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

Friday, March 27, 2009

SPRING BREAK 2009! Days 5, 6, and 7 (aka Desert Schmesert part four)

The last few days have been spent having a lot of fun exploring Moab's best tourist area, Arches National Park. The weather has certainly been better than the blizzard that hit at home, but it still pulled its usual "haha, I'm not really a desert" weather that seems to hit every single time I am here.

On to some pictures from the last few days (ignore the splotchy spots on most of the pictures -- the D70/lenses have some annoying dust on them and I'm too lazy to photoshop the splotchies out for now)

Rhonda on my ride up the Bar M trail.

I found Fred's van and managed to leave Chris a "cryptic" note :)

Wednesday, Chris and I decided to ride our road bikes through Arches. We totaled about 45 miles and 3800 ft of climbing.

It got pretty chilly when the sun dipped behind the clouds and the wind picked up.

Near the campground at the end of the road.

We did a side-trip to hike to the Delicate Arch lookout point. It looked small from there. People looked on in awe as we hiked the "treacherous" 1.5 mile loop in our bike clothes.

We got a million more pictures from biking Arches, and I will eventually put them into a slide show if you are interested in seeing them. Riding through Arches is certainly the way to see it as even at slow riding speeds it was hard to see everything. If you have a road bike, and some extra time in Moab, do this loop -- it's amazing! That night we camped at Sandflats again, as the colder weather moved in.

Overnight the extreme winds and heavy rain moved in, blanketing the La Sal's with more snow.

Thursday was deamed a "rest day" as the weather was generally icky and cold. We decided to use our Arches pass to go back and drive to some of the small hikes we didn't get to do the day before. During our visit this time, the clouds rolled in quickly and it SNOWED. Pssssh, "desert" :)

Chris is always in search of a little adventure, even if it's just on a random rock laying on the ground.

We decided to do a three mile hike to see Delicate Arch up close. The weather started out nice, but once we hit this section of slickrock, the snow (small icy pelets) came crashing down on us. They looked really cool blowing down the rock. People, once again, looked at us like we were crazy, as this time we were headed UP when everyone else was running down away from the weather.

A tradition of the boy's. He's good at handstands.

A nice French guy offered to take our picture, and luckily he seemed to know what he was doing with a camera and took lots of great shots for us.

When we made it back to the car, we decided to head back to town to check in to our hotel. The shower was AWESOME and it feels good to have a home-base that doesn't need packing and repacking each time we want to sleep. We ate at the Diner last night for a pseudo-birthday dinner, since Chris has big riding plans for my actual birthday. The dinner itself was okay, the ice cream afterwards was the best part!

This morning Chris and I had a Starbucks date at a local coffee shop and then I dropped him off to ride with Fred, Mike C, and Dave C. I came back to the hotel room and watched TV, napped, and have been catching up on crappy TV. Hopefully we'll get to go get some dinner soon, then turning in early. Tomorrow I'm hoping to do a small ride or two, nap more, and generally get some quality relaxing in before work starts back up next week. Life's timing has me getting my uncomfortable "why are you babyless" procedure done on Monday afternoon, meaning I won't be headed back to work until Tuesday. I guess I'll take an extra day off wherever I can get it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SPRING BREAK 2009! Days 3 and 4

No pictures for now, as I'm too lazy to upload them, but plenty of fun has been had over the last two days!

Yesterday ended not raining as we thought it would, but we still ended up taking things pretty relaxed. Chris rode Porcupine Rim in the morning, while I sat at the coffee shop and caught up on life over the internet, wallowing over my soreness. When Chris got back, we searched for (and finally bought!) Chris's new climbing shoes. Of course after buying climbing shoes, you have to get ice cream and then actually go climbing! We hit up the Schoolroom Slabs on Wall Street again, only this time it didn't seem as easy as our previous experience out there. I was psyching myself out, and stood virtually paralyzed on the side of the slab for so long that Chris finally starting pulling the rope in an attempt to make me so uncomfortable that I'd have to move. I eventually made it up the relatively easy line, and after some complaining and whining, Chris moved the rope to a new anchor. This time I climbed a little better, not stopping to cry as on previous pitches. We climbed several different areas, Chris even making it up a really difficult looking roof with relative ease.

After climbing we met up with UltraRob for some delicious Pasta Jay's. It's always great to catch up with blog-friends and it was really fun to listen to his RAAM stories. With full bellies, we hit up a pretty good camping spot in Sandflats. We are getting really good at arranging and rearranging the packed car to fit our air mattress sleep system. The last few nights have been quite windy and cold, leaving us sleeping in the car rather than in our nice tent. I'm enjoying camping, but also looking quite forward to our hotel room Thursday!

This morning we had some great breakfast at the Love Muffin and met up with Fred, Pete B, and Pete's friend. Chris took off on a day-long adventure with the enduronuts, while I headed over to a nice parking lot nap before going on my own ride. I rode from town up the old highway (a cracked old road that's no longer in use) and then around the Bar M trail. Chris and I explored the Bar M area last Spring Break, and I wanted to go back. This time I avoided the slickrock-ish trails that venture from the main trail and just stuck to the loop. What an awesome trail! It was way better marked than last year and a good mix of dirt trail and interesting rocks. In all, I rode about 20 miles, before searching the town's streets for free internet. I finally found some and then I proceeded to wait several hours for Chris to get back. He seems to have had a great ride with the boys.

Now I sit outside my new-found shower place while Chris cleans up (did I mention that I LOVE showers?), then we are off to find food and then our campsite for the night. Tomorrow's plan is to ride road bikes through Arches National Park, more eating, more showering, and most likely more napping. Thursday looks a bit rainy and icky, so perhaps we'll be seeing a movie and settling in nicely to our hotel room.

Ahhhh, spring break. There's nothing quite like it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

SPRING BREAK 2009! Days 1 and 2


Just had to get that out there!

Despite my feelings leading up to this week, I did, in fact, survive long enough to see spring break this year.  Let's just say, I've come to the conclusion that I have, overall, my most difficult group of kids yet -- and that's saying a lot because I've had chair throwers, a girl who would bolt from the building randomly, severely emotionally disturbed kids, and the list could go on and on and on.  

I'm happy to be away for a week.  To say the least.

So here I am, Monday morning, NOT at work (WOOHOOO!), sitting in the Red Rock Bakery and Cafe.  I'm more than a bit sad that Mondos apparently has gone under, but this is an okay substitute.  At least the hot chocolate is half decent.  

Spring break so far?  


We had a leisurely drive in on Saturday, meeting up with Brett, Jeremy, and Chris for a smoothie before they went in search of a nap and we went in search of some rock climbing.  A few hours of 5.7 desert climbing on Wall Street was just what our cooped up bones needed.  Some fellow climbers saw the back of our Element and dropped their jaws in amazement that "those two people have four bikes, climbing stuff, camping stuff, and everything shoved in there."  Yep, we're pretty awesome.

After climbing, we had a LONG wait for dinner at the brewery and then went in search of a good camp spot.  Eventually we settled in for the night and were amazed at how absolutely warm the night was.  For once, I actually unzipped my sleeping bag and didn't sleep in my down jacket.  That never happens in Colorado.

We woke up early Sunday morning, packed up camp, and hit up the Love Muffin for some delicious breakfast.  Last year I scored an awesome pumpkin-chocolate chip muffin from here, couldn't wait to eat it, only to have Turbo eat it while I stepped out of the car for a minute. Luckily they had more, and the year's wait was well worth it.  YUM!  After breakfast, we met up with the boys at the Slickrock parking lot for a ride.  The weather was still fairly warm, but very very windy.  I thought we left Westminster to get away from the spring wind?  

Slickrock is a one-of-a-kind trail.  At least in Colorado, you can never ride 11 miles of rock.  The first time I rode this trail two years ago, I told myself I wouldn't be sad if I never rode it again. Last Spring Break, I rode it again with Dave C and the crew.  Afterwards, I told myself that I wouldn't be sad if I never rode it again.  So here I was, riding it again.  Only this time, I didn't have my squishy full suspension Fuel with lots of gears... I rode my only rideable mountain bike that I own right now -- the rigid single speed.  I knew there'd be lots of walking.  And I was right.  Lots.  

It's hard to not get discouraged when you have to walk almost all of the ups on a very up-and-down trail.  I did, however, notice that I could attack the downhills with far less fear and anxiety than ever before.  The 29er was awesome and when the ups allowed for some good momentum or weren't too long, the single wasn't toooooo bad.  The rigid made the least difference, often feeling smoother than my full suspension ever did.  I did have a few incidents of my chain coming off on the uphills, causing me to slam to the handlebars, leaving my shoulders in quite a bit of pain today.  Chris, Brett, Jeremy, and the other Chris did a great job on the trail and I was clearly the anchor in this group as usual.  

It was great to be out and riding though, and despite the crazy wind the whole way, it sure beats the riding weather out in Colorado right now!

After riding, we got some food (which my post-ride stomach wouldn't allow me to eat), and the working folk headed back to Denver (haha, suckers).  Chris and I drove back to Wall Street and he explored while I took a nap in the car.  Eventually Chris got in a bit of climbing, while I belayed from the car, and we headed to camp.  We had a nice camp dinner and read some books in the Hotelement last night before turning in.  

Today, Chris is out riding Porcupine Rim while I sit here drinking my hot chocolate and catching up on the outside world.  I managed to pay for a shower this morning, making me feel much more human, but no less sore.  The weather today is supposed to be iffy, so we may just bum around town in search of Chris's next pair of climbing shoes... but we'll see.

The great thing about SPRING BREAK 2009!... there's a heck of a lot of relaxing to be had in this beautiful place and lots of time to do it in.     

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sing out loud

Sunday was a sing-out-loud day on the bike.  


One runner actually told me: "Nice singing, how refreshing to see someone actually enjoying themselves."


That was and will probably be the only time I've been complemented on my singing.

While the boys rode their March road century, Rhonda The Singlespeed and I hit up some much needed singletrack around Marshal Mesa (as well as the roads that lead there).
Another wicked headwind nearly had me turned back at the neighborhood exit, but I pushed through it, determined to get to some sort of dirt.  Getting to the Coalton Trailhead was way more work than necessary, even requiring me to attempt to pedal DOWN the Wall.  

Once to Coalton, the views of the flatirons, Longs, and even Pikes way down south made the effort all worth it.
I rode Coalton, where most of the singing happened.  It finally felt good to be out and there was a great tune playing in my ear... what else is a girl supposed to do?  

Soon I got to the actual Marshal Mesa trails, Community Ditch trail, and Cowdrey Draw trail. Lots of pedaling, giggling, and whooping here!  
Finally I stopped for the first time to catch a bit of a snack.  Trucky the Ducky likes king sized snickers!
Before I knew it, I was on the road home.  

3 hours and 30ish miles later, I was back at home.  The rest of the night and the next day found me feeling pretty terrible, making me come to the conclusion that my mind and heart are, actually, in much better shape than my body.  I felt pretty lame for feeling so sore and icky after, but considering I rode a hard 3 hours on the single speed with only one two-minute break for a half a snickers, I guess I deserved it.  

And the post ride glass of wine didn't hurt :)  

Saturday, March 14, 2009


One week until Spring Break starts.

Spring Break is a highlight of the year.  Right about now, the kids are sick of each other, they are sick of the teacher, and the teacher is getting a little sick of some of them.  One week away brings some good perspective to all involved in education even while non-teachers scoff at it as an unnecessary luxury.

This year's SPRING BREAK 2009! will be spent in Moab, Utah, sucking up all of the biking, hiking, and climbing that the land-o-red-dirt has to offer.  In between all of that, I will be getting some much needed relaxation and perspective on life.  

Needless to say, I can't wait!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, things are moving along.  Chris took his Praxis test today as one of the final steps toward becoming a high school math teacher.  He won't get his results for a while, but seeing as he's the smartest person I've ever met, I'm sure he did great!  I had another blood test yesterday for the no-baby-doctor which will be the last step before a slightly uncomfortable procedure happening in a few weeks.  After that, we'll hopefully know more information and find a way to make a baby!  

Today was wonderful.  

Nearly perfect.

At least so far.

I woke up and made Chris a delicious pre-test breakfast and then promptly went back to sleep when he left at 6:30 am.  I slept for a few hours and woke up and took a nice long shower before Chris got home.  When he got back, we went out for some delicious Panera lunch, followed by a nice long walk around the dog park with Turbo (his second-most favorite thing behind cheese).  From there we hung out at Dairy Queen with some tasty ice cream and then came home to digest.  Chris is now out on a nice long ride, while I head out for a delicious dinner and movie with the girls.  Talk about a good day!  Too bad there weren't any pictures...

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend out in bloggerland.  Cheers to upcoming 70 degree weather!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'Snow place like a snow race

We had a great meet-aversary weekend in Leadville!

Chris and I cashed in on an awesome prize from one of last year's Leadville snow races: a free dinner for two at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. We had the choice of snowshoeing or cross country skiing to the dinner, which was at a candlelit yurt about a mile up the trail from the lodge. Seeing as we own snowshoes and neither of us had ever tried cross country skiing, we chose the skis. We skied in at sunset time, although the view and sunset was seriously obstructed by the low clouds dropping soft snowflakes on us. The ski in was mostly uphill, making for a slow trek for these newbies.

We eventually got to the yurt and sat down to an unbelievable four course meal with delicious hot chocolate and tea.

When dinner was done, and we were REALLY full from our sausage, cheese, bacon wrapped scallops, bread, salad, roast chicken, elk, and pie, we got to strap on some headlamps and ski back downhill to our car. Going downhill was interesting, especially in the dark, but it certainly was fun.

The next day was the Leadville snow race. This race took me 1 hr 40 mins, with a lot of walking but gears for for fast downhills. This year it took me about 1 hr 10 mins, with stellar trail conditions, no walking, but no gears to crank up when I was horribly spun out. The race itself was a blast. I loved riding a course that had made me walk sooooo much last year. Once again, the scenery was unbeatable. The snow races this year haven't failed to plaster a permasmile on my face while riding. Poor Chris was miserably sick, but still stuck it out for a fun ride. He even wrote me a note in the snow, but I somehow missed it.

We stuck around after to watch some crazy ski joring (skiers being pulled through a jump course by HORSES -- nutzos), eat some delicious cookies, and cash in on some other gift certificates gained from this wonderful winter series. It was a wonderful weekend and very refreshing. Thanks to our hosts, Kathy and Chris -- owners of Cycles of Life for putting us up with wonderful spots to sleep on Saturday night, allowing us to swing our fancy dinner and an early race start all in one weekend.

And now... funny kid quote of the week!!!!

We were walking in from music and one of my girls said "I know how to spell 'oh my goodness'" and I said "oh yeah?" to which she responded "yep, OMG." That would've been funny enough, but then she said "can we put that on the word wall?" Ha! Umm, no.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


During math groups today, one the groups was chatting while "working" as usual.  Usually I tell them to get back to work, but today's conversation was just too entertaining to shush.  It went a little something like this:

Boy:  I color better than you do
Girl:  No you don't
Boy:  Yes I do
Girl:  Well, I know God's powers
Boy:  Oh really?
Girl:  Yep.  He could change this blue marker into a red marker
Boy:  Oh
Girl:  Beat those apples


When they're not driving me insane, they kill me.