Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Atlanta 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer

I signed up for the 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer before I found out I was pregnant (which was a long time ago!). You walk 20 miles on Saturday and 10 miles on Sunday. Unlike the 3 Day Walk, you spend the night in a hotel. I did it last year, and I swore that I wouldn't do both days again (my feet were telling me that). However, the very next day, some of my good friends told me that they wanted to walk the next year. I completely forgot my misery (but for a good cause!), and told them I would be happy to captain a team. So, The Mamhandlers were born. We had 6 2-Day walkers (Shanna, Casey, Brenda, LouAnn, Tracey, and me) and 3 Sunday walkers (my mom, Susan, and Casey's mom- all the way from NJ!) on the team. We raised funds all year and were able to meet and even pass our fundraising goals- $1,000 for 2 Day Walkers and $500 for Sunday Walkers. The event was this weekend. Shanna, Casey, and I shared a hotel room Friday night. I love the night before a big walk--- eating PASTA! You have to carbo-load, right? Maggiano's made for a delicious dinner. We got up early Saturday morning to check-in and warm-up. At about 8, we started walking. It was really perfect weather- a little overcast and a bit cool. My plan was to walk 10 miles to the Governor's Mansion where lunch was on Saturday, and then I would walk the 10 miles on Sunday. I was doing pretty good, if I do say so myself- we all were enjoying all the "Brest Stops" (instead of Rest Stops) along the way. They reward you with stickers to put on your nametag- like a badge of honor. I loved catching up with Shanna (miss you!) and getting to know Brenda's sisters better, plus talking with Casey and Bren! Each stop had a reality tv show theme, lots of water and Powerade, port-a-potties, and snacks. I made it to about 8 1/2 miles when I decided Daniel and I had walked enough for the day. There are lots of sweep vans (also decorated- think of the theme here- everything revolved around a certain part of the female anatomy), so I hopped onto one at the next Brest Stop. The van cheerfully delivered me to the Governor's Mansion where I waited on my teammates. After lunch, I headed back to the hotel, while my friends continued walking. They did an amazing job! I am so proud of all of them. 20 miles is such a huge distance, and every step after mile 15 is one of pure determination. All the walkers ate dinner at the hotel, and then everybody headed off for an early night. All along, I was planning on walking Sunday, but I just did not have a good night Saturday night. Rather than pushing it, I decided to sit Sunday out (and it was not just to avoid walking through the Georgia Tech campus- kidding!). I went downstairs with everybody and cheered my friends on their way. The weather was even nicer than the day before- very overcast and cool- the perfect walking weather. The finish line was at Centennial Olympic Park, which is not where the hotel was. I drove the car and luggage over the the park so that we wouldn't have to worry about walking back to the hotel. Mom and Susan kept me updated on the progress of the walk. I met up with them at the World of Coke, which was just a little bit before the finish. They convinced me to cross the finish line with them, even though I felt a little bit like an impostor because I didn't do the whole thing. Oh, well! I did help raise money. After crossing, I cheered on everybody else who was finishing up. I know from last year that doing all 30 miles creates quite a feeling of accomplishment as you cross the finish line. I had an absolutely wonderful time, and all of my teammates were so great to me the whole weekend. Shanna and Casey are even talking about next year. I have to say--- I think I'm in- for the whole thing! It's a very emotional and very fun time. I don't think I've ever had another experience like it where everybody is going through the same thing, the same pain, for the same goal. Here's the website if you're interested in checking it out:


Carter is our almost 10-month old nephew. He was born last December 10. Because of him, Daniel will be one very well-dressed little boy! He's grown up so quickly. Matt and I were at the hospital to meet him pretty soon after he was born, and he's just doing so much now! I was at my parents' home with family (my Aunt Candy was in town), and I brought Maxer with me to visit. Carter was fascinated by this furry, close to his size creature. Despite lots of tail pulling and other "love" from Carter, Max did great. I think Pilot and Louie will do just as well around Daniel. That's my dad in the middle with Carter on the left and Bailey, our 10-year old nephew (we also have Thomas, who is 14), on the right. It's a house full of boys when the family all gets together.

Daniel's Nursery

Here are the latest pictures of Daniel's nursery. I spotted the palm tree lamp at Lowe's, and I thought it would go great on the end table. My grade-level is wonderful, and they gave it to me for a shower gift (that's a picture of us all at Park Cafe- a fantastic restaurant in old town Duluth)! Mom and I put it together, and I think it adds a fun touch. Mom and I also put together the mobile--- we felt pretty proud of ourselves. Those things have a lot of pieces, and we didn't use any foul language! I found a children's picture book that has several poems of jungle animals. I pulled out some that match the nursery, and Joann is going to mat and frame them for us. It's so nice having such talented family members! I'm really bad about finding things to go on walls, so I'm excited that I found some things to hang. After the pictures, the only thing the nursery needs is Daniel! It's hard to believe it's getting so close to actually meeting the little guy (I'm skipping over thinking about the actual birth right now!), and yet it seems SO FAR away! I go to the doctor on Thursday for my 38 week checkup, and I'll keep everybody updated. Matt and I were both early babies, so who knows? Maybe D will follow in our footsteps.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yellow Daisy Festival

I have looked forward to going to the Yellow Daisy Festival all year! It takes place the weekend after Labor Day in Stone Mountain Park. Hundreds of vendors (artists, crafters, jam-makers, potters, and everybody in between) come to set up booths. Thousands of people attend every day, and there are always some interesting new things to see. Mom, Casey, and I went Thursday after school. Thursday is the first day it's open, so it has lighter crowds and nothing is sold out yet. I ended up doing quite a bit of Christmas shopping (usually I'm a procrastinator!), so I was very excited. I could not leave without getting me a few little things, though... was there any doubt? At one of the very last booths, we noticed the most amazing thing--- they had taken a piece of rebar, added a few pieces at the bottom to create a few x's, and ended up with something really cool. You stick the welded bottom part in the bottom of a 10" pot and fill the pot with gravel to create a heavy base. Then you start sliding the holes in the bottom of 8" pots (already filled with flowers), tilting the pots as you go. You end up with a really neat potted plant sculpture. I asked the older couple who ran the booth if they had invented this contraption. Apparently, this concept has been around since the late 1800s, but the wife of this wonderful pair had put her own spin on it--- she said that men had designed the other adaptations, and they just don't think like women! She said something about not making it as tall, adding the pots after you've planted the flowers, and filling the bottom with pea gravel. This one was a better design, plus her sister welds everything- making it an all-women operation. I must admit, after putting 2 of these together, it was so simple. Even though I have nowhere near a green thumb, I'm going to try my best to keep these looking good! I'm already planning to use them for some herbs in the spring.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Gift from Louie

Louie is a character. He's a goofy dog with a lot of personality. He's the only one of our three dogs that will come up and try to "talk" to you. He gets your attention by barking at the top of his doggie lungs right next to your ear. He'll also make growly sounds, sounding very much like Chewbacca, to discuss something with you. Usually it means "give me some of your food" or "pet me". He really is a lovable dog. A month or so after we first got him, he brought me a single pine cone- brought it right into the house from outside and pretty much plopped it in my lap. He's brought me a few other things over the last year, but a few days ago, he decided to go above and beyond his initial offering. He knows our family is expanding, so this time he brought me the whole pine cone branch- complete with 2 pine cones. After I properly praised his hunting skills, he took back his offering (with my permission) and turned it into a doggie chew toy. Yum!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Night Before Coffee Cake

I got this recipe from my mom, and I made it for breakfast when Matt's mom and grandma were in town a few weeks ago. It's super easy and really tasty.

Night Before Coffee Cake

Like the name implies, you'll need to do this the night before. Spray bundt well with Pam. Put 24 frozen dough balls (find them in the frozen bread section in a bag-- each a little bit bigger than a ping pong ball) in the bottom of the bundt pan. Sprinkle one box of Butterscotch pudding (NOT INSTANT) over the dough balls.

Melt one stick of butter in a small saucepan. Add 3/4 c. brown sugar and 1 c. chopped pecans. Stir until well combined- I bring it to a simmer for a minute or so. Pour evenly over the dough balls.

Spray a piece of foil with Pam. Cover the bundt pan tightly. Let it sit out on the counter over night. The dough will rise and pretty much fill up the pan. In the morning, remove the foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.