How Would You Like To Go Up In A Swing

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We had so much fun last week on what was probably the last nice warm sunny day of the year.


The Marathon

Jeff ran his marathon Sunday. 
I had NO idea marathons were so much fun!
For the people watching the marathon.
I’m not sure if they are fun for the people running.
You’ll have to ask them.

We left one child behind with grandparents (he had a very important football game) and took 4 kids for this little weekend getaway…which I reminded them quite often, the sole purpose of which was to support their father. 

We stayed in a hotel room, 3 to a bed.  That was NOT the fun part.  Why do kids get SO hyper in hotel rooms?
024 When one of the beds got too squishy someone decided sleeping on the floor on layers of pillows was a better alternative.  In the middle of the night, I was jealous, because I wish I would have claimed the space first.
Here’s Jeff at the 11 mile mark.
 034  035 The kids loved seeing him (and vice versa), and although the streets were packed, with the help of Abbey…she has a special talent with direction and maps that I don’t possess, we navigated the streets successfully.   I had a huge stroller and a very very good little 7 year old who had to keep up with us.   We were able to see Jeff at 3 different points, and during the 25th mile, Abbey and Isaac ran with him a little.
We did a lot of waiting…which meant certain someone’s did a lot of laying all over filthy city sidewalks.  053052 054Here’s Jeff at mile 25 pretending like he can’t finish.  (He really is pretending, I’m not joking.)  I really couldn’t believe how good he did, and how great he looked every time we saw him.  It’s not that I didn’t think he could it, it’s just that he wasn’t that confident in himself.
A couple days before the marathon he was getting all nervous and edgy.  I finally gave him a little pep talk in the car on the way down.  I told him there were 3 scenarios.
1. He could try running the marathon but quit if it got too hard.  And then he’d have to tell people he was running a marathon that he quit.
2. He could try running the marathon and end up having to walk.  And you know everyone wants to know, after they've heard you’ve run a marathon, if you walked.  I don’t think that is really a fair question (usually asked by people who can’t run a block) but nevertheless, you’d have to say yes.
3. You could run the marathon.  The whole thing. 
That’s it.  It’s not complicated.  So shut up about it.  (I didn’t say that part.  Well, maybe I did, under my breath.)
His time, since you want to know. 3.48.
At the end:
074Trying to stand up after the race: 076 Trying to walk back to the hotel after the race:078 I didn’t MAKE him push the stroller by the way, although it appears so in this photo.  He needed to hang onto it like an elderly man needs a walker.
He says he’ll never do one again, but asking that now, I think, is like asking a mother in a labor when she’s going to have her next.
Give it time.
P.S. Watching a marathon makes you feel like you want to run one.  It did for me.  I got a little envious.  All these women running…all different ages, all different shapes and sizes, all different speeds…it’s awesome.   But when it comes to actually lacing up my shoes and getting my butt outside in the chilly air, hmmmmm…I think of 1000 other things I should/could/want to be doing.  Darn!


Autumn Photos From An Afternoon Bike Ride

It’s officially fall here…not because the calendar says it is, because the leaves say it is.
It is beautiful.
Our church: 025 031 042 059 064 068 070 079 Abbey calls this “her house”.  I want it to be her house. After she travels the world and lives in Chicago or NYC or Paris.
Isn’t it perfect?
You could live it in forever.
With one child or eight, it would be warm, and inviting, and comfortable and simple.090 093Oops.  The squirrels around here get a little crazy at this time of year.  Many casualties.  Sometimes they dare each other I think, to see who can run between car tires, or jump from telephone wire to branch and back again.  It doesn't always work out so great.100102 After our bike ride, Abbey and I took Patrick down the street to a little park.  I’ve done Abbey’s portraits this year, and Andrew’s, and it was Patrick’s turn.  I’m saving the two that declare that picture-taking is complete torture for last.258261
Here’s the park:264 249 251 I took a few good ones.108 118Notice the big chunk cut out of his hair in the front?  I didn’t know he knew how to work scissors already.  Smart kid.128 159
I also got many more out takes.  2 isn’t the easiest age for picture taking.220 120  160189 He’s so cute I could squeeze him.
And I do, all the time.


Apple Pie

The boys (Andrew especially) request apple pies often
012 I get a bunch of apples from the fridge that the kids won’t eat because they are bruised or because a certain someone in this house takes a bite of one here and there and puts it right back.  I use LOTS of apples.  About 10 medium sized.  No wimpy apple pie for us.  It doesn’t matter what kind of apples you use, but I usually like Granny Smith’s, and Macintosh, and Jonathan’s.  We don’t eat many Delicious apples because I don’t think they are delicious.

I spray a glass pie pan (I love glass pie pans) with cooking spray.027
I get out my VERY useful peeler/corer-this thing has been a lifesaver and make the process of apple pies, and french fries and mashed potatoes SO quick and easy.  No dreaded peeling or coring.   It's held up to kid-use. 013
I do this:

Then I just cut the apples into quarters.018.
Sometimes, or often, I don't have the time to make crust-I use Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust and no one knows the difference.

Add your ingredients to your apples and don’t think it has to be all perfect.

1 cup sugar (you can add less if you want)
1 TBS. cinnamon
1/4 cup flour (If you are using lots of apples like me)
A couple dashes of lemon juice

That’s all I put in!
Mix it up and throw the apples in the pie dish.020

Add the crust on top.   Before you pinch the crust closed, take off a little extra crust from the top crust where you can see you have extra.

Pinch close.

Put four little slashes with a knife in the top.

Here’s the part that makes the crust look all fancy.
1. With the little extra pieces you saved make something.  Like a leaf, or the child’s initials you made the pie for.
2. Use a brush (if you don’t have one just use your fingers!) and brush some milk all over the top.   This will give the pie a nice glazed look.
3. Sprinkle a little sugar on top. 026
Bake in your oven at 425 degrees.
Set the timer for 20 minutes.
When the timer goes off, check the pie.  Does it look like it’s getting too brown on top?029
Mine always does.  (Please don't look at how dirty my oven is...just keep your eyes on the pie.)030 Make a foil tent, set it on top loosely, and then set the timer for another 20 minutes.
40 minutes total.

(It is also a good idea to put a piece of foil in the bottom of the oven in case there is a leak-it makes clean up much easier.)