Monday, October 25, 2010

New Baby

As an astute reader already noted, we had our baby last week.  While I'm sure Heather will write a more effusive post about the events surrounding the baby's birth, it's probably apropos to post the vitals and a picture or two now.

Name: Charlotte Rae Wright
Length: 19 inches
Weight: 8 lbs., 6 oz.

Charlotte Rae

Our new family

Friday, October 22, 2010

Texas Baseball

Life is good for a baseball fan in Texas.  For the first time in 50 years as a franchise, the Texas Rangers are headed to the World Series.  As someone who has followed Texas Rangers baseball for half of that time, and the vast majority of my life, I'm particularly excited.  (And the fact that their most recently vanquished opponent is the New York Yankees just adds to the joy.)

Our family moved to North Texas when I was 4 years old, and I started following the Rangers within the next couple of years.  While not knowing the nuances of the game, an occasional trip to the old Arlington Stadium was always a treat, even if the product on the field wasn't very good.  I remember Bobby Valentine and Pete O'Brien, Julio Franco and Ruben Sierra, and Nolan Ryan bringing the heat (and occasionally a fist).

I lived and died by baseball.  Before the Internet, I spent summer nights falling asleep to the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel calling the games.  I'd never make it to the end, though, and would have to wait until the following evening when my dad brought home the paper to learn the result.  I'd pour over box scores and standings, just in time to catch the next game.  I still remember my first personal complete game: Nolan Ryan's 300th win.

When a teenager, I'd still listen to the Rangers' games on the radio, and usually to completion.  I made a habit of winning free tickets to the game once a season by knowing the play-of-the-game and calling it in the local radio station.  We went with friends on dollar 'dog night, we'd sit in the nickel seats, and get sit on hotdogs and cotton candy.  And earlier this year, I took Hannah to her first Rangers game, watching a 2-hitter by Colby Lewis at Houston.  (She remembers the cotton candy more than anything else.)

Hannah and Hyrum at Rangers Game in June
This season has been a bit surreal.  The Rangers have always had a way of doing well just long enough to keep fans interested, and then fading in August and September.  But not this year.  They took the lead in June and never looked back (and I started tracking their magic number in mid-July).  And they beat the Rays in convincing fashion in an elimination game 5.  And after a demoralizing start to the ALCS in game 1 (which I was at), they handled the Yankees with aplomb, winning the series 4-2.

And now the Rangers are finally in the World Series.  I sat in a hospital room earlier this evening with our one-day-old daughter in my arms, watching Feliz fan Rodriguez for the final out of the ALCS.  With that perspective, it's easy to see that baseball isn't the most important thing in life, but for somebody who has followed this sport, and this team, for so long, this season has been an exciting run.  I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Outlaw Trail 100


This is what I usually hear when I tell other people about my plan to ride 100 miles on a bicycle in one day.  While no stranger to centuries (as they are commonly called), it had been a couple of years since I last did one.  This summer, though, I've been riding my bike to school, as well as doing more extended rides around the Austin area, and a century seemed like a good goal to shoot for.  The Outlaw Trail 100, hosted by the near by city of Round Rock, was time perfectly to fit my schedule.

Since getting home from my most recent trip, I've been making final preparations.  All this week, as I've tapered for the event, I've been looking forward to it.  Add to that the recent improvements in the weather, and today was looking like a winner.  So much so, that I set a goal for a personal best of less than 6 hours, 30 minutes, studying the course map and making some plans to help accomplish that goal.

And a winner it was.  After a slightly chilling start at 8 am sharp, the weather warmed up nicely, but was never too hot.  During the first part of the ride, I made great time, at one point averaging over 20 miles-per-hour.  I later discovered the reason for my great performance when we made the turn to head south and encountered a stiff headwind, which was to be my companion for the rest of the day.

The ride wasn't without it's bits of excitement.  In addition to the wind, there was a half-mile of dirt road, as well as a some cobblestones for authenticity.  Some of the roads were a bit under-maintained, which was a bit jarring at times, but the scenery was nice, with fields of ready-to-harvest cotton alternating with pastures and cows.  At one point, I was caught in a dirt devil, as it made its way across a cotton field and on to the route.

One of several rest stops
By the time I hit the rest stop at 70 miles, I knew I could finish, but that things like nutrition, fluids and pacing would be an important factor.  I also mentally divided the remainder of the ride into 3 ten-miles rides, which corresponded nicely with the remaining rest stops.  Finally, after round the last bend in the course, I saw Heather, Hannah, and Jonathan, waiting to cheer me on to completion.  It was a great feeling.

In the end, I accomplished my goal, with an overall time of 6 hours, 20 minutes.  In addition to being an exhausting experience, it was a great lesson in anatomy, as I now know about parts I didn't even know I had, due to their aching.  And, of course, my lack of sunscreen use has led to a pretty severe sunburn with rather odd contours.  I'll take the next few days off the bike (and maybe more if No. 3 decides to come soon), but the I hope to continue feeding my cycling addition.

A very tired Hyrum, after 100 miles of riding

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Change is in the air!

Our change is not signaled by beautiful fall leaves, the smell of apples and brisk air, rather our change is signal by a lack of humidity, yes cooler temperatures at night but still mid-80s during the day and looking at the calendar and realizing that the holidays are right around the corner.

Our lives have been affected by more than this seasonal change this year. Two weeks ago we received word that a 3-bedroom apartment had become available and would we like it? Well of course we would. So, I did as much as I could to get things packed in what boxes we had and start the cleaning process in our old apartment. We didn't even have enough boxes to put all of our books in, and I had been saving them almost since we moved here (old diaper boxes--we've gone through a lot of those).

Wednesday we were all set to start moving things get into our new place. Hyrum's mom was on her way down to help for a few days and the car was loaded. We went to meet the lady with the keys but alas, due to a gunman on UT campus the day before, the office had closed, thus not completing our paperwork. The lady with the keys couldn't get them to us until 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. Let's just say Hyrum was not happy.

So, he worked, I cleaned some more and packed a few other things in random bags that seem to float around our apartment. We got the keys, that afternoon, ate dinner, Hyrum went to church and mom and I moved and unloaded the boxes and then worked on re-filling them. That night the kids' room was pretty empty and you had to tread carefully through the living room. Hyrum's mom was a good sport and bunked with the kids in their room.

Thursday, we got up and Jonathan and I went to get out his stitches, Hyrum ran a few errands, and then through the amazing efforts of good friends we were completely moved by about 7 pm that night. The old apartment was clean and we were drowning in stuff at the new place but it was all here. We even had room to sleep.

We are so grateful for all of the people who helped us move. It was hard not being able to do a whole lot since I've really had to slow down with this pregnancy. I am particularly grateful for my mother-in-law. She was a life saver and I know that it wasn't easy for her either. The great thing is that we're in, I unpacked the last box today, we have central air, and our baby could be here anytime, probably within a week and a half.

Change is in the air and we are so grateful for the blessings we've received. We are anxious for our little girl to arrive and now we are really ready for her to come. Bags are packed and ready to go.