Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bringing The Year To Close.....

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve day already!  How crazy is that?!?!?!?!?!?!

This year has come and gone so fast, it scares me to think about the years ahead.  Our kids just keep growing up faster and faster, and our lives just keep getting busier and busier.  More and more things seem to be finding their way into our lives, and yet, as long as I can be a part of them with my family, then I am happy.

Christmas was different and very special for us here this year.  For the very first time since Tracie and I have lived here (21 years), my mom and dad (Grammy & Papa) came up and celebrated Christmas with us!  This was a monumental event for us both, and an even bigger deal to Evan and Sierra!  We have always either spent Christmas by going south to Portland, or spent it alone here, or have had Tracie's family come up and join us.  So, this was a pretty big deal.  And, it turned out to be a great Christmas!!!

Grammy, Papa and aunt Janice all came up on the 23rd.  We all went out for a very nice Christmas Eve dinner at Giuseppe's restaurant in Bellingham, before attending Christmas Eve service at CTK.  Our incredible little girl, Sierra, along with her big heart for God, had done an outstanding job at collecting over 750 food items to give to the CTK food bank the week before Christmas.  This touched Pastor Grant's heart in a big way, and he happened to include her story in his sermon, along with a photo of her and all of her food as she delivered it!  It was a very special moment of recognition for Sierra, and one that Grammy, Papa, Janice and uncle Brad all didn't see coming.  It made our Christmas Eve just that much more special.  :-)

Of course, on the not so much fun side of things...... with my current state of work schedules, and with every weekend being filled up, and with kids around... Tracie and I hadn't done even one bit of Christmas shopping up until Christmas Eve day!!!  And so, we were out the door at 7am, just the two of us, off to get every bot of our shopping done while the kids stayed home with Grammy, Papa and aunt Janice.  I am so very thankful that this year it was brought to my attention that I am able to cash out two of my vacation days for the next year, and that the money from doing so came on my December 10th paycheck!!!  This made our Christmas shopping experience about 200% better than I can remember it being in years past!!!  Since we do NOT have credit cards, and do NOT use credit or borrow money to pay for things any longer..... cash is our only option.  Although I will have two less days of vacation next year, it was most certainly worth it!!!  :-)

Christmas Day was most excellent!!!  To have Grammy, Papa, aunt Janice and uncle Brad all here with us...... what a fun morning we all had.  The gift opening lasted for a couple of hours.  And the gifts were all wonderful.  I do believe that all of us gave and received things that were unexpected, and that brought lots of joy and happiness to us all.  Quite seriously, though, I was just loving the fact that for the first time in 21 years, my immediate family was all gathered in our home on Christmas Day!!!  :-)

We had way too much food all day long, followed by a prime rib roast and Papa's scalloped potatoes, along with Grammy's green beans for dinner.  I do believe that the word of the day for us this Christmas was.... Glutton!!!

Another very cool thing about Christmas here this year...... it snowed!!!!!  Yes, we had a little bit of a white Christmas.  It wasn't a lot, and it didn't stay.....but it snowed, and it was pretty, and it just felt right!!!  :-)

The next day, Grandma and Grandpa Fornshell came up to visit with us, and to stay to celebrate New Years with us.  So, we had a house full of family for a day and half.  Grammy, Papa and aunt Janice left to go back home on Friday, the 28th, as I headed off to work my very last shift of the year at the BFD.

I am now done working at station 4, and am done at the BFD for 2012.  I will start my new watch on January 3rd, out of the big house, station 1, B-shift.  Already looking forward to the change, and excited to get back into the swing of fitness and health once again, after letting things go these past few months.

It has been a very difficult adjustment for me, with picking up a second (part-time) job back in October.  I took on working for Westside Pizza in Everson on my days off from the BFD, with exception of the weekends.  Pretty much, any day of the week (M-F) that I am not at the BFD, I am working at Westside Pizza now.  I have kept weekends open (unless I am at the BFD) so I can at least have some time with my family.  I work at Westside from 11am until we get through that dinner rush, which can be as early as 5:30pm, but usually winds up being 6:30-7:30pm.  And so, I wind up putting in anywhere from 21 to 32 hours per week at the second job, along with my standard 48 hours per week at the BFD.  With my new schedule, I am working between 61 and 80 hours each week now, while still trying to keep weekends free and clear as often as possible.  This has had a definite negative effect on me personally.  My physical health has declined substantially, as my ability to get my regular fitness and cycling routines in diminished greatly.  And with being so very, very tired all of the time, it has been extremely difficult to get out of bed at 3:30am to head to the gym and workout before starting my day.  I thought that I would be able to keep things going strong with workouts while at work on shift at the BFD, but the fact is that I am so tired on those days, that I try to use any down time we may have to try and rest and recover!  Because my physical health has gone by the wayside so much, my mental health and attitude certainly took a turn for the worse!  I am not happy about that, or proud to admit it.  But it is true.... I am not the same happy and healthy person that I was just a few months ago.  And, it is time to change that!!!

All of that  to say, the second job is both a blessing and a curse to me.  I am lucky to have been able to find such a job, that is so close to home, and that works around my schedule without any problem at all, in a time when so many can't seem to find work at all.  I am lucky to have found a way to bring in additional income to our current financial situation, that we have been so desperately in need of now for such a long time.  I am lucky to have been able to earn just enough money from this second job to afford me to follow Dave Ramsey's plan for financial peace, through getting rid of any and all credit cards, through building up an emergency fund that is separate from our other monies, and to be able to begin working on paying off all of our debt through the debt snowball plan.  I am cursed by having this second job in that I am missing out on a whole lot with my kids now that I used to be able to take part in.  I am missing out on being with my family at the same level that I have been accustomed to for the past eleven years.  And I am cursed by what this new work schedule has done to my fitness and health and cycling routines.

But, after doing this now for the past couple of months, I am getting adjusted to this new life.  And with the new year coming, I have committed to myself that I WILL find a way to make fitness, health and cycling all a priority once again.  I WILL find a way and a time to include these things back into my life, and into my busy schedule.  I know how good I feel, and how much more energy I have, and how much happier I am  when I have regular exercise and bicycling in my life!!!  I WILL persevere!!!

Good new has come to me as we prepare to start 2013.  I recently discovered that I will receive a 2% pay increase at the BFD, starting January 1st.  In addition, WA state has increased minimum wage beginning January 1, to $9.15 per hour.  So, I will be also getting an $0.11 per hour increase at Westside Pizza!!!  Every little bit helps, I suppose.  :-)

More good news...... apparently the Myans were wrong?!?!?!?!?!?!  The world didn't end on December 21st, as so many were expecting.  Hmmmm.... Those crazy, lyin' Myans!!!  :-)

On a bitter-sweet note.... December 21st would have been great grandpa's 95th birthday, if he were still with us here.  However, instead he got to celebrate his 1st birthday in heaven..... and I am so very happy for him.   :-)

As we jump into January of 2013, I can see that our calendar is already filled up with work, school, basketball for both kids, drum lessons for Evan, getting the Christmas stuff taken down and put away, getting the house cleaned and organized once again, and beginning to put everything in order to start working on our 2012 taxes..... always a joy!

I can see the writing on the wall....... it is going to be February before we even know it!!!  :-)

I certainly hope that everyone else enjoyed Christmas this year as much as we did here.  And I hope that everyone is able to enjoy and celebrate New Years tomorrow evening, safely, with family and friends!

The days are getting longer now, and although we are in the Winter season, I am looking forward to sunnier and warmer and drier days ahead.... I know they are coming eventually!  ;-)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Break Has Arrived!!!

Today officially starts Christmas break for our kids.  NO SCHOOL!!!  No school, starting today, and all of the way into January of 2013!!!  Yes, both kids are quite happy about this.  :-)

For me, this is a reminder that Christmas is very fast approaching now.  Just one week away, with only this weekend ahead to do our Christmas shopping.  Yes, you read that correctly..... we have NOT done one bit of shopping for Christmas as of today.  WHY?  Well, because of a lack of sufficient funds up until my paycheck came on the 10th.  And then, because of a lack of time available to do any shopping since then!!!

Interestingly, it seems that when I make any sort of comment on Facebook about not being happy or excited about having to work my second job at Westside Pizza, I tend to get all sorts of negative feedback from people, letting me know how that this is how their work lives and home lives are all of the time.  :-(

My first response to this is, if that is completely true..... then I am really sorry for each and every one of them.  That breaks my hear for them.  I wouldn't wish  for any of my friends or family members to be stuck working 60-65 hours each week, with 24 hour shifts thrown in to the mix twice a week, and having to work weekends and holidays as well.  :-(

My second response to this is, I am guessing that most of the people who are making such comments don't actually realize that I am now working 60-65 hours a week, with 24 hour shifts thrown in twice a week, and still have to work weekends and holidays!!!

The fact that I may complain about having to work a second job, for minimum wage, at a pizza joint, where I am 12 years older than the owner, and old enough to be every other employee's dad (thus, don't exactly fit in perfectly)........ well, it really has nothing to do about the job itself!!!  No, it really has everything to do with how it has altered my personal and family life...... missing out on very important life events in my kids' lives, missing out on things I have been a part of for the past 11 years, missing out on my routine of fitness and health and cycling lifestyle, and simply feeling like I am now more or less just a "part time" dad.

I know that others have to work long hours, five or six days a week, etc.  But the fact is, that is NOT the career path I chose.  At an early age, I started down a career path that would afford me a wonderful work schedule, and would allow me to have plenty of time off to be with my family and lead the life I wanted to lead.  For the past 22 years, I have enjoyed the firefighter work schedule and lifestyle, because I worked very, very, very hard to earn the position of professional, career firefighter.

So please, excuse me just a bit if I come across as though I don't care about everyone elses work schedules or routines, etc.  That really isn't the case at all.  Simply, I care more about what I have recently given up, and how it is effecting me and my family.

I most certainly hope that this will be a short term pain experience, which will bring about long term gains.  I pray for that, in fact, daily.  This is not a situation I ever planned to be in, or thought I would be in.  I can only pray that sometime this next year, a light may begin to shine at the end of the tunnel, and that it will grow brighter and brighter.  I really do not want to be working at the pizza place a year from now..... in fact, I really hope to not be working there in six months from now.  But, I will do what I have to do in order to help my family out of the mess that I put us in.

OK, stepping down from my soap box now........ whew!!!

So, Christmas break is here.  The kids are out of school.  And today, it is cold and snowing, and the wind is blowing!  We no longer have any TV in our home, and I will leave for work at 10:40am, and not be home until after dinner this evening.  I have no idea what these kids are going to do with their day...... I can hear them both already, "I'm bored.  There's nothing to do"   :-)

But alas, the weekend will be here in a few days, and we will be very busy once again.  Grammy and Papa will be here on Sunday, and hopefully Tracie and I will be able to go do our Christmas shopping. I have six days off beginning on Saturday, so I will get to spend time with my family, and enjoy Christmas at home!!!

Time for more coffee......

Friday, November 30, 2012

Here We Go...... December!!!

Tomorrow brings us to the final month of 2012, and the beginning of the Christmas season once again around here.  It seems crazy to think that in the blink of just four weeks, we will be starting a brand new year once again!  I have no doubt at all that December is going to come and go faster than any other month this entire year for us...... as I have the calendar of events right here in front of me.

Tomorrow, the first day of December, and also a Saturday..... starts us off busy!  Evan has his very first basketball game of the season, in Ferndale at 11am.  After his game, Evan will be going to a birthday party and sleepover for his friend, Halston.  They will head to the movie theater at 3pm, then back to Halston's place for the night.  This will be our first year without having Evan with us as we head off to the annual Lynden lighted Christmas parade tomorrow evening..... bittersweet for sure!  We love that or boy is growing up, and has fun things to go do with good friends, and yet, a little piece of our hearts break at losing a little piece of tradition that we have had since he was a tiny little guy!!!

On Sunday, we will attend our regular church service.  We will also be making arrangements to get Evan back home with us again, so we can head back to CTK Bellingham in the evening, for the CTK Christmas CD release concert, at 7pm.  A great way to kick off our December, and get into the Christmas season spirit....... a Christmas parade, followed by a Christmas concert!!!

Our first week in December will find me working three full days at Westside Pizza, and two full 24 hour shifts at the BFD.....and so, I will not be around at all until the next Saturday once again.  :-(

While I am gone all week, Tracie will be tasked with basketball practices for both kids, Evan's first Pep Band gig at a basketball game, early release and late arrival one day for school, volunteering in Sierra's class at school (in addition to her normal work schedule at the school), getting Evan to his drum lesson on Thursday, and then heading out for her girls night out on Thursday night, whenever I finally get home from Westside Pizza.

On Saturday the 8th, Evan has another basketball game, smack in the middle of the afternoon, at 2:30pm.  We have a party to attend that day as well, which starts at noon.  That day also appears to really be the only good day for us to go as a family to get our Christmas tree, unless we want to wait another week, and only have the tree up for half of the month this year!

On Sunday the 9th, Uncle Brad and I take Evan and his good friend Adam down to Seattle, via the Amtrak train, to watch the Seattle Seahawks play against the Arizona Cardinals!!!  This should be a really great, fun and long day for us all.  :-)

On Monday the 10th, Evan has his very first band concert for school, at 7pm.  We are very excited to see how much he has learned, since he really seems to enjoy music, and band class, as well as  his private drum lessons!

I will only work two full days at Westside Pizza that week, along with only one 24 hour shift at the BFD..... so that I can attend the band concert on Monday, as well as Sierra's school Christmas Program on Thursday afternoon!!!  Evan will again have another Pep Band gig that week, for another basketball game.  I will have the first of my two visits to the medical clinic, to get my annual BFD physical taken care of.

Then, it will be Saturday the 15th, just that fast!  If all goes as planned, I am hoping to take the family down to take in the Warm Beach Lights of Christmas.  Of course, Evan has a basketball game at 3pm, and, depending on the previous Saturday, we may or may not be needing to go and get our Christmas tree!!!  Oy Vay......

The week of the 17th through the 21st, Evan has yet another Pep Band gig, another drum lesson, more basketball practice.  Sierra also has more basketball practice, and I go back to working three full days at Westside Pizza again, along with two full 24 hour shifts at the BFD again.  So, for me, it will be Sunday the 16th.....and then, Saturday the 22nd, just like that!!!

Grammy and Papa and aunt Janice will arrive at our place on Sunday, the 23rd.  They will be here to celebrate Christmas with us this year, the very first time in nearly 22 years that we have lived up here!!!  Amazing...... the kids are so happy and excited.  they have been waiting for Grammy and Papa to be with us on Christmas for years now!!!

I will not work at Westside Pizza from the 22nd on through the end of the month...... only the BFD on the 28th.  Time to be with my family for a while, and enjoy the season of Christmas.....even if for only a matter of days for me this year.

As soon as Grammy and Papa and aunt Janice leave us, Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Larry will arrive, to ring in the New Year with us this year.

And so, there it comes and goes...... the Month of December!!!  It will be a whirlwind, and my head is already spinning.  I am sad to know how much I am going to miss, but hopeful that someone will get photos and video of Evan at his Pep Band gigs for me to see.  I will at least be there for both kids' Christmas Programs, and to see their basketball games..... that makes me very happy.

WHEW...... there is the rundown..... if you don't see from me or hear from me this month... I apologize.  Nothing personal.  In fact, if you like, you can come to Westside for a pizza, or call in and ask for me to deliver to you!!!  :-)

Seasons greetings.... Happy Holidays.... and most importantly,  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!!!

We all have so very much to be thankful for.  I pray that every one of us will remember to give thanks and praise to Jesus Christ, for He is the very reason that we have anything at all to be thankful for!!!

With all of the things that I can, and often do, let bother me and get me down..... I choose to put them all away this weekend, and focus only on the goodness and greatness of our God.  I choose to give thanks for all of the blessings that are provided to me and my family each and every day.

I also choose to remember the millions of people around the world who have nothing in comparison to what I have.  I choose to cry out to God on their behalf.

Give thanks and praise.  Be thankful.  Live, laugh and love.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Case of the Blues Month.....

No, I am not writing today to seek sympathy or pity.  I write this today simply for me.  Something to hopefully one day look back when things are much better.  Something to be able to reflect on in different times than now.  This post is for me, and to just put my feelings out there..... not on FB or other social media, where I have managed to outcast myself by being "too open", "too honest", and "sharing too much".

This is my personal blog, which I keep as my own personal journal of sorts..... just not on a daily basis.  So please, if you are reading this post today, do not feel sorry for me, or think that I am asking for you to feel sorry for me.  Please do not think that I am looking for anything from anyone.  I am asking God for those things already!!!

With that all said...... here is what I am feeling today:

As the title says, this is a month of the blues for me.  I have been feeling blue, down, out of sorts, out of health, out of my comfort zone, out of life the way I have known it for some time now.  I have not been in great spirits, or very positive attitude this past month.  My world has changed, rather dramatically..... a whole new paradigm for me, and not one I was really looking forward to, or excited about.  This whole new way of life for me has come because of me, so I can't blame anyone else but myself.  And yet, I am disgruntled because of the situation that I am now in.  I am frustrated at my situation, and disappointed in myself, for ever having let things come to this point in my life.

Because of this new paradigm shift, and new life schedule that I have taken on over the past month, a lot of things have changed for me, and not all in a very good way.  My physical health has taken a beating.  I have not been able to figure out how to fit my fitness into this new routine as of yet.  And that really bothers me.  I feel fat, out of shape, and generally unhealthy right now..... and I do not like that at all.  My bike has sat in the garage, unridden now for a full month!  This really has me down, since this is not only my hobby, but my health.... both physically and mentally.  I was so very close to reaching and/or surpassing my goal of 3,500 miles for the year, and now I don't know if I can or will even reach the goal.  And as I have come to learn quite some time ago, when my physical health health isn't doing well, my mental health takes a beating as well.

To add insult to injury, this new schedule, which includes working from 11am until typically 6-7 or 7:30pm most of my days off from the BFD, keeps me away from my family more than I have ever been before.  My only real time with Evan and Sierra now gets to be right as they are winding down for the evenings, getting ready to go to bed.  Or, in the mornings, when they are getting started, and heading off to school.  The only exception to that being that I have so far kept my Saturday's and Sundays open, if I am not scheduled to work at the BFD.  So, at least I get one, sometimes two days a week to bee home with them.

I know that this may seem to be a normal thing for most people.  But for me, it is not.  I chose a wonderful career as a firefighter, which provides a  great shift work schedule, which allows more time at home with family than the typical 9-5 work schedule tends to.  I have never worked a 9-5 job in the past 21 years, and have had the luxury of being able to be active and present in my kids' lives a great deal..... right up until just over a month ago now.  And I will not lie, this has been extremely difficult for me to handle.  I do not like it one bit.  And my heart has been broken a bit in not being around my kids as much as I am used to being.  Yesterday really brought that to the front for me...... both kids didn't have school yesterday, and don't have school again today either.  I realized that as I was preparing to head out to work all day at Westside Pizza.  And again, today, I will be working all day at Westide Pizza.  Of course, I will have tomorrow off from both jobs, and the kids will be back in school.

So, yes, I am having a bit of a pity party here.  But no, I am not looking for pity from anyone else here.  This is just a place for me to express myself, for me, and me only.  This is a means for me to vent my frustrations, concerns, worries, angers, hurts, etc.  And I truly hope that one day, much sooner than later, I will be able to come back and read this from a much better place than I am in right now.

I know in my heart and my soul that I still have so very much to be thankful for.  I really do.  And with Thanksgiving coming up next week, I will choose to reflect on those things, and plan to give thanks and praise to God for all of the good and wonderful things that He has done for me, given to me, and continues to give and do for me, and for my family and loved ones.  I will choose to put others before myself, and realize that I have been down before, and God helped me get back up and get going again.  I am certain that I will find my way out of this situation in time, somehow, some way.

For now, I just needed to put down how I am feeling, where I am at, what I am thinking.  For me.  No, it doesn't take care of everything.  In fact, it hasn't really changed anything.  I still have to go to work today, for minimum wage, at a pizza joint, on my day off from work, while my kids are at home with no school.  But, it makes me feel better just a little bit, being able to off-load my feelings in some way, other than expressing it through anger and frustration, at those who don't deserve it.  I am not pleased one bit about having to take on a second job, and yet, I will praise God that he has allowed me the opportunity to have this job, in a time when there are so many people struggling to just find work.  I don't enjoy being the oldest employee at my second job, by 14 years over the owner (and my boss), and old enough to be most of the other employees' dad...... but I will thank God for the opportunity to represent Jesus, and to hopefully be an example to others as I work with them.

Has this been the best month or so of my life....... not even close!  And yet, has this been the worst month or so of my life.... NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!  This is what I need to remember.  This is what I need to hang on to.  I, at one time, was in a much deeper and darker place in my life than I am even remotely close to being right now.  And back then, I didn't have Jesus.  I was doing life on my own.... and it wasn't working very well.  Now, I have Jesus on my side, and a family worth everything to me.......... and that makes a huge difference!  With Christ, all things are possible...... so, I know that according to His planning and timing, I will manage to get through this. 

For now, I need to work at keeping my chin up and shoulders back.  I need to sit down and figure out how to plan out my days better, knowing that my old schedule just isn't working anymore.  I need to figure out how to incorporate the vitally important aspect of fitness back into my life, so I can re-energize once again, and allow the endorphins to run through my blood and bring back the energy and happiness and satisfaction that comes with regular exercise.  I need to plan it out, and then commit to it, and get started once again.

And, I need to pray, pray, pray...... and pray some more.  I know God wants to hear from me.  And I do pray..... but mostly only for everyone else, and not for myself.  I need to start praying for me as well..... for I am also important, and I also matter.

OK..... enough of the blues.  Enough of the pity party.  Enough of the dwelling on the things I am not happy about but can't change.  Time to work on changing what I can change, and time to start praying earnestly for God to bring change to those other things.  Time to start a new day.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fully into Fall

Nearly the end of October now, and it definitely appears that we are full into Fall now.  The weather has changed back to the dreary, wet, colder types of days that have us turning on the heat, starting fires, and drinking coffee all throughout the day.

The fifth annual LBF chili cook-off was another success.  This year, we had our first female winner..... Stephana Timmer took home the first place award for this year.  In addition, Tiff Stauffer came her very closest ever to a win, coming in a very close second place, with her gluten free chili.  And as well, another female winner..... Erin Swedberg took home the coveted "Boobie Prize" this year.  :-)

Football season is coming to an end for us this weekend.  Evan plays his final game today, in Lynden.  We are hoping so much for a great win, and even more than that, hoping that Evan plays the best game of the season today.  He loves football so much, and we just love watching him play.  He has an amazing gift of athleticism, and he just does things on the football field that other kids can't do.

With football behind us, we will enter a new season this year.  Although Evan doesn't like to play basketball, Sierra has decided that she does indeed want to go out for basketball this year.  So, this morning, I will be taking her to get her signed up for the season, and dropping her off for her first day of practice.  This should be quite fun, as she has never participated in any other sports, with exception of one season of t-ball.  We look forward to seeing our little girl on the court.

For Evan, with sports done for the year, we will be starting to have him take weekly drum lessons.  Evan is very excited about band, and music..... and especially about becoming a drummer.

Grammy and Papa have been here for a couple of weeks now, and have decided to add one more week here with us.  They came to spend time with the kiddos, and to see Evan play in his last two football games of the season.  They also wanted to be here for their first time at our chili cook-off.  And now, they have decided to stay for watching the kids enjoy Halloween this next week.  The kids are enjoying it greatly, as they are being spoiled like crazy!!!  :-)

I started my second job, working for Westside Pizza in Everson, just this last week.  My first day was a full 9 hours, and then I worked just a short couple of hours yesterday again.  I will be back on Monday for another full day, and then should be into a fairly regular work pattern there throughout the month of November.  I anticipate putting in 20+ hours a week there, in hopes of making enough money to help us start try and climb out from under the huge mountain of debt we are in.  At minimum wage plus tips, there is no doubt that I am going to have to work as many hours as possible, and it is going to take a very long time to make any real progress...... but, it is a job, and part time jobs that work around my regular shift work schedule as a firefighter, they are hard to find and come by.

I am feeling sad today, as I realize that I haven't been on my bike now in a full 10 days!!!  Absolutely crazy, and I feel it.  I have slipped out of  my routine this past three weeks, and really need to get back at it again, right away.  I am planning to go back at it hard once again on Monday...... no looking back, no regrets..... just simply back on track, with hard work and determination once again.  Although I have no intentions of being in a calendar or anything of the sort....... I would like to be able to look at myself in the mirror, and to be able to see a mid 40's year old guy who could be in a calendar!!!  Time to get busy.

That's about it for now.... I am sure I am leaving out something, or more..... but I will post about all of that next time  :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Monster Is Gone!!!.................

.....At least for now, that is. 

Yesterday morning, we were able to finally have just a bit of closure on the torment and pain and anger that has been a huge part of our entire year.... We were able to be in Superior Court, to watch The Monster (aka Greg Bass) be formally sentenced to prison, and then taken away to jail.

It was an emotional morning for us, filled with a whole host of feelings.  We were so glad to finally have this day which we all believed should have taken place a good six months ago now!!!  As much as we didn't want to see this sick freak ever again, it was actually good that he was able to see all of us, and all of the friends and family and supporters that we had there on behalf of all of the victims that have been at the hands of this evil. 

As he sat on the front bench of the court room, with only his mother at his side, we had practically the entire other side of the court room filled with the victims family members, friends and other supporters.....and that was awesome.  Not only did the Monster have to see and take notice, but so did his mother, and the Judge.  I believe that it made a powerful statement!!!

In addition, I went before the Judge, along with two others, and spoke on behalf of my son, Evan, as well as on behalf of all of the other victims..... past, current, and sadly.... those that will be in the future.  I have no doubt that there will be more.  The maximum sentence allowed is only 5 years in prison, and so, this Monster will be back at it again in just a matter of 6-8 years!!! 

But for now, the maximum sentence was given.  We watched and got a photo as the Monster was cuffed and taken from the court room, to be placed in jail until next Tuesday, when he will be hauled down to the prison in Shelton, WA.

Yesterday brought us some closure, and a bit of comfort.  At least for the next 4-5 years.  But I can promise this....when he does get released, and returns to our community once again, I plan to do everything in my legal right and power to make it very well known... who he is, what he has done, and where he is at... for as long as I am able to do so!!!!!

Thank you to our most wonderful and close friends, and my brother..... for taking the time to attend the sentencing with us.  It means more to us than you all can possibly imagine!!!  I only wish now that we had filled the entire court room, with standing room only!!!

Today, we start moving forward for the next 4-5 years, without having to worry about the Monster any longer.  That feels really good.  :-)

Perhaps, on this magnificent and glorious Fall day, I shall go out and spend a few hours on the bike!!!  The kids are in school, and Tracie is in Portland for the Women of Faith, it's just  me and the bike and the awesome day outside!!!  :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Has Arrived!!! :-)

Oh man.... my very favorite time of year!!!  I love the weather, the colors, the smells...... and the upcoming holidays!!!  I long for the arrival of Fall weather..... those slightly cooler days, but still bright and sunny and dry.... perfect for working outdoors, or going on some amazing bicycle rides!  :-)

I headed to Oregon this past weekend, to welcome the arrival of Fall, by riding in the Harvest Century Bicycle ride with my brother Brad, my great friend Scott, and our other cycling friend Doug.  What an awesome weekend it was!  The weather was fantastic, the route was beautiful, and the ride went very well for me.  120.5 miles logged for the day..... we left Grammy & Papa's place on our bikes at 6:30am, and arrived back "home" again at 6:45pm!!!  A total of 7 hours 42 minutes on the bikes!!!  :-)

While we were away, Fall came in here at home.  The weather changed, with the temperature dropping down to those cooler Fall 60's, and a slight NNE wind helping to bring the leaves to the ground.  It is still bright and sunny, and absolutely beautiful outside..... perfect for riding, and for getting some outdoor things accomplished before the rains return in another week or so.

Tracie is heading down to Portland this weekend, with a pack of women.... headed to the Women of Faith conference!  Should be a great time for her, and them all. 

Tomorrow morning is finally the day we have been waiting for now for most of this year...... The Monster (aka Greg Bass) is finally being sentenced and sent off to prison tomorrow morning, in Superior Court, at 8:30am.  We are so relieved to finally have this chapter of our lives be coming to an end, and for justice to finally begin to be served on this horrific animal of a human being.  We can only pray that God has His mighty hands involved on justice being delivered appropriately to Greg.

It is hard to believe, but we are now winding our way down to the end of the year.  We have our annual Chili cook-off competition coming up in just two weeks!!!  Tracie and I have our 21st anniversary in just two weeks!!!  And Evan's football season will only have two more weekends after this upcoming Saturday.  In the blink of an eye, we are going to be into November, and starting to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!

This Fall and Winter will be just us...... no trips to Oregon.  We will stay home as a family, and just enjoy the holidays and all that God has blessed us with.

:-)  Hello Fall..... welcome back!!!  :-)

Monday, September 24, 2012


Yes indeed, today marks the 46th anniversary for my mom and dad......and that is quite remarkable!!!

Happy Anniversary to you both..... may there be very many more in your future together as well.  :-)

We have been busy around here since my last post.  Evan has played two weekends of really great football in a row now.  In his game on the 15th, his team was victorious by a score of 39-0.  Evan had a fantastic game, and scored 39 points for his team!!!  Yes, you read that correctly..... the kid is good, and he is gifted, and he is talented.  He loves the game of football, and it showed!!!  :-)

Then, this last Saturday, his team won again, by a score of 27-6.  Evan managed to score 21 of his teams 27 points, again playing really great football.  It was so much fun to watch... not only Evan, but to see how the whole team has improved so much, and has come together as a football team!!!  Lots of fun for sure.  :-)  Grammy and Papa came to visit for four days, and got to watch Evan in this game.  That was fun for them, and for him.  :-)

Grammy and Papa came to visit and to celebrate Sierra's upcoming 9th birthday with us, as they will leave for deer hunting camp on her actual birthday.  So, they were here with us over the weekend, and we had some fun together as  a family.

Bad and good news also.... our refrigerator stopped working on us, and it was going to cost around $800 to repair it.  We found one, instead, at Dewaard & Bode, a return item in great shape, for $399!!!  So, we now have a new refrigerator, and I think we are going to like it much better than the one that died!!!  :-)

I started work at Westside Pizza last week.  Worked only two shifts, first for 2 hours, and then for 3 hours.  I am a fish out of water, and have no idea what I am doing.   There is a huge learning curve, and I have a long ways to go.  I only planned on being a delivery driver, but the owner really wanted me to be an in-store guy for him at the new Everson store when it opens in the near future.  It turns out that this is hard work, dirty work, and a lot of work.....all for only minimum wage.  I am really not all that sure if this is going to be worth it or not just yet..... I am going to have to work a whole lot of time and days here in order to make the kind of money that we need to try and start getting out of the mountain of debt that we are currently in.  On the other hand, I don't really have any other options falling at my feet right now.  So, I will keep on trying to learn what I need to learn, and hopefully things will get a bit better each day I put in. 

One thing for certain...... I have a huge appreciation for my regular, career job as a firefighter.  I love my job, and am blessed to have it!!!  :-)

Brad and I will head to Portland this upcoming weekend, to ride in the Harvest Century ride, with Scott Taube.  :-)  Very excited about this event, and looking like we may actually get good weather for a change!!!  :-)

Grandma and Grandpa are heading up to visit and celebrate Sierra's birthday this Wednesday.  They will be here through the weekend.  So, we are trying to get ready around here for our next set of guests, and I am trying to get ready to head out of town for the ride.  In addition, just trying to get some things done around the farm before the weather turns on us soon.

So, gotta get out now and plant some trees..... see ya!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Times they are a changing.....

Yes, there is some real truth behind the title of today's post.  Time's are changing for me, personally, and for my family..... very soon.

I went in today to Westside Pizza in Lynden and spoke with the owner.  As of next week, I will begin working my second job.  I have some real mixed feelings over this, and am not sure how to deal with them just yet.  I never thought I would be in a position to where this is what I would have to do, in order to help sustain my family..... and yet, here I am, in that very position.

After going through the Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace course, I know that this is what must be done now, in order to work the steps towards financial peace.  And yet, I am already dreading that I will no longer be around my kids regularly, and that I will be missing out on so many important things in their lives that I never wanted to, or thought  I would have to. 

I am asking for prayers, that God will help me to have the strength, courage, and stamina..... to deal with this new chapter in my life.  I know it isn't going to be easy, and I know it is going to be very difficult on my children...... and that is the hardest thing for me to take.  After being away from them for the past 48 hours, it really stinks to even think of just how much I am going to be away from them on a regular basis very soon now.  My heart aches over this.

So, time to head outside and get busy taking care of as much as I can around here the rest of this week and weekend, because I have a feeling that my time around here is going to become significantly less real soon.

I long to see the results of following Dave Ramsey's steps to financial peace!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 - Eleven Years Ago Today.....

Eleven years ago this morning, our world changed forever.  Attacked by completely misguided people, who do NOT know God, who do NOT appreciate life, who do NOT know the love that Jesus has for them....... and it has caused horrible loss of life, destruction of property, and changed the way we all live forever!

Today, as I head to work for the next 48 hours at the Bellingham Fire Department...... I am proud to be a firefighter, proud to be an American, and most proud to be a follower of the Lord, Jesus Christ!!!

To my brothers who gave all this day eleven years ago..... 343...... I will never forget!!!

To all of the innocent victims who perished this day eleven years ago.... I will never forget!!!

In the words of Alan Jackson, "Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

FALL.... Football and Bicycling, Oh My!!!

School is back in full swing now for our kids, with this next week going to be their first full five days stretch.  Our school system here starts school before Labor Day weekend, so our kids have a three day week, followed by a four day week, and then finally a full five day week.....I suppose to break them in slowly. 

Along with school starting comes the arrival of the football season!!!  We attended the Nooksack Valley High school home opener last Friday, and had a blast....along with a great win!!!  :-)

Today, Evan's team plays their season opener, against a very tough Ferndale team, in Ferndale.  It is a beautiful Fall day today, and the weather will be quite warm at game time, 1:45pm.  Evan is very excited to get out and get playing, rather than just all practice.  He wants to put all of the may weeks of hard work into action on the field today, and that makes me happy and proud!!!  I am also looking forward to the big game this afternoon.  I have watched for weeks now, as this team has practiced and learned and conditioned..... and it will be great to see how we work together as a team, come game time.  :-)

Today also marks the big day for the OSU Beavers to kick off their season..... GO BEAVS!!!!!  :-)

Last month was a great month of cycling for me, and I posted a really good number of rides, as well as miles.  September is shaping up so far to be another big month of cycling for me.  I have been riding longer rides, and am getting geared up for back to back weekend century rides, starting next weekend with the Chuckanut Century, and then the following weekend in Oregon for the Harvest Century.  Brad and myself are heading out tomorrow for an 85 mile training and preparation ride for these upcoming weekends, to see how we are doing with our fitness levels and cycling legs and seat bones!!!  Should be a great day, as we head south to Skagit county, along Clear Lake, then back up along Colony Mountain and Lake Sammish, on into Fairhaven.  We will meet up with Tracie and the kids at BFD station 2, and then head on over to Mambo Italiano for a wonderful dinner together to finish off the day.  :-)

Scott Taube will be joining Brad and myself this next weekend here for the Chuckanut Century.  I was really hoping to have him here for a couple two or three days, so we could show him our place, and where we live, maybe take him to our church with us, and out to one or two of our favorite places...... but, he won't be able to make it up here until late Saturday night as it turns out.  We will be up early to ride all day on Sunday, and will get home fairly late that evening I am sure.... dead dog tired and sore as well.  Then, Scott will head back to Oregon on Monday.  Bummer for us, and yet, we are so happy to at least have him finally able to make it up this way!!!  :-)

Brad and I will be off to Oregon the next weekend, just the two of us, to joins Scott Taube for the Harvest Century.  This ride has been moved up a couple of weeks from years past, and we are very hopeful that we will get much better weather this year!!!  :-)

The rest of our month looks something like this..... school, football practice, football games, work, bicycling, church, yard work!!!

However, there is ONE other big event that we will have this month...........  Sierra's 9th birthday!!!!!  :-)

Grammy & Papa will come to visit for s few days, and then Grandma & Grandpa will come the next week to visit...... and we will celebrate Sierra's birthday twice this year!!!  :-)

That's about it for now...... more to follow as I get it all straightened out, in my head, and on my calendar!!!  :-)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School, 2012

Yesterday marked the first day back to school for Evan and Sierra, starting even earlier this year than we have in any years past I can remember!  Apparently, summer and Labor Day weekend just don't mean much to the Nooksack School District.  But alas, our summer is at an end, and fall is right around the corner...... and school is once again back in session!

Our recently turned eleven year old, Evan, has hit a new milestone this year, as he is now a middle school student!!!  His first day went well, and I think he is really going to like it there.  He loves the bus ride, as it is a full 45 minutes shorter this year!!!!!  :-)  He is most excited so far about band and PE.  He has chosen to learn the trumpet for band class, although he most really wants to eventually become a drummer!  And PE this year is a full three days a week, for nearly 2 full hours each session!!!  He is very excited for this, and today will be his first day of PE.

Sierra is now in third grade, and it was like a social homecoming upon her arrival back to Sumas Elementary yesterday!  She was with her "peeps" once again, finally, at last!!!  She loves school, and is very excited about this year ahead.  :-)

This is our first year having our kids at two different schools, with two different times.  We have a learning curve ahead to figure everything out, but already, I believe it is going to be a very good thing!!!  :-)

Also, while on the topic of school..... Tracie will be attending Sumas Elementary this year as well, as she has been given the job as assistant cook, working the lunch time hours in the cafeteria!!!  It is only a couple of hours each day, but it is regular and consistent, and has her now as a regular employee of the school district....not just a sub anymore!!!  this is awesome, as she already knows the job very well from helping out the past couple of years.  It is also great, because she can still pick up other sub jobs as they come along, and she will still have time at home to work on her medical transcription studies!!!  :-)  We are very pleased that this worked out so well for her..... she will have a great year at school now as well.

Football season is in full swing...... final week and a half of practices and conditioning to get ready for our season opener on Saturday, September 8th, in Ferndale.  Evan is very excited to start playing, and he has been practicing very hard, working at 100% and more for each practice he is able to attend.  He missed last week, as we were in Oregon, and he will miss today, as he and I are heading down to Seattle to watch the Seahawks take on the Raiders in the 4th week of pre-season football!!!!!

So, here we are, looking at September to arrive in less than a week now.  Summer has been fast, and fun for the most part... and we finally got our summer weather in August.  As of this week, the days are most certainly beginning to feel and look a lot more like Fall.  And of course, I love riding on Fall days...... great weather, great temps, great scenery, great smells..... love it.  :-)

So, here we go....... leaving Summer behind, and heading full swing on into the Fall.  I sure hope it turns out to be as great as I want it to be!!!  :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

21 years with the BFD!!!

Well, it is August 11th, 2012 today.  I have just enjoyed having the last two weeks off from work, using vacation time to spend with my family, and to work on a whole lot of yard work and clean-up around the place.  We even managed to squeak in a fun weekend of camping at Silver Lake last Friday through Monday!  :-)

This morning, I head back to work again.  And on this day, 21 years ago, I started working as a firefighter for the City of Bellingham!!!  Yes, today is my BFD 21 year anniversary!  :-)

That's the great news..... 21 years have come and gone so very quickly, it is hard to imagine.  I can still remember very vividly, receiving the phone call to offer me the job.  It has been a fantastic career so far for me, and I am truly blessed to do what I do for a living.

The not so great news is..... after crunching numbers for retirement, and looking ahead at pension dollars and retirement savings through 401k, it doesn't look good for me to be able to retire at age 53 with 30 years in, as I have been planning for some time now!  :-( 

Staying an extra 5 years does huge things financially for me that I simply can't ignore!!!  A pension of 60% goes up to 70%, and the 401k money will easily have more than another $150k in it over those 5 years.  And, for all of that, I will still only be 58 years old.

So, my 9 year count down has just changed to be my 14 year count down..... unless something changes.  Oh well.... the first 21 years went by so fast, I can only imagine that the next 14 will be just as fast.....probably faster.

For now, time to get ready to head back to work again..... I really did enjoy my time off, but I am looking forward to getting back in the driver's seat of my fire engine once again as well.  :-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cycling, Bad Weather, Heartache.....July!!!

Three weeks of July have already passed right on by.  It's not just hard to believe because time flies by so fast any more all of the time, but rather, we still keep waiting for consistently nice summer weather to arrive, and it just doesn't!!!  We get some really nice days, and then get hit with more rain and wind and cool (almost cold temps).  I can't remember a year since we have lived here where our lawns have still be lush green at the end of July, and we don't water our lawns at all!!!!!  :-(

Looking outside at this moment, it may as well be the middle of October...... it is raining like crazy, dark and gloomy, and the wind is blowing!!!  Yes, as I said, we have had some summer weather...... it's just that it doesn't stick around for more than a few days at a time.  I am really hoping that this year will bring us most beautiful weather throughout August, September and October.

A quick run down of what we have been doing this month..... We first hit Wenatchee and Leavenworth at the start of the month, For Evan's baseball team to compete in the State 10U baseball tournament.  It was very hot over there, and our boys all melted in the heat!!!  They just weren't used to it at all, and they fell apart early in the tournament.  We still had fun over there, soaking up the heat, and the summer weather!!!  We camped near Leavenworth, and relaxed and had fun for a week, before returning home.  When we did head back, Sierra headed to Oregon with Grammy and Papa, to stay with them for a week, until we came down for STP weekend!!!

Seattle to Portland weekend was an absolute blast this year!!!  Great times, great fun, awesome cycling, with fantastic people.  I could say so much about this weekend..... simply wonderful.  This year we had seven of us riding together.  Of the seven, four were all first timers to STP!!!  One guy flew all the way out from CT just for this weekend with us!!!  My brother, Brad, took on and completed his very first STP!!!  And my best friend, Scott Taube..... his dad, Gene, rode for his very first STP at the age of 77!!!!!!!!!!  :-)

To sum it all up for our STP weekend adventure..... EPIC WEEKEND!!!  :-)

We had another amazing and awesome and fun and fantastic stay-over in Winlock, WA... at Stu and Natalie Hodnot's place..... they are the greatest STP hosts anyone could ever ask or hope for!!!  What a way to do STP!!!  :-)

Then a heartache hit us as we were ready to head home again just a week ago today.  We got news that our favorite little girl dachshund, Abby, went missing and didn't come back home last Monday morning.  It has been a very difficult week here for us, not knowing what happened to her, or how, or why.  We have pretty much come to the realization that she isn't coming home again, and that hurts so very much.  We know that it is very likely that she was taken by a coyote, and that also sucks really bad!  :-(  What hurts the most.... her birthday came only two days after she went missing.  Also, we had planned to take her with us on that weekend trip, and only at the last minute decided not to, because she wouldn't be allowed in the house we stay in while we are in Portland. 

We love our Abby so very, very, very much.  All we can do now is pray for her.  The other dogs are starting to act as though they realize she isn't coming back as well.  And I admit, I have no desire to get any more dogs for quite some time now.

So, this past week has been all about sorrow and heartache, as well as about trying to get back into the groove and swing of life at home again.  The place is overgrown with grass and weeds, worse than normal because we have been gone, and God has allowed for plenty of watering!!!  We have been trying to find Abby, to deal with the loss, to try and unpack and clean up form being gone so much, and trying to just get back into "normal" life for a bit again.

Evan and I did manage to tear down the old, unsafe, falling apart play structure in the back yard....and got it all moved out to a big burn pile for the Fall.  Now we need to clean up the area, and get it ready for moving the Rainbow play structure over.

As of today, only 10 days until we are into August!!!  WOW, how crazy is that?!?!?!?  This next weekend should be a lot of fun.  Brad and myself are riding in the Tour de Whatcom ride on Saturday morning..... 105 miles all around our county.  Later in the afternoon that same day, we head over the the Timmer's place for a big BBQ party for all who helped with the painting of the Salon.  The weather forecast looks really great as of right now, so we are excited, both for a great day on the bikes, as well as a great time with our awesome friends!!!  :-)

Next up, August...... Evan's birthday, which will include a weekend trip down to Portland.  I celebrate the completion of my 21 years with the BFD on August 11th.  We have several family members with birthdays in August.  Hopefully we can get our place cleaned up more, and get Evan out riding his motorcycle a whole lot.  We tore down our swimming pool, as it cost us too much to keep up and running, and we only got two weeks of use out of it last year, and because of the horrendous and disgusting acts of Greg Bass that occurred in it last year...... simply made me sick to even look at it any more!!!

Our place is quite literally falling apart all around us, and sadly, we are not financially in a position to do much about it.  So, I will do my best to try and keep up with what I can, take care of what I can, and try to keep it as presentable and livable as I can.  At least we have a place!!!  And yes, we could do more if we were to stop spending money on other things...... but, I refuse to may make our kids suffer on our account.  I choose to do what we can to have fun with our kids, do things with and for our kids, and to be able to enjoy our lives as much as possible each and every day.   Come September, I will be pounding the pavement to find myself a second job.  I am choosing to wait until then so that I can have this one last summer off with my kids as much as possible.  I know that I am going to be gone a lot with a second job, and am going to miss out on a, I plan to make August as much  fun as possible with the kids first!

So, that about wraps up July...........

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independance Day!!!

First off..... it's the 4th of July, 2012..... Happy Independance Day!!!   :-)

With that said, here in the Pacific Northwest, it is also known as the official end of Spring, as July 5th seems to be the unofficial start of Summer for us!!!  So, let me just shout out......HOOORAY!!!  Summer is finally arriving tomorrow!!!  :-)

And, finally, let me say..... we won't be here for the arrival of summer this year.  We will be east of the mountains, over in Leavenworth and Wenatchee, for the boys 10U state baseball tournament.  Leaving today to head over and get set up at the RV park we are staying at.  Tomorrow morning the official opening ceremonies for the tournament happen.  And then Evan's team will play two games tomorrow.  Looking forward very much to the sunshine, the heat, the baseball, the camping, the relaxing, the cycling, the just getting away for five days!!!

It has been a fun and fast paced month that has just gone by.  Lots and lots and lots of rain, sprinkled with a few nice days here and there.  We managed to get the pool taken down, and the deck dismantled as well.  It was hard work, took more time than we thought, but it is done!  No more swimming pool, no more deck....time to plant more lawn for a bigger back yard!!!

Two back to back weekend trips to Oregon, for cycling and for a graduation party.  Lots of fun both weekends, with too much good food eaten.... has me feeling like I need to ride a whole lot more!!!

State baseball tournament over the next four days, return home, work a shift, then get ready to head to Seattle for STP 2012 next weekend!!!  Next thing we know, it will be the middle of July already!!!  :-)

Looking forward to a fast paced, fun filled, sun filled, cycling filled, family filled, God filled Summer!!!  :-)

For now, time to go load the rigs, and head over to Leavenworth, WA.

Monday, June 18, 2012

And the craziness of Summer begins!!!

After a great Memorial Day weekend, complete with Ski to Sea racing and a first place finish for our team in the corporate division, it was time to settle down and head into the month of June.... or so I thought!!!

June came right on in, and the weather acted just like early spring.....complete with rain, rain, and more rain!!!  So, we sat back and complained, and it did no good..... more rain has kept coming, with a day here and there of sunshine and warmth, to simply lure is into believing that Summer has arrived.  Fact is, we all know Summer doesn't start around these parts until about the 5th of July!!!

We celebrated a land mark moment in our lives this past week..... our little boy, Evan, has grown up and gone all the way through Elementary school..... and is now officially a Middle schooler!!!  We are so happy, so excited and so very proud!!!  And yet, our hearts break a little as well, to know how fast time is going by, and to know that the next ten years will probably go by at least twice as fast!!!

We got to attend a very wonderful 5th grade moving-on ceremony at the school on the final day..... they did a great job, and we had a great time.  Summer vacation is here for the kiddos now, and they are quite excited.

Grammy & Papa, and also Aunt Janice, all arrived here with their RV's on the 7th of June.  They have set up residence here for the month, until we all head over to Wenatchee together for the state baseball tournament.  The kids are loving that they get to have sleep-overs at Grammy & Papa's place every night...... not that they get spoiled or anything, I am sure!

I have been trying, despite the poor weather, to get ready for my first big ride of the season, the Petal Pedal Century, down in Silverton, OR.  This was supposed to be a brother's weekend trip and bike ride together, but Brad has since backed out on me and left me to travel alone instead.  I am very bummed out about this, and rather disappointed in him for his lack of commitment, but it is what it is, and now I will just have to alter my plans for the upcoming weekend.  Sadly, Brad was also supposed to be riding the Seattle to Portland ride with us this year, is already registered and paid up for it..... and at this point, I just don't see him doing it either.  So, back to riding solo for me yet again.... perhaps that is just how I am supposed to ride?!?!?!?!

Today, our two beef that we have raised here since birth, are being butchered.  They are very good looking animals, and will provide most delicious and nutritious protein to us.....and yet, I am sad to see them go!  they are the last two beef we have, and the last of our farm animals....... Little Bearfoot Farm is a farm no more now!!!  :-(  The financial crisis has taken over, and sadly, we won't even be able to afford to get any more beef, even just for us.  So, we will enjoy this beef to the fullest, and remember Walter and Lexie as they provide yummy meals for us.

We finished up the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class..... and it was really great.  We are now trying hard to start the process of getting out of debt (sadly, we have a very long way to go!)...... so that we can begin rebuilding our financial status, and get on track to live debt free for the rest of our lives.  We have already built up our $1000 emergency fund, and we have cut up all credit cards.... no more, every again!!!  We are working on putting together our financial portfolio and monthly budgets, and are hoping to start working on the debt snowball technique to get rid of debt, hopefully very soon.

As a part of our financial mess, and of successfully completing the Dave Ramsey class, I have come to realize that I must go and find a second job, so that I can bring in more monthly income to help start paying down our debts faster, in an effort to try and save at least some years with our kids still here with us, to be able to do things we want to be able to do with them, and for them.  It is no fault of theirs that we are in this situation, and it pains me deeply that they are the ones who suffer because of it.... and so, I must do what I must do to try and remedy that situation.  I am hopeful that it will be short term pain for a long term gain.... but only God knows the answer to that right now.

So, this Friday I will head to PDX for the weekend.  I will ride in the Petal Pedal century ride on Saturday, and then head back to my great friend's place for a big BBQ steak dinner all evening long.  On Sunday, I am planning to ride a nice recovery ride with my friend.  And then on Monday, I will return back home again.  And then, that next Friday, we will head to PDX yet again, the family this time.... to attend our niece's (Kendahl) graduation party!!!  We will return from that trip on Sunday, only to get ready to head over to Wenatchee on the 4th of July...... to get ready for the state baseball tournament!!!

Upon returning from Wenatchee after a week, it will be reload and prepare time.... as we head to Seattle that following Friday for the Seattle to Portland  cycling weekend!!!  :-)

Yep.... the craziness of Summer must be finally upon us!!!  :-)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ski to Sea Success.... First Place!!!

WOW!!!  What a day I had yesterday....... my first time ever in the Ski to Sea race in over 20 years!!!  My very first time dong the road bike leg of the race.  My first time racing with a competitive team, who holds very high standards and expectations of all of its members!!!  And, I stepped in as a fill-in racer, to fill the very large and highly impressive cycling shoes of our own expert cyclist, Willy Spaulding.  All of these things must have been enough to give me cause to push myself hard in training and preparing for yesterdays big race, because everything came together, and we had a most awesome day!!!  :-)

Bellingham Firefighters took first place in the corporate division!!!  I did quite well in my leg of the race, and managed to shave off nearly a full 10 minutes from my previous ride down the race course, just a week and half earlier!!!  I couldn't seem to find any groups of cyclists to hook up with, to help share the work with, and to go faster, I ran the majority of the 42 miles as a solo, working as hard as I could to keep myself up around a 21+ mph overall average speed.  It worked, and I came in with a time of 1:54:00, officially, giving me an overall average speed or 21.75mph!!!

I am relieved, quite happy, and feeling very, very, very happy today about my first experience as the road biker for the BFD team.  So glad they trusted me to step up for them, and that they actually believed in me enough to be willing to risk a high level finish if I should not perform well.  I am honored to have been chosen, and feel really good about the end results.  :-)

It was a very long day, and I owe big thanks to my brother, Brad, for getting up early and helping me get up the mountain.  He helped keep me calm, made sure I had everything I needed, got photos and video of the start of my leg, and then had to sit and wait to come off the mountain, thus missing my finish in Everson!  THANK YOU, Brad!!!  I really appreciate what you did for me!!!  :-)

I also want to thank my family, for their love and support, and for spending a long day yesterday, in Fairhaven, as we celebrated the finish line festivities and activities.  I know it was a whole lot more fun and exciting for me than for any of them.....but they came along, and supported me the whole time.....even when I spent an hour in the beer garden with fellow racers and Bellingham Pipes and Drummers!!!  :-)

Today is recovery day!  Plans for today....... grocery shopping, lawn mowing and weed whacking, setting up chairs and tables outside, having a family camp fire this evening....complete with hot dogs and/or brats over the fire!  Relax, rest, enjoy time with the family, give thanks to all of those who have died in service for our great nation!!!  :-)

Tomorrow, back to work..... finish out this month and head right on into June already!!!  How crazy is that?!?!?!?!?!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

LBF life in the month of May!!!

My last post was 20 days ago, which doesn't seem all that long ago in real time.....but in blog time, that leaves a whole lot to be remembered and put into order, so that  we can look back on the life and times of Fireguy..... and my family!

Back on May 3rd, Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Larry came to visit for a short week.  It was longer than they usually are able to be here, and we had a great time with them, not being stressed about trying to pack so much into such little time.  We were able to relax, go at an easier pace, and enjoy our time together.  We had the time to play together, relax together, eat together, shop together, and even do some outdoor work together!  It was quite an enjoyable time with them, and we miss them now that they are gone.  Thank you so much Grandma & Grandpa, for taking time out of your lives, to come up here ans spend time with us in ours!!!  :-)

We enjoyed our first time experience at the B'ham Farmer's Market on May 4th, and had a good time looking around, sampling a variety of things, and then eating a very yummy meal across the way, at Boundary Bay Brewery!!!  That place rocks....great food, excellent beers!!!  :-)

Also over that weekend,  I managed to get some bike riding in, and we attended church together on Sunday.  Tracie and I skipped our Financial Peace class that weekend, so we could spend more time with Grandma and Grandpa while they were here with us.  We managed to get lawn mowing and edging done, and some weeding and cleaning of some flower bed areas was taken care of, followed by planting of a mini garden, of sort, in our old half whiskey barrels out front!!!  Great idea, and it will be fun to see how it goes.  :-)

Brad and I both finished out our 24 day Advocare challenge the next week, and altogether I lost a total of 12 pounds, while gaining lean muscle mass..... and ended up with a body fat of 12% overall on May 15th.  Just 2% away from my goal now!!!  :-)

We celebrated Grandma's and Tracie's birthdays on May 8th, and then Mother's Day that following weekend.  Mother's Day was different this year, in that we were at Bender Fields in Lynden all weekend, for Evan's baseball tournament.  It was so much fun.... the weather was awesome, sunny and quite warm!!!  Evan's team ended up winning the tournament, which made for a great Mother's Day gift to Tracie, from Evan!!!  We had a most awesome weekend, and I do believe that Tracie had a wonderful Mother's Day as well.  :-)

Somehow, in the course of two weeks time, I also managed to fit in three 48 hours shifts at work, and then followed that up with a 12 hour, night OT shift on Friday the 11th.  Also on that Friday, I was able to go and celebrate Jim Lane's retirement from the BFD, after 25 years!!!  It was a most fantastic party, and I wish I could have been there all night long...but OT money won out!!!  :-)

Over the past several weeks, we have been juggling around the county, watching both Evan and Sierra play baseball games.....sometimes both of them on the same days, and even at the same times!!!  Yes, life is getting busier and crazier..... we love it!!!

And then, this past weekend, we made a huge leap forward in technology....... we gave up our old cell phones, which weren't even recognized on the Sprint web site anymore!  We have now both moved on to brand new Apple Iphone 4s'!!!!!!!!  :-)  WOW!!!  Awesome!!!  Amazing!!!!  Exciting!!!!  Fun!!!!  Cool!!!!  Neat!!!!!  Big learning curve!!!!!  :-)

And now, here I sit, with just four days left before my first time as part of the BFD Ski to Sea corporate team, racing the road bike course on Sunday, May 27th.  I am excited, and I am nervous, and I do NOT know what to expect!!!  I am hoping and praying that things go very, very , very well for me....... I do NOT want to let this team down, as they have repeatedly done very well in years past.  I hope to give my very best, and pray that God will guide me safely and very quickly through the entire 42 miles!!!  It will be a fun day, especially after I am done, and can shower, relax, and head to the finish line festivities!!!  :-)

Today, I am off to work for one last shift before the big race day event.  I hope to have a really good shift, work hard, workout hard, laugh hard, have fun with  crew, eat well, and hopefully,,,,, get a good night  of rest as well.  :-)

Next blog will more than likely be a few days after the big race, once I am recovered!!!  Until then, thanks for reading along, and being a part of my life!!!  :-)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's May!!!

WOW..... I took a short hiatus it would appear.  Last thing I remember, we were in the middle of April, with baseball season finally getting started.  And now, here we are already three days into May!!!

Baseball season has been a very wet and unpredictable thing this year for us thus far.  The weather has not cooperated most of the time, ad many games have been cancelled already.  Today appears to not be in our favor already, which will cancel two more games.

I just managed to work back to back 48 hour shifts in the past five days....and I am home now, exhausted, and ready to rest and recover!  Four days off from work now, and that will be very nice indeed.  Hopefully the weather will get better over the next few days, so I can get out on the bike and ride again.

Today finds Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Larry coming up to visit with us for a week.  They will arrive late this afternoon sometime.  Again, hopefully the weather will cooperate just a bit, so we can enjoy the time together, and allow them to see a baseball game or two while they are here.

I have been, and am in the middle of, doing a 24 day challenge through Advocare.  This is a 10 day herbal cleanse cycle, followed by 14 days of intense, rigid and structured diet and exercise, designed to optimally kick ones metabolism into high gear, and to maximize energy levels while burning away fat from the body.  So far, awesome results!!!  After the first week, I had lost 8 pounds!!!  Week two I dropped another 5 pounds.  I am in week three right now, and will finish the actual challenge next week, on May 9th.  However, I have decided to go ahead and work at sticking things out as structured as possible, even without the Advocare products, until May this will mark exactly one month since I started the challenge.  May 14th will be my week four, and final weigh-in for the challenge.  I am very hopeful to be able to lose an additional 5 more pounds during that time.  If so, I will finally be below 190 pounds, for the first time since before I was hired on the BFD nearly 21 years ago!!!  :-)

My brother, Brad, is also doing the challenge along with me.  He lost nearly 9 pounds on week one, and another 5 pounds on week two.  He is finally in the 220's, and we are hopeful that he can get down to right at 220 pounds by our final weigh-in..... just 6 more pounds for him to go!!!  :-)

As for me, it is now time for me to kick my cycling into high gear, as I am training to race the road bike leg of the Ski to Sea race, for out competitive BFD team.  This will be my first Ski to Sea race since I was on probation 20+ years ago!!!  I have very big shoes to fill on the road bike leg, and with a 42 mile race pace set before me, I have a lot of work to do between now and then!!!  :-)  So come on May weather..... start acting more like a nice spring!

Well, I am quite tired right now, and not feeling up to doing much of anything.  So, with the weather being what it is outside today (rain!!!), I think I will go veg out in front of the TV for a while, and possibly catch a little nap...... that way I can be ready for the afternoon, and the remainder of my days off.  :-)

I hope that this day finds you, who are reading my blog, to be very well...... happy and healthy, of good mind and body and spirit!!!  Remember to live and laugh and to love... it will do you, and those you are in contact with, a great deal of good!!!  :-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baseball has offically begun!!!

Yes.... it is official, baseball season has now started for us.  The pure craziness and fun, and long evenings and weekends are here for the next several months now!!!  We started things off over this past weekend, with Evan's team playing back to back practice games at Bender Fields...... we arrived at 10:30am, and didn't finish up until after 4pm!!!  And this was simply a couple of practice games.....

Last night, Sierra started off her season with her first game, played in Deming at 6pm.  The weather held off from the rain, but stayed cold and miserable for parents.  The game went on, and Sierra played great, and had fun.  It would appear that her team won, although they don't actually keep score officially at this age level.

Tonight starts Evan's season officially, with his first game at 6pm, over at NW Fields.  So far, the weather appears to be cooperating once again.  It will be fun to be spending about 5 days a week with baseball games and practices, all over the county!!!  And then, there will be games on the weekend for Sierra, and more than likely some full weekend tournaments coming up for Evan's team as well.  Let the craziness begin!!!  :-)

In addition to baseball..... I have taken on the Advocare 24 day challenge, along with my brother, Brad.  We are just on day 2, so nothing to report as of yet.  I weighed in yesterday morning, and will do weekly weigh-ins on Monday mornings..... it will be interesting to see what happens.  Brad and I are both hoping to see impressive results.

On the Dave Ramsey class front..... we have complete Baby Step #1, which is fantastic.  That is a huge relief.  However, the next step is even harder it seems..... we have to come up with a cash flow plan and full on monthly budget for us, along with several other forms to complete, all before next Sunday.  This should be fun and interesting, as it takes both Tracie and myself to do them together... and we will be fighting around my work schedule, her schedule at the kids' school, and baseball all week.  But, we are committed, and we want to get ourselves financially in am  much better, we will do this!!!

The new money plan we are using, consisting of a budget and using the envelope method for keeping money in separate categories.... it is working really great so far.  I am hopeful that we will be able to expand on this as our finances get better, and as we find ways to get additional income in the future.

OK, time to get back to busy again.  Things to do........

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baby Step #1 Complete..... Progress!!!

Two weeks ago, Tracie and I began a new adventure together..... one we should have taken a very long time ago.  We signed up for, and began taking the Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course, in an effort try and get our financial mess straightened out and put on the right track once and for all.  Simply put, we didn't handle our finances well at all, together or individually, and we have spent the past six years digging ourselves a deeper and deeper and deeper hole.  I am not happy or proud to say this, but am ready to admit that we are unable to "fix" our situation without some form of help.

And so, we began Dave Ramsey's class two Sunday's ago.  Prior to the class, I actually took the time to read through his book, Complete Guide to Money.  After reading the book, without having attended a single class yet, I already felt better, realizing that there is a way out!  I came to realize that this guy was in our situation at one time himself, and actually much worse off than we are now.  And today, he is debt free and worth a whole lot of money!  If he figured it out and made it work, then I was confident that we can do the same.... and so our adventure began.

The key to making money work, and for finding financial peace, according to Dave Ramsey, is to follow the seven baby steps that he has designed for us to follow.  Baby step #1 is to put $1000 into an emergency fund as soon as possible!!!  In addition to getting this emergency fund in place, we are also to create a zero-based budget.  I am very happy to say that, as of today, we have our $1000 emergency fund in place, money in the bank, in it's very own account!!!  We also have come up with our first draft of a zero-based budget, which was actually more difficult than getting the emergency fund in place!!!  I know that our budget will get changed a fair amount over the next several months, until we have it fully dialed in......but, we have one, and we are starting to live by it as of today as well.

So, Baby Step #1 is complete!!!  Now we start working on the really tough one next.  Baby Step #2 is for us to pay off all debt, using the debt snowball technique.  This one is going to take us a lot more time and effort, as we have, quite sadly, accumulated well over $100k of debt over the past six years!!!  The good news is that we are now ready to start working to get rid of it, using Dave's approach, and hard work..... it may take us two years to get it done, but it took us six years to dig the hole!!!

It isn't going to be easy, and things are going to change pretty drastically for us for quite some time now....but, I really like how Dave Ramsey puts it into perspective in the big picture.......

If we will live like no one else, later we we be able to LIVE like no one else!!!

I am actually really looking forward to this next weeks class, as we will be learning more about cash flow planning, and then more about dumping debt...... both things we really need to get a grasp on!!!

Time to head to work......on this Friday the 13th..... yikes!!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


HAPPY EASTER SUNDAY!!!  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and King..... He is risen today!!!

As a Christian, today is the day of all days worth celebrating.  Today marks the day that absolutely EVERYTHING changed.... when the grave was found to be empty, and Jesus Christ had risen from the dead..... absolutely awesome, wonderful, fantastic, life-changing and life-giving news for the world!!!

THANK YOU, Jesus...... THANK YOU, Jesus..... THANK YOU, Jesus

Today I pray that we will all live, laugh and love as if there will be no tomorrow.  I pray that we will all live our lives for Jesus, with Jesus and because of Jesus.  And I pray that we will stand tall and strong and proud of the fact that we live different lives.......and that we will stand out as most positive examples for others to see.


Saturday, March 24, 2012


Yep, a very strange title indeed.  But, it best describes this week/weekend for us.  :-)

I celebrated my 44th birthday on Thursday.  Had a really nice day, although not all exactly as I had thought or planned it to be.  Had a morning of chasing loose cattle around, getting them onto my property to keep them safe, and then doing fence repairs all morning...not part of the daily plan!!!  Now, we have not only our own two beef cows, but also four more of my neighbors cows, which have managed to escape his property!  Good times..... but hey, that's what good neighbors are for, right?!?!?!?!

Next, Sierra had her first of two dance recitals yesterday evening!!!  She has been taking jazz dance class for months now, and has worked hard for this moment.  I was at work yesterday, so missed the first performance last evening....however, I hear that it went extremely well, and that my girl performed most wonderfully!!!  Today is the final performance, and I am looking forward to watching Sierra dance her heart out for me, and for all who have come to see her!!!

The attention getter of the title... Jail... well, that is the most wonderful news that I received yesterday afternoon from the detective working on our case against Greg Bass, the horrific and most despicable pedophile that we personally know...... that yesterday Greg was arrested and booked into jail!!!!  Three felony counts against him...and with a past history already of being a level 1 sex offender...... he will be heading to prison, most likely for a long time.  This has brought some great relief to me, personally, and is helping to bring closure to a most horrible past three weeks for my family.

I do not expect anyone else to be able to understand, or empathize or sympathize with how we have been affected, or with what we are feeling..... and I would NEVER wish it upon anyone I care about at all..... but trust me, even as a Christian, a person of faith..... I am convinced that prison is exactly where this monster needs to be... at least for a period of time. 

So, since Thursday was crazy busy, with my birthday, loose cattle, fences to be repaired, a bike ride I really wanted and needed, Sierra having final dance recital rehearsal, Evan having his first baseball practice for the season....well, we just didn't get to do my birthday dinner the way we wanted.  So......

We are going to attend Sierra's dance recital this afternoon at 3pm, and then we are heading to Kyoto's Steakhouse for my official birthday dinner!!!  YUMMY!!!!!  :-)

So, there is the quick down and dirty update on where we are at now.....

Grammy and Papa and Aunt Janice are all here visiting with us, so the craziness is absolute, for real and legit!!!  :-)

That's it for now.......

Monday, March 19, 2012

Here We Go.................

Yep..... this week must be the official start of Spring for this year.  No, NOT at all because the weather says so!  Although, today has actually been about the closest day, weather wise, we have had that resembles Spring.  And No, NOT just simply because the calendar states that Spring Equinox is officially tomorrow!  Rather, I am convinced that Spring has arrived simply because our lives are about to get absolutely, completely and totally crazy nuts as of this week!!!  AND, it won't slow down for us from this week until around the first week of September!!!  I am NOT kidding, either........

Starting with this evening, baseball season has officially begun for us.  And this year, it's not just one kid, but both kids playing!  Sierra has her very first "machine pitch league" practice this evening at 6:30pm.  Evan has his first practice for the boys "10U competitive" team this Thursday evening.  From here on out, there will be practices at least twice a week, if not more, until games begin!!!

Next, on Wednesday.... Grammy and Papa and Aunt Janice will be arriving to stay with us for a while.  They are coming to visit with us, spend time with the kids, to attend Sierra's big dance recitals, celebrate my birthday.... and then Grammy will stay with us to spend Spring Break with the kids, while Papa and Aunt Janice go back to Oregon.

Yes, you read correctly.... I have a birthday this week... on Thursday to be exact!!!  44 years old.... and so glad that I do NOT feel that age at all!!!  Having my health back, and choosing to take care of myself on the inside and the outside..... has me feeling about 10 years younger that I did just a short 3 years ago!!!  YAY  :-)

And yes, in addition to my birthday this week, we have Sierra's dance recitals as well.... on Friday evening, and again on Saturday afternoon.  She has been working long and hard to learn her dance routine, and is so very excited for us all to be there to watch her perform..... and I am certain she is going to do a most wonderful job!

As we wind down next weekend and head into the final week of March, we will fall into the more regular (yeah, sure...whatever that means) routine of baseball practices and family life.  The first week of April is Spring Break..... and we have no set plans as of yet, with exception that Grammy will be here with us.  No doubt, the kids will come up with many things for us to do, I am sure of that!  :-)

I am still having a most difficult time believing that March is nearly come and gone!!!  What happened???  I know we have had a crazy month here, with some really significant things happening lately..... but this just isn't right.  I mean.... it was still snowing here as of yesterday!!!  And the low lying hills all around us are still blanketed in white!!!  This "Global Warming" is going to cause us all to freeze to death, from what I am seeing so far!!!  :-(

So, the first quarter of this year didn't start off really well for us..... so, I would really like to put it all behind us, and start our year fresh with the coming of April..... that shouldn't be too much to ask, I don't think.  I mean, Easter is in April, and that is more than enough good reason to celebrate!!!  So, we will plan to start this year with April, Easter, Spring, Baseball, Dance, Birthday and Family!!!!!

Oh, and one last thing..... for all who read my last blog post..... YES, we are still hurting!  YES, we are still dealing with it!  YES, we are still waiting on the legal system to run its course!  YES, I still stand by my every word and action that resulted from what that sick monster did to my family!  And YES, I firmly believe that it is my duty to get the word out to everyone I care about, and to do my part to help protect them all from having to ever be caught in any situation with this very sick and slick person, where they could find themselves in the same predicament as we did!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Predator Among Us.................

We are sickened.  We are saddened.  We are outraged.  We are devastated.  We are disgusted.

This past week we came to find out that the person whom we considered to be a great family friend, Greg Bass, is actually nothing more than a lying, deceiving, perverted, monster of a pedophile!!!!!!!!  :-(

Our hearts ache to know that we gave this predator the last 12 years of our lives, to see him on a journey of recovery and restoration, of giving him opportunities to change his life, and to be included in ours.  We opened our hearts, our home, and our lives to this person, doing what we felt God wanted us to do.  We never fully trusted Greg, and we were always diligent in doing everything we could to protect our kids, knowing of Greg's past, and his being labeled a level one sex offender, from what he did to his own two boys.

We were careful, and we were diligent.....but he was manipulative and deceiving!!!  He was a very good actor, and he played his part extremely well......taking his time.....years even, to do everything he possibly could to work his way in to our family....all in an effort to get to our son!!!  :-(

Well, everything came out this past week, and a very long story made short is this....  the monster is out of our lives!!!  We are working hard on our end of things to have him arrested and convicted and locked away, where he belongs.  We are getting the word out to everyone we know, and all who could be impacted by this predator!!!

Let me say this, to be very clear to you all who are reading........ Greg Bass is most certainly NOT the person he presents himself to be!!!  Greg Bass is NOT rehabilitated from his past!!!  Greg Bass is most certainly a monster, a predator and a pedophile!!!  Be very careful if you should choose to be involved in his life from this day forward.  He has done absolute destruction to his own family.....not only once now, but again, just recently!!!  He has tried to destroy my family.... and by the grace of God, we were able to stop him from doing so!!!!

They live among us..... and they are everywhere!  It is a scary world... so be careful.  Protect your loved ones!  Believe me..... I thought we were doing everything right.... and a monster still found his way in.

As for us.... we are doing better each day.  We are strong, and we have a most awesome and amazing network of family, friends and pastoral care..... we are so very blessed.  :-)

We will prevail.... we have God on our side!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Snow.... Are You Kidding Me???!!!???!!!???!!!???

It is March....not just March, but 6 days into March..... and what happens last nigh?  SNOW!!!  I wake up to find a winter wonderland outside once again.....after begging and pleading and praying for nicer days to come, drier days, warmer days, sunnier days!!!

Well, the sun came with it, so I at least got that.  Absolutely beautiful outside today, with clear blue skies and sunshine.....but not warm, and not dry yet either.

I am beginning to despise winter, and even more, snow  :-(

I can see right now, so very clearly, that I will be a snowbird just the minute I retire from the fire service!!!  Arizona and/or Southern California for the Winter months, and then where our kids are for the late Spring and Summer and Fall..... yes, that should work just fine!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Okay, March..... Spring in like a Lion!!!

Here we are, nearing the end of February.  I have been bike commuting regularly this year, regardless of weather, and it has been tough!!!  My attitude towards our Winter weather here has become less than even remotely nice!  I am so sick of wind and rain and cold and darkness!!!!!  I am ready for lighter and brighter days, with warmer temperatures and more sunshine...... that just can't be too much to ask for.

With March coming at the end of this week, I am blogging today in hopes that Spring will be coming earlier than normal this year for us!  I am so ready for it, and since we can't afford to leave here, even for a short weekend, to go somewhere nice and warm for a little get-away... well, then I am just going to have to pray in earnest and in overtime for Spring to arrive.  I am praying that March will be the month this year for an obvious change in weather conditions..... for the better!!!

Today, as I look outside, it is absolutely beautiful...the sun is shining, and the skies are clear.   However, it was all of 27 degrees outside this morning, and the wind is blowing, and everything is frozen, including the water line to supply our cattle's water trough.  This is the kind of thing that just gets me in a frenzy..... it looks like a perfect day to be outside, whether riding the bike or doing work around the farm.....and yet, I can't handle the cold anymore like I used to be able to.  The only thing I found to be negative about losing over 100 lbs....... I used to handle cold weather no problem.

So, I sit here today, anxiously awaiting Spring, and anxiously awaiting to hear from Fairhaven Bike, as they are doing repairs on my bike, which has left me without transportation until such time as they get the parts and do the work.  It is killing me....... I am now wondering why I don't have a back up bike, just for these occasions!!  LOL  :-)

On a much brighter note.... with the arrival of March comes the arrival of Spring sports!!!  Evan will be trying out for the 12U competitive baseball team in two weeks.  Sierra has decided to play machine pitch basball this season as well.  In addition, Evan is now playing the remainder of the indoor soccer season with a team who came up short a few players.  He is doing great, and having a lot of fun so far.  Sierra is finishing up her lessons and learning in jazz dance class, and is getting ready for the big dance recital at the end of March.  We will start to be very busy once again in just a couple of weeks, and that is exaclty how we like our lives around here!!!  :-)

So, come on March...... Spring on in like a Lion!!!  We are so ready for you  :-)