Monday, December 20, 2010

Cheesy Snowman: This Year's Holiday Mascot

I found this Martha Stewart recipe last year and it has become my go-to item for holiday parties.  I've made several now but keep forgetting to get pictures.  I made this one for the office party and our Director of Tech Mgmt, Benny, whipped out his phone.  I guess he was amused.  Anyway, he kindly emailed it to me.

Unlike Martha's, mine has cinnamon stick arms which Jeremy noted were missing from the recipe.  Also unlike Martha's, this one is not exactly neat and trim because I neglected to put the cheese ball mixture in the freezer before hand.  I was afraid it would be too hard, but erred in the other direction: he was a very melty looking snowman and proceded to sink into himself over the course of the party.   No one had the heart to eat his head so I finally had to decapitat him and let people have at his torso.  
Alan says I should start making them a la Calvin and Hobbes. 

I think I'm gonna need more cheese...


Monday, December 6, 2010

Gingerbread Snowflakes or How to Cheat Impressively

Today we made one of our signature holiday cookies.  It's a veritable study in how many "cheats" one can employ at the same time.  For you my loyal followers, I lay out all my secrets.

1. Purchase Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough (and refrain from reading the ingredients list).

I look for it in the grocery store when I'm doing my Thanksgiving shopping.  It's actually on the T-day grocery list that I perpetually recycle.  This year, I found it the week after at the Hannaford in Bangor (not at Old Town which is closer to home and my default location).  If you're local and you're looking for it, you may already be too late, particularly since I picked up three rolls each for myself and mum.  In fact, it may be about time to look for the easter goodies you love (commercialism astounds me).

2. Wait for the perfect large block of production time.  Today's snow day--a surprise block of quality family time--was the perfect bonus cheat.

3.  Procure cheap child labor, willing to "work" for the chance to disperse flour all over the dining room table, the chairs, the floor, themselves and me, and nibble on raw dough when they thought I wasn't looking.  And when they knew I was.  And after I said to stop.  And after Alan said to stop.

4. Assemble your tools:  a marble or glass board (one per laborer), flour, a spatula (this awesome one is from Pampered Chef), and flower shaped cookie cutters (the tiny one is from a set for use with fondant and voted most likely to suffer a tragic demise in the disposal).  Not pictured are my baking sheets, also from Pampered Chef.

5.  Allow the masses to run amok with 2/3 of your available cookie dough, supervising/advising/getting directly involved enough to forestall injuries, produce some yummy vaguely snowflake-ish looking cookies and even get a few worth decorating and distributing to friends, then send the help away to wash up and have "quiet" time (we use the term loosely) and peacefully crank out  beautiful specimens from the last roll of cookie dough.

6. Decorate cookies to look like snowflakes:  this is the deceptively easy stage.  Buy Wilton White Cookie Icing and Edible Cake Sparkles (and once again don't even think about what might be in them.  The icing looks exactly like a bottle of Elmer's glue and I can't help thinking there's a reason for that).

Here's the finished product (you'll note that only one has gotten the full treatment thus far!).  We store them in the freezer or at least out on the porch where they'll stay really cold, except for the family batch which will likely be consumed at a rapid rate.

November 25: Turkey Trek 2010

This isn't so much a race report as a series of pictures of people standing around looking reeeeeeally cooooooold.

The whole gang bundled up and ready to go:
 Emilie taking the big group photo:
 Jeremy coming in for a landing with Nana and Gumpy (hidden):
 The crew at the finish line/check-in table:
 Plus James who took some time getting there.  We actually went looking for him, but he was fine and did the whole four miles (walking and running) all on his own!
Alan and I ran the four mile loop. 
Jeremy and the Gumps walked a shorter (2 mile?) loop, and
Madeline did the same loop with friends from church and their dogs.
I missed Jenn a lot and the whole idea of recreating last year's St. John's Moms picture didn't happen due to chaos and so few of us being there (although we thought maybe we'd include stay-at-home dad, Eric, if we did do it...).  I didn't bother with my mp3 figuring it would be more fun to be sociable but found myself totally alone for most of the way following the same forest path as at least a hundred other people.  What's up with that? Apparently my pace is totally unique--slower than the other runners, and faster than the walkers. 

On a baking note, this event also heralded my first attempt at homemade baklava.  I made something else first out of phyllo dough (purchased by accident and taking up space in the freezer) but it was a partial failure so I needed to pinch hit.  The baklava was pretty quick and easy thanks to the cooking spray-between-the-layers-instead-of-melted-butter method, but I learned the hard (or rather, sticky) way not to cook the syrup in the microwave.  Can you say "sugar volcano of doom?"  I knew you could.  Yeah, well, I needed to clean that really well before the dinner crowd arrived anyway. 

Emilie and Susan put on a great event and I'm just so glad we made it this year!!!  It really helped that we didn't do our dinner until Friday so we had the whole day to warm up, bake, and "chillax".  The kids watched the remainder of the Macy's Parade and played a bingo game I found online.  [Note to self: dvr it next year so we don't miss the rockettes.]  I had sworn that there would be no more housework on the actual holiday, but I made a liar of myself.  We still had quite a bit of picking up and cleaning to do Thursday and even Friday morning.   But it was so nice to enjoy spending time as a family and doing loads of food prep and decorating for our big holiday gathering.  It was a Good Day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

November 21: Turkey Trot, Brewer ME

In the "everyone's doing it" spirit, we decided to take on Brewer High School's Turkey Trot.  With a fun run for the kids and a 3-miler for us (and Mum and Dad willing to come along and cheer/kid-sit) it seemed like a great way to spend the afternoon. 

So we rose early and attired ourselves in layered assortments of running togs, long underwear, sweats and even pajama bottoms(!) and packed sandwiches and snacks for lunch and....went to church.

After doing our bit and blitzing the coffee-hour, and a quick change for Nancy (from choir-appropriate footwear and a skirt to sneakers and sweats [that long running skirt I've been eyeballing would have been totally perfect for this...]) we convoyed to Brewer, scarfing down more snacks in the car.  We arrived in plenty of time to pick up our bibs, use the facilities and figure out where we needed to be.  Mum and Dad, of course, played things a little closer to the wire.  Mum saw the kids start and then retrieved Dad from the car in time to see them finish.  All three did a great job.  They had fun in spite of the cold and were pleased with their times.  Alan was desperately trying to get some stretching in before the start but I just kept thinking how much I didn't want to shed any layers.  At the last minute I shoved my fleece at Mum, along with assorted water bottles and cheese and crackers I'd been nibbling on.  It was really cold while we waited for the horde to surge forward, but after that the chill was quickly left behind.  For almost the first mile I kept pace with Alan.  He was in the zone with his tunes so we didn't chat much but he kept looking over at me as if to say "you're still here?".  I finally let him go and hunkered into my own pace, but I really didn't feel like I'd pushed it that much to begin with.  During my first walking break, Carey from UMaine who I frequently see at running events ran past and said hello.  So I picked it up again and chatted with her for a bit which was just what I needed.  Between keeping up with her and trying to keep Alan in sight I was able to pull off a pretty good pace overall.  The brisk air was certainly invigorating as well!

Afterward, we all milled around in the high school gym and visited with the many people we know.  Once again I marvelled at how much taking up running is like joining a secret society only to discover that I already know a huge portion of the membership.

As usual, we won no prizes, although someone we know walked away with 3 turkeys (yes, age-group and team awards come in the form of frozen fowl) and the $600 cash door prize (one dollar per registrant)!

It was a fun event (even though the kids were a bit unmanageable) and we're very likely to do it again.  At first, I thought the tee shirts were terrible because I thought the turkey looked evil.  They had car decals, too, and Jeremy kept asking if we could get "evil chicken stickers".  I'm thinking someone overheard us because they made a point to announce that the artwork was done (and donated) by the artist who draws The Hulk for Marvel Comics.  Upon closer inspection, it's easy to see that he is not, in fact, an evil chicken, but a hulkified turkey.  No one's gonna cook his giblets!  Way cool.

J, j and M strike action poses

Emilie with her Marks Family flock of newbie runners

November 20: Train Show 2010

This event is an annual big deal for Gumpy (aka the Train Doctor) and his model railroading club.  Funny story:  It used to be held the Sunday before Thanksgiving which was known in the family as "Train Sunday" and might as well have been included in the Episcopal lectionary.  A few years ago they finally got tired of competing with the traffic delays caused by the local Turkey Trot and switched it to Saturday.  I never knew that until this year...when we decided to do the race! And it all comes back to running....

Anyway, back to the Train Show. 
There are rows of tables set up for dealers displaying and selling anything and everything remotely train related from model engines, cars, cabooses (cabeese?) and track of all guages and types, to tiny realistic trees and packages of green dirt to decorate your layout, to the Operation Lifesaver booth with their safety videos and cardboard conductor's hats, to a toy Delorian sold by a cranky and hugely obese guy, to remote control airplanes that take digital aerial imagery while they fly. 

And then there's a silent auction and all the wheelin' and dealin' between vendors and the Train Doctor's booth with his clanging railroad crossing sign and his multi-track board for testing engines and his magnifying visor and his bags full of tools.  I think this is my dad's idea of heaven.

And then there's the little snack table that Mum bakes for and helps staff in between trying to get my dad to eat something (because he was up half the night and early that morning packing and tinkering and lugging all his stuff and didn't eat any breakfast) because she loves him and supports him and his passion.
But the real action takes up about a quarter of the large catering event space.  At least 20 separate segments built by individual members of the club are carefully hitched together to create a giant, rectangular, multi-track model train layout.  They had two very long trains running continuously through the varying landscapes and tiny lifelike scenery.

We brought Madeline's friend, Tony, along and I don't think he had every seen anything quite like it.  I suspect he went home and begged his parents for a train layout.  And believe me: no kid who sees this wants to start out small.

Here they are watching the action:

...along with Jeremy who traded his real hat for a cardboard one (to accommodate his hairdo, perhaps?):

Pretty soon, the wild-haired boy got a hold of the camera and didn't stop moving and snapping for about an hour.  Here are a couple of his more interesting "etudes de blur":

The kids each got to spend $5 so we came home with an assortment of toy cars including one which can only be described as....PUNCHBUGGY YELLOW!! 


Pumpkin Pie Redemption

A few weeks back, after my blogpost about pie, I had a hankering for Pumpkin Pie.  So, one day Jeremy and I made one together.  We made a crumb crust out of ginger snaps (pulverising cookies in the food processor was AWESOME!).  Jeremy also had a lot of fun helping me measure out the spices and mix the filling in a bowl, although there was much nose-wrinkling over the smell of raw pumpkin puree.  We filled our sweet pie crust and put it in the oven.  This is one of those recipes that calls for a high temperature for the first 10 minutes or so and then you turn it down to something a bit more reasonable.  The timer went of for the temp change and Jeremy came running in to help with that.  Then we were both off to other things.  I was in the family room.  I kept smelling the pie and at one point it smelled a little burny, so I went and looked at it.  It looked ok, although the crust was getting a little dark.  I chalked it up to the glass pan and thought maybe I shouldn't have used that....  By the time the buzzer went off, the poor little pie was reminiscent of an old black cast-iron frying pan.  When I turned off the oven I discovered that the temperature was on 450!  although I was certain I turned it down at the appointed time.  It's possible that someone bumped the dial (it spins very easily) and it's also possible that someone "helped" again after I left the room.  Either way, I should have given my nose more credit and rescued the pie much earlier.

Dessert that night was pumpkin pie filling scooped from the cast-iron carcass and doused with whipped cream.  And No, I did not take pictures of it.
The rest got dumped the following trash day.  It was very disheartening.
For Thanksgiving, I repeated the entire process--minus the temperature control debacle--and enjoyed sweet, spiced redemption.  Mmmmmm...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

He Had the Syrup Delivery System Woes

Thursday being a holiday for 4/5 of the Marks family, I had the rare luxury of sleeping in.  I lolled in bed for a while after Alan left to teach, reading The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise.  James and Madeline had already scavenged for their breakfast, but Jeremy was apparently having some trouble. (You have to understand that frozen Eggo Waffles are a staple in our house.  And No, I'm not proud of this, but that's they way life is for us.) Jeremy came into our room and announced:

"There's no waffles and I don't know what to have because I know I want syrup, but there's no waffles. Do you have any suggestions?"
[You should also know, as I did, that we were also out of milk, so homemade waffles or pancakes were not an option.  Plus, I was feeling lazy, remember?]
Me, at my most maternal (ha!): "Uh, no not really. Go find something else."
j: "Well, can I have syrup on toast?"
me: "Um, no. We do not use toast as a syrup delivery system." [unless it's French toast-don't get technical on me!]

Several minutes later I hear an odd noise, sort of a cross between "nih!" (a la Monty Python) and "humph!".
I hear it a few more times, gaining in intensity so as to be certain I can hear it.
I realize that Jeremy is in his room sulking about not being able to have syrup-on-toast for breakfast.
Part of me thinks this is funny, but part of me is not amused mostly because I'm getting close to the end of my book and I really want to finish it in peace.

me: "Jeremy, that's enough.  You are not having syrup-on-toast for breakfast."
We go back and forth a couple times until he comes up with this unique argument: 
"But I want to try something new!  I've never tried it before!"
 By now, I am laughing, but he's not amused and I have a mere 2 pages left in my book.
I take a few minutes to talk to him (which I think is all he really wanted) and finally tell him that if he lets me finish my book without further interruptions, then I might have a creative solution to his syrup deliverys system woes. He's happy with this, snuggles next to me while I read. 

A half hour later the two of us make a McDonald's drive through run for hotcakes. 

Or as he put it "syrup.  with hotcakes, please!"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Half in Another Half

Another half marathon in another half year, that is.

Alan and I are officially registered (along with a whopping 16 other people, currently ensuring that I would place in my age group) to run 13.1 miles along the scenic shores of Lake Winnipesaukee on May 7, 2011.

This time we're planning a weekend getaway. Sans Shingles (please dear Lord) and sans children.

It was really wonderful to have all our family out there supporting us at our first half (and we're counting on them again for next September), but for round 2 we thought we'd be a little selfish.  Spectators are welcome (Helen and Rich??) but we just don't want to have to worry about/deal with the little darlings.  A good night's sleep prior to the race is on my list of "things to do differently next time" and that would be unlikely with all five of us keyed up and packed into a hotel room [interesting factoid: I've recently encountered online room reservation systems that can't handle 2 adults and 3 children in one room. Go figure.].

Anyway, the room-for-two and childcare plans are as yet undefined, but my training plan is taking shape which is good news since I desperately need motivation these days.  The change of seasons and schedules has thrown me off lately (plus I've been super busy).

Short-term, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and the Turkey Trek.  By February, I'll be following Hal's half training plan again with some modifications.  In the middle, I'll be trying to survive winter and the holidays.  That part of my training calendar is a little fuzzy just now, but I'm going to pull it into focus soon. 

Meanwhile, the new count-down has begun. 
Only 180 days to go! 
[Lest you think I'm overly obsessive, my countdown calendar says "26 weeks".  I won't switch to days until the end of January when we hit 99.  See?  I'm totally reasonable.  Not crazy at all.]

Halloween 2010

Halloween landed smack in the middle of a two-week period of Marks family scheduling hell which, I guess, you could call "fitting", but I call it annoying.  I should apologize right now to my children because I really had a hard time getting into the spirit and it probably showed.  Um, yeah, it definitely showed.  So, sorry.

It all came down to an eleventh-hour scramble during which time we somehow managed to pull off a pretty frightful weekend. 
During the week I hemmed an academic robe for James' Dumbledore costume, and wrote a psalm parady and finished a scrapbook for a couple at church who is retiring elsewhere after 40 years. 
Thursday was choir practice, followed by Gospel Choir Concert practice.
Friday evening we finally got going on the holiday.  We hit the Spirit of Halloween store for some spooky inspiration and a few small costume accessories, then we did a quick run into Home Depot where we purchased half price pumpkins (one advantage to procrastination).  After that we had an extra choir rehearsal to try out a candidate for the organist/choirmaster position, and then enjoyed a greasy dinner at Pizza Slut. 
On Saturday, we slept in....aaaaah....and then revved it up with pumpkin carving, decorating the porch, drinking apple cider and roasting pumpkin seeds.  Alan took a spin up to Milo to help his mom finish cleaning out her storage unit and came back to carve his pumpkin masterpiece while the kids were sleeping.  
On Sunday we awoke to Jeremy's proclamation that "IT'S SNOWING!!" and "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT SNOWED ON HALLOWEEN" which was oft-repeated throughout the day.  Like many Mainers, we shook our heads and dressed warmly and went about our business.  We went to church and stayed for the farewell party at which the choir sang my psalm parody and everyone got emotional and ate sheet cake.  And then we raced home--via JoAnn Fabrics for materials for Jamie's hat--so Madeline and I could get into costume and grab PB&J and drive to a Girl Scout Halloween party thinly disguised as a birthday party for founder Juliette Low.  In Hudson.  The girls agreed that it was "okay".  I suspect the goody bags and cupcakes tipped the scales toward worthwhile and was grateful that our time spent in the cavernous (read: noisy) gymnasium was not quite enough to give me a full-blown migraine.  Then it was back home with M's friend, Auralee, in tow so the hippie chicks could trick-or-treat together.  Meanwhile, Alan worked on leveling the porch enough to open the front door and James fashioned a pair of wire spectacles.  He put the finishing touches on his beard while I made his hat.  Then I threw the kids into costumes and the car and picked up Mum and went to see Great Aunt Betty at Dirigo Pines, and the Fergusons on Spencer Street.  Then it was back home for dinner and additional finishing touches such as glow sticks and flashlights and Jeremy's pirate beard & mustache and belt-sheath repairs (already!).  During this time our only two trick-or-treaters (a blue-haired thing and an eye-popping ghoul) showed up at the now-functional front door.  Auralee's dad arrived and the hunting foray began (Alan selflessly volunteered to stay behind to tend the door and watch the Patriots game).  We roamed the neighborhood, James racing ahead and Jeremy lagging behind.  I was glad to have Rad there to help herd them across the dark streets. When we finally got home the kids were wound up and I was ready for bed at, like, 8pm.

For some reason photodocumentation was not top of the priority list (ya think?!), although Jeremy took about a hundred pictures of a stuffed Snoopy while I was carving his pumpkin for him.  To his exact specifications. He was getting annoying with the camera, but at least it kep him from helpfully shoving knives in my general direction.  Here's what's blogworthy:

[oh yeah, we made meatballs from the Biggest Loser cookbook (quite good actually) and James could not resist making the meat look like brains.  Are you a vegetarian yet?!?]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twelve Words No Mother Wants to Hear

"You need to go pick up your son at the police station."

Yesterday I posted these words on facebook and then kinda forgot to go back later and explain myself.  Oops. But then it was fun to see the responses of shock, concern, and curiosity, so I decided to make everyone come here to read the story.  In other words, I'm taking the opportunity to shamelessly lure people to my blog.  Since you're here, Welcome! and please consider becoming a follower and/or leaving comments now and then.  Unless you're mad at me for leading you here and then telling a really very innocent tale, rather than one of wanton corruption.  In which case, well... make mean comments, if you must, but follow the blog anyway!  I crave readership.

This alarming collection of words was spoken by my husband, when he called me at work shortly after 3pm.
The son in question was our 6-year-old first-grader, not our 12-year-old middle schooler [how many of you leapt to the hasty conclusion that Jamie'd gone and turned sour, huh?!?  Fess up!  OK, I immediately thought of him first, too, but I swear I was thinking more "accident" than "offense", Alan was laughing so I knew it wasn't anything bad.].

Jeremy missed the bus [see, I told you you might be disappointed].
Then, he attempted to run after the bus, waving madly and yelling, in hopes that the driver would notice him.
Then, he realized that it was gone, but he just kept walking.
Then, he was crossing the entrance to the municipal parking lot (the school's pretty much behind the fire/police station) and a police car pulled in and the officer saw that he was upset, so he asked him what was wrong.
The officer (I'm sorry I didn't catch his name), then did several exciting things:  he looked up our phone number on his computer, he let Jeremy crawl around in his police car, and he showed him a computer inside the car.  Wow.  Somewhere in there he also called Alan (cutting straight to the "Jeremy's-all-right" part), and said that he would happily have driven him home but the awesome-laptop-packin'-cruiser was not equipped with a booster seat. 

Alan had his mom's car, but alas, no booster seat either.  So he called me.
And I extricated myself from work and went and found the little dude hanging out in the parking lot with the kindly officer and the school principal who had also become aware of the situation.  Jeremy was of course perfectly fine, as evidenced by the fact that he was still pretty talkative.  I did notice when I gave him a hug that his little heart was beating pretty rapidly, though!

I had a few questions.

Why did he miss the bus?  Because he and a friend were scouring the lost & found pile looking for one of his gloves.  According to Principal McHugh, Jeremy knew that "his parents would be pleased if he found his glove".  Read: they would not be pleased if he came home missing a glove on the first day he wore them this year.

Did he find his glove?  No [unconcerned].
Why don't you have any gloves? The one he had, he left with his friend so he would know what the missing one looks like. 
 Why did you try to chase the bus?  Because that happened to Madeline once and the driver saw her and stopped and let her on.  Can't argue with that, but we did explain that from now on nobody's allowed to chase the bus.  Ever.

What will you do if you miss the bus another day?  Go inside and tell the principal and she can call the police. [I assured him that the secretary is equally capable of calling home for him].

Madeline's response was very sweet: "You scared me, Jeremy!".  She didn't know anything was wrong until they arrived at our stop and couldn't find him on the bus . I'm just as happy that she wasn't watching in horror as he ran down the street.

Alan just wanted to know if they put the cuffs on him, the response to which was an enthusiastic, large-grinned.  "No!" 'cause Daddy's just silly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time For Pie

When I started this blog and wrote the blurb off to the right hand side there, I predicted that I would "mostly just write about food" but running posts have dramatically overshadowed baking posts--who'd have guessed?

So, it's time for a post about Pie, which will neatly encompass both subjects.

On a side note, James, who is customarily greeted by his Aunt Helen with "Who's my pumpkin pie?!", will frequently, out of the blue, with a big smile on his face, just say "Pie." for no apparent reason.  It's just this thing he does.  And yet, he's not much of a pie eater....odd.

Baking Pie
The kids recently helped me make an apple pie.  What's funny is that they'd all rather bake it than eat it, and they'd rather prepare it than bake it.  In other words, the great attraction isn't so much "baking with mommy" as it is "cranking the apple peeler-corer-slicer, making a mess, and fighting over the measuring spoons".  But I'm still going to say that they love baking with mommy.'s some proof that fun was had and a pie was created (not sure why the pix came out orangey...). 

I popped the raw pie in the chest freezer and ran away with Alan for the weekend (see my post on Greatness) and Mary pulled it out and baked it in time for our return.  Yummm!

Running for Pie
Go here (but don't forget to come back afterwards) and read Emilie's post about Turkey Trek 2010, aka "the Race for Pie".  The Marks-Soule-Donahey clan will be there in full force--join us if you are so inclined!
Turkey Trek 2009 was supposed to be my first race ever.  Emilie's facebook invitation a year ago was the catalyst that finally started me running.  Sure, I'd been reading her blog for a while, marveling at her running accomplishments, and getting overly emotional about her marathon adventure. And Yes, on accasion I'd heard "you should take up running" from her, from Jenn, from my husband....  But I had always scoffed and said "I don't think so" with a look on my face that said "Me? run?? you're crazy!"  And then Emilie sent that little facebook invitation.  I don't remember exactly what (if any) personal note she included, but what I heard was "You can do this. You should do this. This is fun. Come join us..."  like a siren from the sea.  And I said to myself  "Four miles.  I can walk four miles." And very quietly, just to myself, I said "and maybe I could learn to run by then."  And that same day I started Hal Higdon's 30/30 program on the rec center track.  But apparently, what the gods heard was "Oh YEAH!  I can WALK that! And I'm gonna RUN, too. It'll be EASY!"  and they cried "HUBRIS!" the way residents of Salem used to cry "WITCH!" and tossed a lightning bolt at my ankle during zumba class so I could not, in fact, walk four miles on Thanksgiving morning.  So last year, I showed up anyway, with my air-caste and my canned goods and my camera and my mom (who was there to make sure I didn't do something foolish) and we gave the group a good send-off and then I went home and finished my cleaning and baking (yes, including a pie) and hosted Thanksgiving dinner, none of which was particularly gentle on the ankle.  We got someone to take a picture of the St. John's moms who were present and Jenn put it on a travel mug for me and I cherish it, even though it reminds me that I didn't do the run.

me, April, Emilie, Jenn, Anne-Marie
I think it was knowing that feeling even on such a small scale that drove me to do the Half even though I was ill-prepared and miserable with shingles.  So I'm really excited for this year, for a new picture, (although we'll all miss you, Jenn!) and for this wonderful incentive to have all my preparations done before Thanksgiving so I can really enjoy the whole day...from morning run until evening pie.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DI Pie in the Sky Race Report

Back on September 11th, the kids enjoyed a really nice fun run put on by the Destination Imagination group as part of the annual Orono Village Festival.

There were prizes for "best use of duct tape" so we commissioned Nana and Gumpy to help out with construction the night before.  The kids came up with some great ideas and executed them beautifully.  And it paid off: they won a family award for their collective efforts.

And they raced well, too!  This was one week into my shingles drama so I was pretty useless, but Alan drove me in and parked me at the start/finish so I got to enjoy some of the excitement, even in my very fragile state.

James carried his duct tape battle axe and shield and didn't stop running the whole way.  His time was 11:04.

Madeline also did a great job and looked very fashionable with hot pink duct tape wings on her feet.  Her winged helmet reads: "Duck Tape Awesomeness". She's got great form.  Her time was 11:34.

Jeremy did his typical runrunrunreallyreallyfast! and then stop to hold his side and plod for a bit and then runrunrunreallyreallyfast!...and repeat (you can see him pausing to look back on his way up the hill in the picture below).  But he didn't get lost (every mother's fear) and he appeared to be having fun when he hit the finish line.  His time was 14:53.

I'm so proud of them!  They pushed themselves, they felt proud, they had a great time, and they were nice to all the other kids.
Here they are in their post-race DUCK TAPE AWESOMNESS!