Day 10 – 1,000 Miles in 10 Days on by Bicycle – Part V

On August 9, 2017, in Crazy Stuff, Mom, by Jennifer McPherson

Day 10 – I Cannot Believe It

GREAT to have Friends Like These Three!

Day 10! I could hardly believe it when I woke up. This was the first day since Day 1 that I jumped up out of bed and rushed to get on the road. The FINAL 100!  How I made it this far I still to this day am completely amazed. I quickly did my routine, make noodles in the microwave, eat a ton of pasta and rice, drink my cup of coffee, fill up my Camel Pack with water and Skratch, load up on sunscreen and OFF I went. This day – I could give it my all and then some. There was no need to hold anything back knowing I did not have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow. So I did – I pedaled harder than I had this entire journey. I was going to get to Greeley as fast as I possibly could pedal.

I have to say this entire adventure would not have been possible without the support of my husband and children. They met me each day as I rode my 100th mile for that day with nothing but smiles and encouragement.  were the most amazing champions of this adventure. Also the encouragement from

David, Jackson, Maisie and my Friend Amanda Roadside Support

friends who came out and met me along the way – not only this day but many other days. I had strangers stop me who were tracking me to give me a boost in spirit. Of course, friends stop by and bring me wine (cough cough, Jordan), and who came and found me when I was lost in Windsor (ish) and help me find my way when a portion of the Cherry Creek Bike Path was closed for construction – Jim.  And the countless people who across Facebook gave me encouragement the whole time. Oh and of course Scott, for posting all the updates on my status and flat out encouraging me.  Just straight up unbelievable.

The Final Moment

What does it feel like to win a million dollars?  Honestly, I don’t know. But I imagine it feels very similar to the moment I rode onto the grass at Island Grove Park in Greeley, CO. I mean I literally just rode 1,000 miles on a bicycle, in 10 days. I cried, not ugly crying of course. Just a few tears of pride. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it.

It Feels Amazing to Do What I Want!

Was it Hard?

Um – Yes. Of COURSE it was hard, difficult, challenging, etc. You name the word – it was all of them. I’ve had people say: I don’t know how you can sit on that seat all day long. The truth is my butt nor my legs were very sore at all. The worst pain was in my wrists, right foot (it kept falling asleep) and my neck. My right foot would go completely numb and every 4 or 5 miles, I’d have to unclip from my pedals as I rode and shake it out.  My left wrist and hand was so numb within the first 2 miles. In fact my left hand has not even regained strength yet from the ride.

What was the Best Part?

The best part, of course aside from raising money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado was how much I learned about myself during this 10-day journey.  When you are all by yourself turns out you have a lot of time to think. And think… and think…. Amazing things can happen in life if you work hard and task your mind to something and don’t give up. It proved to me that if I set my  mind to something my body will compensate and rise to the occasion.

Finish Line Supporters

 

What is Next?

Who knows! I am impulsive and do a lot of things on a whim. I am not quite sure what is next. I will continue to ride my bike but not quite as far for as many days that is for sure.

This whole ride was to support Honor Flight Northern Colorado. This is a non-profit 100% volunteer organizations that provides free trips for veterans to WA D.C. to see the memorials that were built to honor them. I had the privilege last September to be a guardian on an Honor Flight and it changed me more than you can even know. The men and women that serve our country now and in the past pay the ultimate sacrifice in their lives to ensure our freedom. Some lost their lives, others are altered for the rest of their lives either physically or mentally or both. Honor Flight provides veterans a way to see first hand how much they are loved by our country. This (particularly with Vietnam Veterans) is something that is not always clear.

How Can You Help?

Ever have spare money? $1.00, $5.00, $100., $500. or heck $1,000?  It is easy to donate and is tax deductible.  Click Here. Click on the Donate tab and you will be walked through how to donate.

My Route

My Route – Day 1-5

My Route Day 6-10

Day 9 – Tears All Around

When I changed my route after day 3 I decided I would just head straight east across Nebraska.  It is fairly flat and the roads are relatively good for

Road to Papillion

cycling. As I mapped each day I discovered I was heading straight toward Papillion, NE where my dad grew up. I thought how cool it would be to end day 9 at the cemetery where my grandma and grandpa are buried, so the plan was set! I decided to keep my destination a secret and never told my parents.  They had been watching me on my tracker map every day and I thought it would be a fun surprise to have them watch me as I headed toward the cemetery just outside of Papillion.

 

As I rode closer to Lincoln the landscape changed from flat to rolling hills. I was having a blast going up and down hills again.  Working hard pedaling up hill pays off 10 fold as you fly down the other side. One thing that stands out in my mind and I wish I had stopped and took a picture of it was a garage sale sign. I was in the middle of no where and there was a dirt road off the main road.  There was a sign pointing down the dirt road that said: Garage Sale, 4 1/2 miles ahead.  I laughed out loud and thought you have got to really be desperate to go to a garage sale via traveling 9 miles total down a dirt road to look at someone’s junk!

I was in Lincoln, NE and I texted my  mom to asked if my dad was tracking me? She said, yes, that he was crying in the basement. He had figured out my trajectory. The cemetery where my grandma, grandpa and an entire host of relatives are buried is in a rural area of rolling hills outside of Papillion on a dirt road. When I arrived at the cemetery the first thing I did was call my dad, needless to say it was a very emotional conversation.  David and the kids were waiting there when I rode up. They had stopped and purchased a couple of plants for us to place on my grandparents grave.  I walked around and took photos of all

My Grandma & Grandpa’s Grave

my relatives headstones to send to my dad. Unfortunately I was still 4 miles short of my 100 miles needed for the day. I decided I would call my dad and find out the address of where he grew up and just head in that direction until I get my 4 miles in then we could load the bike up and drive the rest of the way so I could get some photos of the house that he grew up in. It is funny how the mind works, my dad cannot remember a conversation from two days ago and yet when asked where his house he grew up in was he rolled off the cross streets like he lived there currently. Some things stay with you forever I guess.  I entered the location into my GPS and immediately got goosebumps and tears in my eyes. The house he grew up in was exactly 4 miles from the cemetery. Sometimes fate is subtle and other times it is so evident it knocks you to your knees in amazement. What a beautiful day this was.

Jackson & Maisie Setting Plants on their Great Grandma & Grandpa’s Grave

I Seriously Rode My Bicycle from Colorado to Papillion, Nebraska!

 

As soon as I started off toward my dad’s old home I noticed my tire was really low.  I was 4 miles away from my 100. Could I make it on the dwindling air I had? You have to understand, when you are only 4 miles from your daily goal, which is a BIG deal when you have ridden 900 miles because it means getting OFF the bike and not getting back on it until the next day, you do NOT want to spend 25 minutes wrangling with a tire but rather spend 15 minutes riding the final 4 miles. I decided to wing it and see if I could just pedal my ass off and beat the flat tire. By the time I got to my dad’s childhood home, it was pretty near where I was not going to be able to ride it another mile.  I WIN!

My Dad’s Childhood Home

Hello Random Little Piece of Metal

As soon as I took pictures of my dad’s house we loaded my bike in the truck and hightailed it back to Sterling, CO. Which mind you, is a 407 miles away and because we were hauling the camper we could only go around 65 MPH. The FINAL day was just hours away. Day 9 was by far my favorite day. Getting back to my family’s roots and doing so by riding my bike all the way across Nebraska – I just cannot find the words to describe this day.

My cup runneth over.

 

Day 6 – Hell Day

That’s Right!

Who would have thought that after I was so excited to have hit the half way mark I would wake up a total grumpy pants on day 6!  But, I did…

Something happened mentally as I slept because I woke full of disappointment and doom. I could not shake it. My mind was playing tricks on me and really threatening my ability to make it to the finish line. I procrastinated getting on the road doing everything I could to delay. Once on the road, after only 10 miles I was hot, way too hot so I called David. I wore a regular sleeved shirt not a tank top because I got sunburned the day prior even with sunscreen and I did not want to make it worse.  I asked him to stop at the Walmart in town and pick up a tank top and bring it to me. He could tell I was mentally struggling. Physically I felt fine. My legs were not sore at all. My dang mind would not get out of the negative atmosphere. I felt like the Bugs Bunny character when his devil and angel self are on either shoulder contradicting one another.

David found me on the road and had bought me an “I Hate Running” tank top.  Which could not be more fitting for me because I literally will never be a runner because “I Hate Running” that much.  That made me snicker inside and gave a point to my angel self on my right shoulder and tipped the scale ever so slightly but just enough to send me back on my ride.

Jared William Brown, 6/16/2013 – 20 yrs old, Afghanistan

My route was a loop so instead of going straight east I started going south, then turn east, and north then back west.  I was probably about the half way mark when I turned and headed north immediately into a strong headwind. I went from 13-16 MPH to 8 MPH. I had 25 miles to ride directly into the headwind, not to mention this route was rolling hills. I tried to rally myself, but pushing hard against the wind, then up hill and against the wind downhill I pretty much broke. After about 12 miles of this I stopped, got off my bike, visualized myself literally launching my bike into the ditch but managed to hold back that urge and I just laid it down on the side of the road. Then I started crying, not a simple tear in my eye, but full on ugly crying. For the record I am not a crier. I was there probably 10 minutes as my shoulder angel and devil duked it out. Then I turned back toward my bike and saw the flag on the back. I got the flag on Memorial Day when I did my last big training day and rode to Keensburg, CO to the American Legion Post 180 for a Memorial Day ceremony. They handed out small flags to everyone and on each flag was a tag with a name of a soldier who was killed in action. My flag: Jared William Brown, 6/16/2013 – 20 yrs old, Afghanistan. I starred at it and thought REALLY? Full of anger at myself, I said out loud: YOU (me) are out here “doing what you want”, you chose to ride your bike, you have the freedom to do so, YOU have everything in the world to be thankful for, YOU are not in a terrifying war, YOU are not away from your family, YOU ARE ALIVE. I carried that flag to honor this young man whose life ended barely even before it began. In my moment of self pity I realized giving up would completely dishonor him. How could I give up?  He was not allowed to give up and his circumstances were far beyond his control. He fought for the freedom I was enjoying and whining about. I admit I was a little ashamed at myself for my pity moment. I was NOT going to dishonor him by giving up. Back on my bike I went with a new found attitude.

With my longest ride time – I finally finished this day and as difficult as it felt when I was done I couldn’t be more proud of myself to have completed this day. By far the toughest mentally I had thus far. When times are tough you just have to put your head down and think linear to get you through it. It also helps to put everything in perspective. One of my favorite quotes in life is “Only Way Out is Through”. This is the truth in every scenario you encounter in life.

Day 7 – Life Preserver

Amy & I About to Begin Day 7

I guess I tend to use analogies when I am looking at life.  On Day 7, Amy, was my life preserver. She decided to come out to Nebraska and ride with me one more day. Coming off Hell Day, her timing could not have been better.  We headed out and were kicking ass and taking names all morning long!  I drafted off Amy and I remember yelling up to her….. This is AWESOME – I feel like I am on vacation back here!  We were making record time, then, Amy got a flat. On the positive side, of ALL the places we had been going through we actually were just heading out of a more major town when it happened.  We left the tubes for her bike in the truck which was a good 50 miles away. David was usually fairly close to where I was but on this day he had a slow start with the kids and Amy and I were ROCKIN’ it on speed. We tried one of my tubes but they just did not work. As we stood on the side of the road a golf cart drove up with a nice young man asking if we needed any assistance.  He worked at the nursery which you could see from the road where we stood. He went back and grabbed a buddy and their flatbed truck, loaded our bikes on the back and we all rode to town to the bike shop. It is refreshing how incredibly kind people are when they do not even have to be.

All along the trip I learned that one of the keys to making it through 1oo miles a day is to break your day into small goals. I would look ahead and because it is flat you could see the grain elevator in the next town. They were almost consistently 10-15 miles away.  All day, I would see one and say, that is our next stop. Then if I struggled during that period inside my head I would create new smaller goal, inside of the big grain elevator goal. I am blown away at the power of mind over matter.  I have heard this saying hundreds of times in my life but after this adventure, I literally had countless occasions I used it.

Amy Chillin Hands Free

Goal Point! Grain Elevator.

 

Day 8 – Coincidence or Destiny

Look! It’s Chapman, Nebraska

Coming off an epic day 7 with Amy (which at the time was the record for the fastest day) I was WAY pumped and ready to go.  I started off my morning smiling as I visually saw myself rolling over my 800th mile. This day really involved putting my head down and hitting all my grain elevator markers and trying the best I could to not make mini goals in between.  The road was pretty much the same as the many days before, the trains roaring along side of me over and over again. I was a little bored of the scenery so when trains would come by I would put my arm up and pull up and down to see if I could get them to blow the train whistle.  Of course they did most of the time, it made me smile and wonder what they thought of a grown woman trying to get a train to blow their whistle. I did not really care – it was FUN and great entertainment.

My final grain elevator goal happened to be Chapman, Nebraska.  For those who do not know, my maiden name is Chapman.  There are numerous Chapman’s in

Nebraska including many of my relatives. I remember when I was a kid my grandma showed me a piece of paper which was the lineage of her to John Chapman also known as Johnny Appleseed. I was so proud to brag about this to my friends in elementary school.  Riding through Nebraska,

This Cloud, All By Itself in the Great Big Sky. How I Felt on the Road.

as boring as it might sound, was actually quite fun thinking about my dad and his family and where a part of me comes from. The world is quite enormous, there is something about knowing where you came from that gives comfort.  I was thrilled to have rolled over my 800th mile in Chapman, Nebraska!

That’s Right… I thought as I piled into the truck to go back to the campground…. I rode 800 Miles!!

 

 

Day 3 – Friendship Ride

New Fantastic Friends!

This day was AWESOME, AMAZING, ENCOURAGING, MOTIVATING, HUMBLING and so much more. Truth, in life people come and go

and many never will leave a mark on your spirit.  But this is NOT the case for the incredible friends who joined me on this leg of the journey. A few of my coworkers and I had been talking about my ride for some time and they decided to join me on this day.  Steve is an avid cyclist and Amy is literally the most athletic person I have ever met…ever!  Steve put the word out to his cycling group and I ended up having 5 riders complete the 100 miles and another 3 join for a portion of the ride.  It was the BEST DAY EVER!

I had 200 miles under my belt and was ready to rock and roll on another 100.  We traveled from Strasburg, down through, Elizabeth, around the Aurora Reservoir Trail which I now have on my list of places to visit with the kiddos to play in the water and ride bikes along the trail.

Beautiful Day for a Ride!

What I did not really expect was the number of long hills through Elizabeth and then returning to Strasburg. Let’s be real. I am an extreme novice cyclist at this point in my life.  I used to cycle a lot but I had kids, then more kids and then life just got in the way of doing any real cycling.  The last long distance ride I did was 16 years ago when I was 31.  I did the Seattle to Portland, also known as the STP, two years in a row. The second year I rode in it I called David during the middle of it and told him if I ever say, I want to do the STP again under NO circumstances should he allow me to do it!  But you just cannot tame CRAZY and David of all people knows this.

Day 3 – “Rookies” Ready to Roll!

This day and all these hills made me realize that I needed to change the entire rest of my course.  I lacked the power to effectively perform on the hills and my route through Wyoming would present hills 3-4 times as long and challenging. Compared to the people I rode with on this day my novice ability was shining like a lighthouse beacon! On WAY  more than one hill, Chris (one of my new found cycling friends via Steve) literally rode along side me on the hills and pushed me while riding his bike up the hill. I still don’t know how anyone has that amount of energy or strength but it was very much appreciated. Everyone who rode with me on this day came out in support and encouraged me leaving me feeling incredibly humbled.  People are good. This day was DA-BOMB!!!!  THANK YOU FRIENDS!!

 

Day 4 – Start of the Plains

BOOOOM!!!  300 miles on the books! I am ACTUALLY DOING THIS.  Not that up to this point I did not think I would complete this but not gonna lie, there was PLENTY of time during my long rides to think and every now and then I had doubts creep in.  Today was different. I had just come off a day full of friends and support and could not let their efforts be for naught!

Long Empty Roads & Miles of Fields

Wind was my friend as I headed northeast toward Sterling.  I was cruising like crazy!  Hour after hour when I looked at my speed I was consistently between 17-19 MPH.  At one point I hit a bump and my waterbottle fell off my bike, I circled back and got it then stood on the side of the road taking a few photos of the vast fields that seem to never end and the empty roadway that went on forever.  I vividly remember thinking how blessed I am to be in this moment.  As I stood there alone my phone rang, it was my dad.  He had been tracking me and saw I was stopped and was wondering if I was eating lunch. It put a smile on my face as he was telling me about how he has been tracking me each day and then would pull up Google maps and zoom in on my location to see what I was seeing.  My dad has always been a man of few words but being able to share this experience and have him actively participate brings tears to my eyes just thinking of that moment. He grew up in Nebraska and I told him I felt like I must be seeing his childhood landscape all day long. WIDE open fields full of some sort of crop that I could not identify that went on for miles and miles. And a roadway that was as empty as an unwatched cookie jar in a preschool! It was lovely….. Peaceful – so incredibly beautiful and left you feeling minuscule in this great big world.

This day was also very special as my super amazing friend Jordan found me via my tracker and delivered to me a bottle of wine! We stood on the side of the road for probably 45 minutes chatting. As we stood there a truck slowed and stopped and asked if we were OK and then he said… I am XXXXX (sadly I cannot remember his name) and I’ve been tracking your ride via the website! He works down the road and thought he would come and give me some encouragement. The amount of encouragement I received in person and on Facebook was just amazing and really helped push me to continue on.

Cool! Someone Found Me on My Tracker!

LOVE Jordan! Surprised Me with Wine and Nothing but Support!

Day 5 – Leaving Colorado

My first thought this day – after today I will be half way there! I was incredibly excited and proud of myself.

Welcome to Nebraska – the GOOD LIFE!

Riding 100 miles on a bicycle in a single day is hard, knowing each day after the day you just rode 100 miles that tomorrow you have to get up and do it all over again creates a mental internal war-zone that is straight up hard to explain and likely not many people could even understand it. However, when I make it to 500 – I am 50% complete! Mentally – this feels like you are WINNING!

Today I crossed the border into Nebraska. As I said before, my dad was born and raised in Nebraska until he joined the Navy which took him to Hawaii where he met and married my mom and finally they landed in Kingston, WA.  I was born and raised there and spent the first 30+ years of my life causing all sorts of chaos. My dad’s mother, my grandmother, moved from NE when I was a baby after my grandfather died. She moved to Kingston to be close to my family. She was the only relative I really grew up with other than my parents.  I have a fabulous photo of her at 14 years old that I cherish more than anything else I own. She was an amazing woman. She is buried in Papillion, Nebraska. Hmmmm maybe I ride all the way to Papillion???

Trains Trains Trains!

I have always loved trains.  There is something about the amount of sheer power they have that leaves you feeling a sense of excitement and danger.  Who doesn’t love that! There would be 15 or more a day that paralleled my route. The trains would frequently block the cross winds that came directly from the south to the north. When they passed I would kick it into high gear and enjoy a mini 5-10 minute cross wind vacation. Honestly, while riding alone on the road day after day, you find ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING you can to be excited about.

As I arrived at my 500th mile – I could hardly believe it! I mean WHO does this?  Especially someone who is a complete novice and is 47 years old! 50% Complete!  500 down, 500 to go!

My FABULOUS FRIENDS made signs of encouragement for me and David secretly placed them along the entire ride! I AM BLESSED!!

WHAT is NOT to love about this sign….

 

MORE to COME!!!  Part III – Day 6, 7 & 8 Coming UP Next!

 

What Have I Done??

I know everybody at one time or another in their lives makes a statement about something epic they are going to do and then think long and hard about it and realize they might be dreaming a little too big. Most of them come back down to earth and park the idea and move on.

The Bike that Completed the Journey, AKA, Black Beauty

MOST of the time I do this too, except this one time, maybe I got carried away. A little caught up in the moment perhaps? Originally I was trying to think of a way to raise money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado (a cause I very strongly believe in). I started thinking since I love riding bikes maybe some kind of bicycle ride? Hmmmm,  250 miles sounded like a good number, but the idea evolved and grew and before I knew it… It became an epic bicycle ride of 1,000 miles in 10 days. Maybe I was trying to compete with my big bad ass friends, Charley Barnes and Mike Nuererburg who were riding their motorcycle 10,000 miles in 10 days. Pretty sure Charley Barnes may have planted the seed for the bicycle ride. He had tried 3 times to complete the Iron Butt Ride to raise money for Honor Flight Northern Colorado, which he raised a TON of money for. Sadly he came close a few times but (until prior to this ride) had not yet completed it. I guess I was feeling competitive, those who know me can attest to my competitive nature, you just cannot let something like this go! After all, how hard can this really be?

June 1, 2017

This day marked the first day of  what would be hands down THE most difficult self imposed challenges I have EVER undertaken.  Riding my bicycle 100 miles a day for 10 straight days. I loaded up my Specialize Diverge Bicycle and was on my way!

Day 1 – Piece of Cake

And she’s off!  I hopped on my bike and started on my way.  From Greeley, CO to a very long way around back to Mead, CO.  Easy Peasy I

Jennifer, David, Jackson & Maisie

said to myself.  As I cruised 18 MPH through Greeley my mind was on fire.  YOU got this!  I guess the adrenaline kicked in, I could hear my inner thoughts touting: BRING IT! After all, I have trained since January for this very moment in time.  I was as ready as I would ever be!

I made it to the Poudre River Trail   where my 10 year old son Jackson and 8 year old daughter Maisie were going to join me for the next 21 miles.  As we wound through the scenic trail I was chatting with them about the river and how it always changes. How water is one of the most powerful in all nature and natural disasters. Almost as soon as we had that conversation, the trail up ahead was closed due to high levels of water in the river which was blocking the path. The original plan was for David, husband/chase truck, to pick up the kids at the other end of the trail and I would continue on. We made it 5 miles in on the trail, the kids were disappointed their ride was cut short but life never goes as planned and the more they experience this at a young age the easier it will be for them to navigate road blocks later in life.

The rest of day one went pretty much as planned.  I ended the day in Longmont, CO at my son’s first baseball game of the season. Could not have asked for a better ending location.

Day 1 and the first 100 miles down.  I was feeling great and still felt a little cocky quite honestly. Like, pfffft…. This is gravy….

Day 2 – Metropolis

100 miles down, 900 to go! As I left Mead, CO I was really excited about this leg of my trip.  I was going to ride on the new US 36 Bikeway. It is the little things in life that get me excited.  This 12 foot wide cycling path goes from Boulder to Denver along US 36. The views of the Flatirons are breathtaking. One of the things I love the most about biking is you really get to SEE IT ALL! I used to think how awesome it was taking road trips in the car and seeing the countryside.  But when you are traveling 75-80 MPH you miss 50% or more of it. The sounds, winds, smells, and small things you cannot see in the car skip by without ever getting noticed. On a bike, you cruise along at around 15 MPH and can take in everything. It is simply amazing.

Top of US 36 Trail out of Boulder, CO

In Denver I changed over to the Cherry Creek Bike Path. This trail goes through the heart of the Denver Metro area along the Clear Creek river.  During this portion of the ride a thunderstorm rolled through and I was faced with the dilemma of stopping under one of the underpasses and wait it out or just keep riding through it.  My preference would have been to wait it out but this portion of the trail is known to have very high population of transients and drug abuse.  As the storm was intensifying I was along a higher ridge that followed major high line power-lines. The lightening was now surrounding me and yet I still felt safer than the underpass with all the sketchy characters that I had just rode through. Needless to say, my speed increased as I pushed as hard as I could to get out of the storm and this area of the path.

One of my favorite parts of this day was riding on East 56th Avenue on the south side of Denver International Airport.  Two reasons, 1 – the jets fly extremely low right over this section of roadway one after another just before landing.  Seeing this perspective was a different kind of thrilling. The sounds of the engines roaring was incredibly violent revving up my internal excitement for powerful violent machines. Being able to practically read the underbelly of

Near Strasburg, CO a Farm with Thunder Clouds

a 747 as it flew over head was SUPER COOL! And 2 – they had just paved this roadway – it was like riding on a smooth pathway of butter (but without being slippery) – ahhhh butter road.

As continued the last 25 miles I managed to dodge two major thunderstorms and was beyond thankful for that. I literally felt like I was in the middle of NO WHERE.  Cars would go by every 10 or 15 minutes at the most. As I approached the Strasburg KOA where David had already set up our camper and was awaiting my arrival I realized I was 4 miles short of my 100 miles. Let me tell you…. you DON’T ride 97 miles on your bike and call it good enough! As tired as I was, I rode straight past the camp ground 2 miles then turned around and came back to complete my 2nd day – 200 miles down, and I was still smiling and still a little cocky…

There is MORE…. Click here for Day 3, 4 & 5

And More… Click here for Day 6, 7, & 8

Even More…. Click here for Day 9

AND THE FINAL DAY 10 Click Here: Day 10

Motherhood….  SOME things are NEVER mentioned to you before you have children.

 

All I can say – tape, scissors, tweezers, and pens.

 

WHERE. ARE. THEY!!!

 

Things never taught by your parents is the amazing disappearance of these simple items which seem incredibly insignificant – until YOU NEED THEM!  Children have mastered the art of finding every one of these items and hiding them in the time warp portal where you will surely NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN – unless the tape is empty, the scissors are full of glue, the pens have been deconstructed and reconstructed without the most important item known as the spring or the tweezers are bent 5 separate ways.

Like most working moms I am busy, work consumes my life as of late and children are demanding of me 24/7!  The other night my 9 and 7 year old woke up 4 – Let me repeat that FOUR – That is number 4 as in FOUR TIMES during the night.  Why?  Because there was a monster that was surely ready to eat them.  Ahem – after FOUR – times waking me up – I don’t know how they did not know or fear me – the very MONSTER they were sure was coming to eat them!

So… maybe I am tired….. And my frustration is fueled by my near mental inability to remain human….

Today-  I finally – got around to, after two YEARS, set up my direct deposit on my life insurance.  They bill quarterly so I am always paranoid that I will forget and the next day after it is late something will happen to the Hubs or I, they won’t pay out and of course we will spiral into a pit of despair…  Ok maybe I am over dramatizing it….. SO today…. I finally filled out the paperwork for an automatic payment every quarter to come out of my account!  I was SO dang proud that after two years of “meaning” to do something about this I finally did it!

The instructions and form were simple….fill out a few lines of info, tape a blank check in the provided space, put in the envelope, and stamp and mail!

But….Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

W-H-E-R-E is the tape?  WHERE IS THE EFFING TAPE!   KIDS – WHERE IS THE TAPE?????  Answer?  Uh… I dunno.

OF COURSE YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE TAPE IS!!!!

You just don’t want to tell me you hijacked the tape and all the other minor tools that I purchase and put away for when I NEED them!  You sat (QUIETLY – the ONLY TIME IN A MONTH YOU WERE QUITE by the way)  and wanted to see how much tape was on a spool so you just pulled it and pulled it and pulled itALL OF IT into a pile of unused sticky tape cluster mangle, or you wanted to see how much tape it would take to wrap your doll from the top of the head to its toes, or you were trying to get a 3 inch piece of tape but it kept getting tangled so you just had to keep pulling it out until it was GONE!

You get the point – and if you have had kids you KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT!

I was not gonna lose….today was a winning day and there was no way I was going to let a little Tapecastrophy cause me to yet again not send my life insurance form!  Quick thinking on my feet – BAND-AIDS!  I am a damn genius.

Batman happens to be the current Band-aid of the week  – so UNUM – Your welcome!

When you open up my form – First I hope you have kids, cause I KNOW – you will immediately appreciate the creativity utilized when the tape you had stockpiled mysteriously disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle and you were forced to utilize the only other sticky item you own!

One day I will look back and remember these times… I will most likely visit my children in their homes, find their tape, scissors and all the other unimportant yet necessary tools of a household and will single-handedly destroy their existence just for FUN!

 

Some Words are Incredibly Hard to Speak

On June 22, 2016, in Mom, by Jennifer McPherson

I went home this past week to visit my parents and to take my kids down memory lane with me during a trip to the Northern Pacific Ocean.

Here is how it went down… It was Beau, Knight, Ann Marie, my lil 4 year old granddaughter and myself.  We started in Denver, flew to Seattle, ferrywhere we took the light rail train from the airport to the Seattle/Bainbridge Island Ferry, crossed the Puget Sound on the big boat and went to the house I grew up in located in Kingston, WA.

The first adventure was the kids went in the woods behind the house to see what REAL trees look like.  My parents have lived in this house for 45 years.  The Douglas Fir and Cedar trees that were there when they first built their house were enormous back then, and now, they are even more impressive.  The ferns, moss, the underbrush just unbelievable.  The kids surely thought they died and gone to heaven.

Later that day, we walked to the beach that I had spent nearly every summer day.  This is not a sandy beach like you might think.  It has rocks, barnacles, oysters, fish, two freshwater streams that you can follow way up into the forest which by the way…the forest goes all the way up to the beach shore.  When I grew up, I swam here, I got cut on trees and beachbarnacles here, I caught flounders here, and I found REAL arrowheads here.  Later in life during my not so tame and innocent days I snuck out of my house in the middle of the night and met up with friends here! Yes great memories that I am happy to share with my kids (except the sneaking out of the house part..).

The next day we woke early and headed out to the Pacific Ocean.  Not Long Beach, Washington or Ocean Shores, Washington – I hardly call those great oceans to visit. They remind me of a colder version of Huntington Beach, California.  I mean it is fine for spending a day in the sun and playing in the sand, but this to me is NOT the ocean.

When I was small we would go camp out on Rialto Beach just outside of Forks, Washington.  This is the most violent yet unbelievably peaceful ocean beach I have ever been to in my life.  As you walk toward the beach you first notice large flat round rocks everywhere.  Most are no smaller than 6 to 8 inches in diameter and every one of them is flat, no more than an inch thick.  Next up is the giant stripped of bark bare logs stacked on top of one another like toothpicks.  White from the ocean bleaching effect and ALL placed there by the beast known as the Northern Pacific waves.  Once you climb over the jungle gym of logs you are finally able to see the ocean.  The beach on the other side of the logs starts with the large flat round rocks, and slowly you notice the flat round rocks get smaller and smaller until you are in pebbles and then sand.  The ocean waves are enough to take your breath away – literally.  The sound immediately alerts your senses that this place is more dangerous than you can ever realize.

Ocean 2 Ocean 3 ocean with logs

The senses overload is beyond anything I can ever replicate in any place I have ever been. The only way to describe it is like being in the most violent and peaceful place all within the same moment.  Breathtaking…

Then almost as soon as the trip started, it ended.  And I had to say goodbye.  It happened to be Father’s Day. Having visited the place of my childhood- where I remember my dad walking on the beach with us, encouraging us to keep going as we walked more than a mile down the beach in order to go through the giant rock with a hole carved through it by the ocean, where we camped in sleeping bags in between those crazy logs placed there by the ocean….

It has always been difficult to “chat” with my dad.  He doesn’t say much and you never know how to read him or even how to have a conversation with him at all. This time I tried to tell him how much I appreciate him giving me those memories, how much it means to me to be able to share with my children the same moments he shared with me all those years ago.  I could hardly get the words out, but this trip I really wanted him to know.  Then I said goodbye and cried in the car on the way to the ferry. My dad is not in the best place and I have never been more sad about it….

dad

The trip was great with bitter sweet moments. I have cried more since I have come back than I have in 10 years total (people I am NOT a crier – I like to have a cast iron heart on purpose to protect my soul).  I can hardly wait until my heart casts up again and I can be done feeling….

I guess if I could tell anyone in the world where they should visit before they die – Rialto Beach, Washington, you won’t regret it!

With no food in the belly and one glass of fabulous wine down ….girls

I am suddenly feeling slightly nostalgic.   It just dawned on me that today marks my 27th Mother’s Day!  Kaitlyn was just one day old when I celebrated my first Mother’s Day at 19 years old.  I remember like it was yesterday…. first there was the pain a labor and the flash back inside my head of the “birthing classes” and the crazy psycho woman telling everyone labor feels slightly worst than cramps.  I am here to tell you if that lady was standing before me in that moment, as I literally wished I would die of a heart attack rather than go through another second of that pain, – she would no longer be among the living!

As it turns out – over the last 27 years I would go on to have a total of 5 children – all via C-Section thank the Lord Baby Jesus!  Cause I saw a live birth once and as much as I want to call it beautiful – I cannot thank GOD enough that I never had to experience that!

Honestly, I don’t think I have ever benefited more in my life than from my children. I attribute a big part of my humor to them! I want to thank everyone of my kids for giving me the ability to laugh at the moments I thought were utterly un-laughable!  Like the time I saw my oldest (at 5 yrs old) with a baby snake wrapped around her hand and arm, kissing the snake (who pee through their skin by the way), and watching her express amazing joy at the way the snake feels as it crawls along her arm and wraps around her hand and fingers.  Never will forget my response inside my head…. I am 100 percent sure I was screaming and jumping up and down in fear – but on the outside I tilted my lips to the sky in a giant smile and simply agreed that was super cool.  I will NEVER forget that moment – the way my skin crawled – and to this day still does when I think about it.

And all the times Lyn, (who is now 24 years old and married) at 3 years old would ride her bike down the cul-de-sac faster than the bike was ever designed for!  Everyday, she would wipe out on her bike or crash and burn during her daily sprint race down the middle of the street trying to set a new speed record. Everyone in the neighborhood would joke about her perma-scrapped up knees!

How about the time my then 4 year old son called my then 10 year old daughter a Vagina Cake when she was annoying him….. WHO says that and what the hell is a vagina cake? There is no lesson there… only laughter… what can I even say to that – it is unexplainable. 11517_10202233174375282_1174749771_n

OH – and ALL the times that I was late for work!

Why???  Because my child’s socks, which have felt perfectly normal for the past 3 months, suddenly were filled with some kind of toxic chemical which makes them impossible to feel normal and I spend the next 30 minutes trying to find the perfect pair to get the fudge out the door without physically dragging my child to the car.  Or the mornings when you great your teen with “Good Morning” only to be given the the look of the devil and death for NO reason at ALL.  You simply breathed and that is it…  Or the time when I was on a plane and my then 9 month old had lightening speed hands and grabbed my cup of coke and dumped it in my lap which when you are wearing white shorts it turns out coke dries to look similar to pee.  Not to mention….she also had a MAJOR BLOW OUT on the airplane and it leaked out all over my white shorts to add to my now pee pants – I smelled like poo pants.

Then…. there are the times in the grocery store when you have reached the end of the rope, which your children have consciously taken you to the ultimate edge of sanity on purpose!  You snap and scream at the top of your lungs and all the old people around you are looking at you like you are the crazy one…. but the truth is they are too damn old to remember their ankle biters taking them beyond any human mental capacity.maze finger

But…. all the times I have felt like I am going to snap and lose my shit so bad that I will never return to normal again or even remain a custodial parent to my children……and believe me – I have 5 kids ages 27, 24, 19, 9 and 7 – there have been SOOOOOO many I cannot even count – I remain mostly sane.

THE TRUTH IS

I love being a mom, I love all the insane stories I have to tell, I love being challenged on a daily basis to take the high road and not break down and scream out that YOU are the biggest brat I have ever met in my life to my children!  I love when my kids ask me if they can sit on my lap, I love that my kids look at me and love me beyond anything they know…..  As much as I joke about the craziness of parenting (cause if you are a parent you know – the majority of the time you are fighting mental warfare and YOU ARE LOSING!) – I would not trade a moment of my life with my kids for anything in the world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful and crazy mom’s of the world….. FBJ Graduation

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One of the greatest things we can teach our children is the gift of giving. This past year I have been blessed to be able to support the Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. In doing so my children are learning a valuable lesson to carry with them into their future.31

I want my children to grow up knowing what our military men and women (active duty and veterans) have done for our country and the sacrifices they make to keep America safe. Educating them and encouraging them to be a part of a charity organization teaches them compassion early on.

Start by discussing what the charity is for and then ask them what they could do to help raise money for a cause?   Bounce around some ideas; a lemonade stand, selling old toys, or creating drawings and selling them to friends and family.

My husband and I donated money but wanted our kids to actively participate in earning and donating their own money. They decided to have a lemonade stand to raise money for the Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. This motorcycle endurance ride raises money for Honor Flight which pays for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Veterans trip to Washington D.C. to see the memorials that were built to honor them.

33This charity struck a chord for me. These senior citizen aged men and women who want to visit the memorials are on limited income and would never be able to pay for such a trip themselves. Many need special accommodations and guardians to accompany them on their trip. It costs about $1,000 to send a veteran to D.C. Is this not the least we can do for these survivors of war?

My kids thought this was a pretty cool charity for two reasons. The first reason – well Duh –  Harley Davidson motorcycles are involved and the second because their dad served in the U.S. Navy and they had other relatives serve in the military.

If you want more information on how you can donate or have your kids donate click here: Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride.

 

 

 

 

The Lone Bottle of Water

On December 11, 2015, in Mom, by Jennifer McPherson

Here is something your parents NEVER tell you about having kids. One word…  water bottle

Competition

 

This story is about the single water bottle and a 45 minute road trip.  The hubs and I load the kids in the truck to drive 45 minutes away – to where?? I don’t even remember… and honestly it doesn’t matter. One important fact I do remember is: we only had ONE – UNO – UN – EINS.  That is singular – 1 lone water bottle.  I know, most of you at this point surely are gasping at the sheer thought of loading two children into a car and driving 45 minutes with only 1 water bottle. What kind of mother am I?

Do you know what this singular water bottle represents to an 8 and 6 year old brother and sister?  Let me enlighten you….

A singular water bottle, in a close confined space, where BOTH of your parents cannot escape represents the biggest winning moment for sibling children ever!  If there was some kind of Star Wars mind degeneration power, a single water bottle in a car owns it!

We are 5 minutes into our journey when one of the two mid size humans discovers the single water bottle sitting peacefully in the cup holder of the truck.

Seeing the water, Ann Marie says: “I am thirsty.”

I oblige her by handing back the bottle of water which she promptly begins to guzzle.  Here is where the word – Competition – comes into play.  Instantly, Knight realizes he is nearly on deaths bed because he is desperately dehydrated and needs a drink instantly in order to survive a single minute longer.

He yells:  “Don’t drink it all, I want some too! I haven’t drank anything ALL day and need some water right this second.”

To which then Ann Marie begins to chug-a-lug faster than a frat boy with a beer bong.

I, of course intervene (which of course is their plan ALL the Fudge Along!).

I say:  “Ann Marie – ok, that is enough, give Knight some.”

She reluctantly, and slightly violently, gives Knight the lone water bottle.  To which he instantly starts guzzling.  To which then Ann Marie yells his name at the TOP of her lungs – which in a tightly confined vehicle bounces off every door, ceiling, and window to echo back into your ear equally as loud as the moment she screams his name.

Ann Marie: ” KNIGHT!!!!!!  DON’T DRINK IT ALL!!!!!!”

Now – I am yelling at Ann Marie not to yell.  Which is just stupid…. But I don’t really care cause damn it, I am gonna win this one!

I now grab the single water bottle which is nearly gone – and if I wasn’t so adverse to paying a ticket for a $500 littering charge would have thrown the damn thing out the window for sheer effect. Which being a mother of 5 (3 being grown humans), I know effect does one thing and one thing only…. make your kids laugh and cheer in delight inside at the power they have to mentally break down a perfectly sane adult.

Competition…..  Make a note on this one….