Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Question of Aspiration

Is it better to accomplish less than to which you aspire, or is it better to aspire to accomplish less?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Positive Life Change

Okay, so not that dramatic.

I have nearly permanently changed my phone setting from ringer to vibrate.

Why is this significant?

Because I'm not looking at my phone every time I get email notifications, which is far more often than I get phone calls.

That has resulted in looking at my phone less often. My concentration on the tasks at hand has increased. I am paying more attention to the world around me than on the world I think I'm missing.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Downtown Drunk Update

So two weeks ago, I wrote about having gained a bunch of weight by way of eating and drinking too much. I have been on a path toward self-improvement over that period and wanted to give a status update.

Last weekend, I weighed in at the gym. 204. So, I lost around nine pounds in a week.

This morning - 201.

That's right - in two weeks I lost around 12 pounds. I cannot report any magic or special diet, but can tell you about my regiment.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise
One thing that I wanted to do was curb my late-night snacking. With a bowl of cereal here, some cheese and crackers there, maybe some chips, snacking could easily add up to over 500 calories. All of that was cut out.

The second benefit was that I was getting up early and getting moving. More movement = burning more calories.

Do Away with Drinking
Of course, I chose a weekend to challenge myself. Right in the middle of my two-week detox was Labor Day weekend. The most challenging day was Sunday. Had a party in the late afternoon that featured an open bar and many of my good friends drinking all afternoon. That was followed by my brother and sister-in-law sleeping over. They continued drinking. I abstained. That was hard.

I did cheat by having a couple of glasses of red wine on Rosh Hashana this past Thursday. God didn't seem to punish my lack of commitment to my regiment.

For breakfast, I cut down on the volume of cereal in my bowl and my mid-morning snack. A couple of days, I did an omelet instead of cereal. One day I had a smoothie featuring non-fat strawberry Greek yogurt, a banana, some ice, and some 1% milk. It was pretty good and I am not a fan of yogurt, Greek or otherwise.

Lunches consisted of leftovers.

Dinner was one of the things that I didn't change. Wife and I eat pretty healthy at dinner time every week night. We have a good pool of low-cal recipes that are arranged for the week on Sunday or Monday. All of the recipes are less than 400 calories and some are closer to 200. Add some bread, brown rice, and extra veggies and it's still a healthy number. The leftovers go to lunch and that keeps the calories down then, too.

Finally, I have continued my running regiment in the morning. It's nothing spectacular - I run to preschool drop-off which is 0.70 miles, though I usually extend that to 1.25 - 1.5 miles if we leave early enough. Then it's a 0.5 / 0.6 mile sprint to elementary school for JD. Since I'm not going long distance, I go at a pretty good pace (for me,) usually under 8:30 / mile (and that often includes hitting a red light and some stop sign traffic.) I may have mentioned doing the 50-50-10 that we were supposed to do for sophomore football practice. Well, I have yet to get all 50 sit-ups or push-ups. However, I have done some ab work and push-ups during that time. Winter hockey season started this week and that will add to my workouts. Unfortunately, many calories burned during the game will be offset by beer(s) after the game. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

So, how did I manage to lose 12 pounds in two weeks? The magic of:

DIET AND EXERCISE. It's not complicated, friends. A healthy lifestyle will lead to a healthy body. Understand portion control. Break a sweat. Feel the burn. But nothing loses weight like food portion control. If you can consistently eat between 1500 and 2000 calories per day, you'll likely lose weight or maintain if you're already at a healthy number.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Little Foodie

Bunny is eating poached salmon with dill sauce. If that wasn't impressive enough, she said, "The sauce is so good! It's the most delicious part."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Night Time Routine Evolution

I think I remember how our night time routine has evolved.

I am trying to remember what we did when we only had JD. I think we would read to him, then put him to bed. Perhaps Wife can comment about that.

Around The Block
When Bunny was born, things changed. She would scream every night until it became routine to go for a nightly walk in my arms around our block. So, from June through October, around 7:30 or 8:00pm, that's what we would do. I would sing to her or tell her about the things around us. We passed the same places most nights and met people who were outside at that time. It was a great and memorable time for me. Bunny would sometimes fall asleep, but often just lay in my arms and look around.

Story Time
We have almost always done story time in our bed. Now that the kids are reading, we have changed from simply reading a story to them. JD and Bunny each read a beginning reader book to us. I am planning on having them read the same story for a few days, or until they sound like they can each read all of the words fluently. Then, we read a chapter from a chapter book. Currently, we are reading, Charlotte's Web. After story time it is time for bed.

"Take that JD! Take that Bunny!"
After story time, JD would say, "Take that JD!" and wait for me to pick him up and throw him into bed. Then Bunny caught on. So I would carry both of them, sometimes one at a time, sometimes together, to their room. That rarely happens anymore, as it became a competition for them and would rile them up just when they had finished winding down.

Finish in Song
For a long time, I would sing, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," followed by, "Jingle Bells," and would finish with, Goodnight Moon. That sequence lasted for a good year, maybe two. I remember doing that when Bunny was still in her crib and JD was in his bed. They shared a room until two weeks ago.

After a while, I got tired of the routine and changed to, "Fools Rush In," followed by, Goodnight Moon.

It was sometime in the last six months or so that Bunny, during, "Fools Rush In," would reach her hand out to me when I would sing the words, Take my hand, take my whole life, too. It is very sweet.

Sometimes, the kids join me singing.

Now that the kids have their own rooms, I sing, "Fools Rush In," to Bunny and tell JD about the next day. Sometimes JD wants me to cuddle with him for a few minutes. Then, I turn on some music. For a long time, I had an iPod dock and would play Bedtime with the Beatles. The old iPod died recently, so I tuned the radio to the classical station. Until I pony up to buying the kids their own radios, I have the one from their shared room in the hallway so they can both hear.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Compare / Contrast:

When I am doing chores at home - cooking, doing laundry, or finances, Bunny wants to be around me and interfere with what I am doing. JD, on the other hand, will go do his own thing - play with army guys, pirates, or knights.

While JD makes things easier by staying out of my way, I it may be a better experience for a child to be around an adult, learning from that? While she's a gigantic pain in my ass when I'm trying to get things done, she's also interested in what I am doing. She is listening and watching everything I say and do. JD is simply not getting as many hours learning directly from me, even when he was Bunny's age.

On the other hand, we all develop in different ways. One way is to go explore on your own without having anyone to guide you but your imagination. Another way is to seek out a mentor or role model to emulate.

To be the best parent possible, I ought to spend more time getting into JD's adventures while consciously having a role to delegate in the event that Bunny (or JD) wants to help.