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 24, 2010

The Idita-wha?

Tomorrow hubby leaves for Alaska where he'll spend the next, oh, three to ten days riding his beautiful Fatback on the Iditarod trail -- starting Sunday.

Before meeting Chris, my exposure to the Iditarod trail came primarily where most elementary teacher's knowledge comes from -- the book Balto. Yes, Balto. You probably read it in elementary school if you went in the 80s or 90s. I even used it as a guided reading book for my super high group when I taught 1st grade. It's a good book. I'm pretty sure at some point in my elementary career we also tracked the progress of the Iditarod dogs on some giant map. From there, my mind drifts to eskimos with furry hoods, beautiful husky dogs, and wind blowing snow across a barren landscape.

When I met Chris, he wasn't into this nutty stuff. He had a motorcycle and raced for the CU Triathlon team. That was all pretty normal. As everything spiraled out of control, as it often does with him, and I became introduced to the world of endurance cycling, he would talk about the Ultrasport -- or Iditabike -- or Iditarod Trail Invitational. Beats me what it's actually called, because I've heard all of these used to describe it... Hmmm... oh well. Doesn't matter. Anyway, I came to realize that the Iditarod trail in the winter was not just for eskimos and husky dogs any more. I didn't think it was for MY Chris, but I certainly saw that other crazies could do it on foot or on bike.

Fast forward to about July of 2009. Chris was coming down off his Tour Divide high and said he would love to do the Ultrasport but that it usually fills up so fast that there's no way he'd get in. Being the ever-encouraging wife, and knowing full well that he most likely wouldn't make it in, I told him to look into it. He did. It was full. Alaska was a no-go. Awww shucks ;)

Fast forward again to early October 2009. Chris was healing for crazy broken ankle, feeling pretty down on life and sports in general. We were both recovering from the biggest physical upset either of us had ever gone through, and life was taken one tiny step at a time. I tried to cheer Chris up, give him some goal to work towards or something to look forward to. My attempts were usually lame and not helpful. One day, as I prepared the gazillionth dinner in a row for the two of us, ready to schlep it upstairs to the bed that doubled as a dinner table -- I heard a really loud "HOLY CRAP! NO WAY!" come shouting from the bedroom. My little zombie had come to life suddenly! Scared his foot had somehow fallen off or he suddenly realized it was perfectly fine and not actually broken (the only two plausible causes for such a reaction at the time), I ran to the stairs and yelled "WHAT?" "You won't believe it!!" He hobbled to the top of the stairs and there was a look of elation on his face. "WHAAAATTTTT?" (wifey gets a little cranky without sleep...) "Umm, how do you feel about me going to Alaska in February????" (big giant smile) I specifically remember saying "wow! what do you mean?" in a pretty flat tone as I went back to the kitchen (yeah, cranky...). I'm pretty sure that wasn't the reaction he expected. He went on to explain that Bill had emailed him and asked if he wanted a spot on the start list. There was a brief conversation of Chris asking me if it was okay for him to go (really, would I tell my depressed broken husband that he couldn't do the one thing that had brought a smile to his face in the last two weeks???) and then general giddiness for the rest of the night. While his smile grew, my worries grew.

Now don't get me wrong, I was happy for him. I believed in him. I knew he would somehow be able to do it. But I'd read Jill's book, followed her exploits the following year on the internet, and then got to hear her frostbite stories from the Ultrasport firsthand as we drove her up to Banff. I had also just experienced snow being a bad, bad, bad thing.

With time, as always seems to happen, my excitement for this race grew right along with Chris's. As he ordered his new bike, waited what seemed like forever to get it, and watched him push his body to heal itself, I became more than a little invested in this race with him.

As he leaves tomorrow, with a feeling of being underprepared, undertrained, and rookie-ish, I see a pretty kickass husband getting ready to go have an unbelievable adventure. The rest of the world probably wishes they were as "undertrained" as he is. We could all be so lucky. Sure, his body isn't 100% perfect, but if I've ever met anyone who can override their physical state with stubbornness and willpower, it'd be him. I envy the views he's going to take in up in Alaska. I envy the feeling of being away from civilization, away from bills, away from work, away from internet and cell phones. I envy the possibility of seeing the northern lights. I don't envy the cold, but whatever, that's just not my cup of tea.

I know that, as with every adventure he sets his mind to, things will end up exceeding his expectations. Things will not go perfectly -- they never do. There will be highs and lows and times of self-doubt. But no matter what, he will always have me back here at home believing in him, trusting him, cheering him on as loudly as one can do inside her head or inside a closed car. I, personally, along with more than a few of you, will be glued to the updates on the web. The ultrasport does not allow racers to carry a SPOT (my beef with that ranges far and wide), so I will depend on someone else to let me know how hubby is doing. I don't trust very easily. But I do trust Chris. And I know he'll be doing the best that he can, hopefully soaking in views that most of us will never be lucky enough to set eyes on.

Good luck my Christopher. Enjoy the journey, whatever it brings.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Long Road...

It has been a long road and quite the journey, but...




Baby Plesko is due Saturday, September 4th (labor day weekend!). I just turned over the 12 week mark and we've seen a healthy, growing, happy, wonderful, and ridiculously cute baby three times on ultrasound already. We thought it was time to share our exciting news with the world!

Look how cute he/she is already! Showing off those future climbing arms and riding legs :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eenie Meenie...

Here is a conversation (ok, game) that I overheard one of my girls playing today during inside recess. She was sitting with four other girls.

"Eeenie, Meenie, odda oh, patcha mida, bodda, bo. My momma told me to pick my very best friend and you, you, you, no wait, you, are it" (and she pointed to one girl. When the other girls threw a hissy fit she went on to say...) "Okay, you are all going to be my friends, I just have to pick, okay? Is that so hard? Eeenie, Meenie, odda oh, patcha mida, bodda, bo..."

And this continued on for nearly ten minutes. Choosing a different person each time until all the girls were completely satisfied with her choice. Then they continued on with their puzzle. For a second I thought about interrupting and teaching her the *actual* words to eenie meenie, but then again, those don't make much sense either, so I let it go.

While I'm on funny kid stories, I told Chris this one the other day and he insisted that I put it on the blog... so it must be good :)

When my kids came in the other morning, one of the moms pulled me aside and said "check little homie's backpack, he has something pretty inappropriate for a 5 year old..." First the problem was figuring out who the heck "little homie" was. I didn't figure that out, so I called over my three most likely suspects and told them to bring me their backpacks because "I hear someone has something interesting that I should see." They all ran into the coatroom and got their backpacks and came back. My MOST likely suspect brought me his first and said "I have something! Want to see??!!!" so I thought -- oh good, that was easy. He opens up his backpack and what does he pull out? A very loved, red, stuffed bear. He beamed from ear to ear and was so excited to show me -- "cool, huh Mrs Plesko!" Haha. The next kid joyfully opened his backpack only to reveal a very loved, stuffed elephant. Nice. The last kid -- the one I'd probably least suspect of the three (who is also BEST friends with the red bear kid), grudgingly hands over his backpack and there's nothing in it. I was totally confused. Then suspect number 1 shouts out -- very happily might I add, with no hesitation of ratting out his best friend -- "he has a knife in there!" Turns out the kid slipped the fake dagger (okay, it did look pretty real but it was fake) onto the shelf in the coatroom. Due to school policy, he was suspended for the rest of the day. The other two boys continued to gush about their stuffed animals. It was pretty great.

I think that's all of my good stories for now...

Today was evening number one of second trimester conferences. I was supposed to be at work until 8. Around 4:10, the fire alarm went off and we were all ushered outside. After waiting around outside for about fifteen minutes, we were allowed back in (by the awfully cute firefighters by the way!). At 4:45 the fire alarm went off again, we were ushered outside AGAIN. This time, at least, we had a gorgeous setting sun to watch as we stood outside in the cold for about a half hour. When they finally let us back in (and I could get on with the conference I had to start standing in the road), the principal came over the intercom and told us we were all required to leave the school IMMEDIATELY and go home -- something about the fire box or something? Soooooo, it is about 8:00 and I am nicely fed, curled up in sweats, snuggled into bed blogging, and I should just now be leaving school. Ahhhh, nice!!! I know I'll have to make those missed conferences up next week, but for now, I feel like a giddy little kid who has just been given a surprise snow day. Pretty great if you ask me!

Monday, February 01, 2010

This job is hard sometimes...

Not teaching.

Being a wife.

Specifically, being the wife of a crazy endurance athlete.

I stole this picture from Doug. I love it.

Chris is rocking the Arrowhead today. I'm so proud of him. But I miss having that grand blue dot to follow and stalk relentlessly. Chris chose not to take the SPOT for this race, knowing that the Ultrasport does not allow it (dah, do those guys have wives??? Yes, yes, I know, the organizer is lucky enough to have a wife that also rides it with him!). Anyway, I am remember why exactly I paid good money for that sucker a few Christmases ago! It is like being extremely invested in a football team that is playing in the Superbowl -- that lasts two days -- and you can't find out how it went until it is over. Painful!

Luckily Chris knows that I am a crazy person when I can't be there to cheer him on in person and he managed to squeak in a call from the checkpoint that is midway on the course. He was sounding good, albeit tired and a little ticked that his ankle was so sore. When I told him "you sound good!" he replied with "yeah, I'm trying!" Haha. Thanks honey! After the checkpoint there are supposedly hills-galore and he knew that with the singlespeed he'd end up hiking quite a bit. But he never mentioned quitting -- just a potential nap out in the -15 degree weather. Mmm, sounds lovely!

The hardest part about being an enduro-nut-wifey is not crying back into the phone "it's cold, come home, let me take care of you, I'll feed you your favorite food..." or "I'm sick, come home, take care of me, and make me my favorite food..." Instead I muster a smile, tell him he's kicking butt, and to get back out there and enjoy the views.

Sometimes that statement comes more easily than others, and since this is Chris's first endurance snowbike race (and mine being mental support), it is really hard saying that when you know you're encouraging him to go out into the wilderness in freaking freezing temperatures.

At least he can never I say I didn't fake it for his own good!

(P.S: Happy Groundhog's Day tomorrow... or as one of my Kinders called it today "Hound dog's gay" -- totally obliviously -- haha)