Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This was a fun week. With Thanksgiving on Thursday, I spent a lot of this week preparing desserts to take down to Ohio. We had a great time in Westerville with my family. I am thankful that we were able to get the family together and have such a great time.

On Monday, we didn't do a ton. Since I was so tired yesterday, I decided to skip my long swim workout today and planned to do it on Tuesday so that I wouldn't be swimming long before my Thanksgiving day 4 miler. I would be skipping 2 of my swims this week, but that was fine. We also learned today that we were not able to pre-order a pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company for Thanksgiving. After some debate, we decided that we didn't want to risk just showing up and having the extras be sold out, so we would just plan to make an apple pie in addition to the other desserts that I had committed to bringing. Here are a couple shots of Keira and Soren playing around the house.

On Tuesday, it was pie and dessert day. I did my long swim, and then we had to make a stop at Busch's (which actually had the lowest prices this week on the baking items I needed, normally we overpay for everything for the convenience of shopping there). I worked like mad once Soren went down for his nap to get the maple pumpkin cheesecake ready. While I made the crust for this pie, I realized I had enough maple sugar for one more crust. This and the fact that the already planned apple pie had the exact same cook times and temperature as pumpkin pie lead to me make a second crust. We were locked and loaded to make 4 desserts. Once the cheesecake was out of the oven, I made a pumpkin roll. It was a lot messier to roll up than I anticipated, and I don't think I have a picture of it. It didn't look beautiful all wrapped in plastic and I forgot once we had it out for serving. The kids were great, and played nicely once Soren woke up.

Once they were in bed for the evening, I got the pumpkin pie ready. Then, Ryan and I worked on the the apple pie. The recipe called for 3.5lbs of apples. It was a lot of apples. We weren't really sure how they would fit in the pan. They did settle a bit during baking, but it was still a pretty large pie. We even used a larger dish than it specified. I have no idea how that many apples would fit in a 9in pie dish.

On Wednesday, Keira and Soren were going crazy waiting for Ryan to come home so we could go to Grandma and Grandpa's house. They were upset with everything we did that wasn't going to Grandma's. We had to run out to Busch's again today. I think it was the highlight of Keira and Soren's day (next to going to Grandma's) to be able to ride in the car cart. We were here yesterday, and ran into one of Keira's classmates who was riding in the car cart. Since there is no extra charge and there happened to be one in the cart corral, we went for it.

We got in right around the kids' bedtime, but let them stay up a little bit to play with Grandma and Grandpa. Soren loves Sarah's dog, Moose.

On Thursday, my dad and I ran in the Pilgrim's Progress 4 Miler. We chose this race because it was the most economical. It also turned out to have some great prizes. I really wanted to win a mall gift card as an age group award, and tried very hard. I finished 6th in my age group, with a new PR of 29:10, which is a minute faster than last year's Thanksgiving day 4 miler's PR. I was pleased with how I ran, but bummed that the two ladies I passed right at the end were NOT in my age group, and they got gift cards, and I did not. I would do this race again. I also saw several former gymnasts. I knew I would see Meredith, as we had discussed this before entering, but I also saw Catie and her mom Char from Buckeye, as well as Wendy F. The forecast was really bad for the race, so the kids stayed home. It ended up staying dry for the whole race and I had to take off my fleece at the start. I felt silly in tights, headband and gloves with my tank top...I was fine, though. Shorts and a long sleeve T probably would have been a better choice, but this worked.

After the race, we had Thanksgiving Dinner. My brother was home from NYC, and his friends (twins) Kristen and Andy joined us. My sister is living at home, and was there too. We had tons of food and everything was great. My brother is experimenting with being vegan like Kristen, and they made a couple vegan dishes to share. Their maple brussel sprouts were very tasty, however, their fake turkey and dressing (made from gluten) just looked pretty unappetizing, and I didn't try it. It was pretty far from the "gluten free" recipe that I had tried the other week. We just hung out the rest of the evening.

On Friday, we did a bit of shopping for the kids in the morning. We got out a bit late (relative to the 5am/10pm the night before) so we missed a lot of the "doorbuster" crowds. We stopped at Road Runner Sports were I was able to get a great deal on my favorite running shoes (and have them use their software to pretty much confirm those were the right shoes for me). Our next stop was Toys R Us. They had extended its doorbuster prices to go all day. While things were pretty picked over by the time we got there, we still got some great deals. Soren and Keira were perfectly content to hang out at the Thomas display while my mom and I discreetly purchased items. My dad was pretty funny. When it was time to leave, (and actually as we arrived), he explained that we were going to a "toy museum" and that everything was going to stay there. I usually try to do all of my toy shopping without either child. The only time they are with me when a toy is purchased is if they are picking it out for a gift for someone else, so it wasn't terrible for them to leave empty handed.

That evening, after dinner at Sarah's restaurant, Ryan and Dad went to the Red Wings vs the Blue Jackets game. Ryan was happy to see the Red Wings win. While the guys were gone, my mom and I took the kids over to see the lights at the zoo. We didn't stay long because it was pretty late when we got there and it was freezing. We will try to go back at Christmas. It was very pretty.

On Saturday, it was the day of the OSU vs UM football game in Columbus. My parents were up and off early. I went on a short run outside before the game. Sarah was around for the game, and was able to share the joy of the OSU victory with me.

Once my parents got back, we had dinner at The Pomegranate, a Mediterranean restaurant with them. After dinner, Ryan and I were able to go on a date to see the movie, "127 Hours". It is a movie based on Aron Ralston's experience in Blue John Canyon in Utah where he was trapped and freed himself by cutting off his arm. I had read his book that was written after the event in 2003, so I was very eager to see the movie. It was very well done, and it was not nearly as gross as I feared it would be. We also walked around Easton a bit after the movie. We will want to come back to Easton to walk around when we come back at Christmas too.

On Sunday, we had an easy morning. Keira and Soren played "jump on Grandpa", a new game that they loved.

We took the kids to church before we left. I wore this coat when I was 3.

They were pretty much the worst behaved children there. It was like they had never been to church before, and were arguing over everything. Ryan was embarrassed by their behavior. I really hope this is not what afternoon church is going to be like for us next year....and this wasn't even as late! To be fair to the kids, they had not slept well at all the entire trip. They woke up early and went to bed late most days, and Soren's nap schedule had been disrupted. We had a quick lunch with my parents and Sarah before heading back home. Soren was asleep in the car almost instantly, and Keira fell asleep shortly after. She is coming down with a cold, which also has been making her a bit more tempermental. Once we got unpacked, we started working on our Christmas decorations. I was pleased to say that I got the tree decorated before going to bed. It was a late night, and I will need to spend a great deal of energy "defending the tree" from Soren. We had several lights out on the tree, so I didn't take any pictures yet. We flagged them with painters tape and need to get more before being able to fix them.

Up for next week: We will have pictures of our decorated tree and home!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Hunting Day & Family Pictures

This week was fairly low key. Ryan had Monday off in observance of Veteran's day (it coincides with the opening of deer hunting here, a holiday negotiated by the UAW and Ford).

On Monday, Ryan had the day off. Keira had school, and Ryan wanted to finish up a bathroom project that was long overdue: the removal of the track from shower doors and recaulk. We had been needing to recaulk for several years now, and it has been recent that we took down the shower doors. The track remained, as we would need to caulk holes from where it was attached to the walls, and didn't want to do multiple caulking projects. With only one full bath, we had to make sure it got done in a day, and today was a good enough day as any. I took Keira to school and took Soren to the gym and other errands to keep him occupied while Ryan worked. It was a tough job. Ryan took a break to go for a ride at Lakeshore, and the kids and I had another fun day in the leaves. It was brown day at school, so they were dressed in really cute fall clothes, so the pictures were even cuter this time around. I am thinking some of these will be used in our scrapbook pages for the year!

I also made a pan of health bars. They smelled really good, and had good flavor, but I think I overdried them in the oven. They are very dense, and can be used as a diet tool because they will really fill you up. Ryan was not a fan, nor the kids.

On Tuesday, I had wanted to keep thing low key because I had planned to run in the Hines Drive lightfest this evening. Rain was forecasted for the evening, but the day seemed really nice, so I had a positive outlook on it. I spent the day finishing up cleaning up the bathroom. Ryan was up late the night before getting it ready to be able to take a shower, but the walls needed another once over, and it had just gotten very untidy and out of control. I was really surprised that we only had one major mess made in the house during my cleaning, and this was really tame considering what Soren has done in less time.

Here are some pics of the finished bathroom:

That evening, despite the rain, which came right around the time I needed to be getting ready to leave, we went to the Lightfest. I needed this race to be eligible for a final bonus incentive from Team Marathon, and Cristina was still in (she also needed it). We all piled in the car, and Ryan dropped the kids and I off at the start and then drove to the finish (after hitting Arby's) to wait for us. The kids were all bundled up and covered in the stroller, so they stayed nice and dry for the race. Cristina and I got soaked, but we had a good time enjoying the lights, and Keira and Soren enjoyed them too. We took a few pictures while running, as well as some to submit to Marathon. Keira and Soren both melted down immediately following the race because they were tried, hungry, and were no longer being entertained by a light show.

On Wednesday, I took Soren to the library during Keira's school. This is the last storytime until after Thanksgiving.

After picking Keira up from school, we went to McDonalds by the mall for visiting teaching. It was a bit crazy keeping an eye on everyone and finding room for everyone in McDonalds. It was a good idea, but a bit difficult to execute. Everyone had a good time, though.

On Thursday, we had our family pictures! I had put a lot of time and effort into making sure that we had everything that we needed, with everything laid out. I even took a few pictures of the outfits laid out to make sure that they would look OK in a pictures. I scrubbed the soles of Soren's shoes, to get all the crab-apples out in case they would be visable in any pictures. I was worried that with all the effort I had put in, it wouldn't matter because Keira and/or Soren would freak out and be upset. Thankfully, my preparations did not go to waste, and we got probably the best and FASTest photo shoot from JC Penney's in Canton in a long time. Soren actually wanted his picture taken, and we got several of them both together that we liked. We hadn't been able to get a great picture of them together since Soren was mobile.

Keira and Soren relaxing at home:

On Friday, we didn't do much after school. We did get all the trains out. Even with two complete train sets, Keira and Soren both wanted to play on the same set with the same trains. The pieces are interchangeable, but neither child was excited about me creating the "mega train track" (think "mega desk") by connecting all the pieces.

We finished the evening by doing some shopping at REI, which is always a bit hard. Keira and Soren just like to run around in the store, and putting them in a cart doesn't really help the situation. The were fairly well behaved this time, but I did get a head start over to Noodles for dinner while Ryan finished up. We had taken 2 cars because I met up with Ryan after his ride at Maybury.

On Saturday, Ryan started the morning with a 40 mile ride. It was actually a lot warmer than expected, so it made for a better ride than he thought. Once Ryan got home, I headed over to Kensington to do a lap. It had been a really long time since I ran a lap by myself that started and finished at Kensington. It was longer than I remembered! My garmin had 8.5 miles, and the other times I had run around I had always started at Island lake or added Turle Head to my loop to get 10+ miles. It pretty much wore me out, and I thought it was just that I was pushing my pace a bit, since I didn't have the stroller. I averaged 8:33, which is pretty good for a training run. When we got back, Ryan suggested going to Parmenters, since it would be the last time we would go as a family. We had thought about getting a pie to bring down for Thanksgiving, but I would get that on my own. When we got there, we were super glad we made it, because THIS was the last weekend they would be open. Getting a pie was out, so we will do Grand Traverse instead. We enjoyed our last cider and donuts for the year from Parmenters. Thankfully, we will still have 3 Cedars until Christmas as another option.

On Sunday, I just could not get up. I did make chocolate croisants for Soren for breakfast and pancakes for Keira, but then went back to bed. I had gotten 11 hours of sleep last night, but just still was worn out and had a headache and stomach ache. I skipped Stake Conference, and Ryan took the kids and sat with Linda, so he was not on his own with both of them for 2 hours. I ended up going back to bed for another 3 hours, waking up just in time to get dressed and drive over to Kris and Linda's for lunch. I took Soren home for a nap and got a few minutes more of rest, until Ryan brough Keira home so he could go home teaching. Keira and I vegged on the couch while Ryan was gone and until Soren work up.

Here are some of Keira's projects from school this week:

Up for next week, we have Thanksgiving!