February 12, 2015

Early February

This week I'm grateful for:

  • warm weather that allows my children to run and scream (they call it playing) in the backyard while I make dinner

  • a small boy who mostly stays in his crib even though he has learned to climb out

  • three children who ask for bike helmets before they start pedaling

  • more ideas than the time it takes to get everything done

  • text messages that make me laugh in the midst of chaos and craziness.

January 9, 2015

Finding Myself

At first I had a bike, and I rode that bike a couple of times a week. It got me out of the house. It gave my lazy legs some much needed exercise. I celebrated my first 20-mile ride and would shake my head at people who rode 40, 50 or 100 miles at a time. It seemed like mileage I'd never be comfortable, or enjoy, riding.

And then something changed.

I've become that person. The one who now has a closet full of spandex, who doesn't think twice about chain grease on my hands, who reads cycling blogs/books/magazines, and looks at winding roads through beautiful scenery dreaming about putting my tires to the pavement. I ride 40, 50 or 100 mile rides and even plan vacations around cycling events. Instead of collecting coffee mugs from destinations I look for bike shops and buy souvenir tee-shirts.

I've become a cyclist. And I love it.

My goal for 2014 was 1500 miles and a century (100-mile) ride. It would be a goal that pushed me physically and mentally; forcing me to get out in ride in the rain and wind, when temps were colder, after the sun set, and when I didn't necessarily feel like riding. When the weather was too bad to ride outside, I'd need to ride inside on the trainer.

As the miles rolled by, I found myself needing time on my bike. On particularly challenging days I'd head out and hope the black cloud looming over my head would be left somewhere along my route. Most of the time I came home more centered and calm. Some days I needed some not-so-gentle encouragement from my awesome support system to get out. And on those days I usually came back with my head in a better place. My bike became the place where I could be alone with my thoughts, hammering through whatever was swirling around inside my skull.

And as the miles rolled by, those goals suddenly loomed in front of me, easily within my grasp. My friend and I rode the 50-mile Spinderella ride in June; I completed the 100-mile heART of Idaho century ride, I blew past my 1500 mile goal in early September, and I rode the Moab Century on a much needed adult get away with my husband. I was amazed at what I was able to accomplish; grateful for everything that allows me to push my body so hard.

2014 finished at just over 2000 miles total, including two century rides, and many rides full of laughter (and some curse words) with friends. It was an awesome season and as ice covers the roads in Idaho now, I dream of clear pavement and miles ahead of me in 2015.

Cold weather gear

Two lane roads flanked by fields

Spinderella -- June 2014

heArt of Idaho -- August 2014

Moab Century -- September 2014

Mountain biking in Moab

April 30, 2014

Getting the Wheels Turning

A couple of years ago, I bought a bike. A really awesome new roadbike. With the intent to lose myself in a new hobby. A hobby that would allow me the chance to get away from everything for an hour here and there, and the chance to get into better shape. 

Life had other plans though.

I bought the bike at the end of the season in 2011, as they were closing out models in preparation for the coming spring. My hope was to be start riding as soon as the snow cleared and the temps began to climb. What we didn't expect was to find out baby #3 was on the way! Which always sidetracks so much for me because of the hyperemesis. So the bike was ridden a couple of times and then stowed away for another year.

Last spring C gave me the push I needed. Not a gentle nudge by any means but a full-fledged SHOVE. And I fell in love. I became addicted. Riding was the outlet I needed to clear my head, to work through whatever was bouncing around and jumbling my thoughts up. 

Baby Boy was only 6 months old when I started the season, and still needing momma quite often (if you get my drift) so I started with low mileage rides and a meager season goal. My hope was to hit 500 miles for the summer. Much to my surprise I managed to log almost 900!

This year I'm setting my sights higher.

I have two main goals:
  • 1500 miles pedaled
  • a 100-mile "century" ride.
My awesome friend, Flying Monkeys, is coming along for the ride. We've signed up for the 50-mile portion of the all-girl Spinderella ride in June, and the HeART of Idaho Century in early August. The Spinderella will be a good mid-point training ride in preparation for the century. Our hope is to finish the century ride and actually enjoy it. Well, as much as you can enjoy sitting on a skinny bike seat for that long. When it comes down to it, we want to finish and not hate ourselves, not hate the ride.

I'm nervous, and excited at the same time. 1500 miles isn't going to be easy to hit but it's going to be great motivation!

April 25, 2014

Sleep Struggles

Every few months I hit these cycles where I don't sleep well. To be more specific, I don't fall asleep well.

I lay in bed, thinking about all the stuff that needs to be done, all the stuff I should have done differently that day, all the stuff I need to do better tomorrow. So there I lay. My mind racing and my body exhausted; fighting a battle with each other, standing toe to toe to see how long my mind will whirl, finally easing itself to my body's weariness. Some nights the battle rages for an hour or so. Some night I easily see 3 or 4am on the clock on the nightstand.

I've tried the recommended tricks: shutting off all electronics for a length of time before bed, no exercising late in the day, no caffeine after lunch, writing down the surge of thoughts bombarding my brain to clear my head. Doesn't help. The more I think about how I need to sleep, the harder the fight is.

But I'm too tired to sew and it's too late to clean or call someone to chat. So I find myself sitting on the couch scribbling notes. Making myself plans for the cycling season. Trying to hash out a way to get the business where I want it go. Writing lists of the household chores that need to be tackled. And trying to figure out how to make it all work when I'll be struggling to function the next day on 4-5 hours of sleep.

And after about three weeks I fall back into the routine of falling asleep as soon as I lay down.

April 21, 2014

Setting My Course

I think I was about 11 or 12 when my dad first taught me to drive tractor. Looking back it seems young, but it's the way things were with farm-life. A necessity of sorts -- kids could help haul wagons, run lunch down to the field, fetch parts when stuff broke down. As they got more adept at handling equipment they advanced their way up to doing more involved tasks.

To this day I remember one of the most important lessons about doing field work: setting your course. As I positioned the tractor at the end of the field, about to begin my first pass with equipment my Dad told me to pick a point at the opposite end of the field and to drive towards that. Setting my sights all the way to my destination would keep my course straight. If I was constantly picking short points ahead of me, I'd meander my way across the field in a hap-hazard, crooked mess.

This is a lesson I've used many, many times throughout my life. From day to day simple tasks like mowing the lawn (because yes, I like my lines to be straight) to bigger endeavors like getting through grad school research. It's not always a guarantee something won't set you off course but it helps to get to your destination.

I've realized though, that in the craziness of life lately, I've started looking ahead only to those close landmarks. Some of it is a way to get through the busy days and challenges with trying to juggle so much; that whole "take it one day/project/step at a time" bit. But it's time for me to refocus and set my goals further out. 

It's time to look at some big things and make it happen!

July 10, 2013


Today I am thankful for:

  • the wonderful woman who offered the girls cups of ice water when we stopped at the pharmacy

  • the ability to renew library books online

  • the new friends I have made at t-ball games (other moms)

  • kids that did really well through a t-ball game in 90 degree heat and then the ensuing errands that needed to happen before we could get home for lunch.

July 1, 2013

Making it Work

My days are chocked full of what is necessary: mealtimes thrice a day, doling out snacks, sorting/washing/folding laundry, nursing the baby, changing diapers, sweeping and washing floors, loading and unloading dishes from the dishwasher, baths, slathering sunblock, kissing boo-boos, combing hair, fixing ponytails, reading stories, playing dolls, building block towers, de-escalating arguments, pushing swings, watering flowers, refilling water bottles.  Fortunately, the mundane is interspersed with moments of laughter, silliness and cherished memories.

When you add in t-balls games, library trips, playgroups/playdates, appointments, errands, and grocery shopping the busy days get even busier.  

In order to keep the business functioning, I check and respond to business emails on my phone at stop lights and while the little boy nurses.  Mandated afternoon "breaks" at home mean I can usually squeeze in an hour or so of sewing while everyone rests/naps; I then work as much as possible after the small ones are all in bed at night, often sewing until my eyes are heavy and I stop for fear of making big mistakes or putting a needle through my finger.

To preserve my own sanity I've started pushing myself to get out and ride 3-4 times a week. It helps to clear my head and reset my temperament, allowing me to be a better mom, wife and seamstress when I get back.  Some days the pull to stay home and check things off my to-do list is tough to overcome but it's getting easier as I continue to crank out miles.

So yeah, blogging?  It's such a low priority it's about to fall off my to-do list.  Same for most of my usual haunts: Pinterest, Facebook, message boards.  If you really want to see periodic glimpses you can catch me on Instagram more often than anywhere else but even that isn't regular.

But it's okay if I'm not here very often.  Right now I've got other places to be...

June 4, 2013

Today I'm Grateful for...

  • (6/8/13)  My six year old played her heart out this season in soccer.  The coach was a high school student with no coaching experience, and (I'm assuming) little experience with small children.  The other team members up sporadically for practice and late for most games.  Often times they would have to "borrow" players from the opposing team to even have enough to start a game.  They didn't win a single game all season -- usually getting beaten badly -- but she had a fabulous time and made a tremendous amount of personal progress.  After the final game she told us that it was okay they never won any games because she had a great time playing/learning and that she was excited to play again in the fall (if she could).

  • (6/9/13) Amidst all the stuff I needed to do, my husband pushed me to change into my cycling clothes and ride.  He helped to plan a route to fit the mileage I wanted, even ensuring that I started out riding headlong into the 20+mph winds so that when my legs were starting to tire I'd have it blowing at my back, nudging me home.  93 minutes later I cruised into the driveway with a clear head and 18.33 miles on my bike computer.

  • (6/9/13) While I rode and the kids napped, C installed the new garbage disposal.  It's wonderful not having to pay a serviceman to come fix certain things. AND he managed to score the one he wanted on clearance, saving us money on the purchase price as well!

  • (6/10/13) An unexpected greeting card, from a wonderful friend, brought words of encouragement and support at the end of a long, exhausting day.  A simple gesture that helped bring a smile to my face.

  • (6/10/13) Simple, much-needed, long-overdue conversation with a friend.  Face to face conversation instead of over Skype, through text messages or just on the phone. 

May 21, 2013

Morning Thankfulness

  1. I'm grateful for my trooper of a six year old, who played an entire game of soccer (there weren't enough players from her team there to allow anyone to sub out for a break) in the POURING, cold rain on Saturday, without uttering a single complaint.

  2. I'm grateful for beautiful, fragrant blossoms on the trees in my yard and weather that calls for open windows, allowing the scent to gently drift into my house this morning.

May 8, 2013

Unheard Conversations

Today I'm grateful for things that may seem trivial to some, but they are my saving grace.
  • Friends that really, truly understand (and empathize with) the craziness of life.  The ones that get the good, the bad and the whirlwind of it all.
  • Text messages that allow me to blow off steam when my audience doesn't allow it.  MUCH better than bottling it up inside and letting it go.
  • The circumstances that brought such wonderful friends into my life.