Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hill Billy Smores

You have to do it naked, of course. Isn't she pretty, beard and all?

Sometimes, when Graham crackers and that kind of stuff is on sale, I buy them. And sometimes, when we don't have a fire going and the grill has been turned off I make hillbilly s'mores-for you uninitiated, that's smores made either on the stove (if I feel super duper festive, and find a need to play with fire), OR melted in the microwave.

I love summer. I love the heat-since I am always so cold. I can't wait for menopause, just so that I can have a few hot flashes and just feel normal, since I'm sure they won't be hot flashes for me. I love summertime activities, and being outside all day every day. I love taking my kids on random road trips, even though I know most of my friends find this to be crazy. I love giving them experiences to meet new people and learn how to adapt (Look out Omaha, here we come!). And it will all be good.

I love the down time. I love the chocolate face.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bass Lake

Last week, (on my birthday to be exact) I took the kids on a 3 hour adventure into Indiana to my college roommate's cottage. It was dubbed the N.B.R., or the No Bra Retreat-aptly named as we spent 15 hours a day in swimsuits because it was 100 something degrees with the heat index and all.

We stayed in a tiny cottage- my guess is somewhere maybe around 1000 sq. feet, if that. And we had over 20 kids with their mommies in the cottage. It was a total blast. There were also 3 other cottages full of mom's and kids who were heading to the lake for their family reunion, so the place is set up unbelievably kid friendly.

This is Nate, driving the Gator.
Making faces.


Eating with a smile.

Down by the lake. Jack went tubing a few times, and I don't think he got out of the lake the entire week except to sleep and eat. He LOVES the water!

Check this out. The pier is L shaped to keep the kids in the shallow area and they have it set up with a sweet huge playground slide.

Nate going down.

There is also a paddle boat the kids can drive around the little cove area.

Skinny Minnie--She barely ever went past the water past her toes. She doesn't have much a sense of adventure yet.

I'll have to post more later. There's many a thing I should be doing right now...like making sure my daughter has undies on...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fader's Day

Sunday for most everyone else was Father's Day. Sunday in my house was Nate's Birthday! Eventually I'll get around to posting pics of Jack's birthday (really, can I be any busier?) but since I'm supposed to be packing for a vacation I'm leaving with the kids on in 3 hours and instead I'm blogging, I'll catch up piecemeal.

This was the first time we've separated the boy's birthdays since they're so close in June, and I'm so glad we did. Nate was so happy to have 'his day'.

Such a happy big brudda.
Nate wanted Chocolate cake. So, I found the most chocolatey cake I could...dark chocolate fudge and then I used 2 whole cans of milk chocolate icing. If you enlarge the pic, you can see there's about 2 inches of frosting in the middle there. It was awesome.

some may say this is a cake wreck. I say it's Nate's very own. He wanted blue and green writing, and one of each kind of sprinkle we had, so of course I obliged. So what if the writing is messy? I was trying to get as much on as I could!

Because we needed more guns.

I think the best part of his day was licking the bowl.

This is a machine gun that shoots foam bullets. It shoots about 25 in 8 seconds or something ridiculous like that.

This is Nate at his Nast E Cheese party. He is SO excited!

Worth every penny we spent.

Except for maybe this. THIS I submitted to cakewrecks. We had to put the boulder and Indy on ourselves but had a hard time what with all the swamp grass and all. At least it was chocolate.

Before Indy arrived.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Official Results

I found my results, and I'd like to say a: I am not 33 yet. I have 6 days of 32 left, and B: I'm shocked at the biking time, but whatever and C: I was NOT in the water for almost 14 minutes. The swim itself probably took closer to 12 and 1/2minutes, but again, that uphill running in the sand thing kills ya! Oh yah, I placed in the top half. Sweet.



overall place:
810 out of 1704
division place:
125 out of 242
gender place:
810 out of 1704
trans 1:
5:31 (This needs work. 5 minutes is ridiculous)
trans 2:
32:47 (Not bad for that little walking I did to rehydrate! But still, I'm going to work on getting this down too.)

Officially, I've Now Done TriathlonS, (as in multiple tri's)

I'm going to start this blog by stating that the race Sunday was AWESOME!!! So much fun! And now for the deets:

I woke up around a quarter to four a.m., made a pot of coffee, and ate some toast with peanut butter on it before I headed out. I made it to the race site by 5:15 and racked up, which I wound up having to redo because I was wave 20 and racked on the wrong side of the 2 sided sign, so it looked like I was in wave 21, and then when I re-racked I was on the wrong side of the 20 again, so it looked like I was in wave 19 and at that point I said the hell with it and stayed put.

By 8:00 the sun was coming up, the air was getting warmer, and they announced the water temp was about 71 degrees, so I opted to not wear a wetsuit. The water was still cold, but manageable, and I'm interested to see my time because you had to run up a big hill of sand before you crossed the timing mat to get your swim split. So, the swim will look like it took longer than it actually did. After the swim, it was like a quarter of a mile run just to get to the bike, so I'm sure that transistion time is going to look a bit skewed as well.

The bike was incredible. I love my new bike! Thanks again mom and dad! I felt almost like I was cheating. It literally shaved 10 minutes off my time, because when I was done with the bike, I didn't feel like I couldn't move, I felt that the run was actually doable. And it was. I only walked a bit on the run, and that was at a hydration station because I wanted to get some sports drink in me (salty sweater, remember?) and I haven't yet mastered running and drinking yet. I can barely walk and chew gum, so running and doing anything is a mystery.

My overall time was about 1hr 42 or 43 minutes, I haven't gotten my official time yet. I felt awesome afterwards and even made it to book club that night. I think I did just the right amount of prerace fueling with protein bars and carbs etc., and hydrating the right way. I also burned 1330 calories in the process, so I didn't feel bad about eating all of the Chex party mix at book club that night!

I think I'm ready for my next race...who's with me?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Number:363- Wave:20 -Wave Color: Yellow -Swimming in 65 degree weather? Priceless

Tomorrow, Sunday the 14th, I will be on the road by 4 a.m., to be at my tri race by 5 a.m. My wave goes out at 8:16 and I am one of 2,000 competitors Though I may not be in tip top race form, I'm totally ready. Sort of.

It is raining and cold out. The race expo was OUTSIDE under tents today. I was so mad, as we all know how much I love being wet and cold. Today's weather has not put me in the mood to do a race tomorrow. June in general has not had me in a mood to do much of anything.

Our race director told a funny story during the course talk today. He said a few years ago, two women got to the bike part of the race and wondered what the hell they had gotten themselves into with this whole triathlon thingy and decided to just head to a local Starbucks instead of riding 13 miles and then running 3. Not a bad idea, except they still had their race chips on, which is basically your timing chip AND big brother rolled into one, so the police were literally out doing rounds looking for these women because the worst was feared. I'm not sure what the moral of this is, except if you're tired you can always cash in your chips, so to speak (ba dum dah--sorry for the pun).

So tomorrow, away I go. tonight, it's early to bed for me!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Life in a NeoPrene Torture Chamber

I'm getting geared up for the first tri of the season on Sunday the 14th, reading thru the e-mail regarding bike racking and other procedurals and I come across the line, "Because of this shit weather we've been having, the water temp is going to be in the low to mid 60's, Wets suits are highly suggested". (Okay, so it's not a direct quote, but close). They offer wetsuit rentals for about $60 (yikes!) and so I sent out a random e-mail to my church circle and lo and behold, a former triathlete is letting me borrow hers for free.

She happens to be tall and skinny, so when I took it, read the tag as being a Women's Large" and tried it on, I was hoping my being shorter than her would make up for her being skinnier than me and the dang thing would fit.

I got it on, barely, but I think it's supposed to be this way. Have you ever donned a wetsuit? It's like wearing full body panty hose, only worse because it's WAY tight and WAY rubbery, so it's more like wearing a freaking full body garden hose. I immediately hated it, but decided I also hate swimming in ridiculously cold water, so I have to vote for myself on the lesser of the two evils: neoprene torture or hypothermia?

What got interesting was when I was trying to take it off. It was glued to me because I was sweating wearing it. I had to have John pull it off my legs, and I'm quite unsure of how I'm going to get it off myself on Sunday. If anyone has any good ideas for quick removal I'd love to hear it. My friend recommended Vaseline, but I'm thinking that may be like putting butter on a burn and am going to look for alternatives....maybe cornstarch powder?

Sunday should be interesting. I'm almost race ready I suppose, but now thanks to this my transition times are going to totally blow.

Oh well, I heard the after party is totally fun! Yes!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I Have Babies!

Somehow, my garden seeds have sprouted. I think mostly the cucumbers and zucchinis are growing, which is a good thing. Enjoy my latest photos!

From my hanging basket I bought from the boyscouts. The other hanging basket.

Peeking thru.
Is this a pansy?

My herbs, my growing basil.

I used fresh rosemary Saturday when Jen and I cooked our Montreal Chicken recipe. It smelled so good, and a taste of it was awesome!

I think I'm going to try a mint julep recipe...if I can find one. Otherwise, I'm hoping it eventually warms up enough for iced tea, complete with ice and fresh mint.

The garden.

Growing tomato vine.

Baby Bell Peppers! Yay!

My protective marigold.

Maybe a framer?

So far, the bunnies have been kept at bay.

More babies!!! I THINK these are cucumbers, and I think technically I'm supposed to separate them, but my grandmother who grew up on farms told me not to disturb it. She said my Pa would do it kinda like this and then let it just grow, so I'm following the Old Folks' wisdom on this one.
Aaaand...since I'm growing a bajillion and 3 tomato plants, I'd LOVE any homemade spaghetti sauce recipes! Or any other fresh tomato sauce based recipe! Send them along!

Cooking Again!

On Saturday, my good friend Jenny and I cooked for 7 hours and made a freezerful of meals. We love doing this because in the long run it saves much time and energy, especially at the end of a day when you are too tired to even think about preparing food.

We also are "Angels in Aprons" and made extras of some of our dishes for yet another of our coworkers who have been struck with breast cancer and will be starting treatment very very soon. She has 3 young kids (the oldest is in 8th grade) and really needs our help, and your prayers!

Note the bulk box of baggies and Tylenol on the side!
My island in the kitchen along with the double oven is very conducive to our endeavors.
This is what a 10# tube of meat looks like. I kept trying to get Jen to pose provacatively with it, but she wouldn't. You should see all the food we made with that meat!

At Church on Sunday

I took the kids to Sunday school after service. Jack comes up to me and says, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Can I please have some money from your person (meaning purse) to give to the poor people?"

And I say, "Wow Jack, it's so nice you want to donate your money to the poor."

And he replies, "No mom. I don't want to give the poor people MY money, I want to give them YOUR money".

Sigh...a future in politics for sure.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

John and Kate Plus My Opinion (as if it really matters)

Often I am struck with bouts of insomnia, even when I am beyond exhausted, thus fueling the fire in my caffeine addiction. Last night I was struck with such a bout, flipping the channels between "The Colbert Report" and "Chelsea Lately" (even though I don't really find her funny) and the recently uber-taloided "John and Kate Plus 8". I couldn't stand too much of any one show, but I couldn't help being slightly disturbed by the latter.

I know without a doubt that I am in the minority on this one, but I do feel a bit of sympathy for this woman. I'm a Cubs fan, I like underdogs, and in the media circus surrounding her, she is an underdog. Do not misunderstand, I do not think her an underdog with her fame and fortune and often bitchy attitude, but this woman (or the nanny) cannot even take her kids to the grocery store because her face is everywhere, as are all her faults laid bare.

Mom on the rocks (www.momontherocks.com) wrote a REALLY excellent blog post about how this couple needs marriage counseling, and, I agree. My friend Kim said she enjoyed the show when it was all "Wow, we have 8 kids and this is how loud and crazy and sucky it can be. We have 8 kids and it's hard", but she has lost interest in the whole "Wow. We have 8 kids. Look how hard it was to go on a FREE trip to Disney. Wow. We have 8 kids. Look how hard it is to go on a FREE trip to Hawaii"... and so on, and I'm kinda with her there. I just have to go one step further and offer up my empathies, sympathies, condolences, prayers, or whatever you wanna call its. This is a family in crisis, and unfortunately, being voyeuristics by human nature, we're all along for the ride as this story has found saturation in every media outlet.

Maybe it's the insomnia talking, but I truly feel this woman is being made into an ogre, maybe a bit undeservedly. Do I think she's a bit bossy? Sure-she seems to be on the extreme end of being a type A. Plus, being organized to feed, clothe and transport just 3 kids is exhausting when I think of it, I cannot imagine doing it for sextuplits and twins. I get crabby when John works from home and interrupts my flow of things...I like my routine a certain way, and who's to say Kate Gosselin doesn't need her routine as well?

Do I think she can be mean to her husband? Yah, but sometimes the man needs a little direction. Like in last nights episode, he was saying something along the lines of 'Wow. I drove to the party separately and there were bouncies and other cool things". Seems to me like he didn't even know, which means he didn't even help her plan this party. Hmm...that gives me pause. Even if you don't like your wife, you cannot keep pounding your chest and saying you're there for the kids when you don't even seemingly know any details of their birthday party. It's a massive event when planned for 6 kids at once. These two need a professional like no one's business.

I digress.

I felt a pang for her at the end too, when she had her 'mommy moment'. They had clips of all the kids' birthdays, and each year she says, "I can't believe my babies are 3, (or 4 or 5 etc). And she did get teary. Doesn't EVERY mommy do that on their babies' birthdays? She really does love her kids, I think.

In the US Weekly article last week, they compared Kate Gosselin to the Octo mom. Apparently, they are both bad moms because they like french manicures. I am not even kidding...how ridiculous is THAT?

I see her in a bit of a different light. You have 8 kids. You struggle. You get a break and a free tummy tuck. They start to get older, going to school. You finally have a bit of free time and can start reclaiming yourself, because for the past few years you have eaten, slept and breathed your kids-your kids are your identity. She finally gets to reclaim her identity. She gets a haircut and an occasional massage and writes a book. I truly fail to see how time at the spa makes her a bad mom/person. I know LOTS of mommies who do just that and I would never claim they are neglectful or irresponsible to their children because of it. Should I feel guilty every time I get my eyebrows waxed? So what if she looks good? She feels good about herself obviously, and women and mothers are so cruel to each other that we now couple looking and feeling good about oneself as the equivalent of being a bad person and mother?

This woman has a career now and does speaking engagements, which ultimately is putting food on the table and tuition money for college in the bank. Maybe the t.v. show isn't the best of choices anymore, but because of it, those 8 kids have had life adventures and opportunities my own children will never have, and how can we begrudge that to the kids? The media is making her the bad cop and the daddy the good cop, and according to his own words "It's good for the kids to see mommy and daddy together in one place" blah de blah. So, he's not even there. He has 8 kids he's doing nothing for, not even, (if he believes they shouldn't be on t.v. anymore) protecting them from exploitation.

The show has taken on a depressing note, and I'm with MOTR. They need counselling, or something like it. But as a woman, and a mommy, I cannot skewer this woman for doing what she's done. I can't help but think if it was John Gosselin doing it the tabloids would be less interested.

At any rate, I hope they figure this mess out for their kids' sakes. I don't think I can watch the show any more (unless I need help sleeping) as it has left a very bad taste in my mouth as to how condemning we are as wives and mothers. We are so strong and hold each other up without even thinking twice, and we also tear down and destroy just as easily. It is an anomaly that I will never understand.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Prayers for Friends

If you pray, or even if you don't but like to send positive vibes someone's way, please keep this family in mind:


They are close relatives of a dear, dear friend of mine. You may not know them well or at all, but they are asking for all God's help they can get!


Considering the "Muddy Buddy"

This looks fun. Now I just need a buddy....