Oct 29, 2008

What's in a name?

Help. I rarely ask for help from my readers, however, desperate times call for desperate measures!
I need a name for a newsletter that I am working on for the small group ministry at my church. The newsletter is going to be an electronic newsletter sent to all of the small group leaders. The content of the newsletter will be news, upcoming events, links, ideas, leadership tools and resources.
Oh, and I need a name by tomorrow.

Oct 27, 2008

Y-E-S

Eli has started spelling. It is so irritating. Every time I ask him a question he responds by spelling the answer. It isn't so bad with Y-E-S and N-O, but other than those words, his spelling needs a lot of work and I'm often left asking the same question again . . . "What do you want for breakfast?".
I realize it is great that he is interested in spelling and I should take advantage of this precious time to teach him how to spell, but sometimes I really would just prefer him to answer my question.
It was a bonus the other day when he started requiring ME to spell anything that I wanted to tell him. Fine. E-l-i-w-i-l-l-y-o-u-p-l-e-a-s-e-b-r-u-s-h-y-o-u-r-t-e-e-t-h-a-n-d-g-e-t-i-n-t-o-b-e-d-!!

Oct 24, 2008

New Weight Loss Plan

I woke up yesterday morning and was reasonably happy with my weight.
I went to the gym and ran 2.5 miles then did an hour of pilates.
I came home and stepped on the scale and gained 2 lbs. Hmm.
I was mindful of what I was eating throughout the day and didn't snack, other than a Slim-a-Bear Klondike 100 calorie ice cream treat, after dinner.
I weighed myself before bed and found that I gained another 2lbs, for a total of 4 lbs.
Then I woke up this morning and weighed myself . . . . and I LOST 5 lbs!
I'm not a math or fitness expert but if I gain weight while being awake and lose weight while sleeping, shouldn't I sleep more?

Oct 19, 2008

More Fall Fun

The boys and I headed out Saturday morning to go apple picking and then on to Luray Caverns. We had a lot of fun sampling all the different varieties of apples and then determining our favorite. I think we ate a 1/2 peck before we ever got down the hill!
After a picnic lunch by the fire at the orchard we continued on to Luray, Va to see the caverns. It was about 45 minutes further down the road, and an absolutely beautiful drive. Fall in Virginia is so beautiful.
Luray Caverns was a great time for the boys and I. We walked through the 1 1/4 mile caverns marveling at the rock features. The boys did really well on the tour. We had to skip through some of the tour guide talks, but we made it.

Oct 14, 2008

New Photos are posted.

Follow the Our Latest Photos link on the right and enter the password "ourphotos".

10k today!!

I ran 10k on the treadmill today . . . OK it is just a little over 6 miles but I think 10k sounds better. I felt great! I did want to quit at the 4-mile mark and finish with a brisk walk, but I pressed on, kept up the pace, and ran it out. During this run I realized some very important things. First, I have no desire to ever run further than 6 miles. I could try and run it faster, or on the street, on a trail, backwards, or in the rain, but I just don't see myself ever wanting to run further. The second thing I realized is that I can survive with sweat dripping off my face like a leaky faucet. I hate face sweat, and generally consider a soaking wet head a sign that whatever I am doing is way too strenuous and I must stop. However, today I sweat like I was in a sauna and I survived. I looked gross, but I survived. And the last thing I realized was, Rachel Ray has some really tasty recipes on her show! During my run, she made this fabulous looking mushroom and spinach deep dish pizza. Mmm. I'm actually going to try this recipe!

Oct 13, 2008

The Vote

Election day is right around the corner and I'm still so torn about my vote. There are issues and things I like about each candidate and things I absolutely don't like about both as well. What to do?
I found a voting guide on-line last week that asked a number of questions and then analyzed my answers and is supposed to determine which candidate falls in line with the issues you believe in. Wouldn't you know, the response I got was something like "gee you are out of luck".
I have put some effort into sorting out what matters most to me, and searching for unbiased information regarding each candidate, but it is going to take me quite a bit more time to really gain a good understanding of where each candidate stands and what his/her history reveals about character and voting records, before I can confidently make my choice.
I have so many things on my "to-do list" right now, and so little time. Today the thought crossed my mind that I am just one vote, and maybe it really isn't worth all this effort just to check a box on election day. Then, the above picture flashed in my head.
This summer I spent a few hours looking through old family photos. I really enjoyed looking back at pictures taken of my parents and family long before I was around. I decided to scan some select pictures so that I would have a copy. This picture made it to my "scan" pile. Why? The people in the picture are my uncle Mayn, Grandma, and my dad. The picture itself isn't that great, but what caught my eye was the note my Grandma wrote about the picture. Here my dad, uncle, and Grandma are standing outside the courthouse in Chico, California following the ceremony that granted them U.S. citizenship. Among other things, it granted them the right to vote.
I have to vote. It is my duty and privilege to live in a country that allows its citizens to choose the country's leader. So that means more homework for me, and I'll take the advise of a friend to pray that God will guide me in the direction that He desires for this nation.
Take comfort in the fact the God still has his hand in the life and prosperity of this nation. Daniel 2 reminds us that God has the power to change times and seasons, set up kings and depose them, give wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. I serve the same God as Daniel, therefore I have to believe that His hand is on this nation, this election, our current financial crisis, and power over the decline in morality that sweeps across this country.

Oct 12, 2008

Fall in Virginia

Another beautiful fall weekend here in Northern Virginia! Yesterday the boys and I met up with the Gastons and spent the day at Cox Farms, a local pumpkin patch. Well, it is called a pumpkin patch but they don't really have a patch. It is more like a huge playground. There are giant slides, hay piles to climb on, mazes, rope swings, animals, and a hay ride. The kids had a blast! While I wasn't too interested in the activities, I enjoyed the company of friends, watching the boys have so much fun, and onset of fall. The leaves are turning colors, the day was warm but a nice breeze cooled just enough to make it comfortable.
Today, we headed to a local park for some more outdoor fun. I brought the jogger for Gabe and the bike for Eli. This was Eli's first trail ride. Now that he is riding without training wheels, he can ride so many more places. The plan was for me to jog and Eli to ride through some trails. He was hauling, I was huffing, and Gabe was yelling "faster mom, faster". We had so much fun riding/running through the trails, playing on the playgrounds, and going on and adventure hike around the lake. The lake was nasty. Let's call it a super sized swamp. And the "trail" around the lake was hardly a trail. We were all walking, the Ranger warned us that we couldn't take the jogger or bike, and a number of times we didn't know where the trail was. In the end, we ended up 3/4 of the way around the swamp, the parking lot was in sight, but the trail dead-ended into a disgusting bog. I don't know what a bog is but it sounds like it would be the grassy, muddy, frog infested, muck that I deamed impassable. OK, maybe it was a marsh. At any rate, Eli encouraged us to keep looking for a way to pass, but after 20 minutes it was no longer fun and adventurous, it was gross and itchy, and we retraced our steps and made it back to the car.
As if that wasn't exciting enough, we ended our day listening to a live Jazz band while stacking on tasty treats. The Army Jazz band was playing down at the marina, so the boys and I made our plates and sat up on our deck listening to the music.
I'm hoping the weather will be fabulous next weekend too! I'm already searching for the next great activity. The apple orchards are calling, and I'm trying to convince the boys that Luray Caverns would be fun. Stay tuned.

Oct 9, 2008

"I'm UN-healthy"

Tonight the boys and I went on a date to Macaroni Grill. I used to love Macaroni Grill, and then I read the nutritional information for my favorite dish and found out that it was 15oo calories, now I'm no longer a big fan. That is ridiculous. It is tasty, but if I'm going to throw down that many calories, I want it to be in ice cream or cake, not in creamy pasta sauce.
The boys wanted to go out for pasta, so I went along with the plan. After the boys ate their pasta the waitress came out with their dessert that comes with the kid's meal. Eli looked over at me and said "are you going to eat dessert". "No" I answered "I'm trying to be healthy". Without a moment to think he replied "I am UN-healthy. I like pasta, hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets, candy and ice cream".
Well, he may not be making the healthy choice but at least he knows the difference!

On the same note, we were in the car on our way home and Eli told me that today he found out the cafeteria makes cookies. Why? Why would a cafeteria, in an elementary school serve cookies?
So, we talked about how he found this out and what happened at lunch today. Apparently, he was in the hot-lunch line getting his popcorn chicken, and as he moved to the fruit area he didn't see anything that pleased his palate, so he got cookies instead. Since when are cookies an acceptable substitute for fruit?
This is why I pack Eli's lunch 90% of the time. If he had his way he would be on a strict "un-healthy" diet of pasta, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, candy, ice cream . . . and cookies!

Oct 8, 2008

This really happened

Today, I was at the gym on the treadmill going for a little run . . . OK I was jogging or maybe walking really fast . . . and I saw the funniest thing. A lady on a treadmill in front of me was going for a nice brisk walk, and then at some point she decided to step on the sides of the treadmill, the parts not moving, and then just chill there for awhile. Not to adjust her headphones, get a drink, tie a shoe or anything like that, she just stepped off. Meanwhile, the treadmill is still rolling along, doing all the work, and she was just standing there. I noticed she was flipping through a magazine, and later made a phone call.
I feel a little ripped off, all this time I thought you had to actually run/walk/jog on the treadmill. Does this lady know something I don't? Do you just have to stand on the treadmill while it is moving to burn calories?

This really happened today too. Recall from an early post that I dropped my glasses by the mailbox, didn't realize it until 5 hours later when I returned to find my glasses completely thrashed. The lenses were perfectly fine, I 'm not sure how that happened, but the frames were shattered, scratched, one arm fell off, and the nose piece was bent. I went into Hour Eyes where I bought my glasses and asked if I could just buy new frames and switch out the lenses. They said I could, however, they didn't have the same frames and would have to try and get them from somewhere else. Two weeks went by and so I went into Hour Eyes today, found my helpful lady and asked if she was able to get my frames. There was some confusion at first as to whether or not they came in, but after 10 minutes or so they were found and the glasses tech guys put my unscathed lenses into the new frames. Great, all was going well. Then, this happened, she let me have the frames for free. No kidding. They were $100+ frames, I didn't buy the insurance, they were broken due to my own admitted error, and she gave them to me. I love her.

Oct 7, 2008

i'm in trouble.

I wanted to join the i-pod generation for two reasons. First, my current Mp3 player decides what song it thinks I should listen to regardless of what song I choose. I can select a good old U2 song and hit play, and the next thing I know I'm listening to "veggie taaaales, veggie taaaales, veggie taaaales, veggie tales. Broccoli, collard greens . . . . ". The second reason why I wanted an i-pod was because they are just cool.
So, I asked for a new Mp3 player for my birthday and tada, a month early, I recieved an i-pod touch. Since I am new to the i-world, i really didn't have a clue what this meant. I could tell it was bigger than the shuffle or nano, but the only other term I heard connected with -pod was classic. What is an i-pod touch?
Well, since the package arrive early, and I felt really guilty about ruining a birthday surprise I put it up on the shelf with plans to wait until my actual birthday to break it open. On occation my curiosity has almost got me to break the seal on that cute little box, but I didn't touch it.
Today, Matt called and he said his dad (the gift-giver) wanted me to go ahead and open it and start using it. This is where trouble begins.
I asked Matt "What is it?"
He answered "an i-phone with everything an i-phone has, except the phone"
Me "huh"
Matt "I'll take it and you can have my nano if you want"
His eagerness to take this off my hands was the first clue that I had something cool. He was offering no help (jealously will do that) so I openened the package. The manual has no instructions other than a web address to log on to for a tutorial. I got online and pulled up information on the i-pod touch . . . WOW this thing is so cool. It is just like the i-phone without the phone. It has a calendar that syncs with outlook, with it's internal wi-fi receiver I can send and recieve email, search the web, and there is a separate youtube thing, I can watch movies and tv shows, take pictures, it has a full address book, GPS maps, nike+ compatible, and of coarse that little thing I wanted from the beginning - listen to music.
Matt's instructions were "take it out of the box and plug the white cord into the device and the computer. This will charge it." Done.
"Then the i-tunes icon will pop up." OK, things are working well so far.
And then "there you go". End of help.
Matt does our technical stuff and he is in Alabama. This means I am going to either wait 2 months to get this snappy gadget working or figure it out on my own. Now that I know its power, I clearly can't just stash it away, so enter the technologically advanced world I must.
My first problem is that I don't know how to turn it on.
I hope they cover that in the on-line tutorial.

Oct 4, 2008

What a beautiful day!

Today was such a beautiful day. The weather was perfect - mid 70's with not a cloud in the sky, we were in good company, and the day had a happy ending.
We met with Mary, Eli's best friend, and her family at the Joe Gibbs Country Fair in Bristow, VA. Not only was it great to be with Mary, but the event was fabulous. Joe Gibbs is the the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing (NASCAR) former Redskins coach, and founder of Youth For Tomorrow, a great non-profit organization reaching out to troubled youth. The Country Fair is an annual event designed to raise money for the charity. There are silent and live auctions for people looking for some great sports memorabilia, a bunch of booths, and most importantly a fair for the kids. There were horse rides, bounce houses, mini-amusement rides, rock climbing walls, petting zoo, hay maze, and much, much more for just $15 for all three of us! We were there from 10am until 3:30 and still didn't do everything! Eli had a great day playing with his friend Mary, Gabriel enjoyed playing with her little brother Adam, and I got to know their mom as we followed the kids around.
I also ran into 3 other families from different areas of my life. That may not be a big deal to people who have lived in one place for very long, but for me - that never happens. We were 45 minutes away from home and church, in a field full of activities and people, and I ran into people from school and church. It felt great to run into people that knew me.
After all that excitement, the boys and I met up with Matt's AunTina for dinner. We had a nice meal sitting out on the patio of the restaurant, enjoying the weather and the chance to be together.
We got home about 7pm, the boys willingly showered, played quietly together for a bit and we ended the night with a bedtime story. It was a beautiful day.

Oct 1, 2008

10 bags, 100 pounds each.

When Matt was getting his travel arrangements set up for his trip to Alabama, he asked how much luggage he could bring with him. He wanted to make sure he could bring more than one bag down to Alabama without getting charged for it. As it turns out, he is allowed 10 bags weighing no more than 100 pounds each, unless he is traveling on a commuter carrier in which case he could only bring 4 at 100 pounds each.
He will be gone for 9 weeks. He has a rental car to make his way to the laundromat, dining facility, a grocery store, and to entertainment venues such as bowling, movies, and whatever else he can find in lower Alabama. He also has a hotel, complete with linens, a bed, chairs, table, microwave and mini-fridge. With all these amenities, how could one person possibly need 1000 pounds of stuff for just 9 weeks?
Matt took advantage of his luggage allowance and managed to bring his GPS, laptop, XM radio, ipod, PSP, Xbox including an assortment of games AND two guitars for Guitar Hero, his digital camera, chargers for all of thee above, two blankets (we hate hotel blankets), his memory foam pillow, and enough clothes for two weeks without doing laundry. I would guess that all that weighed maybe 150 pounds at the most!
Uncle Sam won't buy Matt a uniform, but will pay for 1000 pounds of cargo for 2 months TDY in a hotel. Hmm.

Happy October 1st

Today, I dropped Matt off at the airport. After we unloaded his 3 large bags, a backpack, and laptop, we gave each other a big hug and some smoochies, and he was off.
9 weeks is no big deal right? I was on vacation without Matt for 5 weeks this summer, I've done a year alone with both boys, and 8 months alone when Eli was a baby. Even though I know in my head that 9 weeks is going to fly by, I was still sad when I got home knowing that he wouldn't be here for awhile.
So, what do I do? Clean! Yep, cleaning is completely theraputic. It is Fall cleaning time at my hosue and Matt is not around to protest that there might be an instant, some day, when he will need to wear all 15 free lanyards at one time, or that he is confident one day he will wear those near-acid-wash size 32 jeans and that faded Timberland t-shirt.
After I'm done cleaning, I'm planning to enjoy fall activities with the boys, read a few books, work on my German, get my flabalanch gut in the gym, produce some great e-newsletters for the small group leader ministry at church, and accomplish all those other little tasks like changing the oil in the car, fixing the leaky sink, and solving my dental crisis. That might be a lot for 9 weeks! I better get started!
So, while I am sad that Matt left, I am looking on the bright side and planning to make the best of this time I have ahead. Today is October 1st, that is just three months before the new year!