Friday, October 31

Past pumpkin patch pics

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These are my favorite pumpkin patch pics.

2008
Leah at 3 1/2, Erin at 14 months


2007
Leah at 2 1/2, Erin at 2 months


2006
Leah at 17 months


2005
Leah at 5 months

Thursday, October 30

Cupcake-o-rama

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Yesterday afternoon, Leah and I de-gooped our pumpkin. She liked scooping the goo out and playing with it.

Then, we sorted out the seeds to roast. Erin wove herself in and out of the table legs like a cat.



Today Leah and I made Pumpkin Patch cupcakes for her school Halloween party tomorrow. I love the fact that her preschool is not concerned about the whole store-bought treats thing. Anyway, the cupcakes came out so good, I wanted to share them with you. The actual cupcake is pumpkin-flavored. The frosting is maple cream cheese. YUM!



In the best news of the day, barring any complications, Mike should be home tomorrow late afternoon, in time for trick-or-treating. We are super happy that he will be with us. Ronni is doing a little bit better so that is a bit more good news.

Wednesday, October 29

Home Alone

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Mike is in FL helping look after Ronni who has pneumonia. So I am here with the kids for the duration. The day stretches out long in front of me. I so look forward to Mike coming home from work for the change of pace it gives to our day. I think if I were a single mother, even if I could afford to stay home (life insurance or whatever) I would want to work just to keep the days from all being the same. It's pretty dull.

In other news, I did 48 minutes on the stationary bike this morning for a total of 13.7 miles. I think I will have to up the resistance on it though because I wasn't even tired when I was done (my butt sure was sore though). I usually do the random hills program and the tallest hills are pretty tough but most of the ride is not bad at all. Tomorrow it's swimming and biking. I really love training, I love the sense of progress it gives me. This weekend when I do my bike/run day, I plan to do it outdoors instead of in the gym to see how much more it tires me out. :)

Monday, October 27

Leah says the Pledge!

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Biltmore weekend

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I enjoyed touring the Biltmore with my mom SO MUCH! It was an AMAZING place, the house and the grounds. Here is a summary of my trip:

We left home at about 10:30 Saturday morning (after my tri training and shower). We got there at about 1pm, checked in to our hotel, then went on to the Biltmore grounds. We had read that the house is CRAZY busy on Saturdays, so we skipped it and headed to the winery. There was a restaurant next to the winery called the Bistro that serves local foods straight from the Biltmore farms. So we waited for a table there while shopping in the winery gift shop. I ate sage-infused chicken, goat cheese, and bacon pizza and a butternut squash soup. They were both delicious! Then we toured the winery and had our wine tasting. The tour wasn't as fun or informative as the tour we went on in Michigan. You got to look into rooms that weren't in use, while a video played about how things were done. Kinda dull. The coolest part was seeing the cellar where they store one bottle of each of their vintages from each year.


Then we walked over to Riverbend farm. There they have a kitchen garden, and the old barn with a bunch of old farm machinery. We took some cute pics there.


At dinner time, we decided to head over to downtown Asheville to see what it was like. It was so much more eclectic than I thought! Within a 3 block radius, there was every kind of food you can imagine. My mom said it reminded her of a tiny NYC. We ate dinner at a place called The Noodle Shop. Before heading home, we stopped at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. We got a box of 15 assorted truffles to bring back to the hotel for dessert. We were able to sample ones like pomegranate (yum), lemon pepper (double yum), and strawberry balsamic (yuck, too spicy, had curry in it). It was fun to sample so many.

The next day we got to the house at 10ish. It look us 2 1/2 hours to complete the tour! The house is ridiculous. If you are ever up here, I totally recommend seeing this place. It was amazing.


You aren't allowed to take pics inside so we don't have any. We got the audio guides which were cool because you could listen to a few facts about each room. Afterward, we headed outside to the gardens. Here we are being clowns.



The rose garden was on its way out, but there were still a few pretty blooms.


We got some lunch at Deerpark restaurant on campus that had a delicious Sunday brunch. We were home with sushi by 5pm.

Spooktacular

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The Halloween party at the gym was held this past Friday night. It was lots of fun, as always. Just before we were about to get ready, I had a brainstorm for Erin's ears. Her costume is a black cat but she won't wear the headband I bought with ears on it. So I attached pink craft foam to black felt to make ears, then I sewed them onto hair ties. When I put her hair in pigtails, it looked like she had cat ears! I was so proud!


Leah looked fantastic as Supergirl and LOVED the games. She was adorable trying to eat the doughnut off the string.


Leah fished, jumped, decorated, threw, putted, and hunted.


Erin danced, crawled, ran, and patted. She loved this giant Frankenstein.


We loved having my mom here. She had a great time helping get the girls ready and chasing after Erin all over the gym. :)

Wednesday, October 22

Training update

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If you are checking out my sidebar, you can see this week's training. I am doing this training plan, 20 week bike-focused. When I started training last week, I did the swim-focused one because I was very concerned with my ability to swim the 500yd distance. At the time, I could barely swim 50yds without gasping for breath. After swimming just four training sessions, I noticed my ability to breathe properly improve drastically. I have discovered that when I get into the proper rhythm, with either swimming or running, I almost never get out of breath. I get physically tired before I get winded. Unfortunately with swimming, I don't maintain the rhythm as well. I just need more practice, that is what training is for.

So this week I switched to the bike-focused plan because of my one 40 min bike ride last week. Mike and I rode all around the surrounding neighborhoods, and in 40 min we only completed 7.4 miles. The race is 13 miles. So I have a LOT of practicing to do in that area. The training plan gives you two sessions a week in each area and an extra session in your focus area. So I have 7 "sessions" a week to complete, on two days doubling up and doing a transition too. I have really enjoyed training so far.

Yesterday Laurie and I did a swim session. I try to do a few extra minutes on the swim sessions because I still have to rest occasionally and I want to make sure I am swimming enough. Anyway, last week Laurie sent me this article about proper technique. We were trying it out last night and although it did make me swim slower, it made me concentrate on my strokes and breathing so much more. I was only breathing on one side prior to this, now I am practicing "bilateral breathing." It's like learning a new language! But truly, I am loving it!

Fours

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So the rules are: Go to your folder of pictures on your computer. Open the 4th folder, and upload the 4th picture, then explain it.



This is a picture from our visit to Clearwater in April. We were at International Mall in Tampa at their play area. Leah was getting her shoes put back on by Grammy.

I tag Mandi, Keri, Nikki, and Stacy.

Monday, October 20

Annual Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch outing

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We had such fun at the AwShucks Corn Maze. Although I misjudged how cold it was out with the wind, so we were a little underdressed. But other than that, we had a great day. It was so much better than last year when we had a horrible drought that killed most of the corn. The big kids loved the maze. We let them decide which paths to take (I kept the map so at least I knew WHERE we were). They discovered the corn in the husks early on.
Leah and Ian carried around their "corn swords" for most of the maze, swiping at the stalks and occasionally each other.

At the end of the maze, we let Erin out to run around.
Then we took pictures on this hay wagon.

At last we headed for the pumpkin patch. We didn't get any pumpkins, we just played around and took pictures.
After dinner at Big Bob Gibson's BBQ, we headed home exhausted but happy.

Sunday, October 19

Bragging rights

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So I am gonna brag for a minute here. Mike and I have this site, NFLForLaughs, that we have been doing for a quite a few years now. Some of you know what it is already. Basically we pick the winner for each NFL game each week. There is no money involved, it is just for fun. So feel free to join in, or if you don't want to start halfway through the season, remember us next season. Anyway, the point is I am in second place right now. I am only 1 game back (potentially 2 after this evening's games). I am beating Mike by like 3 or 4 games. And I don't really follow stuff like who is starting or who is hurt. Seriously, bet on me in Vegas. I have never had a week under .500 (7-6 was my worst record). Apparently I am a football guru. :)

Thursday, October 16

Not baby anymore...

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Erin has exploded with her words lately. Here is a short list of things she says: hot, up, Mommy, Dada, Ee-ah, pup-pup, duck (sounds like duh), good girl, night night, play, milk (says nuh for milk), and is repeating almost everything. It is AWESOME to be able to talk to her and know she is understanding you.

The very latest thing though is fighting naptime. She is not doing it at bedtime yet, but everyday at naptime, she stands in her crib and wails, "Mooooommmmmeeeeeeeee!" over and over. It is hard not to go in there and get her. For the past two days, I have had to go back in like 1/2 hour after I put her down and rock her a little bit. When I put her in bed after that, she still screams, but not for very long. This part is not so fun.

I just went back and read a bunch of Erin entries and nowhere have I blogged about her little attitude. No lie, she already has attitude at 14 months. I am DREADING her teen years. If you tell her no and she doesn't like it, she flails around and tries to hit you. When she wants milk and you don't give it to her, she screams and cries until she is holding her cup. And not just any cup, she only wants milk in her Nuby sippy cup, not the Playtex ones. If you give her the wrong cup, she just throws in on the ground and continues to chant, "Nuh Nuh" (milk). If you leave the gate open for ONE second, she is climbing upstairs immediately. I CANNOT get her to walk with me through a door if she doesn't want to. When we come inside in the evening to make dinner, she pitches her little fit in the doorway so no one can walk through.

I absolutely adore this little pill of mine. She is the light of my life! Some of my favorite kids when I was teaching were the ones who gave me a hard time. What is the deal with that?

Sidebar!

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I got my triathlon training graph from Google Docs to show up! I will have to resave the image every time I update it because it is static, but still it is there. Now you can follow along at home as I train.

Wednesday, October 15

Mother Warriors

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I just finished Jenny McCarty's newest book, Mother Warriors (it's in my Goodreads sidebar). It was AMAZING!!! I highly recommend it to all mothers of young children out there and anyone planning on becoming a mother. It made me think so much my brain hurt. It stimulated an intense discussion with Mike. I don't doubt any of the facts in the book. But I still am not wholly against vaccination. I guess I have to do more research. If anyone out there has researched this topic, can you send me some links or any info you found?

Training day #2

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I am trying to get a cute little graph of my triathlon training to show up in my sidebar, but I need Mike's help. So until then, I will post about it. I finally asked the lifeguard at the pool what the length was and he said 25 YARDS. The triathlon distance is 500 yds so today I swam the 500 yds in 20m15s. Then I ran 1.1 miles in 12 min. It will be so interesting when I actually have to do it because I change my clothes in between so that gives me a little rest time. Laurie came with me today and did the swimming part. It was nice to have someone to discuss swim technique with (we decided we don't have any). Anyway, day 2 complete.

Tuesday, October 14

Triathlon training

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I know I mentioned possibly doing a triathlon next spring. Well, I have officially committed to it (mentally anyway, registration doesn't begin until December). Mandi, Laurie, and Christina have all expressed interest in competing with me. So off we go. Today I swam for 18 minutes (I was supposed to swim 14, but I couldn't do it straight, so I didn't count my rest times) and completed 20 laps. I think each lap is 25 meters, which means I did 500m. Then I biked 7 miles in 24 minutes. I wasn't supposed to run today, but I haven't had the chance to use my new running shoes. So I hopped on the treadmill for a quarter-mile. Complete triathlon workout in 45 min. It was a good start.

Hive Oh Eight Day #4

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The plan for Sunday was to have brunch at the Donald's barn. Poor Keri & Keith. If you are interested in reading their trials with their contractor on the barn renovations, go here. Anyway, it was a nice relaxing morning just watching the kids play and saying goodbye.



That evening we went to Smokey Bones for dinner and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall after putting the kids to bed. And that was the end of another Hive. *sigh*

I think we are talking about renting a house next year so we can all stay together. In many ways the house in Orlando was more fun than when we were all separated in Melbourne. So we are looking into going somewhere in between in probably October again.

Hive Oh Eight Day #3

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Saturday started off mellow. Stacy and Landon arrived at the Konicki's with Steve & Ronni earlier than the rest of the crew so we got a little relaxing time with them.

Jason set up the water slide and the kids jumped right in. When we were here in April, Leah would NOT go on this slide. What a difference a summer makes!


This is our child of a thousand faces. Seriously, I have never seen so many expressions on a kid in my life.

After playtime and some rest time, we got the kids bathed and into their costumes for indoor Hive-themed trick-or-treating.



Many thanks to Keri for stuffing the "bees" (large Easter eggs decorated like bees) and getting all of the nets and things together for our Halloween Hunt. The kids loved it. After the hunt they got to watch Word World's Halloween episode to calm down.

At 8pm, the Gator game took precedence over ALL other activities. Erin actually managed to sleep through the win over LSU. I don't even remember when Leah went to bed, I think somewhere around 10:30. Which brings day 3 to a close.

Hive Oh Eight Day #2

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After a day of rest at the Konicki house, we headed over to Erica's for our Rained Out Camp Out. We were supposed to pitch tents outside and play with flashlights and roast marshmallows. Well, it was too wet for that, so we settled for playing Rock Band, eating s'mores from the oven, playing Ring-Around-the-Rosy, and watching Cars. Here are some picture highlights:

Mike feeds Erin her dinner

Storytime with Christina

Boppin' with Spiderman craziness

Leah & Megan made our s'mores

The rockers

Resting while watching Cars

Hive Oh Eight Day #1

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After driving from 8:15am to 5:15pm, we arrived at our house in Orlando to begin the Hive celebration. The girls were really good the whole ride. The house itself was amazing: 6 bedrooms, 3 baths, screened pool in the backyard. Dave and Rhiannon arrived soon after we did and the kiddos were in the pool almost immediately.


I made tacos for dinner and the Konickis arrived a little later. The Donalds and Stewarts came late that night, but we were all around to get ready to go to Disney the next day.

Even with 28 people, 12 being kids 3 & under, it was loads of fun.

It took quite a while to get down Main Street with everyone stopping to sunscreen, get a drink, check out a store, etc. But once we got started, it went pretty smoothly. We were able to ride Winnie-the-Pooh, Dumbo, It's a Small World, and Buzz Lightyear.
Mike and & got a chance to ride Space Mountain twice while Grammy stayed with the girls (thanks, Mom!!!). The best part of the day was seeing Leah meet the princesses.

She told Cinderella, "You're my favorite." Her face was adorable. All our girls enjoyed meeting the three, Cinderella, Belle, and Aurora.

We went home after a yummy Dole Whip and ordered pizza and swam until it was bedtime (late of course). That night was crazy chaos with so many kids running around. My mom said she sat there and watched and said, "Thanks goodness I get to go home to sleep. I don't have the energy for this." :)

We actually got out of the Orlando house on time and made our way over to Melbourne for Day 2 festivities.

Sunday, October 12

Quick Update

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We had a blast at Disney and Hive both. We head home tomorrow morning, stopping for lunch in Jacksonville with Mandi. I will post some pictures and more stories about our trip probably Tuesday. Go Gators!!!

Wednesday, October 8

Off to FL

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We are headed out this AM to Orlando for two nights (and Magic Kingdom), then to Melbourne for the weekend for HIVE. Can't wait to post all the great pics when we get back! See ya!

Monday, October 6

Biggest Loser big finish

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The contest ended yesterday and I lost a total of 11.4 lbs in 8 weeks. So I am happy with the way everything turned out. Just thought I would update you. See Nikki's post if you are interested in the other losers' outcomes. :)

Sunday, October 5

More races?

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Now that I have gotten a taste of racing, I am ready for more. I have been looking into local races all day. We are going to visit Steve & Ronni for Thanksgiving and I found the Tamarac Turkey Trot in their area. I am trying to enroll Mike & I in that (while we have babysitters and we can focus on running). Then I was looking at triathlons. You heard that right. The sprint distance triathlons sound fairly reasonable. You swim anywhere from 250-750 meters, bike 5-10 miles, and run 3.1 miles. I would be interested in participating in one in February or Marchish. The schedules aren't up yet for 2009, but I will be keeping my eyes out for what is available when it gets closer. Love it!

Saturday, October 4

Race for the Cure

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Mike and I completed our second official 5K today. Unfortunately because we were in the non-competitive race, we were not officially timed. But Mike had on a stopwatch and we ran it in 38:20. I think I walked about 40 seconds of that because I had a GINORMOUS stitch in my ribs that kept me from breathing.

The day began at 5:30am for us. Erin happened to wake up 5 minutes before our alarm was supposed to go off. We packed everybody up and left our house at 6:20. At 6:25 Leah declare that she had to go potty (we just brought her straight from bed to the car, we didn't think about potty). So we had to run into WalMart for a potty break. We got to the parking garage at 7:10 and made it to the race area by 7:45. We were lined up at 8am but the race was delayed in starting because the competitive race wasn't past our starting point yet. There were 15,000 people "racing" so it was... interesting. Once the starting announcement was made it took us a good 5 min to reaching the starting line, then another maybe 10 min to break out of the crowd enough to really run. So that 38:20 is not so bad considering all that. It was not necessarily a good place to make a 5K record time. AND the last mile was mostly up a LONG hill. I was so exhausted by then, but I pushed the last eighth of a mile and was happy with the whole event.

From there we traveled to Freedom Park to the Down Syndrome Association Buddy Walk in Chase's honor. They had a bouncy castle, Dora the Explorer (from Carowinds), free Italian ices and hot dogs for the participants. I ate my hot dog while meandering around the pond (that was the walk). But it was a lovely day and much money was raised for Down Syndrome awareness and research. It was nice to do our part.

I REALLY didn't want to eat a hot dog because tomorrow morning is our last weigh-in for the Biggest Loser competition. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight this morning! But after running I was starving and I had already eaten the healthy granola bar I packed. So I sucked it up and ate the dog. It was pretty damn good too. :) But I will have a GREAT rest of the day and I am crossing my fingers that I see that good number again in the morning.

Pops is arriving tomorrow to spend some time with us. I promised Leah that since we did so many things for Mommy & Daddy today, we could do things she wanted to do tomorrow. So we shall see what kinds of things a three year old wants to do. It should be a trip.

Friday, October 3

My workout playlist

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Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes - TLC
Heartbreaker - Mariah Carey
Without Me - Eminem
1,2,3,4 (Sumpin' New) - Coolio
How Much - Mariah Carey
Pump Up the Jam - Technotronic
X-Girlfriend - Mariah Carey
Hit Em Up Style - Blu Cantrell
Insane in the Brain - Cypress Hill
Heartbreaker (remix) - Mariah Carey (sensing a theme here?)
The Real Slim Shady - Eminem
Jump Around - House of Pain
Baby Got Back - Sir Mix-A-Lot
Thong Song - Sisqo
Informer - Snow
Crybaby - Mariah...
Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc
Wild Thing - Tone Loc
Gettin' Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith
Did I Do That? - Mariah
Bust A Move - Young MC
Boombastic - Shaggy
Humpin' Around - Bobby Brown
Going the Distance - Cake

There is too much Mariah in there for my liking (sorry, Megan). I got some good ideas from your list, Keri. I will be downloading from your computers next weekend.

Crying #3

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So I just got the newsletter from Leah's school for October. Her teachers are really nice and I like them a lot. One of the last lines in the newsletter is, Thank you for the opportunity to share in your child's life. We are so grateful for "our kids." And I cried. GEEZ!

Wednesday, October 1

Sugar Poll

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So the poll is over. Here is the sugar breakdown:
Skittles - 47g
Raisin Bran Crunch - 20g
Dark Chocolate - 21g
Frusion smoothie - 48g

If you take the sugar grams and divide by 4, that is how many teaspoons are in the item. Adults should have no more that 12 tsp of added sugar daily (naturally occurring sugars like in fruit don't count in this tally). So your Dannon smoothie is a daily allowance of sugar.

On someone's suggestion, I have been using The Daily Plate to track my calories. It is neat because it breaks down not only calories, but fiber, fat, sugar, protein, sodium, and cholesterol. On any given day I can see where I stand in any of those categories. I ten to go over on sodium and protein, but I am fine in the other categories. Anyway, it is a neat site.