I love it when things work. . . .

7 05 2012

After a stressful work weekend where lots of things didn’t go as planned I want to talk about something fun and positive.  I was working in Knoxville this weekend (and in Charlottesville too) timing the REV3 race.  I remember the first race in Knoxville.  I have been to every single REV3 race since Knoxville 3 years ago.  It has been such a joy to watch the races grow and see ideas grow into bigger and more amazing realities.

The first kids adventure race was small.  It seemed that folks either didn’t know about it or weren’t buying into it yet.  Fast forward three years and this was the sight at the kids adventure race:There was so much excitement and energy watching the families race together.  I saw the same athletes we had checked in on Friday and Saturday morning.  I am so proud to work for a company that understands that during that long boring race and a weekend full of hurry up and wait it’s important that athletes and the companies that serve them need to give a little time and attention to those that have supported them through a lot of training time.

Christmas on Crack . . .

13 12 2011

Our house does’t look like this on the outside, (mainly because we are way too lazy to do all that) but take one step inside and I swear Santa threw up all his Christmas cheer right here.

Tree (crooked and quickly loosing needles) that is way too big for our house – check!

Colored lights and all the fabulous ornaments that don’t match at all but each have sentimental meaning – check!

Singing, dancing plush toys on every surface – check!

Not one but 5 advent calendars – check!

My collection of nativity scenes on the mantle and stocking hanging off the mantle – check!

Dept. 56 (wayyyy overpriced little light up porcelain buildings) village – check!

Christmas dishes – check!

Christmas placemats – check!  There is more but you get the point.

I don’t go small for Christmas.  We are a “Go big or Go home” Christmas family.  Every year I SWEAR I am going to cut back on the presents.  Then every year I buy gifts early.  Then I forget about them and buy more.  Then I realize I have more for one kid than the other.  Then I buy more.  What begins as a small Christmas ends as 2 hours of opening stuff that we don’t really need.

Not. This. Year.  This year we conned talked our kids into doing a big trip over spring break instead of getting Christmas presents.  As I started looking at trips I was immediately overwhelmed by the cost of flying the four of us anywhere.  Eeek.  That’s when it dawned on us, we could buy a nice used camper for what one week in the tropics would cost us.

DING!  Within a few weeks we had our wonderful camper sitting in our yard.  (insert white trash joke here)  We have loved our camper so far!  Even more than that I am loving not buying a million things this year!  We have planned a spring break trip (it’s a secret where we are going so I’m not telling) and the kids will find out on Christmas morning where we are going.  I got them a few gifts that go along with the camper / trip but that’s it!

It has been wonderful!  The kids haven’t seemed bothered by it, they aren’t asking for anything and are dying to know where our fun little camper will take us in April.  I’m planning on making their small gifts into a scavenger hunt that will end with a map in the camper showing our destination.

This is all made a little easier by the fact that Eli now knows the real deal about Santa.  A few months ago he randomly said to me:

“Mom, now that I’m in 4th grade I know the truth about Santa.  Once you are in 4th grade you just kinda know it’s your parents.  Plus daddy always tells me which cookies Santa will like and those are the only ones that get eaten.  So, I know he’s the one eating the cookies.”  (that’s right, blame it on Daddy : )

So, this year is a whole new grown up, no Santa, less presents year for our family.  And in the words of McDonald’s  I’m lov’n it!


What kind of Family are you?

15 08 2011

As our kids get older and we all continue to redefine our roles, goals and relationships Paul and I decided to sit down and look at what we want for / from our family as our kids approach the tween and teen years.  We have always been a sports oriented family, but in more of a global sense.  Our kids swim on the swim team, my 9 year old played basketball last year and my 12 year old ran cross country and track last year, but that’s it.  We ride bikes regularly as  a family.  We swim together often.  The kids even run with us every once and a while.  We aren’t the type of family to belong to a travel league of any sort.  We like to have our weekends free for family travel and other family activities.  (I am not knocking this type of team, just saying it’s not our thing!)

We decided we want to travel more as a family.  We loved, loved, loved our family time in Costa Rica.  When the four of us were away and just enjoying the simplicity of a week of board games, surfing and swinging in the hammock it was perfection.  As we looked at the type of travel we can afford and what we want to do it wasn’t exactly lining up : )  So, we decided to do what we have talked about doing for 13 years – we purchased a fantastic (new to us) travel trailer.

2007 Starcraft EXP 21 RHB - our new 'home away from home!'

We went with a small one, it has fold out beds like a pop up, but hard sides so that we get luxuries like a bathroom, AC and heat : )  This is for traveling to races (TRIPLE T is a fantastic camping trip), for family trips (Florida for Spring break?  yes please!) and some trips that will be both (REV3 Wisconson 2012 – family ROADTRIP!) We are so excited – we can’t wait to go pick it up!!   We have been stalking the state and national park websites planning our family travels near and far – we would love suggestions of ‘YOU MUST GO HERE’ places!



28 07 2011

I know most of the folks around have been on summer schedule for the last month and a half, but for the Coach Kati family summer began on Sunday.  Sure, we have been to the beach, the lake, San Antonio (and I’ve also been to Connecticut and Portland) – but so far our summer days have been fight or flight.  It’s either go, go, go or absolute lazy slugs.

I’m always amazed at how much two a day swim practices is able to rule the entire day.  Our morning practice is only from 7:30 – 8:30 am, but by the time you get ready, walk there, get equiptment out, coach practice, take lane lines out and walk home it’s actually 7 – 9.  Then there’s breakfast and an attempt to put the house together from the day before (or unpack from the previous trip) it’s time to start thinking about getting dinner before evening practice from 6 – 8:30.  (which again, really runs from 5:30 – 9 by the time you get ready, walk, pack up and walk home).

As much as swim team and our crazy travel schedule has ruled our summer I wouldn’t change any of it!  Our team is great and I just love our kids.  We won a meet this year for the first time in NINE years.  Yep, 9 years of losses.  There are 6 teams in our league.  At the end of the morning session at champs this year our team was in 4th place.  We finished up in 5th (not many older swimmers), but even that hadn’t happened in a LOOONG time so we were jumping for joy!

So here we are left with 4 weeks of summer.  I’m trying hard not to jam too much into the time, which would make the last 4 weeks much like the first.  The one thing I’ve managed to fit in is some workouts again!  Thank goodness!   At this point I’m pretty much starting from scratch – I’m in about as bad of shape as I’ve been in since about 2005.   OY!  But I’ll get back there, It’s good an humbling to have to work so hard to go slow I guess : )

Off to the track for a run and if we make it through the afternoon without a kiddo pooping in the pool I’ll even get a swim done this evening!  I miss my 2 a days!


Travels, Travels, Travels!

20 07 2011

I feel like I could sleep for two days!  My whirlwind travel escapades began with a cross country flight on a Thursday from Roanoke, VA to Portland, OR.  This was my first trip to Portland and, although I didn’t get to see the downtown, I did get to see this for four days:

That’s Mt. Hood, which was in the background for the whole race weekend.  Spectacular is one word I would use.  The other word I would use to describe my work weekend (working for REV3 timing the Portland HalfREV race) is family.  I couldn’t pick a better staff to work with.  Hands down the most fun, caring and dedicated race staff you’ll find around.

The race was Sunday morning and all the reviews I’ve read were glowing.  Everything went off without a hitch and before long we were packing stuff back in the vans and I was off to the airport for my redeye flight back to Roanoke.  Except I got stuck in the Chicago airport.     Mechanical problems, storms and gate changes made for a long morning, but I just threw down $16 for a blanket and slept on the benches.    By 3pm I was back in Roanoke and on my way out to Smith Mountain Lake for a few days with my husband’s side of the family to celebrate my nephew’s graduation from High School.

Six boy cousins and Anna all had a blast playing games, jet skiing, swimming and just hanging out.  It was so fun to see the kids with their cousins!  Got in a short open water swim and lots of fun family time before it was time on Wed. to head straight back to the Roanoke Airport with the kids for a quick trip to San Antonio, TX for my grandfather’s 90th birthday extravaganza!

My kids are rockstar travelers!  Running through the Atlanta airport with our rolling carryons and backpacks because I’m too cheap to pay for checked bags – fantastic!  Our first order of business in San Antonio was to spend the day at Schlitterbahn waterpark.  19 years ago (ack!) I worked at Schlitterbahn, since then it’s grown and grown!  It was so fun to go back and show the kids where I worked and played for 2 fabulous summers.  (The rides were fun too!)

Friday and Saturday were family days.  I grew up with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins.  My mom’s side of the family is big and we grew up close.  Over the last few years having my own family, and a new family (Paul’s) to meld with has sidetracked me from keeping up with my extended family.  It was so amazing to go back to my ‘roots’ and I absolutely loved having the kids get a feel for the even bigger family that they belong to.  I can’t even begin to say how amazing my family is, I will just say that I am very blessed.

Now I’m home.  Whew.  I’m ready to train, eat healthfully and transform back into a triathlete again.  I’ve been hiding behind my surgery for a few months and it’s time to drop the excuses and get back into shape again.  Life is good.

Parenting a Tween

14 12 2010

seems to be much like . . . (I would love some comments filling in the blank so that I know I’m not the only one!!)

Mine answer is running outside in the pitch black darkness with a few randomly placed streetlamps along the way.

I must add to the above statement that running at  night and in the dark terrifies me, much like parenting a tween : )  I don’t have much to complain about.  My kiddo is pretty fantabulous.  She’s taking 8th grade math in 6th grade and acing it.  She read over 4,000 pages in the last 6 weeks and she still enjoys being with her family – most of the time.

But then there’s the new things that are beginning.  We broke down and let her have a phone.  Don’t judge – she’s a responsible kid and stays after school for cross country and musical practice.  The texting has begun.  We have told her that we retain the right to read all texts (and emails for that matter), which I only occasionally do.  But when I do they are HI-larious!  The drama, the angst.  I am sad that 15 years from now she won’t find a box of notes in our basement and read all the silliness.  I got to do that and it was so fun!  Her silliness is lost in the cyber-world.

The new boy-liking has begun and while I was expecting this, I did have my first boyfriend in 5th grade after all, it has still thrown me for a loop.  I invested a lot of my time over the last 4 years coaching running groups for my daughter that are centered on self-esteem building.  We did Girls on the Run, Go Girl Go, I coach her swim team, you get the picture.   I think sports and positive self esteem are essential in raising my daughter so that while she knows we can read her texts, we don’t have to because there is nothing in there that would alarm us.

Having said that we are a no-pressure sports family.  Kind of funny considering the over the top competitive streak I have, but that’s another post.  We have deliberately only had our kids in a few sports, and even then only recreationally.  No, my kids won’t grow up to be Olympic athletes, but on the other had we sit down every single night and have dinner at the table as a family.  My hubby and I have discussed this at length and feel strongly that family time needs to trump sports for us.  It did for both of our families growing up.  Neither of us grew up with a sport of our own (or of one of our siblings) that was more important than family time.

I have lots of friends that manage to balance all star kids and still maintain a feeling of family.  I don’t know how they do it, so instead we stick to our method.  Hopefully a nice balance of some sports and lots of family support will all blend together into a well rounded, self-confident young lady that can make smart choices.

The North Pole Goes Gluten Free

8 12 2010

12-11-2010 UPDATE #2 – the contest is up!  You can vote once a day (by leaving a comment on the blog) vote often and vote for mine!  (hint, you can clearly see the North Pole sign on my houses!)

12-11-2010 UPDATE – the contest isn’t up yet, thank you all who have offered to vote!  I’ll update as soon as it’s live!

Around noon today I realized I HAD to iron a bunch of my husband’s pants.  Not because he expects it.  Not because he can’t do it himself.  Mostly because I was going to be embarrassed if everybody got home from school/ work this evening and the ONLY thing I did today was make a ginger bread house.

Most people picture a nice little house that comes from a kit and tastes like cardboard when they think gingerbread house.  Not in this house.  First you have to find a gluten free gingerbread cookie recipe.  (preferably one that tastes good!)  I found my recipe from last year that worked great at Only Sometimes Clever.  I cut my own (only partially fitting) template and whipped up enough Royal Icing to glue ANYTHING together!  

With two houses of somewhat equal size I decided to GO BIG this year and make our very own North Pole.  After raiding the candy isle of 3 different stores we I was ready to go!   I have to admit here that while the kids were at school and my hubby was at work I really spent my entire day (minus the time spent ironing pants) working on my Gluten Free North Pole.  And it – was fun.  I even let the kids help when they got home from school!

Now I might be a weeee bit over the top, but not only was it so much fun, but it has the potential to WIN ME STUFF!  I might be a tad bit competitive, so that might just have been a bit of a motivator to make it all just right.  The contest is at one of my favorite gluten free blogs, Cook it Allergy Free.  The winner gets an Ipod touch, so it’s no small contest!  So my blog friends, check out the masterpiece and beginning Friday please, please go to the blog and VOTE FORE ME!!!  (or more importantly vote for Santa and his gluten free village : )


The Elves' Toy Factory (those are little gingerbread elves on the walk way)

The frozen pond out front w/ Elves skating and Santa's sleigh in the back - it's even filled with presents!

Casa Santa and Mrs. Clause (you can see Rudolph hanging out behind the house)

Mrs. Clause getting the mail

The whole shebang! Santa and Mrs. Clause go Gluten Free : )

Anatomy of a Fabulous Sunday

22 08 2010

Today was aaaaaaah.

Aside from the bickering children (who go to school in 12 hours, but who’s counting!) everything was just fantastic!!

I planned an awesome outing to Switzer Dam (which is also Skidmore Lake and yes, I am so childish that I giggled at that name).  Both my husband and I used to go there when we were juvenile delinquents, but haven’t been back in many, many years.  Apparently some people run, bike, hike and fish there.  I thought it was just where teenagers went to drink and camp, but wow – there’s so much to learn!! 

We checked the weather and saw that the am looked great and rain would be moving in for the afternoon.  So after some yummy coffee to start the day (because lets face it, without coffee it’s just not a fabulous day) and b’fast we packed up 4 bikes and a picnic lunch and hit the road!

We arrived about 20 min. later at the lake.  It’s really weird going back to somewhere that holds only one type of memory (teenage juvenile delinquent memories in this case) in a totally different context (as a grown up with an almost teenager)!!  Eek!  We started with the creek – minnow catching, crawfish chasing . . . all things wonderful to an 8 year old boy and even cool to an almost 11 year old girl. 

 Aug mtn bike ride 037Aug mtn bike ride 028

We finally got our bikes down to start on our ride and the sprinkle began. Crap.  We rode for a few minutes through the trails but it started to rain even harder.  Time to go.   What a bummer – no fishing even!  I pouted the whole way home.

Aug mtn bike ride 044 Aug mtn bike ride 041 Aug mtn bike ride 042

By the time we got home (and I napped because lets face it, without a nap it’s not a fabulous day) the sun was shining and the ground was dry.  We climbed on the bikes and tried our first family jaunt on the Rocktown trails.  I cannot say how excited I am to have mountain bike trails just minutes from our house!!  We weren’t sure if the kids were ready for the trails yet but they – were fabulous!  And just as fabulous is the fact that the easy trails seem, well easy to me now.  So now we can hit the easy trails with the family and I, might just be ready to (gulp!) move up to the moderate trails!  Yay me! 

We finished the day with yummy local beef hamburgers and salads.  And, kids are all going to bed early  because, have I mentioned – they go to SCHOOL in 12 hours!!  Yay!!!


17 04 2010

You know those weeks where you get healthy family sit down dinners in every night, you help your kids with their homework, you get all your work done – well, all you workouts get completed and life is good?  This is not one of those weeks.  As I type my children are BOTH (that’s two for the price of one) in their rooms sobbing, angry at me for yelling at them because they were yelling at each other.  In addition I still have a swim to complete, workouts to write that should have been done Thursday, and a long ride to do on Sunday.  All of this adds up to not a lot of quality family time, lots of stress, tears and yelling.

Time to sit down and re-work the family schedule because this has not been fun and I’m not being a good mom, coach, athlete or wife right now and I should be able to get atleast 3 out of 4 each week, even if it’s not the same three.  : (

Saturday Mornings

26 07 2008

This week I got my long ride in on Friday while the kids were with my sister in law. We did a crazy all over town 70 mile ride followed by a 6 mile run. It was a lot of fun but some of that might have been delerium setting in around mile 50 of the bike.

Because of the long workout Friday I got to sleep in today (sleep in on a Sat.?! It’s almost unheard of) & have breakfast w/ the kids (grits for me, whole grain Pop-tarts for them – yeah, I know, it’s still bad for them but a little bad is o-k with me) then cake baking w/ my son. We are trying out a new Gluten Free cake mix in preperation for his 6th birthday on Tues. If I find a gluten free mix that is yummy I can start sharing in the birthday cake at family celebrations!!