Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ford's Theater

One of the funnest things about living in Washington D.C. is that there is always something to learn, something to see, or something to do.  Amazingly, Scott and I had never been to Ford's Theater, the spot where Lincoln was assassinated.  The theater and learning center has recently undergone a face lift and the place is amazing.  It is free like most worthwhile D.C. sites and incredibly interesting. Let me take you on a little tour.

Above is the part of the theater that has recently been renovated. It stands adjacent to the original building pictured below. The theater still puts on regular productions. Of course, Lincoln's box has been permanently closed off behind Plexiglas.

Before entering the theater itself you go through a museum (the new part pictured above) filled with artifacts that include the actual gun used to shoot Lincoln, the suit and boots he was wearing the night he was killed, the playbill for the production they were seeing, and even the pillow they laid him on after the shooting. You can still see the bloodstains. 

You then enter the theater itself, where you can get an up close look at Lincoln's box and the chair in which he was sitting.

After John Wilkes Booth shot the president he jumped from the balcony onto the stage breaking his ankle.  Even still, he wasn't found for 12 days.  Lincoln was carried out of the theater and across the street to a boarding house. After you leave the theater you can visit this home where Lincoln died about 8 hours later.

You see the room and the bed where he died.  Then you are taken to a learning center where you can read even more about  Lincoln's life and death.

Upon exiting the building you descend a huge spiral staircase. In the middle of the staircase is a pillar of books that have been written about Lincoln over the years. 

Ford's Theater is next to the wax museum, so we couldn't resist a pose with the Prez we had just learned so much about.  Additionally, near the theater is a beautiful old church built in 1792 by the same architect that built the White House.

If you want to know more about the Lincoln assassination rent The Conspirator.

It just came out on video and it is an excellent movie.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Playgrounds, Planes, & Baby Jimmie

We had a fun few days with Scott's brother and his family in town.  I saw a quote recently about how cousin's are your first friends and they stay with you for life.  I know I certainly feel that way about my cousins. They are the siblings I never had. My kid's certainly had a great time with their first friends last weekend. We had a few lovely days, the February tease, as I like to refer to it.  We were able to play at the playground.  We also went to the Air & Space Museum, where I discovered that my daughter is just as crazy about airplanes as her brothers.  But, the most fun thing we did all weekend was hold baby Jimmie or Yimmie as Harley calls him. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jimmer Time

For Christmas I got Scott tickets to the Washington Wizards game against the Sacramento Kings, aka Jimmer Fredette's team.  We went Wednesday with Scott's brother Todd and his wife. They have been visiting for a few days. We had such a great time cheering for Scott's mancrush Jimmer. 
He only played for one quarter, but that was probably enough because I was a little out of control when he was in the game.  Nothing major, just typical stuff like screaming for him, at his coach, the refs, and every Wizards fan in our general vicinity. I don't think I used too many swear words, so I felt like I represented BYU Alumni pretty well.  I think my sister-in-law was shocked and perhaps a little frightened that we were going to get jumped if I didn't shut up. Obviously, she needs to visit my hometown on a Friday night in January or maybe attend a few church basketball games. 
 Scott and I made a brief appearance on the Jumbotron, but they quickly moved the camera away when we started screaming for Sacramento.
Jimmer for 3!  He had 8 points in the short time he played. Why he isn't playing all the time is a source of great contention with us and his coach.
Scott caught a Wizard,s shirt in the 3rd quarter. All the true Wizard,s fans were livid that a punk in a King's jersey caught a shirt that he didn't even want. We heard a lot of comments about how white men really can jump. When Jimmer's coach didn't put him back in the game, I put the Wizard's shirt on in protest. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Atley the Poet

Atley loves writing poetry and he even received a special award for his poem about trains. The prize-  having it hung in the main hallway of his school.  I thought I would post a couple of my favorites.  They are a little abstract, but that's my boy.

Amtrak goes right and left
North and South
Through the USA
To Amtrak Stations
From Miami to Montreal
It will go from San Antonio
To Quebec.
Ride the Acela
From DC to New York
The Acela is as fast as a plane
I want to ride the train.

Tornados are big
They have lightening
They can blow your roof off,
like giant mouth's eating everything
Such an evil dust devil
Windy cumulonimbus clouds
Like whirl pools on the land.

Storms, storms, snowstorms?
A loud sound,
It must be thunder
I just saw lightning
Pitter, Patter
Rain is falling down
Rain like a shower
It's been raining for over an hour
Rain falls fast upon my head
While all the squirrels are hiding under the shed
My sister is frightened to be in her bed
It is raining harder,
a super rain
Here comes the flood.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Progress & Motivation

It has officially been three weeks since my diet began and my weight loss thus far....

7.8 LBS
There have been a few things getting me through the un-fun-ness of dieting.  The first is this...
Image Detail

This stuff is delicious with a little skim milk. Sometimes I have it for more than one meal a day. 

Additionally, when I meet a goal, I reward myself.  My reward this week was this shirt from H&M.
Image Detail
During my freshman year of college, there was a big trend on campus to wear denim shirts with khaki pants.  I remember going to Gap and buying my denim & khaki outfit and feeling like a million bucks. Alas, that was 16 years ago and the trend came and went, but guess what it came back again.  Well, maybe not the khaki part, but the denim shirt is definitely in style and back in my closet for only $19.95 and 7.8 pounds.

Another thing motivating me this week is this jerk I knew in high school. We had a tradition in my school that the graduating Seniors left a will for their underclassman that was published for all the world to see. When I was a sophomore this guy willed to me a thigh master because, "I know she'll need it eventually."  I take a little pleasure in reporting that this guy turned out to be a total loser just as I suspected he would. Then again, I guess I should thank him for providing me that extra motivation that I needed this week.  By the way, if you read my blog, he who must not be named, and you know who you are, you should really get a life. But don't worry, I'm not bitter or anything.

Finally, sometimes I get impatient that losing weight takes so much time and effort, yet nobody seems notice all of my hard work. The following picture helps me to keep a healthy perspective about how far I have already come.

Image Detail

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Handmade Ryan Gosling

There are pictures floating around the web of Ryan Gosling cheering on his crafty wife. In fact, there is a whole website devoted to this hilarity. It is called Handmade Ryan Gosling. You can check it out HERE. Apparently, SOME women fantasize about being married to Ryan Gosling and having him encourage their craft obsessions. Therefore, they are projecting what their ideal Ryan would say to them in the midst of their crafting chaos. I wrote and submitted five of my very own Handmade Ryan Gosling's a few days ago. I thought I would share what I submitted. They may or may not be related to my own life experiences, or rather Scott's experiences being married to me.

Atley's Testimony

Last Sunday Atley decided that he wanted to bear his testimony.  For those of you who are not familiar with our religion, once per month members of the congregation stand up and talk about what they believe and perhaps experiences that have helped them to increase their faith.  Scott has been trying to help me not OVER PARENT, so I reluctantly agreed to let him go.  First, I asked him what he thought he might say. His reply was, "I don't know mom, but I got it covered."  I was a nervous wreck as he walked up to the stand and waited for his turn. 

Here is Atley's testimony verbatim:

"Good morning Ladies & Gentlemen. Welcome to church today. You really need to read your scriptures and everyone of you should get baptized and start treating eachother a lot better (LONG PAUSE) and never kill anybody.  In the name of Jesus Christ Amen."

Well, the entire congregation was laughing because of the tongue lashing they had just received from a seven year old.  I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks when Atley sat back down.  He asked, "Are you crying because you are so proud of how good I just did that?"  Yup, buddy that is exactly why I am crying.

Here are a few of the comments I received after the meeting.

"I was starting to doze off when my wife nudged me and said, 'There's a Butler on the stand.' I knew I better listen because it was going to get good. I wasn't disappointed."

"Hey, I thought your kid was going to start pounding on the pulpit."

"Your son sure has a lot of confidence."

"I loved Atley's testimony today. It is always good to get back to the basics."

"Wow, you really have your hands full!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dessert Anyone?

Nash called these treats, "A Little Piece of Heaven!"  I have to agree.  I made these for a Super Bowl Party we attended.  Don't think you have to have the funky little machine to make these either. They are super simple and worth each step.

1. Bake a cake from your favorite mix. I used chocolate, of course!
2. Let the cake cool completely and then, this is the really fun part, crumble it up in a large bowl.
3. Add about 3/4 cup of your favorite frosting. I used chocolate, of course, and mash it all together.
4. Form balls, just smaller than a golf ball and place in the freezer for about an hour, but not long enough to completely freeze your cake
5.  Take out a few at a time.  Dip a sucker stick into some melted chocolate and then stick the stick into the cake ball.  Next, dip the entire ball in chocolate, shake off the excess chocolate, if there is such a thing.
6. Sprinkle with whatever, or not.  Place them upside down on a sheet of wax paper or stick them right side up in some Styrofoam. 
7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Confession Time

I need to lose 25 pounds and I am finally ready to admit it.  When Nash was about a year old I found my perfect weight.  I wasn’t dieting just nursing.  I wasn’t back to my high school weight, didn’t really want to be, but I was 25 pounds lighter than I am now.  It was great. I had energy and I felt comfortable in my clothes, not to mention my skin.  Well, here I am 4 years older with another baby and the heaviest I have ever been (not counting during or after pregnancy).  I didn’t realize how much weight I had gained because I avoided scales like the plague.  I kept seeing pictures of myself and convincing myself that it was a terrible camera angle. I even threw away a pair of jeans that were just UNFLATTERING! However, I knew that my clothes didn’t fit the same way, even my wedding ring was tight. My fingers didn’t wrap around my wrists or thighs the way that they used to, but I assumed I had gained about five pounds. So, I exercised, somewhat sporadically, and I read a book called French Women Don’t Get Fat.
Image Detail

 This book has some good ideas about eating smaller portions more slowly.  But, then there were some totally unrealistic things like never eating in the car and sitting down for each meal with a linen table cloth and china, or going the market each day and only buying fresh food.  Well, the author apparently never had kids or a life on the go.  But, the book did encourage me to get real about my weight and to realize that 80% of weight loss begins in the kitchen not on the treadmill.
 I found myself at Costco about 10 days ago and like divine intervention the scales were on sale.  I got on the said scale, right there in the store, and it took all my courage to hold back the tears when I read the numbers flashing in front of me.  I made Nash get on the scale to make sure that it was correct.  It seemed to be, but maybe it was meaner to girls, so I pulled Harley out of the cart and made her weigh too.  Apparently, the scale wasn’t sexist.  I had gained 15 pounds in the past six months.  Look, I realize that there are worse things in life.  Maybe this problem is a little petty in the grand scheme of things and truth be told, if I am going to die tomorrow, I sure as heck am not going to diet today.  But, then I thought, if I continue with this trend I will have gained 300 pounds in 10 years.  SCARY! You know those little charts that give you a healthy weight range based on your age, height and body type; for the first time in my life I was no longer within my healthy weight range.  So, I bought the stupid scale and I decided that I had to do something. I want to get back to the 25 pound lighter me that I remember from 4 years ago, the one that would go to the beach or the pool and actually take off her sundress.  So, just like the children’s book…
Image Detail
 If you give a mom a scale, she is going to need a serious diet to
go with it.

First, I found a great WEBSITE. 
It is a lot like Weight Watchers Online, but free.  The sight allows you to log your current weight, the amount you would like to lose and then provides a healthy amount of time that it should take you to lose the weight.  You can also put in your own date and it will calculate how many calories you should consume to achieve your goals. You can log the food you eat and it calculates the number of calories.  You can also log your activity and it will also figure out the calories burned.  You can even keep track of how much water you are drinking. To meet my goals I can only consume about 1100 calories per day, which is about 2/3 less than what I had been eating.  Does it suck?  Someday’s more than others, but with each day I am successful I get a little more confident that I can meet my goals. I feel like I am also learning something, although embarrassing to admit, about what foods are fattening and not good for you. I honestly never read the back of the box.  I had no idea just how fattening whole milk was until I put my first cup into my food log and realized that maybe I needed to buy some skim.    
Second, exercise! While I am learning that exercise isn’t as important as what I eat, it can boost my metabolism and give me the energy I need to keep going.  I have also learned that just running or just doing aerobics or yoga isn’t the best thing for my body. Rather I need to change it up!  Not only does this keep me from getting bored it keeps my body on guard and away from exercise ruts. For example, running three miles when you are out of shape burns a substantial more amount of calories than running three miles does when you are skinny and in great shape.  That is why you need to mix it up and keep challenging yourself. 
Third, I find myself obsessively weighing, sometimes twice a day.  But, I am learning that women especially have weight fluctuations throughout the day and of course, throughout the month.  I am trying to only weigh myself once per week, at the same time of day, and always wearing the same clothes.
After 7 days of diet and exercise I have lost 3.2 pounds.  I had some challenges this weekend called the Super Bowl and eating out, but I am trying to get re-motivated this week.  I have had very little sugar and after a few days of migraines, I feel much better than I did even 3 pounds ago.  I have evil thoughts sometimes, like, “What is the point of all this?” and “If this is what life is going to be like forever, I would rather be fat.”  Then I remind myself that the dieting part is only temporary until I reach my goal.  Maintaining my weight won’t be quite so limiting and hopefully, I will have developed a new lifestyle and a greater idea of what foods to avoid and which to indulge.
Why am I airing out all of my XXL dirty laundry?  Mainly, for accountability. The blog provides me a place to report my good news each week and I would hate to disappoint.  Wish me luck! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our First Reward

Our family finished reading 1 Nephi last week, so, we cashed in our first reward over the weekend, with skating at the National Sculpture Garden.  Atley was borderline professional, Nash spent a lot of time lying on the ice or clinging to the rail for dear life and Harley enjoyed the view from the peanut gallery.