Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat and Treat and Treat and Treat...

For our second Halloween in Fircrest, we bought slightly less candy than last year, because we still had some left over that time... But tonight, possibly due to the perfect weather, possibly because of the awesome decorations at our house, we were completely swamped!! Ran out of candy, went down to the daycare and started dipping into the snack stash... GONE AGAIN! Luckily, Cindy and the kids got home, and we took all the candy that Andy & Kaylee didn't love and put it in the bowl for the rest of the hood... By the end of the night, I think there were about 4 tootsie rolls, and a few of the nasty hard candy that somebody always seems to give out on Halloween, and NOBODY wants. Including Andy and Kaylee... So I guess for a while, we became that house... Anyway, the decorations were so much fun!! I always get a green pumpkin, and this year I had the inspiration to hook it to the smoke machine. So I present Video #1, The Smoking Green Pumpkin!

After seeing how cool the pumpkin was, I decided that some extra lighting would help accent the smoke... which it did!! Unfortunately, all I had handy was my crappy cameraphone, so it really wasn't possible to capture it as it actually looked... But we had friends saying they could see the lights dancing in our trees from half a mile away! Here's a clip of the whole front yard, with extra attention to the porch area! Happy Halloween!!

Next year we're definitely going to buy more candy... :)


Monday, October 23, 2006

Fitness Update, Week 1

So despite setbacks that suck, as of this morning's workout, I am 5.5 pounds lighter than I was as last Monday's morning workout. This is good, and I'm feeling pretty good about it! Actually, considering that we had that company party, a wedding Saturday night (buffet and REALLY GOOD CAKE!) and then KFC for dinner Sunday, a 5+ pound loss makes me feel really quite good about the whole thing! Oh, and just to prove my willpower survived the weekend, I managed to not eat a single cookie, chip or piece of incredibly good smelling apple pie at church last night... Go Me!

Target + Nintendo = SO COOL!

So I've already made it very clear that I love Nintendo. I am incredibly excited for the release of the Wii in a few weeks... And Target is one of my favorite places to shop.

Now these two have teamed up to bring the coolest gift card in the history of gift cards, the glowing Wii card!

I've never been that big on gift cards, but I want one (some?) of these!! Like, enough to get one each time I go to Target, just to pay for my stuff and keep the card!

Don't forget, gift-giving season is just around the corner!! =)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Setbacks Suck...

Okay, so today is Saturday... Day 6 of the new "Get In Shape" initiative. The week started out well, as you can see from the chart. By Wednesday I was down 3 pounds, and going strong! Yay Me!! Then life, as it just loves to do, got in the way. Monday and Tuesday, I actually went to the Y three times daily. That's my master plan - to exercise to the point that I simply can't NOT lose weight! Couple that with my commitment to Target Brand Ultra Weight Loss Shakes and Lean Pockets, and it seems bulletproof. But ahhhh, sweet lady life...

Allow me to set the stage. My 3-a-day workout plan is like this: Up at 5am for a cardio/weights routine. Another cardio program during lunch, around noon. Then after a SENSIBLE dinner (complete with portion control) another trip back to the Y, this time together with Cindy. She's discovered what I learned last spring, that Racquetball is one of the greatest games ever created!

So the first two days of the week went just like that. Smoove like butta, as they say on the streets. Then Wednesday comes. Work is crazy, I end up skipping my lunch break (aka workout #2). Can't play Racquetball that night either, because I have music rehearsal for Team #2 at church. This really hurts, because Cindy went out and bought us our own rackets and balls, and I really wanna play!!

Thursday, I drag myself out for the 5am workout, determined to get back on track. Again, Yay Me! But when I go to take my lunchtime Y time, they're having a blood drive, and I can't find anywhere to park within 5 blocks. Not that I'm not willing to walk 5 blocks, it's just that my office itself is only about 5 blocks away, and I've determined (scientifically!) that I don't have time to walk there, change, workout, change, and walk back in an hour. So after driving around and realizing it ain't gonna happen, I grudgingly go back to work, but to work off my frustration I did run up and down the stairs a few times... For those of you that have been to my new office, the ceilings are VERY tall, so each flight of stairs is much longer than any I've seen before.

Thursday night was rehearsal for Team #1 (my original team!) for church, so again, no racquetball. The new rackets are getting dusty! It's so sad!! As if to test my re:solve, Michael (Team #1 leader, see Mike and Tina, right) closed the rehearsal by offering to take us all to Dairy Queen for blizzards, his treat! Now, knowing that I hadn't gotten my daily allotment of exercise in, I had kept my calorie intake WAY down, so the little voice in my head immediately does the math and determines that yes, I should have a Blizzard. Plus, it's a team thing, and I don't want to be the annoying anti-team guy saying no to a free blizzard -- Oops, I mean to a team building experience! So we go. It's SOOOO good. Mmmmmm.... But tomorrow I really need to get all my workouts in!!

Friday morning, 5am: Not a chance.

Friday lunchtime: Yeah. Not my usual workout, but at least got some activity in...

Friday evening: It's our company's 10th anniversary, and they're having an open house to show off the new offices and celebrate the 10th. As the new (and first-ever) I.T. guy, I've got to be there, put faces to the names and voices and email addresses... And I know full well what the caterers are bringing. It's like a huge buffet of "Mike's Favorite Finger Foods"! Again, I REALLY behaved during the day, so I thought I had room, especially since Cindy and I were finally going to get to play R-ball that night! But ooooooh, those bacon wrapped shrimp were soooooo good... and so was the BBQ Pork... and the teriyaki beef skewers... and the cheesecake... (in my defense, the Canteloupe, Honeydew and Strawberries shared equal space on my plate..er plates...)

Then it was off to play! Uh-oh... The party ran late, and I missed that opportunity too. Ouch!!

So now it's Saturday... we're about to go FINALLY try out our new rackets, and all I've had so far today is a shake. Looking good, and DETERMINED to get back on track.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's My Time To Lose!

It's been a battle for most of my life, but earlier this year, I made some serious inroads toward controlling my weight. The determination came from many areas, including the great movie "Supersize Me", and the "Biggest Loser" reality show. At some point during that show's second season, it came to my attention that my weight had gotten up to 233, a point that was far enough above the already uncomfortable 200 milestone, that I decided I had to do something about it.

So back in Spring (probably around April) I got myself all fired up, and through an amazing fitness plan I like to call "Eat Less, Exercise More", I got myself down to 212 by the time school let out. Cindy and I went to Vegas, and for the first time in a really long time, I didn't feel 100% self-conscious at the pool!! (still a lot more self-conscious than I'd like, but it was a much more liberated experience)

However, after returning from Vegas, it was SO hard to get back on my routine. And with summer vacation, our schedules got busy, mealtimes became less standard, and little by little, I realized I wasn't going to hit the 210 goal that had been so close only a few weeks earlier. That bummed me out, but I still couldn't get motivated. Summer passed into fall, and I noticed that my clothes were getting snuggish again... Okay, time to do something drastic!

With a new job and a new church, I realized that one thing keeping me from really doing it, was the lack of accountability friends. But then when my friend Rob made the bold move to post his fitness progress on his blog, it struck me that THIS can be my accountability forum. Even if nobody reads this far, to me it's accountability. Just writing it down will help keep me on track. So today is the first day of the new push to get BELOW 200 pounds! I haven't been there since Andy was about 2 years old, so that makes it 11 years or so. Unacceptable!! I was at the gym at 5:00 this morning, and will go again during my lunch hour today. I'm hoping my resolve (which Cindy says "isn't even human") will kick in to help me avoid the butter cookies and chocolate pretzels in the break room at work... So far so good! I've even found a great online fitness tracker. For a snapshot of how I'm doing, click
here - obviously, the snapshot will be more meaningful as time goes on... but I'm sticking it out there! Making myself accountable via public records! And I'm excited for it!!

-the incredible shrinking mike

p.s. Hey, if anybody's still reading... I'd love to get into a "Biggest Loser" style weight loss competition where we all pay into a winner-takes-all pot... Any takers??

Sunday, October 15, 2006


If you look closely, in the hands of our beloved offspring you'll see a smallish, brownish, oval type object that appeared in our henhouse today!!

The fact that it's brown means that the prize for First Egg Laid goes to Marzipan, our Partridge Rock hen. Ironically, when we first got them, she seemed to be the slowest to develop, lagging behind the others in important milestones like tail feathers, and clucking... (as opposed to just peeping)

Anyway, yesterday when I was feeding them, I noticed that Marzipan had been up in the nesting area while Babs and Ginger were downstairs complaining about the lack of food, and the injustice of being locked up in their coop. Thought it was interesting, made a mental note to check there for eggs as well as the nesting boxes we thought they'd prefer. Good thing I did, because that's where I found the egg today!

After Kaylee carried it around for a while, I finally called for it to be put in the fridge... I mean, really.. I never thought I'd actually hear a real, live person say "I want the egg to watch the movie with us!" before... Wow.. She is definitely our animal lover!!

Watch this space to find out when Ginger and Babs quit slackin' around and finally make some eggs too! At this point, they're very efficient at turning Chicken Food into poop... and not much else!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Boo To You!


Finally, we have all four kids - EVEN TYLER - for the weekend, which means it's time to put up the Octoberween decorations! It's always so fun to pull them out, remember what we have, plan on where to put it all this year... and then reach higher and higher levels of frustration with the way the light strings are always too short, or too long, or have the wrong kind of plug to connect end-to-end...

Seriously - would it kill them to STANDARDIZE?? We finally got everything connected, but for the record, it's not to my original plan... Here's a low-quality, camera phone shot of the house - now we just need a bunch of trick-or-treaters to come eat all our candy!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Downside of Church in a Movie Theater

Cindy and I really love our new church, Discovery Community Church. There are many things we love about it, and certainly one of them is the fact that it meets in a Movie Theater on Sunday mornings. The idea seems far-fetched to many people, but think about it - one theater for the adult service, another for the teenagers, one for the school-age kids, one for babies, etc. And not only that, but there's a very good quality screen already mounted in each room - less equipment to buy!

However, there is one aspect of being "The Movie Theater Church" that while I love it (I love
things that make me laugh), I could see some people throwing their hands up, screaming, and running for a building with a steeple... And that is, the movies showing on the marquee in front of the building.

Over the last couple weeks, right next to our "Discovery Community Church"banner, has been "Now Showing: Jackass 2". I meant to get a picture of it, but I left my phone at home... Twice! (funny how having it beep during service ONE TIME can make you so leary of bringing it back again...)

Yesterday however, I was armed with the phone, and while Johnny Knoxville's gutterball sequel was no longer front-line material, it was replaced by something that did at least as good a job of illustrating the deep, wide chasm between the Church and the world.

And really, I think it helps maintain balance in the universe, that the building that shows "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" all week long has a much needed, deep-spiritual-cleaning every Sunday morning at 9:19 and 10:50.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Time Out For Fun!

It's hard for us to not see similarities between these guys and our own Andy and Tyler... In fact, my kids have done sing-alongs to this same song, and I wish I knew why I hadn't gotten the camcorder out!! Hmmmmm.... maybe next time....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Transformers - More Than Meets The Eye!

Ahh, my first cool new gadget since starting up with a construction company... The Caterpillar reps were in today, and gave CC (the boss man) this seemingly normal pen that's actually a pen AND a USB drive! Since he's more interested in the BIG things that CAT makes, he passed it on to me!
It's only 128MB, so it won't be my new music storage device, but it's enough to hold several documents, some photos, etc...
So how does it work? Check the extremely low-quality video! =)