On Camping

for the last year or so Zach will randomly talk about how he wants to start camping. Since he knows me and knows I’m not what people would call a “camper” I figured he had come up with a clever euphemism for sex.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. He was talking about camping. Like the pitch the tent (again, not talking about sex), sleep on the earth kind of camping.

I wasn’t thrilled about this for any number of reasons, especially after my most fabulous weekend when Courtney said she didn’t like camping because of “bears, mountain lions, and murderers“. Yeah that didn’t help. Even though Courtney is funny, skinny, beautiful and smart (these being reasons I generally don’t trust a person) there was something in her eyes that made me believe she had legit reasons to be scared of those things.

Alas, I could look into these eyes no longer and say no. And can you blame me? mmmmm

I agreed to take a family “vaca” this fall. A camping “vaca”. Lawd help me. Today we decided to get our equipment, including a bigger tent.

The kids have been so excited about the new tent and the thought of going camping. None as excited as Tomas, though, and when I told Zach that Tomas was most thrilled Zach says, rightly so, “That’s how Tomas approaches everything in life. With complete and total excitement.” So. freaking. true. Tent set up, check. Kids break dancing in said tent? Check.

I’ll be the first to admit that one of the only reasons I agreed to our camping expedition was for the new socks and shoes. I’ve been campaigning for SmartWool socks for something close to a year. And if mama’s gonna be a camper, mama might as well be a hiker. I think I look like a camper/hiker here, no?

In all actuality I’m rather excited for this weekend in end of August when I take 4 Zanax pack up the car with what will certainly be too much stuff and venture out into the wild. New shoes and all. Wish us luck with all things, but most especially the murderers.

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This morning

I woke up earlier than everyone else per usual. I had gotten a pretty exciting phone call on Tuesday letting us know our tax refund was going to be released by Friday (most adoptive parents claiming the adoption tax refund were “audited” as it were, we were stuck in that for these last months). As both Zach and I are the “we’ll believe it when we see it” kind of people, we checked our account every 15 minutes hour.

This morning at 6:35am it was there. I waited until 7:30 to wake Zach up and deliver the good news.

Then at about 8:30 we sat down in his office and paid bills.

All of them. Cars, school loans, doctors, all of them.

It means one thing.

WE ARE DEBT FREE!!!!!

A huge day for us. It’s been a long time coming. It’s been mentioned here before that Zach and I were a little reckless with our finances when first starting out as a married couple with (then) 2 incomes.

Since coming home from Ethiopia, everything changed. What the hell were we doing trying to keep up with the Joneses? And who the hell are the Joneses anyway?

It was then that we created a pretty strict budget and, more or less, have stuck with it (and even made it stricter from time to time!) for the last 4 years. We whittled down a lot of our past mistakes and gave little toasts to each big bill we paid off.

Today, was just that multiplied. Writing “paid in full” on some of our larger bills? Oh my.

Nothing exciting happening since getting out of debt. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we now no longer want stuff just to have stuff and now is the first time in our married lives when we can afford stuff.

I know people don’t like to talk about money, I know that. But I’m doing it today to let you know that if you’re in over your heads, it’s not impossible to get out. Believe that. If we can do it, so can you, I promise. But it’s going to take so much work, and probably a lot of time. You let me know and I’ll pray for you, I’ll support you and I’ll love you through it.

Cuz it’s so worth it. Holy cow is it worth it. I’ve been debt free for 12 hours and I’m quite convinced I’ll sleep pretty well tonight.

Hallelu!

Good stuff

this week’s been crazy busy. Learning new stuff for my classes (and re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) has really left little time to blog.

But I’ve still been reading some amazing stuff. This woman is on a roll with a really amazing series on caring for the poor, etc.

So read every link from the first to the most recent.

Go here. Tell me what you think.

I’ll see you after I successfully launch my classes and come out from under the covers after watching Harry Potter.

a few things you should know about me

When I was gearing up to meet the ladies last weekend I really had to give myself a pep talk. I can sometimes be a little…much. I can talk a lot, my laugh is really loud, I have some nervous ticks that my husband agreed would be best to let out slowly.

One of those ticks would be my hypoglycemia. To make a long story short, if mama doesn’t get fed every 2 hours I start sweating, getting dizzy and, on occasion, pass out. It’s not fun. Because my flight was delayed an hour and half I got to Denver at noon (1pm CST) instead of the 10:30 I was supposed to. About an hour into the flight I started noticing I was super hungry. As we were landing I had one hand fanning my face and the other hand on the puke bag. I asked the flight attendant for a juice or something and proceeded to chug a can of Orange Juice.

Still not feeling the best, I met Jayme. She told me Deirdre had prepared a nice lunch for us. So I held off feeding the beast. The problem with hypoglycemia is if you wait too long then when you do eat, you end up feeling worse at first.

Enter Tesi at Deirdre’s. I was quiet, sweaty, nervous and ill. I downed 2 glasses of water in hopes that I could regulate my blood sugar just enough to eat some food.

I’m not sure what happened the first hour I was there. Seriously.

Before we left for Cathy’s I heard Jayme tell her kids “We won’t be stopping so go pee now!” I got the message and went to the bathroom myself.

We got in the car, and, you guessed it, 30 minutes in and I needed to pee.

But I had new friends who didn’t know just how small my bladder had become. They also didn’t know my true personality yet as they’d only seen hypoglycemic Tesi and that biatch ain’t pretty.

So I held it.

Until I started sweating again and my belly had gotten so large I thought it might pop my outfit.

My new friends were very sweet and kept their eyes peeled for exits (I can only assume it’s because they are considerably more proper than I am. As I noted in text to Zach, “I don’t think these women speak in contractions!”). I kept my eyes peeled for bushes.

There wasn’t any of either.

Until there was one, bush that is. So even though I had to cross the highway, cross a smaller highway and avoid the railroad tracks, the bush looked like best case scenario.

Sarah documented the process.

Behind the middle bush you can just make out a PG photo of me “popping a squat”. In a 1 piece jumper. If you do the math you will realize that I was both topless (with bra) and bottomless. Keepin’ it classy.

Elapsed time 10 minutes.

And then I must navigate my way down the super dry bush. I did not do so successfully, I ended up impaling my foot on a bone no joke. Worth it.

Sweet success.

You will be happy to know my new friends didn’t drive away and leave me, though they did tease me all weekend about my sorry excuse for a bladder, which is exactly what I look for in friends.

Blogaramagaga Weekend

One of the most frustrating things for me is not being able to verbalize all that’s going on in my head. At least not do it well and not do it justice. That’s how this weekend was. It was an amazing weekend. Amazing. The women in this group (and men and children) were beyond my wildest dreams awesome. They were funny, smart, loving, supportive and absolutely beautiful. They were also a bunch of hippies who didn’t wear deodorant but that’s besides the point. 🙂 I made a lot of new friends this weekend, new friends that I can’t wait to see again.

Colorado was beautiful. Cathy’s home was beautiful. This was the view from her porch. Mountains in the back. Amazing. Cathy already wrote a blog post about the weekend here. She must be missing it as much as I am.

Cathy started to get to work on dinner. This is why she was a better hostess than I’ll ever be. Tombstone pizzas would’ve been a staple with me, not so much with her. She was brilliant the whole weekend. This fresh salad was proof of her greatness.
We got some plastic cups and a Sharpie to kick it old school. Chandra got distracted and instead of putting her name wrote “Colorado”. She is too much goodness. 
Reason #2 why I love her…she broke her glasses. So her hubby put her lenses in some safety goggles. That was months ago and she never went and got glasses. She rocks it. She might be the only girl in the world who could make it easy for me to stay up until 4am (which she did). Love her.
We played with each other’s kids.
And stalked them like the paparazzi. Sweet Matthew, I love him.
We went on hikes.
We drank a lot of coffee and caught up on the news. (David, Cathy’s husband, was a fantastic man who reminded me much of my brother-in-law, Jake. I took this picture to prove to Leslie just how much he was like Jake.)
We sat around a lot. And laughed. And we cried (actually, I was the only one who cried). And we may or may not have discussed topics ranging from racism to vaginas. 
Oh did we laugh.
We showed each other our freakish talents. Notice Deirdre’s arm slightly distorted.
We took lots and lots of pictures. Apparently when you start blogging you get either the Canon or the Nikon camera that look exactly alike. I put a hair tie on mine so I’d know which one it was all weekend.
We Chandra and I bought candy. $52 worth of it.
I am now officially riding the coattails of some amazing women. Definitely this one. She.is.incredible.
But these women. Read their blogs, love them from afar because I can attest to the fact that these ladies are the kind of women who run the world in their own little ways. They are the ones who raise amazing kids who turn out to be amazing adults. They are the ones who give women the very best name. They are the ones who lift each other up and who make my heart grow bigger just by knowing them. They are the best of the best. And I am so blessed to have spent just a short weekend with them. Can’t wait until next year!
(From left to right. Back row: Rebekah, Amanda, Jayme, Deirdre, Carrie, Bridget. Front row: Courtney, Cathy, Chandra, Hotflawedmama, Sarah)

Adventureland

Since I can’t quite put my weekend into words yet, I’ll talk about Adventureland. Which happened on Thursday. Feels like weeks ago. Was so much fun. So.much.fun.

Something I do often. The Klipsch huddle. Before we go places I talk to them about expectations (how I expect them to behave and what they can plan on the day looking like) and then we get together and either do a “team” or a “klipsch” cheer. It’s a goofy way to let them know the rules, etc. Love that my mom took a picture of it.

First stop always, merry go round.

Tomas, having never been on a rollercoaster decided the Space Shot would be a good place to start. Gulp. He loved it.

On to the kiddy version of the Space Shot. Tomas hated it, weak sauce, uninterested. He cracks me up.

Water rides. Heat advisory warning made water rides essential.

Other fun rides/ fun times.

Trysten in front of the Dragon. My first time on it as well as the big 3’s. Trysten is too much like me in that when he’s scared he screams, freaks out, balls his head off panics ever so slightly. Mean mama made him do lots of things he was scared to do that day but he pushed through and was very proud of himself in the end.

Adley was so cute. Always is.

Time for the water park. It was so hot. And so fun.

Bini ended up falling asleep.

Then my dad joined him.

I took the bigs down the green slide. Scary. Thrilling. Wedgie inducing. Loved it.

Last ride of the night. The ferris wheel.

My kids are at an amazing age for a day like this. From 10am to 8pm they did amazingly well. And I loved every second. My parents are generous to make this an annual thing and the kids have an awesome time. How lucky am I? Really.