Friday, October 31, 2008

Fitness Friday!!!

How do you feel?

Try not to focus on numbers. And I know it is so hard to took me the past year to really stop thinking about the number on the scale and my BMI. According to those numbers, I am overweight. But...I feel good. I can breathe easily doing everyday tasks, I can play with my kids without exhaustion, my clothes feel comfortable, I can make it through a workout without feeling like puking. If you know me, I'll tell you I haven't lost a pound that last 6 months but my body shape has changed a lot.

Now if your doctor is concerned about your weight, blood pressure, or glucose levels...those numbers do matter and should be monitored. But these numbers should not be obsessed over. And sometimes you can be working out and eating well without any weight loss...but the scale doesn't say it all.

Answer these questions:
How do I feel when I walk up the stairs?
How do my clothes feel?
What is my energy level throughout the day?
How do I feel about my body's appearance?
Can I start to see some muscles (go your Hulk pose)?

If you are starting a fitness program...revisit these questions to see how your health has changed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Twilight Series...I want my life back!

I admit I have been out of the internet world as of late due to so much work and I've been reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.

If you don't know...this series of 4 novels chronicles the life of Bella, a junior in high school, who moves to live with her dad in a gloomy Forks, WA. She ends up meeting lots of people including a family of vampires and some other mythical creatures. That is all I will say until those of you who want to read it STOP NOW!


I've waited to write about the series until I was complete. I love to read series from start to finish. I liked the first book. It was a nice quick read that took me back to high school romance (that worked out for me pretty well, I married him). I think this is the draw to the 30-something crowd that is devouring the series along with its intended audience of teenage girls. However, after the first novel...the second was almost unfinishable for the first half. But I've never not finished a I read on. At this point, I was just curious what happened...why does everyone love these things that are sucking the life out of me?

I'll be brief on my likes and dislikes...
I love Jacob (and his 'family').
I don't like Edward. (although he came around in the last installment)
I HATED Bella. (I really have a problem with her being the main character of novel that so many young women are reading. I will use her as an example of what NOT to do with my make friends and try to keep to your parents...don't obsess over a single person...don't risk your life for others...take care of yourself...don't get married, pregnant, and die at 18)

Writing style
You have to remember that it is written for a younger audience and by a new author. I was a bit disappointed in the obviously allusions to classic literature...the middle two books are great books to learn about using classic stories (Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights) in your own original manuscript. It didn't need to be explained over and over again. We get it.

Also know that the books are written in Bella's point of view...something I had to remember to be satisfied with Twilight's ending. She wasn't conscious during the big its absent from the story. I think this is actually a major flaw. Meyer sets up some great climaxes and then drops the ball (I wanted those 'battle' scenes). (I am happy to see the film is not).

They need a better editor...each book could have easily dropped 100 pages.

The Fourth Book
This is where it gets really weird. I really didn't like it at all. I was so dissatisfied with the ending. Although, I get tired of formulaic series (e.g. Robert Parker or James Patterson...even Harry Potter)...I wanted this last book to follow some of the previous books patterns....ongoing battle with Victoria, friction between werewolves and vampires, struggle to become immortal, choosing between Edward and Jacob. I wanted final resolution. I didn't like one bit what Bella did in the last all.

Overall, I'm glad I know what everyone was talking about. I've heard that either you love it or hate it. I suppose I'm in between. And I am looking forward to the movie (I am hoping that the filmmakers fill in the flaws of Meyer's original work).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The S-word

There has been a lot of talk about how Obama is a socialist....I have a couple things to say about this.

First of all, he is not a socialist, really. Just ask the Socialist Party's Presidential Candidate (as seen on the Colbert Report.

Not that I think you should educate yourself solely on Comedy Central...this is about as much explanation I think Sarah Palin has had. Obama is a liberal, no doubt.

Secondly, what is so wrong with socialism? Do you even know what it is? Like so much in our culture, we talk about things we know nothing about. Socialism, overall, is a collectivist idea that attempts to strength the society as a whole through equal distribution. Collectivism is a great thing! Imagine...a society that takes care of each citizen regardless of race, religion, wealth, gender...a society that works towards a common good...a productive, healthy, and powerful society.

So why should rich people pay for services for poor people? Because its a nice thing to do and the best thing to keep a society successful as a whole.

But the US isn't like this...we were founded on individualism and competition. Mine, mine, mine!And look what has happened? The divide between rich and poor has grown to a destructive divide. Economically, our society is in a frightening place. Health-wise, we are in a sickening spiral. Educationally, we are barely keeping afloat.

When the Republicans laugh at the thought of socialist ideals and redistribution of resources, I am sickened. For me, they are saying...who cares about those who need help and support...and that 'who' is me and my family.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Breaking Free of the TV: High School Musical 3

For a company that didn't let Zac Efron sing in HSM1...they sure let him sing in the newest (and final?) installment of the High School Musical franchise...and sing...and sing again.

Delighting audiences of all ages, HSM3 opened this weekend on the big screen. Centering around the many major decisions of everyone's senior year of high school (where to go to college, who to take to prom, how to stay friends with people), the cast sings and dances their way to a happy ending...although I find it odd that the popular kids get to run every area of the school (athletics, academics, AND the arts).
Doing his best Kevin Bacon in Footloose impression, this is Efron's best movie to date...his acting, singing, and dancing skills have grown leaps and bounds since we first met him on the Disney Channel years ago. And he is, no doubt, the center of this movie. (and he is pretty hot in this movie) I am extremely interested in seeing him in something outside of this genre or at least outside of this role.
(note that Efron is cast in Bacon's role in the 2010 remake of Footloose directed by HSM director Ken Ortega).

Everything is on a much higher level than its made-for-tv prequels....the music, choreography, and overall production value. There are several very theatrical production numbers that are wonderful. The rooftop waltz was wonderful, Ryan and Sharpay's song is fabulous, and the prom scene is classic Broadway. The Grease-like finale falls a little flat, however.

I would have liked to see more of the rest of the cast...especially Ryan and Kelsey (I had hoped they would sing the duet..oh no...that's right, Zac has to sing every song)...and of course...more Sharpay. The new under-classmen characters are fine (and open it up for another sequel) but unnecessary. I did like the larger character of Miss Darbus, the drama teacher. I had anticipated more from Gabriella but she was really a minor character here (which was fine since Vanessa Hudgens' speaking voice is terribly annoying). This is all about Troy.

Overall, highly enjoyable 90 mins...the preteen agrees. You'll laugh, might cry, and will want to applaud (although I was the only one to do so). I recommend it for ages 5 and up. (Since I know I will be watching this DVD numerous times in my future, I do recommend it on the big screen if your kids have never seen a stage musical before since the production numbers are so good)
High School Musical 3: Senior Year, rated G, 112min, playing everywhere every hour

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some new favorite things....

In our busy lives, I have found a couple new (and old) things that make me feel good.

*the Black and Bleu Salad from Quiznos
*Bolthouse Farms Perfectly Protein Mocha Cappuccino (cheaper and better for you than Starbucks! and often on sale at Meijer)
*The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and AC 360 (my best and most reliable news sources)
*Baking muffins again (yum...pumpkin)
*Soups and stews
*Tickling my kids (always a pick-me-up)
*Betty Crocker Warm Delights (something I picked up while on sale at Walgreen's...nothing like warm, fudgy cake in 30sec).

Monday, October 20, 2008

I just love the fall weather...

I admit, I've been a little stressed out and tired lately with working all the time and having our weekends slammed with activities but the weather has just been amazing. Just driving or walking down the street with the crisp air and colorful leaves puts me in a happy place.

I can't wait to head out to the Great Pumpkin patch this weekend...the drive is so pretty alone and then to see all the colorful squashes, corns, leaves....

The simple pleasures in life...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fitness Friday! TEEN FIT!

Repeat of last Fitness Friday....

The Fitness Center in Champaign is starting its new Teen Fit Program on Monday!

The program is for teens aged 13-17 who are overweight, diabetic, or at risk for weight-related issues. The program is FREE and open to anyone in the community. To see if you or someone you know qualifies, please call the Fitness Center now! (217) 356-1616.

Here is a brief News Gazette article on the program.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What does this say about me?

I've been a little sick but I decided to get out of the house yesterday...I went to Samuel Music to get a book for my daughter and found myself lost in the sheet music. Then I went to Target to buy Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (the last in the Twilight series that you can't get from the library or from anyone you know because they have lent it out to someone I actually bought a book).

So here I am at check out with Breaking Dawn...and teenage vampire love story and a package of dark chocolate peanut mm's.

It made me feel better.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quick life recap...

I apologize that my blogging has been lacking lately...not that I haven't wanted to...there is so much going on to discuss but our lives are so busy. I am really trying to limit my computer time to work and making myself go to bed and such.

Basically, I am exhausted and trying hard not to catch all the nasty bugs going around school and work. Its not going so well...anyone have a good deal on Airborne? The 3yo had a UTI and the 5yo a mild stomach virus (I think).

Our now 12yo! is done with cross country and is now emersing herself in the arts...jazz band, choir, and pep club (that's an art right?). We are trying to find another physical activity to keep up her awesome exercise routine. She can go running for another several weeks but... She is a lovely young lady and hasn't been too pre-teeny quite yet.

As her more mature life begins, we got her all new bedding (something I think we did when she went to kindergarden). Gotta love Kohl's and Target. Its super cute.

The hub has been busy dealing with trying to get ready for his paramedic license exam. During his clinical time at the hospital...he help deliver a baby! That's pretty cool!
Right now, the 3yo is giving Buzz Lightyear a haircut in a very stylish pink and silver hair salon. This is a recurring theme in the house...masculine vs feminine. The Barbie condo shares space with the Rescue Heroes command center (thanks again Missy!). For their birthdays, my MIL got us these great Toobeez. (that's not one of our kids in the photo)

We had a great celebration of our children last weekend...superhero theme, of course. Here is the cake (nothing is better than a twinkie than a frosted twinkie...with ice cream).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fitness Friday! TEEN FIT!


The Fitness Center in Champaign is offering a FREE pilot program for teens 13-17yrs old who are overweight, diabetic, or at risk for diabetes starting Monday, Oct 20th! This program will help develop healthy exercise habits for life including finding the fun in fitness!

It is an 8-week program offering a 5-day per week exercise program including group classes as well as guided cardio- and weight- machine work.

Mondays and Wednesdays the teens will meet at 330-430pm for a group fitness class that will include a variety of cardio formats (e.g. hip hop, latin dance, kickboxing, cycling, cardio-drumming, circuit training, resistance ball, boot camp) and strength/conditioning.

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 3-5pm, the teens are highly encouraged to come in and workout (at least 1 more cardio workout and 2 weight training days).

There will be experienced staff working closely with the group. They will be given a complete body analysis at the beginning and the end of the program. Great prizes for working out, learning more about health and fitness, learning about healthy eating and cooking, and more!

Call The Fitness Center now to see if you or your child is eligible to participate! (217)356-1616

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Why I Love Kids...

*They can spend 30mins debating the best way to spin in a circle.

*They can be content eating chips and cake for lunch and dinner without regret.

*Opening the box is more exciting than what is inside.

*They can dress up like superheroes and not care what people think.

*They give hugs without pretense...they also hit you for no reason.

*Sitting to listen to a story is the best part of their day.

*People encourage them to get messy.

*Watching America's Funniest Videos makes them forget about a bad day.

*Discovering what makes brown paint is an awesome experience.

*People almost always think you are cute.