Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tree Farm Relay

This week was a busy week, and the focus was definetly cycling. Between the Tour de France and our own race, we spent a great deal of time either biking or watching it on TV. Soren has also become quite proficient at the stairs and clapping.

Monday was a typical errand/recovery day at our house. We clowned around a lot. The weather was less than spectacular, so we didn't do a lot. Ryan went to the Tree Farm to practice for the race in the evening.

On Tuesday, we went to Kindermusik and saw Lisa, Dominic, and Lucas. Soren is taking an interest in looking at books instead of eating them. He looks so cute "reading", especially since this book is upside down.

We also had a good time playing outside while Ryan was at scouts. Keira had a great time playing peek a boo with this tree.

On Wednesday, we had our church Park Day at the Novi Sports Park. Keira ended up playing in the sand, much to my dissapointment. All the other kids were in it, so I finally gave in, but here she is "not playing in the sand" when I came to check on her before being given the go ahead.

Soren had an OK time. I think he will like parks more when it is pant weather because he is not content to sit and can only stand and cruise in limited areas. He does not like to crawl outside so much. I am looking forward to his walking just because he is already into everything and I think he will at least be happier outdoors.

I also finally got Keira's toy bin from IKEA relocated from front and center in the living room to her room. The potty training was going well enough that all the toys didn't need to be on the main level and we would be having a home teaching visit coming up on Thursday, and needed to get the house back in some sort of order. We ended up getting some bad weather this evening. Ryan had planned to ride with his team tonight, and went ahead and got started. It rained on them, but they finished the ride.

On Thursday, we had some mad rain. There were several downpours throughout the day. The first happened during Kindermusik. Fortunately, we made it in prior to the rain and brought our umbrella. Linda joined us, and we had time for a quick lunch afterwards. She was a huge help by keeping Keira dry while I kept Soren dry.

I was supposed to go mountain biking this evening, but due to another downpour later in the day, we had to call it off. I was getting a bit stressed about my "super taper" prior to the race, and was really wanting the weather to improve. Instead, we went to a car dealership to talk about replacing our Sport Trac with the Cash for Clunkers plan and get an escape.

Friday was a much better day from a weather standpoint. I spent the majority of the day attempting to locate an Escape XLT in Black Pearl Slate that was 4x4 and V6. This was no easy task. Everyone that I found in my "search dealer inventory" search was either already sold or reserved. With the 2010s arriving soon, they were beginning to run out of 2009s, and there is some concern that the government money will be gone before the 2010s arrive. After hauling Keira and Soren to 2 dealerships and calling another 2, I finally found a vehicle that we wanted to "tag" or reserve for us, and requested that it be held for us. It isn't in yet, and the government money isn't available until Monday, so hopefully things will go smoothly once everything is ready. This is close to what the one we want looks like. Ours will have a body colored front facia instead of all the chrome (it will still have a chrome grill).

I was really happy that I was finally able to meet up with my team and do a light ride of part of the course in the evening.

Saturday was a HUGE day in cycling. Not only was it the Mont Ventoux stage of the tour, but it was also the day of the much anticipated Tree Farm Relay. My parents and my Aunt Patty and Uncle Dennis (who were in the states from Italy) drove up to come to watch us race. Kris and Linda also came to witness the event. Ryan and I were not terribly excited when we woke up to dreary skys, and then as we were getting set to leave the house, it started to rain. My team, Tu n Tu Bellas, was already preregistered, and Ryan's team, the 4 Horsemen, did not want to let a little (or a lot) of rain scare them away. Fortunately, it stopped raining right as the Sport division was getting ready to start. I was the first rider for my all female team, so I had the honor of the LeMans style start where I had to run down a hill on foot to get to my bike, staged below. I was able to avoid a few crashes in the beginning, and make it through my leg relatively unscathed. I did witness many crashes and find myself off course once instead of crashing. I also had to rapidly dismount my slipping bike and let it crash without me, but finished my leg in pretty good time. Ryan was last for his team, and although those riders doing legs 2 and 3 had pretty decent trail conditions, it poured a few minutes into Ryan's ride. Overall, it was a really fun time. Ryan's team suffered a major delay on leg 2 when Conrad broke his chain and had to come back to the tent area to fix it. They had been in 3rd place prior to this mishap, but finished in the middle of the pack after losing all that time. My team was 4th out of 5 all women's teams. We were just happy to have a great time riding. This is a shot of everyone in the Sport Division for the start. I am wearing the bright blue jersey with purple tulle tutu (part of our team's very recognizable costume).
This is how the bikes were laid out. We were responsible for selecting our "spot" for our bike.

Here is an action shot of the start. You can just barely see my purple helmet and coordinating tutu behind the man in red.
I am hopping on my bike. The two ladies in front of me (one in green and one in navy) crashed into each other right in front of me at the start, and I narrowly navigated around without becoming entangled as well. The woman in navy finished just ahead of me, despite her numerous crashes.
I am finally making my way to the trailhead. The crazy start and big hill are used to space us out a little bit before hitting the singletrack, although there was a lot of conjestion there in the beginning and more crashes around me.
I got really muddy! The trail was so wet and slick for my leg.

I handed off to Michelle, who is starting out below.

Here is Ryan all clean before his leg.
Ryan is starting his leg
Cristina is handing off to Kristel

Ryan came screaming into the finish. He is just a blur on my camera.
These two shots below are better of Ryan finishing. They were taken by my mom.

Ryan got super muddy too!
Ryan, John, and Conrad, Rob had to leave early.
Soren, Me, Cristina, Kristel, and Michelle

My mom with Soren.
Keira and Linda
My dad and Keira

You would never know from the pictures in my camera that the weather was bad, except for the amount of mud on ourselves and our bikes. I thought it was funny that we were probably the only vehicle with 2 bikes from different teams on it. Most of the vehicles with mutiple bikes had teammates in them.
We finished off the day going out to dinner with family (after showering, of course), and then headed back to Kris and Linda's house to socialize a bit before returning home totally exhausted from a great day. There wasn't a good group shot where everyone was looking, so this is the best one we have: Me, Soren, Ryan, Keira, Dennis, and Patty.

Sunday was a pretty typical Sunday, except we were just a lot more tired. Keira and Soren both did a lot of sleeping today, and got their sleep cycles a bit out of whack between church and the busy day away from home. The Tour de France completed today. It will be really interesting to see what happens next year with Lance and his new team. He really knows how to put together a great team, and will have so much more training under his belt.
I did make a cake. It wasn't anything special, and I layered it improperly so it looked pretty funny. Soren was pretty excited about it being in the oven.

Up for next week, we have several events for both us and the kids. We will hopefully have the Escape we want arrive and get everything squared away, as well as attend more park days and playdates.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Park Days and back to Summer Fun!

I feel like this week was much more of a "normal" summer week for us, especially if you compared it to a typical week from last summer. We were fortunate to still have my mom stay until Tuesday, and we enjoyed going to various parks all week long. It was great after being stuck in the house almost all of last week. Our windows for leaving the house have shortened due to naps and potty schedules, but at least we were getting out and having a great time.

Monday my mom was here, and we decided to take Keira and Soren on a little bike ride. It ended up being very little, because Soren was just not super happy to be in the trailer. We stayed in our neighborhood and went less than 2 miles, but it was still fun to get out. Keira had a blast.

Once Ryan got home from work, it was time to do some serious bike riding. Ryan and I met up with Michelle at Lakeshore Park so that we could train for our upcoming race, and my mom watched Keira and Soren on the great playground that is there. I had a couple pretty hard crashes, and was left with a huge "trail" rash on my left elbow. I was going through a tight section of trees and hit a handlebar on one REALLY hard. I am just very thankful that I was only left with some bruises and likely a nice scar, especially as the week went on.

On Tuesday, the kids slept in after the late night at the park, and we scrambled to get to Plymouth for a storytime, only to get there and realize that it is NEXT week. We enjoyed a nice breakfast of milk and pound cake instead, and then hit REI before my mom needed to get on the road.
Here are a couple pictures from home. Soren has been really excited about doorknobs, and he was quite determined to get this one.

That afternoon, Ryan had a drive event on the test track at work. He had the opportunity to drive several sets of future model cars. Those are always fun events. I also swam with Cristina at Island Lake, because peer pressure and my competitive spirit are making me want to do another tri this summer. Linda stopped by to watch Keira and Soren for the few minutes that I was gone before Ryan got home from the drive event. Keira was so excited to be able to see both her Grandma and Nana in the same day.

Wednesday was our first park day of the summer! Our ward has traditionally set up meetings at local parks on Wednesdays, and this was the first one that we could do. We met up with several families from church at Rotary Park in Livonia for some fun.
Keira and Elise had a great time playing together in the "bubble".

When Ryan got home, he went to Lakeshore Park with his team to practice, while I ran with the stroller in the neighborhood. His teammate, Tim, had a bad crash at the beginning of the ride and hurt his shoulder. It wasn't until the end of the ride, after doing the full trail, did he realize that he likely broke his collarbone! This made me so grateful that I was not more injured in my crash, because Tim was an experienced rider and more familiar with the trail than me, and still had this injury.

Thursday was another busy day. We started the morning with the Library Storytime.
Soren was pretty brave, and crawled out into the middle of the carpet with all the other children.
I think he now realized that he was way over there, and I wasn't behind him! He was pretty cute, though, swaying back and forth to the music.

Then went to a great little park behind the library/high school complex to meet up with another group of friends from church. It was a really great little park that was not crowded with nice restroom facilities (which Keira refused to use so we had to leave early). I spent most of the time socializing while Keira played, so I didn't get an pictures of her with her friends. Here is Soren during the few seconds that he was willing to be put down.

I also rode Lakeshore again tonight on my own, being careful to pack my driver's license and cell phone on me for the ride, just in case. I was also much more careful to go slow and not worry about speed as much and just not crash. I made it through without incident.

Friday was Fun Friday for the church Park Days, which meant we were going to the Plymouth Sprinkler Park. Unfortunately, I had to turn down a trip to the zoo because I was going to the park days, and then everyone from the park days cancelled on me, and it was too late to switch gears and head over to the zoo. We still went to the Sprinkler Park, and had a great time. Keira and Soren are surveying the situation. It took them a while to warm up to the idea of a sprinkler park, and get over the fact that we weren't going to the pool.
Keira is activating the sprinklers with her hand.
Keira actually ran through the frog's mouth today, which I don't think she ever did last year.
Action shots:

When we got home, we had some fun with bubbles in the yard.

Saturday was another busy Saturday. We were very worried that the weather would not hold out, and were happy that Keira's prayer for good weather was answered. It was gloomy for parts of the day, but it stayed mostly dry. Ryan rode with the Wolverines out to Kensington and Brighton and back. While he rode, I took Keira and Soren into downtown Farmington for the Founder's Festival. Last year, they had a lot more free things set up for the kids, like a fire engine and petting zoo, but they didn't have either of those things this year. We walked around through the arts and crafts fair and one of the local churches off the main drag near where we parked had a free bouncer (as an alternative to the $10 for the ones actually at the festival), so Keira got a little bit of bouncing in. It was a fun time, and a great way to spend the morning out of the house while Ryan was gone. This is a pretty boring picture from the festival, but fitting since Keira and Soren spent almost the entire time in the stroller.
Once Ryan got home, I took a chance on the weather and met up with Barb at Island lake for a 12 mile ride followed by a 5K run. Barb really pushed me on the bike, and I pushed her on the run, so it was a great workout all around. Ryan was starving (and apparently so was Keira) when I got home, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen at 12 Oaks for dinner. Keira ate 7/8ths of her children's pizza for dinner. We couldn't believe it, because usually she never eats her food when we order it specifically for her and end up taking it all home.

Sunday was a pretty typical Sunday, except for a late night baking project. We went to church and then to Kris and Linda's afterwards for dinner and dessert. Linda gave me a copy of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, and I just had to make the peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes. I was up pretty late making them and then waiting for one to be cool enough to eat. They were pretty tasty! They are very dense, and go down nicely with a glass of milk. They are my kind of dessert.

Martha probably wouldn't approve of my use of an IKEA children's plate for display purposes, but at almost midnight, what are you going to do?
Up for next week, we have the much anticipated Tree Farm Relay, where Ryan and I are each on separate teams. I also was selected to be a digital brand ambassador for PUR, and will be blogging there in addition to here. You can check it out at: I haven't made a post yet, but will likely do something this week and surely after the race. I should be receiving my welcome kit with purifier and water bottle sometime this week. I am very excited about this since I have always been a big fan of reusable water containers and will now be able to purify my own water at home.