Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where have I been?

I was at a friends blog and saw a map from TravelBlog. I thought it was neat and decided to make one myself. I have only listed states that I've actually stopped to stay or do some kind of visiting. I skipped several states that I've driven through but not done anything.

Visited States

Visited US States Map from TravelBlog

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dear Daughter

A letter to my daughter.

On your 5th birthday I stopped to think about the time we've had. Only 5 little years, and yet you've grown so much, I've grown so much.

You're 5th birthday has been overshadowed by so many other things going on in our life. Your cousin is pregnant and expecting a baby, aunt Janelle is also pregnant and Joel will soon have a little brother or sister. You are about to start Kindergarten and mommy has been worried almost to the point of sickness. I think she worries more about what she will do with her time than how you will do in school.

You may not realize it yet, but your life is about to dramatically change. It won' be just 3 days a week for a few hours, like preschool was. Now you will begin forming the friendships that will carry you through high school.

The next year is the start of a long road of new things to come your way. This summer you learned how to swim, but that's not over, you will continue to improve as you keep taking lessons. Your dance from last year will become gymnastics this year. You will learn to read and will be reading me stories in no time. You will learn to add and subtract. You will learn about animals and earth and so many different things, it will be an amazing time.

Our dreams for you are big, and we want the best things for you. We want you to experience so many different things and we will do everything we can to help that happen. I love you Ady Cakes

Monday, August 18, 2008

Birthday Celebration

Yesterday we ventured out to Chuck-E-Cheese for Ady's 5th birthday celebration. There was no party, just lunch and playing. A friend also came and had lunch. With one of our kids living full time somewhere else, we make sure that birthday celebrations are always on a weekend when everyone is here, we don't want any of our kids to miss giving each other the love that they have for each other at birthday time.

Our lunch started at 12:30, and was a relatively peaceful and easy 3 hours. It's strange to say that 3 hours later, we were finally worn out from being there, but I wasn't frustrated at all. My kids almost never frustrate me when we're at Chuck-E-Cheese, it's the other little brats that cut in front of my kids, or push them, or run through them, or, even take their tickets or tokens that I get mad at. Those kids I just want to pick up and walk to the front door and make them stand their until their parents come looking for them. Yesterday though, there was nothing like that. The other kids were all polite. I was completely shocked, there wasn't a single instance of any other kid being rude. It almost made me sad to go, because I wanted to take advantage of the niceness as long as possible. And I had a salad bar, so another hour and I could start eating more salad for dinner.

As we were getting ready to leave Erin asked our friends if they wanted to come over to the house too. Our kids and theirs have a blast playing together. I was shocked, and excited that they said yes. We don't get to visit with them as much as I'd like to. Another 5 hours later they took their tired kids and headed for home. At bed time we always ask the kids what their favorite part of the day is. A tradition my wife started, that I love. Ending each day by reflecting on the good parts of the day, it's a good habit that I hope they keep for the rest of their lives. Each kids favorite part was playing with their friends, which Jonas stated was "pretty much the whole day, that was my favorite part". I'm glad to see we can make the day good for all of you, hopefully this will be a birthday celebration to remember.

In the spirit of birthday celebration, Ady woke up this morning and said, "Since it's my birthday celebration, can I have toast and butter without crust?" I don't know why she wants it without crust she almost always eats the crust, but that's something special that she asks for from time to time. Erin's answer was quickly, "no, today's not your birthday, on your birthday you can have toast and butter without crust". No harm in trying to milk a birthday celebration for all it's worth.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic amazement

Sure everyone in the world is thinking about and watching the Olympics, but I can't help myself, it's amazing.

The swimming records that are being blown away are unheard of and are crazy. I think Phelps beat his own world record by more almost 2 full seconds. Can you imagine if all of a sudden the 100M sprint were broken by a full second and was suddenly below 9 seconds?

Currently I'm watching the men's gymnasts shocking everyone by being a true Silver medal contender, and they were in first after 3 rotations. Would the Hamm twins have been enough to put this team over the top? Probably not. The Chinese scores are so high, but I think they would have made it even more interesting. Probably the most amazing thing I've seen with the gymnasts was the Chinese men on the floor. The show of upper body strength in the way they would lift themselves was insane.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Book Review: It's Not About the Bike

I've been waiting a few years to read this one. Lance Armstrong, the great cyclist who survived testicular cancer to thrive in the cycling world again. It was a book that had to be good. A can do, hero story in real life. Sadly, it is real life and not a hero story. It's great he survived and brings hope to so many people who have to face the same things he faced, I wish the book would have stayed there.

Too much of the book was dedicated to the closeness he has to his mom, which is fine, but it's also harsh about the distance he has from his father and step father. The book makes Lance Armstrong very human, and in too many cases shows his resentment for others. It's good that this book really shows completely who Lance Armstrong is, in that I now have no more misrepresentations of him, at the same time, I no longer look up to him as a role model. Now he's just a good cyclist. If my kids ever get into cycling I would look at Lance Armstrongs stats and say, "That's a star, that's what you shoot for", but I'll also do my best to teach them not to be like Lance, not to be brash and mean, not to distance yourself from your family and friends. This book shattered all hopes I had. It's not about the bike, it's about so much more, and yet, the last quarter of the book focuses solely on the Tour de France, and the bike. Really this book is about the bike, how it ruled his life before cancer and helped him get through cancer to get back on the bike. Since cancer his life has continued to be ruled by the bike, to the point that even after this book he got divorced from his wife and continued to win the Tour de France. Read it if you want to know more about Lance, but not if you are looking for something awe-inspiring.

Wal-Mart waste

I stopped by Wal Mart at lunch and picked up something small so I said "I'll take that without a bag." The lady grabbed the item, stuck it in the bag then looked at me. Again I said, "I'll take that without a bag if that's ok", that's me being environmentally friendly and not wasting a bag. Then cashier lady says ok, grabs my stuff out and hands it to me, then immediately pulls the bag off the rack and throws it in the garbage.

I'm not sure what Wal Marts official stance is, but the behavior seems to be that at least one plastic bag must be thrown away per customer. I was so frustrated.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Complete Book of Running

I've been reading runner's world for years now, and for the first time, they sent me a book to review. It's one of those deals where I get 21 days to decide if I want the book, if not I can send it back, if I do I can buy it for only $32.

I was blessed to receive. It's ok as a book but it's not great. It only took me 2 days to skim through and find all the sections that weren't already provided online or in the magazine.

I will not be buying the book for 2 reasons. First, they're selling it for twice as much as I could buy it from Amazon for. Second, it's not good. The book is slanted strongly towards women, but I would suggest The Complete Book of Running for Women, if you are a woman looking for this information.

If you are a beginner, I suggest checking out Runner's World Training. And the Couch to 5K program at Cool Running.

If you are looking for how to run farther better or your first marathon, I suggest
Marathon: You Can Do It! It's a great book that helped me get through my first marathon. I also own and have read the Lore of Running tome that Timothy Noakes wrote, but it's way too technical for most runners, including me. There's a lot of physics and biological information about how the body works in relation to running, but it's not a good book for motivation or for improving things really.

Other running books that I suggest.