Monday, September 30, 2013

Cooper and Penny at the bookstore

The kiddies like going to Barnes and Noble because the childrens section has a train table and a Lego table. Val likes to go because while they play she can get an iced coffee from the Starbucks and use their free wi-fi!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Penny's 2nd birthday party, pt. 1

For our Precious Penelope Rose's birthday we had Dad over and Val's family to celebrate with presents, Lenny's and cake!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Penny is 2 today!

Happy Birthday to our Precious Penelope!

I would say that Penny is now hitting the "terrible twos," but we've been going through it for at least six months already!

What we really need is to have her second birthday party tonight, and then tomorrow go ahead and have the third one, too, like in the very funny animated show Dinosaurs.

However, I think we all know that the Terrible Twos don't mean she's going to be a terror from age 2 to age 3. No, it means it takes two years!

We haven't reached the "Linda Blair in The Exorcist" stage, though there is a lot of terror, chills and spills!

But today isn't a day to think about how she drives us crazy. As much as I joke about Penny being high maintenance, there are so many things about her for which I'm thankful:

- Her big radiant smile and loud contagious laugh.

- Her fearlessness, how she'll jump on you, knowing you'll catch her, and climbing on everything, and at least trying to eat most anything at least once.

- The hilarious looks she makes, especially when she's doing something she's not sure if she should or not, turning her head to see how we are reacting.

- That when I go get her out of her crib after waking up, she has to grab all four of the bears she sleeps with and carry them in the living room with us.

- Sitting in my chair with her as she eats snacks and we watch one of her shows together.

- When she grabs a piece of clothing for you to put on her so she can unleash her inner fashion diva.

- How she sucks down any drink so long as it's through a straw.

- Whatever language she's speaking, how she jibber-jabbers like an Ewok and she's so earnest in trying to tell you what she wants you to know.

- Even though we can't understand her, she understands us, and if you ask her to do something she goes and does it.

- How she dances when Katy Perry's "Firework" song comes on during Madagascar.

- Her joy as she splashes in the tub and plays under the running faucet, so happy to get soaked and soak others.

- She and Cooper when they roughhouse and chase each other around the house, giggling.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Grams in town to celebrate Penny's birthday

Mom came into town this weekend to celebrate our Precious Penelope turning two next Wednesday! We had cupcakes last night, and she opened her presents. Mom got Penny an easel with a chalkboard on one side and a dry erase board on the other that is also magnetic, so the kids have been having fun with that. Aunt Lynn got Penny some dress-up clothes, and Penny had a good time giving us a fashion show!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Confessions of a (Fat) Godly Daddy

My latest contribution to ...

For two decades I have prayed to God to help me lose weight. When He didn't miraculously make the pounds disappear, I, being a bear of little faith, began to rely on my own self-control to resist temptation.

Let me tell you how that ended up. Instead of taking control of my weight, I worshiped at the altar of the false food god Hostess, that which promises glorious creamy filling goodness but instead delivers shame, despair and a closet full of 4XLT shirts that are stained by buffalo wings sauce that never comes out in the wash.

The fatter I got, the more I assumed it was OK since I was enjoying it and feeling blessed by this cornucopia of delicious food based on what Paul said, that "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)

As the old joke goes, I was very religious in my eating: I would eat what I wanted, and then pray not to gain weight.

Obviously it's easy to take the scripture out of context when you're trying to hold onto your king-sized Mr. Goodbars.

I am well-versed in what's called "Yo-Yo Dieting," or the ups and downs of constantly trying to lose weight.

In fact, I'm so well-versed in it I'm practically MC Yo-Yo Diet, as in: "Yo, look at me bro, I'm eatin' a salad!" and then the next day, "Yo, dawg, I couldn't help it, that Sonic foot long chili cheese Coney looked soooooo good!"

I know I'm not alone out there. Why else do you see a disclaimer underneath the “success stories” of every weight loss program that says results not typical? The vast majority of folks give up after three weeks when they haven’t lost 20 pounds yet.

Besides having to shop in the "husky" section at Sears, I first realized that I was noticeably overweight in, of all things, a profile of me in a local golf newspaper when I was a young teenager.

The writer had worked with my dad for most of the material, focusing on my game and successes on the junior tour. But the writer also added his own notes, including in one throwaway graph in which he noted that I had to adjust to my new size since I had grown up some ten inches in the last year. He added that I had also filled out, which seemed to me a little rude about a 13-year-old.

My first attempt to lose weight came shortly after that article, using the Atkins method of treating carbohydrates like a Pharisee avoiding a stinky disabled guy at the entrance to the Temple.

I tried again in college, and had to stop when I began to make my roommates sick by the constant smells of sausage and onions cooking in the kitchen.

In the end it failed from a lack of willpower and the need for variety. There's only so much meat and green beans a guy can eat.

Now, however, is the time to follow through and lose weight for my wife and kids. I want to be around past the age of 40. It's kind of a big deal to me.

My children are in what I call pre-memory, by which I mean they will have only vague recollections from this period when they are teens and adults. If I lose the weight now I want them to know me as fit and a good example of taking care of your body.

I would also like to be able to sit on my son's bed that is low to the floor and get up without having to roll over on my knees like a roly poly bug.

My Darling Valerie and I have been terrible enablers of bad eating habits. If we're watching TV on a Saturday night and see an ad for Pizza Hut's cheesy bites crust pizza, I would say, "Ooh, that sounds good, I kind of want that." Val then replied, "Yeah, that looks really good." Me: "Now I'm not kidding." Val: "Neither am I." So we ordered an extra-large pizza.

Together we're going to end this pattern and finally doing something to last a lifetime. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are temples and to take of them as such to honor God. It's time to stop making excuses that some temples are larger than others, am I right?

Way back in February we joined a 24-hour fitness center nearby. I get up dark and early every morning, get my work clothes and food together, then head to the gym for a workout. I can usually get a half-hour of exercise before I have to get ready for work.

In August I began to get a grip on my eating habits, too. I downloaded an app that helps me succeed in my lifelong goal of avoiding having to do any kind of math.

The app calculates Weight Watchers points, has a database to find points for groceries and restaurants and makes it easy to track weight loss.

Paul also writes later in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God "will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

So yes, bring on that supreme pizza! Put the fried rice in front of me, and I can't eat it if I have my eyes closed and I'm on my knees in prayer to resist such yumminess.

This can work. This must work.

What is reassuring is the belief that God wants me to do this and He wants to help.

In fact, I think He's going to be just as happy for me as I will to be to stop shopping in stores that sell t-shirts referring to every fat guy as a "big dog."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cooper and Penny in the backyard, pt. 1

Loving the Fall-like temps this weekend!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cooper and Penny on school day

For Cooper, going to school (Mother's Day Out) is a fun outing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For Penny, it means a stop at Dunkin Donuts for a chocolate donut on the way home with Mommy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dog days of summer

Wow, there's been a lot of down time on the blog this month. Sorry about that. We just haven't been getting out the camera to take pictures of the kiddies.

I'm going to blame it on the dog days of summer. It's hot outside, I'm tired, and I need to rest before a busy Fall and Winter. The other day Val said I have a lot to write about - an effort to get me to to get it off my chest, I guess!

Here's a quick update on how everyone's doing:

Cooper started attending the Mother's Day Out program at nearby Faith Baptist over in Bartlett. He goes twice a week, from 9-2 Tuesdays and Thursdays. He's been pretty excited about going to "school," as we call it, and is having a good time. Naturally, as a 3 1/2 year old boy he has some behavior issues and won't stay still at rest time, but really, it's Cooper, so I'm not surprised. I never slept at nap time, either. But if it comes down to him getting trouble for not obeying the teachers, well, it's punishment time.

Penny is, well, she's an interesting toddler, and I cannot believe that she's technically not even two yet since we've been going through the Terrible Twos for about six months now. Just goes to show what many parents already warned me, that the "Terrible Twos" are called that not because the kids are awful from age 2-3, but for two whole years from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2.

Our precious Penelope just wants things her way, bless her heart, but goodness gracious when she doesn't that girl is a terror and turns into Fussy McScreamypants. She drives me crazy, I admit, but it would be a lot easier if she would start speaking English. Penny has her own language; she talks plenty, but we can't understand her except for a very punctuated "No!" when she gets an attitude. She does understand us, so that's not the issue, and she's a smart girl so she knows what's best.

A couple of weeks ago we started putting a blanket in the crib with Penny, and she took to liking it tucked in on her at bedtime. Problem is, she moves around a lot when asleep and wakes up, and when she realizes that the blanket isn't on her anymore she starts to scream. This was happening three to five times a night, so we stopped putting a blanket in bed with her. It's OK, she has four three bears to cuddle with, even if Teddy is missing in action.

As for me, well, I just want to sleep more. I usually average two hours of naps in the afternoons, and four hours at night, which leaves me with a sleep deficit that can't be made up on the weekends. When the kids are in college, though, I'll be sleeping 11 hours a night and they'll scratch their heads and wonder why!

OK, so at night it's sort of my fault. We try to get Penny in bed by 7:30, then Cooper by 8 or 8:30, but do I ever go straight to sleep? Of course not. While Val plays Candy Crush on her Nook in bed, I lay beside her checking Twitter on the Kindle Fire until 9.

Now, while that's not healthy, I have been making strides, finally, with losing weight and getting in shape. Way back in February we joined ATC Fitness a few minutes down Hwy 64. ATC stands for "Around the Clock," so I get up at 1:20 every morning, get my work clothes and food together, then head to the gym for a workout. I can usually get a half-hour of exercise before I have to get ready for work.

In August I also finally got a grasp of my eating habits, too. I downloaded an app that calculates Weight Watchers points, keeps track of your daily intake and has a database to find points for products and restaurants. Back in 2006 when I lost a lot of weight - right before I started dating Val, ate badly at great restaurants and blew back up - Weight Watchers made it easy to eat right and lose the pounds. With an app, it's even easier. So far I'm down about 13 pounds in one month, so it's a good start.