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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cameron's Cross Country Meet

Same place, same stinking hot temperatures...same determination to finish the race. Cameron was the 7th fastest time in the time trials last week, so he qualified to run Varsity this first meet. He was excited about that, but, like his brother, he wasn't thrilled with his time. I told him the same thing. You finished. You were running Varsity, as a Freshman, and you beat quite a few fellas. You did great. Worry about your time at a meet when it was cooler (AND when you are wearing your OWN running shoes...geesh...the kid had his shoes for less than 2 weeks, and LOST them before his first meet! Thankfully he (with the help of an older brother!) found them again.

Here a some photos of Cameron's race.

Caleb's Cross Country Meet

Wow. I can't BELIEVE this kid! Yesterday the temperature here was 85. The humidity was 97%. And the Heat Index was at 101! And they still had their meet. What dedication and determination. Caleb wasn't pleased with his time, but I just said "I'm proud of you for finishing that race! You can work on your time when it is a bit cooler!"

Here are a few pictures of Caleb running his race.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Shrimp Scampi

I haven't posted a recipe in a long while, and this is a family favorite. Imagine my happiness today when I read the recipe in my Quick Cooking 2000 cookbook and discovered that each serving is only 250 calories!

Shrimp Scampi

16 oz angel hair pasta
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper (or other seasonings)
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley, divided
2 pounds shrimp

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, combine the broth, garlic, lemon-pepper and 6 T. each green onions and parsley. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp; cook for 3-5 minutes or til shrimp turn pink. Drain pasta and place in a serving bowl. Top with shrimp mixture and remaining onions and parsley.

Now tonight, I didn't have any lemon pepper, or chopped green onions, and I forgot the parsley, LOL I just used the broth, garlic, and some italian flavored seasonings. It was great, and, as usual, there was NONE left in the bowl. We even had to scold Rachel at the dinner table for trying to lick her plate, LOL!

Good job Cameron!

Time trials were held on Thursday of this week for the cross country team. The top 7 runners will be running Varsity at the first Cross Country meet on Tuesday (I think?) of next week (I'm sure you'll see pictures!) Cameron crossed the finish line in the 7th spot. Woo HOO. He's thrilled to be running Varsity. Makes all those miles worth it!

Way to GO Caleb!

Ron and I attended an awards breakfast at the high school yesterday, where Caleb received an academic letter for his sophomore year! YAY Caleb! This will join the one he got last year for his freshman year.

He received super grades last year, while participating in Cross Country, marching band, jazz band, concert band, Show Choir Combo band, a play, track, and church/youth group activities!

Oh, yeah...this is the kid who came home the first day of school and said he wanted to drop Spanish III and pick up "something else". We said ok, and on Friday he said "OK. I did drop Spanish today." I asked "What class are you taking instead?" "Physics!" hmmmm...ok. Well...if that's the class you WANT to take...but whew...what a schedule!

Pre-Calculus/trig and Chemistry and Physics this year. What IS he thinking? But...he's a bright kid and we KNOW he can do it!

Week ONE down...

and what a whirlwind week it was for us all! I was awakened by a phone call on Monday morning saying that our first grade teacher had headed to the hospital with contractions at around midnight or so, and that I needed to come in.

Whew...we thought we had a couple of weeks yet, but God had other plans. So I spent my week trying to keep one step ahead of 21 busy first graders. I'm SO thankful for a great faculty and staff at the elementary school. They are a great resource and support for me in these situations!

We had open house on Thursday night, so that day I put in a 12 hour day! Wow...not used to that for sure! But all has gone extremely well. First graders are quite...challenging in a classroom, but we had a good week, and, while I'm positive that I'll be ready to hand the classroom back over to Mrs. H when she comes back, I think we'll do fine and keep things sailing smoothly while she's gone.

Cameron and Caleb survived a full week of High School, marching band and cross country. Rachel is having a great start to her 7th grade year, and Ethan...well...he's just being Ethan. Easy going, laid back, going to school 'cause he has to but thinking of 100's of things he'd rather be doing.

Oh, and then there's Ron. He's taken Rachel to orthodontist appointments and eye appointments, done banking, cooked a few meals, gone to Open House classroom visits (he even stopped in to visit MY room, hee, hee)...being an all around great dad...filling in when mom is too exhausted to think straight!

Life is good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Out of the Mouths of (not so) babes...

So lately it's been rare that we all sit down to dinner together, but tonight it finally happened. What a HOOT it was. Here's one conversation between Caleb and Cameron...

Cameron: "How many pieces of bread are we allowed to have at lunch?"
Caleb: "as many as you want, unless the lunch lady is standing at the counter...then you can only get two."
Cameron :"oh. It's really good if you rip off the crust and eat it, and then squish the bread in to a tight ball, and then eat that."
Caleb: "umm, yeah...or you could just butter it, and eat it that way."

Ron and I about fell off our chairs laughing. I don't know...maybe you had to be there, but something about the way Caleb said it...was just SOOO funny!

Caleb also rubbed it in that he was asked by his English teacher today "Caleb, to you have a little Freshman brother?" He thinks THAT is funny, but the next part of the conversation...maybe not so much. The kid sitting next to Caleb replied to the teacher "Yeah, and HE's annoying, TOO!" Mrs. R responded with "Well...that implies that Caleb is annoying, and he really isn't!"

hee, hee. I'd sometimes like to be a fly on the wall at that high school with these two boys there. It must be interesting.

Pickles, UPDATE

The final count is in...17 pints of salsa, 5 quart pail of refrigerator pickles, 14 pints of pickle relish, 15 pints of Spicy Dill Pickles (new recipe this year--thanks Kelly--they are AWESOME!), and 14 pints of Candied sweet pickles (MY favorites) get all the stickies mopped up off of my floor/stove counters...get the canners and all the tools put away, and to find shelf space for all the yummy goodies!

God has blessed us well this vegetable season!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pickles, Pickles and MORE Pickles

oh, and some salsa, too! Whew...

I'm SO thankful to God for all the kind people that share their produce with us! We've been blessed to have cucumbers coming out our EARS this season (and we LOVE cucumbers!) I've spent 2 days canning. Friday I canned 17 pints of salsa (Mrs. Wages mix, extra onion and jalapeno or chili peppers), and made a batch of refrigerator dill pickles. Saturday I canned 14 pints of pickle relish, and started soaking cucumbers in lime for the yummy bright green Sweet Pickles. Today I rinsed them, and am soaking them in ice water, before covering them with syrup. I'll update later how many pints of those I end up with. I am currently soaking cucumbers in ice water to keep them crunchy in a Dill Pickle recipe I got from my friend Kelly. I'll can those in a couple of hours, when they are done soaking.

Whew...hard work, but we'll enjoy the benefits of it for a long time to come!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

First day of School--Update

Well, it is over, with only 179 to go. (That just REALLY depressed Caleb and Cameron, LOL)

Caleb's report on his day went like this...
Mom: "Caleb, how was your day?!"
Caleb: "ok"
Mom: "just OK? Why just ok?"
Caleb: "because I just wasn't ready for school to start yet!"

The conversation with Cameron was quite similar, except that Cameron was much more...vocal...about not being ready. "MOM! It was a day of SCHOOL! How much better than 'just ok' could it BE?!"

But after I came home from the golf course, they were both excited about band (where Cameron sits directly in front of Caleb) and they enjoyed being together for that, and evesdropping on each other's conversations. They have band together, and the same teacher for their math and social studies classes. It will be an interesting year.

Rachel enjoyed being back together with her friends, but, like her brothers, was unexcited about being back in school. She enjoyed bringing homework home for me and Ron...from her English and Lit teacher. "In a million words or less, tell me about your child. What do I need to know to help him/her succeed in my classes this year".

Ethan had a good day. When asked "what did you like best?" he said, "We didn't have to do any worksheets or papers, because we had to fill in the rocks around the new playground equipment. THAT was fun!" At least it was better than multiplication or cursive, LOL. The cursive starts tomorrow.

I am thankful to God for the success He has given our children so far in school. They are all bright children, who have excelled in all areas. My prayer is for another successful year in school for all four of them!

First day of SCHOOL

It's here already! It's 8:29 am, and Caleb and Cameron have been gone for almost an hour, and Rachel and Ethan left about 15 minutes ago. I don't think ANYONE was excited about it. They all said yesterday that this summer went way to fast.

Caleb worked a LOT of hours at the swimming pool, and really enjoyed his job. From what I gather, he did a good job, too! He's already looking forward to working at the pool again next summer! His job kept him tied down so he didn't get to travel as much as the rest of us, but that didn't seem to bother him too much!

Ron and I cruised with Erik and Kelly. Rachel, Ethan and I went to Ohio for graduation and Rachel stayed in Indiana, while Ethan and Ron and I went to St. Louis. Cameron, Rachel and Ethan were in Nebraska for Phil's ordination, spent a week in Missouri with friends or cousins. Ethan went to church camp. We all went to Ohio for vacation, including a fun time at Kings Island. Cameron, Rachel and I went to Aunt Sue Ann's and Frankenmuth. Ron went to Houston. Caleb and Ron went to Orlando. We swam, fished, bowled, camped, and went to Lost Island...

well, I think we have to say it was a busy, but really good summer!

Here are their "first day of school" traditionally posed in front of Dixie's shrub!Caleb started 11th grade today!Cameron is a FRESHMAN!!Rachel started 7th grade!And Ethan is in THIRD grade!

Where DID the time go?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Countdown Begins

Summer's end is in sight. One week left. School starts one week from today. I don't think a single one of us is ready for that. It's been a good summer. Busy. But good.

I registered the kids last week. Ethan for 3rd grade, Rachel for 7th, Cameron for 9th and Caleb for 11th. Wow. Where did the time go?

We'll try to do a couple of fun things before school starts yet, but....Band Camp has started this week, and next week Cross Country starts...there isn't much time for us ALL to do something!

I'm sad to see this summer come to an end.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Newest family member

Rachel had money to spend today in Waterloo. Here's what she came home with. (Isn't he CUTE?????) Rachel's first comment once we got in the car was "I don't think Grandma Koch is going to be to thrilled about this!" LOL!

This digital scrapbook page was made from a kit called Lucky Star by Digital Design Essentials. I used a template by my friend Lisa Minor.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Home Again, Home Again it..."On the Road Again?" This summer it seems as if we are just constantly coming or going! of right now...there are no more trips planned! That is, til Ron's trip to Africa in a few months.

Ron and Caleb returned late Thursday evening from a wonderful trip to Orlando with the youth group. When Ron called me when they were leaving the airport in Des Moines, I asked how all the traveling went and he said "Good! And I think I have everyone that I left with!" Whew!

I left Saturday mid-afternoon for a quick getaway to Dubuque with some friends. It was a GREAT trip. Lots of laughter, shopping, sightseeing and good food. Here's a scrapbook page that I did of our visit to the Botanical Gardens in Dubuque.
We also rode a cable car from the bluffs down to the historic little shopping district. I thought it was cool. Denise and Jean were scared-y cats, though and didn't like it all that well (LOL!) Here are some picture of what we rode in/on.