Monday, March 31, 2008

A Weekend Surrounded by Friends - Old & New

This past weekend was a very busy one for Keith and me. We were only home for short spurts - other than sleeping. It's nice to have lots of things to do, especially when they involve getting together with people. This weekend our lives were FILLED with the joy of old friends and even some new ones!

Friday evening I had to work late so Keith met up with one of his old friends from college. Keith has known Carl and his wife Cindy for about 20 years - they all went to Allegheny College together. They live in Charlottesville also but we don't see them near as often as we would like to. Keith and Carl went out to dinner and then went to an event that was part of the Virginia Festival of the Book. Unfortunately I didn't get to see Carl because I didn't get done with work until 7:30pm but I know that Keith enjoyed catching up with him.

On Saturday, I had to work in the morning (it's Spring Football season and the office is BUSY!!) and Keith did some stuff around the house until I got home around noon. While I was at the office, I got a surprising call on my cell phone from one of my oldest friends - Shane Floyd. The last time I saw Shane was at his wedding in June of 2005. He and his wife were not able to come to our wedding because he was overseas in Iraq. He is a Marine fighter pilot and he is now stationed in Mississippi. The great news is that they are expecting a baby boy in July! He and his wife have started a blog - check it out - Floydster Baby. It was great to hear from him! I am very blessed to have a handful of friends that I have known since I was 6 years old that I still keep in touch with periodically. We don't talk or see each other as often as I would like, but when we do, it's like no time has passed!

On Saturday afternoon we drove to Richmond and did some shopping in the Short Pump area. I was very excited to go to some of my favorite retail places that we don't have here in Charlottesville, especially Kohl's! I was able to get some good buys and also see another friend of mine in the process. Kim and I lived together in Richmond about 7 years ago. She works at Kohl's on the weekends and I was hoping to run into her while I was there. We weren't able to talk very long because she was working, but we were able to catch up a little and it was really good to see her.

While we were in Richmond, we met up with some friends for dinner at one of our favorite Richmond restaurants - Capital Ale. It was so awesome to spend time with Jill, Ashley, Kevin, and Jen (all friends of ours from St. Martin's, our old church in Richmond.) This is another group of people that we have so much fun with but just don't see often enough! Even though I love our life in Charlottesville, I wish it were just a little bit closer to Richmond!

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to make some new friends! We had a great time hanging out with a group of people that Keith works with. A couple that works at the library invited some of us over to their house for chili and cornbread (it was really yummy!!) I had met a few of the people before but there were also some new faces. We talked & laughed a lot and shared stories about our past lives before we had all moved to C'ville. They were all really interesting people and I hope that we get to hang out with them again. Keith and I don't have a huge group of friends here like we did in Richmond, so it's always nice to get to know more people.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Prayers for Papa

I am asking for prayers for my Papa Gringer (my mom's dad). He is currently in the hospital and they are running some tests to figure out why he is having unexplained bleeding from an area that shouldn't be bleeding!!

Both of my sisters have posted information on their blogs, so since I am assuming that many people who read my blog also read theirs, I am not going to reiterate what they have written since I would basically be saying the same thing.

Click HERE to read Karen's post.

Click HERE to read Katie's post.

Thank you all in advance for your thoughts and prayers!!

WW Update

Well, today I found out that I lost the .6 lbs that I gained last week. Again, similar to last week's weigh-in, I was not surprised that I hadn't lost more. In all honesty, I thought for sure that I was going to gain this week. Another week of eating out every night combined with a bit of stress about house hunting and busyness at work plus no exercise....oh and don't forget the fact that yesterday was Easter and we had oh-so-good food at my sister's house. Geez, all of that probably should have added up to a 2 or 3 lb gain. I guess I was just lucky this week and I have no where to go but up (or is it down?! haha)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

NFL Pro-Timing Day at UVA

Everyone that knows me knows that I LOVE football. I grew up going to professional football games with my dad in Buffalo, NY. My parents have had season tickets to the Buffalo Bills since the mid-1980s. They even still own them, although they don't attend any of the games - they sell the tickets to a family friend who lives up in the area. I was trying to figure out how many football games I have attended and I believe its somewhere near 100!

Anyways, because of this LOVE of the game of football, it was awesome when I was given the opportunity to work in the Football office at the University of Virginia. Even though at times I get really stressed and the coaches drive me crazy, I still very much look forward to going to work everyday. There is so much that goes on and just to be "in the midst" of come great current and former players is so exciting to me.

One of the interesting things that happens in College Football every March is Pro-Timing Day. This is the day when representatives (called Scouts) come from each NFL team to see players that are eligible to be drafted. The event occurred at UVA this past Tuesday and because Chris Long could be one of the top picks in this year's draft, we had almost every NFL represented. Of course, if you know anything about the way the draft goes, there are only a handful of teams that are going to get a chance at drafting him. But, this high exposure is great for UVA and for the other players that want to "get noticed".

The day starts with all of the Scouts meeting with the Head Coach and getting an overview of the day. Then, all of the eligible players (we had 13 total) worked out in the weight room doing things such as 225 lb benchpressing, vertical leap, broad jump, and a variety of other things. They also have to have their height and weight recorded and have their hand and arm length measured. Then they go outside and run a 40-yd dash and do a variety of individual drills.

A few of my co-workers and I were able to go outside during the drills and watch. Knowing these players first hand and knowing how much time and energy they have put in to prepare for this day, made it even more exciting but very intense. It's incredible to think that next month some of these guys are going to sign contracts with NFL teams and in less than 6 months I will be watching them on TV.

I'm sad to see some of my "favorites" leave but I know that they will all succeed in whatever life has in store for them, whether that is playing in the NFL or not. It's such an interesting process to be involved in and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in that environment.

If you want to read more about the Pro-Timing Day at UVA, click here or watch this video that contains highlights from the day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

House Buying Seminar

For a few weeks now, Keith and I have been in "house hunting mode". We have figured out our finances and how much we think we can afford, we met with two lenders to see about rates and see what mortgage programs they offer, and we have walked through over 20 houses. It's an exhausting and exciting process!!

Tonight we went to the 2nd part of a 6-hour "House Buying Seminar". The first 3 hours were last Wednesday and tonight was another 3 hours. The Seminar is put on by VHDA (the Virginia Housing Development Authority) and PHA (the Piedmont Housing Alliance, which is a local non-profit agency).

Last week they focused three things - (1) Personal Finances (figuring out how much you spend vs. how much you bring in, coming up with a monthly mortgage figure that you are comfortable paying, and making sure that you are saving money while still paying off debt as quickly as possible), (2) Credit and Credit scores (how they are calculated and how having "healthy" credit - and a good income-to-debt ratio - is KEY to getting good rates), and (3) the Lending Process - a lender came in to talk to us about the process and all of the paperwork involved. She explained pre-qualification, pre-approval and went line-by-line through a Good Faith Estimate.

This week, they talked about three additional things - (1) the Role of the Real Estate Agent, (2) the Home Inspection, and (3) the Closing. For the last part, a local real estate attorney came in and "tried" to explain the closing procedure to us. I say "tried" because Keith and I both agreed that the legalese (a.k.a. legal jargon that no one but lawyers understand) was a bit much and he kinda lost us in his explanation of things. Hopefully once we get to that point in our own process, we'll understand it a bit more!!

We very much enjoyed the seminar and found it to be very informative. I would certainly recommend it - or a similar seminar - to anyone who is starting the house buying process! If you live in the state of Virginia, you can go to the VHDA website and see when the seminar is being offered in your area.

Monday, March 17, 2008

WW Update

I am sorry that I have been out of the blogging world for a week now. Life has been a bit busy and work has been super crazy! Unfortunately due to both of those - and the added stress that comes with being busy - I was not as faithful to my eating and exercising as I should have been. Therefore, I was not surprised when I stepped on the scale this evening at WW and found out that I had gained .6 lbs. I was surprised that I had not gained more, but I am OK with that small upward movement.

Hopefully I can be more focused this week. I only have one more pound to lose to get to 15 lbs lost. We'll see if I can make it there by next week at this time.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More pounds lost...hopefully never to be found again!

Of course tonight was my Weight Watchers meeting and I am super happy to report that I lost 3 more lbs, for a total of 14.6 lbs!

I am really pleased with my progress and can finally see some of my hard work paying off. I wasn't as good last week as I could have been:

1. I didn't go to the gym at all because work was crazy and I didn't take many lunch breaks, plus we had plans most of the evenings. I do have to thank my wonderful husband for pushing me (really hard!!) to go to the park yesterday to go for a walk. It was a beautiful crisp day and we walked around the park and nearby school for about an hour. I truly believe this exercise - and fresh air - helped me in my weight loss tonight.

2. Last Monday night, I went to a local Wing restaurant with my co-workers to watch a UVA basketball game and I totally went off the program!! I ate chicken wings and they tasted sooooo good! :)

3. I gave in to the candy basket that sits on my desk - granted it was only eating tootsie rolls, but still.....I also ate a few of the Reese's peanut butter hearts that we have at our house that my mother-in-law sent us. (I believe she means well, but I wish she would stop sending us chocolate!)

However, by the number that showed up on the scale this evening, I must have done something right!

1. I tracked everything I ate, including the tootsie rolls and the reese hearts, on the WW online food tracker. Even the days when I went over my allotted points total, I still did my best to keep track of everything. For anyone who is looking to lose weight, I believe that is an excellent way to see what you are really eating. And, often, once you see HOW MUCH you are eating, it's easier to see why you are gaining weight or can't lose it.

2. On Wednesday night, Keith and I went out for a quick dinner before the UVA-Duke basketball game. We went to Boston Market, which is a good choice when we are looking to eat something close to the arena that won't take too long. I always get the 1/4 white chicken dinner, which includes two sides. It's a pretty high point dinner, but usually if I eat ok the rest of the day, I can save enough points and not go over my daily allotment. This particular day, I hadn't saved enough of my points to have the sides that I usually do - corn and green beans. One would think that corn and green beans wouldn't be that bad (which they really aren't compared to the other things that looked REALLY good - the macaroni & cheese and the mashed potatoes!) But, knowing that I didn't have enough points, I researched other menu options on the Boston Market website and chose to eat steamed veggies and fruit as my sides.

3. We went out to dinner at a local restaurant that has amazing pizza and calzones with some friends on Friday night and I ate soup and salad while the others all got pizza, including Keith! He even got a large pizza so he would have leftovers. I believe by-passing leftover pizza in the refrigerator is a huge accomplishment (especially when I re-heated it for him for lunch yesterday and it smelled SO GOOD!)

4. We went out house-hunting on Saturday from 11:00am to 5:00pm and I brought along healthy snacks - fruit and string cheese - so I wouldn't be super hungry once dinnertime came. And speaking of dinner, we ate at my sister Katie's house that night - she made an awesome meal of Chicken & Spaghetti (which is a family recipe that I love!). It was hard not to go for seconds but I think I did pretty good and I ate closer to a serving (or maybe two) instead of a heaping overflowing plate like I used to. Oops, I forgot about the good-sized brownie that I had after dinner - I guess that didn't hurt me in the long run - thank goodness!!

5. Today I went to the gym at lunch and walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. It was really busy in the office but I knew I had to go - to feel better and to help in my weight loss efforts. I'm glad that I went and I am going to really try to go at least 3 more times this week.

I'm excited that I am only .4 lbs away from the 15 pound mark. That was my next short-term goal and I am hoping that I will surpass that mark next week. Then, on to 20 lbs!! I can't wait to see how things continue to progress!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Men and Chores

I saw this video called "Do Men Really Share Chores" on ABC online - click here to see the video - and I thought I would share my personal experience regarding this question.

I know many couples who have a more "traditional" marriage where the wife cooks, cleans and does the laundry while the husband does the yardwork and fixes things. Fortunately for me, Keith and I don't have that type of marriage and he helps with the laundry and house cleaning whenever it needs to be done. (Of course, sometimes I have to remind him that those things need to be done and he doesn't always do it exactly the way that I would like, but I am certainly not going to least not too often! haha) I have pretty much taken over the cooking role since we got married and I usually end up washing the dishes too, but he helps with clearing the table and putting any leftovers away in the refrigerator. For the most part, I can count on him to do anything that I ask him to do and for that I am very thankful and appreciative.

When it comes to cleaning the house, since we are so busy in the evenings, we often devout a weekend day and tackle the entire house in one day. We have started a trend where we split up the house - Keith has the downstairs and I have the upstairs. We each clean the entire floor that we are "assigned" and when we are finished, we are free to do other things. This past Saturday was one such "cleaning day" and while Keith was doing his part, I snapped a few pictures. There is something really great about a man who vacuums, dusts, washes the kitchen floor and even cleans the toilet!! I am truly blessed to be married to a man who helps out in so many ways!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Small loss

I didn't get a chance to post last night because I didn't get home until late, but I wanted to let everyone know about my small loss at WW last night. I was down .2 lbs (yes, their scale is very precise!) for a total weight loss of 11.6 lbs. I honestly thought I was going to gain a pound or two so I am happy with even a small loss.

Because of a lot going on (and a bit of laziness!), I didn't go to the gym at all last week. This week, I am committed to going at least 3 times - starting today!

Hopefully my hard work this week will pay off on the scale next week. My next short-term goal is to get to the 15 lbs loss mark. I know I can do it this week!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old...

I had the opportunity to have lunch with one of my very good friends yesterday. Dee and I have known each other for about 10 years. We met when I started attending a Singles Sunday School class at Cool Spring Baptist church in Mechanicsville, near my parents house. I started going to that church in the late 1990s when I had moved back in with my parents. At the time, I was very lonely and had just gotten out of an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. The Singles class was just what I needed at the time and God really brought awesome people into my life when I needed them the most.

Dee and I became instant friends. I was very close with her and her family, who were like my 2nd family in Richmond. Her parents and siblings are such generous, thoughful and giving people. I miss seeing them!!

She and I are definitely the party-people in our families. We love to go out to clubs, dance, meet new people, laugh and just have a great time. Back before either of us were married (and before she had her son, who is now 3 1/2), we would, along with our friend Holly, go to a sports bar on Fridays after work, go out dancing at the local dance club, or even just sit on the front porch of her house and laugh. Looking back, I can honestly say those were some of the most fun times of my life!! I was honored when Dee and Holly both agreed to be in my wedding.

These days, the three of us live in separate cities (Dee is in Northern VA, Holly is in Richmond and of course, I am in C'ville). I can't even remember the last time we were all together. And, we are all married and have our own things going on, so it's hard to find time to get together.

Yesterday, Dee and I were able to meet up for lunch in Richmond. It was awesome to see her and we spent over 4 hours gabbing, pretty much non-stop, about our husbands, our jobs, our families....basically everything that is going on in our lives! We had lots of things to catch up on and it was great to be able to have that person to talk to and confide in, just like old times.

Even though I am truly glad that Keith and I moved to Charlottesville and I have formed some really great friendships with people here, I am still nostalgic for old friends. There are so many people that we "left behind" in Richmond and there is just not enough time in the day (or the month sometimes!) to keep in touch with everyone the way that I want to. I know that I am bad with keeping in touch with people, and time flies by so fast, that often months go by before I realize that I haven't talked to some people.

My hope is that all of the people that have come and gone in my life realize how much they have meant to me. And, even though we may not talk as often as we would like, I still cherish their friendship and hope that when we do see each other again, we can pick up right where we left off.