Friday, June 17, 2016

Art, Theatre and Photography Camp 2016. Done!

I love Art, Theatre and Photography Camp. 

It is a hard four days, but so worth it! The kids have a great time and the parents are always amazed at what we are able to produce from the campers in such a short amount of time.

This year's theme was "Broadway Battle."

We had 116 campers spread out over a morning session and an afternoon session. That is a LOT of kids. Especially when close to 30 of those kids are 3 and 4 years old! 

We also have a dozen or more teenage volunteers. We couldn't run the program without them, but they add a level of "drama" to the camp as well. :)

Here is a panorama right before we started the production. All of those orange shirts... yeah, that's a lot of bodies to manage!

Over the four days, I probably took close to a thousand pictures. No kidding.

Below are a few of the highlights from the art portion of camp!

I LOVED working with the kids on their paintings. Given that they had only about 45 minutes total to work on them, I think they did great! Their paintings were done over three days.

(Sidenote.. Bleeding Tissue paper is the WAY TO GO if you want a really cool, cheap and easy background for a watercolor painting!)

We also screenprinted. Of course we did. I guess that's my signature event! It is messy and crazy and the kids LOVE it.

Look at Kylie's concentration. The memories.

And how can Lexi be this big? 

They also made scratch art. One of the workers mentioned that he couldn't believe that the kids were willingly without a fuss painting black over their drawings and "ruining" them. I explained that the kids have learned over the years to go with the flow! 

(Sidenote.. making your own scratch art is fun and messy. scratching off the black is REALLY messy..)

We also did weaving. I changed to weaving with pipe cleaners this year. Less mess. And they can create a 3d weaving project. It was really fun!

And there you have it.

Another year complete. My take away this year is the realization that one of my goals for the kids is the gift of artistic surprise and to be willing to experience new things. My goal each year is to push the campers out of their comfort zone and force them in a fun way to try new things. Even if it means utter failure in a project. I try to get them to understand that the PROCESS is the goal, NOT the product!

This isn't an easy task. These kids expect their work to be perfect. They are not used to being told that "failure" is actually a win. And this is the reason we have to have events like this camp. So much of our kids lives are wrapped up in "doing things right" and working toward a perfect product. This mindset ends up freezing the kids mid-project and I have to work with them to just keep going. You would not believe how many projects are thrown in the trash as soon as camp is over, not by the parents, but by the kids. Sadly, they have bought into the lie that unless it is perfect, they don't want it. And I'm talking about 4 year olds!! Ouch.

So my gift to the campers is the opportunity to explore and create in a safe place that is not tied to a test a grade or an expectation. My mantra that I say over and over is the only failure is refusing to try.

And I know it's working. You just have to look at these kids faces!

Want to see more photos? Check us out on facebook.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Runniversary

Another Healthy Lifestyle and Runniversary!

In honor of my journey.. I like to look back and see the consistency and dedication to making myself a priority in the craziness of life.

In May of 2012 I decided that enough was enough, but it took me a month to get in the right mind frame for a complete lifestyle overhaul. I consider the Tuesday after Memorial Day to be my anniversary of a healthy life!

May 29 2012

  • Weight.. over 170 maybe 180... 
  • Clothing Size: 14/16 pants, large/xlarge shirt
  • 1.96 miles at a 14:17 pace.

May 27 2013
  • Weight:  145
  • Clothing Size: 6/8 pants, medium shirt
  • 4.69 miles at 11:06 pace.

May 24 2014

  • Weight: 143
  • Clothing Size: 6 pants, medium shirt 
  • 4.3 miles at 10:46.

May 25 2015

  • Weight: 140
  • Clothing Size: 6 pants, medium shirt
  • 4.5 miles at a 9:50 pace. 

May 28-31 2016

  • Weight: 137
  • Clothing Size: 4-6 pants, small shirt
  • Saturday: 9 miles at an 11:05 easy pace
  • Sunday:  11 miles on the bike and 30 minutes of heavy weight training
  • Tuesday: 3.14 miles at a 10:07 pace

I have to remind myself is that the difference between last year's pace and this year's pace is negligible due to the humidity and that I am stronger and leaner than I have ever been. Even when I was "skinnier" (in high school and college) I was starving myself and had little muscle tone.

My goals for this year? I'd like to lose another 10 pounds and I'd like to run a 25 minute 5k. I guess the question is, do I want it bad enough?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Finding Strength

Let me be blunt.

This week has been HARD.

I say this not to get a woe is me. But to just be honest about the struggles we face in our house. I feel like all week I have been on the constant verge of tears. I'm holding on by the tiniest wisp of a thread.


Well. Maddie.

Last week at this time, we were at Disney World with the band. It was touch and go up until we left on Thursday morning if we would be able to go as Maddie had been really sick.  But with lots of meds and a couple trips to doctors leading up to the trip. We went.

We rented a scooter for Maddie and she rode her chair all around the parks. It was exactly what we needed as Maddie couldn't even walk around the resort without help.  We even did breathing treatments before and after the plane rides in the airport with her sitting in a wheelchair. Yes, she was that sick. And yes, I know we took a big risk letting her go on the trip, but quality of life is important too. And being able to go on a trip with her peers was one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips!

Doug and I went along as well as Maddie's support team.

It was a lot of fun.

But this was the price.

We got home from Disney on Sunday night and Maddie went to school on Monday. She had missed a number of days prior to the trip and then one school day for the trip, so she was really behind and knew that she couldn't miss another day.  As she struggled to make it through the day, she came to the realization that there was no way she would be able to try out for the leadership team for her colorguard group next year. She was just too weak to practice the routine that she had created and been practicing for months. That was hard.

Tuesday she went to school even weaker than she was Monday. And then the shakes started. Her poor left hand and arm just shook. And not like tremors. These shakes were jerky spasms. Convulsions. By 6pm she was not good.

So I took her to the ER. They immediately took her back and got her hooked up to monitors. Her heart rate was jumping from 60 to 300 then down to 150 and up to 240 and so forth. It was very scary. And it lasted for a couple of hours! It took the combination of a big dose of steriods, a very potent breathing treatment and a dose of Benadryl to get her body to slow down.

The doctor we had was absolutely the most compassionate ER doctor we have ever had.  (And we have seen a few..) Maybe the most compassionate doctor Maddie has ever seen. She was exactly the doctor we needed. Thank you Dr. Brister

After running a number of tests and such, the doctor just sat down next to Maddie's bed and smiled at her and patted her hand and said, "when you get sick, your entire body just gets really sick." I realize that doesn't mean much to most people, but given how many times we hear, "all the tests look good" and "your symptoms don't match what we know about ______" it was nice to just have Maddie's place in life validated. No judgement. No aside comments to me. Just validation to Maddie that she is sick and Maddie is not responsible, nor can she control her body's response to illness.

Later, after making sure that Maddie felt okay, we went home. With no answers.

The next day (Wednesday) was Maddie's 16th birthday.

She spent it in bed. Alone. 

In the afternoon she felt well enough to sit on the back porch for dinner.  

Thursday she was back in bed.

Friday I took her to the specialist in Dallas to have a "challenge test" with the antibiotic she had been on. Because she is so highly allergic to other antibiotics, we had to make sure that she wasn't allergic to this medicine as she felt like this drug was what caused Tuesday's problems. 

Well, she's not allergic to the drug. But the drug can cause the side effects that sent her to the ER.. of course these are very rarely occurring side effects, but that is Maddie's world.

Today is Saturday and she hasn't been on the drug since Tuesday. She's feeling better. The infection in her body is still there, but too bad until at least tomorrow.

Cause tonight is PROM. And she is going. And she is going to be able to enjoy it. I am DETERMINED!

Monday she is back to Dallas to see the cardiologist as this latest tacychardia episode is the second in two weeks.

And in the midst of all of this? 

Lexi and Kylie participated in the colorguard minicamp that Maddie wasn't able to go to. They performed on Thursday evening and were adorable! Maddie sat in the bleachers while her friends led the campers. 

Then, Lexi had field day on Friday and her two individual races. And I wasn't there.

Today I'm doing 20 loads of laundry and I need to clean house.

Here is a snapshot of what my entire house looks like.

Yeah. Ugh.

But the dishes and the dirt can stay. Cause today my sweet 16 is going to feel like a princess and that is worth more than a clean house any day. 

And in a life defined by struggles, pain and illness, today is PROM and she will find strength for it. And so will I.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Annual Spring Pictures

Last week between thunderstorms, I had the girls quickly put something on that looked okay together and ran them out to a friend's field for our annual flower pictures. I hadn't worried about it much as we were set to get family pictures done, but the weather ruined our plans and we rescheduled for June.. and all of the flowers will be dead by then.

So I took matters into my own hands and got some pictures so that I will have this spring documented in the scrapbook!

I'm pleased with the pictures given the circumstances and the photographer!


This is my compromise photo for Maddie. She was sick and willing to pose for the group shot, but really didn't want a picture of just her. So we did a back shot with her new flag.

And Lexi took some pictures too. I LOVE this picture I got of the two of them!

 Here is one of the pictures that Lexi took. She did a great job!

And that's that. Another year of spring pictures with a sick kid. 

But just for grins, let's reminisce about how big they are getting!






Monday, April 18, 2016

A Successful Lifestyle for Busy People

I've come a long way. We've established that. 

While I wish I had tried Isagenix a couple of years ago when I first started considering it and I first started losing weight, I don't begrudge my journey. I have learned so much about health and wellness.

And it's a journey that I will continue tomorrow and into the future.

Why? Because I feel better. And specifically, I feel better using Isagenix products than when I don't. I have more energy, stamina and less aches and pains.

I haven't made a big deal about Isagenix to my friends because I feel like I haven't been committed enough to be a good role model.

But I realized today while talking to one of my friends, that it is my real crazy busy life story that allows others to consider the possibility that they could have a successful weight loss journey.

Cause here is the deal. Since January, I have changed my eating habits a little, but I still have fast food and donuts a couple of times a week. I haven't changed my workout schedule and I haven't given up my nightly glass of wine.

But here is what I have done.

I have a glass of Ionix Supreme first thing in the morning. (It's kind of like green tea..) I take my Natural Accelerator pill. (I don't know what this pill does, but it doesn't make me shaky or feel like I'm on caffeine.)

Those things I do every morning.

Then about 4 mornings a weeks a week I have a shake. I make my shake with a scoop of IsaGreens, a banana and sometimes a teaspoon of peanut butter. I drink this on the way to school and during my first period class. I also take my vitamins during this time.

Then I eat a healthy lunch (well 3 out of 5 days and a couple of times a week I remember to take my 2nd Natural Accelerator pill).  

I eat a pretty healthy dinner as Doug is a great cook and we eat at home most of the time due to his and Maddie's food restrictions. Then I have my evening glass of wine and a 100 calorie dessert.  I top it all off with my nightly dose of IsaFlush and a glass of water.

And that is why I haven't made a big deal about what I am doing, cause I don't feel like I am working hard enough at it to brag.

But here are my results so far.

Since I started Isagenix on January 11th I have lost 11.5 pounds and 28 inches with 3-4 inches off each thigh, my abdomen and my hips! I have even lost .5 off my neck. Crazy huh.

Did you read that? 11.5 pounds lost and -28 inches off my 5'3" frame. Wow.

So yes, I love Isagenix and would love to share my journey with you.  

You can go to my website and check it out for yourself. They have a money back guarantee. Credit Cards work great. :)

It was hard to "bite the bullet" and sign up as an "associate with auto-ship." Really hard. But looking back just these few weeks, I am so thankful that I did it. I think you would be to. 

And just in case you need a reminder.. both of these are me.

Edited to add that I do rock the Cleanse. I haven't done one every week, but I have done one most weeks and one two day. I feel like this is my strong point!