Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Push Up Challenge

As previously mentioned in earlier posts, I attend a boot camp class 3 or 4 days a week. The owner of the boot camp coordinated a Push Ups for Charity Challenge to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. In preparation for the challenge, almost all of our workouts over the past several weeks have included at least some push ups. I do not consider myself to be a weakling nor do I have any delusions that I am some sort of female Hercules. I can do squats and leg presses for hours but have never had much upper body strength. So while I don't despise push ups, I don't really love them either. The challenge was optional but since it was for a good cause I decided to sign up and then commenced pestering my friends and family for donations.

The way the challenge works is people can sponsor you by either donating a flat fee or they can donate a certain amount for each push up. I included in my donation plea to friends and family that my goal for the 90 seconds was to do 40 push ups. Remember, I am a girl, and I have very little arm strength. I knew that I would not be able to complete the entire 90 seconds doing military style push ups so my stated goal of 40 was meant to imply that some of those push ups would be the girly kind. Some of you may think this is cheating and that is fine. However, before you make fun of me, get on the floor, set your timer for 90 seconds and see how many girl push ups you can do with correct form. If you are a girl and you can do way more than 40 then you have earned your right to mock me. If you are a boy and you do way more than 40 girl push ups, well, you are a boy. You should be able to do that.

Anyway, one of my sponsors (we'll call him "Charles") made a complicated donation with a very generous bonus for reaching the 40 mark and an additional bonus for each push up over 40. Charles' donation came complete with weeks worth of friendly trash talk leading up to the event and plenty of complaining that I had "tricked" him by not originally telling him about the girl push ups.

About a week before the challenge I asked Myers if he would like to participate. He said he would, but that he hadn't been doing push ups as a regular part of his workouts and didn't know how well he would do.

Finally the day of the event arrived and I was happy to see so many people participating. It was the average Joes vs. the Coppell Fire Department vs. the Coppell Police Department. In order to make it as fair as possible the rules stated that you had to lower yourself until your chest touched a sponge placed on the ground below you and that when you can up you had to lock out your elbows. I am proud to say that Myers and I were 2 of the few that actually followed the rules. Most of the cops and firemen were doing fast mini push ups (still impressive) instead of coming all the way up. There were about 6 rounds of participants and it was funny to see everyone get completely pooped after about 50 seconds. Myers and I were no exception. We both started out strong and did really well for almost a minute and then our arms gave out. We both managed to irk out a few more push ups in the last 30 seconds but afterward we agreed that we could not have done 1 more push up if our lives depended on it.

I ended up doing 50 push ups which meant Charles had to fork over his original pledge for the first 40 plus all of the bonuses for surpassing my goal. Yay! He came out to the event to cheer us on (or psych us out, not sure which) but showed up about 2 minutes after we finished. I am grateful that I had such great sponsors and was able to help raise money for wounded soldiers. I was also proud that my weak arms were able to struggle through and do 50 push ups, even though I was pretty sore for the next several hours.

Myers who, if you remember, had not prepared at all for the challenge ended up doing 67 push ups in 90 seconds. I was very proud of him...and also a little jealous.

Go Myers Go! See the official sponge used to check for correct form?

Karen struggling through push up number 47 out of 50. Not looking (or feeling) so great at this point. Blerg.

Owen is sad that he is not allowed to participate, poor little guy.

Oh look, a dog! Owen is happy again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things

On Friday afternoons, I have the privilege of leading a Bible study for elementary students called CREW. This is, perhaps, the very best part of my job. We are doing a 6 week series in CREW on "Very Bad Days". We have already covered Moses' bad day and how God delivered Moses and the Israelites from the Egyptians, just not in the way Moses was expecting. Last week we talked about Mary's bad day which ended happily with the birth of Jesus. So this week we discussed the disciples' bad day (Mark 4:35-41) when Jesus calms the storm. I had the kids act out the story by playing the roles of Jesus, disciples, storm, water and waves. Little Timmy played the role of the wave perfectly. I think he has a serious acting career in his future. It was very loud and fun and I think the kids all understood the story by seeing it in action.

We then sat down and went over a few discussion questions about what they learned from the story. In order for them to get the full meaning of the passages, I always try to relate it to their lives somehow. So, I explained to the group how sometimes when people have difficult times in their lives it is called "going through a storm". I asked if anyone had heard that expression before and almost all of the kids said that they had. I asked for a volunteer to tell us about a difficult time in their live. Several hands shot up and I called on one of the boys. He said, "One time (by the way, 99% of elementary kids stories start with the phrase "one time") one time there was a storm outside my house and it was really loud." So I smiled and said, "Yes, that is an example of a real storm. Does anyone have an example of a time when things were hard or difficult for you?" I called on another student who said, "One time, there was a hurricane and I got hit with hail and it was like a 10 pound hail." I realized that if I didn't give them an example I was just going to continue to get more stories about actual storms. I told them how when I was younger I got mono and was really sick and had to miss a lot of school and it was a hard time for me. I heard a chorus of "ooooohhhhh"s which made me hopeful that they finally understood what I was asking. I called on one of the older kids who said, "One time (long pause) at my baseball game (long pause)....(at this point I have breathed a sigh of relief that his story is about baseball instead of bad weather)..."one time at my baseball game.........there was a tornado" Doh!

We switched gears and I asked them to think of a time that they felt like Jesus helped them. This is the question I should have asked from the start. They all had great answers that included a difficult time in their life and how now, looking back, they can see that Jesus was watching over them. Of course, one last comment came from a 1st grader who said, "one time...a tsunami came...and it touched my leg but Jesus helped me. I had to work hard not to laugh as I thanked him for sharing that story.

I love my job.

Monday, March 28, 2011

7 Years! (by Myers)

I’m a listener and a thinker, not a sharer. It’s a shame I don’t share more because I often think about how lucky I am to have Karen as my wife, how much I love her, how much she makes me laugh and how beautiful she is. These are things I should be verbalizing as much as possible but the thoughts rarely leave my head. I could come up with the next great "That's what she said" style iconic one-liner and Mike & Meredith would still not let me live down telling Karen "I told you you were pretty last month." I was totally joking when I said it but sadly it's not that far from the truth. Sharing my feelings is normally a drain on my life force (much less on a blog), I find other people’s lives and thoughts much more interesting than my own. But 7 years of marriage calls for a little sharing. I apologize in advance for the scatter-brained layout of it all, I have a lot I could cover after 7 years but in an effort to keep this to a reasonable length I'll have to skip around.

At the time, March 2004 was the most life altering month in my 22 years of existence (more on this later). I started my first real job, moved into a new apartment (out of my parents’ house) and got married, in that order. Even though we were happy in our marriage and 100% confident we were doing the right thing, these were trying times. Why, you ask? We both hated our jobs with a passion. It’s funny how 9 hours of misery each day can ruin the joy you would normally find in other activities. There was only about a 24 hour period between Friday after work and Saturday evening where we could enjoy our free time on the weekend. By late Saturday evening we were already dreading the fact that we were on the eve of our last day of freedom. As each minute on Sunday ticked by we faced increasing anxiety over returning to what must be hell on earth the next day. We made it through the first year or 2 of marriage on love alone. Thankfully we both eventually got new jobs that we enjoyed to a certain extent; it was still work after all.

Our life together at this point was fairly normal. We were financially secure, had a house, took some nice vacations and had a great time together. Karen has been my best friend since around 9th grade. We have been hanging out constantly since then. So to say we know each other well and are happy just being by ourselves is a huge understatement. She is the funniest person I know, I just try to keep up and carry my weight to keep her entertained. Have you ever wondered what a reality show inside your house would be like? And would people watch? I have and I think people would watch our show. Not because of me but because of Karen. She can make any activity entertaining … cooking dinner comes to mind. She has a goofy song and dance for everything. Just ridiculous lyrics about whatever she’s doing at the time that always seem to end up with a catchy melody stuck in my head. She is a very prolific song-writer, her songs just happen to be about how much she loves spaghetti, or about cranberry juice, TV shows, chewing food or whatever else is going on. I think she has made me laugh out loud nearly every one of our 2,555+ days of marriage. She is not afraid of using the same jokes over and over until they stop making me laugh. After 6 years of dating and 7 years of marriage she has plenty of material to fall back on.

Karen is also very supportive and caring and I know she would go to the ends of the earth for me if I needed her to. My dad died in May of 2009, it was easily the worst day, week and month of my life. Growing up, he was my Superman who could do no wrong. He did a pretty amazing job of living up to those expectations even as I grew older. Losing him caused pain and sadness that has to be experienced to be understood, words can’t really do it. Unfortunately, every one of us has experienced or will experience this sadness. Karen was the perfect friend, supporter and confidant that I needed and still need today for any number of reasons.

A little earlier, I mentioned March 2004 as the most life-altering month for me; well that was definitely replaced by a single moment in December 2009 with the birth of Owen. He has changed my perspective on everything. I think it’s safe to say nothing has made us happier than he has. He definitely runs our lives without even knowing it. Bill Simmons is a comedy/sports writer for, he refers to his young daughter as “the CEO” and I think this is the perfect description. Everything we do has to fit into Owen’s schedule. The funny thing is we don’t even care; we’d rather do anything for him before we do anything for ourselves or anyone else. I think my family is perfect. Karen is doing an amazing job with Owen; she is a natural with him and shows patience and understanding that is beyond me. All I know is I can’t wait to get home every day to be with them. Seeing them interact, laugh and learn together is better than seeing any number of my other favorite things (i.e. a great soccer game, Cowboys football, The Office, 30 Rock, any # of other TV shows). Hearing her sing “Go To Sleep Little Baby” to Owen when he won’t go to sleep is the sweetest sound on God’s green earth.

In closing, I resolve to do a better job of getting words from my brain to my mouth because the people I love deserve to know how happy I am to have them in my life. And I look forward to making Owen think I’m Superman for as long as possible. Karen knows I’m not and loves me all the same.

My mom has the unbiased opinion that I was the cutest baby ever. I’m a middle child so regrettably there is no photographic evidence but not even I could have been this cute:

Monday, March 21, 2011

San Diego Recap

Wheew. I survived my first trip away from Owen. San Diego was great...I'll just cover the highlights.

First Night - "Someone" (we'll call her Kelly) accidentally booked our flight for a few hours earlier than we had planned. Originally we were supposed to get into San Diego around 8:30 Monday night but instead we were on the flight that landed at 5:30. This turned out to be a really good thing. At DFW, American Airlines made Kelly gate check her bag even though it fit fine in their bag sizer thing. There were at least 6 guys on our flight that were heading straight from the airport in California to Marine Corp boot camp. They were all very excited. I was thinking to myself that they weren't going to be so excited in a few hours when a bunch of dudes were screaming in their faces, but I didn't tell them that. Instead I said a quick prayer for them and wished them well.

Our flight landed right on time. We immediately hopped on the Thrifty shuttle to get our rental car. At this point we were watching the clock but decided we would have plenty of time to grab a late dinner and settle into our hotel in time to watch the finale of The Bachelor. We were greeted by the *very* friendly attendant at Thrifty, Ian, who politely asked Kelly for her credit card and drivers license. Insert audible gasp. Turns out Kelly had left her purse...wait for it....on the plane. So, back on the shuttle, back to the airport, got the purse, back on the shuttle, into our awesome yet tiny rent car and onto the hotel. At this point we were getting very hungry and had lost all hope of getting to see the beginning of The Bachelor but were daydreaming of being able to sit and relax after a long day. At the hotel, we checked in, then had to switch rooms, then went to the hotel restaurant (we were too tired to drive anywhere) which had the slooowwwwest service. We made it into our room at 9:15 California time, watched what was left of the show and then immediately fell asleep for an early morning wake up call the next day.

Conference - The whole point of going to San Diego was for the Children's Pastors Conference. My first class (which was 6 hours long) was not very helpful and I started to get worried that the conference was going to be a waste of time. Thankfully that was the only bad class and every session after the first was fantastic. The general sessions provided music mostly by groups that write and perform for children. That was not my favorite. One band dressed in track suits and bucket hats had one line in the chorus of their song that mentioned something about razzle dazzie. BUT the classes and the keynote speakers were so great and so educational. We left with so many new ideas and concepts to use at HCC. Can't wait!

Other stuff - Even though our days were packed with classes and other sessions, we did manage to find an hour or two over the course of the week to see the sights. Kelly and I ventured out to nearby La Jolla and Coronado, plus dinner in Old Town San Diego. I also got to spend some time with Mike and Rachel and Mike's brother Joe on St. Patrick's Day. Never in my life have I celebrated St. Patty's but the people of San Diego come out in full force. People, music and green everywhere. We went to the roof of the Marriott Hotel downtown and watched the helicopters fly by. Beautiful. It was so much fun to see my friends but it made me sad they live so far away.

View from the top of the Marriott

And another

Me looking very touristy

Friday, March 11, 2011


Next week I will be traveling to San Diego with my co-worker Kelly for the Children's Pastors Conference. I have mixed feelings about the trip. I'm excited to be at the conference, take the classes, get some new ideas and browse all of the new curriculum and materials. I also look forward to visiting with my dear friends Mike and Rachel who live in California. They have graciously offered to pal around with me during my down time and show me the sights of San Diego. I am not excited about being away from Owen for the first time...ever...and for 4 nights.

In preparation for my trip I've done some shopping this week to buy travel hair products, tiny toothpaste, new filp flops...stuff like that. Earlier in the week I made a quick trip to Target. I went in intending to pick up 3 small items and didn't think I would need a cart or a basket. This is never a good idea for me. The same thing always ends up happening: I keep finding more things that I "need" and end up hoisting a giant (and carefully balanced) pile of stuff in my arms walking quickly but carefully to the register before I lose my grip and everything falls to the floor and someone has to call for a clean up on aisle 7. This visit to Target was no different. My 3 things turned into about 15, two of which were a gallon of milk and a half gallon of milk. Owen drinks a lot of milk.

Anyhoo, as I am briskly making my way to the register I end up getting stuck behind a girl who is walking quite slowly down the middle of the thoroughfare. Even though I usually don't get annoyed very easily, hehe ;), I was instantly bothered by this girl (probably about 20 years old) and her too-slow walking right in my way. I peered around my carefully balanced pile, which was getting heavier by the second, and saw a downright fashion emergency.

So you know how girls sometimes wear leggings under a dress? Well she was kind of wearing that except instead of a dress it was a shirt and instead of leggings it was see-through black pantyhose. I can only conclude that when the pair of pantyhose was purchased and all tiny in the package, they appeared to be opaque. I guess she didn't realize that when stretched, they would become transparent. So not only is she wearing see-through pants, her top wasn't even long enough to cover her
bo-hiney. At least she was wearing some giant, plaid, granny panties under the hose. Sheesh. From now on, whenever I get dressed I will make sure to look at the back of myself in addition to the front to make sure I am not breaking any public lewdness laws.

This week I also purchased the world's tiniest blow dryer and the world's tiniest flip flops:

aaaaannnnnnnddd here's an Owen picture just for funsies

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dallas Arboretum

Owen and I went to the Dallas Arboretum today with Jamie and Baby William. I have wanted to check out the Arboretum for some time now but have been too cheap to venture out there. When Jamie invited us to go with her, I thought this would be a good opportunity to go to the gardens and was extra excited when she mentioned that she has a year membership and we would be getting in free. Woo hoo.

We had such a great time! It was a little cloudy and breezy when we first arrived but warmed up a little as the day progressed. Owen was very interested in checking out the various sights to be seen and William was content in the Bjorn with Jamie. The annual "Dallas Blooms" event JUST started a few days ago which meant that there was a plethora of newly planted flowers to enjoy. My favorites were the tulips and the greener-than-green grass.

Along with getting to experience the sights and smells of the Arboretum, I also got to spend some quality time with Jamie and William AND got to practice my novice photography skills. If you are in the Dallas area, I highly recommend making a trip out the the Dallas Arboretum, you won't be disappointed.

I took about 45,000 are a few of the better ones.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Lemon

I just finished 10 days of a pretty strict detox-style diet. Lots of water and fiber and veggies but no dairy or wheat products. I was happy with the results (a slimmer and more energetic Karen) but was desperately craving some "real" food. Sooooo I treated myself to one cheat meal before getting back on the healthy eating horse. For those of you that know me, you know I take my food very seriously. Choosing 1 meal of indulgence was difficult but I ended up selecting one of my favorite Mexican restaurants for some delicious quesadillas.

It was nice to relax and enjoy a dinner out with Myers and Owen. Owen was in good spirits and was entertaining us with his antics. The restaurant gave him a kids menu complete with crayons. We let him draw on the back of the paper but it was really more of a stabbing motion with the crayon rather than the smooth strokes of Picasso. At the wee age of 14 months he still has time to come into his own as an artiste.

Toward the end of the dinner, Owen noticed the lemon on the side of my water glass. He started pointing at it and letting me know with his limited communication skills(mostly hand signals and grunts) that he wanted the lemon. At this point, we as parents had several options.
a. Ignore him
b. Distract him with other food or toys or choreographed dances
c. Calmly explain to him that the acidic content of the lemon would do a real number on his budding tooth enamel
d. Throw the lemon onto another table so that he can no longer see it can do what we did...and let him bite the lemon.

My mother thinks it is cruel to let a baby bite a lemon. You may agree with that. Be it cruel or not, it sure is funny to see the reaction. Owen took a bite and after about 3 Mississippis, his face scrunched up tight and a shock wave went from head to toe. Then, he opened his eyes, smiled, laughed and opened his mouth for another bite.