::home:: our SWEET progress

As you may recall, we set out on July 1st to change our diet. We wanted to cut out sweet treats, since it had suddenly dawned on us that they'd slowly crept into our lives and made themselves quite at home, without our realizing it. We've already detailed the struggle, so now the success! We went for four weeks, 28 days! Now, before I mis-lead you too far. In week two, we each had a piece of cake at a co-worker's goodbye party and shared a small dippin' dots at the baseball game. In week three, we each had a snow cone.

Surprisingly, I don't feel healthier, I don't feel more energized, or refreshed, or anything that I thought I would. BUT I do feel more in control. I enjoy knowing that I make the rules, and don't give in to cravings or convenience. It has also made me sooo much more aware of what I eat. Cereal is just crap. I'm sorry to break it to you if you think you're eating healthy cereal, but it's true. Now before I get all "holier than thou", let me just say that I'm sure that sweets will creep back into my life again. I have no doubt. But I know I can take them right back out. And I feel good about that.

Things I missed the most: liquids. I don't drink soda very often at all, but I love a slushie, a snow cone, a freeze, a lemonade, a limeade, all of it. The other thing I miss is not being able to bake. Not so much so I can eat it, but just making it. Weird. I didn't realize I liked to bake so much. Hmm...

So are we just done now? No. We're off for one week. Just regular eating. Not indulging, just regular. Then we're going to try two weeks of NO SUGAR. The whole shebang. So who knows? Maybe I'll have withdrawals for that, too, but I kind of like it...I like the whole denying myself thing.

The picture is from a diet out there that actually exists. No sweets, no seconds, no snacks, except on days that start with "S". Not a bad idea. I don't necessarily agree with "NO SNACKS", but the rest of it...? I may have to put some thought into that...


::home:: UGH

This has been a crappy, hot, boring, broke weekend. I miss my family.


::home:: rodeo royalty

Okay, out here in the 'West', rodeos are serious business. Especially rural west. These sisters are in the "Royal Court" for their town. I'm new to all of this, but apparently, this is big. These girls travel a (local) rodeo circuit, wearing all of their getup, including their crowns (that's what's on their hats), their belt buckles (yes, they're big) and their sashes. At the rodeos, they walk around with pictures and SIGN THEM (!!!) for all of the little girls who want to grow up to be rodeo queens. Apparently, Mom wasn't happy with the original pictures, though, so the night before the BIGGEST rodeo (hometown - Pioneer Day), we went out to re-do their pictures so they would be ready. It was really fun to go out with them and feel how excited they were for their big day!Mom said that when the Rodeo Queen woke the morning of Pioneer Day, she walked down the hallway, stretching, and said, "I've been waiting for this day my whole life!" Remember how BIG those big moments were as a pre-teen? I died laughing when she told me this...And isn't she cute? She's the sweetest girl and it's easy to see why she's "Miss Congeniality"!



::home:: behold the transformation

Okay, so maybe not here. This is our front entry...check out that shag carpet! It was so beautiful that Chad really had to convince me to get rid of it. It was a moment of real contention in our marriage. We've pulled up all carpet over the entire house, and, as you can see, have not done anything else to our stairs. I think we're going to clean up the wood and then put down a laquer/stain like they do on bars (like in a bar), so it will look sorta similar to our floor, where you can see all of the imperfections. Another thing to notice: in the before picture, that wall on the right is a cinder block wall. Ugh! Seriously, folks? We plastered over the entire wall (and it's a big one! it goes up to our second floor, visible the whole way up!) with mud, smoothed it out and painted. Goodbye, Cinder Block!

This is a view of what you see when you look to the left....living room. Not much to say except: Isn't that puppy just the cutest? Obviously, these were taken at Christmastime, but she just kept setting herself up to pose in these pictures. She knows she's cute. Oh yeah, our floors. We ripped out the carpet down to the concrete and we (read: Chad) stained the floor, so we now have (TA-DA) stained concrete and it is awesome! We definitely learned a few things, but love it, especially with the puppies. You can see a lighter colored stripe in the background that is part of why I love the floor. There's lots of random little places in the floor with variations in color and even some texture.

Obviously, just under the stairs. The puppy corner. Nyabo is in the first picture and Wrigley is in the second one. Very cozy and comfy under there. And how many freaking toys do two dogs need?

To the left of the stairs: Notice our new thermostat. A day to remember. That took nearly a full day to change out because the wiring was messed up from what it should have been. Poor Chad was so frustrated with it, but was determined to figure it out. He was up on the roof in July heat (read:110 degrees) trying to trace wires. Anyway, he obviously figured it out. And now it works like magic!

Our couch. Not much to say. (There's that yellow-ish looking stripe again). I put these pictures in this order, so you can kind of tell how our floor plan flows. But maybe there's just too many pictures and too many words and you're bored by now.

I love these pictures because of the contrast. Can you believe that insanely large brick back with the HUGE wood burning stove? Where we live? Are you crazy? Obviously, we pulled that sucker out and.all.the.bricks. And then we hauled them all, little by little, bucket full by bucket full. Ugh. It's a good thing it looks as good as it does, cuz it was a pain! But doesn't Nyabo look good!

So the Christmas tree is just to the right of the chairs you saw in the previous picture. We have kind of a long living room, and dining room area, all in an L shape. This is the other part of the L. This before and after picture are of the same wall, just a different angle. To the right of this little couch is our back sliding door. This was a weird wall. Underneath that frame was a wallpaper mural of a beach scene. We think this frame was supposed to be like a front porch railing that you're looking out over...seriously? Again, seriously? Wallpaper glue is a pain. Now that our Christmas tree is gone, that's where our table is.

And the view from our kitchen. I just love this little couch here!

And last one, this is kind of flipping around now, across from the Christmas tree.
So that's our living room, etc. Thanks to everyone for all of their help with everything! We had lots of help painting, paint, and more painting, electricianing, drywall, mudding, etc. and we absolutely love our little place. We still have work to do, but I love everything about it and totally think it was worth all of the hard work. Thanks again for everyone's help. We love you!


::home:: local baseball boys

So this weekend we went to our local AA baseball game. (Keep in mind where we live...yeah, seriously 110 degrees at night. Oh, no, wait...I exagerate...it was only 100 degrees by the time the game was over!) Anyway, it's the first time we've been and we actually think we'll probably go back, in spite of the heat. It was a ton of fun, ESPECIALLY because it was StarWars night, or something. I'm actually not sure what was going on, but this is what we saw all night long. We had Storm Troopers, Darth Vader, Chewbacca (sp?), Obi-One (sp?), and some guy with a darth vader-esque head, also dressed in black with a hose thing of some sort? Chad told me it was a bad guy from the first movie. We were missing Colton and Carter, knowing they would be able to fill us in on the details of each character...maybe soon!

All in all, very entertaining. Small town excitement :)


::home:: MEYERS visit

Sushi Favorites: Always order a Rock 'n' Roll
So a couple of weeks ago, Chad's sister, Tara, and her family came out to visit from Mass...it was great to have them around and be able to play with our nieces that we don't get to see very often. It happened that they were here for Chad's birthday, so after our (delicious) dinner, we headed up to Bud & Barb's for Dairy Queen ice cream (mmmm) cake with the fam. We knew at that point we only had one more week of sugar, so we ::savored:: the ice cream cake.

Chad's Birthday Wish

Abby & Maddy enjoying their cake...it's serious business.


::wandering:: a version of a father/son campout

In our line of work, people have to be available 24x7. This week, a friend of ours was headed back east for a wedding and asked me to cover the weekend for him. It was something that I was looking forward to for a while because it would give me some insight into other aspects of our work. So my title was Weekend Director. Basically, I make sure that the wheels don't fall off the program while everyone else gets some time off.

I decided to take Wrigley with me and decided to call it our father/son campout. We had a lot of fun and got a ton of work done. We spent Friday night at the cabin that the company owns and got an early start in the morning. I put my SCA experience into practice with a fuels reduction project at the radio repeater, cut a truck load of wood for the upcoming graduation, and helped kids with fires.

So there you have it, our version of a father/son campout.


::home:: MMMMMMMMMM...candy

Yeah, this whole sugar thing has not been easy. Luckily my withdrawls did not last as long as Alison's. The absolute rock bottom for me though was on day four. I went to the gas station next to where we work to get a hot dog. I wanted one of everything in the sweets isle. Pink Cookies, Twinkies, Candy Bars, Donuts, Everything seemed to be calling my name. We almost cracked that night but we held strong.


::challenge:: WE'RE OFF SWEET TREATS

for ten days now. The first day Chad said he had a headache. Pshaw, I thought. That is totally all in your head…a headache 12 hours after you stop eating sugar. Three days later, when I started getting headaches, I felt silly. Four days after that, when I was STILL getting headaches (they started late afternoon and lasted until I went to bed), I admitted it. I was having sugar withdrawals.

One day I saw a banana peel in the trash can and my mind told me it was a Charleston Chew wrapper. Later that day, I walked past an office and thought I saw a big delicious bag of black jelly beans. I’m pretty sure it was just a stapler.

Hello, my name is Alison, and I’m addicted to sugar.


::home:: having a dog

...in the city is like saying, "My need for companionship outweighs my distaste for picking up poop." -Demetri Martin

Sometimes I wonder.


So here is the latest idea in saving gas money. I have heard about these little guys for a while. Yesterday I talked with someone who has talked with someone that actually uses them. Aparently you hook this little guy up to your car battery and run a hose from the lid of the mason jar into your gas line. It produces brown gas or HHO or Hydrogen which is suposed to increase your gas mileage by at 25%-60%. There are thousands of websites out there which will sell you plans to build your own, but this is one of the few that I have found that actually sell you the finished product and back it up with a guarantee.
Has anyone heard of these, or better yet seen them in action? The website for this particular one is http://testing.bestdeals247.com/documents/index.html I have a little bit of birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and am thinking about investing. I will let you all know if I get it and if it works.
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