Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Roy!

On Sunday we had a birthday party for Jen's dad, Roy. It was a nice relaxing day. We had a great brunch at High Cliff...I don't remember the last time both Rae and Jo ate so much at one meal! We hung around town for the afternoon. Rae & Joeli got to play with Chase for the day. Jen Vandenberg is pregnant and due in 7 weeks, so there is always lots of baby talk...very exciting! Zoe has been working out a lot lately and is getting back into soccer leagues starting next weekend. For those of you who don't know, Zoe grew up as a local sports star, traveling and playing soccer internationally! Should be fun to see her get back out there.

I got to watch the end of the Amgen Tour of California. It was a great race all week. Levi showed he was definitely the strongest rider and won the overall for the 3rd year in a row! Lance rode extremely strong, and along with the rest of Astana, gave Levi great support throughout. Two major U.S. teams, Columbia High-Road and Garmin-Slipstream, showed they have strong teams as well...Zabriski taking 2nd overall, and Cavendish wining the sprinting title. What a great start to the cycling season!!

Serenity & Adriana

On Saturday we had a chance to see Karen's son and family. They just moved to the area and are staying with Mom and Karen until they get set up here. So, we got to see Aaron, Candace and their two daughters, Serenity (1 1/2) and Adriana (6 weeks). Rae and Joeli had the greatest time playing with the other girls. All four were so cute!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Way To Go Kathy!

Yesterday, we attended a purple belt test for my mom's student, Kathy. Jen and I were honored with being apart of the review panel, and a couple of our students made the drive up to class also. Kathy did an outstanding job and made our decision on passing her very easy. She was an outstanding example for everyone in attendance...hope our students were watching :) Afterward we all went next door for a bite to eat and a couple beers to celebrate. What a great group of Martial Artists, Family, and Friends!! Congratulations Kathy!!


Christmas left me with a new sport to try thanks to my mom - snowboarding! I've been itching to give it a try since I brought my board home in December. A few weeks ago, I went out to the small Omro sledding hill to see if I could get a feel for it by trial and error. Turned out to be lots of error...and I was happy to be able to return home with nothing major broken.

Last weekend Jen and I went out to Nordic with some of our students. This time around, I was more than happy to listen to Jen's instruction and advice on how not to kill myself while learning to do this. This turned out to be a much easier day! We started on a nice easy slope at the bottom of a run for a couple passes. A few good pointers from Jen and I was starting to get the feel of it, so we were off to the chair lift and bigger hills. I was told horror story after horror story about chair lifts with the snowboard...but they turned out to be not so bad.

I stuck to the easier runs throughout the day...greens and blues. Lots of minor falls and one impressive hard tumble. Jen saw that one from farther up the hill. I didn't quite make a turn so I picked up quite a bit of speed, then caught an edge... Jen said I was horizontal four feet in the air and came down flat on my back...well mostly my backside. I had to lay there for a minute and make sure everything was intact, but the pain wore off fast...most of it anyway.

We had a great day and lots of fun on the hill. I'm addicted and can't wait to get out again! It's such a fun feeling I can see it getting more and more exciting as I get better.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


The Amgen Tour of California starts Saturday! http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/ It is a 9-day stage race that draws the biggest names in cycling. This year the field contains probably the best collection of top riders and teams to ever assemble in the US. This is Lance Armstrong's second major race in his comeback. He looked better than expected last month in the Tour Down Under. He was expected to just ride through and get use to the peleton again. But he was already in great shape and his recovery was way better than expected. He was out there racing, leading chase groups, and hammering out the climbs. He finished with the front groups in all six stages. While Lance's form and conditioning are looking great, this race is not his main focus...he is prepping and training for the Giro and the Tour. Look for him to help teammate Levi win his third consecutive AToC title...but who knows, if he smokes the TT he could be in the running. Versus will be covering it on TV. http://www.versus.com/

Here's a good artical for an overview of what a big deal this race is!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Sugar

I'm on day 2 of my healthier diet regime...no sugar and no soda. Well actually I should call it a low sugar diet. You'd have to go pretty extreme to eliminate all sugar, and I don't know that the health benefits from the last little amount make a very big impact. I get rid of all sugar based foods...deserts, syrup, candy, high sugar cereals... I still eat a good amount of fruit. The health benefits of fruit far outweigh the impact of its fructose on the body. It's obvious that regular soda is eliminated in this diet change, and I include diet soda/drinks in the things to go also. The artificial sweeteners can have some pretty bad effects on your body. Splenda is the big name right now. It is a name brand of sucralose. The advertising for this product looks nice, but in reality you are poisoning your system with chlorine! It wasn't very thoroughly tested before FDA approval and many natural health professionals consider it as dangerous and detrimental as other artificial sweeteners like aspartame. A warning for people on meds: it can even affect your body's ability to absorb some prescription medications.

I did this a year ago for about 6 months and it felt great - my energy was higher and steadier, my mood didn't fluctuate as much, less frustration/more patience, and best of all my sleep was super restful. I gradually slipped out of it when my triathlon training picked up. I would have a high sugar drink (like Gatorade) during and after a workout to replace the blood-glucose levels that are depleted during long, high intensity sessions. This allowance started to slip into other areas, and by the time the holidays came around I was back to eating deserts, snacks, whatever... And lately I've found myself drinking way too much diet soda.

So, yesterday I cut myself off. I haven't had any bad cravings yet, and I slept much better last night. I almost always sleep all night, but with this diet change I wake up way more refreshed and rested! Last time I did this, any cravings disappeared after the first couple of weeks. I've learned to stay proactive with eating. I eat a lot of healthy snacks between meals...cereal, eggs, peanut butter toast, fruit... The soda drinking was more habit than anything else, so it's easy enough for me to grab water instead. Or, if I want something flavored I brew some fresh tea.

It's easy for me to become complaisant with my diet, since my weight doesn't fluctuate. I've always stayed between 160 - 165 no matter what I ate. So, I stay focused on the better energy I have...and I like the discipline and structure of it. It presents lots of small challenges and many successes, giving me lots of intrinsic rewards...yay for me!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gran Torino

Jen and I got to have a date today!! A couple of weeks ago, we started a more advanced, less formal, Saturday workout. This weekend we didn't have a workout scheduled, so when Jen's mom called offering to babysit, we went to a matinee instead. Even though I was pretty tired from the night before with the kids, and low energy, it was still really nice to get out with just Jen for a few hours!!

Clint Eastwood's new movie, Gran Torino, lived up to the reviews. Lots of good lessons and perspectives on life, interaction, and growth. What it means to be a good person can come in many forms. The acting was a little rough around the edges, and the camera work wasn't the smoothest either...but, those things seemed to keep me in a position to think about what was happening with the issues/lessons during the movie. It's something that would have irked me in a lot of movies, but was a really good fit for this one.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cottage With the Girls

Rae, Joeli & I just got home from a couple days at the cottage. We went up to get out of the house and play for a couple of days...and give Jen some time to rest and have fun at the house (she likes to move around furniture and rearrange things). It always feels so good to be up there, and both girls seem to love it too. It was pretty cold and windy outside so our snow time was somewhat limited. We still managed to play in the yard and on the lake a little, sledding down the hill to the beach and cruising around on the snowmobiles. We brought a bin of toys and books that have been packed away for a while, so they had lots of "new" stuff to play with inside.

The cottage is in good shape...everything worked the same as always. I had a little difficulty getting the pump to prime, but it didn't turn out to be anything major. We started all the snowmobiles and took some short rides around the yard and out on the lake a little. Confirmed that my sled has serious problems...it overheated on a ride last year and has been sitting in the garage ever since...it started, but made some sounds that don't usually come from engines and then refused to stay running. I'll have to haul it down sometime and see if my cousin can take a look at it.

The two kids, by myself...wow that can be pretty exhausting! I'm use to watching them during the days when Jen is working, and the days and night went really good up there too. But, trying to clean everything up to leave, and keep them entertained with something, but they still come up to you every 2 minutes for help with something, but not let them pull a bunch of stuff out again that will make another mess, and time it so they'll take a nap on the way home, but not so they are so tired that they're impossibly crabby...wow it's a lot! It brings new levels of love and admiration for my Mom, and parents everywhere!! They slept all the way home (yay!!), and we got back to Omro with just enough time to grab a quick supper and run to karate class. They loved their Mommy time, and were a little crabby having to be away from her with the babysitter for the karate hour. Now both girls are sleeping ANGELS in their beds :)

Jen got to relax with a couple of movies and she still found time to change around our bedroom layout and reorganize. It has a fresh new look, plus I can find stuff again!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Plan To Be More Consistent

One of my plans for 2009 is to be more consistent with updating this blog. I don't have pictures yet...misplaced the camera yet again :) But, here are a few updates on the family:

Both girls are doing great! They are both talking more and more, and running around/getting into everything. It is unreal how smart they are and their level of comprehension. We've been enjoying the snow this winter, bringing the girls out to sled on the local hills. I usually wear out before they do...they'd play in the snow and ride the sled all afternoon. But, they're usually excited about hot chocolate when we go back inside! Rae just tried her first computer game this last weekend. She learned the mouse control and clicking super fast and, in just a couple of days, is already mastering the beginning levels of her game.

We have a new group of kids in our karate class this year. Bryanna and Faith are daughters of our yellow belts, Gary & Sarah, and a couple of local Omro boys, Matt & Jared...both about 10 years old. It's a lot of fun for Jen and I to be challenged in our teaching to keep the kids interested and still learn the serious aspects of our style. It brings some more young playful energy to the dojo! Our student list now is: Avery & Sieg (blue); Sarah, Gary & TJ (yellow), Will & Dave (white); and Brianna, Faith, Matt & Jared (newbies).

Jen has stayed busy with work, and continues to impress people throughout ThedaCare. With the layoffs everywhere, we are both very grateful for the security she has at work. I've picked up a couple more regular massage clients, and am excited to keep growing my business.

We have a couple of fun things coming up. I'm thinking about taking Rae & Joeli up to the cottage for a couple of days this week. It should be fun for them to see everything up there in the winter with snow! For Valentine's weekend, my mom is taking the girls all weekend (I think up North?). So, Jen and I are excited to have adult play time...a snowboarding day with our karate group and a poker tourney. The local theater group, Rebel Alliance Theater, is opening it's new show that weekend, so we might catch a performance too.

I'll end today with a request...A fellow black belt and close friend of ours, Phil Vanden Heuvel, was in a serious snowmobile accident a few weeks back. He is going through some intense recovery, healing, and therapy. Please include him in your thoughts, energy, and prayers.