Thanksgiving 2023…

Between all the Turkey Trot prep and the Turkey Trot, I managed to make 130 rolls. 🙂

I typically make them the day before, freeze them in their knotted but not risen state. The morning of Thanksgiving, I pull them out and they rise while we’re trotting. We get home, and bake away before heading to eat with family. This year was no different. There are few things I like more at the Thanksgiving table than homemade rolls.

Steve’s brother hosted a beautiful dinner and we gathered with the family that was available which was about 50 people.

I can’t write a Thanksgiving post without sharing my gratitude for this guy. Thanksgiving is always a little busy around our house due to the Turkey Trot but Steve just steps up and takes care of all the things that slip through my hands. He cleans up my messes as I run out the door and he entertains the kids while I crash on the couch when it’s all said and done. He is my balance in all things.

Thanksgiving weekend we got some good family time in. One of the favorite extended family activities is cardio tennis. We showed up to the high school courts and played for hours. Although very few in the family actually played tennis in high school – they are all athletic, very competitive and have had experience with the sport. So cardio tennis with the gang is so much fun. Hallie was a shining star and it was fun for her cousins to see her play some since most don’t live in the area. Hunter also held his own and he’s participated in this game for a few years with not as much confidence.

I wish we would have taken a picture when we had two courts full of family – instead we snapped one after half the group left. Still a reminder of how awesome it is to have so many fun cousins.

We also attended our last ASU game for the season and we haven’t seen stands this full in a few years (most of them were UofA fans but still – a full stadium is fun to be a part of). Sadly ASU had a poor showing for their final game and left us wondering if they’ll ever be decent again.

Thanksgiving week was fun and exhausting on so many levels. I’m grateful for our little family. They are the center of my world and I love it. I’m grateful for all the extended family we were able to gather with. We talked, we swam, we played, we connected. They are as good as they come and I find myself in awe with just how fortunate we are to be one big family. And now we get to ride this high into the Christmas season.

Turkey Trot 2023…

I often get asked the same question over and over again regarding the Gilbert Turkey Trot – it’s the question as to whether the Turkey Trot is easier to manage year after year because we know what we’re doing. Although there’s some truth to that – there’s also new challenges year after year as we grow and it often feels like we’re figuring it out every year.

What started as a small neighborhood run has grown to 5,500 runners plus spectators (a record for us) and every year we’re surprised at the growth. None of us have any experience in running large events like this or even more particular a race, but we’ve figured it out and we do it for charity.

These three ran the 5K and they all crushed it.

These ones ran the Fun Run.

And here’s some behind the scenes:

We buy doughnuts by the pallet. Hunter was in charge of unloading all these doughnuts. I don’t even want to count how many doughnuts our family consumed between the packet pickup, race day and the day after.

The local shirt printer we work with is awesome and he is so good to us – printing all the runner, volunteer, trot team, glasses and brainfood shirts. And he willingly adds to our order two days before the race when our registration is higher than we anticipated.

Hallie, Hunter and Bennett volunteer at the packet pickup with me the night before the race. They are paid in pizza and swag and that is enough for them. The older they get, the more helpful they are and they know how to work. I think Cannon and Briggs are now old enough and next year we will be able to volunteer as a family.

This is my friend Ruth and she started Az Brainfood which is one of the two charities we raise money for. She is an integral part in our packet pickup and onsite registration and more importantly we are a team outside of the Turkey Trot. If I’m working on a project, Ruth is by my side and vice versa. Grateful for friends like her.

This team is why the turkey trot functions as it does. They have vision and are willing to serve and they’re pretty fun to work with.

Grateful for another successful year!

Thankful…Briggs’ edition…

Before Thanksgiving we attended Briggs’ classroom “family traditions” learning event. His school is pushing regular learning events where parents come in to the classroom to see presentations. They’re usually pretty quick – think 2nd graders – and sometimes I wonder if they’re even worth attending.

But then I walk in and see my kid beaming and I’m reminded why I show up. He wants us there – even if it’s for less than 5 minutes and then he begs us to take him out of school early.

(It made me think of a video I saw earlier this week of kids spotting their parents at events and how they light up. Take a look if you want to smile.)

Briggs is thankful for the following hobbies: Soccer, football, basketball, tennis, baseball, and… art.

The people he’s thankful for: Family, grandparents, teachers, friends and best friends.

Food he’s thankful for: Cotton candy, pears and grapes.

Gilbert Turkey Trot…Thanksgiving 2022…

November may be my busiest month of the year as I work to get the turkey trot details wrapped up and then the event itself. It ends up being a family affair as the whole family is involved.

The day before Thanksgiving, we have the packet pickup for the race. Hallie, Hunter and Bennett join me and help in different stations; checking people in and handing out t-shirts.

The morning of the race Hunter and a family friend joined my bright and early to finish last minute setting up. This is a trailer load of just half the donuts we had for the race.

I’m amazed that each and every year this race grows – which is awesome for our charities. As I started out on the family fun run with my family, it was such a fun sight to see people spilling out from the mall parking lot. I can’t remember the last time I ran a mile and I’m embarrassed to admit how out of shape I am!

For the first year ever, we didn’t have a stroller or a scooter and those little legs ran the whole race. There was a point where Briggs’ legs were tired and he was ready to walk. Talking to himself, he said, “I just really want that medal!” and those little legs started running again. I didn’t tell him he would have received the medal regardless if he walked or ran.

In years’ past, Hallie has seemed to disappear with her cousins when it was time to run, claiming they accidentally missed it. But not this year – she was a willing participant with her cousin Claire.

Last year Bennett and Hunter both really trained for the 5K – this year their only training has been soccer practice/games. Bennett was adamant that he would not be running this year and yet days before the race he said he would do it – he was going to earn a medal. I was so happy to see him cross the finish line and the only thing he said to me was, “I think I’m going to throw up. No, seriously, I’m just want to throw up. Luckily, he didn’t need one of the many buckets that were used more frequently than I would have imagined.

I was standing at the finish line taking pictures of everyone running through and somehow I missed Hunter, not even sure how that was possible but he ran right by me and I didn’t see him. He was proud of his 21 minute completion and even more proud he beat his uncle’s time who runs marathons.

Hallie was happy to be surrounded by cousins. So many of them have moved on to college so she really enjoys when they all come home to visit.

This is the crew behind the turkey trot. The crew that sits in meetings and determines just how many doughnuts we need this year and how many barricades we need for the finish line. Every person with a very specific skillset and role on the team. It’s an entertaining group to say the least.

After we put on a successful race, it was time to put on a successful dinner. Steve’s brother graciously hosted (as they have done so many years in the past) and every family did their part to contribute to the dinner.

After dinner, more family gathered for dessert and games. We spent the evening outside in competition and then brought the competition inside for some group games. There is never a dull moment with this group. People were winning money and others were jumping in the pool with all their clothes or serenading us with song.

As we climbed in the car later that night, we rode home listening to Christmas music recounting the days events. And then all the weeks of preparation caught up with me and I crashed – I was good for nothing Friday, but it was a good recovery day.

Our little runner…

At the beginning of the school year, Bennett was setting goals for the children and youth program for our church. I encouraged him to set a running goal that would help him in soccer. He decided he would run one mile, two times a week – a great goal seeing as though he had never run much before. He mastered this goal rarely missing a run.

As the turkey trot drew near, I was working on the design for the medals. (A first for our turkey trot). When Bennett saw the design he asked if he could have one. I told him they were for the runners of the 5K and Bennett decided he was going to be earn a medal. It was just 4 weeks from Thanksgiving and I helped him with a running plan that would increase his one mile to three miles in time for the race – the plan also included getting him some running shoes. He didn’t even bat an eye – he took the plan and started running with it (pun intended!). This kid is goal oriented and he achieves what he sets out to accomplish. When the medals were shipped to our house just a week before the race, Bennett got to practice wearing one and he was confident that a week later he would earn it.

Thanksgiving morning rolled around and as a board, we realized we had enough medals to give to all the 5K runners as well as the kids of the fun run. Over the intercom system, they announced kids of the fun run would receive a medal and you should have seen the daggers that Bennett shot my direction as he realized he didn’t even have to run the 5K to get the medal! 🙂 I reminded him that he had trained for this very moment and he would know he truly earned it.

So off he ran, with his cousin by his side and I just prayed that he would do okay in the sea of 3500 people running the race with him.

When Bennett crossed the finished line, he looked exhausted but he had completed the race faster than any of his training. It was a proud mom moment. I wanted a few more pictures, but he was not having it – he just wanted his medal.

I hope he remembers this day. I hope he remembers how hard he trained for something he thought was impossible not too long ago. I hope he sees this medal and beams with pride for his accomplishment. And I hope he runs it again next year!