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Susan Wanderer has worked with families in kids ministry for 20 years, with the last ten years serving as Kids Minister at Mount Ararat Church in Stafford. Susan and her husband Ed reside in Fredericksburg and have three amazing kids who joined their family in 2011 and who fill their days with adventure. Come join the conversation over at 

My Stomping Grounds

On Sunday night my mom had emergency surgery.  Four weeks ago she had back surgery and we thought she was well on her way to healing.  Yet on Sunday morning her incision decided to open and display on the innards of her back. Or as my farmer-father described it to the Emergency Room resident on call over the phone “Her back looks like a split watermelon." (Hope you weren’t just drinking coffee or enjoying lunch. Because: Gross.)

Mom and Dad jumped in the car (well, Dad jumped, Mom hobbled slowly) and made their way back to UVA Hospital to meet with the surgeon and his team. By that evening Mom was being rolled back into surgery.

I got the call from my dad to meet them there. I hurried home, threw randomness of clothes, shoes, pj’s, etc… in a bag and headed to Charlottesville.

I arrived to the lobby to meet my dad and my cousin and we waited by ourselves in the very large atrium of The University of Virginia Hospital.  I think sleep deprivation took over our souls because the three of us howled with laughter at the slightest bit of story-telling and people-watching.

Mom returned to her room about 10:00PM and I stayed the night in her hospital room on 6 West. The two of us slept 3 hours and 2 minutes that night (my FitBit told me so) and by 8AM, I high-fived my cousin (who took over Mom-watch duties), drove to her house in Charlottesville and took a shower and a nap.

When I woke from my slumber, THAT is when I discovered my horrible moment of forgetfulness.

I am 42 years old.  There are certain toiletries you need every single day and can’t go without. I had forgotten ALL OF THEM.

In case you are ever in a family crisis and must pack quickly, I am your friendly blogger, here to help you gain wisdom. 

Here is my list of items I now know must be kept in a pre-prepared bag to take with me in case the call comes to come right-this-second.

The most important of these items: Tweezers. Bless all the 42-year-old bearded women. Raise your hand if that is you. Go ahead, don’t be ashamed. My arm is waving way above my head as well.

I have learned though, in my Poly-Cystic-Ovarian-Menopausal-State-Of-Living that all unwanted whiskers facial hair can be exterminated with a good pair of tweezers. Not the 99 cent kind… you MUST spend north of $7 in order to get the optimal tweeze-experience. Bless the estrogen-gone-wild-way-of-life.

On Monday morning I discovered I did not have my beloved plucking utensil and therefore I grasped my chin most of the day as medical staff, friends and family came in and out.

I looked like I was a great ponder-er. I clearly belonged with the great Academics here at the University of Virginia, AKA: The Harvard of the South. Little did they know I was hiding my menopausal chin.

The next most important item I forgot: deodorant.  I need not say more. After an evening of sleeping on a window sill, I had an aroma I was able to blame on hospital smells. Yet it needed to be remedied immediately by Secret, Dove, Degree, or even Suave before walking beyond the hospital doors. Any product that would not put me in a Seinfeld episode about body odor would have been useful at that particular moment.

Haircare Items: I looked like cotton was laying on top of my scalp. I had no shampoo. No conditioner. No product. No hairspray. Bless all the natural-curly-headed-women. I’m not one of you. I'm sure my hair greeted the surgical team of residents, interns and doctors in beauty-pageant-style.

Last night I went by Harris Teeter to their travel size section and loaded up on these items and my toiletry life returned to normal. My tip for you today, grab some travel size items, place them in a cutesy cosmetic bag and you will be set on your next last minute grab-and-go experience.

Or at the very least you will own a fabulous pair of good working tweezers.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.