Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Fitness Pal

Eric recently told me that every conversation I have eventually ties into "my fitness pal". Sadly, he is mostly right. I try not to bring it up, but eventually it just comes up. :) I guess if it's become that big a part of my life, it is blog-worthy.

A little over a month ago, I went to see my close friend, Linda, when her son returned from his mission. Surprisingly, she had lost over 30 pounds since I last saw her. Just as I ask all my friends who have lost weight: How did you do it? The answer was simple: My fitness pal! I'd heard of it, but never tried it. After her description, I decided to try it! You don't have to give anything up except total number of calories. You can have carbs or something sweet if you want, you just have to stay within your calories. And...you get extra calories when you exercise!!! 

In the past, I have been a crash dieter. I want to get the weight off as quickly as possible so I can get back to eating foods I like. I am normally a pretty healthy eater thanks to my great parents who raised me on garden fresh vegetables and home canned fruit, but I love all food. I am not a big carb eater, but I don't like giving it completely up either. I do like my sweets, but I don't need a lot to satisfy me, so this seemed a perfect solution for me and it has been. 

I downloaded the app on my phone and set it to lose 1 pound per week. I record everything I eat, my exercise, and my weight. I've been doing it for about a month now and lost 8 pounds. I have to say it is the easiest diet I have ever done. Yes, I have to be careful what I eat, but I can choose how I want to use my calories and I'm not hungry or left craving sweets. It's perfect for me. I plan to continue until I lose a bit more, but now that I've done it, it isn't hard at all.

This Little Guy

 This little guy has reached and passed 18 months and even 19 months, so I figured it was time for an update.
This little guy loves to play with cars--all shapes and sizes.
This little guy loves to play on the stairs with toys or lay down across the stairs since he is the perfect length.
This little guy follows Mom or Dad everywhere. He will carry the same 3-4 cars all around the house wherever I go and play with them until I move to another room, then he follows and plays again.
This little guy repeats everything we say. He talks so cute and can say anything!
Lately he has been saying, "Where's ________". A few nights ago I took him in the girls room to say goodnight. After he gave a goodnight kiss to Jesikah he looked at Jesikah and said, "Where's Tessa?" as clear as can be. Then today he was missing a piece of his shape puzzle and he said, "Where's the diamond?". He is speaking in 2-3 word sentences now.
This little guy loves puzzles, books, and color wonder markers.
This little guy has learned to say no, and says no to bed and naps as well as most foods.
Sadly, this little guy who used to be a good eater has now become a picky eater. :( Things he used to like he will no longer eat. Things he does like are: Mac n cheese, cheese, sandwich meat, crackers, apples, sometimes bananas, dry cereal, sometimes oatmeal, corn, milk, water, and his favorite food is RAISINS and CRAISINS. (Not so fun in the diaper).
Today when he was being loud, Jarem told me to get him to be quiet. I told Jarem there are only 2 ways to get him to be quiet: put him to bed or give him raisins. We gave him raisins. :)
This little guy loves his blankies and stuffed animals too. He especially loves puppies and his new favorite book is "Are You My Mother?" He is learning the animal sounds.
When we are in the car, this little guy loves to yell "bus" or "big truck" constantly.
This little guy is pretty good at getting his way. He can scream very loudly when things don't work out or when Jarem or Tessa are teasing him.
Thank heavens, this little guy is a good sleeper. He has slept through the night regularly for a long time now. He puts himself to sleep by "Singing his alms" as we like to call it and holding his blankie around his finger close to his mouth. He goes to bed around 8pm and usually wakes up at 8am. He takes one two-hour nap in the afternoon.
Even though this little guy can be quite moody and clingy some days, he is also so cute and sweet and adorable, and he gives the best kisses and hugs. Oh and one more thing, he tells us all "love you" before he goes to bed. It melts my heart. <3 p="">

Monday, September 29, 2014

My River Birch

We planted this river birch in our front garden area about 3 years ago. Since that time, it has more than doubled in height and width.  It has grown at an amazing speed--way faster than others in our neighborhood that were about the same size at planting.  We weren't prepared to experience growing pains this quickly. :)

Because it was taking over our sidewalk and attacking people walking up to the house, we decided it was time to trim the lower branches.  So a few weeks ago, Eric and I got to work on a beautiful fall day and trimmed off all the lower branches. I love seeing more of the beautiful bark, however, now I feel like it needs some thinning on top as well. 

I like the classic look of the river birch with the wispy light filtering branches and I feel like it has just gotten too bushy on top. I have heard of an option to thin the branches if a river birch gets too thick. It would be quite an undertaking because of the height of the tree. I am just trying to decide if this is what my tree needs. I don't want to do anything to hurt the tree since it is a beautiful tree and I love it. What do you think? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

Jesikah's "sweet sixteen" birthday was on Wednesday, August 13th.  She got very spoiled by everyone.  She said she couldn't even count how many times people sang her "Happy Birthday" that day and over the next few days.  For her birthday dinner, she wanted clam chowder. We had a family dinner with clam chowder and she opened her presents from us: a Vera Bradley duffle bag, a Chi flat iron, and a nice razor with changeable blades (so she'll stop stealing mine). :)

Opening Duffel bag

That knowing look :)

Brush from Jarem

Showing off her duffel bag!
 Thursday night, Eric took her on her first date!  They went and shopped for tennis stuff, they went out to dinner at Cheddars, and then went to the Giver movie.

Friday night, she had her friend party.  She had invited some friends from school.  I surprised her by inviting all her church friends too! It was a fun party! We divided into three groups and went on a photo scavenger hunt around Clarksville.  When all the groups got back, we hooked their phones up to the TV and everyone showed off all their pictures.  They did really well!! One group got everything and the other two groups only missed 1 and 3 things. It was a good time! Next we all went over to our neighborhood clubhouse. We surprised her with the room all decorated, Chinese food, a fancy castle cake, and a candy buffet. After eating, we watched her favorite movie, "Soul Surfer" while eating plenty of candy.  Then, to end the night, we lit Chinese lanterns outside the clubhouse and watched them float into the sky.

Jesikah coming into the clubhouse

Candy buffet

Amazingly Fancy castle cake made by a friend for our princess

Lining up for Chinese food

Even Jarem got a plate

Watching the movie

Tessa and Divya getting some food

Castle cake again with gummy sharks in the moat at Jesikah's request. :)

Riding back to our house in the back of the truck
 When we got back to the house, she opened her gifts from her friends. She got everything she wanted: 2 pair of Nike shorts, nail polish, a manicure gift card, a pretty painted quote, scarf, cash, and gift cards. She has such a nice group of friends. We did have cake and ice cream sometime in there, and they stayed up playing crazy games like murder in the dark until I finally sent them to bed at 1:30am.

Cool quote her friend painted for her

Hugging Maddie for the gift

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

21 Years Together!

It has been a wonderful 21 years that we have spent together! I am very lucky to call Eric my husband. He is a great man and a wonderful husband and father. For our anniversary, he spoiled me with a beautiful begonia plant, yummy cupcakes, and best of all---a personal letter! Below, I am reading the letter from him as Jesikah is snapping pictures.

To celebrate our special day, we went to Nashville to Maggiano's and enjoyed a delicious dinner out on their balcony.

Then, we went decided to go to the Symphony Hall and see who was playing. It was some Boz Scaggs guy that we'd never heard of, but it was supposed to be a combination of jazz and bluegrass, which we like. We decided, why not? We had some time to kill before the show, so we walked around downtown Nashville. We went in the Boot Country store and we both tried on some cowboy boots. I actually found 2 pair that I really liked and Eric found some too, but we didn't get them. Surprisingly, Nashville has grown on us a bit and cowboy boots aren't as bad as we once thought. Still though, for the price, it wasn't worth the limited wear they would get. We discovered the night life in Nashville is very alive and well even on Tuesday night. After thoroughly enjoying our browsing and walking, we went to see Boz!

Our first sign of what was to come should have been when we noticed everyone coming to the show was our parents' age. But, Eric said, "Lots of old people like the symphony", so we proceeded. Well, long story short, it was NOT jazz or bluegrass, in fact I have no idea what to call it except something scary out of the 1960-70's--definitely NOT our kind of music (and I like most music types). We looked at each other during the first song and didn't know WHAT to think. They were selling drinks in the lobby and most people were doing a lot of drinking. As the night wore on, old ladies were standing up in the middle of the audience dancing and up on the balconies. On the balconies there were ladies dancing, twisting, and shaking their moneymaker for Boz. It was crazy. The longer we stayed, the crazier it got. We actually started enjoying watching the effects of Boz and alcohol on these people. I have never seen old people so excited. Eric described it perfectly when he said, "We are 20 years too young and way too sober for this party". But, despite all the reasons to leave, we stayed and actually enjoyed our time just being together and laughing at all the craziness around us.

Afterwards, we hit a delicious ice cream shop that we spotted earlier in our wanderings and thoroughly enjoyed some homemade ice cream! It was a great evening even though it was nothing like we expected.

Friday, August 8, 2014

First Day of School

The kids first day back to school was Wednesday, August 6. In high school, each grade has a color or shirt that they wear on the first day.  Jesikah bought her "sophomore" shirt at the end of last school year so that she would be prepared.  She was excited to not be at the very bottom of the school any longer.

Tessa  is an 8th grader this year, so she gets to enjoy being at the top of the school before entering high school!  She was very happy about her classes.  She got into all the advanced classes that she had hoped for. 

Jarem is being home-schooled this year for 4th grade. It will be a challenge for me, but I think it is in his best interest for now. I don't know what next year will bring... It will be nice to keep all the kids on the same schedule. It should make after-school activities and coordination much easier. He has gotten a little behind in Math, so I plan to catch him up and go beyond what he needs to learn for 4th grade. I just hope Micah is cooperative.

It was a little sad for me to not be sending Alex off to school this year.  I kept thinking that I needed to buy clothes and supplies for one more child and then I kept remembering that he was gone. :( I miss that boy everyday. I love to get his letters each week and see how well he is doing.