Monday, June 30, 2008

39 (and my #1 June memory)

This is what 39 looks like.

People keep asking me if I'm worried about being so close to 40. It's as if I'm supposed to be in denial of some sort. People expect me to be bracing myself for the downhill spiral. But I gotta tell ya:

I feel younger today than I have in many years. And I think I look it, too. So THERE, 39! Forty, BRING IT!

Yesterday marked 3 months since I began my weight loss journey. As of this morning, I've lost 39 pounds. How cool is that? I was aiming for an even 40, but I'll take 39 and be happy with it. I'm officially past the 25% of goal mark, so I celebrated yesterday by buying a couple of new tops and a new pair of jeans. I'm down from 5x in shirts to 3x and some 2x's. And in jeans, allow me to shout from the rooftops: I bought a size 20 yesterday. TWENTY, people! I remember the agony of having to buy 20s for the first time. I'm fairly certain that I left the dressing room in tears that day so may years ago when Dani was a baby. She's 17 now (well, she will be in 3 weeks), and THIS time, standing in the dressing room trying on a pair of 20s, I whooped and hollared "Yessssss!", and she celebrated with me. Perspective. It's all in perspective.

Darren treated me to the most amazing birthday date last week, which brings me to my #1 favorite memory of June, carried over from my last post. He arranged for his mom to watch the boys overnight, and we went shopping. You know how I hate to shop. I'm a weird girl and always have been; when my high school friends wanted to go to the mall and "try on clothes", I used to roll my eyes and groan. But Tuesday night, it was different because we shopped for Darren! I've been begging him to buy new clothes for several months. His shirts are all ratty and his jeans are all HUGE! Darren himself has lost 25 pounds in the last year, and was still wearing 36's. Now he's in 33s. I had a blast shopping with him and picking out his new wardrobe, and he looks amazing. After shopping, he took me to dinner at one of our favorite old haunts: Italianni's, where we shared an entree and a delectable dessert. Following that, we played a couple of rounds of Putt Putt, then played in the arcade for an hour or so, plunking tokens down for Deal or No Deal and Dance Dance Revolution, and my favorite: Skee Ball.

It was a low-key, relaxing, perfect date. I loved every second of it, and relished just hanging out with my best friend and dreamboat of a husband. He makes me believe that I'm beautiful. He thanks God for me. He paints me in a radiant light when he describes me to others. He's God's gift to me, and I suppose that's one of the reasons I'm so content with my life. I have it all.

And I'm 39. This is just the beginning! :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

a month in the life

It's been 30 days since I sat down and recorded any of the little things. I haven't even written about any of the BIG things!

So, here it is: a countdown of my favorite memories from the past month.

10. To celebrate the end of school and the beginning of summer, the boys and I hosted a water balloon fight for all the kids on our street (plus Faith, Kristopher and Jonathan, who I was babysitting.) After the water balloon fight, Kristi and I took the kids to a nearby snow cone stand. I'm so happy to have one close by this year. It's been too many years since I've indulged regularly in a summer snow cone! I love that I get to share one of my favorite childhood treats with my kids. We've been having fun experimenting with flavors: Tiger's Blood, Batman, Wedding Cake, and the ever-popular rainbow. (The photos are on Kristi's camera.)

9. Last Sunday, Tina and I took our sons and husbands to East Texas for a train ride.This year marks the 75th anniversary of The Lone Ranger, and the Texas State Railroad paid tribute to the western hero by reenacting a familiar scenario from the show. Bandits boarded the train with intent to rob its passengers, but the Lone Ranger and his trusty friend Tonto rode in to save the day. We all had a blast!

8. I was blessed last week with a special visit from my friend Martha and her family, who live near Sacramento. Darren and I stayed at their home 18 months ago when we went to Tahoe for our anniversary, and it was nice to welcome her family this time. Since they were in the general area for a family reunion anyway, they made the trek to Fort Worth where our families got together for lunch on my birthday and chowed down on the BEST cheeseburgers in the world! Of course, maybe I just thought so because it was the first cheeseburger I've had in so long. :)

7. The end of the school year always brings a slew of activity, and this year was the busiest yet. During the last week, I taught a day-long scrapbooking workshop at the boys' school. Marvelous Monday is an annual event where the students get to choose a day's worth of special classes. Each class lasts an hour or so, and the kids can choose subjects ranging from chess (which Darren taught) to soccer to cooking. Ian's favorite was Zooniveristy, featuring animals and zookeepers from the Fort Worth Zoo. Aidan really enjoyed ***. The classes I taught made a paper bag scrapbook from start to finish. It was a jam-packed hour, but loads of fun and a huge success. I was exhausted at the end of the day and swore to never do it again, but I've already forgotten the pain. I'm sure I'll be on board again next year! Then there were the end-of-year parties, Field Day, field trips, awards banquets, choir concerts, and teacher gifts. I love being involved in the kids' school lives, but summer was a welcome break. Whew!

6. Dani had the most stressful couple of months of her young life late this spring. Between her job, 5 AP tests, the SAT, creating the annual video for the choir banquet (she's the Historian) and other commitments, she barely had time to eat and sleep. She managed to talk her boss into taking off for the two weeks of APs, and managed to do well on 4 of them. The 5th one - Chemistry - she decided not to take at the last minute. She also pulled her grades up significantly for the last six weeks, hopefully planting herself back in the top 10% of her class. (She'd slipped to 53 out of 510 students.) When all of her school stress was over, she set her sites on landing a summer internship with a law firm, and ended up with a new part-time job! She spends about 20 hours a week entering data, creating databases and organizing files for a lawyer downtown. She's loving it!

5. Speaking of Dani, she'll be getting her driver's license next month, 1 day after her 17th birthday. She drives as often as we'll let her, which when she's with ME, is darn near every time. She's become a pretty good driver, despite some early hair-raising, life-flashing, pee-seeping moments on the road. I'm almost okay with her driving without me in the front seat. Almost.

4. Aidan and Ian experienced summer camp for the first time last week. Camp of the Hills is a non-profit that provides a summer camp experience for inner city kids who otherwise could never afford it. The expenses are covered by churches, organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, and individuals. I've been familiar with CotH because our Fortress kids attend every year, but until last week, I'd never actually been there during camp. While the boys participated as campers (THEY LOVED IT AND ARE BEGGING TO GO BACK!), I sorted and organized the dozens of boxes of craft supplies that had been donated from here there and everywhere. Then I dreamed up crafts that the campers could make with the materials we had on hand. I ended up making kits to last for the whole summer - everything from "Junky Bracelets" made from saftey pins and random beads; leather journals made from leftovers from a big reupholstering project; personalized picture frames that can be used for a camp photo; fabric-tied flip flops; a wooden cross beaded wallhanging thingy, and several dozen various bead projects. I had so much fun, and loved the challenge of figuring out how to use what I had in front of me.
As for the boys, they bonded with their counselors and fellow campers and had the time of their lives. CotH is located in Texas Hill Country, and the boys' cabins are across a big ravine from the girls' cabins and the mess hall. The northern shores of Lake Travis are down a huge hill, as is the swimming hole. It was almost like being in the mountains, in that you have to hike everywhere you go at camp. They got to canoe on the lake, fish, hike, play sports, and everything else you'd expect at camp. Aidan even performed in the Talent Show; he demonstrated his mad napkin-folding skills by creating a hat with a dinner napkin. I didn't know he knew how to do that! The crowd roared when he was finished, and he took a big bow. LOL! Ian won two awards on Banquet Night: "Best Camper" and "The Gentle Spirit Award". Aidan's awards were "Bible Facts Knowledge King" and "Most Amazing Napkin Folder in the World".

3. At the beginning of the month, I had the most incredible opportunity to spend a long weekend at my friend Lee's beach house on Cape Cod! Kristi and I flew up together and enjoyed days and days of relaxation and picture-perfect seascapes, while enjoying the company of 5 wonderful, witty, warm, welcoming women. It was exactly the right timing, and it couldn't have been more perfect. Lee's vacation home is seriously the most gorgeous home I've ever set foot in - it should be gracing the pages of Beautiful Home magazine! Lee is a generous, gracious host, and I'll never be able to thank her properly for inviting me to share a bit of her "heaven on earth". (Lee has a bunch of photos posted on her blog. Click here.)

2. Before we headed to the Cape, Kristi and I spent a couple of days with friends who live in New Hampshire - Sarah and Melissa. They drove us up the coast from Boston to Kennebunkport, Maine, stopping in little coastal towns along the way. It was COLD and blustery, but I loved it. It's exactly how I had Maine pictured in my mind: cold, gray, windy skies and white-capped, choppy, wild waves slapping against rocks and ledges. It was beautiful. Sarah and Melissa were so sweet to drag their kids out (they each have 3!) to entertain Kristi and me. We loved out time spent with them!

1. I'm out of time. Cara will be here in 15 minutes to whisk me away for a birthday overnight girls' outing, and I still haven't packed up! I'll post #1 when I return tomorrow night. (I promise, Darren! And I saved the best for last. xoxo)