I Ride Bike.

Fun ride today to finish the month

January 1st 2009 I hopped on an old heavy hunk of metal bike I bought at Sports Authority during Seminary and went for a 5 mile ride. Loved it, but I knew the bike would need to be replaced with a machine that was designed for being ridden rather than being cheap.

After that day I did what most americans do, I bought a mountain bike with big knobby tires. I road that Felt Q 720 over 500 miles. After that I purchased a road bike which felt like driving a Lamborghini. It was fast, but it was fragile. Those bikes are designed for ridding on roads (I know, the name “Road Bike” should have tipped me off).

I’m all for messing with dangerous animals, sometimes I run with scissors and I’ve even been known to drink milk a day or two beyond the sell by date. Yet, I found riding something smaller than a Smart Car on a road creeped me out so I prefer ridding on sidewalks and grass and dirt and only roads when there is no other option. Besides road bike riders tend to wear spandex and have a personal policy to never participate in a sport which has uniforms made of only spandex.

Anyway there are different types of bikes and different types of riding. Early in my riding most of my rides were just me. Later I bought Laura a bike (2009 Trek Navigator 2.0) and we bought a buggy to put kids in and since they have grown I bought a tag-a-long for Becks to ride with me. All this has made biking a family activity more than a solo activity.

She filled her buggy up with library booked and then traded me bikes. #girlsbecrazy

We have found biking to be one of our favorite family things to do. Some people ride for speed, we do more of what we call Adventure Biking. It’s slow and we stop and look at things, we take photos and play on playgrounds and look for animals and run errands. The bike becomes simply a tool that gets us far from our house at a speed that we can see the world going on around us.

This morning it occurred to me that the local trails are like walking through the wardrobe in Narnia. Getting on the trail makes me believe I’m in the middle of the country following a winding rock bottom creek. There are waterfalls, big fish just under the surface turtles, snakes, the other day I passed a turkey. It’s easy to forget that I-435 is about 100 yards away when we are in the wardrobe.

I do still ride alone and I find it to be one of the most relaxing and focused activities in my life. I fire up Pandora and listen to music or a sermon podcast as I commute to Redeemer during the week or while I just hop on the Indian Creek or Mill Creek trails and fly. It is really one of the most satisfying things to do.

When I don’t ride for awhile I forget how wonderful it is and someone talking like I am now seems kinda ridiculous. If you haven’t ridden in a while I could not more strongly recommend you get out there as soon as you can. It’s good for your health, it’s good for your mind it’s just fun.

If you are considering getting into biking there are a few things we’ve learned that may help you.

1. Get a real bike. What I mean is buying milk from Walmart is fine, buying a bike is not. Yes they are cheap, but the bikes are crummy and a crummy bike is not that fun to ride. Last week Chris and I went on a ride. the first half of the ride he was on a Walmart bike and was miserable trying to keep up with me. The second half of the ride he was on a borrowed real bike from Bob Albright (owns Midwest Cyclery). I had trouble keeping up with him after the switch. It’s worth the money to buy a real bike. If you are trying to do this cheap buy from craigslist. Avoid newer Schwinn, Next, Huffy, Diamondback, Roadmaster. Go for Specialized, Trek, Kona, Fuji, Giant, Cannondale, Gary Fisher, Felt, Marin, Surly, Masi.

2. Get a comfy bike. Try lots of bike styles. Laura likes a comfort bike. It has one of those really fat seats which keeps her little butt from hurting when she rides. Her only regret is not getting a bike with 700c tires. These are bigger and make riding easier over long distances. I absolutely love cyclocross bikes. I bought a Surly CrossCheck because it has handlebars higher than the seat, is made of lightweight, but strong steel. Plus it was Robin’s Egg Blue which I prefer over the generally bland colors of most bikes. Cyclocross bikes are made like road bikes, but have thin knobby tires on them which is great on pavement and great through grass and over rocks. It’s a go anywhere bike.

3. Wear a helmet. I’ve only wrecked twice, both due to wet surfaces while on the road bike. On both occasions I smacked my head pretty hard on the ground, but wasn’t injured because I had a helmet on. On the second occasion a 60+ year old lady watched it happen and she came and picked my bike up while telling me how slick the surface was that day.

4. Get a good seat. There are more types of seats than there are bikes on the planet. I’ve tried normal, women’s, Brooks leather and a few others, but only recently found one I like. It is split in half which…I’ll spare you the details other than to say my butt no longer hurts.

If you don’t currently ride I can not encourage you enough to consider it. It’s a great family activity, burns tons of calories and changes the way you’ll view this town as you go slow enough to stop and enjoy God’s creation. Below are a few photos from biking in recent weeks.

This is Chris with his borrowed bike and me with my Surly CrossCheck.

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This waterfall is about 100 yards from I-435, you’ve passed it many times if you live in Kansas City and I bet you didn’t know it was there.
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Laura and Shari rode with buggies dragging kids for weeks preparing for this ride on the Katy Trail at beginning of June.

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Me on the Katy Trail, bikes have made this trail an annual adventure for Tony and I. Could be fun to do with a larger group again if you want to go on an adventure.

Katy Trail 2012

We find fun things to take photos on when we bike. This tractor was in a field off of 151st street for a few weeks. It never occurred to me to stop and take photos in a car, but going by slowly on a bike it just made sense.

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Same with this wheat field. 151 Street as we rode to Sunday evening church.


We often look in the water for stuff. Adventures are just fun.


Baseball is cool. Wiffle ball is cooler.

You have to hand it to him, this was creative. I pray we don’t squash his creativity!

It’s a bike helmet. He could see through the holes even!!

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Brian got out his phone to take a picture of them and SP drops her bat and poses. I’m so proud!

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After we explain we want a picture of her playing, she at least picks up her bat…

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Getting closer…

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She missed the ball, but you have to hand it to her that she kept her eye on the ball, right?

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There’s the picture we were looking for!!

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Bike With Intern To Plaza For Lunch: Best Stupid Idea Ever!

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I decided last night to take our intern, Chris Earnshaw on a bike ride today. Then it occurred to me that there are enough trails to make it all the way to The Plaza and back. So I rode my bike to Redeemer and when Chris arrived I let him know that plan.

What he didn’t know at this point is by the end of the day he would travel 56 miles over 4 hours and 30 minutes of riding in 99 degrees.

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I did look at the weather where I read the info above. Sounded a lot like what we called Spring time in Houston. The 17 MPH south wind did concern me since it would be heading south the whole second half of the ride.

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Notice the water bottle this guy made. It’s electrical tape around a water bottle. Only problem is you have to turn the whole bike upside down to drink from it.

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We made good time until we came upon one of these fences that was blocking the path. We investigated a bit and found the entire trail was missing and replaced by dirt roads and construction vehicles. No problem, we have knobby tires.

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Stopped by the waterfalls just across the border in Missouri.

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We went north on Holmes road which is hilly and lacks sidewalks which was creepy to ride on. After that we jumped on the Trolly Trail and headed towards The Plaza.

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We stopped by Bob Albright’s house, he is one of the Elders at Redeemer.

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As we sat and chatted with Bob on his back porch Bob began to explain to Chris that my bike was better and my wheels were bigger. I was planning on informing Chris of all this when we made it back home.

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Bob also owns a bike shop in Kansas City called Midwest Cyclery. He lent a nice bike to Chris which ruined my unfair mechanical advantage.

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Clearly he’s much more happy on this bike.

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Off we go.

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Made it to the Plaza. On a bike!

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We asked the bike cop for lunch ideas and then he escorted us to Noodles and Company.

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On the way back we stopped in the falls and cooled off a bit.

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Relaxed in the shade with the temperature at about 100 degrees.

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Crossed through the missing trail again.

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and Construction equipment.

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Checked out some local artwork.

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Finally made it back to church where I thought I was going to pass out. Between the heat, the distance, the hills, the trafic (we ended up on Ward Parkway coming home for awhile), the wind this might have been the toughest ride I’ve been on . Chris handled it like a champ.

Oh How We Love Summer!!

Found a recipe (would you call this a recipe?) for homemade sidewalk paint and tried to today. We hit up the Dollar Store and got this muffin tin and 3 paint brushes. Add in the cornstarch (also just $1) we are at $4 for this fun!!

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All you do is mix about a 2:1 ratio of water to cornstarch. The kids added the food coloring and we were good to go. I’m a horrible mom and used this time to work inside (someone has to clean those gross bathrooms) while they were very entertained! Next time I want to play with them, it really did look super fun! The blog I read said the food coloring washed right off the sidewalk, so I’m hoping for that!

Sidewalk paint time at Hough house!

Funny Book, Hough Girl edition

Sadie Piper calls it a “piggy ride back.” We don’t correct her.

Berkley was crying and  I told her to calm down. She told me, “I can’t!! You have to help me!!”

L: How do I help you?

B: Say ‘Calm down!’

L: Ok, calm down!

And she did.

Weird kid.

Sadie Piper in the car: “Look mom, the door has a cup holder in case it gets thirsty we can give it a drink.”

Sadie Piper: The sun makes me bless you

Going out into the sun makes her sneeze. Brian and Berkley do it too. Is that normal?

Sadie piper instead of “No way Jose” says “No way hosannah”

Pumpin' gas


Really? You Are Thirsty?

God has graciously uses my children to illustrate Biblical ideas in my life in ways that I see just how foolish I am at times. This afternoon He did it again.

You are likely familiar with the passage in Psalms 42:1–2 that says this, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

It is because of this text and others like it in Scripture that we see this similarity between our desire for water as we thirst and our desire for God. I have felt that desire to know God more, to be closer to God, to be more about God in my life and I’ve prayed asking God to quench my thirsty soul. So which of my crazy children illustrated this for me today?

Berkley Boo once again made mad laugh and shake my head before seeing myself in her comments. Prior to MuckFest I got in the car with Laura to run by TacoBell and grab Tacos for those helping with setup.

As we drove Berkley complained, “Mom I’m so thirsty.”
Laura asked, “Where is your water?” 
Berkley, responded, “right next to me.” 
Laura shaking her head, “Then why aren’t you drinking your water, don’t complain.”
Berkley responds, “Cause I’m reading a book.” 

Really Boo? Let me get this right. You are complaining that you are thirsty, and the water is in a mere inch or two from your hand and you are choosing to read a book instead of drink the water?

I know she is not yet three year old, but this is ridiculous for anyone. So where do you think I saw myself in this?

Yeah, I whine in prayer to God that I’m thirsty and I ask Him to fix that and a mere inches from me is His Word that quenches the thirst of my soul like nothing else on this planet. Yet, I decide to do a hundred other things at that moment instead of drinking deeply from the Word of God.

Wow, I’m a three year old. This is good for me to know though. Seeing how stupid I am at times helps me to correct that stupidity. So am I thirsty? I am, but I also know that drinking from the readily available Word of God will feed my soul. Are you thirsty? Put down whatever you are doing and drink deeply refreshing your soul.






This maybe changed my life…

Amy told me this week you can cook bacon in the microwave!! We don’t eat a lot of bacon, but we may eat more (we dig turkey bacon!!) now that I know this. Tried this method and only needed a plate and paper towels. So NO clean up, and NO bacon smell in the house for days! Yay! I’m pretty pathetic, I embrace it.

I also boil my ground meat to cook it. It’s easier, faster, gets crumblier and healthier. And odd.

Here’s the salad I made with my new-found mean bacon cooking technique! I recommend both!


We still heart DeAnna Rose

Jessica bought the kids a bottle to feed to baby goats! She’s such a cool mom!!

Berkley was all over this.

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SP slowly learned to love it

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and Beckham (after passing on feeding them) said he’d do it next time!

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He did have one chew his shorts. They bonded.

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As we were headed out of the pen, Berkley insisted on hugging all the goats goodbye. She hit the jackpot with this group all lined up!

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She managed to get about a dozen in before forgetting what she was doing!


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Go Dynamo!

Everything orange to our kids is “dynamo,” proof you not have to live in Texas to raise Texans (thankfully!!)

We aren’t even sure if Berkley knows the word “orange.”

Sadie Piper asked me to take a picture of this Dynamo car so she could show Beckham

This is her sheet from Children’s Church. I can only imagine how this conversation went down with the helper who she asked to write this.

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Brian put on the Houston Dynamo vs LA Galaxy game one evening. Beckham hijacked it. He really liked watching and rooting for David Beckham! He learned to recognize him and at the end of the game asked Brian if Brian would buy him a jersey like David Beckham. And purple shoes like David Beckham. And he wants to cut his hair like David Beckham.

Beckham rooting against my Dynamo after learning David Beckham is on the other team. That's my boy.

 Gotta love technology for watching hometown club while in foreign country