30 September 2011

Nine years ago I became a mother

Goosey came to us after much anticipation and longing.   Nine years later she continues to be a blessing.  
Happy birthday to my sweet angel baby.

29 September 2011

Two front doors

I'm a sucker for a historic home, and this one has not only two chimneys, but also two front doors. In the first half of the 19th century homeowners were moving from the basic necessities of a farm house to larger, more comfortable homes that included parlors.  One didn't want to introduce visitors into the keeping room, but rather directly into the parlor.  Therefore, homes had two identical front doors-- one for visitors that led into the parlor and one for the family that led into the keeping room.  This home is an excellent example of that feature.

26 September 2011

Fitness Report, Week3

I felt like this week went better than last week, but the scale definitely didn't reflect that.  I've got to up my game on the fruits and veggies....probably didn't help that I didn't have a lot of time for grocery shopping last week.  I usually spend one afternoon each week doing the shopping.  This week I was at the school helping out four days and my kids were out of school on the fifth day.

Four days!  I did it!

I enjoyed working on Healthy Change #3.  I don't like sugary breakfast cereals....with one exception (Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch.  My weakness).  When I eat cereal I usually opt for plain Cheerios or Chex.  This week I made sure I paid attention to the fiber and sugar content.  Although it's not on Skip's list, I picked up a double box of Fiber One Honey Clusters at my local warehouse club.  For a one cup serving it comes in at 13g of fiber and 6g sugar.  Not bad.

I am feeling good about my efforts and I'm crossing my fingers that my body will kick into gear.  Since I've been up the last two weeks I'm behind on my goal (would've hoped to be at a loss of 3 lbs at this point).  But, I'm going to keep going.

Weight change from last week: +0.8 lbs
Total Weight loss:1.6 lbs
Neck measurement: no change
Waist measurement: no change
Hip measurement: no change

22 September 2011

Maple tree love

Our fall colors are just starting to appear, but this picture I took a few years ago shows just how lovely they can be.  The thing I love most about this house is the tree.  I covet it.  Four years ago I planted two small maple trees in our backyard and I'm just waiting for the day when they're as large and brilliant as the one in this photo.

21 September 2011

No lunch for you!

If you live in my community it may be news to you that our public school teachers are no longer allowed to leave their campuses during lunch time.  Did you just lean your head forward and say, "What?"  Because that's what I did when I first heard the news.  District wide, this policy is in effect.

Originally, I heard that the policy was retribution for the teacher union's refusal to re-open their contracts this year (despite the fact that they opened them last year and were told they wouldn't be asked to do so for three more years).  I was appalled at the pettiness of the policy, until I heard there may have been another catalyst for it (although I still wonder if it was a combination of the refusal to re-open and the following incident).

Word on the street is that a high school teacher abused her prep period.  Rather than actually using the time for its intended purpose, she took it, and her lunch (which was either right before or after her prep) to get her hair done at a salon.....where she happened to run into the mayor's wife.

From there, I assume, the mayor decided to get involved.  Instead of letting the principal manage the situation, the edict was issued that no off campus lunches were to happen.  I don't know if the command came directly from the mayor or if he pressured the schoolboard or superintendent to do it.  I'll tell you what I do know.

I know that our teachers are under an incredible amount of stress.  Classroom sizes have increased in the last three years and so have the demands put on our teachers.  They have been told, for the most part, exactly how and what to teach with very little room for deviation.  Supplies are diminishing and so is morale.  And, to top it off, the 25 minutes our elementary school teachers have completely to themselves during the day have now been restricted.  Someone has dictated where they must be spent.

I find the entire situation ridiculous.  First of all, the high school principal should have been allowed to do his job instead of the entire teaching staff being micromanaged.  Secondly, we are talking about professional adults.  We should give them the respect they deserve and allow them the freedom to choose where they eat.  Third, because one teacher made a poor judgement call does not mean that the rest must suffer the consequences, especially in something as easily remedied as this situation was.

Are you bothered too?  Let the mayor, the school board and the superintendent know.  That's what I'm doing.

19 September 2011

Fitness Report, Week 2

Nutritionally, it was not a good week.  I only tracked my food half the days last week.  I still tried to be aware of what I was eating, but I know there were days I went over on my caloric intake.  I'm back on track today.

Again, only three days of exercise....I've got to hit that 4th day.  Every member of my family has been battling this awful cough/congestion thing for three weeks.  The burning lungs, and along with Craig being in NYC for a business trip didn't bode well for my motivation.  Today I'm feeling a little better and Craig is home, so I'm going to get back on it.

When I read  Healthy Change #2 I thought it wouldn't be a problem.  I rarely eat deep fat fried foods.  In fact, it mostly happens at the same time I drink soda (see Healthy Change #1), or about once a month.  But, the change does say NEVER buy them.  Saturday night we suffering through the disaster that was the BYU football game and decided to order dinner.  It was until we were eating that I realized I was eating chicken tenders and onion rings (a guilty pleasure--I love good onion rings).  It'll be the last time I have those in a long while.

I am encouraged by all the support I'm receiving on my fitness plan.  From PTA moms to ladies at church to my husband's aunt and uncle, everyone has been so positive and encouraging.  Like I wrote in my initial plan, I'm putting myself out there a bit, which makes me nervous, but so far you all have been great.  Last week wasn't stellar, but I'm ready to buckle down and work hard this week.

Weight change from last week: +0.2 lbs
Total Weight loss: 2.4 lbs
Neck measurement: no change
Waist measurement: no change
Hip measurement: no change

15 September 2011

Seaside in New England

Oh, this house.  I just love it.  The roofline, the windows, the porch.  Who doesn't love a wraparound porch?  Even better?  It overlooks the ocean.  Heaven, I tell you, heaven.

13 September 2011

A word of advice, okay?

Tonight at the soccer field I listened to a mother interacting with her child and it reminded me of one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received.

When I was in my Water Safety Instructor course (the American Red Cross certification that allows you to teach swimming lessons) the trainer told us," Don't end your sentences with 'okay'?".   For example, I should say "swim to the other side" NOT "swim to the other side, okay?"

When we add "okay" to the end of a sentence we are asking the listener's permission.  As parents, teachers or leaders we need to give clear instructions.  When we add "okay" to the end of our sentences we magically transform them into questions instead of statements, thus allowing the listener to the possibility of denying our request.

If you want to confirm that the listener heard and understood what you were saying try something else.  I say to my kids : "You need to clean up the basement please. Got it?"  They will usually respond with "yes" or "what" or "wahhhhhh, I don't want to."  The responses tell me a) if they were listening to me (or ignoring me) and b) that they understand the task.  For an older crowd you might try something like, "We need to pick up all of these boxes move them to the next room.  Any questions?"

That advice was invaluable not only in teaching years of swimming lessons and lifeguarding courses, but also in student teaching in a Jr. High, serving as a young women leader, leading groups of adults at church and school and with my own kids.  So, the next time you're wondering why your child says no to your request, think for a minute:  Did I just ask them IF they wanted to do that.  Maybe a simple change in wording will help your sanity.

12 September 2011

Fitness Report, Week 1

I tracked my food and drink each day this week.  I had two days where I went just a little over my target caloric intake, a couple where I was a little under.  So, overall I came in right on target.  I only had one big surprise:  I had no idea how many calories were in pasta!  Wow.  That was unexpected.

I only worked out three times this week.  Each time was 30-45 minutes.  I've had a horrible cough, so I've been going a little easy because I can't breathe otherwise.  Lew hasn't started preschool yet, so I've also needed to exercise at home.  I've been doing Just Dance 2 on the Wii.

This week I tackled Healthy Change #1. I was relieved when I read that this week's challenge was to drink only 12 oz. of soda (or other sugary drinks) each week.  This was an easy one for me to start off with.  I rarely drink soda.  In fact, the only time I do is when we're on the run and grab fast food to eat.  This only happens about once a month.  From now on I'll be more aware of the drink size and probably even opt for water instead.

Weight change from last week: -2.6 lbs
Total Weight loss: 2.6 lbs
Neck measurement: no change
Waist measurement: no change
Hip measurement: no change

08 September 2011

Detour House

The one advantage to our horrendous detour through upstate New York was the scenery.  As we drove by this house I became intrigued.  Yes, it needs some TLC, but it's still an interesting home.  I love the half windows in the attic story.  I also think the blue screen door is a wonderful bright little spot of color.

The setting was gorgeous.  Did these cows line up just for me?  Probably not, but I love cows and barns.

Corn fields set against a beautiful countryside?  I definitely wouldn't mind looking out my front windows at this scenery.

But, the thing that really intrigued me was the inhabitants of the home:  Amish.  I would love to peek inside an Amish home.

 The neighbors seemed pleasant too.

And the idea of picking berries along the side of the road for a dessert is just perfect.

07 September 2011

Making our way home

Our drive home from Spokane went well.  Goosey fell in love with southeastern Montana.  She kept gushing about the wide open spaces, the mountains in the distance and all the room for horses to run.  She's in a horse phase right now.  Is it just the age?  Because I was 8 when I was in my horse phase (complete with an actual horse, 4-H, and lots of horse books).  Maybe I should see if I can dig up some of those books.  Hmmm...

Five days is a looooong time in the car, so we decided to plan a couple of surprises along the way.  The first one can be seen in the picture  below.

 Did you miss it?  Okay, here it is from a more obvious angle.

We had planned on stopping at the Mt. Rushmore National Park, but when we got there was a HUGE line of cars.  In the interest of time, we drove around to the back and saw the profile angle (the first picture), read the historical information and took some pictures.  The kids were happy with the experience, though they really wanted to see the lake from National Treasure 2.

The second surprise involved grandparents!

The kids were so surprised to knock on a hotel door in Iowa and have Grammie open it up.

My parents drove 10 hours (each way) just to see us on our way home.  Aren't they amazing?  They stayed at the same hotel as us, took us out to dinner, accompanied us to park, joined us for Cold Stone, then took us to breakfast the next morning.  Grandparents are the best.

All was going well until the last day of our trip when we entered the path Irene left behind her.  We were detoured off a road in Upstate New York and moved ~15 miles in 9 hours.  They wouldn't even let us off the detour route.  The biggest challenge was convincing Lew to go potty in the ditch.

It looked like this most of the time.

Once we finally got to a town, at 10pm, we were able to slip off the detour route and find a round-about way home.  We spent 18 hours in the car that day, but I'm pretty sure it would've been 24+ hrs if not for an atlas and a GPS to help us slip away.  We finally arrived home at 3am.  The summer adventure was complete.

05 September 2011

My fitness plan

It's been about a year since I've known, absolutely, that I need to get back into shape.  My desire doesn't stem from vanity.  I gave that up long ago.  Rather, it stems from the need to feel better.  It's not about weight.  I want to feel good, to say goodbye to aches and pains, to be more able for my kids.

I've spent a lot of time researching different fitness and diet plans.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to do this the old fashioned way (as suggested by my doctor): increase activity, decrease caloric intake and make healthy choices.

Over the summer I tried to make smart choices and dropped 9 lbs. without too much effort.  Now that we're home from our summer journey, I'm ready go full force.  Each Monday I'll be posting about my experience the previous week.  Here's my plan:

I will track all food and beverages, aiming for a daily caloric intake that will allow me to lose 1 lb. per week.

I will workout at least 4x week, for at least 30 minutes.  I must sweat.

I will adopt one of Skip Hellewell's Healthy Changes each week.

Each Monday I will write a post reporting changes in weight and measurements.  I will also discuss my experience with the Healthy Change of the week and general observations.

I will re-evaluate my plan at the end of the year.   This gives me 4 months to try it out.  My doctor mentioned that most people go at a fitness/weight loss plan for 3 months, then give up, but after three months is when you really start to see results.

I'm a little nervous about doing this so publicly, but I'm hoping that will help me stick to it.  Cross your fingers for me.

02 September 2011


Evidently 3rd graders are far too cool to smile.  Goosey is excited to move to the "senior" playground this year.

First grade at our school means riding the bus, eating lunch at school and Specials (art, library, gym, health and music).  Dogger is super excited for all things 1st grade will bring.

The bus stop crowd this year.  It's double the size of last Fall.

Ready for a new year.  Look at all those books!  Yikes.  I've heard 3rd grade is when things really pick up.

He's so excited to be sitting across from a friend.

The first day of school deserves a celebration,  which means it's time to pick our Hallmark Back-to-School Confidence Pack winner.  #5--Meri.  Congratulations!

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01 September 2011

Victorian Details

 I was taken completely by surprise when I drove by this home.  It's in a neighborhood that's less than a decade old, full of contemporary style houses.  The owners of this home opted for more traditional features.  The home is a basic two story dormered Cape Cod with an attached garage (see below).  But the details are Victorian.  I love the fish scale shingles, the woodwork in the eaves on at the top of the porch posts.  The porch itself is also very Victorian, Capes usually don't have them

But, I think my favorite surprise was the color of the fish scale shingles--GREEN!  There's no pale or forest about it, it's bright, kelly green.  I admire these homeowners for taking a leap and I love the result.
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