Sunday, July 05, 2009

"I wanna eat da WHOLE ting!" ... or how I spent my 4th of July weeked.

This weekend's festivities kept our days pretty full. Here's a round up

In preparation for the annual 4th of July BBQ, Mina helped me wash some sparkly, outdoor glassware. You can find them at your local Target - home of all things sparkly.

They are just perfect for holding the beverage of choice for the evening - "Fresca sangria." Recipe brought to you courtesy of Eddie Ross. He just has the best ideas ever for entertaining. You must check out his blog.

I also borrowed shamelessly from the dear friend I wished I had - Barefoot Contessa. I decided to make her Flag cake. Finding a pan this big was fun. Mina came along for that ride too. I'm normally a HUGE fan of Barefoot Contessa, but I wasn't crazy about the way this cake turned out. The cake itself was a little dry - maybe I overmixed it with my broken ass mixer? And the frosting wasn't my thing either - it was a creamcheese base. Some people love that. I guess I don't. Not sure if it's a kid thing either... I might try something different next year.

I prepped the berries solo though - for reasons you will soon see. Go Costco!

We started the weekend off with a visit to the town carnival. Doesn't Jordan look like he's got this thing totally under control? These 4 year olds are just old hat at the merry go rounds now.

And Miss Mina, taking charge on the fire truck .

The helicopter - riding solo! I know these are baby rides, and nothing to fear. But I think we were still riding with him on it last year.

This thing is the belly of the dragon ride that spins around. Argh... just thinking about it makes me queasy. Some appropriate dragon faces .

Jeff couldn't resist the siren call of the deep fried oreo.

When he offered a bit to Mina, her response was, "NO, I wanna eat da WHOLE ting!" She takes after her father.

On the 4th, I woke up early and made it to the town's 5k fun run. I've been preparing for this for a few months now; and since it's the first time I've ever run, I was pretty excited.

At the starting line, I posed with my racing buddy, Nataliya - a two time winner in her age group. Don't I look happy? I was a little delirious from skipping breakfast. I just can't run after I've eaten anything, can you? What do people eat before a real race? I think I could skip eating for a 5k or even a 10k.. but beyond that, you have to eat something, right?

And we're off! I was trying to wave to the kids. Look at all the real runners setting their pace clocks. I was just excited I got there in time to get my free t-shirt.

I was also very excited about this picture. I'll give you a hint. Look at my legs. I know it's not nice to brag, but gosh that picture gets me all giddy. I don't see those kind of muscles in any other part of my body, so I'm gushing a bit.

While I ran, Mina and Jordan played at the park with Jeff, Grandma H and Michael.

As I approached the finish line, I kept my eyes out for the kids. Would they be excited to see me running? For months now, I've snuck out of the house to run at night - leaving the kids under the watchful eye of their father. Some nights, I'd have put them to bed already. But some nights, if Jeff got home early enough, they would still be awake.

"Where you going mommy?" They would ask.

"I'm going running guys. I'll be back soon. Daddy's in charge."

"I wanna run too!" they'd say. And then I'd have to run out the door, while pretending not to hear their disappointed little cries in the background.

I just had to do it though. I just needed those 40 minutes of running to get my head on straight again.


But, I hoped they'd get it. And it turns out, they did. As I approached the finish line, they came running out to meet me. Mina charged into my arms and Jordan grabbed my hand.

Together, we jog/walked to the end where they ripped my number tag off and told me my time.

Jordan skipped us along.

And we finished in 32 minutes. Which is 8 minutes less than my average.

Jordan celebrated with a mandatory warrior pose. I celebrated by plopping down on the concrete and guzzling some warm water.

That evening, I made up for my skipped breakfast:

Meet Jeff - the grill master.

While he sweated under the blazing afternoon sun, the kids played in the backyard.

We watched as they ate/didn't eat at the kids' table.

There was a whole lotta food that needed to be consumed - burgers, ribs, steak (not pictured - can only hold so much on one plate), roasted potato salad, Ashley's broccoli salad (thanks again!), and a new one Grandma H. tried - coleslaw with ramen noodles. Sounds odd, but trust me - it was good.

I had already frosted the cake, using Barefoot Contessa's recipe, but I saved the decorating for the kids. In hindsight, this may not have been the best idea ever. Some kids took it seriously, like Julia..

and her brother, David.

And some people just wanted to eat all the raspberries by themselves.

I hope you all had a happy and healthy 4th of July. Someone said, "Isn't it great to live in a country that celebrates its independence with barbeques, food, tossing frisbees, fireworks, and celebrating with family?"

I'd have to agree.
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