Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 85/Mar 25

Oh Pretty Tree in our Backyard, are you the reason I'm feeling so icky?

The pollen is out with a vengeance here in Huntsville, and it's hitting us hard--especially poor Katie. So far Maggie is the only one who hasn't been hit by it. Apparently, that's a side effect of living in Huntsville (one of the only bad ones so far). The Indians used to call this area the "Valley of the Sickness"...oh well.

Despite feeling icky, we did get some outside time today...

Maggie has been playing this fun "monster chase" game with Katie lately.

There's a fun growly noise that goes with it.

Katie just thinks it's hilarious.

And then got in on the action.

And then she "caught" Maggie.

OMG I love these two little monkeys!

Day 84/March 24

Go fly a kite!
The Easter Bunny brought Maggie a kite. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 83/March 23

Happy Easter! We had such fun at the Easter Egg hunt at the girls' school. They definitely enjoyed the yummy chocolate bunnies from the Easter Bunny, too!

Just before the Easter Egg hunt...

She doesn't really "get" it, but she's more than happy to take part. Hey--it's outside, she doesn't care what she's doing!

Maggie, on the other hand, was very serious about her egg hunting. Check out all of those eggs!

Back at home, we headed out to the backyard. I love the way the breeze was blowing Katie's dress.

Hey Paula--do you remember this little doll buggy? :) It has logged miles and miles around our backyard. :)

Day 82/ Mar 22

We spent some time outside on Saturday afternoon. I love the look on Maggie's face here. :)

Nikon d70, 210mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO 200, unsharp mask

Friday, March 21, 2008

I've been busy

Most of you know I've been working out pretty hard for the better part of a year now. The first 40 pounds came off pretty smoothly, but then I got stuck. I've been at just about the same weight since Thanksgiving, even though I'm still working my butt off in the gym.

Time for a change, I thought. I had heard great things about a new book--The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I did some research and then decided to get the book and see what it was all about. Boy. Suddenly things made sense. I'd been doing all kinds of steady state cardio--averaging about 600-700 minutes a week. Seriously. That's a heck of a lot of cardio! This book, written by Lou Schuler, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Cassandra Forsythe, suggests that I've actually been working against myself. Not only that, but I'd been severely limiting my calorie intake...another way of working against myself.

So I figured I'd give the workouts a go. I've been stuck since Thanksgiving--what could it hurt, right? I'm just finishing up Week 3, and let me tell you...wow. There I am, over in the "boy's side" of the gym with all the free weights, and I'm holding my own! I never thought I could do it! My first workout (there are two different workouts for each stage, and you alternate between them during the week) had me doing squats. I started with 50 lbs (that's the bar plus two 2.5lb weights). On Thursday, I was able to squat 90 lbs. Then I moved on to alternating sets of push ups and seated rows. I can't do a full push up on the ground yet (I did learn, though, that a full push up is the equivalent of moving 60% of your weight...no wonder I can't do a full push up yet!), so I started with 60 degree incline pushups. Thursday I did pushups on a 35 degree incline. I started the seated row at 40 lbs 3 weeks ago, and on Thursday I pulled 100 lbs. Seriously! Next I did step ups and this CRAZY thing on an exercise ball called a prone jackknife. You start with your hands on the ground like a pushup, back straight, and legs up on the ball, all stretched out in a line. Then you pull your knees in to your chest. Sounds easy, but man oh man!

The "B" workouts are equally as challenging (deadlifts--started at 30lbs and deadlifted 90lbs Monday; dumbbell shoulder press--started 10lbs, 25 lbs Mon; wide-grip lat pulldown--30 lbs, 100lbs Mon; lunges, and swissball crunches).

I haven't noticed much change in the scale yet--actually, I've gone up 2 lbs (but that's mostly water weight and the fact that muscle is heavier than fat). The amazing thing, though, is that in the first week I lost 4.5 inches. I haven't measured myself yet this week, but I've lost more inches since then. The coolest thing is that I'm already seeing definition in my arms and legs, and things are much less "flabby". I've got one more week of Stage 1 and then I go on to the more challenging Stage 2.

The mondo cardio workouts are a thing of the past for me, too. I've switched them out for HIIT workouts--high intensity interval training. I spend 30 min on the treadmill alternating between walking and running. When I started, my walking speed was 3.0 and my running speed was 6. On Thursday I walked at 3.0 and ran at 8.5. The running part is really fast--just 1 minute--so it's not really as hard as I thought to run flat out for a minute. This type of training is much more effective than steady state cardio, and it helps you burn more calories for longer after the workout. I still do some walking on my non-lifting days, but that's more laid back-just moving to move kind of walking.

I can't tell you how empowered I feel after a lifting session. I never thought--especially with my arthritis--that I'd be able to do some of these things, but I can and even better, my joints seem to be enjoying the extra support from my muscles. The first several stages of this workout focus on building strength, and it isn't until stage 7 that the "cutting in" is supposed to really start, so I'm looking forward to seeing the changes in my body as I move along even further.

Enough rambling from me. I'm just super duper excited. I feel so cool to be out there and lifting these weights, and I know that it's the right path for me on the way to health and wellness. :)

Finally caught up! Days 79-81

Yay! I'm finally caught up! Now I have to make sure that I don't get side-tracked and forget to post them again. Here are the pics for Days 79-81 (plus a couple of extras)...

Day 79/Mar 19 --Maggie seems to be getting back into Princess mode. I think that she got a little overdose on Princesses while we were in Disney World (what with the wearing of princess dresses all day every day for 7 days. lol!). It's good to see her all decked out again, though. :)

Nikon d70, 210mm, f/4.5, 1/500, ISO 400, unsharp

I love this picture of Maggie. She's been in an odd place lately and hasn't wanted me to take her picture, but sometimes I get lucky. :) I think this would be nice in black and white, too. I need to play with the conversion...maybe tomorrow. ;)

Nikon d70, 210mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO 400, unsharp

Day 80/Mar 20 --This is a classic Katie shot. She's so stinkin' happy!

Nikon d70, 116mm, f/4.5, 1/500, ISO 400, unsharp

It was just one of those great picture days. :) This one really makes me smile.

Nikon d70, 210mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO 640, unsharp

Day 81/Mar 21 --We're on Spring Break this week, so I thought I'd take advantage of the beautiful weather and head over to the park for a bit. The girls had a blast!

Nikon d70, 210mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 640, unsharp

Nikon d70, 210mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO 640, unsharp

Ok...just about caught up! Days 66-78

I think I might have mixed some of these pics up a little (like posted weekend pics on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday), but they were all taken on the right days. lol I just couldn't be bothered to move them all around now. ;)

Day 66/Mar 6 -- This captures a typical afternoon at our house. Maggie likes nothing better than just running around the backyard. Lately she's been pretending to be a beaver and has been building a dam with sticks and pinecones. Nope, there's no water in our backyard...it's all part of her "maginations". hehehe

Nikon d70, 210 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 200, unsharp

Day 67/Mar 7 -- This isn't the best picture (dang that lighting imbalance!), but it captures part of Katie's personality. When she's really into something (or excited about something), she tucks her head into her chest and rounds her back a little...like she's heading into the fray head down and shoulders ready! NOTHING is going to get in her way when she's determined! lol

Nikon d70, 135 mm, f/4.8, 1/250, ISO 200, unsharp

Day 68/Mar 8 -- We've had this little table for quite a while (a year or two, I think), but it's been in Maggie's room since we moved into this house. Maggie has been obsessed with writing and drawing lately, so I thought it would be good to move it into the office where it could get more use. I think Katie uses the table at least as much as Maggie does! Of course, she is often standing in the chair (or on the table!), but I love this picture of the two of them working away peacefully!

Nikon d70, 50 mm, f/1.8, 1/500, ISO 800, unsharp

Day 69/Mar 9 -- We took a trip to Atlanta to visit Nana and Grandad. Nana doesn't look happy to have some time with Katie, does she? hehehe (Katie was happy, too, though she was overdue for a nap here.)

Nikon d70, 50 mm, f/4, 1/60, ISO 200, unsharp

Day 70/Mar 10 -- Katie found the train table at the Children's Museum in Atlanta. :) (AWESOME museum, by the way!)

Nikon d70, 50 mm, f/2, 1/250, ISO 1600, unsharp

Day 71/Mar 11 -- Another Children's Museum pic. They had this place where you dress up with different pieces of cloth and then you stood (or danced, in Maggie's case) in front of the green screen. There was a TV camera pointed at the area, and it superimposed your image onto film footage from different movies. Maggie just loved dancing and swirling and seeing herself on camera. :)

Nikon d70, 50 mm, f/2, 1/250, ISO 1600, unsharp

Day 72/Mar 12 -- It probably wasn't warm enough for a swimsuit (it was in the 60s, I think), but it wasn't super cold either. Hey, at least she has a helmet on her head! hehehe

Nikon d70, 50 mm, f/2, 1/2000, ISO 320, unsharp

Day 73/Mar 13 -- Katie is such a happy little monkey. She just likes to be outside. She could just be running around the yard--she doesn't care. Doing nothing outside is way better than anything I could offer inside! I've gotta say that I LOVE the bokeh here! My new 50/1.8 lens is awesome and I LOVE it!

Nikon d70, 50 mm, f/2, 1/5000, ISO 320, unsharp

Day 74/Mar 14 --Another happy Katie picture. She loves the little playhouse in our backyard and spends most of her time going in, coming out, and peeking out at me. As you can see, she's pleased with herself if she thinks she's surprised me.

Nikon d70, 210 mm, f/1.8, 1/6400, ISO 320, unsharp

Day 75/Mar 15 -- We met Debbie and Delaney (and two of Delaney's sweet friends Maddy and Katie) at the zoo in Birmingham. :)

Nikon d70, 70 mm, f/4, 1/6400, ISO 320, unsharp

Day 76/Mar 16 -- Some of the Star Magnolias at my parents' house. I wish I'd gotten more detail on the flower. Still gotta keep playing with lighting and settings.

Nikon d70, 145 mm, f/4.8, 1/800, ISO 400, unsharp

Day 77/Mar 17 -- Fiona had a St. Patrick's Day party for her neighborhood and we got to go. Katie was big time buddies with Dad at the party and kept climbing up into his lap and just giggling in general with him. We had a great time, Fiona! Thanks for letting us come!

Nikon d70, 135 mm, f/4.8, 1/400, ISO 200, unsharp

Day 78/Mar 18 -- My parents just had a nice wall built at their property line around the lake. Maggie broke it in by talking a walk around the edge. :)

Nikon d70, 125 mm, f/4.5, 1/1250, ISO 400, unsharp

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Still more catching up Days 62-65

More catching up pics...

Day 62/Mar 2 -- Miss Katie loves to play peek-a-boo

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/800, ISO 200, unsharp

Day 63/Mar 3 -- It was pajama day at school, so Maggie got to wear her Princess Jasmine pajamas all day. :)

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/800, ISO 200, unsharp

Day 64/Mar 4 -- Check out the static! hehehe I love this shot!

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/640, ISO 200, unsharp

Day 65, Mar 5 --Check out Maggie's eyes here...no color enhancement, either. Those are just her gorgeous blue peepers!

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/1000, ISO 200, unsharp

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Catching Up... Days 57-61

I finally got back to the computer (Maggie is REALLY fighting sleep tonight. ugh. At home I'd switch out with Chris and let him hang with her for a bit, but I'm at my parents' with the girls and he's at home working, so it's just me tonight. Oh well...).

Day 57/Feb 26 --my dad. He approaches everything with such joy--it's no wonder that we all love to be around him. He's my hero and my friend. I love you, Dad. :)

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/160, ISO 1250

Day 58/Feb 27--Miss Mary Maddox (Fiona's oldest) again. This kid is the funniest kid I've ever met--she's got a hilarious sense of humor and she's always coming up with the best one-liners! You crack me up, Mary Maddox!

Nikon d70, 102mm, f/4.2, 1/250, ISO 200

Day 59/Feb 28--Grady (Fiona's other kiddo). What a mess this kid is! He is super funny, too, and he's got this unbelievable energy. He's into everything, but look at that face! How could you be mad at him? Besides, his curiousity is just that--he's certainly not trying to be a handful. Watch out, though, Fiona and John! I think Grady's going to give you a run for the money! Of course, I'll be right there with you with Katie, so at least we'll all be in good company!

Nikon d70, 102mm, f/4.2, 1/250, ISO 200

Day 60/Feb 29--Miss Maggie. I don't often get good shots of Maggie these days. She's become self-conscious when she sees me with the camera and hasn't had the patience for being the focus of paparazzi-mom. I wish I'd gotten the lighting/exposure right on this shot because I love the sweet smile she's giving me, but right now I'll just settle for the sweet smile. :)

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/1600, ISO 200

Day 61/Mar 1--just some pretty Spring blossoms. I think this is a flowering cherry tree...

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/3200, ISO 1250
Ok. I've got my list of pics to post for days 62-now all put together, but I can't keep my eyeballs open. I'll get the rest of them up tomorrow when we get back home. :) Off to get my hair cut early tomorrow morning, so hopefully I won't look too bad! lol

Catching Up...yeah, I'm a slacker! Days 52-56

I'm a slacker! I know. :) I've been taking pics, though, so at least I didn't let it all fall by the wayside. It was pointed out to me last night (thanks Fiona, Lindsey, and Kerri!) that my blog was in desperate need of an update, so here I am. :)
Day 52/Feb 21--a cool tree in our backyard. I was looking up at a bird and thought the branches look awesome from this perspective.

Nikon d70, 78mm, f/5, 1/400, ISO 320, unsharp

Day 53/Feb 22--my sweet, silly Katie

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/5, 1/400, ISO 320, unsharp

Day 54/Feb 23--clearly Katie has been more cooperative with pictures lately

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/125, ISO 1000, unsharp

Day 55/Feb 24--my sweet and handsome husband

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/125, ISO 1250, unsharp

Day 56/Feb 25--Mary Maddox (my niece) was being just the cutest!

Nikon d70, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/125, ISO 1250, unsharp

more in a little while!