7 Reasons you should work at Summer Camp.

The College years are a selfish time.

It’s all about you. Your schedule. Your major. Your classes. You. For 4(ish) years the only thing people are going to ask you about is you.

But they don’t have to be.

You see, you have time during college that you won’t have in any other season of your life. You have the longest summers ever; use it well.

The natural inclination for most college students is to find an internship to get a foot in the door for jobs down the road. But you know what, you are probably going to work a 9-5 for the rest of your life so why start before you have to?

You should work at a summer camp instead. Here’s the reasons why:

  1. The focus is off of you. For that week/month/entire summer you aren’t worried about yourself or your needs. You are solely focused on pouring into your campers or the task at hand, not you.
  2. You learn to be flexible. With your diet, your exercise regimen, your comfort level, your limits. There’s nothing comfortable about sleeping on a wooden floor in 100 degree temperatures surrounded by nature. But if you can adapt here you can adapt anywhere. This is a life skill that is useful in whatever you do with your life; parenting, the work force, etc.
  3. You learn to truly depend on the Lord. You reach the end of your strength after about 3 days. YOU can’t do this job but HE can. He will give you the strength, the energy, and the words to say when you let him.
  4. You learn to work with different types of people. In any work situation there are going to be people you do not see eye to eye with, people who you would never be friends with in any other context, or people that get on your last nerve. But you learn to make it work. Not by being fake but by the grace the Lord provides.
  5. You learn to be comfortable in your own skin. Would you run around your campus wearing jorts, an oversized sombrero, and painted on freckles? Probably not. But at summer camp if you aren’t doing this you are the weird one.
  6. It will make you a better parent down the road. You have had a small glimpse of the pride parents feel when their kids excel at things, the frustration of when they fall short of expectations, and the selflessness required to be a Mom/Dad.
  7. When you go back to your campus you are different. You run extra with the teammate that is struggling to finish a workout, you start asking your friends deeper questions because you are still in counselor mode, and you find yourself looking for ministry opportunities because the normal selfishness of college drives you crazy now.

So work at summer camp, it will change your life.

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Turf in the Backyard: It’s not just for the Brady Bunch.

Turf.

It is the playing surface of choice for high school and youth sports. No more rained out games, field maintenance, bad bumps on the field….apart from some nasty scrapes when you fall on it, what’s not to love?

That’s why we put sprint turf in our backyard, Brady Bunch style. You read that right, we have sprint turf in our backyard.

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Watching Uncle Jake train for the NFL.

Here’s the back story.

We live in an area known as the livable forest. In keeping with the name our yard has huge trees which means our backyard is shaded pretty much everywhere, all the time.

I’m not real good with horticulture but this provides a difficult scenario to grow grass in. This shade problem also makes it difficult to read and lay out during naptime in the summer.

Grass in Texas isn’t safe anyways. There are fire ants….everywhere. There’s no freedom to roll around and frolic in a grassy field because you have to be on your guard ALL the time.

So my husband starting talking about putting turf down. At first it was a joke. Then we became Costco members and I’m pretty sure their marketing scheme is to change your life in some way every time you enter the store. Sometimes these are small changes like you get new tupperware but sometimes these are huge changes like you buy a new couch or turf for your lawn. They sell turf at Costco. This further solidified this turf lawn possibility in my husband’s mind.

But he didn’t buy that turf, because that turf costs money. You see, my husband doesn’t like to spend money. I’d say it’s possibly his least favorite thing to do.

Let’s fast forward to the week before winter break. My husband was picking up a student from a local high school and right before his eyes he saw rolls of old sprint turf piled up next to a dumpster. This was it. He had access to free turf. Mind you, if our local school district was willing to throw away this turf it had to be in really poor condition.

My husband has Fridays off so he informed me he was going to pick up the turf on that Friday. He has a habit of not realizing that school is in session or that people have work on these days. Thankfully I convinced him to get the turf on Saturday instead since the headline “Local Youth Pastor Arrested While Trespassing School Grounds and Dumpster Diving for Turf” probably wasn’t going to be the best career move.

The next dilemma was transporting the turf. We have a Minivan and a Prius. His attempts at procuring a pick-up truck were unsuccessful so he chose to use the Prius. After 8 or so trips he had attained enough turf for our yard and enough small pieces of tire to make his car impossible to resell.

Installing the turf went through the following steps:

1.He watched YouTube videos on how to lay down sprint turf.

2. He killed all of the grass that wasn’t living in our backyard.

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3.He played a huge game of Tetris in our yard trying to get all of the turf pieces to fit together.

4.He waited a few weeks and talked about properly installing the turf.

5. He reminded me multiple times that he saved us $12,000 by attaining this turf. (Since there is no chance he would have ever spent that money I’m not sure this argument is valid.)

6. He recruited some friends to assist in laying down this turf.

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I helped by standing on this piece of wood.
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Serious work going on here.

7. We went on a date one night that consisted of a Middle school basketball game, dinner, and a trip to Lowe’s to get materials to lay down the turf.

8. He and his buddies installed most sections of the turf.

As ridiculous as the turf seemed it is kind of the best. We play outside all the time now. The kids don’t just play in dirt/mud anymore. Better yet, we don’t have to water our backyard if there is yet another drought this summer. It also NEVER has to get mowed.

However, if we ever try to sell our house there are going to be a lot of confused prospective buyers. At least our home would forever be etched in their minds “Oh yeah, that house with the turf?”

So if you find yourself in a grassless backyard my advice to you is to dumpster dive for turf, watch some youtube videos, and make your backyard a sports playing paradise.

 

 

**We do have dogs. The turf drains so pee doesn’t puddle and you pick up the poop then hose it down, you’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

10 things that happen when your child gets the stomach flu.

The stomach flu.

You’ve gotten that fated phone call from school saying “Timmy just threw up.” Or you were driving down the road (because cleaning a carseat is definitely ideal) and a child (who was fine moments ago) starts puking everywhere.

Pukemaggedon has hit your house. Here are 10 things that happen next if you are a parent.

  1. Your child loses their ability to sit or sleep on or near any porous fabric. Unless their bed sheets are made of ponchos they are relegated to a bed made of towels.img_5405
  2. Your child has a bucket with them all the time now. If you have to go in the car with them there are at least 3 towels on hand and a bucket on their lap.
  3. You gain superhuman speed at the sound of a suspect cough. No longer are you moaning and groaning to roll out of bed, you get your feet on the ground with a NFL combine worthy 40 time while running around furniture, upstairs, and through doorways to get to the puker before everything is covered in puke.
  4. The anticipation of catching it yourself becomes too much to bear. All of the sudden you feel like a “24” character in a parking garage full of unmarked vans or a jogger on SVU. It’s coming, but you don’t know when. You also start having nausea brought on by paranoia.
  5. Eating food becomes terrifying.  Everything you eat or drink you question if you would be ok never ingesting that again because it may come up and it will be forever ruined for you.
  6. Your home becomes a temporary leper colony. No one wants what you have so your kids are off-limits, even the well ones. You start wondering if you are ever going to be able to leave the house again.
  7. You think about offering the walgreen’s pharmacy drive thru employee cash to get a few essentials. There’s no reason they can’t walk 20 feet through the store to get a gallon of milk, right?
  8. You rack your brain with everything your child could have touched that day or has ever touched in your house and you Lysol it. Then you ponder what level of Lysol to air in a confined area is even healthy for humans.
  9. On day two of lockdown you’ve reached the depths of Netflix and you are watching things that should have never been made. Things like Canimals, Baby bum music videos, and the Octonauts.
  10. When you disclose the illness to the parents of the exposed children in their class you feel like you are telling a former partner they need to be tested for STD’s.

 

Best of luck this stomach flu season and may your immune system be ever in your favor.

An Open Letter to my Husband upon the tearing of his ACL at 31.

Dear Clint,

I’m so sorry. You made quite the run as an athlete without any major injuries, or at least any that required surgery. Getting old is the worst. It’s going to be rough having to rehab and not being able to do active things.

But I’m more sorry for me.

You see, we have 3 kids (the oldest being 4) and a two-story house. Neither of those things are changing when you get surgery this week. While you are drugged up and watching Netflix I’ll be managing all of them.

Recovery is going to look a bit different than if you had done this before we had children. I probably would have taken some time off work, given you a bell to ring if you needed something, rented movies, cooked for you, and written encouraging notes on post-its all over the house. Instead, you will need to set your own alarms for when you need to take pain meds, I’ll put a case of water and snacks on your nightstand, and I’ll see you around 7:30 pm…best of luck. I didn’t drop being a nursing major solely because of Anatomy and Physiology, I discovered that compassion isn’t exactly my gift set.

Also, if you by any chance have a secret wife I don’t know about, now is the time to come forward with complete amnesty from me because I could really use her help the next couple of weeks.

Next, we need to discuss your athletic endeavors moving forward. This injury took place while playing adult league flag-football. There were a few problems with this: 1. You never played football growing up. 2. We live in Texas where Football is life and everybody that played in HS was bound for the NFL until some coach didn’t see their true potential. 3. You were playing with 20-year olds.

Whoever says 30 is the new 20 is not talking about playing sports. 30 don’t play.

There are lots of ways to get exercise; we are surrounded by running trails, we belong to a gym, and we have 3 small children you can chase. In the future if you could stay in shape by doing things that involve running in a straight line that would be fantastic. You can run races, do triathlons, or even the MS 150! However, if it involves cutting, 20-somethings, or keeping score…the answer is a firm NO. 

We will get through this. But as a small request, if someone asks you what they can do please let them know they can bring dinner, take a child or 2 or 3, or give you a ride to work.

Love Always,

Your Wifeimg_0311

 

 

20 books, 20 outlooks.

One of my goals for 2017 is to read 20 books. Originally, I was just going to read some fiction and some books by Christian authors.

Then the 2016 election cycle happened.

Amidst all of the questions I have, the biggest one I keep coming back to is “How?”

How did we get to a place where so many people are angry, frustrated, and unwilling to listen to differing opinions?

So I’m starting with me. My Dad taught me not to just complain about something, come up with a solution. So here is where I am coming from…

I am white. I am a female. I love Jesus. I have a savings account. I have a master’s degree. I have 2 parents that are still married to each other. I have 3 healthy kids that all call my husband Dad. I can go running in shorts and a t-shirt by myself and I don’t give it a second thought.  I’ve always had the ability to vote, to protest, and to speak freely. I’ve never missed a meal because of financial concerns. I’ve never had another adult hit me.

This isn’t the norm. My experience does not represent the majority.

This is normal to me; in my sheltered, upper middle class, white american life. But I’ve come to find out that most people do not live like this.

I want to know more. I want to look at life through the eyes of people who aren’t like me. I want to understand more. Obviously there are a lot of ways to do this; missions, volunteering, going to places that are outside my comfort zone, talking to strangers at parks, etc. I’m going to do these things. But I want to learn more along the way.

So I’ve changed what I am going to read this year. I am going to read 20 books that each present a different perspective from my own because the only two things that are going to change my life/views/perspective are the books I read and the people I meet. 

I’ve finished reading my first book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. 

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This book is written by J.D. Vance who is 31, a Yale law graduate (against all odds), and grew up in poverty-stricken Appalachia. The stories he tells and the glance into the culture he grew up in is shocking. It’s on all of the best seller lists right now for good reason. I came away from his book with new knowledge on what the word “poor” really means and greater understanding of the problems that people face throughout that region of the country.

I am committed to learning more about people in the world this year. Whether it is about Syrian Refugees, Women in Saudi Arabia, Inner-Cities in the U.S., Mexican Immigrants, Asian-Americans, Muslim-Americans, LGBT people, etc. I want to hear their stories, to get inside their heads…even if it is just for 200 pages.

The next book I’m reading is Jean Sasson’s Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. 

It’s just reading books but I think the more people who start listening and learning about the world around them the better off we will be. We don’t all have to agree, but we need to understand each other.

 

**I still have titles to select but here is what I have so far. Please recommend titles if you have read any that are great!

Poverty in America- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, White Trash:The 400 year untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg, Losing Ground by Charles Murray

Mexican Immigration- Captivity Beyond Prisons by Martha D. Escobar, Wall and Mirrors by David Gutierrez

African-American- Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America by Charisse Jones, From #Blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation by Kenanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Refugee Crisis- City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence.

Muslim- Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia. by Jean Sassoon, Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America by Ranya Idliby.

 

 

 

Running in your lane.

I have friends that do big things.

Like move across the world to help Iraqi refugees big.

Like being on broadway or TV shows big.

Like being the CEO of their own company big.

I LOVE getting to watch their journeys and cheer them on from afar but at times it makes me wonder what I’m doing. Because it doesn’t look big.

When I started staying home with our kids a couple of years ago it was a weird transition. I remember the first time I was filling out a form that asked for my employer’s name and I had nothing to put. I guess I’m employed by small humans that demand snacks and poop in their pants?

I know this is a limited season of life that I’ll be home with young kids. I kind of think of it as a really weird vacation. The most stressful part of my day is getting to preschool on time (not that stressful). I get to workout in the middle of the day at the gym. I take a shower after working out and change back into workout clothes because why would I wear pants that zip in my own home? It’s awesome yet strange all at the same time.

What I’ve come to realize is that this is my big thing right now. It looks way different from other people’s big things, probably because it’s covered in fecal matter and spit up.

We are all running a race and we all have a lane we are running in. Your lane may be climbing the corporate ladder, putting out a record, making the fastest PBJ sandwich ever, or getting partner at the firm.

Find your lane. Know what works in your lane. 

There are things I can’t do in my lane at the moment. There are awesome, great things I have to say “no” to because it’s not my season of life. One thing I have said “no” to is volunteering with my husband’s youth group. We have a million young kids (at least it seems like that) and it’s not the most feasible thing for me to be at every youth event. I like to think of myself as the white whale of the youth group actually. It’s ok and healthy to say “no” to things. If people don’t like your “no” tell them to step off your lane. I am thankful we are in a church that doesn’t try to tell me what should be in my lane and loves our family in the season we are in.

I’ve found my lane. It’s the loving on and playing with our young kids, working out at 10:00am, helping friends out, occasional writing, building community and supporting my husband lane.

I’m going to run like the wind in my lane. I hope you are running the race of your life in yours.

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First child vs. Third Child

When you have your first child you have all the time in the world to focus on them and their needs. Your world revolves around them. When you have your third child things change. You are just making it, nothing is perfect, but you know that they will be just fine regardless. Here are some of the differences from when you have your first child to when you have your third child.

  1. How you tell people your child’s age. First child you do exact months. i.e. “They are 16 months old”. This sometimes goes on until they are 2. Third child is just a rough estimate for their entire life. Their age progression is as follows: newborn, 4-months or so, 6 months I think, almost one, one, oneish, a little over one, one and a ½, almost 2, two.
  2. First birthday party planning. First child has invites sent out a month in advance, family comes in from out-of-town, a new outfit is purchased, cake is homemade or bought from a bakery, and gifts are brought. Third child either has no party at all or has a group text sent out the day before, grocery store cupcakes, champagne for the adults because we are celebrating survival, no new outfit, and no gifts because they have all of their siblings toys and outfits and they don’t know how to open presents anyways.
  3. Going out and about post-baby. First child you go on lockdown for a few weeks or a month because taking a baby in public is terrifying to you. What if they cry, poop, or scream in the car? I went to the grocery store a few weeks post partum with my first and I was on sensory overload from the fluorescent lights and all the people since I’d been a boob hostage in my home for a month. Third child you go out to dinner on your way home from the hospital because you know this is the easiest they are ever going to be in public. They will sleep anywhere, they can’t run away from you, and they can’t tell you their opinion yet.
  4. Getting them dressed. First child you put them in clothes to go to the church nursery or daycare because it is daytime so they should be wearing something other than pajamas obviously. Third child lives most of their life in pajamas because who cares? Unless they are getting pictures taken or it is too hot for pajamas that is what they are in until they start walking.
  5. Feeding them. For your first child starting solids is terrifying. I knew how to feed her milk and now I’m supposed to try something new? No thanks. They can maybe try real food once or twice a week until 10 months, then we will try 3 times a day. Third kid can be eating steak by 10 months because they have been introduced to everything way earlier.
  6. Teeth brushing. First child has a tooth pop out and you start brushing it right away. Third child has 4 teeth and the thought has never crossed your mind to brush them. (The nurse at our one year check asked if we brushed her teeth once a day and I laughed out loud, whoops.)
  7. Tummy time. First child you start this immediately. You follow all of the guidelines and increase their time each week because you are SO excited for them to roll over and be mobile. Third child you don’t want them to move because you know the time between rolling and walking is THE WORST. No tummy time for them because once they can roll over things get nuts. Our third didn’t have tummy time but 5 times in her first 6 months of life. She walked by 1 so I don’t think we set her back too much.
  8. Naps. First child this is sacred time. You never wake them up and you plan your life around this. They take two naps a day for at least a year. Third child takes 80% of their naps in their car seat as they are being dragged from preschool pick-ups to Sunday school. If they are actually sleeping in their crib they will undoubtedly be woken up by having to leave the house or by an older sibling yelling.
  9. Sugar intake. First child has little to no sweets in their diet before they turn one. The smash cake at their first birthday party is a novelty item to them. Third child has been force-fed a skittle by 5 months of age by an older sibling and has had countless bits of cookies and cupcakes at toddler birthday parties.
  10. The TV Mom gets to watch while nursing. First child I watched all of Prison Break while I breastfed because there weren’t little eyes and ears that were aware. Third kid I watched Curious George, baby bum music videos, or Dora the Explorer because the last thing I needed was a 4-year-old having nightmares about T-Bag and Scofield.

If you aren’t the first born in your family this is why you are so resilient. You know the world doesn’t revolve around you and you have what it takes to survive, congrats.

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Third child after getting doused by the hose while nursing.