Sunday, June 29, 2008


A few weeks ago, we went on a trip to California for a Family Reunion with the Gaoiran side of the family. Eric went out a week early to help his uncle Jim rebuild a barn. The boys and I flew out a few days later. They were pretty good on the plane, but I was still stressed of course.

Before we went to Merced, I stopped in Roseville to visit my brother Daniel, his wife Rachel and their son Luke. Tyler calls him "Wuke".
If I ever left Utah I would want to live in Roseville. It is such a nice area with so much for the kids to do. I have never seen parks like these...
And that's not all...if the park is not enough, there are water play areas too! Talon absolutely loved this...

Tyler wasn't as interested in getting wet...he stayed on the perimeter most of the time.
Luke was loving it too...
We finally get to see daddy after a week without him.
We had lots of fun hanging out with Daniel, Rachel and Luke. Although I think we were a little much for Luke. He is a mellow child and used to a quiet environment. Yeah, that's not my boys. At the end of our stay Luke went up to Rachel and said, "Say good-bye kids". It still makes me laugh. He was ready to have his space back. I think Rachel was too as she was close to her delivery date and still let us stay in her home. So nice.

Growing up, Daniel and I were close. He was my little buddy. He is three years younger than me and we used to talk a lot growing up. Or should I say, I used to talk a lot. I am pretty sure he just listened. He must have been so annoyed at times. He was always so sweet and just listened to whatever I felt like talking about. So, when I wasn't depressed, stressed, anxious or frustrated, we had fun really, we did have fun together. Promise. We laughed a lot and played together. Growing up around my brothers meant that we did things boys do. We played "guns", Nintendo and computer games, rode bikes and skateboards, played outdoor hockey, basketball and went rollerblading. I have such great memories of spending those carefree hours playing with them. On this trip he had some time off work and so we had time to hang out together. We both have been so busy with our own lives that we haven't had time like that in years. I loved having that time with him.

After Roseville, we left for Merced and stayed with Eric's mom and her husband Dave. They are always great hosts and we feel at home in their home. We appreciate them making room for us. They bought a nice airbed for the kids to sleep on. Who knew that an airbed was comfortable? Oh the memories of starting out with it all full and then waking up on the ground because all the puffiness was gone. Destiny and Alyssa, their Crawford cousins, were being cozy on it altogether.

Eric's Aunt Susie and Uncle Jim have an almond tree orchard near Merced and they invited us out for a family reunion. Almost all his family was there. We missed you Val, Cooper and Uncle Nick. We had a blast and everyone enjoyed being together. It was great to see the family. Eric's dad, Tony, is in the black shirt)
Eric hasn't seen his cousins for 9 years! They all look alike, don't you think? His cousins are all boys and there are 2 boys to each family. We have 2 boys and Justin and Valerie have a boy. That's a lot of testosterone.
The little boys loved the "quad" and I have to admit it was fun driving through the beautiful almond trees.
We miss Justin! When he lived here, Talon and he formed a bond. Justin's dog is named Boston. Talon used to ask to visit "Jussin, Bosson" (Justin and Boston). Tyler followed suit and always asked to play with Justin. They both adore him.
Talon couldn't believe that there were other kids with his same last name. He said, "MOM, they have my same last name!" He and Tyler ran around all day with their Gaoiran 2nd cousins loving every minute of it.
What a trip!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Little Red 2008

On Saturday I completed my first Century Ride (100 miles) called the Little Red Riding Hood. It's an all women's ride and I was excited to ride with my sister Kim and friends Holly and Sonja. We drove to Logan for the ride and let me tell you my friends, the road was angry that day. Before the ride even started, we were having trouble. We passed some guys with a pump and realized that we had forgotten to pump our tires. Ooops. So, these nice gentlemen pumped them up for us and we were off to the start line.

Then we went to get our lunch stickers (that we didn't really need) and our t-shirts (that we picked up later) without realizing that the ride had already started. Not sure how I missed that. There was a loud cow bell they were ringing to communicate the start of the ride. Hmmm, no idea where my head was. It wasn't a race, so we thought it wouldn't really matter when we started. But what we didn't realize was that we were starting with all the people who were planning to ride at a very leisurely pace. (Check out the lady in pink behind me if you don't believe me. Hide-ho there neighbor!)

So, off we went and about a mile in I had to pull over and get my brakes fixed. No problem, they were fixed in a jiffy. No worries right? Not so. At mile 7.5 I had a flat tire that would not be fixed. Holly, Kim and I were on our phones with our husbands asking them what we should do. I seriously needed my man. (I have yet to change my own flat tire. My extra tube is my cell phone. He always rescues me, thanks babe.)

Sonja was my man for the day. As she was changing it, we realized that I had a pop in the actual tire, not just the tube. After I told Eric that, he said, "oh man, you're done". I said, "don't say that!!!@#" Sonja kept working on my tire and after about 15 minutes a bike "sheriff" volunteer came to my aid. He tried 3 more tubes and still couldn't get the air to stay. He said, "I think your done". After 4 tubes and a lot of frustration (See frustrated photo) I was heading into a SAG wagon (Support And Gear vehicle) close to tears.

Kim, Holly and Sonja went ahead and I told them I would call when I knew what was going to happen. I appreciated them waiting for me and commiserating with me. Then Holly yells "Sagger" as I am walking towards the vehicle. Love her.

So, Seriously? I wasn't going to be able to ride? You've got to be kidding me. I was looking for options on how I could still ride. Maybe I could just hurry and go the bike shop and get a tube. Maybe I could borrow a bike. Maybe I could buy a bike, surely Eric wouldn't mind. I think after him telling me that "I was done" it would be justified.

So, I'm sitting in the SAG wagon awaiting the verdict and I say a quick, earnest prayer. Silly to pray for such things you might think, but I really wanted to ride. I even asked Eric to pray. It always works--I lifted my head from my prayer and the Bingham Cyclery Van pulls up. He just happens to have a tire that he will give me for free and he can fix it on the spot. Hallelujah!

So, I'm back on my bike after being on the side of the road for 45-60 minutes and am as happy as could be. I am so blinded by euphoria that I don't even think of the time or realize that I left my water bottles in the SAG wagon.

I meet up with the girls at the next rest stop and I look around for the SAG wagon that had my bottles, but it was already in route to the next location. I am still not thinking of the time. I have no watch and no working bike computer. A fellow-rider tells me the time and I am in shock. She said it was 10:30 and we had to get to the next location by 11:00 in order to ride the 100 mile loop. That's 15 miles in 30 minutes. Bee inserted in bonnet.

Frantic is how I would describe the next 30-45 minutes. You might be wondering why I didn't call it and do the 80 miles instead. Remember, I am an all-or-nothing gal I had no other option in my mind at that point. This is also the first time I have attempted a Century and I wanted to finish it. So, I make it to the cut-off and wait for Sonja at the rest stop. Kim was originally planning on doing the 36 mile route and Holly wasn't sure. A while later I got a text from Kim that said she and Holly were doing the 80 mile loop! I couldn't have been more excited. I knew they had it in them and if I didn't have that mechanical issue in the beginning, we would have made the 100 together.

Kim and Holly had a great experience working with other riders and I should have tried to hook on to a train as well, but I had this constant gnawing anxiety that kept pushing me to get to the end. I couldn't mellow out until the ride was over. When I finished, I was elated.

The best thing about these rides is that the money goes to a great cause. Little Red Riding Hood raises money for the Hunstman Cancer Institute, specifically for breast cancer. I was happy to be supporting those affected by breast cancer and especially happy to be supporting a friend of the family, Susan. We wore our cute pink Fat Cyclist Jerseys to show our support. Her husband Elden, nicknamed the Fat Cyclis
t, is a long time friend of my brother-in-law, Dug. I started reading Elden's blog,, after Eric (aka Sleepy) finished RAWROD in May and now I am hooked. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry.

So, off to the next ride to support something good. I am planning to ride Bike MS at the end of this month on June 28th. My aunt Becci died from MS (Multiple Sclerosis) 14 years ago. She was only 32. I am planning to ride in honor of her. I have to raise $250 to do it. If you feel inclined to contribute a few dollars to the cause here is my official link:

Click here to get to my personal page and make a secure, online donation.