LDRICHEL   48,747
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Blessings All Around!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

The past month has been, hands down, THE most stressful of my entire life. We moved (which was wonderful, but it's also one of the most stressful things a person can go through) and RIGHT after that, this happened:



The whole one car situation has been a friggin nightmare that only ended yesterday when I FINALLY replaced my Rav4 (more on that in a bit). But, even in the stress of the crash (everyone was totally fine BTW), we were blessed. The accident was the other driver's fault. Their insurance claimed all liability. My car was totaled and, get this...the insurance company cut me a check for $2800 MORE than I originally paid for my car almost two years ago!!!!

So, my ridiculously intelligent man scoured the ads and was able to find us a 2004 Dodge Durango - fully loaded with Infinity Sound System, Sunroof, DVD Player, brand new tires, a tow package (we hope to buy a boat at some point) and the best part - it's 7-passenger! No more freaking annoying fights over who gets to/has to ride in which car with who. Thank the Lord in heaven!!!! It's a sanity saver!!!! And it's GORGEOUS!







And YET ANOTHER blessing...Mr. T FINALLY found a job in Bloomington! There's a brand new pre-Prohibition craft cocktail and small plate bar opening. It sounds really cool - they have a very small local fresh farm ingredients menu and it will be the first place in our city to have wine on tap! It is set in a little plaza with a fountain that is supposed to feel like an Italian piazza. It's VERY high end and they don't expect a student to set foot in that place. Looking at the prices on the wine list, I can see that! Lol.











He happened to hear about it, contact the manager, interview and get hired on the spot...all in one day! He is now the Head Bartender...with the very real possibility of transitioning to Bar Manager once they get fully moving. (They aren't open yet...a couple more weeks.)

Mr. T has done plenty of gigs on the side in years past (not really anything since we've been together). It's never been full-time or anything, though. He just really loves mixology and fresh craft cocktails. He makes his own liquors, creates his own drinks and seriously nerds out about the history of this stuff. The ironic part is...he hardly ever drinks!! And, if he does, it's never much. I've never once seen him drunk. Hmmmm.

So, why would a man leave a cushy, full-time job at a law firm for a bartenders gig? And why would his wife LET him? [It's a fair question...and one that was, indeed, answered (negatively, go figure) in his past awful marriage]. The answer is passion. For a man that works so fu&%ing hard to care for our family...who drives 1.5 hours each way EVERY SINGLE DAY to earn a living and, let's be honest, essentially care for TWO families...I saw the gleam in his eye and heard the excitement in his voice and I could not look this man that I love in the eyes and be so cruel as to say, "No way. You can't do it." I will not crush my man's dreams. It's not my style. Instead, I said, "This is PERFECT for you, baby!!!! Go for it!!!" Plus, it helps that I also hold a degree and work a full-time job like a grown-up. So if this falls flat, we will still be fine financially. Why WOULDN'T I let him follow his heart on this?

To be fair, it is great logistically. Great hours - basically 2nd shift & closed on Sunday (none of the closing at 4am crap that you get with on-campus bars - it has regular restaurant hours), full-time work (none of the cutting hours and waiting for weekly schedules like at other food service places) and opportunities for advancement. And...it's here! AT HOME!!! I am SO THRILLED to be able to see him in the morning and have him here!!! And, who knows how many lunch break quickies will occur? Lol. TMI?

He has been transitioning and working half days in Indy and half days in Bloomington. That goes on for one more week. Then he's all in! He had his first two days and I'm not kidding, he came home GIDDY...he LOVES his job, his co-workers, his bosses and the entire place. He fits right in and it's the perfect job! I have never seen a man SO happy!!!

Plus...I get to see him in a uniform of dark slim fit jeans, a light blue shirt rolled to the elbows, black suspenders and a bowtie. Rawr. Hot.

Blessings all around!!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIPPER15 8/28/2014 11:40AM

    When my husband told me he wanted to quit his job and I said yes, he was shocked. But it was a good move all around and we are a lot happier now! He has a new job, that his boss came and sought him out for, and he loves it. Happy husband, happy wife, happy times (wink, wink). emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 8/12/2014 8:51AM

    emoticon emoticon
Absolutely fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THIS NEWS all the way around!

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ISLAMOM 8/10/2014 11:18AM

    Glad you are able to see the "good" in everything that happens. That's life! We all have our ups and downs, but it's what we do with them!!

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KRYSTALLA 8/9/2014 5:13PM

    Sorry you had to go through such a hard time. Glad everyone was okay, after the accident. Congrats on the new home and on his new job, it sounds like such a great fit for you both.

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LINDAK25 8/9/2014 1:51PM

    Wow, that really was a stressful month! Glad everyone involved in the accident is okay. Congratulations to Mr. T for finding a great job. It's wonderful to be able to follow your dream.

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CINDHOLM 8/9/2014 1:21PM

    emoticon

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MSTWOMOONS002 8/9/2014 12:26PM

    Prayers are answered, glad no one was hurt in the accident, glad about the new vehicle & insurance. Truly many blessings surround you.

You are a beautiful wise woman to stand by you man and allow him to be happy following his heart to his "dream job" when you go to work everyday and it doesn't feel like work you know your following your bliss, you were so right in setting such a good example.

Your home will be so happy for all these blessings bestowed upon you.

Take care & be well follow your heart & bliss and amazing things will happen.

Many Blessings Always Debby emoticon

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LIZSPRINGSTEEN 8/9/2014 11:35AM

    So thankful for your blessings!!

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PATTISTAMPS 8/9/2014 10:37AM

    I am just grinning after reading this! AMEN! What kind of person squashes the dreams of the person they love??? It isn't like he isn't going to work - bartending is hard work! But to be happy to go to work every day, and to cut your commute at the same time... well, who wouldn't want that for their love? BTW, I did something similar for my DH 23 years ago, and do not regret one minute! He hated his work, made great money, but besides hating it, they were pressuring him to move to HQ in Boston. He wanted to finish his degree. He did. Then we moved to FL, and he got his MBA. Honestly, he has not "worked" since then... he has managed his stock portfolio so that there has been money to pay the bills every month - and our home will be paid off in 4 months, we have no car payments, nothing except what we spend in that month on our cards. He is 70 now, and we are pretty sure we won't have to eat dog food as we get older. And he is happy - which makes me happy.

Love your new wheels! Woo Hoo!!! Enjoy!

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PATTISTAMPS 8/9/2014 10:37AM

    I am just grinning after reading this! AMEN! What kind of person squashes the dreams of the person they love??? It isn't like he isn't going to work - bartending is hard work! But to be happy to go to work every day, and to cut your commute at the same time... well, who wouldn't want that for their love? BTW, I did something similar for my DH 23 years ago, and do not regret one minute! He hated his work, made great money, but besides hating it, they were pressuring him to move to HQ in Boston. He wanted to finish his degree. He did. Then we moved to FL, and he got his MBA. Honestly, he has not "worked" since then... he has managed his stock portfolio so that there has been money to pay the bills every month - and our home will be paid off in 4 months, we have no car payments, nothing except what we spend in that month on our cards. He is 70 now, and we are pretty sure we won't have to eat dog food as we get older. And he is happy - which makes me happy.

Love your new wheels! Woo Hoo!!! Enjoy!

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BOILHAM 8/9/2014 10:36AM

    Cloud with a silver lining. Suspenders are cool, I wear them. :) emoticon

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ALICE_TENNIS 8/9/2014 9:22AM

    Wow -- glad that so much stressed turned into opportunities for blessing! emoticon

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HOLLYM48 8/9/2014 9:20AM

    Glad everything turned out ok with the accident. The wine bar looks beautiful, I would totally check it out if I lived in that area.
best of luck on everything. Passion and loving what you do in life is such a huge part of fulfillment so I hope this works out perfectly for all of you!

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MOM-MOM8 8/9/2014 9:06AM

    So much going on! Your accident sure was a God sighting. So happy that all is working out well for you and your family!! emoticon

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Home, Sweet Home!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yes! THIS!!!



Lord knows they NEED to see what a strong, intelligent, independent hard-working woman looks like...and I'll make damn sure that whomever they marry is just as competent and whole a person as well!

Can't wait to see my bonus boys this weekend. We had such a great time last time they were here. We really got close...A looked at me in the car on the way home and said, "Leah...I love you." Looking forward to cuddles and fun times in our BRAND NEW condo!!! So excited to have a HUGE and beautiful new home for our family!!! We moved on Saturday. It's been a GRUELING weekend, but we got it all moved over and completely unpacked in two days. Whew!




Main Level looking out onto balcony




View from balcony


From basement (aka Mom & Dad's Room) looking onto patio


View from patio


Living Room/Dining - you won't believe this. We live a block away from the Habitat for Humanity Restore & we got this couch for $18 and computer desk for $8!!!! We also carried the couch from the store down the block to our condo. Lol. It was hard. We have some big time muscles.


Stairwell up to the Kids Wing


Boys Room (with crystal in the window, natch)


The most organized it's ever gonna be.


Hallway from Boys Room to Girls Room




Make-up counter!!!


From Girls Room to Boys Room

Mr. T and I also LOVE our sex dungeon (er, bedroom). Haha. It's the ENTIRE basement...so it is HUGE. We are still working on decorating, etc. Hence, no photos yet.

Our friend brought us lunch Sunday and brought her precious 5-week old baby. Be still, my heart!!!


By the way...that sexy man has lost so much weight! He is at the same weight now that he was when we first met and fell in love...in high school! When we were 16 yrs old. He has gone from a Size 38 in pants to a Size 32. And the other day, he wore his 11 yr old son's Size 28 jeans. !!!!! Crazy!!!! He looks absolutely amazing and I am so proud of him!

I just need to catch up with him now!!! Got about 3 weeks til my final fitting and the day I HAVE to order the wedding dress. Otherwise it won't arrive in time. I can't believe the wedding is only 158 days away. Put another way, just 22.5 weeks. Eeeep!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEAU2010 7/27/2014 3:24PM

    emoticon So happy for all of you!

My stepmother is my best friend! She was a firm and loving stepmother as I was growing up and now that I have sort of done so, our friendship just deepens as the years go by. She more than makes up for my mother who chose not to be in my life.

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ISLAMOM 7/23/2014 7:11AM

    congratulations to you and what an exciting time....enjoy every minute!!

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KAYATLANTA2010 7/23/2014 5:33AM

    What a lovely home! So happy for you and your family!!!

Kay

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KIPPER15 7/22/2014 7:56PM

    Great looking new place! The kids will be happy! emoticon

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ALICE_TENNIS 7/22/2014 6:36PM

    The kiddos are fortunate to have you in their lives.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

They're going to learn a lot about healthy body, healthy mind, healthy relationships from watching you!

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MSTWOMOONS002 7/22/2014 12:30PM

    Many Blessings to You Mr T & the kids. May your home be full of love, laughter, trust, kindness & compassion, forgiveness . When or if a conflict arises may you have the strong conflict resolution skills to deal with the situation, so no room for anger, jealousy or negative energy in your life or living space. No bad ju-ju, no bad karma just joy & learning to love with an open heart.

As for your lovely wedding, it is going to be fabulous; You are going to be a beautiful bride. You both have worked very hard to get to your wedding day, it will be magical. I wish you all the happiness you both can embrace. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Many Blessings Always Debby

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MINEA999 7/22/2014 12:07PM

    Love your new place! It's wonderful! Congratulations.

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CINDHOLM 7/22/2014 11:52AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PATTISTAMPS 7/22/2014 10:48AM

    Wow! Love your new place! I know you will love living there - the lovely area behind the house is calling for your kids to come and play! I did an appraisal once of stuff that was being donated to Habitat - kitchen cabinets by Jack Busby (very famous, fabulous and waaaaayyyy out of my league!) lovely stone forming a stone floor. It made me realize that you don't get junk there! (I personally have my BFFs old sofa that didn't fit in her new condo, and I love it! Soft leather, and comfy... would have been our of my budget, as I think they paid several thousand $$ for it! YIKES!)

158 days... I can't wait to see the photos. I am as excited about your wedding as I am about any I actually attend! You have waited your whole life for this one!

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MOMMINATOR 7/22/2014 9:57AM

    Lots of excitement happening!
Congratulations!


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LINDAK25 7/22/2014 9:49AM

    Congratulations on your new home! That's fantastic. Sounds like you've bonded with your bonus boys. You've already made a difference in their lives.

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OLIVIANIGHT 7/22/2014 8:07AM

    Oh your place looks SO beautiful!

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TORTISE110 7/22/2014 7:27AM

    Congratulations!

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SNOOPYLINKOS 7/22/2014 7:27AM

    How exciting for all of you! I bet you were cute walking down the street with the sofa! Enjoy the new surroundings!

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REGILIEH 7/22/2014 1:10AM

    Love your new home!

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ROXYCARIN 7/22/2014 12:59AM

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ZRIE014 7/22/2014 12:47AM

  have a good day.

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WEARINGTHIN 7/22/2014 12:43AM

    Sounds like a very happy time for you. Glenn

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FOCUSD 7/22/2014 12:38AM

  Delightful blog. So happy for you!

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Little Swimmer & 4th of July Fun!!!!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Well, A achieved his goal and he and I swam an entire half mile alongside each other on Thursday. I was so proud of him! I could see that, after three days of swimming, his endurance was better and he was doing two full lengths and barely getting winded. He bragged to everyone that he swam a full mile this week!



You know what really ticked me off, though? At Day Camp, he asked his counselors if he could swim laps during pool time and they told him he couldn't because they don't want "immature swimmers" in the lanes. He told them he swam 1/4 mile two days I'm a row and wanted to reach his goal of swimming an entire half mile and do you know what those jerks told him??? "I don't think it's possible. You won't be able to do that." Omg!!! FU%&ERS!

Anyway, he DID it and it was POSSIBLE. SO THERE.

We had a lovely 4th of July. Took the kids to a great parade and then to Lake Lemon for swimming and a picnic dinner and fireworks.

Occupy Bloomington (with my friend, Mary, and her 7 kids)
















  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIPPER15 7/7/2014 8:56PM

    Well done A!! Lovely firework pics!

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LINDAK25 7/5/2014 10:30PM

    emoticon emoticon He did it! Fantastic!

Looks like you had a great 4th of July. You got some great pictures of the fireworks, too.

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KRYSTALLA 7/5/2014 5:50PM

    emoticon

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CINDHOLM 7/5/2014 3:51PM

    emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 7/5/2014 2:40PM

    How very cool! That young man is empowered now~! emoticon

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MSTWOMOONS002 7/5/2014 2:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Thanks for sharing your wonderful blessed 4 of July picnic Congrats to A what an awesome accomplishment, more & more experiences like that and we'll see him in the Olympics--Move over Michael Phelps. A's going for the Gold

That lake looks mighty inviting to a desert rat like me. Take care & be well

Many Blessings Always Debby emoticon

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PATTISTAMPS 7/5/2014 10:43AM

    What a wonderful 4th! You are building such memories for each of your family members! Including yourself! The camp counselors are obviously afraid of any liability, so telling him he couldn't do it was an easy out for them. However, you may wish to discuss with them that a more reasonable response would have been that we are not allowed to have swimmers younger than or smaller than XYZ to swim laps. Probably a truthful answer, and certainly better than "no way"... donkey heads! (substitute any other appropriate words there... LOL)

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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YOGAGIRL289 7/5/2014 10:30AM

  Congratulations to A on his great accomplishment!

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ALICE_TENNIS 7/5/2014 9:35AM

    Your son just learned the valuable lesson that there are always people who tell you, "no, you can't do that" which means you just go out and prove them wrong. emoticon

I'm glad he's got you "in his corner", cheering him on. Your success & commitment inspires others!!


p.s. Your fireworks photos are great! You're quite the photographer!



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HOLLYM48 7/5/2014 9:27AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Thanks for sharing your awesome day with A and your fun evening!

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REGILIEH 7/5/2014 9:17AM

    A perfect family day!

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TIMEHASCOME56 7/5/2014 9:16AM

    I can tell you all had a great time emoticon

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More Bonus Boy & Veggie Food Pics!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Well, if you read yesterday's blog, you'll be wondering how A is doing with his "training". We went to the pool today and he and I swam laps together. He got his 15 lengths in (another 1/4 mile!) and I got my 30. We had so much fun together and he was even more proud of himself today than he was yesterday! He SHOULD be proud! It's a BIG deal! He is DETERMINED to swim a full 1/2 mile tomorrow. Ay, the energy of youth! My body is like SERIOUSLY SORE, you guys!



We've truly had a great week together! On Monday, I actually picked the boys up from Day Camp and surprised them by taking them out for frozen yogurt. We took a lot of funny pictures and I posted them on Facebook with the following captions....


Torturing the bonus boys and making them eat frozen yogurt and ride waterslides. #EvilStepmother #Mwahahaha




The torture continues... #EvilStepmother

That night, a very happy and tired A gave me the sweetest hug and said, "You are the BEST stepmom. You are NOT an evil stepmother."

He and I have really bonded a lot this week. It's been a perfect past few days!

Mr. T and I have stayed true to our vegetarian diet for the past couple weeks. Thought I'd share some more delicious pics. It has been anything but boring and we haven't really had any cravings for meat or anything. Granted, we have had a harder time letting go of dairy completely...in fact, still working on that. But we have SIGNIFICANTLY cut down on the dairy, so baby steps. Right? :) One more week and it will be a habit!

Tarragon roasted butternut squash and red onion, with sauteed kale and red wine reduction over whole wheat pasta (a Mr. T custom creation)



Chana Masala (aka Chickpea Curry) with homemade Naan



Curry Roasted Butternut Squash and Toasted Coconut with Spicy Peanut Sauce over Brown Basmati Rice (a Mr. T custom creation)



Fresh Spring Mix & Spinach Salad with Cucumber and homemade Red Wine Vinagrette with Roasted Butternut Squash & Garlic on top of Sauteed Kale and a sprinkle of Mozarella (a Leah day-before-payday-using-all-the-veggies-we
-have-left-in-the-fridge custom creation)



And my personal favorite this week...it was SOOOOOO good and even better leftover!

Polenta Black Bean Burgers on Toasted Ciabatta served with Guacamole and Grape Tomatoes and Roasted Butternut Squash, Zucchinni, Tomatoes & Onion



Every day, we think of more creative recipes and everything we have had has been filling and delicious. I never imagined this sort of diet would be this amazingly yummy and easy to follow. You just have to have plenty of variety and creativity!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIPPER15 7/7/2014 8:55PM

    emoticon So glad the boys are bonding

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JUNEAU2010 7/3/2014 11:03PM

    What a great week! Between the bonding and the food - woohoo! My stepmother is fabulous! You will be so for those boys!

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CINDHOLM 7/3/2014 5:50PM

    emoticon

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MSTWOMOONS002 7/3/2014 2:01PM

    WOW you are doing so good, I'm about a week behind you, Cheese is the hardest thing for me to just cut out, yet I'm doing it. I don't miss the meat either. It's just a little hard to cook for one, my hubby's not all in on this more plant based diet. Which is fine for him.

I feel better, cleaner, the first few days I had what I termed as a detox headache, thankful that's over. I can hardly wait for payday so I can go get new vegi's & grains at the health food store.

Thanks for sharing the photos the boys look like they really suffered, LOL Glad to hear your swimming again. Hope you both form a lasting bond for life.

Take care & be well have a happy weekend enjoy the 4th emoticon emoticon

Many Blessings Always Debby

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ARUNNINGKAT 7/3/2014 12:55PM

    So glad you are having fun with the bonus boys! Love the photos! They look like they are full of personality!

Your food looks so delish!

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PATTISTAMPS 7/3/2014 12:49PM

    I am SO not a fan of veggie burgers, including the ones made by my friend's company, Bahama Rice Burgers. BUT... those black bean Polenta burgers sound YUMMY! And I love all the creative ways you are using squash!

Those boys are so special! And the fact that you get to bond with them with and without your birth kids makes it even better. They obviously have a lot of fun with you, but it seems like they also respect you, and that is great. You are doing a great job with merging your families!

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ALICE_TENNIS 7/3/2014 11:09AM

    making memories with your kids!!!!! emoticon

The food looks A-MAZING! You're doing a great job of keeping it interesting + making it tasty + keeping it simple. Hope you're enjoying your success all around!

Happy Fourth of July! emoticon

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WHITNEYLD 7/3/2014 9:17AM

    Interesting recipes!

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OLIVIANIGHT 7/3/2014 7:13AM

    Good grief, those photos could turn the most hardened meat-eater vegetarian. They look awesome!

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ALICIA214 7/3/2014 12:57AM

 

There are so many more tasty veggie recipes available now we can enjoy meals without meat and not miss it..


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REGILIEH 7/2/2014 10:27PM

    The food looks incredible!!!

Bonus boys are so cute!

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LINDAK25 7/2/2014 10:24PM

    Great that both of you are getting in your laps! Fantastic!

Ha! I love your evil stepmother pictures. So funny! It's fantastic that all y'all get along. Good for you! Oh, that food looks so good. (Fix me a plate, I'll be right over.) My husband likes to make curry with cauliflower. I love chickpeas, too. Have you ever tried socca--it's a crepe made with chickpea (graham) flour. Yum.

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My Stepson, The Hero!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Had to pick up kids from Y Day Camp today and decided to let them swim for a bit. My goggles were broken, so no freestyle for me.

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However, instead of lounging in the hot tub, I swam 1/2 mile backstroke instead. Whoa! That was a whole different workout! Shoulders shoulders shoulders!!!

The best part, though, was when I told my stepson, A, that I swam 1/2 mile, he was so impressed and wondered if he could do it.

After a few lengths of the pool, he exclaimed, "This is ADDICTING!" So, for the next half hour, I watched this rather uncoordinated asthmatic kid determinedly struggle up and down the lane 15 times. HE SWAM A QUARTER MILE!!!!

AND, all on his own, he devised a "training plan" to swim 1/4 mile today, 1/4 mile tomorrow and a full 1/2 mile Thursday (for a total of 1 mile this week). It was so adorable. He asked, "Leah...can we swim laps together?" Awwww! The kid is only 9 yr old. I AM SO PROUD OF HIM!!!!

There's nothing I love more than seeing an active kid - especially when it's a kid who has not had the best examples in terms of adults who model healthy behavior. In fact, downright TERRIBLE examples of health...obesity in this house and awful sickness and morbid obesity in the other. UGH. But I love that we are now getting healthy as a family. And I know we have a LONG way to go, but at least we are headed in the right direction!

I've also just been informed that lap swimming is THE best exercise and activity for kids with asthma! Perfect! It was so meaningful and special to watch the switch flip in his mind and to see him get a little spark of passion for something. I know that if he keeps going, he could improve his form and who knows? Ironman someday???

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The rest of the night, he was just on Cloud 9. He kept hugging me and saying over and over, "You are so awesome! Leah, you are so awesome!" It was really precious.

It just goes to show...people are watching. And you may inspire someone when you least expect it...after a regular old, non-PR run-of-the mill workout.

Get out there and do it!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIPPER15 7/7/2014 8:51PM

    emoticon

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BESSHAILE 7/4/2014 6:45AM

    Way to go! Both of you.


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ARUNNINGKAT 7/3/2014 12:51PM

    That is so wonderful! emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 7/2/2014 8:16PM

    I have tears in my eyes! How fabulous!

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MSTWOMOONS002 7/2/2014 5:04PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PATTISTAMPS 7/2/2014 11:19AM

    Leah, your blogs always touch my heart! Your bonus son is amazing, and so are you! I hope he is able to keep this up and build up his endurance and strength, as well as his confidence. Kids are so awesome! Have a great 4th of July weekend!

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MOM-MOM8 7/2/2014 7:01AM

    emoticon

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CINDHOLM 7/2/2014 6:58AM

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ISLAMOM 7/2/2014 6:40AM

    awesome and adorable!!

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STRONG_SARAH 7/2/2014 2:01AM

    Great inspiration for him and motivation for you. All-in-all a great day!

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REGILIEH 7/1/2014 11:12PM

    Adorable!

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LINDAK25 7/1/2014 11:01PM

    Good for both of you!

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ALICE_TENNIS 7/1/2014 10:38PM

    You can encourage each other along. Our kids are watching us a lot closer than we realize . . . emoticon

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SHOAPIE 7/1/2014 10:13PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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