Monday, September 24, 2012


Azalea has gotten so good at biking with training wheels that we thought she might be ready to try biking in tandem with a grown up.  My stepmom passed down to us a tagalong that has worked its way through her family.  A tagalong is one name for a bike attachment that has handlebars, a seat, pedals, and one wheel that allows a kid to bike with someone else.  It turns a regular bike into a tandem bike.  This tagalong has been hanging out in our yard for a week, teasing Azalea with the possibility of a ride.  But alas it was lacking a critical pin that is required to hold the whole contraption in place.

Tonight while I was at yoga, Ian took the girls to the hardware store to get a pin.  When I got home they were impatiently awaiting my bike (I bike to yoga, you see) to which to hook up the tagalong.  Behind the tagalong, he had hooked up the trailer so that Nori could attend the bike ride as well.  They had their helmets on and were dancing around the yard, chatting about their upcoming biking adventure.   

Azalea was beside herself with excitement.  She could not wait to try "her new bike."  

She stole the camera from me so that she personally could capture her new bike in all of its glory.  

photo credit:  Azalea
Unfortunately I was unable to take any more pictures of the event because chaos ensued.  We tried to help Azalea get comfortable on the tagalong, but it wiggled a bit too much for her taste.  We thought our error might have been starting on the grass, so we moved the operation to the sidewalk, and finally to the street.  I ran alongside the sequential bike contraption holding onto Azalea's seat, as one would to for a kid on a bike that WASN'T tethered to a regular bike.  But the poor dear was screaming and shaking, so we stopped the bike train at our neighbor's driveway.

After she dried her tears she asked for the camera.  She took this self portrait.

("How dare you, new bike.  You were supposed to be AWESOME.")  photo credit:  Azalea
She is definitely my child.  My mantra is often "no need" when it comes to taking risks.  However, this will no longer be a risk issue after she's had the proper training and experience.  See, isn't this me, too?  Seek knowledge and practice knowledge, dispel fear.  Works every time.  

I say good for you, kid, for being so eager to try something new.  We'll try it again soon, and it will be less scary.  Then we'll try it again, and again, and before you know it it'll be as awesome as you thought it'd be with little fear to bear.  I love you, Miss Bud.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Life to the fullest

I sat down tonight to post about all of the awesome things I have done since my PET scan, but I can't find the camera.  Oh, well.  I'll just have to forgo the pics at this time, which is particularly unfortunate because in addition to photos of my cuties, I have a photo of the most powerful man in the world!

(photo added on September 24, 2012)
I saw the President!  In person!  Ian, my sister Holly, and I waited in line for an hour, then stood in the hot sun for an additional two hours, but it was totally worth it.  His words moved me to tears!  It's like he was speaking directly to me and my family:  veterans rights, education, women's rights, education, food safety, education.  His energy and charisma were palpable.  I am not a political person and don't go to rallies or straw polls, but when the President comes to your state four times in a month, it's time to get a little bit political.  Needless to say I am now the proud owner of a Women for Obama button.  Heck yes.  Thanks, Hol.  

I went camping!  We joined my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for a cosy group-camp.  We cooked, we hiked, we biked, we threw rocks in the creek.  We ate grandma's zucchini bread, aunt Jacque's taco dip, my fresh golden beet chips, uncle Rod's pancakes, and aunt Lyddia's fried eggplant, picked from grandpa's garden.  It got a bit hot during the day but cooled down enough at night for pleasant sleeping in our eight-person tent.  The girls love playing in that tent.  Oh my goodness, and the highlight of camping was definitely when my girls put on a show for us in the mini-ampitheater (gravel "stage", eight benches for "stadium seating").  They took turns telling stories, jokes, and performing little dances.  Children are so amazing.  

I finished a manuscript (high fives, co-authors)!  I wish I could say I submitted it, but it's a long story and suffice it to say that I don't have the internet link required to submit.  But it's done and I'm not changing another word (so don't read it again, Tom).  

I attended a Kiddical mass!  A friend of mine organized a three-mile bike ride with kids and families (a kiddical mass), and the girls and I thought it would be fun now that the weather has finally cooled down. Since Azalea rides a bike with training wheels and Eleanor is still triking it, I decided to haul both girls in a trailer.  Ugh!  That was a load!  The girls together weigh nearly 70 pounds, so the weight of the trailer is probably negligible.  Needless to say I did not execute the whole route (it began uphill and against the wind, burn!), but it was great to participate.

I went to a barn dance tonight!  We ran into some new friends earlier today, and they invited us to a free barn dance hosted by the Onion Creek Band.  We had a ball!  I wish you could see the look on Azalea's face when the circle closed in an everyone raised their arms with a "woo!"  Her expression was joy and surprise with a touch of intrigue, like she couldn't believe that grown ups could be so much fun.  Eleanor had fun, too, but seemed a bit bewildered.  She broke down when I let go of her hand to step away from her, as prescribed by the dance.  That's when I picked her up and we became Azalea's partner.  We're already looking forward to our next barn dance.  

I still have tiny flights of nerves from time to time, but those are getting to be fewer and farther between. Perhaps they will never go away, but I am learning how to make them pass.  Recently in yoga we learned about addressing our fears.  In meditation you find the place in your body where the fear is physically manifesting (in my case, my heart center).  You simply breath into it.  You slowly take a breath into your lungs and crowd that fear in its location.  Then force that fear out with your exhale.  You do this again and again until you no longer feel the fear.  It's pretty amazing and kinda fun.    

Barbara Kingsolver said, "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope."  My hope is simple, and by living so very much I am residing within that hope.