Friday, December 27, 2013

Brookie Cookie

Christmas Day 2013

Skater Girls

Brooke and Helen skating

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Brooke can ride a bike!

Brook finally decided she was ready to ride a bike today!  I guess she was tired of running, skating and scooter-ing after the neighborhood kids on their bikes.

Brooke is 6 years old (and will be 7 years old in 5 weeks).  Congrats Brookie Cookie!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Brooke's First Grade holiday party

Brooke and her first grade dual language teacher.  Feliz Navidad.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

Class room patrol

A few days ago, I wrote an email to Brooke's 1st grade dual language teacher expressing concern about her behavior marks that she'd been getting for the past few days.  Their behavior chart starts at green, moves to yellow, purple, blue, pink, red (or something like that). As the kids get warnings, they "move their clips" down one level.  So everyone starts on green for the day.   Brooke was coming up with colors far too south of where we expect.

An excerpt of what I wrote to Brooke's teacher:

I wanted to touch base with you about Brooke's behavior. I get the impression that she's having some issues with talking, not listening/following directions.  We discussed this with her, and told her that our expectation is that she stays on "green" even though she insists that "yellow" and the other colors before "red" are perfectly okay.  

For Zak and I this is more about being respectful of you and school rules, following directions, and less about her tendency to be chatty (which is simply her personality).  However, I wanted to make sure she's still doing well academically and she's able to understand you per your expectations and isn't simply "tuning you out" because she can't comprehend {Spanish}.  

Teacher's response:

On my behavior chart everyone does start off on green.  I am glad to know that your expectation of her is green so that I can remind her throughout the day.  Red means I will make contact with parents over behavior.  Brooke is very respectful of me and my rules so much that she reminds everyone what my expectations are by yelling at them.  This is actually what gets her into problems more so than the talking.  Know that I haves spoken to her about this and we are working on it.  Brooke is very smart and I love having her in my class.  She loves being the police officer in the room and is good at it. =)  So don't worry that maybe she isn't understanding due to comprehension.  She has picked up the Spanish so well and I am seeing constant growth with her. Have a great week!

Oh, parenting....I have so much fun on your roller coaster.  Brooke is BURSTING with personality.  This is the face that Brooke WOULD have made had I shown her my email conversation.

"Told ya so!"

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Yes, yes, yes...

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

  1. Strength equals self-sufficiency.  
  2. Fitness opens doors.  
  3. The bike is the new golf course.  
  4. Exercise is a lifestyle, not an event. 
  5. Health begets health.  
  6. Endorphins help you cope.
  7. Working out signals hard-working.  
  8. If you feel beautiful, you look beautiful. 
  9. Nature rules.  
  10. Little eyes are always watching.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vincent Van Gogh

Brooke (6-1st grade) learned about Vincent Van Gogh today at school and came home with this oil pastel on black construction paper.

I was impressed.

-Sent from my cell phone

Monday, November 11, 2013

Random find of the day...

Found this on my desk. Ummm, okay?

-Sent from my cell phone

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Rainbow Loom

Maddie, using YouTube, is teaching herself how to make a double braid rainbow loom bracelet.

In my day, we made friendship bracelets too, but didn't have awesome YouTube tutorials to help us make the complicated kind. Better yet, it wasn't my suggestion to seek out help online to solve a was her idea.

-Sent from my cell phone

Saturday, November 02, 2013

View from my couch

I don't like negotiation!

Today is Garage Sale in our hood.  The Girls and our friends, Luke and Helen are selling some bikes, bike supplies, games, puzzles, and scooter.  They're using the recycle bin to display their goods.

A customer came buy and asked the price of Madison's old bike.  "$15," they said.

"We'll give you $10," responded the customer.

"Okay," said Luke.  "We'll take $10."

Brooke comes running inside in tears, "They only paid us $10 and we said it cost $15!  It said $15 right on the sign!"

I say, "Honey, that's called negotiation. You offer a price, the customer counter offers, you can either respond or deny their offer.  You didn't have to sell your bike for $10."

Chin quivering, she says, "Well, I don't like negotiation!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My little computer loving daughter...

Zak and I are reeeaallly hoping Madison stays interested in computers, especially coding!

Her teacher just tweeted out this pic:

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


-Sent from my cell phone

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy 39th, Zak!

-Sent from my cell phone

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My little gymnasts

-Sent from my cell phone

Sunday, September 01, 2013

New ceiling fixture!

Ask me how badly I need a neck & shoulder massage after hanging this ceiling fixture (and three others) yesterday.

Nevermind. Just come over and rub me!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Back to School 2013

Maddie started 3rd grade and Brooke is finally "in the numbers" as a 1st grader!

My sweet babies are growing up so fast.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My little Moringa Tree

So excited about the nutritional possibilities with my new Moringa tree!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

dangerous blogger territory

I am behind my blogging by MONTHS.....literally since May.  I've had this blog for over 8 years, and this is the first time I've ever been this far behind.

I have been posting lots on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but those will not be kept forever (which is the intention behind this blog).  I have tons of pics and stories to share from our INCREDIBLE summer.  However, those stories get watered down over time and I miss the details that I don't want to forget.

So...this is what I'm gonna do....back blog.  It's a terrible, terrible thing to do, but I need my posts to be organized by date. I will always let you know when I post something out of order with a current post linking the back blog so you don't get lost.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Last night at The Fork

The girls decided to sleep together. ;)

-Sent from my cell phone

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

P.S. I just...

So, Maddie can text now.   She's as witty as I'd hoped she'd be.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Your daughters are exactly alike."

Really?  I was surprised when a favorite camp counselor and frequent babysitter of ours told me how similar he thought the girls are.

"Really? That's not something I hear very often.  Most people don't even believe they're sisters."

"Oh, I wasn't talking about their looks.  I was talking about their energy and love of life.  They're just like you too."

"Oh, that's sweet of you to say."

"They both have the same energy, positive attitude, and exude happiness the way you do."

Not only was that a PARENTING WIN, but my day was made!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Lake" Medina

Gimme my lake back, damn it!

-Sent from my cell phone

Evening at the pool with two monkeys and a husband

-Sent from my cell phone


-Sent from my cell phone

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ice cream time!

-Sent from my cell phone

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just a regular old day

-Sent from my cell phone

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Water slide fun


The kids went down this water slide one bagajillion times yesterday.  They had to climb THREE Flights of stairs to reach the top.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Triple Dimpled chin convention

Happy Father's Day!

-Sent from my cell phone

Monday, June 10, 2013

Look who survived Kinder!

-Sent from my cell phone

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

CapTexTri action shots

I just got an email with official CapTexTrip pictures taken by the photographers that were along the route.  These pics are really quite funny because if you've read my CapTexTri blog post, you can probably hear what was going through my head in each shot.

In this picture, I'd just exited from Town Lake of Doom where I swear I nearly died. I'm heaving for air and white as a ghost.  I'm convincing myself that I was still alive and still had to bike and run to finish this F$%*@ng race!  This also may be the most unattractive photo I've ever taken.  I look 6 months pregnant even though I weigh 115 lbs, which just pisses me off.

These bike photos were taken about half way through the 10K route, and I had already climbed up the hill to the Capital, turned at MLK, and was flying down Congress getting ready to make a right hand turn onto Cesar Chavez.  I'm on the left side of everyone which means I just passed all those suckers you see in the background.  

"Check ya later!"  I was feeling very confident.

"Are you kidding me?  I have to run now?  In this heat and humidity?  Up these hills?  OMG, I'm really gonna die this time, but at least I won't be at the bottom of Town Lake of Doom.

 This pic was taken just as I was exiting the 1st Street bridge towards the end of my 5k run. I probably had less than a mile to go at this point, and the fact that I was almost done was the only thing the pushed me across the finish line.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CapTexTri ...NOT on the bucket list!

But, I did it anyway!

About 6 weeks ago, I was taking a Spin class with my friend Cate, who is a superstar athlete, and she said, "Amanda, you should consider doing a triathlon.  I think you'd like it."

I responded by laughing, "I hate running, and I'm not trained swimmer. No way."   That night, she sent me the link for the CapTexTri in Austin scheduled on Memorial Day. I told my friend Michelle Ellis (also an athlete) that I was considering it, and she said she was planning on it too and bullied encouraged me into doing it too.  The next day, I signed up for the "First Tri" and told Facebook:

The "First Tri" in this particular race was a 400m swim, 10K bike, and 5k run.  I knew I was ready for the bike portion, and had just done a 5k (very slowly), but the swim in a LAKE (even just 400 lousy meters) was gonna be a problem.

I did some research, bought my first bathing suit for actual swimming (versus the normal boobalicious bikini's I wear just for lookin' cute on the beach), some goggles, swim cap, and got my butt in the pool at my gym. It was hard at first, but I quickly built my endurance and could swim 400m in the pool without stopping in about 10 minutes.  I was training for much longer swims, but was happy with my 10 minute time. 

I'm convinced that all the Spin classes I take really helped decrease the amount of training I was going to need. I have built cardio endurance from spinning and that directly translated to running and swimming.  The problem with the running is the um, bouncing and the problem with the swimming is I can't breath underwater (who knew!?) and have poor technique. 

I trained and trained on the bike, treadmill and bike. I basically stopped weight training, but would sneak in a few sessions as time allowed.  Towards the end of my training, I would do two things during the same, I'd swim & cycle or cycle & run or run & swim...etc.  Then the week before, I did the full Tri at my gym (indoors!) to see what I could expect from endurance and transition:

Swim 400m: 10:45
Bike 10k: 18:45
Ran 5k: 29:45
Total time (including closely located transitions): 1:13

These times were done in PERFECT conditions, warm pool, 70 degrees, no hills, no people in my way, and no potholes! I knew this wasn't a realistic expectation for the actual race, but wanted to see what I could really do.

Then Memorial Day weekend finally arrived.... Cate, and my new friend, Jen, and I drove up on Sunday afternoon with our bikes loaded in Zak's truck to check in and attend the Expo and a course walk-thru.

After that, we went to dinner, and they only let me drink one beer.  :-( Meanies!  After dinner, we checked into the Hyatt on Town Lake.  The hotel upgraded us to a balcony room over looking the infamous "bat bridge" (bats were not hungry that night and didn't leave for dinner).

The balcony also overlooked the tail end of the Olympic distance course. When I woke up the next morning, I could actually see the real athletes (who take off waaaay before the rest of the yahoo's do) swimming around the red buoys as I was getting ready to leave.   

I pretended that was Cate, Mandie and Jen down there! ;)  

Here is Jen and Cate just as they were leaving at the butt crack 'o dawn.  I got to go back to sleep! lol  My race didn't start until 10:02 and I didn't need to be there until 9:00!!!

(total badasses with those tats! Cate is hiding her six pack under that white tank!!)

I'm just gonna stop right here and put my little race into perspective.   I did the BABY triathlon and just to prove my point, let's review the results of my friends who raced the Olympic/International distance (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run):

 Cate was one of the fastest female swimmers in the ENTIRE triathlon.  She swam 1.5k in 23 minutes!  FASTER than most of the professional Olympic athletes that competed (most of whom are 10-12 years younger and not the mother of three children!). She was the 7th fastest of the women who competed and ranked 22nd among men and women.  She's the Michael Phelps of my world, my subdivision, and apparently of all the Triathletes in the USA.  I honestly had no idea the level at which she could compete.  I'm going to ask her to be my relay partner for the next triathlon and totally sandbag the whole thing just so I can stand on the winner's podium next to her. ;)  Cate, I'm in awe. Seriously. I am so proud.

Oh, yea, just for fun...she also ran a 10k in 52 minutes and cycled 40k in 1:21. Amazing!

Jen is my new friend (and neighbor!) and she didn't train for this Tri and signed up THE WEEK before!  LOL. I'd love to have those numbers and not have to train! She's the mother of four (all under 8 years old) and tells me she runs just so she can have a  moment alone to think.  :)

Mandie is another rock star friend. She has three kids.  The oldest just turned six the day before the triathlon. Her son is still in diapers. She is a physician in her spare time, and the ultimate multi-tasker.  She thinks she's not that studly of an athlete because her husband, Rob, runs in Ultra Marathons (50-100 miles!) and she can "only" run marathons.    In fact, she kept running during all three pregnancies in the Texas summers.  Strangers would stop her and ask if she was okay because why in the world would someone want to run when they were 9 months preggers unless they were being chased by bears!

(This is Mandie and Rob and I at the last Bob Schneider concert--which just makes me love them even more.  The concert was more fun than the Tri, just in case you're wondering.)

I saw Mandie after the race (but I forgot to take her pic!) drinking a beer with her family, while I was barely able to walk to find mine.  Congrats, Mandie, on another successful Tri! 

Michelle and I did the same race, First Tri, and hung out in the morning as we prepped our transition area.  Michelle has done many races before, but opted for the First Tri with me. She helped me get my stuff in the right order, loaned me some ear plugs, and encouraged me at the starting line.  We actually high five'd each other in the water just before horn sounded the start of the swim.  She beat me on the swim and was waiting for me at transition so we could cycle away together. For the entire race, I expected her to catch me on the bike and then on the run, and now I feel terrible I didn't wait for her! Sorry, Michelle!

My kids went to the same child care center as Michelle's three kiddos, but we just started to hang out more recently.  She's an AMAZING cheerleader and I love to be around positive people like Michelle.  She just lights up the room and some people may need sunglasses to be near her, but I just take all the sunshine she dishes out.  See the pic below to see her permanent smile:

So, here are my race times.  I did about what I expect to do, except for the swim.  I sorta freaked out when I was in the water and had a minor panic attack.  

Rookie Tri Mistake #1--not training in open water.  I am a pool kinda girl...I am not a fan of swimming in oceans or lakes.  I knew this, but didn't think it would bother me that much during the race. I was wrong.  As soon as I put my face in the water to begin my freestyle stroke, I panicked because it was sooo dark green. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I did a few terrible strokes and flipped to my back in an attempt to control my heart rate and breathing.  I was in the water for 13:49, and it felt like 30 minutes.  There were times when I didn't think I was going to finish or survive! I treaded water, I did the breast stroke, I kicked on my back, I doggie paddled, and self talked my way to semi-calm.  I was a mess, but I did it. I finished and climbed out of the water DIZZY and mentally fucked up.  I remember the volunteers, who pulled the swimmers out of the water, were very loud and yelling directions.  "Take your goggles off, watch your step, whoa! are you ok?, you're fine, drink water, run, run to your bike. Go! Goo! Gooooo!" 

I walked to my bike trying to convince myself that the worst of it was over, and that I was fine and could do this.  I took a crazy long time of 6 minutes at transition, and found Michelle waiting for me with her gorgeous smile on, and off we went.  As we were exiting transition (running our bikes to the starting line), I saw Rob, Zak, Madison and Brooke.  I was SHOCKED to see them there, and turns it it was just random luck that they were there at the right time.  They were a breath of fresh air, and made my heart sing to see them.  It was the boost I needed after the tough swim. 

The bike course was very easy, and I thank my Spin teachers (Shannon! and DiDi!) for getting me ready to tackle the hills. I did one loop, or 10k in 23:16.   I expected the route up Congress to be harder than it was, and the right turn and return hill at the Capital was tough, but I was passing people right and left!  The rest of the ride after that was very easy and I got a shot of confidence that I could actually do this.  I could have actually gone  much faster than I did but was a bit scared of the speed!  I purposefully slowed down on some fast sections of the course because I was worried how bad a potential crash could be.  I'm also an inexperienced outdoor cyclist (and didn't know the full power of my gears), and that's just a dangerous combination    Next time (and there will be a next time!) I'm going all out on the bike course and clip in because the bike section is definitely my strength.  Who wants to buy me a Tri bike? ;)

I got off my bike and had to run it to my transition area (which wasn't very close! 50 yards?), and I had a respectable (for a rookie) under 3 minute transition time.  I strapped on a better sports bra, chugged some water, and didn't need to change my shoes.  I ran out of transition and onto the run course.  My legs weren't working properly. I had what I later found out were "bike legs" and it took a good 10 minutes for them to function.  While I was running out, I remember saying to the woman jogging next to me, "And now we have to run a 5k?!? After all that?!? I'm tired!"

Rookie Mistake #2--not training for the run outside.  Did you know there are pesky things like hills, slanted roads, potholes, heat, and curbs outside?  :)  I don't have to deal with any of those things on my perfect little treadmill in the air conditioned gym. I also really, really missed my music (headphones and music were not allowed). 

Once I got my act together, I was able to finish the 5k run in 33:36.  I was actually surprised I did it that fast considering I did walk portions of the course.   Screw the hills!  Ugh.

During the run, I saw Zak and the girls twice. I stopped once for hugs and kisses to which Brooke said, "Ew! Gross! You are so sweaty!"  which made me laugh. My family made signs for me! :)

Brooke's pink sign said "Go Mom Go! Love Brooke"
Madison's sign said, "My mom always says to TRI your best!"
Zak's sign said, "Go Amanda! You so got this! My wife doesn't just TRI, she does kick booty!"

After I crossed the finish line (1:19 total time), Zak and the girls met me in transition where I was picking up my bike.  Zak has always been so incredibly supportive and encouraging during our 14 years of marriage.  He was especially so during my Tri and the training that led up to it.  He trained with me on the weekends and is also in the best shape of his life.  I can't wait for his first Tri! I love you, Zak. Thank you for your support and love. 
 After I gathered my stuff, I found them at their little camp site and got a post race massage from the girls.

We went back to the hotel where I showered (and found seaweed in my bra) and packed up, then headed to lunch before the drive home back to San Antonio.  

Thank you to all my friends and family who raced with me, texted me, trained with me, encouraged me over Facebook, and cheered for me.  I love you and thank you for your support!

The best part about this whole thing (other than the fact that I DID IT with my KICK ASS FRIENDS!) is that my medal is not only a magnet, but a beer bottle opener!  I used it to pop open my post race beer...I earned that sucker! 

Posted by Picasa