Thursday, July 31, 2008

Girls leave...boys stay

The Porter Girls are leaving tomorrow morning. Sommer is off to Florida for her final segment of the super 12 birthday fun with Aunt Lisa (they had planned on swimming with the dolphins in March, but had to postpone until this weekend) and I am off for my fourth annual women only beach trip (I can't believe this is our 4th time)!

The boys of the house will be left to fend for themselves...

Wrapping it again...

Here is something else to do with those lovely wraps from Costco:

Take some pizza sauce (or even speghetti sauce) and cover wrap. Add some cheese (very little, you will still see the red sauce, that is, if you want this to be good for your diet). Sprinkle a little Italian seasoning over top. I added some onions...

Put in oven until cheese melts (the little bit of cheese) and the wrap looks a bit toasty...

And there you have it, another good eating idea!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Swimming Ends

The kids had a great season of swimming. Sommer came out of the season with a strong desire to join the year round team so she can improve even more for next summer. Ethan broke the record for backstroke just last week, which was then taken back the following week at the divisional meet by his friend and biggest rival, Grant. They actually both broke the record but Grant was a tad faster (by .10). But he did end up getting a record with his relay team. He was thrilled to get an actual "record" at the team party. He also was chosen for a special coaches award (only three kids received these). During the "special awards," you could see Ethan with both of us hands with all fingers crossed just hoping for a medal! Wishes do come true!

Look at that haul of stuff Ethan got!
Tate was thrilled to receive his first trophy! He had a great time on the swim team and has become quite the ladies man. His two peer coaches just loved him (they are pictured above in the 2-piece swim suits).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's a Wrap!

Sommer, Garth and I are on a good eating kick! In all honesty, I haven't been that healthy of an eater the past many years. As the mother/wife, it seems that if the family is going to eat right, than mother has to eat right...darn it. It kind of goes along with the saying (which I do know for a fact is true but still bugs), "If Mom is happy, everyone is happy...and if she isn't...well everything falls apart."

Anyway. We have been eating good for 10 days! Of course we go off on the weekends, cause we are not that crazed. We have all three seen wonderful results. It is a lot of work I tell you. It is a constant job making sure that there is always food ready to go for lunch and dinner, snacks are available that actually taste good (but are under 100 cal) and everyone is happy about it.

I discovered a yummy lunch yesterday and Sommer and I have now had it for 3 lunch/dinner meals in a row. WRAPS! I bought the flat bread wraps at Costco. I add the following: honey dijon mustard, fat-free cream cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and chicken. WE LOVE IT!

If any of you have any other great meal ideas...please share. We are having kabobs tonight!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Record Breaker!

Ethan is a record breaker! Today at the swim meet he broke two records: 8 and under 25 Meter Breast Stroke and the 100 Meter Freestyle Relay 8 and under. He is an amazing swimmer.

Tate continues to get faster and faster too! He is the cutest swimmer before the start of each race. He stands on the starting line dancing each week before the gun goes off. Today they were playing "YMCA." During that number, he was shaking his bootay...

Sommer is tough in the fly and rockin' in the IM. She is all muscle and continues to improve each week!

Garth and I are exhausted watching it all from 7 am until 11:30 in 100 degree heat. Lovely.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Little Peek of Anchorage

Here is what you see as you are about to land in Anchorage, a little city nestled up against the Chugiak Mountains and surrounded by the waters of the Cook Inlet (empties into the Gulf of Alaska which is part of the Pacific Ocean). It is magnificent.


There are more than three million lakes in Alaska!

Most of Alaska is on Alaska Standard time, which is four hours earlier than the East Coast and one hour earlier than the West Coast states.

Temperatures and lengths of daylight in Anchorage vary greatly during the four seasons. As an example, here are temperatures and day lengths during the summer months just to give you an idea of how different a summer is in The Great Land:

mid-May: average high temperature is 54 F with 17 hours of daylight.
mid-June: average high temperature is 62 F with 19 hours 18 minutes of daylight.
mid-July: average high temperature is 65 F with 18 hours 26 minutes daylight. mid-August: average high temperature is 63 F with 15 hours 50 minutes daylight.

Alaska is the biggest state in area, covering 663,267 square miles. It is about one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States.The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times. Measuring from north to south the state is approximately 1,400 miles long and measuring from east to west it is 2,700 miles wide.

Alaska is less than 3 miles from Russia! This is the distance between Big and Little Diomede Island.

One half of Alaska's population lives in the Anchorage area.

Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined!

The largest king salmon caught by rod and reel weighed over 100 pound

Ahhh! I can't wait til August 15th!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mom and Me Week

I decided that this week would be the official "Mom and Me" week. I told the kids that they could each pick something they would like to do with me. We started it all off with everyone going together to House of Bounce. They had a super time. But I think each of our "dates" were even bigger successes! I hope to continue this tradition! What a perfect time to have special moments with each child.

Everyone/House of Bounce!

Calvin and Ethan/Laser Tag!

Calvin and Ethan both wanted to play laser tag. I was all over that idea! We spent the afternoon at Shadowlands in Chantilly. I wish I had pictures of our cool laser guns and packs. The first game was the best! I ended up placing number one and Ethan 3rd. Calvin was a bit upset by that. The next game wasn't as fun due to the huge amount of extra players. I only placed ninth...but Calvin ended up doing much more laser killing and placed 5th. We hit the local 7-11 afterwards for yummy slurpees and chips.


Ashton wanted to go to the library. He loves to do the myriad of puzzles they have in arms reach. It ended up being perfect timing after running into 4 friends that just happened to be there. He enjoyed seeing some of his buddies. We are going next week to participate in Alaska Day. They have a special guest that will be talking about our 49th state and doing a project. It will be perfect right before our trip there next month.

If only he had some M&M's to go with this book. He loves M&M's, so of course he loved this book!

Sommer chose to get her nails done. I was in desperate need of this activity! Sommer loved the back massage chairs and the lovely foot rub! Our toes turned out perfect.

Tate/Putt-Putt Golf

Tate wanted to go miniature golfing. We went to Broad Run for a fun but very hot and humid golfing excursion. I tried to give Tate a few putt-putt tips but he refused my help. He was struggling a little bit due to the fact he is left handed. I wasn't sure if he needed to hold the club with his left of right hand. It seemed that either way he looked awkward. After a few attempts at giving my opinions, I quit and just took pictures.

He had many colors of clubs to chose from. He went with a blue club and green ball. I got an extra blue one "just in case." Luckily I did that since they both were lost in the strange blue waters...we eventually found a net and caught a "red one."
I think his favorite part was jumping over these troughs of blue water. It was so hot, we were both wishing we could cool off in one of them.
Tate loves ice-cream. He picked "Swirleys" as his choice of ice-cream stops. He insisted I tried his oreo ice-cream cause "it was the best ever." He was right. It was the bomb.
Give a kid some ice-cream and you get this: Smiles and Sweetness (or at least until they get hot and cranky).

I had such a great time with the kids this week! Thanks for the dates.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Knew This Day Would Come...

It is official, my daughter is taller than I am. I knew this day would come but didn't think it would be when she was only 12. I am a mere 5'6'' and she was an inch shorter in March. I guess this means I will be the shortest member of my family in a few years. But for now, I will keep the number 3 position...

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Heart Anti-biotics

I have been sick for 2 weeks. I went to the doctor last Monday to see if I could get my hands on some good old anti-biotics. It was a failed attempt when I didn't pass the strep throat test and I couldn't pretend to be sick enough. She said to call back in a few days if things got worse.

Well, they didn't actually. She was right. Darn doctors...know everything. So for three days I felt great. Saturday, my throat started hurting again and chills came and went. Achy. You get the picture. I called her on Monday and SCORE, she called in a Z-pack without even making me throw away a good $20 on a co-pay.

I stood in line and downed my 2 first day pills cause I just couldn't wait another moment. I am sure I feel better already...but maybe it is just the fact I have my hands on those hard to get drugs.

Garth called from MN and feels icky too. I told him to try to call the doctor tomorrow and tell him in a very sick voice, "Well, my wife got some."

I heart anti-biotics.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fun at the Olson's Place

We had a great Saturday evening in West Virginia with our dear friends, The Olsons and The Hansens. The kids had a super time playing in their huge backyard, on the water slide, trampoline and basketball court. The adults enjoyed catching up, eating and eating. Garth and I were loving snuggling up with both of their 2 month old babies. The boys loved their bird (I can't remember what kind but man it was beautiful) and even though Ethan kept trying to pet it with a fast large hand thus frightening the bird to resort to biting him, he insisted on holding it on his finger and putting it on his shoulder. Calvin couldn't get enough of the pool table that turned into a ping pong table and tried to take Cynthia's title of , "West VA Ping Pong
Champ). They had a myriad of board games that my little boys were absolutely loving (since ours all are missing pieces/batteries. We really did have a great time! We are so blessed with such wonderful friends!

The only damper on the evening was during the ride home when Tate started screaming bloody murder from the back seat. "Bug! Giant Bug! Help me," he cried. Calvin yelled, "Help him! It is huge." Garth just about swirved off the road trying to talk Calvin through the process of killing the large (and quite disgusting looking) beetle that had invaded our car. After killing it, everyone was worried about "other" bugs that might be lurking in the darkness of our car (it was very late). Ethan was wimpering quietly about it and Tate refused to relax. I didn't say anything, but I was quite freaked out too, feeling strange "Phantom Bugs" sensations on my legs.

The ladies: Kathi, Heather and Cynthia
Kathi doing the most amazing back flip.
Ethan and "the bird," moments after the bird gave him a warning bite to "take it easy."
Ashton and the bird.
Trying to be cool.


Our kids are loving swim team! They love it so much I didn't even have to force them to smile for the following pictures. You can see the joy beaming from their faces moments after we woke them up at 5:30 am to get to the meet on time.

Funny thing is I happened to catch their true feelings about the early morning wake-up in each of their faces before I "asked them to smile." Check out those faces!

They really do love swim team. Sommer is 2nd or 3rd fastest in her age group for her team and Tate is swimming fast enough to get ribbons now (you have to place at least top 20...he got 4th last week). Ethan is ranked in the top 50 swimmers for the whole league in all of his events with 25th for breast! And I will confess, both Sommer and Ethan are faster than me! Sommer can't figure out while I am swimming laps why I am so slow. She says, "Come on Mom, you are the slowest swimmer I have ever seen." True. But my form isn't so shabby.

My First 50 Miler...

...and not my last. I went out with some of my runner/biking pals on Saturday to The Plains for a 50 miler ride. The furthest I had attempted had been a 26 miler. I was a bit nervous (probably due to the fact that 3 of these people pictured below are doing an Ironman next week: 2 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 run) about jumping up in mileage so quickly, but I knew I was in kind hands and no one would leave me least not for too long or until we came to a fork in the road. It was a tough ride going over the rolling hills of Bull Run Mountain but tough in my book is good. I hope someday to be able to get my own bike, but for now, I will use that as my excuse...I need a few of those right now.

Look at our cool shirts! Frank, on left, put these together.
New mph record for me on a downhill...35.4 mph. Check out my cool helment and gloves.
The final few miles and the only time we were really all together. I was usually huffing and puffing it up the hills or too scared to go too fast down.
I can't wait to head up to Alaska for my master class on biking from my brother Matt and now "super biker chic that beats most men in the field" sis-n-law, Tiffanie. I have to do all I can to get myself at least in shape enough to keep them in site.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Heel Saga Continues...

So after 12 weeks of no running, I gave it a try last week. It felt great during, not so great after. I went back to the doctor to figure out what my future might hold. He decided that putting me in a cast would be our next best attempt at getting me healed. He was going to cast my foot this week, but after I told him my Alaska plans (biking, hiking, fishing, etc) he decided to wait until I got back.

The last week of August I will be getting a cast put on for 3 weeks. Unfortunately it happens to be my right foot. Driving?!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bracket Buddies

Sommer got braces today! She was lucky enough to have one of her best friends with her to lend moral support during the placement of the braces. Felicia is just about ready to get hers off next month as Sommer just begins the 18 month process. Sommer was thrilled to pick out her first band colors, green, blue and white. I have already warned her against ever going with the halloween theme colors of black and orange. I obviously tried that combo before and regretted it after one day of black looking teeth...

Everyone needs a friend who understands...

A special thank you to Aunt Lisa who is providing this wonderful act of love for Sommer! She will be ever grateful (parents are too).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Fourth of July...Lake Anna Style

We had a super Fourth of July at the lake. Some of our friends came down for a day of fun. Even Lisa was able to join us and drove late into the night from New York to be there. Thank you Bruce and Donna for opening up your home & garage full of toys! We created some wonderful memories:

The kids and I headed to Lake Anna on Thursday to spend the day with Grandma. Grandpa had to be in Haymarket to teach banjo lessons. I figured since Garth would be out of town until late Thursday night, we should go ahead and start having fun a bit early. Grandma and I managed beautifully with all of the kids and had a very fun day.

On Friday, the day started bright and early and we were on the beach by 9. The lake was smooth, the water clear and the skies sunny. By noon, boaters were zipping along, kids were frolicking in the water and skin was beginning to sizzle. With waves choppy, we took our first riders out on the three man tube. I was the spotter and in perfect position to see the ladies being tossed wildly on the water. I was laughing so hard my cheeks hurt. The kids were next and loved it despite the wild water.

We all had a relaxing time chatting under the tents, enjoyed the crazy diving session and loved watching the kids play for hours (without fighting) in the sand.

Later that afternoon, we headed back to the house for a BBQ were we feasted on burgers, salads and huge cupcakes. Our dinner was cut short when omnious clouds began to form and thunder was heard in the distance. One large group, headed for the beach to gather tents, chairs, wave riders, etc and a few of us stayed at the house to get all of the remaining food inside. I was amoung the lucky ones who remained at the house. We were able to get everything inside before the storm came. Those that were at the water ended up getting soaked, strained and stressed trying to man handle all of the water toys in high winds with sand whipping at their faces.

Eventually everyone made it back safely to the house, albeit wet. We all stood in the garage watching fierce lightning crash above our heads.

We then put a movie on for the little munchkins. Grandpa began to put together a large airplane. Some of us sat and chatted. We then for some reason unknown, began to talk yoga which then led us on the floor strutting our yoga stuff...down dogs, warrior pose and sun salutations...

The night ended with the secret underground fireworks society putting on a fabulous show right outside the house.

Happy Fourth of July!

Splish Splash!

We had a splishing and splashing session at one point. Here are some of my favorite shots:

Garth going for the biggest splash...
He claims the head placement is an important factor...
Here is our friend Chris Wall in perfect cannonball form...
Aunt Lisa putting everyone to shame with her fabulous arched dive...
Seconds before Tate hits the water...

Fishing at the Lake

Calvin loves fishing. He spent most of his time at the lake catching fish. The only problem was his dislike for removing the hooks from the fish's mouth. The rule was, you catch it, you remove the hook...
Grandma didn't catch this fish...but she was kind enough to wrestle the catfish to remove the hook. No one else would do it.
We didn't have worms...but rolled up cheese and hotdogs were a hit.
He is going to be in for a big treat when he fishes in Alaska next month with Fisherman Extrodinaire...Grandma Novakovich! I think he will be a bit surprised when he realizes he can't just reel the fish in...he has to fight it in! YES! You read correctly, we are going to Alaska! I am taking Ethan and Calvin with me for a super summer visit to Alaska. We can't wait.

The Waterfall

After a cool dip in the lake, Tate and Ashton needed a little warming up. They loved sitting under the outdoor shower's waterfall.

An Old Married Couple

Ashton is very picky. He doesn't like everyone (I am sure he loves everyone, the liking part he finds a bit tough) but here is the special someone he really likes...Morgan. She is a bit older than he is by 3 years...

Here they are at the lake sipping juice boxes under the tent.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's Like Swimming in Figi Water

So I decided I would start doing laps at the pool during the kid's 15 minute required hourly break. I hope to get in 2 or 3 of these in per pool day. It worked like a charm today. I didn't hear any screams, fighting or craziness from the kids...but that could have been due to my head being under the water! I loved it so much! The sun on my back, the slow and steady stroke in the cool actually reminded me of Figi Brand bottled water. Have you had it? I had my first experience with it with Michelle last year in Arizona at the marathon. While at a gas station, Michelle purchased us each a bottle of it. Try it is hard to explain but it is soft. The water felt like it today. Click here to get the feeling or go swimming. Am I making any sense?