Thursday, December 27, 2007

Welcome Home Tilde...

We were finally able to go pick up our newest family member and Christmas surprise today. Matilda, better known as Tilde, is a 7 week old Cocker Spaniel/Jack Russell mix we adopted from the Lucas County Humane Society in Chariton, Iowa. So far, so good. Introductions have went well and even Jasper seems tolerant thus far. We have yet to make it through our first night (and I'm sure lots of poop and potty accidents) and by the little amount of time she spent in her kennel on the drive home, it could be a noisy night. But how can you resist that cute little face?

Huge a pet you love today!


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Surprise...

There's nothing that brighten the spirits like a Christmas Surprise! This year we've had our share of disappointments and stresses, and wonder as we head into 2008 what the new year will bring. After much deliberation, Scott and I came up with a brilliant plan for a Christmas surprise that we hoped would help our current day to day stress just melt away. Something we've been talking about for a while, but hadn't actually made happen. We've been bursting at the seams for the past week trying to keep our surprise a secret. We hope you enjoy sharing this bright moment from our Christmas morning festivities.


Monday, December 17, 2007

In a world of glass...

Early each morning we wake to find the trees etched white from the night's frost.

Frost gives way to glass sculptures as the sun travels west in the clear blue ocean of the sky. Light dances and plays like happy fairies through the many icy branches.

The sun sets. The street lights illuminate. Our glass sculptures stand glistening against the black of night.





Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I am a Biggest Loser junkie. I'll admit it. Not a lot of TV is "appointment TV" for me, but I eagerly await each episode. First, as a trainer/fitness professional, I love to watch for tips/comparrison/validation. Second, as someone who has always struggled with her weight and body image, I find the journey the participants take to be an extremely motivating and inspirational story. I think if you've ever struggled with your weight, for whatever reason, there's always someone to whom you can relate. I would love to go live on The Biggest Loser campus and let Bob put me through the paces for a week. I feel like even with all my education/knowledge, I have so much to learn about my own struggle with weight and body image. I often feel like an imposter in my job because I struggle modeling what I teach...whether it's stress, or fatigue, or just laziness...I too have a hard time putting it all together. At the same time, it just goes to show, it's not an easy task for anyone...not even a fitness professional!

Each week as they show the update of the voted off participant, I get re-inspired to focus on my own struggle once and for all...13 weeks in a row now. Anyway, after looking through my old year book I've been wondering...would it even be POSSIBLE to weigh what I did in high school? Not that, that has been my goal, but don't you always wonder in the back of your mind? (Fess up ladies, you know it's true.)

So today I did the math. At my current weight, 40 pounds heaver than my average weight my senior year, I have approximately 15 pounds MORE lean body weight than back then! (Luckily we did body fat measurements once in gym and for some reason I remember mine!) So, in order to weigh what I did in high school, I'd have to:

A) either lose a rediculous amount of body fat, putting me BELOW the healthy range


B) lose lean body mass in addition to body fat

Being as I'm pretty darn proud of how strong my body is these days, I'm not ok with either of those options. Perspective.

The journey for me continues. I'm glad that even though I continue to struggle with the scale (low rise jeans, swimsuits, and slim fit dresses) I have found the confidence to love and care for my body at whatever size and to appreciate all that it has given me over the years. That in itself is worth so much more than fitting into a size 6...or 8...or 10....or...


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Things I learned while looking through my high school year book with my 6-year-old...

  • 15-years (how long it's been since I was a senior) is a hard concept for a 6-year-old to grasp being as it's more than twice her age!
  • The absence of "Daddy" in photos is abnormal because in her world, we've always been together.
  • Who are all these other people with whom I'm pictured and why doesn't she know any of them?
  • Ironic? This retired (at least for now) assistant basketball coach wasn't even pictured in her high school varsity team photo.
  • Is it bad when you look through the pictures of your classmates and you're surprised that "that guy" was in your class and not a year younger?
  • Yes, even though we didn't think so at the time, we had bad hair too!
  • Senior quotes are stupid, but apparently continue to be a right of passage.
  • High school is like child birth...after a while, even though you know it was painful, all you can remember are the fun times.
  • Even though many of us haven't kept in touch over the years, and even though many of us have changed and gone directions in life we may have never imagined as seniors, I think I'll always feel a sort of primal connection to those individuals with whom I shared the high school experience.

On a related, but separate note: I find it interesting when moments pop up that cause me to unexpectedly revert back to that awkward teenage girl from so many years ago? Why is that?


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Normal Afternoon at Our House...

Brea loves to talk on her toy phones...especially to Pa-Pa (Grandpa). Yesterday she was going on and on, having quite the conversation. Of course when I got out the camera in an attempt to document her cuteness, she clammed up. Regardless, it's so fun to watch her I had to post this any way. Brea LOVES watching herself on the computer, so we've watched this over and over again. Her little unexpected toot has given us plenty of comic relief. What better way to relieve tension than with potty humor?!?!?

(The toot is really quiet so you have to have your volume up pretty loud.)


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness...

This weekend my family and I were recipients of a random act of kindness. Someone who attends (or teaches) at the studio where I instruct left us a very generous, thoughtful, and totally anonymous gift. A truly selfless and loving gift, which brings much warmth to our hearts during this stressful time in our lives.

The act of giving in the spirit of honoring the interconnected nature of the universe has always been an important part of our lives. Whether it's passing along outgrown clothes to families in need, donating to worthy causes, volunteering our time, being responsible consumers of goods and resources, there's so much we can do to foster what is good and peace filled on this planet. As our girls grow older, we've tried to make giving (beyond gifts of desire) more a part of our holiday traditions. Even this year when things are tight, we're planning to participate in some programs to hopefully bring love and peace to those in need. We give because we are rich with things money can't, love, safety, the list could go on and on. I never want our family to take for granted those riches, as not everyone is as blessed with such wealth.

Being on the receiving end of a random act of kindness is a good learning experience for me. While I find it so easy to give, I often find it hard to receive. So I work on receiving graciously and in the loving nature with which the gesture was intended. We truly appreciate the wonderful and loving community of which we are a part, and we're so thankful for those who make this world a better place by their random acts of kindness.

Since we'll probably never know who's esponsible for our gift, we send out this thanks to the cosmos. May your life and family be blessed as you have blessed ours!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Doing good...

Test your vocabulary skills and help feed the world's hungry all at once.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Funny Faces...

One day we were all sitting around in the office and I just picked up our little point and shoot camera and snapped off pictures of each of my lovies. Scott returned the favor for me. The result...not necessarily the best photos, but they make me smile. Say cheese!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A mermaid, a puppy, and a giant balloon...

Another successful Halloween! What fun it was this year to have Lexi help me with the construction of her costume. We had interestingly deep conversations during our sewing amazes what a 6 year old thinks about! Fun was had by all and what a gorgeous coats needed for trick-or-treating!

To top off the holiday, today when Brea and I went to the grocery store, the cashier gave her this giant balloon. It's gone everywhere with her since!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Unexpected Answers...

Soul searching.

I think we all it at some level throughout our lives. And as we age (this coming from a young woman in relationship to the age which I can be expected to live if I'm lucky), I think the searching changes as our life stages change. Sometimes though, many of our searches have a common theme. A theme that helps us to uncover who we are and just what we're looking for.

I've started to notice that often my common theme during these times of wonderment is validation. When it comes down to it, when I find myself questioning something in my life, what I'm really looking for is validation...let me clarify, validation from an outside being/force. Validation that my thoughts, my feelings, my actions are good, correct, well...valid. (This blog is a perfect example as I eagerly await comments on post to validating their content!) Strongly attached to that need for validation is my fear of failing or causing disappointment...and as I'm becoming increasingly aware of, my fear of success.

I'm a pleaser. Always have been. My mom would tell you that even as a little kid, I was a pleaser. I was a cinch (I'm sure I'm over simplifying this a bit) to discipline because often all my parents had to do was give me "the look". The look of disappointment which could just as easily send me into tears just as a good spanking would for most kids. (I was raised in the 70s and 80s after all.) Failure just isn't an option.

But what I've become more aware of is that often I change course, even when I'm on a good path, not only to prevent or sometimes cover-up (something else I'm becoming more aware of) failure, but also to avoid success. Why? Do I not feel that I'm worthy of true success? Am I afraid of the attention that success could bring? I guess that something I'll continue to ponder. But I'm getting off topic here...

At any rate, once again I've felt like I've been in a cycle of searching for validation. On the shallow end of the search, a validation that I'm professionally doing what is best for me, my clients/students, and my family. On the deep end of the search, well I don't know that I'm ready to air that out yet as I don't know that I understand all the nuances of the complexities of the deep end myself!

Once in a while the stars all align (as they say) and an answer comes, often not in the form you expect, but if you are present in your life and willing to listen, you can "hear" it. Stars have been aligning as of late and through visits with friends, messages heard at resent workshops and speaker presentations, and finally today during a long quiet drive to Iowa City (I spend a lot of time in my mind when I drive), something clicked. It was like someone flipped the switch.

If I'm honest to my true nature, everything else will take care of itself.

It seems so simple, but how many of us really listen to that message? We try to make ourselves into someone we are not...often to please anyone and everyone except ourselves. We give into those feelings of not being "good" enough if we don't strive for more. We develop masks and faces to fit our surroundings and cover our true selves. And in the process, in the process of trying to do more, be more, have more, we make ourselves, and eventually many people around us miserable. Ironic.

My dad was a farmer. I say this not because when he died that was his "title" in life, but because I honestly believe that farming was the expression of his true nature. As a kid I remember the times when he allowed himself to live the life of a farmer as being the happiest of my childhood. But I don't really think my dad believed that being a farmer was "good" enough. I'm not sure why being as he came from a long line of farmers. So he lived his life searching for a place in life that was "better". In the end, unfortunately, I don't think it was a very happy life. While there were happy times, I myself have some pretty special memories from my childhood days, I don't know that he lived a life filled with abundant joy as I think we all hope to live.

I often joke with people about my brother and his carefree, "hippie" lifestyle. When in truth I deeply respect his ability to be so true to himself. We've grown closer over the past couple years, I'm sure as many siblings do as they traverse life as adults rather than warring little kids, and I know that the expression of his true nature doesn't always come easy. He wars internally from time to time as many of us do. But it is amazing to be around and has been an amazing gift to me as I continue my search in life for who I am. We are opposites in so many ways, but I feel us growing more alike all the time...I help him ground (I like to think so anyway) when he needs, reminds me to be more free. Yin and Yang. Balance.

So I strive to trust in and stay honest to my true nature. For once, validation has started to come from within. What an amazing feeling that is.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Grandma and her girlies...

One of the true joys of being a parent for me is watching my Mom be a Grandma. Though the distance between our homes keeps us from seeing each other as often as we would like, the bonds of love are so strong that time and distance melt away when we are together.. Her warm, open, caring spirit shines through, and the girls relish in her affection when we are together. Whether it was snuggling in bed first thing in the morning, walking to and from school, making cinnamon rolls (Lexi's favorite activity with Grandma), or just sitting around relaxing, we truly enjoyed having Mom/Grandma here for her short visit last weekend.

We love you Mom/Grandma! Thank you for the love, for the support, for the comforts. Thank you for just being you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Celebrating 6...

A sombrero, whipped cream in the face, a surprise visit from Uncle Jason, new shoes, a new hamster (Herman), a new bike, fun things to color, a colorful umbrella, yoga for elephants, a fun night at Fall Festival and a sleep over with a close friend, ice cream, giggles...all great ways to celebrate being 6. Hope you had a wonderful day honey. I love you lots!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Web overload...

So I get the whole internet social networking thing. I mean I have a Facebook account, this blog, a youTube account, my Shutterfly site for pictures, I'm even part of a wiki! I've reconnected with friends and family whom I'd lost contact with over the years through several of these services. But where does it all end?

Today I discover I have family and friends who I haven't talked to in a while on MySpace, who are not on Facebook, and in order to view their profiles and catch up with them, I'd have to sign up for yet another account. Do I really need another account? Why can't we all just get together in ONE place? I'm starting to have sign-in, password overload issues! Not to mention, how do people find the time to play with all their different pages?

I've got to go designated blog time is over :)


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Unexpected Turns...

We have this ratty old atlas at our house that has been part of our family for over 10 years. It has joined us on many a road trip. It's served as a "desk" for coloring projects, a "table" for cereal in front of Saturday morning cartoons, and has all sorts of colored circles, dots, and routes that have been used to mark trips or explain different locations to a curious child. The cover is now completely gone, but it still serves it's purpose and I don't foresee it leaving our family any time in the near future.

Because it's old, and because roadways are constantly changing, sometimes even the most well planned driving routes have to be changed mid-trip. Road construction, new bi-passes, a desire to venture off onto a more scenic route, all good reasons for changing our course. Sometimes the changes are chosen, sometimes they are not, but ultimately we always arrive at our destination and often have a fun story to tell of our adventures.

Life has just put one of those unexpected detours into our lives, throwing a new turn into what we previously thought was a smooth, well chosen road. This particular detour was not part of OUR plan and has caused some initial panic as we start to figure out a new route. But through the stress and tears, we have received an amazing out pouring of love and support. It really is often in times of struggle when we're reminded that we're not alone on our travels. There are people all along the way willing to lend a hand, a hug, an ear, words of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, a smile. We are so blessed to have so many of those people in our lives.

We have our health, our family, and our friends. Maintaining some perspective on the situation has reminded us of the many blessings we have even through this time of adversity. Not everyone who faces unexpected detours is so lucky. I'm filled with optimism, and a sense of peace, that this detour is only a temporary stress and the beginning of a new, wonderful adventure. Thank you to all who have been there to share your love and offer your support while we start down this new, unknown path. Our hearts are overflowing, and the world a kinder place, because of your generosity.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Happy Birthday to you...

Scott celebrated his 34th birthday this past Friday. He got this great card in the mail from his little sister Megan...who coincidently also celebrates her birthday on August 31st. This card cracks me's the unspoken known, right out there for all to ponder. A smile and laugh to our house it did bring.

It's hard for me to believe I've celebrated 16 of Scott's birthdays with him! It seems like no time at all has passed since that first, awkward date. Yet, I can't remember what life was like without Scott in it. We have both grown so much over the individuals and as a couple. How lucky I am to have been with the love of my life all these years. How luck we are to have so many more ahead of us.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Brea has a new infatuation with my mp3 player. She asks to listen to it and immediately starts to smile and dance once she's all set. The biggest challenge...keeping those ear buds in those little bitty ears!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

And she's off...

So much confidence as she strides down the sidewalk in front of us on her first day of school. Backpack on, lunch in hand, so much excitement she can't stop smiling. Independently she wants to enter the school and walk to her classroom by herself. Mom and Dad aren't quite ready to let go. We talk her into to letting us accompany her to her classroom door.

Hugs for all.

"Brea and I will be waiting for you after school just outside the front door," I tell her as she opens the door to her classroom while choking back a few tears that I don't want to shed in front of her.

"Ok Mom." she says with a grin.

She turns and goes.

The door shuts quietly behind her.

Her first day as a kindergartener has begun.

At lunch time Scott and I stand in the driveway watching as recess ends, searching the playground for our little girl in her striped dress. There she is! Running carelessly to her class line. Friend at hand. A bounce in her step. A smile evident from even 1/2 a block away. She's having a great day.

I anxiously await 3:00 and the ring of the bell. What will she have to say about her first day? Stories to be told I am sure. I will never tire of hearing them.

We love you sweet girl. Congrats on your big step. What an adventure you will have. Enjoy!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Hanging on to summer...

The final days of summer. School starts on Wednesday. No more lazy summer schedule; coffee at 10 on a Tuesday morning; hours spent splashing in the pool in the warmth of the summer sun. For the first time we have a grade schooler in the crowd. While exciting, a new adventure to be had, also an end of an era. A new calendar with which to coordinate our coming and going. I get sappy, emotional, reflective. My little girl, so quickly growing up, testing her independence, amazing us with her knowledge and love of life. The time has come, ready or not, here we go!


Thursday, August 9, 2007

What's in a name?

One of the fun aspects of RAGBRAI are all the teams that have been created over the years. There are of course organized teams based on common ground, such as military affiliations like Team Air Force who had over 150 riders this year. There are also a number of teams based on charities...Team Relay for Life, Team Livestrong, etc. But a majority of the teams are individuals like our little group, friends who get together and come up with a silly name. My personal favorite, Team Pirate. I mean how fun would it be to be a pirate for a whole week. The number of booty jokes/references alone are priceless. AND they have a really cool bus! There are teams named after animals...Team Cow (who's bikes and clothing look like a herd of milk cows), Team Flamingo (who wear their distinctive pink boas throughout the week), Team Whiners (who's motto is "Fork more Pork."). And of course there are plenty of team names that are just a little bit naughty and suggestive, after all, RAGBRAI for many is a time to let go of reservations and take on a bit of a different persona for a week.

So as we make plans for next year, one of the things our crew needs to consider is our team name. This year we rode "unofficially" as Team Single Brothers and Married Sisters. Team motto (the brothers' creation) "We pedal the bikes, they make the babies." Or shortened its, "We pedal, they procreate." While funny, I'm not sure I'm cool with the implication that I'm only good for "makin' the babies". Not to mention it seems a little exclusive, limiting our membership to those who fit the bill. So I thought I'd explore some other options (yes, my brain has way to much free time and not near enough stimulation!)

Team Tube Sock. Simply because I can't say tube sock without smiling. It's just funny.

Team Peeps. As in "me and my peeps"...a commonly used phrase this past RAGBRAI. Plus I'm sure we could find plenty of ways to use chic references during the week.

Team Yoda. Not because we're Star Wars fanatics, but because Yoda is wise, green, and zenny....just like us :)

Team Salt and Lime. Probably no explanation needed there!

Team Airstream. Our team-mobile next year. I wonder if we can get jerseys with a airstream on cool would that be?

Team Brothers & Sisters. No relationship status indication needed :) If you're on the team, your our brother or our sister. One big happy family!

And my personal favorite (born from the desire to incorporate my yoga practice with the fun spirit of RAGBRAI)....

Team Rub the Budda. Sounds dirty, but it not. (Though I'm imagine the brothers already have some ideas on how to use this to their advantage...)

I'm sure we'll have many heated discussions before a find decision is made. Hopefully over a cold drink with salt and lime. Regardless of the our team is sure to be had...both on and off the bike!


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Camera Clowns...

Lexi went through this stage (and isn't totally out of it yet) where she became a total clown for the camera. Brea is starting to follow suit and my attempts at catching candid shots of her (still or short movie clips) are often met with goofy grins and giggles. They are silly, silly sisters!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What does it mean?

I bought this t-shirt at the end of RAGBRAI week. It makes me smile.

Today after running some errands, we stopped at a local eating establishment for lunch. Just across the way from us were a couple of kids who kept looking at me and looking at it each other and saying, "But what does it mean?" Pretty soon one of them says I'll give you a dollar to go ask. Neither of them had the guts to actually come and ask me. It gave Scott and I a good laugh.

So an explanation (if you don't know what it means) that won't cost you a dollar....

There's this lotion, lubricant so to speak, that you can use on the chamois in your bike shorts that lessens friction and the adverse effects that can be caused by sitting on a bike seat for hours upon hours. Until last week I've never had a reason to give it a try. My tube of Chamois Butt'r was purchased after day 2 and BOY WHAT A DIFFERENCE! (Thank you little bro for the suggestion!) I can honestly say that little tube of lotion was a HUGE reason I was able to make it through the week.

Some would probably find it a bit out of character for me to be wearing such a shirt as this around town. I guess it just depends which "character" they are expecting to encounter. Last week helped me to remember it's ok to let my fun side shine through a little more. A shirt with butt AND butter on the front, pink stripes in my hair (also a little left over RAGBRAI fun)....what next?


Friday, August 3, 2007

Holy Squash Batman...

We have arrived at one of my favorite food seasons of the harvest time. This year we were lucky enough to have some friends invite us to share their large garden space in the country. I really miss the garden space we had at our little farm house, so you can imagine how excited I was at the offer. While we still planted our tomatoes and herbs here at the house, things that need a little more space to sprawl like squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and pumpkins went in out the the country garden. The one draw back is we only get out there every 3-4 days and at times that's long enough to allow for a giant squash like the one above to grow.

I feel like all of our evening meals (and sometimes lunch too) have been the same as of late...sautéed squash, cut cucumbers with a light dressing, and some sort of meat (usually grilled of course) to round out the plate. Not that I'm complaining by any means! This week we've got to add fresh tomatoes to the mix. For lunch today I whipped up a bowl of fresh salsa. YUMMY! All that was missing was tequila, lime, and Jimmy Buffet.

Tonight it's grilled salmon and skewered squash with couscous salad. How can you not love that!


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Talent identity...

Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a whine, simply an outward expression of my inner dialog. I apologize up front if it comes across whiny!

This past week I was part of a discussion about how the members of our biking crew each brought something different to the group which benefited us all. My brother was the biking king, with the power and skill to pull us home everyday. At night he turned on his tour guide persona to guide us through yet one more night of fun. Carlos had "the box"...good for carrying all things including puppies (don't worry, we never did put one in the box)...and was often the peace keeper, the little brother always looking out for the big sisters and keeping everyone together. Elaine is a strong rider with so much confidence. She was happy to lead the pack or to fall back and roll with anyone who needed to go at a bit slower pace...I benefited at the end of several long hot days from this trait of hers. Laura was our morning sunshine. No matter how late we were out the night before, how hard of a ride we had before us, she was always the cheerleader who got us on the road in good spirits. And each of these individuals have perspectives and ideas that helped to create colorful and meaningful discussions throughout the day.

So it made me wonder, what was I bringing to the team? What was my role?

Interestingly enough, I've been having this inner dialog with myself often as of late.
I see so much good in those around me. So many people living a life of passion, expressing themselves in such amazing, artistic, and natural ways. And I wonder, what are my talents? How do I contribute to the world and those around me? What am I not just good at, but what do I do GREAT?

There are some things I can rule out.

1. I am not a domestic goddess! Visit my house and you'll find cobwebs in the corners, soap scum in the tub, and stuff strewn, obviously not in it's designated place.

2. I am not a social butterfly! I do fine in small groups of people who I know well, but large groups of thanks!

(There's probably others traits that should go on this list, but I don't know that my brain is fully functioning yet following last week!)

Then there's the things I'm good at, but definitely not great.

1. My wellness business. I love it and I think I'm a good instructor, but I know there are definitely more passionate, more caring, more knowledgeable, more motivating
individuals out there making a difference in peoples lives.

2. Things athletic in nature. While I've always enjoyed athletic activities, I don't necessarily have a body build that allows one to excel in that area. What success I have had has come from lots of hard work, and even that sometimes isn't enough.

3. Several things artistic. I love quilts, fabric, and the process involved in creating a quilt top. But I often lack the patience to see a quilting project through to the finish...ask my hubby about that fact, he'll be happy to confirm. I also like photography and love spending time capturing color and motion and the rawness of the world and people around me with my camera...but I feel like I lack the ability to see things with an artistic eye, that skill that makes a good photo a great one. Several years ago I took a pottery class just for fun. I loved the feel of the cool, moist clay in my hands, and while I'm proud of the pots I threw, they are heavy bottomed and nothing special in design or color. I also love music and would love to learn to play the guitar. One of those thing on my "To Do" list that I want to experience not because I think I'll be good at it, but just for the process of learning. I know art is quite subjective, and there are those who would argue that I shouldn't second guess my artistic abilities, but when I ask myself "Could I make a living doing something artistic in nature?", I'm afraid I'd have to say probably not.

4. This blog. This blog has been a great outlet for me to express many of the inner dialogs people would often not know go on in my head. But am I a great writer? No. Do I often ramble. Yes. Am I always grammatically correct in my wording? No.Do I always punctuate properly? No...shall we count the number of incorrect commas in this post alone?

5. Being a mom and wife. Of course I know there isn't any set standard to which you can measure these two traits. I love my family deeply and hope that that love shines through in my care of them.

So again, I ask, what am I great at? Maybe it's modesty that keeps me from realizing the impact I have on lives around me. Maybe I'm still on the journey to find that one special thing I have to offer. Whatever the answer, I hope I can continue to bring good to this world and those in my life.


Monday, July 30, 2007

I want to ride my bicycle...

A few times in one's life, opportunities and experiences come a long that forever change and enhance your life. This past week I've been lucky enough to live one of those moments. RAGBRAI 2007 is now a thing of the past, but the fun, laughter, and friendships will continue to live on for many years to come.

When I decided to pursue this adventure I knew it would be physically demanding, sometimes so much that I'd want to throw in the towel and hop the sag wagon. What I didn't expect was the laughter, the dancing, the saddle sores, the meaningful conversations, the quiet comfortable silences, the hugs, the tears, the beauty, and the love.

Today as I continue to physically recover and emotionally process the whole experience, I find myself flooded with emotion. My eyes fill with tears and my heart misses my peeps more than I ever imagined possible. All day people have asked how my week was and it feels so understating to simply say I had a wonderful time. Even now, trying to put my feelings into words, I am lost and find myself just staring at the pictures and recalling the memories with a mixture of smiles and tears.

Laura, Elaine, Carlos, and Jason... I love you all. You are each such beautiful people and I'm so honored to have spent a week in your presence. You each played an important role in getting me through the week, whether it was encouragement to get back on my bike, to keep on pedaling, or laughter at the end of the day, I would have never made it without you. You will each always have a piece of my heart. Dance on my friends!

Jason, lil bro...thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I love that I got to have this experience with you. To get a better understanding of who you are. To see your strengths and your weaknesses. I miss you already. I love you.

Of course, many thanks also goes out to my family who held down the fort while I was gone. Scott, your support and selfless willingness to become a single parent for a week so that I could go on this adventure means more to me than you will ever know. To my two little girlies, thank you for your strength, which every day encourages me to be a better person and a better mommy.

I think it's going to take some time to fully process the whole experience. At the same time I'm doing my best to be mindful of living in the present and not getting lost in the past...after all I'm just coming off a whole week of FULLY experiencing the present. But while I'm living the present, I can look to the future as so begins the countdown to '08!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stepping outside of the box...

Two days and 20+ hours from now the 2007 edition of RAGBRAI will officially kick off...and I'll be there. For those of you unfamiliar with RAGBRAI, it's an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa that happens the last full week of July each summer for the past 34 (soon to be 35) years. The average day's ride is 70 miles, almost 500 miles total for the week, snaking across the state from West to East (hopefully taking advantage of tail winds for most of the ride), passing through and stopping in towns of all flavors and sizes along the way. The food is famous, the weather traditionally unpredictable, and fun is sure to be had.

In 2000 I experienced my first RAGBRAI as a support driver. Scott had told me about the event, but you just can't understand the magnitude of it until you experience it yourself. For 7 days a whole temporary community of individuals of all ages from all over the world becomes nomadic complete with traveling shops, restaurants, even potties! This year I'm excited and honored to be sharing this experience with my brother Jason.

We've been planning this for a little over a year. Jason is a cyclist. He frequently goes out for hours of riding around the Austin area where he now lives. I own a bike...and teach Spinning. Seriously though, I think what drew us to tackle this together was a desire to spend sometime together doing something active, which is an important part of who we are are in our day to day lives. Some good old fashioned sibling bonding, something we are much better at now that we are adults than when we were as kids. I also think we've both had experiences over the years, and are at places in our lives now, where we're ready to process, reflect, and talk about future hopes and dreams.

As we get closer to the big kick off, I've experienced a flood of thoughts and feelings. At first it was all about the excitement of anticipation. For months I've been preparing making sure I have all the right equipment and spending some extra hours either on my bike or in Spinning classes. (Admittedly I haven't probably spent as many hours on a bike seat as I should have...but it's a bit late now!) This week those feelings have changed a bit.

Doubt that I'm physically up to the challenge has crept into the back of my mind. Sure, I spend hours each day teaching fitness and yoga classes, but cycling, especially out in nature's elements, is very different from those environment controlled, timed class sessions that range in intensity from gentle to challenging.

And then there's the issue of missing my family. I often talk/think about wanting to be more outgoing, more adventuresome, more spur of the moment exciting. But when it comes right down to it, I'm very content with my simple little life that centers around my family and our existence right here in our little corner of the world. Who am I away from my role as Mom, Wife, and Instructor?

Then, because I'm a woman, and a mom...I think about all that could go WRONG. I worry. Something I do more now that I'm a mom that I ever thought possible. What if I get hurt; what if we have bad weather; what if one of the girls or Scott gets sick and NEEDS me while I'm gone? Irrational? Yes. But I bet I'm not the only one who goes on these emotional roller coasters before experiences that are bit outside our normal box.

My plan is to carry along a good old fashioned paper journal to help me capture thoughts, feelings, and experienced throughout the week...and of course I've purchases a small, handy dandy digital camera for visual records. If you're lucky, I may even share a few of those here in the coming weeks.

Ready or I go!


Sunday, July 8, 2007

My little swimmer...

When I quit working full time almost a year ago to pursue my dream of making a living in wellness and having more time to just be mom, one of my goals was to be able to involve my kids in things during the work day they often missed out on because they had two full time working parents. This summer Lexi has gotten to take swim lessons at the city pool. What a joy it has been to see her grow in her abilities. Last summer she was still timid enough in the water she didn't want anything to do with any water activities that required her face and head to go in the water. But as with many things, Lexi decides when she ready to take the next step. Much to our surprise last August, at a family reunion, she decided she wanted to try going down the water slide at the water park. So we let her try and even with an initial mishap (it was a tube slide, in the dark, and wasn't ready for the first sharp right hand turn after leaving the start...flip she went on to her belly for the remainder of the ride,) she loved it! Then this winter she went to a birthday party at an indoor pool, coming home so excited to tell me she had went under water at the party like the other kids.

Three weeks ago we arrived at the pool for her first level 1 swim lesson. It took only 2 days for her teachers to move her up to level 2 because she was beyond the basic water exploration skills needed to pass level 1. In level 2 she got to explore swim strokes and kicks, diving, treading water, and even had the chance to jump off the diving board (which wasn't her cup of tea.) Needless to say, even though she is repeating level 2 during the second session of the summer, which starts tomorrow, those 2 weeks helped take her from simple water play to a swimmer. It's been an amazing transformation to watch. Check out some of her swimming skills here.

In addition to her time at the pool for lessons, we sprung for a family pass this year and have been making good use of it with the recent heat wave which has hit Iowa. We often see friends there, both of the kid kind and the adult kind, and it's just a nice way to spend some active time together as a family. The girls and I get the chance to go more during the week obviously, but we try to make sure we drag daddy with us now and then in the evenings or on the weekends too.

Oh the simple pleasures of summer!