Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for October, 2007

Greenville Classic Podium

18th October 2007

the podium 2007 - geri hewitt, robert sweeting, brian toone
The 2007 Greenville Cycling Classic podium.
L-R: Geri Hewitt (Hincapie-Bianchi), Robert Sweeting (AEG-Toshiba JetNetwork), Brian Toone (Tria-Market / Two Men and a Truck)

These photos (except for the last one) are all courtesy of Peter Brentlinger. Kristine saw him take the podium picture and asked for a card. He sent me these pictures today. They are in reverse chronological order from Saturday’s race starting with the podium above. Hope you enjoy them!

just after the finish
Here is a better finish line picture. This is just after the finish line.

the sprint to the line
Here is the sprint to the finish line. I am in third place in this picture kinda behind the rider in the middle.

one lap to go
One lap to go!

two laps to go
Two laps to go. Craig Lewis (Slipstream-Chipotle) is leading what is left of the group.
He’ll be racing with George Hincapie on the European team T-Mobile next year.

a small attack
I was in a short-lived (1 lap?) breakaway on Saturday with David LeDuc (Mercy Cycling) who ended up winning Sunday’s race.

cresting the hill on the backside of the course
Here is part of the peleton cresting the hill leading into Turn 3. I am on the far left of the picture.
This photo was posted to Flikr by Fizicist.

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What did you buy at Trader Joe’s?

18th October 2007

I’m glad you asked!  🙂  If you’ve read our blog for long, you’ll know that I fell in love with Trader Joe’s grocery store while we were in California.  I only discovered it a month or so before we moved away, but I stocked up on good things before we moved, specially wine:)  Then my dad was in California, and so I’d send him a shopping list, and he sent me my favorite things.  Now my dad is in Minneapolis, and there’s a TJ’s not too far away, so I can visit when we see him.  But the closest TJ’s to me is in Atlanta, so everytime we’re traveling in that direction, it’s on the agenda.  I even gave up a trip to IKEA so that I could have more time at TJ’s this week! 

First off, if you don’t get excited about grocery stores, maybe you wouldn’t be impressed.  But if you enjoy shopping at nice grocery stores, with interesting products, Trader Joe’s is definitely the best.  Here’s what they say on their website:

Just what is this thing we call Trader Joe’s? Well, we’re a grocery store, sure, but really so much more. Our shelves are stocked full of delicious foods and beverages from the basics like milk, bread and butter to more exotic fare like imported cheeses, organic produce and hand-tossed pizza from Italy. We taste every product before we decide to sell it, and we guarantee you’ll like it.

You might expect indulgences like these to come with unbecoming prices. But at Trader Joe’s, we’re as much about value as we are about great food. In other words, we keep our costs low, cut out the middleman whenever possible and pass our savings on to you in the form of terrific everyday prices. So you can afford to be adventurous without breaking the bank.

They largely carry their own brand of products, most are natural and un-genetically modified.  Their produce and flower section is wonderful.  But best of all, their prices are completely reasonable.  Along the line of normal prices at your everyday store.  They’re always highlighting products with samples in the corner of the store.  In fact, that’s how I found one of my new favorite products! 

So, back to what I bought… This isn’t an exhaustive list, just my notable favorites:

  • 4 reusasble shopping bags (99cents each)
  • Cranberry Walnut Gorgonzola Vinagrette Salad Dressing – It was being sampled over a yummy salad this week, and I took one bite and was hooked.  Delicious – on the menu at our house tonight:)
  • Pineapple Salsa ($2) – one of my absolute favorites.  I buy a couple jars everytime I’m there. 
  • Spinach Dip – for snacking on our trip home.
  • Everything Crackers – These were new to me, but they’re yummy, specially with the spinach dip.  Multigrain with onion and garlic powder on top, and sesame, poppy and carraway seeds. 
  • Chocolate Cat Cookies – A favorite snack for my sweeties.
  • Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans ($4) – Brian *LOVES* these.
  • Triple Espresso Mocha – ($1.29)  Three shots of espresso with milk and chocolate in a can.  Brian loves these, too.  Chilled and served over ice. 
  • Granola and the 3 Berries – ($2.69)  Great price for tasty granola.
  • Country Pumkin Spice Granola
  • Pecan Praline Granola
  • Assorted other cereal… you can’t beat all natural cereal for less than $3 a box!
  • This Strawberry Walks into a Bar – strawberry cereal bars
  • Tomato Bruchetta ($3) – Delicious blend of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil in a jar.  Yes, I could and should make it myself, but it’s nice to have a jar in the cupboard for a last minute treat.
  • Fruit leather – I’ve never been a fan, but I’m hoping that maybe it’s soft enough Josiah will like it.  He loves Gerber Fruit Strips, and they’re pricey. 
  • Wine – Trader Joe’s is famous for the Charles Shaw brand of wine, or Two Buck Chuck.  It’s actually $3 now.  But I got one bottle of that and another bottle of white zinfandel that looked good.  Oh, and if you’re at TJ’s on a Sunday in Georgia, you can’t buy wine.  I tried last time we were there.  Thankfully, this trip was on a Tuesday:)
  • Wisconsin Cheese Curds!!!!!!  WOOHOO!  It’s like a little taste of home. 

Ok, that’s all the important stuff.  My cashier was from Minnesota, so that made me smile even more:)  I love you, Trader Joe’s.  When are you coming to Birmingham?!?

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My $3.96 eco-investment

18th October 2007

I’m pretty proud of myself right now.  During my Trader Joe’s shopping adventure in Atlanta last weekend, I "invested" in 4 reusable shopping bags, for 99cents each.  Less than 4 dollars to keep myself free from the overwhelming number of plastic bags that flood my kitchen every time we go to the store.  I wondered how many groceries would fit in 4 bags… maybe I should have gotten more?

I put the bags directly in the car after emptying all my TJ’s goodies when we got home, so the bags were ready to take with me to the store today.  I had a shopping cart full of groceries, $80-worth.  My bagger was a little disconcerted, and he was incredibly slow getting things to fit.  The cashier thought they were VERY cool looking, red with hawiian flowers.  But in the end, ALL my groceries fit, which gave me the added benefit of having to make only 2 trips upstairs from the car!  SWEET!  With this many groceries, I’d probably have had 10 or more plastic bags, and I would have been making at least 3 trips.  I put the groceries away, wiped out the bag that was a little damp from my cold items, and the bags are already folded and in the car for the next trip.  SWEET! 

So.  If you’ve got a TJ’s near you, I’d say pick up a couple bags.  Plastic bags are choking our planet, and this is one cheap, simple solution for cutting down the number that we use. 

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Greenville Cycling Classic II

17th October 2007

can't belive it -- third place -- podium, baby!
I can’t believe it … after a long hard season, I finally made it onto the podium at a major race on Saturday!

I am hoping to post the podium picture from Saturday’s race sometime in the next day or two. Still ecstatic, and almost in shock over Saturday’s 3rd place finish, I managed to do one better in Sunday’s race with a second place finish. Here’s the race report I sent out to the team:

Hey Team,

Thought I’d pass along my race report from Sunday and updated info about
Saturday’s race…

First, from Saturday — the official results are posted and only 34
people finished the race with 74 starters! Sunday’s race was similar —
52 starters and only 30 finishers. Here is a link to the results pages:

The race on Sunday was fast from the gun. There were a few small solo
attacks in the first few laps, but after Saturday’s race saw every
single break reeled in — I didn’t think an early break would stick. I
kept my eye on Robert Sweeting (AEG) and anybody from the Hincapie team.
I chased across to a break with Sweeting in it about 15 laps into the
race. There were maybe four or five riders in that break and we started
to work together with a SMALL gap of maybe 5 seconds. A couple laps
later we were caught. A counter attack went. Fortunately, this one
didn’t have the firepower in it to stay away as it sure looked
dangerous. We caught the counterattacking group after a lap.

By this point the pace had been really high for several laps so I knew
that if somebody could hit it hard on the hill, then the pack would
probably not put up an immediate chase. Sure enough, there was an attack
the next time around on the hill. I anticipated it and was able to hop
right on. Sweeting, Geri Mewett (Hincapie-Bianci), Andrew Talansky, Andy
Baker, and eventual winner David LeDuc (Mercy Cycling Team) were all in
the six-man break — we immediately started rolling through and FLEW
through the corners. Our gap was never more than 30 seconds. I tried to
drive the break to make sure that we stayed away — but I ended up
gapping people on the hill and two of the corners. I eased up a bit
after several frustrating laps of this and saved some energy for the

All-in-all we did work extremely well together in the break until 5 laps
to go. Then people started to attack … Sweeting reeled in some of
these attacks, but usually there was at least two people responding to
each attack. LeDuc rolled off the front with a little more than one lap
to go. It wasn’t an attack, but rather an acceleration RIGHT after I had
pulled so I didn’t want to chase him down. The hesitation was enough to
let him get a gap he could hold to the line. On the last lap after LeDuc
had the gap, the pace stayed fast on the hills on the backside of the
course and I attacked on the outside coming into the last corner. Andy
Baker attacked on the inside at the same time. Coming out of the corner,
I had a clear shot at the line so I decided to go for it and fortunately
was able to hold everyone off to the line but LeDuc had enough of a gap
that I couldn’t quite catch him before the line. I am so happy with the
race and excited to carry the momentum from the race into next year.
What a weekend for Tria — Two firsts (Philip and Jonathan), two second
place finishes (Kevin and me), and one third place finish (Me) all in
one weekend! Sweet!!!

Article from the Greenville News Sunday edition:
"Sweeting tops field at Classic"

Flickr photo from Saturday’s race:

Here’s a good one of John Atkins (Myogenesis) in the early break leaning
into the downhill first corner in Saturday’s race:

This would be a great weekend for more people to put on their calendar
next year. The drive really isn’t that bad — 5 hours. There is a huge
downtown festival going on at the same time so there is lots to do …
AND if you can take Monday off from work we can do this ride together as
a team: 92 miles, 9280 feet of climbing!!!! I did this ride yesterday
to wrap up the season. Sassafras Mountain is an epic climb. To give you
an idea of how steep portions of it are — I hit 54.8 mph on the way
back down with at least two squeezes of the brakes. There are also some
great switchback descents on the way back that are banked perfectly and
so much fun to ride — you have to ride it to believe it.

We’ll post more pictures from our trip later this evening or tomorrow.

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Home after a lovely fall break

16th October 2007

I hate writing short posts that don’t have much in them, but I just had to check in to tell you we’ve returned from our lovely long weekend in South Carolina.  As you saw in the last post, Brian’s Saturday race was awesome – 3rd place!  But Sunday’s was even better – 2nd!!!!  It was a $$$ weekend for his racing, and in my opinion, some of his best racing ever.  I was so excited to see him do so well.  I’m sure he’ll post some more details soon. He’s mentioned in this article from the Greenville News about Saturday’s race, though. 

We spent a couple days at a bed & breakfast outside of Clemson, where Brian went to college.  We had a sweet little house all to ourselves, with horses right outside our window in a pretty field that the sun rose over in the damp morning.  Brian went for one long last ride of the season on Monday, and the kids and I played outside for most of the day.  Today we visited a waterfall, found a tunnel, shopped at Trader Joe’s and drove all the way home.  I’m so glad to be out of the car!  The kids were not as good as they have been… a little too much whining for us, but all in all, we really can’t complain.  Josiah even slept nearly 10 hours last night.  That’s a first for a night away from home! 

I hope to come back later this week to fill in a  few more details, specially about our goat adventure 🙂 

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Greenville Cycling Classic

13th October 2007

We’re having a great time in Greenville, SC already on our first day of our annual fall break trip. Analise and I both had bike races today. Analise won a ribbon, and I got third place making it onto the podium! Here are some pictures from the day’s racing. Enjoy!

Kristine had her hands full with both kids.

At the start line

Here we are crossing the finish line

Kristine had her hands full with both kids during the race. They entertained themselves pretty well, though.

And they cheered too, while ringing their cowbells.

Here I am sitting in second position between the two AEG pros.

George Hincapie was riding in the pace car instead of racing.

Lastly, here is the race report I sent out to my team tonight:

Good weekend for Tria! Congrats Philip and Kev! Y’all took first and second at TdC – and I took 3rd at the Greenville Cycling classic! So let’s call it a 1-2-3 weekend! It was awesome … podium, flowers, hat, podium girl, the whole 9 yards!

George Hincapie was riding in the pace car — but his future T-Mobile teammate (Craig Lewis currently with Slipstream/Chipotle) was racing with us. AEG had a couple of riders. Hincapie-Bianchi had their full squad maybe 10 riders and altogether there were maybe 60-75 people in the field. Big crowd from the Fall for Greenville festival making tons of noise. Turn one was downhill, and bleachers were setup right in the corner. It was crazy.

The race went down something like this: I had a terrible start with no less than 15 riders called to the line. The course was downhill on one side and uphill on the other. It was a very steep, short uphill coming out of turn two, then a short downhill followed by a longer uphill going into turn 3. Turn 4 started the downhill screamer to the finish line. A break of four riders got up the road on the first lap while I was still halfway towards the back of the pack. They never got a huge gap (maybe 15-20 seconds at the most), because our pace was pretty high. Still it took maybe 10-15 laps (out of 50) to catch them. Once they were caught, there were several counter attacks and moves. I made it into one break with about 4-5 riders but we only stayed away for a lap. With about 10 laps to go, I was sitting right on the wheel of one of the AEG riders when he attacked hard on the backstretch. Craig Lewis and a couple others made it into the break with us, too. I thought this move had a chance to stay away as we started to rotate and we kept the pace insanely fast through the corners, down the hill, up the hill — well, pretty much the whole course. I think too many people were watching Craig to let it get away, though. We were reeled in after a couple laps. I stayed near the very front (top 5-10 riders) for the next five laps and the pace stayed very high. One rider got away with five to go and quickly got a 20 second gap. The pace was super high with Craig Lewis drilling it at the front. We reeled the lone rider in with two laps to go. The AEG riders then took turns attacking but each attack got reeled in by Craig Lewis or the Hincapie-Bianchi team. On the last lap, I was in the top five going through all the turns and then came around a couple riders at the start of the sprint to take third behind the huge (6’5 probably 200+ pounds) Hincapie-Bianchi rider (can’t think of his name) and Robert Sweeting (AEG).

I was so happy with the race, and felt very strong even at the end. One more race to go tomorrow!

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Sweet Sunday

7th October 2007

What a lovely day this has been.

  • Wonderful worship this morning at our church, Clearwater. Awesome time of praise and worship. Our pastor, Chris, spoke on the one of the core parts of our vision – wisdom, particularly God’s word – and how it should be our source for everything. He used the example of a Rubik’s cube and how there is 1 solution, and 7 formulas to get to that perfect cube. If the cube gets messed up, we can use a formula and it will work out. He even messed up a cube and solved it during the message to make his point. Whatever we are lacking, whatever we are facing, God’s word is our answer. It will get us through whatever we’re dealing with. It was a powerful message for me, as I know God’s been trying to draw our family deeper into His word. It’s still a struggle to find its place in the craziness of our life, but on the days that His word doesn’t find its place, things definitely don’t go as well. One more nudge to my needing heart…
  • After lunch with Brian’s mom and brother, she offered to keep the kids while I ran to Sears to check out the racks of 90% off. SWEET! I got 7 things for $14 – 2 pairs of nice everyday pants, 2 tops, a cute summery top/skirt outfit, and a dressy top to match another deal-of-a-skirt from last week. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of my outdated not-fitting clothes in the last year, so this was a nice boost to make me feel like I’m not wearing the same stuff every 5th day:)
  • Brian had a long meeting at church this afternoon, and he met us at RolyPoly for dinner. RolyPoly is the most delicious wrap sandwich shop, with a great weekend deal. When we got there, Brian hadn’t arrived yet, and Analise asked where he was.  The kids had been playing with 2 toy cell phones, so I told her to "call" him.  She put the phone to her ear and said, "Daddy?  Where are you?  We’re at Roly Poly.  We’ve been here for couple years.  Come soon."  She’s learning her time-words.  Can you tell?:)
  • Tonight was the Go! Gathering at our church, an evening dedicated to hearing about missions work our church has been involved in. It was so fun, exciting and inspiring. Particularly, we heard from the parents of a woman from our church serving in West Africa. She is living the village life, and it’s so humbling and exciting to see how God is using her to reach a group of people who have never heard the name of Jesus. They are using storytelling to create 18 stories that center around God The Provider. But they’ve spent an entire year meeting the people, building relationships, creating their place in the bush community, working in the fields with the women, learning the language. Hard slow work, but they’ve just had the first opportunity to share the first story. It’s exciting hearing God at work around the world!
  • A bunch of my Ebay listings are ending this evening. I worked like crazy last weekend to get 18 things posted, since there was a promo for free listings through September, and Sunday evening was the last day of Sept. I’m on the ball, I tell ya:) Last minute, but on the ball. (I won’t tell you how long these things have been sitting in a box in my room.) Anyway, they’ve had hardly any glimpses and only a couple starting bids this week, and I was grumpy that this was NOT worth the effort. I’m still not sure it’s worth the effort, but they’re ending right now, and there’s been a bidding flurry on 7 things, and I actually made some money. Now to get them shipped out. Thankfully, everything is in plastic mailing bags, already weighed, and I can print my postage and mail from home.
  • I was going to say the evening was wrapping up most wonderfully, as I’ve been sitting here watching my beloved Packers romp on the Bears. And they were when I sat down here and started writing. But the second half didn’t pan out well for GB, and they just lost with an interception in their own end zone. Painful. Still a nice treat to find them on TV tonight, and it really culminated a lovely day.
  • I got a reminder phone call tonight that a friend is driving through town tomorrow, so we’re having a guest for dinner and the night. I’d completely forgotten, and my house is not in it’s best shape. Really. It needs vaccuuming, lots of laundry to fold, dust balls are gathering in the wood floor corners, and the basement guest room is a little overrun with toys. And I need to figure out a guest-worthy dinner, instead of our usual Monday evening of Moe’s burritos and playing at Kids Gym:) But I’m reminding myself that it’s not the house that will make the memories. It’s the atmosphere, the love, the friendship, and maybe the food. She’s coming to see us, and I know she’ll overlook the things I don’t get to, offering more grace than I give to myself. Hopefully, I can keep this at the forefront of my mind tomorrow, and prioritize the things that really need to be done to make our house welcoming. Most importantly, what are we having for dessert?

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Where did my week go?!?

5th October 2007

Ok, this is so funny… I’ve had a blog in-progress open on my computer since Tuesday (maybe Monday even).  I just came here to quick post something, intending to use what I’d written and write more later.  But instead, not thinking, I clicked "create new blog", and it reloaded my page, losing the couple paragraphs I’d written.  And of course, it’s been several days, so I really don’t even know what I said.  Haha… that’s what I get!

I wanted to add to Brian’s post about our B&B getaway, mostly to say how wonderful it was.  I’m so thankful I’ve got people who can step in and take care of my kids so we can do this (and I know my family would do the same if they were nearby!).  The gift certificate was from nearly 3 years ago, and I’ve thought so many times about how nice it would be when we used it, but really, this was perfect timing for us.  The kids did pretty well, only waking once each for Brian’s parents, though they were up for the day at 6am.  That’s par for the course for us, though:)  Brian and I really just enjoyed a kid-free evening of dinner, soaking in the hot tub, sipping a little wine, and watching some bike racing on the computer.  And best of all, honestly, was sleeping in until nearly 9am.  Whew.  That was sweet.  I wish it for all my parent-friends…

This week has been crazy busy.  I’m really craving a couple days of no activity, since we’ve been up and going nearly every day this week, and it’s been tiring.  I’ll have to blog about Monday later, but it was a funny manic Monday.  I’ve been doing some good cooking, and yes, I still intend to post some of my recent recipes here.  Wednesday, I cooked for our Life Group get-together, Poppyseed Chicken.  Pretty good, though it needed a little more flavor.  Last night was Pork Lo Mein from this blog (I’ve made all of the recipes listed there – each was delicious, especially the Bulgogi, which we had with brown rice, cucumber salad and lettuce to make wraps.  Wow. It was like a high-end restaurant entree.  I took pictures, and I’ll post them another night).  Tonight was Chicken in Creamy Pan Sauce from the Kraft Foods magazine (if you haven’t subscribed, it’s free, delivered to your home, 5x a year).  I’m excited to have the week behind us, and hopefully have some quiet family time this weekend. 

Brian’s riding with some friends in the morning, I hope to go for a nice long walk with the kiddos.  We’ve been walking down to a creek and feeding the fish (well, glorified minnows) crackers.  It’s about an hour walk there and back.  Maybe we’ll get to the farmer’s market.  We’ll see. 

Happy weekend!

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