just tri it

It all started back at Christmas. As Tate and my dad were flipping through channels they came upon an Ironman special. It was a behind the scenes look at the triathletes, their personal stories and struggles they conquered to make it to the finish. Lives were touched, tears were shed (I like to think) and a dream grew. From that point an ongoing conversation centering around the Ironman began. How long is that run? What kind of workout schedule to you think they do? Would you need a tri bike? How long do they train? Where is it? Talking turned into ideas, ideas into plans and plans into training. They decided they were going to complete an Ironman, a 140 mile triathlon!

My thoughts? I'm glad you ask...besides thinking they were partially crazy, I thought that doing an Ironman is a life goal that a lot of people train their whole lives for. If you finish one at 25, what's left to do? It is the pinnacle of all races! They didn't listen to me, of course, and carried on. With that came intense training and a lot of discipline. They had 3 checkpoints on the way to meeting their goal: Sprint Tri, Olympic Tri and Half Ironman.

1st checkpoint: Completed
2nd checkpoint: See below...

Yesterday was the much anticipated event, the olympic triathlon in Waco consisting of a 1500 meter swim in the Brazos, 25 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run. I don't know if that registered just now, but that is a long way!  I was nervous for them. Swimming that far in a pool is one thing, but in a river where you can't touch is something else scary. Then follow it up with a lengthy bike ride and wash it all down with a nice, long run...in July.

Sunday morning came early, 4:30 AM to be exact. They did great, awesome actually! The guys got up to get their gear together and head to the race site early enough to get their bikes inspected and situated in the transition area. This is the designated area for the participants to transition from the swim-bike and bike-run, hence the name. The bikes are hung neatly on racks displaying their racing number and towels are stretched out on the ground to mark their territory in the transition area. The faster you transition, the better, and the veterans have it down to a science! Their shoes are already clipped on their bikes and they get dressed while they ride. Impressive, especially considering I can't even ride without hands.

The race began in waves dictated by age group. Each group has a different color swim cap and your age is written on your leg in permanent marker. This made it fun for us to guess how old someone was when they ran by. We got pretty good at guessing; however, the 54 yr. old with dentures threw us off a little. Apparently, this wasn't as much fun for the racers. Tate and Dad said someone would zip by you then you would look at their leg and see "60." A bummer or motivator depending on how empty/full your glass is.

Mom and I slept in 2 hours longer and got the race right before the first wave went off. We found our triathletes. One in a green swim cap marked "24" and the other in a blue cap marked "50." They were pumped, but trying to remain calm. Tate's motto is "swim smart, bike hard, run tough." After wishing them good luck, they took their place in the Brazos and Tye, Katie, Mom and I found a good spot to sit beside the river. 

The first group was off! Then Tate at 7:18, and Dad at 7:24. They looked very profesh with their heads down, pacing themselves. It was fun to see the colored caps passing each other. You could see who was fast and who was not so fast. After A LOT of swimming, they exited the water under their designated goal time.

On to the bike! They transitioned into their shoes, jersey, helmet, sunglasses, number and were off! As they turned the corner to start their 25 mile trek, the fan club (Mom and I) took pics, held our sign and cheered on #142 and #147. We had plenty of time to grab a pastry and coffee before seeing our triathletes finish the bike.

Now the run! They took on the hills of Cameron Park before crossing the Suspension Bridge to the finish line. The hours in the pool, long rides and runs in the humidity must have paid off. They both finished in under than 3 hours, beating their goal! The fan club was so excited to see them cross the finish. Way to go Team Barrett and Team Nicholson! We are so proud of your hard work and accomplishment!

2nd Checkpoint: Completed
3rd Checkpoint: Half Ironman 70.3, coming soon!  


mrs. barnett, the speech lady

Mrs. Barnett, Mrs. Barlett, Mrs. Berry...

Over the past 9 months I have been called all of the above. Is Barrett really that difficult? I know it isn't overly common yet it's not that unusual either. Granted it may be challenging to spell seeing as the the "double r" and the "double t" can be a double doozy, but it is pronounced exactly like it is spelled.
Barrett: (Bear-It)

Maybe I am just above the curve since I teach speech for a living, maybe I should go easy on the rest of the world...

August marked the beginning of the school year as well as the start of my first real job. I arrived on campus, introducing myself as "Mrs. Barrett." It seemed strange and unnatural at the time considering I wouldn't be married for another two months. However, if I didn't start then, I would forever be "Nicholson" to Houston Independent School District. If you don't believe me, try looking me up in the HISD directory. No Danielle Barrett exists, only Danielle Nicholson...it's exhausting to explain every time someone wants to shoot you an e-mail.

As the year went on, we had numerous meetings for any student entering, receiving or exiting the speech program. Each meeting started the same way, going around the table, being introduced by the chairperson. As it turns out, I was continually being introduced and referred to as Mrs. Barnett, the Speech Therapist. Great. I see these people everyday. I work in their classrooms with their students. Sign my names hundreds of times on their paperwork, yet still I am Mrs. Barnett. Sure I probably should have corrected them the first time it happened, but I was new and that would be awkward. As time went on, it just got worse.

The kids were thrown off too. They were initially confused, spouting off gibberish as my last name and have since shortened the confusion to "Mrs. Berry." As I walked into their Resource classroom,  I was greeted by a chorus of "Hiiii, Miss Berry." Good. Now not only am I not a Barrett, I am apparently not married either. It was a long time coming getting that title and now I am back to square one, "Miss." I don't even get the satisfaction of a questionable "Ms." I always smiled and responded to the greeting. I like Berry better than Barnett anyway. It sounds happier. And if you are going to get it wrong, go ahead and get it really wrong.

Speaking of getting it wrong, one particular teacher didn't even try to hide the fact she was clueless when it came to my name. We work in Special Education together, so she isn't a teacher on the other side of the building whom I never see. I see her on a weekly basis. After 8 months, I was walking down the hall as I came upon her disciplining a Kindergarden student. As she is talking to him in a stern voice, he looks up at me with pleading eyes, avoiding eye contact with her. She looks at me, then back at him and says, "Look at me, don't look at...(pause)...the Speech Lady." Wonderful. Now I don't have a title or a name and am reduced simply to the speech lady. At least she left "the" and an adjective in there, soon I will merely be "that lady."

Well, at least at the end of the work day, I can go home to my apartment with familiar faces and people that know my name, right? Wrong. Home is even worse. We have this friendly man that works at the front desk. He is great, his name is Dwayne. He greets every resident as they come off the elevator, calls when you have a visitor and signs for your packages. Basically he is all up in your business, so he knows everyone. Problem is Dwayne apparently thinks I am someone else. A while back, Dwayne greeted me with, "Heidi!" as I walked into the building. I heard it as "Hi, D!" Thinking it's a nickname, I responded to his greeting which only confirmed "Heidi" as my name. Fantastic. Now I'm "Heidi Barnett." I'm going to go missing one day and the posters will read- MISSING: HEIDI BARNETT. No one will ever find me. I learned my lesson at work, so I mustered up the courage to correct Dwayne, even thought it was painful. I thought everything was squared away until this week. As I was in the front office, Dwayne came over to say hi and asked me if I had already moved out. I don't know what he was talking about. I am not moving out, I just resigned my lease...but I bet you anything Heidi did...

All this to say, my insurance cards with my new last name came in the mail today which was the last thing to do on my list entitled: Changing My Name. Also on the list:
Drivers License- check!
Social Security- check!
Bank- check!
SLP license- check!
Insurance (as of today)- check!
It only took 9 months, but everything is officially changed. Our mail is finally being addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Tate Barrett. Although, we did receive a letter by mistake addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Tate Nicholson...haha I had a good laugh at that one.

I became Mrs. Barrett on October 17th, but as of July 14th, I will officially be known as Mrs. Barrett to the rest of the world; however, come August, I am sure Mrs. Barnett, Mrs. Berry and the Speech Lady will be making appearances as well. Until then...

Best Wishes,
Mrs. Barrett


redneck yacht club

Last weekend was 4th of July, as you've probably already heard. Most years, we spent this patriotic holiday out at Lake Texoma cooking out, swimming and spending time with  family. This year was no different.

Little Family History Lesson: My family's had a boat out at lake Texoma for 13 years or so. But before that, my Grandpa Billy Bunk had a boat while my parents were in high school. He would take all of their friends out to the same lake, plus the smartest yellow lab you've ever heard of named Mable, so we're told. You probably think all yellow labs are smart, and you're right, but this one was different. Grandpa tells us Mable  would fetch beer cans out of the water and drive the boat while he skied..hopefully not in that order.

Billy Bunk would take my parents and their friends out on the lake where he (and Mable) would spend hours teaching them to waterski. I guess it is one of those traditions that has been passed down to the following generation. Over the years my parents have become the teachers and us the learners. My sister and I have grown up on the same lake, our parents giving pointers to "lean back" and "keep your arms straight." My dad pulling our friends behind the boat for what seemed like a hundred times before they got up for an instant and fell back down. Then turn the boat around and do it all again. My parents are now the Billy Bunk of the lake...if you trade the yellow lab for a golden retriever in a life jacket and take away the beer cans.

Speaking of golden retrievers in life jackets, check this out...

This 4th of July we kept the tradition alive. We were adamant about going to the lake, despite the tropical storm threatening to send endless rainstorms our way. Tate was lucky to have Friday off and I of course had Sunday-Saturday off, so we drove up to Allen after work on Thursday. Friday morning, Tate and my dad went on a killer of a bike ride. I don't know which was more impressive- that they rode 40 miles or that they woke up at 6:30 AM on their day off to do it! Both are pretty crazy. After the long ride, we made our way to Denison to eat lunch with Grandpa Billy Bunk. It was so nice to see him and catch up.

After a trip to the grocery store to stock up on the usual lake necessities: sandwich meat, orange cinnamon rolls, hamburgers, grapes, cherries, and pecan sandies, we drove to the slip to unload the goods in the rain. It rained on and off all weekend. The thing is, it's never disappointing. Even when it does rain, it's refreshing. The pounding sound the rain makes as it hits the tin roof is soothing, so once you're there you actually don't mind it.

Grandma Flo and Grandpa Lyn came out that evening to cook out fajitas. We had a nice time visiting with them and eating dinner on the deck, watching the rain. The next morning my best buds Kels and Meg and her new hubby, Jordan, came out to join us. Since it rained most of the morning, the boys improvised by fishing. Luckily, Jordan brought enough fishing poles for all of Grayson county. Tate was excited to have a fishing buddy! I caught one! It was blue, but I didn't touch it. Gross. I'm not quite there yet...or ever.

Between rainstorms, we took the boat and jetski out. We had a blast tubing, swimming and just riding around. I am still so sore from tubing! It is such a workout! Later that evening we played games and cooked out hamburgers. When the game wound down, we jumped on the boat and caught the end of the fireworks show on the lake. The next day we went out for a swim to help Chloe get used to her PFD (personal floatation device)...slightly ridiculous, I know. We are becoming "those people." My dad spend most of the boat ride on the way there teaching Tate how to drive the boat.


mile high vaca

An altitude of 9, 600 ft. brought less oxygen and more Barretts last week as we vacationed in Breckenridge, Colorado. It was our first Barrett family vacay together and we were pumped! All the best Barretts would be there: Grandma, Papa, Aunt Roxi, Uncle Randy, Robby, LaVon, Tye, and ourselves, of course. It would be the first time I vacationed with my new fam as well as their first time to experience the joys and excitement of having their very own daughter-in-law on a family trip. I was so excited for them.
We stayed in a family friend's cabin. Now when I say "cabin", I don't mean your usual little cabin in the woods. The only thing this house and a traditional cabin have in common are that they are made of wood, have a front door and are surrounded by pine trees. This thing was amazing! It was one of two houses: a big house and a little house. Now the "little" house slept 22 people, so that just shows you how BIG the big house really is! It was beautiful. Pictures, let alone words don't do it justice. The family was so gracious in opening their doors to us. We are still so thankful. Although the house was big enough to explore for a week on its own, we did venture out. 5 days in Colorado and here is what we did:

ATV Rides: Our first full day we went on an ATV (or 4 wheeler) ride!  The whole group, including Grandma and Papa, rode 25 miles on a dirt trail through the mountains. We geared up with helmets, goggles and bandanas per Stan the Man's advice. Stan was our awesome, all-knowing guide. He took care of us and gave us useful Colorado commentary throughout the trip. Plus, he had a pony-tail which made him extra "mountainy." After a great lunch in the valley overlooking a lake, we rode above the timberline and  ate more dirt than a Kindergarden class at recess. It was so dirty, but so much fun! We rode to the top of a mountain, where the temperature dropped and patches of snow remained, for a breath-taking view of the Rockies. It was beautiful! By the end of the ride we  had 1 overheated ATV, 2 loads of dirty laundry and 18 brown lungs, but it was well worth it! We were ready to go another 25 more miles if Stan would've let us!

Mountain Towns: We explored lots of little towns by walking around and shopping in Breckenridge, Frisco, Vail and Keystone. I am quickly learning the Barretts are fast shoppers and great gift-givers! I am proud to say I am adjusting just fine after getting a few little "treats." Treats are what Robby and LaVon call the little gifts or souvenirs they buy for us along the way. One afternoon we hit up a craft fair in Breckenridge while Tate and Randy played golf. Everyone was happy, well except Papa...he got drug to the craft fair, but could be found in his usual spot...sitting on a bench holding our shopping bags.

Rafting: My favorite part of the trip! We went white water rafting on the Colorado River. It was scary awesome! We did a 3peat, which means we rode the same set of class 3-4 rapids three times to ensure we spent our time riding hardcore stuff instead of merely floating down the river. We would raft over the set of 3 rapids, get out, haul our raft back to the beginning and do it all over again. Our group consisted of Tye, Uncle Randy, Tate, Robby and myself. You could have up to 10 people, but rafting didn't sound enticing to everyone. Including poor Robby. I pretty much talked him into going on this trip even though he clearly didn't want to. Out of the five groups rafting, only 2 people fell out. Any guesses? Yep. Robby and me. This is a good time to mention the water was about 45 degrees. When you fell in, you automatically lost your breath, like you got the wind knocked out of you. I was mentally ok, I knew I would be alright, but physically I could hear myself panting for air. Now this is also a good time to mention we had a guide, God bless Joe. He was the biggest of all the guides (which we were thankful for).

After the first run he asked, "Do you want me to up the intensity?" Tye, Randy and I joined together in a "Yea!" Tate was silent. Robby said, "Now wait a minute!" After a group vote, Joe upped the intensity. On our second run we went over a hole. Basically, it means the water is moving downstream and back upstream in one location. It can flip your raft if you aren't careful. We hit the edge of the hole and Robby and I were instantly in the water. It seemed like the raft folded in half, others disagree, but they didn't fall out, so they don't have a say. As soon as I went into the water Joe had me by my straps of the PFD pulling me on top of him and into the raft. I could hear him yelling to roe forward as I laid frozen trying to catch my breath. Poor Robby...the nicest man in the world...that I pressured into coming on this trip...against his will...was floating over the rapids in shock. As we finally got to him Joe, our hero, pulled him into the raft. We finished the run with 6 and did the last run with 5. Robby decided to sit that one out. It was one of the most exciting things I've done and I will definitely be doing it again! However, next time I won't talk my father-in-law into it. Thanks Robby, for being a team player!
Games: Tate jokes that my friends and people from Allen in general have an obsession with playing games. We either are playing a game, making up a game or turning a something into a game. I guess my Nicholson/Allen vibes rubbed off on the Barrett clan last week, because we played lots of games! Pool, Foozeball, Books and Runs and our new favorite: Catchphrase. Tate and I taught the fam how to play this one. Although they couldn't quite remember the name, often referred to it as Outbreak or Guestures, they caught on really quickly and everyone had a blast! Every round ended in laughs. Grandma cracked up when the buzzer went off on someone else and Papa accompanied every one word clue with a random hand motion. More Outbreak is to be had by the Barretts in the future.
Everything about the trip was so enjoyable. The excursions, the shopping, the golfing, the food, the games and most of all the time hanging out as a family. It was great to slow down and spend time together during our first summer as the Barretts. Can't wait to do it again!