Thursday, January 31, 2008

Poll to the Right ---->

Who selected other, and what city did you mean? I have to know.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Week 4 Results

I started writing this before I even got everyone's results. Clearly, the difference between living sequestered in a controlled environment like on the "Biggest Loser" and not living sequestered is - LIFE. Real life obviously gets in the way, whether it is stress around work, lack of time, scheduling issues, family pressures or just plain fatigue - things just get in the way.

The GREAT news, and what we should be celebrating, is that all of us are developing great habits. We are all sweating in the gym (I worked out over 17 hours in January), we are all burning calories (Marc burns over 6000 per week) and we are eating better (Michele has eliminated refined sugar completely).

This week, Michele and I have remained unchanged. No loss, no gain. Marc has lost another 7.0 pounds (1.9%) for a total loss of 40.6 lbs (10.1%) - putting him halfway there in four weeks.

So, the problem is, Michele and I aren't dropping any more weight. We are trying to figure out why...we think it is because we are adding muscle and yes, we all know that muscle weighs more than fat. Obviously, Marc is not adding any muscle and is just a lighter version of himself.
If you have any idea what's going on in our bodies, let us know. We are trying to stave off frustration.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Frequent Flyers

I'm still a little hazy as to HOW I got roped into this, but frankly it really doesn't matter. The truth is, I am looking forward to it. The 'it' I am talking about is travel with the kids. Since I am away a lot, not only do I earn a lot of frequent flyer miles, but I miss out on spending time with the kids. Here's my opportunity to use those miles to make up for it.

If you look at this weeks poll question, you'll see that Dylan has a choice to make. I've offered him a ballgame (a weekend, actually) anywhere he wants in the US (lower 48 only). This is somewhat to make up for the fact that he missed our first annual Mets vs. Astros game in Houston last year. He is leaning toward Boston, and that's fine - I've never been to Fenway so it should be fun.

Marissa and I will be going to NY to see our Mets. Since she has found the Mets, she's only interested in them - so we'll fly up for a quick weekend game, see some family and come home.

Justin isn't real keen on going to a ball game (although he is coming with us to Houston, which is great) so we were picking our brains as to where we can go together. Our interests are a little different, so nothing out there would be fun to do with ME! So, we couldn't think of a place until Angie blurted out, "why don't you go to Vegas?" The second best idea she has ever had. So, Justin and I will fly off for a couple of days to Las Vegas this summer.

Cassie will probably come up to NY with me. I'll likely spend a week there where she can hang with AMA and I can work.

That leaves Angie and I. I'm counting on NEXT spring to be our big European getaway, so something small this year is in order. Not sure where yet, though. We were going to go to Branson, Wyoming but we have become a little skittish on the provider, so we are looking at other alternatives - and of course, there's my Alaska get away in August.

Now you know where I'll be on my weekends, once this school thing is over.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

5 Weeks In 15 Hours

I completed my first flex schedule weekend of the Spring '08 semester today. As I drove home from school this evening, I realized that I had just completed 5 weeks school in the weekend. I love this flex schedule, and wish I had discovered Richland College before last semester (when I took two economics courses).

I'm taking History 1301, American History on a flex schedule, meaning that I go to school from 6pm - 9pm on Friday, 8am - 4pm on Saturday, and 12pm - 4pm on Sunday for three weeks - and that's it. In 45 hours over three weekends I'll have completed 3.0 credit hours. I'm taking three classes this semester like this (HIST 1301, GOVT 2301 and HIST 1302) in addition to the two regular 14 weeks classes I am taking at UTD. At the end of this semester, I will have nine classes left to get my undergraduate degree.

And knowing that has me really motivated right now.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Birthday Girl

I was looking back through the last couple of January's posts, and can't believe that I haven't posted about Cassie's birthday before.

Time to rectify the situation.

Yesterday we celebrated Cassie's 6th birthday. While I can't believe she is already six, I also can't believe she is only six. She seems so mature and so smart, sometimes it is easy to forget she is just a little kid - right up until the point where cries because she doesn't like the taste of her medicine or because she doesn't feel like cleaning up her room. Then you remember she is more baby than adolescent sometimes.

After school yesterday, we took Cassie to her video shoot. Video shoot?!?! She was asked to take part in a Superbowl party promotional shoot for church (every year the church hosts a Superbowl party), and they always do very funny commercials for the party. This year, a group of young "ladies" will be beating up the church staff in a friendly game of football. I can't wait to see the final product.

After her shoot, Dylan, Marissa, Angie and I took her to Chuck E. Cheese for some food and fun. We all played and collected tickets so she could pick a prize. Marissa and Dylan are GOOD at winning tickets and kindly shared their winnings. She picked some plastic bling and we were done.

Since I had school and the kids had church, we went on our separate ways.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Week 3 Results

Our bodies must be changing, because we all claim to have good workouts and strict adherence to our diet plans, but not large losses this week. The good news is that we're still losing, and we've reached 70 pounds lost between the three of us. In three weeks, the Lessards have lost 7.5% of their former selves.

Leading the way this week, in a shocking upset, is Michele. She lost 3.0 pounds which represents a lost of 1.3%. Unfortunately, she is still pulling up the rear in the competition with 15 lbs lost for a total percentage lost of 6.4%.

Coming in a close second place this week is Marc, with a loss of 4.4 lbs (1.2%). He is the most despondant with this weeks performance and may be close to cutting off body parts for larger losses. He's still in first overall, however, with an amazing three week loss of 33.6 lbs (8.4%). If he wins, we'll need to review his after pic very closely.

Coming in last for the second consecutive week is me, with a 2 lbs loss (0.7%). I am in second overall with 22 lbs lost (7.1%). I am sure that I am not losing pounds because I am adding muscle weight from all my body building. Apparently, most of that muscle gain is in my head.

Stay tuned...there is only 2% points separating first place from last place and this is still anyone's race. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and there is a lot of running left to do.

Who's going to be able to claim the title, "Littlest Lessard"? It is wide open.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Office Space

For the last couple of weekends we've been playing musical bedrooms. Cassie has moved into Dylan's room, Dylan has moved into my office and my office has moved into Cassie's room. Why all the bother? Ultimately, the answer is simple - I need my own space.

When we bought the house (5 years last month), we had an option for a fifth bedroom or an "owner's retreat". Had we chosen bedroom, then a room above the master bath would have just been another room upstairs. But, because we selected the retreat option, we have a hidden room on the second floor that is only accessible through our bedroom on the first floor. The builder has a more vulgar unofficial name for the room, but I have my own name for it - HOME OFFICE. Even though we put Cassie in it, we always knew that it was going to be my own private space. When we bought the house, I didn't even work from home, but now that I do it is more needed than ever.

My office today is a shared space with Justin. I know he's never home, or because he sleeps vampire hours, he's sleeps in Dylan's or Marissa's room, but sharing that room with him is a disaster. He keeps it as messy as you possibly can, and because it is a shared space, I don't have room for all my stuff. Soon that will end.

Cassie has moved into her new room (repainted from dark grey and brick red to a nice pink). The new office is painted a beautiful chocolate brown. Today, the book cases go up, tomorrow the ceiling fan. This coming weekend, I'll move and install the flat panel TV. It will have a working area, a day bed (for naps) and my collectibles that have been boxed since I moved to Texas. That will empty out the large upstairs bedroom for Dylan and Justin to share - and everyone will be happy.

Now, when you come over, we can share some quiet time in my office. Just don't touch my Star Trek stuff.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Buy Out Offer

My blog, my trash talk...

You both know that the fatty in North Texas is going to win this.

Marc, you are like a big, beautiful shining star (as big as one, too - I heard your waist is measured in astronomical units)...unfortunately, like a shining star, you have burned yourself out. 6000 calories in the gym, and only 9.6 lbs lost. Next week, you might have a negative loss.

Michele, you are doing better than anyone ever thought - slow and steady. Unfortunately for you there is more slow than steady, and truth be told, you don't have a prayer. If you remember the story, the tortoise won not because the hare was fast, but because he was stupid. You don't have that advantage this time.

So - because I have 11 days between weigh-ins for week 3, I am opening up my heart to you. In fact, I'll open my heart, and you open your wallets. I'll let you buy out of the competition on the cheap. For this week ONLY (must be decided before next Wednesday), you can buy out for $25. Send me $25, and you are off the hook. Next Wednesday, the offer goes up substantially.

Let me know - it'll be the only chance you have to save some money. Either that, or you'll be buying airline tickets and dinner.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Week 2 Results

The Lessards are still losing it! It being weight! (Although there is some discussion as to some of them losing their minds years ago). The week 2 weigh in is complete, and here are the results.

Marc continues to lead the way, with another 9.6 pounds (2.5%) lost this week. His total 2 week loss is an amazing 29.2 lbs putting him in first with 7.3% lost. He claims almost 6000 calories lost in the gym last week and looking at his weight loss so far, I believe him. But his wife and kids haven't seen him in weeks.

Michele came in second this week with a 4.5 pound loss (2.0%). Her total loss so far is 12.0 lbs (5.1%). She has started with a personal trainer, so not only is she keeping up with the BIG boys, she plans on making some headway. Apparently, her trainer is motivating her with the promise of Twinkies and Burittos.

I came in third this week, losing 5.0 pounds (1.7%) for a two week total loss of 20.0 lbs (6.5%). Because I am on the road, I had to use a weigh in from last Saturday, so if I don't have a very big loss next weigh in, I'll be disappointed. It's too bad that I've turned into such a pre-madonna and can't work out unless the gym has a fruit smoothie bar.

Below are the results. What is amazing to note is that between the three of us, there is over 61 pounds less Lessard now compared to when we started.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Booked Alaska

I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm taking a getaway vacation without Angie or the kids. I've gone away with Angie alone, I've gone away with Cassie alone, and I'm planning trips alone with the kids, but I've never gone anywhere without anyone from the house - except business travel. And that's why I have had no desire to do so - I get too many breaks from the kids and Angie as it is, why would I want to take more without them?

That will end this year, as a colleague (mentor) at work and I are going up to Alaska for fishing and siteseeing in August. We've booked the flights and are now booking the fishing, the siteseeing, hotels, etc.

Angie has taken weekends with her girl friends, but this is new for me. I think she understands that I'm going to need a break come August from all my schooling, and this opportunity was something that I couldn't pass up.

On August 2, we will fly from Dallas to Anchorage. We'll spend the night in Anchorage before driving the several hour drive from Anchorage to Denali and will take a day trip into the park. Because the roads are only accessible by permit, we'll take a tour into the interior of the park.

The next day we'll travel back to the Kenai peninsula and into Seward for a cruise tour of the fjords. Hopefully we'll see some killer whales, humpbacks and maybe even an iceberg being calved.

That night we'll drive from Seward to Homer to finish our trip with two days of Halibut fishing. That's one of the main reasons we are going - to stock up our freezers with hundreds of pounds of halibut meat that goes for $20/lb down here.

I can't wait, and will be counting the days till departure. I'll also have to take the kids somewhere fun to make up for this. Perhaps Disney is in our immediate future.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Week 1 Results

The results are in, and this is going to be a dog fight. The Lessards have lost an amazing total of 42.1 pounds this week - which is a total loss of 4.4% - and an awesome start to the Littlest Lessard competition.

Marc leads the way with 4.9% lost on an amazing week of 19.6 pounds lost. He claims his loss is due to eating 66 servings of fruits and vegetables and hours in the gym. With that much fiber, probably more like hours in the bathroom.

I am nipping at his heals with a 4.8% loss week, on 15.0 pounds. Because of starvation, I am literally nipping at his heals. They need salt.

And Michele ended her week at 3.2% on a very respectable 7.5 pounds lost. Unfortunately, she is likely to find that weight this week.

In all serious - an outstanding week by all the competitors. This is obviously not going to be a runaway, and for that I am thankful. The tenth of a percent I lost by today will motivate me through the week.

Game On!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Teaser

Our week 1 weigh-in occurs tomorrow. We are going to see who is well on their way to becoming the Littlest Lessard, and who isn't.

We are going to see who can walk the walk, and who just stops eating long enough to talk some smack.

In case you want a preview:

One Lessard, maybe two, have lost double digits....

One Lessard, maybe two, have started making excuses....

One Lessard, maybe two, have been VERY quiet....

See who loses what - pounds or face?????


Monday, January 07, 2008

Return To Normalcy

In this case, normalcy is defined as 'school'. The kids returned to school this morning after what seemed like a couple of months long Christmas vacation. Don't get me wrong, the last several weeks have been great. Because I have the opportunity to work from home, I've spent a significant amount of time with the kids and it has been great. The last week has been especially fun with them, but sheesh - they are so out of routine that they seemed a little lost last night and this morning. They all got up fine, but I personally think the break is a little too long.

That being said, I am sorry to see that I start school this week. My breaks are never long enough. When I don't have school, my evenings are typically dedicated to the family. Even if I'm sitting on the couch, Angie says it's still nicer to have me home. My weekends are typically all hers, as I don't have to study. That ends in two days with my first day of class.

This semester may be worse than usual, as I am taking a full time load (5 classes). I usually only take two classes, but I've decided to take the extra three over weekends at the local community college. I have to do it this semester, or I'd have to take them at my school (which is more expensive) because of rules around transferring credits. So, starting on Wednesday, I am taking Organizational Behavior, Production Management, 2 History classes, and a US Government course. After this semester is done, I will only have 9 classes to go, which is less than 2 years.

I try to keep that fact in mind when I'm not sleeping and Angie and I have forgotten each other's name.


Saturday, January 05, 2008


The word service is made up of two parts. Serve and Ice. That's appropriate since Angie and I just got back from helping the junior high kids at church with their annual trek to the Dr. Pepper Stars Center for some good fun - broom ball.

Angie is very involved with the middle school ministry at church and it's not surprising considering she has two children of that age. Me, not so much. It's not something I enjoy - I cannot really connect with the kids that age. I don't speak their language and that's a major barrier. They think I'm an old fart, and that is also a major barrier.

However, she asked me if I might think about helping tonight as they were short on drivers. I don't know why I assented, but I did and not only was she very surprised, but very pleased. We both drove to church and were assigned kids. We were taking them to the mall for a couple of hours prior to our broom ball date. We didn't have to chaperon the kids at the mall, so after we all met up their Angie and I got a bite to eat at the California Pizza Kitchen. It was like a date and she was SO pleased that I was serving with her. We met up with the kids at the appointed time and drove over to the ice rink. We played several games, no major injuries incurred, but my knees are toast. I took a couple of good falls on them and they are really bruised.

We had a great time and it was fun playing with the kids. The best surprise of the night - the kids messed around with me and didn't make me feel like the old fart. I guess an old dog can learn new tricks.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Difference A Day (Or Two) Makes

We were finally getting to bed last night. It was about 11:30, and we had a very busy day. It started at 7:00AM, when Angie and I got up to go to the gym. We worked out together to start our day.

It ended at about 11:30 as we completed putting away the groceries after returning home from a late night grocery shopping session at WalMart.

What Angie said to me as we went to bed really hit home. She said, "We had a really good day today. We haven't fought at all and you have been really sweet". She went on to say that she couldn't imagine that one workout had made such a difference, but she thought it had something to do with it.

I told her it might, or more likely, the two days that I've spent in my bible study.

It got me to thinking that perhaps we could all learn a little bit more when we really listen to what is being said. Sure, it's easier when it is something positive, but because I really listened to her comment, and thought about what she was saying, I received some positive feedback about the actions that I'm trying to take in my life.

It's only been a couple of days, but with a reaction like that, it may be easier to stick with it.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Littlest Lessard - Initial Weigh-In

The trash talking has started in earnest, the last meals have been digested, and the goals have been set. Marc, Michele and I have had our initial weigh-ins and here are the results and goal weights.

As you can see, we are all pretty big. It must be genetic. :)

For added motivation, we all agreed to post our before pictures. They are below (I'm the one in the pretty hat).

I will post to the blog by Wednesday evening to update the status and loss results each week.

May the Littlest Lessard please stand up!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 - Year In Review

Last year I blogged about some goals that I'd like to accomplish in 2007. To review, click here.

My results are a mixed bag. Some successes, but many failures. All told, I didn't achieve much of what I wanted to.

Last Year's Resolutions:
a,b) Obedience to and Time with God...I didn't do this in any significant way this year. I would have pockets of success, but no long term. This year, I will keep this as a goal. Starting on Jan 1, I will follow a reading plan to get through the bible in one year. I've done it before and got to Job (May, if memory serves), before stopping.

c) Critical nature...I would expect that my nature is as critical as ever. Probably because I've failed in a and b above.

d) Financial stewardship...this is one area of success. Angie and I have stayed on our budget pretty well. We've not missed on tithe to the church, and have increased our giving for the Imagine campaign. Additionally, we are sponsoring 4 children from Katito, Kenya. Our giving has increased every year for the last several, and we have sacrificed to do it. Although this will continue to be a huge focus for us, I'm going to drop it off the list.

e) Health...good and bad. I've quit smoking and as of Jan 4, will not have had a cigarette for eight months. My previous long was nine months, but the difference this time is that I know I don't have it beat. I cannot have even one, ever. I've also gained a ton of more weight. Tomorrow, when I weigh in for our "Littlest Lessard" competition, I won't be surprised to see 325, or so. Angie and I are really motivated to get into shape together, and the friendly competition with my sister and brother should help. It's not about weight loss, it is about being healthy.

Some NEW resolutions:
f) Angie...Angie and I need to focus on each other much more. I resolve to free up more time for her and for us. To be more patient with her. And to always try and be kind with my words and actions.

g) Consistency with the kids...Angie and I have realized that we need to be more consistent with how we act towards the kids (including setting expectations and what happens when those expectations aren't met).


50 flights on American Airlines covering 53,510 miles. All domestic.

46 nights in ICH group hotels (Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express). 4 of those nights for pleasure.

21 Credit Hours completed (2 A+, 3 A, 1 A- and a B)

1 Rio Grande Turkey, 1 Mourning Dove and one Channel Catfish harvested. I also caught a small striped bass, but he was released.

2 new guns this year. A .357 revolver and a .270 Rifle.

3 days spent alone with Angie (getaway on Long Island in August). We'll need to improve this number.