Saturday, April 29, 2017


This weekend was father-sons camp out but since I have no sons at home I had to borrow a son for the weekend. I home teach Tom and Betty Sellers and their grandson Devon needed a Father and I needed a son wo off we went. Devon's brother Noah wasn’t interested in going camping so it was me and Devon.
I left work early, got my gear all packed, made some tin foil dinners, picked up Devon and off we went.
A few years ago I took Noah to a camp out and he said about ten words to me the entire camp out, Devon got in my truck and he was chatting up a storm the entire way there. I had him help me set up the tent and build a fire and once we got the dinners cooking he was off playing with his friends.
I know I’ve mentioned this before but this weekend it was reemphasized again today. When my boys were young I would go to bed somewhere around midnight and the kids were up all night long. I’m not exactly sure when they came to bed. Now days the kids are off to bed by 10:00. That was true last night except for Devon, that boy was more like my boys and he wanted to stay up as late as he could. That was fine with me because he told me he normally gets up at 5:00 and I did NOT want him waking me up at 5:00. My hope was that if he went to bed late then perhaps he would sleep in a bit longer.
Well come 10:00 all the boys were in bed and only the adults were sitting around the fire talking. I should say the adults and Devon. He was still chatting away. The amazing thing was that he was talking about interesting things. It wasn’t a tedious conversation but rather an interesting one. Ephraim at one point even said, “You know Devon, this campfire is a lot more interesting since you came around”. Devon had been with his friends until they all went to be and then he came and joined us.
Finally we broke camp and crawled in bed at which point Devon continued talking. I think he finally nodded off around midnight. I tried reading my book for a bit but it wasn’t going to happen.
The next thing I know I hear Devon's small voice saying, “Brother Leavitt”. I checked my watch and thank goodness it was 6:45. I could hear all kinds of stuff going on outside, so I assumed Devon wanted to get up. I started climbing out of my sleeping bag and Devon said, “I think maybe I’m going to lie here a bit longer”. Hallelujah! I was all for that.
After breakfast they had a bunch of different activities planned. The first were the stilts. Mark Morris had brought about five pairs of stilts and no one was having much luck walking on them. As it turns out, Lester and I had a stilts when we were teenagers and we walked all over the place on them. It only took a few tries and I was up and walking like I was fifteen again. With a few pointers there were about five of us that got somewhat proficient on them. Ephraim challenged me to a race and it was no contest.
Other activities included marshmallow launchers, catapults and water rockets. I asked Devon if he wanted to build a water rocket but much to my disappointment he wanted to play some dodge ball type of game where you had two teams and each person had two tennis balls. They had boundaries and they were running around trying to take each other out. It looked like a blast and if you got hit you were dead no matter who hit you. You couldn’t even pick up someone else’s ball or you died. If you went out of bounds (even to get your ball) you died.
Anyway, I chose rockets. I was watching them make the rockets and there was this little kid in tears begging someone to help him make a rocket. His Dad had several boys there so I decided to help him out. We made a great rocket.

Finally we packed up camp and came home. There is a somewhat famous bakery on the way home called Dudley’s. We had to stop there and grab a pastry each. My walnut swirl was delicious. This afternoon I painted another wall in our front room and then took a shower. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ragnar Weekend

What a great weekend this has been. It was a combination of all the things that I love best. Two of my kids came home and I got to run all weekend long. We also participated in a bunch of very fun activities. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before because this is my seventh Ragnar Relay but the Ragnar is a 200 mile relay race with twelve participants. Each participant runs three times for an average of five miles each. I say an average of five miles but many are shorter and some are very long. My shortest run was 2.5 miles and my longest was eight. Justin on the other hand had a run that was over twelve miles long. Poor guy. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep though.
There were two vans and I was the first runner in the first van. The good thing about that is that I was also the first runner done so most of Saturday I got to just sit back and cheer everyone else on. The down side is that we had to be in Huntington Beach in time for a 6:45 start. That meant getting up at 4:00AM. If getting up at 4:00 is not bad enough, Kira and Justin and most of their friends landed at the airport at midnight. By the time we got everyone home and in bed it was already 2:00 so I had all of two hours of sleep. We then ran all day and drove back to the house and were in bed by 1:00AM and up for our next run by 3:00AM. Another two hour sleep. But who needs sleep when you’re having fun?

Let me introduce you to our team. Most of the team members are good friends of Justin & Kira’s and are novices to the whole running thing. Novices or not, I was clearly the weak link in the team. I’m not very fast but we aren’t going for any trophies. Referring to the first picture of our team, back row from left to right we have:
Fred (me), Luke Haberman (who is married to Bethany Haberman who is the daughter of Barton Lybbert who is my mom’s first cousin), Kyla Conway, Shane Walton, Sarah Taylor (my youngest), Kira Palmer (my eldest), Dave Holland, Jolie Holland, Sheena Smith (who is the daughter of Loni Sheen who I went to school with and who is the daughter of Norman Sheen, my fifth grade teacher who was rather scary),
The front row left to right:
Stacy Walton, Bethany Haberman (my second cousin), Justin Palmer (my son-in-law), Matt Smith.
I got to know all of these guys quite well over the weekend and they are all good people.

My first run was only 2.3 miles and I ran along Huntington Beach the whole way. Who could ask for a better run? I then handed off to Jolie Holland who ran for 3.8 miles.
Jolie handed off to Sheena who ran for 6.3 miles and in turn handed off to Matt who ran for 3.2 miles. Matt handed off to Kira who ran for 6.8 miles who handed off to Kyla who finished our vans turn by running up a long and ugly six mile hill in the heat of the day. Kyla handed off to Justin who started off Van #2. We then went and got something to eat. I of course didn’t have breakfast since I was the first to run. Breakfast was a few street tacos finished off with a couple of donuts. To be more precise, I had a glazed donut and a cronut. In case you were wondering, a cronut is a deep fried croissant. Very good.

Every relay has some difficult challenge that they reward with a special medal. In an earlier Ragnar Alex ran up a very steep ski hill and earned a “King of the Hill” medal. In our last Ragnar in Las Vegas Alex also earned won a special medal for running a 12 mile run across a rough and rocky trail.
In this race Justin earned a special medal by running a 12.2 mile leg. Basically he ran a half marathon and handed off to Shane and Stacy who ran 9.3 miles. Stacy had surgery recently and wasn’t sure she would be able to run so she didn’t sign up but since she is able to run and all of her friends are running her and her husband Shane ran their legs together.

Shane & Stacy handed off to my sweet Sarah who ran for 3.1 miles and handed off to cousin Bethany. Bethany ran for 2.5 miles and handed off to Luke who ran for 7.1 miles. Luke handed off to Dave who finished off Van 2 by running 4.9 miles to Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. Because this was a beach and it was in the heat of the day you can imagine that Justin and his like-minded friends couldn’t help but get wet.
As with many of Justin’s experiences, there is a funny story to be told here. The boys are of course rolling around and playing in the surf when an especially large wave crashed on them and this wave filled Daves shorts with a very large pile of sand. As the wave is washing back out it is pulling so hard on his shorts that it ripped them entirely off of him. Unfortunately for Dave (or should I say, unfortunately for anyone watching him) when Daves shorts left, he was fully exposed to all who were on the beach. I wasn’t there but I understand it was a traumatic experience for all.
When one van hands off to the other van that is called a “major exchange” because both vans have to be at the exchange and it can get very crowded. This major exchange was unique. Van 2 ended up on the north side of Camp Pendleton and getting permits to run across the base can be tricky sometimes so they had van 1 start on the south side of Camp Pendleton. When Van 2 pulled in, they radioed down and I started off.
I started at 6:45 pm from Oceanside Pier so it was just starting to get dark and they made me wear my reflective vest and a head light. It was a very peaceful run with the first mile or so along the beach and the remaining miles were along highway 76 next to a river. Other than getting a ton of bugs in my face it was a beautiful run. I ran for 4 miles and handed off to Jolie again and that is how it went.
Sarah has always put everything she has into her runs and this weekend was no different. At the end of her first run she headed off to the side and barfed her junk food up into the flower bed. I have seen her do this many times after her cross-country meets so it was no big deal to me but it sure made some of the others concerned.
Just to keep things interesting some people switched out their runs. Kira and Justin spent part of their honeymoon in La Jolla so Kira thought it would be a real treat if she could run through La Jolla so Justin traded with her. Kyla was also a bit worried about her second run so she also switched with Justin. Poor Justin went from leg #19 to leg #17 and then to leg #18. That means he went from the most beautiful run in the entire event to a nasty ugly hill. A poor trade for him but what a treat for Kira. Check out her running pictures and the view from a trail she was on.
My last run started at about 4:00 in the morning again leaving from the Callaway Golf Headquarters. Pretty early on in the run I saw that me and another runner were running at nearly the same pace so I slowed down and let her catch up and we talked the whole way. It is so much fun when you can visit on a run. Her name was Cherise and she was from Corona. She has two boys and a girl and one of her team members was 93 years old. His name is Ernie. Ernie runs a 28 minute mile. I guess that means that most people on her team are pretty darned fast. The eight mile run that we were on is the longest Cherise has ever run and her kids think she is nuts.
We actually saw Cherise and her team at the Cracked Egg where we ate breakfast after our van was done their night run. In some ways it’s sad to think that I will never see her again.

Another exciting event happened while Kira was running. Even though Kira was in Van #1, since she traded with Justin she ended up running while Van #2 was supposed to be running. Her entire run was along the beach through La Jolla. This gave us plenty of opportunities to stop and cheer her on and then drive up a short distance and cheer her on again. The problem was that both the streets and the sidewalks were narrow. One time we drove up and stopped but when Justin opened the car door a runner nearly ran into his door. Both Justin and the runner were quite startled. Justin apologized to the runner and there was no harm done.
Moments later we drove ahead again and we repeated the same maneuver and the exact same runner nearly ran into Justin’s door a second time. Shortly after that I was driving along and there was a big puddle in the road. I suppose I could have gone around the puddle but the streets were narrow and there was little room to do that and I suppose I could have slowed to a crawl but it was a hot day and I figured the runner could use a refreshing shower so I created a small tsunami on the sidewalk and we’re not exactly sure if I got the runner or not. We do know for sure he was NOT happy. Shortly after we were waiting for Kira to run by and that runner ran by and made a nasty comment to us. We avoided him after that.
About half an hour later we receive a text message letting us know that it had been reported that our van had intentionally splashed a runner and then hit him with our door. We replied assuring them that both incidents really were accidents and that they had definitely happened to two different runners. We have been wondering ever since if one of the runners reported us or if there was an unrelated witness. Some people are just party poopers.
So it gets even more exciting. You may have noticed that in many of our pictures we are wearing “Volunteer” hats. The volunteer hats were really cool this year so some members of the team made it their mission to acquire a hat for every member of the team. They used every method you could think of including begging, borrowing, bribing, purchasing or in at least one case stealing them. After the race was over we received another text message directing us to return the two hats that had been stolen from a particular exchange point. Once again we are curious as to how we were found out. Was it a witness or a camera? In any case we responded with our sincere apologies and asked them what they would have us do. They responded and commented that we had some bad apples in Van #2 but told us to keep the hats and pay it forward. We felt a bit foolish but thought it rather funny that Van #2 got blamed for everything because it all happened while they were supposed to be running. 
Dave finished up the entire race for the team. We all joined him right before the end and we all ran in together. That is always exciting but probably not nearly as exciting as it was for Dave. I was runner twelve one year and it is such a thrill when your entire team joins you.

We hung around at the finish line for a while and got a free massage and sat on the beach for a bit.
We finally decided that we were all hungry so we headed to the San Diego Pier Café for dinner. This place is right beside Seaport Village. I had fish and chips. It is a cool little Café that sits over the water. By the time we were done dinner we were all pretty much dragging our feet home for a well-deserved sleep.
Sunday morning we all got up early and caught sacrament meeting in our ward. Everybody but Kira was heading home on Sunday so we decided to leave right after the sacrament so that they would have a chance to see some of the sights in town.  

The plan was to see the cave, walk along LaJolla cove and check out the Dr Suess trees, and check out the Childrens Beach and then Wind n Sea. Unfortunately there was some big car show in the area and parking was horrendous. Some of us were able to see the caves but the rest of us met up at the Children’s beach. From there we walked on down to Wind n Sea.

At one point while the girls were all tanning on the beach the guys all ran into the ocean. After we couldn’t take the cold any longer we decided to try and bury Justin in the sand. It was fun because waves kept coming up and cleaning the sand off of him. The best part was when a big wave came and totally buried Justin. It caught all of us off guard.
Sarah had to drive back to St George so she left around noon and alas, before we knew it it was time to take the rest of them to the airport. Because that was my only night with Kira she decided to take me on a date. I loved it. She really wanted to see Cameron Sczempka in his play, Finding Neverland. He was leaving the show and it was his last showing that night so she checked if there were any tickets left and off we went.
Monday morning we had a relaxing breakfast and enjoyed a few hours together and then I took Kira to the airport and went to work. Kira then flew up to Utah to see Alycia’s new baby.
What a great weekend.
Sarah, Kira and Kyla at the finish line on Silver Strand Beach.


As team captain, Justin had everyone kneel while he said something about them and put the medals around their necks. Here he is giving Jolie her medal.

I took this picture while I ran along the beach near Oceanside Pier. What a beautiful run.

This is
the cool medal we received. When you put all twelve medals together there is a message on the back of them.

The team after Sacrament Meeting

We had a picnic lunch on the lawn in front of the temple. Who knew they closed the gates on Sunday morning?

Me and my girls

A braiding party

I’ve never had a massage that felt so good.


Do you see that seal that looks an awful lot like a rock?

My girls

I was sad that I wasn’t in the same van with Sarah but it looks like she had a lot of fun anyway.

 I really think Justin is part polar bear. That water really is cold. I can’t even blame it on fat anymore since Justin and I both weigh about the same now.

We were really tired.

Kira and her seal

Kira is always chasing rainbows.

Kira and I at Finding Neverland

And while we’re having all of this fun this is what Mom was dealing with in Utah. Sorry Mom.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Sawyer William Crowley

Alycia just had her baby. He was born about 20 minutes ago. I think her due date was Monday so that is pretty good. Lisa had booked a flight to go up there that was supposed to land tonight but last week she got all panicky and decided to go up early. She didn’t need to go up that early but it is a good thing she didn't take her original flight or she would have missed it all.
Alycia has been having contractions for a few days now but when she woke up this morning they felt different and we have all been waiting with bated breath. Well tonight around 6:30 (7:30 Utah time) things started happening fast and then a mere two hours later Sawyer William Crowley entered this world.
We had a Crowley pool going on about when he would be born and Brandon came closest, he wanted him born on April 6th and picked 12:01am April 6. He missed it by two and a half hours. Pretty good Brandon. I haven’t got all the details of the birth yet but from the pictures Alycia and the baby both look well.
Sawyer William Crowley
Born April 5, 9:29 pm
8 lbs, 1 oz
Length 21.7 inches  
(that is a long baby)

Welcome to the family Sawyer!