Rainy Days

It think its rained every day this week. And its a cold rain so we have been trapped indoors.
Last night I bought a bike off craigslist (of course). I'll post photos late, my camera in the shop (of course)

Ironically, it was from the same person I purchased a table from two months ago, and we had a nice chat. Sometimes I think I like to buy things just to meet the people. Within the time it took me to install my bike rack on the trunk of our fashionable Buick I learned the woman I bought it from grew up in the area, her daughter lives in my neighborhood just a few blocks away and also has a six month old. Her husband is a storm chaser and does triathlons, but shes too old for the mountain bike, she just upgraded to a beach cruiser.

Anyway, Its a blue/lime green trek 800 series mountain bike 21 speed. Not really what I was looking at, but the price was right and its really comfortable for me to ride and the bikes in good condition. My last bike got stolen when we first moved down here so I am excited to start riding again.

Eliza and me messing with the new webcam...I look lovely, but she was so cute I had to share.
Besides that life is life.


Wonder why Iowans are a hardy stock?

My mom sent this to me this morning as they hit -22 with a -36 windchill. One of those mornings where sticking you tongue to anything would probably constitute an ER visit. Its 42 here HA HA!


Steady Beats

Erin had her annual cardiology checkup yesterday and her heart is in working order. She did an awesome job siting still through the echo. The coarc repair they did three years ago is holding up well. Her cardiologist said typically if there are going to be problems they see them about this time. Her valves are still deformed but functioning well. Always welcomed news.

Eliza had her 6 month appointment this week also. She was 16.5 lbs and right on track. I finally broke down and started her on solids when we got home from vacation and she has taken to food rather well. If she had teeth she would probably bite the spoon it half, its like feeding a piranha.


Moronic Monday Came Early

First, I want to thank all of you out there who have a brain, that functions. I sometimes think in this phenomenal whirlwind of modern technology, we are losing the basic social skills needed for our society to advance and possibly survive.....or maybe I just have a sign on me that says "Morons of the world, welcome".

I label my Mondays as "Moronic Mondays" because typically Monday morning I am fresh and feisty and ready to take on those whose IQ's hover around what most people would mistake for the fahrenheit freezing point. But for some reason my moronic Monday came a few days early.

In each of us are two natures. For all of you that think I'm a nice person, you don't know me that well. Granted I have a long fuse, but at the end of that fuse is some burning Irish blood that can bring down anyone in my way...and that usually happens on Mondays. Its not the nature I like, but sadly being nice doesn't get you too far on the phone. I have worked customer service before so I always give the benefit of the doubt. But honestly people, make those brain synapses spark.

So my idiot list for the day:
  • Fry's
  • Clear Lake Regional, Clear Lake Regional, Clear Lake Regiona
  • My plumber
Three hours on the phone, 15 calls later, things are in order.....hopefully.

So heres to the weekend!


Beauty on the Tundra

This is a sun dog. It happens when it gets extremely cold. Moisture crystallizes in the air, the reflecting sun makes small rainbows. Its looks a really large lens flare, but this is actually in the sky, not caused by my camera lens.

There was lots of snow. On the last Sunday we were home, the trees glistened with frost ( I didn't get a picture). The world was white...and then the snow plows came by and that clean white, became a dirty gray mess that makes good people cuss.

This is what we drove in several days, not snowing just blowing.

Family, Tractor Tubes, Snot-freezing Cold & Ugly Politics…A Merry Christmas Story

We are currently on the second day of the long trek back to Houston. I am feeling like I need a vacation from vacation. Although exhausted from our travels, we had a great trip and enjoyed time with family and friends.

We made it to NE Iowa safely on Christmas Eve day to spend the week with my family. Christmas Eve our family tradition is to gather together and read about the birth of Christ from the dads red leather bible followed by sparkling grape juice and venison. With all the rush and glamour that comes with the Christmas season, I always find it refreshing to sit down as a family and take some time to reflect on the birth of the Savior and his earthly ministry.

Erin woke up early Christmas morning to a plethora of gifts, which made her youthful eye gleam with joy (personally I think the excitement was tied to ripping into the packages like a savage animal). I think grandma and grandpa spent months scouring the state of Iowa to find the loudest and most annoying toys available. Erin smiled with all the new noise makers and grandma and grandpa just smirked as I reached a bottle of Excedrin.

Jared and I were hoping for a white Christmas and our wish was granted. Christmas Day We dressed Erin in layers of out-of-style winter clothes and headed out to the infamous Osborne Hill to sled down an icy hill onto a half-frozen pond. Jody (Max's girl friend) and Emmaly ready for a day outside

We got about half way there and ran over a nail and had to change the tire. Luckily we were warmly dressed so we changed the tire and headed on.

Erin was traumatized by the sledding experience. She couldn’t walk in her snow pants, she face planted in a snow bank and grandma bought blue boots, which she thought were ugly.

Sledding was traumatic but throwing snowballs at grandpa was okay

She went down about three times and then decided that she had to pee, so to make her day worse she got to experience how cold, metal out-house toilet seat feels when its 15 degrees out. Needless to say we spent most of the week indoors.

We headed from my parents up to the Fenchel Christmas in Ossian Iowa for an amazing dinner doused in real butter. After dinner the men (most who are around 50 now) decided to take the kids sledding. When uncle Denny rolled out the 5 ft tractor intertube , my initial question was how far to the nearest ER, which was 26 miles on slick winding back roads. We didn’t bring sledding gear, so they were happy to dress Jared in odds and ends that would keep in warm, but would make a paramedic crew think he was a drunken vagrant.

For those of you who: 1. grew up in the south, or 2. grew up with money, or 3. grew up in a normal society, the tractor intertube had one function, to keep the tire inflated. To us, it was a rubber and air winter adventure. The massive size of it brought forth great ideas out of young minds.

When I was in highschool we use to bind a piece of plywood (yes with the sharp corners) to a tractor tub with twine and then pile a dozen people on top of it. Stories came about of my father and uncles stuffing one another into a center of a tube a rolling them down a hill. What ever the idea was the goal was to stay on top (or inside) of the tube to insure survival.

The Think Tank

So the boys (young and old) headed off while the intellient species stayed back to decorate cooking in a warm, safe environment. After about an hour we went down to make sure everyone was still alive. The hill was small, but what no one realized is there was a three foot drop on the bottom. Dad said they sent the boys down first only to see them suddenly disappear with a thud and a groan. We watched from a distance as several old men and young alike piled onto the massive tube and sailed down the hill, watching their necks all whiplash at the bottom of the drop.

They all came back in semi-good condition. We casually asked if everyone survived and Jared said, “Well one of the little ones fell off and the five of us ran him over, but its okay he landed face-down in the snow so he didn’t even have time to know what hit him”.

Gt. Grandma Phyllis and Eliza

We finished the evening with a traditional game of spoons, although because of the afternoon sledding festivities we played without the mousetraps and clothespins. And we said adieu for another year.

Then we headed to Renshaw’s, where Santa made another visit. Erin got the Barbie computer she had been hoping for. We had a great time visiting with family and playing games.

Larry and Jared spent hours playing chess. Larry built Linda a harp for Christmas. It was beautiful, but in the Larry tradition, it was presented with “some assembly required”. So to add to my things to do before I die list, Linda, Brittany and I learned the art of harp stringing.

All I can say is there are a lot of strings, I’m just glad I didn’t have to tune it. It can take months to fully tune a harp. I’m really excited to hear how it sounds when we return in May.

Gt. Grandma Jean and girls

What started off as a cold week got brutally cold. The temp hovered around zero with twenty-thirty mph winds. Wind makes it so much worse. On new years eve Linda, Jared, me and the girls whent to a family festival in Des Moines for kids. The temperature was dropping so Jared picked us up at the door and I remembered that there are parts of the Iowa winter I hate. Neither of us had a hat or gloves and we were attempting to fold up a stroller which we were unfamiliar with. My hands were so cold they stung as I attempted to jimmy the stroller lock, Jared just did his male “if I kick it and shake it enough, the darn thing will close”. Within a couple minutes the snot in your nose freezes and your coats zipper pull freezes instantly if it hits your lips.

We forgot what its like to be in Iowa around presidential caucus time. The week before the caucus Jared‘s parents were receiving over 10 calls a day. Almost every commercial was a political ad and the political mail piled up. We saw Romney at the new year’s festival. It always interesting to see the process, but I am happy I live in Texas, where they don't bother.

We headed home and stayed overnight in Davis, OK in a small cabin for the night outside of Turner Falls Park.

Overall our journey was just shy of 3,000 miles and two weeks. When I arrived home my cannas were in bloom, a vast contrast to the wintry plains we left the day before. Now its laundry time….