An Olympic encounter

It started with a newspaper article. I was reading the paper and read about this young man who qualified for the Olympic trials. He swims for a team like Jack's and also goes to high school at my alma mater. And he is 16 years old. I was instantly intrigued for so many reasons. First, ask Jack what he wants to be when he grows up and he will tell you an Olympic swimmer. It never changes, this is his true desire. And a 16 year old who qualified for trials, I have so much admiration for the dedication it must take. I gave the article to Jack and he was hooked. He cut it out, circled the picture of this young man, and wrote "me in the future." It hangs on his bulletin board.
So because I love my son deeply and thought this would be an incredible opportunity for him, I looked this family up, made a completely randon phone call, and explained that Jack would love to meet their son and ask him some questions. Can you imagine getting a phone call like that from a stranger? But this sweet mom called me back and after a series of back and forths, we set up a meeting with Jack and N.
I have to say N. was wonderful. He was so nice, spent a lot of time talking to Jack, answered all his questions, and signed his kick board. What a special young man and you can bet our prayers with be with him this summer during the Olympic trials. Anyone who works that hard deserves the best and we will be routing for him wholeheartedly.
And if this young man ends up in the Olympics, we will be watching intensely, cheering him on. And if not, he will continue to be a superstar and our sons idol for a very long time.
So thank you N. for your time and know that we think your great, enchanting and can't wait to follow your story. We loved watching you swim and will continue watching you race. Jack is enamored and has new goals now. He wants to work harder, to be just like you.


Thanksgiving in Pictures

Brian did a turkey trot with his buddies. With me out on injury, it was his turn to give it a shot and he did great.
Meanwhile the kids were decorating cookies to take to Thanksgiving dinner. Somehow we ended up with pastel flowers- a bit more Easterlike than Thanksgiving but they tasted yummy.

At my parents house. My kiddos posing with their cousin, B. B is only 6 days older than Carter so there are 3 kids all the exact same age.

B. and the girls. I think they were all pretty happy to play together.

My dad on the rocking horse with the kids. I wish I could say he was riding away but I think he was changing batteries in it for them.

Myself, my great aunt Emma and my mom. Emma will be 97 next month, amazing. She lives in her own house alone, drives, and just gave up mowing her lawn this past summer. She is unbelievable and attributes everything to her strong faith and devotion to Jesus.

Jack and Callie playing soccer. It was 65 degrees outside on Thanksgiving so the kids got to play outside and it was wonderful.

My sister in law, my brother and their sweet baby, S. This is B's mom and dad.

The kids playing under the dining room table.

The kids table.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving. How sad that the day passes so quickly and our time together so short. Luckily Christmas is right around the corner.


Happy Thanksgiving

This is the day that the Lord has made,

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I am truly grateful for so much on this day. My list would be endless. But most of all I am blessed by an incredible family.

I am thankful for Jack, my big boy. He is the best big brother ever and is passionate about his love for his family. He is brilliant and determined, to achieve his goals in all areas of his life. He is my first child, a snuggler, even though he is almost as big as I am. And I love him.

I am thankful for Callie, my big girl. She is so full of spunk and sass, and is growing up way too quickly. She has a caring soul, a sweet smile, and will surely rule the world some day. And I love her.

I am thankful for Anna, who allowed complete strangers to come take her away, and opened up her heart and let us all in. She is amazing with a zest for life, and does everything with a smile, even when she's being a stinker. She tries so hard to be loved, and still has yet to learn that our love is unconditional. And I love her.

I am thankful for Carter, my baby. I am thankful for his little body that walks down the hallway and climbs in my bed and wedges his little feet in my belly before drifting back off to sleep. He is pure joy. He has the personality that draws everyone in and makes them happy. And I love him.

I am thankful for my hubby. He works hard to provide for us all, is my stable rock, my support, my reality check. And I love him.

I am thankful for my mom. She is my mom, my everything.

I wish I could write a blurb about them all, my brothers, my dads, my father in law, my sister in law, my aunts and uncles, neices and nephew and cousins. Because I love them all and I am very thankful for them all.

So today we will spend the day together, as a family. And I will be reminded that I AM BLESSED.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Being Grateful and Giving Thanks

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire,

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something

For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations

Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge

Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when your tired and weary

Because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are

also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles

and they can become your blessings.

Author unknown

Referenced from Clover Lane


Having the Blues

"Pinkalicious has the blues," Daddy said that night when I wouldn't play pink-pong with him.
"What does it mean when you have the blues?" I asked.
"It means you feel sad."


I know it's Thanksgiving, and I have so much to be grateful for, but I've been a little down in the dumps for a while. My plan, to vent and move on and get in the spirit of being thankful, because I am truly blessed in every area of my life.
I had been training for a marathon. For those that haven't done it before, it's a lot of work. For 5 months Brian rearraged his work schedule to accomodate my running. And I ran, all the time, and was tired. But it was seeming to pay off and I was hoping to qualify for Boston. Ten days before the race, I got a stress fracture in my femur. No race, no running. And once I got past that fact, the sheer hardship of staying off my leg until at least January stinks.
This past weekend I took Jack to his first Championship meet for swimming. A first overnight away with just him and I. He worked so hard to get this and I am so proud of him. To keep his stuff semi-private, it was an awful meet for him and we had hours of tears, both of us. In a nutshell it was a true learning experience, just not one I was expecting this weekend in my time with my boy.
And now I'm facing my first holiday without my Dad. This alone crushes my soul.

So I'm done. I'm usually one of those people that encourages the positive and certainly preaches it to my kids. But I don't feel bad about allowing myself my moment of grief. The kids will be off school the rest of the week. We have a lot of celebrating to do. This tends to be a big arts and crafts weekend since the kids are home for a while and I love doing that stuff. I'm sure we'll be baking too. And I'm going to turn myself around, spend some time in prayer, and get into the true meaning of this holiday and give thanks.


Yummy chicken calzones

Trying to come up with recipies to blog about has created a fun challenge for me. I so easily get stuck in a food rut and make the same meals, over and over. No one is complaining but I would like to try and get some new ones in the mix.

I made chicken calzones once at a meal making place and we loved them. It was quite a while ago and I couldn't remember all the ingredients so I looked up a bunch of recipies and put together my own. Again simplicity has to rule on a weeknight and this was easy. I actually made them in the morning while the kids were at school, then popped them in the oven at dinner time.

You can totally add or leave out some of the ingredients. When I do it again, I will add some spinach in a couple for the adults, and Callie picked out the sundried tomatoes but I would not leave them out since they are my favorite.

Notice there is no picture of them baked. By the time I took them out of the oven, I had lots of little people (claiming to be STARVING) and we gobbled them up before I remembered to take a pic.

So here you go:

Chicken Calzones

1 rotisserie chicken, meat taken off and shredded (about 2 + cups)

1 8oz. container low fat Philly chive and onion cream cheese.

1/4 cup light mayo

4 TBS chopped sun dried tomatoes ( I bought them already chopped in oil and drained oil)

3/4 cup shredded mozerella

1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon

2 containters Pillsbury pizza crust

olive oil and garlic salt

Heat cream cheese in microwave for about 30 seconds to soften. Mix chicken, cream cheese, mayo, sundried tomatoes, mozerella and bacon together in a large bowl.

Unroll pizza crusts and spread out. I cut each one into 4 pieces. Place about 1/4 cup mixture on each rectangle and fold over sealing all 4 sides.

Bake at 350 until dough starts to turn golden, about 20 min. About 5 minutes before I took them out of the oven, I brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt. Completely optional.

Serve immediately. Makes 8 calzones.

*if you don't like to take chicken off a rotisserie chicken, you can substitute 2 cups cooked chopped chicken.

* just a simple salad would complete the meal. We ate with blackberries because they were on sale and my kiddos eat them like candy- can't argue with that.

I can't wait to make this again. Wish we had leftovers.



Callie had a rough day last weekend and her daddy asked her to write me a note telling me she was sorry. How cute was this???


Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.
Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
Ralph Vaull Starr


Crafty Turkeys

This was a super fun project to do with the kids. I even saved extras of everything because I know Callie will get home from school, see these and want to make her own.
We took a walk to collect leaves. They are all so beautiful right now so it was easy to get lots of different shapes and colors.
I cut the circles out from grocery bags and we had google eyes in our craft bin.
Glue the little circle on the big circle, glue eyes on, and glue big circle on the middle of a piece of paper. Draw some legs. They colored a beak on the face and broke a piece of leaf and glued it down for the gobbler. Then I put a bunch of glue down around the body and let the kids pick and place their leaves where they wanted.

I think I'll string them together and hang them from the mantle on the fireplace.

Project idea from Babycenter


Soup's On

It's been raining, the leaves are falling, and the air is a bit cooler. That means the beginning of soup season for us. I love soup, the kids love soup, and it such a satisfying meal with a warm crusty loaf of bread.

We ate this one the other night. I've seen a lot of variations of this but this is the one we like. It is a new family favorite and definately on our short list for soups.

Tortellini Sausage Soup

1 roll italian sausage

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup water

1 large can (39oz.) chicken broth

1/2 cup apple juice

1 16oz. can petite diced tomatoes

1 8oz. can tomato sauce

3/4 cup finely chopped carrots

1 TBS dried basil

1 TBS dried oregano

2 medium zucchini grated

3 TBS dried parsley

1 bag frozen cheese tortellini

Brown sausage, onion and garlic in a large stock pot. The sausage should crumble as it cooks. Cook until sausage is cooked and onions are translucent.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, juice, chicken broth, carrots, oregano and basil. Cover and simmer a half hour. Add parsley and zucchini and simmer another 20 minutes. Finally add tortellini and cook about 10 minutes.

If you would like this to be a freezer meal, make soup but leave out tortellini. When ready to eat, defrost and the add tortellini and cook it from there.



Thoughtful Thursday

Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Dr. Seuss


A change is in the air...

As much as I think my kiddos are extremely cute, I know endless pictures of them can be a bit much. My mission is to change up my blog a bit, try some new things.

One thing I get asked about a lot is recipes. I like to make a bunch of meals in advance and freeze them. Our weeknights are so busy that it's really helpful to have a meal ready to pop in the oven. And I'm a sucker for new recipes too, especially one's with lots of sugar. So my goal is to post recipes once a week that will be helpful to the busy moms out there.

In the spirit of fall (and my obsession with all pumpkin recipes) my first one is for Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars. I found this recipe on another blog and have made it 3 times. Super yummy, and if you ignore the amount of butter, it has to be good for you right??? This has received rave reviews from all who have tried it.


Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars


The only change I would recommend is that I did bake the bars longer than specified. I baked mine for about 40 minutes. You can give them a little jiggle to see if they are set before taking them out. And, don't skip out on the glaze. It's worth it.