Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Head over to my other Blog...

I'm focusing my writing on my (Re) Discovering Running Blog, and I'd love for you to "follow" me there! It's about lots more than just running, don't worry.

I will come back to this blog, so don't leave this one. :-)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Life's A Beach!

The summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  The weather has  been amazing, the kids have enjoyed playing with the neighbors; we've played in the sprinkler and consumed more Otter Pops than my freezer can hold.  Somehow, it is August.  Back-to-School supplies line the shelves of every store.  The moms joke that we are ready for the kids to be back in school, but honestly I am NOT ready for the schedules that come with the school year.  And I'm really not ready for the kids to be gone all day.  As we stare down the calendar, make those last-minute appointments for the dentist, haircuts, and resume soccer start to feel panic set in.  My sister just sent her daughter off to her first day of Kindergarten yesterday!'s going too fast.  What didn't we do yet?  Turns out, if you ask your kids, they will come up with a list a MILE long. 

At the top of their list... going to the beach.  With temperatures climbing again here in Portland, all of the neighbor children occupied elsewhere today, AND the calendar empty... I decided that the coast was just the place to go!  The kids were thrilled and were anxious to throw on their suits, pack up the car and head out. 

As we neared the coast, I watched the temperature drop about 20 degrees...I kid you not.  I thought to myself, "WHY haven't I learned yet?!?!"  Seriously, we left the house and it was 80+ degrees.  We showed up at Tolovana Beach and it was 64.  BRRRRRR!!!!  Oh, and we were already in our bathing suits.  Thankfully, it was lunchtime, and we were at Mo's.  Clam chowder?  Oh even yesser!

Since it was pretty windy, and that wind was downright chilly, I decided to try Arcadia Beach first.  There's a large rock wall that blocks the wind, and is a lesser-known  beach close to the Cannon Beach area.  We hauled all of our gear (umbrellas, blankets, sand toys, camera, cooler, kite, chair) down the path and set up our spot. 

Soooo glad we brought some shade with us!
We enjoyed playing in the ocean, collecting shells, exploring some of the tide pools, and just spending some quality time together.  I think we really needed that.  The kids have been picking on each other and getting on each others nerves.  And they've been pushing ALL of my buttons.  So an impromptu day at the beach was just what their future therapists would have ordered. ;-) 

Lauren's Footprints

No fighting.  Seriously.  It was bliss.

A favorite game... running from the incoming tide!

Not a bad self-pic...

and then this very nice lady offered to take our picture!

Lauren leaping.  Everywhere!

I needed to look back on this picture after they both got sent to their rooms after dinner tonight...

So much fun!

And look what I actually got to do...
Yes, the perk of having older children.  Until they keep begging you to go by the water.  Which I won't let them do ALONE, thankyouverymuch. 

We stopped in Cannon Beach for ice cream on the way home.  It was a wonderful day with the kids, and Andrew was thrilled to check another item off of his "must haves" for summer break.  I'm so glad that we were able to pick up and go to the coast for the day.  We live in such a beautiful state, that offers us so many different places to explore.  Up next on Andrew's list?  Oaks Park.  It's gonna have to cool down a little bit before we take that one on... But we are counting down the days until we head to Sun River!  And Chris actually gets to come with us! ;-)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, and a Look Back at 2011

The start of a New Year brings big ideas. Most people are ready to say, "Out with the last year. It's time to start fresh!" But for The Pelto's, 2011 was an amazing year. We spent our New Year's Eve together, playing games and having a nice dinner by candlelight, and then reflected on all of our "Firsts" from 2011. We had such a fun time thinking of all of the firsts each of us had this year. I realized how proud I was of each of us for trying so many new things and how much FUN we really had this past year together. 2011 will be hard to top, but we are already coming up with ways to try!

-rode 2 wheels
-soccer camp
-ears pierced
-met princesses!
-drove the Gator in Monticello
-sledding on Mt. Hood

-kid pitch baseball
-struck someone out!
-new piano teacher
-loop-de-loop rollercoaster
-overnight camping trip with friends

-4 patents

-certified group fitness teacher
-taught Stroller Strides
-formed a Girlfriends Running Club
-Hood 2 Coast!

Chris and Cyndie
-vacation without the kiddos
-swam with Dolphins...seriously.

Andrew and Lauren
-visit Madison
-all 4 Grandparents in town together...without Mom and Dad!
-toured a cave

The Family
-Disneyland Vacation!
-Mid-West Road Trip!
-ate (and LIKED!) Brussel Sprouts
-Great Wolf Lodge (twice!)
-trip to Seattle
-Mariners Game (and Yankees)
-Neighborhood campfires and potlucks

I know there are many other events that took place this year, but this was our list of highlights. Our "Firsts." 2011 was an amazing year. We are so very grateful for the opportunities we had, and the people who helped make them a reality.

Here's to an amazing 2012 filled with many more FIRSTS!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


With a title like that, I could be writing about so many different things. Tonight, I wanted to simply say how PROUD I am of my Girlfriends who have taken on the challenge to complete a half-marathon with me this fall!

The "Girlfriend's Half Marathon" is held in Vancouver, WA every year in mid-October. I have done this race twice. The first time was in 2009. I was by myself, and at mile 7 my IT Band gave out on me and I walked the rest of it. My family was there to cheer me on, but I felt like I let them and myself down. I was determined to do it again. My goal for the 2010 Girlfriend's was to RUN the whole thing. I didn't care what my time was. I also convinced a few of my friends to sign up and meet me there. What a different experience! I supported and cheered on my friends Laura, Ruann, Michelle, and Beth who all ran it much faster than me. :-) I ran with my friend, Marianne, the whole race. We checked our time at each mile, and kept our pace just under 10 minute miles. Amazing for me, as I did not expect to be able to keep that pace. I couldn't have done it without Marianne there pushing me. It amazed me how different I felt with the support of my friends, in addition to my family (there with signs this time..."Go Stroller Moms!") Post race was so much fun! Celebrating our accomplishment, eating great food, laughing, limping, hugging... I couldn't wait to do it again! And I vowed I would bring back even MORE Girlfriend's the next year!

Until about a month ago, I was the only person I knew registered for this year's Girlfriend's Half. Registration had come and gone, and the race was filled up. Then they opened it up again...and I got to work! Nothing like a little peer pressure and relentless facebooking to convince a few friends to sign up for a race. ;-) A few turned into a few more...and now we have an amazing team of moms signed up to run a HALF MARATHON! The best part? This will be the first half marathon for most of these women. I'm so excited for them! I'm so excited for US!

I am so proud of these women for believing in themselves. Believing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and have the support of your family and your Girlfriends. That's what this race is about. I am looking forward to our training runs this fall. But most of all, I am looking forward to sharing this experience with so many of my Girlfriends once again. Congratulations to all of you for believing in yourself, and taking on the challenge.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Why Do I Run?

I've tried to answer this question many times, always never able to put it into words. Our MOMS Club newsletter editor recently asked me to submit a monthly column with tips on fitness for moms and kids. She wanted me to start with an introduction, a "How I Got Started" and "Why Am I Now Teaching Fitness" kind of thing. So as I was typing, I realized that my journey to teaching Stroller Strides really answers the question, "Why Do I Run?"


A little more than 8 years after leaving my career as a 3rd grade teacher to pursue the glamorous lifestyle of the stay-at-home-mom, I am embarking on a new career of sorts. Still rooted in teaching (that is a PART of me after all), I will be teaching group fitness classes to moms! It was an interesting journey to this point, and one that I didn’t really expect.

I’ve always ran. I had never considered myself a “runner.” I was on the track team in high school, ran the 2 mile, but never on the varsity team. It was more of a hobby, or an excuse to run laps around the tennis courts and flirt with my future hubby. I did not run in college, unless you count booking it across campus so I wouldn’t miss yet another statistic class (which I did not pass…maybe if I had been faster…). When teaching in Madison, WI, I participated in the yearly Race for the Cure 5K with my teacher friends. That was more of a social walk/jog than “run.”

Three years after becoming a mother, I was ready to have another baby. After an unexpected miscarriage, and many months of negative pregnancy tests, I needed an outlet for my frustration and unending sadness. My friend, Jill, asked if I wanted to do something crazy and sign up to train for and run a half marathon. Jill, I cannot thank you enough for asking me to do that. The date of the race just happened to be what would have been my due date, April 9th, 2010. That was a very specific SIGN to me. We recruited a few other friends to join us, and met every Sunday morning to run our long runs. The rainy mornings were the best. I felt like I had such purpose. I never got to run that race with my friends. I got pregnant. I was there at the finish line with cookies and hugs for my training pals. Part of me still really wanted to run that race…

And a runner was born.

After welcoming Lauren into our lives, I found a mommy/baby exercise group. It was the perfect way to get in a workout AND not have to pay for or put my baby in childcare. My sister was doing the same thing in St. Louis, and loved her group! I was hooked. I signed up to run that Half Marathon again, and then quickly realized that I didn’t know what I was thinking. I had a baby nursing all the time and up all night. I was in no condition to train for something like that. But I did have my mommy/baby exercise class, and I met other moms going through the same crazy stuff as me and still wanting to do something good for themselves. I liked this message, and I spread the word.

My participation in my stroller class has changed throughout the 4 years I have participated. Andrew comes along with me and rides his bike when he is off school. Lauren has friends that she looks forward to playing with after our workouts. I have friends that have common goals, and we push/support each other in our endeavors. They helped me finally meet my goal of running my Half Marathon, and we have run many races together since. But as my kids got older, I started to wonder how long could I really stay involved in the group? There was really only ONE answer in my mind.


I want to help other moms focus on themselves for an hour a day. The kids get the other 23 after all. I am excited to begin my new career chapter, and I continue to seek out new goals for myself each year. After checking off the Half Marathon, it’s fun to try and discover what you can push your body to do. I hope to encourage you to take some time for yourself each day. I will give you ideas for ways to stay active and healthy and model that lifestyle for your children. We mothers are STRONG. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what we are capable of.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cyndie is highlighted in the Stroller Strides Newsletter!

So, each month a different mommy is highlighted in our Stroller Strides Newsletter. I was chosen for August's newsletter. I put some effort into my responses, so I thought I would make a blog entry out of it!

1. What name were you given at birth?
Cynthia Dale Burke. Named after Dale Evans Rogers, wife of Roy Rogers, yes...the cowboy. My mom was (still is) a fan and collector of Roy and Dale memorabilia. And yes, I've heard "Be glad she didn't name you Trigger" once or twice in my lifetime. ;-)
King of the Cowboys and Queen of the West

2. What is your hometown/town of birth?
St. Louis, Missouri. GO CARDINALS!!! My family is all still in St.Louis, so we have a very close connection to my hometown. Plus, it's technically my hubby's hometown too. It's always fun to see old friends when we go back to visit.
Robin, Mom, and Me before Mom's First Pitch

3. What was your major in college? Any regrets?
Elementary Education, University of Missouri-Columbia (MIZZOU!). No regrets.

4. What was your career before being a mom?
I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in 3rd grade, bossing around my sister and all the other littler kids on the block making them play "school." I taught 3rd grade in Madison, Wisconsin while Chris was in grad school for 6 years. When Andrew came along, I took a leave, and then we literally left. For the West Coast. Now that he is in SECOND grade (what?!) I miss the classroom terribly. But I am coping by volunteering all of my free time at the school, and will be PTO president for the next two years. I'm chalking that one up to a resume builder and hopefully making some good reference connections. :-)

5. How did you meet your significant other?
Chris and I met in February, 1991, in High School. Yep. HS Sweethearts. We were both in Orchestra (he, much more talented than I), and we were taking a train trip to Chicago to see Phantom of the Opera (since we had just played that for our Pops Concert). I was taking pictures the whole time, and he was cracking jokes left and right. Did I mention my parents were on this trip too? ;-) Long story (albeit a cute one) short, I broke up with my current boyfriend when we returned, and started dating Chris a month later. Our relationship survived me leaving for college (I was a year older), a move (his family to MN), and then different colleges. We were married July 31, 1999 (in St. was 105 degrees that day), and just celebrated our 11 year anniversary. Next February, we will have been together for 20 years. Wow. That sounds crazy even to me! We're celebrating by Chris taking Sabatical and heading to Hawaii (without children).

Chris and Cyndie, 1991

6. What are the ages of your babe(s)?
Andrew Michael, 7, starting second grade in the fall
Lauren Gr
ace, 3.5
I attempt to blog about our family here, although I've just started:

7. What are your hobbies?
Photography, running, Stroller Strides!, music, biking, Geocaching with Andrew, anything active and fun! Couldn't do any of it without my daily Cup (or two or three) of Joe! ;-)

8. What is your favorite invention?
Right now it's my smart phone. Seriously, I don't know how I would keep track of the insanely busy schedule my kids keep without it. Plus, I can play on Facebook all. the. time. ;-)

9. Why do you participate in SS?
The answer to this question has changed over the few years that I have been participating in Stroller Strides. I have always been involved in a MOMS group since having children. I'm the kind of person that needs and craves the support system (read: social connection) of other moms. So I started SS as a way to get "running" again. Lauren was almost a year and Andrew was in preschool. My sister had started participating in SS in StL, and loved it! So when she was visiting one September, we tried out one of Rachel's classes and I. Was. Hooked. At first, it was just for the great workout. My attendance was sparce, since it revolved around Andrew's preschool schedule. Then I was practically non-existent when he was in afternoon kindergarten. I just couldn't make it work. And I missed it. Terribly. Although I found out that what I missed most wasn't the awesome workouts. I missed the other moms. Thankfully, Rachel let me bring Andrew on his bike that summer (I can't thank her enough!) after Kindergarten, and I haven't looked back since! It's my "me time," and I crave it! Plus, Lauren gets to hang out with all her SS buddies, and Andrew gets to ride his bike and play at the park. It's a win-win for all of us. I am getting stronger and healthier (thanks to Rachel and her AMAZING instructors!), I am showing my kids that it's important to take time for myself (and that the world only revolves around them for the other 23 hours each day), and I hope I am modeling the healthy and active lifestyle that I want my kids to lead. I crave my workouts, and am a grumpy crabby mommy when I miss too many of them. I can't stand the thought of going to workout at the gym (I'd rather go to SS in a driving rain!) I love the feeling I get when we are done with our workout, and we all hang out and catch up on each other's lives. My sister owns a Stroller Strides Franchise in St. Louis, and I am her biggest cheerleader! I'm so proud of her and her business. In a way, I feel like my participation here is helping support her efforts. Thank you to all of you who make Stroller Strides what it is. I appreciate each and every one of you, and look forward to seeing you at our next workout! :-)
The Pelto Family, August 2009
Chris, Cyndie, Andrew and Lauren

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why We LOVE Oregon!

I feel compelled to write on this subject after the FOUR STRAIGHT WEEKS of rain we have experienced. This rain not only canceled the last four weeks of Andrew's baseball season (which is short to begin with!), but it has put everyone in a mid-winter, cabin-fever-like, generally bad mood. Not a good thing when it's the end of May and everyone is expecting SUMMER. It really has been enough to make you want to pack up and move someplace warm and dry.

However, rain doesn't stop Oregonians from getting out and living life. Lauren and I still make it to Stroller Strides three to four times a week at the local parks. Me soaking wet, her snug as a bug in her jogging stroller with rain cover and snacks. Andrew's recesses are held under cover, as the kids desperately need to get outside and run run RUN! We even managed to keep the On The Move program running during lunch recess, many days in the drizzle, allowing a record number of kids to earn their Marathon Shirt (Andrew got his!).

All this rain makes it easy to forget why we love living in this part of the country. It's easy to focus on the gloomy gray skies, the missed baseball games, the cold, wet workouts, and the bad moods. It's hard to look past all of that and remind ourselves what all this rain gives us. So I'm taking some time to remind myself of that very thing. Because I have been whining about the rain far too much these days!
A "sunbreak"

1) I grew up land-locked. No, the Mississippi River doesn't count. Being able to drive one hour West and end up at the Pacific Ocean is amazing, and it never gets old. The beach towns in Oregon range from quaint and artistic to touristy. All have one thing in common...they are close to our home! We have taken many day trips to the coast. Once, right after we first moved here, we drove out there to eat dinner. Yep, just for dinner! :-) It was so cool eating overlooking Haystack rock, watching the tide come in, and listening to the waves crash. We were hooked. Now, the kids beg to go to the coast. We pack up our kites, sand toys, sunscreen, baby powder (the only sure-fire way to get sand off), sweatshirts (we've learned the hard way to always prepare for chilly weather), and snacks. We spend the day on the beach, playing in the sand, Whale Watching, exploring the tide pools, collecting shells and rocks, eating lunch, followed by ice cream, we've added Geocaching to our activity list, flying kites, and just having FUN together. Sometimes we even stay for a sunset, and then head home. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Yaquina Head Tide Pools

2) And hour in the other direction, and you are witness to some of the most spectacular scenery, and year-round skiing around. Mt. Hood, the iconic image for Portland, lies just an hour East of our home. We look forward to exploring Mt. Hood, and the surrounding areas, more and more as the kids get older. We took Andrew sledding here for the first time, and visited the historic Timberline Lodge overnight with my parents. I even attempted to ski on Mt. Hood. I made it down a few runs. Maybe when the kids are skiing circles around me, I'll get braver. Regardless of if we are traveling to Mt. Hood or not, just being able to SEE the mountain as we are driving around town never gets old! It is the most spectacular sight!

View of Mt. Jefferson from Mt. Hood

3) You-Pick Farms/Farmer's Markets... OK, I know every other state has farms that they can go to and pick produce. I can guarantee that all that rain really does give us an edge in this department. And the farms are everywhere! And they're amazing! We have just begun strawberry season here in Oregon, and if you've never had an Oregon strawberry you are missing out! The seasons for each berry are short, but my new-found interest in "jamming" has helped to preserve the delicious flavors year-round. The craziest season is the wild blackberry. These berries grow everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE! You can walk to any park, path, green space, and pick wild blackberries till your heart's content. And they're FREE! And then there's the Marionberry, native to Oregon. I love giving the kids the opportunity to see where their favorite foods come from. We've started our own little vegetable garden this year, and are hoping to harvest our own peas, tomatoes, lettuce and carrots. We have also planted four blueberry bushes, but will have to wait a few years before harvesting anything from these. The kids are still under the impression that they will be freely picking blueberries this summer from our yard...
"Picking" strawberries, 2009

4) Green Year-Round... yes, even the grass. My husband seems to think that we have the longest "mowing season" out of any state. I have to agree with him on this one. In addition to the natural beauty you find yourself surround with year round, Oregon is also one of the leading "Environmentally Green" states. This makes me proud. I'm happy to be raising my kids in a part of the country that respects the environment, and encourages it's residents to do their part. From recycling centers, to major no-smoking ordinances even in public areas, to being one of the friendliest Bike Cities in America, Portland and Oregon really have this Green Thing down.
Andrew wanted a "gear bike" so he could keep up with Dad

5) Mild Weather... Yes, I find it ironic that I started this post whining about the rain, and am including the weather as a reason I love living here. But the mild temperatures really are wonderful, especially after growing up in the Mid-West. Sure, there is the occasional "Arctic Blast, 2008," but snow is rare, and drastic temperatures are even rarer. Summertime humidity is non-existent, and we rarely have to use the AC (I wouldn't have a house without it though...I'm not crazy!). The only time you need a parka in the winter is if you are skiing Mt. Hood. In my book, this make any amount of rain worth it!

6) This is our HOME. And really, that's what it comes down to. We would adapt and change to any area that we found ourselves living, and hopefully find many wonderful things to love about it. We love Oregon because it's our home. It's where Chris got his first job, that allowed me to stay home and raise our kids. It's where Andrew has grown up, and where Lauren was born. It's where I've become involved in many different organizations to better our family's experiences. And it's where we've made our friends that our children will grow up with.

Could we have done all of these things somewhere else? Of course. But Oregon is where we landed.

And we love it. Rain and all...