Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

On Saturday we went to Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, where they have nice hiking trails and pretty views. The fall colors were at their peak in our area, and it was a gorgeous day, so we thought it would be a great weekend activity.

 Beautiful hiking trail

 Beginning our ascent on the mild incline, Oliver holding Mommy's hand.

 Marty got a cool shot looking up at the fall colors.

Stopping to climb a rock.

I did it!

 Oliver thinks hiking uphill is hard, so Daddy gives him a ride.

I don't have to walk and I get to play with leaves? This is fun!

 Onward we walk . . .

 Marty stops to peruse the trail map. How much farther to the top?

 Too far with a 28 pound squirmy toddler on your neck, so down we go.

 Taking a break, and checking the blackberry for nearby restaurants for lunch.

Oliver finally decides to walk . . .

but only for a minute. Back on Daddy's shoulders as we follow half the population of Connecticut down the mountain. Not the nice, peaceful, relaxing walk we thought it would be. Instead it was crowded, Mommy tweaked her bad foot halfway up, and Oliver was whiny. Our normally curious toddler who loves to run around and explore every rock, leaf, and stick wanted very little to do with nature that day. Five minutes worth of exploring was apparently enough for him. Oh well, at least it was pretty.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

It was a gorgeous day at the pumpkin patch! Marty had the day off work a few Fridays ago, so we went with our friends Linsey and Annabelle. Unfortunately, it was just too sunny for good photos, and Oliver refused to face the camera most of the time, so we didn't get the great shots we were hoping for. We plan to go back again in the late afternoon when the sun is better, and while the fall leaves are peaking over the next few days. Oliver loves it there. So many pumpkins...so little time to line them all up!!! Here's a bunch of pictures, none great, but lots of fun anyway.

 Oliver and Annabelle, as a cowboy and a horse. 

 Gorgeous mums.

 Oliver striking a pose.

 When did he get so big?

 He loved the Indian corn because he had made a painting of it that week at school. 

 Oliver, Linsey, and Annabelle, playing peek-a-boo with me. 

 The first of many photos of Oliver's back from that day. I love the colors though. 

 Pumpkins are heavy!

 But I am strong!

 Annabelle, upon her white horse, saving Oliver . . .

 and Oliver saving Annabelle,

 before he rides off into the sunset, alone.

 The gorgeous fall landscape

 Oliver from the back, #2

  Oliver from the back, #3

  Oliver from the back, #4.
Seriously, wouldn't this have been an awesome picture if he would just turn around? Nope, not gonna happen. He is stubborn.
 Annabelle and Oliver playing in the pumpkin patch.


 Hey, there's Daddy!


Handsome boy who refuses to smile.

Pie is not so easy

We went to the Apple Festival in Southington recently, where Marty entered the pie eating contest. It was a last minute sort of thing. Marty had joked about entering the apple fritter eating contest, but figured he'd missed the deadline to enter because sign up was earlier that morning. After we'd been at the festival a while, and already eaten lunch, they made an announcement that they still had slots open in his age group for both contests. The apple fritter contest was too late, since we needed to get Oliver home for a nap, so Marty decided why not eat some pie? The pies weren't very big, they didn't even make you eat all the crust, and they only got 6 competitors. But eating lunch beforehand was not conducive to winning.

 Marty's in the teal shirt, contemplating his pie. He shouldn't have paused, because the guys on the other end were serious about this competiton!

 Digging in!

 Look at how far his nose is buried in pie!

 The moment of defeat, when they announced 3rd place (only the top 3 got prizes).

 Still proud of his attempt, and smiling for Oliver who was cheering him on.

He refused to wipe his face until he showed us up close. Really, we didn't need to see it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Chili Time!

Time for a recipe! You gotta love chili in the Fall, and I made up a new recipe tonight that I wanted to share. I was inspired by some I found online, along with my mom's that I grew up with. This also means it has macaroni in it. I know some people don't call that chili, but we do! Is that a Midwestern thing or a Southern thing? I never know because of our mixed heritage (Midwestern grandparents whose families came from the South). I tried to keep it healthy, and the verdict from my boys was two big thumbs up!!

Note: The reason for the V8 is that Marty had never had it, and wanted to try it to drink to get some more veggies in his diet. So we decided to buy some and I'd put it in the chili in place of tomato juice, saving him a glass to drink. You could easily substitute regular tomato juice. I was skeptical about using V8 at first, because I'm not a fan, but I couldn't tell a difference once it was cooked, and I felt better about having some extra veggies hidden in there. Next time I might add some corn, zucchini, and carrots, as I saw in one recipe online, to make it even healthier.

1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1.5 pounds lean ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 46 oz. bottle V8 Juice
1 15 oz. can beef broth 
1 packet Williams Chili Seasoning
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 cup elbow macaroni

In large soup pot, heat canola oil and add diced onions. Cook over medium heat until caramelized. Add bell peppers and cook a few minutes longer until softened. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, adding garlic at the end to avoid it burning. Add beans, tomatoes, juice, broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Cook 1.5 hours or more on low simmer. 10 minutes before serving, turn heat back up to small boil and add macaroni, stirring often to prevent sticking. Cook until macaroni is al dente.
Make it a little less healthy by sprinkling cheese on top and give it a side of yummy corn bread!

If you are not a macaroni fan, you might want to lessen the V8 and/or the beef broth to keep it thick. Then you could also finish it in the crock pot, which I don't think would work when you need to add the macaroni at the end.
If you can't find William's Chili Seasoning, then I'm sorry, because it rocks (so does their Chicken Chili seasoning). You're on your own for a substitute!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

October 15th is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, as officially designated by Congress in 2006. The movement that organized this invites everyone to light a candle at 7:00 tonight so there is "a continuous wave of light over the world." Each year, over half a million dreams are shattered. Out of 3.3 million born alive, some 30,000 die during the first 28 days. Another 39,000 babies are still born. Miscarriage occurs in fifteen to twenty percent of pregnancies, though many doctors estimate that number could be higher because so many losses occur before a women even knows she was pregnant. For more information, statistics, and help, also go here and here.

Part of the purpose of this day is to raise awareness of how common these types of losses are, and to help people understand that the loss of a child is devastating, no matter when it happens. For so long women were ashamed and silent, blaming themselves, and getting no support. Not enough research has been done on the causes. The answer most women get from their doctors is it was "just a fluke," just some messed up chromosomes, something that quite literally wasn't meant to be. Many doctors won't even run tests on their patients until they've suffered 3 or 4 miscarriages. 3 or 4 babies gone before they'll even check to see if something is wrong. By raising awareness, perhaps women can feel more support, doctors can become more compassionate, and science can figure out the causes.

I will be lighting a candle tonight for the child we lost to miscarriage in February 2007, as well as for all those who have lost babies. I am blessed to be part of an online community of women who have lost babies and supported each other through the grief, through subsequent pregnancies, some more losses, and beautiful babies. These are among the strongest women I know, so tonight I light a candle for them all.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Photo Recap

Yes, I am aware that aside from yesterday's post, I have been quite the slacker in the blogging department. There are a myriad of excuses, but none of them very interesting or exciting. As with every week of every diet I've ever been on, we'll take this Monday to start again. There are too many photos waiting in the wings for me to do a separate post about each event, but I thought I'd do a little photo recap so you can see what we've been doing lately. And by lately, I mean late summer/early fall. I know, it's ridiculous! Then I'll be all caught up and back to normal!

 To finish out August, we . . .

went to the park, where Daddy & Oliver ran the bases,

 practiced jumping, 

 studied our shadow, 

and sat in the swing.
In September, we . . . 

 went to another orchard,

 and ate lots of apples. 

We went to New London, 

on a beautiful day, 

where we walked around, 

 saw some pretty boats and a fort,

 and an old-time baseball game, 

and just hung around,

until we got tired and slept in the car on the way home.

Then we went to another orchard, 

 and picked more apples, 

 and posed for pictures,

and played in the dirt.

On September 25, we took advantage of a warm day and went to the beach, 
where we peeked at the water, 

 but decided looking for shells was more fun, 

 then got into our swimsuits, and tried the water again, 

 only to change our minds because the waves were scary, 

 and looking for shells is more fun,

 but we watched Daddy swim for a while, 

 and gave him a thumbs up, 

then went back to our shells. (Not pictured: the sandy picnic lunch we enjoyed ate.)

Yay! All done!! I'm caught up, well, through September at least. Soon to come, and I promise, very soon, posts from this month! With actual words!!