June 2011

I’ve written quite a bit about career, family, and significance; but I have not dedicated many postings to physical fitness.  I feel that physical conditioning is important to your overall mental state and believe a tough workout is one of the best stress-busters out there. 

I’ve been in pretty good shape most of my life.  I’ve lifted weights since I was a kid and started running fairly seriously about four years ago.  Since I’ve gotten kind of bored with my regular workouts and am always up for a challenge, I decided to give P90X a try.

For those of you who don’t know what P90X is, it’s a pretty hardcore exercise/fitness regimen designed for people who are already in decent shape and have hit a plateau in their workouts.  The workouts last an hour to an hour and a half every day for 90 days.  This means I have to get up at 5 am every morning and torture myself for next three months.

I just started the workouts last weekend and today I feel like an 18-wheeler ran over me, backed up, and ran over me again – all while baseball-sized hail was falling on me.  The workouts are tough.  On the first day, I did an hour-long chest and back session that was followed by a 16-minute abdominal workout.  The 16-minute ab workout was non-stop and included over 300 repetitions.  There was one point where I fully expected an alien to emerge from my searing stomach.

Overall, it seems to be a good program and I think that as long as I stay committed, I’ll see some great results.  The worst part is the instructor.  He’s one of those wax-figure motivational guys that I find incredibly annoying.  About 45 minutes into my first session, I decided that if I ever met the guy in person, I’d punch him in his ridiculously square jaw.

This program also includes a nutritional guide.  The first phase is a high protein/low carb diet.  That shouldn’t be a problem for me – I’ll take meat over pasta any day.  Interestingly, I actually have to increase the amount I eat; I just have to eat the right things.  For example, Monday morning’s breakfast included eight (yes eight) egg whites.  That’s a lot of eggs.  Without any bacon or biscuits to go along with it, I felt like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke.

I’ll let you know how it goes.  Below are some examples of before and after pictures (actual results may vary).







We took our family vacation last week in Cashiers, NC.  We stayed at the High Hampton Inn and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the area looking to get away for a little while.  It was only a one hour and forty-five minute drive, but it took us from 95-degree heat to highs in the upper 70’s – a very welcome change considering the heat we’ve experienced so far this spring.

The Inn is geared toward families.  We spent our first day exploring the Inn and grounds (they have 1,400 acres) and took a test drive on the buffet.  Our stay included three meals a day – all buffet-style with a seemingly endless selection of very delicious food.  It’s a good thing we were active, or we would have put on about 10 pounds each.  The first night, my two year-old tore into peal-and-eat shrimp like a dolphin coming off a hunger strike.  She literally had three jumbo shrimp down the gullet before I could even sit down. 

After a long first day, we put the girls down in their bed but it was to no avail.  I ended up sharing a bed with our five year-old while Sara shared a bed with the two year-old.  Sara and I quickly realized why they can’t sleep together.  They both beat the snot out of anything within hitting or kicking range while they sleep.  I got about 40 minutes worth of sleep between each series of knees to the kidneys and slaps to the back of the head.  This went on the entire week.

After a long night of family togetherness, we decided to take advantage of the Kid’s Camp.  They offer children’s activities during the day, which allow the parents to enjoy a portion of their vacation kid-free.  The girls were excited about “Summer Camp” as they called it, and we were excited for them to go.  We took advantage of our kid-free time by doing some fairly strenuous hiking up two of the mountains at the Inn.

We had a great time and you can follow the captions on the pictures below for a pictorial summary of our trip.  I do have to share one story.  On the third day, I took Olivia fishing while Amelia had a short nap.  It was a predictable kid-friendly fishing trip.  She got her line tangled, spent more time with her bait out of water than in the water, and asked questions incessantly.  Then things took an unexpected turn.  She got a nibble and quickly jerked her bait out of the water.  Eager to catch the fish that was about a foot from the shore she made an overzealous cast that wrapped her bait around a tree while she simultaneously fell waist-deep into the lake.  Our fishing trip promptly ended.

Enjoy the pictures!

Sara and me at the summit of Chimney Top Mountain

View from the Inn

Olivia on the playground

Amelia in the Treehouse

Amelia and her new "boyfriend"

The girls on a donkey cart ride (note Amelia is still fixated on her boyfriend)

Olivia resting in the late afternoon before dinner

Amelia spent her afternoon chillin' with some tunes

The girls after swimming in the lake

There were some magnificent trees on the property. This was a gigantic purple beech.

Olivia took this picture on her own

Our final evening. Note the jackets - it got down to the upper-50's.


We’re vacationing this week, so no post for you!  Talk to ya next week!

The girls spent last week at Nana & Granddaddy’s.  In six days, my wife and I went out to eat three times, took the boat out twice, and saw a movie.  This is our one week to cram in a year’s worth of dates.  Sunday brought us screaming back to reality (literally) with an overtired two year old and a tattletale big sister who talks incessantly.  Seriously, she does NOT stop talking… ever.  In less than a week, we forgot how difficult it could be with two young kids in the house.  I guess that’s why all the empty nesters talk about “enjoying them while they’re young” and tell us that they grow up too fast.

Interestingly, those same people haven’t spent a sleepless night with a feverish toddler, an hour looking for a special stuffed animal, or every single evening fighting the battle of the dinner table in about 20 years.  We tend to forget the difficult times and primarily remember good ones.  I guess that’s a necessity – otherwise, every kid would be an only child. 

Amid our youngest crying inconsolably for no apparent reason and our oldest asking the same question for the 400th time, my wife and I just looked at each other with that look of despair every couple with young children has.  Fortunately, the tension melted away that night when two little ones curled up and got ready for bed.  By the time the oldest said her prayers and was tucked in, the frustrations of the night were already forgotten. 

I’m glad my wife and I got some time alone, but I’m also glad the kids are home.  Thanks for taking care of them, Nana!