Category Archives: The Man

The year is ending and there is a multitude of food to eat.  Due to work schedules we kept Thanksgiving local this year.  I flexed my culinary muscle and warmed up ham, which ended up completely non-photogenic.  Also on the menu, and much more photogenic, sliced up baked potatoes, stuffing, and apple pie.

We invited over the local in-laws to enjoy the food,football games and parade.  After dinner, the children enjoyed a dance party and retired to the basement for a nice quiet evening movie. The adults enjoyed a civil game of Cards against Humanity, the official game of family get-togethers everywhere.

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Before

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After

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Check out my beautiful buns.

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Not everything turned out perfectly…

I made PIE!

I made PIE!

Dom in perfect holiday form. Wearing sweatpants seeing what we have to eat.

Dom in perfect holiday form. Wearing sweatpants seeing what we have to eat.

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First, I’m thankful for this woman.  She is the most amazing mother, hardest worker, and best friend that I could ask for.  Everything that I do on a daily basis is because of her.

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If Andrea is number 1, these two come in at number 1 and number 1. I couldn’t ask for better kids. They’ve accomplished so much this year.  Dominic is potty trained, talking up a storm, and climbing anything he can reach. Michaela underwent a surgery to untether her spinal cord. Not only did she handle the hospital stay like a champ, but her at-home-recovery consisted completely of making her sit still rather than trying to get her out of bed. These two are going to be such an adventure.

A few other things that I’m thankful for:

Friends. I’m lucky enough to have my good friends from high school, college, and various work places. Whether its hanging out, going to a movie, needing an emergency baby sitter, or needing to get Vimec out of another mess that he’s gotten himself into, its great to have friends to call on.

Our house. After a long search last year we found an amazing house in an amazing neighborhood, with amazing neighbors, amazing parks, and a pool/splash pad within walking distance.

On a purely technical point, I’m thankful for the blogs new domain. (Even though transferring was a vicious pain). If you’re reading this you’re already in the right place. Here’s to three less letters!

https://manofthehouse.blog

 

Field Trip: State Fair 2016

It’s been an amazing week.  Andrea had a week off and we’ve been all over creation. We returned from a waterpark vacation and had a free day with no plans. We did what any red blooded Minnesotan would do, we packed everyone back up into our trusty van and headed to the local state fair.

After parking in our super-secret-one-block-from-the-fair-grounds parking lot we set off for a day of fun!

We stopped to gear up on with our alma mater before a trip the baby animal barn. The kids were treated to ducklings, lambs, calves, and piglets.

Ski-U-Mah

Ski-U-Mah

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We turned to the full sized animals at the cattle, horse, and swine barns.  We discovered free cheese sticks (perfect timing to avoid mid-morning hangry time), got a impromptu visit from the crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way, entered a coloring contest, saw the largest boar, and had a couple more close encounters with barnyard animals.

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A stop at the Milk booth left the kids reeling

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The kids were getting a little stir crazy so we gave them a little bit of excitement. Andrea took a turn as well, complete with flips!

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The expressions, totally legit

We found a picnic table ate our lunch and mid-oreo dessert Dominic was asleep. The rest of us found some hula hoops and stopped at the PBS booth for pictures with famous cut-outs.IMG_8628-COLLAGEIMG_8632-COLLAGELittle man woke up and immediately saw some big trucks and NEEDED to get some pictures with themIMG_8650 IMG_8651

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BIG TRUCK!

After that we stumbled across a parade and finished the outing with rides at the Giant Slide, carousel, and kid-way.IMG_8654-COLLAGEIMG_8678IMG_8695-COLLAGEIn the end, we had a full 6 hours at the fair with a minimum of crabbiness from parent or child.

What a great way to spend a Thursday!

Stay at Home Dad EDC

The stay at home dad gig is not one to approach under-equipped. A simple trip to the store can turn into an afternoon of cleaning carseats while sleepy and upset children watch. I learned quickly to be prepared for everything and anything.

In the beginning my gear was a simple diaper bag. Which was fine for the 30 minute treks out of the house, but was entirely inadequate for anything longer. For trips to the Children’s Museum, Zoo, or weekend trips to the cabin a larger set of gear was required. The diaper bag also had the “black hole” purse effect of swallowing the sought after item and not reveling it without a complete dump. I slowly transitioned from a traditional diaper to my more manly “Go-Bag.”

IMG_3728Stating with the bag itself.  The SwissGear Ibex Computer backpack. In the past, I used it to carry stuff to and from work and hold assorted items for weekend trips.  With three main compartments, three small zipper pockets, two elastic mesh sleeves, one padded computer slot, heavy duty handle, and padded shoulder straps it has excelled in its new life as my glorified diaper bag.


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Shoved into the elastic sleeves on the side of the bag are the quick clean up products. The travel sized Wet Ones and kleenex are from the impulse buy section of Target, although you could get them in bulk as well.  The Gold Bond hand sanitizer is my choice hand  sanitizer. Kills germs AND keeps your hands from getting dried out.


IMG_3732Inside the middle zippered pouch lives the heart of the diaper bag.  Travel diaper wipes (great for wiping everything from spilled food to dirty bottoms), pacifier wipes, changing pad from my previous bag, Arm and hammer disposable bags (for holding all sorts of foul smelling things), diaper cream, and 4 diapers in a waterproof ditty bag.


IMG_3733In the large zippered compartment is the expanded gear in three bags. The middle bag is another waterproof ditty bag and holds a complete change of clothes for both kids as well as a fresh shirt for mom and dad. Last for this pocket I have a thin blanket (Not Pictured).


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Inside the eBags Slim Lunch Box, now referred to as “The Snack Pack”, are teddy grahams, animal crackers, granola bar, juice box, empty bottle, travel sized formula pouches, a variety of pouched baby food, and a simple bib. Its enough food to get through snack time, nothing needs to be cold, and can be ready in a matter of moments.


IMG_3734The last bag in the line up is the Maxpedition Beefy and serves as my First Aid bag. Sunscreen, Bandaids, alcohol wipes, sprayable Neosporin, lotion, purell, travel Advil and Tylenol (For Dad Mostly), Q-Tips, and a Tide-To-Go pen are strapped in. This is my newest addition and still needs a little work. The Q-tips haven’t served a purpose yet and the stains on my clothes laugh at the meager tide pen.


IMG_3731The front pocket holds a few odds and ends.  A Maglite Mini, assortment of sharpies and pen, and couple reusable twist ties are always useful. I have a square reader because its free and the ability to get paid via credit card swipes is useful. The Jackery Battery ensures that my phone will never be dead in a moment on need.  Although I have my eye on an Aukey Quick Charge Battery to replace it.  It offers a larger battery with 2 charging ports.

(Not Pictured) Disposable Rain Poncho


In the last few pockets are charging cords, a wall charger, a spare set of headphones, various toys, nook clip, spare nook, coloring book, and markers.

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Fully loaded the backpack weighs 12.5 pounds and can keep the kids and adults clean, fed, and entertained for long excursions or roadtrips.  For shorter trips to the store it mostly stays in the car.

Putting the Go-Bag together also inspired me to update my everyday carry pocket gear as well.


Always in my pocket

IMG_3739A flowfold slim wallet holds 4 cards, fishing license, sandwich punch cards, a couple bills and one check blank. My trusty Kershaw Cryo and homemade paracord bracelet are always handy. A Field Notes pocket notebook with Parker Jotter pen for my todo and grocery lists.  Moto360 for time, hands-free notifications, timers, and reminders. Finally Nexus 6, because large screen, beefy battery, and stock Android is where its at.

I also have Bluetooth Earphones but I have yet to find a durable set to recommend. These are great for taking a call while not having to drop everything in my hands.


Expanded Carry

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Last, the Maxpedition Micro. It goes into a pocket on the way out the door.  It has everything I’d use outside the house while not needing the Go-Bag.IMG_3730

 

 

 

 

IMG_3740The most used item are the Princess bandaids. Other items include Arm and hammer disposable bag, nail trimmerLeatherman Juice S2pocket screwdriver, GSX flashlightearplugs, Bic mini, and a couple more reusable twist ties.


Thats it.  The collection is constantly changing though. The toys and snacks get swapped out constantly so neither gets boring. Every month or so I reinventory and remove stuff that hasn’t seen any use.

I’ve include links to most of the items here. Be on the lookout because they are constantly going on sale.  Don’t buy them at full price. Price check often.

The Weight Loss

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May 2014

June 16th, 2014. I stepped on a scale.  It read 387. At that point something clicked in my brain.  I needed to lose some a lot of weight.  In the next few months I was about to move to another state, become a stay at home dad, and become a father again.  A lot was happening and for some reason I needed more change. Life as a guy, nearing the 400lbs mark was uncomfortable to say the least. I didn’t fit into my car, office chairs were confining, airplane seats were painful, and finding pants or shirts that fit was a monumental feat.

280lbs in 2008

280lbs in 2008

I had tried to lose wight in the past, with varying degrees of success. In 2008 I was ~280lbs at my wedding. Its was the lowest weight that I could remember. If memory serves I lost around 30lbs in the months leading up to the big day. Mostly this was accomplished by eating lean cuisines and having 3-5 sessions on an elliptical machine every week. Both habits stopped shortly after the wedding and weight returned and climbed.

We have a lot of pictures from the wedding day, so there is a lot of proof that it was possible to not be a large man. It also gave me my goal, get back to my wedding weight. From 387 to 280lbs, that was my Herculean task.  107lbs.  It was time to get started.

June 17th, 2014. Day one of the diet. it also happened to coincide with my happy hour going away party at work. I didn’t make my calorie goal that day, even though the number seems astronomical to me one year later. The next few days were better making my calorie goal, even though I remember being hungry.

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I am the one on the far right.

That weekend I was in one of my best friends wedding party. Looking back, I feel terrible that I was at the heaviest I would ever be for someones wedding, again many picture exist to remind me. Sorry Aaron and Rhiannon, I wasn’t the best that I could be. I’m more than happy to put on a suit and pose for you, whenever you want.

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Sept 27th, 2014

The weeks went by and I was making progress. The first month I lost 20lbs, the second another 20lbs. I ate a lot of salads, forbidden myself from ice cream, candy, and my beloved Goldfish crackers. over the weeks I had become accustomed to my new lifestyle. It was easier and easier to stay under my calorie goal, which shrank every time I passed a 10lbs mark.  In late September I was at 313lbs, 74lbs down and 33lbs to go.

Oct 26th, 2014

When we brought Dominic home in late October I was 293lbs.  I was out of the 300’s. It felt great, but I wasn’t done yet.

Around Thanksgiving I reached my revised goal of 275lb.  112lb lost. It was the lowest weight I had ever been since I started tracking it after college.

After I met my goal, I allowed myself to relax the diet. I still tracked everything I ate but I bumped up the calorie goal. I reintroduced snacks and let myself eat things like french fries and pizza again, but in a moderated amount (most of the time).

In January Andrea returned to work after her maternity leave and I started phase 2, working out.  On the advise from a friend, we joined the local YMCA.  Not only was it close, but it offered daycare while we worked out. I started a 2-3 workout/week regime of running and weights. I could run 13 minute miles.

IMG_2569Since I hit my goal I haven’t lost any weight, but I can almost run 9 minute miles, I ran a 5k in under 30 minutes, my previous T-Rex arms are slight less puny, and I have a VO2 Max of 43 (whatever that means).

July 6th, 2015

July 6th, 2015

My lifestyle has massively changed in the last year. I still track my diet every day.  I have a 385 day streak to maintain.  I’m not too hard on myself about staying under my goal, I do try to be close.  The kinds of snacks in my house have gone from chips and crackers to yogurt, smoothies, and cheese. I’ve had to replace ever single piece of clothing I own. I’ve gone from a 3XL shirt to an XL-L.  My pants have gone from a 52inch waist to a more respectable 40 inch. I even have a pair of sandals that are too big for me now.

I never thought I would get this far but somehow I did. Now I get to look forward to what I can accomplish next. Here are my new goals.  I would like to run more races. The 5K is a good start maybe I’ll try a 10K in the next year, I want to get under 9 minute miles, and I have a new weight goal set.

Apps that I used for this whole process