Category Archives: Kids

Camp Deer Trails 2019

September is going to be a ridiculous busy month, but all for good reason. It started off with a camping trip with my daughter and her Girl Scout troop. This is an annual event that we participated in two years ago, only because last year she had only joined halfway through and was kind of on the fence about her commitment to the group. I’m happy to say she’s gotten more excited about being in Girl Scouts. We have a thriving Scout community here and I’ve made friends with many of the moms, so I’ve grown somewhat attached. Most importantly, this is a great way for her to stay active and build on her friendships with girls her age.

The first night we ate dinner as a troop at the Ponderosa on the way. Nice buffet, but kind of ridiculous expensive, if you ask me. When we arrived at camp we set up our our tents and bedding and headed down to the biggest bonfire you’ve ever seen. Go big or go home! They work very hard to make this bonfire, and the girls sing crazy silly songs while the older scouts and helpers roast marshmallows – I’m guessing at least 10 at a time – to make s’mores for everyone. It’s quite a sight to see and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed.

The second day was long and full of activity. The girls decorated an outhouse, had archery lessons, made crafts, played games, and had a costume contest. The theme this year was the Arctic so Natalie recycled her brown fox Halloween costume and renamed it an arctic fox, because apparently they aren’t always white. I am not much for costumes, so I wore a coat and winter hat. It was getting kind of chilly anyway so it made sense.

The last day was shorter but they still had time for boating and fishing. Natalie really loved both the boating and the fishing but I think the boating was her favorite. She was able to go out on the lake on a kayak (or a funyak?) and when she came back in she was ready to hop right back in another boat and go back out. She did really well with the fishing too. She’s not grossed out by the worms so she was able to bait her hook all on her own. She even caught a baby fish!

Over the course of the weekend the girls had quite a few disagreements with each other as they were often either tired or hungry. And of course they are in 5th grade so you’ve got some hormones coming into play as well. They were given a stern lecture though and they were able to straighten things out pretty quickly. My hope is that these girls all continue to build deeper and deeper friendships as the years go on. I couldn’t do life without my circle of amazing girlfriends so I know what a gift that can be.

That last day it was great coming home to a happy dog, a quiet house, and a hot shower! I had a blast but I’m ready for the next adventure. Bible Study Fellowship, here I come…

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All things fall

This post is dedicated to sweater weather which, here in Michigan, is right around the corner. I love sweater weather. I love summer, spring, fall, and winter, and I love this state because we get all four seasons in equal parts. Each one is just long enough so that you love it when it’s here, but as it’s ending you are more than ready for the next one to begin.

One thing I notice is that when I’m out for a run, I’m much less miserable (that’s not to say that I’m usually miserable on a run, I’m just being overdramatic. It’s what I do.) It’s really nice to have the cool, gentle breeze, and then to come home and not be covered in sweat. Today I ran 5 miles, with a couple short walking breaks, and I was surprised when it occurred to me that I was not struggling to walk or breathe. I was quite comfortable throughout the entire run. Part of this is that I’m learning to slow down and give my body some grace when it needs it. I learned this lesson best by falling on my face last week, and I won’t soon forget it. I take shorter steps, for safety, and then when my knee gives me that warning that it’s about to give out on me, I walk for a bit. This warning comes in the form of a shooting pain in my knee just as my foot hits the pavement, and I have to really catch myself to avoid falling. As of yet, it’s not caused me to fall, and I hope it stays that way. I’m still really hopeful that I’ll complete this half marathon next month on my own two feet.

In more exciting news, my kids went back to school today! My son is in 7th grade and my daughter is in 5th. They both got the classes and the teachers that they wanted, so other than the fact that they can’t sleep in and sit around playing video games anymore, they are pretty hopeful this will be a good school year.

My son is going to be on the cross country team this year, which is totally new. He does love to run, and has often run with me, but I think cross will still be a challenge for him because he will need to build up his stamina. He’s a great short distance runner, but he gets tired and bored fairly easily.

My daughter is not into any sports, but she loves art and science and horses. We may get her in for more horseback riding lessons down the road. She wants to sign up again for Girl Scouts, which she has been rather finicky about in the past so I’m hoping it sticks this time. Our community has a strong Girl Scout community and its a great way for her to build friendships with her classmates and learn some cool stuff in the process.

My ItWorks business is going fairly well. I added a new customer last month but this month is kind of at a standstill because I’ve been so focused on wrapping up the summer and getting the kids back to school. I’d like to do more promoting of the products I personally use on a regular basis, so you might see that coming around in the next couple weeks. If you are interested in checking out the product line, feel free to hop over onto my webstore at stillmindy.myitworks.com. Most people who have heard of the company have heard about their weight loss products, but there’s actually a lot more there. My personal favorites are the greens and the skin care line, for example. If you see something you like, let me know and I can help you get the 40% discount.

I have my next Financial Peace University class coming up in just 3 weeks and I still only have 3 people/couples signed up! Not that I don’t love a small group, but I would really like to see more people in the class because it’s such a wonderful life-changing experience and there are so many people out there who need to learn this stuff. This is God’s way of handling money, so it works. It’s not easy, for sure, but nothing worth doing ever is.

Well. What else? Bible Study Fellowship classes start up around the same time as FPU, so I’m going to be extra busy. Actually, I’m hoping for FULL, rather than busy. I’ve been working a little at watching how I’m spending my time so that I’m using it purposefully and not wasting it. I do allow myself downtime to rest my brain, I’m just being careful not to stay there too long. It’s been helpful having the kids home because I kind of feel like they are watching me and so I’m less tempted to waste time, so we’ll see how that changes now that they are back in school.

On that note, I’m going to make sure kitchen counters are cleared off because my groceries will be delivered soon!

Who do you work for?

Do you ever encounter a child who likes to ask “why?” about everything? As in, “why do I have to do the dishes?” or “why do I have to clean my room?” And because you’re tired of giving them your well thought out, logical explanation, you give them the ol’ “Because I said so.”? Or maybe the child doesn’t ask why, but simply responds with a grunty moan, while muttering about how much they hate doing chores.

Do you know a child like this? Or better yet, are you perhaps that child some days? For me it’s a yes, and absolutely yes (some of you may have heard how much I hate folding laundry). So while I have been working hard to change my thinking and learn to just do the things before they get out of hand, I still have my days when my attitude is in the crapper. My kids have those days too, and I find it’s helpful to let them know I understand and can even relate.

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 English Standard Version (ESV)

The other morning I was reading my devotional and I came across this verse. It spoke to me, and this chore hating procrastinator hiding inside winced a little, but the message stuck. So later when the kids were grumbling about chores, I shared the verse with them, and I hung it on the fridge for all of us to be reminded.

I realize throwing a Bible verse in here may not be relevant to you unless you are a follower of Christ, but I believe the message still has merit. I believe the greatest impact of our lives is not necessarily from the big notable things, but rather a lot of little things added up over time. The daily minutia. It’s like the butterfly effect. If we can wake up daily with the mindset that the small things matter to someone, somewhere, at some point in time, then maybe we can wake up feeling hopeful that if I can just do these mundane tasks with a smile, maybe it will make someone else’s day. Or from a believer’s perspective, maybe I can show the love and relatable humanity of Jesus by doing grunt work without grumbling. Honestly, that’s hard to do unless I truly believe that all of the work I do here at home is not just for my family, but ultimately for the Lord.

I would encourage you to sit down with that inner whiny child and let them know that the little things do matter. Start small. Do the hard things, little by little. It all matters to Someone. Just try it, I dare you!

Waiting for the crash

Last night I stayed up way too late watching Pretty Woman on tv. Because I don’t know why. Because I had recorded it, and then started watching it not being entirely aware of the time, and then not being able to turn it off in the middle. Because you’ve gotta finish what you’ve started, right? I won’t get started on what a classic, feel good movie that is. It just is for me, and I don’t care if you judge me for it. Julia Roberts is just genius in that role. That’s all.

Anyway, so I was up way too late, and then had to get up early this morning to wake my daughter to get ready for the second day of horse camp. Then, even though I kept telling myself I was going to go back to bed, I just sort of kept moving on with my day. Luke and I rode bikes to get lunch at Taco Bell, my vitamins from Rite-Aid, and then ice cream at Sweet Sensations. It was a great afternoon, and then I thought maybe I would catch a nap before Natalie got home from camp, but I just, well, didn’t. Then I made dinner for the family and now I’m sitting here wondering when I’m going to hit that wall of fatigue. Yet, it just doesn’t seem to be coming. Hallelujah, praise the Lord, I’m operating like a normal healthy person!

This may be the healthiest I have ever felt. I don’t even remember having this kind of energy when I was in my twenties. I’m sure I did, I just don’t remember it, ha! So I’m writing this down so that I can remember how I feel and perhaps what I’m doing to feel so good. I believe it’s all the healthy things combined that work together to allow my body to operate at its best. Staying active with running, cycling, and walking. Eating my fruits and veggies, taking my greens daily, drinking lots of water. Even the celery juice I’ve been drinking every morning seems to be having a positive effect on my sleep quality, somehow. I know the celery juice is a fad right now, but you never know, this might be one that sticks. We shall see. But all the exercise and the healthy eating (with itty bitty cheats here and there) is really working.

The best part about feeling good is that I am feeling confident about the upcoming commitments I’ve made: leading a bible study, a discipleship group, and a Financial Peace class. I’m not afraid that it will be more than I can handle, or be too much to take on as a person living with MS. I do realize that none of this healthy living makes me immune to a relapse, so I’m keeping a level head about that, but I’m praying that all this healthy stuff I’m doing will make a relapse far less likely. I’ve always said I don’t want to let fear drive my decisions, and that applies here. I can’t say no to these exciting opportunities to serve God for fear that I’ll relapse. I’m trusting that He’s the one that gave me these desires and that He’s leading me down these paths, and if that’s true, He’ll take care of the details. M.S. is no match for my God!

Cedar Point 2019

Last week we made our now annual trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. This was a favorite place for Mike and me when we were kids, and it makes us pretty happy to be able to share the magic with our kids. The odd thing is that they each love it for different reasons. Luke loves all the thrill rides, and Natalie loves the petting zoo. So while the boys run around riding rides, the girls mosey and shop and make friends with camels and tortoises.

You can see in the first picture below that we had to get a photo to show where we were while the boys were waiting in line for the Steel Vengeance. We were happily exploring the museum, NOT riding the Steel Vengeance. When we got a closer look at the model of the ride (you can see it behind us) and the 90 degree drop it makes, we knew we had made the right decision.

We have always been able to buy our tickets ahead of time and get two for the price of one, but this year Mike found us an even better deal that included drink passes. We all got bracelets that allowed us to get free fountain drinks all day long. This turned out to be a really great thing because they have refreshment stations all over the park, and they don’t just serve soda. They had fruit juices and teas as well. I’m not a soda drinker, but I do love my sweet tea, so this made me very happy. Also, it completely wiped out the begging that’s gone on in the past when the kids are thirsty (as they should be, walking around in 80 degree weather) and Mom doesn’t want to spend $10 on enormous fountain drinks they will likely not be able to finish drinking. With the unlimited drink plan they gave you small cups, so you only got what you needed at the time and by the time you finished it, you were close enough to the next station so you could just get another.

ALL that to say, we never felt dehydrated the entire day! So hurray for that.

Also, isn’t my husband cute with his Coca-Cola logo looking Guns & Ammo shirt? I tried to get a nice photo of us but our goofy daughter photo bombed us. That picture on the right was taken at the end of the day and Natalie was trying not to smile. Her dad always manages to cheer her up when she’s trying so hard to be in a bad mood.

We finished the day with a night ride on the carousel, which was both beautiful and terrifying. I’m not crazy about being up so high in the air and this was the first year I went on it without the benefit of Zoloft. That’s another blog post altogether, but let’s just say I came really close to a panic attack at the top of the carousel. Thankfully Mike could see I was not okay and he held my hand and reassured me we would be okay. I survived, obviously, and will now be working up the courage for next year’s carousel ride. Because tradition trumps anxiety, and also I’m a smidge sentimental.

My legs held up really well all day. Towards the end my knee was hurting a little so I put my knee brace on and that helped some. My balance was suffering and my left foot felt like it was dropping so Mike held my hand at that point in order to give me some stability. I walked a record 21,693 steps that day and nobody had to carry me to the truck, so I call that a win. Everyone had their brand of fun and it was a great and memorable day. I look forward to going again next year!

Just an overall great day

Today was a really great day. Nothing out of the ordinary or spectacular, it was just a good day, so I wanted to share before I head off to bed.

The kids and I went to church this morning. Hubby was at a shooting competition so it was just the three of us. We had been preparing to ride the bus, but were able to secure a ride with the pastor’s wife at the last minute. So while we were a bit excited about doing something new by riding the fixed route bus, we were thankful we didn’t have to get up super early to catch the bus. We’ll hopefully try again on another day before the summer is over.

Church was great, as usual. I love my church family, because they are just like that: family. I was able to have a bit of time after the service to catch up with the some of the other women and invited two of them to BSF in the fall.

The afternoon was spent relaxing, having lunch with the kids, chatting with my sister, and doing a bit of bookkeeping for the church. By the evening, after dinner, I was feeling pretty sluggish and the sun hadn’t set yet, so I threw on some running clothes and went for a quick two miles around the neighborhood. I’ve been doing a pretty good job with resting my knee and doing the exercises the doctor gave me, and tonight’s run really showed me that it’s paying off, because I only took a few brief walking breaks and I had no knee pain throughout the run! Even after I got home I didn’t feel any pain. Not only that, but my pace was pretty strong for the time I was running, at around 11 or 12 minutes, which is pretty fast for me. I usually average closer to 13 minute miles. So I was pretty ecstatic about that run, and it really gives me hope that I’ll still be able to complete the half marathon in 56 days!

I’m excited about the upcoming race, but I’m even more excited about a lot of leadership opportunities I have coming up. Leadership is not necessarily my comfort zone, but I feel like God has really been working on me in this area, and helping me to step out of my comfort zone little by little. I can still be my introvert self and interact with others. I really enjoy getting to know people and hearing their stories. In the fall I’ll be leading a Bible Study Fellowship group, a discipleship group through my church, and Financial Peace University. That sounds like a lot, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to keep a good balance and manage my time well enough to handle it all.

Shifting gears here, but I recently saw the dermatologist and I thought it was just going to be a follow up to get refills on the antibiotic for my rosacea, but the doctor I was seeing left the practice so I was seeing a new one. Not new to the practice, just new to me. I was very reassured from the minute he walked in the room because he actually examined my face under the light, and the last doctor never did that, which I always thought was odd. This new doctor is changing up my medication a little bit and putting me on something stronger, with the hopes that eventually I won’t have to take the antibiotics. He also gave me a prescription for a cream that should help the specific problem areas on my face. So that was a really positive visit and I went home feeling hopeful that we can get my face cleared up even more.

So the last couple weeks were filled with a couple doctor’s visits, my monthly Tysabri infusion, and lab work to make sure I can still take the Tysabri. Then in a week or so we go to the dentist for cleanings, and take the kids to the orthodontist for evaluations. Not exactly your idea of summer fun, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Being healthy is super important to me because if I didn’t have this energy, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the volunteering that I’m signed up to do. So I’m staying focused (i.e. mildly obsessed) with the running, daily exercises, eating my fruits and veggies, drinking my greens, and taking my vitamins. Staying healthy for this M.S. girl is kind of a full time job.

Change of plans

Our house came with a really awesome metal gazebo thing on the back deck. It had a cover, and when it ripped we replaced it. Then it ripped again, we replaced it again. That one ripped… I think we are on our 4th cover, but we are crossing our fingers that this one will last a little longer. Our backyard is in a wind tunnel so it gets some rough treatment. We shall see.

All this to say that one of my favorite spots at this house is on that back deck, under the gazebo. Since we put up a new cover I’ve been spending every morning out there. Piper loves it because she can play with her ball while I read my Bible and drink my skinny coffee and chocolate greens. Today was no different than any other day, except that when I first walked out I noticed it was sprinkling a little. No worries, right? What’s a little sprinkle when you are under a canopy? But within a few minutes it had turned into a downpour. Even Piper was unwilling to stay out in that mess and she quickly led me to the door to go back inside.

I am finding lately that I can handle a little change in plans. I can’t remember the last time I had a panic attack, and I know that’s a miracle. I can’t take any credit for that because all I’ve done is lean into God’s arms and let Him change me from the inside out.

Rather than be upset about having to go inside, I was okay with the change. And it turned out even better, because my son happened to come downstairs for breakfast and we ended up just sitting and talking. He’s really great to spend time with when he’s not being an energetic spaz, and I’m sure to tell him that (wink wink). We ended our little impromptu time together with some Xbox Kinect fitness game. He beat me on all the challenges except for the last one. Mom’s gotta win sometimes, right?

There’s a moral somewhere in this mundane story. I think the lesson is that sometimes our plans don’t work out, but when they don’t, we need to be on the lookout for the positive, the silver lining. If I had not been forced back inside the house, I would have missed that opportunity to spend that quality time with my son. So sometimes failed plans open us up to better opportunities. But we must be open to seeing them. So there. Stick that in your back pocket. It may come in handy some day.