Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Catching Up

Holy mackerel.

I have written at least 14 blog posts in my head over the last week, but I can't get them written out in the same way they play out in my mind.

So, until I am able to organize my thoughts into words, here is a little snippet of what I was able to enjoy up at Camp MIA Shalom all of last week - an amazing group of Youth Camp Leaders. They were an outstanding group of young women who worked together very well. This is a clip of the cheer they came up with for our last flag ceremony. (I love these girls!)

You see what I'm saying? Awesome.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scout Camp

Coolister just got back from a week of scout camp. I had agreed to drive up to Scofield and help shuttle the boys back home this morning, and it was totally worth it - for 2 reasons.

First, the story of the Canoe Swamping Contest. In short, Coolister's team was doomed. But just before the main contenders were able to swamp Coolister's canoe, the struggle to swamp each other was brought to a halt. The scoutmaster watched from the shore and realized that Coolister had pulled out his negotiating skills to avoid defeat - and the other team was going for it. Coolister was telling them, "Look, guys - it's obvious we're the two best groups out here. So why don't we work together to eliminate all of the other teams and then battle it out at the end?" And it worked. They backed off, both teams swamped every other canoe, and in the end Coolister's team emerged triumphant.

I love that kid. He can talk his way out of anything. (Which is not always a good thing.)

Second, there is nothing in this world that can match the irony of a suburban full of smelly boys riding home from a week of camping as they sing along to Taylor Swift's song, Love Story. (Which THEY chose to listen to, by the way.) Seriously "....you be the prince and I'll be the princess..." they sang every. single. word. Loudly. It was awesome.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Photo from newsbusters.org

I had a no good, horrible, very bad stomach ache last week.

It lasted two no good, horrible, very bad days and then went away.

It took me back to my 11th grade Spanish class - the day that I discovered that a dull, constant stomach ache was actually not a stomach ache, but a no good, horrible, very bad ulcer. Our family doctor could not figure out what would cause such a young patient to develop an ulcer... so he recommended I visit a psychiatrist.

Do you know what this does to a teenage girl? Thoughts raced through my mind as the day of my appointment drew closer. Am I crazy? Is something wrong with me? Will he have a couch for me to lay on like they do in the movies? Is he going to try to get me to divulge things that I don't want to talk about?

It was certainly not like I had imagined. When I walked into the office, alone, the lady at the front desk asked for my name and then told me to have a seat. Next, the craziest thing happened! She asked if I would like something to drink. What kind of doctor offers you something to drink? I wondered. It was probably some kind of truth serum to get me to loosen up and share all the secrets I kept tucked away in the innermost corners of my mind. I wasn't going to fall for it. "No, thank you," I answered as I sat and thumbed mindlessly through a magazine I had no interest in.

After a few minutes, I was led back to The Office.

He began with small talk, asking about what I was interested in at school, how many kids were in my family - pretty basic stuff. And then he thanked me for coming and told me he was looking forward to the next week. What? I thought to myself. My parents are paying this guy to just sit here and talk to me? What a total rip off!

I told my mom as much when she picked me up. "The doctor says you need to do this," she insisted. "To figure out where your ulcers are coming from. Just give it a chance." I reluctantly agreed.

The next week was mostly the same... only worse. Another offer of a drink (Ha! I thought. I'm totally on to you! You won't get anything out of me!), another awkward visit with a 50-something man who asked me a bunch of stupid questions. It went something like this:

Dr: So, what do you think is causing this ulcer?

My thoughts: That's why I'm here, stupid! So you can figure it out.

Me: I don't know.

Dr: Hmmm. Interesting. Do you get along well with your parents? Your brothers and sisters?

Me: Yes.

Dr: Do you have good relationships with your friends?

Me: Yep.

Dr: How about your boyfriend?

Me: (turning red) I don't have a boyfriend.

Dr: Is there someone you have your eye on? Someone you would like to have as your boyfriend?

My thoughts: Shut up already, Mr. 50-year-old-doctor-guy-I-hardly-even-know! This is so embarrassing. Can an enormous black void please just open up here and swallow me whole?! What do I say? Will he know if I'm lying? Don't they train these guys to know this stuff? What should I do? I don't want to talk about this with him. Okay... I'll be vague. I won't lie, but I won't give him what he wants. I WILL NOT TALK!

Me: I guess.

Dr: Tell me more about him.

My thoughts: You have got to be kidding me, old man! This is personal stuff. There is NO WAY on God's green earth that I will tell you anything about him! I didn't drink any of your truth serum. You can't make me talk! I'll sit here and not answer. I'll pretend I didn't hear the question.

Dr: (looking at me, waiting for my response)

And the next thing I know, I'm spilling my guts. Truth serum or not, the awkward silence got it out of me. My thoughts and dreams of Thatguy over the previous 5 years were filling the empty space between us until there was nothing remaining. Before I could take it all back, it was over. This perfect stranger knew things that I hadn't even told some of my closest friends, and I was sick with myself. My ulcer hurt like never before.

And then he made The Assignment.

"You like drama class, right? Well, I want you to write a script for your own Life Play. Write out what you and Thatguy would say to each other if everything went the way you wanted. And bring it with you next week. Okay?"

Inside, I was seething. My parents pay you to assign me homework now? I thought to myself. Here's the script for my Life Play. I don't need a week. I've had it written out for years now.

Me: Hey, hottie.

Thatguy: (winking) Hey, gorgeous.

Me: I have loved you for 5 years. I write about you in my journal and dream about you all the time. Want to make out?

Thatguy: I thought you'd never ask.

(making out ensues)

The end.

What do you think about that, Dr. Quack? Can you diagnose my ulcer now?

But what I said was, "Okay."

When I met my mom down in the parking lot she asked me how it went. "Awesome!" I lied. "He says I'm totally normal. Everything's fine. I don't have to go back anymore!"

"Well, that's a relief," she signed to me. "Our insurance wasn't covering these visits. I'm glad we won't have to pay for them anymore."

And that was the last I saw of the no good, horrible, very bad psychiatrist.

The End.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I am up to my ears in camp stuff.

Half the food was purchased a couple of days ago, the rest will be bought the day before camp.

My kitchen and pantry floor, as well as my kitchen table and counter, are covered with bags of canned goods and peanut butter and various ingredients which will be magically transformed into some delicious camp meals next week.

All of the hamburger is cooked and frozen, but I still need to cook and shred the 20 pounds of chicken.

I need to experiment with a Dutch oven three times this week so I'll know what I'm doing when cooking up at camp. I'm not sure when I'll have time, but it needs to happen.

My devotionals are typed up and ready but part of my camp craft still needs to be cut into one-yard sections.

I have yet to collect enough ice chests to pack the perishable foods in. I also need to freeze some more juice bottles to keep things cold all next week.

I am constantly praying for at least one lightning storm while up at camp next week. I feel a bit selfish with this request, but the skies over MIA Shalom are amazing when the lightning flashes. And after a count of 1-one-thousand, 2-one-thousand, the earth shakes as the thunder booms... and all is right in my world.

The empty spaces in our kitchen and garage are filled with boxes and plastic bins - some filled, some empty. By next Monday evening these containers will be cleaned, packed and ready for a week of Camp MIA Shalom.

The empty space in my heart that yearns for my week in the outdoors - close to nature and God and 250 teenage girls - cannot wait to be filled.

5 days... and counting.

I am like a little kid who can't sleep the week before a trip to Disneyland.

The anticipation is killing me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You Make Me Happy (When Skies Are Grey)

This post is for me. Totally for me. And maybe for you if you love clouds and storms like I love clouds and storms.

Today when Allen and I were driving home from the Farmer's Market I saw these beauties crowding the increasingly stormy sky. We drove down our road a piece to get some fantastic, unobstructed views of this gift from the heavens.

They were fairly fast-moving, shifting and changing shapes with the breeze. Then the clouds gathered in this distant canyon:

And lightning and thunder ensued.

Within 5 minutes we were hit with super wind gusts (love!) and rain that poured down in buckets (love more!).

And now it smells just heavenly outside.

Oh happy, blissful day!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

4th Year Hikers

Have I mentioned yet that I get to go to Young Women's Camp again this year?! June 23rd, baby!!

Do you know how SUPER-DE-DOOPER excited I am about this?! (The answer is: TOTALLY & COMPLETELY!)

If I've said it once, I'll say it a half a million more times, I LOVELOVELOVE CAMP!! There is no other place that helped shape my belief in and love for God than the mountains I went to every year as a young woman camper. Plus, where else can you be with hundreds of girls who have to live without a daily shower and blow dryer?? NOWHERE! It's AWESOME!

Sorry. I'll stop yelling now. I am just really, really happy I get to be a camper leader lady again this year. It's the BEST! (couldn't help that last shout-out.)

So... the real reason for this post. Every year the girls who are on their 4th year of being campers get to go on their own hike as a group. (click on those links for some hike fun from 2 years ago.) And, BONUS for me, I was invited to come along.

We hiked to Stewart Falls... which I would recommend to everyone.

Beautiful, green foliage and wildflowers blanketed the trail. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
Lucky for me, my hottie husband was able to join us. (I know! It just keeps getting better!)
We all made it to the falls and congregated there for a bit, enjoying granola bars and Red Vines and the sound of the waterfall cascading down behind us.
As we hiked back out through the aspens and ferns, I could not help but think once again of how remarkably gorgeous this earth is.
I can't wait to spend some more time with nature (and these young women!) up at camp.

In LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!! I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Warm Happy Feelings

Last Sunday I was trying to explain to my class that, when faced with the question of whether something is right or true, God can give us a warm, happy feeling in our hearts to confirm it.

I told the story of Jeff, a boy who was being taught by some missionaries and wanted to know if what they taught was true. He prayed and had a warm, happy feeling that spread throughout his entire body, traveling all the way from the tips of his toes to the top of his head. (I like to really get into my stories.)

I told them that they could pray to know if something was right or true any time - even during our class - and they could get that warm, happy feeling.

"You know what, Sisto Bwack?" Super C asked. "My woym fee-o-wing is up to he-o alweady!" he told me, indicating the top of his head with his hand.

"That's awesome, Super C!" I told him. "Did you know that if..."

"Well guess WHAT?" N--, who was joining our class this week, interrupted. "MY warm feeling is WAY up to ABOVE my HEAD!" he said excitedly, waving his hand to show me how far the feeling had spread.

"Well, N--, I think..."

"Well, MY feel-een SHOT THROUGH THE ROOF and it's WAY UP in the SKY!" Hubba countered.

"So? My fee-o-wing is alweady in SPACE!" Miss S challenged the boys.

N-- immediately came back with "NOW mine's in HEAVEN! NO one's can go HIGHER than HEAVEN!"

Everyone was quiet, contemplating the amazing height that N--'s warm feeling had reached.

Miss E had been quietly sitting with her hand raised throughout the entire conversation. "Yes, Miss E?" I asked.

"My woym feo-ling just came into my hawt (heart) and stayed they-o."

I smiled. "That is just perfect," I told her.

And no one tried to beat it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tooting His Own Horn

Photo from otherlandtoys.co.uk

There is something about this one doctor at the vision center where Allen has become a regular.

Not the doctor whose last name adorns their walls and business cards. We like that doctor just fine. I'm talking about the other guy, the one who uses fancy machines and laminated cards to get Allen ready for the real doctor.

This other guy is a vain man. You can tell by the very air about him that he is important and everyone had darn well better know it. He kind of bugs us.

I'll call him Dr. A... as in Arrogant.

When Allen had his most recent surgical procedure done, we were ever-so-lucky (that was sarcastic) to be in the presence of Dr. A for an extended amount of time. Twice he barked at nurses to come and fetch him some thing he needed RIGHT. NOW. You could tell by the way the nurses interacted with him that they would have thoroughly enjoyed punching him square in the nose or telling him to GET IT YOURSELF! but instead they were very professional. I was impressed.

After Allen's surgery was complete we were brought to a room to wait. And wait. And w a i t. Dr. A was busy. He would tend to us at his convenience. We began to wonder if he had forgotten about us when we heard him paged over the office intercom: Dr. A, phone call on line 2.

And then right outside our door, he took the call. "Theodore! I called you because Dr. Not-So-Awesome-As-Me wanted another $500 to lecture for one hour at our Very-Important-Doctors-Who-Are-Better-Than-Everyone conference next week. I am so sick of being taken advantage of. (pause) Yes, I allowed that other Not-So-Famous-Eye-Doctor to pay his expenses. But he still should not be paid more than the other lecturers. He is getting $500 to speak for an hour plus $500 in expenses. I don't think he needs another $500 just because he didn't try hard enough to get a flight home that night."

We were pretty sure he didn't remember we were right there, in the room right next to where he was loudly taking that call on line 2. Either that or he wanted us to be impressed. (We were not.) And then, I heard it.


He totally farted! At first, I thought it was the chair he was sitting on, but the rapid-fire at the end confirmed it. We stifled our laughter as he went on with his phone conversation. Unbelievable! And hilarious!

At one point, Allen stepped out of the room and asked a nurse if we could leave yet. I think this was when he was finally alerted to the fact that we were still waiting to be seen. He finally finished his long, drawn out conversation. "Fabulous to hear from you. Are you going to be at the awesomely arrogant and important eye doctor's golf tournament next week? Because I'll be there and I know that will make everyone want to come. Great. See you there."

And then, as he walked in the room to give us permission to leave his presence, I realized that something had changed. He was still walking about in an air (pun intended!) of self-importance but to me, he was now just a human being.

One who, apparently, likes to toot his own horn. (Pun totally intended!)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sensational Summer Saturday

I had a few people inform me after this post that Friday was actually National Donut Day.

Actually, we were all correct. Friday was, in fact, National Donut Day. But Saturday? Just plain ol' Donut Day. We can all still be friends.

When we were welcomed by this breathtaking sight on Saturday morning:
I decided that more than just donuts were in order. This was a day for playing in the sprinklers!
And popsicles all around!
Then, of course, we indulged in that culinary delight which is so loved the world over that it is celebrated for not one, but TWO days in June... our friend, the donut.
Donuts! Those circles (or bars, as it were) of happiness! Cream-filled and maple-frosted, nutty or rainbow-sprinkled... oh, how we love you!
Take 9 kids (give or take a few neighbors), add sprinklers and a bag of popsicles, top it all off with a dozen donuts...

Now that's my equation for a perfect summer day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dysplastic Nevi

My entire life goes into pause mode without my consent. My mind leaves my body behind and ventures off to some place I am not allowed to remember. And then, abruptly, my life is back in play mode, except that the pictures are jumbled and swirly and I can't remember where I am or why I'm there. Panic sets in. There is not one ounce of thinking involved - it is utter confusion and complete chaos causing my brain's normal functions to short-circuit. It is like being drowned in the deepest abyss and struggling to break the surface... only to realize it is just beyond my reach.

But in an instant things begin to change. I hear a voice calling to me but the words are uncertain. As the jumbled veil of confusion is lifted from my mind, my bewildered eyes slowly begin to focus on an unfamiliar face. I realize I'm on a table, in a doctor's office, with my arms raised at my sides, my hands firmly clenched into fists. My brain is parched.

She's coming back... I hear someone say. And then, It's okay, you're okay. Slowly, I begin to remember...

(Flash back to 10 minutes earlier...)

I came to the dermatologist for the first time in my life. I had a suspicious, teeny little mole plant itself ON my upper lip (not above my lip, I'm talking ON my kisser) and came in to have it checked. The doctor surprised me by preparing me for removal of this lip-invader right then and there, along with another spot that he noticed on the right side of my chest.

The needles came out (oh, how I hate needles!!), I was sufficiently numbed, and the removal was successful. Throughout the process I could not help over-thinking things. He is putting that needle in my lip... and now in my chest. The doctor is whittling off a piece of my lip with a knife! And now he is carving a crater out of my chest! The doctor announced his successful completion of the procedure. I was thinking too much. I was feeling woozy.

"You look pale," the Man Who Just Cut Out Two Hunks Of Flesh Out Of My Body said. "Do you feel all right?"

"Just a little nauseous," I assured him. "I'll be fine." He gave me some instructions and left the room.

I continued to lay there. The nurse asked me, "Are you sure you're okay? You look really pale."

"I think I'm going to...." And then I did.

And once I came back to reality, the nurse complimented me on the powerful punch I had packed in my right arm. Apparently, when I was swimming out of the abyss, I landed a solid blow to her shoulder.

If it had been the doctor, I wouldn't have felt so bad. Because I kind of think he had it coming.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Turn Up The Valium

Allen's cataract surgery last month was not quite as successful as we'd hoped as far as his vision goes. Because of this he had to go in for a bit more eye surgery to fix an astigmatism in hopes it would do the trick.

The doctor had explained to him that this would be a quick procedure, taking less than 90 seconds, and that he would be given a valium to help him relax. To be honest, I couldn't wait to see what effect the valium had on him.

When we (finally!) were called back to get him ready for surgery, they put all kinds of drops in his eye as well as outfitting him with a brand new hat and shoes.
I started snapping more pictures, and this is what I was getting:

(Don't you love how the guy to the left has no idea what's going on when his back is turned?)

Oh, how I was loving the valium!

After the procedure was complete I asked him if he still felt loopy at all.

"They never gave me anything," he told me.

What? No valium? So, all of these pictures are drug-free...

Is it any wonder why I love this guy?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Super Cupcake Girl

Apparently All-a-Boy is not the only superhero in our family.

A few days ago, as Allen was folding the laundry, he came across Princess’ cupcake pajamas. “These are yours, right?” he asked her.

“Yeah, Dad, remember how I talk about being Super Cupcake Girl?” she answered sweetly.

“No, what does Super Cupcake Girl do?” he asked.

“She goes around in her Super Cupcake Girl clothes, giving cupcakes to all of the bad guys,” she told him matter-of-factly.

“Why do the bad guys get cupcakes?” he wondered aloud.

“Oh, well… the cupcakes are poisonous,” she explained with an evil grin. "It kills them."

Look out, bad guys. Super Cupcake Girl means business.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Accordion Awareness

My favorite cousin, Pam, sent me an email with this link in it.

Did I mention she's my favorite?

I am so SUPER excited! Not only is it Accordion Awareness Month, but June 6th is apparently Donut Day! (Although their spelling of 'dounut' is driving me INSANE!!)

So, in honor of Accordion Awareness Month, I present to you this short video clip.

Stay tuned for Saturday when I pay the proper respect for Donut Day (incidentally, my new favorite holiday).