Friday, May 31, 2013

May 2013 Round Up and Pinspirations

Dog image from 123RF. Rope frame by MandaBean (no longer available). Font is Kristen ITC.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
Okay, so, this is my first month posting some internet articles in lieu of talking about the fact that I didn't read a book again this month (or not much of one). As you can see, I *might* read a few articles about movies and TV, but I'm sure that comes as no surprise to my faithful readers. ;-) I do read other stuff, too! I even included some of it below. (And I would read nearly every single thing Mental Floss publishes, if I had time. No affiliation, just love them.) Some of these I tweeted (I know I did the first two), so if you follow me there, you may have seen a few of them already. Most are "new", though. Hope you enjoy!

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: May Sweeps is over, so all of our "regular" shows have ended. Mythbusters has started back up to keep us company, and I know our "off season" shows will be back during various months this summer. For kids' TV, we have discovered Wild Kratts on PBS. Luke really loves it! We don't mind it either, thank goodness. It's so hard to find something good for him to watch, so we are grateful for this new discovery. Fall up fronts were finished/announced. Read more of my thoughts on that and the new upcoming shows here.
* New Films: Most of what we saw this month was new, we just didn't see an awful lot of films.
- Witness for the Prosecution - Very interesting. Had part of it figured out before the end, but not all of it. I do believe this was my first Marlene Dietrich film, though.
- Iron Man 3 - Different from the others, but still good. More here.
- Stand By Me - This was great to watch, more just to see all of these young gentlemen learning and growing, but still very fine actors, even at such young ages. That includes Kiefer Sutherland; I had forgotten just *how* good he was at playing a scuzy hooligan in the 80s. Very touching movie.
 -Yankee Doodle Dandy - Different from what I thought it would be, but still good. Not quite sure what I was expecting, but I loved watching James Cagney in a real song and dance film.
- Star Trek Into Darkness - Intense. Good movie. Didn't feel much like a Trek movie. More here.
- School of Rock - I had several people tell me that I would probably like this movie, even though I am not usually a Jack Black fan. It was pretty good. A little more "Jack Black-ish" than I tend to like, but still good.
* Old Favorites: Serenity, Hercules, Marvel's The Avengers

What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?
We saw tons of friends at Mother's Day, including some all the way from Denmark! And we saw tons of family over Memorial Day weekend. Always fun, if tiring. Also bumped into a friend I haven't seen in several months at Luke's awards day at school, so that was really nice. We're hoping to get together sometime this summer.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
I received a very nice digital photo frame for Mother's Day. We send cards to our moms and grandmoms. DH sent *the* best card to his mom. It is very much their sense of humor, made all the funnier by the fact that my husband actually designs bridges for a living!

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
We finally bought new mattresses. They were supposed to be delivered on a Monday, but they were damaged when loaded onto truck. They didn't have any more in stock, so they reordered the mattresses from the facory and cancelled the delivery. But no one bothered to call and tell us that! The poor sales guy had to field a very upset call from DH on Tuesday. We did get a refund on our delivery fee, and we did eventually get our mattresses on Friday, but it was a bit frustrating.

But my most exciting purchase for this month was definitely buying my usual brand of jeans in a size smaller! Mom also took me shopping Memorial Day weekend and bought me some new work shirts, since I don't have many short sleeved work shirts in my new size. Thanks, Mom! Here's one that everyone really liked. (Can't believe I'm posting this! LOL Crummy cell phone pic (sorry) is actually from June.)

What new foods, recipes, or restaurants did I try this month?

We decided to try another new Mexican restaurant this month. El Toro is very near to us, in the same complex as one of our favorite local Italian places, in fact. Since we had finally tried Monterrey's, we thought we should try their closest competition as well. We liked El Toro better than Monterrey's, but our hearts and our taste buds still belong to our favorite Los Lorros.

What Pinspirations did I try this month (besides any recipes above)?
I promise, I will try at least one pin for next month!

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
I had a nagging cough that was finally officially diagnosed as bronchitis. (I still could not drive myself at that point, so DH had to take me. According to him, I have a distinctive cough. He could tell if it was me coughing or someone else from the waiting room at the doctor.) The antibiotics worked, but the cough itself just would not go away. My doctor finally called in some Tessalon Perles. she said they are more effective than any over the counter cough suppressant, and boy, she wasn't kidding.

In ankle news, I was discharged by the orthopedist (nothing more he needs to do as a doctor), but I do need to continue with physical therapy. Hoping to be done with all of that by the end of June. But in a new development, my left heel now makes a popping noise with every step, and I can feel something popping or grinding inside there. It is at best uncomfortable, and soemtimes, it is intensely painful! Very not happy about that, and really don't have the time to go to yet another doctor apointment right now.

What were my accomplishments this month?

Losing 25 pounds was probably the most major one, though it's been happening over the last 6 months, not just this month. I was also finally cleared by my orthopedist to start driving again. My first trip was a little scary and rather painful for my ankle, and I only drove about a mile, but I did it! I also walked about 3 blocks to lunch one day. I know that doesn't sound like much, but considering I destroyed my ankle just 8 weeks ago, walking that far "for no reason" is kind of amazing! It was a lovely spring day, just perfect for a short walk.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Well, let's see. We think Luke is in the middle of a growth spurt. At IHOP for dinner, he ate: 2.5 full size (6 inch/15 cm) pancakes, 3 eggs, 5 slices of bacon, and 16 oz (.5 liter) of milk. (For comparison, I ate 2 pancakes, 2 eggs,*no* bacon (he ate his and mine), a half order of hash browns, and water.) He also had one weekend morning where he slept until nearly 9:30 AM. He's usually awake at 6-6:30 on Saturdays, maybe 7:30 at the latest. I was starting to worry! As you can see above, Luke received a trophy for completing his spring soccer session. It was his first "person trophy," which made him very happy.

But the biggest accomplishment (for all of us) is finishing second grade. Kermit flail!!!!! And he even did it on the Principal's Honor Roll (All As/Ss).

What were this month's disappointments or frustrations?
I did absolutely awful at meal planning all month. Just really fell of the wagon. Need to get back to doing that soon.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Can't think of anything.

Monthly Round Up concept courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady, tweaked by me.
Currently feeling: rounded up

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Well Matched

Over the past several years, DH and I have developed the bad habit of unintentionally wearing matching shirts. We get dressed separately, without seeing each other until we're finished, but we end up looking like we planned it. It doesn't seem to matter which one of us gets dressed first, it still happens at least once a month. If we notice it before we leave the house (like when we were both wearing the same shade of green a couple of weeks ago), one of us will usually go change; which one has to change varies by circumstances! LOL But sometimes, like today, we don't even realize it until later in the day. Oops!
Currently feeling: guess we've been married too long

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - May 29, 2013

Currently feeling: Kitty is ready to rock

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Movie Muse Shorts: Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness

Iron Man 3 - We really liked this movie. I'm not sure it was as good as the original, but I do think I liked it better than the second one. It was different from the other two, not in any particular ways that I can articulate, but it just "felt" different. Not in a bad way, though! I think the new director did quite a good job at staying true to the general character brought to life by Jon Favreau while still leaving his own fingerprints on it. Guy Pierce and Ben Kingsley were excellent, as always, and I really loved that Jon Favreau still appeared in the film as Tony Stark's security guy. Long live Happy! Very enjoyable, lots of action, quite fun, with some good laughs thrown in. Just what you want from the first movie of the summer!

Star Trek Into Darkness - I have no idea what I can say about this movie without giving anything away. There is really nothing I can tell you about the plot that would be helpful and still spoiler free, so I won't even try. I liked it as a movie; I thought it was very good overall, despite some gaping plot holes. However, I'm not sure I liked it as a Star Trek film. I feel like they went a little off the deep end with a few things, though I think they brought it back from the brink (more or less) in the end. I am incredibly interested to see where Mr. Abrams will head with the next one. And one thing is certain: I cannot *wait* to see what he will bring to Star Wars Episode VII!

Currently feeling: ready to go again!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

We made the "south Georgia tour" again this year for Memorial Day weekend. We headed out Thursday after work, arriving late where DH's dad lives. There isn't much room at their house these days, especially now that his grandmother lives with them, so we stay at a local hotel. I usually keep clothes pins in my travel bag to keep the curtains closed (I hate extra light when I'm trying to sleep), but they had somehow been misplaced, and these particular curtains were gapping by about two inches (5 cm). What could I find in a standard hotel room to keep them together? A-ha! One of my more brilliant ideas, if I do say so myself.

Friday, we visited with DH's grandmother and dad and his family. I love that the girls still seem to genuinely enjoy hanging out with Luke, even though they are 11 and 15. Having a common love of video games helps, I'm sure.

We had to take two pictures to get everyone in them. So love these people! We really need to try to get there more often. (I know, I say that every time.) And don't be deceived by that bottom picture. C, the girl on the far right, is squatting down some so that we can see everyone. She is almost as tall as her sister, and she's definitely taller than Luke (for now).

We left before dinner to continue our tour down to see DH's mom. It was dark, so we didn't think to take any pictures (not sure why that matters, but it seems to!). She will be getting married the first weekend in August, so there will definitely be pictures then.

After that, it was on to my parents, where we spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I went shopping with my mom. Picked up some new work clothes (I'm short on short sleeved shirts in my new size) and a few bottles of nail polish. DH and I managed to catch the new Star Trek movie.

And of course, we hit the beach, this time in the evening. We flew a kite for a bit, but Luke preferred to be in the water (no big surprise). We did lose his Nemo bucket that we've had since his first beach trip, though. The rip currents were really strong. Luke got knocked down by a wave and let go. DH had to choose between the bucket and the child. I hope someone enjoys it when they find it!

We didn't even arrive until nearly 7 PM. The weather was unusually cool this weekend, with the high during the day of only 82F/28C. With the setting sun and dropping temps combining with the breeze off the water, it got downright chilly! I don't think I'd ever been grateful for wearing capris and long sleeves to the beach before. Luke was impervious to the cold until we had to leave, then of course he was freezing. So glad his super-smart mom thought to bring a long sleeve shirt for him to wear as we left! :-)

Must definitely do better about taking pictures with my parents when we visit (or when they visit). We see them often enough that it usually doesn't seem like a "special" enough occasion to take pictures, but every visit with people you love is special! The return trip home on Monday was extremely uneventful. As in, we spent most of the trip wondering where all the traffic was! Great trip, as always. Going back to work tomorrow will not be easy.
Currently feeling: missing everyone already

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Second Grade Comparison

In case you weren't already feeling old today, this should help. He didn't grow all that much (no, really!), but he looks so much more grown up. I finally figured out that it is the change in the shape of his face. It's not round like a baby/little kid anymore; it's longer and narrower, like a young man. A friend of mine told me that he is "developing his man face," and that other than the squaring up of his jaw and things like that, this is pretty much what he will look like all grown up. I'm not ready to have a grown up baby! I think I need to go cry now.
Currently feeling: where did my baby go?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - May 22, 2013

Currently feeling: first time my fingers have been small enough to put this ring on in 10 years!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fall 2013 Television Shake-Up

The major TV networks did their "up fronts" in the last week or so. That's when they pitch their new fall line-ups and shows to advertisers. It's also when, unfortunately, we find out that some shows didn't make it.

Of the shows that we watch, both CSI:NY and Rules of Engagement were cancelled. Neither one is a surprise, really, but it is a disappointment. I think CSI:NY was due, though I will miss seeing Mac and Flack each week. I wish they had gotten one more season out of Rules of Engagement, though. I would have loved to see Jeff with the baby!

Though not a true cancellation, there was one revelation that was quite a surprise to me: there will be no more results show for Dancing With the Stars. Not sure how that will work, and not sure how I feel about that. Despite watching the show for years now, I've never actually voted, so it won't really affect me personally. I know other competition shows have that kind of set up, including the British version of DWTS I believe, so it's not unprecedented. I'm just curious how the whole thing will play out. And why did they get rid of the results show? First and foremost, because it was much lower rated than the "day of competition" show, and you know networks are all about ratings. Secondly, because they were making room for a new show on Tuesdays:

Yep! The biggest news from the upfronts is the new show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Based on the organization from the Marvel comics that played small parts in various films and a larger part in Joss Whedon's The Avengers, they gave Joss a shot at a new TV show. It's even on ABC this time, not Fox, so I have high hopes for it. Or I did, until its time slot was announced. Please tell me why they are pitting it against THE #1 show on all of television? That's right, folks. ABC has decided to schedule SHIELD on Tuesdays at 8PM, directly opposite the juggernaut that is NCIS. Do all TV networks just hate Joss Whedon? I mean, I know Buffy and Angel did well, but seriously, what are these people thinking?! They're trying to say there isn't much crossover audience. Maybe they're right. I sure hope they are, because I really want *both* shows to continue for quite some time.
Currently feeling: ready to watch!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

25 Pounds

Numbers from WPClipart

25: the number of pounds I've lost since January. (For my non-USA friends, that is 11.3 kg or 1.8 stone.) After "playing" with the same 15-20 pounds over the last 5 years or so, I feel that finally hitting the "magic" 25 pound mark deserves a shout out. Go me! LOL

It also marks when I was able to buy clothes in the next size down. Yes, the "big ladies" don't get to buy new clothes for "just" a 10 or 15 pound loss. I was quite discouraged, actually, that it took so long, but also keep in mind that my previous size was quite snug on me at my highest weight (read: I could not button my work pants, and my jeans were uncomfortable), but I had to wear them because, well, there really wasn't anything bigger sold in regular stores. I also think I'm about to need new bras. (Sorry to any males reading this right now!) The ones I have are older, and they just don't fit like they used to. They're way too loose going around me. But man, I hate bra shopping!

Obviously, the next thing everyone is going to ask is "what method are you using?" Frankly, I'm doing it the old-fashioned way: food diary and calorie counting. I have not changed what foods I am eating, and I am not exercising (unless you count physical therapy, though I leave there after working for an hour and I'm a sweaty mess, so maybe that really does count as working out twice a week!). Now, I may be eating less of something. For example, my macaroni and cheese: I used to make it four servings, until I found out that equaled about 600 calories. Whoa!! That would be okay for a meal, but not for a side serving with something else. So I now divide it into six servings, which is still high at 400 calories, but I also make sure I pair it with something like baked chicken (the same baked marinated chicken I've always eaten), so that I can "afford" the higher calories. At some point, I know my calorie target will drop to the point that even that will be difficult, but for now, it's fine. And it's working for me, which is the whole point!

Note: I may have been a bit misleading when I said I was doing it the old-fashioned way. The method is certainly well worn, but I'm using modern tools to do it: my smartphone and My Fitness Pal. There is a website for My Fitness Pal, but I much prefer the smartphone app. I find it much more user friendly! I also love that I have it with me everywhere I go. No writing it down and having to look up the calories later. No carrying around a book to know how many calories are in a meal when we eat out. No wondering if I have enough calories left in my budget to have one more roll with dinner. It's right there in my pocket, I just have to whip it out and take a look. (I am not affiliated with My Fitness Pal in any way, and they did not ask me to write this. In fact, they probably have no clue this blog exists. I'm just a happy user.)

When you create your account, you tell it your current weight, how active your lifestyle is, and how much you want to lose per week (I chose 1 pound per week), and it gives you a daily calorie target. They have an excellent database of foot items, including most of the chain restaurant items. You can also add your own foods/items if you find any missing. As you add foods to your diary each day, it will decrement those from your "calorie budget," and your remaining calories for the day are displayed at the top of the screen. You can also track any exercising you do (they have a database for calories burned, too!), and it will increase your budget to compensate for calories burned. As you lose weight (I think it is every 10 pounds), it will adjust your calorie budget so you will (hopefully) continue to lose. It will also track your weight and measurements, if you want to do that. I only track my weight right now. It will also tell you the nutritional breakdown of individual items and everything you've eaten (assuming those values were input when the item was added), so you can see things like your total protien, fat, and carb intake. Again, I'm not really paying much attention to that part, I'm really just focused on the calorie count for now, and as long as it is working, I don't feel the need to monkey with it. If it ain't broke...

Other things I like about My Fitness Pal: If you tend to eat the same things every time at certain restaurants (or the same foods together as a meal at home), you can store a "meal" so you don't have to re-input the individual pieces each time. Example: for Mexican food, I have my usual meal of 1/2 of the cheese dip (I estimate it at 6 Tablespoons), 30 chips, and a burrito saved as a single meal, so I can add all of the pieces (and adjust quantities, if needed) with a single click. My actual restaurant is not there, and I don't have nutritional info on them, but I searched the database and found what seemed to be the most typical calorie count for "Mexican cheese dip" and used that. (Personally, I'm not into being accurate "to the calorie." As long as I'm generally in the ballpark, I'm fine with that.)

I also love the recipe feature. I input recipe ingredients and number of servings, and it will calculate the calories per serving for me and save it, so I don't have to add all of the ingredients each time. I have to say, that has been very enlightening. Some of our meals that I thought would be super high in calories turned out to be not as bad as I feared, and some meals I had never been concerned about turned out to be *much* higher in calories that I ever expected. Again, we still eat all of those foods, but I make the reasonable calorie meals more often and the higher calorie ones less frequently. I also discovered that I had been eating 50-100% more calories than I should be on a daily basis, sometimes more, up to 3 times my recommended daily calories. No wonder I was/am so heavy! I knew I was eating too much, but I had no clue it was THAT much too much.

I try to actually input things before I eat them. This serves two purposes: 1) I might make a different choice of food item or how much of it I eat when I see how many calories are actually in it before I take a bite. Suddenly, half the slice of quiche seems like plenty when you realize the whole slice has 1400 calories! And 2) I'm less likely to forget later that I ate something. I am far from perfect about the whole thing, and I go over my calorie limit plenty. But when I do it, it is because I choose to do it. It's not because I didn't know that there are 260 calories in each slice of pizza before I ate it. If I want a third slice, then I have it, but I know that means absolutely no snacks or it means being over my limit for the day. I am also not depriving myself of anything. Sometimes, "the phone says" I'm out of calories for the day and I can't have a cookie, and on some days, that's okay with me. I know that I can have a cookie tomorrow if I'm a little more careful about my calories. But sometimes, even if "the phone says" I can't have a cookie, I still do. If I *really* want the cookie, then I eat the cookie! But I also know in advance and accept the fact that eating the cookie when I've already "spent" all my calories for the day might slow my weight loss progress. As long as I am on target most days, I will be making progress, and any step in the right direction is a good thing, even if it's a baby step.

Okay, so that ended up being much longer than I thought, and I know it reads like a commercial for My Fitness Pal. To a certain extent, I guess it is, but only because I have been very happy both with the ease of use of the program/app, and because it is actually working! (Again, no affiliation, just a happy user.) After trying many times to lose weight and failing, I really thought this would fall under the "too good to be true." I mean, really, it can't be that simple, can it? (And I do know that some of my friends have had to alter their diet because just calorie restriction wasn't working for them. It may not work for me forever, but it is working right now.) But I committed to keeping a food diary this year, and this seemed to be the easiest way to accomplish that. Sure, I hoped I would lose weight, but it was really more about being conscious of what I was putting in my mouth. I didn't set a any sort of goal in terms of weight or time; I just wanted to track what I was eating and maybe lose some weight in the process. I was secretly hoping deep in my heart to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year. Um, yeah, I think I'm good there! LOL Having that little number at the top of the screen is much more motivating than I expected!

I don't intend this blog to turn into me talking about food and weight and all the time (no offense to those who have weight loss blogs; I read plenty of weight loss blogs and find them very motivating!). I'm not even sure I could do that if I wanted to because, amazingly, I'm not thinking about food and weight loss all the time! It's just part of what I do before I eat. But, I did want to both document and share my success because, well, I'm darn proud of myself, even if I do say so myself! I'll update you if when I hit another big milestone, be that 50 pounds lost or finally being able to wear my original wedding rings again (there are other weight loss achievements besides just the number on the scale). Not sure *when* I'll get to either of those, and it really doesn't matter. I intend to get there eventually, even if it takes months or years to do it. Here's to the next 25 pounds lost, and hopefully well beyond. Thanks for coming along with me on this journey!
Currently feeling: happy for me!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - May 15, 2013

Currently feeling: so happy for our friends!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Marvel-ous Mother's Day Weekend: Stranded in Semi-Fashionable Shoes

We had quite the busy (and fun) Mother's Day weekend!

DH took me to see Iron Man 3 on Friday. We enjoyed it! It is different from the other two, but not in a bad way. More on that later, in a separate post. We also had our new mattresses delivered (the ones that should have arrived on Monday, but were damaged, so they had to manufacture and ship new ones).

Saturday, we met up with some friends who were visiting from Denmark with their new little one. It was so great to see Matt and Cyndi, and to meet the adorably precious Jake. I even wore real cute shoes (not ugly boots) for the event! It's like I'm a real (semi-)fashionable person again.

Luke played his last soccer game for this season and received his first "person trophy." He was very excited!

Sunday turned out to be a bit more interesting than we intended or anticipated. The boys took me to a nice dinner at Longhorn. When we went to pay, DH discovered that he didn't have his debit card with him. Apparently, he had left it in his shorts from running errands that morning, but had changed into jeans before dinner (Longhorn has a tendency to be cool inside). Since I was just cleared to drive on Thursday, I did not drive to dinner, and thus, I had not brought my wallet, so I didn't have my card either. Um, now what? There was only one thing to do: the boys left me as collateral for our Mother's Day meal and went home to get DH's card! LOL I sat in the lobby with our check, waiting for them to get back. It didn't take long, maybe 15 minutes. Would have been faster without the pouring rain. We were all just embarrassed, but it worked out fine.

I received several cards, including one "from the cats." (The card at the top left is actually a cute get well card from my parents about my ankle.) I also received a new digital photo frame from DH, and Luke gave me a planter that they made at Cub Scouts. It has rosemary seeds planted in it. I'll post a picture when they sprout (package says about 2 weeks). All in all, an excellent day!
Currently feeling: well loved