For the first 2 years of Zander’s life, I thought this day would never happen. Zander has been the best thing we’ve ever done and raising him has become the craziest and most exciting thing for us. With that in mind, before we had him I couldn’t have imagined loving anyone or anything this much. I didn’t know how much you could love a person and I only hope my heart can continue to grow and have room for another!!

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I was finally hitting the stride of being back on my bike and feeling like myself again after weaning Zander. I won’t ramble too much about why we chose to have a second kid, but I know this will be good for Zander and for us all. We just told him the other day that we are having another baby, to which he replied, “Me too!” He tells us that he wants a brother who is the same age as him and also named Alexander. We have a lot of explaining to do.

My goal with this pregnancy is to stay as healthy as possible and to educate Zander. When he tells me that he has a baby in his belly also (and likes to bump bellies with me), we take the time to talk about the job of mommies and what his job is and how that is changing. He is excited and tells me that he can help a baby with everything. He knows that babies put everything into their mouths and it’s his job to make sure things aren’t laying around for the baby to grab.

My boys

My boys living the good life!

We are embarking upon a new and different adventure. Last time, I was still able to take relaxing time for myself during the pregnancy; the world revolved around me, the pregnant lady. That’s all different with a three year-old running around! I am thrilled with my wonderful little family, our bike shop and the way our lives are going. I continue to learn every day from this life experiment and am blessed to have such a wonderful family, community and friends around us. This will truly be a rich mother’s day with much excitement ahead!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It all started with Maria. She came into the shop and ended up falling in love with mountain biking and the idea of something bigger… by bike. Maria has an amazing excitement about her and she wanted to do some fun stuff with her new friends and bike from the mountains.

I needed to put together a way for women to learn about bikepacking and for other women to share what they know. We have a lot of local badasses who are more than happy to teach and share. I also needed a little getaway adventure myself.

Maria and I set a date and I rallied a small group of local gals. This would be a trial-run of sorts, so I didn’t want to open it up to all my regular women customers just yet. I hosted a clinic to introduce the ladies and also get a gear-list out and teach them about bikepacking. A few ladies had to get some gear items, which led us to refreshing our bikepacking gear section of the store and the start of online tutorials (coming soon.)

The weather forecast was getting grim, but we all agreed that it would be a good test. No one bailed and six of us showed up at the shop last Friday with incoming snow and hail. We had hopes that we’d ride out of it and down into some sunshine, but knew very well that we could have a entirely ugly freezing trip and night in the canyon. When six women clear their schedules we’re going to rough it and make it happen!

The start took us up and over the foggy southridge and into Garner Valley where a little sun opened up and I spun like crazy on my singlespeed across the valley. We took the Stagecoach 400 route up and over Thomas Mountain and into Anza Valley where the clouds danced around us. Stopping at Sunshine Market in Anza, the girls loaded up on last minute items (like meals they’d forgotten in haste!)

We spun out Terwilliger and up to the top of Coyote Canyon. A few last-minute adjustments to our heavy loads and we were descending the rocky road which dropped us into a little wind protection with the canyon walls. The canyon, normally a little sandy, was in the best shape I’ve ever seen it. There must have been a bit of rain come through the canyon in the past month as the dirt was hard packed and wavy with ripples from the flow. Only half of us had been down the canyon before and the newbies were visibly amazed at the beauty of the canyon floor and low sunlight on the walls.

We got to the cabin just before sunset, which was beautiful and exactly what we were hoping for. Some trail angels (thanks guys!) had stashed a little extra firewood and water at the cabin for us, which made our evening very pleasant by a warm campfire.

The temps dropped quickly and the wind picked up. This put us all in our bivies pretty early, but we all welcomed a 9:00 bedtime, especially under the desert stars. It was a cold night and some of the women were testing out very lightweight systems … which didn’t work that well. We got sprinkled on a little. Considering we were expecting a rain or possibly snow, it wasn’t bad at all! The cabin was a little of an icebox really, but when I woke up at 5:30 Krista and I were the only ones outside. Everyone else had ducked into the cabin to get out of the wind and looming rain and had varied amounts of sleep and comfort. I guess when you get out of a house with a senile dog, 2 year old and very busybody husband – sleeping in whipping wind and a little rain is just pleasant and you get about 8 hours of good sleep! (Sorry girls who froze!!)

I woke up at 5:30 and tried to nudge Krista who just informed me of the time and covered her head back up in her bivy. I then lit up the Esbit stove and made some VERY strong camp coffee while taking pics of the horizon lighting up. What a way to start the day. I even tried sitting my coffee next to Krista’s bivy and peeled the bivy open a little allowing the scent to waft in – not a chance.

The girls started stirring and I began portioning out (and watering down) my coffee for them. We put Maria’s Jetboil to the test cooking oatmeal and hot beverages for everyone as we talked about our evening and night and what we had in store for day 2. We got rolling at about 7:30 in the nice low light of Coyote Canyon.


We quickly hit all the rock beds which improve your technical skill in the matter of an hour. If you walk them all you’ll never get down the canyon, so you start rolling anything you can; thankfully, we all had big wheels! The upper willows was very overgrown; we did a little walking but also some bulldozer style riding where your wheels had a track but your hands just plowed the grasses on the sides as you rode through. Not being able to see the trail well, it required a little faith in the person in front of you and faith that the trail wasn’t going to drop into an unknown creek crossing or run you into a big rock. I’ve never seen the willows this overgrown. It added to the epic quality of our little ride.

After the willows, the canyon opens up to jeepers and offroaders. We descended the rock-crawlers’ rock gardens (which Laurie conquered for her first time ever!) then spun a while on the sandy roads of the lower canyon. I never mentioned it, in fear of being proven wrong, but things were just going so smoothly. We had no mechanicals or major injuries – yay!

The lower willows water crossing was deep, but knowing that we were almost out I rode through it and the girls followed. This was a first for Maria I think and she was elated. I saw her stop before riding through – probably wondering what the heck we were doing – and then just follow suit. We cheered her through and it was one last new exciting accomplishment for her trip. It was great spinning out the bottom of the road and chatting with the girls. They were all on a high and many of them had a new pride and energy from this adventure.

We grabbed some mexican food in Borrego Springs while waiting for the guys and unwound and shared stories about ourselves and where we’d come from. This group will surely all be friends for a long time. Thank you to Wendy, Krista, Ann, Laurie and Maria for making my weekend so much fun and so memorable. This is the start of a cool thing!

More pics here.

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Mommy and Zander are going up the mountain!

This past Friday I had one of the funnest rides I’ve had in a while. I woke up early to sneak out the door before Zander was awake and get in a ride. Before I finished coffee, the little guy came stumbling out of his room. Since it was Friday, I knew that Brendan had a lot of prep to do for the shop. Thursday was busy and Friday would surely be, as well.

My first thought; no ride for me. On second thought, I’ll just take him with me!

I asked Zander if he wanted to go climb a mountain this morning. He said he wanted to go ride HIS bike with me and I explained that I’d be pulling him in the trailer for this one because it was a big mountain. He was on-board and ate his oatmeal so he could get energy for helping me up the mountain.

I told Zander that there would be steep spots in the road and he would have to cheer me on to help me. We loaded up and got out by about 8. We rode through town and I could hear him singing in the trailer. “Mommy and Zander are going up the mountain.” Even if I had to stop the ride here, it would have been perfect.

ImageWe started climbing the control road towards Pine Cove and Zander said he wanted to go home. It was too bumpy. I was bummed, cause I really wanted to get in a ride. I asked him if he could hang in there so we could go up and see the lake. I also adjusted his blanket like a pillow and he agreed to continue on for a little bit.

ImageWe got to a viewpoint in the road where he could see Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet. He stood up in the trailer and explained that he wanted to go fishing now. I told him that it was still a long ways away and we’d have to save that for another day. Ready to go back down, since that was the bargain, I asked him if he was ready. He said that he wanted to keep going up and “climbing the mountain.” That made my day. As we continued climbing, when we got to a steep pitch and I had to granny-gear it, Zander would help me get up by yelling “go! mommy! go!” I definitely had to make it without walking, then.

When we got up to Optimator and another viewpoint, he got out and was very proud of what we had done. He wanted to throw rocks for a bit and was stomping around exclaiming that “We climbed a mountain! We climbed a mountain!”

ImageNow, we’d have to go back down, which I was somewhat dreading. The road was a little washboarded and he’d surely not like the bumps, since he complained about it being bumpy on the way up. We started descending and I heard him yelling something at me. I stopped and asked if he was OK and he began laughing like a crazy kid and shouting out, “Go faster, mom! Go faster! Go this way and go faster!”

Oh my gosh, what a ride it was going back down. We swooped the turns wide banking up on the sides and he had a blast and I could hear his laughter the whole way down. That’s my little guy. What a success. This was our first dirt ride in a long time and the longest and hardest I’d done with him. All together it was a couple hours and as soon as we hit pavement, he fell asleep. Good thing he got a workout, too!

OK, I’m not suggesting this as a training method, but this is how it went down!

It’s been a hectic few months, leaving one job, working 12 hour days at the next and now back to being full-time at home with Zander while trying to build up my web design company and work on Hub and Siren stuff and move our house twice! Brendan’s been nagging me to get on the bike and I’ve had a few good rides in the past 4 months, but have been averaging a day a week. Not good training!

We’ve been planning on doing the Never Forget 100miler in San Diego for quite some time with hopes of getting a sitter. That wasn’t coming together for quite a while, so I thought I had an easy out. Our good friends Doug and Missy (who Zander considers his aunt uncle) volunteered to watch Zander about a month back. Then, four days before the race, our Dave Dog got sick, so I was thinking I’d have to stay home with the kiddo and dog anyhow. Everything fell together and the dog miraculously got better overnight (he had a good bowel movement, which he hadn’t had for two days) and before I knew it, we were loaded up for a couple of days in San Diego.

On the way down, Brendan wanted to get in a little riding on his new John Henry, so I picked him up in Anza. He ended up riding with Daryl, who just bought a Salsa from us and was touring it back to San Diego for it’s maiden voyage. They showed up in Anza an hour and a half later than I’d expected. Another excuse off the table :-)

We jammed down to the pre-race meeting, which was filled with questions about how far apart the aid stations were and a few useful questions, which I promise I did listen to.

The race start was very fast and dusty. I found myself being the only woman lined up for the 100miler. It was a bit of a let-down, but since there were only 22 men lined up, probably proportional. Almost everyone was signed up for the 50miler option. In the first 5 miles, the small pack spread out. The pro men took off and I found myself very comfortably riding with Brendan on his singlespeed. The tentative plan, supposing neither of us was a whole lot faster than the other, was to have a good ride together. We both understood that if one of us blew up, the other would finish it off as a race. The first 50 mile lollipop wasn’t bad. We raced out along lake hodges and did a big loop at black mountain. On our way back in, Brendan got a flat… gashed his sidewall. I stayed at the aid station with him for a while and fueled up, but decided to soft-pedal to the turnaround. I went on ahead because he was riding a singlespeed and I was sure he’d catch me on the big hill at the turnaround.

During the pre-race meeting, Robert told us that the turnaround was at the bottom of Raptor Ridge. There would be a yellow Xterra there and a sign. For some reason, I thought I had to pedal through the flats, climb the ridge descend the other side, and turn around there (at the other bottom.) This was pretty firm in my head, which is why I pedaled away from Brendan while he was fixing his tire. I was sure he’d catch me going up the first side of the ridge, if not, after I turned around coming back over the ridge. There was a guy out riding on flats with baggy shorts. I didn’t want to sit behind him on the climb up the ridge, so I blasted past and climbed to the top. I passed a few people on the climb up as I didn’t want Brendan to catch me until I was heading back. About half way down the other side of the ridge, an image popped into my head… there was a yellow xterra at the bottom of the ridge… before the climb! I had just wasted at least 20 minutes climbing up this hill, which many people were walking because it’s so steep and loose!!

I stopped on the descent and asked a guy coming down if I’d missed the 100miler turnaround. He affirmed and I began a very shameful climb back up this hill with hopes to catch Brendan. When I got back down, the volunteer with the xterra said that my husband had waited around for a while, but then took the turnaround about 15 minutes ago!!! I was devastated. Riding the rest solo didn’t sound like fun at all. Now I would have to hammer like hell to catch him. That’s exactly what I did. I knew that I had gears and this was a big flat section, so I got on it. I would know in about 5 miles if I had made any ground on him, by the first aid station. I was hoping to see him there… but didn’t. The volunteers said he left about 3 minutes ago, and then one of them looked up the trail and saw him walking a techy section. This wasn’t a small hill, either and I still had to fuel up and get water, since I did all that extra riding and already worked so hard to get back to here. I slammed back some water and several orange wedges, threw some gels in my feedbag and climbed that hill much harder than the last time. I got over the hill only to start climbing and weaving around rocks around lake hodges. I knew that Brendan would be faster than me on his singlespeed, so I pushed myself to stand and climb, instead of gearing down. That was the only way I’d catch him.

Just before the Lake Hodges stuff got super fast, I saw him again and yelled. I was so happy when he heard me and waved. I think he was also relieved to have someone to ride the last 35 miles with. It was now getting hot out, so we were both losing motivation to go fast. I had all but blew myself up trying to catch him, so we had to stop in some shade to refuel. I felt like I was going into a deficit and needed to catch up on calories and hydration. I added some perpetuem to my bottle, since I was only running electrolytes and could tell I needed food. Bad mistake in this heat. We still had to climb a lot out towards black mountain and I think all the blood went to my bloated stew of a stomach. I was beat and not happy about it.

When we got to the aid station at mile 70, the volunteer asked Brendan “How’s she treating you?” Brendan asked, “The wife or the bike?” Of course the volunteer was trying to have small talk about Brendan’s Siren, but his timing couldn’t have been better. We were both getting short with one another and this was a good break. I had come into the aid station on a low note and left with a smile. We both kept trying to bring it back to being positive in this heat; Brendan’s a little better at it :-) We stopped on the back side of the loop to reapply sunblock and take a break for a minute. At this point, we wanted to hurry up and get back and I was definitely looking forward to seeing Zander. I was done with being on my bike and so was my butt!

We had more ups and downs on the way back and kept taking gels when we were down. This kept our heads in the game, but we were both getting a bit sore. I think I motivated him on the flats and he motivated me on the climbs. I have to say that I underestimated the climbing in this course, because I just looked at the numbers. There were MANY climbs and all of them steep. They didn’t last long, but they took a toll. I was running my new Lynskey Pro29 fully rigid with a new carbon fiber Whisky fork. I was very surprised at how comfortable the titanium was and also the fork. Don’t get me wrong, my back and shoulders hurt in the end of the day, but being able to ride 100 miles, off-the-couch, was a pretty good testament to the bike. I’m very happy with the geometry of this ride and will have more of a bike review soon.

When we finally got back, we were both covered in dirt and the expo had died down a lot. Brendan ended up with 3rd in the Men’s SS 100miler and of I won the women’s pro 100miler. We got snow cones, belt buckles and plaques then headed up to go get Zander. He had played so hard all day that he didn’t nap. He went to the aquarium, a parade and the beach and was very excited to tell us all about it. We ran over to a restaurant, got food to go and Zander passed out on my lap. Doug and Missy had to meet up with family for dinner and the Colliers made it a very early night at the hotel.

What a fun race, and all of the other racers and the volunteers were wonderful. We caught up with many hubsters and had a great time. I can’t wait to do it again.

“Well, we’re not in the middle of nowhere, but we can see it from here.”

This past weekend was one of the better adventures I’ve had in a while. The guys have been trying to get sections of The Stagecoach GPS finished… only they have a weakness for stopping in a pub at night and it just hasn’t happened. So, they sent in the “A-team.”

Sarah came out from San Diego and met up with me in Brawley where I had a speaking/screening engagement at The Rock Coffee Shop and Café. After screening Ride The Divide (a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fundraiser) and entertaining a thorough Q&A, we headed over to Sandra and Carter’s place for a late night of map scheming.

Day 1:

We woke up at 5:30, packed up and headed out. Brendan dropped us at Christmas circle in Borrego Springs and headed back to Idyllwild for a 3-day Zanderventure.

From here, Sarah and I, excited like school-girls, headed south in high gear! We dove through the “Texas Dip” which was our first climb of the morning – it’s enough to wake you up!

Heading east on Old Kane Spring Road, the excitement was building as we started feeling pretty far “out there.”  We dipped and dodged around and through perpendicular washes along this powerline road while also ducking out of the way of dunebuggies and atv’ers on our way to Split Mountain Road.

Sarah and I haven’t ridden long distances together, so this was a good opportunity to chat and get to know each other, a little better. We were able to ride side-by-side and catch up on all things bike and non-bike. She’s a pretty rad chica and it was great to hear she just got a part time teaching gig. I won’t lie, we also get to gab about the guys when we have a girls ride, which is great fun!

Split Mountain Road took us to Fish Creek Wash, which is one of the cruxes of this route. It’s also a geological dreamscape.

After climbing for about 5 hours through sand and again dodging off-roaders (probably the busiest weekend of the year in the wash) Sarah and I had both skirted our mental pain-caves and the chat minimized.

It was a welcome break when we could get out of the sun for a map check, to make sure we were still on track in the main wash. We did an excellent job of not veering off route, which was very important since we were running the gps track for the upcoming race.We finally reached the “Pinyon Drop”, which is a rock face that very few people have ever ridden down and quite a hike-a-bike chore to go up.After the drop, you head up through the squeeze (the wash is usually done in the opposite direction by motorized types) then crested the summit of Pinyon Mtn. road before beginning a very zippy 7.5 mile downhill to S-2 (the very windy “Earthquake Valley”) where we stopped for the night at the Stagecoach RV resort.We had considered continuing on to the bottom of Oriflame climb at night, but it was getting very windy and cold and the woman at the convenience store offered to upgrade us from a tent site to a cabin for free – it was settled. We got the key to our one room cabin, which looked a little like an 8×10 shed, only it was insulated and had a log cabin facade on the front.

Day 2: 

We reached the bottom of Oriflame canyon around 7:30 and began the climb. We ascended for about 2 hours fighting wind gusts that threatened to throw us into the canyon and adding layers as we cut through the clouds. It was a very cold and rocky, but beautiful, climb. At the top of Oriflame, we took Pedro Fages trail to the Sunrise hwy. This was fast and fun and a very welcome change.Once we got to the highway, we crossed over and hit La Cima trail, which paralleled the highway, and kept us out of the path of traffic. There was a little more climbing on the trail, but with the terrain contours, so much gentler than the highway. La Cima hooked us up to Lucky 5 trail, which had a bit of horse wear, but was very scenic and special.After Lucky 5 trail, we hopped on the Sunrise highway climbing to the top of Noble Canyon (a very popular destination trail.) I had never been to Noble before and didn’t do enough homework to realize it was buried in snow at the top. This was a good snowmobike experience and Sarah’s first time riding on snow – it’s always exciting!

Descending Noble was a blast; you start around 5,800 ft and descend down into the desert near Pine Valley.  Coming out near the bottom of a road they call l’alpe d’wheeze, we began a 30-minute climb where we gained 1,100 feet of elevation in just over three miles.

From here, we descended on dirt for about a mile until hitting the Indian Creek Trail. We took a left and began a pretty rocky climb that would mellow out before winding through some beautiful meadows and bringing us to a primitive campsite. At the campsite, we hit a blazing fast doubletrack road for about 4.5 miles, and flew down to highway 79, with black clouds looming overhead.

Sarah and I were freezing by the time we got to the bottom of the dirt road. I was very worried about getting caught out in weather as we didn’t have great gear to be out in rain at these temps on a route we didn’t know well. I was a little confused about what lie ahead and just wanted to get us both warmed up, plus we were both out of food since we hadn’t had a resupply for the entire day. We decided to turn off the GPS and blast down to Descanso for the night.

We pulled into the Descanso fruit stand and market just before dark only to find out there was no lodging in Descanso – oops! Fortunately, the woman who ran the fruit stand offered us a ride BACK to Pine Valley where they had a nice motel room waiting for us. At least it was only 5 miles by highway.We got a room at the only hotel in Pine Valley, grabbed burgers at Major’s Diner, and crashed out after cleaning a bit of mud off of ourselves and our bikes. Our plan was to get a ride back to the route in the morning, which usually isn’t difficult for two smiling women to do :-)

Day 3:

Major’s Diner opened at 6am and we rolled in at about 6:30. There were a few trucks outside, but no real suspects. The group of high-school kids seemed hung over and the middle-aged guys who owned most of the trucks were already paid up by the time we sat down. After getting a couple mountain muffins (english muffins with bacon and egg) we also grabbed a large sweet roll in a ziplock for later in the day.

The waitress told us about Ernie, a retired cowboy who usually hangs out at the gas station next door. She said she trusts him, so he’d be the one to ask for a ride. We headed over to the gas station to find Ernie – big grey beard and black cowboy hat. If he didn’t have a pipe, he should have! We interrupted his morning bench warming outside the gas station and he was happy to help us out. He told his friend, he’d catch him a little later. I’m sure they resumed right where they left off after Ernie’s morning adventure of dropping us back at the trail.

Ernie dropped us back at the bottom of the fire-road and we bundled up and hit some great singletrack. We then jumped back on the highway and descended for a couple of miles before slipping through a gate onto the Merrigan trail – a very fun doubletrack which took us back into Descanso.

From Descanso, we climbed up to the top of the ridge then took a screaming descent on Old Viejas road to the Viejas reservation. Here we jumped on some twisty fun singletrack paralleling the interstate. I love looking down at the “other half” living life on the interstate going 85mph. The singletrack took us into Alpine, a very cool little town, where we quickly breezed through to avoid the temptations of creature comforts – we still had a ways to go.

Leaving Alpine, we headed through a residential area before cutting back out into wilderness. This skirted Loveland Reservoir, Syucan Peak and McGinty Mountain before dropping us into Rancho San Diego.


Winding and climbing through the trail system next to Sweetwater Reservoir, the work for the day wasn’t over, but it was rewarding with views of a beautiful wetland and well preserved little getaway.

After the reservoir, we started getting close to civilization with horse trails, and bike paths along the sweetwater river. We passed under interstates where homeless made shelter and rode along the river all the way to the harbor. The harbor was a welcome site, but as Sarah admitted, will be difficult for anyone living in the area as it feels pretty close to home. It was nice smelling all the restaurants and the ocean at this point. We headed north along a bike route and eventually streets to tie into the GPS route Brendan, Zander and I created weeks ago.

Success!

By this point, Sarah and I were a bit spent and happy to head to her house for pizza and unwinding. This was the best women’s ride I’ve ever had. Sarah was a blast to follow on the dowhills and we both pushed each other on the climbs. We kept moving and had lots to chat about, also.

Brendan and Zander met us at Sarah and Ernesto’s house and I got one of the best baby hugs ever. This was the first time I’d been away from Zander overnight! and it was for 3 hard days of pedaling.

More Pictures

      

Back at the salt mine now, with this to dream about!

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For New Years, we headed down to the desert for a ride that would start my year off right. We had an invite from a bunch of Julian and Imperial Valley guys. Not really knowing what was cooking, we just knew they were a fun and strong crew to ride with.

We dropped Zander off at his grandma’s so we could hit the road at 6am. I was really looking forward to a long day in the saddle with Brendan, as we don’t get that too often and this was kind of a birthday ride for him.

After meeting everyone at Smitty’s place in Plaster City, we loaded up 15 people and their bikes like sardines into 3 trucks.

We headed down washes and out some fun doubletrack to see old stagecoach stops, beautiful arroyos and eventually skirt a somewhat-eerie, active bombing range.

The guys hammered and somehow I found myself at the front of the pack. Maybe it was because they didn’t want to throw elbows with a female, but it sure made me feel good. We hammered through open desert in the big ring for about 5 hours. It was nice to open up on flats. Here’s a sampling of the pics from the ride. Enjoy

Why I love my mom (pictured with my niece):

1. She’s a beautiful person.

2. She always works very hard – at everything she does.

3. She has a HUGE heart and taught me to love everyone.

4. She is very resourceful and has always found ways to accomplish what she wanted.

5. She taught me the joy of making things with my hands.

6. I don’t think she’s afraid of ANYTHING.

7. She has always put up with my crazy ideas and impulsiveness.

8. Even though I still challenge her and push her buttons, she’s still always there for me :-)

9. She is a very strong woman.

10. She’s an adventurer.

Why I love being a mom:

1. Alexander

2. Book Time

3. Giggle Time

4. Hiking with him in a backpack, or riding with him in the trailer.

5. He has helped me to slow my roll and enjoy life.

6. He’s half Brendan.

7. I don’t ever have a dull moment anymore, thanks to that kiddo and his amazing sense of humor and personality.

8. He gives me hugs and is starting to give me kisses… at all the right times!

9. He has helped me to realize that it’s not about me, and it’s pretty darn good too.

10. He’s a great dancing partner.

Zander’s first outing (when he was 2 weeks old) was the International Date Festival in Indio. Beyond the great date shakes,  it’s also the Riverside County Fair with rides, dart games, the s.c.r.a.p. gallery, a petting zoo and lots of other silliness.

Now that he’s a year old, Zander got a bit more out of it.

We started with the s.c.r.a.p. gallery which is a display of recycled art and always has some fun bikes on exhibit.

From there, we went to the petting zoo, where Zander saw some donkeys, a huge hog, and lots of energetic kids running around with handfuls of a birdseed looking mix of treats for the animals.

Now, last year I don’t even remember seeing dart games, basketball throwing scams (picture very ovalized hoop that BARELY fits a basketball) and air gun shootout games. It could have been because I was 2 weeks post postpartum and pretty out of it. So, this year, we were set on winning the kiddo a HUGE stuffed animal. It didn’t exactly work out that way and about $30 later we had a 4″ tall monkey, which he LOVES, thanks to Brendan’s skills with darts.

Last year, we ate a good sampling of fair food to include terriyaki-on-a-stick, fresh squeezed lemonade, date shakes, a huge pretzel, corn-on-the cob, and who knows what else… also related to the post-partum condition where I wanted to eat everything in sight. This year, we limited it to the pretzel, lemonade and obligatory date shake. It probably helped that we found a superb Mexican food place in Indio and ate before we went to the festival.

By the end of the day, we were all a bit spent, but, it was great getting off of the cold mountain and we will definitely keep the tradition going – especially for  the collection of photo booth pics we’ll build.

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Check out “A History of the Sky: A dynamic time-lapse visualization of the sky for an entire year” at the SF Exploratorium.

Watch it full-screen in HD.

Old Rambles

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