Eliana is Five Months Old!!!!!

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Ohhh, Elly!  That’s what I often find myself saying to our littlest tot.  I set her down to try and get something done quick.  She promptly starts whining.  Ohhh, Elly!  haha  I sure do love holding this sweet baby though and wouldn’t set her down if I didn’t have to once in a while.  She is usually such a sweet, happy girl.

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Eliana is weighing 13 lb 12 1/2 oz as of this morning.  I’ll have to update where she’s at on the growth charts after her approaching doctor appointment.  Her “4 month” was scheduled a tad on the late side.

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A few 6 month, but mostly 6 – 9 month clothes are what Little Elly has been fitting into lately.  I need to go through her clothes (again – feels like I am constantly going through the kids’ clothes, moving old out, moving new in…. oh wait…. that’s because I am) as I have noticed she’s outgrowing the sleeves on quite a few things.

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Elly still eats about every 2 hours during the day.  She usually gets up around 6:30 or 7 a.m.  She crashes for the night around 7:30 or 8 p.m., although I wake her up to eat again right before I go to bed.  Our tot was doing awesome sleeping through the night for a long time, but once in a while she will wake up to nurse around 4 in the morning.  Of course, my sister jinxed us and after she told me her baby was waking up at 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., Elly did the same thing for a few nights.  I think we’re back to normal now, but I better not speak too soon….. haha

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When you’re awful sweet and patient, but Mama is taking too many pictures!  The yawn face kills me every. single. time.  THOSE EARS!

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Elly Hope thinks sitting is so much fun!  She can’t do it for very long, but loves to practice!

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Standing up so tall is a continued favorite pastime.

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Chewing, chewing, chewing on hands, toys – everything!  No teeth yet, but my girls are usually late in that area.

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Sweet lil’ pumpkin pie!

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All the frills!

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I still can’t believe I got two dress pictures where Elly wasn’t chewing on them.  This never happens.

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The face you make when your overly enthusiastic, big sister Evie is barreling towards you to give you a hug. hahahahaha

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Cuddles with Abby.❤

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There has been a significant change while carrying Elly around in my sling.  She still loves it, but I now have to be constantly on guard.  She is ever on the look out to kick or snag any and everything I let within her reach.  She loves nothing more than grabbing something off a table as I’m turning to do something.  She’s a quick, sneaky little bugger! haha

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This baby can be quite loud and expressive when she wants to be!

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Laughing is still super cute and the big sisters still have the best luck getting her to laugh.  Why are they so much more funny than me?!  Personally, I think I’m a riot.

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When Mama puts a cute hat on you….

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Somebody has been very excited about Daddy time lately!  She gets so giddy when she sees him after work.  I love it!

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Elly has been rolling around and scooting a lot more.  She easily rolls from her tummy to her back and loves to be up on her side.  Her squirming is quite impressive too.  If I set her down, she won’t stay in the same place for long!  She has definitely figured out that she can move.

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We went to the zoo a couple weeks ago and I snapped this picture on the train.  I love it because both girls are smiling and you can see how much they look alike at the moment!  Oh, and there’s a pretty handsome fella with them too.😉

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If I’m holding Elly while I eat, she thinks she needs to have some too.  I often give her really tiny pieces of things I’m eating.  She was hoping to swipe my bowl of apple oatmeal the other morning.  If that doesn’t make you feel guilty…..

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Sisters are the best!!!!!!

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Triple Trouble!!!

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Our baby girl loves swinging and stroller rides and being outside!  We are going to miss our summer days.

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Elle Babe discovered her feeties a few weeks ago and thinks they’re pretty great.

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I love spending time with our kids and this sweet baby always puts a smile on my face.  We are so thankful for you, precious baby!❤

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Bacon Cheeseburger Quesadillas

There are a couple of meals I make more often, but in general you won’t see a repeat meal around here for at least a few months.  I love variety when it comes to food!  I also love almost all food, and there are just not enough meals in the day sometimes to enjoy it all. haha!

I quickly realized I had not made quesadillas for waaaaaaay too long (if I’m remembering correctly, it’s been close to 2 years now).  Abby was almost beside herself with joy when these appeared for supper.  I don’t think this stopped the entire meal, “Mama, I am really loving these!  These are my favorite food.  These are just my favorite.  I am really liking these ‘dillas!  I’m just scarfing them and eating more, more, more!! etc.”  If you ask her right now what her favorite food is, it will definitely be ”dillas.”  She wasn’t the only one who enjoyed these.  They were pretty great!  Thanks to, Mantitlement, for the idea!

Bacon Cheeseburger Quesadillasbacon-cheeseburger-quesadillas

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 strips of turkey bacon
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas
  • shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef in olive oil until done.  Add in worcestershire, ketchup, cream cheese, and seasonings until well blended.  Spoon into a separate dish and set aside.

Use the same pan to cook the bacon strips until done.  Remove to a plate and crumble when cool enough.

Carefully use a napkin to wipe out the frying pan.  Put it back on the heat, melt some butter in it and set one tortilla in.  Spoon about a fourth of the meat and bacon on top.  Sprinkle with as much cheese as you like and cover with a second tortilla.  Press down with a plate.  Cook for about a minute and check.  If the bottom is done, flip it over and cook for another minute or so.  When done, set on a plate and start the next one.

One of the things I loved most about this recipe was the cream cheese in the filling.  It not only made them taste crazy delicious, but it helped the filling all hold together through the flip.  I have never made quesadillas that were so easy to flip!  I had very little filling spill out and it made me want to make this recipe again soon!  Hopefully it won’t be 2 years before I make these again.  They deserve to be eaten more often.🙂

Slow Cooker Mexican Haystacks

My favorite kind of food…. healthy and delicious!!  This is a also a great meal for anyone with kids because they can pick what toppings they want and, I can attest, may eat impressive amounts afterwards.  This idea came from Six Sisters’ Stuff and couldn’t be much easier.

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Slow Cooker Mexican Haystacks

  • 6 or more frozen boneless/skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 packet your favorite taco seasoning
  • 1 jar chunky red salsa (I used a 24oz jar, but less would be fine too!)
  • cooked rice (we like to use brown rice!)
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • corn
  • red bell pepper diced
  • onion diced
  • other toppings of your choice!

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Plunk your chicken in the crock pot and sprinkle taco seasoning on top.  Dump your salsa over the chicken, cover, and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.  Shred it up with a fork and keep warm while you cook your rice.  I cooked 2 cups dry brown rice in chicken broth (it really boosts the flavor!) and had to make one more batch for the amount of chicken we had.

Scoop some rice on your plate, add on the chicken, toppings of your choice, and enjoy!  We think all Mexican food needs cornbread on the side.  If you’re interested, this is one of our favorites: Buttery Corn Muffins.

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R Week

R Week…..  I keep telling myself better late than never with getting these up.  You’ll see how behind I am posting this when you notice we were doing 4th of July activities….. oops.  This was such a fun week though and I can’t wait to share some of our ideas with you!  There was one fail mixed in, but the girls didn’t seem to mind.🙂

R is for race cars and road!  I cut out some black strips of construction paper (road pieces) for Abby to glue inside her letter “R.”  Then she glued on some small, white rectangles to complete her road.  With the help of a few race car stickers, it was finished!

R is for Road

Although this lunch made me feel a little lame, the girls were thrilled with their rainbow lunch.  I realized after taking this picture that it would have been way cooler if I had arranged the food in the order of the rainbow.  I would have fixed it, but my girls were having meltdowns in the background while they waited, oh so patiently, for their food.  It was probably 11:30 a.m. for crying out loud!!

Rainbow Lunch

While we’re on the topic of food….  what better way to celebrate the 4th of July than by making festive rice krispies treats?!  The girls enjoyed whipping these up with me, although their real excitement shone through as I was dumping sprinkles on top.

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Rice Krispie Treat Cooks

Rice Krispie Treats are good!

That’s all I did here – made rice krispies, spread them in a greased dish, and poured on some blue and red sprinkles in rows on top.  We’re all about fast and simple around here.

4th of July Rice Krispie Treats

Fourth of July Rice Krispie Treats

Abigail’s tracer and handwriting “Rr” sheets.

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Rr Writing

What begins with the letter “R”?

What Begins with R

Since we have quite the herd at our house (haha… A really sweet, older man at church always asks us, “How’s the herd??” and I find it really funny!) and they are all on the young side, we opted out of fireworks again this year.  It’s a tradition we’d love to start up at some point, but really…. when at least 50% of our kids are going to be in tears the whole time and 100% will be on the drive home, well… it’s just not worth it yet! ha!  But, what is the 4th of July without some rockets?!  We made our own and enjoyed a nice daytime display (front row seats!) from our deck.  We used mini M&M containers and Alka-Seltzer tablets for this exciting activity found on Playdough to Plato.

Alka-Seltzer Rocketships

I broke the little, plastic connection piece between the lid and the container, so the lid could be completely removed.  Then I let the girls decorate their rockets with star stickers while I made the cone tops out of thin cardboard (cereal box).  I covered them in aluminum foil and used a glue gun to attach them to the end of the container opposite the opening.

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Alka-Seltzer Tablet Rockets

Alka-Seltzer Rockets

We headed outside for the rest of the experiment.  I taped an Alka-Seltzer tablet in the inside of each lid.  Then I held the containers while the girls dropped a couple teaspoons of water inside.  They popped the lids on, set them on the deck railing, and we all enjoyed the show!

Alka-Seltzer Rockets!Alka-Seltzer Rocket Ready

The best part of this activity is that you can repeat it as long as you want (assuming you have enough tablets!).  Until the tablet is gone, you can keep adding water and letting it blast off again and again.  You may need to eventually clean and dry the lids before continuing, simply because if the lid isn’t sealing well to the container the air will leak and you won’t get an explosion.  The girls had SO much fun with this and so did their parents!  We launched the rockets again, and again, and again!

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I thought this was adorable.  Abby came up with the idea of doing a rock science experiment, “because rock starts with ‘R’!!”  They filled their bucket up with water and took turns dropping rocks in to see whether or not they would float.  They were soooo excited to tell Daddy about their idea when he got home.  Too cute!  And yes, they were soaked by the end of this.

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We tried another experiment later in the week: Bobbing Raisins!

Bobbing Raisins

Before you laugh too much – yes, I know they are bobbing in a green liquid.  It’s some kind of carbonated green tea something or other.  All you need for this experiment is a carbonated drink (preferably a clear liquid like Sprite), raisins, and a clear glass.  We actually never buy pop and I didn’t see a way to get just one small can, and this tea thing was really cheap so I went this route.  We could still see through it decently.  The girls dropped their raisins in and then watched as they would bob up to the top of the glass.  Once they made it to the top, the little air bubbles sticking on them from the carbonation would pop and they’d sink back to the bottom again.  The girls would get pretty pumped when they’d see a raisin start its trek to the top!  Of course, this only remained a hands off activity for about 30 seconds. haha

Bobbing Raisins ExperimentBobbing Raisin

Rainbow bracelets were a big hit.  The girls each got to pick a pipe cleaner and thread on fruit loops (er…. fruit spins?).  When their pipe cleaners were full, I twisted them into bracelets and they got to eat their afternoon snack off them.

Rainbow Bracelets

Rainbow Bracelets are Yummy!Rainbow Bracelet

The Rustic Run was a fun race for Abby!  She enjoyed running it with two of her favorite buddies!

Rustic Run

This would have been really exciting, but turned out to be our fail. haha  The girls were going to make their own raisins.  They washed and plucked a plate of grapes and we set them on a plate to dry out.  It really was starting to work, but Cabz thought it took too long and didn’t want the girls to eat them by the time they were becoming raisins.  I think it would have gone better if I had a place to set them in direct sunlight.  Unfortunately, we didn’t really have a good spot, so it did take way too long.  Oh well.  The girls didn’t mind too much when I gave them a handful of raisins out of our container instead.

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Washing & Plucking

Washed Grapes

I love letting the girls paint, because they enjoy it so much, but I have to say I felt like a genius when I realized I could have them paint rocks OUTSIDE, in their swimming suits!!!!!

Rocks and Paints

Rocks & Paints

Rocks & Painting

I mean, how perfect is that?!  Go ahead, make a disastrous mess and then hop in your pool and the house is saved!  WINNING!!!!!!!

Rock Painting

Rock Painting is Fun

We read “Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister, followed by some celery/fish scale stamp painting.  It worked out well since I had some aging celery in the fridge I hadn’t gotten to.

Rainbow Fish

Rainbow Fish Painting

Last, but not least….  Balloon Rockets!!!!!!  We all loved this one.  It’s just so satisfying to watch the balloon go shooting all the way to the end of the string in a matter of seconds.  All you need is a balloon, tape, half of a straw, and a long piece of string.  I blew the balloon up first and had Abby pinch the end to keep the air in while I used a couple pieces of tape to attach the straw.  Then, I slid our string through the straw and tied both ends to stuff in our yard.  We blew the balloon back up and let it rocket to the other end!  I’m still curious how far it could go, because we ran out of longer stretches to try in our yard!  This, and the Alka-Seltzer tablet rockets were definitely some of my favorite things we’ve tried!

Balloon Rocket Launch

Balloon Rocket

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Eliana is Four Months Old!!!!

Daddy's Girl

Ohhh, this sweet baby!  She is so much fun and has the best faces ever!  If I had the time, I don’t think I’d stop staring at her cute lil’ face all day long!  I love her adorable round head and “elf” ears.  Seriously.  So.  Cute.

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This little pumpkin is weighing 13 pounds 3 1/2 ounces.  Elly has been nursing around 7 or 8 times a day and still enjoys her 3 naps.  Mornings usually begin at 7 a.m. and bedtime is around 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. depending on her last nap of the day.  She still fits a few of her 3 – 6 month outfits, but mostly wears 6 month clothes now.

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She’s been continuing to sleep really well through the night, although she’s been waking up closer to 6 a.m. for a morning feeding the last week or so.  She’s just so tiny when she’s asleep!  I can’t stop kissing and squeezing her!  The “fake sleep” face is still one of my favs.

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Silly Sleeper

Elly is following the trend of my previous two girls and enjoys being really loud at times.  When she gets started on an important chat session, watch out!

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Little lady hasn’t rolled over yet, but she enjoys rolling to her side and playing with her toys.  She’s been getting really into our toy syrup bottle (lid is part of the toy and doesn’t actually come off, so don’t panic) just like her big sister, Evie, used to.

Oh Bananas

Syrup

Standing up is Elly’s favorite right now.  She keeps her legs so stiff when she stands up that I can kind of make her walk around while holding her hands which I personally find hilarious.

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What the big sisters do, the little sister wants to do too!  Apples, apples, everywhere!  She loves when I slice straight down around a core and then let her chew on it.

Apples!

Hanging out outside is usually lots of fun!

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It can be very bright out there at times.

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Tummy time is fun for longer periods of time now, although when she’s done she’s done.

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I think we have a little hair starting to grow in, folks!

Pretty in Pink

Elly’s face can go from a complete expressionless look to the biggest grin ever in a split second.  I think it’s super funny.  The Bumbo can be pretty serious business some days.

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Her concerned face is too good to miss…..

Life Concerns

Big sister, Abby, is always wanting a turn to hold the babies.  Nothing will make Elly look way too big already faster than that.😦

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Baby Sister

Elly and Evie have been pretty good buds lately too.❤

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Look at this troublesome trio!  It’s a good thing they’re cute. haha

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I was talking to one of my sisters the other day and commenting on how interesting it is that I perceive my looks very poorly and struggle to accept compliments from others as sincere, but when it comes to my kids I have none of that!  To be honest, I think they are off the charts adorable!  I think the best compliment you can give me is to say they resemble me in some way because they’re JUST SO ADORABLE.  I mean, just look at this baby.  She can’t be any cuter, can she?!

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New Cloths

Eliana is definitely in the “fascinated by my hands” stage.  It’s hard to get a picture where she isn’t looking at or chewing on them lately!

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Oh, and putting a dress on Eliana is pretty much giving her easy access to a fun chew toy.  She looks adorable before she’s so coated in drool I have to change her though, so it’s worth it.🙂

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Sweet Baby Elle is usually such a happy girl.  She loves all the action around and we all love hearing her burst out laughing!  She is so much fun.  She has been enjoying listening to books more too!

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Our little monkey loves hanging out in her K ‘tan.  Facing out is her favorite!

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What happens when you have Daddy watch the baby for a few minutes…..

Nap Time

Snuggle Time is my favorite time.

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Our sweet, happy little baby!  We love you forever!

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Well hi

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Lovely Lasagna

Traditional Lasagna

I like lasagna because it makes a giant pan and lasts for a couple meals.  My oldest thinks I’m out to get her when I make this, because apparently making someone eat noodles smothered in delicious sauce, savory sausage, and gooey cheese is unkind.  *sigh*  Can’t win ’em all!  In spite of her opinion, trust me when I say this recipe is pretty amazing.  I think the sausage is what makes it taste one step above most lasagnas I’ve sampled.  I changed it up a tad, but thanks to Taste of Home for this one!

Lovely LasagnaLasagna

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 3 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce + 3/4 can water
  • 2 cans (6 oz each) tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cups (32 oz) 4% small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 10 lasagna noodles cooked/drained
  • shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese

I usually start by getting my noodles cooking.  Then, brown your meats together.  Once they are browned, add in tomato sauce + water, tomato paste, garlic, and seasonings.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until it’s the consistency you want.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs.  Mix in oregano, cottage cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Preheat your oven to 375.

I don’t like spending an hour making fifty cute layers with lasagna, so I do the minimal.  If layering is your thing, feel free to spend the time making it cute.  I dump half the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking dish.  I halve the noodles and layer half of them around on top of the meat.  Dump half the cheese mixture on top of that and spread it around with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle cheddar and mozzarella on top of that (I didn’t measure what I used, but probably around 2 cups?).  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Cover with aluminum foil and pop in the oven for 50 minutes.  Uncover and bake about 15 more minutes or cheese starts to brown on top.

The Best Lasagna

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Tug Fest Run

Around here there is a Tug Fest every year where two teams, the Iowa team and the Illinois team have a tug of war contest across the Mississippi.  There are a variety of activities surrounding this event.  The Tug Fest Run is one of those.  I’ve been trying to find more one mile races around, but most of them are kid centered because normal adults run 5K or longer. haha  Anyway, I decided to run this race along with a bunch of children just because, but our 3 year old really wanted to race with me.  Turns out, her excitement was too much for me and I decided to slow jog it with her instead.  She held my hand most of the time, but I did convince her to try running next to me for part of it.  She gets a little nervous in crowds and apparently didn’t trust me not to bolt and leave her in the dust.  Here we are before the race.

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I was pretty proud of her as she ran the whole way, stopping for a very quick sip of water at the halfway point.  She beat her last mile time by a little over a minute!  She ran right around a 12:30 mile.  She got a bit tired about 4/5 of the way through, but pushed through it and did awesome!  It looked like she was the youngest one out there, but she certainly wasn’t last! :)  After the race….

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All (children – boo) participants got a water bottle from Happy Joes filled with coupons, candy, a toy, and a running medal.  Abs was pretty excited about that, but gave me her goofy smirky prune face instead of a smile.  She’s been a twerp with pictures lately.  She wants to be in every one, but kind of forgot how to smile for the camera. ha!

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Some people have been wondering how my running is going.  I think it’s been successful since, after all, it is still going.  I have been running a mile every night (Friday is my night off and I look forward to it allllllll week).  My (runner) sister and her hubby helped me do some roll it out thing to stretch something that was causing me some pretty rough knee pain.  I know I’m being very descriptive here, but I can’t remember what they called it.  Regardless, it has helped a lot and my knees very rarely give me pain anymore!  That is great, but I still don’t like to run. haha  I do it for the workout, the good feeling afterwards, and mostly the weight loss.  I’m down 13 lb since I started running a few months ago.  It feels like slow progress to me, but I am glad it’s happening!  I’ve been feeling better about myself and am excited to lose 9 more pounds and hit my goal weight!  If that happens, I will start cutting out running if possible. hahaha!  I’ve only had my beloved ice cream on three occasions, helped eat one batch of brownies, and am trying to overall snack on fruits and eat less at meal times.  I also still drink my keifer and enjoy my bedtime bowl of popcorn (popcorn popper style – microwave tastes nasty, and I’m liking the non oily popper vs. stove kind).  If the pounds get harder to lose, I will probably have to be even more careful foodwise, but since it’s working for me now, I’ll stick with the current routine.