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Showing posts from August, 2008

Baxter...

After canceling our plans to go to Kansas City for the long holiday weekend, I found our new plans included a chance for me to have a few hours to myself today to do whatever I pleased. So...Daisy and I loaded up and headed to Baxter (sun roof open and radio playing loud enough I could FEEL the bass) to hit the trail. I had my heart set on a nice long ride, but around here that involves more hills than I felt like tackling. The Baxter trail (I don't officially know if that's it name, it's just how we refer to it since that's the location of the closest trail head...about a 25 mile drive from home.) is a Rails To Trails path. The changes in grade are gradual and so visually unnoticeable the decision to shift gears is based more on the feel of your legs, cadence, and breath, than what you SEE about the road ahead. It's 20 miles end to end. There's sections open to the sunny skies above, but also areas where the trail winds through established vegetation whic…

Greta...

A snippet of Brea and I's conversation tonight as we were driving out to visit the crew at Tiny Circus.

Brea: "We going to the Circus?"

Me: "Yes."

Brea: "We see Geta there?"

Me: "No. Greta's not there."

Brea: "Where is she?"

Me: "Greta's in Florida."

Brea: "We go see Geta in Florida."

I wish the world were as simple as it is seems from a 2-year-old's perspective. We miss you "Geta"!


peace

Breakfast...

I pour myself a bowl of cereal....

Brea: "Can I have a little bite?"

Me: "If you're lucky."

Brea: "I'm lucky mama."


peace

Fall...

The college students are back in town. Classes started today. I love the energy changes our little town experiences in conjunction with the arrival and departure of the students. Following graduation in May, summers are slow and lazy. Town is quiet.

But with the arrival of August comes the return of around 1400 college students from all over the world, adding to the eclectic mix of people you find in our little town. It's not your typical small mid-western town...and that's part of why we love it here so much. A little cross section of the world, right here in the heart of Iowa.

The enthusiasm and energy the students bring to town is contagious. The coffee shop is a buzz. There's a constant steam of students walking between campus and McNally's/Dairy Barn. Today Brea and I walked through campus on our way downtown. You could feel the excitement of the first day of classes. It brought back so many happy and fun memories from my own college days. I wonder what it w…

Lunch...

Tomatoes from our neighbor Fred.

Cucumbers from Randy, the guy around the corner who also rides a Harley.

Green peppers from Jeff and Pat at Saints Rest.

Basil from the pot on my front porch.

And for desert...freshly picked pears from my friend Monica's pear tree at her new house.


I'm savoring the flavors....


peace

Confession...

See that little banner at the bottom of the right hand column? The white and green one that says sitemeter? I am addicted to the information which that little banner provides about the visits to my little spot here.

For example:
At last check this spot has been visited 11, 270 times. (Probably a few more since it was several months after it's creation before I added the site meter to my blog.)Most of my readers are friends and family here in the US, mainly in the mid-west region, BUT I've had people read my little musings just this past month in places as far away as Brazil and France. (It always gives me a little thrill to see a visitor has stopped by from some foreign land. What can I say, I'm a small town girl, I still get excited by silly things like that.)The average length of visit: 1 min 37 seconds.
Over the past year my blog visits have steadily increased, as you can see by the handy little graph below. I'm pretty sure my activity on Facebook is directly respon…

Metamorphosis...

It's starting to feel a little fallish here in Iowa. The nights have been cooler. The mornings crisp. My jeans have already made their way out of the closet on several occasions. I'm starting to think about planning an apple orchard visit for some fresh, crisp apples, dreaming of the warm apple crisp and cinnamony apple sauce that will soon follow! With fall comes change: the return to school for Lexi, the return of the college students to town, the return to a fuller class schedule for me, and of course...bug metamorphosis.

Cicada shells are a common sighting these days. Yesterday the girls and I discovered one of the trees in our back yard is apparently a favorite spot for shedding your skin.

Large groups of empty shells are scattered throughout the tree...up the trunk, along limbs, on the underside of leaves. I don't think it would take us very long to count to 100 sitting under that tree!

As I was scanning the trunk, imagine my surprise when I realized not ALL the sh…

Nuggle...

Brea: "Can you take a picture of my nuggle blankie?"



peace

All Summer Long...

If I were to pick a personal theme song, at the moment it would be this song by Kid Rock that plays tribute to a little old school Skynyrd . I've listened to it a hundred times in the past few weeks. Partially because it was a frequently played song along the route and at the end of the day on RAGBRAI (and we all know how I hang on to all things RAGBRAI for dear life), partially because I've been in love with it since I first heard it early this summer. I haven't yet decided if I'm proud or mortified that my 6-year-old can sing along and that both girls know that it's song #3 on the CD which currently lives in the car.

I'll be honest, there's a little part of me that get nostalgic when I hear this song play. For those unfamiliar, it's about this guy thinking back to the summer when he was 17 and all the carefree fun that goes with those days. It takes me back to the ease of life before much responsibility beyond self, a summer job, and friends.

The summe…

1st Grade, Day 1...

School has officially begun for the '08-'09 year, and look at us with a big 1st grader. Lexi's teacher this year is Mrs. Harms. Apparently 1st grade does seem like as big a deal as starting Kindergarten was last year for us. Yesterday was the open house which allows you to visit your new classroom, meet your teacher, and drop off all your supplies. Last year I took a ton of pictures during this visit...this year, I didn't even think to take out the camera. Oops!

(Side note...watching the new Kindergarteners walk into school yesterday, I was AMAZED at how little/young they looked. Did Lexi really change THAT much in just one year. Apparently, yes!)

And then this morning's photo session was less than smooth. It's gray and rainy (Can you imagine being a teacher today? 1st day of school and no outdoor recess because of rain. Teachers are saints!), I needed a little flash even outdoors, I forgot to switch the camera off aperture dependent metering for the fir…

Light vs. Dark...

Sunshine vs. rain. Day vs. night. I've been thinking about this concept a lot lately in regards to people, personalities, and relationships. I think it all started when I began examining how the events of the past year have affected my work. As a wellness professional, especially one who's main focus at the moment is guiding people through exercise/yoga sessions, my job is to be encouraging, bright, joyful, fun...all the things that help counteract people's natural tendencies to throw in the towel and switch out their tennis shoes or yoga mat for the TV remote. Creating an environment where people feel welcome, energized, and cared for is part of what helps keep good classes well attended.

I once read an article that mentioned one of the worst things an instructor can do for the moral of his/her class is to come in with the weight of the world on his/her shoulders and making sure everyone knows. People have their own problems...they come to class to step away from those,…

No Gender Lines...

Lexi is still at that age where a friend is a friend...gender makes no difference. In fact, she's got lots of friends who are boys. She's strong and athletic and enjoys getting dirty just as much as she loves wearing pink and spends countless hours playing with her baby dolls and drawing pictures full of hearts and flowers and love. I cherish these days knowing someday, those simple, pure relationships with her male playmates will probably change...with age, with hormones, with the realization of the sexual tension between genders that our society does such a wonderful job of throwing in our faces. I want to tell her to cherish these days too...but then I'd have to explain WHY relationships with boys change over the years, and I'm not ready for that conversation!

Sometimes in conversation with friends or family Lexi will reference one of her boy friends, and then the teasing starts. "Is he your BOYFRIEND?" "Oh, Lexi has a BOYFRIEND." That's …

Photos by Lexi...

What's that old saying? Imitation is the best form of flattery...or something like that.

Being a parent of young kids often often provides a very honest reflection of the yourself. Both the beautiful and the ugly. On more than one occasion I've had to check my behaviors/language after having them displayed by my children. Those less than proud parenting moments that we all have that makes you wonder why the heck you thought you could responsibly raise a child.

On the flip side, I often find a smile growing from my very core as the girls lovingly imitate some of my more beautiful traits. Like when Brea gets out the yoga mat to teach "'oga"...standing still as night, hands folded in prayer. Looking as peaceful as an angle. Or when Lexi loving comforts and mothers her little sister after she's fallen or has been startled by a bug in the sandbox. She has a heart as big as the world.

Both of the girls have shown an interest in photography and love when I get the…

Sometimes I just need a little time to be alone...

For as long as I can remember, I've always had the need to have some alone time in my life. To have a space specifically for me. Whether it was my bedroom as a kid or a small space I could claim as my own after leaving home, it seems I've always had a place where I could just go and be by myself when needed. In our current house it's our office, the Raisin room, "Mommy's office" as the girls call it. The room from which I blog, email, pay bills, pile my current craft projects, and shelve my most recently read/referenced books. It's generally a huge mess...but the space, even if not originally intended to be when we moved to this house, is mine.

For some people being alone is scary and exhausting. For me it's welcome and refreshing. It's an interesting need to have when you're part of a family, especially one with small kids who could care less what you're doing, they want to be part of it. My alone time allows me to think through things…

Buddha's Door...

I have several posts written in my head but have had little time to sit down and spill them out here on the blog. So since I've grabbed a little time tonight (pulling myself away from the Olympics), I'm going to make use of my time wisely and double post in an effort to free up some memory space!

Two weeks ago on a steamy Sunday night I headed out for an evening bike ride with Laura. When I returned home I found that new sidewalk chalk art had been created in my absence. Scott had helped Brea make this little rainbow and for some reason they placed a door under neath. Brea informed Scott it was a little door for Mommy's tiny Buddha. I had picked up a little red Love Buddha (who now lives at the side of my bed) at the yoga conference I attended in Chicago in May, and Brea is infatuated with him! She talks to him, holds him gently...it's very sweet to watch.

After hearing the story of the rainbow door, I had to take Buddha out, show him his door, and grab a pic for the…

School Supplies...

With the first day of school less than a week away, I figured it was time to think about school supplies shopping. I got a sub for my noon class today so the girls and I could take off after our morning's commitments for the big city...Des Moines. Once school starts the chances to enjoy a casual girls day out are few, so this was kinda our last summer adventure for the year.

First stop, Gateway Market for some sushi for mommy and organic strawberry fruit leather for the girls. It was a beautiful day so we decided to find a table on the patio. The only one available at the time was a 2 seater. The girls did awesome sharing a seat. I had to grab the camera...of which of course caused Brea to ham it up!


Next on our adventure was a stop at daddy's office. A quick hello, some art work done on sticky notes, and we were off to our final destination...Target!

I can loose myself in Target. I don't know what it is, but I LOVE that store. We successfully located all the items on Le…

A Natural First-born...

I constantly have to remind myself that Lexi is only 6! She's a natural first-born. Mature well beyond her years.

I totally get the birth order thing. I myself am a first-born and see so much of myself in the reflection of my daughter. She's a nurturer, is responsible beyond her age, and combined with the fact that she's several inches taller than many of her peers, it's hard at times to remember that she's still just a very young kid!

Lexi has grown up so fast. We didn't have many friends with small children when she was small and so she spent a good portion of her baby/toddler years around adults. When she was 2 she went from being the youngest at daycare to the oldest, with older kids departing for school and new babies taking their place. We've always talked to her like you would an adult and have expected so much from her. Some times I wonder if we've made her grow up too fast.

As I type this the girls are out back playing in the sandbox. Lex…

Sneak Peek...

I'm busy working on a new crew of sock monkeys. Here's a little sneak peek of my progress thus far this week. Our first lady monkey is a promised 40th birthday gift for Laura. I fell in love with these lavender socks, partially for their color, mostly for their texture.


I wonder if my mom recognizes the green fabric? I do believe it was a donation from her stash to mine.

This weekend we ran to the outlet mall to take advantage of the Iowa's tax free holiday as Scott needed some new work clothes ( his new job requires wearing a shirt and tie everyday and rotating the same 5 shirts was getting a little old), and I scored these great wool/angora blend socks for only $1.50 a pair!

I have hopes of making some of these adorable puppies created by this very talented lady in the UK. I believe they are her original design so it will be a bit of a trial and error type of process...but I can't resist the challenge because I fell in love the minute I laid eyes on them.

peace

Reflections...

Things I am not good at that need some work:
Mornings.Finishing things that I start.
Not worrying about what people think.Letting go.Patience.Staying committed.
Turning big talk into big action.Accepting and forgiving.
Believing in myself.
I've got a few things to work on.


peace

I joined the circus...

Yesterday afternoon I took some sugary treats out to my friends at the Tiny Circus work camp. About a dozen people are currently there working on various aspects of the project. Imagine my excitement when I walked into the studio to find creation central in full work mode. Glue guns, card stock, yarn, paint, tin foil...the supplies were endless and the creative uses of them in full force. After a short break for brownie sundaes, everyone returned to work and Greta invited me to come back after dark for the animation session of the night. Shooting is done after dark so that the crew can have full control of the lighting being as "the studio" is in an out building at the Ferguson's farm. I returned home to feed and bathe my girlies and tuck them snug into their beds before heading back out for "the shoot."

When I arrived the story board had been created, all the props had been made, the studio cleaned up, and the crew was in the process of getting the shot and …

Blessings...

One week post RAGBRAI and I'm starting to feel like a normal, fully functional humanoid again. Through all the transition and whining, I haven't forgotten to appreciate my many, many blessings in life:
2+ wonderful weeks with my brother. Time very much needed after this past spring's events. Adorable, adoring girlies who have the ability to make the whole world smile.A loving and adoring husband whose warm embrace and passionate kisses melt my heart.Puppy snuggles. I love those mutts!
Friends (who are really more like family) who love and appreciate me for who I am and with whom I will always share the special memories of RAGBRAI.Loving family who are willing to spoil my family rotten while I'm away and who are there to chat when I'm trying to make sense of the world. (Thanks Mom!)
A career that I adore, with people who appreciate what I have to offer.Very, very, special, beautiful, strong ladies who have shown me the true value of sisterhood.The ability to do a litt…

Just 5 more weeks...

I lost weight again this year on RAGBRAI. Now before those unfamiliar with the event go, "Well, duh...you just pedaled your bike 450+ miles in a week, of course you lost weight," let me explain something. RAGBRAI could easily be renamed the Great Annual Ride for Pie. (Or pork chops, spaghetti, beer, ice cream, waffles, pancakes....I could keep going but I think you get the idea.) Yes, it is true that some people actually GAIN weight on RAGBRAI. Even with all of that riding, it's awfully easy to put more calories in that what comes out!

The funny thing is (beer consumption aside) I probably eat healthier and more consciously on RAGBRAI than I do the other 51 weeks of the year. I eat to fuel. Jason and I figure we probably need 1200-1500 calories a day for riding purposes. (That's on top of what your body needs for normal functioning.) That's pretty easy to get when you're stopping every 1.5-2 hours along the way. Funds are tight, food is expensive, so I tr…