Where Angels Fear to Jog

In the late Summer of 2004, we moved to the suburbs; immediately Kathy signed us all up with a family membership to the local YMCA. I knew right away that we should have stayed in the country.

“It’ll be great,” Kathy enthused. “We’ll meet you at the Y on your way home from work, and we can all exercise as a family. What a good example to the children, to see us both taking our physical fitness so seriously.”

Trekking the Track
Who wouldn’t want to run, with such good company?

She painted a rosy picture. Healthy, smiling children and their thin (but muscular) parents, running effortlessly in single-file around the brightly-lit indoor track, or smoothly operating the gleaming exercise machines, to the envy and admiration of dozens of onlookers. Tired but laughing, we would drive home together, united as a family in this common goal.

After stalling for some months, I finally agreed to actually go to the YMCA and get my membership card. Inside, the rank smell of sweating bodies and the sensation of universal despair struck me like a blow to the face. Nervously, I let them take my picture, and immediately fled, before I was inadvertently sucked into this gloomy vortex of fitness. My worst fears were confirmed: joining the Y was like joining the Army, or at least it included many of the same odors.

Each week, my children go to the YMCA for Homeschool Physical Education, a program offered free to members, and the major reason we joined. They have taken classes in gymnastics, swimming, and a variety of sports and physical activities. Most of the time they really enjoy it, although they tend to dread the annual focus on Presidential Fitness testing. Cleverly remembering lessons from my Army days, I held aloof from such things, although I did unbend enough to drop the kids off at the Y when Kathy was at Bible Study Fellowship.

After more than eighteen months, Kathy convinced me to play Wally-Ball with the family after work, and I actually darkened the door of the YMCA for several weeks, trying to teach my children (and a few passing urchins) how to play this interesting game. It didn’t take, though, and I soon happily returned to my sedentary ways.

Today was a big day. After more than three long years of YMCA membership and not-so-subtle hints on the part of my wife, I finally went to the Y and actually used an exercise machine. Sadly, the paparazzi were not permitted inside, and there were no pictures taken of this momentous event. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that I logged a good 35 minutes in on a fiendish device my wife calls an ‘elliptical’.

Junior Joggers
We did, however, capture David and Sarah’s running-while-holding-hands act.

A man of my years and girth tends to take a philosophical view of life; hopefully this will prove to have been a passing phase, like many before it. As Mr. Bennett said in Pride and Prejudice, “Don’t worry, it will pass more quickly than it ought.”

Project 366, Day 31

Share or follow

Related posts:

Not How I Want to Spend My Evening

On the way home from church this evening, I was in a car accident.

Miraculously, this is the extent of the damage to our car.

that's it?

We lost our hub cap (it was subsequently run over and destroyed) and have a small gash in the side.

I was passing through an intersection near home when the driver, waiting in the left turn lane, decided (misguidedly) that she had the right of way and turned directly into the back corner of my van. It was rather traumatic in a slow-motion sort of way. I was not speeding or rushing through the light. I could see the other car was making the turn and I swerved as far away from her, over to the right as I could.

Poor Daniel, who was with me in the van. He thought we were going to “… hit the lamp post, explode, and that would be the end of us.”

Explode? Makes you wonder just what kind of movies he has been watching.

Unfortunately, the other driver received a harsher blow.


I can easily think of over 100 things I would rather be doing on a Wednesday evening than stand in a parking lot, surveying damage to vehicles that have collided on the road.

Praise God we were safe and no one was hurt!!

Project 366 – Day 30

Share or follow

Related posts:

Snow is Gone

Here today, gone tomorrow, that’s pretty much what we say about snow in these parts. Last year we had a lovely snow fall. I rushed out and bought boots for David and Sarah.

It didn’t snow again the entire winter. I don’t think they EVER even wore the darn boots.

So, there is no need to feel jealous of our abundant snow fall. True, it covered the streets (briefly) and was perfect (dense and solid, just right for snowballs, men and forts), but it’s melted now.

All that remains is the odd clump of snow here or there around town.

one last snowball

Yesterday Daniel gathered enough snow to make one last snowball before the rain settled in.

The Last of the Snowballs – the children long to see more of your kind around these parts. Me – I’d go for a week in Hawaii.

Project 366 – Day 29

Share or follow

Related posts:


WFMW – Computer Game Chips

wfmwWe’ve written about how our family handles computer game privileges before, here and here, but I thought I would share the concept in a bare bones, easy to read post.

Works for Me Wednesday – Computer Game Chips

Every Wednesday the children (and Tim) receive poker chips equivalent to 3 and 1/2 hours of computer game playing time.

White Chips = 30 minutes
Blue Chips = 1 hour
Green Chips = 2 hours

computer chips

Throughout the week the children (and Tim) are free to ‘spend’ their computer chips as they wish, so long as permission is granted (Tim, obviously, doesn’t need permission) and a computer is available. When the chips are gone, the children (and Tim) are able to earn additional chips through service projects around the house (laundry, cleaning, extra chores).


Computer time is carefully monitored by the use of timers (see our Tuesday Parenting Tip for more on our love of timers). We have several kitchen timers and a stop watch that we employ to keep track of game time.

One of the saddest sounds in our house for the children (and Tim) is that little beeper, signifying 30 minutes has ended. Oh, the moans and groans you will hear from the children (and Tim). On the other hand, this crew can hear the clink of a chip as it hits the floor or counter from any room in the house. It’s a tragic thing to lose a chip to the washing machine where it is claimed by the laundress.

Benefits of this Discipline

  1. We become better stewards of our time – no more hours slipping away unnoticed in front of a computer game
  2. There is a cap to how much time, overall, one can spend on the computer – chips gone/computer game over
  3. Mom gets extra chores completed by eager computer gamers who are out of chips
  4. Mom doesn’t have to worry about her computer being used for long periods of time – 30 minutes is actually a very short period of time
  5. The family is encouraged to find other forms of entertainment – outside play, board games, reading
  6. Dad provides an awesome example of how to put limits on extracurricular activities
  7. Less fussing and nagging from Mom

I’m sure Tim (and the children) can share further blessings from this practice, if we ask them.

gather around, ye computer players

All five children gather to watch an intense moment on Daniel’s Star Wars Lego game. See the family unity and love.

Stop by Rocks in My Dryer for other blogs with great tips. You’re welcome to leave a comment on our Duckabush Giveaway post and enter a chance to win some Starbucks and chocolate.


Share or follow

Related posts:

Snowballs of Great Mightiness

It’s really quite impossible to do school when there is snow, glorious snow, covering the yard. When I got up this morning, Daniel, David and Sarah were already dressed and pulling on snow pants.

this boot will fit, I know it will

It was 7:15 am.

Snow pants – before 9 or even 10 am. There’s just something wrong with that picture.
bundled boy

I convinced the kids they should wait until at least 8 am before venturing out into our little Winter Wonderland. I felt sympathetic for those souls still snuggled in bed (why wasn’t I one of them?) who probably didn’t want to hear shrieks, no matter how joyful, that early in the morning.

Literally at the stroke of 8 am, the Three Rascals charged out the door, into the back yard. The snow was perfect – think and dense – just right for making snowballs, snowmen and snow forts.

sitting for a spell with my snowball

“I wonder if this would work as a snowball?”

taking my snowball for a walk

“If I can just carry it over to the side of the road.”

It’s important to know what to do with a good pile of fresh snow. Inviting a friend over for a game of King/Queen of the Mountain is a good place to start.

Ally and Daniel climb to the top

daniel takes a dive

rolling and tumbling

If you can’t stay on the top, at least you can have company on the bottom.

Project 366 – Day 28

Share or follow

Related posts: