Category Archives: Paige

Paige’s Baptism and the Holy Week Begins

People often ask me what baptism is like for members of the Mormon faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Well, it’s cool! I only know how to write what I know, so this is what it looked like for our family this weekend:

Sunday was already a special day as Christians everywhere began the celebration of The Holy Week, the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth. Palm Sunday, seven days before his resurrection, Jesus triumphantly rode into Jerusalem.

It also happened to coincide with the day our sweet Paige was baptized.

As is the Christian custom and belief, baptism is the first step toward living with our Heavenly Father again. In the Mormon faith, there is no infant baptism as we believe babies are all born clean, pure, and without sin. By age 8, our opportunities for naughtiness increase :). Children are capable of knowing right from wrong and are able to take responsibility for their own actions, thus the need for baptism.

We have been talking about baptism for many months now, preparing Paige. It is very important to us that she knows what baptism is all about, what covenants (promises) are, what it means to “take upon us the name of Christ.”

It is amazing what a little child can understand, how close they are to spiritual matters, how soft their hearts are. There was no holding her back – she practically danced her way to church.

Earlier in the week, on her 8th birthday (my baby is eight, an unfathomable topic), the thing she most wanted was her own set of scriptures. She was very particular about the style: compact, black, snap-shut case, and her name scripted on the cover.

The scriptures include The Bible (the King James Version) and The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ’s ministry.IMG_8269

She did not specify a duct-tape scripture case, but that’s what she got 🙂 Nelson, of course, made it for her, and she was pleased as punch. (Get your orders in now!)

IMG_8235

As the big baptism day approached she was so excited, she could hardly sleep.

paige3We had a little photo shoot. I practiced my rudimentary ISO and aperture knowledge, attempting to capture my girl and all her goodness.paige2 paige1 IMG_8367

Finally, the big day arrived. My parents had flown in from Scotsdale, AZ, my twin brother drove up from New York City, and our dear Makechnie cousins arrived from Needham, MA. Yes, baptism is something so important that family members travel from far and wide.

IMG_8368Paige felt pretty special as we drove to church, stuck right there in the middle.

The program is simple. Paige had made assignments weeks earlier. Grandma Heather gave an opening prayer. Brynne (10) led the music (so darling.) Brother Nelson (13) gave a short talk on what baptism means. He talked about sins feeling like heavy rocks, but because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can repent (say we’re sorry, try to make things right, pray for forgiveness, and try not to do it again), and that heavy load disappears.

Hearing my boy bear his testimony and share what he believes at such a young age made me teary; I caught a glimpse of the good man and missionary he can become.

Then it was time for the baptism. Paige wore a simple white dress, representing “clean” and the “washing away of all sins.”

In the Mormon faith we are baptized by “full immersion” as Jesus was. It is a sacred ceremony, but all are invited to attend and witness, whether you are a member of the church or not. Gregor performed the baptism as he did for all our children.

When Paige came out of the water she had a big smile on her face. As I helped her get changed and back into her other white dress I told her I was very proud of her and asked if she was happy. She nodded and gave me a big (wet) hug.

While she was getting changed, Paige’s cousins played the violin and the cello (awesome!) When Paige was dressed and we were seated again, her cousin Hailey (15) gave a short talk on what it means to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. Wow. The talk was wonderful and I felt so grateful that my girls have such strong female role models; girls who know they are daughters of God, who have such a strong sense of self and faith.

The baptism was followed by a confirmation as Paige received “the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Hailey reminded Paige that the Holy Ghost would be a comforter in her life. It would guide her as she goes through life, making important decisions, and help her recognize right and wrong.

Paige listened so earnestly and the feeling of love was strong. She was confirmed an official member of church by her Grandfather Nelson, followed by handshakes and hugs.

The “cousin choir” sang a closing song and then Cope gave a beautiful closing prayer. As Grandpa Art said, we were “brimming with joy.”

After the baptism Paige sat next to me during sacrament meeting. She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, “I am perfectly clean now with no sins. I’m not carrying anything heavy.”

I smiled down at her, knowing how she felt. But the greatest thing I wanted her to understand is that baptism is just the first step. There will be times she feels heavy. She will make mistakes like we all do – and it is okay. There will be heartache and missteps. Like all of us, she will feel badly. She will feel guilt. And, like all of us must do to progress, she will try to do better. That that’s what this life is all about.

When I sat down to write this post I put aside the worry and second guessing my word choices. I tried to just write what was in my heart and then go back and edit. But after, I didn’t want to go back and “fix” and make this all sound politically correct or “right.” What’s in my heart feels right, so I will leave it largely unchanged and unedited.

I am often hesitant to share my faith so publicly, for fear of criticism or misunderstanding, but you know, Jack Canfield wrote, “everything you want is on the other side of fear.” The more real and honest we are with each other, the more we do understand. The more open I am, I find that my fears are unwarranted; many many people not of my faith asked how Paige’s baptism went. They want to know. We are curious cats. Pepper me with questions if you like. My blog is as open book as it gets!

As I tucked Paige into bed last night she asked her usual questions and some unusual ones too…”would you still love me if…” I assured her I would love her forever. I think she’s also testing me. Now that she’s all “good” and hasn’t had time to smash the car or smack her sister, will I still love her if she messes up?

She smashed her nose to one side. “Would you love me if I looked like this?” “Would you love me if I did this…” The scenarios ranged from the innocent to the more macabre, “if I killed a squirrel…”

I assured her that there was nothing she could do to make me not love her (though perhaps I might not always like everything!) Times my love by an infinite number and that’s how much I believe God loves her and each of us individually. That love is not conditional. It is always there, waiting for us to receive it.

The scriptures say that this life is the time for “men to prepare to meet God.” Baptism is that first step. We’re so proud of you, Paige.

Love, Mom

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Lucky Number Seven

I was just going to say Happy Birthday.

But you know how it goes…you go to find one picture, and you find a thousand? A thousand faces, moments, memories that seem to have rushed by in one quick blink.

That’s why I love blogs; they’re a record of life. They capture stories and moments that you want to matter to someone. I sometimes wonder if my children will read this blog when they get older. (Will blogs exist in ten years???) Will they know they were loved as much as smoothies? Let the record show: YES.

Two years before I started blogging, my last babe was born. My Pidgey was a “surprise” baby, and there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not thankful for surprises.

She was loved from the start.DSCN0049_2She had many mothers. And a boy that serenaded her.

snakeShe tolerated her siblings very well, even when they put snakes around her neck.

flowers She used to be so small, walking through flower gardens taller than she was.

style

Our girl always had a great sense of style.

dishwasher Even when eating food out of the dishwasher. (Um, is that a knife?)

eatingShe was a little messy at times, but hey, aren’t we all?

IMG_1482She’s always beens such a big helper.

halloween She helps her mama do hard things (wait, is that princess making a gang sign?)

girls And mama sometimes makes her do hard things.

chickens Feeding chickens in winter is hard. But my girl knows how to persevere.

sibsAnd how to take naps in snowbanks.

paigeNow she does all sorts of hard things. She goes to school, ties her shoes, makes her own sandwiches, and learns her piano notes.

She’s a dancer…motherhood

barbies

She’s very inventive, and figures out solutions to hard problems. For instance, “How can my Barbies dry quickly?”

rabbit

She looooves animals.

DSC_0747 And man, she’s just so cute.

reach And when she looks back at this blog, I hope she’s still reaching.

world And knows that she’s part of something very big and very wonderful.

267A child casts a wide net. But this girl, she captured us all. We love her so.

And man, I’m holding on tight.

Happy Birthday, sweet Pidge!

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I Like You Better Than Treats

Baby-girl turned six yesterday.
I should really stop calling her that, but old habits die hard.

I have also decided I am going to EMBRACE the change, LIVE each day with HAPPINESS and not always be SAD about growing up.

Change is a great thing.  If Brynne was still potty training and Cope was still screaming her lungs out…there might not have been a Brynne to potty train.  Perhaps if looked back with less fondess, life would be better NOW.

So, to embrace this new piece of my sparkling personality, here are my

Top Ten Reasons Why Life Was Terrible:

1.  Stumbling in the dark to find the pacifier that fell out of baby’s mouth
2.  Just getting back to sleep and being woken again for a feeding
3.  Crawling on the floor, sick, still having to take care of a toddler
4.  Car seats
5.  Blow-out diapers
6.  Just ONCE, wishing to shower without someone else in the shower with me
7.  Just ONCE, wanting to go to the bathroom without a companion
8.  Hand-foot-mouth disease, and all those other gross things babies pass around from sucking on toys and passing them to their friends
9.  Colic oh my, I’ll never miss colic
10. Spit-up dripping down the back of all my shirts.  And down the front.  And down my neck.

Hey…I’m on a roll now…
11.  Overturned plants
12.  Heaving myself over baby gates
13.  Locking myself into bedroom with baby handles and gadgets
14.  Leaving a restaurant with it looking like a rapid squirrel was on the loose
But if you show me this:  
I might just beg you for a baby gate, an overturned plant, or a desitin tube.

It’s really best not to run into me today.  I will so carpe diem you (thanks, Momastery for that wonderful phrase 🙂
It’s funny to me that this picture of two children emptying bins stirs up feelings I most likely didn’t even feel at the time… oh goody, I get to pick up that same mess again – isn’t that so cute? Or, Oh look, Brynne got her foot stuck in the toilet, isn’t that so funny?  

Some days I felt like I was in the movie, Groundhog Day.  It was the SAME day, over and over and over. The same mess, the same fatigue, the same tantrum.

But memories are funny business.  The messes have faded, the foot is out of the toilet and well, everything has changed. I won’t be going back.

The truth is, the entire motherhood experience will always mean getting used to one thing before it changes on you the next.  
Indulge my sentimentality, please.  Wouldn’t it be okay if I could just hold that baby Paige for half an hour – please?  I’ll take ten minutes.  Five.  Come on.
I mean, laundry is so much more boring now.
And who will fetch me snacks so willingly?

A wish: That every time I look out the window, someone will be walking around the fields in a tutu. 

And overwatering the trees

Or laughing when we tickle.  (I just get mad).
The other night, after Paige and Brynne had fallen asleep in our bed (they have no CD player to listen to stories), I told Gregor to make Brynne and Paige walk instead of carry them.  “They’re too heavy,” I said.  Gregor said, “I’m going to carry them as long as I can carry them!”

Isn’t that nice?
It’s been said a million times: A mother would give an organ for her child.

But I also think this:  Part of the reason we love our babies so much is because they’d give US an organ.  They adore us when they’re little.  We can do no wrong.

As my other children get older, I sometimes wonder about that organ donation.  I sense hesitation…

But Paige is still at the age where I am her sunrise and sunset.  She still asks me to carry her.  She strokes my hair when I pick her up.  I am not allowed out of sight.  The first thing she says when she enters the house is, “Where’s Mama?”

A few weeks ago I went to a hotel with my mom for the night.  Paige struggled.  Just a few hours after I left Gregor called and put Paige on the phone.

The only thing I heard was deep, gasping sobbing.

I almost ran all the way home.  But one must be strong in circumstances such as these.

Gregor had a fun daddy-daughter date, took her to a basketball game where she sat forlornly at her side.  “What’s the matter, Paigey?” he asked.

“My eyes are getting watery,” she said.  

“Do you just miss your mama?”

“YES!!!!”  Sob, gasp, sniffle, sob…

When I returned, 24 long hours later, she hurled herself into my arms.  

Who else gives you such greetings?

A few days later I took my mom to the airport.  She furrowed her eyebrows.  “But I was already separated from you!”
Yes, I record these memories so she’ll remember the organ donation thing.

I asked her to please stop growing, but she said, “But mom, you feed me so much smoothies!”  Alas, tis true.

I am contributing to the angst.
We’ve both had to loosen our grip just a bit over the last few months.  She’s had trouble with me leaving her at Sunday School.  So I sometimes resort to bribery.  Sometimes she wears my bracelet to remember me that FULL HOUR she’s away from me.  

The other Sunday I said, “Be good and stay here with your teacher.”  She frowned, her eyes got weepy.  “I want you to staaaay.”

So I resorted to sugar.  “Your teacher has treats!” I said.  “I bet if you’re a really good girl she’ll give you one.”  She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, “But I like you more than treats.”

So there you go.  She likes me more than treats.  

I just might have a thing about her, too.

Happy Birthday, Baby-Girl.  We sure do love you.

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Fit Tip Monday: Quad Burner for the Stroller Mama

13 years ago I met my best friend:
Meet The Zipper.  Zipper has been with me through all four babies.  Ever faithful, Zipper is still going strong.  She may not be the envy of the new-fangled strollers, but baby after baby, I could never trade Zipper in for something newer or fancier. She’s been rained on, puked on, peed on.  Tipped over, pushed, and pulled.  Zipper has broken straps, pollen-stained fabric, and small holes where squirrels have chewed through when I left baby snacks.  The Zipper and I will be together to the end.


Zipper kept me sane through the looooong days when I had small children at home and HAD to get out, even if it was just to walk to the post office.  She was great in summer, spring, fall and winter.  Rain, sun, or snow, she kept going.  Sometimes there was a baby on my back, a baby strapped in front, and a baby in the Zipper.  We got up hill and down, around town and back again.

Even now, with a 40lb “baby,” Zipper can help a mama get a great work-out in.  Today’s special:  the quad burner.  

First, make sure to acknowledge the sun.  Good morning, sunshine.  Ah….

Then, whether she likes it or not, get that babe in her seat!

Take pictures for proof…

That you really did walk a mile up hill and back again (uphill both ways) in snow…stop every now and then to take deep gasping breaths while telling Rumpelstiltskin for the 100th time.  Walking up a hill, even with the fanciest of jogging strollers, pushing a large child will guarantee a quality quadricep burn.

Throw a carrot at Bob.  But maybe take a bit first for sustenance. 

At some point while walking up the never-ending hill, make large child walk so she can feel that satisfying quad burn, too.

Hello sunshine, trying to walk here…

For variety, walk in deep snow.  Make sure to sink in real deep.  Forge your own trail!  Feel the burn!

Continue to walk in the deep snowbanks, or follow along pushing stroller.  If you bend your knees while walking downhill, the burn will kick in extra-quick.

Just for fun, do a couple of summersaults down the snowbanks.

For an extra quad work-out, run in deep snowbanks.  Oh, make sure you’re wearing your bundle pajamas.  That way, no snow can get down your socks or disappear in your boots.

This was where I was really going…the lunge.  While pushing large child in stroller, do 10 walking lunges, each leg.  Repeat.  Go slow.  Never let the knee go past the toe or there is major knee ligament strain.  Get DOWN, nice and LOW, but don’t let that back leg touch the ground.  Are you feeling it?  

I have often wondered what my neighbors think of me when I’m taking walks and lunging.  The cows moo and the buffalo snort.  Whatevs.  Don’t you care a lick about what anyone thinks when you’re lunging down the road.  You’re getting your quad work-out in! 

Females especially need to keep that knee joint in place by have strong quads and hamstrings.  The lunge is one of the best lower-body exercises – with ONE exercise, you are strengthening your BUTT, your QUADS, and your HAMSTRINGS.  
Lunge.

When you’re out of breath and can’t do no more, give a little more effort and have a snowball fight with giant snowballs.
Best work-out ever.
And like I used to ask all my students…how many muscles make up the quadricep?  You wouldn’t believe the great answers I’ve gotten!

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A Winter Walk That Renders Her Useless

Sometimes it takes awhile for our country boys to plow our rural roads.  And sometimes this renders husband stranded at the bottom of a very long hill. Come home early, I always say.  But he pays no mind.  And after many attempts (it’s a man thing) the car has to stay at the bottom of the hill and mama has to drive down with the van to rescue husband (it’s a girl thing.)

Then in the morning daddy goes to work and mama goes to get the car.  He offered to drop me off, but Paige and I decided we wanted a winter walk adventure.  In reality, I really needed to move and get out of the house.
We admired the hearty forsythia

And mighty pines
With very little snow last year, it makes me happy to see the white fluffy stuff.  Even though, for the sixth year in a row our mailbox has been hit by the snow plow and is now, once again, bungee-corded on.  It’s classy, I tell you.  Mailboxes in New Hampshire could be a post by itself.

And we were off…
But first we had to go back and get a shovel when daddy called and apologetically said, “you’re going to need a shovel to get the car out.”

We were up for the job!  I use nothing but a baby shovel as the biggun’s have it out to ruin my back.

When was the last time you watched the sun come up?  Here it just peeks out…good morning…

And in mere minutes it was all the way up…GOOD MORNING! it sang. It was quite miraculous to me,how fast it came

Paige took the hardest route possible – by walking in the deep and heavy snowbanks whereas I played it safe and walked on the road.  I think she had more fun.

Though before we were even half-way there she was exhausted. Plus, she really wasn’t feeling well.  A terrible fever has been making the rounds.  

She begged to be carried, but holding a shovel (and a camera) rendered the mother quite exhausted in seconds.  Five-year-olds are rather heavy.

I admire the leaves that hang on

I kept making sure the sun was still there…it was…peeking, scattered through trees
Carrying large boulders of snow seemed like a good idea

This doesn’t look like a big dig-out, but I tell you I was sweating by the time I was done.  
By the time we arrived back home, Paige threw herself into a snowbank.  Exhausted!  But mama smiled, feeling good to have walked in the winter with her girl.

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Traumatizing the Child

We were given these beautiful angel candles for Christmas.  “Isn’t that darling?” I thought.  Then I lit the wick on top of the head.
The kids were horrified.  “Ahh!” Screamed Paige.  “The angel’s head is being burned off!”  She watched as slowly, slowly, the angel melted into nothing…

but wax.
It was scene right out of the Salem Witch trials.

And she looked at me, wondering what kind of mother would burn an angel’s head off.

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A Winter Walk and Some Flirting

I grew up in a busy, Omaha suburb.  But now I live miles and miles away from grocery stores, traffic, the mall, and, well, just about everything.  I’ve grown to love the quiet.  Now, when we drive into Boston, I inhale and look around like a wide-eyed holstein.  Man, things change quickly.

When I can’t (or don’t) run, I take walks with whoever I can wrangle outside with me.  The air is getting cold and every morning there is frost on the ground.  It snowed the other day but has almost melted.  

The forsythia are taking the frost like champs.  Hearty things.  Lack of snow and freezing rain make it much easier to run, and much easier to take morning walks with Paige.

We anxiously looked in the mailbox for Christmas cards.  I love cards.

I’m loving these mornings with Paige so much.   

Paige likes to feed carrots to the horse up the road.

This is…Bob.  Seriously.  Bob?  That would not be the name of my midnight black horse.  But Bob is friendly and likes our carrots.

We walked to an almost-frozen pond with ice just skimming the surface.  And because I’m a mom I have to give the speech about ice.

We talked to big, tall trees

One would think it’s still fall around here.

Then we visited our neighborhood cows.  I really like cows.  Once I used a whole roll of film on cows and my mother was very annoyed.

And then as my camera is in shooting mode, the biggun’ made his move.

It just happened right then and there so I pushed the button.

What is he doing!? Paige yelled.  

“Uh…Flirting…” I said.  It was the first thing that came to mind.

What’s that?  

“They…like each other.”

You don’t think badly of me now, do you?  I tell you, it’s a whole other world out here in the sticks.  This was our entertainment for the morning.  Well, yee-haw.
This is a Holstein. My father taught me how to identify cows when I was a teenager.  He grew up on a farm in Bear Lake, Idaho.  He’s so proud I know my cows.

I’m scared of that big boy, Paige said, suspiciously.  Yeah, me too. 

Don’t even think about it.

So we left the cows to do whatever they do.

And walked home at a slow pace, me and my five-year-old, on a perfectly ordinary and quiet morning walk.  

I reached down and took her hand and she looked up at me, and smiled.  
And then we skipped.  

Isn’t it often the ordinary that makes up the best of days?

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The 5-year Plan: Where Do You Want to Be?

Paige peers through the trees, where, in 14 days she will be playing.  She wonders out loud, Will they like me?  Of course, I say.  But not as much as I like you…

Miles run this morning:  6.1 (no foot pain!)
Minutes I had to go back to bed this morning:  24
I’ve been messing with my blog as you can see from those page labels above.  They are going to help me focus instead of writing about hamsters.  Except maybe killing hamsters could go in the “motherhood” category.
Though I stayed up way too late watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics (rather bizarre in my opionion?), I set my alarm for an unthinkable hour.  Instead of the whining in my head, I kept Mo Farrah in my mind, crossing the line of the 10,000 meter race and all the hours of training it took for him to get to that moment.  Did you see that look on his face?  If all those amazing athletes can get up and train, then gosh darn it, I can drag my booty out of bed too.  I tossed and turned all night next to a tossing and turning 5-year-old in my bed who has swimmer’s ear (my diagnosis).  I still got up and was sad to see, the sun is not rising as early as it was last week.
In 7 weeks I want to run the New Hampshire half-marathon.  If I put myself into overdrive, can I be ready to run like Mo?  I have this constant desire to push, push, push myself forward, then being unsatisfied when I don’t have everything I want right now!  I want to feed the orphans around the world, write for Time, publish my book, qualify for Boston, have those twins.  Then the potty chair comes into focus, the dog runs away, and someone need to go to the doctor for swimmer’s ear.  No one can have everything right now!  And right now I like what I have.  I don’t dare wish this time away even as I vacillate between the future and the present.
Gregor and I are reading the book, What Color is Your Parachute?  It’s a fantastic book involving a worksheet in the shape of a flower with all its supporting petals.  The flower helps you focus on your end goal, identifying your strengths, and being able to articulate and write out the steps to reach your goal.  Who will be your mentor?  Who will be your network of support?  What exactly do you need to do to get to where you want to be? What are the specific steps you are going to take?
Have you worked on your flower? Gregor asks me every night.
I have been resistant.
I don’t have time.  I’m too busy to think about it.  I’m a mom right now and that’s all I want to think about.  Don’t bother me!  
In my mind I have this fuzzy idea of exactly what is going to happen in the next 5 years.  Everything will work out the way I see it.  Back up plan?  My mother always said I would be a fantastic gym teacher.  To which I scowl and say, It’s physical education instructor.  It was sad day when she was actually right, and that’s what I studied in college.  It does bring me back to my point of the page labels where I have added “running” and “healthy yum-yum.”  Focus on my strengths right?  I could have said “nutrition” or “recipes” but healthy yum-yum is focusing on my inner cheerleader, (something wanted but never attained – come on, those cute skirts??)
We are planning in other ways.  We have retirement funds, college funds, ten years of wheat in our basement.  We finally got life insurance last week from a former student of ours.  He asked me questions like What kind of birth control are you using?  Do you have any breast abnormalities?  Have you ever ridden in the rodeo?  Bungee jumping?  

Seriously.  If one of us keels over I hope it was worth the urine sample. 
Which brings me back to my 5 year plan.  It is exciting.  It is terrifying.  The roller coaster isn’t stopping so I may as well get on.  I reluctantly ordered the 2013 edition of Writer’s Market, which is a teensy weensy baby step in the right direction.  Even if I did it with my eyes closed and someone else pushed my finger down on the “order” button.  If that doesn’t work out, I could always teach your child how to throw the javelin.  Which is a class I actually had to take in college.  And was by far the worse and most comical thrower.

Here we go!

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Hula

We are in the desert and it is HOT.  Really, really HOT. 
I am in a foreign land.  Happy for naps, away from cleaning my own kitchen.
Of the gladdest moments, methinks, in human life, is the departing upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of carking care, and the slavery of Civilization, Man feels once more happy. -Sir Richard Burton
I feel like hula hooping…

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Ride Your Bike to Work Day

Friday is the day!  Paige is here to inspire you.  This is how she rides to work.
Helmet?  Basket for treasures?

Tires pumped?  Don’t forget the skirt and pink shoes!

And we are off!

A truck coming down the road is the perfect opportunity to pull over and pose for the camera.  You might want to try this yourself.  Maybe at a red light or stop sign.

This is Paige’s highlight of the day:  When Brynne gets home from school.  Brynne is carrying her fish after show ‘n tell.  What a big hit.  Kids kept asking where she got the fish.  I’m sure their parents love me now.
Last week the whole elementary school was invited to bike to school.  I ran behind a little kindergartener the entire five miles down the rail trail. He kept looking up at me, “Can I stop now?”
Don’t forget to ride!  It’s good for your heart in more ways than one.  Feel like a kid again, flying free.

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