Camp & Other Stuff

Our oldest son went to overnight scout camp last week for the first time. Mark went out to the camp on Friday to spend the day with him there, and then brought him home late that afternoon. We were probably typical of most parents who send their child off to camp for the first time. We wondered about his overall safety, and we were concerned about how he would behave during the week without us there to monitor him. The personal safety issue is something you never have much control over, so we prayed. That was about all we could do. The behavior issue is something that you work on all the time, but you can only wait to see how it will turn out. We prayed about that, too.

When Mark went out to the camp on Friday, he found a very happy 10-year-old. When Calvin got home, he went on and on about the projects he had started, the badges he had earned, and all the activities of the week. So he was safe and happy. On the behaviour front, we couldn’t be more pleased. The cub master gave Calvin a reward for his good behavior all week. Scout camp was a good experience for Calvin and for us. It reminds us how much he is growing up, and that is a little emotional for me. But, I was proud of him for being enthusiastic about all the events of the week and for obeying the authorities in charge of him.

Nevin and Evangeline attended Kid Fit day camp at a county recreation center all last week. This worked out nicely because it kept them busy during Calvin’s absence. They were exposed to 5 different sports, learned a little about nutrition, and went swimming every afternoon. They were tired, but happy after a week of activity.

Charis was left with with us for the week, and she wasn’t always happy. But we did fit in a play date with friends and one afternoon of swimming.

Next week, the kids are heading to VBS at another PCA church in town. They are looking forward to it because the theme is Narnia. I start working at a new job this week,

We are also gearing up for school to start. I went to Wal-mart yesterday with three school supply lists, and I left with several bags and $100 subtracted from our checking account. I am glad to have the task behind me though. It seems like it shouldn’t be that hard, but the lists are always long, and the teachers are very specific about what they want the students to have–for instance, “scissors—Fiskars, pointed tip.” With all the stuff the stores have out in the school supply area, it feels overwhelming. It took me about 2 hours to get it all together, but I shouldn’t have to go back for anything.

That’s all that’s new. I know this was a matter of fact sort of post, but with me that’s what you get most of the time. Hope you have a great week.

High Ideals

This week, our oldest son has been at overnight scout camp. (The parents have had a hard time dealing with it, but he has done great. More about this later.) Our two middle children have been going to a sports/fitness day camp. I still have Charis at home, but I had grand visions of the work I would complete this week–high ideals.

As you might guess, the 5 hours I had between taking the kids to camp and picking them up were eaten up each day by things that were not on my to-do list–appointments I had to schedule to get ready for the new school year, errands I had to run, etc. So this morning, I was thinking, “I really have nothing scheduled today. I need to get these letters in the mail, and then I’ll run out to Wal-Mart Super Center to get groceries and a few other things I need. Finally, I’ll accomplish something on my to-do list.”

So I headed west from the rec center where I had left Nevin and Evangeline for camp. Charis was riding along with me happily. I made it about 4 miles, when I looked at the clock. It was 9:38. It dawned on me at that moment that the AC guy was supposed to be at my house at 10 am. Mark was not there. He had gone out to the scout camp to spend the last day of camp with Calvin. I got on another highway heading east and prayed I could get there by 10. I pulled onto my street, and there, on my porch, stood the AC guy.

So now, I am sitting at my desk while the AC guy works on our unit. I have work to do, but I feel a little uneasy having a workman in the house. So it is hard to settle into a real project.

Will I ever make it to Wal-mart today? Or even another closer grocery store? It’s hard to say. I suppose I can begin preparing my high ideals for next week to see if they can get knocked down, too.

Wait Loss

That’s me. Waiting to lose.

I thought I would update you on the weight loss efforts. I had about a 10-day period in the middle of July where I didn’t stick to my program. I could list the excuses, but I won’t. I have been doing better this week, but honestly, the program I am on is very strict, and while the weight loss has been good, it often doesn’t feel worth all the sacrifice. So I am taking a different tact now. I am continuing to follow the program strictly for breakfast and lunch, eating very little carbs, lots of greens, and lots of low-fat protein as well as taking flaxseed oil and other supplements prescribed to me by my doctor. Then for dinner, I will allow myself a healthy carb (i.e. brown rice, whole wheat noodles, etc.). For my own sanity, I think my life will be easier and I’ll still lose weight if I can fix casseroles with healthy carbs in them for my family instead of regularly making some meat and salad or vegetables for Mark and me while giving the kids the meat with some filler carb. I think in the long run it will be healthier for the kids, too. The other element that has changed is exercise. For about the last 3 weeks, I have been exercising more. First week, I exercised 4 times, second 3 times, this week 4 already. I am hopeful that if the program is a little easier to stick with and I am exercising more, I’ll see results. They say if you stick with something for 6 weeks, it is likely to become a habit. I am half-way to making exercise a habit for myself again.

So I haven’t weighed in a few weeks, and I don’t think I will for a while. I am trying to watch how my clothes fit as a sign of whether this is working for me. Exercise always takes a while to show results on the scale because of the whole muscle weighing more than fat thing, so I think the scale may not show much at first. I think it will still be slow, but any loss is better than staying the same or gaining.

New Job

I am starting a new job next week. I’ll be working for at a state licensing agency that is run by a church friend. For the month of August, I’ll be working part-time. In September, the plan is to go to full-time. So this will also be a new routine to factor in to the weight loss strategy. This job is an answer to prayer for us. I have been looking for something for a while. I appreciate this job because it means working sooner, and therefore earning sooner; the owner of the agency will be flexible with my schedule which is a big plus; there are some benefits with the job.

Another Laundry Entry

So, a few weeks back, Charis ate some ice cream. It had chocolate syrup on it. By the time she was finished, the chocolate and ice cream had spilled all over her lime green shirt. I proceeded to spend much time and effort to remove the stain. Every time I washed a new load of laundry, I tossed this shirt in the washer covered with Shout. The stain was fading, but it still didn’t come out. So, my final attempt to get the stain out was to scrub Borax into the soiled area on top of Shout. Then after a few days when the Borax was dry, I tossed it in for it’s final time. At last, the stain was gone.

I bought this shirt at the beginning of summer for $3.88 from at Wal-mart. So why was it so important to me to remove the stain? It had become an obsession. I am sure I spent at least twice as much removing the stain as I did on the shirt in the first place.

Tonight they offered free ice cream after the evening service at church. Charis ate some, and she was wearing the lime green shirt. Once again there is a need for stain removal. Is it worth it? Perhaps I should just throw it away.

Someone at church tonight told me about a stain removal product from the dollar store called Awesome. I may have to pick some up and give it a try.

Do you have any valuable laundry stain removal tips?

What Does 41 Look Like

Forty-one looks like . . .

. . . Having 4 little children come to me individually to wish me a happy birthday.

. . . Looking at an e-card with a 3-year-old on my lap saying, “It’s your birthday Mommy.”

. . . Having each little child come to me asking “do we have any tape?” “what about wrapping paper or gift bags?” “construction paper?”

. . . Having my 3-year-old say, “Who’s coming over for your birthday?” “We can eat cake, play games.”

. . . Getting homemade cards with wonderful dvds and books from 4 little children and my sweet husband.

. . . Hearing little voices say to one another, “Don’t talk about the cake. . . it’s a surprise.”

. . . Hearing the same little voices sing Happy Birthday to me and eating cake wtih them.

. . . Vacuuming after eating cake with 4 little children.

. . . Going to Blueberry Hill for supper with the all my precious family.

. . . Being proud to be the mom to 4 kids when a mother of 2 at the restaurant tells me how impressed she is and how she could never do it.

. . . Coming home to find an army of ants all over my kitchen sink.

. . . Nearly ruining a really fun day by getting frustrated about the ants and having to clean up and spray poison rather than relaxing like I wanted to.

. . . Realizing I set the example for my kids . . . no wonder they get so upset when things don’t go their way.

. . . Thanking God that He forgives me and gives me many more chances to set a better example.

. . . Thanking God that my kids and husband forgive me, too.

. . . Thanking God that most of my memories of today are good ones.

A New Music Find

I listen to NPR in my car. Today on Talk of the Nation Neil Conan was interviewing a “neo-soul” artist named India Arie. Between interview questions, she and her band performed. I really liked the music, and there are parts of her “message” that I think are important for kids–especially girls–to understand. She talks a lot about self-acceptance. And, while I think we need to know ourselves well enough to see things that need to change, we also need to accept who we are more than we often do. Here are the lyrics to her song, “Video:”

[Verse 1]
Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don

Is God laughing?

I know God has good reason for the timing of things in our lives. I was married at the ripe old age of 26, and God didn’t see fit to give us children until my eldest son arrived when I was nearly 31. I am not sure of all the reasons God had us wait longer than we had hoped, but sometimes I think one reason might be for His own entertainment. Today was one of those times.

Mark and I took our 3 oldest children to Six Flags today. We haven’t travelled any this summer, so we have been trying to do a few of the fun things you can do in St Louis. They each received a one-day pass for Six Flags from their school, so we only had to pay for our own admission to take them.

Mark rode the big roller coasters with the boys while I went with Evangeline in search of rides she was tall enough to be allowed on. Well, Mark certainly felt the effects of the high speed and great heights he attained while on the Batman ride and “the Boss.” The one ride more adventurous ride I agreed to go on with Evangeline was called “the Highland Fling.” It starts off going in circles from a horizontal position and ends up with the cars in a vertical position and being spun around very fast. As I was being lifted into the air, my head began to throb, and my stomach came up in my throat. I felt like I do when I am coming down with the flu. Then, when the ride ended and I had to get off, I had to steady myself to walk in a straight line. It easily took a full 30 minutes for me to regain my composure and to feel like doing much of anything else.

The rest of the day we hit a few more rides and some time at the Hurrican Harbor water park area. It was fun to see the kids enjoying themselves, but I have to imagine that God was chuckling to Himself when he saw Mark and me trudging from one place to another in the 100-degree heat, only longing for the time when we would be in our nice air conditioned van and on our way home to our comfy little house.

Charis is only 3. How many more times do you think we will have to go to amusement parks in the hottest part of the summer? Will I be 50 and riding the Highland Fling with Charis and her pre-teen friends? I suppose God will still have a sense of humor then, too.

Nothing Much

Ok. Update on life.

Diet — Not weighing this week so as not to discourage myself into stopping all my efforts. I have had a weird schedule this week that has made preparing all the special stuff hard, so I have been a bit off course. I’m getting back on course today.

Life — I am looking into going back to work full-time after 10 years of mostly being at home with the kids and a few part-time gigs along the way. I interviewed for a professional marketing position a few weeks back, and I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to get the job. But upon going home and thinking about it, I decided a less stressful job that I could leave “at the office” would be more compatible with the raising of 4 children. So I started looking into administrative assistant jobs that would give me a little variety, not too much stress, and no work to take home with me. I interviewed for a such a job yesterday. I would like it to work out, so we’ll see.

Kids–They went to VBS at a church in our neighborhood this week. It was well-organized, and our children were very welcome there. They heard some Bible stories, sang some songs, did some crafts, played around, and overall enjoyed themselves. I appreciated all the work of the volunteers since I directed VBS at our church last year, and I know how much time and effort goes into pulling it off. So thanks Rooftop Community Church.

Old Friend

An old friend of mine has had a blog for a while now. This a woman who worked as a residence director at my Christian college and served as my boss for one of my year’s there when I was an RA in a house on campus where upperclassmen girls lived. Denise, my friend, is probably 3 maybe 4 years older than me. In some ways, she has taken a very different path than mine, but I appreciate her insights. I also enjoy her writing style. I think it’s similar to Lauren Winner–memoiresque in a literary sort of way. If you have a chance, drop by Denise’s blog. It’s a little mental vacation to read about her life by the New England sea.

Removing my burden

Here’s the update on the dieting efforts . . .

I’ve added one pound to the loss column making the total loss now 17 pounds. This is not nearly as good as what I was hoping for, but it is a move in the right direction, so I’ll take it.

I have exercised 4 times in the past week, and I’ll likely get in one more time before I go to sleep tonight. Hopefully, this will increase my losses so my next report is better.

I bought two new (from a thrift shop) pairs of jeans at the end of the school year. One pair was snug, but wearable. The other pair was only wearable using the old lay-on-the-bed-to-zip them trick. I’ve been able to zip them without that trick for about a month, but yesterday when I put them on, they were noticeably looser. This is a good thing. I am hoping that by sometime in September they will be too big to wear.