Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CSA Pickup Number One

Today was the first day of our CSA (Coomunity Supported Agriculture) pickup. A CSA is basically a share in a local farm. I paid money for the season, and every week I take my new bag and pick up what is in season. I chose to support 2 women with their own business. It's a girl thing. And a great way to learn about sustainability.
This is my new bag full of stuff. Fresh flowers included.
If you recognize any of these herbs please let me know. I'm at a slight loss with what to do with them.


The harvest. Berries, Beets, potatoes, onions, kohlrabi, a fresh head of lettuce, etc.

Look at all those yummy root veggies! Dinner's going to be great!

These are delicious.

Okay, what the hell do you do with a kohlrabi that will make it edible for young kids. HELP!

I also got some fresh dill in today's bag. Anyone have any ideas what I can use that for?
All in all, I'm so happy with the spread for today. It will keep meals interesting this summer, as I'll be receiving fresh produce that I may not have before tried. I feel like I got a lot of food, so economically, to buy organic fresh produce, this makes sense. Send me food ideas. I need them!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Welcome Baby Braden!

Isn't he just precious?
Friday was a busy day for us. First, my sister decided to go and have her baby 3 weeks early. But she didn't have him at a convenient time for me, which would have been sometime in the afternoon or late morning. No, she decided that 1:04 a.m. was a good time for action. That's okay, I suppose I can forgive her for keeping me awake forever...actually, she didn't, my mom did, and she was supposed to call when he was born, but I didn't get a call and at 3:40 a.m. when I took a bathroom break with no news from anyone I thought something bad had happened, but it didn't because my mom was at home in bed. Is that a run on sentence? I digress.

It IS a good thing this little guy came early. He weighed in at 8 lbs 1 oz. Were he to go full term, he may have been a full blown toddler walking out of the hospital.

We got to go visit yesterday. I didn't get to see him all weekend because John's cousin got married (what was she thinking? Didn't she know my sister had a baby? I can't be in 2 places at once!...kidding....kidding). He's really cute too, and has more hair than my daughter. I don't know what it is with my sister and her kids...that hair thing must be a dominant trait or something because she never birthed a baldy.

This is Nate holding the baby. He LOVED holding the baby. "He's so cute mom!". It was very sweet to see my bull in a china shop boy showing his sweet and tender side, and he really does have a sweet and tender side.

Jack looks ginormous compared to this kid. But you can tell they're cousins.
Nate was very careful with the head.


Nate really liked petting the baby. He's a very affectionate little guy.

You may be wondering where my photos of Maddie and the baby are. I don't have any. As soon as we walked in my sister's house, the girls took off to play together, and couldn't be bothered with a BOY (gasp!) even if it was a baby boy! So that is why there are no pictures of all the grandkids for Oma. We'll get those later.
So, congrats to my sister and her husband. And congrats to me, the best Auntie ever. Welcome to the family Braden Andrew! You have some catching up to do, but don't worry...your cousins will teach you the ways of the Jedi lightsabers, dart guns, water guns and all other forms of weaponry. You'll be an expert in no time!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Nate!

Monday was your birthday. You wanted nothing more than to go to Monkey Joe's, in fact you decided that 6 months ago when it first opened, and never forgot about it, so of course we let you choose 5 friends (all BOYS from school, no less) and we went.

You enjoyed being the center of attention, because you never get to be. I don't think you realize how funny you are sometimes, and not even on purpose. You have your father's personality that way...you are smart as can be and have been enjoying winning everyone's money in Monopoly and then you make very dry, funny jokes on the fly. Very much like your father, except you haven't quite developed his evil "I have once again crushed everyone in Monopoly" cackle.
You have grown up so much this year, but are still the little boy who loves hugs and kisses and won't let me leave your room at night without a 'super squeeze'. I'll take it. You like to add and subtract and have developed a talent for asking me questions I don't know the answers to, but that's okay. We can learn some things together.

Weaponry is always good! You asked everyone for SuperSoakers, mostly I think, because you're sick of using your brother's hand me downs and waiting for him to grace you permission. Now you are set.

Happy Birthday sweet boy. You have more heart than anyone I've ever known, but you can still be a stinker. And that is what I love about you the most.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Good Samaritan

TuesdayI had a real life biblical experience. I'm not even kidding. The day started out just fine. I picked up Maddie's little girlfriend for a playdate, we went to the freebie show and saw "Flushed Away", the kids pretty much inhaled 2 buckets of popcorn, and then on the ride home I saw it.
3 boys were on bikes. Actually, 2 were off, with one bent over double and waking around as if in pain. And the cars just kept on driving by. So, since this kid was probably older than 12, but somewhere younger than driving age, AND he had that stupid long haired Justin Bieber hair do, I felt bad. So I pulled over and started asking questions. I felt all competent like, having been a former professional lifeguard, and now working loosely in the medical field, and I knew all the right questions to ask in a first aid situation. I took a look at his injured wrist that the kid couldn't even hold straight, much less have the strength to grip his handlebars on his bike, and I calmly asked him to call home. Being a manly man, he told his mom he fell and that he was fine. And then the Cop showed up.
The cop came over and asked if I had hit the kid. I was horrified. "No, Im just trying to help". She had to radio in that I did not in fact hit anyone. Which is REALLY what makes me mad, because she explained that someone called in, and called the fire truck and ambulance were on their way. Which means, someone drove by and INSTEAD OF STOPPING TO SEE IF ANYONE NEEDED HELP they just called the cops. Even if they assumed I HAD hit the kid, isn't it a decent thing to do to stop at the very least? Have we come so busy in our society, or so complacent that we can't even stop to help a young kid who potentially may have just been hit by a car? Trust me, it's a fairly busy road. At least a hundred cars passed us. And no one stopped but me, who apparently someone thought was to blame.
As the police officer questioned this kid, I asked if I could go. She asked if I witnessed anything, and I said no. With a firetruck, ambulance, and another officer on the way, I wasn't really needed, so she let me go.
I'm pretty sure the whole episode ruined the kids' day from embarrassment alone. I don't care...I know I did the right thing. But the question is, did the mystery police caller ALSO do the right thing by calling and leaving?
Leave your thoughts. I'd love to see them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tri No. 1- A Success

This weekend was the first tri of the season for me, and I am very excitedly looking forward to number 2, which is in Wisconsin in July and my friends and their friends who will become my new friends are coming in from Omaha and Michigan to participate. Now THAT'S going to be a blast.

I improved a lot on this race, though I'm not quite sure how, and I feel the need to break it all down for ya. So here goes.


I arrived at the expo in the pouring rain. Before I even picked up my race packet and freebie shirt (which is SO cute by the way) I went to a Kiefer booth (they sell tri accessories) and scored myself a new singlet and tri shorts for $40. For those of you who don't know, Tri accessories can be VERY expensive. The singlet alone should have cost me about $50, but because it is 'last year's model' I got it on clearance, much like I did last year. I love shopping clearance aisles. I don't care if it was last decades model. It functions the same, but the color scheme is different. That is a nonissue with me, because you don't really do these things as a platform for a fashion show.

I also got this really sweet running hat with a built in sweatband that says "Tri Diva" on the front. You can find more cute stuff here: http://www.tridivas.com/boutique-new/index.php

I also got a new cute shirt just for the fun of it. If you want to see it go here:
http://shop.whoohagear.com/category.sc;jsessionid=7246FC4FD435959F0528502251D4395F.qscstrfrnt03?categoryId=5 I bought the black t-shirt, but you can read what it says better on the pink tank top. I actually liked about 4 of their shirts, but chose this one to remind me when I want to be tired and not do something. It's a good inspiration.

Anyways, I finally got my body marking, which you could see from a mile away the old guy made it so huge and went to a 2nd birthday party for one cute as hell little girl. I went to bed around 9.

The big day. Wake up around 4:15. Get dressed in tri gear, along with sweatpants and running jacket. Make peanut butter toast (2 pieces, sprinkled with wheat germ, a tri routine), make coffee, pack bananas and protein bar (I prefer Balance Bars in the cookie dough flavor) and get out the door by 4:35. Drive one hour to the high school parking lot. Ride my bike the 1/2 mile to transistion and begin setting up.

The Swim: 1/2 mile, 13 minutes. I was an orange cap, wave 18. I started at about 8:09, and even though the race was borderline wetsuit illegal as the water temp was 77 degrees, I decided to wear my wetsuit because I am considering going to Omaha to TRI an olympic distance event, in which case I will NEED the wetsuit and along with that, the practice of getting it off quickly. I banged out the swim in 13 minutes, which as an actual swim time is inaccurate. First of all, this is an "M" shaped course in a quarry that goes to zero depth, so when you go around the 2nd and 4th bouys you have to stand up and run around them or your hands drag on the bottom. Secondly, your time doesn't stop for the swim and start for the transition until you are completely out of the water and have run up a sand hill to cross the timing mat. I'm just sayin'.

The swim for the first time ever annoyed me. I was going so well that I literally ran into the group that started 4 minutes before mine did, and several of them had swim buddies. Now, I'm not sayin' anything bad about the swim buddies. These women are here raising money for a good cause (ovarian cancer) and doing a good thing for their bodies. But they took over the "lane", and getting around them was like dodging bullets. They needed to pull over to the right and let the faster swimmers through. At one point during the swim though, I felt so awesome in my wetsuit that I realized that I wasn't kicking, (or at least not very hard) and got pretty pissed at myself. Imagine how much faster I'd be going if I consciously put effort into that kick! Good thing I have a very strong arm stroke!

Transition 1: Took me a total of 3:47, which needs to get better, but it isn't so bad since I was futzing with a wetsuit. Plus, I had a hard time getting my biking gloves on wet hands, note to self for next time. I was smart this time and REALLY cleaned my feet off, because last time I didn't and there is nothing worse than running with sand stuck on your feet.

Bike: 13.8 miles in 44 min 15 seconds. Not bad, but I need to tighten it up. I'd like to do it in 40 minutes. The only thing that bothered me here was that some ladies were out for their Sunday rides, and not keeping to the right. I yelled "ON YOUR LEFT" more times than I can count. I read the rules; no drafting and stay on the right!

Transition 2: 1:40, next time should be a minute, or at least less than 1:40 since all I had to do was rerack my bike and get my race belt on, which you can do as you're moving.

Run: 5k (3.1 miles) in 28 min. 17 seconds. This happens to be my best run time after a triathlon ever. I felt really, really good, but I also decided that instead of sport gels, I'd try these samples of energy chews that I had. They are caffeine and vitamin B all rolled into a chew tablet, and was either the best thing I've ever done, or the worst, because at the 2 mile mark I checked my heart rate and it was about 184 beats per minute, so I decided to NOT have a heart attack and I walked for 1 minute to regulate that a bit. I didn't FEEL like walking, but I didn't feel like dying either. My biggest problem with the run is that I cannot sprint at the end. 3 ladies from my age group passed me right at the very end, and that has pissed me off enough to want to do better next time. I just don't know how to get that extra push, so any advice on that would be great.

Total time: 1 hr. 30 min. 57 seconds. Extremely slow compared to the lady who won in 1 hr. and 1 minute, but my guess is that her training regime does not revolve around 3 small kids. So I'll take my time, but try to do better next year. If I want to compare apples to apples, I guess my goal for next year is UNDER an hour and a half. I can do it. I hope.

Next Up: The Trek women's Tri with my gal pals. http://www.trekbikes.com/women/

It's going to be a hoot!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday

He's Number One!!!! He's Number One!!! Soccer star, ready for action...my how you have improved!
This is what Cub Scouts is all about. Marshmallow Shooters at a campout. The raccoons certainly got their fill that night. I'm sure of it.

Dear Jack,

Today is June 9th, your birthday. You are 7, going on 27, because you know everything and you are the boss. Well, you try to be anyways. This year you have grown up so much. You can read now, and not just little words in easy to read books. You are reading street signs, and restaurant signs, and we've even taken turns reading Harry Potter books, and your father and I can no longer spell words to each other because you sound them out and can decipher what we are talking about. Though we love how smart you are, sometimes it's hard on us as parents.
You are a natural born swimmer. You hate being at the pool where I can see you, you find the shallow end boring, and so you gravitate to the death defying heights of the 3 meter board, and have even attempted to dive off of it. I think I may have had a mild heart attack.
You are the most creative child I have ever met. I love your "inventions" and your art drawings, and how you have rigged our outdoor playset to resemble an army battle field, complete with ropes and strategically placed weapons. You write stories both at home and at school that make me so proud. You are so, so good at math, and I thank your father's genes for that, because I can barely do second grade math, so don't ask me for any help next year. That's going to be your dad's job.
You have come so far in playing baseball and soccer, and now you want to try basketball. Well, you're tall and skinny, so you may have a chance, but not if my genetic coding has anything to say about it. I am not a natural born athlete by any means, so again, I'm hoping your dad can take over. But, you try hard at everything you do, because you want to be good and you want us to be proud, and you have succeeded at both.
You are kind, and sensitive, and deeply perceptive of things I wish you wouldn't be, but that's just for your own good and because I want to protect you. You have a handful of good friends and buddies that you pal around with and cause mischief with and I love that. Just please stay off the neighbors flower beds and stop shooting squirrles with your marshmallow gun (unless you're at Opa's, because the neighbors there wont call Child Protective Services on a negligent mother).
I hope you have a great 7th birthday. I'm glad you're mine, but I'm not so very glad about you growing up so fast. Tomorrow I will wake up and you'll be off to college, and if I did my job right you'll be gone from me for good, at least until you need your laundry done or a meal to inhale (most likely with the least amount of chewing necessary I might add).
So Happy Birthday Buddy Boy! I love you!

So proud of his new rollerblades that he got to wear for his RollerSkating party with his school friends. Nothing says Fun! And Oh Crap! quite like 15 2nd graders on wheels...some who knew what to do, and some who, uh, um...didn't.

Love those kicks!

Nate rollerskating. He doesn't like it much. It's a lot of work for him.

Oooohh, Happy Birthday Cuppy Cakes!

Oh yes she did put on skates and go around in circles. Not bad for a 3 year old. Not bad.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Tank Museum

In the summer, at a moment's notice, I like to just say, "Oh, we're going to do this today". Whatever 'this' may be. I decided I wanted to take my kids to Cantigny http://www.cantigny.org/ and was lucky enough that our local library is in Cahoots with Macy's and you can get various museum passes for free, so aside from the gas it took to drive there and the lunch I packed, this was a fun, free day trip.

Cantigny is the home of Robert McCormick, the guy who founded the "Chicago Tribune" and subsequent Tribune Companies. He was pretty much loaded. He also fought in the First Division in WWI, so there are 2 museums on his property, the 'War Museum" and the "House Museum". I'd have loved a house tour, but the kids were not going to traipse through a one hundred year old house without breaking something. I'm pretty certain of that.

Cantigny also has a lot of gardens. They are beautiful if you have the time to appreciate them, which my children do not, and they couldn't care less that this is how Illinois used to look, before Urban sprawl took over. This is the prairie grass garden. If you look closely you can see the heads of some wee ones...
So this McCormick dude is buried on his property in a tomb called Exedra. It's pretty sweet. The dog statue is remniscent of his pets, becasue I guess he liked them enough to turn them into marble statues. It's amazing what people with money will spend it on, because all I kept thinking about was "Dozer" and "The Keymaster" and Rick Moranis when I saw the Dog Statues. If you have to ask why and what that references then I feel sorry for you.
Seriously kid?

This is walking through another garden. Apparently she got an 'owie' and we had a crisis of epic proportions on our hands. The only thing that could have saved the day was a Dora bandaid and I was fresh out.

Jack really enjoyed the tanks and swinging from the guns. He was actually disappointed that they could only climb on like, 10 tanks that day because several others were being refurbished for the 60th anniversary party. Or something along those lines.

This is trouble in a nutshell.

This is Maddie on top of the tank that she climbed onto all by herself. She is showing you her muscles and making her "muscles" face. Look how strong she is.

I suppose this is the best I can hope for in any phot with me and the kids.

The First Division Museum is cool, but it freaked the kids out. First you walk through the Trenches in France from WWI, complete with 'going underground', and guys on hills shooting at you. Then you get on a boat during WWII heading for Omaha Beach, and you watch a movie that shows reall footage of the invasion. Then you go through a Jungle and can watch what Vietnam was like and lastly there's a display about Desert Storm.
There were several tours going on the day we went, and the tour guide was telling a group of 12 year olds about how Desert Storm was the 100 hour war, etc. I heard one kid whisper to another, "Yah, Dude, I like, have totally heard about this one before!"
Totally heard about it? Buddy I lived it! And now I know how the guy in the jungle 30 yards back must have felt with all these kids coming through. He looked the part of the vet, what with his longish beard, and jacket with American Flags and POW patches sewn on, AND he was correcting the movie (Did you know the TET offensive is pronounced "TAIT". I didn't.) You can always learn something new. Always. Like, how old exactly you really are.....

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More Birds

For some inexplicable reason I am obsessed with these creatures. When I say there were 4 mama birds swirling my head today I am not kidding. Nate and Maddie were watching me take the photos and they were freaking out that the mommy birds and the gramma birds were going to kill me. I have no idea where they have gotten their flair for the dramatic. When do birds start looking like birds instead of something only M. Night Shamalamadingdong could concoct?

This is the bad ass bird. I can tell. He stared down Mr. Can On Rebel and would not back down. This will be the bird that comes back to build a nest in the same tree and will puncture one of my lungs with it's beak, just because he will have some memory of all the photos I paparazzi'd him with.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


In theory, I hate birds. I saw that movie with Melanie Griffiths mom, where they flew around and pecked peoples eyes out. That's freaky stuff. However, in the spirit of the Awesomeness That IS the CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS, I've found some love for these ugly creatures that have nested in my backyard.

Everytime I go out to take pics (there were NO eggs left today, I'll post those pics tomorrow) there are seriously like, 4 mama birds swarming me. So while I am obsessed with taking a cool picture, I am also slightly fearing for my life and waving my camera around my head like a defensive weapon. Look at these lumps. Seriously, the kids were all like, "oooh how cute", and I'm all like, "really? They probably have rabies".

It's Friday Night...Watta YOU Doin'?

We have tried to institute an ongoing game night. Usually it's Friday's or Saturdays, depending on the status of the Star Wars Clone Wars Series, because if it's a repeat, well bring on the games. Favorites of the past inlcude War, Don't Wake Daddy, Hi Ho Cherry O, and CandyLand. Nothing that includes any amount of strategy whatsoever. Sometimes we'll even throw in a little Wii bowling.

John however, has different ideas on what he now wants to start playing with the kids. Yes, he has begun strategizing with them by playing Monopoly.
Maddie is usually on 'daddy's team' but here she is playing banker. She likes to sort the monies into their right colored slot.
Nathan plays like I do. Buy everything right away and then lose your money.

This was a particularly intense round.

Jack lost a property. And his father actually took it.

I learned long, long, long ago never to play monopoly with a guy who rounds in millions (of dollars) for a living, and suggested we play MY favorite game with the kids which happens to be Scrabble. A nice fun, educational word game. John's response was (do not laugh), "Scrabble? First of all, Scrabble is stupid. Second of all, it's really not age appropriate for these kids.".
And now he has the kids convinced that Scrabble and any other word game is not worth their time. Nate walks around chanting, "I HATE word games. I only like money games."
The battle is lost, but the war is not yet over.