Saturday, February 26, 2011

Six Word Saturday!

It's that time again...Six Word Saturday! To find out more about 6WS and to participate, check out Call Me Cate's Catetastic blog by clicking the button below.

My words:

Oops, Zoodle lost his binky! (Yippeekiyay!)

There were some positives to this crazy of them being that at the beginning of the week, Zoodle lost his binky. Since then, he's been going to sleep at night and at naptime without it ever since! If I'd known the transition would be this easy, I would have "lost" the darn thing a long time ago! kids are growing up.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Asking for help

I'm finally getting over this nasty virus, and I think that soon we'll be a healthy household again. Whew!

Yesterday morning, though, I wasn't so optimistic. I woke up feeling awful, and I still had a fever. I was just so frustrated, and so tired.

So I sent a Facebook message to other women from my church, asking if someone could provide us with dinner.

It was a little awkward to send the message--actually asking for a specific type of help. But if I didn't ask, how would anyone know what I needed? So ask I did.

And I ended up with a three people contacting me offering to bring us meals. Wow! By the time dinner arrived, I was feeling a lot better, but it was still wonderful to be able to rest instead of pushing myself to get a meal together.

Here's the thing about asking for help--you're opening yourself up to rejection. But you're also opening yourself up to blessing. And I like to think that for most of us, the blessing is a lot more likely than the rejection.

I was blessed when I needed it...because I asked.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Silver lining

It's been a rough week. Last Wednesday Zoodle got sick; then Chickie got sick; then I got sick. And it's been a doozie of a virus (plus ear infections for both kids!) Zoodle is fine now. Chickie is still recovering but doing much better. I thought I was okay yesterday and woke up sick again today.

Then yesterday we found out we need an expensive repair to our home air conditioner.

I'll be honest, I've been pretty whiny lately. (Sorry, Twitter friends!) So in an effort to change my attitude, here are the silver linings to the clouds in our home right now:
  • The part we need for the A/C is under warranty, so we are only paying for labor. If we'd had to pay for the part, our cost would have doubled.
  • We have the luxury of having an air conditioner (when most people who live in the world's warmer climates don't.) And we have the ability to pay to keep it running.
  • I've gotten extra cuddle time with the kids while we've been sick.
  • A lot of my illness was over the long weekend, so The Engineer was able to take care of the kids...and if I need him to, he can still take some time off.
  • Ibuprofen rocks--after taking it today, I'm feeling much better and probably won't have to ask The Engineer to come home early.
  • Our illness hasn't involved any upset tummies. Thank goodness!
  • The Engineer has stayed healthy. (Praying that continues!)
  • After a very busy week last week, being under the weather has given me a very good reason to rest.
Being sick is hard when you're a mom. And unexpected, expensive home repairs are never welcome. But life is still so good, and I'm going to make an effort to be thankful even when things aren't going exactly how I want them to.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hello Kitty Cake

Today is Chickie's belated birthday party. (Remember, the one that is belated all for good reasons, and not due in any way to my procrastination? Yeah, that one.)

I don't think Chickie realizes this is the second year in a row that she's requested a kitty cat cake. But the cakes are quite different. Last year was a funky, pink, sprinkle-covered cat. This year Chickie went more commercial, requesting Hello Kitty.

She wanted a strawberry cake, and I found a great recipe (using a white cake mix with added ingredients including strawberry gelatin & pureed strawberries.) It turned out delicious, as did the strawberry icing.


I knew that a small round cake wouldn't be enough for all the guests and their parents, so I also made cupcakes. The cake itself, despite its simple design, took forever. (I decorate few cakes, so I'm very slow!) So by the time I got around to decorating the cupcakes I was glad I'd chosen a simple theme...pre-made Hello Kitty decorations and pink buttercream frosting.


I'm writing this on Friday night, and Chickie hasn't seen her cake yet, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say...I bet she loves it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Micro: A Valentine's limerick

We had a fun event with church friends Saturday. The youth group watched our kids, while a bunch of us moms & dads went to breakfast together, then did a scavenger hunt. (My friend Ann did a great job organizing it!) One item we were instructed to bring back was a Valentine's poem written on a napkin.

Without further ado, here's mine:

My darling, we make quite a pair.
For Valentine's, please show me you care.
But my age is not two,
So whatever you do,
Don't give me a stupid plush bear.

Hope your Valentine's Day is full of love and laughter!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Because it makes me happy

There are a lot of reasons to run. It burns calories; it's good for the heart; it provides good training for darting after hyper kids or fleeing from purse-snatchers.

But the biggest reason I run? Because it makes me happy.

We hear all the time about how we should work out. But until I started running, I generally didn't stay consistent with exercise for longer than a few months at a time. Why? Because I didn't love it.

I think the "You should work out, and stick with it" message needs to be changed. Instead, try this on for size:

However long it takes, find a form of exercise that you love.

I don't even have to add "and stick with it" to the end of that sentence, because when you love it, motivation becomes so much less of a factor. I'm not motivated to run because I talk myself into it; I'm motivated to run because it makes me happy. Sure, some days it's harder than others. And I may some day let life get in the way, and find that I'm out of the habit. But I love running. I bet even if I get out of the habit, I'll end up getting back into it.

Have you found a type of exercise that makes you happy? If not, I have a suggestion. Try something new. Give yourself a specific length of time, however long you think it'll take to figure out if you love it or not (a month or six months or whatever.) Don't love it? Pick a new activity. Lather, rinse, repeat...until you find what you love.

What if five years down the line you've tried twelve different activities, and all you've discovered is that you really don't love running, cycling, Tae Kwon Do, Zoomba, circuit training, swimming, step aerobics, Wii Fit, Crossfit, boot camp, jump rope, or kickboxing? Well, you may not have found what you love, but you've been active. For five years.

And if you spend the rest of your life trying unsuccessfully to find new activities you love, at least you'll be healthy. But I bet that won't happen. I bet you'll find your niche.

I said I hated running. And yet I fell in love with it. Whatever your expectations are, I hope you'll give yourself a chance to find the form of exercise that makes you happy. We should exercise...but we might as well enjoy the process!

(I'm not sure if the guy next to me was breathing hard, or storing acorns for the winter...but I do know this was 11+ miles into the race, so when my husband wasn't taking a pic of me, I probably had some funny looks on my face too!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What would you have done?

We went to WalMart today, and when we were in one of the grocery aisles I witnessed this scene:

A little girl (maybe six or seven years old) was shopping with someone I'll assume was her dad. (And I'll call him that even though I'm not sure about their relationship.) I suddenly heard his voice--hard, gruff, loud. Angry.

"I told you to STOP ACTING UP!"

I watched the little girl. Her eyes were wide, and her body language--leaning away from her father--made it clear that she was scared.

Then he reached out, and with an open hand, hit her upper arm. I heard the sharp SLAP.

Shortly afterward, they walked by us as they exited the aisle. She was walking apart from him, and her face looked so sad, as she held her upper arm with her other hand.

Then they were gone, and Chickie came up to me softly. "Mommy, did you just see..." she began, and she proceeded to describe the scene to me in detail, including the little girl holding her arm afterward. I got down on her level and we had a short, serious conversation about what we'd both seen.

"Yes, I did see it," I said. "It made me very sad." I talked about how it's not okay for a dad to hit his daughter like that. Later at home we spoke more in-depth about it. I explained to her the difference between a non-angry parent choosing to use spanking as a form of discipline, and a parent hitting their child in anger. (We don't spank, but I want her to know that parents can spank in non-abusive ways.)

"It's never okay for someone to hit you because they're angry," I told her. "If that ever happens, you come tell me."

The whole scene really affected me. I was quiet and choked up after I'd seen it. I felt so confused and helpless. What do I do?? I asked myself, as I walked through the store and continued to keep an eye out for the father and daughter. Option after option ran through my head.

I could call the police--but he'd just slapped her on the arm, through her clothes, probably not even official "abuse." The police probably couldn't do anything, and would it even be practical for me to try to find them again in the store when the police arrived?

I could confront him, telling him, "It's not okay to hit a child because you're angry." But that might make him angrier, and he doesn't know me; he probably would have no respect for my unsolicited parenting advice.

I could try to talk to the little girl, ask her if her dad hits her worse than this at home, tell her that she can talk to a teacher or counselor at school--but really, that was probably the least-practical option. I certainly don't want some stranger coming up and trying to pull my kid aside to ask him or her serious questions in WalMart; it wouldn't be appropriate.

Honestly, I'm not sure there's anything I could do to "fix" things. But the fear and sadness in that little girl's face still makes me teary-eyed. I hope, hope, hope her daddy doesn't take out his anger on her at home. I hope, hope, hope that if he does, there is someone who knows them--beyond seeing them for a few seconds at WalMart--that will report him, repeatedly if necessary.

So I used it as a teachable moment for my daughter...and I'm praying for them. I just wonder if there's anything else I should have done. What do you think?

Monday, February 7, 2011

The harsh reality is...

...I can't do it all.

I've picked up two pretty time-intensive hobbies in the last 16 months--running and crocheting. One of those is costing me money (running gear, race fees, etc.); the other is making me a bit of money. I'm enjoying both.

The Engineer and I have also decided that 2011 is the year in which it would be nice for me to focus more on my real estate career again. My kids are still my full-time job, but I'm ready for real estate to be a solid, part-time profession, instead of just an occasional one. I was a full-time agent for three years before Chickie was born. I've continued to keep my license and to sell houses here and there for the last five years. This year I'm putting more energy into marketing myself again, to remind people that I'm still here, ready to give jaw-droppingly good service if they need to buy or sell in this neck of the woods.

Of course, I have this wonderful husband and these two awesome kiddos, and somehow they take up quite a bit of my time. (And I wouldn't have it any other way.)

Then there's this blog I've got here. So where in the world does it fit in?

Back in November, I had my own little LoBloPoMo (Low Blog Posting Month.) And since then, while I've picked up the pace on my posts, I haven't gotten back to my previous frequency (which was usually six days a week.) I've hesitated to post about it; honestly, I didn't want to look like a burned-out, unmotivated blogger. Especially considering that whole "Blogging with discipline" thing.

And it's important to me to keep posting, because writing is something I enjoy, and I love the connections I have with those of you who read my blog. But back to the first sentence of the post: I can't do it all. So in this season of my life, "blogging with discipline" consists of writing a couple of blog posts a week, and keeping up with my other blog. It means my brain won't be in "writer mode" as often, and I'll miss out on some of the inspiration I'd get if I was writing here every day.

But I'm busy doing other things, things that are also important. Designing hats is such a fun artistic outlet for me. Selling homes makes me feel like a thinking adult, and it brings in an income. Running keeps me healthy and (relatively) sane. And all of those things help me be more well-rounded as a wife and mom. (Or at least I hope they do!)'ll still C. Beth Blog. You just won't "C" me as often. But I'm still here...running and stitching and selling and mommying. And a couple of times a week...writing about it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow day!

We don't get snow very often where we live, so the fact that we've had it two years in a row is pretty amazing! Today's snowfall was light, but there was ice underneath, so many roads are closed. The Engineer is working from home, and the kids and I took advantage of the fun white stuff this morning. It's melting now, and it will be in the mid-50s again tomorrow. (Yay!)

Here's a collage of pictures from our snow day!


I had to include that last photo of Hammer with his paws on the countertop, licking the snow ice cream--just to give you a more realistic view of what kind of dog he is. After my post earlier this week, I got one comment that made me realize I'd inadvertently portrayed my dog as brilliant and well-behaved. Well, he is definitely smart, but unfortunately, he usually uses his brains for evil rather than for good. No food is safe with him around unless it's out of reach...and often "out of reach" is further than I realize. Sigh....

Stay warm and safe out there!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My dog, Pavlov

Like many of you, we had a big storm Monday night. No snow, but wind so violent, it shook our windows.

The next day I let our dog Hammer out in the back yard. A little while later I was surprised to hear him scratching at the front door. I checked the gate outside, and sure enough, it was open--because the wind had knocked a post out of the ground, the post that the gate is supposed to latch to.

I knew that I would need to take Hammer outside on a leash whenever he needed to do his business. But I'm trained just as well as Pavlov's dogs were. Hammer rings a little bell at the back door when he wants to go out. Three times throughout the day, I automatically opened the back door when he rang the bell. One of the times, I didn't even realized I'd let him out until, several minutes later, he once again scratched at the front door.

The Engineer will be fixing the post, but it was anchored in concrete, and it'll take quite a bit of he really doesn't want to do when the temperature is in the 20s. So this morning I realized I needed to find some way to get that gate closed.

I channeled my inner MacGyver, and with supplies I found in the garage and the house (concrete blocks and a broken fold-up chair), I got that gate to stay closed and blocked off Hammer's escape route.


I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm not much of a handy(wo)man, but I proved I could solve a problem. It's temporariy. And it's not very attractive. But it's doing the job! And I can go back to automatically opening the back door when Pavlov...uh, I mean Hammer...rings the bell.