Ohhhhhh, We’re Halfway There…

The kids are now six months old. Justin Timberlake had agreed to come down to DC and perform at the kids’ (half) birthday party, but we couldn’t quite get our schedules *NSYNC…

(sorry, folks)

Oh, and we’re not having a (half) birthday party. That would be sad. Plus, we’ll probably celebrate tonight by falling asleep on the couch by 9:30pm.

That sounds like the perfect Friday night to me.

One day and (almost) six months:

6 months  - 5

6 months - 4

Wait. Six months?! Seriously?!

Honestly, I’m not sure how that happened (other than the fact that the Earth spun around on its axis approximately 180 times). Time flies when you’re changing diapers.

Here are a few random thoughts about the kids hitting this (half) milestone:

1. Like an athlete accepting an MVP award or a rapper accepting a Grammy, I’d first like to thank God. Seriously. These babies are miracles. I never want to take that for granted.

2. I am also so thankful that these babies are healthy. They have had a few problems here and there, but nothing too major. However, those little worries have weighed heavily on us. My heart breaks when I read about precious little kids struggling with health problems.

3. Our tiny little babies aren’t so tiny anymore. I’m sure the rest of the world sees them as small, but they look huge to us. STOP GROWING UP SO FAST!

4. Babies get tired. In response, babies fight sleep. Babies are crazy.

6 Months - 2

5. Seriously, did you just wake up for the tenth time tonight?

6. Our kids love to roll over onto their stomachs when they sleep. Within seconds of rolling over, they start to scream. We flip them onto their backs. Two seconds later, they roll back onto their stomachs again. Unsurprisingly, they start to scream. Again, babies are crazy.

7. In the middle of the night, we sometimes find ourselves in a dark place between anger and frustration when the kids wake up wailing. Amanda sets the kids down sometimes and leaves the room. I grab the side of the crib and squeeze the railing. In the morning, we feel terrible about getting mad about those two precious angels.

8. If I could restart this whole parenting thing over again, I would never use a pacifier. Our kids are hooked on them. I imagine them singing Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” when they cry because their pacifiers fell out, but then I remember that might be a reference to drugs.

9. I wouldn’t trade the most frustrating and challenging moment with kids with the best moment of my life without them. I know one day I’ll desperately miss this stage when they were so dependent on us.

10. We will never get to an event on time again.

11. Seeing the kids interact with each other is priceless. However, it usually ends with someone trying to scratch the face of his or her sibling.

6 months - 3

12. We sing the kids three songs at night as part of their bedtime routine. One is “Amazing Grace.” The other are *NSYNC songs.

13. Everyone on the road seems to drive so much faster these days. Oh, and there are a lot more germs everywhere. I also leave a bunch of lights on at night now so no one robs us. In general, these kids have made me paranoid.

14. I’m running out of creative excuses to use when strangers ask to hold our babies.

15. Confession time. I wish I could breastfeed the babies. It is such an incredible way to lose weight. Oh, and there is that whole bonding thing too. Similarly, I’m always tempted to taste some of the milk when feeding bottles to the babies. I have not given into that temptation because that is both creepy and gross.

16. Sleeping for four hours straight is now a huge victory.

17. Making plans can be kind of pointless. The kids run our schedules now. More specifically, the kids’ naps run our schedules now.

18. We’ve taken cheesy birthday pictures each month. We tried to take the six-month pictures last night, but the kids had other plans. I’m really excited about their six-month costumes and the terrible pun(s) I’ll be using. Honestly, I’m probably way too excited.

The Five Month Photo:

5 Months

19. Moms are the best.

20. Toys are a waste of money.

6 Months  - 1

21. I can’t remember a life without kids. I also can’t remember a life where I didn’t have to listen to a white noise maker playing through the baby monitor all night.

22. The poop is getting grosser.

22 seems like a good ending point. Mainly because it’s late at night. Oh, and I like Taylor Swift.

Have a great weekend! Austin is already celebrating:

War on Weight – Week Four

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.

John Quincy Adams lost seven elections before he became President.

Britney Spears shaved her head and attacked a SUV.

We all have setbacks.

***

That is what I started to write during my Metro ride home Wednesday night. I planned to continue to lament about how I had a setback on my weight loss journey and gained a few pounds last week. I had some good excuses too.

After a fateful bout with a bee last Wednesday, I had to take my bike into the shop.

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It’s been there for seven days now. Thus, I’ve only exercised once during the past week. It’s hard to find free non-commuting time these days to go exercise for an hour. I’ve also had some increased stress at work. With my bike in the shop, I’ve recently turned to food for comfort. That’s not ideal.

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I ate six Rice Krispie Treats in a row one night at 1:00am. I kinda regretted it, but those things are wicked good. I should have stopped at five.

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(That 54-pack box lasted less than a week.)

So I finally had my fateful meeting with the scale last night. I had already written out my “setback” post and was just going to plug in the number of pounds I gained. Although I was frustrated, I was ready to move on to a successful Week 5.

I weighed myself.

210 pounds.

The exact same as the week before.

I reset the scale.

I weighed myself again.

210 pounds.

I weighed myself again.

Still 210 pounds.

I was shocked. I was relieved.

I was also disappointed.

I had been down on myself for falling off the wagon, both with my eating and exercise, and I expected the worst. A button busting off of my pants at work yesterday didn’t help. Despite all the negative thoughts and fears, I gained zero pounds.

That was more exciting than any of my recent weight loss successes. I once had a bad week in 2006 and gained twelve pounds in five days. Last week, the scale didn’t move at all when I put exercise and healthy eating to the side. More importantly, seeing “210” on the scale for the second week in a row was an important reminder that I’m my own harshest critic and that things are rarely as bad as they seem.

220 and 210 (sadly, no pictures with me and a baby from this week):

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War on Weight – Week 3

The last song at a wedding is often a slow jam.

At our wedding, it was Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

If you play that song anywhere, once that chorus hits, “Ohhhhhh, we’re halfway there…,” people will sing.

Just like those American poets from New Jersey famously proclaimed, I too, am halfway there. I’m halfway to my weight loss goal! However, I never worked on the docks. And my name is not Tommy. Or Gina.

I kicked off my War on Weight on April 21, 2014 and set the goal of losing 20 pounds by July 4th. After three weeks, I am now down ten pounds. Holla. I lost six pounds the first week, two pounds during Week 2, and two more last week.

220 on the left. 210 on the right (sorry, fellow Costco customers):

War on Weight - Week Three

Pride can be a dangerous thing, but I’ll admit it, I’m proud of myself. After seeing the numbers on the scale increase for more than three straight years, it’s nice to see things go the other way for a change. I’ve also ridden my bike to work for ten straight days. While I doubt that’s a world record, it is my personal best.  Not only have I burned thousands of calories during the past few weeks on the bike trail, but I’ve saved about $150 on Metro fares and spent hours thinking, exercising, and dreaming instead of mindlessly looking at my phone on the Metro.

I’m really excited to have made it to Week Three because I hear people say that things become a habit after 21 days. Well, it’s been 21 days. Hello, new habit. Please stick around this time.

Things are still a challenge and sometimes there are missteps. Oh well, that’s life. Candidly, as I was writing this post at 1:00am I remembered we have Rice Krispie Treats. I ate one. Then I ate three more by the time it was 1:05am. I was disappointed I didn’t stop at one, two, or three, but one time I ate 11 in a row back in 2005, so I’m calling last night’s misstep an improvement.

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Best of luck to anyone else out there on the weight loss journey! As Bon Jovi said, “we’ll make it, I swear.”

War on Weight – Week 2

Whether it is starting a new job, buying a new car, or picking up some new kicks, everything seems so exciting and so fly at the beginning of an adventure. However, you’ll probably get bored at work someday, your car will pick up a few dents at the Safeway parking lot, and your new shoes will eventually get scuffed (especially if you ride the Metro).

Unsurprisingly, the same applies to an ambitious new desire to lose weight. Things are a piece of (low-fat) cake during Week 1. And then reality sets in. Your willpower wanes, non-fat popcorn starts to taste like styrofoam, and the long hours at work take their toll.

But you got to fight back. Yo.

Or else you might wake up three years and 6,000 billable hours later and find yourself 40+ pounds heavier.

Although Week 2 of my War on Weight was definitely harder than the first, I’m still calling it a success. I weighed in today two pounds lighter than last week.

Holla.

As I’ve noted before, my weight struggles over the decades have usually been the result of insane bingeing. I’ve limited that a lot over the past two weeks. On Friday night, I ate four pieces of cheesecake in ten minutes. Thankfully, they were relatively small slices. On Sunday night, I woke up from a bizarre 10pm nap desperately craving peanut butter. As my wife and two babies slept peacefully (thanks, baby swings), me and Peter Pan had a party. However, I’m proud to say those were my worst “binges” of the week. Historically, four pieces of cheesecake or two PB&Js is what I would call a typical snack.

So Week Two was a success. I didn’t lose as much weight as I did in Week 1, but the scale moved down a little, I rode my bike 70+ miles, saved $30 on Metro fares, my clothes fit better, and I feel much healthier. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

220 and 212:
War on Weight - Week 2

Week Three, let’s dance.

Carlton Dance

War on Weight – Week 1

Week One of my renewed emphasis on living a healthier life was a success:

I rode my bike 80 miles (and saved $40 on Metro fares).

I lost six pounds.

It no longer takes an act of God for me to put on my dress pants each morning.

Most importantly, I feel better. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I didn’t do any fad diets, supplements, or crazy workout routines. I just exercised more and ate a little less. Although I slacked off on the exercise over the weekend, and discovered that animal crackers and a tub of cake icing is a great combination, I avoided the binging disasters that have often haunted me. I also drank so much water that rising sea levels are no longer a global concern.

Most important, the My Fitness Pal app has been a Godsend for me. I’m addicted to food and often eat out of habit or when I’m bored. My Fitness Pal is the Jiminy Cricket I desperately need on my shoulder reminding me to ease up on the peanut butter.

Finally, thanks to everyone for your encouragement and recommendations! Suggestions are always welcome!

One week down, thousands more to go.

220 and 214:
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War on Weight

I need some help.

I need some accountability.

I need to lose some weight.

I’ve previously written about my 20ish-year struggle with my weight. There have been many ups and downs over the years. The victories are some of my proudest moments. The setbacks are some of my lowest lows.

Much like Justin Bieber’s career, I’ve been in a steep decline over the past year.

Man in the Mirror

260 to 180.  Now hanging out at 220 (not pictured due to tired/crazy dad eyes).

I’ve always struggled with eating healthy. I have some sort of food obsession, or just really weak willpower, and always find myself munching on something, eating out of boredom, or going back for a third serving of fajitas. I hate it, but it keeps on happening.

I’ve often been able to balance out the caloric gorging by exercising a ridiculous amount. In law school, I worked out twice a day and lost 70 pounds. However, after spending most of the past three years hanging out with my work computer, that isn’t feasible anymore. It’s hard for me to accept this fact, but I’ve gained 40 pounds since I started my job in September 2010. That’s dangerous and depressing.

Biking to and from work has often been a huge help in the past, but this past winter was brutal in DC and I have been too lazy over the past six months to get out there and pop some wheelies. That downturn in exercise coincided with an unfortunate uptick in snacking. This was probably due to increased stress and the fact that there was so much more junk food in our house with two little kids on the way.

Unfortunately, the food availability and snacking hit all-time highs (technically, lows) over the past few weeks of paternity leave. Sitting around all day in a house full of food and sweet treats is a bad combination for me. In short, I ate four packs of Oreos last week. Due to the constant cycle of feeding, burping, and diapers, I haven’t exercised in two weeks (except for the bouncing I do to help the kids fall asleep).

And now none of my pants fit.

Yes, some people may say they didn’t fit before, but now my skinny jeans are no-fit jeans. I finally swallowed my pride and ordered two pairs of bigger dress pants last week. I tried them on over the weekend and they didn’t fit either. I screamed.

It’s finally time to do something about it. Again.

I’ve been polluting my body with all this junk food. I feel gross and lethargic. My love for fashion is quickly waning when nothing fits right. I recently saw some amazing floral pants that were so beautifully tacky, but I didn’t even want to buy them because of my weight gain.

That can’t happen.

Okay, rant over.

Here’s the goal:

Lose 20 pounds by July 4th, 2014.

Here’s how I’m going to get there:

(1)  Bike to work each day that the weather permits.

(2)  Lift weights before leaving from work each day.

(3)  Write down all the food and drinks I consume. This one is already paying dividends as I’ve resisted some tempting cookies and candy bars all day.

(4) You. I need accountability. Badly.

Game on.

Old

I learned a very important lesson in 2013:

I’m getting old.

Old

In 2013:

I turned 30.

I tweaked my knee while walking.  It still hurts six months later.

I found out that I was having a baby.  A few weeks later, I learned that I was having twins.

I fell in love with seltzer water.

And gardening.

I discovered that a small increase in calorie consumption and a small decrease in exercise now leads to significant weight gain.

And four pairs of ripped pants.

I bought a SUV.

I love the idea of falling asleep on the couch at 9pm on a Friday night.

I grew a beard.

Old - 3

My entire body hurts the morning after I play sports.  That even includes a game of HORSE.

My doctor told me I should take aspirin every day.

I get annoyed when I see teenagers texting all the time.

I turn on the radio and don’t know any of the songs.

The only TV shows I watch are on The Food Network and HGTV.

So, yea, in 2013, I learned that I’m turning into an old man.

I also learned that I’m cool with that.

I’m older and slower, but I’m also wiser.  I’ve learned to be thankful instead of feeling entitled to life, health, and success.  I miss my youth, but I’m thankful for the experiences that have brought me to this point, both the good and the bad.  I’ve overcome obstacles this year that crushed me in the past.  I’ve learned to appreciate the present instead of always anticipating the next best thing.  I’ve found my voice and decided to just be who I am, regardless of the world’s expectations.  I’ve learned to stop trying to be perfect and to just laugh at my mistakes and quickly ask for forgiveness. I’ve learned that I need to knock down my pride and share my flaws with those around me who need to hear that they are not alone.  I figured out that instead of planning, scheming, and forcing things to happen, I just need to make the most of every day and every opportunity.  Most importantly, I finally understand that there is nothing more important than faith, friends, and family.  Everything else will leave you unsatisfied and hungry for more.

In 2013, I grew up.

A little.

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