, I'm on my 3rd pair of running shoes (I show below new and old shoes). I just hit 952 miles since I started keeping my log about a year ago.

For Turkey Day, many of us got together at Jan's and ran the Turkey Trot. It's a 5 mile race. The weather was perfect this year. Dave (came in 14th!), Ben, and Marissa smoked us all. Dan, Erik, and I all came in at the same time - 41:46. Margaret and Janis also ran a great race. Dan and I ran the whole race yo-yo-ing for position. I was really trying my best to beat Dan, and every time I thought I was well past him, he'd blast by me. During most of the race, we did not see Erik. But on the last 1/2 mile, Erik popped up from behind us, and we all 3 finished together. I actually don't remember our finishing order, because the finish line queue had backed up, and we all ended up in a bunch together. After the race, we each recieved a pumpkin pie (see photo below).

Amaya's New Look

Amaya has officially joined the ranks of the myopic, among whom are already counted many of her family. We love her new look, and especially the Princess Jasmine design she chose for her frames.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cubmobile Races

Our pack built a cubmobile. We raced against other packs in the area yesterday in Kenton. That's about 1/2 hour south of Findlay. It has a great hill right down main street that we used for the race.

That's Joe preparing for launch...

Birthday Girl

For her 7th birthday, Amaya lost her 2nd front tooth!

The Mad River

We got to hang out with our Wunderlich cousins on the Mad river. And Elydia got her first canoe ride. That's Linda, Emma, and Amaya in the girl boat.

Hancock County Fair

Anna's rabbit pluto won 3rd place at the Hancock County Fair. Great Job, Anna!

Summer Vacation

For summer vacation, we went to Boston. It was awesome. We got to see Emily and Scott and Bruce. We saw lots of historic sites. That's a photo of Joe and Amaya at Paul Revere's gravestone. We probably searched throught the graveyard for 1/2 hour before we finally found it. We rode on the subway. Lydi had fun by reaching into a lady's purse and discombooberating it.

We went to the beach. There's Bruce getting muddy. And Elydia and Bruce enjoying a car-seat-fest in the suburban.

Other memorable moments:

Loosing several hours by detouring through the Catskill Mountains. We thought it would be fun to see them, since we had read 'My Side of the Mountain', which is set there. We saw them, but ended up not making it to Boston until the next morning.

Linda getting completely lost near Harvard Square when we went out for Indian food. We lost her for over an hour and were about to call the cops when she drove by our intersection. Emily chased her car down, though, and it all worked out OK.

We went to the science center and saw the world's largest Van DeGraff generator. They use it for a show on lighting. We also went to the Children's museum, which the kids tell me was quite enjoyable.

Will went on a run with Scott one day, and with Emily another.

Then we drove home. A long drive, but it was so great to see you guys.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Balloon Rides!

Tio Chris took each of us up for tether-rides in a one man hot-air balloon he had on loan from Bruce B. Here are Amaya and Joe getting ready to inflate the envelope.

It went up fast!

Of course, I was too heavy for Chris to take me up, so I had to go myself. Don't let go of those tether ropes, kids!

"Come, Dorothy!" cried the Wizard. "Hurry up, or the balloon will fly away."
"I can't find Toto anywhere," replied Dorothy, who did not wish to leave her little dog behind. Toto had run into the crowd to bark at a kitten, and Dorothy at last found him. She picked him up and ran towards the balloon.
She was within a few steps of it, and Oz was holding out his hands to help her into the basket, when, crack! went the ropes, and the balloon rose into the air without her.
"Come back!" she screamed. "I want to go, too!"
"I can't come back, my dear," called Oz from the basket. "Good-bye!"

Cub Scout Day Camp

Tia Marissa on last day of camp (left)

Joe after tug-of-war. (right)

Joe building a treasure box (left). Joe loading the car on the first day of camp. (right)

Cub scout day camp was awesome this year! Joe got to spend 5 days at Camp Berry, crafting, singing, swimming, hiking, playing. The theme was 'under the sea'. They had the ODNR come to the camp pond with a special boat, equipped with electrical generator and special electrodes. When they turned on the juice, all the fish around the boat came floating up to the top, stunned. They showed the boys all the different kinds of fish in the pond. "Don't try this at home". (The ODNR uses this boat to count fish for stocking purposes). On the last day of camp, the whole family got to go out for pizza and ice cream. Tia Marissa was helping us out that week, and got to visit Joe at camp. Will really enjoyed having a running partner for a few days.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Cousin Xchanges

Emma and Amaya got to hang out together for a week here in Findlay. Joe went to Columbus for the week to hang with Izak.

At the end of the week, we all went to COSI and saw the Star Wars exhibit there.

Bike Mechanic

Joe's bike got a flat and he fixed it all by himself!

Elydia's First Birthday

We celebrated Elydia's first birthday at the Tompkins family reunion. The best part was the rabbit pinata filled with 17# of candy. Elydia took the first whack with Mom's help. The funnest part for her was watching all of the cousins and kids of cousins and uncles giving their whacks. Yes - that's uncle Ben, with Elydia standing up and cheering!

Joe's First Day of Summer Vacation

Joe started off the summer with a real Mohawk! He kept it for about 2 hours, and then he went with a full buzz.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Lawnmower Girl

Another sign that our little Anna isn't so little anymore - she is mowing the lawn. And she does a fine job, too, I might add. She is also looking for babysitting jobs...

May Flowers / Bungee Run Joe

I don't know if we had much rain in April, but we definitely have May flowers. We have a flower bed just outside our back door that is in full bloom. Here's Amaya standing in them. You have never seen so much beauty per square foot!

And here's Joe at the Cooper Tire picnic, on Memorial Day. He's doing the bungee run. He had to get a running start and see how far out he could get the bean bag before the bungee cord pulled him back. It was steamin' hot today. We had a great time. Just a few more days til summer vacation!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Approved for Takeoff!

Linda has been recovering from surgery for the past two weeks. This week she got the OK from the doc to start driving again, which should help reduce cabin fever. She still can't pick up Elydia. We are thankful for everyone's prayers and support.

Flyin' High on Easter Weekend

We visited Akron on Easter weekend, and all of our kids had a great time playing with the cousins. This shows Anna and Sarah getting air time on the trampoline. We also heard Chris speak at church (he just returned from his mission to Spain), launched a rocket, went to Gabe's (ladies), went on a bike hike (Dan and Will, Will got a flat tire), and just had a nice time.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

cousin vs. cousin

This is a picture of Joe and his cousin Izak. They are playing basketball. Izak won! They both seem to like basketball.