Life is A Journey...Come Follow Our's

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Racing With The Popes

When you're a Pope (a Brad and Maria Pope at least), there are certain expectations that you must live upto.  One is that you'll be a quality citizen and maintain a good character.  Another is that you'll enjoy being out on the boat.  And one more is that you'll be physically active.  Well my friends, Quinn is certainly living up to all three, but today, we're going to focus on the working out part since Quinn has now participated in his first 5K run and has been to his first Half Ironman Triathlon.

Quinn's first race took place on Labor Day as he and I participated in Run for a Child.  This is my favorite 5K of the year in part because our friends The Andersons run the event and part because it's just a well organized race.  This year was particularly fun because Quinn got to run it with Sara, Brenda, and me. 

Sara, Maria, Brenda, and Quinn...Ready to Race

We were all out at the race at 7am for our 8am start time figuring we might want to warm up/ loosen up a little bit.  As it turned out, only Quinn was doing much warming up as you can see in the video here:

When the race started Quinn was already worn out from his warm up and screamed the entire first mile.  I can hear myself now telling him and the people we were passing "We don't cry when we're running" and "I swear I just fed him."  Nonetheless, he cried until he fell asleep then it was all up to me to win the race.  Brenda and I got to the 2 mile mark when the water station aids called out "Great're only the second stroller."  2nd?!?!?  Oh heck no...I was going to be the 1st stroller if I was that I took off passing the 1st stroller and taking the lead.  Turns out we were the first stroller finishers and 2nd finisher in my age group (stroller and all) with a time of 25:40.  That's not that fast for a 5K, but it was fast enough for this race!

This past weekend, we travelled as a family up to Branson where Brad competed in his first ever Half Ironman Triathlon.  A half Ironman consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a half marathon (13.1 miles) for a total of 70.3 miles!  Though Quinn and I were not able to watch the good majority of the race, we were there for Brad to cross the finish line with an incredible time of less than 6 hours (his goal!).  Brad finished in the top 30% of his age group and we are all so proud of him.  He trained really hard, followed his coach's plan to a "t", and really earned his time.  Up next, no doubt, an Ironman in 2011!!

Brad with less than 5 miles left!

Quinn...Waiting for Daddy to Cross the Finish Line

A Happy Sweaty Family!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

So Many Recipes To Tell You About

School might be back in session and life may be crazier than ever, but we're still eating well in The Pope House.  I have 6 recipes to review and only 1 that I don't plan on making again (Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia). 

Let's start there with the Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia (  It's not that the dish wasn't good, but rather that when you look at all the other wonderful recipes I've managed to find and cook this year, this one did not stand out.  My exact notes are "Nothing to write home about." that enough?

Now, onto the winners.  Food and Wine Magazine had a recipe for Chipotle-Rubbed Salmon Tacos ( and both Brad and I were really impressed.  As the title says, the salmon is rubbed with chipotle chili powder, orange zest, and a bit of sugar.  I had no idea how smoky chipotle chili powder was.  The recipe called for 2 Tablespoons.  Next time, I'll reduce the amount to 1 1/2 Tablespoons, but aside from that, the recipe was perfect.  The dish was topped with an Apple-Cucumber Salsa that really cut the smokiness well and was very fresh and crispy and was finished off with a mayo-lime sauce that really pulled the dish together nicely.  A super quick meal to prepare, we'll be eating this one again here soon!

Next, I made The Food Network's Shrimp Pad Thai (  I will be honest and say that I've never eaten Pad Thai before so I don't know how authentic it tasted; however, Brad enjoys Thai food and thought it was delicious and pretty spot on and I really enjoyed the dish as well.  I had bought rice noodles when I was in Chicago and figured I'd better find a use for them.  If you've never used rice noodles before, they're pretty interesting.  Instead of cooking them, you let them just sit in a bowl of warm water until they soften.  They're pretty neat and easy!  I LIKE easy.  I followed the recipe to a tee, but per reviewers suggestions, I did add an egg when I added the noodles to the pan to make the dish creamier.  Overall, the dish was spicy, but was very very good!  I'd definitely recommend trying this one and you could very easily substitute in chicken, tofu, or other proteins.


Peanut Butter Noodles comes next.  I know, peanut butter and noodles, what a crazy combination, but I'm telling you, it works!  When 727 people have reviewed a recipe on and it has earned 4.5 out of 5 stars, you know it can't be bad, right?!?!  I followed that recipe (  and was very pleased.  I didn't have Udon noodles (whatever they are and whereve you find them in Northwest Arkanas), but substituted whole wheat pasta and it worked out great.  We really enjoyed the dish when it was warm, but Brad said it didn't re-heat as well.  As a last minute, throw together dish, this one is definitely one to keep!

Jalapeno Steak...sounds spicy doesn't it?  Surprisingly, it really wasn't!  Another recipe (, this steak marinated for 36 hours (because I didn't have time to make it when I was supposed to).  I pulled 2 pieces of sirloin steak out of the freezer, made the marinade (with 3 jalapenos), and threw it all together in the same bag to allow the steaks to thaw.  36 hours later, we had the most tender and surprisingly, not too spicy hot steak.  I served it up atop rice and broccoli.  Healthy, quick, and easy!  You could always leave the seeds and ribs of the jalapenos in to make it spicier or reduce the amount of jalapenos to make it less spicy.  Either way, you won't be disappointed.

Last, was the quickest recipe of them all, Cooking Light's Herbed Chicken Parmesan recipe (  Super fast to make, this dish really suited our tastes well.  Although it had no garlic (shocking to me and a much welcomed surprise for Brad), the dish did not fall short on flavor at all.  I used Barilla Tomato Basil pasta sauce and added the balsamic vinegar as directed.  Wow does that really add a fresh/homemade flavor to jarred sauce...If I take nothing else away from this recipe, I'll take that trick for sure!  But overall, this dish was very moist, very flavorful, and took less than 20 minutes to prepare!  I served it with broccoli and a salad, but you could easily serve it atop a bed of pasta too!

Wow...we've been eating really well around here! Fresh food, healthy dishes, and great flavors.  These next two weeks, we'll be following Tosca Reno's Clean Eating meal plan.  I'm excited for a lot of new recipes and whole days worth of meals planned out for us.  I'll let you know how it goes soon!  Let me know what you're cooking too...I'd love some new ideas as well!


Friday, September 10, 2010

How Did We Ever Get This Lucky?

I swear, God must have something up his sleeve for the next ones (no, we're not pregnant and are not thinking about it yet) because Quinn is the easiest baby.  He wakes up every morning (granted pretty early some days) talking to himself, smiles as soon as you go to get him, will sit and play by himself, will go to anyone, smiles all the time (unless he's hungry), and is just so stinkin' cute.  I might be biased as his mom, but his personality is so amazing that even with a bag over his head (or more often, a blanket), he's adorable!

My friend Jasson came over a few weeks ago and shot 3 month pictures for us.  She is not a professional, but I really think she might want to look into charging because she does such a good job capturing little moments and editing as well.

Here are a few of our favorites!  ENJOY!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things

Or maybe I should say...getting back into a "new" swing of things?!?!  I'm going to keep this really brief because Quinn's about to wake up from a nap, but wanted to let you all know that we are adjusting well to life back in school and Quinn is LOVING day care.

A few pics and a video to share!  We'll be back with more to tell about soon!

Quinn - 13 weeks holding self up!

Quinn 14 Weeks

15 Weeks

Quinn Talking Up A Storm at 15 Weeks!