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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Grand Virtual Coffee

Good Evening...jeez it's evening already.

Why am I always late to coffee? Oh yeah it's because I can't find two minutes to breathe.

If we were really meeting for coffee today, amid my harried demeanor I'd tell you that I'm a little blue today. Not the color blue, but a little sad. See my mama and stepdad came for a short visit this weekend.

It was definitely a short visit, basically they came into to town from Michigan on Friday and went back home yesterday. Blah...

I'd tell you how the weather foiled my well laid plans for our day on Saturday, and how it was cold and gloomy. Oh and G had a fever. (ok...I"m being a Debbie Downer).

We still had a grand visit with the grandparents (Mimi and Papa) despite it all.

Where's B2? Taking the picture. Ugh...dang.

E's highlight of the visit was Toby the Wonder Dog!


Our cats weren't too excited to have a four-legged, barking intruder in their home, but all they do is sleep anyway, so they were sequestered to the bedroom. E informed us that he would like a dog. However, he quickly changed his tune when B2 told him he'd have to pick up the poop in the yard.

That pretty much summed up our weekend.


I'm trying to focus on this week, which has blessed me with some VERY good luck at work. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. Do you do that too? Fortunately, it hasn't yet, so I will pay homage to the good luck gods and keep thanking them over and over so as not to curse myself.

And one last thing before I finally head over to Amy's (if anyone is still around). We closed on my dad's house today. Which means we can finally close the estate. Hurrah! I can't believe it only took a year. Thank goodness. Then the only things left will be to spread his ashes in Lake Superior (next summer) and purchase a park bench for the church in his name. Finally some closure.

Well, that's all folks from my little spot in Iowa. Do you have big plans for the holiday weekend? We are heading to the windy city on Friday to see family, so I'll have plenty of stories to share at next week's coffee. Until then have a FABULOUS JULY 4TH!



Monday, June 27, 2011

The Great Pretender: I Heart Faces

Let me introduce you to Bucket Head aka E.

E can't fit this bucket on his head anymore, but that doesn't stop him from pretending to be whatever his imagination allows.

One day he will be a super hero, next a fireman or even a chef, and each of his characters have their own unique story.

I worry that one day his imagination will be squashed. Not intentionally, but just by shear circumstance. I encourage him to tell me his stories and pretend to be whatever he wants to be, in an effort to fight circumstance. "You need to learn your letters, so you can write down your stories," I tell him. He just looks at me and laughs. Oh at least I tried.

For now I'll just let him pretend and narrate his stories to me, and maybe one day our Great Pretender can share them with the world.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Great Day to Tri

Last Saturday I ran my second triathlon. 
Here's an account of the day, and hopefully it inspires you to tri.

Beep, beep, beep.

Slowly I roll over. Ironically, I've been up since 2 a.m., so the alarm awoke no one, instead it only made the silence of the morning more noticeable. I spent the night at my step brother's house in Bettendorf to eliminate the 45 minute drive from IC.

It's Triathlon day.

Butterflies are fluttering in my belly, and I fervently try to remember everything I need. I Make sure to get the water bottles from the freezer and find they are frozen shut. Grr...

Grabbing all my bags I head upstairs to make oatmeal and eat a banana even though the butterflies aren't really hungry. I throw it all together in a cup, swipe a spoon and decide I'll eat in the truck at the park.

All my ruckus wakes Zoey who thinks I'm a thief as she growls, but of course stays on the safety of the stairs. Her growls wake my step-brother and his wife who is eight months pregnant. Ugh...that's the last thing I wanted to do.

I scoot out of the house, and head to the park.

It's a foggy morning. "Please don't rain," I think as a light mist coats my windshield.

I make it to the park 15 minutes before it opens, and I decide to follow the race director's advice and park at the church down the street and bike into the park.

Eating my oatmeal I crank the radio "Hold your glasses up, people everywhere Now everybody put your hands in the air say Yeah, Yeah, Yeah..." (Chris Brown is an ass, but he can make a kick ass pump you up song.)

Post oatmeal fuel I start hydrating and hydrating and hydrating.

I hop out of the truck and slap my race numbers on my bike, helmet and race belt. I already sport two 525 tats on each bicep, oh and the infamous age on my calf (which took two days to come off).

Once done I'm ready to ride. Slinging my tri bag over my shoulder I pedal my way into the park with a couple of other racers. "I wish this counted for our miles," one of them joked. I agreed.

In the park I find my place in the transition area and unpack. For those of you that have never done a tri or even been to one. Here's how it works. The transition area is home base. After each event you come back to home base and get what you need for the next leg. It's about the size of hand towel, which I lay out along with my running shoes, hat, swim cap, goggles, and a veritable array of sport energizers including GU (espresso and chocolate) and energy beans.

After getting settled I head to the line for the port 'o potty. I hate these things. I ALWAYS squat never letting my delicate tush touch the bacteria laden seat. However, when I squat my head has a tendency to hover right over the urinal. FREAKING gross, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.

I have about an hour to hang out before the race. I talk to a couple of racers, many of them doing it for the first time. "This is the perfect tri for first-timers," I tell them, and I instantly see the relief in their eyes.

I stretch and eventually decide to put on my wetsuit. The water is 77 degrees, one degree warmer and wetsuits wouldn't be allowed. Thank goodness for the cold spell during the week prior. A wetsuit not only keeps you warmer, but it helps with buoyancy.

The minute I get the wetsuit over my hips, I have to pee again. Damn...seriously. I'm like a freaking sausage squished into this thing. I ponder waiting the 20 minutes till we get to the water and just peeing in the lake, but I couldn't wait. This time the potty line was longer than I've seen during the Iowa Football Homecoming game.

Eventually, I go again. And it's time to head down to the water. In years past there has been a card table for eyeglasses, unfortunately this year no table. I had to hike back to the transition area to ditch the specs. Immediately, I'm blind. Grrrr....I hate this feeling, complete disorientation.

I head to the water to warm up and yes I pee again in the lake. I'm telling you people when you gotta go, you gotta go. Heck it made the water one should care...right?

Then it was time to line up. They have racers place themselves in the time bracket they think it will take them to swim. I underestimate because I don't want to be stuck at the end like last time. I need the motivation of other racers around me.

After the National Anthem it's time to go. Sets of two head off into the murky water. Splashing and gliding. Before I even start the swim the first person is done. His time five minutes...WTH. WOW!

Patiently I wait. Finally, it's my turn. The horn sounds. I run as fast as I can into the water, and when I can't touch anymore I make the dive in and begin doing a modified crawl to gain some space between me and my partner. Halfway to the first buoy and my mind hasn't caught up with my body. I begin breathing too hard...short shallow breaths and know this isn't right. My body wants to go, but my mind rebels demanding to go back to the comforts of the shore. Immediately I roll on my back, do the back stroke and stare at the sky. "Relax," I tell myself. "You've done this before."

Eventually, it works. And I'm more relaxed. Until halfway to the finish line a girl runs me over and swims over top of me dunking my head in the water. It took all my will-power not to swim after her and kick her ass, but I knew she didn't mean it. She was doing what she needed to in order to finish the race.

The moment I could touch the sand I ran. I ran back to home base, ripping off my wetsuit in the process. Putting socks on wet feet is like herding cats. It can be done but it takes lots of patience. Hands shaking I down another GU (slimy energy gel that must be taken with a water chaser.) Helmet on and bike in hand I jog to the bike route, and out I pedal ready for the next leg.

I love to bike, so this was much more relaxing for me. As relaxing as a race can be of course. I pedal and pedal, gears clicking as I head uphill and downhill around curves and back again. All the while elite racers on road bikes wiz past me. "I need a better bike," I keep thinking.

Racing into the park, I dismount and make my way to home base to grab my race belt and hat. Note to self, put race belt on prior to biking then you can just ditch the bike and go.

At the entrance to the run route I start "running". I use this term lightly as we all know I don't run, it's more like a grandma-type jog. But I did it, making my way through the trail and around the John Deere Tractor at the halfway point, slapping the tire as I ran by. A racer next to me suddenly stopped running and I cheered him on encouraging him to run with me. "Come on," I said, "You can keep up with me, I run like an old lady. Think about the celebratory beer you can have later." He ran with me for a while, but eventually started walking. I left him behind as he wished me good luck.

I ran and ran. The last leg into the park felt like it took forever, but once I saw all the people. Little girls doing choreographed cheers for the racers, other racers on the sidelines cheering us on and of course the glimpse of the finish line. I dug deep and found my inner strength and sprinted to the end.


My race chip crossed the finish line. I was done.

Immediately tears welled up in my eyes.

"I ran the whole way," I said to the race volunteers handing me water. "I ran all the way."

They gave me a high five.

Home base was calling my name. I needed to call B2 and find out where they were.

"We just got off the interstate," he said. "I'm sorry we missed it."

"It's ok," I said.

I wasn't sad this time. There were no regrets. I was pumped. I felt invincible, and now I can't wait to do another. My time was two hours flat. I took a half hour off my time from two years ago. Awesome!

Now I'm ready to tri again!

Friday, June 24, 2011

An Excited Sound Bites of the Week


It's Friday. In about eight hours I'll get to see my mama. I'm so freaking excited. I haven't seen her since she came out to Iowa after G was born.

One of the only "good" photos I have of mom and E (he was 2).
Note to self take loads of pics this weekend, we need to update these.

I have our whole weekend planned. Nothing too major, just going to the Farmer's Market, hanging downtown and getting coffee. All those things we don't get to do because she lives so far away (insert sad face here).

So I dedicate this week's Sound Bites to my sweet mama...see you soon!

3. "It's like herding cats."
Examples include four year olds playing tee-ball, directing our residents out to a BBQ and making sure E and G get to their classrooms in the morning.

2. "Just because you have one doesn't mean you need to act like one."
So true! And I think we all know a couple people that "act like one" once in a while.

And the number one sound bite is ...

1. "If you are what you eat. You must be eating sexy beast."
Don't you know it. That's me the sexy beast. This is only because of my email address it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm remotely sexy...I'm just sayin'.

Not the definition of sexy beast AT ALL.
Well, there you have it. Not my best sound bites, but I'm sure I'll have some great ones after a weekend with Mimi, Papa and we can't forget Toby The Wonder Dog.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Tardy Virtual Coffee

If we were really meeting for coffee today, I'd have to apologize for my tardiness. Unfortunately, it was a busy morning, busy lunch hour and a busy dinner hour.

I guess I'm just super freaking busy.

Then I would offer up a big THANK YOU! Because without all my coffee buddies I wouldn't have had the encouragement to finish my triathlon in 2 hours flat. Yep you read that right 2 hours. I cut a half hour off my time from when I did the triathlon two years ago. I'll be dedicating a blog post to the race (once I get pics from Joe Photo), but I will say that I did run the whole three miles without stopping ... it might have been an old lady run, but it was a run nonetheless.

Saturday was a crazy busy day, between the race, a friend's birthday party and the Huey Lewis concert I was wiped by Sunday.


So luckily I had taken Monday off to recoup. 

After a nice workout and a four handed massage I was ready to face the week. 

What's on tap? Well, a little tee-ball, a little rain and ... my mom is coming! Yep, I haven't seen her in a year. I am so looking forward to this visit.

Anyway, thanks for joining me for coffee and if anyone is still over at Amy's I'll stop in and say "hi". Even though I might get a tardy slip.

Have a great week!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oh Boys: I Heart Faces

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.

I remember hearing this nursery rhyme when I was a child, and thinking who on earth would like to hang out with a boy. They are made from creepy crawly things and those poor puppies tails. 

And then the unthinkable happened. 

I gave birth to two bouncing baby boys, and my whole world changed. 

I was looking forward to playing Barbies and dress up. 

Now my life revolves around super heroes and tee-ball. 

And you know what? 

I wouldn't change a thing. 

E and G you both have broadened my horizons, made me learn new things 
and have shown me unconditional love.

Let's hear it for the boys.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Butterflies and Sound Bites


This time tomorrow I'll have swam, biked and ran my butt off. Yikes!

The butterflies have taken up residence deep in my belly, and probably won't leave until my feet hit the water and they blow the whistle.

I'm gearing up today so I decided to take the boys to school and spend a nice quiet morning sipping coffee and blogging. I NEVER get to do that. Plus it takes my mind off tomorrow.

Honestly, I don't think I'd be so nervous if it was in IC, but since it's in the QC I'm going in the night before so I can wake up bright and early at 3:30 a.m. to head to the race. Blech...Yeah, and if it started at 10 a.m. that would be better too.

Ok, Ok...I'll stop, but one last thing before I give you this Week's Sound Bites. THANK YOU to all my bloggie friends for the "Good Lucks" and "You can Do Its." It means so much to me, so fist pump to you all and I'll be sure to make you proud tomorrow.

On to this week's Sound Bites.

3. "At the club just woke up doin' my own thing."
E just loves Beyonce.

2. "Run mom it's a milk flood."
For those of you without little ones a milk flood occurs when the baby throws their sippy across the room and it pops open creating a MILK FLOOD! I was going to take a photo to illustrate, but it seemed ridiculous to take pictures instead of cleaning it up.

And the number one sound bite of the week is ...

1. "Mom I can eat yogurt every day because it's good for my tummy and gives me lots of protein."
Once in a while we have "a ha" moments when E finally gets it, and this is one of them. Now if only I could learn to like yogurt.

There you have it this week's Sound Bites with a side of Butterflies.

Thanks again for the encouragement and I'll fill you in Sunday...hopefully I'll have some race pictures too. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Fightin' Virtual Coffee

Woot, Woot!!! Good Morning!

Yep, it's a Fightin' Virtual Coffee up in here. I'm chugging my water, downing protein bars and getting those last workouts in before the big triathlon on Saturday. And I'll be totally staring at your doubleskinnycaramelmochalatte and wiping the drool off my chin. Next week, next week....

Seriously can't believe I was wide awake at 4 a.m. this morning. I pondered going back to sleep, but I knew if I did I would feel worse and most likely miss my workout. So I soldiered on and crept out of the house like a thief in the night, and drove to the gym in the rain and lightning. It was kind of cool. But I still felt like death, until I heard ...

Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

It's the Eye of the Tiger...

Then I just knew today was gonna be a good day!

As for our weekend...I went to two movies (count 'em) TWO!!! Holy crap we haven't done that since I was on maternity leave last year. What did we see? Well... Super 8 for starters. LOVED IT!!! If you are into that sci-fi thing it's GREAT! Then we saw X-Men Origins (sensing a theme?) It was good, but you really need to like the genre to enjoy it. Overall, I was just happy chillin' in the theatre and hanging with the hubby, it was like old times.

What else did we do ... well here's some photos. A little snapshot of our weekend in the big IC! 


How was your weekend? What's up for the week?

Let's head over Amy's and dish, I'll be sure to bring a napkin to wipe the drool from my chin.

Oh, and for those of you that read Friday's post. I didn't let the bad day ruin my weekend, AND on Monday everything worked out perfectly.

Sometimes amazing things happen, you just need to have FAITH.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Brighten Our Life: I Heart Faces

"He looks just like his mama with that red hair," Strangers say to me.

If I'm in the mood, and feel like a verbal exchange I will give them the truth.

While my son's hair is the product of genetics, mine is from a bottle.

The bright red hair was surprise. We never expected it. Though I secretly wished for it. I always wanted bright red hair (hence the dye job). 

Having a son with red hair is the big bonus. 

Our little red brightens our life everyday.

Check out more day brighteners at

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Writer Reborn

I was once a writer.

I would write long flowery prose that would drip from my pen into the soft confines of my journal. Documenting each facet of my life the good, the bad and the crazy. Those were the college years, filled with tumultous emotions easy to put onto paper. Now, things have changed.

The prose has stopped.

Confined by the walls of a working woman and busy mom who barely has time to do her hair let alone find time to write in peace and quiet. 

Over the years my writing has turned sterile or too casual leaving out intricate details. Like painting with only one color. My writing has turn white, shallow and meaningless. Either trying to inform in the most simple terms or a series of abreviations in a text.

In the working world, the slightest nuance of flowery prose immediately warranted a reprimand from my boss. "Just the facts" or "You're too wordy." And the prose dried up. Withered and brown like a rotting grape left on the vine. 

Then I found the blog.

And the prose came back. The details grew vivid in my mind like a painter's palette filled with all the colors of the rainbow. And the stories and tales started to flow. 

Ironically, the pen still needs to meet the soft comfort of a notebook before the prose will flow, but once it does the transition to a clacking keyboard is seamless and true. 

As you will see I don't worry about punctuation, or grammar, or the way my paragraphs break. I just write without boundaries, letting the words flow and lead me where they would like to go. 

I always re-read what I have written taking great care in making sure each word flows one into the other. Making sure my voice can still be heard and not the sterile emptiness from before.

With each post and each sentence in a notebook the writing becomes more alive and meaningful. I will stretch my wings and rise like a Phoenix from the flames. Reborn. Ready to share my stories and let the prose flow.

A writer reborn.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Bad Day Sound Bites of the Week

Well, here we are the end of the week. FINALLY!

I'd have to say word of warning to other bloggers...NEVER and I mean NEVER write a post ahead of time. You are only cursing yourself and it will make your day turn into complete and utter CRAPOLA.

First, I was supposed to have a half day off...however one thing led to another and while I did end up going out to lunch and a movie with B2 and our friends from the East Coast. I had to come back to work afterward. Not fun...especially when what I came back for didn't have the outcome I had hoped. Fudge...

I'm hoping against hope that I can block it from my mind...that perhaps this weekend can be positive and will turnaround. I WILL NOT LET THIS RUIN MY WEEKEND...SERIOUSLY!!!

But it still sucks...

Enough Debbie Downer...I'll turn my frown upside down and give you a couple of laughs to start the weekend.

Here we go!

3. "It's not for sissies."
I heard this from a potential resident. She was talking about how her son does the same thing I do, but in Chicago. YIKES! Supposedly retirement communities are really hurting there, hence the need to be tough and buck up. Unfortunately, after the day I've had I'd have to say that quote is right on the money.

2. "Bridge is like sex you either need a good partner or a good hand."
Ha! Perhaps that's why the older generation likes bridge so reminds them of sex.

And the number one sound bite of the week is ...

1. "Hey guys, how do babies come out of mommies' tummies."
"Oh, E ummm, how about those Hawks." You better believe mama changed the subject pretty darn quick. Sorry, not ready for that conversation just yet.

You would think he would have asked this back when I was preggo with his brother.
Photo by Luella B Photography
I promise I will have a good weekend. You know the good thing about Mondays? You get to start over I'll be looking forward to Monday, while I enjoy my weekend. A couple of drinks might help too.

Anyway, I hope you have a great, fabulous, super awesome weekend.

Do you have big plans? Are you just gonna chill?

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy and go big or go home. Ciao!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Steamy Virtual Coffee

Good morning....Ok that was kinda pitiful. Let's try it again.


If we were really meeting for coffee today, I'd order an Iced English Toffee Latte from our little coffee shop down the street. Because today is gonna be a steamer. High of 100 with lovely 100 percent Iowa humidity. Joy...

(FYI: This part was written at 5:30 a.m.)
I'm blaming the heat on the reason I'm up so early. It's super annoying because I went to bed late (11 p.m.) and woke up at 5 a.m. not having really slept that soundly. Blech...yeah, bring on the coffee.

Thankfully the weekend will be cooler, so I can attempt to get a long bike ride in before next week's triathlon. Yep, only a week from Saturday...YIKES!

Although, I'm so ready for it be done. I don't know how other people find to the time to do all the extra workouts. I barely have time to sneak in a normal one let alone try to run, bike and swim. It will be nice to have my life back.

Especially, now that E is in tee-ball. We start our first practice tonight (of course the hottest freaking day ever), and I'm anxious to see how he does. It could go one of two ways...super excited and having a great time OR big meltdown because he can't have the ball all the time. I'm crossing my fingers for the former.

(written in a more cognititive state)
Then I would ask about your weekend. Did you have fun? Did you lay by the pool?

We decided to head downtown and check out the Farmer's Market and the Iowa City Arts Festival. I had only planned on staying there for a couple of hours and a couple turned into more like six...the biggest bummer was I have only a handful of pics because the big camera had a dead battery and my cell phone was dying too. So this is the best I have.


B2 and I did find time for a little afternoon date and headed to see Bridesmaids. Which was totally H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S! I know a couple of bridesmaids that acted like that, not me of course. Did you have any crazy bridesmaids or were you one? Weddings bring out the nuts in people...I'm just sayin'.

Anyhow, I'll leave you with a photo as we head over to Amy's for more conversation and coffee.

This is why I LOVE my job...water volleyball anyone?

I typically don't wear glasses in the pool, but it kinda helps to see the ball.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Taking Flight: I Heart Faces

There comes a time when we need to jump from the nest and fly on our own. It can be scary and exciting all at the same time, but we must do it or we won't grow.

Within the past couple of weeks we've noticed E taking flight. Becoming his own person. Not needing our help as much.

So as we see this happen, we will take advantage of these together moments and cherish them forever.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Summer Time Sound Bites of the Week

What a wonderfully short week. I can't believe it's Friday already. 

Oh, and that it's freaking June. WTH did May go? 

Everyone has been buzzing about summer vacation, and man do I wish I could have a summer vacation. What would I do? Go to the pool, I'd knit, I'd finally finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and I'd do everything I've been putting off for like freaking ever.

Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury. But I'll tell you this much once Friday rolls around I'll be making damn sure to take full advantage of every single minute of the weekend.

So, I won't waste one more minute. Bring on the Sound Bites of the Week!

3. "Oh, wow I have the toots today."
They must have been pretty bad for E to mention it. B2's response "Well I'm sure your friends loved hanging out with you today." Boys and toots they go hand in hand right?

2. "That would be a 4D movie."
A 4D movie is when you go to a 3D movie after eating Mexican food. I'm sure if you think hard enough you could figure out the 4D part ... smell-a-vision.

And the number one sound bite of the week is my all time favorite and I almost cried with joy when I heard it.

1. "Hi."
G said his first word! I tried my darnedest to get it on video, but our little guy isn't a trained monkey and doesn't like to perform on command, so you will just have to trust me on this one. Oh, and the best part - it sounds like a high pitched girl singing. Adorable and hilarious...that's my G.

So there you have it. The first Sound Bites of the Summer. And if you are one of those lucky people who have the summer off, please, pretty please enjoy a daiquiri by the pool for me.

Have a great weekend everyone and I'll see you on the flip side.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Number Nine

B2 and I celebrated our ninth anniversary yesterday.

Crazy isn’t it? I can’t believe nine years. Oh, and if you ask B2 he’ll say it feels more like 50…har har.

I use the word celebrate lightly as we couldn’t find a babysitter, and B2 was SUPER stressed trying to get some websites finished.

But...we did go out for dinner, dragging along a one year old with a boogie nose and an uber hyper four year old.

And we did this…

Let me give you a little background about the roses. When we were figuring out our vows and ceremony details I was looking for something different. I wasn’t really into the whole unity candle thing. Plus we have a bazillion sets of parents and I didn’t want to leave anyone out when it came to who would light the candles. So…I decided on the rose ceremony.

Basically, you exchange roses as a symbol of your “gift” of love to each other. And you must nurture them and help them bloom like your love. You know mushy stuff like that.

Plus, this is the easiest way for:

1. Your husband to remember your anniversary.
2. To guarantee you will get flowers on your anniversary.

You know I joke, but it is very meaningful to both of us, and when we are so super busy with work, kids and life in general it helps us remember why we feel in love in the first place.
FYI, it’s because he’s hot, makes great waffles and is a SUPER dad.