Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Cross

So... since this blog is mostly for family... and I keep attempting to explain what this "cyclocross" business is to family... I figured I should do a post to help make some sense of it.

Typically, you have a tight winding course 1-2 miles long and it is ridden for 45ish minuets. It is set up on grass (or maybe sand or mud or...whatever) with at least a few hills and a few barriers. Part of a course might look something like this.

And they put barriers at the dumbest (most challenging?) places, like here:
The perspective makes it hard to tell, but that is a ~20" barrier on a slippery, steep little climb.

This however is normal fall cyclocross.............
we all know... that it is now mid-December and the rain/mud has turned to SNOW!!

So the course this past weekend looked a bit more like this:
I'm in the red. You can see in the background a rider dropping down the slope, about to enter a winding part of the course. Then over a ..."natural" barrier.
^ not me.

The snow makes it a whole new ball game. There was a section where we rode up and down a sort of ditch line.

It was...slippery to say the least.

Going down looked something like this:

or this:
^not me

What those pictures don't show is what the riders are riding down INTO. Each time riding down the off-camber ditchline, one is riding right into this concrete barrier and/or the river.



Before this particular race, we were told to bring 50 pennies. ....At the start they announced that at some point during the race we had to exit the course and run to the top of the Mullets deck

where some delightful ladies were asking Trivial Pursuit questions!! If you missed the question, you had to pay in pennies to get a second question. If you answered correctly, you could go race!

It was brilliant.

What's almost as exciting? The free beerverages, giveaways and socializing at the end!!!
Ben guards the beer and melts hearts :

And that is how/why we still ride bikes in winter in Iowa. Can you possibly imagine a better way to spend a Saturday? Also... this is 2/2 Mullet win... if we see a 3/3... a Mullet might be in the works for Someone.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Tree

We put our Christmas tree up over Thanksgiving break:

I almost put my back out as I grabbed it from Ben's room (no, that is a lie...) where it had been up all year! We are not too into the holiday decorating. I suppose it isn't that we don't Want to... we mostly just do not make the time - we spend it on baking edible Christmas things which makes Much more sense to me.

You may recall last years Mario-Log:

but we get by in Jared and Kim fashion. Presents look like this when Jared gets put in charge:
Those aren't diapers in there...Cris will be SO confused! ...What a cute little nephew!

Ben will be confused too i'm sure.... I can't imagine why though, everything in his life makes perfect sense...

(...leave it to Jared...)

Also... it supposedly "blizzard"ed here last night. Unfortunately it was not a Dairy Queen blizzard....mmmm strawberry cheeeeesecaaaake........ instead it was a few inches of crap and wind. I suppose I should be greatful that it swirled around us so we did not get as much as many but... if it is going to "blizzard" ...BLIZZARD then!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wake up alarm

This morning, as the sun was barely awake and the house had just a hint of light coming in. Jared shakes me a bit to wake me up.

I grunt "what"

Soon I hear the /swish/swish/swish/swish/ sound of Benjamin's pants and glance over Jared to spy the little mop head of hair roaming around our room.

Jared is trying to hold in his laughter and I join him in this endeavor.

It becomes increasingly difficult as the /swish/swish/swish/er leaves and comes back with his monster truck in tow. He even pushes the buttons to make it growl and shake or ....whatever it does.

We grin and at that moment I think we're both wishing we knew what the hell went on in our child's head.

The /swish/swish/swish/er leaves and comes back. Kicks Luda out of Luda's bed and from the sounds we can only guess he takes over the bed.

But only for a moment as he of course has to go get his cup.

Upon his return, Jared cannot handle the hiding too much more. Reaches his hand slowly out over the bed and as ben walks by..... GRRRRRRR!!!!

Spooks ben with excitement.


For now...this is a far better way to wake up than someone screaming or yelling at you from another room.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I type this as I lay awake in bed, waiting for the benadryl to kick in. My phone alarm went off to inform me that I need to dose up again. The only thing that gets me through my days anymore is tylenol. My throat is sore, my body aches, my intestines don't function properly, my eyes are watery, and my nose is full of some kind of strange mucus that, no matter how much I blow, seems to be caught in some strange, unreachable cranny in one of my sinuses. I can sometimes clear it out by snorting through my nose, but then I have to swallow, which, I tell you, I might as well be swallowing knives. Well, I'm sure that didn't disgust you. In any case, the point I'm trying to make is that drugs are good.


For me, it all started Friday evening, judging testing, where I had conjunctivitis - highly unpleasant (at least that has mostly cleared up). I was fine on Saturday and most of Sunday, but Sunday night, I felt a little bit tired - more tired than usual, aaaaaand then this crap happened. I turned into a walking nightmare, shortly followed by Kim's transformation. And that's the worst part. Kim is normally the most positive, chipper, happideedoo person, and now she's also turned into the same kind of tired, sore, infected, mucosal ass factory that I have. Well...maybe it's not that bad.

Well...where was I....kind of lost my train of thought here. Oh yeah! I guess the whole point I'm trying to make is, I HATE GERMS!!!!!! That's all I'm really trying to say. And if you happen to find yourself in the same kind of ill loathing, feverish, sack of nasty that we have, just remember, there's always a little drug called acetaminophen. I'm going to sleep.

They're trying to kill me! It kind of upsets me.

Goodnight. I hope all the germs in our bodies suffer horrible, gruesome deaths at the hands of our immune systems.

Okay Ben, You win!

Well recently I've been giving Ben a rough time about being fussy.
LITTLE DID WE KNOW what the poor guy was going through. Now it is our turn to have this awful sickness, whatever it is, and wish for nothing more than to lay on the couch. Gross!

So now, as we kick and scream about putting jackets on and refuse all foods except chocolate of course... Benjamin runs around us going "swish swish swish" trying to get us to sing "Wheels on the Bus" for the bagillionth time.

Safe to say, we're thrilled that Ben has returned as our happy little man... weighing himself to see how many more cookies he can beg for...

And since that silly video never loaded from the post about switching ben's crib over:

You better believe this is him trying to "jump" on the bed. Ha.

It is good to report that he has yet to fall out.... in fact now in the evenings we ask him if he is ready for bed. If he isn't, he says "no" and if he is he walks right into his room and waits for us to come tuck him in.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Can someone please tell me why every duck item is bright yellow?
Other than a few baby ducks....I can't say I've hardly EVER seen bright yellow ducks in my life... :/ weird.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter is upon us

Well the big burley beast know as COLD is shaking a fist in our faces. What a jerk. I'm .32% convinced that it is part of the reason Benjamin is hating life these days. Well maybe he isn't hating it, but he sure as hell is fussy. He is stuck in this spiral of crap he doesn't want to do in order to do the crap he wants to do *I know that feeling ben, I do* So he wants to go outside, but it is cold out. So to go, he would have to put a coat on. So he cries if he goes outside and it is cold (and his fingers turn purple...) and he is miserable if he has to put his winter coat on. This is a tough predicament for the little man as he LOOOOOVES playing outside.

We have only twice attempted to explain the benefit of wearing gloves to keep hands warm. TRUST US CHILD, THEY WILL NOT MAKE YOUR HANDS DISINTEGRATE!! He swears up and down that they will... I wonder who told him that? Uncle Bruce!??!??

Maybe we should coat them in peanut butter to keep them warm... send him outside immediately after breakfast.... Yes yes... I like where this is headed..........

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Big Kid.

Almost exactly a year ago:

A couple days ago:

Oh how time is flying.

Putting the toddler rail on felt a bit like putting the crib together all over again. Ben was SO excited about it, too. I wish I would have caught video of the 2314532 times he climbed in and out and in and out. He felt the big-kidness of it, too.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

American Family: Updating a Portrait

This NPR piece really hit home...

The abstract:
"It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and waves of Americans across the country are surging toward family.Three quarters of Americans say family is the most meaningful part of their life. Eighty-five percent say the family they live in today is as close or closer than the one they grew up in.But that family – today – may look nothing like the one they grew up in. Family can mean all kinds of things in America now. And marriage? All kinds of change there, too. And kids? Well, we think the kids are fine, but we’re checking.We look at the changing American family.
-Tom Ashbrook"

I could go on and on and on about my thoughts on it but... I'll let you listen yourself if you feel like it.... y'know, while you quit procrastinating on the internet and finally fold the laundry or make dinner for your "family"...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Backwards Ben

I'm not sure where it started. But somewhere along the way, ben insisted that THIS:

is the proper way to wear his sweater.

Hey, as long as it keep him warm, right?

It is yet another sign of him becoming an individual. First with the refusal to wear tie dye, which followed of course the refusal to wear all pants, and now insisting that his sweater be applied backward.

I love it.
My little Weirdo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back by popular demand

Turns out. You can type big. But you can't big type.

Or can you?

thanks for not telling me i had crap in my teeth, Jared. Yeesh.

This just in: There are 16 days of class left to attend in this semester. Wow. Time flies.

This also just in: Ben is 17 MONTHS OLD!! jeepers. Time to start researching potty training?

Nah, we're not ready yet either, Ben. Maybe when you can say "poooop!"

Latest breaking news: someone's vocabulary is blossoming and I'm not talking about mine... although I can say benzobisoxc________ol. just don't ask me to spell it apparently.

The list thus far:

most common: "uh.... oooooh" ...for anytime anything falls.
followed closest by: "GOGA!" errr... dog. maybe dog mixed with "luda"
In competition with: "chooo chooo!" the train noise
And of course: "shhhhhz" for "shoes"
the funniest: "tickle tickle tickle tickle!"
followed closely by: "no no"
and: "move"

We count animal noises as words because... animals share conversation too SO:
Penguin: ah ah ah ah
Elephant: the elephant noise, quite impressive.
Tiger ...this one he does repeatedly and is the same noise as
every single dinosaur to ever roam the earth.
Dogs: high pitched ar ar!

ah crap... I'll just make a video. He knows a lot of animals. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

green poop

I am not sure what ben ate the other day but... we had to take a picture.

I know - it is Exactly what you wanted to see. Bright, Green, Poop.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our flood and calzones

Unless you have been living in a cave (or you just don't watch news, which is perfectly respectable as most of it is Crap...) you may have heard about Ames flooding.
It may be a tad bit late to inform you that we're perfectly fine up here (in case you hadn't heard from us and assumed our certain drowning...). In fact, on the day of the flood - or when we woke up and realized what had happened over night via Facebook... We stuck Benjamin in the trailer and cruised out to see what all the fuss was about. I did have a 2hour ride planned so it was also a mission to see if there was Any way out of town:

This was the road and the softball diamonds to the east:

This is usually the way we head west:

This is how one would get south:

and though I didn't get a chance to get a shot of the flooded north routes.... this aerial photo may persuade you to trust me...

We weren't going anywhere! And certainly not to campus/work for the day!! RAIN DAAAY!!!! (it is like a snow day except with rain!)

Though we were stuck, we were of the most fortunate in that our home is up quite a way above the flood plane, something we did check before buying!!! We also have no basement which sometimes creates a space crunch, but in this instance... we'll take having a crowded living room over a flooded basement any day.

On the upside... there were still garage sales this weekend!!
Ben found a lawnmower Right away and... wouldn't let that thing go. So for $.25 I splurged...
He still hasn't let that thing go.

We also found an X-Men flip book thinger - he has made us read that about 25 times. He might be able to identify Wolverine before a real Zebra.

In cooking news:

Entirely fresh garden, except the cheese... Calzones. Dough made from scratch...

Yum... Yum. Yum.

I can't recommend enough picking your own veggies/herbs and trying your own custom calzones!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

round on the ends, hi in the middle

At some point last week (I guess the week before at this point!) we took off in the cr-v (what we call the "curvey" or also "the insect slaughtering mobile") to Ohio.
We picked up a few hitch hikers along the journey:

Jared and I (in all of our bacon loving thoughtfulness) contemplated what members of PETA think of such journeys. I mean, that group just lost by like... 210,000 animals. I appreciate them helping out the chickens and such but... maybe they are racist against the insect variety. Or maybe they really are all Frogs!

Back on track... We went to Ohio for some family visiting!

I think my personal favorite was maybe the tractor ride out at grandma and grandpa's

Grandpa's seat cushion...

g-ma and g-pa:

and their dog Lady. She was VERY fond of Ben. It is hard to believe that a dog who chases out rodents, birds, any other living thing threatening the garden would be So in love/gentle with a little Benjamin. She's a good girl.

Ben's favorite was probably the mass quantities of fresh blueberries:

or possibly pulling this towel in and out of the pool 231243423512356 times.

I mean it. He would take it out. Put it on the ground. Pick it up and throw it in. Repeat. 20 minutes at a time. It was fantastic! He didn't even care if anyone was around, watching, helping... something about it fascinated him and I really wish I could have been in his head at that moment...
He did however end up with soaked pants/shirt from all of this hard work. Of course he then chose to sit in a mud puddle. The result was a delicious bottom:

Benjamin wasn't alone as a young'n. Two of his cousins were there too! It was really helpful having some other young, energetic souls (and their parents) to help harness Ben's energy and entertainment needs.

We also ate more melons than... I have probably had all summer. And they were AMAZING melons. I don't think we took pictures of them though... but we should have because they were Great.

That is all for now folks!