Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Dos and Don'ts of Parent/Teacher Conferences

A while back my mom made a training video about the do's and don'ts of conferences -- for teachers. Here is my own rendition -- except this time for parents:

1) Bring treats. Ok, so no one has done this yet but when you've been at work for 11+ hours a cookie would be good.

2) If you feel treats are slightly inappropriate, a nice handshake and 'thank you' will have the same effect. It's amazing how much respect a teacher will gain for you if you actually thank him/her for working with your child.

3) Don't answer your cell phone in the middle of the conference.

4) Don't answer your cell phone in the middle of the conference and start talking for a few minutes.

5) DO NOT reach into your bra to pull out your cell phone to answer it in the middle of the conference.

6) ... and then talk on it.

7) ... and then return it to the bra.

8) ... and then proceed to let it vibrate for the rest of the conference.

9) ... in your bra.

10) wow.

I'm tired.

But extremely amused.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to you...

For the next six weeks I am married to an older man.
Happy birthday baby!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?

Today I visited a store to purchase something for someone's birthday.

I used a cart.

I took my purchases out to the car and emptied the cart.

Noticing the massive winds whirling around the area today, I took the cart back inside the store because of the lack of "cart corrals" in the parking lot.

I know some people find themselves too lazy to bring a cart back inside the store if there is a lack of convenient storage, but I am not one of those people.

I pushed through the winds, back inside the store, and back to my car just in time to see...

a cart careening towards my front bumper.


Because I took the time to save someone else's car from the potential of my wind blown cart, my own car got creemed by someone else's.

Luckily the E is primarily made of plastic and the cart simply bounced off as I lunged forward to catch it.

Please, people, take the two minutes to return the cart to a spot where it won't get blown into innocent cars.

Is that really too difficult? Hmmm?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Take that...

Today Chris woke up early early to go on another epic Saturday ride. After a restless night's sleep (due to super bizarre dreams), I ended up "sleeping" (aka, flip 'n flopping) until about 11. When I woke up, I had intentions to ride, but then realized I had a bunch of other things I also wanted to do with my day. The weather seemed pretty nice and I've been wanting to wash the car, walk the dog, and do a little 'spring cleaning' around the house. In addition to those little chores, I have some birthday-present-related-activities to do for a certain someone's birthday on Tuesday.

However, I told Chris I would ride today.

Sooooo, I had three options:
1) Ride
2) Lie to myself and him and say I rode (really lame, I know, but I surely considered it)
3) Ride the trainer after doing all of my other chores while the weather was nice

So I took the dog for a walk. Then decided it was way too nice to pass up an actual ride outside. I put on my clothes and knee warmers, and fully intended to take the road bike out on a little spin around the neighborhoods for an hour. That way I'd feel like I rode, and it wouldn't be on the trainer. As I got all ready, I realized that my matchymatchyness has reached near vomitable proportions with the new team kit. My road shoes and helmet match the new shorts and jersey so much that you'd think I'd planned it. I intend to take pictures to prove it too you soon. For now I'm too lazy.

I took the road bike off the trainer and tried to put some air in the tires. That ended in my front tire being totally flat and a bike pump flying across the kitchen in frustration. Soooo, I put on my mountain shoes (less matchymatchy) and I headed out on the Fuel.

The weather was beautiful. Perfect actually. It's hard to imagine that it's supposed to get retardedly cold again tomorrow. Boo. Anyway, I felt good so I changed my plan from easy spin to actual training mission. I headed through the neighborhood paths up to the monster hill on Simms by our house. This hill has humbled me even on a road bike in perfect conditions.

Today I decided to heave my heavy mountain bike up the hill into a monster headwind.


In my middle ring.

For fun.

I went up once, and it went ok. My legs felt good. The wind sucked. My leftover sickiness was coming up my lungs. Lovely. I watched a herd of Chipotle boys head down the hill on their fancyschmancy bikes and none of the 20ish even bothered to throw a smile or nod my way -- they were acting quite "roadie" -- which, of course, tweeked my competitive streak. I decided they probably hadn't gone up this hill, and definitely not twice, so when I hit the top and took a swig of water, I quickly headed back down only to turn around and do it again.

Take that snooty roadie boys.

The second time up actually felt easier. When I reached the top I pondered doing it a third time, but decided to leave the activity with my interest still in tact so as to be more likely to come out and try again soon. Once I get the computer on my bike fixed, I'd like to start timing myself up the hill and work on holding a decent increasing pace. When I get sick of that hill, I'll start working on The Wall. Hopefully those types of workouts will help me out on the painful hill in the time trial course and then help with the Hill Climb in June.

When I came down, I headed up the smaller hill on the other side by the dog park, and then turned into the neighborhoods and cruised home. It was a good ride.

I'm glad I chose option 1.

P.S: I'm quite glad it's the weekend. Because of President's Day and upcoming conferences, I have Monday AND Tuesday off for a much needed not-sick four day weekend. The kids were unbelievably crazy this week due to Valentine's Day, Picture Day, Pajama Day, and the dramatic swings in weather lately. Here are two funny kid quotes from yesterday:
"My mom says when she gets more money we're going to get a Boxer dog and a Petbull" -- hehe, pet bull.
"We need to brush our teeth after eating so much candy so we don't get gravities" -- hehe, gravities.
They may be crazy, but kids sure are funny sometimes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Lucky One

I don't think I mention enough about how I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Not only is my husband awesome at biking, but he is also the greatest husband around.

And it's true everyday.

Not just on Valentine's Day.

He makes me smile and laugh an uncountable number of times everyday.

I worried, growing up, that I would never be able to find a husband who could ever live up to the high standards that I had. I was lucky enough to grow up with the most thoughtful and generous dad in the entire world. For as long as I can remember, I would wake up on Valentine's Day to find a card or present or candy waiting for me in the bathroom or outside my door. Dad has always had a way of doing that little something extra (i.e. cutting my hotdogs into little pacmans with cheese; leaving a note in my lunch bag, etc). How could anyone else ever live up to that?

Somehow Chris has managed to do just that. He never seizes to amaze me with his thoughtfulness and sweetness. Since today is Valentine's Day I get even more special treatment than ever. I woke up to a nice backrub instead of an annoying alarm, then pancakes with chocolate chip hearts and omelets, and now I just came home to beautiful roses, a glass of wine, and deluxe dinner and my favorite dessert.

Sometimes it's great to be a girl.

I love you Christopher.

p.s. Super big thank you to TMom for the Fannie May fudge!!!! I know where Chris gets his supreme thoughtfulness.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Congratulations Hubby!

You have always been Numero Uno to me, but I'm so proud of you for proving it to everyone else last night. Congratulations on your big NUMBER ONE in the second Leadville winter race. My new favorite words heard over a race radio? "Wow! Someone has already come through this checkpoint. We almost missed him, he came so fast. It's... uhh... Chris Plesko." Hehe. I'm very proud of you. Oh, and thanks for winning that bottle of wine and awesome dinner for two at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. Yum!

Ooooh, ahhh. Beautiful sunset.
My only success at getting a "streaky light" night picture. I intended to get more of these during the race, but then the camera froze. Literally.
Mr. #1 getting ready to race in the new team kit.
Part of the start line.
We have a weeeener.
Mike finishing. Apparently he became see-through as the race wore on.
Congratulations to Mike, Chris, Dave and Bill for an awesome showing. The boys on my team are seriously cool.

P.S. I am a few days into my dose of antibiotics for tonsillitis and should hear back about strep tomorrow. I'm improving, but slowly. I still get daily pounding headaches and have little to no appetite. I haven't ridden my bike in the month of February. I better get better soon. This is not delightful. For anyone involved.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Drum roll please...

Here is the long awaited Turbo-prancing-in-his-shoes-movie. It's shaky, but that's because I was laughing so hard. (Ignore my annoying voice.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Despite my feelings when I snapped this picture...

I am seriously lucky to live in Colorado.

And have a husband who 'encourages' me to get out and explore it.

And great friends and an awesome dog to explore with.

The plan for this weekend evolved out of one simple comment: "Hey, Chris! Let's find somewhere fun to try out our new snowshoes this weekend." So... I was thinking, I don't know, north Boulder or Evergreen or something. Easy walk to see what snowshoes are all about. Somehow that turned into a winter summit attempt at Pikes Peak. My response: "Hmmm?" And then after a week of passive aggressive tiffs on my end, I found myself rising surprisingly easily at 2:45 am on Sunday morning for the drive down to the Springs.

As we drove down to the Springs in the E with four people and two dogs, I surprised myself at my lack of napping (me, wake up at 2:45 and not nap? Blasphemy!). The roads were great and nicely maintained for being the dead of winter. We laced up our snowshoes, put Turbo's shoes and pack on and headed off around 6 am.

Can I just say that Turbo looks ridiculously cute in his new hiking shoes and pack? Hence the three different pictures. One of these days I'll become less internet retarded and find a way to post the video of him prancing around like a puppy with his new shoes on. It's hilarious.

Anyway, we started hiking up through the trees on a well trudged path and the weather was extraordinary. We chose Pikes after seeing that our first choice of mountains, Mt. Elbert, was supposed to have a big winter storm move through during the day. As we marveled at the weather in the trees, I knew we'd made a good choice. We were even getting on the warm side. Amazing for the beginning of February surrounded by feet of fresh powder.
As the path wound around the trees, we broke through to this beautiful view:

This picture doesn't do it justice. I stopped and threw some Cheese-Its in my bag (my fuel for most of the day as it would turn out) and we started heading up a pretty steep slope out past tree-line. Here, we experienced the true winter ascent experience as we could now feel the howling winds that the trees had protected us from. Up here the path disappeared under the wind's force and we blazed our own trails up the crusty snow packed surface.

I guess this was my first taste of "real" snowshoeing and I wasn't exactly thrilled.

Nicholette, being much more experienced on snowshoes, flew up the hillside and disappeared from my sight. Chris followed shortly behind her. Unluckily for Bill, he got stuck behind me and ended up catching me a few times from tumbling backwards down the snowy hill as I was either being wind blown or just clumsy on the snowshoes. I would make one step and slide back two more often than not and it was making me frustrated. At the top of this particular part there was a big rock formation to see and it kept me motivated to reach at least that point.

I was a little frustrated and getting a little tired and nervous about the wind and cold, but still ready to keep going. When hiking up this trail on Pikes, you intersect the road at some point and from there you still have quite a way, but at least you made it to 'the road'. I wanted to make it to the road, but to make it that, we had to keep crossing this saddle-ridge-hill thing. At this point it was so windy and cold that even the inner-photog in me couldn't muster the will to dig out the camera for some amazing photo ops. The wind was blowing the snow across the hillside with the sun low behind the hill in such a way that the vision will forever be embossed in my mind.

At some point my hands started to get cold, and from there I was pretty much in trouble. Chris put his huge belay parka on me and when that failed to warm me up, we made the decision to start heading back down. We made it almost to 13,000 ft and the last 1,000+ feet weren't going to get any less windy or cold. As we found out later, the winds were steady around 30 mph with gusts even higher than that. The wind chill was -20 to -35. Umm yeah, brr. Chris was wonderful and turned around with a smile and Bill and Nicholette gracefully joined us. I felt bad to be the reason to turn the group around before reaching the summit, but as I knew I was moving my fingers but couldn't actually feel it happening, I didn't see much other choice for me.

So we headed down.

Did I mention that at this point my Balaclava had frozen to my face through the breathing holes? Niiiiice.
The way down was much more fun. We did some fun sliding/glissading down the hillside in deep powder. In all of the fun (and extreme wind) we sorta lost the trail that we had taken up the big hill. This provided the most fun of the day in my opinion. We had three GPS's between the four of us, so, in Chris's words "we're not lost, we know exactly where the trail is, we just can't find it." Hehehe. We zigzagged and blazed new trail through the trees. Chris plowed through the knee deep powder, Bill and the dogs following, with Nicholette and I reaping the benefits of a cleared path.

It's hard to tell, but this is Chris pointing us in the direction that we'd both come from and where we were supposed to be headed. Hmmm...

At last! The Trail!

Here we stopped and took some photos before heading back down the trail to the car at a relaxed pace with good conversation. We thawed out in the car and proceeded to have some yummy Red Robin in the Springs.

The best photos of the day? I have a great series of shots of Chris that I want to mess with a bit before posting, but here's a teaser -- the end result of his actions:

We had a great time overall, despite the freezy hands and now incredibly sore knee/hip. This was an adventure never to forget!
The group:
The thawing dogcicle:
The friends:
Haha, and finally Chris's totally unintentional but quite cheesy looking "rugged mountaineer" pose: