A Packing Hack, a Shopping Injury, and an Unwanted Guest

Our girls returned from church camp last week exhausted, exhilarated, and covered in dirt. They had a blast and can’t wait to go again. This was a new experience for all of us. They’d never been to sleep-away camp. Somehow it snuck up on me, and I didn’t leave enough time for the preparations. The day before we left, I was sitting hostage supporting Delaney at a swim meet for the third 12-hour day in a row, and suddenly panic set in about the prep. Luckily, I was sitting with another swim mom who had some good practical advice. Her best tip was to put each day’s outfit in a separate ziplock baggie. Each can be easily grabbed, all items stay together, and future day’s clean clothes don’t get soiled when dirty items get crammed back in the duffle. Brilliant! Off I ran to purchase travel-sized everything and a box of 2-gallon ziplocks. These extra huge ziplocks aren’t well known, but they are so handy! Next time you are in that aisle at the grocery store, look on the bottom shelf and grab a box of these miracles. You’ll be so glad you did the next time you have something too big for the normal ones like a turkey carcass (for soup, you know?) or your refill movie popcorn (the whole bucket fits!) or a whole day’s outfit to pack for camp.

Anyhow, the morning of camp drop-off, with little more than 20 minutes to spare, we ran a last ditch mission to WalMart in search of a swim suit that didn’t look meant for a work out. As we were rushing through the store, nary a cute, acceptable swim suit to be found (duh!), I inflicted upon myself a shopping injury. I managed to kick the cart so hard that I wedged the wheel between my pinky and ring toe. It was one of those pains that comes up slowly before it hits full force. Apparently I leapt straight up into the air. Bailey said she thought I’d decided to start skipping. Like to my Lou. I wish. A week later and I still can’t wear sneakers. I’d like to say this was my first shopping injury, but a couple of years ago I tweaked my neck trying on sports bras and ended up in traction. Sports bras are brutal! They have to be tight or they are worthless, but then you have to practically dislocate your shoulder to get them off. And God forbid you try one on that’s too small. I should have called a girlfriend on my cell phone and just waited there in the TJMaxx fitting room till she came in to extract me, but I didn’t think of that. So I struggled, writhed, and yanked until I was out. Think Tommy Boy trying to struggle out of the child sized flotation device he accidentally inflated around his neck in the airplane scene. Hopefully my toe will heal more quickly than my neck did.

While I can’t directly blame my sore toe on church camp, the trauma I suffered today falls squarely on its shoulders. Ok. You’ve seen my laundry room, right? Here’s a reminder of the layout (look at the drawing if you can stand to). If you are facing the sink, directly to the right, counter height and above is a cabinet where the laundry lands from the laundry chute. (Laundry chutes are the best, by the way. If I ever get the chance to design and build a two story house from scratch, I’m pretty sure I’m designing it from the chute out.) Well today we were on our way out the door and I decided to forward the laundry one more quick time, as we do. I open the chute door, start grabbing an armful of towels, and out flies a lizard. It falls the three feet to the ground, lands on its feet, looks both ways, and starts to make a run for it. Meanwhile, I’m screaming like a lunatic which makes Bailey scream. I hate lizards. They are the absolute worst for me after snakes. I leap over the scene into the hallway to make my escape and Flossie runs into the room in hot pursuit. I’m still screaming a little, and my girls are looking at me like “really, Mom?” Well in the confusion, we don’t know where the lizard went. They think Flossie ate it, but I don’t think she’s fast enough to catch a lizard. But maybe she is fast enough to catch a lizard who spent four days in the pitch dark of a laundry chute with no sustenance. I don’t know. It was kind of a sickly pale brown color and looked a little bloated. Poor thing. As I sit here writing this, that thing could be sneaking in here to skitter up my foot. I wonder how long I’ll be sneaking around my house like a ninja trying to make sure I don’t step on a lizard. Now I’m scared of my laundry room, as if I wasn’t already. And that is why I hate church camp.

Funny Things Kids Say…The Mouths of Babes

Kids say funny, amazing, blunt, insightful, crazy things. Hearing these things has been one of the many unexpected thrills of parenthood. These little people are so full of surprises and depth. I have been jotting notes through the years of some of our girls’ doozies, but it probably isn’t necessary because our family language has evolved to incorporate the best of them.

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Things that Make Me Laugh

I once heard a story about a neurosurgeon in a remote part of Alaska who wears a helmet every time he drives his car because he’s the only neurosurgeon around. I have no idea if this is true and can’t remember where I heard it, but I have been laughing about that for at least two decades. I don’t know why it tickles me so much. I guess it just charms me. There’s something so innocent and true and sensible about it. And quirky. He values his safety and health more than he worries about looking foolish. I love that. I think he’s someone I’d like to know.

I just love to laugh! Sometimes with no warning I will recall one of my favorite gems and just laugh right out loud. My girls like to guess what I’m laughing about. They know all my go-tos.

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The Tweedles and Other Sewing Successes and Fails

Some of my favorite things in life have been things at which I’m not very good. I loved gymnastics growing up even though I was a head taller than the rest of the team and about as graceful as a toddler. It was so much fun to see what I could make my body do and a thrill to fly through the air and manage to land safely. I loved the challenge, the feeling of power, the complexity of it, the competition against myself to always improve, the camaraderie of suffering through 4 hour workouts with my best friends. I also love riding a bike even though I almost fell off a cliff once when Scott and I were dating and I thought  it would be no problem to ride down a single track at break-neck speed with no experience or skill. I ended up clinging to a sappling for dear life and we decided it would be best if I walked my bike the rest of the way. Fail. I haven’t ridden much in my adult life. Still, every time I see someone dreamily peddling down a tree-lined street on TV, I remember that I am a bicycle lover at heart and make secret plans to get back to it. I also love to sew.

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