It was a “Tough Mudder” kind of day

My Air Force son, Ricky, ran in his first Tough Mudder event (www.toughmudder.com) on April 12, in northern California. One of the dudes in his squadron, the 60th Aircraft Squadron, organized a group of seven for Tough Mudder. They represented another great nationwide cause, Run for the Fallen (www.runforthefallen.org), which runs one mile for every service member killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Since I have this “thing” about mud … I basically don’t like it … I was having a hard time understanding what was the big draw for the event. I mean … everyone is smiling in the photographs for Pete’s sake.

After a little Facetime with Ricky, I now totally get it. Ricky started off by proudly showing off his scraped and scratched-up knees. OK … so I showed off mine. The dog had pulled me down in the groomer’s parking lot the other day but I wasn’t exactly proud of my battered knees.

This is what I learned about Tough Mudder. Tough Mudder is a sponsor of Wounded Warrior Project. Mudders have raised over $6 million for the organization whose mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. Since 2010, there have been over 100 Tough Mudder events all over the United States. 80% of the participants are teams and 78% of those that compete complete the race. So far, I’m pretty impressed.

The course on April 12, was located in Patterson, California, a small farming community. The course was 12 miles in length with 15 obstacles. Ricky and his group finished all the obstacles!

“I was worried about the monkey bars, the Chunky Monkey, because I have pencil arms, but I made it! I had two favorite obstacles. One was the Artic Enema. It reminded me of jumping into a wine chiller. The other was Walk the Plank, a twelve foot high dive into muddy water. I really like the water ones,” said Ricky.

There was also a buddy carry event, a log carry and a one called Killah Gorilla. Use your imagination on that last one. The whole event took their group 5-1/2 hours. It had water and food stations along the way and a beer tent at the end.

At the end, they give you a head band, t-shirt and beer. All in all I’d say Tough Mudder is Ricky’s new favorite thing to do … especially since he signed up for the next Tough Mudder event in Tahoe in August!

Most of the photographs were taken courtesy of Tough Mudder.

Jan’s house quilt

I belong to an awesome quilt bee group called “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” We get together twice a month at someone’s house and generally do what ladies do … quilt, inspire each other, laugh a lot, chat and sometimes even go on field trips like to museums, movies, quilt shops … fun stuff like that. I can’t recall when I joined … well over five years ago I guess. I just know these talented ladies have also made me a better quilter.

So when someone moves away … I hate when that happens … we make the member leaving a house-themed quilt … in secret. The bee member that leaves may know we are up to something, but they don’t get to see our parting gift quilt until it is completely finished. Since I’ve been in the bee, we have made one for Karen and Toni … casualties of retiring husbands. I miss them both. Then Jan moved to Oregon. Another one of those retiring things. Miss her also! Only this time Jan’s house sold very fast and then … poof … she was gone. The moving van pulled out of her driveway way before we had time to get the quilt finished.

So fast forward a few months … Jan finally received her quilt in the mail this week. Now I can blog about it. I thought it would be fun to write about the evolution of our quilt to Jan! We’ve been taking pictures for a few months now. The first time Tina, Moni, Loretta, Carol, Gwenn and I all met to discuss the project, we tossed around quilt books with house patterns. We finally chose one from one of Loretta’s books. She has quite the awesome quilt library! The pattern we picked is a “Piece O’Cake” design called “Houses @ Maple Ridge.” We all agreed after we stitched the block it would probably be our new favorite.

After settling on the design, we kicked around the colors for the individual blocks. Everyone brought scraps from their stash and played with fabric choices. I chose a medium and navy blue house with a yellow and navy roof. Each block would have a white background. Once everyone had their blocks stitched up they were auditioned for a position in the quilt. Toni, who moved away before Jan, even made one of the blocks. Toni is not pictured in our final photograph, but certainly resides in our hearts as well as in one of the quilt blocks.

After the nine blocks were joined, sashing and borders were added to complete the top. Next, we pin-basted the top to the batting and backing. Tina worked her magic machine-quilting the quilt and making the awesome label for the back of the quilt. I sewed the binding to the quilt and Carol hand-stitched the binding to the back. It was definitely a team effort!

Tell me what you think!