Sunday, December 31, 2006

End of Year

Friday night at the Powell Symphony hall watching Charlie Chaplin movies was GREAT. My date was fine and dinner was awesome also. We hadn't had a unique date like that in a while.

Today is the last day of the year and all is well. Saturday my family got together and bowled, exchanged gifts and ate dinner. I went WAY over my point total for the day. Last night my son kept me up most of the night because he was coughing. Everyone else is just fine. We've probably overdone it with him this week.

I think we will spend new year's eve with some special friends. It should be a repeat of last year. If memory serves me correct we came home before midnight because the kids were asleep and we wanted to avoid most drunken drivers.

Crazy thing tonight will be at midnight when shotguns and fireworks are blasting off all around us.

Happy New Year. May you find many blessing and good health in it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Date Night

I get to see my family again today around lunch time and I think we are going bowling. This evening I get to go out alone with my wife as the kids stay with grandma. I think I will get culturalized tonight because my wife mentioned going to Powell Hall where the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra will play to 2 Charlie Chaplin silent movies: The Idle Class and The Kid. Hopefully we will have time to have dinner ahead of time at one of our favorite places such as Seamus McDaniels in my old Dogtown neighborhood.

Right now my problem is that I only brought jeans and sweat pants so I'll either have to borrow a pair of nice pants from the brother, hit a thrift store, or run over to Kohls or Walmart and buy a cheap pair. I'll also need a pair of shoes.

The downside is that the cheapest tickets are $20 each. The upside is I'll not have to pay a sitter $30.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Movie Night

Wednesday marked our first day in STL and my dad drove in to spend a couple of hours with my family. We exchanged gifts and the kids got to play around a little bit. Biggest event of the day was when my dad tried to change my son's diaper. My dad has a HUGE gag reflex and we always tease that my son, 2 1/2 can't go out to pawpaws until grandpa learns how to change diapers. He got down to the wiping stages and lost it. WE were outside and he abandoned my son butt naked on the front porch. My wife and I stepped in and finished the job.

Around noon my wife took the kids and drove about 1 1/2 hours out to her parents. She "said" she didn't mind if I didn't go so I stayed to spend time with my mom. As my wife is leaving I get stuck in the mindframe that maybe she did really want me to go. Well, if she REALLY wanted me to go she should just say so. My mom and I watched 2 Anthony Hopkins movies last night: Proof and The World's Fastest Indian. The latter movie was based on a true story and was the better of the 2 movies. I recommend that you watch it.

Shopped and ate lunch at a pizza place where I once delivered pizzas. The owner called out my name as I walked in. We got to talk and reminisce a little bit. He's 1 year older than me and has a son in college and a daughter in high school....WOW!

Friday: Bowling and date night with my wife
Saturday: Bowling, family dinner and gift exchange, Giants vs. Redskins
Sunday: Rams at noon and New Years!
Monday: Wife goes back to Texas, I stay here til Thursday.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Left Texas just after 8am and arrived at Grandma's house just before 8pm. Normally it is a 9+ hour drive but we met great friends 1/2 way in Carthage for lunch at El Charros(not sure how many points that was for Weight Watchers). Not sure what my St. Louis plans fully include, but I am here for about 10 days. My wife is heading back with friends on the 1st and I'll stay til' about the 4th when I'll probably drive thru Nixa, MO to see BillyV . Be aware that his latest post is about someone taking a dump.

A few Things to do in St. LOU

Eat at "some" of my favorite places
See a few good friends
Visit with family
Watch the last weekend of football
(slight chance the RAMS can make playoffs)
Get remote car start put on truck
Receive a few more presents
Find a mellow New Year's Eve party

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gifts fit for Pigs

Our school Christmas parties were Thursday and I got more gifts. I did get a few that my wife suggest that we drive over and place on the doorstep of Pigs because she has been known to place some of her most eccentric or teachery gifts on Ebay. She may have been proud of the following:

1. A glass Eiffel Tower that sits on a turn stand. Light filters thru it and it turns in various speeds.
2. A 3 panel Christmas plack from Kirklands
3. A nice looking 2 wick candle that we can't stand the smell of.
4. Chips and Salsa party trey with matching bowl.
5. Heavy wooden book ends.
6. Traveling coffee mug with coffee.
7. A crafty looking cloth bowl with candy.
8. A plastic collapsable organizer.
9. Snowman candy dish(had a gift certificate in it.
10. Stained glass snowman wall light-plug in style.
11. Coffee mug with cookies.
12. Heavy metal picture frame.

I did feel really appreciated with ALL of the gifts, but the ones that really stood out yesterday were:
1. 3 separate gift certificates to a local hamburger joint-Scotty Ps.
2. 2 Starbucks gift cards that I can trade out with someone.
3. Potato chips and dip!

The hard part is spending my gift certicates on myself. I am talking about the $60 in Target and $20 to Best Buy. I tend to either regift thinking I am saving money or use the Target cards for stuff we need around the house.

ALSO, our $700 in giftcards from Lowes came in yesterday. We received a rebate from having our floors put in. Merry Christmas to us! Happy Holidays to you!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Take Part I

Gifts have already started to come in and there is still Thursday's grand finale.

This is what I've gotten so far:

$50 Target
$10 Target
$20 Best Buy
$5 Chick Fila/Calendar/Dry Sausage
$10 Cinemark
2 St. Louis Cardinal World Champ Ornaments
Box of Treats
Tin of Cookies
Tin of chocolate covered popcorn

To top off an already productive day I took the family tonight to Panera because I had a FREE coupon for a Crispani pizza. While I was ordering the manager asks me if I would like this order that someone didn't pick up. 3 meals valued around $20 plus. I wasted my money ordered a meal for my kids to split. They basically gnawled away at the free food. My $40 dinner basically cost me about $9.

What I've spent so far on gifts for people at work:

$20 Dinner card for someone who just got married
$20 Target for my kid's homeroom teacher
3-$5 Panera gift cards for the PE/Art/Music teachers
$3 for administration gift

I'm ahead.

I also weighed in one day early and lost another 1.8 pounds. I broke the 20 pound barrier and finally got below 210. If I lose another 5 I'll be close to what I weighed when I got married in 1995. I am surely dodging bullets with all the junk/snack foods being thrown my way. Do I sense "regifting" coming on?

Blessed Be the Name

Sunday morning we went early to our church home and participated in adult bible study with our old friends. Afterwards we decided to visit one of 2 area churches for worship. We had about an hour so we drove by one of the churches to just check it out. I had my mind set on going to the church that started at 11am. We had about 45 minutes when my wife said to drive by this church called Stepping Stones that meets in a local kids Jump Zone. I had found it online and it is a new start up church. We drove by just to check it out and noticed a decent number of cars on the lot. We cased the joint and decided that since the service started at 10:30 and the current time was 10:20 that maybe the Spirit led us there to worship so we got out and approached the business. A portly man in overalls named James was the first one to greet us. He was great with the kids and led us to the information table. It was weird being in a game room designed for kids. They had a big table set up with lots of cookies.

During the worship time the praise band played Blessed Be the Name.....of the Lord..... My wife and I looked at each other. We have visited 3 churches so far and they have played this song at all 3 churches. This song has stuck in my head and the last few nights I've fallen to sleep singing the song in my head.

We enjoyed the worship service, got to meet the pastor personally and I saw someone that I taught with 3 years ago. They seem to have a great kids program going and we enjoyed the service. I think my family will give it a try after the new year arrives.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Lost Again

I weighed last night and was down another 1.2 pounds. Just short of the 20 pound barrier and almost cracked the 210 threshhold, missed by .2 pounds. It was a little bit of a letdown since I've stayed the course. The one thing I have slacked at lately is that I have been skipping caffeine free diet Pepsis. Need to get back to that again. I also worked out pretty consistently last week so maybe this week I won't work out at all and see what happens.

I feel good, I like me, and dog gone it I am a good person.

4 more days of work before I get an 18 day vacation..............................................................

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Barter and Trade

Today we picked up a Christmas tree, an 8 foot Noble fir. Once again I worked out a trade, one tree valued at $129, for 3 full auto details. The question is, who got the better deal? I know my costs for detailing. I may spend $10 total in supplies, but will spend at least 6+ hours in time detailing these cars. When I charge for detailing I figure my time to be worth $25 per hour and now that my wife is working I'm not as desperate for cash so it may go to $30 per hour. That said, the retail value of 3 auto details is probably between $150-$200. So, what did the tree REALLY cost my friend? He is paying a decent price for the month for a prime location just off the highway AND he has a huge tent with all the trees displayed on stands. His hired help is probably pretty cheap since it is mostly high school students who hustle for minimum wage plus tips.

All I know is both sides walk away happy. We are not out of pocket for the Christmas tree and it may be months before I detail any cars.

By the way we figured our tree to be about 9 years old. I showed my daughter how to count rings to see how old trees are. My 3 choices for trees were Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Noble Fir. They were a lot more expensive than the ones at Home Depot, but "supposedly" they don't sit in a warehouse before being shipped out. I just hope it stays lifelike for 2 more weeks.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tale of 2 Meals

I weighed tonight and lost another 2.4 pounds, my lowest loss since starting 6 weeks ago. I am down a total of 18.6 pounds, the weight I probably came to Texas in 2001. Nice to know that in 6 weeks I was able to overcome 4+ years of bad habits.

Sunday after church we went to lunch with some good friends to a bar b que place called Dickeys. They have kids eat free on Sunday so I ordered the 3 meat plate, a free kids meal, 2 adults drinks(big drinks, not alcohol), and an extra kids drink. My meal total was about $14. Then Sunday afternoon after a short nap I went and worked out while watching a crazy Cowboys game. I decided that I'd pick up a semi-healthy Subway footlong sandwich for me and my wife and let my kids split the $2.49 special of the day for my kids. I thought I could pull it off for about $8. I ordered the chicken bacon ranch for us and got a regular ham sandwich for the kids. The total came out to about $11. Then add $4 for the fat free chips that I picked up and all of a sudden my wimpy Subway meal WITHOUT drinks cost more than our awesome lunch with drinks and a complimentary ice cream cone.

So the lesson learned here is that on a Sunday go to Dickeys and not Subway. Yes, I'm losing weight eating out all the time. I've had donuts, french fries, and the such. I am working out more too though.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Regular or Electric

It is the time of the year that ESPN is bombarded with electric shaver ads and every year I ponder and contemplate buying an electric shaver. Last year my wife bought me one of the cheaper ones and I only used it for a while. I look at the $50-$90 prices and wince, yet my kind of razors at the grocery store cost over $7 for 10 not on sale and without a coupon. I figure I probably spend $40-$50 a year on disposable razors and really wonder if the titanium triple blade electric shaver would be worth it or not.

Does anyone have any electric shaver advice or experience? I did not have the 3 rotating heads that some offer.

Should I wait until after Christmas when everything is 50% off?

One thing for sure is I will be shaving my beard tomorrow morning because I weigh in at 6pm tomorrow night. Can I get closer to the 20 pound lost mark?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Left Behind

I did read a few of the books from the Left Behind series, but it all got weird on me and I abandoned ship after the 4th book. The title of the blog isn't about the book series or the song by Larry Nelson-"there's no time to change your mind, the Son has come and you've been left behind", but about my daughter. We've attended our current church for a little more than 4 years, right when she turned one is when we joined. We were blessed to have connected with many other young couples who also had one younger child. For 4 years my daughter got to know a few of the kids really well and she ended up having 2 favorites, one boy and one girl.

The big disappointment came this summer when our daughter promoted to the kindergarden Sunday school class and most of her friends stayed back, either due to age, or because their parents were going to hold them back from kindergarden for one extra year. Now on Sundays she isn't even in a bible class with these friends and she goes to worship service with us. She is probably handling this better than her parents.

Last night we did fellowship with many old friends from church. The church offered child care while the bible fellowship classes met for Christmas parties. A big part of the day we hyped up that she would get to play with certain friends and when we signed her in we realized again that she wouldn't be in class with those old friends. She didn't complain one bit and she had fun.

So, in a way I feel like she has been "left behind" when it comes to friendships at church. My 2 kid's abilities to adjust and accept change should make it easier on us should we indeed decide to find a new church home. Maybe I'd miss my old friends more than she does hers.

Friday, December 01, 2006

One Month

December 2nd will make one full month that I've been doing weight watchers. Tonight was my 4th weigh in and this week I lost another 3.2 pounds pushing my total to 16.2 pounds. I feel better, but still know that I have not reached my goal. As Paul talks in the New Testament I do not want to take my eyes off of the prize. In the past I would lose a little weight and then get comfortable, gain it back, plus one. One whole month of changing habits has made things a little bit easier.

I have lost 16 pounds still having bagels, donuts, McD's and Chick Fil A for breakfast. I do usually have a low point Weight Watchers Smart Ones meal. I'll save enough points to have a decent sized dinner and now I usually snack on "light" or fat-free snacks. I have been pretty faithful to go to the gym up to 5 times a week also. Whatever I am doing is working and I plan to press on during the month of December.

It would be great to lose another 14 pounds this month and finally push down below the 200 pound mark, a number I haven't seen since I got married 11 years ago.