Friday, January 31, 2014

Thoughts on Being Competetive...and Overly So...

It's official - my lifestyle has changed.  Back in October 2013, Greg and I joined a program called Max Fitness, and it's totally transformed our lives.  We've completely changed the way we eat, and we've been exercising 5 days a week!  It's been a wonderful change for both of us as individuals, as well as a couple.  We're both, in general, healthier versions of ourselves.  Of course, like always, Greg has had a much easier time than I have with the weight loss portion - I've probably lost a grand total of only 10 lbs, and he's somewhere around 20+, but we've definitely both changed a good way!

Part of the reason I say this has been a total lifestyle change is that we've basically gotten into the routine of what the program requires...and although there are days when I want to just break down and eat a dang cheeseburger or some pizza...we have pretty minimal challenges in making the principals of the nutrition plan work in our every day lives, and I see no reason why we'd change or regress at any point in the future.  Plus the exercise portion is usually fun, has remained challenging, and allows us to interact on a daily basis with people who have committed to the same changes we have.  Overall, it's a very positive process, and the support system is really what makes it so successful in my opinion.

So, here's the sticky wicket.  At the end of each exercise class that we attend, the entire class does a plank.  If you're not sure what that's a picture of some random woman performing the exercise:

Basically, you engage your entire body in an endurance challenge to hold the core of your body tight for an extended period of time. 

When we started this challenge, Greg and I, along with everyone else in our class, found it challenging to hold the plank position for just 20 seconds.  The below image pretty much explains how I, personally, felt about planking for the first 4 or 5 weeks of the initial 10-week challenge:

Since mid-way through our first 10-week challenge, I've become more comfortable doing planks, and have even advanced my abilities to include side planks:

And 3-Point Planks:

And I'm currently working on mastering a 2-Point Plank:

All of that progress aside, I cannot forget that feeling of being a newbie and feeling challenged to hold just a simple plank for just 20 seconds.  It was difficult.  And, even now, with these advanced plank moves, I still find it challenging to hold a plank for more than 2-3 minutes.

On January 13, a new 10-week challenge began, and our exercise class got a whole gang of new members looking to transform their lives.  The classes are intermixed, so, since Greg and I are still participants in the program, we work out alongside the newbies.  It's an excellent business model because, the workouts are designed so that they can be modified up or down depending on your fitness abilities, and, it's been proven that working out with people who are more physically fit than you naturally motivates you to push yourself harder.  On top of that, the program relies on "Legacy" members to provide help, as needed, to people who are just starting the program.

So, this week, with the new members only 3 weeks into the program, and, presumably, like me, still feeling like the elephant caught in a bad position when they're trying to plank for a mere 30 seconds, there has been a challenge to see who can hold their plank the longest.  It started out innocently, and reasonably, enough.  People were holding planks for 2-3 minutes and feeling great (and trust me...that's hard work!).  But, we've now progressed, in less than 5 days, to people holding their planks for 10 minutes and more.  I'm not joking.  It's ridiculous.  I held one plank once for 4 minutes.  And that was pretty exciting.  But 10 minutes is a bit overdone, in my opinion.  I mean, sure, it's a challenge, but at what point do we start defeating ourselves (and probably demotivating our peers) when we're so focused on the length of a plank rather than the proper form held for a reasonable, do-able amount of time? 

Like I said, we perform the plank exercise at the end of each class.  And, you know what?  We end up running over time -- literally every day this week - because we're waiting for one or two people (out of 15-20) to finish their marathon plank.  Of course, everyone has to sit there and cheer the person (or people) on so that they are motivated to continue.  But, to me, it all seems a bit forced.  Even when I did my own personal best and held up for 4 minutes, I was a bit uncomfortable with, although grateful for, all the attention that was on me, pushing me to hold on just a bit more.

I feel like, if we're going to spend many minutes doing something as a should be something that's benefiting all of us health-wise.  Classes are only 45 minutes long.  And, lots of time, we spend the last 3-4 minutes (and then go into OT) focused on planking.  To me, we should be focusing more time on perhaps more sit-ups, or push-ups, or running, or something...that everyone can do.  Having 75% or more of the class simply sitting and cheering someone else on doesn't seem that great of a use of time to me.  Even when I'm the one planking.  And, frankly, to me, it seems the least fair to the new people who are just struggling to get to class and participate.

Maybe I'm just not that into competition?  Or maybe I've lost my edge.  Either way, I needed to vent.  So...there.

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


 I know it's been forever since I have posted anything.  In fact, I even considered never posting again just so that I wouldn't have to deal with the guilt that comes with sporadically posting -- and trust me -- I feel guilty!  But then I had to take a step back and REMEMBER...that the reason I have this thing in the first place is so that I can write stuff for "the world" to see - but I have absolute control over it and it's my perogative to post as often or as infrequently as I'd like.  So...with that said.  I'm back.  For at least today.  You're welcome :)

Really, I just wanted to post some pictures from our trip (in AUGUST!) to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It was the first time I'd been to the OBX since 1999 (the year I graduated from high school and went off to college).  Prior to that, I had been a handful of times, and always with my family.  We used to load up our suburban full of toys, food, beach blankets, and a couple of bathing suits, and drive the 9 hours down to "the shore" and spend a week in a beach house - always with some of my Mom's sisters and their families.  Those were fantastic family memories!  And, to me, beach vacations are the ultimate way to relax while getting away!  There's literally  not much to do but sit on the beach or at the pool, sunbathe, eat, drink, and be merry.  And, that, we DID!

All told, there were 14 people with us including my Grandmother and my 3-week old nephew, Emitt.  We stayed in a house about 2 blocks away from the beach that had it's own private pool and hot tub.  The weather wasn't great during the week we were there, but we made do, and, personally, I got a TON of reading time in, so that was amazing.

Here's some pictures of our glorious time together.  We didn't take many pictures - especially of all of us together as a group.  But, we sure did have a great time!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Family's First Boy!

I'm proud to be an Aunt to this little adorable boy, my first nephew, Emitt Philip Wismer.  He was born on Sunday, July 21, 2013 and weighed in at 6 lbs., 10.7 oz.  Mom and baby are both doing great - they were sent home from the hospital today.  I know I'm totally biased, but I think he's quite perfect.  Greg and I got to see him Sunday night, when he was only about an hour old, he's the tiniest little thing - and we were both instantly in love. 

As my sister Adrea so eloquently put it, "The female cycle has been broken!"  Bring on the Tonka Trucks, Transformers, and G.I. Joe's, we're ready, Little Man!

Friday, May 31, 2013

On Passing Tests and Planning Trips

It's official, I'm legally a Professional Engineer!  That means that I can actually sign off on official engineering drawings and be liable for their contents (eek!).  Here's my results letter:

Results Notice
PE - Environmental Exam

State Board: New Jersey
Exam Type: PE - Environmental
Exam Date: April 2013
Exam Result: Pass
Congratulations! You have achieved a passing score on your recent NCEES exam. Please note that NCEES does not release numeric exam scores; results are reported as pass or fail only.

See below for information on how to proceed with the licensing process in your state. We wish you continued success in your career.

Your certification/license will be issued by the State of New Jersey within 60 days of passing the NJ Law examination, receipt of the Activation of License form and all license fees. If you passed the FE exam, you must also forward your final transcript to the NJ Board prior to the issuance of your certification. You will receive written notification and a copy of the NJ Law Examination if you have passed the FE/PE examination and have not already taken the NJ Law Examination. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE BOARD OFFICE FOR ANY MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE NJ LAW EXAMINATION.


I'm beyond excited, and, truthfully, RELIEVED!  That I don't ever have to take that exam ever again!  And, really, that I don't have to study any more!  Ever if I really don't want to.  I mean, unless I go back to school to get a master's or a MBA, there's no reason for me to study ever again for anything!  Weird, right? 

We'll see what happens!

In other news, Greg and I just booked tickets to go to Ireland with my Grandmother, Mom, Aunt, and Cousin in the fall.  I'm very excited about going back to the Green Isle - Greg and I went once before we were married - and the country is truly spectacular!  I can't wait to taste delicious Ireland-sourced Guiness, eat tons of potatoes, and dodge sheep herds while driving from town to town.  It's going to be EPIC!  Here's a picture of our first trip to'll be fun to compare these pictures to the ones we'll get in a few months...I'm sure we look much older now!  haha.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Love Letter to my Husband

My Dearest,

Phew, where has the time gone?  Five seemingly short years ago, while on a hot, sunny beach on a tiny island off the coast of Puerto Rico, we vowed to love, support, protect, cherish, and laugh with each other for the rest of our lives.  We made all those promises based on getting to know each other as "more than friends" for a mere 1 year and a couple months.  But, at the time, I hadn't been more sure of anything in my life.  Plain and simple, you were (and are to this day) THE ONE!

These past five years have been tremendous.  We have gone from being somewhat careless city dwellers to suburban homeowners.  From hockey-stand builders to true do-it-yourself construction "experts" (even if we're the only ones who will certify that to be true).  We have traveled to distant continents as well as explored a few near-home locales, all of which have been intriguing in their own right, but none have been more comforting than the calm we feel when we return to the home we've made together!  We have experienced MANY ups and our fair share of downs, but we have managed to stay on the same page, forever forging forward, together, in what is now OUR life.

In the grand scheme of things, five years doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment.  Especially when you compare our longevity with that of many of our friends and family, who have managed to stay the course of loving one person for 10, 20, 30 years and more.  However, based on the life we've lived these past 5 years, I have not one doubt that we will surely be celebrating a Golden Anniversary, together, 45 years from today.  Think about that.  45 years from now.  That's more years away than either of us has been on this earth individually.  And, yet, I'm confident that we'll be old, gray, wrinkled, and still together, and, more importantly, still in love 45 years from today.  I HOPE that we'll be comfortably retired at that point also - but even that I'm not 100% sure of.

I know I don't take enough time in our normal day-to-day routines to stop and thank you for simply being the one person I share my life with - the one who I want sharing in my every happiness, every pitfall, and every roller-coaster ride in between.  Sometimes, when I talk about you with other people, I realize just how lucky I am to have such a loving, devoted, understanding, and non-judgemental person standing by my side.  You truly are my rock. 

Thank you for being unjaded, and for constantly striving to get me to see things through the same rose colored glasses you seem to wear daily.  Your ability to see the positive side of every situation amazes me - and your willingness to work hard to achieve your goals without letting the "little things" slow you down sometimes seems like a miracle to me, who gets caught up and hung up on too many details to see the big picture you see so clearly.

Most importantly, my dear, thank you for choosing me.  I have no idea what I did in this life or ones I've lived in the past, but I am positively certain that good karma and some act of kindness from "the gods" had a hand in us ending up together.  I love you more today that I did 5 years ago, and I look forward to experiencing our love grow as we both grow as individuals and together as the super awesome team that we are.

Happy Anniversary. 


Sarah :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

We have PLANTS!

Forgive the picture quality, as these were taken on my terrible Blackberry phone, but we finally have some plants in front of our house!  We are also trying to grow more grass, so we spread some topsoil, which is why there are parts of the lawn that look like big patches of dirt. In the front of the porch, we have pencil hollies on the outer-most corners, dwarf lilacs in the center, burning bushes adjacent to the stairs, and Jacob's Ladder in front of all three.  Around the tree, we have hostas, coral bells, day lillies, and more Jacob's Ladder.  I hope these things all grow in nicely!  Greg did a great job of outlining the garden borders using Belgian Block we got for free from our town (SCORE!).  I still wish the garden to the right of the stairs was a bit higher in elevation so that everythign in the front of our house didn't look so askew, but, to accomplish that, we'd need to add a retaining wall and fill in soil from the sidewalk back, plus we'd need to raise the screen stuff under the porch - which, as you all know, took entirely too much time to get installed last year, so we aren't really interested in modifying it at this point.

We'll see what happens as these plants grow in - I was afraid of planting too many things close together, but the front still looks a little bit bare to me.  Here's hoping these things start growing and blooming!


Friday, March 29, 2013

I've Been a Very Bad Christian

Today is Good Friday.  And Greg asked me this morning if this was the day that Jesus had the Last Supper with the Apostles.  And I promptly replied, "No, today is the day Christ rose from the dead."  Then I stopped and thought for a minute at the same time that Greg said "Umm, didn't he rise on Easter?"

RIGHT!  I thought.  Easter.  That's when Christ rose from the dead.  And it was a miracle because it was three days after he died...three days...count back from Sunday...three days prior is Friday...making Good Friday the day that Jesus died.  Of course.

It scares me just a little that I had to think about this.  Because, as I've said before, I acknowledge that I'm not a practicing Catholic - but seriously, I went through a LOT of religious education, PLUS I went to church every single Sunday of my life from the time I was born up until I was 17 (almost 18) and headed to college.  I have all the tools I need to know exactly how to answer my curious husband with definitive and correct answers related to the fundamental principals and, certainly, the MOST PROMINENT FOUNDATION of Catholicism!  Yet, today, I FAILED!  Miserably.

I don't know why this bothers me so much, but it does.  Certainly I don't like failing at anything, but it's more than that.  I feel a little bit sad to know that I've lost a little bit of something that was such a huge part of my childhood.  Logically, I understand that it's because of my choice to no longer practice Catholicism, and being out of practice gives plenty of reason for why my knowledge would diminish - I'm just shocked that the diminished part is about the most important celebration in the Catholic church.

Now I'm off to prepare for this most festive holiday.  Have a Happy Easter everyone!  Afterall, it is the day that Jesus saved all the Bunny rabbits in Nazareth and brought them to a manger and had formerly scandalous women wrap the bunnies in cloth that was stolen from some dead person's tomb while his mother, Mary, cried because all she wanted was for Jesus to turn some water into wine so she could drink to forget that, despite her uncouth upbringing, her son Jesus was in love with Mary Magdalen.  Or something like that right???