Waiiiiiit for it………

Once again – my typical type of greeting it seems lately – I haven’t blogged in what feels like forever!!!  We’ve been crazy busy (as usual) and our craziness is well documented (surprise, right?)  But now, I’ve removed all excuses for not keeping up.  My computer was a piece of !@#$ making it painstakingly difficult to blog how I wanted.  Some of you may or may not have (yeah right) have noticed that I like to include pictures and videos 🙂  I was trying to blog using a crappy Acer 10″ Netbook with a processor that moves at the speed of tar pitch (and then even slower when I synced it with my phone (that is what I used to take all the pics and videos)  Well NOT ANY MORE MY FRIENDS!  I am now the proud owner of a new laptop AND a GoPro camera, oh yeah — this is gonna be fun!

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Since I’ve been so lazy….

I thought I would take a different approach this time in trying to catch up with things the kids and I have done over the past couple of months.  What better way to do it than a video, right?! 🙂

To quickly summarize some of the photos in the movie —

  • We did a TON of fishing this year
  • Jeremy made the all star team for baseball
  • Emily pitched and played catcher for her fastpitch team
  • They ran two more races so far – The Fox Trot 5k and Shatter the Silence 2miler
  • I bought them season tickets to the Lake County Captain’s games this year
  • Jeremy turned 12 years old!
  • We took my Dad to his first Cleveland Browns football game in nearly 24 years!
  • and School started and we continued in our usually silliness.

The background music I chose is by Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole.  I just love his voice.  My first choice was his medley of “Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World”, but alas I only have it in a protected mp4 format that would not upload to my movie making software.  Anyways — hope you enjoy it

That about catches up some of what we did recently.  I have more, but I wasn’t shooting for a full length feature film 😉

Now, blog updates about The Fresh 20, BikeMS, and Run Woodstock … I’m not going to be caught up by tomorrow night!

Hello hello ello ello llo llo lo……

Wow! How in the WORLD has time gone by so fast! There is no way possible for me to catch up on everything that has gone on in our lives. I can however share a few snapshots of what’s been occupying my time, tho 🙂 So lets see…. May – Training for Jeremy and Emily to run the CLE Half Marathon hadn’t gone as planned. Training with them through the cold weather months didn’t work out so well. It seemed every time we went for a training run in the cold – they would end up sick! I put the kibosh on this race for them and I don’t think they were too upset about it. It was always tough to get them on the trails, but once there they had fun. Since this race fell on a “nonkid” weekend for me anyways, I decided to ride my bike to it, meet up with my friends, eat some breakfast then ride the course to find friends that were running it. It was a 34mile round trip ride from my house – the furthest ride made this year. I was a little worried about the route to get there but after driving it the day before, learned that – HOLY CRAP there were some beautiful, crazy expensive houses along the way! I would have taken a few pictures, but I was afraid I’d get arrested! Made the trip there in great time and had an absolute blast! Here’s the map/data for this ride. I made it there, met up with Jocelyn (my buddy Jason who was running the race’s wife) and BMO. We had an awesome breakfast thanks to Darla who floats me VIP parking and brunch tickets every year — much appreciated Darla! After brunch BMO and I set out on the course to find Jason. Unfortunately we missed him till the last 1/4 mile, but got to see him finish and share some beers at the finish!

Celebratory beers at the finish

Celebratory beers at the finish

June –

Got the kids out for a little bit of trail fun, and enjoyed some more myself (surprise right?)

Jeremy and Emily --- back in the trails...

Jeremy and Emily — back in the trails…

Charlie and I --- chillin' in the river.  Don't judge, it was HOT out!!  lol

Charlie and I — chillin’ in the river. Don’t judge, it was HOT out!! lol

Towards the end of June also was Western States 100 Miler! That is a blog post in itself that I am working on. Too much to share in this trip to California to squeeze into here — just wouldn’t do it justice.

Now here we are in July…. Kids have been playing their BUTTS off – Jeremy with baseball and Emily with fastpitch. I couldn’t be more proud of these two. Jeremy plays short stop, outfield and pitches. Emily plays short stop, first base, catcher and pitcher.

Jeremy throwing the heater!

Jeremy throwing the heater!

I did find a pitching coach for Emily. She FIRES them in there but isn’t all that accurate. I’m also in the process of hiring a pitching coach for Jeremy, as well as a batting coach for both of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1I_JsAn5Bs

And speaking of dinners…. I unfortunately had to opt out of Fresh Fork this season. So much going on which made finances a bit tight. It’s an excuse, I know… If I were a better budgeter, I know I could do it but I’m not. I did keep up with my Fresh20 membership and dinners are back on! Expect to see more posts about them very soon! Just a teaser of a couple of our favorites…

From June - Herb Pork Tenderloin with Braised Leeks and Wheatberries

From June – Herb Pork Tenderloin with Braised Leeks and Wheatberries

Tex-mex sloppy joe with watermelon feta salad

From July — Tex-Mex Sloppy Joe with Watermelon Feta Salad

spicy sausage fishermans stew

From June – Spicy Sausage fisherman’s Stew

Alright, I’m tired and going to bed! I know — kind of a blah post, but I have to start somewhere again, right? I have a lot going on and much to talk about. Planning on not being gone for so long 🙂

Good thing pictures say a thousand words….

I have a lot of catching up to do and don’t feel like typing that much!  You ever get so far behind on something that the thought of trying to catch up makes you want to put it off even more?  Yeah, it’s kind of like that….   So after going back and forth with how to handle this, I decided that I would let the pictures we’ve taken this past month do most of the talking for me… That said, here is my lazy post —–

We are still eating REALLY well thanks to the Fresh 20, but I haven’t been as good about taking pictures of what we had.  I do have a couple of them tho…

Black Bean Soup with Chicken and Cheese Quasadillas

Black Bean Soup with Chicken and Cheese Quasadillas

Lemon Chicken with Farro Pasta and Bok Choy

Lemon Chicken with Farro Pasta and Bok Choy

Double thumb from Jeremy

Really doesn’t look like he likes it by his facial expression but he really did give this a double thumbs 🙂

Emily --- not such a fan of Farro

Emily — not such a fan of Farro

Ever see a kid double thumb up a tofu dish?

Ever see a kid double thumb up a tofu dish?

No?  Here's another! :)

No? Here’s another! 🙂

How about a little halibut --- just for the "halibut"

How about a little halibut — just for the “halibut”

This month also brought along mine and Emily’s Father Daughter Sweetheart Ball.  We do this every year,  buy her a “pretty dress” and “fancy shoes”, get dressed up and spend the day together dancing and having a great time, thanks to the Willoughby Recreation Center.  As usual, we went dress shopping and as usual Emily had an absolute BLAST modeling different dresses for me!  We invited Leah along this year but she wasn’t able to make it.  Here are some of Emily’s favorites from this day.

Dress #1 of 1,345,363 tried on today..

Dress #1 of 1,345,363 tried on today..

Dress #2

Dress #2

Dress #3

Dress #3

Dress #4

Dress #4

Time for the Ball!

Time for the Ball!

Excited to dance

Excited to dance

This girl has got some moves!

This girl has got some moves!

Ahhhhh  refreshements...

Ahhhhh refreshments…

Love this kid!

Love this kid!

My little girl is getting so big!

My little girl is getting so big!

What would a post be without another 50k run????   Well this one isn’t going to include one either because while the run was a 50k, most of us bowed out at mile 23.x.  This was the “No Shirt Fatass 50k”  — however it was WAY to cold for anyone to go sans shirt!  This was my first time at the Cleveland Metroparks, Hinckley Reservation as well — beautiful place and I can’t wait to take the kids here.  Here is my Runkeeper data — SLOW…..

Beautiful ledges area

Beautiful ledges area

fatass2 fatass3 fatass4 fatass5

One of the creek crossings

One of the creek crossings

fatass11 fatass8

Best way to finish a run!

Best way to finish a run! “Burgers 2 Beer”, Burger-onion straws-chili-cheese

I followed this run up the next day with a trip to New York to hit the slopes for the first time this year.  It’s nice to have Peak and Peak ski resort so close.  It is about an hour and a half drive for me and well worth it!  The place wasn’t crowded at all and except for the delays I had on the lifts – the day was amazing.

Skiing1 skiing3

Conditions couldn't have been better

Conditions couldn’t have been better

skiing4

After posting these pics and looking back at this month — this must’ve been the “Month of Emily”.  Jeremy had a sleep over at a friend’s house so I took Emily for a run in the morning.  She is really starting to enjoy it and was able to run most of our route.  There was also a race going on in the park at the same time in which many of my friends were participating in.  Emily and I ran to the start/finish line and cheered them all in.

IMG_3414

A new find in our park — never saw this little hut before

IMG_3415

I’ll help you up — just as soon as I take your pic, typical 🙂

IMG_3419

Beautiful scenery – Beautiful little girl!

That pretty much takes care of some of what’s been happening in February.  Things are REALLY starting to get busy now.  So, if you haven’t boycotted my blog because of this post – stick around!  In addition to things that are already on my plate, kids sports starting again (basketball, baseball, and fastpitch), and our Fresh Fork Market Summer CSA starting (whoo hoo!!!),  I started a youth running group thanks to the Lake County Department of Health.

Just RUN

and am also co-hosting a fun run in April to help out two great causes

Reaching for Recovery

Catchya later! 🙂

These kids never cease to amaze me!

Typically, by the time we get home from work and latchkey, it is about 4:30pm. With fast pitch games starting at 6:15 and us having to be there by 5:45, it doesn’t leave us much time for a good, healthy dinner. Or does it? 🙂

Emily had her second fastpitch playoff game on Tuesday night. We rushed home from latchkey (childcare) and I started dinner. The kids saw me cutting up some peppers and a large zucchini that I picked from our garden the other day.  You could imagine the groaning and grumbling that ensued!  It didn’t last that long tho.  They know that whatever I make for dinner, they eat for dinner – or snack – or breakfast – or lunch…… 🙂

So, I cut up the zucchini and placed it on the grill, brushed it with olive oil and a little bit of season salt.  I brought it in the house and I actually heard a “that smells good”.  So I cooked up some rice and added the peppers to it — again, my plate presentations leaves a little to be desired, but…

Taste is more important, no?

Jeremy had THREE helpings and Emily had TWO!  It was nice to hear, “Dad, could I have more zucchini?”… Why certainly.  Have as much as you want!!!

All of this rushing around was for Emily’s fastpitch, playoff games.  It has been a rough season for her team.  For most of the girls, this is their first year playing softball let alone, fastpitch softball.  Emily has been playing since she was three years old.  I’ve coached her and Jeremy the entire time, up until last year.  This girl’s got some skills, so it made it a little frustrating for her, but Emily being much like myself – usually just goes with it and has fun no matter what.

Emily looking intimidating at third base

Just after hitting her double and stealing third.

After their first playoff victory – 7/11/12

After the loss that knocked them out of the playoffs – 7/12/12

Funny thing is with this loss, the girls were still so stinking excited.  The team they played is a travel, tournament team (meaning they are really, REALLY good).  This was the third time we played them this season.  The first time they beat us by 22 points, the second by 18 and now this time in the playoffs by only 6!  It’s the small victories that mean the most sometimes.

Last night was my usual Wednesday night run.  This time I went it alone through the trails.  It was such a beautiful night for a run!  I popped my headphones in and headed out for what I planned on as being 10 miles before going to Panini’s to “refuel” aka drink beer and eat bar food 🙂 with some great people.  I went my usual 5.xmile route but accidently made a wrong turn when I was trying to retrace a path at the end we took that was different.  That is when I stumbled upon this.

I had forgotten all about this little section of trail!  I had only been on it once with the kids and that was a long time ago.  I made the wrong turn and as it happens, this loop is approximately a quarter mile LOOP.  I didn’t realize that until I was about 3/4 thru my SECOND time around when it occurred to me that, “hey, this looks familiar!”  I think I am going to add this section into my normal route now.  I also got buzzed by this stinking hawk!

This hawk came swooping down within 5 feet of my head.  Made me jump and say out loud “holy shit!”.  There was a couple walking towards me at the time and they started BUSTING up laughing.  It had to be quite a site!  Here is the data for this run.  I pushed it pretty hard through the trails averaging a 9:00 min/mile pace for almost 12 miles.  I’m supposed to be tapering for BR, but don’t feel I’ve put in the miles, so I am going to do a little more than what my “schedule” calls for but a little less than running an ultra distance on the weekends.  To finish this run I ended up at Panini’s as usual with some great friends.

Black bean burger 🙂 — notice, lots of water and very few long islands this time!

This time I didn’t order a Panini sandwhich, I opted for a black bean burger – and holy hell was it good!  Black bean burger, pepper jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, onions… mmmmmm.

Good luck with your training whatever it may be for and run safe my friends!

CSA, Burning River Training, Baseball, Mardi Gras, and “The winds of change”…

Hello again friends 🙂 – corny title I know…..   forgive me.

This weeks CSA contents contained a little bit of sunshine…

Yum 🙂

  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Bunch of beets
  • 2 bulb onions
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 2lbs of tomatoes
  • 1 baby bok choy
  • 2 lbs peaches

The peaches didn’t last two days!  They tasted so good!   I’m eager to put the rest of it to use too.  Seeing that my last recipe was a bust, I’m hoping that my next few will work out as planned — note to self.  Read ingredients, read directions, read ingredients, read directions… then start 🙂  I’ll be certain to let  you know how it goes!

While these may not be from our CSA, I am also very excited about this…

We have the biggest and best Golden Delicous apple tree in our front yard EVER.  I love this tree.  The apples are the best I’ve ever tasted and it makes me happy to see neighborhood kids and people walking by grab an apple off the tree and eat it.  We can’t eat them all and to see so many people enjoying them is awesome!  It is great to mow the lawn, get to the tree, grab an apple and eat it.  We also have a family that lives a few doors down, whose kids love riding their bikes to our house and get so excited to pick their own apples off our tree.  Their daughters (all under the age of 10) are always so smiley and appreciative….. There is hope for today’s youth.

Friday also brought about the start of Jeremy’s All Star Tournaments.  He had one game on Friday, two on Saturday and then was supposed to have one on Sunday.  Their team did a great job in the tourny, but unfortunately they lost.  I am so proud of this kid.  This is his first year playing hardball and he was our starting short shot, then took over pitching.  Check him out!

The AT&T call to the bullpen… Jeremy taking over the game.

The wind up…

…. and the pitch!

Again, they lost – but watching these games were very exciting!  My next post will include Emily’s Fastpitch updates.  Her playoff games begin on Monday.  Good luck Em!

This was also supposed to be my last long back to back run weekend before I taper for my race.  I planned out a 36 mile run on Saturday morning.  I picked up Charlie at 3:00am at Squire Castle in the North Chagrin Metropark.  We drove to the Polo Fields, which should have been our half way point, before heading to Alexander Station to meet up with Jane and Laura.  Jane is running Burning River and Laura is pacing someone.  Luckily we started this run early because it got freaking hot!

Another HOT one!

Just like all the others – organized or impromptu — this run was awesome!  The first section of it (20 miles) was quite possibly the easiest 20 miles I’ve ever run.  This was my first time ever really running with Jane and Laura and to be honest, Jane is bad ass, as I imagine she has to be, her boyfriend is an Iron Man Triathlete – mad props to him.    She pushed pretty hard up some of those hills, when I suggested to walk, she said to press on and of course I couldn’t quit or back down right?  My male ego couldn’t handle that! LOL.

Charlie and Laura creek crossing

after 20 of the easiest miles ever

Love the “blue blazes”

DONE!

Charlie stepped up and powered us through the last mile.  Had he not done that, I think we may have walked it!  Due to time constraints, we ended up cutting our run short to 30 miles – here is this run’s data.  Trust me though — none of us were complaining.

This weekend was also Mardi Gras in Fairport Harbor, our favorite beach.  We met up with Doug and his family for an evening of deep fried fair food, rides and fireworks — yes, we really know how to celebrate our independence!  This would be our third time seeing fireworks this Fourth of July week! — Oh, did I say WOULD be???  That’s right.  After all of the food was eaten and rides were ridden, we plopped our butts on a blanket, played in the sand and waited for the firework display to begin….

Jeremy and Emily enjoying their TWENTY DOLLAR rides!

Emily having a blast!

Did I mention, bad for you fair food? Sorry, no pics of the deep fried cheese or funnel cake 😉

They think they are so cool….

Sun setting over the harbor… time for fireworks

Kids playing in the sand waiting….

Or is it time for fireworks… We sat there, played in the sand and goofed off for a couple hours, when over the loud speaker a voice apologized — “the fireworks have been postponed due to high wind”.  HUH?  POSTPONED?  Surprisingly the kids weren’t too upset.  The only comment was – “they couldn’t decide that an hour ago?” LOL.  I didn’t mind.  We had a full day.  Good food, great company, good times!

Oh yeah… the “winds of change” part…..  Stop reading if you don’t want to be bothered with the “relationship” part of the post….  Remember, I said I would keep these things to a minimum.  Well, it’s about that time I bring it up again.  I’ve realized that there is a difference between “not giving up” and “moving on”.  You can move on, without giving up.  That is, without giving up on your dreams, or you life.  I’ve been angry long enough and hurt long enough.  I know I’m at that point now.  I find myself listening to less and less angry music (unless at necessary times — angry music gets me jacked up while lifting, but more on my lifting at another time as it ties into my new goals). That’s not to say that I am OK with everything that has transpired, or what is going on.  I’m just saying that I find myself happier the past couple days than I have been in quite some time.  I find myself – ready to move on – to retake my dreams, retake my life.

Exciting and Surprising Day!

The movie “Food Inc.” did a lot for the way we eat and we used to try to eat at least one meatless meal per week.  And then after watching “Forks over Knives” I told the kids that we are going to try to have three meatless meals per week.  Well, although this is the second week of our summer CSA, it is our first week of enacting this plan (I didn’t plan well our first week and wasted some and gave some to my SIL).  Today’s experiment?  Stir Fry.  Before meeting my ex-wife I used to think that I was a pretty good cook — my ex-wife; incredible cook!  And I used to think that corn was a vegetable… I was wrong in both cases.  So, this was my first real attempt at something like this.  I got the recipe from the newsletter for our CSA, it seemed easy enough – and it was!

6/19 Stir-Fry, tastes better than it looks in this picture!

Today’s ingredients;

  • Bok Choy
  • zuccini
  • squash
  • snow peas
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • a little soy sauce
  • and some rice

I chopped it all up, sautéed it in a little bit of olive oil and put it all over rice.  I thought it was really good!  The kids ate it but weren’t super thrilled so I asked them how I could improve it the next time I make it.  Their initial response was “YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE THIS AGAIN???!!” LOL.  After they realized I was serious, I was really surprised by their responses.  Jeremy thought that I should add some scrambled eggs to the rice — sounds good to me.  And Emily said I should add “those little tiny corn on the cobs”.  I was shocked!  Let me tell you, my Emily 5 years ago, if she even tasted a bean, let alone tried to eat one she would gag and literally throw up at the dinner table (believe me it happened!) and now she is suggesting that I add MORE vegetables to a meal!?  Rock on Em!  SURPRISING to say the least!

And for the exciting part — my little minor leaguer made the All Star Team!!!  This is Jeremy’s first year playing baseball and Emily’s first year playing fast pitch softball and they both are doing OUTSTANDING.  I attribute it to them having a great coach from the time they were little (I was their coach for the past 6 years in regular softball – so maybe I am a little bias).  Emily is the pitcher and catcher for her team and Jeremy plays pitcher and short stop.  Emily likes playing but she could take it or leave it.  Jeremy is a hard core sports kid through and through so when we got the notice for All Stars and he wanted to try out.  In all there were three tryouts and this past Thursday was the final cut.  During today’s game we got the notice that he made it!

Since Jeremy and Emily are playing in two different leagues for two different cities I am not coaching, but some how I got conned into being an assistant.  This means I have little time for taking pictures of them — this is all I’ve got.

Way to go buddy!