Sunday, May 26, 2013

Raising Boys...the tame pictures...

Alex and I are raising boys...if you haven't noticed.
Or should I say, herding cats???Wild hyenas perhaps??? I don't have girls, but oh boy are these boys a handful! And yes, I know the female young versions of my little men  can just about make you batty as well but there is something distinctly different about boy energy, I think.....I often wonder how a little girl or two instead of or in addition to boys would change the dynamic. And then another BLAST of energy...or food....or dinosaur comes barreling towards me and my thoughts about just about EVERYTHING are gone...and so goes raising boys.

So, I'll have more thoughts in 10 or so years, perhaps even profound thoughts about my experiences raising boys. But for now, well, lets just say I'm completely overwhelmed and impressed with little boy energy. Good and Bad. We'll see what another decade of maturity and family evolution will do to my thoughts....

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The final 80 miles of the 230...

The final 80 miles was spent riding in the Salmon River Classic, a new ride, that started from Nordheimer camp ground out by Forks of Salmon. For most, if not all of the blog readers, this would really mean nothing to you as I would bet it is THE most rural town in California. But what an awesome community it is! Friends of ours were helping organize it as a fund raiser for a community center they are trying to build in the coming years. Our friends have two kids about our same age and the rest of the community is filled with awesome people of all ages who have a love for natural beauty and rural living, because this town is 2 1/2 hours really from any city! The thing that struck me about this ride is the friendliness of EVERYONE, how tight-nit the community was, (talk about everyone knowing everybody!), and the incredible beauty of the ride. I would bet just about anything that this is the most beautiful ride in the country. I know we have a beautiful country to live in, but between the impeccable views of the Salmon River and the surrounding mountains, the amazing paved roads without a pot hole to be found, which made you feel like you were on your own private bike path, and the lack of ANY people really, oh my goodness, BIKER HEAVEN!!!!

So, now for the ride. Again, an amazing 5 hours of pre ride sleep, (I seem to be good at that, with little T baby helping me by doing some good middle of the night wake ups...) 1 hour and 45 minute 5 am drive to the start where I was hit again and AGAIN with views such as this....

And so the ride starts. I think only 50 riders were in it. Again this is the first year this ride was held, but oh boy it was well supported. As I rolled along the route, I met up with a couple of great girls who had toured on their bikes in New Zealand...WOW! Again, back to my first ride, the conversation you can have on your bike is quite good! There were stops along the way where community members had set up tables with GORP, Hammer Head powdered super drink mix, water, Almond butter and honey sandwiches, fruit of all kinds, granola bars, power bars, everything you could need. The organization of the ride went like clockwork...and mind you...all WITHOUT CELL PHONES!!!
Yep friends, no cell service for miles, with the exception of at the top of the highest pass in the ride, Carter Summit, 6,100 ft. I'd be lying if I didn't think about this fact. I really wouldn't have ridden way out here without a supported ride given lack of cell service or at least a group to ride with. Wussy maybe but smart in other ways. I really think that this fact impressed me most about this Somes Bar/Forks of Salmon community is that they were incredibly organized, tight nit, close, and were being successful at this great community event as well as being most likely life long friends without what all of us consider an absolute necessity...our cell phone!
I think there is something to this, but for now, back to the ride!

the first 24 miles of the ride involve gentle rollers, moving upriver, so you gain altitude but don't really know it except in that way that says, "Wow I feel slow today..." which is what I was thinking. At the 24 mile stop I joined up with a group of guys that also lived out in Forks and explained they had ridden for years and wanted to support the ride to show the rest of us just how amazing riding out here was....very cool!
The next section was where we did the rest of the climbing for the entire 80 mile route. I was warned that it was a 17 mile hill....a WHAT? 17 mile hill???? crazy. But in reality you were climbing probably only 12 or 13 miles of that 17 miles and none of it was the "oh sh#% my legs are going to explode this is so steep" which is very nive living in the mountains like we do. So a gentle hill for a LONG time. A really long time, as in it took me almost 2 hours. First I went one hour before stopping. As I stopped some guys passed me on mountain bikes that I had passed. I got going after 2...eghhh ummm, 20 minutes of rolling around on the ground stretching and passed them as well as another group taking a break, all guys. 30 minutes later I stop again. I was using my iphone meter to guage how far I was traveling so I had some clue how much farther I had to go, but my battery was dying and I wanted to take that one picture at the top, so off the Iphone went. Just me and the road. One more stop 20 minutes later, and again leap frog with two different guys passing me, and me passing them back, one particular one flying passed me. I was told only one more mile, two more miles maybe. thoughts of me turning around were staring at me. Who would know? I could just coast down back to the rest stop and enjoy a great lunch. But I rode on, hoping it was close and it didn't get steeper. And you know what, it didn't get steeper and it WAS close! Carter Summit was conquered! Only 10 of the 50 riders made it up and I was the third person and the only female. It was so amazingly beautiful up there, snow capped peaks, brisk wind, a lone support table with a cute family of three handing out homemade GORP, more great sandwiches, and lots of smiles. I took my picture....

and rolled around on the warmish pavement a bit before getting back on my bike and decending back down the amazing hill, (so fun riding down a 12 mile hill, though a bit cold!) to the lunch stop.

And the lunch stop! Can we say this happened to be the grand opening of a bar recently built in the super remote town of Cecilville! So that meant a great band was playing, a build your own buritto bar, all the dessert you wanted, drinks a plenty including beer if you so desired. All seemed heavenly...except I had 23 more miles to ride and was a bit worried about it. So down went the burritto and juice. But I left the beer for later and enjoyed the music.
The ride home had me worried. My legs felt like jelly. I was hoping that food would revive them. But a full stomach also had me worried as I think I ate a bit heavy!
Local resident enjoying the view he calls home, Limestone bluffs above the Salmon River
Little did I know that the ride home was blissful! I rode with two other riders and it was mostly down hill along the same epic Salmon River I had rode up that morning. At one point we all stopped and just stared at the amazing scenery, the sheer cliff with the river below.
I felt like I was riding in a dream, along my private bike path, and then the guy I was riding with started blasting his stereo the rest of the way home. Everything from Sting to Shanaya Twain. It was great and seemed to fit the surreal experience quite well!
The last  miles flew by and before you knew it I was home, with the other riders following closely behind. They went on to have a great meal of chicken or vege mole by the river, but I drove home to my wonderful family who was amazing enough to let me go on this great ride.
The best rider EVER!
If you have ever thought of riding a bike, and have a desire to see the most beautiful and rural part of California consider this ride! They have shorter distances as well, plenty of kids, and daycare was offered! The kids, (not mine this year, but Forrest and Talin will be there next year!) looked like they had a great time!

I felt so energized after this ride, and all the riding of this past month! Good for the mind, body, and spirit :-) Alex has been awesome realizing how this was so important to me and going with my needs and wants with the kids. My fish head honey will hopefully get his bliss full moments here soon as well :-)

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Middle 70 of the 230...

The 2nd Ride, the rather infamous Tour Of The Unknown Coast! This year the ride fell on May 11th, my little Talin's 2nd birthday. We made it home by the afternoon but most of his day was spent with me pedaling and Talin doing some serious play time with his super wonderful Dad and brother ;-) I figured that T and I swapped days this year, I spent May 11th riding my bike as my Mother's Day treat and he got his ice cream party on Mother's Day Sunday. Well, whatever the date was, this was a GREAT ride! This is our hometown ride, starting in Ferndale which is 20 miles south of Eureka.
This year I was lucky enough to do it with my Dad and his good Eugene, OR friend Rob.
My Dad, in front, and Rob, enjoying the first 10 miles

Cresting the first of three "sisters" or hills. Short but steep!
 We did the metric century through the beautiful redwoods, along the Eel River, and even added on a few miles to make it an even 70.
Those two pieces of wire are NOT supposed to be there....
During the "extra" miles I even decided to make it a bit more exciting and break two spokes during some massive potholes which shook my frame pump loose, throwing it into my front wheel, and causing the entire thing to make a loud crack and shatter over the road. A bit dramatic for the middle of nowhere which is where we were and needless to say my Dad was a bit surprised I was still sitting on the bike and hadn't been thrown off of it! (Thank goodness!)
Dad, making it all better :-)

So, shortly there after, my McGiver Dad expertly fixed my wheel, even with two broken spokes, and got the big bend out of it, at least so I could make it home. We were lucky enough to have a tandem biker loan us his spoke wrench as well.
This ride includes amazing scenery through my home town "area" which is awesome to show off to friends and family.
Equally as amazing was the fact that I got to share it with my own father. We had a great time riding fast, with me drafting off of him, (he is FAST!) through the tallest trees you could imagine.
Very incredible.
We all made it home through a pretty good headwind to a great meal with the other finishers. It's always so satisfying to chow down and share stories with other riders about what they exactly went through during the day. It really is all an adventure. Looking forward to more great rides with my dear 'ol Dad, (and dear FAST Dad!)

The first 80 of the 230 mile Saturdays

The past 4 weekends have yielded 3 bike rides that have all been amazing in their own way. Not only in the athletic accomplishment of the event, being two 80 mile rides and a 70 mile ride, all that left me exhausted, but also in the people I met along the way, and the wonderful family and friends I did the rides with.

Ride Number One:
Chico Wildflower
This was the first Chico Wildflower I had done. 4,000 amazing riders do this ride. It was my first long distance ride of the season and a HOT one it was. 95 was the temp to our tender still stuck in spring bodies and boy oh boy did we feel it. The Wildflower is known for its masses of people, great support, and flat last 20-30 miles. It's also known for its hellish 5 mile hill at mile 50 that happened to be in the heat of the day! It started with me doing a super carbo load with a scoop of delish mocha almond fudge ice cream in Redding and getting an awesome 5 hours of sleep that night, oh yes, preparation at its finest! It made the kiddie pool at the top used to soak our bodies in all the better! Despite the sickish feeling the heat gave my gut the ride was great in the friends I rode with. It started with me doing a super carbo load with a scoop of delish mocha almond fudge ice cream in Redding and getting an awesome 5 hours of sleep that night, oh yes, preparation at its finest! I started the ride with Jess Irwin, super hepatology PA extraordinaire at CPMC and fellow PA school classmate and her great husband Joe.

It was great chit chatting about life in the early morning hours riding out in the Chico early morning light. Riding your bike lends itself to good conversation as long as your not looking to go all out physically, which I like. In the early part of the ride we made our way up to Paradise while it was cool. My favorite part, really, of the entire ride was going up the climb to Paradise and passing a guy pulling a big stereo just blasting the song Clocks. It seemed to fit the mood well!
I lost Jess and Joe, as they were on a different course, doing the metric century. I was on the pseudo 100 mile route, (as you already know, only 80 happened,) so I separated from them and soon after the separation I met up with the infamous Dr. Palmer. Michael Palmer is my cohort in my PA profession. Without him I would not be where I am today. We had initially met over years ago while I was still in PA school, and then a year later on another bike ride, The Tour of the Unknown Coast, where he offered me an interview for the job I have now. Again, riding your bike gets you places people! He is my mentor. I often work side by side with him for up to 16 hours at a time in the OR, (on our longer days!) and my life would not nearly be as enriched with vascular and general surgical knowledge, nor filled with dirty old man humor and noxious fart gasses without his presence, (if you only really knew...)
Now, back to the ride. I passed him at mile 40. He is my alter human. 6 feet 5 inches tall to my 5 foot 2 inch frame 61 years old to my 32, and here we are. We have not often rode bikes together, because , well, often he is working and doing nothing but, and I am often working or child rearing I guess. The last half of the ride was tough and hot. We rode together, and I passed and rode ahead as he was waiting for his riding buddy Scott Sageman who happens to be one of our hospital's Intensivists, (needless to say if a medical emergency happened to me I was in great hands!) These two guys are great, sarcastic sense of humors, and, well, being passed by a 30 something female PA got to them, but not really enough to catch me, just enough to throw plenty of jokes around.
The only picture I have, but here is Palmer dousing Dr. Sageman with water, as well as myself. All I could really think about is keeping my recent food down as this was at the top of the 50 mile hill in really bad heat. But we made it!

So, to end it all, we all finished 80, with me leading the 3 man paceline at the end with my 6'5" mentor riding my wheel to make it home, (he really does work more than any person I know, thus was a little out of shape... ;-)
Chico Wildflower 80 DONE!
This was all great because????Well because we were all out of the hospital sharing experiences that did NOT have to do with someone's life on the line, or hospital politics, or the mental fatigue of working 20 hours straight. I work no where near the amount of time these other physicians do as I have set limits due to my kids. But I did at one time and I know what it feels like.  I was happy for them. And I was happy and humbled to help at the end. No I'm not using it as an ego trip, more of a positive experience to hopefully continue in the future. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Boy's new room

We have had the plan to add on to our smallish house for awhile now. Well, it's finally happening! Our friend Tyson, who also helped build our house, is leading the project and it will be so amazing for the boys to have their own room, AND to have a little playroom and library as well. The project is also going to expand our bedroom, which is our upsatirs/loft area, just about doubling that space.
Big thanks to my parents who are helping us out with the financial side of this project. Here are some pictures of how it looks now....

Saturday, May 18, 2013

'Papa turns Grrrrrandpa visits!!!!

The title is in reference to Forrest suddenly deciding Papa is now Grrrandpa, with the hard r and all. He actually says it pretty well, we'll have to see how it all sorts out :-)
My Dad came for Mr. Talin's festivities as well as a much anticipated bike ride with me and his Eugene friend, Rob. We had a blast! The ride was awesome, and my McGiver Dad even saved the day and was able to make my two broken spoke wheel into something rid-able at mile 35 which was our little adventure of the day. We also took some great walks and the weather was great. I'll put up the bike ride pictures in another post. Enjoy!
Forrest and his crazy eyes...

stroller vs. 4 year old, guess who won?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Talin Turns TWO!!!

Two Years Young....on the afternoon of his birthday, barefoot and carefree :-)

Cutie blondie big TWO year old!

This year Talin and I did a bit of a switch a roo on the whole Birthday/Mother's Day dealio. You see, my Mother's Day was to ride a big bike ride with my Dad, which is a complete sans kids event. Soooo, I took Talin's big May 11th day for the Tour of the Unknown Coast, (pictures to come later,) and we celebrated Talin's big day May 12th, Mother's Day with an ice cream party!
Peanut butter chocolate sauce, homegrown strawberries, M&M's, and more, what more could any kid or adult want??? For us hungry post big bike rider parents and grandparents, it was heaven. And judging from the looks on these kiddo's faces, it was pretty darn good for them as well!
YUM MOM! I'll take this one, and this one, and two of that one.....

Checking out all the special ice cream toppings

Talin didn't quite know what to think with all of his neighbor friends singing to him!

Happy little guys

Our neighbors and family friend Rob were there to help celebrate with Talin!(notice the new construction in the background...boys' new room, YAY!!!)
Talin and his 'Papa....what more could a two year old want...or need!

Monday, May 6, 2013

"I love you SO much Mom..."

I hear these words fairly often from Forrest. Often they are after I have given him a special treat he has earned, or put on a movie or show for him, or sat down to read a bunch of books with him. But equally as much are those times that make you pause, and then melt. Because it makes you realize that he acknowledges you as a person and understands your likes and dislikes and respects this. Kind of hard to put into words.
Tomorrow I have a big test. I have to take my PA board re-certification exam. It's a 240 question test, I'm given 4 hours, and well, it's kind of a big deal. If I pass it, I won't have to re cert for another 10 years. I had no problem with my initial PA boards 6 years ago. But, there is no arguing that I may as well have been a different person back then. Studying was what I did, in between playing with Alex, and riding my bike. Marriage, two boys, a full time plus job, what's that? I won't go into just how impossible studying with a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old has been, that's a given. I'll just say thank goodness for technology! Podcasts of review topics have been my friends, making my driving time at least more useful to me.
So, tonight, Alex had an errand to run, I've been basically sitting on my butt for two days straight CRAMMING, (no better way to really put it...) all the asinine details of all of medicine into my brain.  For me this is driving me crazy. I like to be useful, see patients, treat them, fix them with surgery if they need it, exercise, ride my bike, cook for my family, provide for my family, to sum it all up, I just like to MOVE. So, no bike time for the last few days was kind of crappy so I decided to put on a little Myth Busters for Forrest and do a little 20 minute circuit. I was in the middle of a major quad burning 90 second wall sit and Forrest, who had been half enraptured in the movie, and half distracted by what I was doing asked what I was doing. I explained, told him it was making me stronger but my legs were burning, and he touched them and offered some ice to "cool them off" :-) I told him it was okay, and then he offered his blankie as when he is burning in the sun his blankie makes him feel better. I again declined and he continued to stare at me and then came the
"I love you SO much Mom..."
Now this could be just a random thing, or it could have been, perhaps, him acknowledging my crazy, albeit small amount of hard work, and maybe an understanding of why I was doing it.
Regardless, it made my night...!
These little people sure are amazing.
Now back to business....

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Afternoon Stroll

Little Man with a mission

 I don't think I need to tell anyone else about the gorgeous weather we're having, I think it pretty much includes the entire west coast!  Foggy Eureka who normally never hits above 72 as a high in a year was in the mid 80's today. CRAZY! Out in our neck of the woods, (hehe!) it's actually just perfect. High 80's, low 90's, and gorgeous. A bit breezy in the evenings but we're out and about as much as possible.

 These two guys LOVE the outdoors. I guess any kid growing up in our household would at least learn to like the outdoor life at least a bit, but I do think we're pretty blessed that these babes just adore it. Forrest would have stayed outside, in the sun, sans clothes of course all day if I hadn't had mandated a rest time. He then crashed for a good 2hours which I know his body needed. Talin is absolutely more fair, we're going to have to watch his delicate white baby skin this year. But he also loves to run and play, go on walks, check on the garden, and all the other fun stuff you can get into outside!
Using our single trusty BOB over and over again for these two boys!

I'm not sure what we're all looking at but a cute picture of these two little guys nonetheless!
And since loosing our wonderful river beach for awhile while the mighty Trinity rages for a bit, I've invested in this year's water toys! Forrest loves the new shark slip n slide, (which I must admit, from personal, uhh, use, is VERY fun!!! no better way to cool off after a bike workout than slide in a water drenched shark mouth!)
Here's a little peak into our walk, thanks to Magisto. I don't necessarily know if I would have included our conversation about Ticks into the chosen moments, but, ahh well, life in the sticks! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Early river rugrats...

We hardly ever get to enjoy our river this early in the year. In fact, starting yesterday they started their yearly release of water down the river which takes away our beach usually for the better part of 6 weeks.This year, however, we snuck in a few river afternoons, capitolizing on the wonderful weather we've been having before the big release. And....this year is classified as a dry year for us, (uggh) so they are releasing far less water down the river and we will get our beach back by early June...maybe! I guess this is one little plus on the whole negative side of looking at a drought year and possibly a very hot summer.
Regardless, we enjoy our beach so much. Forrest has a blast down there. He's not quite swimming yet, as the river is very cold, but he has a great time making sand castles, throwing rocks, and just enjoying our little piece of paradise. Talin is very cute as well, but has a bit of an issue with the sand, and dirty hands, and with his mama jumping in to cool off, (he'll have to get used to all of this and I'm sure he will!)
We're looking very much forward to this second home down on the bank of the Trinity River and enjoying time in paradise with our family and friends come this summer :-)