Friday, June 25, 2010


Hello there.... jus wanted anyone and everyone who follows my blog to know that I haen't gone missing, or forgotten to keep up with my blog! Just want to remind you all that I am away on vacation with my family, down in southern California, enjoying Disneyland and California Adventure this week. :-)

We will fly back to Portland onSunday night, and then rive home on Monday, to get home in time for Evan to make it to his baseball game at 6pm. I then work on Tuesday.... so hopefully on Wednesday I can get back here to update and blog all about our vacation!!!

Take care for now.......

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Petal Pedal, 2010

OK, just let me start out by saying... WOW!!! What an awesome day this was!!! This day was all about bicycle riding and re-connecting with an incredibly great friend from my past.... and I am here to tell you all, the day did NOT disappoint! :-)

First, about my friend, Scott Taube. Scott and I first met back in 1990, when we both entered into the Chemeketa Community College Fire Science program. We hit it off really well back then and became great friends. We had many things in common, including both being two of the older students in the program (we were all of 22 and 24 years old!), and both having come from several years of college previously. Scott and I spent a lot of our time together during our first year at Chemeketa. We studied together, drank coffee together, worked out together, and played a LOT of racquetball together!

Bittersweet for me as it was, at the end of our first year in the program, I was lucky enough to get hired with the Bellingham Fire Department. Scott stayed behind to continue as a second year student, wile I left school behind and moved nearly 300 miles north to become a professional firefighter. Sad and true, our lives became separated by the distance for the next 18 years. We kept in touch through Christmas cards and letters, and occasionally through my mother-in-law, Kathy, who would see Scott on occasion at Starbucks. Other than that, we both had our lives, our careers, and time just raced on by.

However, last year, for some reason or another, it was meant to be that Scott and I would finally re-connect in person, and that we would start to catch up with one another, and start to grow our friendship and firefighter brotherhood connection once again after all of those years gone by. Scott is an awesome guy! A fantastic friend! I am proud to call him one of my very close and personal friends, and I feel blessed to be starting a new chapter in our lives together. :-)

With that all said, here's how we wound up riding the 2010 Petal Pedal century ride together.....

I talked with Scott about my love for cycling, and how it has helped me get a new lease on life through fitness and weight loss. I talked with him about the rides I have done, and how much fun I had riding Seattle to Portland last year with another close personal friend, Stu Hodnot, another firefighter and friendship from my OSU days that finally came back together the year before. Through mush discussion, I managed to convince Scott that he could, and should, ride the Seattle to Portland ride with us this year! He bought it, and signed up.

I talked with Scott about the need for training rides, and told him I had found a great ride for us to do together. This ride would be a great test for Scott, and let him know just where he is at one month prior to STP. This would also be Scotts very first ever century ride!!!! :-) So, we signed up and made all the plans for the Petal Pedal ride, in Silverton, OR.

So, yesterday was our big day!!! And my, oh my, what an awesome day it was for us both!!! Scott completed his very first every century (100 miles) ride..... and he did it very well :-)

Scott and I met up at around 6:30am in Beaverton, where I loaded up into his truck, and off we went down the road towards Silverton..... or so we thought! A few miles down the road we got into a "rolling slow down" where we moved along with traffic at about 5mph for the next 40 minutes..... talk about frustrating, and putting us behind schedule!!!! We never did find out what the slow down was all about, but just as quickly as it happened, it also ended.... and back up to speed we were again, finally getting to I5 southbound. The trip went smoothly after that, but the weather didn't look too promising, and both of us were just a little more than concerned that it was going to be a long day of riding in the rain.

We arrived at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, OR. What an absolutely beautiful place!!! We got parked and headed up to the check-in station. We were quite a bit behind schedule at this point, especially since the 100 mile route was opened at 6:30am, and it was suggested riders leave no later than 8am for the 100 mile ride.... OOOPS!!! It is already 8am now!!! Of course, we weren't all that worried, since there were so many other cyclists there also getting checked in, and people still pulling in as we went back to gear up for our day..... of course, they were all heading out for the 68 mile loop, NOT the 100 mile loop!!!

Oh well, we weren't going to be discouraged... we made the decision to do 100 miles, and we were sticking to it. So, at 8:30am, we hit the road and allowed our adventure to begin!!! :-) The weather was absolutely wonderful. Cloudy, but no rain, no wind, and temperature in the upper 50's to start out. We never got rained on the entire day, and it actually got nicer as the day went on, with sun breaks and warmer temps.... perfect for a century ride!!!

The first 40 miles of this ride are absolutely, incredibly beautiful.... and all uphill...... YES, hill climbing for the majority of the first 40 miles of our day!!! Elevation gains of over 4000 feet!!! This was a true test for Scott, and he did absolutely fantastic!

We had an incredible day of riding together..... we had awesome time riding side by side, talking about life, about family, about firefighting, about fitness, about cycling, and about the absolute beauty that this ride was allowing us to enjoy. I believe I can speak for the both of us when I say that we had an awesome day of riding together!!! :-)

At around mile 70 or so, Scott began to fatigue a bit, and his legs started having discussions with him. But Scott is an absolute stud, and he pushed through it all, kept on plugging along, and managed to finish his very first ever century ride, and finished it strong!!!

100.37 miles in 6 hours 29 minutes, with an overall average speed for the day of 15.45mph!!!

I was so happy for Scott, and also quite proud of him. You see, Scott has only been cycling for a short time now. He hasn't logged nearly as much time or miles on the bike as he would have liked prior to this day. In addition, Scott doesn't yet own a road bike. He rode this ride on a hybrid style mountain bike, geared up for the road as much as possible, but still painfully heavy and with gearing that makes the ride much more difficult. Scott, however, made it work, and he made it work well :-)

We got back to the Oregon Gardens and the finish line at 4:30pm. This means we killed an hour and a half throughout the day at the rest stops. Not too bad, since we stopped at 5 rest stops throughout the entire day. Once at the finish line, we smiled, we hugged, we took pictures and uploaded them to Facebook... and then we headed inside for the celebration!!! BBQ salmon and chicken dinner, with pasta salad, green salad, fresh bread, treats.... Oh, and BEER!!! Yes, free beer from the local brewery, Hopsworks!!! It all was delicious. We sat and ate and drank, and talked all about our day. It was good!!! :-)

I do believe that it was finally around 6pm when we were all changed out of our riding gear, everything loaded into the truck, and back on the road again, this time heading back home. Scott was nice enough to drive me all the way up to Grammy & Papa's place, where he was able to meet the family and shoot the breeze for a few before heading home himself to a nice, hot shower!!!

So, the Petal Pedal was a huge success! The ride was awesome! The company was awesome! The food and beverage were awesome! And the memories I am taking away from this adventure are awesome! What a great day, and what a great ride, and what a great friend!

Congratulations to Scott Taube for completing his very first century ride!!! :-)

Ahhhhh, yes.... I can hardly wait for STP.....

Friday, June 18, 2010


YES!!! You read it right. If summer isn't going to come our way, then we are going to head off to find summer. And what better place to go as a family than to Disneyland!!! :-)

This morning we will leave to head to Portland. This evening we will enjoy dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory (I need to carbo load for tomorrow), and then go to Grammy & Papa's place for the night, perhaps enjoy a soak in the hot tub before bed time. Tomorrow I will be riding in the Petal Pedal down in Silverton, OR. My good friend, Scott Taube, and myself will be attempting the 100 mile route tomorrow! Then, on Sunday, we will enjoy Father's Day with Grandpa, Papa and Great Grandpa... once again celebrating together with 4 generations of Neitling boys all together!!! :-)

On Monday morning we fly out from Portland down to sunny, southern California. Yes, Disneyland Hotel will be our home for the next week... along with 3 full days in the parks!!! :-)

So, when you don't see any updated posts from me this next week, now know why! ;-)

I will have plenty of photos and topics of discussion when we return at the end of the month. And hopefully, by then, summer will have decided to show itself back here at home for this year!!!

Take care one and all..... se ya real soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Catchin' Up After A Long Weekend

Boy, oh boy.... what a fast-paced, fun-filled weekend we just had. So fast, so busy, so hectic, that it is now already Wednesday, and I am just now sitting down to blog about it! Of course, Monday I was back to work, and yesterday was the last day of school, so this morning actually feels like the start of the new week to me.

Evan's All-Star team played in a baseball tournament over the weekend at Bender Fields in Lynden. They had two games on Saturday, and then another two games on Sunday. All in all, they played really well, and ultimately came within just one out of going on to play in the championship game! There were some very tense, nail biting moments for us parents/fans throughout the tournament. The boys finished off with two wins and two losses, with the last loss coming down to a tie-breaker playoff!!!

So, here is a run-down of just how our weekend went..... get ready.

I came home Saturday morning from work and unpacked, changed into my cycling gear, and hit the road on my bike to get a quick 20 mile ride in before Evan's first game. Tracie got the kids and everything else ready to go, and then headed to the ball fields shortly after 9am. I arrived at the fields at just after 10am, finishing a very nice 20 mile ride in just over an hour. Evan's first game was just starting. We watched our team play to victory, then afterwards headed immediately to the Nooksack Valley High School to get Evan registered for fall tackle football, and to get all of his gear. Once we were done with that, we headed to the Everson Auction barn, where I had hoped to purchase as many as four head of beef. We ate lunch there, and spent two and a half hours looking for cattle to purchase, leaving with none!!! When we were done, it was time to head back to the ball fields for game #2. After another win, we finished off the evening with dinner at the Nuthouse Grill.

Sunday morning, I hit the road once again, this time riding 30 miles before arriving at the ball fields for Evan's first game. Immediately after Evan's game ended, we hit the road to make it into Bellingham, where we stopped of for a very quick bite to eat at Subway, then headed over to CTK for a child dedication ceremony, involving some very close personal friends of ours. We made it just in time, all of us looking like weekend warriors, and Evan still in his uniform. After celebrating this very special time with our good friends, and taking part in this very special moment in their lives, we once again had to hit the road at a fast pace, racing back to the ball fields to get Evan there on time for warm-ups before game #2 of the day. This game went long, was a nail-biter, and ultimately went on to a tie-breaker, which we finally ended up losing at around 4:45pm. Everyone was exhausted when it was all done. We had been planning to attend a birthday party and bbq at our good friends, Marty & Tiffs, but Evan was so tired and emotional afterwards, all he wanted to do was to go home. As it turned out, no one had taken care of the farm animals or the dogs that morning either, so we really needed to go home and take care of family and farm.

Next thing we know, it's Monday morning, and I am back off to work, and the kids are heading back for their last full day of school for the year!!! Tuesday comes, and the kids finished school, so excited to begin summer break.... which means they can now stay up late, and sleep in most of the time. After school let out, we picked the kids up and took them to town to go see the movie "Marmaduke". Afterwards, we went to Homestead and had dinner, then came home to rest and call it a day.

And now here I am, sitting here on this Wednesday morning.... realizing just how much we have to accomplish before we leave for Portland on Friday for our vacation. And, I go to work tomorrow, which means we have a terrifically busy day ahead of us today!

WHEW!!!!! That brings us back up to speed around here. Now I must go start planning out how today is going to go.... laundry, packing, shopping, lists, cycling stuff together, etc...... Oh, and lots and lots of prayer for sunshine!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Evan's an All-Star!!!

Holy Cow!!! What in the world has happened over the past several days around here?!?!?!?! Pure craziness, a whirl wind of activity, and a complete change to our plans for the rest of the week and this weekend!!! Why?????........

Well, on Monday evening, Evan had try-outs for the All-Star baseball team, a team that is being put together to play competitively in tournaments throughout the summer. Try-outs were held over two evenings, and there were about a half a dozen more players trying out than the final roster would be for the team. We did our very best to help Evan understand that he was trying to make it onto the team by doing his very best at the try-outs. We let him know that he needed to show the coaches his very best the entire time, to show them why they would want Evan Neitling to be on their All-Star team. In addition, we also made it very clear that he stood a very good chance of not making the team, especially since he is one of the younger players trying out, and he is only in his second season playing this level of ball......

So, I get an e-mail yesterday morning informing us that Evan has been selected to play on the All-Star team!!! I couldn't believe it. To add to the excitement, our first tournament is this very weekend, on Saturday and Sunday!!! With that, the coaches want to have the team practice prior, so we have practices both this evening, and again tomorrow evening! It looks as though baseball will rule our lives for pretty much the duration of the summer!!! Evan will now be playing regular summer league ball with his Nooksack team, and also in tournament play with his All-Star team........ time for Mom & Dad to get some more comfortable bleacher chairs!!!!! ;-)

In addition to all of the baseball madness going on here this week and weekend, we have had the joy of having the Roosma kids stay with us this week as well. We have a child dedication at our church to attend on Sunday, as well as a birthday party/bbq on Sunday afternoon. The Everson beef auction is on Saturday, along with Evan's 2 tournament baseball games, and Sierra will be attending a friends birthday party that day. At the same time, we may have Tracie's parents staying the nights here from tonight through Sunday, as they are coming up for the graduation of our niece, Jessie, on Friday evening.

Four new little piggies arrived on our farm here on Monday night, and are all adapting and doing very well so far. No more new baby calves just yet, although we expect 3 or 4 more any time between now and July.

Our family trip to Disneyland is right around the corner as well.... and thank goodness, I was able to sell our livestock trailer and our flatbed truck this past weekend, which has given us much needed financial relief, and the ability to go on our trip without the worry about spending money!!! Praise God for allowing that to happen when and how it did!!! :-)

So, it is now Thursday already. Time to get kids ready for school, then to get farm chores done for the morning, then time to pay bills, then to go grocery shopping, and hopefully there will be time for me and my bicycle to spend together out on teh open road!!! :-)

Talk to you all soon.....

Monday, June 7, 2010

WOW, What a Weekend!!!

This weekend was a busy, exciting, fast-paced weekend, that brought about good things for us. I feel as if I blinked and the weekend is over...crazy!

My previous entry talks about one of the good things that happened over the weekend... the birth of a new calf here, the first for this year, and the first of an expected 4 that we are waiting for. Her name is now officially "Layla", and she is a real cutie. Today we will tag her ear, and hopefully get a few good photos that I can post in my next entry.

This weekend was an exciting weekend for all of us, but especially for Evan. Evan's Nooksack Pioneers baseball team.... the same team that had an awesome, undefeated spring season, played in a tournament over the weekend. The team did fantastic, playing very competetive baseball against other really good teams. The games were close and exciting to watch.... and in the end, Evan and his team were victorious!!! They won all 4 of their games throughout the tournament, which led them into the final championship game yesterday afternoon. The championship game was intense and excting, and the team had to come back from a 0-2 deficit, to finally end up winning the game by a score of 3-2!!! Yes, our boys went completely undefeated throughout the tournament, and won the championship game as well..... these were some very excited 8,9 and 10 year olds!!!!! :-) What a bunch of fun we all had over the weekend. And it has given us a good taste of what our lives are going to be like for the next 8-10 years, with Evan being the sports fanatic that he is!!! LOL :-)

With all of this going on over the weekend, I still managed to work a 24 hour shift on Saturday, missing the nice weather and the great baseball games! :-( However, I did manage to get both our livestock trailer, and our Ford flatbed farm truck sold over the weekend!!! This is great news, as it has brought us some very much needed financial relief, which will take a weight off of my shoulders for at least another month!!! :-)

After a long, fast weekend... we decided to celebrate last night... and where does Evan like to go to celebrate? Milt's Pizza in Lynden!!! So, it was pizza last night.... and our good friends, Bill and Jenn Roosma are off enjoying time together in Mexico, so their kiddos, Jacob and Anna, came to stay with us for this next week. So, after pizza, we all headed home, where we sat together and watched the movie "Alice in Wonderland".

And now, here we are... it's Monday morning already!!! Time to get all 4 kids up and moving, and ready for school today. Grammy and Papa, who have been with us all weekend (came to watch the baseball tournament), will be leaving us to go back to Portland today. And Tracie and myself, we will be starting the process of trying to get back to our routine, as well as to start preparing for a week with 4 kids, and the arrival on Thursday of Grandma and Grandpa, who are coming up for the graduation ceremony of our niece, Jessica.

To add even more to the excitment of our lives.... we will be bringing home 4 new wiener pigs to the farm this evening!!! Future delicious pork products!!! :-)

So, off I go to get the week started. To all of you... have a wonderful week, filled with the joy and happiness and blessings of God almighty!!! :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Good Things!!!

Yesterday turned out to be a good day. As luck would have it, a bunch of good things just happened yesterday. Although I didn't get a workout or a bike ride in at all yesterday, a lot of other good stuff did happen, and it made the whole day worth it in the end!

The first good thing that happened was that Papa and I installed new fluorescent light fixtures out in the garage, which added much needed and wanted light to a dark space. Papa had found three of these light fixtures at a garage sale @ The Roloff's farm (The people fromthe TV show "Little People Big World). He purchased the fixtures, along with a nice bike rack all together for $50. So, we had planned to install all three fixtures in the garage, but only managed to install the two. Turns out, the third one was missing a critical part... one whole end of the fixture! Now, you might think, "How can that be a good thing that happened?" Well, the good thing that happened in all of this is that we got two lights installed, and a lot of good light in the garage now. The other good thing that happened is that Papa and I enjoyed a great laugh over the third light not being all there. Whi is that? Well, because when we discovered that we didn't have everythign for the third light, I simply stated to Papa, "Huh, guess you got ripped off by the little people!" Papa just started laughing, and then I started laughing, and we both had a great laugh over the whole thing!!!

The second good thing that happened was that the girls called us to join them for lunch right as we were finishing up with our project. We met them @ Jakes in Lynden, where we had a really good lunch! :-)

Next, we all headed off to the kids' school for their annual jog-a-thon. Both kids did great, had alot of fun, ran a whole lot of laps, and earned money for a good school cause! We had a good time watching them, and I even helped out with tracking laps of a group of the kids.

After we were done at the jog-a-thon, it was time to head on over to the baseball fields @ Smith and Northwest, for Evan's first game of the weekend tournament. While the girls and Evan headed directly on over to the fields, Papa and I stopped back off at the house to see about someone who had called on wanting to purchase out livestock trailer earlier. When we got to the house, we discovered that one of our pregnant cows was in the middle of giving birth to a new calf!!! :-)

So, we all went to Evan's baseball game, where we had a really good time, and Evan's team played really good baseball. They won their game with a score of 13-1!!! In addition, Evan was put in to pitch the last inning of the game (he has not been a pitcher), and he did very well. It was a lot of fun, and a good time for us all. :-)

After the good basball game was over, we all headed to Milt's pizza in Lynden for Friday night pizza night! We had a good time eating and enjoying pizza together.

When we finally returned home after all of the good events of the day, we were blessed to have a newborn black Angus heiffer calf in the front pasture!!! :-) She is adorable, and appears to be quite healthy.

So, all in all, yesterday was a really good day. And now, today, Evan will play two more baseball games, and I will miss them both, as I will be going back to work. If all goes well today for Evan's team, then we will be enjoying more good baseball tomorrow as well. :-)

God is good, life is good.... I hope you all have a good weekend!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June? It can't possibly be!!!

I am finding it very hard to believe that today is already June 3rd.... and the day is nearly over already!!! I mean, what, with the completely horrible weather we have been having around here for the past few weeks, it is very hard to imagine that it isn't still March or April. Seriously, it is June, and I can't even do yard work because we llive in a swamp right now!

On a brighter note... Grammy & Papa arrived today, to stay with us for a long weekend visit. The kids are very happy to have them here right now. The weather actully broke and cleared up this afternoon, so dad (Papa) and I headed out for a nice afternoon bike ride together... riding the Sumas loop for 23 miles. It was nice, and relaxing.

Tracie has gone off to be with her girls for the evening, poker night! It will be good for her, and I hope she has a great time!

I started my physical therapy on my right kneee today... it went well, and I have homework excercises to start doing as of tomorrow.

It is time now to go get the kids starting to think about bed. For us adults, time to sit and veg for a while!!!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay tuned,there is bound to be more good stuff coming real soon, I am certain of it!!!