July 17, 2019

A Dill Pickle Obsession

Things have been so so so crazy around here for the last couple of weeks. I have constantly been making mental notes about things I plan to write about on my blog, and then I just haven't found (or, I guess I should say, "made") the time to write a post. And now that I'm sitting down to write a post, my memory has lost 90% of those things, haha.

I guess I'll just try to update and write a few things that have been going on lately.

Today is the boys' last baseball game of the season (I love baseball, but now that I'm starting cross country, I'm glad they won't be overlapping). I am completely shocked that we are even playing today--it's the championship game for the summer league.

We had a tournament on Monday, and our record was really bad (our record was 2 wins and 9 losses, which made us last place in the league). Remember how I wrote about filling in as the coach when we played against the really cocky team? Well, that was one of our two wins, and I wrote about how I was crazy excited about that.

That teamed ended placing first in the league... which meant we had to play them in the tournament. For some reason, the tournaments have a seeding placement where the first place team plays the last place team, the second best places the second to last, etc.

keeping score at the baseball game

At the tournament on Monday, the team showed up with the coaches acting as cocky as ever. (It's the coaches and the parents of the kids on that team who take the fun out of summer baseball.) Because it was a tournament, however, they weren't allowed to argue and yell at the umpires like they usually do, so it was nice! In the first inning, we didn't get a single hit--three batters up, three batters down. Then, their team wound up with four runs in the first inning!

It was looking like it was going to be a miserable game. However, our team made a big comeback in the last few innings, and we ended up with a tie at 5-5 going into the seventh inning (this league plays seven innings). I couldn't believe it! We actually had a chance to beat them. But I still didn't have my hopes up, because it usually just takes one bad inning for us to give up a bunch of runs.

Our team did great--and we ended up getting three runs! Their team had the last at-bat, so as long as they didn't score more than two runs, we'd win the game. I was SO NERVOUS.

Renee's son Isaac was pitching and he struck out the first two batters. Then the next batter was up... strike one. Pitch two--strike.

And then strike three. Batter was out. And WE WON!!!! We beat the first place team!

And now there is a championship game tonight. Honestly, I couldn't care less how the game goes tonight. It'd be nice to win, but winning against that other team totally made the season for me.

I held my third cross country practice yesterday evening, and it went really well. I love having the smaller team! It was so hard to keep kids focused when we had 25 or so kids on the team; and while it would be great to let the third graders run, I think it's better for the program to keep it at fourth and fifth grade right now. I have 11 kids on the team, so I'm able to pay more attention to each kid.

Yesterday, we did speed work at the track. For the kids who hadn't been to a practice yet, I had them run their first timed mile (to be compared to another timed mile at the end of the season). Thanks to a reader who donated her old Gamin Forerunner, I had enough watches (four) for the remaining kids to run intervals using the watches. I set them for 1:00-minute running and 1:00-minute walking intervals (the running was to be done at a very hard effort). It was a good practice!

I didn't take a "before" picture (I really need to start doing it any time that I think I may transform something!), but I finally worked on pulling out all of the weeds in the landscaping. While I was at it, I raked out all of the old mulch that was in there and I tilled the dirt. Today, Jerry put new mulch down, and it looks a million times better! The landscaping still leaves much to be desired, but at least it doesn't look like a bed of weeds anymore.

My favorite aunt (Aunt Mickey) turned 80 last Tuesday, and her daughter put together a party for her at my parents' house. They invited all of the women in the family, and my Aunt Mickey's friends and neighbors, so I was able to see lots of people I haven't seen in a while. It was a party just for the women, and I especially loved getting to chat with my younger cousins.

When I was a teenager, I used to babysit for all of them from the time they were infants--and they are now all grown up! Kaitlin, the oldest of my Aunt Mickey's grandchildren and the cousin who I was the closest to while growing up, is now a nurse practitioner. It blows my mind that I can actually remember the day she was born.

I saw a couple of childhood friends recently, which was awesome. Sarah (my childhood best friend who now lives in Arizona) and her husband Ne came over for dinner on Sunday. We had lasagna and played Cards Against Humanity (always fun). I never realize just how much I miss Sarah--or any of my friends, really--until I see them again and get to catch up.

Today, I drove up to Ann Arbor to meet another of my childhood friends, Lance, for lunch. I've been thinking of him and his family a lot lately. His younger brother, Spencer, was diagnosed with inoperable stage IV glioblastoma (aggressive brain cancer) about a year and a half ago. He moved back home to Michigan (he'd been living in Portland, OR) to spend time with his family and start treatment. There is no cure for glioblastoma, but the doctors said that chemotherapy and radiation could give him more time.

He's been going through chemo and radiation ever since, but he came home from the hospital and into hospice care last week, which is heartbreaking. I saw him at Christmastime when we had our annual get together with the kids that I grew up with. I asked him a couple of times if I could visit, but he hasn't been up for visitors. It was good to chat with Lance today to see how Spence is doing (Spence has stopped treatment and now hospice is helping with pain management.)

I didn't think I'd get so emotional after having a great chat with Lance, but once I was back in the car driving home, it hit me. I cried all the way home from Ann Arbor. It just sucks how unfair it is that genuinely good people get dealt a shitty hand like cancer.

In good news, Lance's wife is pregnant with their second child. They had a baby boy shortly after Spencer's diagnosis, and now they are going to have another boy. Of course I am biased, but I think having two little boys so close in age is fantastic! It's great that they have something happy to look forward to when the baby is born in a couple of months.

I've been kind of obsessed with dill pickles recently. When Noah went to church camp last week, Eli and I were excited to create a menu that included lots of dill pickles (Noah's not a big fan of them). We tried this dill pickle pizza and it was AH-MAZING. It was literally one of the best pizzas I've ever had. I thought it was odd that the crust didn't have any yeast, but I liked it so much that I will definitely use that crust again. It was very thin and crispy.

Dill Pickle Pizza

I thought the "sauce" seemed very odd as well, but I made it as written, and it was part of what made the crust so fantastic. (If you make this pizza, don't be tempted to use more cheese than called for... it didn't seem like much, so I added more. But the spots of the pizza that had less cheese were actually better, because the cheese gets baked into the crust. Next time, I will stick with the recommended 4 oz.)

I had several jars of pickles in the fridge, so I just used up what I had. This pizza was SO good. If you're a dill pickle fan, it's a must-try!

Rather than dumping out all of the yummy pickle juice, I used it to make Dill Pickle Soup the next day. I'd made it before, but it had been a long time and I forgot how good the soup is! Again, there were a couple of things about the recipe I found odd (like mixing sour cream with flour to add to the soup after it boils) but I followed the recipe exactly as written and it was absolutely delicious. Again, a must-try if you like dill pickles!

Dill Pickle Soup

(The soup recipe is written by the same woman who shared "The Best Dill Pickle Sandwich"--which is, literally, the BEST dill pickle sandwich. I went through a phase where I ate one every single day for a long time.)

I'm sure there are lots of things I'm forgetting to write about, but I've got to get ready for the baseball game tonight. I really am going to try to write more frequently! I always feel good when I get a blog post up.


  1. I always love getting a new blog notification from you! Sounds like things are going great, I'm so happy your baseball team won that game!

    Pickles are one of those things I want to like SO badly lol. That sounds so weird but they sound so good in theory and then I try one and nearly gag :) I always have a yearly pickle to see if this is the year I will like them and so far, its a no go haha

  2. Oh my gosh, I had to speed read your recap of the playoff game. I was so nervous! Good luck to your team! I'm hoping you win the championship!!!

  3. Oh I am SOOO HAPPY that you beat that team! I don't like poor sportsmanship (or booing) so it's fantastic that your team did such an amazing job. Congrats!

  4. That was exciting for your team to win the game against that team again! So sorry about your friend's brother.

  5. That pizza sounds amazing!!! That is our our little league does playoffs. 1st vs. last and down the line. We aren't allowed to argue with the umps at all.. not even regular season. Its against the rules. I mean we are coaching 8-10 year olds is there really a need to argue with them!? We have some pretty nasty coaches in our league too. We just wanted our kids to have fun, and they did. We didn't place last. We were proud of our 8 year olds this year!


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