Monday, May 23, 2011


So here is my latest comparison picture. The left side was taken in November of 2009 in Nashville. It was a very small photo in which I'm scowling because of the Elvis glasses. The right side pic was taken in my cubicle at work today. Quite a difference.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Down 40 Pounds

Today I officially hit an undisclosed weight that is 40 pounds lighter than I was in January. I'm very happy about this, and I feel good (I'm sure I'll feel that much better after I loose another 40.)

Every six weeks our gym tests our fitness level. The trainer wants to make sure that we are progressing enough. The tests have never been really hard, so no big deal. The only thing I know about this next test is that I'll have to run 1.5 miles. I can do that, I couldn't have 2 months ago.

As part of the wife's new diet, she is drinking the concoction in the picture below:

I'm also drinking it now, because it is surprisingly good. I had someone in my office tell me about green smoothies before. He said that he and his wife are basically vegetarians during the week, and eat meat on the weekends. They do this for a couple of reasons, but when I asked about his protein to carb intake he shrugged and said you have to have the green smoothie.

Now the green smoothie is lots of things. In fact, years ago I worked with an older lady from Germany. She would always bring in her "green drink". I finally asked her what was in it, and she said, "whatever I have in my refrigerator." I thought this sounded disgusting, and quietly mocked her about it. Now I am turning into the guy that brings the weird green drink to work.

Here is the recipe for the above smoothie:

  • 2 Cups of fresh spinach

  • 1/4 - 1/2 Cup Milk (I used 1%, but the recipe actually called for rice milk.)

  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (I kind of guessed on the amount because I didn't want to wash a measuring spoon.)

  • 1 Whole Banana

  • 2 Scoops of Protein Powder (I used chocolate, but vanilla would taste equally good.)

  • Ice

You just put it all in a blender, and puree. It tastes very good, mainly like banana and peanut butter (Elvis would have liked it.) This makes enough for two people if you use really big glasses. I would say that I had about 16 ounces for mine. I used an online recipe nutrition calculator, and came up with the following numbers. About 240 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 33 grams of protein. Pretty good for one meal.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Apology for not posting, and the wife's new diet

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. It's not that there is nothing to write about, it's that there is so much going on, especially with a new puppy in the house.

Until yesterday, our dog only had eyes for me. I didn't think anything of this, as I would be the "alpha male" in our household. (Note I said alpha male, and not head of household, or anything else. I know my place.) I have also had many dogs, and for some reason small animals and small children seem to like me.

The big problem with this is that she has separation anxiety, and I was the only one who could calm her down. Even when everyone else was home, she would watch out the window for me, and when I came in would bound up to me, and freak out until I sat down and properly greeted her (read freaked out about her.) Turns out this is exactly the opposite of what I should have done. So now I ignore the extreme behavior and calmly greet her. She has also started to relax around the other family members, especially my wife and oldest daughter.

We have a cage/kennel for the dog, but she hasn't used it since we have had her. I'm going to be working on this with her to see if her own private space helps her out.

Now on to the new diet. As part of our gym membership, I'm helping with the website and social media. This, in turn, results in not paying so much for the gym. I think it's a win-win. This month our trainer came out with a new diet. This is kind of an add-on to the boot camp training we go through, so I wont tell you everything, in fact I'm going to oversimplify it here. Basically it is a raw carbohydrate diet. You need to eat a protein and carbohydrate at each meal, but the carbs should come from an uncooked vegetable or fruit. He also has some other things thrown in like a green smoothie that is really good. My wife started this diet this week (I've been doing something very similar for about a month and a half, but will be moving to this new diet soon.) The wife's biggest problem with this? No caffeinated drinks. Now as we are LDS she only had caffeinated soda. This brings up the old joke:

Q: How do you tell the LDS members from non-members in Utah?

A: The temperature of their caffeine.

My wife has been getting serious headaches because of the lack of caffeine in her diet. The trainer has given her special permission, on one day a week, to have up to 32 ounces of a diet drink, as long as she has drank 60 ounces of water by noon. Drinking water is a big test for my wife. Ever since she was pregnant with our second child (I think it was #2 honey, so don't be angry if I got that wrong) she has had a hard time drinking water. This is due to the fact that when she started getting morning sickness, she would wake up, drink a glass of water, then be sick. That association has not left her mind. She is doing well, and has accelerated her weight-loss with the new diet. I'm proud of you honey!

A Tale of Two Games

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games, it was the game of hustle, it was the game of slothfulness, it was the game of hope, it was the game of despair.

Please allow me a little poetic license as I paraphrase Dickens, but we had two soccer games this past weekend, and they could not have been more different.

Friday night we played the best team in the league. Our team was ready. We went out and won every loose ball, played the long ball up to space (not just booming it over the top, but where our strikers could reach it), and dominated. We scored the first couple of goals. It was fabulous and a joy to watch. We ended up loosing, but it was close, and this was the best game we had ever played.

Saturday we played one of the worst teams in the league. We went out and didn't show a lot of hustle. We didn't win any loose balls, in fact we pulled up on our 50/50 challenges and just let them take the ball. They were big kids, and I think that psyched our team out. We lost this game, and it wasn't even fun to watch.

Well, there was one point where one of our teams players was in line to see that off sides wasn't called. The person who was the center referee was supposed to be an assistant, but the center referee didn't show up on time. This parent, who is way more knowledgeable about soccer than any of our coaching staff, yelled out to ask why it wasn't off side. The ref, who was a teenage girl wearing "John Stockton" style shorts, just turned and started screaming at the top of her lungs that the linesman should call off sides. He replied that he was inline, and that the assistant was out of position and didn't make the call. Then the ref screamed, "SHUT UP!!!!! LET ME REFEREE!!!!!" That was kind of funny.

All in all, the kids are doing much better. We have one final regular season game, and then a tournament in a week. We'll see how they go.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Our new family member

So this is Cocoa, the newest addition to our family. Cocoa is a lab mix, and not very big (around 30 pounds right now.) She is 6 months old, and loves to snuggle. She come house and crate trained (a huge bonus.)

We got Cocoa from my wife's high school friend. We got her for a few reasons. One is that our daughters have been begging for a dog, the other was to see if an animal companion would help our autistic son.

Our kids didn't know we were getting a dog, in fact my wife had the older kids baby sit while she came to pick me up from the train station. While she was out, we went and got the dog. Upon arriving home, we found our youngest crying, and the girls playing in the yard. The girls got excited and ran to see the dog, while the youngest just kept crying. The dog was interested in the youngest, which seems typical, and gave him one lick, then walked off. This helped calm our son down, and was the best thing the dog could have done. If she had acted all hyper and jumped around, he never would have paid attention to her again. The oldest had a friend over, and I think all he said was, "cool". This was mainly to stress how cool and collected he was. He wouldn't get over excited over anything with a friend around.

After we got everyone inside, the dog started exploring. Now the youngest is slow coming up the stairs, mainly because he likes to play on them (that should really say try to stand on his head on them, but that sounds dangerous so we'll leave it at play.) The dog walked down the stairs towards the youngest, and again just gave him one lick. The youngest just looked at her for a second, then put his hand on her head and walked up. This is a huge success, as he has really only ever interacted with bigger dogs, and Cocoa is much smaller than I expected.

The youngest went into his room, and the dog continued to explore. Eventually she found the youngest's room, and he was laying on the floor. The dog just went in and watched him, while he watched her. Again, looking at animals is not something the youngest always does, so this is good.

We took the dog out to visit, as our way of announcing that we have a new pooch. We saw my folks, and my wife's folks, then came home. We got everyone inside, and when the dog and the youngest reached the top of the stairs, the youngest just grabbed the dog's tail and followed her around. Major triumph. Cocoa handled it great, she just looked at him for a second and then went about her business.

The oldest finally showed some enthusiasm after his friend went home. The girls had been fighting over who got to walk the dog. He finally asked if he could have a turn as we were going into our house the last time at night.

I woke up this morning, and got out of bed. The dog jumped up and greeted me with a big tail wag. You gotta love the unbridled joy a dog can communicate with it's rear end. The dog then dashed out of the room, and jumped on my youngest daughter's bed. He gave her a big lick, and she thought this was the greatest way to wake up ever.

The girls even fought over who got to take the dog out to go potty this morning. We'll see if that keeps up.

This means a few more weekend projects, like dog proofing the backyard again, but I love it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


So you might wonder why I have a roll of toilet paper and an orange sitting on a shelf in my cubicle. I'll tell you. It's because I have a cold, and didn't have a box of tissue at home to bring in to work. And, since I have a cold, I figured that oranges were a good thing to bring with me for the vitamin C. (Actually, I bring oranges to work pretty much every day. They are a pretty good carbohydrate, and lower on the glycemic index than many fruits.)

Anyway, yesterday we had soccer practice. The oldest didn't really seem into being there, although it was the best team practice we have had in a long time. Later he told me that he didn't think he would play soccer again next year. I was initially happy, as that frees up a lot of time on my schedule, but then I became a bit melancholy about it. I enjoy the time I spend with my son at practice. He has improved tremendously this year. The team has improved tremendously this year, and it is fun to watch the style of soccer they are now playing. The wife wants to have a chat with him to make sure he realizes any implications this may have.

Our schedules have been crazy, here is an example from yesterday:

3:30 - youngest daughter's piano lesson
4:00 - oldest daughter activity days at church
5:00 - pick up oldest daughter
5:00 - the oldest's soccer practice
5:15 - oldest daughter's piano lesson
6:30 - get the oldest from soccer
7:00 - the oldest's scouts night

I was going to try to fit the gym in, but I was so stuffy, and started getting a fever. I figured the other people at the gym would appreciate it if I wasn't there. I spent the evening after soccer, laying in bed watching Mythbusters, and occasionally my wife's stories.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday Night

So Monday night, for family home evening (fhe) we discussed values. We told the kids that we were going to focus on increasing respect in our household. Respect for each other, respect for the rules, and respect for the things we own. This was a lovely discussion, and the kids agreed that respect is important.

Fast forward to Tuesday. Any feelings of goodwill and respect are gone. Everyone is mad at everyone else, people are plugging their ears when others speak. There is yelling and name calling. Rules are being disobeyed. It was a pretty sever turnabout from Monday. It looks like our work is cut out for us.

We did get to break away and get to the gym last night. The wife wasn’t feeling 100%, but decided to try it anyway. After a few exercises she had to go lay down as she was feeling dizzy. I made it through, but found a new exercise that is weird.

In all fairness, this isn’t a new exercise, just new to me. My brother-in-law described it to me, and told me how much it sucked. I agree. It is called “Turkish Training”, or “Turkish Get Up.” Below is a picture. You start on your back, with a dumbbell in one hand, extended toward the ceiling. You then have to get up to your feet without using your other hand, or letting the dumbbell drop below head height. You then reverse the process for a single repetition. We did ten reps per arm, and I had to drop the weight I was using a couple of times. They were hard, but interesting.

Tuesdays are strength days. We focused mainly on lower body, but threw in a couple of chest exercises as well. The most interesting chest exercise was “Three Ball Push-ups.” You put both hands on medicine balls, and get in push-up position. You then put both of your feet on the third medicine ball and do push-ups. Getting on the balls is interesting. It’s important to have your butt down, if you try to put your feet on a medicine ball in a jack knife position it is a recipe to roll off to the side. We don’t do these to get extra-deep push-ups, but in order to cope with the instability. These are hard, but  I like them.

The third exercise I’ll mention is “Bag Slams.” These are simple. We have a number of heavy punching bags in the gym. They are not suspended, but laying on the floor. The idea is that you pick one of these up onto your shoulder, then slam it down on one of the tractor tires in the gym. These movements reflect picking up a big bag, like rock salt, and putting it on your shoulder. The slam is like using a sledge hammer. Both pretty useful motions to master. Yesterday we changed our technique a little bit. In the past we would pick the bag up by setting it on its end, bear hugging it, then sliding it onto your shoulder. The new technique has you squat in front of the bag, with the end in your lap. You then reach out and grab the bag, and use leverage to torque it up onto your shoulder. I kept thinking that this didn’t feel like something I would do ever, until I got home, and our youngest had fallen asleep on our bed. I used this exact technique to get him out of our bed, and into his. The wife commented that obviously the gym was working, because I just used the technique we learned tonight.

As of this morning, I’m officially down 38 pounds.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I know I'm a little late, but Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful, talented wife.

Also, Happy Mother's Day to all the women who have helped me through my life!

Lunch of champions

We had a cookout yesterday for Mother's Day, in the rain. I got to take the extra steak with me for lunch today. Hooray for steak.

The salad underneath is a custom blend from all of the vegetables we have lying around. It has Romain lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, jicama, daikon, almonds, and carrots. It is really good.

This weekend, we had a barbecue with our trainer. My kids had so much fun, they keep asking when we can go and hangout again.

The oldest had a soccer game on Friday. They lost, but mainly because we didn't have a readily available back up goalie. Our goalie is really good, but he only wants to play one half. We were tied at 0 at the half, but when we put the goalie back in the second half, he was kind of playing half-hearted at first. This let in three quick goals. We made a change to a different keeper, who we all had concerns about, and he really didn't get tested.

My oldest plaid great. He was running like a mad-man, he even had a really pretty full volley shot on goal. His mother captured the before and after on film. It's not something he's ever practiced, but it felt right, and he pulled the trigger.

Going to sign off, and stare out the window at the fall weather we're receiving again. Have a good week!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

My lunch. I feel that it is very much like Cinco de Mayo. Something like it came from Mexico, and the USA just took it, tweaked it, and made it there own. It might not be so exciting to our neighbors to the South, but that's okay.

From what I understand, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of a military victory over the French. I guess that's why it's not so celebrated in Mexico. It's kind of like being in High School and celebrating beating up a sixth grader. I mean, who really wants to celebrate that? Even the French have defeated the French. For my favorite synopsis of France's military, read here.

Now on to other stuff. My oldest had his final orchestra performance last night. They sounded really quite good. The only bad part was sitting in a High School gym with no air conditioning, and trying to keep the other kids calm.

Due to the concert, I hit the gym in the morning. My only problem with this is making the train on time. Usually it takes me about 50-55 minutes to finish my workout, but if I wanted to get home, showered, and to the train without being late, I had 45 minutes. I told our trainer that up front, and he was nice enough to remind me. I completed everything except the final ab workout. I made it half way through that. I was happy with that result.

I now have two areas on my body that are sore. The first is my back. Two days ago we did a lot of rows, and my back muscles feel it today. We varied the rows between a lot of exercises, including the "push up, row, row". This exercise is just kind of awkward. You do a push up with a dumbbell in between your hands, or you do your push ups with a dumbbell in each hand. When your arms are extended, you perform a row to your waist. I decided to have a dumbbell in each hand, as I would get a little lower on my push ups. The only problem was the dumbbells kept sliding out from under me on the floor.

The other part of me that is sore is my rear end. We did some good leg workouts yesterday, including a jog, squats, touch and reaches, and walking lunges. The exercise that really seemed to get me though was "bag hops". We had a heavy punching bag flat on the ground. You stood over it, with a foot to each side, and then put one foot on top. You then just jumped and moved the foot on top of the bag down to the ground, and the other foot on top of the bag. We use this for a soccer warm up quite often, only with a soccer ball. I started feeling it last night, but this morning as I walked to the train I couldn't help whimper a bit.

The weather is nice, so I'm going to head outside for a bit. Have a good day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A quote from the oldest

My oldest had ripped one of his shoes, and my mother upon seeing it declared she was going to buy him some new shoes.

She called my wife, and my son had some friends over. He really didn't want to go, and kept saying that, but my mom was resolute. My wife told him that Grandma had made up her mind, and it would be easier for him if he just went along.

After he got back, the oldest told my wife, "I wanted to tell Grandma that I've never seen her so bossy!"

Ha ha, now he's going to be in trouble with Grandma!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend review

Okay, so I didn't write anything this weekend, but it was pretty happening.

Friday night, the oldest's soccer team played a game in the snow. This isn't unusual for the end of the Fall season, but is for the middle of spring. The other team only fielded nine players, and we took advantage. One of the other coaches and myself had to keep telling the kids we weren't going to run up the score as it was unsportsmanlike. The kids argument was that the game is about scoring, so we should do as much as we could.

We made some weird line up changes, and the end result was 7 - 0. Our team was elated. There was one casualty on the field, for the other team. Their star player was bringing the ball down field, and lost his shoe. He kept playing, and when he finally made his move toward the box, our defender got the ball from him. I'm pretty sure he went through his foot to get it. Due to the weather, and the fact that this kid ran around for a minute in the snow with no shoe, he limped the rest of the game.

Saturday morning, I volunteered with our produce co-op, bountiful baskets. We set up the distribution point, got everyone assigned to different jobs, then the truck was an hour late. It was interesting, I helped with everything from unloading the truck, to distributing the food, and clean up. Kind of a fun experience.

We then had our Saturday soccer game. Because of their success the night before, the oldest's team was a bit cocky, and forgot how to play positions. The other team was pretty disciplined in their positions, and also much larger than we were. This put us down by a goal in the first half.

The second half started, and we fell apart. The other team scored six more goals in that half. The bright moment for me, was the last time my oldest was subbed in. He had been hearing the coaches get on everyone's case about "winning the ball." That's code for, "get off your lazy duff, and run!" The oldest went out, and was winning every ball that came near him. If he didn't win it, he was in on solid tackles. In fact, the biggest kid on the other team, who was probably six inches taller than my son, had the ball. He was bringing it up field, and my son went out to challenge. When the other kid pushed the ball to far forward, my son charged in. He had his shoulders down, and ran right through the other kid. My wife was laughing because he sent the other kid back about three feet, and onto his butt. My son didn't even bounce backwards a little. Of course this resulted in a free kick for the other team, but the consensus was the effort was great.

Saturday night we went to a sister-in-law's house for UFC fight night. My father-in-law, the pizza master, cooked dinner, and we watched the fights. They didn't seem as exciting as the last few times.

Sunday was church, and visiting day. Pretty mellow.

All-in-all a good weekend.