Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Today is Christmas..... and the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  So not only do I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, but even more than that I want to say..... Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!  :-)

As we all celebrate Christmas today in our own special ways, I pray that for each and every one of us, we will all keep in our minds and our hearts, the true meaning of this very special day. Beyond the presents and the food and the lights and the tree and the music, let us remember the greatest gift that every was given..... Jesus Christ, sent to us in the flesh, some 2000+ years ago, so that each and every one of us could have the opportunity, if we should choose, to have a personal relationship with our awesome and most loving God.  Pretty amazing gift....... even way better than the new bicycle I have been longing for now for the past year or so!!!  :-)

This morning, before we open presents together as a family in our home, we will stop first to pray...... and then we will sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!!!

I wish each and every one of you who reads this a very Merry Christmas this year!!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Middle of December.... Merry Christmas

WOW..... boy does time just get away from me anymore.  So much going on all of the time, family life, kids, work, fitness, fun, other obligations......the list goes on and on and on.  Jeesh!!!  :-)

 The first week and a half of the month wasn't all that exciting for me, as I developed a head cold, which then turned into a fairly nasty chest cold.  I was miserable, and it made me cranky.  I don't like just sitting around doing nothing for more than a day, so I kept going out for exercise, etc.....and of course, that just made me worse!  :-(

I am happy to say, though, that as of this week, I am finally on the actual mend.  Feeling a whole lot better, and able to be active like I want to be once again.

With Greg Bass' help, I got our Christmas lights up before the 1st of December this year..... and they really look good.  We were able to put up more lights this year than in any years past, as we had access to a ladder tall enough to get up to the higher end of our house..... this makes it look a whole lot nicer.....and it certainly has made Evan a lot happier!!!  :-)

Grandma and Grandpa Fornshell came up for a short weekend visit since I last blogged.  And more recently, this past weekend, Grammy and Papa also came up for a short weekend visit.  This coming weekend, we will head to Oregon, to celebrate my grandfather's 94th birthday, as well as to visit family and do a little Christmas with those we won't be seeing for actual Christmas this year.  It will be a fast and short weekend, but hopefully we will accomplish everything we set out to while we are there.  :-)

This past Sunday was most awesome!!!  Brother Brad was baptized at CTK......and I got the honor of baptizing him!!!  What an amazing journey he has been on these past couple of years, and this was no small miracle that our amazing and mighty God performed.....for us, and for Brad!!!  I am so happy for him, and so excited to have been a part of his journey of recovery and restoration.... I pray we will have many wonderful adult years together, sharing a love for Jesus, and a passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle!!!  :-)

This Friday our kiddos will take part in their school's annual Christmas program..... Tracie and I are both very excited to see them sing and dance, and whatever else they will be doing on stage.  Both kids actually seem a bit excited about it this year!  :-)  After the program is over, we will take off for Oregon, with Brad and our niece Jessica along for the ride as well...........

Yes, that is a whole other story in and of itself...... but the short of it is this..... Jessie has made reconciliation with her aunt Tracie, and with me as well.  Very long talks were had, and things were discussed in great length and detail....... I believe many tears were shed as well.  And with this, Jessie has also moved in with us for a few months, as she works to get herself on her own two feet, and financially stable enough to find a place of her own.  So far, so good.... things are working out well, and we are all learning to let go of the past that caused us all so much pain, and we are building a future together...... I am praying that God will use Tracie and myself as He sees fit, to do anything we can to help Jessie out...... especially in establishing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  So, if you are the praying type, please be saying prayers for Jessie, but also for Tracie and I, that we will be a positive influence and support family for her.  :-)

We got our Christmas tree a weekend earlier than we normally do this year, and that has been great.  We drove out to Alpine Meadows tree farm...... fantastic place, with wonderful trees and amazing views!!! We picked out a very nice tree.  Tracie and I put it in the stand and trimmed it, and strung the lights on it.....from there, Evan and Sierra decorated the tree all by themselves!!!  And I must say, it looks really great!!!  :-)

I am certain I am leaving things out...but with letting so much time pass between blogs, what should I expect?!?!?!?!  My fault...... no one else to blame!  So, I will try hard to remember and post more frequently....say, at least one every other week.  ;-)

I will see how next week shapes up after we return from Oregon...hopefully I will have more to blog about then..... in the mean time, Happy Holidays to you all... and have a safe and wonderful time with your Christmas shopping adventures.  We haven't even started yet!!!   LOL  :-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time for Christmas?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

So, after my last post, where I had a close brush with significant head trauma, I was forced to lay low for a week, resting and recovering.  I am so very blessed to be here to say just how lucky I am that I came through that whole accident relatively unscathed.  No brain bleed, no broken skull or bones, and I have healed up fully now.... praising God for His protection during that ordeal.  :-)

However, with that, I also left my blog unattended for the past couple of weeks.  Obviously, I wasn't feeling up to blogging while I was recovering.  Then, we just got busy with the Thanksgiving weekend holiday, and headed out of town to Oregon, to celebrate with family.  We enjoyed a nice, but rather short weekend in Oregon, and had Thanksgiving with my soon to be 94 year old grandfather, which is why we chose to go to Oregon..... it was really special, as it was very likely our last Thanksgiving we will spend with him here on earth.

We returned home late on Saturday night, the 26th, as I had to work on Sunday the 27th, couldn't get anyone to work for me this year.   I managed to catch the start of a head cold while at work, and got hit with it hard starting on Monday afternoon.  I have been miserable here at home the past two days now, and have not been productive really at all.....and am not happy about it!!!  :-(

Still sick this morning, and didn't go meet Brad at the club to work out.  But, the weather is supposed to be nice today and tomorrow, so I plan to get outside and put up our Christmas lights....it will be nice to do them in good weather for a change, and even nicer to have them up and on at the start of December this year!!!  :-)   Tracie is already getting the inside of the house fully decorated....and so, I would say that the Christmas season is now fully upon us here!!!  :-)

My prayer for all of my family and friends is that we will all NOT get caught up this year in the commercialism of Christmas, but that we would rather truly celebrate the real Christmas...... the birthday of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!!  :-)

Now, if I can just get over this head cold, all will be well once again......  arrgh

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Scary Thursday Afternoon at LBF.....

This last Thursday afternoon, November 10th, I was out working with Greg Bass to take down standing dead trees on our property......both for the purpose of firewood, and also for safety, so as to not have dead trees or widow makers from these trees come down and hurt or kill anyone....especially our kids!

We had been working for more than an hour, and had taken down a half a dozen or more trees without any real trouble, with exception of one big tree coming down across our fence, leading to more clean-up and fence repairs.  So, as Greg continued to take down several more trees, I began working on clearing and mending the fence, so that we wouldn't lose our last two beef cows to the neighbors.

Greg came across a tree that had a significant amount of weight at the top, leaning towards the fence line once again.  We really didn't want it to go down over the fence a second time, so Greg asked me to bring the tractor in and place the bucket up high and put gentle pressure with the loader bucket against the tree, away from the fence line, as he made the final cut, so that  the tree would fall in the direction we wanted it to.  As I placed the tractor up against the tree, Greg began to cut.  The tree began to move a little, and so I applied a bit more pressure with the loader.  As I did this, I heard a loud noise from above.  I stopped and looked up, just in time to see a very large widow maker coming out of the top of the tree, falling directly down towards me.  It was very large, and falling too fast for me to even think to try and get off the tractor.  Instinctively, I threw my arms above my head and yelled loudly at Greg, as I began to try and duck away......... but too late.

I was struck very hard in both arms and the top of the head by a widow maker, about 5 inches in diameter and a good 8 feet long!!!  It broke into pieces as it hit me and the tractor.  Greg had been smart enough to run backwards with his hands up for protection when he heard me yell.....he looked my direction just in time to see me being hit.  I was hurting badly, and my brain was in a disconnect...... I was fighting to stay conscious, and couldn't coherently communicate with Greg for a while, though I knew he was there, and could hear him talking to me.  I knew I was hurt, but had no idea just how bad...... my head hurt a lot, as did my arms.  I could feel that things weren't right inside of my mouth, and I just wanted to stay awake, fearing the worst as far as head trauma goes.

A long story made somewhat shorter..... Greg checked me out and looked me over.  I slowly began to get my brain to connect again, and we began to assess the damages that we could see to me..... head trauma in the way of significant abrasion and hematoma on the outside, not knowing what damage had occurred inside.... bruised and abrased arms and shoulder..... a torn up inside of my mouth, to go along with several broken teeth.

We managed to find a dentist that day, and got my two upper teeth repaired.  We didn't know at the time that  also have broken lower teeth.....of which I will need to have taken care of sometime soon.  I chose to not go the ER for my head injury, but to rather wait it out at home, and have myself and Tracie carefully watch me for any signs or symptoms of closed head injury.  I am thanking God that three days later now, I have not shown any signs of a brain bleed!!!  I am healing up slowly, still hurting on the top of my head from the abrasions and bruising.  My headache inside is gone, however, which is very good.  My left side jaw is stiff and sore and aches a bit.  I have broken teeth still in need of repair, and I am still stiff and sore n my neck and back and shoulders and arms.  The inside of my mouth is trying to heal, but still hurts as well.

Yes, this was a very scary event.  Yes, I was very scared for myself, and for my family.  Yes, I could have very well been significantly hurt worse than I was, and am actually very, very, very lucky.  Any number of things could have been just minutely different and the outcome could have been tragic and horrible.  I am thanking and praising God for taking care of me through this event.

We still have a lot of trees out there to take down and deal with.  However, from now on, we will be wearing helmets, and if we use the tractor at all, it will be with long chains from a distance.  Only the guy with the saw will be at the base of the tree.  We will take all precautions we can to be as safe as possible....which is why we will continue to take these trees down.... they can be deadly if left standing!

So, I have been taking the weekend off, laying low and relaxing and recovering......and counting my blessings.  Today we will go to church as a family, and I will give utmost thanks and praise to our God who loves and protects us when we need it most.

Tomorrow, back to life again........  :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The winner has been declared!!!

The 4th annual LBF chili cook-off and pumpkin carving contest were a big success again this year.  A great turn out of friends and family, along with 11 chili's competing for the coveted prize of best chili for 2011.  The chili's were wonderful, all of the extra food was great, the kids all had a blast, no one was seriously hurt, and everyone seemed to have a really good time.

We did lose one person fairly early in the evening, to a bad case of hay fever.  Bill Roosma had to leave after he started breaking out and sneezing uncontrollably.  This may have had a little bit to do with the big hay maze/fort that the kids and a few adults were all building and playing in upstairs.  Sorry Bill......next year, take your meds before you come!

We also had a new family join us this year.  We welcomed the Hodnot's.... Stu, Natalie, Kenzie and Logan.  I do believe that they had a really good time, and we certainly hope they will join us again next year as well.  :-)

As for this years winner....... ME..... Gordon Neitling!!!  :-)

And for this years boobie prize winner..... John Swedberg!!!  :-)

Best pumpkins carved this year have to go to Marty Stauffer......the guy does some really great work...and I do believe he carved like three of four!!!

Another successful year for the LBF chili cook-off...... thank you to all of our great friends and loved ones who put forth so much effort and time into making some really great chili's for us all to enjoy!!!  This is always such a great way for us to kick off our Fall.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Weather, Hunting and Chili......

Since my last post, we have been busy as a family, and have been enjoying this Fall that came to us practically overnight. The Fall weather came fast, and we have been blessed with some really amazing days. Yes, of course, there has been rain and wind as well.....but, there have also been plenty of beautiful days filled with sunshine and cooler temperatures, along with changing colors of foliage that just make everything so beautiful. For me, getting out and riding my bike during this time of year is a real treat...cooler temps, the colors, the smell of people burning leaves and burn piles, seeing the farmers all fast at harvest..... it is awesome, and I love it. :-)

We took a little trip over to Republic, WA for deer hunting for a week recently. We had a most wonderful time...the camping part was excellent! The weather was about perfect! The deer hunting was NOT successful. We worked hard for a full five days, and only saw about 15 does total. This was Evan's very first time as a hunter, and so he was a bit bummed. I didn't expect that he would get to necessarily shoot his first deer on his very first hunting trip, but I sure did expect that he would have at least had the opportunity to see a bunch of deer, and at least one or two bucks. It just didn't happen. As I said, the camping part of the trip was great, and all of us had a really great time.

Now that we are back home again, we are frantically busy this week with trying to clean out and clean up and organize the shop, so we can get set up for our 4th annual LBF chili cook-off and pumpkin carving contest!!! The shop is an absolute disaster area right now, and I figure these next couple of days are going to take all I have got to get it in shape and ready for Friday night.

In addition to that, I have to find time to get to the store for shopping, and time to make my award winning chili for the contest!!! :-)

So, I am finishing up my shift here at work this morning, and then heading home to get started on cleaning the shop.

Friday night...... CHILI, FRIENDS, PUMPKINS!!! :-)

Here are a few photos from our deer hunting trip....we had so much fun, even with no deer!!!











Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Updates.....

Getting ready to leave town this Saturday, heading to the east side of the state (Republic, WA) for deer hunting.  This is Evan's very first time as a deer hunter, after successfully passing his hunter safety course last month.  He is just a bit excited about getting the opportunity to shoot a nice buck deer, but not nearly as excited as I will be should the opportunity actually present itself!!!  :-)

So, since we will be gone, I figured a quick update on this month is in order.  First, Evan's football season.... WOW, they are really doing great this year!  This last Saturday, they won their game by a score of 20-6, with Evan scoring two of his teams touchdowns!  His team is now undefeated, 5-0 for the season!  The toughest game, and hopefully most exciting game they will play, should come this Saturday morning at 9:15am.  Evan's team plays against the only other undefeated team in the league, and they get to play in Bellingham, at Civic Stadium!!!  :-)  Because of this, we have decided to miss our opportunity at opening day of deer season.....yes, we will be staying here so Evan can play in this all important and exciting game, on the big boy turf!!!  We will depart for hunting camp after the game is over.....and hopefully with another win, but even more, hopefully with Evan having played a fantastic game!!!  GO EVAN!!!  GO NOOKSACK!!!    :-)

As I said, immediately after the game, we will start driving over to Republic, WA... to deer camp.  Grammy & Papa are already there, with camp all set up for us, just waiting our arrival.  We hope to make it over there by dinner time on Saturday, so we can have a good dinner, get all ready to go, get a good night of sleep, and be ready for a full day of hunting on Sunday!!!  :-)

We will have five full days of hunting over there....and I am hoping that we do NOT need them all......it would be so nice to get our deer, then be able to sit back and just enjoy camping for a few days!!!  :-)

This past weekend, while Evan was having a great football game, Brad and I were in Oregon, riding in the Harvest Century ride, with good friends Scott Taube and Doug Peterson.  What a fantastic ride, and most wonderful day we had this year!!!  The weather was great Fall weather.....cool and cloudy early, becoming sunny and warm enough throughout the day.... NO RAIN!!!  Awesome!!!  Great 107 mile ride, with excellent group of guys..... we had so much fun this year.  And Brad did just awesome!!!  He has come a long way..... a very long way!!!  Makes me so happy, and so very proud  :-)

So, I am off to work today, then home tomorrow to get all of the hunting stuff put together and packed....should be crazy.  I spent the past two days making spaghetti sauce and home made meatballs for  deer camp, as well as a brand new recipe of chili.... which is for deer camp, but is so stinking good, I am planning to use it for the chili cook-off as well  :-)

This is a crazy, fast and fun month of October this year....... what a blur it will be in just a couple of weeks from now.  So glad I am blogging about it, so we can come back and remember just how good it all was!!!

See ya in couple of weeks, if the good Lord is willing it  :-)


Thursday, October 6, 2011

October Ramblings.....

Today is October 6th already.  And the month of October for us is anything but slow and peaceful and quiet and relaxing!  The calendar is already filled to the brim with events, games, trips, and more that will have us into the month of November before we can hardly stop to think about it!!!  :-)

Evan's football schedule is keeping us busy.  He has practice on Monday and Thursday evenings, from 5:30-7pm.  He then has games each Saturday, at varying times and locations.  Evan is playing really well, and having a lot of fun this year.  He plays primarily the positions of running back on offense, and safety on defense.   He is also the special teams kicker.  It has bee so much fun to watch Evan grow as an athlete, and to develop into a football player.  :-)

Sierra has just started back up with dance classes again this month.  She is doing jazz dance again this year, and is quite excited about how it is going so far.  She has her dance class lessons on Tuesdays, after school, so at least we aren't dealing with two kids going two ways and the same time right now!!!

This weekend is the Harvest Century bike ride, in Hillsboro, OR.  Brad and myself are heading down to Beaverton tomorrow morning, and will be riding this great event with my great friend, Scott Taube.  I am excited and hopeful for this years ride, as the weather forecast looks to be much better than it was for us last year!!!  :-)  We will for sure ride the 75 mile course, and if everything goes well, weather especially, we may very well go ahead and push for the 102 mile course.  Should be a fun day of riding and friendship and fellowship together!!!  I am looking forward to it.

Next week, we will be very busy getting ourselves together and ready to leave on Saturday the 15th, to head over to Republic, WA for Evan's very first time deer hunting!!!  We will meet Grammy and Papa over there, and we will enjoy five days of deer hunting together.  We have a lot to do to get ready, shopping to do, meals to prepare, clothing to put together, hunting licenses to purchase, and more.  It will be a very hectic and crazy week, with a fair amount of stress, as we all try to work together to get everything done so we can have a fun and successful trip.

We will leave for our hunting trip that afternoon, after we go watch Evan play in his football game, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham!!!  That will be fun.  We will then return home the following Friday, October 21st.  Then, the next day, Evan and Uncle Brad and myself will head to Seattle, to see the OSU Beavers take on the WSU Cougars, at Quest Field!!!  :-)  I am so very excited for this day.  To spend some time with Evan, watching college football together..... with great seats, and watching our Beavers play.....should be awesome!!!  The only bummer about it I can think of...... so far, the Beavs are 0-4 this season!  :-(  Come on Beavs, time to kick it into high gear, start winning!!!

After that, we are already into the final week of October around here.  With that comes the Little Bearfoot Farm annual Chili Cook-Off and Pumpkin Carving Contest!!!  We will have a very busy week getting prepared for this year, as the shop is an absolute disaster area right now.  We have at least a full day, possibly two days worth of cleaning and organizing to get things ready and set up for the big night.  In addition, I still have to come up with an award winning chili recipe!!!  :-)  I am NOT keeping the "boobie" prize again this year!!!

So, the month of October here is already packed full.  There is much more we could try to fit in, and probably will along the way.  However, the month is going to be over before we realize it happened.  So, I will blog about so we can come back and read all about it later!!!  ;-)

For now, time to get this new day started.  Time to get ready for this weekend, and time to start planning out how to get everything accomplished this month that I just talked about.......

Fall is here!!!  :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HoooooooRaaaaaaaay!!!

Today turned out to be a special day........for a couple of reasons!!!  First, I was able to get out on my bike for the first time in four days, since I competed in the Bellingham Traverse this past Saturday!!  I had a great afternoon solo ride, and managed to work  the remaining lactic acid out of my legs, with a really great ride this afternoon!!!  :-)

Second, and much more important than that...... Evan finished his hunter's safety course this evening, and passed his final test, with only missing 7 out of 85 questions!!!  :-)  He is now legal to get a license and tag for hunting this year!!!  Congratulations, my boy Evan...... daddy is very happy, and very proud!!!

Today was a good day.... I got the lawns mowed, a great bike ride in, and saw my boy complete his hunter safety course........ life is good!!!

Now, time to get ready for bed once again.........another day back at work again tomorrow!!!  I need some rest, and need my God to guide me as I prepare for a weekend of family and friends being here, to celebrate Sierra's 8th birthday!!!

OK..... time for the head to meet the pillow..........   :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

WOW!!! What a day!!!

Well, yesterday turned out to be quite a day for us all.  Evan's football team played a fantastic game, and won with a score of 27-7!!!  Evan played amazing, and score every point for his team, plus he ran back a kickoff all the way for another touchdown, but it got called back due to a flag on the play!!!!!  Spectacular game for Evan, and for his team!!!  Tracie was nice enough to video the game, so we all got to sit back and watch it together last evening when I got home from my very buys day.

I competed in the Bellingham Traverse yesterday, part of a two person team.  I ran the first leg of the race, a 6 mile run from Boundary Bay Brewery, down to Fairhaven, and then up to Lake Padden.  It was a tough run, with the last couple of miles being up hill.  I then switched gear and got ready for the third leg of the race, where I took off on my road bike and road down and around Lake Samish and back up Chuckanut into Fairhaven, a 19 mile hard push and fast-paced ride, where I was struck with head winds and rain throughout the first half of the ride!!!  From there, I got changed again, and made way to the final leg of the race, where I met my partner as he cam in on the water in his kayak, and together we ran the last 3/4 mile up the hill and back to Boundary Bay at the finish line!!!  :-)

I did it, and I am happy about it, and proud of myself.  Yes, I hurt a lot today, and am moving slowly.   But, we did really well, and I feel good about that.  Hopefully in the next day or so we should be able to find out our results.

Yesterday also happened to be Grammy's 64th birthday!  :-)

Today, Brad and I were planning to ride in the Chuckanut Century together.  But alas, we awoke to find it raining and cold outside.  The forecast says rain nearly all day long, and that just didn't sound like fun to either one of us.  So, today is going to be R&R day instead.  Totally bummed, though, as we had been planning and preparing for this ride for the past couple of months now.  :-(

Hard to believe, but already we are half way through the month of September!!!  Sierra's 8th birthday is on final approach already.  Invitations are sent out, and grandparents are coming up here next weekend.

Busy week ahead for us all here, with Evan trying to get studied up and ready for his Hunter's Safety final test on Wednesday.  He must pass in order to be a hunter this year, which we have already made plans for!!!  Perhaps we will do some studying today!!!  :-)

OK, time to get this day started.......it's already 10:20am, and I haven't heard a peep from the family yet!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September So Far......

It is now 5:45am on Tuesday the 13th of September.  In the blink of an eye, this month is practically half way over already.  We have been busy, getting back into some resemblance of normalcy around here (at least normal for us anyway), and things are going fairly well thus far.

The weather this month has been spectacular...... bright and sunny days, hot temps in the day, and cool mornings and evenings.  School is back in full swing now, and the kids are getting used to the routine once again.  Evan had his season opener football game this last Saturday, and it was so much fun..... both Evan, and the whole team, have improved so much over last year!  Evan scored the first touchdown for his team, and then made an interception that he ran all the back for the final touchdown for his team as well!!!  It was awesome!!!!  He made some great plays, both on offense and on defense, and he had two really great kick-offs as well.  The team won their game with a final score of 26-6.... and needless to say, I am very excited about it!!!  :-)

I have been using this nice weather and my days off to do yard work and clean-up around the place outside, getting ready for full-on Fall to arrive.  I have lots of work to do with the tractor in the fields, and on Evan' motorcycle track and trails, so I am trying to get as much done as possible before the rains come again.  It would be nice to actually be ready for winter weather this year before it arrives!!!

I have been doing quite a bit of bike riding, and practically all of it with Brad.  It has been great to have a riding partner, making it a lot of fun to ride, especially the longer distances.  We are both getting trained up and ready for the Chuckanut Century this Sunday.... hoping to ride the full 124 miles.  I am also competing in the Bellingham Traverse race on Saturday, where I will do a 6 mile run, and then a 17 mile bike ride, and finally a short run at the end to the finish line.  This is going to make Sunday a difficult event for me.... I am hoping and praying that I am physically and mentally tough enough for this weekend.

Evan started his hunter's safety course last night.  He has four more nights, with classroom and hands-on instruction, and finishes up with an 85 question test that he must pass in order to get his certificate.  We are planning to go hunting over in eastern Washington in October, so he really needs to learn and do well.  I am confident that he will......

I am off to work again this morning, and already am looking forward to my next couple of days off, with hopes of getting a bunch more done around here..... my list is so very long on what needs to be done, what I hope to get done, what I can afford to do, etc.

Time to go for now....... I need to get out on the front porch and spend a bit of time in prayer with God, before I hit the shower this morning!  :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day, School, Football, Fall.....

They have arrived!!!  Labor Day weekend is here, school has started, the football season starts this next Saturday, and the mornings and evenings are feeling and looking more and more like Fall.  :-)

Of course, as would be expected to happen, now that the kids are back to school, this next week the weather will be more like summer than we have seen most of the actual summer!!!  Oh well, I am fine without rain, and love the cooler mornings and evenings......now, if we can get that Fall weather during the days (65 and sunny), I will be very happy!!!  I tend to be much more productive throughout the Fall, and I get much better riding in as well.  I guess I am just not meant for hot weather, with exception of lying around and relaxing poolside!!!

I am very excited for this month of September.  Evan's football season begins, and it is going to be so much fun to watch him and his team this year.  Evan has improved greatly, and I do believe that he is going to have a lot of fun playing.  In addition, Evan takes his hunters safety course this month, starting next week.  I can still remember when I went through hunters safety myself.  For myself, I have a lofty goal of competing in the Bellingham traverse on the 17th, and then turning around and riding in the Chuckanut Century the very next day!!!  this will be quite the challenge, and I hope that I can physically and mentally prepare myself for success!!!  I am looking very forward to having my good friend, Stu Hodnot, come up to ride in the Chuckanut Century with us.  This will be his first time up this way, and I believe we are going to have a great weekend together.  I am still holding out hope that Scott Taube may also find a way to join us as well.

This month also finds me starting to prepare for winter weather around here, as it always sneaks up faster than I ever hope or expect it to.  I would like to have a better handle on water and mud around here this year..... and am working with the tractor and shovel to see if I can control it a bit better...... it's gonna take time and time and time and time.

Well, it's Labor Day today...kids are home from school, and I am starting a 5 day stretch off of work.  Time to go and get this day, and this week, started.  :-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School Begins!

Although it isn't yet quite September just yet (that actually comes tomorrow), today marks the very first day of the new school year for Evan and Sierra!!!  The summer went by quickly, probably more due to the poor weather we had for most of it, and it is already beginning to act and feel like fall outside.  Football season has arrived, and so I guess it is appropriate that school should also be starting back up once again.

Today Evan is a 5th grader!!!  His last year in Elementary school.  Hard for us to believe, since we can still so vividly recall taking him in to see his new school, and meet his new Kindergarten teacher, as if it were just yesterday.  Boy oh boy have these years flown right on by us.  And today Sierra is a 2nd grader!!!  She is so very excited to be starting school once again, and is also excited to have her same teachers and same class room this year, as she is part of a multi-age class.

The weather is quite appropriate for today....... rain showers happening right now, and about 56 degrees outside... feels like it is time for school.

Today also is Papa's 64th birthday!!!  Happy Birthday to Papa.  As is his tradition, he will spend today at the Oregon State Fair.  :-)

So, my son is now 10 years old and in the 5th grade, my daughter is nearly 8 years old and in the 2nd grade, we are approaching the 6 year mark of living in our "new" place, I just completed my 20th year with the BFD........ WOW!!! 

Well, better go rumble the kids from their slumber....time to get the school year started!!!!!  :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What The.....??? I have a 10 year old?!?!?!?!?!

Well, it happened...... the first 9 years of Evan's life just flew right on by, leaving Tracie and I with a 10 year old son as of yesterday!!!  It's true, Evan has reached double digits now.... and starts the fifth grade in just one week from today!!!  Another bitter-sweet moment in life for Tracie and myself, as we are so happy for Evan, and so proud of the young man he is becoming.  But of course, we miss our little baby boy at the same time!

Evan has had a great birthday experience this year, as he got to bring his good friend Adam Dugger with us to Oregon for a week.  While in Oregon, the boys got to play mini golf, go watch the truck and tractor pulls, along with the Combine tractor demolition derby, spend a day at Bullwinkles Family Fun Center, and spent two full hours jumping around at Sky High yesterday.  In addition, the boys had lobster for Evan's birthday dinner, at Red Lobster!!!  They have stayed up late every night, watching movies, and they have spent a great deal of time riding bikes around the "loop" at Grammy & Papa's place, or playing football together in the street.  Adam learned to play "hand and foot", and there have been a couple of Monopoly games thrown in as well.

I would have to say that Evan has had a really great 10th birthday!!!  In addition to all of these fun things, Evan got a new pair of motorcycle riding boots from Grammy & Papa, a new OSU Beaver football from Sierra, A new Monopoly board game from Grammy, and a new Pellet/BB air rifle from Mom & Dad, along with some money from others.

Today, we make the long trek back home.  Time to get back into our own routine again, if that can even be possible.  It will be nice to have our own little family together at home once again, just us.  Football season is now in full swing for us, and school starts for both kids next week.  Tracie still has to get back in the groove of being home from Africa, since we immediately came to Oregon after her return.  I need to get back into my groove of fitness and eating right once again, and need to get my cycling and running game back in gear.

Hard to believe, but it appears that August is about gone, and Fall will be here shortly.....................

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tracie is home from Africa!!!!!

YAY!!!  We made it!!!  Two and a half weeks without my wife, my best friend, our mommy.....

But she is finally home once again!!!  :-)

Tracie got in to SeaTac yesterday with the whole group at around 3:30pm.  At around 4pm, we finally got to see the group and welcome her back..... many hugs and kisses and smiles!!!  It was so great!!!

We drove home in traffic, and it just didn't matter.... Tracie just talked and told us all about her trip, her journey, her experience.... it was wonderful and gut wrenching and awesome.

We stopped off for some dinner on the way home, and finally got back to the "farm" at just after 8pm.  Tracie had gifts that she had purchased for each of us, so we went through her things for a while.  But after that, she headed directly to the shower!!!!  First real shower in 2.5 weeks!!!  She took a long and hot shower, and came out feeling completely new again.....except for sleep!!!  Tracie didn't get much sleep at all for the entire duration of her trip, for many reasons.  So, after her shower, I tucked her into our freshly cleaned and made bed, where she drifted off into a deep and wonderful slumber.....and where I expect her to remain most of, if not all of today!!!  :-)

Today, when she finally awakes and feels ready, we hope to have her share her photos and videos with us all, as well as more stories, etc.

I missed my wife greatly while she was away!!!  She is my wife, my best friend, and the mommy to our kids.  It was tough not having her here with me.  I was so very happy for her, and so excited for her to take this trip.  This was beyond anything she could have ever seen herself doing....and she DID it!!!  What is really cool is that she did it with two very amazing and wonderful girl friends at her side!!!  :-)

This was a big leap for Tracie, and one that I am certain has changed her forever!!!  The cool thing is, she can't wait to do it again some day!!!  And, she wants to do ti together next time!!!  :-)

WELCOME HOME TRACIE!!!  WE MISSED YOU!!!  NAKUPENDA!!!!!  :-)




















Monday, August 15, 2011

Middle of August!!!

Today it is August 15th already.....and YES, I do know that I haven't been blogging as of lately.  The reason, or reasons...... just been out of sorts this whole month of August.  Things just haven't been the same this year.... Tracie hit the missions field with a group from our church, and has been in Africa since the start of the month!!!  I have been missing my wife, my best friend, and the mommy of our family!!!

My mom and dad (Grammy & Papa) decided to come up and stay here in their motor home for the whole time that Tracie is gone, to spend time with the kids, and to help me out until she returns.  Though this has been a good thing for the kids, and they have had a lot of fun with Grammy & Papa here, it also has added to my days, and takes me away from my more "normal" routines.  Though I also love having them here with us, I must admit that I have longed to just have some time of just me and my kids....and I haven't been able to have that.  I also miss being able to do things the way that I am used to doing them, of when I am used to doing them.

A lot of things have happened in these first couple of weeks of August.... we took a five day trip with Grammy & Papa's motor home, and went over to the area of Republic, WA.  We camped at a place called Swan Lake, where we had fun swimming, hanging out, and scouting the area for deer hunting season in October.  After returning from that trip, I celebrated the completion of my 20th year with the BFD, which still shocks me!!!  We have managed to get a fair amount of yard work done.  And Papa went ahead and drained and cleaned and filled the swimming pool for the kids to use when summer finally arrives.  And then, most recently, yesterday became the official move-out day for Brad.  He moved into his apartment in Lynden, and has officially moved out from living with us here anymore....... bitter-sweet for us all, since he has been here for 2 years now.  And lastly, we had Marty and the kids over yesterday afternoon for swimming and playing, as well as BBQ dinner and camp fire.  Lots of fun....and now today will be clean-up day around here!

So, Tracie is starting her very long journey home from Africa as I write this now.  We won't have her back here at home with us until tomorrow evening sometime.  I am so excited to have her home, and just want to have her back here with us, so we can be a family once again.  Of course, we won't have any sense of normalcy when she returns, because Grammy & Papa will still be here, and won't be going home until we head to Portland, this coming Friday.

There we have it.....the month of August will be at an end before I post again, I am almost certain.  So much going on over the next couple of weeks, so I will just fill in the details at the end of the month, when we finally start trying to get back to our regular way of life around here once again!!!  :-)








Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SAD in July?!?!?!?!

SAD... Seasonal Affective Disorder, is NOT something typically seen or heard of during the summer months around here, but rather something very common during our long and dark and wet and cold and dreary winter months!!!  But alas, this years weather actually SUCKS!!!  Here it is the end of July, and it is completely cloudy and cold and wet and ridiculous outside!!!!  I do believe that I am beginning to feel the start of SAD coming on   :-(

I am not one who likes it to be hot in the summer, but simply sunny  and 70 would be very nice for sure!!!  As of right now, I am just thinking about all of the places we could/should be going where we can enjoy some sunshine and warmer temps.

Feels like fall outside today....has me thinking about lighting off burn piles, and planning for a hunting trip.... or even that I should be getting ready for the annual chili cook-off!!!  Crazy!!!

OK, my complaining isn't changing the weather any, so I may as well stop..... I am sure we all feel the same way about it anyway.  :-)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

OK, so July has nearly passed on by now..........

Another two weeks have slipped on by in a real hurry...... at this rate, I should be looking to retire from the fire service in another year or so!!!  ;-)

Well, STP weekend was a huge success this year.  So much fun, with such great people..... absolutely love this weekend each year, and am already excited for next year!  After a great weekend of riding from Seattle to Portland with my two fantastic buds, Scott Taube and Stu Hodnot, we then spent Sunday night at Grammy & Papa's place.  They were gone, over on the Metolius River, camping and waiting for us to arrive.  Sunday night we met with Tracie's parents and younger sis, Sherri and her girls and boyfriend, Scott.  Great time out to dinner at Coyote's, then back to Sherri's for a visit and campfire evening.

Monday morning we got up and cleaned up and went shopping and head breakfast....then headed over to central Oregon, Sisters area, on the Metolius River, where we joined Grammy & Papa, along with Great Grandpa and Aunt Janice for a week of camping.  We had a great week, lots of fun and nice weather, and really just enjoyed ourselves a whole lot!!!  :-)

We came home, 11 hour day of travelling, on Sunday the 17th.  I went to work the next day, then spent this week unpacking, cleaning up, and getting ready for the final Africa Missions Trip Garage Sale, which occurred today!!!

In addition, I rode a 10 mile time trial ride this morning, as fast as I could go for 10 miles, as part of an online challenge.  Then, after a bit of recovery time and some breakfast, Brad and I took off and rode to Silver Lake and back again..... for a nice 47 mile bike ride today.  The girls worked the garage sale, and make around $500.  :-)

Now, the girls are at the church (CTK) for their final missions trip meeting.  they leave next Sunday night, so the time is running down fast!!!

I head back to work again tomorrow, then again on Wednesday.  Grammy & Papa will come up towards the end of the week, with their motor home, to stay with my and the kids while Tracie is in Africa.   

Next Saturday, Brad and I will ride in the Tour de Whatcom together, tackling the full 105 mile course.  This will be Brad's very first ever century ride, and I am looking forward to being a part of it with him!!!  :-)

That's about it for now....... time to go sit and relax this tired and sore body for a bit.  :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Busy Summer So Far.......

We have been on the go since the kids got out of school.....and I am not complaining!  It has been fun thus far, and the fun is continuing for us as we prepare to head off again this weekend!!!  :-)

We just returned from Moses Lake, WA.....where we spent a week for Evan's 10U state baseball championship series.  What a bunch of fun we had over there!!!  Great times, great baseball, and great fun!!!  No, we didn't win the championship....but, our boys did great, and played really well.  Evan played absolutely fantastic baseball, made some really great plays, and hit a stellar in the park home run!!!  :-)

Bad news.... our Suburban lost the new transmission that we had put in not very long ago!!!  :-(  Worse yet, it will take a week before it can be repaired, and we leave tomorrow for our next big trip, which we needed the rig for!!!  Long story short there, we have a friends truck to use for our trip  :-)

Tomorrow we head to Seattle, for the 2011 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.  Very excited to ride with Scott and Stu once again.  Should be a fun weekend of cycling, story telling, eating good food, and drinking good beer...... Hopefully I will have some photos and stories to share later!

After we finish up in Portland on Sunday, we will head over to the Metolius River on Monday for a week of camping.  It has been a while since we last were there, so we are all quite excited about it.  And, we get to spend some time with great grandpa on the Metolius, which is always a very special thing.

For now, time to get ready to head to Dan and Holly's this evening for a bbq slider burger cook-off!!!  :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

School's Out for Summer!!!

Today marks the last day of school for the kids!  Hard to believe, but our little boy is now moving on to the 5th grade.... top of the elementary school food chain, so to speak!  I can remember it like yesterday, when we were taking him to pre-school in Laurel.  I am so happy and proud of him, and for him....yet it makes me just a bit sad at the same time.  My little guy is growing up fast!!!  And Sierra, leaving first grade behind and becoming a 2nd grader this next year!  WOW!!!  :-)

So, after a half day of school today, school is out for summer!!!  Of course, there is NO summer weather just yet for them to really enjoy..... but perhaps we will go find it over in Moses lake in a couple of weeks from now.  :-)

Tomorrow, off to Portland, for Father's Day weekend, and for the Petal Pedal Century bike ride... YAY!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Portland Time!!! :-)

It's only Tuesday, but all I can think about is that we are heading to Portland on Thursday!!!  I suppose the fact that I work tomorrow is what makes it seem like we are leaving so soon.  I have so much to do to get ready, and so much to pack..... and tomorrow I will be at work, so it all has to get done today!!!  YIKES..... I haven't even started to prepare!!!

No ride yesterday!  :-(  Excuses, and poor weather to blame!

Today, no ride thus far..... too cold this morning!  So, I spent all day on the tractor, mowing the fields, and then drag harrowing.  Got it all done, and am now waiting for Evan to get home from school, so he and I can go ride together..... around 15 miles!  :-)

Tonight, we BBQ steaks for dinner.  Then, after dinner, hair cut time for me....followed by packing and preparing for Portland!!!

Oh, and this past weekend, Evan's team took second place in their division at their baseball tournament in Ferndale!!!  :-)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Serving up lunch, then serving up some miles!

Yesterday was set to be the annual "field day" or "play day" and family picnic lunch at the kids' school.  But of course, due to recent weather once again, the fields remained both wet and soggy and spongy!  So, the field day of games was cancelled, and replaced with an indoor movie instead.  Bummer, but it worked out I suppose.....

Tracie and I headed to the school at 11am, where we helped serve food to all the kids and their parents/families.  Afterwards, we stuck around for kitchen clean-up as well.  We were busy, so we didn't get to have lunch with our kiddos.....but, we made good points with them by bringing them each their own Subway lunch, so they didn't have to eat the school lunch of fake beef hamburgers!!!

When we were finally done at the school, we came home.  The weather was holding off just right for a much needed ride.  So, I enjoyed myself a cup of coffee and a protein bar, and got myself ready to hit the road.

I left the house at 2pm, and rode for the next 2+ hours, logging 40 miles, with an overall average speed of 18.79mph.  A really good ride indeed.  This ride was primarily flat, with some rollers throughout.  I rode south and west first, into the wind, and over into Ferndale.  Form there, I worked my way north, stopped off at Medic 3 for a drink and quick visit, then onward back home once again.  :-)

Got home feeling really good, and proceeded to make a nice BBQ game hen dinner for Brad and myself, as Tracie left to go meet Tiffani Stauffer for the evening.  BBQ game hens, grilled zucchini, and a beet and carrot salad......very nice, and quite tasty.

After dinner, we sat down and watched the movie, "Star Trek" for the evening, before heading to bed to call it a day...... and now, it's a new day, and I am off to work once again!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Petal Pedal Just 10 Days Away!

Hard to believe that I am just 10 days of training away now from the second annual Petal Pedal century ride, in Silverton, OR.

I have been saying that the weather this year has held me back from logging nearly as many rides or miles on the bike as I had last year at this time..... and looking back on my bikejournal.com log, it has turned out to be true!

At this point last year, I had logged 32 rides and 887.64 miles, whereas this year I am only at 22 rides and 724.82 miles.  A full 10 rides behind last years training, and a full 162+ miles behind at this point and time!!!  YIKES!!!

So, what does this say to me?  It says I have 10 days left to get myself ready for my first century ride of the season!!!  What do I have going for me this year over last year?  I have lost more weight, a fair amount even, and am in much better shape than I was last year at this time, not counting the cycling component of fitness.  What do I need to do over these next 10 days I still have to prepare?  Time to eat right, exercise diligently, and ride whenever possible, including at least one 50+ mile ride before we head to Portland next Thursday!

I am quite excited about riding this years Petal Pedal century ride.  I am excited first because it will be my first ride of the year with my very good friend, and fellow brother firefighter, Scott Taube!  I love Scott as a brother, and thoroughly enjoy riding with him, and just hanging with him whenever we get the chance.  I introduced Scott to cycling last year, and he has taken off amazingly with it, and is doing fantastic!  We rode Scott's very first century ride together last year at the Petal Pedal, on it's inaugural year!!!  I am also excited about riding this ride because the route is so beautiful and wonderful and fun and scenic..... what a great ride!  And I also am looking forward to this ride because at the end of the day there is wonderful food and beer awaiting at the finish line!!!  :-)

So, 10 days to get myself in some shape for cycling my first century of the year...... better get going, I need to log some miles today, just as soon as the rain all goes away!!!  :-)

Monday, June 6, 2011

WOW!!! What a Weekend!!!

Friday afternoon, June 3rd, things began improving with the weather.  For the first time in what seems like forever around here, the sun came out and the temperature started rising closer to that ever elusive 70 degree mark.  Excitement filled the air!!!  :-)

Evan's baseball team started off a weekend long tournament at Northwest fields Friday evening.  The nice weather made everything feel right for baseball...... and the boys took full advantage of it by grabbing a win to start the weekend off just right.

Saturday morning had us back out to the field for our first game at 9am.  It already felt like the middle of an afternoon on a nice spring day when we got there!!!  Awesome......sunshine, blue skies and warm temps!!!  Baseball was fun all day long, with the temperature reaching well above 70 degrees for the first time in more than 270+ days, or so I am told!!!

Evan's team did well again, battling it out against a 12 year old team for the first game, and coming up short with a loss.  But they rallied hard for the second game of the day, and earned another win, which took them into Sunday's game at 11am...... though Evan had to be at the fields by 10am to hit in the home run derby for his team.

Saturday afternoon/evening, Brad and I rode together.  Logged a wonderful 42 mile ride together, though we had tried for a 50+ miler.  Brad had rear tire issues and his tire just wouldn't stay inflated, so we had to cut it short a bit....which was OK, since we needed to take the family out for some well earned Pizza @ Milt's in Lynden!!!  :-)

Sunday was yet another fantastic day of weather, with slight wispy clouds coming in through the day, but the temperature climbing anyway..... reaching 80 degrees for the day!!!!!!!!!!  :-)  Made for some awesome baseball, and sunburn!!!

Evan's team did amazing, winning their game in a big way over Meridian!  This took the team into the championship game!!!  WOW.... we hadn't expected that.  So, another game, which made 5 games total for the tournament for our team.... and some really tired boys!!!  But, they did it!!!  Our team pulled it off, played good baseball, and came away tournament champs for our division, winning with a score of 5-3!!!  Very nice trophies were given out to all players and coaches, and the boys were very excited, as were all of us parents!!!  :-)

After a long day in the sun, and a lot of fun at the baseball fields, we headed to Costco, on a Sunday afternoon, to see if we could remain intact with our sanity, while getting some good coupon shopping deals done on the last day before they expired!!!  Crazy, yes....but we pulled it off, and really well.  We even hit the DQ on the way home to get a refreshment....... then headed home to "relax" for the remainder of our weekend.  :-)

Once home, it was later than we had expected it to be, by a lot.... and we were tired and sun burned a bit.  Brad and I had planned to ride a 25 mile ride, but decided to wait for another day...... the lawn was really needing attention, and so we headed out and tackled lawn mowing for the late afternoon.

BBQ chicken for dinner, and then sat around for a while for the evening...... though Evan and I both got our hair cut, and Sierra soaked in the bath.  Turns out, this was one of the best weekends we have had this year so far!!!  So sad that it is already over with so quickly..... we were loving it!!!  

Come on weather, stay nice and spring like...... it makes us all so happy!!!  What a great weekend we had!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Finale.... Mariners Baseball

With the month of May at its end, we decided to do something fun while Grammy & Papa were still with us, visiting over Memorial Day weekend.  So, we purchased left field bleacher seats to the Seattle Mariners vs Baltimore Orioles game for last night, 7pm game time. 

We left home @ around 3:45pm, after getting the kids from school, and headed into Bellingham, where we picked up uncle Brad from work.  After a quick pit stop at The Woods coffee, we hit the road and headed south.

We had a great time at the game.  Our seats were a lot of fun, and a different view than we had ever had before for watching baseball.  The weather was just right, and the roof was open for the whole game!  We ate a bunch of high priced junk food, watched some fun baseball, and just had a fun family evening together.  Evan and Sierra both really enjoyed themselves!!!  To make things even better, after being down  the whole game, and looking at a probable loss, Seattle gets a three run home run hit, with two outs and two strikes, in the bottom of the eight inning!  Seattle wins, and we have fun yelling and screaming and clapping like crazy!!!  :-)

The drive home was good..... the kids watched a movie, adults slept, and I drove without any traffic to deal with.  We were home before midnight, and with the kids only having a half day of school today, we made the decision to just keep them home, let them sleep in as long as their bodies will allow this morning!  :-)

Grammy & Papa will leave today to go back home.  It is now officially June, though with the weather, one would never imagine it.  I would swear that we are just heading into April..... crazy!!!  But alas, it is June 1st today, and that means it is time to prepare for the end of the school year for the kids.  It also means that I have only two full weeks to get myself physically and mentally ready for this years Petal Pedal century ride, with my good friend Scott Taube!!!  We will head to Oregon for Father's Day weekend on June 16th, the day after the kids get out of school.  We will celebrate Scott Taube's birthday while we are there, as well as Father's Day, and of course, Scott and I will spend Saturday, the 18th, on our bikes....riding 100+ miles through some very beautiful and scenic country!!!  :-)

So, time to get busy!  We have a lot to do in the next 15 days, and today is already well under way!!!!!!  I gotta go get started... see ya!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sick over Memorial Day Weekend?!?!?!?!

DANG IT!!!  Stupid head cold got me!!!  :-(

Things were going so darn great..... got fantastic news/results with my recent fitness testing and body composition..... getting ready for Grammy & Papa to come up for a long weekend visit with us.... ready for a nice 5 day off Kelly day stretch..... and BAM!!!..... I get hit this last Thursday night with the start of a head cold!!!  :-(

Of course, each day gets just a little bit worse, and the nights produce less and less good sleep.  I went to work on Saturday, when I really shouldn't have, and that didn't seem to help things at all either!  Now, here it is Monday, Memorial Day, and I am still feeling like crud!!!  Suckola..... that has been my word for the past several days now!  :-(

On the brighter side of this, at least the weather is still looking and acting like it's only March, even though this week takes us on into June!!!  I am grateful to get this over with now, before the real spring and summer weather finally arrive!!!  :-)

I just want to take a quick moment to acknowledge that today is Memorial Day...... and to give my own personal thanks to all those men and women, past and present, who have given of themselves to our country, to our freedom, to us!!!  Many have given their lives, the most unselfish gift that can be made.  Many were willing to do the same, but thankfully didn't have to.  I know the names and faces of only a few.... but each and every one of them holds a very special place in my heart... for without them, and their great service and sacrifice, I would not be able to live the life I am enjoying today!!!  :-)

God Bless America..... and God, please bless all of the men and women of our armed services, who are doing their part to keep our country safe and free. 

Happy Memorial Day to you all..... may you enjoy this day of freedom, and spend it with family, friends and loved ones, recognizing that a price has been paid so that we may have this day together!  :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First long ride of the year logged!!!

WOW...again, it has been a while since my last blog post.  How does time get away so quickly?!?!?!?!  Don't answer that, I already know all of the answers!!!  :-)

So, much has been going on, as usual, in and around our lives and our home...... and we are plugging along, still hopeful that spring will eventually prevail.  For the time being, we are making do with the occasional day or two of nice weather, followed by grey skies and more showers.... stupid weather!!!  ;-)  I won't complain much, however, as we are truly blessed here in the PNW....we are NOT being dealt the horrible hurricanes and tornadoes  that the Midwest states are getting hit with so badly.... death and destruction of too great a magnitude!  Very sad  :-(

With working extra shifts lately to help fellow brother firefighters out of a bind, and then to also strike a 24 hour overtime the other day, which led to yet another 48 hour shift in just the past couple of weeks, I have been missing my rides, and my fitness routine!  I was in a workout slump for the past 3 or 4 days, and just really needing to get my groove back on.  And more than that, it is the middle of May already, and I haven't logged even one 50 or more mile ride for the year yet!  Crazy!!!  So, I took full advantage of my one day off from work yesterday, and I turned it into a cycling day for myself... no guilt, no worries about anything else... and it was GOOD!!!  :-)

I managed to log a full 70+ miles yesterday on the bike... certainly took it right on by the 50 mile mark!  I broke it up into two rides... the first, a 42 mile solo ride at my pace, and a good workout for sure.  the second was an additional 28 miles, but at a slower and easier pace, as I rode with Tracie!  Yes, Tracie got on the bike for the very first time this year, yesterday!!!  She logged a full 20 miles as well  :-)

We headed first into Lynden.  We rode to Jakes Western Grill, where we stopped and had a bowl of soup for lunch.  Then we head back out and worked our way home via a different route.  Now, because Tracie isn't as strong or fast a rider as myself... I would ride out ahead of her for a while, then turn around and come back to her.  I did this the whole way back home...which is how I managed to log a full 28 miles, compared to her 20.  It worked out well, and I do believe that we both had a very enjoyable time together!!!  :-)

On another note.... going back to my most recent post.... I am very close to my goal as of this morning!!!  I set a goal for myself to reach 190lbs, with a body fat of 10%.  I weighed in this morning at 193lbs!  :-)  I have given myself until August 11th of this year to obtain my goal, and I do believe that I will achieve it much sooner than that!  I am quite happy..... and more than that, quite healthy!!!  YAY.... it feels so good.  :-)

We watched the Biggest Loser finale last night... and I love seeing how the contestants have changed their bodies, and their lives.... amazing transformations!  And for the first time in watching the past 10 seasons, I could sit there and completely relate to the finalists last night... it was awesome!  I have done my very own Biggest Loser transformation in my own life.... and I am so crazy happy and proud of myself for what I have achieved.  I plan to stay this way for life...and I hope that my story can, and will, inspire others, even if in only some small way.  :-)

OK, well, Grammy & Papa will be arriving tomorrow afternoon to visit with us for a week.  We will all spend Memorial Day weekend together, though I have no idea just yet what we will be doing.... we were supposed to be watching Evan play baseball in a tournament all weekend, but it got cancelled due to not enough teams signed up!  :-(  Now  we gotta figure out how to entertain the kiddos all weekend long... thankfully Grammy & Papa will be here to help with that!!!  :-)

The way things have been going... this will probably be my final post for this month...so, talk to you again come June!!!  :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From Morbidly Obese to Very Healthy.....What a Journey!!!

Yes, the title says it all..... and it is the absolute truth!  Just two years and three months ago, I was exactly that....morbidly obese!  Sounds gross.  Sounds sad.  Sounds wrong.  Sounds hard to believe today!  Back in January of 2009, I weighed an astonishing 295lbs, with a body fat percentage of somewhere around the 35% range.  I was morbidly obese, very unhealthy, very unhappy, had no energy, and made excuses to my two most precious gifts from God (Evan and Sierra) to no play with them, simply because I had no energy or stamina to do the things they wanted to do with me.  It was sad, and heart-breaking, and down right wrong!  My heart was breaking because of it, and yet I was in a downward spiral at the time, and couldn't figure out how to change it..........

Thankfully, God stepped in and intervened on my behalf.  One day, after making yet another excuse and promise to Evan when he came to me to ask me to play with him, I watched him walk away, defeated, with his head hanging sadly.  My heart broke as I stood there and realized at what I was doing to my kids, and as I saw the sadness on Evan's face because he couldn't get his daddy to come outside and play with him!  At that moment, I believe God grabbed a hold of me and shook me to the core for a moment, because right then I broke down inside.   I couldn't believe that I was being this way to my kids.  I couldn't believe that I was allowing myself to be in such a state that I couldn't, or wouldn't, enjoy life with my kids to the fullest.  Two precious gifts from God, here as my children, and I wasn't being the daddy to them, or for them, that I had planned to be or wanted to be!  I was so upset with myself, and as I became rocked with emotions as I stood and watched Evan go outside alone, looking defeated, I went to the bathroom and looked at what I had become in the mirror.  And I didn't like at all what I saw!!!  I was disgusted, angry, sad and depressed at how I had allowed myself to get to this point.  I couldn't believe how fat I had become, and how unhealthy I looked.  I was actually embarrassed of myself!!!  Enough was enough..... it was time to change..... time to change my life, my health, my body, and my relationship with my children!!!

I started my journey towards changing my life forever for the positive on January 8th, 2009.  To date, I have lost a full 100lbs, and dropped a huge percentage of body fat.  In fact, when I had my last body composition done a several months ago, I was at 11.9% body fat!!!  I have gone from a size 42 waist in jeans, down to a size 32 today.  That is awesome, and I am so very pleased with it.  I am so very close to my final goal weight and body fat percent now, and I am so excited with my new health, new body and new lease on life!!!  It is simply awesome!!!  Awesome to feel good about myself.....awesome to feel alive and healthy...awesome to not be embarrassed of myself or self-conscious of my appearance anymore......awesome to be so very active in my kids' lives now!!!  :-)  I am physically, spiritually and emotionally so much healthier than I have been for so very many years now.  I absolutely love my new lease on life, and love just how amazingly good and healthy I feel now each and every day!!!

My goal weight that I am working to achieve is 190lbs, and my goal for body fat percentage is 10%.  When I went to my fire department physical last week, I weighed in at 193.5lbs, so I am getting very close!!!  My time frame for reaching my goal is on or before August 11, 2011.  Why?  Well, that is my Bellingham Fire Department hire date, and will mark the completion of my 20th year on the job!!!  It will be absolutely awesome to mark my 20th year with being as healthy or even healthier than I was when I came on the job at 23 years of age!!!  :-)

So, that is my story!  Today, I had the second part of my BFD annual physical, where I met with the doctor.  We went over my labs, EKG, etc...... and the results were fantastic!  I am healthy inside and out, and good to go!!!  The doc was floored by my story, and my transformation (new doc who hadn't seen me before).  I love the new me, and love being healthy...... I am confident that I am never going back to being obese, grossly obese, or morbidly obese ever again!!!  I am too busy these days playing with my kids!!!  Playing soccer, playing baseball, riding bikes, going for runs, jumping on the trampoline, and whatever else we can come up with to do!!!  Life is so good, God is so good, and a healthy lifestyle filled with fitness is so good....

cardio, but also some form of weight training.  It is really as simple as that..... though it doesn't seem that simple when you first start out!  But, it absolutely works.... I can guarantee it from my own journey.... and I have a personal witness who can also attest to this truth.  My brother Brad has followed the same routine as me, and has lost over 140+lbs in just over a year and a half!!!!  :-)

So, there it is..... my journey back to health story.  Some of you already knew it, but I keep finding more and more people who don't, so I just wanted to share it. 

Have an awesome day, rest of the week, and weekend!!!  

Monday, May 9, 2011

May is Well Under Way!!!

BAM!!!  One minute it is April 19th, and I am writing about the start of baseball season, and hopefully the arrival of spring..... and the next, here it is now May 9th, the day after Tracie's birthday and Mother's Day!!!  And of course, baseball season is well under way now, in full swing......but spring hasn't really yet arrived!!!

Evan's team is off to a really good start so far this season.  They have played six games so far, and have won 4, lost 2.  Next game is scheduled for this evening.  Evan has played really well, and has already hit a great home run, a nice stand-up triple, a double, and has stolen home several times to score for his team!  :-)   The weather has been cold and rainy this year so far, and it hasn't felt much like baseball season yet.  We are hopeful that will change soon, and that perhaps we will have nice weather this year for our Sumas Memorial Weekend tournament!

In addition to baseball, Sierra is playing t-ball this year for the first time!  I have not yet made it to one of her games, due to work, soccer, baseball, etc.  I am told that she is doing very well, and that it is quite fun, and funny, to watch them play!   I have three more opportunities to see my girl play, and plan to be there for each of them!  :-)

Yesterday was Mother's Day, as well as Tracie's birthday.... 42 years now!  We took it easy, went to church, had lunch at Applebees, and then relaxed at home the rest of the day. 

Today we get back into the grind of our "routine", which is anything but routine these days.  We have a schedule written out for games and practices, etc, but with the weather, we are constantly re-adjusting and re-scheduling due to rain-outs!!!  :-(  Oh well, it appears that today should be decent weather, and Evan will have a game this evening in Sumas at 6pm.

I completely took the last several days off from fitness and exercise, as well as eating right.  I am feeling it this morning, and wouldn't dare step back on the scale today!  Time to get back on track again, starting with some bike riding today.  My good friend, Matt Smith, is coming over to look at an older bike of mine he may want to purchase from me, and we will go ride together for an hour or so late this afternoon.  I am hopeful that I may get a chance to ride sole for an hour prior to that as well.  :-)

So, for the next couple of weeks, more baseball and t-ball to keep us busy.  If the weather ever gets nice enough for long enough, I will have to start mowing and weed whacking around the property, but for right now it is way too wet.  Next big event for us will be Memorial Day Weekend baseball tournament in Sumas.  :-)

That's all I got for now........

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baseball Season Opener a Success!!!

After a fast paced weekend that included a double header of scrimmage baseball on Saturday, as well as soccer games both Saturday and Sunday, along with a surprise 70th birthday party to attend, we made it through and on into the third week of April.  And to remind us that spring really isn't here fully just yet, we had the whole mix of weather once again yesterday morning...... rain, hail and snow..... then followed it up with a mostly sunny, yet rather breezy and cold day!!!

Thankfully, the weather cooperated enough throughout the day, so we were able to officially kick off Evan's baseball season with the season opener game last evening in Sumas, at 6pm.  We took on the Bellingham Bulldogs, and played a pretty good first game.  Nooksack took the win, 13-11 in the end, though at one point we held an 11-3 advantage.

Not sure what happened to Evan, though, as he did not play at the same level he has been playing in practices and the scrimmage games.  Not sure if he was nervous, of if the start of getting sick got the better of him or just what.... but he just wasn't hitter at the plate that he normally is, and he missed an easy play right to him at third at one point, then made a big throwing error later in the game, that cost us two more runs!  :-(

I am very happy for the team, to come out and start of the season with a win.  This will boost confidence and make them ready to play hard again this coming Wednesday, in Lynden.  I am just hopeful that Evan will once again find his game between now and then..... I was hurting for him in the stands last night.

Well, I am off to work today after eight days off.  Tomorrow, more baseball..... taking on the Lynden Storm team at Bender fields..... looking forward to it already!!!  :-)

Hello baseball season.......

Friday, April 15, 2011

Here Comes the Weekend!!!

It's Friday, and it's the first Friday in a while now that we are back into our said "normal" routine.  Grammy & Papa are back in Oregon, so it is just us and Uncle Brad once again.  That said, nothing around here this time of year is actually very "normal"...... just busy and hectic and crazy and fast-paced.  So, here is how our weekend is shaping up for us at this point.....

This evening, we will be heading back to school for family movie night, sponsored by the PTO.  We will be watching the movie "Earth", and the kids will be enjoying dirt pudding, popcorn and soda.  This is being done in recognition of Earth Day, which is coming up next week.

Tomorrow morning we will be at the Northwest Soccer Fields @ 9am, ready for Evan's 9:15am soccer game.  Then, weather permitting, we will be at the Sumas ball fields for a double header scrimmage baseball games with Evan's team, from around 2pm until 5 or 6pm.  

Sunday morning we will head to church, but rather than the 10am service that we normally attend, we will go to the 11:30am service instead.  After church, we will head somewhere to have a nice sit-down family lunch together.  Then, at 2pm, we will head on over to a surprise birthday party for a good family friend of ours.  From there, we will head right on out to the Northwest Soccer Fields once again, where we will  be having our team pictures taken at 3:45pm.  After pictures, we will start warming up for our make-up soccer game from last week, which starts at 4:45pm.

After the soccer game, we will head home, where we will get the kiddos cleaned up, fed and ready to relax for the evening...... and that will be it for our weekend!!!

WHEW..........

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Good-bye Grammy & Papa

Bittersweet is the word for today here.  Today, Grammy & Papa left us to head back home, after taking the kiddos to school one last time.  Grammy had been here with us for the past three weeks.  Papa spent the first week here with us, then went back to Portland for a week and a half.  He came back up a few days ago.  It was a lot of fun having them here, and especially for the kids.  But alas, all good things eventually come to an end......

So today, with Grammy & Papa now gone back home to Portland, it is time for us here to try and get back to some resemblance of normal around here with our routines.  Normal isn't really a great word to use, since our schedules are constantly changing lie crazy, and right now we are entering that crazy and busy time or year for us, where we are on the go every day, chasing kids around to practices and/or games of one sport or another!!!

Fact is, though..... we LOVE it!!!  :-)  We will miss having Grammy & Papa here with us, as we always have a great time.  However, we will keep on having a great time even without them here, as we now start baseball games, soccer games and t-ball games every week for the next month... or longer!!!   :-)

Now, if someone would please find a way to get nicer, drier, warmer weather to visit us for a while.... that would be fantastic!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The boy is fast!!!

So, yesterday morning Brad and Evan and myself all entered and ran the Lynden 6k Fun Run, held at Bender Park.  This was an organized fund raising run, with the money raised going to help support Children of Hope Orphanage in Dulce Refugio, Mexico.  This seemed like a great cause, and worthy of us getting out early and getting our morning fitness in to start the day of right.  The weather was just right, and there was a rather nice turnout of people at the event.

Anyway, the 6k run works out to be 3.75 miles.  Evan ran a 4 mile run back at the beginning of March, with a time of right at 37 minutes.  He has been convinced that he could have run it faster, and was excited to try and beat his time at this run.  I kind of figured that if we finished at around 32-34 minutes, we would be doing really well for the day, and especially for Evan.  If we could finish between 30-32 minutes, then it would be a most excellent day of running, for all of us!  So, what did we do?  We blew Evan's time away from his previous run, and his pace....

Evan finished the 6k (3.75miles) in 28 minutes and 47 seconds!!!  This is fast!!!  This means that Evan maintained a running pace of 7.8mph, or a 7:40min/mile!!!  The kid is only 9 1/2 years old..... I was both amazed and proud of my son.  :-)  To add to this already great success story, Evan also finished the race in 14th place overall.... simply fantastic!!!  And he hasn't even been training to run distance since his last run... just has remained the very active kid that he is!!!

As a comparison, since this run was a full .25miles shorter than his last run, here is how his 4 mile run results stacked up.... he finished the 4 mile run in 37 minutes and 53 seconds.  Thus, Evan had a running pace of 6.3mph, or a 9:28min/mile!

Amazing!  Evan absolutely rocked it yesterday morning!  He improved  hugely, and blew his previous pace away, not even by just a little, but by a lot!!!  It was so much fun to run with my boy, and to be able to share this experience with him.  I know that Evan was able to do so well yesterday because we were together, and because I helped to set the pace for him, and to help keep him on track with that pace throughout.  Other than that, though, it was Evan's self determination and athleticism that carried him through... not me!

I am also very pleased with myself for how we both did yesterday.  I had a great run as well, and set and maintained a much faster pace than I ever could have imagined being able to do before.  In fact, it was much faster than I expected us to run as well.  I had planned that we would try and run at about 7mph, or 8:34min/mile, coming at around just over 32 minutes...... that's what I had thought and planned on anyway!  But no way.... we had a great morning, and a fantastic run, both of us.  I managed to finish just a bit quicker than Evan, as Evan lost his wind in the final sprint to the finish line, while I was able to hang on just a bit longer.  I finished the race in 28 minutes and 39 seconds, which gave me a pace of 7.85mph, or a 7:38min/mile, and overall came in 12th place!  :-)

Yes, I am very happy about our run yesterday.  However, you may notice that I have talked only about myself and Evan, though I mentioned that Brad was also running with us.  Well, unfortunately, things didn't go as planned for Brad.  He started out well, and stayed strong for quite a while.  However, at some point, his hip started bothering him, and ultimately caused him to have to stop  and walk for a while.  He attempted to run again a bit later, but things didn't improve greatly.  He did push himself to run out the end, but was not very happy with how things went.  He came across the line at just a little over the 32 minute mark.  I was really bummed for him, as I know how much he wanted to run a really strong run, with a good overall pace, and more than that, to be able to finish this run with Evan and I.  It didn't happen yesterday.... but I am convinced that it will happen soon!  Perhaps in two weeks, when we head out to run the 5k run with the fuzz, to support local law enforcement agencies!

So, there you have it..... me bragging up my boy once again!  I am sorry to keep on all about him.....OK, no I am not!!!  As long as Evan keeps doing such amazing and wonderful things, I will continue to brag about him here!!!  I love that boy, and am so proud to be his dad.

Next run is on Saturday, April 23rd... the Fun with the Fuzz 5k, in Bellingham!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Showers.....

April is here.  And just like we learned growing up, "April showers bring May flowers"..... indeed, Aprils has started out living up to this popular phrase quite well.  In fact, the forecast over the next two weeks here seems to be following right along!  I am so sick and tired of the rain....... I so badly hope that the second half of that phrase requires lots and lots of sunshine to make happen!

My bicycling thus far this year is nearly non-existent when compared to last year at this time!  I long to ride more miles, but I have struggled with the wet and the cold and the wind this year....... no doubt, I will be a great snow bird when I retire!!!  :-)

BUSY!!!  This will be the word we use most frequently for the next five months now!  With Spring comes the busy and crazy and hectic and fun time in our lives, where we spend all of our time making our lives revolve around school and sports activities.  Evan is playing both baseball and soccer, while Sierra is taking on t-ball for the the first time this year.  After much pleading from both Evan and his best friend Jacob Roosma, I have taken on the role of head coach for the soccer team.  So, here we are, heading into April...... and this is what our month kind of looks like already:

This next week is spring break for the kids, so no school...... and two kids who will be bored at all times if we aren't working hard to find things to entertain them!

TUESDAY - the boys head to Canada for hockey night.  Uncle Brad won tickets to the Abbottsford Heat game on Praise 106.5 , and the girls will have girls night while we are gone.

WEDNESDAY - soccer practice for Evan, as well as baseball practice

THURSDAY - baseball practice again for Evan, and t-ball practice for Sierra

FRIDAY - heading south to Seattle Prime Outlets for a shopping day.

SATURDAY - Lynden 6k Fun Run at Bender Park in the morning, and Evan's soccer game in the afternoon.

April 16th & 17th - weekend baseball tournament in Lynden for Evan's team!

Sierra's first t-ball game on Saturday, April 23rd.... along with Evan's soccer game!

Sunday, April 24th is Easter!!!

Tuesday, April 26th...... Tracie and I go to see the performance of "CATS" at the Mt. Baker Theater!

Saturday, April 30th..... Sierra has her second t-ball game, and Evan has his last regular season soccer game

In between these dates are practices for all three sports, covering at least three days of each week, and sometimes five of the days!!!  Of course, we haven't yet dealt with our taxes, which obviously MUST be done, and soon!  And as always, other things will come up without a doubt..... and somehow, we will find a way to fit them in somewhere!!!  :-)

Yep, April is here..... the first quarter of this year is behind us already!  What am I doing here right now?  I have so much to do.....


SEE YA!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring has Sprung!!!

After what has seemed to be the longest Winter ever on record, at least in my own personal little world, I am happy to report that Spring has finally arrived!!!  Yes, I know that the calendar says Spring officially starts on March 20th, but that is NOT something I ever hold on to, just like trusting a weather report.... could go either way!!!

However, this year, March 20th actually looked and felt and smelled like Spring in the air around here, which gave me some real hope that we were finally turning the corner and entering a new season.  What really convinced me, though, that Spring has sprung, wasn't the calendar date or the weather, but around our place we went from silence at night to an absolute deafening orchestra of frogs, simply in about one days time!!!  It is the most awesome sound to hear.... thousands of frogs croaking aloud in the evening as the sun goes down...... letting me know for certain that Spring has arrived!!!  :-)

Now don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that things are yet exactly as I would like them to be.  The weather still isn't cooperating nearly as much as I would like it to, with temperatures still about 10 degrees cooler than I would like them to be, and still more rain than makes me happy as a cyclist looking to log some drier miles!!!  :-)

But alas, things are improving....the days are getting longer, the weather is slowly improving, and life is coming around int eh way of birds, frogs, plants, etc.  People are already moving lawns, and things just seem to look better as color starts coming back into them.  I am hopeful that this year we will enjoy a bit nicer Spring and Summer than we did last year.... in fact, I sort of feel like we deserve it!  ;-)

With Spring comes the absolute craziness and joy and happiness that is our lives this time of year...... Spring soccer, baseball, and this year we add t-ball.  Evan is back to playing soccer for the Nooksack league, after playing his last two season with Lynden, because Nooksack's organization had fallen apart.  Both Evan and his very best friend Jacob Roosma begged and pleaded with me to be their soccer coach, and so... I am!  In addition, Evan tried out and made the boys 10U competitive baseball team this year!!!  He is doing so great, and is having a lot of fun so far.  This means we have baseball practices three days a week right now, until the season starts.  In addition, we have two soccer practices a week, and we have soccer games on Saturdays as well.  We just heard from Sierra's t-ball coach, and we will be adding t-ball practices to the mix starting this next week!!!   Nope, we are not busy at all.... we have plenty of time to do lots of other things as well...sure.  Taking care of 11 acres of mini-farm... no problem, we can handle it........ yah, whatever!!!

So, if you can't seem to find us or reach us, just know that we haven't run away or left town, state or country.... we simply are out shuttling our kiddos around to practices, games and/or tournaments!!!  :-)  And YES, we are loving every minute of it!!!  :-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

And So It Begins......

I just posted that March is already here, and now here we are, practically half way through the month already!!!  Unbelievable to me..... I am NOT liking this at all.  I can't seem to keep up with the days, or with life right now.

So much happening starting this month, and this next week.  Evan made the cut for the boys 10U competitive baseball team, which is awesome.... and practices will be starting this next week some time.  Evan has also decided to play soccer this Spring.  He and Jacob really wanted me to be their coach again, so I signed on to be their coach.  Just got word that the U10 and U11 boys are being combined into one team, and that Evan will be playing up with the U11's, with me as head coach!  Crazy!!!  I have nothing really to offer as far as soccer skills and knowledge go for this sport.... heck, I was just a player myself as a kid, many years ago!  To make matters worse, I only just received my team roster last night!!!  We don't have any practices scheduled yet, and I have no equipment as of yet either!  And of course, our first game is in just two weeks from yesterday!!!  :-(

I really thought that the Nooksack organization might get their act together better this year, after new people got involved..... but so far, it appears I may be wrong!!!  :-(  It isn't fair for these kids to get one or maybe two practices in before playing their first game, especially when some of them haven't even met one another before.  And there is more..... I have just enough players for the field, no subs on the sidelines!!! That is gonna make it tough for my kids... really tough.  They play the bigger field this year, and have no chance to take a break, unless they can learn excellent passing and ball control skills really fast!!!  ;-)

Tracie, Jenn and Tiffani had their huge garage sale event for raising funds for their Africa mission trip yesterday, and did very well, making more than $2000 for the day!!!  :-)  They had their first mandatory mission trip meeting at CTK last night as well... haven't heard anything from Tracie, as we were all in bed asleep when she got home.

Our Suburban had its transmission fail a week ago on us.  Had to have a new tranny put in this last week, which cost us $2590..... money we didn't have.  I had to spend my paycheck to get our vehicle back, so we don't have any money to pay bills, buy groceries, or cover our mortgage this month with.  Not too sure how this is going to work out.  I seem to be the only one who cares, or who who is scared to death about how bad off we are.  I will continue to trust in God, and pray for guidance, support and answers.....however, it is my belief that God doesn't just hand things to us without us putting forth great effort on our part as well..... something I don't believe has happened as of yet.  I am trying as best I can right now... I have sold off a bunch of stuff, including things I had no intention of selling....things I did not want to sell.  I am getting ready to do it all again as well this week, this time selling off our beef cattle.... something I do not want to do either.  In addition, I have been calling in for every overtime shift that I am available for, with exception of one day.  I even called in today, which would mean missing church, and missing my final hockey game of the season.... but the BC had scheduled wrong, and the overtime got cancelled.

Uncle Bob and Brenda were supposed to come here yesterday to visit and get the rest of their beef from us to take back home.  They never made it.  They called to say that they had their vehicle broken into while loading to leave Tacoma....lots of stuff stolen, including wallet and check book and cash, etc.  They ended up dealing with that mess and then drove back home to Idaho.  We will make other arrangements to get them their beef.  :-(

Just over a week and I have my 43rd birthday.  Nothing big deal to me, but it does mean I have just ten years left until I can retire!!!  :-)  It also means that Grammy and Papa will be coming up to visit us again.  They want to come to be here for my birthday, and then stay to be here for Sierra's jazz dance recital on the 25th and 26th.  From the sound of it, Papa may head back down to Portland after that, leaving Grammy here for another week to stay and visit and spend time with the kiddos.  Don't know the plan in detail yet for sure.

Spring is coming, it just has to be.... this morning starts daylight savings, and I have already moved the clocks ahead an hour.  It will be light outside a full hour later today, which very well may do my mind and soul some good.  I am in desperate need of nice weather around here.  I miss riding my bike regularly, something that is so very good for my heart, mind, and soul.  With the weight of our financial issues upon my shoulders, I am needing an escape each day, even if just for an hour or two... and the bike works so well for me!!!

So, as if I didn't have enough to think about or worry about already...... I have now added  soccer coach to my list, and have a short time to try and prepare to work with these kids to help them get ready for a game in just two weeks..... not sure how this is going to work out, so I will start praying today!!  :-)

Funny thing is....as I sit here and think about my issues, my troubles, my problems..... I can't help but think about how meaningless they all seem when compared to what is happening in Japan right now, after suffering an 8.9 earthquake, so many aftershocks, and a tidal wave of destruction and death that has the country reeling in pain right now.  :-(  And then I think about how Tracie, Jenn and Tiffani are going to Africa, and what they will be seeing over there..... makes my issues seem so small.  And yet here I am feeling like my world is caving in on me..... crazy!