Friday, November 9, 2012

Why I Love Her

A while back I read a post on the Refine Us blog about why you fell in love with your spouse. The premise of the post was about not dwelling on the things that bother you about your spouse, rather, focusing on the things that caused you to fall in love with him/her. The post got me thinking about making a list. In the post the person that Justin was talking to was only focusing on what bothered him about his spouse. In doing this, it was helping to deteriorate his marriage.

Let me be clear, we are not having marital problems. Also, I am not making this list because I need to take my focus off of what bothers me. I simply thought making a list could be a good exercise for any of us that are married to be reminded why we fell in love with our spouse.

God has certainly blessed me with a wonderful woman who chose to marry me. I can't imagine my life without her and I don't tell her nearly enough how much I appreciate her and love her. Smalls, thanks for the last 11+ years of marriage. You are far more than anything I could ever ask for.

- she loves Jesus
- her kindness towards others
- she rarely has a bad day
- she loves me unconditionally
- she has a great smile
- she loves college football
- she's not afraid to tell me how it is, or how it should be

- she's a great mom (obviously this didn't make me fall in love with her, but it's an added bonus)

Your turn. What are some reasons why you fell in love with your spouse?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Today is election day. I have heard it said over the last several months that this is the most important election in our lifetime. I bet that will be said for every election for the rest of my lifetime. Mainly because as long as, for all intents and purposes, there's a two party system, the others side is going to think it's imperative that their candidate win.

No matter which way you lean or which party/candidate you hope will win, make sure your voice is heard by getting out and voting. There are many countries around the world in which some or all of the people aren't allowed to vote. And, there are a lot of men and women that have sacrificed a lot in order for us to have the privilege to vote.

We also need to be in prayer for our leaders, no matter which side wins. These men and women are making daily decisions that, directly or indirectly, affect our lives everyday. Please join me in praying for our leaders today and everyday and they make decisions that affect our country.

And, in my opinion, if you don't vote then you don't have any right to complain.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dusting Off the Ol' Blog

Okay, so my last post was on March 29. Ridiculous. Life has been sort of busy and every time I thought to write I either didn't want to or simply didn't have time.

A lot has gone on since we wrecked our Highlander, including getting a new Highlander, a visit from our friend Ashley and her 3 girls, lots of swimming at the pool, wrecking the Accord, getting the Accord fixed, softball, kickball, vacation, another season of softball, a trip to the Smokey Mountains, me seeing Allison argue in front of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Cooper's fall baseball season, a trip to Lexington, Halloween at the Hoods, and tomorrow is Election Day 2012. And I'm sure I've left a few big ticket items out.

Either way, I'm going to try to get back in the blogging saddle again.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Laid to Rest

Some, if not all, of you know that we were in an accident Sunday morning. Thankfully no one was hurt. My Highlander, on the other hand, will not be coming home. Yesterday afternoon Cooper and I went to the body shop to get the few remaining things out that we needed and paid our final respects. As we were pulling off Cooper said, "Bye, bye Highlander."

It was a great vehicle. Allison and I both agree that we should probably get another one to replace that one. The problem is, I am very cheap and cars are not.

Have you ever totaled a car? Did you replace is with the same make/model?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Conversations With Cooper - Part 9

As I've mentioned recently, Allison and I have been making smoothies for breakfast. There are various flavor combinations that we are using and Cooper generally wants some as well. Today we had chocolate banana and so I made him one too.

Over the weekend Allison went to an even at church and heard a nutritionist speak. One thing she mentioned was that fresh spinach is good to put into smoothies because it adds some vegetables and doesn't alter the taste. My first thought this morning was to make Cooper's without spinach, but I decided to go ahead thinking that because it is blended well he wouldn't notice. As he was drinking it I asked him if it was good.

Me: How's you smoothie Coop?
Cooper: Good. What's that green stuff in it?
Me: (As Allison turns her head and starts to laugh) Huh? Green stuff? I'm not sure. Is it good.
Cooper: Yeah.
Me: I don't think there's green stuff in there.
Cooper: Yeah there is. I'm looking straight at it. (much more laughing from Allison)
Me: Is it good?
Cooper: Yeah.
Me: Oh well. Don't worry about it then.

You can't get anything past him. He pays major attention to detail. Thankfully I didn't have to tell him there was spinach in the drink or he would never drink one again.

What have you tried to get past your kids recently that didn't work out as well as you planned?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eating Differently and Moving More Intensly

When Allison was in law school I hung out with my friend Jeff quite a bit. We rode mountain bikes, got coffee, and talked a lot about God and fitness. As I look back on those days I now realize that when Jeff and I rode mountain bikes he probably felt as though we were crawling through molasses (I'm not getting into my first mountain bike excursion with Jeff here on the blog).

As I began to lose weight and get faster on the bike and on foot, people would often ask me "what have you done to lose all that weight." Regularly I would tell them exactly what Jeff used to say to me when I would ask him where I needed to start: "eat less and move more." Everyone wanted a secret formula to how I had lost 40 pounds in 2 months. But there wasn't one. I simply at about 25% less than what I had been eating in the first month and in the second month I added running about 10-15 miles per week. That's it.

As you can read here and here, I made some adjustments to my fitness and health plan at the first of the year. This time it wasn't really how much I was eating, it was what I was eating. After making these changes and increasing the intensity during my time at the gym, I have really made some strides when it comes to my body. As of last Friday I was down to 179 pounds (down 18 pounds from 197 pounds) and 15.1% body fat (down from probably at least 22%).

I don't write this to brag. I simply write this to tell people that it can be done. With some effort in your eating habits and additional effort in the gym or on the streets of your neighborhood, you can change the way you look and feel.

Is it easy? No. Does it hurt at the gym? Yes. Is it worth it? To me, absolutely!

Have you made any significant changes or commitments to your health lately? How are they coming along?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Favorite Part of the Day

Because the three of us commute together almost everyday, Allison and I have Cooper's attention on the way to and from work. For the most part, we take this opportunity on the way home to talk to Cooper about his day. We try to ask him pointed, open-ended questions so he has to tell about what he did. I initially got this idea from Michael Hyatt's blog, and one thing that I try to ask Cooper every day is "What was your favorite part of the day?" Many times it's "we played," or "painting," but sometimes it's much more specific.

Not long ago Cooper asked me to come to his school to eat lunch with him. I told him I definitely would that week, but I wasn't sure which day it would be. We settled on Wednesday, which I knew was a little disappointing for him. As we were dropping him off on Monday morning I looked at my calendar and realized I had a meeting on Wednesday right in the middle of the time that his class eats lunch. Once I realized this I decided that I would come that day. When he finished washing his hands I asked him if it would be alright if I came that day instead of Wednesday. He said yes and I could tell he was really excited.

When I showed up he was still very excited. He was pumped, not only that I was there, but because we got our own table. He told all of his friends that I was there  and we had a great time together.

That afternoon when I picked him up I started asking him the usual questions. He answered and as I looked in the rear view mirror I could tell he was waiting on me to ask what he favorite part of the day was. When I asked him he face lit up and he said "Having lunch with you there." My response was "that was my favorite part of the day too buddy!" And it absolutely was.

I often say that it's the little things. For me to take an hour, walk over to Cooper's day care, and sit with him and eat lunch really isn't a big deal. But to that five year old little boy it meant the world. We, as dads, have to major in the minors with our kids. It's not how many toys you buy them or what you do for them. It's what you do with them that matters most to them. I learned this lesson and hopefully I don't have to keep re-learning it in the future. Maybe I can take what I've learned and expound on it.

Dads, what have you done recently that made your kids day? What little things (in our mind) can we be doing that are huge to our kids?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Following Up

A few weeks ago I posted about my fitness challenge I have given myself. I want to follow up with some of what we have changed and the results that are in so far.

We haven't really changed anything drastically, but we've definitely changed some things. One of the main things we have changed is our eating habits. Several months ago Allison wanted to change the amount of sweets we consumed. She felt that 3 days a week were enough, so we (I use this loosely) started limiting ourselves to sweets three times per week. While that was a good idea, I wasn't really motivated but still complied for the most part. As I before, at the end of the year I got on the scale and did not like what I saw, so the first thing I did was talk to a friend from work about nutrition. We talked about what he does and Allison and I have modified it to work for us and it has really made a significant difference in the first three weeks of the year.

We are now eating smoothies, made at home, for breakfast. We have 3 different versions that we make from chocolate banana, to berry, to coconut. They all have the same basic ingredients, but some changes in order to mix it up a little. The other main thing we've implemented is that we limit the amount of cheat meals to 4 per week. This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner so we have to be pretty strategic about it. This, however, gives us a chance to make better choices, but still have some meals where we feel that we can have what we want. I am also happy to report that I am gladly complying with the 3 days of sweets per week.

The other thing we've done is changed our training for race we are running in a few weeks. We have changed from pounding out mileage to high intensity training. I think this has sort of shocked my metabolism into a frenzy, along with my body getting food that it can burn efficiently.

Overall I am very pleased with my results so far. As of this morning I have lost 13 pounds and weigh 184, down from 197. I haven't had my body fat tested, but plan to in the next week or so. I am in the range that I feel I need to be in, weight-wise. I could stand to lose a few more pounds, but as of now I don't plan to make any more significant changes.

One of my goals for 2012 is to maintain a healthy weight throughout the year. This is a good start and something I intend to diligently keep up with.

Do you have any goals for 2012? How are you doing so far in keeping them?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We're Gonna Do What?

Well, it's official. Me, Allison, a co-worker of Allison's, a law school classmate of Allison's, a spouse of a co-worker of Allison's, and one yet to be determined member have signed up for the Rouge Orleans, a 126.2 mile ultra marathon. We talked about it last year, but didn't act on it. As of yesterday we are registered. Now comes the hard part, training and racing. This is unlike any race we've ever done before. In this race each of the 6 team members will run 5 legs of 3-5 miles. While Allison and I have ran 3-5 miles many times, we've never done it 5 times in a 20 hour period. We are really excited about this though. It will be a great experience, the team is full of great people, and we get to see of great friends the Becks. As crazy as it may sound, I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fitness/Nutrition Adventure

I am thinking of doing a little experiment. Well, hopefully it won't be an experiment. I am hoping it will be a life changing decision followed by a few life changes. If you know me or read this blog much you probably know that I, for the most part, enjoy exercise. I try to exercise several times per week. I enjoy running, biking, swimming, as well as working out in the gym. While much of this takes discipline, I don't really claim to have much in that category.

What I don't really enjoy is disciplined nutrition. I will admit, I am horrible on this end of fitness. In fact, you can just call me the cookie monster. I like them in all types--chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia, sugar, get the point. While I am fairly fit, I know that if I can get my eating and nutrition under control I can be much more so.

The main reason I want this is for Allison and Cooper. Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I won't enjoy looking and feeling better, because I will. But there are some startling facts about the men in my relatively immediate family. The most glaring is they don't live very long. And by not very long, I mean, most of them haven't reached age 65. 

When I am 65 Allison and I will have been married for 43 years. That's hard to believe even as I type it. If the first 10 1/2 are any indication, however, I want much more than 43. I mean, seriously. I love being married to her. And I can't imagine cutting our marriage short simply because I wasn't disciplined in what I ate and didn't control things that I had complete control over.

When I am 65 Cooper will be 37. At the current trend of when people have kids he will probably have a child that is 7ish. Now that's not a very long time to spend with a grandchild. And from what I understand, having grandchildren around is awesome! I mean what's not to love about taking a kid fun places, giving them treats, and the sending them home to their parents!

So here is my plan. I am changing the way I eat. I will continue to exercise the way I have been for a few years, but the nutrition side is getting a make over. I am not completely sure what this makeover will look like, but I know it will look a lot less sugary. Below are two figures (no pun intended) that I am going to monitor. I know these aren't the only things that determine healthiness, but these are the most visible and probably the easiest to measure at any given moment. As time progresses I will post about how this is going as well as any progress (one way or the other) that I make.

weight - 197 lbs (my scales at home)
body fat - 21.2% (as of 10/20/11; I assume it is a little higher right now, but I don't know for sure)

This, by coincidence, happens to be the first of a new year. It is not a resolution, but one of my goals for 2012 is to maintain a healthier weight. I am hoping that it is a start to a healthier me.

Are there fitness/nutritional changes you need to make? Did you make any in 2011 that made a difference in your life?