ironman tejas or bust

Well, we are officially the crazy people. Who in their right mind would swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then wrap it up with a marathon? Yours truly, Mr. Tate Barrett. And what sane wife would support such craziness? Guilty.

Tate signed up for the Ironman last night! May, 21st 2011. He and my dad are going to make history by competing in the first Ironman ever in Texas. Guess where it is....HOUSTON! What, what? It's in our neck of the woods which is great for many reasons: don't have to pay for a hotel, we get to sleep in our own beds, he can run/ride the course beforehand, I can go home during the loooooong race and hopefully friends can come out to support our Tater.

Here is Tate signing up...

We are so excited about the big day! This is HUGE. People train their whole lives for this kind of thing. Tate and my dad have been training and talking about doing this for what seems like a lifetime, but in reality has only been a year. They have trained multiple times a day (which I've learned is called a brick), everyday-- swimming, biking and running. They've changed many flat bike tires, survived 2 falls (that I know of), competed in a sprint and an olympic tri. The half iron is in a month and now we have this monster on the horizon! It's been a journey, a dream that has become a reality. It's for real now people, and we are on the short road headed straight to the Ironman Texas.

Last night we sat down at the kitchen table to officially sign up. In addition to all the basic stuff, they asked for your insurance information, which country you are representing, your local newspaper and home-town tv station. This thing is legit. 

The triathletes have a 17 hour time limit to finish the race. Some don't even cross the finish line until midnight! That is what I call a full day of H-E-double hockey sticks; however, my opinion aside, it will be a glorious life time accomplishment for Tate, my dad and many other brave souls. Way to go guys! Team Barrett and Team Nicholson all the way! I cannot express how proud of you I am and how much I admire to your hard work and discipline. Ironman Texas 2011 or bust! Better start continue contemplating where to get that Ironman tattoo. 


diary of an SLP

School officially starts in 4 days, which means it's back to work for me! This is my second year as an SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist). As the new year is beginning,  I am reminded of the journey I've partaken in over the past year and the countless memories made along the way. Working with kids in the schools, I thought I would impact my students, when in reality they are the ones that made an impact on me. Feel free to browse through my SLP diary and see for yourself. My days were filled with what you could call um, "extraordinary experiences", some just too funny not to share with the rest of the world.


Dear Diary, 

Today as I was working in the PPCD class (the special ed preschool for kids with multiple disabilities, but you know that, Diary) we focused on identifying verbs. I laid out three cards in front of the group and said "show me run, show me jump, show me sing." The goal was that they would correctly point to the appropriate verb card. As I was going around the group, I came to Joshua. Joshua is 4 and often gets his 'g' sounds and 'k' sounds confused...aka devoicing. Moving along, I put three cards in front of him: a boy jumping, a boy digging and a boy running. I said, "Show me dig." He looked up at me, somewhat confused. I said, "It's alright, show me dig...show me dig." After thinking for a moment, he pointed to his crotch! What?! No, no no, no! For a moment I tried to explain, D-I-G, it's a 'g' not 'k'. Then realized this wasn't going anywhere good. So, I moved on to a new verb and hoped I didn't get arrested. 

the speech lady

Dear Diary, 

Today we worked on non-literal expressions with Henry. After reading the phrase, Henry was to draw a picture of what the phrase sounded like and then a picture of what it actually meant. For example, if the phrase was "The lady talked my ear off", he would draw a pic of a lady without an ear and then a pic of a lady talking a lot. Now, Henry and I have been working on this goal for 5 long months, and he has made considerable progress...so I thought. With high hopes, I gave him two non-literal phrases, telling him to draw what the phrases really meant. When we were finished, he could explain to the group why he drew his picture. Henry drew what seemed like the entire session, working so intently. He would draw, look up at the ceiling, think about it, and go back to drawing. I couldn't wait to see what he had learned! Mind you, Diary, these weren't new phrases; we'd reviewed them weekly. As the session came to a close, I asked Henry to show us his pictures. He held his paper up proudly and our convo went a little something like this:
Me: Ohhhh wow! What was our first phrase?
Henry: I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse.
Me: Yes, great! And what is that on your paper?
Henry: Me sitting at the table.
Me: Good, and what is on your plate? 
Henry: A whole horse. 
Me: What? Why?
Henry: Because I'm eating a horse. (duh.)
Me: Ok.....well, what is the next phrase?
Henry: I slept like a baby, and this is my picture.
Me: Looks like spikes, what is it?  
Henry: A pointy, spicy baby vampire. 
Me: (Speechless) Uhh....ok well, non-literal express......(forget it).....Henry, you are so creative! 
Looks like we will continue our goal of non-literal expressions next week....and the next...and the next... 

the speech lady

Dear Diary,

Today I met my first private school student! He is in 1st grade and is having difficulty transitioning between different activities. Oh, and he is obsessed with anything space related: rockets, NASA, planets, you name it. I saw one of those giant space puzzles at TJ Max the other day and bought it as a reinforcement activity. Basically, I'll have him work for a few minutes, then do the puzzle as a reward. He saw the puzzle and was super excited! At the end of the session I knew it was important to explain how and why we are going back to class, because he has trouble knowing what is appropriate in social situations.  I said, "Now what are we going to do when we get back to class?" He said, "walk in and sit down." I said, "Should we be loud or quiet?" "Quiet." I explained to him that we were going to walk in quiet as a mouse and sit in the circle with the rest of the group. He nodded in affirmation, then walked quietly back to the classroom, holding my hand. I thought, good, the transition is going well. As he opened the door he couldn't contain himself any longer and shouted, "WE DID A SPACE PUZZLE AND IT WAS AWWWWESOME!" The entire class, including the teacher, turned around in disbelief. Great transition, very appropriate. I stared him down for a minute and then had a good laugh on the way back to my car. Guess he liked it!

the speech lady

Dear Diary,

Being an SLP is gross. Today I conducted a reevaluation on a 5 year-old PPCD student in the library (aka my office). As I was in the middle of testing, AACHOOO! He sneezed and I mean he SNEEZED!  Two lines of green gunk flew out of his nose like a machine gun. On the table. On my test. On his face. On my pencil. Snot was everywhere!  I froze, looking down at the disaster. He was laughing, which made it even worse, considering it was far from comical. I was trying to think quick and act quicker, but was baffled. How can so much come out of something so small? I got up to try to find anything that would provide relief in the situation: tissues, paper towels, a tarp, maybe a raincoat. I was halfway to the front of my office (the library) to ask my secretary (the librarian) for tissues when I turned around to give him strict instructions: DO NOT MOVE. SIT IN YOUR CHAIR AND DO NOT GET UP. DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. Still laughing. (Sidenote: this is the kid that runs from the bus monitor everyday) I got the paper towels and headed back to the snot-covered, goo splatter. I wiped everything down, bathed both of us in hand sanitizer x2, and threw away my pencil. As I sat down to finish testing....AAACHHHHO! I sent him back to class. Sometimes testing can wait.

the speech lady

Dear Diary,

Today I worked on answering "why questions" with a sweet boy at the private clinic. The session went well, but more importantly, I learned a lesson in brutal honesty while he learned a lesson in manners.
Me: Why do you sleep?
Boy: Because I'm tired.
Me: Why do you eat?
Boy: Because I'm hungry. Did you know my mom is on a diet. 
(Seeing this as a good learning moment I ask:)
Me: Oh really, why is she on a diet?
Boy: Cuz she's fat.

Dangit, I should have seen it coming. Funny how they can't answer questions until it comes to something like that. I proceeded to tell him that isn't a nice thing to say and it could hurt someone's feelings. Hey, at least he is making progress with his 'why questions.' I'll count it as a positive. 

the speech lady


weddings, vegas & hotdogs, oh my!

Houston, Austin, Allen, Denison all in 4 days. Two weekends ago the BaylorBarretts' paths temporarily split for a few days. I flew North to sweet home Allen, Texas while Tate drove Northwest to Austin for a conference. He was joined by his bro, Tye. In the evenings, while he was not attending the Disney-themed environmental conference (wierd.), Tate and Tye filled the rest of their time with manly/brotherly things, naturally.  As far as I know, this consisted of swimming in Town Lake, shopping at every tri store in the 512, and indulging in the manliest week on TV: Shark Week.
I, on the other hand, did not take part in any of these tasks. I was looking forward to spending a few days at home and had a strict to-do list to tend to. Consider the to-do done. Proudly, I crossed off everything on my list, here see for yourself...

#1: Uphold Matron of Honor Duties 
4 months and counting people! Lynley is probably the most decisive bride in the history. And for those of you that don't have the pleasure of knowing Jan, my mom is probably the most efficient, organized, logical well I can't even think of a commendable adjective to describe her, so I will just tell you what we call her: Jan the Man: Supermom. You get the picture. These two are a machine of a wedding plannin' team! As MOH, I actually have it pretty easy. They have it all narrowed down, and I just assist in the smaller decisions. I was there to uphold my duties proudly, which included:
-Approve the seating arrangements which have been mapped out (to scale) on a display board including each table represented by circles of paper and each color-coded centerpiece...with a legend at the bottom so you don't get confused.
-Pick which invitation I liked best out of the three they've ordered and put together as examples. 
-Choose which place cards I prefer out of three samples they've made from scratch. 
-Decide how many candles to use in the centerpieces, which they've also self-arranged and put on a mock table that is set in our formal living room (see pic above)  
I can't pass judgement...I am guilty myself. If you haven't gathered from the Nicholson-Barrett wedding or from reading this post, us Nicholson girls like to DIO...do it ourselves. We've made napkins, centerpieces, name cards, thank you notes, invitations, table numbers, you name it we DIO. We don't exclude anyone either...that would be rude...we've roped many friends and now family into doing our "little projects" as well. Think of it as bonding. My Grandma Flo and Grandpa Lyn came in town to join in the "bonding"...aka measure for dance floor curtains and chandeliers. Here is a pic of Grandpa explaining the best way to do things. Don't question the CWO 

#2: Visit Miss Nicholson's Farm
This is Lynley's first year teaching! She is in the process of decorating her farm-themed Kindergarden classroom. We took a trip to Vaughn Elementary to check out the progress. I was super impressed! There was a mock fireplace, a clothesline, a big horse on the wall and a truck that reads, "Miss Nicholson's Farm" She already has the next sign, "Mrs. Tolleson's Farm" to switch out when the time comes. Gosh, she is so prepared...Jan the man in the making. Anyway, we all looked around and gave Dad some practice in reading his favorite book, Kakadu Jack. Despite being bummed when he found out the book was about a parrot, he is still planning on reading to Lyn's class sometime this year. Better get to practicing your "open, shut them, open, shut them, give a little clap. open, shut them, open, shut them, put them in your lap."

#3: Hang with Friends
Got to see Meg and Kels while I was home. It was a memorable experience, as always. What's better than free queso at happy hour? Um, planning a girls trip to VEGAS over free queso at happy hour! Duh. Afterwards I called Tate and said, "I need to talk to you about something." He said, "Good or bad?" I said, "good, for me mostly though." He responded with, "Ok, where are y'all going and when?" He's the best! Vegas Eleven. Details to come...

#4: Avacado Tart froyo
Delish as always, no details needed.

#5: Lake Trip
Tye & Katie P came in for the weekend and we were headed to the lake. Meg joined us there and almost broke her rain record. It's a joke (but a true joke) that every time Meg comes to the lake it rains pours! She has been going to the lake with us for about 13 years now and the rain drops never fail to follow her. The sun was out all day! We had a blast riding in the boat, tubing and stopping for a short swim when the August heat became to much. We thought the rain curse was broken, but once we pulled into the slip the showers came. We ended the day with a cookout and dinner on the deck. Oh and I ate my first HOTDOG in a YEAR! 
I know, with the Vegas plans and the hotdog news, I hope I haven't overwhelmed you in this little post!


new braunSfels

I am a little late in posting this, but better late than never, right? Two weekends ago we visited our family the wonderful town of New Braunfels, Texas. Sidenote: Tate hates when I, or anyone else for that matter, pronounces it with an extra "s". As I am writing this, we are literally having this convo on the phone...

T: What are you posting about?
D: New Braunfels 
T: What?
D: New Braunfels
T: New...what?
D: BRAUN-FELS. Did you really not know what I was saying?
T: Ok. Well, I thought you said New BraunSfels. 
It's like he's the sheriff or something. With that being said, I like to throw an "s" in the middle from time to time just for the heck of it.

We were happy to visit PaPa, Grandma, Aunt Roxi and Uncle Randy for the weekend. It also happened to be Grandma's birthday, so we were prepared to par-tay! We arrived in NB late Friday night and were welcomed by a PaPa fist pump as we drove into the driveway. Everyone had waited for us to get there before eating dinner. After tacos, we watched as Grandma opened birthday presents in the kitchen.

Saturday we woke up early to play golf at the Bandit. Last Christmas, PaPa and Grandma gave us  golfers in the family (Randy, Roxi, Tate and myself) gift cards for a round of golf each. We were a little late putting them to use, but exciting about our golf outing nonetheless. As we loaded our golf bags in the car Tate realized I left my golf shoes in Houston. Bummer! Silver Lining: I now had a reason to play horribly, which I did. On a more positive note, my BLT at the clubhouse was delish!

Tate and Uncle Randy have an ongoing tournament which they call the T and R Southern Shootout. It involves one trophy and a lot of trash talking. Each time they play golf together, the winner gets bragging rights plus the honor of housing the trophy until the next golf outing. It is serious. One time Uncle Randy won and Tate forgot to bring the trophy so I had to go to the post office, box it up and pay to have it shipped. Tate started the trash talk early Saturday morning, which backfired. On this particular weekend, Randy was crowned T and R Southern Shootout Champ and flaunted the trophy quite nicely.

Later that night we headed to the Gristmill for dinner. Yes! I had been craving chicken fried steak like mad. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, the Gristmill is an old mill turned restaurant in the historic town of Gruene, Texas on the Guadalupe. Despite the heat and the skins in my mashed potatoes (which should be a sin), I was quite content overlooking the river with my sweet tea and chicken fried steak. 

After a great dinner, we went back to the house for Grandma's birthday cake and ice cream. Sometimes I forget how good Blue Bell vanilla ice cream is! Classic. I realize this is becoming an ode to Southern food, so I am going to stop here. We visited for a while then went to a movie. In efforts to keep Roxi on staff at her church, I won't tell you which movie, but surprisingly, it didn't Shmuck!

The next morning Tate woke up early for a very hilly run, and then we all went to church. By "all" I mean everyone but one person, but I won't name names because it was her birthday. After church we met over at Grandma and PaPa's for a homemade lunch then hit the road H-town bound.

It was a great visit! I am thankful for my new family and chicken fried steak. Next time we going to float the heck outta that river. Can't wait to go back for some more fun in New BraunSfels!