Monday, June 24, 2013

Milestones and such

Another milestone in the family life.  We cleaned their room this weekend!  Oh, and we removed the front jail bars from Janny's crib.  Now she can escape as needed-- not always a good thing, but it is working so far. 

Jill is also on sort of day 2 of trying to potty train Janny.  Today was quite unsuccessful.  At least before daddy's help just before bedtime.  Beginner's luck?  The impetus for the potty training push was a rather disgusting incident that Jill would rather not talk about.  Let's just say that a diaper and the pre-freedom crib were involved.
 Maybe in our next post, I'll show some pictures of our garden.  It's not Midwest Living quality (thanks for the subscription, great grandpa!), but we're getting better at it.  We've been eating various salad greens for a month now, but these are probably coming to an end.  Cherries were much reduced this year compared to last but they were delicious.  Black rasberries are ripening.  We had about 3 last year, and now we have maybe 100!  The girls ate some carrots last night.
Both girls are having fun with rhymes lately.  Sometimes proper english words are used, sometimes they are made up.  My favorite is window-pindow (p is a good default when trying to find a rhyme).

We had our company picnic on Sunday at Allerton Park.  The whole family enjoyed some corndogs, shaved ice, popcorn, and funnel cakes (I ate about 1/3 of one before wisely calling it quits).  A fancier dinner was served later, but we needed to get home for our summer Bible study.  Other highlights included live music, bouncy houses, and mini-golf.  I'm a big fan of private industry!  I didn't get a chance to meet Stephen.  Maybe next time.

I joined the Wildcard Wed night ride for the first time in ages last week.  It was pretty close to a no-drop ride, but still fast enough for me to feel some pain.  One thing I had forgotten was to never take a hard pull just before Dave Stone takes his.  I barely hung on a for a few of the surges.  Since I missed our local crits this year, I'm hoping to do the local cx race.  Must train harder!

The softball regular season is winding down.  If tonight's game counted (we were up 22-6 in the bottom of the 4th when a lightning storm hit), our record is a comfortable 4-4.  My hitting is coming around after a bad stretch before vacation.  I have yet to rip one down the right field line, but that's partly due to pitchers trying to work the outside corner on me (or just happen to toss them there).

Finally, I am getting frustrated with my run of broken bike parts lately.  Granted, nearly of this stuff was used when I bought it.  And most of it is around 10-20 years old.    That said, I have broken
2 saddles (plastic bases cracked)
seat post (dented carbon fiber at clamp)
crank arm (TA pro vis at left axle)
pedals (bushing worn out... Request to all pedal makers:  use real bearings please)
bottom bracket -- clicking that won't go away
left down tube shifter (corroded so as to not really move)
water bottle cage (today at work)
Both of my good bikes are making difficult to diagnose, somewhat random clicks right now.  I think the issue with the Look is the really poorly designed seat tube cluster.  Maybe the problem on the Boulder are the spd pedals.  Nothing big, but I am easily driven nuts by creaking/clicking noises on my bikes.  My rides are needed to clear my mind and relax.  Random noises make me want to grind my teeth (not quite like Tyler back in the day). 

By the way, ever since Lance confessed, I find my interest in pro cycling ever more reduced.  Maybe it's because the mystery of doping is _REALLY_ gone now?  Maybe because no pro has an interesting back story.  Maybe because my commitment to training is waning.  Or maybe I'm just getting old and my kids are crushing these parts of my old life into exhaustion.

Whatever the case, I'm still a happy guy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

CA summer vacation

Just about a week ago, we returned from our summer CA adventure.  But it wasn't just our family that took the trip -- the Halls and Aunt Jan took their first trip out to the Bay Area.  9 additional people took residence at my parents' house plus RV parked in the driveway.  The girls greatly enjoyed sleeping in the RV (or Bounder, truck, etc.).

We tried to hit all of the big highlights of the Bay Area for our visitors.  Our itinerary looked like this:
Fri:  get to Fremont at 12:30am local (technically, Saturday).
Sat:  rest and play in the pool (brrr... cold spring in CA this year).
Sun:  church and play in the pool.  I rode Dad's bike up to near the top of Mission Peak.
Mon:  Monterey aquarium (Halls do a whale watching cruise (cold and pitch and rolly))
Tues:  Big Basin to see ginormous Redwood trees
Wed:  SF Giants baseball game (sorry to the A's.  They were out of town most of the week.  And their stadium is lousy now.).
Thur:  Mission Peak hike, with girls.  This was a mistake.  As expected, we had to carry the girls most of the 6 miles.  Unexpectedly, they wanted to play in the dirt or have specific adults carry them.  And their attitudes were poor.  (Upon reflection, this should have been expected)
Fri:  Santa Cruz beach (brrrr.  People often ask if I spent a lot of time at the beach as a kid.  No, for a few reasons:  water is freezing cold, sunburn is ouchy, and the drive to get there is rather sketchy with super curvy roads with much traffic).
Sat:  We stay in Fremont, taking the kids to Lake Elizabeth.  The Halls take a tour of SF.
Sun:  church and big dinner party.  High school friend Emily and her family of 5 along with adopt-a-student Shu joined us plus Lisa's family.  
Mon:  back to IL.

How did we do?  It would have been nice to hit Berkeley or some of the north bay sites (Napa or Point Reyes).  We did quite a bit of driving as it was, so no regrets.

Neither Jill or I have been wanting to take many photos lately.  We did put in some effort on the Big Basin trip.  The massive trees make for some fun backgrounds.  And for some inspiration of awe. 

 Plenty of room inside the biggest of the big trees.
Plenty of room on the 2nd bed in the RV for the girls.  We're thinking about setting up the queen size bed in the kids' room for both kids when Janny outgrows her crib.  We'll put a pool noodle in the middle to maintain sides (and peace).  Will they like it?

On both Sundays we visited the church my sister's family attends.  I have some reservations about attending churches with names like "Resonate" (in Champaign there is something called "Quest".  There is also a "Crusaders" church that still frightens me).  At 9 am on a beautiful sunny day, we walked into the "sanctuary" which looked like what I imagine night clubs are like.  The music was horribly loud.  I was stupified.  Then the pastor started to speak, and I was very impressed.  Either my ears adjusted, or the music wasn't quite as loud the next week.  In conclusion, we were very impressed with the church.  We have no plans to change churches here in Urbana.

Finally, apologies for taking so long to write this (and to write the blog in general).  I've been spending my free evenings watching the NBA playoffs.  The games lately have been amazing.