I travel the world and am truly amazed with the sights, cultures, and people but in my eyes there is no place like home.


31 August 2009

A little slice of Heaven

Is Niobrara, NE for me. It’s that one place I can totally relax and unwind. There are no schedules and time moves in slow motion. It’s a pleasant change from the hustle and bustle of daily life. I took a LOT of photos so more to come but a sneak peak of what my weekend entailed. We stayed in this little gem.

located in the Niobrara State Park. We spent several hours lounging and exploring the countryside.

How can you beat those views! We did have one small standoff with these cows.

we visited an Elk and Bison farm.

And possibly threw in a round of golf. An amazing weekend that I didn’t want to end!

28 August 2009

Why I exercise

(Photo from Corporate Cycling Challenge)
Obviously I exercise so I don’t get massive and so that I stay healthy. But often times I do it so I can hop on a bike and participate in the fun without worry. Well at least without worry of being out of shape (I do worry about crashing). I love to gather friends and go on a fun bike ride. A few weeks ago it was to Jazz on the Green.

If you don’t live in the Omaha area, Jazz on the Green is an outdoor concert series held for about six weeks in the summer on the greens of Jocelyn Art Museum in downtown Omaha. It’s a gorgeous setting and packed with people.

I was able to make it to the final concert and even scored VIP seating thanks to Cole’s dad’s company.

Now I know why my premiums for health insurance are so high! It’s because they sponsor events like Jazz on the Green…Last night it was the famous Minneola Taco Ride. Again for those not from this area several years ago a small steakhouse in Minneola, Iowa started doing a special Taco night for bikers. Every Thursday night they serve super cheap tacos, pitchers of beer, margaritas, etc…This steakhouse is right off Wabash Trace so very convenient for biking (and since the town is so small no worry of traffic). Regretfully I didn’t snap any photos of the bike ride but here is part of our group enjoying dinner.

Such a fun alternative to just your normal dinner/drinks, much better to squeeze in a bit of fitness to the equation. Only negative of the evening was that our food took over an hour! They forgot us I think – luckily some friendly patrons shared their tacos.

Until finally our food arrived – word to the wise share! The portions were huge.

Then we trekked it back – the trails are not lit so crazy dark at night. I was very grateful that I took time to stop by Wal-Mart and purchase a bike light.

I am very grateful for the amazing bike trails in the area and that I have friends willing to ride. After years of living overseas and not having this luxury it’s a welcome form of entertainment.

26 August 2009

Black Squirrel Triathlon

Last Saturday was my first Triathlon; to say I was nervous was an understatement! I didn’t feel ready mentally or physically but was also super excited to give it a go. We started off with a carb loading session Friday night at Spaghetti Works.

Yummy – I hadn’t eaten there in ages. (my parents were also present but somehow dodged the photog). Then Justin and I woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday. At 6 am it was around 57 degrees out and dark. Perfect weather for a swim! Or maybe not.

After setting up our transition spot we lined up for body marking.

And a few cheesy poses with the race sign.

Then checked out the swim course. The water was cold, dark, murky, and looked intimidating. The rescue boats didn’t help.

The transition area was filling up quick and it would be time to race shortly.

I loved this sign – I still don’t consider myself an athlete by any means. But fun to pretend.

At 7 we all lined up for the pre race brief and were given the go head to jump in the water and swim. It was a mass start which was nuts as meant around 200 people all splashing about at once. It was cold – real cold. And you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face. Not ideal. Things were touch and go for a bit. It took me a few minutes to calm down and realize all would be fine (note to self – next time practice a few open water swims first!) but Justin never hit that point. It was full on panic mode the entire swim, he was also having allergy/asthma problems. So we stuck it out together and finished. I am very proud of him.

To our surprise my mom, dad, and Cole were there cheering us on when we exited the water. I’ll spare you all the scary tri shorts/small swim top photos as they aren’t pretty. With the worse behind us we geared up for the bike.

After looking at this photo I realize I must have the most awkward looking bike mount ever! How did this even work?

Our bike was decent; looking at other times we should have pushed it a bit harder to speed up but averaged about 18-19 miles per hour. We did catch a few on the bike. It was an easy three lap course.

The final leg was the part I was dreading the most – the 6.2 mile run. This was the part Justin was most excited about as his chance to excel. When we first started my legs felt like jello and I didn’t think I would make it, but after about a half mile things felt normal and we were able to pick up speed and pass a few more people.

After 3 miles Justin couldn’t take any more of my slow pace so I gave him the ok to speed away (although I did stick with him for the swim/bike). He had a great finish.

And came back to get me for the final half mile. I ended up with a pretty good run time. I think around 56 minutes, so a 9ish min average which is speedy for me.

Overall it was a great accomplishment and I am excited that we participated. A very well organized event with lots of supporters and the other athletes were encouraging and supportive. I didn’t even feel that bad afterwards which means I probably should have pushed harder. Definitely looking forward to giving another Tri a shot in the near future.

After a much needed shower – there may have been some green algae involved – we hit up the farmer’s market and had an amazing lunch at La Bouvette. Perfect way to celebrate my new status as a Triathlete, even if I still don’t feel like an athlete.

18 August 2009

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

Saturday afternoon my mom, Marissa, and I hosted a baby shower for Dani (oh yeah Justin helped also before he was banned from the girl party).

She is seven months pregnant and still tiny and cute as a button!

That is not what I will look like if I am ever seven months preggos. I will look more like a whale. The theme was “sugar and spice and everything nice, that is what little girls are made of” which turned out super cute. My mom made spice tea and baby rattle sugar cookies as favors.

It was held at three in the afternoon at the request of Dani so we just had snacks and desserts.

We tie dyed baby clothes for Dani as she loves tie dye

so figured why we were might as well get crafty and make a tablecloth and banner.

Of course we had to play some silly games – we had a word scramble, a measuring tape deal where you guessed the size of Danni’s tummy,

And a game where you had to guess the flavors of baby food based on smell.

Some were downright nasty!!! Ick, homemade baby food is the way to go folks.
I made a new friend, her name is Lilly and she was the prettiest smartest little girl ever (she is Danni’s niece). She turned three the next day so we had to find a present or two for her as well.

I am sure this is the first of many baby showers I will host.