Friday, May 30, 2008

My Brother the Ironman

While we were on vacation relaxing, my little brother Aaron was competing in the Ford 70.3 Ironman in Florida. Ryan and I called him last night and laughed and laughed as he told us the hilarious stories. He said he was used to following the lines on the bottom of the pool, so the swim was a little crazy since he had to keep looking up to see where he was going.
Then during the bike ride it started pouring down rain - which he said was awesome because it cooled him off, but then he remembered that the shoes he was wearing were the same ones he'd be running in.
So he ran in water-logged shoes that were probably 8 pounds each for the rest of the race - but that didn't stop him. He just kept going - like a really handsome version of the energizer bunny.

There are few things I can think of that would be more incredible. I would be hooked up to an IV passed out in one of the med tents, but not Aaron. He's just standing there at the end looking like an Ironman.

You are awesome Aaron! We are so proud! Nice work!

One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish

On one of our last days there we went out for some snorkeling on the 2nd largest living reef in the world (2nd to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia). We got on a boat with about 40 other people and headed out into the ocean under the care of Rodrigo, Poncho and Joel. (We're not positive that "Joel" was really his name...the way he said it made us think he was joking)

We saw a lot of beautiful fish, including angelfish, clownfish, one with a stripe, a rainbow-looking one...Ryan saw a squid, which was cool and we saw a lot of colorful living coral.

As you can see from the photo, we were required to leave our lifejackets on at all times. This would not have been a big deal, except that the water was mighty choppy, and the lifejacket made me float on the surface...which kinda made me want to puke.

Did you know I'm a puker? Yep - there it is, out in the blogosphere. I was the child who puked in the backseat of the car everytime our family drove anywhere. I am the girl who pukes 8 times out of 10 on an airplane. I am the girl who puked on the bus on the way to school a few times. I am the girl who puked into the sleeve of her own coat in Jr. High because she couldn't make it to the school bathroom fast enough and didn't want her friends to know. Yep, that's me. Amazingly, in spite of the motion of the ocean while we were out there with our faces in the water I did not puke while snokelling and for that I am very proud.

So, in conclusion, it was a really awesome day that ended an incredible vacation with two of our life-long friends Max and Meredith. We love you guys!! Can't wait for our next excursion!

The Worst Pitch Ever the history of mankind

Thursday, May 29, 2008


UPDATE: 5:39pm
Whew! What a craaaaazy day! As I was sending out "pray now" texts to some family and friends I realized that maybe I should try out this twitter thing. I know a bunch of you are already using it, I've been hesitant - but must admit that it would have come in handy today.

Just so you know, everything is back to normal and running smoothly at the hospital. Ryan helped move evacuated patients in and out of different areas of the hospital and I'm sure this is a day he won't soon forget!

I am so thankful that no one was seriously hurt. Amazingly, even the people inside the helicopter got out okay before the explosion. Thank you for all the prayers, texts, emails and calls!
You are wonderful!

To see video click HERE

About 15 minutes ago a helicopter crashed on top of Ryan's hospital. He is okay, but is busy helping with the evacuation. I don't know how many people are hurt, all I know is what I've learned from the news in Grand Rapids so far. Please pray for Ryan and for all the people involved!

You can follow the local news online at or

Go hug your loved ones!
UPDATE 1:33pm
Grand Rapids - A news conference was held this afternoon to discuss the details of a helicopter crash at Spectrum Butterworth. It happened a little after 11:08 a.m.

Matt VanVranken, President of Spectrum Health, confirms the helicopter crashed on the helipad located on the 11th floor of the hospital. VanVranken says there was a pilot and one passenger on board when the helicopter crashed on the helipad. They were able to escape before the helicopter caught on fire. The FAA says the helicopter was on a training mission, practicing approaches to the hospital.

An eyewitness said the helicopter landed, then lifted off and got to about 100 feet. According to the witness, it looked like the rear rotor clipped an antenna and the helicopter crashed down onto the helipad and rolled on its side. There is not much left of the helicopter.

Patients and staff have been evacuated from the top floors of the hospital. Those who were on the 8th floor or below are now back in their rooms. Surgeries scheduled today have been postponed and ambulances were the only vehicles given access to the hospital. At one point, there was a loss of power. But it has since been restored.

Emergency crews are responding from all across the city. Some of the main roads around the hospital are being re-opened. The Grand Rapids Police Department reports that some side roads will remain closed to allow investigators to search for debris.

Spectrum Health Emergency is closed. All emergencies are being routed to St. Mary's Hospital.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

El Hashiru y Rodizio Braziliano Resaurantos

We loved this Japanese restaurant called "El Hashiru" so much that we ate there twice! It was awesome. A proper Hibachi Grill and sushi too! The sushi was not as good as our favorite sushi house in Chicago, but it was still pretty good. Max and Ryan ate the grilled octopus. Mer and I stuck with the beef and chicken.

We also ate at a Brazilian steakhouse called "El Rodizio" where they bring out various meat on a skewer. We liked it, but for one round they gave us this meat that they called "Sweet Bread" which I quickly discovered is not bread...or sweet for that matter. Our server guy came around again so we tried to have him explain what this "sweet bread" meat actually was. He kept pointing to his throat...which was confusing, so I tried to explain to him what Americans think sweet bread is, that it's like cake, it's not meat. He didn't speak much English, so he showed us the menu, and it definitely said "Sweet Bread." Come to find out (after Max and I both ate some) that it was cow thyroid gland. And that, my friends, is officially the sickest thing I have ever eaten in my entire life.

One more thing. I decided that if you put an "el" at the beginning of any word and an "o" at the end, you pretty much sound like you're speaking Spanish - hence the title of this post.


We took a little adventure on Wednesday. Early in the morning we loaded onto a bus and began the trip 140 miles deep into the jungle of the Yukatan Peninsula to check out one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Chichen Itza is one of the most famous Mayan Ruins on the planet.
On the way there, we stopped for lunch in a mayan village where Max and Meredith jumped into a 150 foot deep sinkhole in the middle of the jungle. It was BEAUTIFUL! I only got one picture with my camera, so I'll have to post more when Max and Mer send me their pics.

While we were in the village, Ryan NAILED the Mayan buffet. He loved it. He ate more food at that meal than any other meal on our trip. Unfortunately, the Mayan buffet nailed him back the next day - but he doesn't regret it. I'll have to admit, the rice an beans were quite delicious.

Our tour guide Luigi gave us a lot of incredible history and interesting information about this archeological site.

It's amazing - to put it simply. The Mayan people were using science and mathematics brilliantly, not just in creating the design of these buildings, but creating the calendar that we use today. We were especially impressed by the Observatory, which NASA has sent tems out to study.

So I guess I need to go see the new Indiana Jones movie since it takes place in some Mayan ruins.

and finally...the most hilarious picture of the day: Ryan posing for the crowd.
Hey Luke, let me know if you want more info so you can turn this into a unit for your 4th grade students. Ryan will come in to give your class a little presentation.

I Heart Peacocks!

When I was in high school my fashionable Granny gave me a beautiful shirt that had peacock feathers all over it (not actual feathers glued to it, the fabric design just looked like feathers). I am fascinated by peacocks, how they proudly display their foliage for all to see. One of my favorite things about our trip was walking to breakfast every morning and seeing a bunch of peacocks hanging out.

I don't know if peacocks are native to Mexico or if the resort just bought a bunch at the peacock store and put them out in the grass....either way, they are really awesome, and if I find out where a peacock store is, I might have to pick up a couple for myself.

Monday, May 26, 2008


On one of our first days there, we decided to sign up for an excursion to xcaret. We got on the bus early in the morning and began our ride to the theme park adventure. When we got there, our driver told us that he would be back to pick us up at 9:30. Ryan said "It's 9:30 right now?" and the guy said "Si, 9:30 pick up." and Ryan said "You're not coming back until 9:30 tonight?!?!" and the guy said "Si, 9:30 pick up" and Ryan said, but we can get a ride earlier if we want to?" and the guy said "Si." then Ryan said "Great, so can you pick us up earlier? and the guy said "No, 9:30 pick up" It was at that moment that we knew we would be there for 12 hours. When we got to the entrance to the park there were signs everywhere saying "No Sunscreen Allowed in the park" and they had staff people collecting people's sunscreen upon entering. This was not a good situation. First of all, Ryan and I are white...and the 70SPF block that we had in our bag was too expensive to just hand over to the park rangers, so we lathered up and walked in without handing over the sunscreen. We are bad, but I would rather be bad than get skin cancer from walking around by the equator for 12 hours.

Once we were in, there was a lot to see. They had tons of crazy zoo animals, my favorite were the baby sea turtles that had just hatched. Then we went over to another pool and saw the huge mama sea turtles. Pretty awesome.

This hammock area is pretty much like some dreams I've had. We all took a little siesta in the afternoon. Glorious. We started getting thirsty from the 100 degree heat so we looked for a place to eat lunch. The buffet was $29 per person - which was ridiculous. The we found a little hamburger place. Max got the fish tacos, which was a brave choice.
After a lunch by the beach we checked out the butterfly pavilion. How cool does that blue guy look on Ryan's green shirt?!?!My favorite part of the day was the underground river. We put our clothes and shoes in our locker and walked to the entrance to the river. Once you're in, you just float along for miles in your life jacket through caves and jungle tunnels. Refreshing and scenic! The only problem was that the river didn't go in a circle, so we couldn't get out where we entered like we planned. This meant that when we got dumped into the ocean at the end of the river our shoes were in our locker at the main entrance to the park. We walked through the entire zoo barefoot wearing nothing but our swimming suits. We were definitely "crazy Americans" at that point. The good news was that we were pretty much all dried off by the time we put our clothes back on.

To top off the day there was a 2 hour show at the end of the night called "Pre-Hispanic Games" that took us on a journey through history of Mexican dress/dance/culture. Max and Ryan were pretty much done with the show about 36 minutes in...but then it just kept going and going...and going.

After the show we started our walk back to the main parking lot where we were going to get picked up at 9:30pm. We found our guy, got in our van and sighed with relief that we had made it 12 hours and were finally on our way back...then the van wouldn't start.

Hilarious end to a hilarious day.

Viva Mexico!!

Ryan and I have returned from an INCREDIBLE vacation and I'm so excited to share some stories and pictures with you!

Our friends Max and Meredith planned their vacation in line with ours so we got to spend a week in Mexico together. The weather was amazing, the white sandy beach was like a dream and the food was...well...we ate it.

We met Max and Mer when we lived in Chicago, they moved to Colorado and we moved to GR so this was the first time we have seen them in almost 2 years!! We had a blast reconnecting and catching up on all the shenanigans of our lives.
I love Ryan so much. We are so thankful for the time we had away from our busy lives. We laughed a lot, spent hundreds of hours together, made memories that will last a lifetime and got rejuvinated for this next leg of our journey.
Ryan is almost done with his intern year of residency. In one month he will no longer be the bottom of the food chain. Yippee! Only 2 years to go of residency, then three more for fellowship! I love being on this adventure with Ry.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mario vs Drummer

My friend Jeff did this at church a few weeks ago. He is quite a good drummer...
Love it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Bearded Elite

On May 23rd, 2009 The World Beard and Moustache Championships will return to North America for the second time in its history when the City of Anchorage, Alaska rolls out the red carpet for the world's bearded elite. If you're interested in joining the biennial celebration of facial hair, click HERE
. Membership for Beard Team USA is open to everyone. There are no dues, no applications, and no acceptance process. Basically, if you want to join, you're in!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!!

About a month ago...on April 13th to be exact, I believed with all my heart that it was Mother's Day. I had been looking forward to it - this would be the year that I would not only remember, but actually get my Mother's Day cards sent out on time.

So I sent out mothers day cards to everyone, I called both of my moms to wish them happy mothers day, I reminded Ryan to call his mom sometime to wish her happy mothers day, I said "happy mothers day" to a bunch of ladies at church on Sunday morning, I called my dad to ask him what he and mom were doing for Mother's Day and he didn't know...which I thought was odd since he always does something special for mom on Mother's Day. So my dad told me that it wasn't Mothers Day for another 4 weeks.

I am a dork.

I called both of my moms back to tell them I was just kidding about the happy mothers day thing.

But today I am not kidding. For real this time, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!! I love you very much! Here are some of my very favorite pictures of you!