Monday, December 22, 2008

WOW! We are WAY behind!!!

So, it's been quite some time since we have updated this darned thing. You might be tempted to call us "slackers" but hold your horses folks... We've been pretty busy since spring.

It all started when we took control of Madison's competitive soccer team. There are a few reasons this happened, but there is no reason to go into detail here. I was always told, "If you can't say something nice, shut your piehole." Or something to that affect. Suffice it to say, all involved have been happy with the change and that makes it all worth it. The girls are smiling and enjoying the game again. It has been a ton of work. Scheduling practices, dealing with the league, dealing with the club, keeping the families informed and on the same page, recruiting new players, opening a team account with non profit status (donations are always welcome and tax deductible), and on and on and on. Most importantly, rebuilding the girls' confidence, trust and self esteem after some pretty hard times.

Sandie and I could not have done this without the help of our new coach (and friend), Jorge. He has been great with these kids and they absolutely love him. I paid super close attention to how he handled certain things and he passed every test with flying colors. Sandie also had her things she was looking at with him and he passed her test also. He's a good man and a great coach. We're very lucky to have found him. You can check out the Capital Freedom website to see what we're up to and awesome photos taken by one of our parents.

While this sucked up a majority of our time this past summer, fall and early winter we still had time for other interests...

We went on our second Disney Cruise to the Mexican Riviera! The last time we went, we were happier ON the boat. This time, we could not wait to get OFF the boat. The first time, we really enjoyed just hangin out by the pool and doing all the standard cruise type activities. Our excursions were pretty cool then, but not as cool as this time around. We had a hard time deciding which one we enjoyed more.

In Cabo San Lucas we swam with dolphins! That was an amazing experience! The water was cold and we were all a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect but it was spiritual. This was a brand new facility and from the time we walked in we were impressed with the cleanliness and beauty of the place. The people were great too. This is one that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

In Mazatlan we did the "Best of Mazatlan Tour". We started on a bus learning the history and seeing the sights of this beautiful beach city. It was drizzling rain for most of the bus ride, so photos were tough. We learned so much and had the privilege of seeing a georgeous cathedral in the center of the city. I wish I could tell you all about this place but there's just too much to say. It was a pretty emotional experience for me. The beauty of this place can't be put into words. It's something best left to experience. This was topped off by an authentic Mexican lunch with a Mexican history stage show at a 5 star resort hotel. Then we had a couple of hours on the resort's private beach. We hopped in a cab for the ride back to the ship. Sandie and the girls were freaked out by the cab ride... I was SUPER impressed!!! I feel that if people in America drove more like they do in Mexico, traffic would flow smoothly and there would be fewer accidents. They really seem to be more aware of their surroundings and look out for each other. Here, every other driver is yacking on a cel phone or just generally not caring about the other drivers on the road. I had a blast!

In Puerto Viarta we went on a pirate ship cruise, complete with breakfast, a top notch pirate show, Shayna and I snorkeled, we all had a nice time on the beach (drinks included), and lunch with drinks on the return trip. Sandie, Madison, and I all got jellyfish stings and even that did not take away from the good time we had. I think maybe most folks are just sissies in this department... it really didn't hurt that bad.

On the cruise ship, we had a terrible room! I don't want to complain about it now as I'm kinda over it. If you go on a cruise, stay away from midship! Loud and annoying! We didn't sleep well for the week but it was still a nice vacation.

Before the cruise we got to spend a couple of days (including July 4th) with Uncle Vic and Aunt Sharon. 4th of July in Huntington Beach has become an annual thing for our family. It is ALWAYS a good time!

When we got home, it was right back to soccer. Shayna was playing in the adult league on Friday nights after falling in with a team playing futsal. The futsal season ended with them in third place over all. The summer outdoor season started out strong but most of the girls headed off to college in August, leaving Shayna and two other girls to scramble to field a team each week. Needless to say, they ended up not winning much after that.

Madison was working out with The Signature Program. along with several others from her team. She also attended a soccer camp put on by Olympic gold medalist Brandy Chastain. She really enjoyed it and even got to wear her gold medal!

Shayna chose keeping her job over playing soccer for the high school this year. She still wanted to play so we got her placed on a U19 co-ed AYSO team. They went undefeated for the season and she made the all-star team.

We took Madison's team year round competitive this year. It was a good fall season with only one loss! The girls and parents all seem very happy and we continue to move forward.

Shayna and Madison are both in the middle of futsal season. Shayna is on a different team now and they pretty much hold their own but not quite what she's been used to lately. Madison's team is going strong and have only one loss so far.

Sandie and I are doing well and trying to find any little bit of down time we can, if for nothing else than just lowering our heart rates! This means we have not had much chance to do any bike riding together in months. Though we both get on the bike at lunch every day (and we both rode to work all summer and then some), I miss riding with my best friend! It was a pretty big year and we are having a ton of fun just living life.

Here are some of the other highlights from earlier in 08...

We had enough snow to go sledding right in our own neighborhood! There was a good enough pile after shovelling to build a snow fort also!

Sandie did lunch time snowshoeing
treks when there was too much snow to ride her bike.

Shayna got her driver's license !

We got a new baby and we love her so much! Chili has even come around and really seems to enjoy her company.

We had a nice mini vacation at Twin Lakes with great friends. This trip came right at the time when we took on Madison's team. It was really great to step away and just charge our batteries for what was to come.

We took Bella and our friend, Scott on their first ever bicycle poker run.

Hopefully, we can stay on top of this a little better this year! We hope you all had a great Christmas. Stay well and have an awesome 2009!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Birthday 2 Me

Another year goes by. . .

Gonad's n Strife Poker Run 2008

This past weekend Brent and I and our friend Scott headed up to Sparks for a poker run on our beach cruisers.

It was Scott's first bicycle poker run so we were excited to bring him along and he is pretty good company.

To describe the day in one word - HOT. Good lord it was a scorcher! We started in Sparks at the Great Basin and headed over to Sierra Tap Room in Wingfield park. This year we had our new puppy Isabella along for the ride. She is not super keen on the basket especially when we are going down hill at high rates of speed. Overall she did ok.

As usual, our poker hands were crap but the company was good, atmosphere fun, and beer was cold. Not a bad way to spend the day if you ask me.

Twin Lakes Resort

Recently, the Bingham's invited us to spend Mother's day with them at Shirlee's parent's resort at Twin Lakes in Bridgeport, Ca. Todd needed some help with some plumbing that was damaged by an avalanche over the winter so in exchange for Brent's help we got to stay at the resort in a housekeeping cabin for free.

Madison and Hanna both had soccer on Saturday morning so Hanna slept over at our house and the rest of the crew headed to the lake. After soccer we made the 2 hour drive up there. I can not begin to explain how beautiful and peaceful it is up there.

We brought along our dogs and so did the other families so we had a total of 3 big dogs and one mini-dog. They had a blast playing together and everyone got along - not even one fight!

The first order of business was to take lunch up to Todd and Bret who had been working on the plumbing all morning. We packed it up, with a couple of beers and headed up the hill. The "hill" was a bit more than we expected but turned out to be a great work out with fantastic views. This was Bella's first hike and she did amazing. I fully expected we would have to carry her most of the way but she wanted to run with the big dogs. Turns out, she loves to hike!

Saturday night we made Carne Asada tacos, had some wine, and roasted marshmallows. It was a brisk but pretty night. Some deer came down on the lawn but we were not able to get any shots of them because it was too dark.

On Sunday, while Brent helped Todd fix the water pipe the rest of us went on a hike at upper Twin lake/Mono Village. Our goal was to see the lake at the top of Horsetail Falls but the girls pooped out on us and we still had to make it back to camp.

Madison also learned to drive the Kubota around the grounds of the resort, she was obsessed.

The weekend flew by and Madison had not yet learned to fish so she talked Todd into teaching her before we all headed back to the big city. She did not catch anything but really enjoyed trying.

The only bummer about the weekend was it was way to short, none of us wanted to leave and all of us can't wait to go back. . .

Thank you Bingham Family for the wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bella's 1st Walk

Last Sunday morning the weather was gorgeous the birds were singing, so I decided to take the dogs on a much needed a walk. Madison helped me get them ready and we headed out the door. Because Bella is a mini-dog she can't be walked by her neck she needs a harness.

Of course her harness is pink!

She did very well on her walk, she kept a good pace trying to keep up with Chili-dog. We went on Chili's usual route which is pretty far for a little girl. When she got tired she would stop and jump to be picked up and carried for a bit and was panting.

She is just over 14 weeks old now and weighs about 3 pounds. We can only tell that she has grown because some of her shirts don't fit anymore.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Adventures of Bella

It has been a few weeks now and things sure have been exciting. The first day she was left alone in her area while we were at work/school she managed to escape by chewing through the baby gate.

Brent got some Plexi-glass and had to modify the gate so she could not get out. It turned out pretty nice she can still see out but can't chew it.

Chili-dog is doing a bit better with her. He is very patient when she steals his toys, lays on his bed, and most recently - drinks his water. I love the expression on her face in this picture.

She is working on her potty training but has a very small bladder so we are up at least twice a night letting her out. I am still coming home at lunch spending time with her which is pretty fun. Lately the weather has been nice enough to take her out in the yard for the hour.

I got her this sweater for St. Patrick's day and to keep her warm. She shivers if it is below 70. The sweater had different colored balls on the back which she chewed off in the first 30 minutes. Evidently she thought they made her look like a clown.

We took her to a party at the Moser's last night. We rode our beach cruisers over and I put her in the basket. She tried to jump several times, guess we need to work on that one. She was a hit at the party. Sugar, the Moser's chihuahua was not happy to see her at first but by the end of the night they were buds.

Stay tuned for more updates...

Sunday, March 09, 2008


About 2 weeks ago Brent called me at work asking if I wanted a Chihuahua I said "I am not sure". We are kind of big dog people. Although, I have always wanted a pocket-dog that I could dress up and do girly things with to annoy other people. Plus we thought Chile could use some company.

Someone at his work was giving away 6 week old half miniature pincher and half Chihuahua puppies. I told him to check it out and let me know. He went and saw them and of course, they were cute as hell. We made arrangements for me to see them this past Monday. We had the choice of two girls one looked just like the mom the min-pin and one like the dad the Chihuahua. It was love at first sight. We picked Isabella because she looked right into my eyes and begged me to take her. She has the prettiest green eyes.

We did not want the kids to know since they had to go to their other parents for the weekend so we kept it all on the down low. Brent picked her up on Friday after work and we met at the Vets office. She got a clean bill of health and her first set of shots. We took her home that night and just kept taking pictures of her while she slept.

Chile-dog is not sure what to think just yet. He doesn't dislike her but also does not seem to like her just yet. We are dog-sitting and Chile is already protective not letting the other dog near the baby. The baby he refuses to make eye contact with.

The first night she slept until 5:30 in the morning! Evidently, that was because of her shots cos last night she was up every 2 hours crying. We are tired.

Madison got home at about 3:00 today and was so excited when she saw her. She kept asking if we got to keep her. When Shayna got home she asked whose dog she was cos she assumed we were dog-sitting.

I think once Chile comes around things will be great, she is a little ball of fire and kinda ugly but in a cute sort of way.

I love her....

Especially when she is sleeping, which I really hope she does tonight.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Look Out.....She's Driving!

On February 1st Shayna passed her driver's test so she is officially on the road.

In Nevada, they have restrictions on new drivers under the age of 18 so she can't drive any of her friends around for 6 months, has to be off the road by 10:00 PM, and can't be on the road before 5:00 AM.

She goes to her mom's in Reno 3 weekends a month and Brent is a nervous wreck the entire time she is gone. She is very good about calling him when she gets there and what not. Last night we had another snow storm so although she is not due home until 6:00 tonight, Brent called her at 9:30 this morning telling her to head home.

Only 6 more years and Madison will be driving too!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Last night we took the girls to see the movie Juno. It is rated PG13 so we were a bit weary of taking Madison but in the end I am glad we did. This movie was the first for the screenplay writer named Diablo Cody and is amazing. Because the movie is about teen pregnancy there is a lot of talk about sex. However, the way it is done is in a teaching or clinical way by using terms such as "sexually active".

The father and step-mother are very calm and supportive of Juno which Shayna did not find to be very realistic. Madison did not understand why the parents were hoping she was expelled from school or on hard drugs rather than being pregnant. I had to explain that some of life's problems are easier to deal with and don't have such lasting ramifications.

I think it was a great film for our girls to see about an important subject. I told Madison after the movie if she ever came home and told me she was pregnant I would kill her. Her response, "no you would not mommie" I suppose she is right.

In all, this was a quirky, fresh, funny, and sweet film about what happens to a 16 year old girl when she decides to have unprotected sex with her best friend.

Here is the official website and you can read other reviews here at Rotten Tomatoes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snowshoeing @ Lunch Part IV

This image is about the polar opposite of how I am feeling right about now. I am so OVER winter. Currently, we have too much shitty snow to ride my MTB on but too little to snowshoe. Between a rock and a hard place...

The boys and I headed out again last week to another of our favorite lunchtime MTB trails that we call the Creek Trail because it runs along a Creek. It is a really fun and somewhat technical trail that we really enjoy. It has off camber single track, bridges, logs, all nestled among the trees and accessible from work by bike.

I had the most trouble of the week on this trail mostly because there were no existing tire or snowmobile tracks to follow so we were not even sure we were on the trail. In fact, we weren't - we were walking on top of bushes. When you walk on top of a bush it is like an air pocket and you sink down a ton.

At one point, I somehow sunk to my knees and twisted around the other direction and ended up face first in the snow. I also had a blister from shoeing all week so it was painful to walk anyway.

It was still a blast.

Jon brought his camera along this time. I thought I would close this post with a picture of him taking a picture of me, taking his picture rather than my usual self portrait.

Hoping for snow or a heat wave for next week!

Snowshoeing @ Lunch Part III

Jon, Marcus, and I decided to tackle another of our favorite trails that we call Timberline. We typically ride this one on Fridays because it takes a bit longer. It is a long and steep road climb until the pavement ends and then it is a bit more climbing on a fire road

This trail must be one of the highest in elevation because the amount of snow was incredible. Part of the trail had some snowmobile tracks that we were able to follow which was nice.

Here are Marcus (left) and Jon (right) at the start of our journey. The pictures seem a bit dark it was pretty overcast that day and I am still getting used to the new camera. You can see in the background where we are headed, on the other side of the mountain is Lake Tahoe.

Here I am at the end of our trek. We could actually go much further but we were limited on time. We made great strides in an hour (or so) and made it up into the trees.

Last but not least, the post would not be complete without another self-portrait. These always crack me up because although I am the one taking the picture I can never seem to anticipate the moment it is going to be taken so I always look silly.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Snowshoeing @ Lunch Part II

Yesterday, I had some friends join me for my lunchtime snowshoeing expedition.

Jon did not even have shoes yet and ran to the local sporting goods store to purchase some to join Kathy and I. Evidently a bet he placed on a college football game paid off big.

We decided to do the V&T trail this time, another of our MTB trails that we normally ride at lunch. We met at 11:30, the rain had just turned to snow and it was beautiful.

I don't normally wear a hat unless it is actually snowing so I did not bring one and don't really have one so since it was snowing, I was looking around in my car and spotted Charlie's hat that he had loaned to Madison over the weekend. Thanks Charlie!

Here are Kathy and Bodie the most adorable golden doodle. I tried to get shots of him but he doesn't sit still long enough!

Here is a shot of the city from the trail. The snow was really coming down. Stay tuned for part III of the weeks snowshoeing posts.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Making Snowballs out of Snow

With the recent snow fall my usual lunch time bike ride was not desirable. It might have been possible but it would not exactly be fun. So I decided to make snowballs out of snow so to speak and brought my snow shoes with me to work and scout out our trails.

I drove over to the trail head and up the first hill. The Pilot does great in the snow and I could feel the auto 4WD kick in. I parked at the top near the water tower and got geared up. The weather was perfect the sun was shining, the wind was light if non-existent, and the temperature was near the 40's.

I headed up toward the Deer Run trail head to scope it out for the possibility of MTB riding. Needless to say, chances are slim that MTBing would be any fun in this amount of snow. Sure snow biking is a blast but not in this depth, it would require studded tires which I do not have. It is also a nice change of pace to mix things up and get a different form of exercise.

I got my snowshoes for Christmas in 2006 and have not used them until this week. At first we were waiting for Brent to have some and then it was no longer winter so we have not had the opportunity to try them out. As you can see they are a nice shade of hot pink. This was the sole reason for purchasing them, although they are actually a very nice pair of Atlas Electra 8 women specific shoes.

Here is a view of the city from the trail, it still amazes me that I am so fortunate to have access to nature minutes from the city on my lunch hour!

Finally, the best of all the pictures - me thinking I am turning off the camera when in reality, I am taking yet another self portrait.