Sledding Time

On February 23, 2010, in Family, by scott

After a long, stressful, and emotionally draining weekend, we attempted to return to our normal lives as best we could. Crystal went to the doctor to get something to help her FINALLY kick the cold that has been bothering her for the past week and a half.

When we were eating breakfast this morning, Gabby mentioned that we had a lot of snow outside. It was then I decided we should try to get out and enjoy some of that snow today. I asked her if she wanted to go sledding, and the idea never left her head.

Dilemma: Trying to find a sled in February = not an easy task. If one were to, say, want some beach toys, no problem.

I took a gamble and went to a local sporting goods store… and the gamble paid off!

A Sled!

Now the fun began. Kids + sleds + snow = many good laughs and a few good wipeouts! The only camera we had was my phone, but that is more than enough to show the joy on our two precious children’s faces.

Gabby Getting Ready to Go

Gabby Getting Ready to Race

Brendan in His Sled

Brendan did ride down the hill with me. We also did a trip with Gabby, Brendan, and me in the sled at the same time!

More from today.


My Angel

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The Plank Kicks My Abs!

On February 13, 2010, in Miscellaneous, by scott

In my experience with fitness, I have learned a there are a few things that are true. If you diet or exercise, not both, you will receive less than half of the benefits than if you do both. If you don’t take yourself out of your comfort zone and push your body, it won’t adapt and you won’t grow. If you eat more than you burn, you won’t lose weight (depending on your goals, this might be ok.) But the one thing that has recently effected me has been if you do the same exercises, your body will eventually adapt and slow down on it’s growth or even stop growing. This phenomenon, as you may know, is known as a plateau.

To break through a plateau, one needs to perform different exercises, different ranges of motion, and make their body adapt to something new and different.  In the February 2010 edition of Muscle and Fitness there was an article that wrote about some tried and true techniques that have been around forever but people don’t seem to use anymore. One of the areas it spoke of was abs. Looking for some variety from sit-ups, crunches, reverse crunches, leg raises, hanging leg raises, and V-ups, I noticed something that looked (deceptively) simple called the Plank.  It looked simple enough. Lay down like I’m going to do a push up, then get up on my toes and elbows, and hold it for 60 seconds. Easy… until about 30 seconds into the exercise.

Discovering this simple, new to me, do anywhere ab workout excited me. I felt it the next day, it improved my posture, and made me dread doing it again. Effective. It made such an impression on me, that the next time I was home, I showed it to Crystal. It was then that I learned that it’s been around as a yoga pose for quite a while (and who knows how long before that, hence the type of article I was reading when I learned about the plank.) She then told me about holding the pose, then raising the same side arm and leg in the air. WOW, is that not an easy thing to do. With practice, this came to be what I do toward the end of the rep.

After many 30 second reps incorporated into my workout, I’ve been able to work up the time I can hold it. It is now the exercise I use to finish an ab workout.

Give it a try and let me know how you do. One thing is for certain with me, the plank kicks my abs.

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Cheat Day(s)

On February 11, 2010, in Miscellaneous, by scott

After about five weeks of following the diet, working out 6 days a week, and running or cycling 3 days a week, I took about 24 hours off from the diet. I still rode the bike, but I also enjoyed a couple Paczkis, a deliciously greasy burrito, and a few of Bell’s finest.

Now that the cravings have been met, it’s time to pick up right where I left off. When I did body for life, one of the things I remembered was persistance, not perfection. No one can keep a perfect diet all the time. We need to treat ourselves once in a while. (that program has a whole cheat day)

While not really watching what I was eating as carefully, I realized how easily one can fall right back into old habits. The big difference, for me, is how I felt. My body was telling me that something wasn’t right. After eating healthy whole foods, with low sugar, my body wasn’t really ready for the junk I put in it.

Leg day today followed by a day of running tomorrow.

Stay warm everyone!

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Christmas… in February

On February 7, 2010, in Family, by scott

No, the title isn’t a typo. Last week, Michael, Kelly, and Madelyn all came over to FINALLY celebrate Christmas.

It was a great time. We don’t get to see each other as often as we would like, but when we get together it is always fun.

After the presents were opened, Scott and Mike enjoyed some Wii bowling. Crystal and Kelly enjoyed talking and playing with Play-doh with the girls. As you can see from the photos, the Play-doh is something that is taken quite seriously.

Merry Christmas (A couple months late, but better late than never!)

Gabby and Madelyn at DinnerBrendan at Dinner

Brendan at Dinner

Play-Doh Time


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On February 1, 2010, in Family, by scott


Not to brag, but I am married to the most amazing woman on the planet. One that puts up with (but not necessarily likes) my profession, being a single parent on days I’m working, and still loves me and want to spend time with me.

Knowing that there is a rock, a foundation back at home allows me to sleep at night. Taking care of the kids, working full time, and keeping the house in some form of order is no easy task. She is truly a superwoman. She is the love of my life. She is the glue that holds our family together. We love you! (all three of us)


As of late, Crystal has been grading into early hours of the morning. She is also having to get up early and drop our wonderful children off at daycare when I am at work. Top this off with a not so ideal transition between bid months and we have an overly tired mom/wife.

Through it all, she keeps the Tazlaarian humor I have known to love about her. She is more than willing to crack a joke and have a good laugh. Even during less than desirable discussions between the two of us, if one of our kids says something funny, or the opportunity presents itself, she will always jump on the opportunity to laugh and show that smile that I love.

I just wanted to take a minute to tell her that I love her and thank her for everything she does. I thank God every day for her and all she does for us, for me, for our kids, and for herself.

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Chili Day

On January 29, 2010, in Miscellaneous, by scott

Healthy, hearty, delicious, sweet, spicy, hot, mild, white, red, no bean, no meat… all adjectives use to describe chili.Chili seems to be a food everyone makes. No two recipes are the same. No two chilies taste the same, but they are all delicious.

I’ve been on a bit of a blogging kick this week, so I figured why not chronicle our little chili day recipe.

Neither Crystal nor I had an actual recipe to make the delicious batch of goodness when we got married. Through trial and error, we have finally constructed a list of ingredients that we thoroughly enjoy.

The first thing we do is cut a ton of fresh peppers and onions.


The Vegetable Medley

We then cut up some lean meat. Our meat of choice is venison. Here are some butterflied back-straps. Tasty, lean, and a great source of low fat, low cholesterol protein (that melts in your mouth).

The meat

The Meaty Goodness

Now, for the not so fresh part… the wet stuff. Beans and tomatos in various forms as well as some beef stock. Occasionally we will add some red wine.

The Wet Stuff

We place everything in the crock pot, stir, and WAIT.

The Goodness

It should be ready to eat in five to six hours, but it honestly tastes best if you can go low and slow for the night and the following day.

Our recipe isn’t the best there is. We wouldn’t ever claim it to be. Just a delicious mix of ingredients that we love and call our Chili.

Bon Apetite! (This waiting isn’t always fun… but the whole house smells delicious!)

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Lesson Learned

On January 28, 2010, in Family, Miscellaneous, by scott

In an effort to increase my overall physical fitness and lose some weight, I started running last fall. I took the program up a notch at the beginning of January by following the Body for Life eating plan. This workout and diet lifestyle plan has worked for me in the past, so I figured why not go back to what  works?

One of the things I did was to stop drinking any form of alcohol. I wasn’t a heavy drinker, but I did enjoy a beer or two a couple of times a week.  Oddly, the nights I would have a beverage, one of the kids would have a horrible night resulting in a long morning the next day.

By cutting out the alcohol, mornings have seldom been difficult. The kids have also been doing well sleeping through the night.

Then… last night.

The temperature outside was too cold to run. Crystal and I had been contemplating a cheat night with the diet. After we put the kids to bed, I got dressed to hit the bike downstairs for a few miles.  Five minutes after that, I was dressed in regular clothes and headed to the store (no workout).

When I returned, I had a caramel fudge brownie for my beautiful wife and a beverage (Bombay Sapphire) with a diet mixer for myself.

As I was half way through my second glass, it hit me.  I hadn’t been drinking in a while and I was feeling pretty darn happy. Crystal was working on her grades and we were enjoying some great conversation. Couple time. The two of us.

We went to bed a little later than we normally would. By this point, both of the kids had been sleeping for a while.

Early morning, Gabby is screaming “MOMMY!” Gabby threw up all over her bed, mommy’s doing what she can to take care of Gabby, and daddy’s not waking up too well. I eventually woke up enough to help out, get Gabby dressed, and in bed with us for the rest of the night. (Brendan ended up sleeping until almost 8!)

I’m not saying it is because I had a beverage last night, but it sure made for another long morning.

Coincidence, or a little message from God? I am leaning toward latter.

Lesson learned.

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On January 27, 2010, in Miscellaneous, Travel, by scott


You may find it hard to believe, but Hawaii is a place I’ve always wanted to visit.  The way I ended up there wasn’t the way I had intended. A vacation with my wife and family is what I would have preferred. Alas, our bidding system awarded me the five day trip that gives us a long layover in Honolulu.

I’ve always though of Hawaii as being a land of lush forests, sandy beaches with palm trees swaying in the breeze, and secluded pools with small waterfalls just made for swimming.

*Disclaimer: This is NOT a complaint about going to Hawaii*

Enter reality. Honolulu, and Waikiki beach, is still a magnificent place to visit. However, it wasn’t the tropical paradise I had imagined. The view from the 31st floor hotel room resembled that of a night in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, or just about any other large city that isn’t New York.

Downtown Honolulu

The location of our hotel was prime. The hotel was located right on Waikiki beach. Simply cross the road and you are at the ocean. The view was a bit more of what I had expected. Palms, waves, sand, and a ton of beach goers.

On the beach, there is a landmark that is rather well known in the area. It is a statue of Duke Kahanamoku. Duke, according to the link, is “the most famous name in surfing.” A notable thing about Duke’s statue is the fact that there is a webcam focused on him. I was able to call home early in the morning, have Crystal log on to the webcam website, and was able to wave at my family from the beach! The delay was about 30 seconds, but it was still fun. (I have since opened a browser and just watched the people walk by carrying surf boards.

Duke Statue

Unfortunately, the days we were there, the sun really didn’t show itself. There were many people on the beach hoping it would be a sunset to remember, however, the photos presented themselves in the waiting more so than the sunset.


The most memorable thing on the trip for me, however, is surfing. The surf culture is obvious from the locals, to the surf shops on every corner, and concluding with the surf rental stands throughout the beach. It was obviously a large part of the area. The water, , the rolling waves, the smell of the ocean, it was all there. This was something I had always wanted to experience. I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity and I took advantage of that.

Surf's Up

The first try, I caught the wave, and a mouth full of salt water. The second try, I got up on the board! Five seconds later, I was swimming again. By the end of our hour and a half session, I was able to catch a wave, get up on the board, ride quite a distance into shore, then get down on the board again to paddle out for the next ride. One thing I did learn was that for every good ride and every good wave, there was a LONG paddle out for the next wave.  Surfing is something I totally enjoyed, and I look forward to being able to ride again, be it Hawaii, California, or the Caribbean.

Overall, it was a great layover. I have learned that the vacation we take to Hawaii will more than likely be to Maui or Kona, but for a layover, it was a good time. I’ve included a couple of shots of me surfing… and wiping out.




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A Small Upgrade

On January 26, 2010, in Family, Miscellaneous, by scott

Long story short…
Brendan is a climber. He climbs on anything and uses anything to pull himself up. Case in point: our 120+ pound Sony Wega.

Brendan Climbing

Brendan using the Wega as a handle to climb.

After seeing repeated attempts by our little guy to climb up higher and higher, and his refusal to acknowledge he understands the word “no!” I had reached a point where I started worrying. That television is not only heavy, but it is front heavy.

Our solution:

New TV

New Samsung LCD HDTV

A new LCD TV that weighs 40 pounds and can be tethered to the wall!

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On May 31, 2009, in Family, by scott


What’s in a number? 615 may not sound like anything to you, but to Crystal and me, 615 is the place we started our family.

Four and a half years ago, Crystal took a job at Waverly Schools in Lansing. I was flying for Expressjet Airlines and we made the move to Portland, Michigan. We found some apartments we liked, and our address was 615.

In our time at the apartment, Crystal earned tenure, I got hired at Continental Airlines, and we were blessed with two beautiful children.

Today, we finished the cleaning out of the apartment. As of midnight tonight, we no longer hold the lease on 615.

Here is our home for the past four years. Here is where we grew into the family we are today. Here is where we went from a young couple to a young family.

615 will always provide us with wonderful memories.

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