Buck Melanoma & My "16-year-old Me" Sunburn...

As a high schooler I walked the Ft. Myers beach for hours. It was cloudy, not too hot and the idea of using sunscreen didn't cross my mind.

Later on I was hideous: my skin was purple, even my eyelids were burned so you could barely see my eyes. That night, I'd take a vinegar bath, to reduce the sting.

And while the burn of a severe sunburn eventually goes away, my skin will never forget. And because I was sunburned before age 18, my chances of getting Melanoma double. Strike one.

If you've seen the Dear 16-year-old me video circulating on facebook you may recall:

  • one bad sunburn before you're 18 doubles your chance of developing melanoma.... and other factors put you at risk, like having fair skin, red hair or 50+ moles, or a weakened immune system or family history of skin cancer. Potential Strike two.

My Dad was treated for actinic keratosis (AK) this year. They took a biopsy of the main spot on his face and then treated him using photodynamic therapy. It's like a face peel with an activating agent.

A chemical is put on the spots that are AK and it adheres to them. You sit for about an hour and they put a blue light on it for exactly 16 minutes, 40 seconds, which takes off all the AK spots without cutting. Then your face looks sunburned and you can't go outside for 48 hours. When my dad woke up, his pillow was bloody all the way through to the mattress pad.

Both my mom and dad have had other types of precancer pieces taken off their faces or necks and I believe my grandparents did as well.

- Recently the FDA released new rules and standards regarding sunscreen and its usage.

Read the new rules. For example, sunscreens can no longer claim to be waterproof and sunscreens with "SPF of 2-14 will be required to have a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging." Learn more about skin cancer at http://www.skincancer.org/.

- Skin cancer = NOT funny.

This Uncle Buck clip using the word Melanoma makes me laugh though! Watch the trailer. I think my favorite two seconds are when he tries to sit politely and then watching his eyes focus on the principal.

If you can't see the video, watch here http://youtu.be/f6yGAQZqHZQ

And because one mole-related video isn't enough, watch this Austin Powers clip.

Questions for You:

- Which one are you? A twiddler, dreamer, silly heart or jabberbox?
- How do you care for your skin?
- I love quacamole! Do you?

Swearing at Church Camp: Summer Adventures

photos: My dream came true the year I worked as summer staff---I got to be one of the puppet fish. (right) We went to the Apostle Islands for a staff team-building weekend.

A few weeks ago we spent the weekend camping at the church camp I attended as a kid. Lake Beauty Bible Camp is in Long Prairie, Minn., about a seven hour drive from where we live.

photos: Camp-style braids, hat, flannel and layers. The most glorious crisp-rich dutch oven potatoes. My spork, I love it.

We set up our tent immediately and wrapped that up right as the first drops of rain fell. It would rain for the next 12 hours and thunderstorm later on during the long weekend.
Thankfully our tent and gear stayed dry and warm and all three kids slept through the thunder! We signed up for the meal plan for lunch and dinner, but made breakfast on our campfire each morning. We brought our dutch ovens, skillet, kettle and coffee press.

photos: Ken enjoying breakfast.

It was fun showing my family around camp, comparing what was new and what was not. When I worked on staff, I was one of two activities directors and I led and played games with the campers in groups from 10-200 kids ages 6-18.

photos: hi-ropes course, the pamper pole, playing soft baseball in the gym.

As a family we spent a lot of time playing:
- a game we call run scrub run
- kickball
- baseball
- paddling
- hiking
- cards
- army guys
- on the jungle gym.

photos: On our way to chapel. The dining hall. Playing Bandits.

photos: Fun times around the campsite.

photos: bacon, blue skies and coffee.

photos: Little Falls, Minn. Beautiful spot along the way, though being close to rushing water freaks me out.

And finally, I have a special little story about swearing at church camp.

Our youngest (Orry) is in pull-ups. He's about the same age that his older brothers made the move to underwear, but we're not there yet. Fine.

It's our first morning at camp and we're settling in. My husband walks Orry to the bathroom. The bathroom building in family camp has flushing toilets, but it's rustic (not much water pressure, exposed pipes, bugs etc). He and Orry walk up to a stall and creak open the plywood door. They observe the clean, but rust-stained toilet before them...

And then Orry drops the f-bomb. "Oh f***," he declares, this from a little boy who craps his pull-up. Go ahead and pray for us.

Questions for You:
- Did you attend camp as a kid?
- Do you know what a Pamper Pole is?
- What's your favorite campfire meal?

photos all by me.

The Garden Zone & MyPlate

One of the things I love most about our garden is the lettuce. Fresh lettuce is amazing. I don't remember the name of the lettuce mix my husband planted this year, but when it's ready I can't wait to pile it high & deep!

(You may remember I love Bob Wiley - read why big breakfasts rule & catch the What About Bob clip within my post on GOTRIbal.now, an organization that helps connect and empower female endurance athletes.)

Having a garden helps our family eat better. We love the planning, planting, watering and care required to bring fresh food to our table.

Sometimes plants freeze or wilt or the rabbit gets them, but overall the garden is well worth the time and money. We're not gardening experts -- and I'm glad we're not-- I think it's more fun not getting trapped in the details.

- Author Adam Kelinson shares why planting & caring for a garden encourages nutritional success in this Triathlete.com article, "Gardening for Triathletes."

- Say buh-bye to the food pyramid and check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new MyPlate structure. I love this change!


- Green thumb, yes or no?
- Best fresh vegetable?

- What vegetable did you grow into? I didn't eat tomatoes until my twenties!

photos: our rain barrel, lettuce and a pepper plant from last year.