Thursday, December 27, 2007

Random Act of Kindness

About a month ago a coworker of mine was explaining to me how he had to wait forever in line at Starbucks and was so annoyed until he went to pay for his coffee and was told that the lady who held up the line had paid for everyones order. I asked what he did in return and he said he threw the money he was going to spend on coffee in the tip jar.

I don't think he got it.

The girls got gift cards to Wal Mart from my dad for Christmas which they both wanted to spend them on video games so we headed to the store. Once they had selected their games, the Wal Mart employee instructed us to step up cutting in line in front of a man and his wife. The man mentioned we were taking cuts, in a joking manner and I apologized. While Shayna paid for her game, he commented on what they were buying noting that we had a fashion designer and a chef game. As Madison was getting ready to pay for her game, I was explaining to her that she would have to give the man cash also because her card was not enough to cover the game. It was then that the man behind us stepped forward and said he wanted to pay for the game for her. I asked him if he was sure, it was over $50.00 and he said yes, I want to buy the game for her. His wife then said that he thinks he is Santa Claus. As we were leaving he asked if I would promise to do the same to someone else some day, just a random act of kindness.

I am still kind of stunned and have mixed feelings about the whole thing. This man was a working-class guy, I could tell by his hands. Madison had the money to pay for the game. I felt uncomfortable accepting this gift from him but did not want to offend him either. I also can't stop thinking about how Madison is going to reciprocate his kindness.

I think the real gift is the opportunity to teach my daughter about kindness and charity.

I think she gets it.

Dogs Love Christmas

Santa went a bit overboard this year...

Wii Wish you a Merry Christmas

This Christmas Brent's mom planned way ahead and got all the kids a Wii! I am not so into video games myself but this one is pretty fun and physical. Once we got home from the festivities at mom's house Brent set up the system while I unloaded the car of loot.

The game came with the sports pack so we have been playing tennis, bowling, boxing, and baseball the most. So much that Madison actually strained her shoulder! She kept me up until 2 am playing on Christmas night. We also got a playground game that has dodgeball, tether ball, wall ball, etc.

Good times!

Monday Night Football - Christmas Eve Edition

We have a new movie theater in town (finally) and on Monday nights they show the game on the big screen in HD. Admission is free and they sell beer in the front row!

On Christmas eve my team (Chargers) were playing the Broncos so I really wanted to go to the game. Turns out, so did my dad, Brent, and our friend Kevin.

Madison was not so thrilled with the idea so we got her a ticket to see Alvin & the Chipmunks during the game so she only had to watch the 4th quarter. Kevin also got her popcorn, a slurpie, and M&M's so she was thrilled.

Before the game we had a feast of Mexican food and opened presents.

The game itself was kind of boring but we really enjoyed ourselves. There were raffles during the commercials, the bathrooms were right outside the door, everyone wins. They are going to do some play off games there and the Super Bowl so we are excited to go back.

I am all for traditions, but I am also all for finding new ones and I think we had a winner this year.

Pre-Christmas Winter Ride

This past Saturday Madison had her first party that was not a birthday party to attend. Her friend down the street had a holiday party and invited about 20 of the 5th grade girls. This presented Brent and I with the opportunity to ride the road bikes together. We bundled up and headed out.

This area is shaded by the mountains so it was colder than we anticipated. In fact, there was ice and snow on one of the roads which scared me even on the uphill. While we ride the MTB in several inches of snow and over ice, road bike tires are not quite geared toward that type of ride. We decided not to take that route home since we would be going downhill and unable to control our speed. Instead we opted for the freeway, not sure it was all that much safer but I stayed upright and that was the goal.

I would say it was easily in the low 30's for most of the ride and as we got closer to sunset the temperature began to drop considerably. I have great gear but still can not seem to find anything to keep my feet warm. It felt like my cleats were freezing and then sucking the warmth from my feet. It was miserable but still better than not riding at all.

The baby cows were out an near the fence so we stopped to check them out. Brent got the mama's all upset by mooing at them. We got this shot of one of the babies mooing at him too. When we got home I took a nice long hot shower to defrost. It was a crisp day but well worth the ride. The next day, it was in the 50's but we had to get ready for our Christmas eve festivities so no time for a ride.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays a Year in Review

We wanted to take some time to wish all of our friends and family a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year and update everyone on what we have been doing in the past year. (Click on the underlined words to follow to link to the posts)

At the beginning of January after a long 6 weeks I finally got my cast off right ankle. It took some time to get back up to speed on the bike but all is well now.

In March, I introduced Madison to mountain biking. On her 2nd ride she was much braver and even tackled some of the scary downhill. We went on a couple of rides over the season but I hope to do more in the coming year. She is pretty brave but needs more practice to overcome her fears and really feel comfortable on the bike.

In April I got my first road bike. I had never ridden a road bike until mine showed up. I love mountain biking don't get me wrong, but my road bike fits like a glove which is amazing since I ordered it over the internet without trying it on. Brent and I logged lots of miles over the past year. Some of our favorite rides are right out our back door like the Diamond Valley Loop, and the Franktown Loop.

My Rheumatoid Arthritis is still there but all in all, it is ok. It is something I have learned to live with. Sometimes I feel so well that I get crazy ideas like to going off my meds if I really need them. Turns out, I do. I am lucky to have been diagnosed in these times with such good medications to control the disease. Although, I think the meds are only one piece of my treatment that keeps me on track. I believe my healthy diet and exercise are a piece of the big picture.

We had another exciting year of soccer with several tournaments, one was in Davis California over Memorial Day weekend. Davis is the most bike friendly town we have ever seen. Madison had another good season with her competitive team the Patriots and in the fall she made the AYSO all stars team and took first place in the tournament. Shayna played for the High School again and had a good season. She has had to make some tough choices this year between school, work, and soccer. Her coaches were less than supportive of her having a job during soccer season so she had to quit her job during that time. Luckily, her employer recognizes how lucky they are to have her and as soon as soccer season was over they welcomed her back with open arms. Brent and I tried our hands at soccer too once I recovered from my ankle injury I did a tournament with Shayna and Brent played with a men's masters team outdoor until he injured his knee.

One of our favorite things to do together is to ride our beach cruisers. In June, Madison attended her very first poker run Lake Tahoe. This lead to her wanting a new beach cruiser for her birthday.

In July we did our annual road trip to Huntington Beach for the 4th. As usual it was wonderful we love to see Aunt Sharon and Uncle Vic. You would never know our girls were both born and raised in the mountains hundreds of miles from the ocean.

One of the most exciting things this past year also happened in July, the Death Ride! Brent turned 40 last year so he was on a mission to prove something to himself. I did my own ride that day to meet him and then drive him home. It was a huge accomplishment for him and he can't wait to do it again. You can read his account of the experience here.

Madison attended triathlon training camp and competed in the kids triathlon again this past year.

In August we tried to be vegetarians (it lasted for 3 months) we are back on the meat again. The girls also went back to school Shayna is a sophomore and Madison is in her last year of elementary school as a 5th grader. Shayna's favorite class is digital video and Madison is excelling at reading she is already at a 7th grade level.

September is harvest season for the chiles which means it is also time for the annual Ruybalid Family Chile Roast. This year it was held in Sparks hosted by Brent's sister Tracy.

In November Shayna turned 16 years old. To celebrate we took her to her favorite place in the world, Disneyland . It was a fun trip and the weather was perfect.

It has been a wonderful year full of growth for us all. In the coming year we are looking forward to Shayna getting her drivers license, another Disney Cruise to Mexico, and Madison starting middle school (ok, I am really not looking forward to that). We are also hoping Brent can get a job in the bicycle industry as I go into my 7th year at Medicaid as a Business Analyst. Madison is most looking forward to the birth of her half-sibling as her step-mom and Rick's baby is due in April.

We love you all,

The Ruybalid's (and one Cressey)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

R.I.P Nemo the Betta Fish

You may remember from this post that I had bought my office mate Jared a Betta fish about a year ago. Well long story short (read the other post) he ended up at my house and was warmly welcomed by Madison. As soon as she got him she named him Nemo. About a week later she made me take her to the store to find a bigger habitat for him and even used her own money to pay for it.

Nemo lived his short life on our dining room table so that we could visit with him while dining. He would always get perky when we sat down and wait patiently for his food once we had eaten. This Thanksgiving we moved him from the table to the half bath. He was in front of a mirror and it was a bit cold in that room, both things I think contributed to his illness. We did try to intervene by warming his water, putting him in front of the fire (much to Chili-dog's disapproval). He lasted until this Friday morning. Madison found him after I had gone to work so she called me to tell me, she was very sad. She asked if she should dispose of him and I told her that daddy would take care of it.

Once she and Brent got home from school they did the duty. He offered to let her flush him but she just walked away. When he found her she was making the memorial in the picture above out of the rocks from his bowl. At Futsol yesterday she was telling her team mates that her fish died.

It is funny how attached one can get to a fish, I think it is sweet maybe there is an aquarium in her future. Click on the picture to enlarge to see what Madison wrote, it is quite hilarious.