Friday, June 29, 2007

Si Hai Wei Jia

For years now, Desi and the kids have had this tradition of making t-shirts at the beginning of the summer. "Camp Mommy" shirts, they call them. Well, this year, for the second time, I've joined in the fun. This is only right, as they won't be able to get away from me for the next 37 days!

Our artistic leader (Desi, of course...who did you think it was!?) decided that this year our theme would be an old Chinese proverb, "Four Seas Like Home." This nicely captures the idea that wherever the road leads, it will be like home to us (so long as we are together!). It also gave Desi a chance to practice her Chinese calligraphy, which is unbelievable for a xifang ren!

As far as the artwork goes, each one of us had to pick a place we are visiting on the trip, draw it on our shirt, and copy everyone else's spot. Z chose the Harbour Town lighthouse (not too hard...thanks Z!). For Julie, it was White Sands, New Mexico (uh, how do you depict white sands on a white t-shirt?). Desi appropriately selected a musical theme, Beale Street in Memphis. As for me, the Alamo.

The best part about the shirts? When we put them on, it means that the Balla family 2007 road trip has officially begun!

~Steve

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cameron and I

Z: Cameron and I are best brothers. I love petting him and laying with him. Although he likes being "InvisiDog" he still is happy to be seen.

Cameron: I hide behind the table and protect the family. I don't like going outside because then I can't watch them. I love being petted and I love the family. Sometimes I hide so well behind the table they can't find me. Blue always tries to wrestle but sometimes I won't. I love Z, J, Mom, and Dad.

~Z and Cameron

Not Mono?

Within three weeks I have been diagnosed with tonsillitis, mono, and mystery illness. I have been tested for Lyme, mono, heart problems, and numerous others. On every occasion, the outcome is negative. The doctors have given up testing now and have decided that I probably have some mono-like virus that will take a few weeks to fully recover from. Hopefully, it won't take too long!

~Julie

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Didn't Drown!

Well, here I am, fresh off finishing the Charlottesville Sprint Triathlon. Leading up to the tri, I gave myself four goals to shoot for:

(1) Don't drown! This was not an unreasonable goal, given how poor a swimmer I am. Plus, this was my first open water swim ever, as I didn't practice this at all during my training.

(2) Finish the race! As you can see from the picture, I accomplished this goal as well. My hamstrings are definitely feeling it, but all in all this goal was never in doubt, as I finished pretty strong, not much worse off than some of my tougher training sessions.

(3) Break two hours. I thought, based on my training times, that I ought to be able to finish in under two hours. This goal came into doubt in my mind when we drove the course last night and I saw how hilly it was. But, as I came sprinting down the last straightaway, Z ran next to me and told me that I was going to do it. My time turned out to be 1:49:56. Which means I almost met my last goal, which was...

(4) Break 1:45. This was a best-case scenario goal in my mind, the kind of thing I might be able to do if I really pushed it.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without Desi (my personal photographer!), Julie (who screamed "Go Daddy!" when I was in the transition area between events, and Z (my running partner for the last 100 yards or so).

Thanks guys! Now let's go grab some lunch...

~Steve