Thursday, July 31, 2008

this hot weather

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is killing me. Or Rather, it was killing me. We finally put the A/C units in the windows, so at least the main floor of the house is temperature controlled.

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with air conditioning. I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in an air conditioned home. I went to school, where my dorm room was not air conditioned, and I survived just fine. I got married and moved here, where there is no central air. Even though I've spent most of my life with temperature control, somehow I feel like a weakling when we turn on the A/C.

The survivalist part of me wonders just how I'd cope if I didn't have A/C. Then the other part of me says that I use technology for my heat and my internet. Why not for cooling in the summer? Some people claim that growing up with A/C makes you less tolerant of hot weather when you're older. I don't know that I buy that. But, I totally believe that going from A/C to the great outdoors can make it trying to be outside for a while.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

early mornings

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I'm sitting here this morning, waiting for one of Jude's co-workers to come by and pick up some supplies. Morning is apparently not my most energetic time of day.

I do appreciate mornings, however. There is a certain stillness about the world, the air is cool, and the light is wonderful. Even though I don't like to be up really early, if I happen to be up and catch a sunrise, I just sit back and enjoy the experience.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

took us long enough

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Finally. Elizabeth has received her blessing. Only took 17 months!

You might wonder what took us so long, though. A lot of it was scheduling - when all the grandparents could be there, when the people who were blessing Elizabeth could be there. But, it's done now. Yay!

Elizabeth's first sacrament. The blessing of children is one of the 8 sacraments offered by the priesthood in my denomination. Most often, it's done within the first 6 months of a baby's life, although it can be done for children up through age 7. There are some people who think that children who have been blessed actually manage through their childhood better than children who have not been blessed. I guess I haven't paid attention enough to really notice in other children. I hope, though, that we'l see the blessing poured out in her life, and by association, in ours.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

mommy guilt

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I've been experiencing some mommy guilt recently. I have baby journals/albums/memory books that I have neglected. I was doing pretty good the first year of Elizabeth's life - I would make an effort to record funny memories as they happened, and to make a monthly record of the changes in Elizabeth. The past 6 months have been... not so much!

I can only imagine that at such point that there are other children, it will be even worse. By the time the last kid comes along s/he will be lucky to have the birthdate written down on a scrap of paper. Poor kids.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

back on track (or tread)

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I just completed my first workout since some time in early June. I still have it in me to exercise. Yay! I walked for 35+ minutes on the treadmill. I hope to get in some strength training later today. Strength training is my weakest fitness area (pun intended). I realize, though, that it really is integral to maintaining a fit, healthy body. Not that I'm a shining star of fitness or anything like that. I'm just on my way there.

Ahhh.... sweat feels good....

Monday, July 14, 2008

smart babies

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I love how smart babies are. I didn't know I would get such a big kick out of seeing Elizabeth figure out new things, especially when she's only seen me doing something once or twice. Right now, she's holding my iPod and plugging the stereo cable into the top, which she's seen happen once or twice at camp a few days ago. Or the car wash example I gave last week.

She is writing/drawing with her left hand and holding the crayons like adults do, tucking it between her index and middle fingers, resting it in the crook of her thumb.

I also enjoy hearing her try new words. Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Most of the words, she tries just a few times, and then we don't hear it again unless prompted. Recent Additions: Ear, neck, nose, knee, clothes, bike, Mom (YAY!), nana (banana) and a few others I can't recall off hand.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


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From the depths of camp...

It was a good week. It was nice to have our last year directing camp turn out to be so... peaceful! For those interested in details: 27 campers, a car wash to raise money for a food pantry ($385 and 7 milk crates of food), swimming, a movie on a giant screen, mud volley ball, dance/karaoke, and a "talent" show. good times!

I especially want to relate to you a story from Friday night, the last night of camp. We had wrapped up our evening services, and had actually made it to bed for lights out about midnight (that is shocking enough by it self - so early!) We were doing some finally clean up around the grounds, as it looked like it was going to rain. I'm putting Elizabeth to bed, and suddenly, I hear repeated knocking on my door. I answer it, and I find one of the counselors at my door, telling me that some of the girls are missing. Not Cool. Apparently, in their exit from their cabin, the girls neglected to shut the door firmly, and it banged open awaking the girls in the adjoining cabin. Those girls freaked out, as the saw flashlights, and heard voices. They were sure someone was going to attack them.

Based on the missing girls, we knew the guys who would also likely be missing. We look that way, and sure enough, there are curtains hanging out the window the guys had used for their escape. We knew the likeliest place for escaped campers was out in the field, so off Jude went.

He found the campers within 10 minutes of them escaping. They didn't know they'd been found for another 2 hours. He decided that since it didn't sound like they were up to anything inappropriate, that he'd just hang out to supervise them and see how long it took them to realize he was there. At one point, he crawled up to where they were and laid down in the grass nearby. It took them about 1.5 hours to notice. As the story goes, one of the girls sat up because of a bug, and gasped. "What's That?!? There's someone there!" one of the guys sat up and said, "Who's there? (Pause) It's JUDE!" to which Jude replied "Yup."

Jude herded them back towards the cabins, and we all had a good chuckle over it. It makes for a funny concluding memory of camp, for all involved. And the campers were grateful that we didn't call their parents at 2 in the morning.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

at camp

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I didn't think I would be posting while at camp, but here I am. This is the second year Elizabeth has been to camp with us, and this year, she is much more particular about when and where she goes to bed. Bedtime is about 8 pm (really, she wouldn't mind going to sleep about an hour before then) and she will only go to sleep in the quiet of our cabin. So, with not much to do, I have my trusty laptop with wi-fi, and I can surf and post while hanging out with the sleeping baby.

The rest of the campers are off watching a movie on a very big screen. Something like 6 queen sheets sewn together. Although, due to the rain tonight, they're actually watching a movie on the screen folded in half, draped over some support rods in the lodge. It's still big. something like 20 feet wide, and 14 feet tall. Not bad for a big screen movie.

Yesterday, we did a car wash to raise money for the local food pantry. I was quite impressed - in 3 hours, we gathered $385 and about 8 milk crates full of food. Awesome! The campers were pretty good at keeping on task. Much to the chagrin of the camp nurse, I was the only person who managed to get a significant sunburn - my face, neck, forearms and legs are noticeably red, even today. I have a nice flip-flop tan now. Probably the cutest thing of the day was Elizabeth (of course).

She's an excellent mimic, and picks things up quite quickly. She saw all the campers washing cars with cloths for a bucket. She came over to check out the buckets, and played in the soap for a while. When I next looked at her, she was beside one of the girls, cloth in hand washing the fender of a car. Dip cloth in bucket, repeat. We have some pictures, but those are currently being held captive by our photographer. I'll have to post some at another time.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

3 cars, 2 drivers: is an extra car worth it?

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Jude and I have been discussing getting a newer, larger car for our family. Currently, we have a 1998 Chevy Truck (Jude's work vehicle - 371,000 miles) and my 1996 Saturn SL (226,000 miles) . We've been doing some research about the model in which we would be interested, the insurance costs, the difference in fuel economy.

Jude raised the question - would it be worth keeping the Saturn as an extra car, instead of simply replacing it with a large sedan? I've already discussed to some degree the reasons we are considering a new car.

The savings would be fuel-related, and here are the places we think there might be a benefit.

Going different directions - there are several times during the course the year when Jude and I both need vehicles at the same time, aside from Jude's work. If Jude could take a car instead of his truck, he could save about 12 mpg in fuel economy, compared to driving the truck. Based simply on recollection, there about 5 trips of 200 miles each in a year (or about 1000 miles)

Running Errands - During my weekly shopping trips, I don't need a bigger vehicle. I can fit what I need in the Saturn - about 40 miles each week.

Taxes - We would be able to deduct most of the insurance expense of Jude truck, because there would be much less personal use of the vehicle.

Additional notes - having a third car would not completely replace the personal use of the truck. There are times when a truck it the thing to use - hauling trailers, helping people move, construction projects - those are regular parts of our lives, and we would end up using the truck, anyway for those events.

The Cost Break Down

To keep the Saturn, we would pay about $240 a year for liability insurance. Property tax is about $60. Add on about $150 of maintenance costs (this is over shooting a little - it includes oil changes, air filters, and maybe something else?) Cost to keep the Saturn (barring any major repairs) - $450

If fuel prices stay where they are or go even higher that's where we'll see the savings. Let's pretend that gas will stay at $4.00 a gallon for the next year.

If Jude drove the large sedan instead of the truck for 1000 miles, and the sedan gets about 25 mpg versus the truck's 13 mpg, then there would be a 12 mpg advantage, or saving 83 gallons of gas. That's $332.00.

If I drove the Saturn every week instead of the sedan (40 miles/week, for 46 weeks per year (vacation, you know?)) that's 1,840 miles in a year. The Saturn gets about 36 mpg . That would be an 11 mpg difference - 167 gallons saved, or $668.

A total fuel savings of $1000.

Total cost savings - $550!

I think for our family, it would be worth keeping the Saturn as a third car (until the repairs become too costly) It appears that it would be cheaper to have 3 cars, instead of just getting a larger sedan to replace the Saturn. Way to go, plasti-car!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Indepence Day!

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The 4th of July. Red, white and blue. Today, I'm wearing blue, E is in white, and Jude is in red. Between the 3 of us, we look rather patriotic.

Today we won't be doing much other than joining our neighbors for some grilling out, and perhaps a few sparklers and black cats in the back yard. Living in Missouri, we'll have all the sights and sounds of fireworks we could want. There are probably 15 fireworks businesses within 5 miles of here, and a few of them put on really big displays. We're up on a hill, so we'll be able to see some of the fireworks displays put on by some of the larger nearby towns. It makes for a pretty good view.

I'm sad that I'm here, though, and not with the rest of the family in KC. For the first time in several years, all of my siblings, nieces and nephews will actually be together. Except for me and Elizabeth. We're getting ready for camp, so, no gathering with the family. Alas, we'll have to wait for another time.

Aside from that...

Yay! Happy Independence Day!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

check your posture

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Posture is something I've been thinking about recently. I have poor posture. I spend hours at the computer, and often, I rest my chin on my hand while slumped over the keyboard.

I came across a post about poor posture, and it's something I totally identify with, especially the final comment.

I can see the effects when I look in the mirror - my breasts slump over to rest upon my flubby abdomen, and I loose several inches of height. I look like what we classically think of as an old woman. (look at the image at the bottom. 55+?!? more like 20 something at a computer...)

I dread the impact seeing my poor posture will have on Elizabeth. Time to go work on my abs, and sit on my exercise ball for computer work!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

the final stretch

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This is it. The week before my last senior high camp (for a while, as director, at least). Jude's home this week as we finalize activities, schedules, go shopping for our supplies, and whatever other errands pop up.

I'm both excited to know what is in store for this camp, and relieved that the camping season is nearly over. I love being at summer camps, and helping out where I can. I'm also finding that as my family grows, my priorities have shifted, and my responsibilities to my family have increased.

I'm sure camp will be great this year. I hope it is. I'd rather go out with a fantastic year than one that is awful.
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