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.

Ever Heard of “Family Camp?” It is the BEST Summer Family Vacation!

Ok. Think Dirty Dancing without the country club feel or the scandal. I never knew family camp was a thing until I met Scott. His parents met on staff at a family camp as teenagers. (Isn’t that awesome?!) His mom is a third generation family camper. Her grandpa helped build one near Yosemite in the early 1910’s. It’s just like a kid’s summer camp, but the whole family goes and lodges together. Every campy activity you can dream up is available and the food is provided. I repeat. Everyone in the family is entertained all day and three delicious meals per day are prepared for you. You are breathing mountain air, being fed delicious food you didn’t cook, and your kids like it better than Disneyland. You have to try it! In case for some reason you aren’t rushing to google up the nearest family camp, let me show you what it’s like.

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Podcasts: A How-To and My Favorites

There’s something about car time with kids. It can try your patience for sure, but it also serves up this captive but natural interaction that can be so sweet and free. I’ve had wonderful conversations with my kids in the car, and I remember car time with my mom being priceless, essential to my emotional well-being, and just what the doctor ordered after a long day of high school as a teenager.  I think the fact that there is conversation without eye contact takes pressure off and lends boldness. My girls ask really hard questions in the car about sex and relationships and God. The setting gives the questioned time to process and ramble and delve. And sometimes kids just say cute stuff that warms your heart like this little snippet.

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