Friday and Saturday

Yesterday I needed to be away from the office, but I still had work to be done, so I spent that day working at home. This gave me the chance to get together for lunch with Homercles. We both enjoyed the lunch buffet at Godfather's Pizza in the Town and Country Shopping Center. It was pretty good, but I ate more than I really should have. I did stay within my Weight Watchers points, including my weekly allowance in addition to my day's points, but I still could have eaten a bit less.

Today, after a weekend of no bicycling, Mel and I had the opportunity to go for a bike ride. Once again, one of us rode the bike while the other pushed Emma in her stroller. We then changed places. On my bike ride, I rode part of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. The part I rode on has an asphalt surface, but that stops just a few miles north of the start of the trail in Hiawatha. After that, the trail is crushed limestone for some distance before it turns back to asphalt. I really wish the remaining part of the trail could be paved. That would make it a lot better to ride on, making it easier to ride all the way to Waterloo.

We also finished working on the garden in the backyard today. Last week I promised some photos of that, but I didn't get around to taking the "after" picture yet, so I will post the photos later.


Freedom Festival

Last night, Emma, Mel, and I went to our first event of the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival this year. It was the Balloon Glow at Brucemore. We showed up around 6:30 when it wasn't yet too crowded, but by the time we left shortly before 10:00, it was quite crowded. A lot of people came out to see the balloons glow in the night sky. We got the idea of going when Mel was talking with one of the people she goes to Weight Watchers with. The friend there mentioned that she was going to the Balloon Glow, and asked if we wanted to come along. Besides watching the hot air balloons inflate and glow, there was live music and a lot of food booths. We had already eaten dinner, so we didn't partake of any of the food offerings other than a couple bottles of Diet Coke, but we had a lot of fun. I think we'll have to go again next year when Emma might appreciate it a bit more.


Weight Watchers Week 9

Despite my thoughts to the contrary yesterday, my weight loss has continued for the ninth consecutive week. The week I lost an additional 0.6 pound bringing my weight down to 209.6 pounds, for a total weight loss of 21.8 pounds since beginning Weight Watchers nine weeks ago. This now brings my weight to the least it has been since I began recording my weight on a semi-regular basis at the beginning of the summer in 2004. In all actuality, it's probably the lightest I have weighed since before I graduated from college.


Lots of Visitors and Yard Work

This weekend was a very busy one for us. On Saturday we all went to Waterloo. Mel went to the home of a friend of hers for a Tastefully Simple party. While she was there, Emma and I stayed at my mom's place where I did a little work and we all watched the movie October Sky. My mom has been trying to get me to see this movie for a while, but I had never gotten around to viewing it. It was a pretty good movie.

On Sunday we decided to forgo our bike riding so we could finish working on the garden in the back yard. After several hours of digging up weeds and stumps for bushes, we are almost done. We went through forty-four half-cubic-foot bags of rock. We ran a bit short on rock, so this coming weekend we will be finishing up. When we do, I will be sure to post some before and after pictures.

The reason we stopped working on the garden when we did Sunday was that we had a couple of visitors. My friend Anna, who lives in Las Vegas, and my friend Homercles, who lives a few blocks away from us, stopped by for the evening. We hadn't seen Anna since December. It was good to have a chance to catch up with what has been going on, although she does read this blog, so she knew for the most part what Mel, Emma, and I had been up to. We had Godfather's Pizza for dinner since that is something that Anna can't get in Las Vegas.

Between the Godfather's pizza, and having a steak at Applebee's Saturday night when Mel, Emma, and I went out to eat with my mom, I would not be surprised if my eight consecutive weeks of weight loss changes to a slight upward turn this week. I'll find out about that tomorrow. I did not keep very careful track of my Weight Watchers points this past weekend at all.

Yesterday, Mel's best friend Heather, who lives in Ohio, came for a visit. She had been visiting her parents in western Iowa and drove over to spend the day with Mel. They seemed to have a good day. Mel hadn't seen her in about a year and a half, so when Heather had to leave, it was way too soon. Hopefully Mel and I can get together with Heather and her boyfriend in Las Vegas this spring to celebrate Heather's thirtieth birthday, which takes place this December.



I am so glad it's finally Friday. So I don't have to go into the office tomorrow, I do however have to work though. I haven't had a work week in which I worked over forty hours in quite some time, so I suppose I was about due. I had a bunch of test items that I was supposed to review by the end of the day today, but I didn't have enough time. I'll do what I can this weekend, but they probably won't get done until some time on Monday. That should be just fine.

Right now, Emma and I are home alone since Mel has to work until 8:00 tonight. That means that I got to pick Emma up from day care today instead of dropping her off. It's more fun getting her than it is to drop her off, although I have to say that she doesn't seem to mind going to day care. Hopefully she keeps that up.


Weight Watchers Week 8

I managed to lose an additional two tenths of a pound this week for a total weight loss of 21.2 pounds since beginning my diet eight weeks ago. I was actually anticipating gaining weight this week. With going to Hardee's for dinner on Thursday and eating a little bit too much potato salad at my grandmother's house on Saturday, I ended up exceeding my weekly points allowance by two points.

I just got off the phone with my friend from Las Vegas who is in town visiting family this week and she'd like to get together with Mel, Emma, and me for lunch or dinner on Sunday. Mel and I are already planning on eating out another night this week, so I am going to have to be careful with the points this week if I want to continue with my weight loss, but I think I can do it.


Day Care

As Mel has been back at work since last Tuesday, and I had to return to work from my week off, today was Emma's first day at day care. I was the one charged with dropping her off this morning as Mel has to leave for work before our day care provider begins working. It was harder that I thought it would be. This was the first time that we left Emma with a relative stranger, not including the time she was in the nursery at the hospital just after she was born. Everything seemed to go pretty well though. She slept for about three hours while she was at day care today, and she didn't cry at all. Apparently it wasn't until she was on her way home with Mel, that she started to get fussy. Hopefully things will continue to go this smoothly.


Dinner at Grandma's

Yesterday afternoon, Mel, Emma, and I went to my grandmother's house in Keystone to visit and for dinner. When we arrived, my mother was already there, and later, one of my cousins who lives in Germany, his wife, and kids arrived. They are in the States for a few weeks to visit family. It was nice having dinner with just the nine of us. With a smaller group, it was easier to spend time visiting with the others. It was really good to see my cousin's three-year-old son and year-and-a-half-old daughter. It took them a little bit of time to warm up to Mel and me since it had been a while since they had seen us, but once they remembered who we were, they were a lot of fun. Next month, my other cousin who lives in Germany will be home with his family. I hope we are able to arrange a time to see them as well.


Hump Day

Partway through the day today, my week off from work was half over. I really wish I could stay home longer than just this week, but alas I must return to work on Monday. For a period this evening though, I was wishing I wasn't home alone with Emma. She just kept crying and crying. I was unable to console her. I tried feeding her, changing her diaper, holding her, and setting her down, but none of that worked. I had to give her a bath tonight, so I decided to try that. I had Emma undressed, sitting on her towel, when Mel called from work. I put the naked baby down in her basinet while I answered the phone. She seemed quite content lying there in the buff, so I talked with Mel on the phone while Emma happily waited for me in her birthday suit. She did pee on the towel while she was lying there, but everything was fine. I guess she likes to spend some time without her clothes. Things went well for the most part after her bath. She did cry a bit once I got her dressed, but the onesie I put her in was a bit tight, so I changed her clothes and after about ten minutes, she calmed down again.

Weight Watchers Week 7

I lost an additional 2.6 pounds this past week for a total weight loss of 21.0 pounds since I began Weight Watchers online on April 25. This is the second week in a row that I lost more than two pounds. I didn't lose as much as last week, but I still lost too much weight this week. The Weight Watchers website once again warned me that by losing more than two pounds in a week, I am at a higher risk of regaining the weight, of dry skin, or gallstones. I really need to try to use more of the points I earn from exercise.

I am actually surprised that I lost this much weight this past week after going to Mel's parents' house this weekend for an early Father's Day and family birthday celebration. I ate a bit much--two hamburgers and one large bratwurst, as well as a few side items--so I was really careful about not exceeding my points on Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday Mel and I went to Applebee's with Wendy, a former coworker of mine from when I taught at Highland. There I had one of the Weight Watchers entrees, the Cajun Lime Tilapia, as well as the Onion Soup Au Gratin. Both items were very tasty, however had I know how much my weight would be down this morning, I may have had a burger instead.


Daddy Day!

Today was Mel's last day off before returning to work, so she met her mom and her aunt at the Meskwaki Casino for some gambling fun. That left me alone with Emma for most of the day, until Mel returned home from her gambling expedition. We had a lot of fun together today, after taking out photo in our matching shirts, we headed out shopping, stopping at Toys R Us and Wal-Mart. After screaming a bit in the car whenever we stopped, Emma fell asleep. She pretty much stayed asleep during our entire shopping trip, only waking up after I put the groceries away, and after I folded the laundry and put it away as well. We had a good time then playing with some of her toys. I am taking the entire week off from work, so we'll have more time for fun as the week continues.


Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo

I had the opportunity to watch the classic 1984 movie, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo this evening on TV One. I have often made reference to this movie but had never seen it before, and I still can not say that I have seen all of Breakin' 2 because after just seventy minutes of viewing the film, I had had enough and turned the TV to Court TV to watch Body of Evidence: From the Case Files of Dayle Hinman. I am guessing that Body of Evidence will be more entertaining than Breakin' 2. I do admit though, that some of the break dancing sequences were pretty good, especially the break dancing "fight" which takes place in the first half hour or so of the movie.

No More Thickburgers

I don't think Paris Hilton will be eating any Hardee's or Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Burgers in jail.


Pirates and the Birds (Reprise)

Mel and I have begun watching a reality show, Pirate Master on CBS. Except for the first few weeks of American Idol, I have resisted watching so-called reality shows. It hasn't been too hard to resist these programs as I have had absolutely no desire to watch them. Mel hasn't watched any of these shows either, however Mel really likes pirates, and I have to admit that I was a bit intrigued about the program, so last week we watched the first episode of Pirate Master. I have found the show pretty interesting, and the end, where one of the pirates is cut loose, has been full of suspense. In the past two episodes, I was wrong in my prediction about what would happen. It looks like we'll continue watching Pirate Master this summer.

On Wednesday, I wrote about being attacked by a red-winged blackbird. Apparently I am not the only one who this has happened to. Mel told me that she was attacked by the same type of bird earlier this week while walking around Cedar Lake with Emma. The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier today had an article about red-winged blackbirds attacking people. I didn't see the bird at work today though. Maybe yesterday's storm scared it off.


New DVDs!

This afternoon I added two sets of DVDs to my Amazon.com wish list. The first is the first season of "CHiPS". I loved this show growing up and I also watched it quite regularly when it was rerun on TNT several years ago, setting my VCR to record it while I was in class in college.

The second set of DVDs that I added to my Amazon.com wish list is the first season of David E. Kelly's Picket Fences. It's about time that this was released on DVD. I am not sure what took so long. This one isn't out until June 19, but I'll probably wait a bit to get it. I still have to get seasons two through five of Babylon 5 to complete that series.

The Birds

As I returned to the building from my car this afternoon at work, I found myself under attack from a red-winged blackbird as shown here. Fortunately the bird did not attack me with any type of projectile, but rather he dove towards me as I walked up the sidewalk to the door. The bird startled me, but fortunately he missed!

Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Weight Watchers Week 6

Despite eating dinner out three times this past week, I still managed to lose 3.2 pounds since last Wednesday, making my total weight loss since beginning Weight Watchers 18.4 pounds. Once again, since I lost more than three pounds for the week, I got scolded by the Weight Watchers website. I figure that it is fine though, after all I only lost 0.6 pounds last week. When I lose another three pounds, I will then be at my lowest weight in at least the past five years, and most likely in the past ten years!


Visit to Grandma

Yesterday, we all travelled to Waterloo so Emma could visit Grandma E. While we were there, we left Emma at Grandma's house so Mel and I could go bicycling on the trail system in Cedar Falls. Whenever I am in Waterloo or Cedar Falls I somewhat wish that we still lived there. The trail system is far superior to what we have in Cedar Rapids. Also, there are a lot of local restaurants there that we both really like. Typing this blog posting, I am pretty sure I have blogged about this before. Anyway, if Mel could get a good-paying job in the Cedar Valley and if I could work from home all the time, I would be all for moving back up there. However, I don't think either of those conditions is very likely to happen any time soon.

While we were there, we stopped at University Book and Supply where we picked up a couple of Cedar Falls RAGBRAI T-shirts. Cedar Falls is one of the overnight towns on RAGBRAI this year. I don't usually buy one of the local town's RAGBRAI shirts, but this one looked really nice, so we picked up a pair. After our ten-mile bike ride, we went back to my mother's house, and the four of us went to Beck's for dinner. I hadn't been there in quite some time, and it was as good as I remembered it.


Dinner and a Movie

Emma got her first babysitter this afternoon. We dropped her off at Mel's aunt's house early this afternoon so we could go to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. This was the first time we left Emma in the care of someone other than ourselves. We enjoyed the movie, with the exception of the girl sitting halfway down the aisle to the left of Mel. She talked almost nonstop during the movie. Much of her interruptions were questions to her boyfriend asking what happened or what someone said. I thought the movie was really good, although I think the prior two Pirates of the Caribbean movies were better. Mel had heard that there was something after the credits, so we stayed until the very end of the movie. We were the only ones to wait to leave, and I am glad we did. I don't want to give away the ending, but if you have yet to see the movie, wait through the credits.

After the movie, Mel and I went to Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano for dinner. Our dinner was quite good. It was nice to be able to go out to eat at a restaurant and not worry about whether Emma would need to be fed or if she'd be fussy. I didn't worry much about my Weight Watchers points at dinner this evening, but I think I'll still be fine for the week. I estimate that I still have a few of my weekly points allowance remaining.

Picking up Emma, we found out that she did quite well being away from us. She slept a little and she even finished an eight-ounce bottle of formula. Since she didn't sleep much during the day today, hopefully she'll sleep through the night tonight. The past couple nights, she's been waking up around 3:00 to be fed again. I hope she gets back to sleeping though the night soon.