Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Exercise on Vacation...

Last week Ryan and I were on a business trip. (more about that later)  Since I had started working out, I decided I better continue with it or I would not be happy with myself.  Fortunately for me I had two weeks of working out under my belt and was in a nice groove, was now able to walk after being so sore from working muscles I never knew I had, and our hotel had a fitness studio which offered actual classes!

The first day Ryan and I went to the fitness room that had all of the machines and weights.  I busied myself on the treadmill and then the elliptical and later with weights.  There were maybe two other people in the room.  I don't know much about workout etiquette, but I do know that I felt odd when a guy came and went on the elliptical right next to me when there was an entire wall of available machines!  (Ry said that  workout etiquette says you leave a machine between you.)  Anyways, we left feeling pretty accomplished.

The second day I joined a Zumba class.  I was pretty excited because I knew it would be more interesting then the day before doing a bunch of things on my own.  I tried to talk Ry into doing it with me, but nothing I said would convince him to give it a try!  I ended up being the only one in the class.  My instructor was from Puerto Rico and had moves like Jagger.  I do not have moves anything close to that and let her know that not only did my hips not move like that, (even with the assistance of alcohol) but I was tired, and uncoordinated.  I figured as long as I was moving it was a step in the right direction.

Not my actual instructor, but close enough
I kept moving and didn't have to worry about running into other people, but I did need to worry about being the only one who the instructor could watch, and the warped floor which tripped me several times.  (yes, it really was warped - they placed it without preparing it correctly and it is so hot and humid there that the floor is buckling up.  At first we thought it was for some new exercise because there was a hill in the middle of the room!)  The only other thing was that the instructor was very expressive during her movements.  I positioned myself so I could see her in the mirror, but not myself so I don't know how many times I was sporting a giggle as I watched her face contort.  She winked, opened her mouth, hung out her tongue, and did all sorts of odd facial expressions.  I began to think maybe I was supposed to be exercising my face in that way as well.  Combine her facial expressions with her hip action and I almost thought I was in the presence of Miley Cyrus!  I had a hard enough time following her lead, but when I watched her face too I just couldn't remember what I was doing!

The third day I was able to gather a bunch of people and do water aerobics.  That can be pretty tough - especially in hot humid weather in a pool that is not at all refreshing because it is so warm!  The instructor took us through a good workout.  She said she was really tired and worn out afterwards, but I think that may have been because she felt compelled to tell us a lot about her knees which lasted just about the entire hour.

Our group doing water aerobics!!  Can't beat that "workout" space!!
The rest of my time spent on the business trip I didn't do an official workout, but I counted things like swimming, jumping off of boats, snorkeling, kayaking, and climbing steps.  That counts right?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Occupation (on paper)

The beginning of the school year always feels chaotic.  Going from carefree days of no set wake up times, no set lunch times, and not knowing what day it is to each day being scheduled out to the minute is tough.  By the second week of school the kids are exhausted and a bit grumpy still trying to adjust to the schedule.  By the second week of school Mom is right there with them.

I have three children in school now which means three separate schedules to keep track of, three back packs to pack and unpack, and three sets of forms to fill each school year.

If you have not filled in these forms, let me enlighten you.  There are maybe about six forms to fill in for each child and three of these forms ask all the same questions.  You have to fill in each of these forms by hand for each child.  Each year this annoys me like you wouldn't believe! 

If you know me, you may realize I have a bit of a "stinker" streak in me.  Some may call it naughty, some call it childish, and some call it immature.  I like to think of it as adding some fun to an otherwise "dying of boredom" type of situation. 

Anyways, I had had enough of the filling in forms and I began to become annoyed with some of the questions.  In particular I wasn't a fan of the section that had Occupation ------- Hours of Employment--- .  Not a fan because how do you really describe being a mom and hello I am always on call!  After filling in the entire form I went back to that section and wrote, Awesome for my occupation.  Ryan scoffed at my answer, but I was certain that no one would even look at that section!  I was wrong and now I can't get away from it!

The last form I filled in was for the orthodontist.  It had the same questions as the school forms and I gave the same answers.

At our first appointment I handed in our sheet and waited in the room with Lola and Tyce.  The office personnel came back into our room with a big smile.  She was holding in the laughter.  She had read my occupation and was very impressed.  I laughed and told her I was glad I could give her a good laugh over it.  Apparently some people do read those forms!

When I walked into the office with Lola for her appointment today (two weeks later) one of the staff came and introduced herself to me and said, "And you must be Awesome Amy."  Uh oh!  Word must have travelled around the office and gave them all a laugh!  Oh well, at least I added some fun to their day! :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Guatemala Dream...

I'm sure many people who read this blog know that we have a daughter who was born in Guatemala.  We have also had foster children from Guatemala.  It is a gorgeous country with a fantastic climate and beautiful people.  Guatemala is a country that will always have a special place in our lives.

One of the reasons we chose Guatemala as a country to adopt from is the proximity of it to the United States.  My plan has always been to take the kids to Guatemala and stay with a host family and go to school to learn Spanish.  I have spoken with a few people and already have an idea of what school we will attend.  Of course, if you know me, you know that I am a dreamer.  My dream is to stay for an entire summer with the entire family.  That may not happen in the immediate future, but a variation will!

Actually, in October of this year, Jackson and I will be going on a mission trip to Guatemala!  We will be traveling to San Juan and staying in a malnutrition center.  I can not wait!!  We will be helping children daily for a week and doing other odds and ends to help people who live there.

Yes, Jackson will miss a week of school, but I think that the things he will learn on this trip about other people, another country, being selfless, and helping others will be things he won't be able to learn in school in the same way.  I'm so excited to share his sister's heritage with him and to give him the gift of knowing how it feels to step out of your comfort zone to help others.

Of course, I will be documenting our journey here and sharing pictures and adventures!  Right now we are in the process of raising money for the trip.  I helped Jackson compose a letter to family and friends which we began sending last week.  This is his letter:

Can you imagine being a young child and not having any food to eat?  I know I can’t because my family provides for all of my needs, but in other countries like Guatemala where my sister was born; there are many children who are sick because they don’t get enough of the right foods to eat.
My mom and I have the opportunity to travel to Guatemala in October of 2013 for a week to help these young children.  We will be going with a group from Orchard Hill Reformed Church to San Juan, SacatepĂ©quez, Guatemala through Orphan’s Heart Ministries.  We will be staying at a malnutrition center to help the center’s full-time staff with maintenance projects, providing medical care to children and staff, changing diapers, bathing children, helping feed children, and teaching them through Bible stories, singing, crafts and games.
This trip is very exciting for me and will mean a lot.  I have never seen where my sister was born or been in an area where children don’t have enough food.  During this trip I will get to give back to others who are in need and appreciate what I have more.  I am only 10 years old so I may not be able to do some of the work that the adults will do, but there are a lot of other things I can do easily.  I just hope it isn’t changing diapers all of the time!
It will cost my mom and me a total of $3800 to go on this mission trip together.  I am asking that you prayerfully consider sponsoring us on this trip.  Any donation would be greatly appreciated.  Even if you cannot sponsor us at this time, we ask that you pray for us and the children at the malnutrition center.

If you are able to donate toward our mission trip, you can send a tax deductible donation to:

Florida Baptist Children’s Homes
                                                7748 S. W. 95th Terrace
                                                Miami, FL 33156                 
Please write:  Jackson and Amy  Vander Zwart, October 19-25, Guatemala Trip in the memo line.  The organization will mail you a receipt for your donation within five business days.

 If you would like to check out the ministry we are working with, you can go to:   My mom will also post pictures and stories about our trip on her blog:    

 Thank you for your prayers and support,
 Jackson Vander Zwart

Yes, I'm a proud mom of a great kid. :) 
BTW - if you are interested in donating to help this wonderful organization (and support us on our journey) you can follow the instructions in Jackson's note above.  We appreciate any prayers, good thoughts, or donations that can be given!

Soo soo excited!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Exercise Class...oh the Horror!

I like to think of myself as a pretty healthy person, but it has been a long, long, long, long, long, time since I have worked out.  Sure, I have walked the dog, chased a runaway ball or child, and walked with my neighbor, but that is nothing like I used to do. (I counted that as my workouts - that counts right??)

Now that the kids are in school full time I have some flexibility in my schedule to do things for me!  It is a very odd feeling and I don't think it will last that long because it never does! :)  Anyways, one of the things I decided I needed to do for myself was work out.  I thought the hardest part would be to take the step to actually go.  Yes, that was difficult, but that wasn't actually the hardest part for me.

Let me explain...

I got to the venue just fine and slipped into the room where they hold classes.  The room has two walls with mirrors, one with windows so anyone could watch in, and one wall that is lined with weights and workout equipment.  It was already jam packed full of women waiting for the class to start.  I was thankful it was air conditioned and I remember thinking that I better enjoy the goose bumps on my arms now because they wouldn't last long!

I found a small spot in the sea of ponytails and cute workout outfits away from the front and mirrors.  Let me note here that I do not have cute workout outfits.  I do not match with cute shoes and a fun tank that goes with my shorts.  Nope, I have a ribbed tank that shows the path of sweat that has run down my back.  It does not repel sweat and have a "dry weave".  Nope, it is a good old fashioned cotton tank that is unforgiving in every sense of the word.  (I'm sure if I had a cute little outfit things would have gone better for me!) 

Once everyone had a little space we were greeted by the instructor, the music was turned up, and off we went!  As we started out I kept thinking that it wasn't so bad!  I was keeping up pretty well.  Sure my arms may have been off a few times, but I was holding my own!  I mentally patted myself on the back.  That was before the actual class began.

Once the beat sped up, sweat began pouring down .. well.. everywhere.. and I could now hear myself breath.  This was good.  I like a good sweat and it meant I was actually working hard!  What I didn't like was when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror 3/4 of the way through the class!

I seriously looked like I was a woman possessed!  My hair was matted at my temples with sweat and sticking up all frizzy toward the back.  That wasn't the worst of it unfortunately.  As I saw myself in the mirror I also suddenly noticed that there was quite a wide girth of space around me.  The other ladies were giving me my space and as I saw myself I knew why!  Oh the horror!  This is where the woman possessed part will make more sense.  You see, I try to be coordinated and can be, but it doesn't always come naturally to me.  Sometimes parts of me travel faster then other parts and I tend to look a little clutsy.  I like to joke that I often trip on my awesomeness.  This was not awesomeness.  This was scary!

My arm motions did not even come close to resembling the instructors.  Her hip motions and foot pattern were light years away from what I was doing!  A picture of Rachel and Phoebe from Friends running through the park flashed in my head as well as Elaine dancing in Seinfeld because that was me in that work out room.  I looked worse then ridiculous.  So much so that I almost laughed out loud at myself.  (if I could have caught my breath I would have!)  The other ladies had given me some space probably because they were scared I would take them out during a cha-cha or hip shake! (which, to be fair could have happened)

This was only my first class so I'm sure I'll get the moves down eventually and I'm sure my fellow exercisers will become less terrified of my "awesome" moves.  Maybe this is a good thing.  I will be guaranteed enough space from now on and will probably have my pick of a spot in the room!  The difficult part now is knowing how I look and choosing to go back and do it all over again!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Truck Driver - you made my day!!

Yesterday I left the house early with a list of a zillion things to do and accomplish.  I focused my tasks on the other side of town about 30 minutes away because there were a few things that I could only do there.  About 10 minutes into my drive out I realized I had forgotten my phone.  Oh the horror!! 

I envisioned my house being in shambles when I arrived home - why exactly?  I don't know since no one was home and how would having my phone help? 

Anyways, as I headed home after 5 hours of being totally off the grid I got stuck in traffic.  There was construction ahead and we were down to a crawl.  I started to panic thinking that I may be late for the bus arrival.  I reached for my phone to call a neighbor and realized once again I didn't have it!  My heart started to beat faster and I began to get more angry at the stupid slow cars putzing in front of me.   Where was this construction that was bringing the world to a stop?   Finally, a sign appeared that said the left lane, which I happened to be in, was closed ahead.  I merged over to the right lane and fumed as cars sped past ignoring the need to merge. 

Just when I thought I couldn't take it any longer, the big truck in front of me decided to take up two lanes.  As cars sped up behind him, I sped up as well and they were blocked from going anywhere.  Oh I felt terribly evil taking such delight in blocking off the fast track for those other cars!  I could almost hear the evil laughter in my head as cars and vans continued to try to gain distance and were shut down by my trucker friend in front of me!  I'm sure I had an evil grin ear to ear as each time another car's plan to move ahead of us in line was cut short.   

Once we passed construction I gave the trucker a mental high five and a big smile and nod because by this time I considered us a dynamic duo!

And yes, this made my day!  It doesn't take much to amuse me I guess.  And yes, I did make it for the bus arrival in time!  Whew!!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Tooth Fairy is a FLAKE and I don't think we will ever be friends!

Santa and I - we're tight.

The Easter Bunny and I - we get along just fine.

The Tooth Fairy and I - not happening.

Yes, I have a big problem with the Tooth Fairy.  She just really rubs me the wrong way and I will tell you why.

  • First, she is selfish!
    • Apparently she is a zillion years old, but she never ages – doesn’t even look like a half a zillion years old – and she doesn't share any of her secrets!  How selfish is that?  How easy would it be for her to swoop just over one room and sprinkle some magic dust to make me younger and beautiful?
    • I have a sneaking suspicion that she sits around and reads, watches TV, or hangs out with friends when she should be at work some nights!  Always putting herself first!
    • If she were a really awesome fairy she would share the wealth and use the magic to straighten the permanent teeth when she takes the baby teeth!  Think about it- all baby teeth are so straight and perfect.  When the permanent teeth come in they can be all over the place!   Who is there before the permanent teeth come in?  EXACTLY!  I smell a conspiracy here.  Maybe she is really working for the orthodontists!!
  • She is lazy
    • She doesn't show up for work if the weather is bad (Come on!!!  She is magical!  How can the weather stop a magical fairy?)
    • Sometimes she doesn't show up for work because she oversleeps (Really?  She has no one around to wake her up?  And again, she is magical!)
    • I have heard so many excuses about why she didn't show up when she was supposed to that I think it is part of her job to come up with excuses! 
    • She doesn't take the time to get the cash she needs to leave under the pillow!  What is with that?  I know this because there are times my children have gotten way too much money for their tooth and I suspect it is because the Tooth Fairy didn't have change that day!
  • She has favorites
    • According to the news, friends, and facebook, the Tooth Fairy is far from consistent in the gifts she leaves behind for a tooth!  Sometimes she leaves glitter covered coins with notes and sometimes she leaves $5 bills!  Not cool to play favorites.  Not cool.
I don't see how she really can get on my good side at this point.  At any rate, I believe she is a flake and I don't think we will ever be friends - sorry Tooth Fairy.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

Some people celebrate birthdays for an entire month and others let them pass without much fanfare.  This weekend we celebrated my Mom's birthday, which is actually today, for almost the entire weekend!  It was so much fun!!  She hit a big birthday milestone today and  I'm so blessed to have her in my life as are my children and if she passed on some of those anti-aging genes she has going on to me I am even more blessed! 

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Tyce caught a fish!
Ryan fishing

Jackson and Bumpa lighting lanterns

Lola and Ashley in the kayak

I like how Tyce and Audrey are working together while the dads talk


Nana and Allie

Knew this was bound to happen!


Ry and the dog he doesn't like :)

My parents: "Nana and Bumpa"

How cute are they!

Ryan and Oma
Crazy dog!

Mom and Oma

The birthday party!!

Nana and her grandchildren

Goofballs.. to be fair I did that to them and they are good sports about it

My sister asked people to write notes to my mom about a memory or something they wanted to say to her.  She laughed and cried!  It was a great gift to give!!

So sweet!  My brother in law and his youngest daughter

He caught a huge fish!