Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unworn Underwear, Soggy Socks, and Other Tales from Camp Wamava

As I near the end of the alphabet, I find myself struggling to decide which Years Ago stories to share. This week's post will combine some of the funny stories we tell about the church camp we attended when we lived near Washington DC.


It all started when Addison was in third grade, staying with friends from church while Lauren was in the hospital in Philadelphia. We came home, and my friend Cheryl said, "Camp sign-ups opened up while you were gone, and I signed up Addison. You could cancel if you don't want her to go, but this way she'll have a good spot in the registration line." It was still March -- I hadn't even thought about summer yet, much less summer camp. There was no way that I could tell Addison no to camp, especially when her friends were going.

Fast forward a few months and I'm helping Addison pack for camp. We had all of her clothes packed, and at the last minute, I talked her into throwing in some tennis shoes and a couple pairs of socks "just in case." It turns out that there's recreation time at camp every day, and she needed to wear tennis shoes to play the games. It also turned out to be a rare rainy week at camp. I don't think there was any way that her shoes or her socks dried out from one day to the next, but she had fun anyway.


A few years later, Brennan was finally old enough to go to camp too. It was the summer of Lauren's transplant so I wasn't home to help him pack. I told Tim how I normally packed each day's worth of clothes in a separate ziploc bag so that they'd hopefully stay organized. When Brennan came home from camp, everything was still neatly organized. Each day, Brennan had taken a new set of clothes out of the bag to wear. When he came home from camp,  each bag still contained a single pair of underwear. Apparently, he hadn't seen a real need to change underwear so he just grabbed clean clothes out of the bags.

That was also the year that Tim learned just how nasty camp shoes can get. I didn't think to warn him. He called me on the way home from picking up Brennan to tell me just how gross his shoes were. In true mom fashion, I just asked why he had even bothered to bring them home.


Both of the big kids had such fabulous camp experiences that they talked me into taking them back to camp even after we had moved halfway across the country. At first I thought I was crazy to agree to driving them all the way back to DC and also agreeing to teach a Bible class at camp, but the real craziness was trying to find Addison the weekend before camp started. The youth group from our church in Arkansas had gone on a mission trip to New Jersey and then stopped in New York City for a few days of fun. They were driving back home on the same day we needed to check into camp. I stayed with a friend the night before (the same friend that got us into this whole camp thing) and needed to meet up with Addison before check-in time at camp. I left DC and headed north through West Virginia and into Pennsylvania. The youth group left NYC and headed south through Pennsylvania. After calling back and forth with their youth minister, we met during their lunch stop in the middle of nowhere. We made it to camp in time to check-in that afternoon, and all of us enjoyed an awesome week at Camp Wamava.



Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story (or stories) corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those treasured stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Diabetes Didn't Win (#showmeyourpump)

Diabetes may have won the battle of carrying a tiny purse.

Diabetes sometimes wins when I say no to a cute dress because it'll be too hard to find a way to attach my insulin pump to it.

Diabetes often wins the battles over dessert. Making smart food choices is a big deal when I know that I will pay for my choices with nasty blood sugar highs and lows later on.


Diabetes did not win over what I most wanted to do last weekend.


It started several months ago when one of my running buddies talked about doing a Triathlon. I was promised that a Sprint Triathlon wasn't really all that bad and that this particular race was very well run. More importantly, several of my friends were going to do it.


I started thinking -- I run regularly, I used to swim fairly well, and I'm sure I could ride a bike for that long. Then I started thinking about the logistics of competing with diabetes. I wasn't at all sure how I'd manage for a triathlon, but I didn't want diabetes to win before I even started the race.

I was able to leave my pump with a volunteer by the side of the pool so that my continuous glucose monitor could reconnect easily after the swim portion. I checked my blood sugar with a finger stick during each of the transition times and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I realized that the cgm was indeed keeping an accurate track of my numbers. The rest of the time I could focus on competing.

Perhaps my favorite picture from last weekend was one taken as I existed the pool area. I'm reconnecting my insulin pump after the swim.


I didn't let diabetes stop me.


Last weekend, Miss Idaho wore her insulin pump during the Miss America Pageant. Many people lately have posted pictures with the #showmeyourpump hashtag that she coined. I'm proud to post my own #showmeyourpump picture to encourage others.

Finishing last weekend's race was more than just finishing a race for me. It was proof that diabetes doesn't have to stand in my way.


©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Student Logbook {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

It sometimes seemed like no matter what sort of instructions I gave regarding schoolwork last year, I'd hear the excuse, "But I didn't know you wanted me to do that." This year, Brennan has been using a daily student planner from My Student Logbook to keep up with his assignments, and I don't hear that excuse nearly as often.

My Student Logbook Review

My Student Logbook is designed for the student to use on a daily basis. It doesn't take the place of the teacher's plans for the year, instead it translates my plans into an assignment checklist that Brennan can use on a daily basis. More importantly, it helps me to make sure that Brennan is actually completing all of his work each day.

The main thing that sets My Student Logbook apart from other planners is its simplicity. I wrote his subjects/assignments on a paper that attached to the first sheet in the book. It folds over the side so that dated part of the logbook is still showing. The student then marks off the boxes as he completes a page. As long as the subjects stay the same, the same flap of paper will work for the following weeks in the logbook.  On Mondays, Brennan just tucks the next page into the flap and continues marking off assignments. If I ever change the assignments, I can fill out another checklist page and start using it to fold over the remaining pages in the book. (If you find my brief explanation confusing, there is a step-by-step setup guide with pictures on the My Student Logbook website.)


Brennan's Logbook is so useful for keeping up with his assignments that I can't believe I struggled for years without it. I don't have detailed lesson plans for our school year. I don't even have detailed plans for each week. Basically, I have a set amount that I expect to get done each day, and My Student Logbook helps me make sure that it was completed.

The Logbook works well for subjects that have an assignment due each day. For instance, "finish one math work page" or "read the assignment in your literature study." For those subjects, we often write down the page number so that I can have a general idea of where he is in the materials. Writing down the page or assignment number also helps me make sure that he did a different page today (and isn't hoping that I won't notice if he tries to show me yesterday's homework instead of doing a new assignment each day).


For a few subjects, though, we've determined that they'll only be done three or four days a week. The logbook excels in keeping up with courses like this. His weekly computer programming assignment usually only take three days to complete. I often forget how many times that he tries to tell me that he's already worked three days or that I've bugged him about an assignment on a day that he planned to take off, etc. With the records I now have in his logbook, I can easily tell if he can take a day off or if he needs to work on that subject. In the page shown above, I can tell that he needed to work on programming both today and tomorrow to finish his work for the week.

Brennan's schoolwork only takes the top half of the logbook page so we decided to use the bottom half to keep up with some of his work towards Boy Scout merit badges. He's been trying to get his Family Life badge for quite some time now, but it's been hard to keep up with the required chore checklist. He did all of his chores, but he didn't keep the records he needed for scouts. Now that the checklist is on the bottom of the page he's using for school, we're having a lot more success getting him to keep up with the chore chart. In another couple of weeks, he will have kept records for long enough that he can finally finish this badge.


The creators of My Student Logbook recommend using it for any student that can read their own assignments (approximately 2nd grade and up). It could be used by a parent or with a parent's help for even younger students.

My Student Logbook comes in either a dated or undated formats and with a variety of cover choices for $15. It is also available as a pdf download for either $10 (single use license) or $20 (family use license).


Brennan's My Student Logbook has made a big difference in our school days. He knows what I expect in terms of his schoolwork, and I can keep track of all the assignments so that I make sure that they are all completed. I finally feel like I'm able to keep up with his schoolwork so that I won't be easily fooled by any of his attempts to get away with doing less than expected.


Click to read Crew Reviews


Crew Disclaimer

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thirty-three weeks, three days {Years Ago}

Every week, Lauren asks me what I'm going to write for the next letter of the alphabet. I told her this week that I might write about 33 weeks, 3 days, and she didn't know the significant of those numbers. I guess that's reason enough to share the story.


Lauren was born at 33 weeks gestation, actually thirty-three weeks and three days by my calculations. I don't think I've filled out a medical history form in the past 8 years that hasn't asked for that number.


A few years later, she was admitted to CHoP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) to be listed for a heart transplant. She waited for nearly seven months.

Finally, after being in the hospital for exactly thirty-three weeks and three days, she had recovered from the transplant surgery and was discharged.


I remember doing the calculations and being shocked at the numbers. She spent thirty-three weeks and three days in my belly, and then exactly thirty-three weeks and three days on the cardiac floor of the hospital.

God took care of Lauren the whole time, and even took care of all the little details. I don't believe it was just a coincidence that her hospital stay was exactly the length of my pregnancy. I think God was telling me he was in control the entire time and that his timing is always perfect.

I never used to have a favorite or "lucky" number, but thirty-three will always be special to me.

I recently noticed that Jeremiah 33:3 has those same numbers. Perhaps God is telling me to pay attention to that verse.
"Call to me, and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own." (MSG)
We've definitely seen marvelous and wondrous things over the past eight and a half years.


Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those treasured stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today's Special {Wordless Wednesday}

Found amongst some old vacation pictures:


©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Subway for Lunch (and Back Again): Years Ago

There are certain milestones in a child's life that show parents that their little kids are growing up -- the first day of school, losing a tooth, etc. For Addison and Brennan, the milestone that sticks out in my mind is the day they got Subway for lunch.

When Lauren was younger, it was not unusual to spend long days traveling to Walter Reed for appointments. Normally Addison and Brennan would pack backpacks full of schoolwork or toys and come along for the day.

I remember one day when I woke them up early because Lauren was sick enough to go to the Emergency Room.


As our time in the ER drug on, Brennan started complaining that he was hungry. I had a supply of snacks in my purse, but it didn't last very long.

Before long the doctors started talking about whether Lauren would be admitted to the regular peds floor to the Pediatric ICU. Meanwhile, Brennan was talking about lunch.

Knowing that I couldn't leave Lauren by herself on a stretcher in the ER, I promised Brennan that I'd go buy him lunch just as soon as we got Lauren settled in a room.

A little while later, we all followed as Lauren moved upstairs to the PICU. Immediately as we walked through the double doors to that unit, Brennan pipes up, "Can we get lunch now?"

Obviously I hadn't thought things through when I promised lunch as soon as Lauren moved out of the ER. It was going to take some time to get her settled into a new room, talk to her nurse, etc.

I looked at Addison who was just nine years old then. "Do you think you can find your way back downstairs to Subway?" She seemed confident and told me that they would watch while they were going down there so that they could find their way back up to the PICU.

I knew they wouldn't leave the hospital and a military hospital is rather secure. I handed Addison a $20 bill and told her that she could ask anyone in scrubs or a uniform for help finding the PICU if they got lost.

Thankfully, they rose to the occasion. They came back about a half an hour later with sandwiches for all of us. Addison even told me how they remembered to order Brennan's sandwich on safe bread and without any cheese (he was still allergic to milk and eggs at that time).

I'm proud of how my big kids grew up just when I most needed their help.


Ben and MeI'm sharing a "years ago" story corresponding to each letter of the alphabet for the Blogging through the Alphabet challenge hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. I often tell my children stories of things that have happened in our past, and now I'm taking the time to write down those treasured stories.

©2009-2014 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced. http://throughthecalmandthroughthestorm.blogspot.com
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