Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up ~ Sorta

We have had a great Thanksgiving weekend so far!  It has felt long in a great way.  Brad took Wednesday and Friday off for a much-needed break, so we have been able to relax at a lazy pace.

Here's some breaking news:  I got my hair cut short!  Brenna thought I needed my picture taken with my new short "do".

The Christmas lights went up on Wednesday...Brad and Alex were outside until 10:30 getting them "just right".  Nicely done, boys.

Thanksgiving Day was filled with family, friends, fun, and great food!  Everything Thanksgiving should be.  I have so much to be thankful for, and not just one day a year.  But it's good to take this day and reflect on it all.  To stop the regular life stuff and just be thankful.

Is this a great picture of how we all feel after feasting or what?!

After eating a fantastic meal, we went over to the Christmas Forest so our families could see the final product in all its glory.  It was nice to see people milling about our tree and overhear some nice comments.

The kids checking out our tree.

After touring the Forest, we went back for pie and a movie.  We watched "Elf" which has become a Christmas favorite.  There are so many great lines in that movie!

Four of the six feasting on pie.

The ever-sweet Amanda and Beth.

Friday was not a shopping day for us!  I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in all snuggled in my bed while other people went in search of a bargain.  I was going to set up the tree, but the girls wanted to build a fort in the living room.  I was very easily convinced to wait on the tree.  And they had a great time in that fort! 

We followed that up with a late night of cards with some dear friends.  No pictures, and there were some great moments that I would have loved to'll have to visit my mind to see those!

Today Brad and I snuck away to see "The Blind Side".  Oh, my, did I love this movie!  Such a great message, such a great story.  I laughed and cried.  And I ate popcorn.  With butter.  With a man I love.  Great day!

Tomorrow I'm cooking up the whole Thanksgiving feast so we can have the left-overs.  My mouth has been pleading for a great turkey sandwich, and I have been impatiently waiting.  The tree goes up tomorrow, Beth wears a Santa hat and passes out candy while walking in the holiday parade downtown, and we get to eat another great feast.  So the weekend is not totally wrapped up ~ I feel another great day coming on!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Things You Might Hear in the Forest...

Here are the pictures of our completed tree: 

Our inspiration.

Isn't this great?  Love the reference to the Lion and the Lamb.

All the finishing touches are done, all the planning and "what about..." thoughts are done.  All the clean-up is done.  The blister from the hot glue gun incident is healing.  The scrapes and pokes from all the wires are healing.  Now we get to take in the beauty of it, knowing all that went on behind the scenes to make it happen.  And we get to wait for the gala and the news of how much money the tree takes in at the auction.

Some notes about the "behind the scenes":

When did we start brainstorming this tree?  Oh, about a year ago while we were setting up our "Visions of Sugar Plums" tree last year.  Brenda bought the big ornaments about 4 years ago at an after-Christmas sale.  She has been wanting to do something with "brights" for 4 years.  Talking and brainstorming and talking brought us around to "All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small". 

Why do I have scrapes and pokes from wires?  Because everything you see on that tree has to be wired to the branches.  Every little thing.  Every big thing.  Everything but the ting-ting.  (I think I see a tree theme in that, Brenda...).  Anyway, it is all wired on so that when the tree is transported to the purchaser all those things are more likely to arrive safely and in the right space.

What kinds of things do tree designers say as they are setting up their trees?  Oh, this is a good one.  I tell you what, we heard some sentences on Sunday that you would truly not expect to hear anywhere.  We literally took notes on some of those things because we knew we were listening to things that were great material.  At least great material for a blog post.  Here is a sampling:

"Oh, here's another box of Eiffel Towers!"

"Well, we initially were going to decorate the urologists' tree..."

Multiple times we heard, as people watched our ornaments start to go on:
"Wow, those are some big balls!"

(This is what they were referring to.)

"Look how pretty it is when you make your eyes all squinty!"  (And that is true!  If you go to the Forest, or even looking at your own Christmas tree, squint up your eyes to make it all blury, and see how pretty it is!!)

So, 2009 Christmas Forest is a success!  We are already stirring around an idea for 2010...

But for now, we'll enjoy the satisfaction of a job well-done, and complete!

Monday, November 23, 2009

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Today I have more words than time, so I'll keep the words few and the pictures many.  I must come back and tell some of the stories that go with these pictures at some point.  But for now, this will have to do.

Yesterday was the tree decorating day for Christmas Forest, a fundraiser for the St. Peter Hospital Foundation.  These trees will be open for public display starting on Thanksgiving Day, then auctioned off at a big gala the following Tuesday night.

This year, our theme was "All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small".  Still some final tweaking to do today, but here is a sneak peek:

Back today to all the finishing touches.  I'll add in another picture when it's all complete.

"All Things Bright and Beautiful,
All Creatures Great and Small,
All Things Wise and Wonderful,
The Lord God Made Them All."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chocolate Pecan Pie ~ Beth's first pie!

This is for you, my dear Kourtney:

So today Beth made her very first pie:  a chocolate pecan pie!  She had to do a report on a recipe that represented our family's culture or traditions.  When I asked her what food she most loved about our holidays, she immediately said "Chocolate Pecan Pie!"  That girl is cut from my cloth for sure.  So instead of just having her copy the recipe, I had her actually make the pie and then write about it.  This really is about the easiest pie to make.  I didn't have her make the crust...we'll save that for another day!

This pie is really my favorite.  It is especially good warmed up just slightly so the chocolate gets a bit gooey!

Beth's Chocolate Pecan Pie

1/2 cup Karo Corn Syrup (use light or dark, or a combo)
3 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans (use halves or chopped, or a mix)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie crust (make your own, or the Marie Callendars pre-made frozen crusts work great.  you'll find them in the freezer section near the Cool Whip.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread the pecans and chocolate chips evenly in the bottom of the pie crust.  Mix together corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla.  Pour mixture over pecans and chips.  Bake for 55-65 minutes.  Cover pie with a piece of foil if it starts getting to brown.

Pecan pie can be a bit tricky to know if it's really done or not.  The center will still be a bit jiggly when it's done, kind of like jello-y.  But the edges and about 3 inches in should be well set.  And the center should jiggle a bit, but should spring back when you tap it.

Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before you cut into it, or it will be very soupy.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie Recipe

Alex has requested a caramel apple pecan pie for Thanksgiving. I've never made such a thing, but went on a search today and came up with this great looking pie. I thought I'd post it in case anyone else is needing a new pie! I haven't made this before, but I cannot remember a time when a Taste of Home recipe disappointed me, so I am very confident recommending this! So, it's not even Monday and I'm posting a recipe! I think I'll post my other pie recipes on here tomorrow...

Doesn't that look yuuuuummmmyyyy???  I love Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Early Christmas Gift to You!

Brad and I have had a ridiculously fun time playing with this tonight, and you must humor me and watch it. It's my early Christmas gift to you: a bit 'o laughter... Click on this link for a one minute treat!

The Carlson Family ~ A Christmas Version

Now that is some fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Loveliness. Dark Loveliness.

It was with great joy that I discovered a dark loveliness today.  A dark loveliness that needs to be shared.

Oh, my gracious.  I saw a commercial for this yesterday.  I wanted to immediately go hunt one down and devour it.  But life got in the way of being ridiculous.  Actually, do you know what got in the way?  A Girl Scout Cookie Sales meeting!  I mean, really now.  It's November!  But I did get to see this year's new variety.  I'm not impressed.  They also are not bringing back the Lemonades.  I'm not impressed.  Look how easily I digress!  Back to important matters:

So today was a full day.  This afternoon I had an "appointment".  One of those screenings that you get to do as a celebration of making it to 40.  I won't go into the details that I'm really wanting to, because certain people read this blog that may be damaged by such information.  I'll try to find a way around it.  Let's see.  There was a great tightness involved.  And because the machines were all brand-new digital, they got to add in a radiation technician representing the company to the room ("training on the machine" was mentioned.  I don't know.).  Then they also asked if it would be okay for another gal to witness the blessed event, as she was "training" also.  Well, you know, 2's company, 3's a crowd, and 4's a party, so why not?!  And it was a party!  I kid you not, there was whistling involved.  I was feeling quite flattered until I realized she was "applauding" the fabulous image captured, not the...object.  Sorry.

ANYWAY!  After such an event, I felt a great need to reward myself, so I ran into Target to see if I could find the dark lovelies.  And, oh.  It is something to experience!  For the sake of experimenting, I have now tried to regular-sized Reeses and the minis.  I would highly suggest the minis.  The chocolate to peanut butter ratio is much better.  In the regular size, the dark chocolate flavor overpowers the peanut butter a bit, so you don't get a true Reeses experience.  But in the mini?  Oh.  Perfection.  I do not know why it took until 2009 for the Hershey company to present this to me, I mean us.  But thank you, Hershey.  You came at just the right time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Menu ~ Crunchy Romaine Salad a day to be thinking of that!  My mind is reeling with the realization, thanks Brenda, that my son is needing lots and lots of calories right now.  In the neighborhood of 3000.  So that constant kitchen raiding that has been going on is legitimate.  The choices of food purchased at school to support his caloric need is not.

So now I'm on a mission to figure out what to stock my kitchen with that will both satisfy him and satisfy my need to fuel him with healthy food.  I could do a whole post and then some on why this is important to me.  Same reason it was important to me to take such care with what I ate when I was growing him in my belly.  I feel an obligation to do my best to give him the healthiest start to life that I can.  What he does as an adult is up to him, but "while he's under my roof!" (I said in my best parental voice), I want to do all I can to give him health.  Plus, I'm discovering that teenage boys need every single brain cell they can possibly use.  There is no wiggle room.  Sometimes that boy needs a point in the right direction to find his way from the refrigerator to the table.  Sheesh.

Anyway, in the interest of all that is (moderately) healthy and non-chocolate, I give you a salad!!

Once again, no picture for this recipe.  Not hard to imagine...just picture lots of green with some slightly golden brown squiggles on top!  This salad is my go-to salad.  I haven't gone to it in awhile, and I need to go back.  She's missed me.  I've missed her.  So this is on my own menu for this week, and it should be on yours, too!

Crunchy Romaine Salad

1 (10 oz.) pkg. romaine
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 (3 oz.) pkg. Ramen noodles
2 TBSP butter
1/3 cup sugar (I said moderately)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid (or even in a bowl with a good wisk), combine sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper.  Shake (or wisk) well.  In a small pan, saute broken ramen noodles (discard seasoning packet) in butter just until barely golden brown.  In a large bowl, toss together romain, broccoli, onions and sauted noodles.  Just before serving, toss with walnuts and dressing.  (I usually use about 1/2 the dressing.  Go light and adjust for your taste.)

And, yes, the above mentioned growing boy will eat heaps of this.  It is super yummy, even if you aren't much of a salad eater.  Which he is.  He's just an eater.  Except for...bananas with any brown spots, trail mix that he's eaten more than a couple times, and applesauce without cinnamon.  Really.  I just asked him.  And that's about all he won't eat.  "Sometimes I don't really like everything that much,but I'll eat it.  Cuz I'm hungry."  Poor little thing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hats Off To You!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Beth made a special request this year for her birthday.  Instead of gifts, she asked her friends to instead bring hats that we could donate to Children's Hospital.  We got the idea from Hats Off To Cancer, and collected a cheery variety of 24 hats.  They each are given to kids losing their hair as they go through their cancer treatments.  A few reasons this holds a special meaning to us made it a true pleasure to support this need.

Yesterday we were able to head up to Children's in Seattle to drop off our donation.  They are always so sweet in the way they receive donations, and really are generous in showing their appreciation.

Beth explaining her gift.

Sweet picture.  I remember leaving the hospital with Beth when she was discharged and stopping to "pet" the animals on the mural behind her.  Especially for such an animal lover, this amazing mural made her eyes widen with wonder!

Then, since we were oh-so-close, we made a stop at the lovely Trophy Cupcakes.  I have to admit, it failed to wow me this trip.  Doggone it, but I decided to be adventurous (I know better!) and try one of their specials.  You know the scene from "Big" where Tom Hanks tastes something and then tries to wipe his tongue clean?  That's what I wanted to do.  It was blech.  Oh, well.  Lesson learned.  Stick with a sure thing.  Next time!

A perfect place to end this!
Take a moment and stare at those lovely choices.  Mmmm.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Flashback ~ Matching Sisters

When the girls were younger, they loved to dress alike.  And I loved to oblige them.  They even wanted their jammies to match.  I just considered it a sign of their sweet love for each other.  Truly best friends, these two.

As they've crept through their childhood years, I've wondered if their closeness would remain.  I've prayed it would, and I've done what I can to encourage friendship with each other while encouraging them to indulge in their many other friendships.  Always looking for that balance. 

And this year has brought big changes.  Brenna off to middle school, while Beth thrives in third grade.  I wondered what changes that would bring.  But here's what I'm finding:  they very simply just love each other dearly and are best friends.  They are enjoying now just an older version of that friendship.  Brenna tries to get all her homework done before Beth gets home.  They still love to curl up with a snuggly blanket and watch a movie.  They still giggle together in that way that warms my heart.  They still think up imaginitive games to play together.  They still want to include each other in their lives.  And I love being their mommy. 

The picture I have in my mind of my two girls is the one up above.  I know better, I live with them!  I know they are older and growing up.  But the snapshot my mind keeps fresh is my two girls right around that age, when playtime was their whole world.  No interruptions like school or homework or concerts or sports practices. 

So when these pictures came back, they took my breath away:

I don't know if the contrast is going to show here as much as it did to my eyes, but I see glimpses of two young ladies.  They are growing more alike with each year.  In many ways.  And they are still best friends.  And I still love being their mommy. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beth's Birthday Recap

Well, I think we can officially declare Beth's 9th birthday a great success!  It was happy in every way, and so here is the recap in pictures:

Brenna taught herself "Happy Birthday" on the flute to play for Beth.

Beth with her favorite brother.

Sweet sisters.  Beth modeling one of the hats headed to Childrens.

Another new snake to treasure.

This was a gift from me and to me.  Since she was tall enough to stick her little hand into the kitchen drawer, Beth has been the tape bandit of our home.  She loves to tape things.  Any things. Pictures, balls of toilet paper to turn them into toilet paper angels, stuff, stuff, stuff.  It makes me very frustrated when I need tape for something legitimate and it's all gone.  We've gone around and around about this.  I've found myself ridiculously scolding her with, "Beth you are no longer allowed to touch MY tape!  If you need tape for any reason, you need to ask permission...and consider yourself warned that the anwer is probably no!"  Silly.  So when my little eye spied this desktop tape dispenser at Costco, complete with 12 refill packs, I knew this was the gift for her.  This gift came with the instruction to tape to her little heart's content, but do not touch MY tape.  She got the humor of it, and has already put it to good use!

Beth and her friends showing off some of the hats! 
Beth asked her friends to not bring gifts, but instead to bring a hat to donate to "Hats Off To Cancer". 
We'll be taking our 24 hats to Children's Hospital this weekend! 

All jammied up and digging into the "Dirt Cake"!

Settling in for some "sleep".

The girls kept me hopping through the rest of the party, so I didn't get too many great pictures.  But it was a great party celebrating a great girl!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Menu ~ Chocolate Fudge Celebrations!

I have found a cookie that really knocks me over!  It is so fudgy and yummy and explosion of delicious in your mouth.  And we were in need of a little celebration around here last week.  Birthday, yes.  But we also had some very exciting news come our way...

Alex had a concert last week, at which they announced who had been invited to All-State from the auditions back in early October.  And, our "little" bassoon player is off to All-State!  He's one of 8 in his high school that will be headed to Yakima in February.  What an honor, and what an encouragement to Alex.  He works very hard to develop this gift, and we are so proud of him! 

So, this cookie experiment that caught my eye while blog surfing will now be known as "Chocolate Fudge Celebrations".  Even if you don't have anything specific to celebrate, make them anyway.  Your mouth will be stirring up its own celebration with just one bite!

Chocolate Fudge Celebrations
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
2 tsps. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Full size Butterfinger Bars, crushed.  (Or, about 12 mini butterfingers from the trick-or-treat bag.  Not that I stole, I'm just saying...)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until well combined.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients then stir in crushed butterfinger and chocolate chips.

Using a medium cookie scoop, drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  They should still be soft in center.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Beth!

Nine years ago today, our family added the missing puzzle piece that we didn't know was missing, and the exclamation point on the end of our sentence.  It all came in a 7 lb. 8.5 oz., bright-eyed, peaceful package.  With several people exclaiming in unison, "It's a girl!!", our little Elizabeth Joy was at once cemented into our lives.  It's a funny thing...this little tiny person you have just met, yet you can't remember not knowing them.

love at first sight!

checking out your world with wide-eyed wonder.  some things never change!

So to my sweet Bethie,

Eight was great.  A year full of huge growth for you personally.  After I kissed you goodnight last night and tucked you in, I shed a few tears as I said goodbye to eight.  I spent some time just reflecting on where you were a year ago, and thanking the Lord that you remain such a blessing to our family.  So much has happened this year, and though it brought some tough days, we are so much better for it.  You have worked so hard this year, and I am so proud of you.  I have a feeling that nine is going to be more than fine! 

I love your adventurous spirit.  Though that also has brought some tough days, I would have it no other way.  Your curiosity drives you to discover new things and I love that about you.  I am more adventurous because of you. 

Your love of every living creature is so precious.  You have never met a bug you didn't love, and you have opened my eyes to things that I never would have described as "cute".  But I see things through your eyes, and you are right.  There is a lot of cuteness out there if you look close.  Or from a distance, depending on the creature!  You have loved frogs since you first layed eyes on one, and you continue to.  You are a girl who knows what she loves!  Being both a darling cheerleader and one who requests Dirt Cake with gummy worms for her birthday cake.  You are a unique blend!

Your compassion for people has exploded over this last year.  I loved watching you open your present from Grandma, and although you were delighted to get the Cold Stone gift card, your thrill was all the hats that you get to bring to Children's!  You are such a fun friend, kind and exciting at the same time.  Your giving heart is precious to me.

You have a belly laugh that beats all others.  I cannot hear your laughter without laughing myself.  It bubbles out of you with such joy.  I've often said about you that you do everything big, and that includes your joy.  One of my happy laughing memories will always be watching you watch "Tom and Jerry".  Although the cartoon itself doesn't make me laugh much, you laughing so hard you have to catch your breath always makes me laugh right along with you.

And I love that you love Jesus.  Your very life is a gift from Him, given twice.  I know He has big plans for you. On that day 3 years ago when He gave you back to us, He made a clear statement that you were meant to be here and have an abundant life.  And you are doing that so well.  You have always loved to praise Him.  Keep praising Him, sweetie.  No matter what's going on around you, there is always something to praise Him for!  So keep singing, keep praising, keep loving so well.

I am so thankful to be your mommy, and so thankful that I get to watch your life unfold in front of me.  So much remains to be seen...and I will take it all in as it comes.  I'll be in front of you when I need to be, always behind you, and trusting our Jesus to always be by your side.  A great life?  It's a sure thing.  Being fine at nine:  just the next chapter!

I love you, sweet girl.  Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recipe Ideas ~ Thanks, Paula!

Well, it just does not pay to not keep up with websites that I should keep up with.  Case in point:  apparently Paula Deen has been having a "Recipe Roundup" contest.  The winning recipes are now posted on her site.  I totally would have entered something if I had known about it.   And I'm sure I totally would have been overlooked, just like my last entries in the Pillsbury Bake-Off.  I just haven't hit my winning streak yet.  It's coming, though, I can almost feel it. 

I'm learning that in order to have a chance to win, you have to enter.  Hmm.  Well, sometimes that just doesn't seem fair. 

I still had fun looking over the recipes that did win, and I'm going to try a couple of them.  This, of course, caught my eye first:

"Chewy Toffee Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies"

Go check out Paula's website and see what you think!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Menu ~ Ranch Chicken Skillet Dinner

I'm squeaking in under the wire tonight for my Monday Menu!  I am determined to at least try to stay on track.

Please don't judge this recipe based on this picture.  It is much yummier than it looks!  I found this recipe and tweaked it a bit to fit my family.  I probably will use less peas next time (I haven't looked at a can of combined peas and carrots since I went to the grocery store with my Grandpa sometime around 1980!)  This would also be great with some asparagus instead of peas...I'm going to try that next time.

This has a real "comfort food" feel to it, give it a try!

Ranch Chicken Skillet Dinner

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet Ranch Dressing dry mix, divided
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
6 Cups fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 small can diced carrots and peas, drained
2 Cups steamed long grain brown rice
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt with parsley
1/2 Cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chicken breasts into small baking dish and sprinkle half of the ranch packet over the chicken. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in large skillet with high rimmed edges over medium heat. Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic and spinach until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in can of carrots and peas then stir in cooked rice, season with salt, pepper and garlic salt.

Dice each chicken breast into small cubes and add into rice mixture. Sprinkle remaining ranch seasoning mix and cheese into rice. Reduce heat to low; taste and season as needed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hodgy-Podgy Happenings

I am falling so behind in all I intended to write about.  The days keep turning into evenings, then the evenings quickly become bedtime, then we start all over again!  Sound familiar?  Yeah, it's true for all of us.  So, in the interest of making myself feel better that I've "caught up", this is going to be a hodge-podge of events, which I rather enjoy, so it's all good.

Friday night we had the unique experience of seeing all three kids on the high school football field during half-time!  Since our kids will never all be in the same school at the same time, this was a fun way to corral them all!  At half-time, they recognized the league football Bears and cheerleaders, so they all got to run out on the sideline, do a short cheer, and wave wildly at all those people who came just to see them.  Well, that and a high school football game.  Details, details.

Here's a chunk of my squad enjoying the game.

And here's a chunk of Brenna's squad enjoying each other.

And there they are down there looking so cute.

And then here is Alex, standing right on the 50 yard line playing his sax.

Turn the calendar over to Saturday, and we had Beth's last game.  A cold game, and for that I'm glad the cheering is done.  No more icy hands on Saturday mornings!

Me and my youngest little Bear cub.

We then went on to spend a fabulous afternoon and evening with some fabulous friends.  My camera was in my van, and I did not take one picture of the group that contained:  one storm trooper, one zebra, one M&M, one green popsicle/tombstone/tree, one Minnie Mouse, and one curly-haired Cookie Monster-ish guy.  Together they were fabulous!

The gained hour sleep was precious to me, considering we went to bed well after midnight and the alarm went off at 7:00.  More cheering again for me, this time cheering on Brad running in his 2nd 5K!  He and Jack braved the foggy, chilly morning to run themselves across the finish line in personal record-setting times! 

And they're off!

There they go...lost in the foggy mist!

Here comes Brad!

Crossing the finish line at 25:11.

Here comes Jack!

Over the line at 26:43!

And these 2 each took 3rd place in their age groups!  A medal and a free light bulb!  Now that's a great Sunday morning!

Then Sunday afternoon was Brenna's last cheer game, the championship game!  And because of their first place finish at competition, they also performed their routine at half time.  They were great!!

Making the O-L-Y!

We then finished our Sunday afternoon with a work-out at the Y...and I am still being a good girl and riding that dumb bike.  I found a great hill setting at the right level that gets me sweating good.  Still miss the running, though...And I could do a whole post again on the interesting things you can see at a gym.  Oh, my.  I saw someone doing something on a stair stepper I wish to have never seen.  It's working for her, but she needs to get one of her own in her home.  I am not going to digress.  I already have, but I'm not going to anymore.

Ah...that feels better.  Got a bunch of stuff on here that the kids will be watching for!  And whatever's up with the picture load on this post is going to remain a mystery.  I have not the energy nor curiosity to figure it out tonight!  We'll see if it straightens itself out next time!!  Bed time for this hodgy-podgy brain!