August 31, 2009

Our first dating anniversary

Starting month 3, Jay'd been giving me flowers on the 13th of each month for our our "monthiversary". Since I had never been in a long term relationship (my longest ever was 9 months in the 5th grade), each passing month showed my commitment to this man.

We had planned on joining my parents and grandparents for a week at the beach (Tybee Island/Savannah) in October, but we were counting on going the 20th. Those plans all changed when we received a wedding invitation for some friends of ours who were marrying on the 20th.

The only week left was the week of the 13th. We had two choices - not go to the beach or spend our anniversary with my family. I love the beach so it wasn't a hard decision for me.

Savannah is a beautiful, historic town and while it was too cold to get in the water it was plenty warm for long walks on the beach.

The day of our anniversary, we ditched the old folks and headed into Savannah for dinner. Don't worry, we'd went by the grocery store and stocked them up with food to make in the condo, so its not like we left them stranded.

After dinner we came back to the condo and took a romantic walk on the beach.

Jay gets so frustrated because I have a hard time keeping my eyes open for a camera flash. Obviously, pictures of moonlit walks on the beach were no exception.

Then we headed back to the condo...and to bed for the evening.

Before you start covering the eyes of young children, let me explain. We had rented a 3 bedroom condo for the week. The master, with a balcony out to the ocean, went to my grandparents, the 2nd guest room with the standard bed went to my parents, and Jay and I were given the 3rd room.

With two twin beds.

As if that weren't good enough, Jay insisted that we sleep with the bedroom door open. My parents begged us to close it. They knew that no funny business would go on, and they didn't want to have to worry about being quiet when they woke up at 6 in the morning and we were still asleep at 9.

We compromised at a shoe width crack in the door. I convinced him that if it was good enough for King College (my conservative Christian school) then it was good enough for us.

One morning, we even got up early enough to see the sunrise. Then we both decided that it was too early and went back to bed.

I couldn't have asked for a better anniversary.

And this year, for our first married anniversary, he's recycling the idea. We've decided to head out west to see the Sequoias and the Redwoods. Although this time, we will be sharing a bed. (Just in case you were wondering.)

For more love stories, head on over to Rachel's Meetings, Marriages, and Memories carnial.

August 28, 2009

Financial Friday

(From my sickbed - if I don't get to your blog today its because Jay needed the computer for work.)

Jay and I took another big step this weekend getting our fiancial stuff together. Wednesday at lunch we met with an attorney to draw up wills. Probably an unnecessary step at this point, but it was a part of a package deal to get living will/power of attorney stuff together. While I pray we don't need any of it for a long, long time, there is no way to know when that stuff will come up.

Can I just tell you how wonderful my man is?

And how much of a troublemaker I am?

So the lawyer is taking notes on what we want so he can draw it up. The standard will stuff is the spouse gets half, but if we both die then we need a contingency. So Jay says "50/50 to our parents?"

I don't think so.

His eyes got big, and I think he feared my objection.

But I just wanted to give my 50% to my sister instead. For two reasons - Lord willing my parents will be dead before my turn comes, and because they've established their own financial path. It would be more of a blessing for my sister who, like me, has pretty much just started her adult life (well in comparison - she's been married since 2001 and is the mother of two.)

Jay's fears were relieved and we moved on to the living will portion. The lawyer said that the majority of people want theirs to say that if there is no hope they want the plug pulled. And the other document would name our spouses in charge of making any on the spot decisions.

Again, I wasn't okay with that. I certainly want the plug yanked for me. But I explained that since Jay isn't a Christian, I couldn't pull the plug on him. I'll take "No Hope" from a doctor over no hope for all eternity any day.

The lawyer was taken aback and said that he thought he understood, then turned to Jay and asked Jay if he wanted to pick someone else (like his parents) to carry out his wishes.

My sweet, sweet, beautiful thoughtful man.

If that's what she wants, that's what she gets. After all, what would it hurt him to lay in a coma? I'd be the one with the bills and stress. He'd just be laying there out of it.

I was shocked by his response, but it really does make sense. He's agnostic, not Buddist or something like that. So its not like he has a grand vision of an after life I'd be keeping him from.

Then again, maybe he just likes the idea of the hopelessly devoted wife holding his hand, praying for a miracle every day.

In other financial news, he got a call last night from his life insurance people, telling him that since he failed the niccotine test, his premiums would be $225 a month, instead of the $120 they originally quoted.

We were up front about his smokeless tobacco use, so that confused us. Turns out the lady that came out to take blood filled out the paperwork as if he'd never used any form of tobacco in his life.

Since the insurance broker (is that what they're called?) looked up the notes they have and sure enough they had documentation that he's a smokeless tobacco user too. She thinks that the insurance comapny will adjust that back down once they see that we were up front about it and meet their qualifications for the lower amount (they distinguish between smokers and smokeless tobacco users)/

In the mean time my policy has already been issued and I've mailed them a check. Life is easy for a non-mutant/non-tobacco user.

How are you doing on your financial goals? Whether it be saving money, paying down debt, or just getting together a game plan. I hope you're the boss of your money, and not the other way around.

August 27, 2009

Sick Day

After all that talk about pushing through murphy yesterday, I just couldn't do it today.

I was excited yesterday afternoon when I felt well enough to get a 4 mile run in. I even pushed myself on time (I desperately want to get better than a 12 minute mile on my long runs) and felt great when the run was over.

Got in bed at my normal 10:30 fully intending on making today a strength/cross training day. I set my alarm to wake me up at 6:15, so I could be to the pool by 7. Then I woke up around 2:30 and didn't go back to sleep until around 5.

Between my stuffy nose and scratchy throat I was miserable. I thought I pushed my alarm back to 7, but apparently not. I woke up at 7:15 and had to bust it to shower/change/get to work on time.

I only made it two hours before telling my boss that I was packing up my swine flu and heading home.

So that's two activities I'm behind for the week. Surely if I have to sacrifice anything on the training plan, those are the two best right?

Hopefully I'll be feeling well enough tomorrow for work...and my 3 mile run.

August 26, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday - No Excuses

I decide last week that I was going to shift my focus from the scales to training goals, specifically for a half marathon. I found the race, printed out the training program and psyched myself up. I went so far as to put my training schedule on my appointment calendar all the way through November. In pencil, so I could adapt as needed, but would be discouraged from just erasing the whole thing.

Murphy showed up this week, daring me to give up on my schedule for the week.

Excuse #1 - Jay asked me to accompany him to a business lunch on Saturday, then he was gone the rest of the day working. Since the a/c wasn't working, and I'd already put the windows up. I was afraid to leave the house empty with all the windows open, so I couldn't go on my afternoon bike ride as planned.

No, I didn't have the stroke of genius to close all the windows. Besides I don't like to be out and about in the neighborhood without knowing I've got someone that's missing me if I don't return in a timely fashion.

Resolution #1 - I moved the bike ride to Sunday. Genius huh? It ended up being riding around in circles in the garage with my niece. But the purpose of the cross training is to keep you moving, and I certainly did enough of that with the kids Sunday afternoon.

Excuse #2 - I'm getting a cold and I'm swimmy headed. No way I could have gotten on the treadmill to run my planned 3 miles at lunch. Also, I forgot to bring undies to change into and I certainly wasn't up for wearing sweaty ones back to work.

Resolution #2 - I rode my bike instead. I chose the days of my running and cross training. Who cares if I switch it up a little bit.

Excuse #3 - My babysitting job yesterday didn't allow me to take the lunchtime strength class at the community center. I was going to take the evening class, but my parents didn't get home in time to take over.

Also, the Little Man (who's typically a very pleasant child) woke up from his afternoon nap screeching. He latched on to me and wouldn't let go. So when the princess wanted ice cream, I had to try and dish it out with a 14 month old child attached to me. No big deal for you mom's I'm sure. I'm just not use to a 20 pound growth on my hip. Especially one who loves food and isn't scared to reach out and grab it.

Picture it - my parents house, yesterday afternoon. I'm standing in the kitchen with the little man half on my hip, half on the kitchen counter. One arm around my neck, the other reaching into the chocolate ice cream container. Then on my shirt, then on his belly, then on the counter.

All of that to say, I'm working on the confidence thing, but I'm not confident enough to walk into exercise class with chocolate smeared all over my front.

Resolution #3 - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. I was home alone last night, so no one could see my chocolate stains.

Excuse #4 - It was 82 degrees in my house last night.

The A/C guy came out to fix it Monday, and it was running Monday night so I assumed it was fixed. Turns out, he didn't have the part, so he just topped us off with coolant and is coming back out tomorrow.

Which is all well and good, except my hubby turned the a/c up to 82 degrees and forgot to turn it back down. The unit just didn't have enough juice to get it down to 80 degrees before I was done shredding.

Resolution #4 - Suck it up and deal. And next time I'll think twice about skipping class.

As far as the 21 day challenge - I think I did well with the goal set before me, I just think I picked the wrong goal. I don't really think that I speak negatively about myself often, just think it. I have compiled a list of things to consider when I start to get down on myself.

Reasons I should think highly of myself.

• I’ve already lost 10 pounds/1 pant size
• My husband thinks I’m beautiful
• My niece wants to be like me

Reasons to not hate my legs

• They work as they were designed
• They allow me to run races
• They fit into a size 6

August 25, 2009

Abram's Falls

My sister and bil go back to school today, but their kids don't go back until next week. Since the babysitter, Juju, is also out of town, my mom, dad, and I are taking turns making the rounds.

Today is my day. I hope I'm up for an entire day with a teething 14 month old and an incredibly active 5 year old. While I'm off playing around, I thought I'd give yall a few pictures of our latest hike.

The Abram's Falls trailhead is near the half way point of the Cades Cove loop. Thankfully the one and only bear we saw for the day was as we were driving to the hike.

(as always click to enlarge, and remember jay has a great zoom on his camera - we're not dumb enough to really get this close)

Our 2nd run in with wildlife was on the trail itself. For about 0.5 miles we were stuck behind a deer. I used it as a welcome relief to Jay's typical breakneck pace.

The buck finally found a spot where he could deviate from the trail, and we were back on our merry way. When we got to the falls, we went straight for the up close and personal tour.

Then we waded out into the water for some more pictures.

Note to self: throw those shorts away. Wearing an XL short will only make you look like an XL person. No good can come from that.

August 24, 2009

Weekend Scare

This weekend, I experienced the most scary moment of my life. (The first, you'll remember was when my hemophilliac husband sanded off the top of his finger two weeks after we got married, you can read about it here and here.

Saturday, Jay was driving home from meeting with a client, and gave me a call to tell me he was on his way home. He told me that he was a little worried, and probably shouldn't be on the phone because it was storming pretty bad.

My husband is a tough guy. Growing up with hemphillia and being told that he could participating in things like organized sports, made him want to prove to the world that he could do anything. A kind of John Locke "Don't tell me what I can't do." attitude, for all you Lost fans out there.

So when he calls me and tells me that he's driving 15 MPH because he's scared of the storm? It worried me a little. For whatever reason we continued talking, and I told him to pull over if he needed to, there was no sense in getting hurt in the name of getting home on time.

Out of the blue he dropped the phone, and I heard some expletives. Then he picked the phone back up and gave me the back news.

A power line had fallen on his vehicle.

(click to enlarge)

As you'll notice in the picture, the line had fallen right on his vehicle and gotten stuck between the driver's side mirror and the driver's side door.

"What do I do?"

"Hang up, and dial 9-1-1." Then the phone went dead. Had he hung up to call, or had an electric current fried his phone?

So I called my dad. His phone went straight to voicemail. Then I called my mom. "Can I call you right back?"

Seriously? But what she wanted to do was talk it over with my sister and brother-in-law who were in for the weekend. She called me back in less than a minute, telling me that I should probably call 9-1-1 myself.

"9-1-1, where is your emergency?"

"My husband is on 416 and a power line hit his car. [voice cracks] His phone went dead so I'm not sure if he was able to call it in or not."

"His name?" It took her only a moment to look up the call records to see that he, infact, had called it in. So that meant his was safe, momentarily at least.

I continued to pace the floor because he wasn't calling me back.

I'm very thankfully that I had housework to do to keep my mind off things. I'm 100% sure it was God looking out for me, because on a typical Saturday I would never still be cleaning at 9 in the evening. Without that house work to keep my mind busy while I was waiting by myself, I would have gone crazy.

He finally called me to let me know what was going on, and apparently his cell coverage was spotty in the area that he was stopped. By the time he called the police had arrived with a bullhorn (they weren't getting near him) telling him to stay in his vehicle and the electric system would be there to get him out in 40 minutes.

Then he asked if he should call his parents. I told him no. No way he should worry them. I told him he could always call and bring them up to speed after the electric system had him safe and on his way home. I could tell by his voice (he doesn't admit it, but I think he was scared) that he wanted to, so I told him to call them to chat, but not to tell them what was going on.

I'm very thankful and praise God that all is well. With the minor exception of the side of his vehicle. Its scratched up from the wire hitting it, but that we can handle.

August 21, 2009

Why trolups take a bath in the sink

Today started my half marathon training. Since the "long" run on the training schedule was only 4 miles, I decided I could get up early before work and get my run in.

I can barely get a 3 mile run in (starting right at daylight), get showered, and get to work by 8 o'clock. For my 4 mile run, I decided that I could save time by getting my drive out of the way before daylight. (My office shares a parking lot with the community center.)

Since I frequently work out at lunch, I keep a locker at the community center with shower supplies like shampoo, body wash, and the all important body wash. It'd be no big deal to run the track outside the building, then shower in the locker room and head on over to work.

I had a pretty good run. As usual I was sweating like a man, but my energy was good. I have a little quad soreness from doing a bazillion lunges holding 2-10 pound weights, so that made it a little more difficult. But all in all it was a good first training run.

So I take my sweaty, pony-tailed self into to the gym office and ask for my key. "Number 11 please."

"Um. Number 11 isn't here."

"Okay she must have it already in the locker room then." I share the locker with my workout buddy, and while I didn't see her car in the parking lot, I figure she must have carpooled with her hubby today.

I figured wrong.

After looking around for a bit, the dude just gave up. He had no clue where it was.

Okay screw it.
I thought. I'll just jump in the shower and rinse off, I can live without soap. But then I remembered one crucial tool that was locked away in my locker.

Shower shoes.

No way I was going barefoot in Sasquatch's shower stall.

So I came to work to rinse off in the sink. On my way back, I noticed a coworker in the break room. I lamented to him about my plight. "I guess you'll just have to take a war bath."

War bath? Oh he means wh*re bath.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that prostitutes bathing in the sink doesn't make any sense at all. Yet men at war swiping down the best the could made perfect sense.


Kinda makes you wonder where my mind was the first time I heard the phrase though, that I would mishear that badly.

August 20, 2009

Proud Auntie

I've always said my niece was a remarkable young girl. But since she was the first child in that generation, it was hard to know for sure. Her little brother has since made his appearance and seems to be equally remarkable in every area excluding taste. I'm not his favorite yet. Its something we have to work on, but in the mean time we just have to chalk it up to him not being as well informed as the princess.

The girl's gotta be smart, she told her mommy (my sister) that she wanted to move in with Aunt Boo because Boo would let her have a go Yankees bedroom. See what I'm saying - she's a smart one!

Several months ago, she came home from pre-school announcing that she wanted to donate her hair to sick people. I'm not sure where she heard of the Locks of Love organization, but she was adamant that both she and her mother donate their hair.

Its been a process, because at the time neither of them had hair long enough to donate. Those of you who have young girls can sympathize with my sister trying to manage long hair on a 5 year old.

They struggled, but survived. And today is the big day - their both going for their donation hair cut and I couldn't be prouder!

I love that, even at a young age, my niece is smart and strong enough to decide she wants to do something and see it to the finish.

Using her as inspiration, I've decided to take up Lois's challenge. She's going to run a half marathon early next year and I need to step up to the challenge. I'm going to train for a half in November. Its a twelve week training course recommended by the Shrinking Jeans newest contributor Christie O.

I only have 3 weeks till the race, but that still gives me a week to miss out on a little training. There is a course time limit of 3 hours, but at my worst I run a 12 minute mile, so that would put me done around the 2 1/2 hour mark.

If you were here yesterday, I get a little frustrated when I don't have tangible (non-scale) goals. Hopefully this will help out with that. Can any of you running experts tell me what a "standard deluxe" hill is?

I'll leave you with the quote for the day:

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of sh*t.

August 19, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday - What's the Point?

Weigh-in day once again over at the Sisterhood. I'm holding steady at 128 again this week. I pretty much expected it given the splurges I gave into.

Last night, I hit a wall. Much like that wall distance runners get, the kind where you have to dig deep down to see if you've got what it takes to finish.

Instead of on the track, mine was on the scale.

I'm 3 pounds away from a random number I picked when I started this journey. I've dropped one pant size but only feel moderately more confident about the way I look.

Its gut check time. Why am I doing this? Is it for me? Is it for someone else? And what happens when its not good enough?

My initial complaint was that my pear shape was too out of porportion. That hasn't changed. Instead of a 2/8 top to bottom ratio, I'm a 0/6. Just as out of proportion as ever.

So maybe a 0/4 would make me happy? I believe they say its 10 pounds for every size, so is it really possible for me to lose 10 more pounds down to 118? Reading it, it sounds ridiculous and unhealthy, not to mention impossible.

And as far as others are concerned, I guess I've been relying my self worth too much on what others think. Silly, since its not called "others worth", and its a sure fire way to be let down.

I don't know that I could ever fit the Hollywood image of beautiful, therefore I'll never quite measure up. That's a tough realtiy to face. I guess I've always thought that I had something more to offer, which made the scales (metaphorically speaking) balance back. Now I'm coming to realize that it just doesn't work that way.

I think I'm going to run after work today, do a nice long 6 miler, and just think. About what I want. About who I'm doing this for.

August 18, 2009

Seriously, again??

This weekend Jay and I went on another hike - the water was cool, the scenery was gorgeous, and we got some pretty good pictures. Unfortunately, they're all on his laptop so I can't share them with you.

It stressed me out a little, to spend the whole Saturday away, but Jay assured me that we'd get the housework done this week after work.

After the hike we headed to a friend's house for a coupon party. Only I didn't tell Jay that it was a couponfest. He and the man of the house watched baseball and kept themselves intertained while the womenfolk clipped coupons at the table.

When we got home, the house was 83 degrees. The a/c is broken, for the 3rd time this summer. We had to call them out in June and July, why skip August?

Part of the frustration is that Jay's parents (our landlords) have a home warranty on it. The idea of a warranty is great, something breaks and its only $50 to repair it.

In reality that means using the repair company they choose, the repairman having to diagnose, then waiting on approval to fix the problem. In our situation, I'd be willing to be good money that there is some fraud going on. Since our warranty expires next Tuesday, I'm guessing that they've just been half @$$ing the job trying to wait us out till the warranty expires.

Remember that housework I abandoned on Saturday? Its still waiting for me. As hard as it is to find the motivation to scrub a toilet, its even harder to find when its 87 degrees inside.

With the windows open, sitting under the ceiling fan I can almost not be miserable. Stick me in the bathroom with no window to open, no air circulating at all? I'll pass.

August 17, 2009

I love you, I just comes natural

Jay and I share a love of country music, but by mid-November one thing we hadn’t shared was our first “I love you”s. Driving down the road one evening, George Strait’s new song “It Just Comes Natural” came on the radio.

…I love you, It just comes Natural, It's what I was born to do, Don't have to think it through, Baby, it's so easy loving you, It just comes Natural.

Jay and I talked about the song, and how we both liked it (even if the title was grammatically incorrect). Then he suggested that it be “our” song. I loved the idea, but my mind was racing because the song had the “l” bomb in it. Was he already thinking it? I loved him, but after only a month I was afraid I would scare him if I said it too quickly.

Before he and I started dating, he had planned a pre-Thanksgiving trip to Nashville to go to a concert at the Grand Ole Opry and visit his friend Jenny who lives there. He would leave the Sunday before, spend a few days there, and then head straight to Ohio to spend Thanksgiving with his family.

As we said our goodbyes, I wanted to tell him that I loved him, but once again I held back.Each day we traded lots of text messages and several late night telephone calls. Monday night was no different—at 1:21AM (technically Tuesday morning) a text came in.

BAbe—I am soooo drunj right now but they are playiog slide by matchbox 20 so I immediately thought of u—miss u so mucn & love you—wish u were here!:-)

Never did it cross my mind that Slide is, in fact, a GooGoo Dolls song, not one by Matchbox Twenty. He had said, or at least typed that he loved me! I tried not to get too excited. He was drunk after all.

What if he hadn’t meant it and he just typed in on accident? I sent a quick text back, asking if he would call me, hoping his response would clear up any confusion. 7 minutes later I got a response back that just confused me more.

Haha give me bout20 min we are getting jack in a box before I go to bed—yes indeed I am drunk off my ass but I still love u the same with all my heart!:-)

That evening I had to wait till 04:06AM for him to call. He kept apologizing for calling so late, but I assured him that I was glad that he called. I can’t remember all that we talked about in the 111 minutes that the conversation lasted (don’t ya just love cell phone records?) but there was not one “l” bomb to be had.

The next day at work I was still distressed and confided in a couple of friends. Kelly suggested that while the alcohol could have caused him to say it when he didn’t mean to, it wouldn’t not make him say it if he didn’t mean it. Alcohol is the ultimate truth serum. I also wanted a guy’s opinion, but Cornbread (yes, I work with a guy called "Cornbread") just succeeded in confusing me all the more. They both agreed that I shouldn’t go ahead and say it, just in case, but that I should try to see if he meant/remembered his messages.

So I hit forward and I asked him someone about the message he sent me that late. And rather than commenting on the “I still love u the same with all my heart!” he confirmed they did indeed go to Jack in the Box for burgers that late. I was frustrated to say the least.

I decided to just drop it till after he got back. He called me when he got back into town, wanting to know if he should go the back way home, or if he could go straight down the Parkway. (We live in a tourist town, and traffic can get crazy.) I passed along my dad’s advice and told him that I would finish up my dinner (I was eating dinner with my family) and head his direction.

He hadn’t eaten so I packed up some leftovers for him and took it with me. After he ate his dinner, we snuggled on the couch. Then out of the blue he asked “Do you think its possible to fall in love after just a month?” I opened my mouth to answer him and he continued “Because I think I’m falling in love with you.” “Yeah, I do think it’s possible, because I’m in love with you too.”

For more sappy, gooey, EEEEEEEEEEEEEE moments, check out Rachel's Meeting's, Marriages, & Memories carnival.

August 14, 2009

Financial Friday/Fishing Friday

I wanted to share some pictures of the fishing trip Jay, his cousin, and I went on last Friday. Getting up at 6:00 to hit the water early was the reason I was MIA Friday in Bloggiville.

But Jay and I had an experience last night that I hope you can learn from. A guy in Jay's office introduced him to a financial planner. This gentleman came to our house and discussed with us our current financial situation and wanted to help us create a plan for the future.

They came back last night with their recommendations. Even though I had previously stated that I didn't like Variable Annuities for retirement (you're paying for a tax umbrella that you already have because its a retirement account), they presented one, along with a mutual fund option (what Jay & I had expressed interest in).

As we looked at the numbers, the mutual fund was way more expensive than the variable annuity. The Annuity looked like a no-brainer.

Jay had done some research on his own, and asked them about a certain type of account. They brushed it off as not a good option until you reach the $25K mark (we're looking at investing $3K each this year).

We set up an appointment for them to bring the paperwork for us to sign next week, and Jay headed to the computer to do some research.

Turns out the suggestion that Jay made was the actual no-brainer. The company he wants to use has 0.2% account fees, in comparison with the 1.2% fees associated with the variable annuity.

The reason that they are able to provide lower fees? Lower commissions to their agents. Which is why these guys didn't want to sell them to us.

PLEASE! Before you invest in any financial product, do your homework. Sure, we picked the better of the two that were presented to us, but they were both crappy options.

Jay sent them an email late last night and basically called them out on it . Asking why they said these lower expense funds weren't a good idea. I can understand paying someone commission for their work - its how Jay makes money. But why should we pay them commissions when Jay's found a better fund?

So it looks like Jay's original plan of investing on our own was a good one. I think we're gonna stick to that. I'm just very thankful that he did his research before we signed anything - including a check!

Okay moving along to the fun portion of the day - fishing pictures!

(click to enlarge)

We're very blessed to live in a beautiful part of the country. While I don't fish, I do enjoy going out with them, sitting on a rock and reading a good book (or two).

Taking a little break, I decided to get a few shots using John's (Jay's cousin) camera.

As we moved downstream, I had to hunt for a new rock to sit on. Thankfully I looked before I sat down!

When April shared a butt photo, it reminded me of the one I took last week. Caption: "Do these waders make my butt look big?" Sorry sweetie, but they aren't doing you any favors. But you know I love your tiny heinie.

August 13, 2009

Rick & Bubba

I can't remember who's blog I found it on, but I've just recently became a reviewer for Thomas Nelson. The set up is pretty simple - they send you a free book, you read, and post reviews about it on both your own person blog, as well as a retail site (such as

My first book out of the gate was Rick & Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage by Rick Burgess & Bill “Bubba” Bussey. As the title suggests, this is a book sets out to give you the information to make your marriage the best that it can be, all the while cushioning it in humor.

Rick & Bubba also real life examples from their marriages, of what you should strive for (or attempt to stay away from). It includes several of their top ten lists including “top ten things not to say on the way to your honeymoon” and “top ten reasons wives nag” as well as the “Book of Blame.” I just hope that they didn’t have to learn all of these lessons the hard way.

I very much enjoyed the book. It was easy read, while still providing a lot of good information. Tongue in cheek comments helped to show the ridiculousness of common fought arguments between couples. Then, as in the case of Rick’s chapter on losing a child, they open themselves up with an honest and strength that are obviously directly from the Lord.

I was able to finish the book quickly, because I found myself picking it up when I just had a few minutes to read. The chapter layout, as well as the top tens, and paragraphs, made it easy to pickup and put down. Perfect for the multitasker who reads while waiting for the pasta to boil, or during the commercials of a television show.

My only complaint with the book, was that I found myself wanting Mrs. Rick and Mrs. Bubba to chime in with their take on it (and to defend ladies across America).

For more reviews and great products, check out Things I Love Thursday hosted by the Diaper Diaries.

August 12, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday - The "I <3 JuJu" edition!

21 Days with the Sisterhood!

What is a JuJu? JuJu is a wonderful lady with a kind and generous heart. And I'm not just saying that because she complimented me this week.

Her real name is Mary Jo. She's watched my niece since she was born and as the Princess has grown, so has Mary Jo's relationship with my sister's family. She started out as a baby sitter, and has now become a 3rd grandmother to the Princess and the Little man.

My niece has her nicknames for everyone - names that were easier for her to say when she was first learning to talk but have since stuck.

Brooke = Boo
Grumps = Baby
Grannie = Gaga
Jay = Jay

Well, okay Jay didn't come along until later and it was easier to say.

And to a 2 year old Princess Mary Jo = JuJu.

But what does that have to do with me or weight loss?

We did the great furniture shuffle this weekend. A friend of mine had a queen bedroom suite that she didn't need anymore and since I have a king bed, I passed it along to my sister.

She had a bedroom suite, but the one my friend was giving away was nicer. So we loaded up the truck and took it north to my sister's house. Then we loaded up her old furniture and took it to JuJu's house. JuJu's daughter was heading off to college and needed the furniture for her apartment at school.

Which leads me to why I <3 JuJu.

The little man and JuJu's daughter were on the front porch swing asleep, and the menfolk were outside trying to load up the UHaul truck, so the rest of us went inside for a drink.

JuJu mentioned something about how similar my mother and I are, and then asked the question that every woman longs to hear...

"Have you lost too much weight?"

In reality, my jawline has never been similar to my mom's. I have my father's long, narrow chin, while my mom and sister have square jawlines.

But I enjoyed hearing her say it. :)

Okay now on to the numbers...

Last week: 127.2
This week: 128.2

That's what 4 whole days without exercise and eating whatever you want will do to you. I started back at it Monday morning, so I'm really pushing for my 10# button next week.

I'm doing okay on my 21 day challenge of no negative self talk, but I'm thinking more negatively then I should be.

How are you doing on your personal challenge? Great, I hope. Don't forget to weigh in and leave your link over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.

August 11, 2009

Double the Loveliness

Both Audrey and Mendie decided that my blog was lovely and award worthy!!

I met both of these ladies over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans, a wonderful place of support and encouragement!

My instructions were simple. Sorta.

Step 1 - Awknowledge the giver.
Step 2 - Pass the award onto 15 other blogs that I love

Step 2 is where it gets hard.

I have 43 blogs that I'm subscribed too and read on a regular basis! How could I whittle that down to just 15? Okay so Audrey and Mendie are covered as is April, who also received the award from these ladies.

I love everyone! And am afraid of hurting anyone's feelings...but here goes.

Christie O. @ Baby Tea Leaves
She just recently completed her first triathalon and blogged all about it.

Tammi @ Becoming a Woman of Moderation
She gives me food for though when it comes to balancing my weight loss, with deeper spiritual issues.

Lois @ Fearfully, Wonderfully Made
She was one of my first faithful readers - her blog offers a great mix of random silliness with spirituality.

Living Simple
Her blog reminds me to stay focused on my saving goals.

Our Daily Big Top
She makes being a mom sound like fun!

R R Mama
Another wonderful Mom who loves to blog about her boys.

Speaking of moms...Amy @ A to Z Twins
I don't know how she does it!

Debbie @ Suburb Sanity
An amazing blogger with a million followers/commenters, who still takes the time to visit and comment on my blog. Very cool.

Mari @ My Little Corner of the World
Her blog often has funny videos, a word of encouragement, or a delicious recipe!

Rachel @ Musings of a Future Pastor's Wife
She's giving me an excuse to gush on about my hubby. Gotta love that!

Jeannie's Happy World
She's always exploring something new and exciting!

Shannon @ Nonnie Bear
She's in the beginning stages of building a home and is blogging us through it step by step!

Kim @ Nothing but Chatter
Another great gal I met at the SSJ.

Christy @ Real Life Adventures
One of the fearless leaders over at the SSJ, she's always full of encouragement.

Chick @ Fat Chicks Journey
Her blog is a very candid blog about her weight loss journey.

August 10, 2009

Meeting the Parents

If your new to the story, please check out how we met, our first date, our first kiss, Jay meeting my alter-ego Athena, and us becoming an official couple.

And now, the story of how Jay first met my parents...

I have been in many different types of performances, but this was like nothing I had ever done before. I reapplied my makeup before stepping into my cotton candy pink dress. I stepped into the box, felt myself being lifted up, and then the waiting began.

My heart raced as I sat there. I could blame the nervousness on the 6,000 people that would see me, in just a few moments, pop out of the box and dance with Santa Claus. I could point the finger at the Mountain Dew I drank 15 minutes prior to show time. The real culprit? My boyfriend of barely a week was introducing himself to my parents for the first time, and I wasn’t there to see how things went down.

I am heavily involved in the my employer’s Winterfest Kickoff event, put together by one of the departments I work for, Information Services. The event includes performances of local dance troupes and choirs, carnivals and games, pictures with Santa, and various other activities throughout the night. The evening culminates with the lighting ceremony, and this year, our lights were going to be “magically” switched on by the Mayor.

As with any performance, we had several rehearsals before the big show. Our first meeting with the magician, was in October, on Friday the 13th. Unfortunately for me, I fit into his magic box perfectly, and would be used as one of his lovely assistants.

Utilizing me in this manner would save my company a significant amount of money. Later that day I met Jay for the first time, so when he asked “Did you have a good day at work today?” I certainly had an interesting answer for him!

In later rehearsals, he and I traded text messages, me complaining that it was too cold to be in that tiny dress, him offering to warm me up-promising me a cup of coffee after the event. Once he realized what exactly was happening, Jay decided that if I was going to pop out of a box in a cute little dress, he was going to be there to watch!

As I was eating dinner (and drinking my Mountain Dew), he called to let me know that he had gotten home from work and would be heading this direction. Not familiar with the area, he needed directions to get to the event.

He said that he could probably be there by 7:15, I had to be dressed and in my box by 7. If he got lost and needed help finding it, I wouldn’t be able to get to my phone and help him out. I had no choice but to give him my parents’ cell phone numbers.

I finished up my dinner, got into costume and headed toward the stage. I crawled into my box, felt the box being lifted up to the stage, and I waited. When I heard the children shrieking I knew that the Grinch was repelling down from the top of Tower One, a fire truck with a bucket that reaches heights of 100ft.

Then I heard the excitement of the kids as Santa made his way toward the stage. Finally it was my turn. I prayed that I didn’t fall on my face as I crawled out of the box and added a quick prayer that I didn’t flash the crowd my naughty bits during my dance with Santa as he spun me around.

I exited the stage and headed back to our makeshift dressing room. I then headed into the crowd to find my parents and Jay. When Jay had called my dad to find out where they were sitting, they immediately found one thing they had in common: neither of them go anywhere (excluding church) without his baseball hat firmly upon his head.

They traded hat colors and kept an eye out for each other as Jay made his way toward the seating area in front of the stage. As to their exact conversation, I still don’t know what was said. But the initial reaction from both was favorable.

My parents hung around long enough to say hello, and then headed home. Jay stuck around and graciously helped with clean up. I was running on adrenaline from the night’s events so I was in high gear, but I did manage to introduce him to a couple of my friends, Kelly and Kristi. While there wasn’t much time for chatting, they were both impressed with his willingness to volunteer for clean up, something that many of the workers who are getting paid usually aren’t willing to do.

This guy has to seriously like me, right? Why else would he put up with such craziness! But the question is, does he love me? Tune in next week!

Of course don't forget to head over to Rachel's to share your story and read more sappiness!

August 09, 2009

Rough going...

Today I the hardest day for me so far regarding my 21 day challenge. This weekend (starting Thursday) has been so crazy I haven't had an opportunity to think, much less think about creative ways to put myself down.

I also haven't watched my calories or exercised since Wednesday. And I just feel blah. I used a loophole (not "saying" anything negative) by writing out that I feel f-a-t.

I'm also definitely moving from the cute summer night dress to pants this evening. I don't care if it is 80 degrees in my house and 90+ outside, I'm just not doing well as I look down at my thighs.

I think I was fairly close on calories Thursday (I had 900 left before walking in to Arby's.) If I went over, I don't think it was by much. I need to start keeping a tally sheet, even if I can't log on the computer. But eating out (we mostly do local spots) is just so hard!

Okay my obsessive brain just figure out about how much I ate each day (best estimate, but I tried to over estimate just in case i forgot something) and if I eat 1300 calories today, then I'll have 1530 for tomorrow and Tuesday.

My formula is taking my goal calories * 7 (days a week) - calories consumed so far / by the number of days left in the week.

I might pull this one out. I should be happy enough just to hit 0.2 for my 10# button.

I was questioning my will power this morning, obviously its weak right? Then I remembered that I've lost around 10 pounds! For someone proclaimed to be at a healthy weight by her doctor - that takes some will power doesn't it??

I just hate that the days my body works the hardest are the days that it gets less fuel to make up for my weekend splurges.

August 06, 2009

I'm a snob...sorta

Most of my life I've been a snob. I'm not to good for generic food. I'm not above sneaking generic salad dressing into a restaurant (it was low cal dressing). But one thing I won't settle on is my health care.

My eye doctor practices in my town, but beyond that I refuse to go to a doctor in this county. I would much prefer to drive 45 minutes to an hour to K-town. Its a large city and home to a well known university (Go Vols!).

I've always said in case of emergency, I'd rather die on the way to K-town, then be taken to the local ER. The only exception I ever made was if I was bleeding to death. That was, of course, until the accident made me change my thinking.

If you weren't around for all the drama, you can read about it here and here. Long story short: my hemophiliac husband sanded his finger down to the bone and the local hospital told him that they weren't equiped to treat him and to never come back unless he wanted a helicopter ride to the University hospital.

So while I was annoyed at my hour long drive to my GYN yearly appointment yesterday, there is no way I'm letting a local doctor poke me.

Amazingly enough there were several good things about yesterday afternoon. Even though the doctor's office is located in the upscale, trendy part of K-town, I had two people compliment me on my wedding rings! You'll see them eventually in Rachel's Meetings, Marriages, & Memories carnival.

This was something I certainly wasn't a snob about. When he and I first started talking engagement, he asked what I thought about getting a ring upgrade for an anniversary in the future. "No way. The ring that you give me is the ring that I'll cherish forever."

I thought this would take the pressure off - I was letting him know that it was the thought behind the ring, the love of a man who wanted to marry his woman, that was most important. Not the 3 c's.

Instead, he took it as even more pressure. This is the ring she'll be wearing when we're old and gray - I'd better make it a good one.

Okay I'm getting off track. Point being, my husband had beautiful taste. (Or else had the help of his mother.)

So here is my (doctor) snobby self in a snobby part of town, and not just one but TWO people comment on how pretty my rings are. It makes me want to jump up and down and squeel like we were first engaged or something.

While I was already out there, I decide to go to the snobby mall. Well not really snobby, but trendy and very well spoken of. My mom told me that their Marshalls & Ross stores were more expensive, and we'd be on the poor side of the tracks today to get better deals. So I stuck with the stores that wouldn't be at the closer malls.

Oddly enough I didn't find it all that spectacular. I spent less than $15. $1 each on a Stephen King audio book (The Gingerbread Girl, please don't tell me it sucks) and a regular book. Then I went to the Christian bookstore and spend $13 on 48 birthday cards. Can't beat $0.25 each, plus it saves me a trip to the dollar store every month!

I took my bargain loving, self home, opened a can of chicken, added bbq sauce (free with coupon), store brand cheese, plopped it on a tortilla and considered it a delicious dinner.

Guess I'm not much of a snob after all. I just care too much about my (and my husband's) body to let less than the best be in charge of my health care.

August 04, 2009

Oh be careful little lips what you say...

Today is weight in day over at the the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. Head on over to check in, also check out how some of your fellow aspiring shrinkers are doing.

21 Days with the Sisterhood!

Last week: 129.2
Current weight: 127.2

I'm not sure what to make of that. Aunt Flow is coming for a visit tomorrow, but then again I ran 3 miles before weighing this morning. Oh well - I'll take it! :) (PS - that's 0.2 pounds away from my 10# sticker!!)

Today starts the 21 day challenge - the girls gave us some ideas to start with on things we can work on for the next 21 days, turning them from ideas into habits. There are several they listed that I need to work on, specifically getting my 5 fruits & veggies as well as my 3 dairies.

The more I thought about it, I realized that while I need to consider these things, I have something far more important to work on - stopping all negative self talk.

Some of you may know the children's song referenced in the title. "The Father up above" isn't the only one looking on you in love. Most of you (whether they be yours or a family member's or a friend's) have little eyes look at you, waiting to see what you're going to do.

I wrote yesterday about my 5K experience this past weekend. My niece has been at the finish line waiting on me for both races. She's also heard all about her father's experience participating in the Empire State Building Run-Up race.

It made me very proud when my mom told me that the Princess told her she wanted to "be healthy and run races like Aunt Boo." It broke my heart, though, when she told me how the Princess got a bowl of ice cream for desert that night, took two bites, then pushed it away. "I forgot, I'm supposed to be watching my sugar."

A 5 year old shouldn't know what that means.

My mom chastised me, thinking that it was something she overheard me saying. I'm quite confident it wasn't, because typically when the Princess is in, I just take a cheat day.

Later in the day, the Princess and I were playing on one of her "rock star" toys that puts the image of you onto the tv. My mom decided to join in the fun, and danced into the picture. When she saw herself on the tv, she said "Okay, fat legs shouldn't be dancing" and danced her way off screen.

I have since called that to her attention, but the point is we all say things like that about ourselves. The little ears hear it, and deep down, we hear it too. Say it long enough and you'll actually start believing it.

Who wouldn't love to be a 50+ year old woman with two healthy children, two great son-in-laws, and two beautiful grandchildren - to have all of that AND only weigh 150 pounds? Sound like one blessed grandma to me! Only she sees the skinny legged woman who weighed 145 pounds the day before she gave birth to her 2nd child (that'd be me).

Its certainly not just her. She learned it from her mom, and my sister and I, in turn, learned it from her. It has to stop somewhere, and I chose for it to stop here.

For the next 21 days I will not allow myself to engage in any negative self talk. And I will try my darnest not to think any.

Wish me luck - cause I can promise this journey isn't gonna be easy!

5K - round 2

This weekend I ran in my 2nd 5K. I was a little nervous about how well I would do, since my speed doesn't seem to be progressing that much. What if I ran the race and my time was worse?

When I ran my first 5K, I had just completed the Couch to 5K program. I had only ran 3 miles 3 times in my life!

Now that it is a weekly staple of my exercise routine, shouldn't I do better?

Not so much. My only redemption is that this 5K billed itself as a "challenging 5-hill course".

My last time was 33:58, this 5K I ran in 35:19. My time has gotten worse. I'll give you that this was a tougher course. However I've been 3 miles a day (or more) 3 times a week for the past 3 months. Even with the challenging course, my time shouldn't have gotten worse.

So, I'm sure you can tell that I wasn't happy with myself. But I finished another, and I wasn't the last person in - so that's two things to be content with.

Also, my niece, nephew, and parents were waiting for me at the finish line. The princess had wanted to buy me flowers, but Gaga & Baby (her name for my parents) couldn't get a 5 year old and a 14 month old ready quickly enough to stop at the store on the way.

Instead she brought me a stuffed animal (borrowed from the toy bin at my parents house) and went around the rest of the weekend telling everyone that she wanted to run in races like Aunt Boo.

At least I did well in one person's eyes!

I'm frustrated with myself at the moment. I've got a pretty full week on my plate - two doctor's appointments, visitors coming in Thursday night and staying for the weekend, grocery shopping and cleaning before said visitors arrive.

I got on the treadmill last night and couldn't shut off my brain. I just kept thinking about all the stuff I should be doing instead of running. So after only running a mile, I stopped and headed to the grocery store.

As it was, I didn't get to slow down for the night until 9 o'clock, but I couldn't help but feel like a quitter for not pushing through and finished the run.

August 03, 2009

We're Official!

Thanks for joining me for another installment of Meetings, Marriages, and Memories.
Last week,I had a request for pictures of Athena. Not to disappoint, here she is!

And another of her looking down her nose at you simpletons!

Jay and I went several days between the KFW date and our follow up date. I left for Green Bay the following morning to see Brett Favre play at Lambeau field. I got back on October 30th, but had previously committed to a church drama both that day and Halloween.

We had decided to meet that Wednesday (the 1st of November) to go to dinner and a movie. He had read in a Myspace bulletin that I had posted that Olive Garden was my favorite restaurant. He decided we would have dinner there, and follow it up with the movie Man of the Year, starring Robin Williams.

A friend of mine insisted that I dress up on all of our initial dates. However at this point, I desperately wanted to break out my tennis shoes and wear my brand new long sleeved tee that I had gotten at the game the previous weekend. I can’t remember exactly how I brought it up, but I pretty much came out and asked him if he would mind me dressing down a bit. He of course said no, and even offered to wear tennis shoes himself.

I remember being so nervous about what I was wearing. I had worn heels or heeled boots on each of our previous dates because I wanted to look nice for him, but I also didn’t want him to get the impression that I was a prissy girl. I wanted him to like me, but I didn’t want him to like me because of this false front I was putting out there. There is no way to describe just how nervous I was before this date—and I didn’t know the half of what was to come!!

Dinner was wonderful, but uneventful. After we finished eating there was some time to kill before the movie started, so we headed over to Five Oaks to check out a few of the outlet stores. We sat on the bench out front and I showed him my pictures from Lambeau. Then we went into Old Navy and I helped him pick out a new pair of jeans. As he went to pay, he noticed his credit card wasn’t in his wallet so we had to go back to the Olive Garden where he had left it.

When we got to the movie theater, I shared some stories about back in the day when I use to work there. As we made our way down the hall, I pointed to the corner ‘He broke up with me right there.’ Jay—who knew which ex I was referring too and that we were still currently friends—laughed and went on to ask me how that ex was currently doing. I told him that the ex’s wife had left him for another man, even being so bold as to change her relationship status from “married” to “in a relationship”.

After a brief pause Jay said, “You know I was thinking about changing my status too. What do you think about that?” I tried not to squeal from delight and then proceeded to confirm that I, too, wanted to put my status as in a relationship. The movie was horrible. The phrase “Its got Robin Williams in it, how bad can it be?” could has never been so wrong. None of that mattered—Jay wanted me to be his official girlfriend.

As our talking on Myspace had progressed, I had put him in my top friends and kept track of where I was on his top friends list. I was careful to never put him higher on my list than I was on his. Up until that night, I had been his #3 and I was his #4. The next morning at work, I logged on to change my status. Not only had he changed his status, he also moved me up to #1 on his friends list. I quickly did the same.