Monday, October 31, 2011

Cornish Family Halloween Fun

Pumpkin decorating, Sesame Street friends, Shamu and friends, and trick or treating in the neighborhood.  That pretty well sums up our Halloween family weekend.  Gram and Grandad took the girls to the pumpkin patch earlier this week.  They each came home with little bitty pumpkins to decorate.  The intense focus they had as they colored on their pumpkins absolutely cracks me up.  They are too, too precious.

Friday night, we told the girls we needed to get to bed early because we were going to have a full day on Saturday.  On Saturday morning, we had two pretty sleepy (and a bit grumpy) girls who weren’t too into our “big day” planned.  Their frowns quickly turned around when I asked them if they wanted to start our day at the donut shop for some kolaches (and sprinkle donuts for the girls).  Then, we told them we needed to load up in the truck for a long drive to see “some friends”.   They had no clue that we were on our way to San Antonio to go back to Sea World for our third visit (and fifth full day in the park) of the year.

So finally on Halloween, it was time to put on the costumes and see how much candy the cutest little blonde Minnie Mouse and Dr. Grace could put into their little pails.  They had fun hitting up all our neighbors and took a lot of pride in telling everyone who they were dressed up as.  Gram came over to have pizza with us and man the front porch handing out candy while we were out trick or treating.  It was a fun Halloween and the girls will both be getting lots of wear out of their costumes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Whoa, amnesty post needed

Goodness gracious!  It has been forever since I updated this blog.  What a fun and busy summer this turned out to be.  Let me recount some of the highlights since my last posting... let's see, 4th of July in Tyler with a family fireworks display and blueberries; a second trip to Sea World (my girls are still talking about it); Grace started kindergarten; Grace turned 5; we became a "diaper free" home, and Hailey got her ears pierced. 

Grace loves school.  After her first day, I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, she told me it was running in the gym (during the YMCA's after-school program).  The conversation went something like this:

Daddy:  So you liked running in the gym, huh?

Grace: Yep.  I can run fast.

Daddy:  You are faster than all the boys, right?
Grace: Yes.
Daddy:  Good.  I want you to always be faster than those silly boys.  I don't want them catching you.
Grace:  Yea, I am faster.  They are easy to catch...

That conversation didn't quite go the way I had hoped it.  I am going to have to think a little quicker to stay in front of this one.

And Hailey, this girl... good grief.  She is 2 going on 22.  Shortly after turning 2, she just decided she was through with diapers.  No pull-ups at night, no swim diapers, nothing.  She just decided she wanted to wear big girl panties and that was the end of that.  Then, she told me one night that she wanted rings "here", holding her earlobes.  Brenda had always wanted to pierce the girls ears when they were really little.  Her thinking was that it would get the pain out of the way when they were too young to remember, and it would be easier for mommy to take care of them.  Logical, no doubt, but I figured putting holes in their ears was something they should have some decision in.

She was a very big girl.  We told it would hurt, but just for a minute, like getting a shot.  She was undeterred.  Grace, she wanted nothing to do with it.  Grace says she will wait until she is 16 or 18 or 100.  But Hailey loves the sparkles in her ears.  She has also done very well with taking care of them so far.

So that's the world here in Round Rock.  It has been a dry, hot summer here.  With wildfires all around us this summer, we feel extremely blessed, and though the drought continues, we are thankful for cooler weather coming.  Maybe I will be able to blog a bit more frequently, if not, well... Merry Christmas!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Family Summer Vacation to San Antonio

Like 99% of Americans, the family dollar isn't stretching as far  as we would like.  And with 2 toddlers, the name of the game is lots of bang, lots of options for a quick change of plans and as little money as possible.  We are very blessed to be centrally located in Texas.  Last summer we camped near Houston, so we could take advantage of the zoo and children's museum all while camping in our travel trailer at a nearby park.  This year, we stayed even closer, opting for San Antonio.  This year, SeaWorld San Antonio opened Bay of Play, a Sesame Street themed play area and splash pad, perfect for toddlers like ours.  A great big playscape of tunnels, tubes, slides and cargo nets for Grace, and a large collection of sprinklers, gushers, sprayers and waterfalls for Hailey.  Toss in a handful of toddler-size rides and coasters and shows and it was more than enough to fill the calendar for 2 solid days. 

When we take our travel trailer on the road, it usually means we are headed to a campground or state park.  I generally prefer to be on a lake or a river.  But for the trip, we decided on a place a tad bit more upscale than our usual places.  Located very near SeaWorld, we found Blazing Star RV Resort.  The sites are quite a bit closer together than traditional campgrounds, but what they lack in site space, they more than make up for with amenities.  They have a great pool, very clean bathhouses and a shuttle to SeaWorld.  We didn't end up using the shuttle because we still would have had to mess with the car seats, and their drop-off and pick-up times were a bit limited for a family with toddlers.  I can't imagine much worse than needing to leave NOW and having to wait for hours for the shuttle to come back. 

For our last full day in San Antonio, we hit the zoo and Brackenridge Park Train.  The zoo was just okay in my opinion.  To tell you the truth, we have been spoiled rotten when it comes to zoos.  Several years ago, Brenda and I went to the San Diego Zoo (when Grace was 6 months old).  Ever since then, every zoo just seems like a sad circus has come to town in comparison.  It was hot and most of the exhibits required the girls to be above the fence-line, which pretty much made the stroller we brought useless.  I just remember this zoo being a lot better when we were here many years ago with my parents.  The girls did enjoy the train ride though. 

Best of all, we got to share our time in San Antonio with the Waters family.  We love to camp with the Waters clan since the kids play well together, we like to cook and eat the same types of stuff, and even the worst days can be useful for a good laugh. 

We are truly blessed to have so much around us to see and do.  And to have family and friends to share with just doubles the blessing.  We did upload an album of some of our favorite sites from the trip.  Check them out below or see more in our photo album.







Friday, April 15, 2011

Genealogy Search on Ancestry.com

My cousin Suzanne got me thinking about my family heritage sometime last year.  As we began re-connecting and acquainting ourselves and our families, a common bond was certainly our shared legacy and family history.  She has done some wonderful and extensive work on Ancestry.com, tracing our Cornish family back to the earliest days of America at Plymouth.  With the passing of my grandmother last week, and a visit to family grave sites in Muskogee, Oklahoma, my curiosity was re-stoked as I got busy updating the maternal side of my family tree.  The data available online is quite extraordinary really.  To date, I have traced the Parker family line all the way back into the 1200’s, when King Richard II deeded property to a monk named Robert LaParker.  There are still plenty of leads to follow up on, and items to analyze, but the initial findings are amazing.  Interestingly enough, finding the details of the family from abroad, even dating back several centuries proved far more reliable than some of the more recent family facts from the last century or two. 
Here is a bit about what I have learned in my own search, I am sure most families boast such a wide range of personalities and character.  I found several faithful ministers, and I found more than a few deadbeats and scoundrels.  I also found at least one deadbeat scoundrel minister.  I found college educated, white collar professionals and self-educated entrepreneurs.  I found hard working blue collar workers and farmers.  I found men who fought honorably in Vietnam, World War II, World War I, both sides of the Civil War, and the American Revolution.  I also found record of at least one resident of Fort Leavenworth, which leads me suspect there was some less than honorable military service.  I also found lots of men and women who served in our nation’s military during peace time.  I found bleeding heart liberals, along with crooked and greedy conservatives.  I found wealthy landowners and hard-time farmers.  I found women forced from their home during wars and Indian raids, while their husbands and fathers were off fighting.  I found family in the Cherokee Indian rolls that indicate their birth was in the Cherokee Nations of present day South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.  Their death occurred in the Oklahoma Indian Territory, alluding to their “immigration” along the Trail of Tears.  Immigration was, I thought, an interesting word and perspective used to describe the Trail of Tears in official documentation. 
I didn’t find a key to the Rockefeller estate, or my long missing account number and PIN to untold fortunes.  But what I did find was a connection to a family that I would characterize as tenacious.  I saw stories time and time again of rebuilding from the curve balls that life can throw.  Forced moves across country, away from a home that had been in the family for several generations was not the end of the story, it was just another chapter.  Indian raids on the homestead in Fort Gibson, while brothers and fathers were fighting against each other in the Civil War, was not the end of the story.  That chapter was a 4 year span of time that altered the histories of more than one family.  Likewise military victories during the World Wars were chapters that shaped men and women who poured their lives into the family when they returned from battle. 
On a broader sociological perspective, I see stories of families who fought untimely illnesses and social injustice.  I saw men who abandoned their wives, and women who were unfaithful to their husbands.  I also saw an inner-determination to make “their” family better than the generation before them.  I saw men forsake their hard fought personal freedoms to become slaves to debt and professional endeavors.  I also see amazing compassion and generosity.  I see faithful service and I see loving fathers.  In reality, I see that life centuries ago was not all that different than today after all.  The technologies are newer, and the world may be smaller, but life has not changed so much.   Throughout it all, because of the family tree structure of Ancestry.com, it becomes obvious that the key to survival and success was family.  Certainly brothers and sisters, parents and children have been bickering and arguing for centuries, but the truth is that the family moves forward, the line continues.  For me, it has made for some pretty cool personal discoveries, and I am sure I will enjoy the process of uncovering more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A day in the Tulsa Parks

Because the trip to Tulsa was such a long drive with the girls in the truck, it was important to us to have a few days to spend in Tulsa.  The last thing I wanted to do was pack up the girls for a 8-9 hour drive up there, go to Mema's funeral and then just turn around and head home.  The extra day or so before and after the funeral gave us a chance to drive around, see some of the old haunts and also take in a beautiful spring day in the parks of Tulsa.  Tulsa really is a pretty city, and I have great memories from growing up in Tulsa, particularly parks like Woodward and La Fortune. 

Woodward Park is a beautiful park full of seasonal gardens.  This park is almost always packed with people getting their wedding, engagement, senior or prom portraits done.  Its a little bit early in the spring there, but we did get some nice pictures of the dogwoods, azaleas and tulips in bloom.  This park is definitely a city treasure, a crown jewel for the Parks and Recreation department. 

La Fortune Park is another awesome Tulsa park.  This park isn't as beautifully landscaped as Woodward, but it more than makes up for it with its all out play space.  There are tons of playscapes, a pool, a golf course and a jogging trail that is unrivaled in Tulsa.  Throw in the ball fields and its easy to see why so many families make a use of great spring days by spending it at La Fortune Park.

Another picture that I put in this album is a picture of my Mema and Pa's home in Tulsa for many years, on the corner of 24th and Cincinnati, it really is a gorgeous house.  There are so many great memories at this old home.  One of my favorites was after Mema retired from Amoco, Mema and Pa took a vacation to Hawaii.  It was one of the rare trips where dollies didn't go with them.  When they returned, we had the whole family together at this house.  They had purchased matching Hawaiian shirts and shorts for all the boys and muumuus for all the girls.  We took a group family picture on the circular steps leading to the front door.  The current owners clearly have taken exceptional care of it, maintaining its stately beauty and architectural integrity. 

It was obviously a bittersweet trip to Tulsa.  We were determined to take the opportunity to enjoy renewed relationships with family my girls had never met before, and enjoy some of the best parts of my memories of Tulsa.  It was a great reminder to use the opportunities God gives us and to make sure we find a smile and giggle for each and every tear we shed.  I don't think anyone is ever really ready to let go of their grandmother, but I think she would have been proud of the way we invested our time during the trip.  These are just a few of the pics we took, there are several more if you check out our photo album link from the toolbar at the right.










Friday, April 8, 2011

Mema's Dollies - A Eulogy for Lahoma Parker


You don’t reach the age of 87 without passing a few milestones along the way.  God chooses all women to bear the title “daughter”, and of those, many women bear the title of “sister”.  Mema took pride in the way she doted over her siblings.  The women in this family have an inner strength that supports a very strong backbone.  If you haven’t heard the opinion of a Chapman woman, then chances are you are both blind and deaf, or at the very least, several counties away.

It was a special day, September 10th, 1941, on the banks of the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada that Mema gained a new title and a new name.  Lahoma Chapman, at the young age of 20, was now Mrs. John Parker.  This little girl had gone from “daughter” to “sister” to “wife”.  To be the bride of John Elder Parker was an honor that my Mema clung to for her entire life.  I fully expect that on Monday afternoon, April 4th 2011, when Mema entered the gates of Heaven,  St. Peter was merely the maitre d’, and as far as Mema was concerned, she was late for her dance.  It has been more than 21 years since Pa passed away, and I never could have imagined that she would ever have to live so long without him.  I can’t help but think that Pa sure better have been busy these last 20 years or so building one amazing place, on just the right street of gold, with the perfect view of the Crystal Sea, or Mema will have a yellow pad and ballpoint pen hard at work today.  It seems to me that everything that she did and everything that she said was somehow rooted in her relationship with Pa. 

While Pa was serving his country as a young Marine during World War II, Mema picked up a new title.  The daughter, turned sister, turned wife was now a mother.  From all accounts I have ever heard Mema was a very good mother.  She clearly loved her children.  Mema could be tough as nails, and I am sure not every day was a stroll through the park. 

I have been blessed to experience a few of these rites of passage, growing up in a wonderful family, getting married and having children.  But I cannot fathom the joy she must have felt when she stepped from motherhood into “grand” motherhood.  The title “Mema” was universal my whole life.  I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know who first uttered it, but that was her name.  And as the number of grandchildren grew, then came the numbering.  Ask Tracy which dolly she is.  Ask Amy.  Ask Scott or Missy, or Tina or John or Keri… we all know our numbers.  Because to be a dolly, was a treat, it’s a title we share and treasure.  Sure, when I was a little boy, it seemed a bit feminine.  When you are 8 going on 17, you don’t REALLY want your Mema to call you “dolly”, but that too is its own rite of passage. 

As grandchildren of Mema and Pa, we all knew collectively and individually that we were loved.  We were cherished.  We were a source of unspeakable pride.  Recently, when Mema got so ill that she had to be hospitalized, I got to visit her twice.  On my first visit, I was with Tracy; Mom and Missy had prepared us well for what we would see.  This particular bladder infection and the lack of nourishment had really taken a toll on Mema and she wasn’t speaking much, if at all.  It was hard to see her this way, and I am eternally thankful that this will not be the way I remember my Mema.  But on this visit, before I left, I made a point to tell her how much I loved her, and how I knew that she loved me.  I knew because she had shown me and all of us how much she loved us our entire lives.  Whether it was a sleepover at Mema’s house, which usually consisted of a baked potato dinner, and a TV line up of Hee Haw, Dukes of Hazzard, and Dallas (with a cup of Sugar Smacks or a Pa cookie for a snack), or when she came to a school function, or one of the frequent and way too long phone conversations, I knew my Mema loved me.  Pa may have built “The Farm”, on the banks of the Illinois River to be their retirement house, but for Mema, if there wasn’t going to be bunkhouse for the dollies, and enough stored water to wash a months-worth of clothes, then it was just a useless plot of land.  I also doubt that Mema or Pa could truly find an RV useful if they couldn’t take their dollies.  I know it was those trips growing up that put the travel bug in me, and a big reason I convinced my own bride that we “needed” our travel trailer. 

Something I am exceedingly proud of is that in Mema’s final days, all of her dollies were accounted for, front and center at Mema’s bedside.  And with that, Mema, who has not been able to travel in many years, had also now met every single one of her dollies’ dollies.

From my seat, the view that I have of Mema  I can’t think of anything that she took more joy or pleasure in than family.  I can’t think of a time where she failed to come to a family member’s aid when it was needed.  Whether it was taking care of children, caring for the infirmed or raising cane with a doctor, nurse or administrator if someone she loved was not being taken care of, family was central to her.  Has anybody else ever heard her say “I am so mad, I could spit nickels!”?  As a kid, I never had any idea of what that meant, but I often wondered how many of them nickels I could gather up if I got to watch just once!  But even at a young age, I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to see that.  How many pens and yellow pads did this woman go through over the years? 
 
Watching her, she taught me how to love my girls, my siblings and my parents.  Listening to her, she taught me the colorfulness of our family heritage.  I also saw what it can look like when one man loves one woman and spends a lifetime creating a bond that transcends our earthly realm and renews hope in our future in Heaven.  She is my Mema, and I will always be Dolly #3.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Would ONLY Happen While I Was Out of Town

(A continuation from the post below)

So we made it through our anniversary weekend.  Our eyes were clearly focused on the prize that awaited us at the end of the week.  Some much needed R & R at the Hilton Hill Country Resort and Spa was the prize we were seeking.  Gram was on the schedule the watch the girls for us and all we had to do was make it through 1 more week.  Traveling is a big part of my job, and this week had me making a return trip to Baton Rouge for meetings with our support teams in our corporate office.  This would be just a quick 2 day trip.  Up on Tuesday morning, back on Thursday evening.  Then, one more day in my home office, which was mostly blocked by a long webinar session. 

So Tuesday, I was up bright and early.  I caught the 7am flight to Houston without issue.  When we missed the connecting flight to Baton Rouge, I probably should have taken this queue as my last chance to head home, crawl back into bed and try this week over again the next day.  But that didn’t happen.  It was late afternoon before we made it into the offices in Baton Rouge.  The bulk of our day was pretty much wasted at the airport in Houston.  While I was on my way to dinner with some co-workers, I fielded a call from Brenda.  That evening she had taken Grace to swim class, and by now, they were home.  It was about bath time, and Brenda had told me that morning that she was planning on getting the girls to bed early that night, so the call was not unexpected at all.  Surely, my day in the Houston airport was the worst story we had to tell that evening, at least I thought so until I answered the phone to hear Brenda in tears.

Brenda is a pretty tough cookie.  She likes her routines, and she has her quirks, but she has done very well to adjust to having both girls when I travel.  So when she is in tears, then the news is definitely not petty.  I asked her what was wrong and she began to tell me the story.  As I mentioned it was about bath time, she had both girls in their bathroom, the bath tub was filling with water, and she was getting Hailey ready to get in.  The toilet had clogged in the girl’s bathroom, so she sent Grace into our master bath to use the bathroom before her bath.  Once Grace returned, she got both girls into the tub and let them play for a bit.  After awhile, she noticed that she could still hear water running, which shouldn’t be the case since they were all in the girl’s bathroom, and the tub had already been filled. 

Figuring that the toilet in the master bath was still running, she went to check on it to find, once again… for the second time in 3 days, a toilet overflowing from the bowl.  This time though, it was just her and the girls.  She got the water turned off and made her way downstairs to retrieve the shop vac, which was still on the back patio drying out from our weekend adventure with the powder room.  Big problem though, now that she was downstairs, she could see the real damage.  It was now raining in our dining room, directly below the master suite upstairs.  This was a big problem, and a handy shop vac was not going to do the trick.

We are extremely blessed to have family nearby.  I will be forever grateful that Tom and Cheryl, and Shannon and the boys were able to drop everything and come help Brenda.  They moved furniture and tried to contain to them mess as best they could.  By the end of the night, Blackmon Mooring had been out to our house and sopped up all the water that they could.  The carpet in the master bath and closet was a total loss, so out it came along with the padding.  They also had to cut a wide strip of the carpet along 2 walls of the master bedroom, again, along with the padding.  The baseboards were removed and holes were drilled in the sheetrock to allow the walls to begin drying.  Downstairs, the carpet and padding in the dining room was a loss, and again a long, wide strip of carpet along the living room wall.  The baseboards were again removed, and holes drilled to allow the walls to dry.  The mess was stunning.  So much water.  So much damage.  All of this was much more than I could comprehend over the phone from a car in Baton Rouge. 

The insurance company was called, the claim was filed and now we are waiting to hear the news.  Tonight we will sleep in our home for the first time since Tuesday night.  We have been camping over at Gram and Grandad’s since then.  Needless to say, we canceled our reservations in San Antonio.  That trip will have to wait while we recover from this.  So instead of a spa day, we spent Saturday looking at flooring options and wall colors and fixtures.  And definitely toilets.  I can tell you that if nothing else, there will be 3 brand new, top of the line toilets in our bathrooms very, very soon. 

Wow, what a week.  There are lots of little life lessons we have learned this week, and a few big ones.  But we aren’t giving up, and believe it or not, Brenda and I still love each other.  Not even living with your in-laws for a few days can derail that.  Once again, I know that we are amazingly blessed.  It means the world to me that Brenda didn’t have to endure that whole mess on her own.  Tom and Cheryl have been fantastic to us, helping us any way they know how.  And we know it isn’t over yet.  So if you know anything about laying tile or wood floors or plumbing, you can expect to hear from us soon.  It looks like we have a few projects to work on at our house. 

Unscheduled Home Improvements

Talk about a crazy week or so…  Last Saturday, on February 12th, Brenda and I celebrated 6 years of marriage.  Can you believe its been that long?  I am sure most people can relate to the feeling, some days it feels like it was just yesterday.  On other days, it feels like we have been together forever.  And no, I don’t mean that in a “prison sentence that just won’t end” kind of way.  Rather, being married to Brenda has been the greatest ongoing joy of my life.  We live real life together in a way that I just didn’t know was possible 7 years ago.  I would categorize this past week as a testimony to the strength of our marriage.  We are certainly living out some of the “for better or worse” moments right now.

So let’s take a step back here.  Since our anniversary fell on a Saturday, and a Valentine’s Day weekend, my beautiful bride and I decided in all of our practicality, that we would celebrate our anniversary, not on the 12th, but rather on the 19th.  An kid-free overnight trip to San Antonio was planned.  There was a night in a nice resort, a couple’s massage in the spa, dinner reservations at a restaurant with no children’s menu, and even reservations for Sunday Brunch with some friends before we headed home on Sunday.  By all accounts, this was going to be a really nice weekend away!  Both of us were really, really looking forward to it.   Some adult time, some tension relief, some pampering, some attentive service… can’t you just feel the relaxation? 

Well, with this great weekend planned for February 19th, we decided that the beautiful weather on our actual anniversary was not something to be taken for granted.  We debated which outstanding project to tackle.  The garage was in desperate need of re-organizing, the pool needed some attention, and the yard was going to need to be cleaned up in preparation for Spring.  So we spent our anniversary in our backyard doing yard work.  Twelve bags of leaves and debris later, we were sore, tired and feeling pretty good about what we had accomplished.  We were putting up our rakes and tools when I came around the house from the backyard.  As I turned the corner to our driveway, I caught one of those glimpses that makes any homeowner drop their jaw.  Water was pouring down my driveway, from under my garage door.  I entered my code in the keypad as quickly as I could and ran into the garage.  Hot water heater, good; garage refrigerator and freezer, good;  laundry room door… oh no… I opened the door to laundry room and there was about an inch of standing water.  The washer itself was not running and didn’t seem to be the likely source, instead what we found was the adjoining powder room toilet has overflowed (again).  This has happened before in the past, several times actually.  But in the past it has always been quickly caught and resolved.  But on this day, Grace had come into the house to use the bathroom while we were working out back and had not noticed that the toilet did not flush properly.  No telling how long that toilet ran, but water covered the floor in the bathroom, the entryway, and it was flowing out the front door and through the laundry room. It had even started to make it into the living room.  What a mess. 

So Brenda took the shop vac and started working on the water.  I opened the garage door and started pulling things out.  We have a lot of stuff in our garage.  There are Christmas decorations, camping gear and tailgating equipment and lots of just general stuff, some of which sits on the floor in cardboard boxes.   So after an afternoon of yard work, we had the joy of also cleaning out that garage and doing some major clean up in the house.  It was a rough weekend, but maybe was just what we needed to kick us into gear about re-doing that powder bath.  After all, 2 of the cardboard boxes in the garage contained a new vanity and mirror we had bought with this precise intention.  It was a blessing in disguise really.  All we needed to do really was pick out flooring, a new toilet and a new faucet.  A great project to tackle with the tax refund we told ourselves.  With most of the water up, we pulled out the carpet and padding in the powder room and even took the opportunity to remove the tack strips that held the carpet down.

No, not the most romantic anniversary weekend ever, but we live real life in our house, and we took it all in stride.  I was committed to not letting this little episode put a total damper on our weekend, so I muscled through with my plans and at least delivered a nice steak dinner for my bride once we got the damage under control. 

But it had only just begun really… (To Be Continued)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day in Austin

We didn’t’ get the 3 to 4 inches that were predicted for our area, and it didn’t snow all night and all morning as our weatherman said it would, but we did wake up this morning to a thin blanket of white fluffy snow in our yard this morning.  It wasn’t enough to make a decent snowman, and the snow wasn’t wet enough to pack a good snowball, but the girls had fun. 

We slept in this morning and had a good hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, biscuits and homemade jams and apple butter and then got the girls bundled up in several layers of warm clothes.  The sun was well up by the time we got outside and the snow was already beginning to melt.  The girls played outside maybe an hour, just long enough to get good and cold and then they came in to watch their Tinkerbell movie. 

This afternoon, we will head over to the Y and hit the Family Pool to burn off some more energy and come home to make homemade pizzas and watch a cartoon movie before bed. 

As they say about the weather in Texas, if you don’t like it, wait, it’ll change.  Tomorrow the high will be back up to 60, just like I like it!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Getting Ready to Lose (It’s a good thing)

Today is Sunday, January 30th.  I am noting the date because I am about to lose big time, I mean huge.  A loss like this should be worth remembering, permanently etched in my mind.  Tomorrow morning, we begin our second “season” of Biggest Loser.  Last August, I accepted a challenge from two of my sisters, a weight loss challenge.  All three of us have struggled with our weight, and all three of us at times haven’t struggled nearly enough with our weight.  We got complacent, accepting our weight as a few extra pounds, and it is absolutely amazing how deceptive a mirror can be.  Some people look in a mirror and have some sort of epiphany about their appearance and the physical affect that extra weight can have on a body.  I didn’t have that sort of epiphany.  As a matter of fact, I honestly believe that my self-image allowed my mind to process the image reflected in the mirror as something different than what was actually there.  I actually “saw” a man in the mirror with a few extra pounds… not the man that was well over 100 pounds overweight. 

I am so grateful to Tracy and Missy for bringing me into the conversation.  The idea was hatched while they were both at my parents house for a visit and they decided to start the very next day.  Later that week, Tracy decided that this was such a great idea that they had to bring me into it, since I clearly had as much to lose.  I jumped in with both feet.  The idea was simple enough, with the three of us, we had accountability and we had motivation.  We shared our hurts and pains, some of which were physical, while others were mental.  We also shared our pride and sheer joy at accomplishing things we hadn’t done before.  We also decided that since we all had so much to lose, that we needed to break things down into smaller chunks (seasons).  As news of our challenge spread amongst our friends and family we were encouraged by so many people who really thought it was great and wanted in on the challenge themselves. 

Over the course of our first season, I lost 40 pounds.  I also won the first season and I am still enjoying my Nook Color!  But enough about the past, looking to the future, tomorrow we start season 2.  Eleven friends and family members will battle it out for the next 15 weeks to see who can lose the highest percentage of weight.   I am sure there will be some laughing and joking going on, but I know there will also be some sweating and maybe a few tears.  Forty pounds… good grief.  Let’s put that into perspective, that’s what a 5 gallon bucket of water weighs.  That’s what a bag of concrete mix weighs, or a bag of dirt  from the home improvement store.  Heck, I don’t think my 4 year old even weighs 40 pounds yet!  What is stunning is to realize I still need to lose that weight again, twice.  Ouch.  So there is likely to be some anger in there with the laughing and crying.  The truth is that things won’t change until I get sick and tired of the way things are today.  I will be using whatever emotion, whatever energy, whatever motivation I can tap into over the next 15 weeks to become the biggest loser I can be.

Man, I can’t wait.  So to the other 10 people joining me on this season, watch out.  No excuses, no whining.  This is who I am and this is my mess.  I added every pound onto this body slowly and deliberately, and that is exactly how they are going to come off.  I am proud to have been the biggest loser.  I intend to do it again.