Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pretending It's Really Spring

Hey all!  Happy Wednesday! Low key is the pace around here this week.  Rest and relax.  Lots of reading, reminiscing, and of course cooking.  I've been cooking up all kinds of good eats this week.  The problem with that is now I need to go to the grocery; one of my least favorite things to do.  {Sigh} This cold weather has me craving all things carb- pasta, rice, sweets.  My boys are loving all of the yummy aromas filling the house each day.  Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, yellow cake with brown butter frosting,  Cracked pepper-Dijon Pork Chops, and one of our new favorites, Roasted Red Pepper & Artichoke Chicken with Cauliflower Rice.  No, my kids don't care for the cauliflower rice, but they'll eat it.  Rex and I are enjoying it.  It fills you up without all of the carb overload of regular rice or pasta.  It's a good substitute when craving pasta but trying to add more fiber and veggies into eating.



This is my first attempts at recipe blogging so I apologize in advance for my poor iPhone photography and my pic monkey attempts at creating something that resembles an appetizing meal.  Next time I will take more, and hopefully better, pictures as I am going through the entire process, not just after the fact when realizing the meal actually looks and tastes amazing.  Pictures of plating would have been awesome.  If there were leftovers I'd have done that.  Next time.  

Overall difficulty level: Medium- not terribly difficult, but not just opening a can or box and dumping.  

Ingredients: 
2-3 sweet red peppers, roasted (see below)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 14.5oz can artichoke hearts (non marinated), drained & halved
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
1 jar kalamata olives, drained
1 jar capers (about 2 tbsp), drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon 
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Olive Oil
1 head cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets 

Equipment:
Food processor with shredding attachment
oven safe skillet
cookie sheet lined with foil
large skillet for browning rice

Directions:
Step 1: Roast Peppers (Medium)

The first thing to do is roast the peppers.  My grocery had three packs of sweet red peppers on sale last week.  I eat peppers like apples.  They are sweet and satisfying.  Mine were on the verge of getting soft so I cut them in half, cleaned the seeds and white membrane from the centers and placed them on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  Place in 425F preheated oven for 25 minutes until they look like the picture below.  They should have blackened places on them and be crispy around the edges. 


Let cool about 30 minutes and peel the skin from the outside of the pepper.  NOTE: If you are not planning to use the peppers right away, place in a container with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and cover tightly.  They will keep several days, though I've never honestly had them longer than 2 days.  #justsayin

Step 2:  Prepare veggies. While peppers are roasting, drain capers and artichokes. After halving artichokes, place capers and chokes in a glass bowl.  Halve tomatoes and place in bowl with capers and chokes. Peel and slice red peppers into strips and place in bowl.  Drizzle mixture with about a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the juice of the lemon. Let flavors to their happy dance together.  Chop the onion and mince garlic, but don't add to the bowl.

Step 3:  Add 2tbsp olive oil in oven safe skillet.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in skillet on medium-high heat.  Begin browning chicken breasts in (I did this while my peppers were cooling), about 4 minutes per side.  Remove from skillet and place on plate to rest.

Step 4:  Put minced garlic in skillet and sauté over medium heat until carmel in color (maybe 2 minutes).  Add onions and sauté until they turn translucent.

Step 5: Place chicken back in skillet (low-medium heat).  Move them around in the goodness of the onion and garlic.  Arrange them in the pan so they don't overlap (as much as possible).  Then add bowl of marinating capers, chokes, olives, tomatoes and red peppers.  Cover and bring to a simmer for a few minutes.

Step 6: Place covered skillet in 350F oven for 30 minutes, or until contents are bubbling and chicken is fork tender.  Mine was falling apart tender when scooped out of the skillet.  So good.

Step 7: While chicken is in oven, clean and section cauliflower into florets that will fit into the food processor trough.  I used the Medium shred plate.  In past experiences the fine shred plate easily plugged and it was more of a fight than anything.  The medium plate was perfect and I got a great rice texture.  Put cauliflower in non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and until brown on the bottom.  Flip it like a pancake to brown on the other side.  I didn't use any oil, just a light mist of cooking spray.  I didn't have any trouble with it sticking.


Step 8: Plating- I like my chicken over the rice.  I place a bed of rice on the plate and smother it with a chicken breast and a spoonful of the red pepper-artichoke-caper sauce.  Sprinkle a pinch of parsley and lemon zest before serving.  Enjoy!

Looks yummy!
This meal was fantastic!  My boys gobbled it up like it was sunshine on a plate.  They requested it again next week.  Despite the lengthy list of directions it really wasn't difficult.  It's not quick.  Total time spent was around 1 hour.  I try to multitask while cooking the different parts of the meal.  That helps a ton.  Blogging the process may have taken me longer than actually cooking the meal... a little more difficult than I had thought. Ha!  Next time maybe I'll plan better.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did!

Do you like cauliflower rice? What is one of your favorite healthy swap-out recipes?




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Training Setback


Welcome to a beautiful March morning in Indiana!  (That's complete sarcasm) It's snowing and 22 degrees right now.  The good news is it begins to warm up after today. Hooray for that!  I'll put up with one day of crappy if I can have five days of decent.  


Today I'm linking up with Jess from Operation Skinny Jeans.  I came across Jess's blog this one day this winter.  She's super dedicated to making a healthy life for herself and family and I love her positivity.  She is also in training for a half marathon.  Every Monday is Marathon Monday, chronicling her adventures in training for her race.  Posts like these are so affirming that I'm not the only one who thinks sometimes running really sucks or has issues with getting workouts completed on schedule.

Speaking of setbacks, I seem to have developed shin splints on the interior of my right leg.  I've never had shin splints there and I'm totally self diagnosing this issue.  The only other times I've gotten them was on the front of my legs up toward my knee.  This is down by my ankle and goes up the interior halfway up to my knee.  It's not swollen but it hurts. I haven't run since Friday and have been icing and using BioFreeze while massaging the afflicted area.  It seems to be working.  There is no pain this morning when I walk around the house so I must be doing something right! 

Brrrrrrrr!!!

 I want so badly to run but it feels risky.  Saturday I did a HIiT DVD, Sunday some Yoga and abs, Monday another HIiT workout.  Today will probably be more of the same.  I modify jumping and higher impact moves so I don't further aggravate my injury.  Yesterday I had some pain afterward and made sure to massage and work the BioFreeze into it a few times throughout the day.  Today is the first day I haven't woken with that twinge of pain when I got up and walked to the kitchen.  WooHoo!  Saturday's run is supposed to be a 7 miler, which makes me really nervous.  What do I do if it hurts again?  Push through? Stop and walk?  

I hate setbacks.  I was doing so well too!  May 3 is the day- just 5 weeks away.  Will I be ready if I take a whole week off?  I realize I'm still putting in work.  My cardio endurance isn't going to go away simply by resting.  Routine is my friend.  This throws my routine and I don't like that.  Remember that Type-A personality I talked about a few posts ago?  Um, yeah, here it is in full splendor.  Ha!  Looking at the picture of my leg on the chair I think the day would be better spent being crafty and reupholstering my dining room chairs.  They look a little rough... 

How do you handle a setback?  How long is long enough to rest? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Quest For The Right Calories

My Fitness Pal has become my new best friend.  I am tracking calories with reckless abandon.  For the last 2 weeks I have measured, calculated, and meticulously entered every morsel of fuel I have stuffed in my pie hole and it feels good to be accountable.  I feel good.  My energy is great.  My attitude, splendid.  Is it directly related to tracking calories?  Probably not.  Is it directly related to eating right and working out?  Absolutely.

Based on past experiences of dropping a few pounds, journaling works best for me.  When I can see what I'm cramming into my face (and at what times of the day or what events/stress have occurred) I become more aware of my emotional eating habits.  Why is it such a newsflash for me?  I come from a line of emotional eaters.  Uh, Hello in there- I am an emotional eater.  It seems like it should be so simple-- Food equals fuel.  I wish I could see it as that instead of that thing that may satisfy that little voice in my brain.  I know it will never fix what I want it to.  It will never make me feel better; in most cases I feel worse.  So, yes journaling works for me.

The trick seems to be finding the right combination of foods to actually drop weight.  How does one calculate the proper macros needed?  How do I know the ratio of protein to carbs to fat that I need?  Is there a magic calculator out there that can tell me based on my goals and my activity levels?  I have found some resources and tweaked here and there to find a lower carb plan that seems to cover the carbs I need for distance running, yet enough protein and healthy fats to recover and drop the excess fats.  The biggest shock to me while researching was that I'm not eating enough.  I'm sorry, what?  What about that whole calories in must be less than calories expended.  Yeah, well, not completely true.  Yes, calories do need to be less than what is needed to get through all of my activities.  Truth is I struggle to get them all in.  Now that I am more aware of what I need to get through the day I have trouble getting them all in.  So for the last year I've been putting my body into starvation mode, taking in moderate calories with various levels of activity, therefore storing fat in places it's not been stored before  (that's what it looks like anyway).  Wow. And here I was trying to blame my aging metabolism.  Maybe it was the cupcake... and the beer... but not the wine.  Never the wine.

I don't know that I have it completely figured out yet.  Hunger strikes often even though I'm eating what feels like a lot of protein.  My carbs are coming from fruits and veggies and the occasional complex carb like quinoa, whole oats, or whole wheat pasta.  These grains are super hearty and easy to flavor with proteins, veggies or fruits.  I fully expect to have to adjust my macros again to find a better balance or to see further results on the scale and measuring tape.  The goal is to be healthy.  This time a number on the scale won't define the results.  Maybe that's what will finally make that connection in my brain that food=fuel.

How do you calculate the best macro ratio?

It never works this way for me :(

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Week Before

Vacation!  Finally! Despite good intentions of blogging four days this last week, I didn't get it done.  You know how crazy things get right before a break?  Add to that a full moon, two morning meetings and long evening workouts, my week was spent before I could say "Is it Friday yet?"  Funny how that happens.  

My classes did a project planning their ideal spring break on a budget, albeit a highly unrealistic budget of $15K.  I wanted to them to think big and consider things they haven't before.  I also wanted them to see the how much things really cost, especially when you wait until the last minute to book a vacation.  For some the exercise was eye opening.  They thought about cab fare, and gas to the airport.  They considered passports and airport snacks.  Others have had so few experiences they don't know how (or why) to consider time at Disney.  And that's ok!  It's ok to do cost comparison.  That's exactly what I wanted to see from them!  I also wanted them to write out a budget, giving them something similar to a checkbook register to calculate balance remaining and total spent.  The most interesting thing about the budget tracker was the sheer shock at seeing how much some things cost and how they decreased the balance.  Those who chose not to complete the budget sheet tended to spend more money whereas those who tracked each expense were more cost conscious. They also earned a higher grade simply for following directions.    

Those who didn't track expenses were also more likely to not take the assignment seriously.  I heard comments like "I'm never going to do this" and "I've never been on spring break before so I don't think should I plan one now".  Is this a product of poverty or is this just apathy for the assignment in general?  There seemed to be a correlation between poverty and the apathetic attitude surrounding the assignment.  It's sad to see 13 and 14 year olds not dream simply because of lack of experiences.  $15000 was overwhelming for them.  Perhaps I needed to reduce the amount and encourage thrifty spending.  

Growing up we never went on spring break.  It's not that we couldn't afford to, it just wasn't a priority.    My husband's family were dairy farmers.  I've always wanted to do something special for spring break with my kids.  Two years ago we went on our first spring break.  Since them I've wanted nothing more than to sit on a beach for a week every spring.  Last year wasn't feasible with my job.  This year finances don't allow for it.  This class project inspired some hope that I could find something for us that involved warm weather, sunny beaches, and affordability.   I was optimistic.  Alas, it didn't.   I've found some great deals on accommodations.  Travel expenses are another story all together.  And that is where planning wins out.  As much as I love to be spontaneous, the Type A in me freaks out, ok, more like has a full blown meltdown, and needs to know when, where, and how much.  It's the how much that gets me every time.  Ultimately the weather kicked the idea clean out of the park.  Cloudy, rainy and cool every place I could kind of afford.  Well played, fiscal responsibility.  

Now this doesn't mean we will sit around here and do nothing.  We will likely take some day trips, maybe an overnight  in a hotel with a pool so the kids can swim.  The Children's Museum is on the list, as are Bass Pro,  Cabella's, perhaps a trip to Chicago, and definitely some shopping. 

Until next year, sunny beaches.  

What do you do for spring break?  Are you a spontaneous vacationer? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Need Sleepy

Why is it that I suddenly cannot sleep in on the weekends? Seriously, 5:15? I can't get my butt out of bed on a weekday that early. Who even wants to intentionally rise at that time of day? It's not me, let me tell ya. Teaching was not the best career choice for a night owl, with all of these 7:15am meetings, 8am class times and such. I'm more of a 9 o'clock work day kinda girl. I like to ease into my day. Rise at 6:30-7 with the sun, drink some coffee, have breakfast, read the paper/FB/Twitter/IG. You know, normal morning stuff. 

But hold the phones- Saturday rolls around and I'm all ready to get up and take on the world before the sun even has a chance to crack the horizon (thank you daylight savings time).  The caveat you ask? I still can't fall asleep until  11:30-12, even after a full day's activities. I ran kids to practice, had an AdvoCare Mixer, physically ran 6.1 miles, cleaned, cooked, and all those other mom things you do on a Saturday and still couldn't fall asleep until 11:30. And was awake at 5:15 again on Sunday.  I need sleep. I can do a few days of 5 or less hours of sleep and then watch out because I'm going down hard. Like lie down when I get home from work and sleep through until the alarm the next morning. 
Or at least until 5am....



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blog Dilemma

Happy Saturday everyone.  I've been considering buying my domain name and have been weighing options for my blog platform as well.  A few articles have popped across my Twitter feed recently proclaiming WordPress superior to Blogger.  The disappointing thing about said articles was the lack of specific details as to what makes it so superior. My only experience has been with Blogger.  It's not difficult.  WordPress is foreign to me other than knowing there are different types of accounts, one of which is free.  Honestly, I can't tell you that I know of any differences other than appearance.  I need to do further research.

Does anyone have a preference as to which platform is better? Why do you think so?  Anyone have experience with both platforms?  Transferring content from my current site is of utmost concern as are customization and aesthetics. Do I need to learn code?  My coding is limited; it's on my summer to do list.

Any and all feedback are greatly appreciated!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

30 Something's Fashion


Confession: Shopping is not my favorite thing.  I used to love to shop; and then I worked in the apparel industry.  The end.  Something happens when you learn what things really cost.  Shopping was ruined for me.  Forever.  The problem is that I like to look good.  I like dressy things and high heeled shoes.  I've always been a sale rack scavenger.  Rarely do I buy anything full price, even before I worked in retail. Free shipping?  I'll look.  Free shipping and teacher discount? Better.  Shipping, teacher discount and end of season clearance?  You're speaking my language! 

But, my friends, I have a dilemma.  I am disturbed by the current trends I am seeing.  I have a select few stores I frequent.  Stores that have tall pants.  I'm 5'10" without heels.  I can't just buy pants anywhere.  I also don't want to look like I'm 22, nor do I want to look like I'm 62.  I've had babies.  I'm not thin, but not fat.  I'm just average.  I don't want to wear short, boxy sweaters with or without leggings.  I don't want to wear leggings at all.  Unless I'm working out, then I want quality compression pants or yoga pants.  Yoga pants are meant for practicing yoga not go to the grocery store (sore subject for another day).  Boxy sweaters?  Um no.  I don't care who you are, they look bad.  Talk about drawing attention to the tummy.  No thanks.  Don't need any help there.  Could I pull off the leggings?  Probably.  But I don't want to.  Period.  End of sentence. 

And please please please could designers make a skirt that hits at the knee for average girls?  Because on the taller girls like myself they hit a little above the knee.  When you make them mid-thigh for average girls, I end up looking like a hoochie.  Mid-thigh is not professional for anyone, especially a 36 year old teacher and mother of two.  I'm not trying to pick up a date.  I should be able to pick something up off the floor without worrying about what everyone may see when I do. And the low neck lines.  I love the girls but I don't want to share them with everyone.   Eew.  Don't make me look dowdy because I don't want to wear what the 20 year olds are wearing.  Can't I still look good and not look like I'm trying to score a hot piece of man this weekend? 

I'm not a prude.  Like I said, I like to look good.  I prefer timeless style.  Pencil skirts, a tailored button-up shirt and cardigan or a cowl neck sweater, some nice jewelry, perhaps some hosiery, and nice shoes.  Classic. Timeless. Tasteful.  Let's go back to that. 

One Day Closer to Spring

We've been so spoiled for the last several days with some milder weather- until yesterday.  What's one more snow day to make up, right?  Seriously, I'll take 34 degrees and sun.  It felt heavenly on Sunday for my long run.  I don't mind at all.  In fact, the more I run in cooler temperatures, the more I like it.  Yeah, yeah.  Those of you who know me well know I HATE winter and cold weather.  Like I'd move to the Caribbean and not complain once about the heat or humidity.  I love the sun and hot weather.

I have been thoroughly enjoying running outside the last week.  Sunday morning's 5 miles were pure bliss.  The creeks have thawed and running and the birds are singing happy tunes.  Even the neighbor's dog was happy to see me- I'm never quite sure if she sees me as a nice snack, a threat, or a friend.  Sunday I was a friend.  Whew!  I really should carry some pepper spray or something.

Beautiful sunshine
Monday followed with more warmer temps and a lot of melting.  It was not a scheduled run day but who am I to pass up 45 degrees and sunshine? I'm taking advantage of any time I don't have to put in on the treadmill right now.   I've always said I want to own lake-front property, however, the lakes that are popping up around our house are not quite what I had in mind. The water was rushing so fast and so loudly I shut my music off and listened to it rush along side me to the creeks.  Or in the case of the "lake" down the road, watched it rush violently across the road from one field into another.  It was a nice 4" deep by 5 feet across swiftly flowing stream.  Needless to say my feet were soaked pretty quickly and that water was C.O.L.D!  The trickling sounds made me think of spending time in the woods and along the giant ditch and creek that ran through our property when I was growing up.  Many hours were spent along those ditch banks. It made me remember how much I love to be outside even when it's messy like it is now.  The more mud the better! And this is why I was meant to be the mom of boys...

Ice bath anyone? 
Tuesday brought a few more clouds with an impending winter storm but temps hovered around 45 again.  We had a basketball event that night at 5 so I just took my clothes with me to run after work. Trent wanted to run with me.  He's all worried about being out of shape since basketball is over and having a tournament this weekend.  I love that he wants to be active with me.  Sad thing is he's faster than me this spring.  He was always slower in past years so he would usually opt to ride his bike while I ran.  Not anymore.  Of course he would run ahead of me and get tired or side stitches and walk for a bit (until I caught up to him) and then take off again.  We may not have gotten in the 3 miles I had hoped on but it was much sweeter having his little self by near me.  

I LOVE this!
And then yesterday we end up with a snow day at home.  {sigh}  I'm not looking forward to making the day up later, but I was in need of a day to catch up.  We got all of the laundry done, I read a book, did some research for a project I'm planning in class, moved the couch and swept under it, and was lazy all day.  By we I totally mean Rex.  He did most of the actual cooking and sweeping and laundry washing.  I folded and consumed.  Wonderful, relaxing and just what I needed to recharge.

And then I had to face the messy, cold, winter morning. I pulled out of the garage, fumbled for my sunglasses and took off out of the drive.  And then I stopped.  I put the car in park and got out, phone in hand to take a few quick pictures.  I could not get enough of the splendor that surrounded me. Every now and then I feel like God sends us these little events to make us see the beauty of our surroundings.  Everything glistened in the sunlight.  The trees and fences were all coated with snow and ice set against the contrasting bright blue sky.   It was the most beautiful winter scene!


So today I will suck it up and stop whining about winter.  Spring is on the way.  You can smell it in the air, despite the current cold weather.  Tomorrow will be warmer and I'll be back on the pavement. But for today, I'm singing the praises of the beauty of my surroundings.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reflection & Retrospection


The ten days have been tough to say the least.  As my uncle said one day last week, each day gets easier.  The thought that keeps rolling around in my brain is how lucky I am to have had my grandfather in my life for all of these years.  He's been such a constant in my life, always full of advice, whether wanted or not.  I treasure every memory I have sitting with him listening to stories, walking the woods and talking trees, or out in the garden picking raspberries. There are so many. 

My grandfather didn't do anything he didn't want to do.  He didn't do things he knew he wasn't good at.  He experimented.  He was created works of art.  He was a doer of things.  He discovered passions through doing and then talking bout them.  As I looked at his life as I knew him and thought about his words regarding life, family, and priorities I realized he lived one of the most authentic lives I've seen.  Perhaps it's the era in which he was born; the practicality he possessed. Whatever it is I appreciate these lessons greatly.  It's made me realize that even though I have made moves to live more authentically I'm not there yet.  The goal is to do what gives me joy.  No more wasted hours on things that don't make me happy.  Granted I can't give up laundry and dishes even though that would make me extremely happy! 

Something that makes me happy is this blog.  I love to write.  I realize most of my content is trivial and just about things going on in my little sheltered space in the world.  I have been slightly embarrassed to share my blog for fear of what friends would say.  No more, my friends.  As I review my "About Me" page where it talks about the milk house I realize those times set the stage for this forum now.  Our topics were random, relating to basketball, farming, milk production, family struggles, or whatever was on our mind.  Some days discussions were brief. Others were hour long change-the-world kinds of debates.  And so it remains on this page.  I will write things that are of importance to me and care not of what others may think.  This is one of my dreams and perhaps it will turn into more. Perhaps not.  God will take me where He wants me.  Of that I am certain.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Endings


Last week's post about sprinting to the end became a sudden, shocking reality in more ways than one Friday night when I received word that my Grandfather had passed away.  It didn't really register with my brain for a good 30 minutes.  It was just information rolling around in my brain, tumbling, twisting, turning among my thoughts, trying to make sense of what I had just learned.  I made my way to the gym and saw my oldest son.  He grabbed and hugged me and I lost it.  I sobbed and sobbed while my baby boy held me up.  We made our way to the office where I attempted regain my composure and posted a vague FB status about my heart hurting and tried to collect myself enough to get through senior night (sorry about that, friends).  I numbly went on with my tasks during the game as best I could. Diversions are always welcome when dealing with heavy news, right?

My Grandpa was 98, soon to be 99. He walked a mile every day and often rode his bike a few miles as well.  In more recent years his eyesight had deteriorated and he gave up his latch-hook rugs for audio books. He was a crazy old fart.  I say that with absolute fondness.  He would laugh at that, I promise.  He had a hat that said Old Fart across the front and proudly wore it most of my childhood.

I spent a good portion of this afternoon and early evening with my dad and sister writing Grandpa's obituary, discussing options for the headstone, visiting the cemetery and being unable to find Grandma's stone. Turns out there's still a good two feet of snow covering the ground and we didn't think to grab a shovel.  Dad and I were sure it had melted enough in the last week that we'd find it.   Best part of the afternoon was laughing at all of the truthful, yet less eloquent ways to describe Grandpa.   He was verbose.  He would talk to anyone who was willing to listen.  He always gave advice, whether or not you wanted any.  To say he was frugal is a gross understatement.  The man squeaked when he walked.  We would laugh. Then a still quiet settled over for a while as we savored memories.

Now I feel stuck.  I struggle knowing I won't be able to go to his house this summer, sit outside under a tree and talk with him.  I won't hear him get after the boys about slowing down on the mowers, bark at them to trim a little closer to the flowerbeds, or tell them that candy he's offered them is going to turn their hair green, all the while seeing the joy and pride in his eyes that these two hard working boys are his great grandchildren.

Selfishly I want one more story. Just one more birthday with him.  Another summer to mow his yard and pick red raspberries from his garden. One more batch of toffee.  Take him one more picking of strawberries from my garden.  Sunday breakfast with him and toast coated in his apricot-pear jam (my favorite).

I know I need to be celebrating his life.  I need to celebrate the fact he is Home with Grandma, who he's been without for the last 25 years.  I know he's at peace.  Celebrate that he can see.  That he can walk without struggle and the pep in his step has returned.  I feel so blessed to have had nearly 37 years with him and that my kiddos have had so much time with him.  We are here to carry on his great legacy.  Seven children; nineteen grandchildren; twenty-three great grandchildren; four great-great grandchildren.

What a story he has to tell.