Thursday, February 24, 2011

Good Luck

Sometimes I forget that I really do have help from a higher power.  No matter how bad things get, the light still shines on me.  Often in really unexpected ways.

Example #1:

I am the only person out of about 15 to get their Cookie A sock club on time.  All the other folks in my area have not yet seen their packages.  After the week I had last week, getting that yarn was the highlight.  I felt some much better just petting it.  Those of you who are not yarn-o-philes won't appreciate this, but I felt my stress level come down as soon as I opened the box.

Bob wouldn't let me take it to the soccer meeting, because he didn't want them to know I was crazy.  Yeah, well, that is only a matter of time, why wait?

Example #2

As you know, I have been complaining pretty vociforously about the bad week.  Today I was doing a luncheon for the teachers at school.  I had gotten the lasagnas at Costco and was heating them up.  It said 2 hours, but it took 3 and 1 of those hours the oven was cranked to inferno.  It all worked out ok, but I was a little stressed.

So after running all over getting the luncheon set-up I came home to chill.  I had been home for maybe 20 minutes and I get up to grab a glass and look out the window.  There is a strange man in my backyard.

Normally, this would send me to call the cops, but this guy was scooping the dog poop.  So, I stand in the window of a minute looking at this guy and I am confounded.  Do I ask him what he is doing or do I let him finish.  Finally, the curiosity gets the better of me, and I ask him what is is doing the conversation goes something like this:

Me:  What are you doing?

Poop Guy:  Scooping poop.

Me:  Yeah, I can see that, but why are you doing that?

Poop Guy:  Because you called and asked me to, it is a one time spring clean up.  I do a bunch of other houses in the area.  Is this (he reads off my house number)?

Me:  That is my address, but I live here and I didn't call you and I don't plan to pay you for this.  (I don't like to pay for things my husband can do... I am cheap like that.)

Poop Guy:  But it came up on my gps.

Me:  Who's house are you looking for?  (I am hoping it might be a gift.)

Poop Guy:  I don't know, I will go and check the gps, I must have the wrong house.

He grabbed a mostly full bag of poo and put it in is truck and drove away.  While, this sucked for him, it was awesome for me.  My backyard is poo free and I didn't pay for it.  To be clear, I also didn't call and order the service, it was a lucky error.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Dear Soccer Parents:

Winning isn't everything, it isn't even the only thing.  Some of the greatest successes have come out of failures.  Just think if the guy who invented the glue for post-it notes gave up and trashed his forumla.  That glue was supposed to hold a car on a bridge with just a drop forever.  It was supposed to be the toughest glue in the world.  I think we can all say that post-it note glue is not the toughest glue in the world.  But, that mistake was still a win.  The very best baseball players in the world still strike out more times than they hit the ball.  Yet, these guys are still considered great successes.

My father used to say that there will always be someone smart, thinner or richer than you.  That it is important to determine your criteria for success and not compare yourself to someone else. It is this attitude that I want to empart to my children.  I want the to understand that failure is a part of life.  People that fear failure also fear taking a risk, because it might lead to failure.  I want my children to grow into adults that embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.  To not shy away from risks just because they might fail.

When you get angry because your kids are loosing, you are creating a feeling within your kids that they have done something wrong.  That they have failed.  Are these kids failures?  I don't think so, I see these kids getting out there and trying the best that they can.  Is it their fault that the other teams are better?  It is our job as parents to take this opportunity to teach them how to manage disappointment, and to learn from the failure.  Pointing fingers and blaming each other, the coach or other players isn't really helpful. 

If you child doesn't want to play anymore just because we are loosing, then perhaps their first love really isn't soccer.  Maybe you should heed that complaint and let your child do something else next season.  This is a teachable moment about how they need to finish the season, because they signed up for it.  But, if they don't like it, then maybe it is time to try something else, once the season is over.

Sam, completely unprompted by me, said, that he doesn't care if they win or lose, it is an opportunity to learn something new and get better.  Sure he is disappointed when they lose, but is has only inspired him to work harder and hope for a better outcome next time.  He has adjusted his goals so that he can still be proud of their performance even if they aren't winning.  Last game, he got the ball away from a kid that was a full head taller than he was.  He didn't care, he got in there and got the ball.  We celebrated that, it was a great move.

It isn't about who wins, it is about how you handle the situation when you don't win.  This is a great opportunity for us as parents to teach our kids how to handle that disappointment.  Facts are that our kids will not win at everything they do.  The adults that are winners, know how to manage it when they fail.

At the end of the day, someone has to be the worst in the league.  It is unfortunate that this season it is us.  But, I challenge you to embrace the situation and give your children a chance to learn from it.  We can not protect them from failure, all we can do is teach them how to manage it.

Thank you for listening.


Monday, February 21, 2011


Last week was a real hum-dinger of a week.  For the past year, things have mostly been quiet in our world, so I am not accustom to the universe dancing the funky chicken on my spleen.  It was the kind of week where you drink a Mike's without actually tasting it.  You drink that second Mike's just to wash down the first one.  It was the kind of week, where Monday dressed up as Thursday and surprised us with all sorts of unpleasantness.

The week was just hard and unpleasant until Thursday, aka Monday in costume, showed up.  The day opened with many temper-tantrums and the kids all in their rooms by 7:30 am.  I love it when I am not even dressed and everyone is already in their rooms.  Friend of mine said that it days like that when you need to have a glass of wine with breakfast.  I said, I need wine on my wheaties, skip the milk.

I thought that was the worst of it.  I tried to resurect the day from the jaws of defeat.  I believe that just because you have a bad morning you can choose not to let it ruin your day.  I am such a pie-eyed optimist sometimes.  Fool.

Mac is in a bad mood on the way home.  Which was odd to me, because I had gone out of my way to try and perk him up.  Well, come to find out, once I checked my email, he had been in a bit of trouble at school.  My kid, the Don of an illegal homework pass operation.  You have to admire the creativity, but the stealing was an issue for me.  But, what ever we will get through that right?

Anxiety attack ensues, because he left his homework at school.  I am tired and don't want to deal with the argument, so I take him back to school to get his work.  I drop him at the entrance and wait.  Practice my deep breathing excercises and meditate.  I meditate some more.  Goodness this kid is slow.  I meditate some more.  Finally, in a burst of tears and fury, he comes flying out the door.  I suck in all the oxygen in the general area and prepare myself for what is about to attack me. 

"Mom, Mrs. Olson would not let me get my homework.  She yelled at me, and wouldn't let me leave the room.  She called for back-up so that she could get my homework.  She told me my punishment for forgetting it is that I don't have it done."

"Are you freakin' kidding me?  I will go and discuss this with her."

Now, I am in NO mood to be triffled with.  Seriously, I am looking for an outlet for my wrath.  Too bad I left the pointy sticks at home.  We walk into the building, and the Principal, Social Worker and another teacher are striding towards me.  Think something out of a western and you are running into the posse.

The Principal took Mac up to get his homework.  Apparently, you are allowed to go up and get homework, the teacher was wrong.  According to Mac, the Principal was not happy with this teacher.  I am with the Principal on this one, there is no reason for a teacher to physically restrain a child and call for back up. 

Then there was the soccer meeting... but more on that later.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


At 2:30 am this morning, Hannah came tearing into my room.  She was hysterical.  Screaming, crying and carring on.  It was frightening to be awoken in the middle of the night by a child who was freaking out.  It turned out that she was worried that the dog was going to eat the rest of her Valentines Day cookie that was left on the table.  I reassured her that I put it in a baggie on top of the microwave and that the dog, unless she grew wings and could fly, could not get it.

Finally calmed down, she trundled back towards her room and went back to sleep.  Of course the surge of adrenline that event filled me with did not allow me to relax.  I was wired after dealing with the hysterical pre-schooler.  Since I am home alone, I turned the television on.  I recognize that television is not really relaxing, but it was better than tossing and turning.

I watched a woman discuss surviving personal crisis.  She showed an interesting graphic, it showed that about a third of all people who suffer personal crisis, be it job loss, divorce, death, illness, etc, are broken after that happens.  For what ever reason, they are never able to recover from the event.  They are bitter and angry about it long after it is over.  She said that the anger fills the void that the event created in their lives and they don't want to let it go.  We all know someone who is still angry about a personal crisis in their lives.

There is another third that deal with it, move on and are essentially unchanged.  Then the final third are triumphant survivors.  The event changes them in some way, and they become more positive and powerful.  In a way it makes them happier and better people.  They seem to appreciate life more and live more fully.

The thing that struck me when she told the stories about the people she catagorized as triumphant surivivors, was that they all spent some time in the category of broken.  So, just because someone is broken today, the do not have to choose to be broken forever.  They can choose to be triumphant survivors.

She lists a lot of traits that these triumphant survivors have.  It is an interesting concept.  If you have a minute, check out the website.  The link won't bring you back here, but that is ok, because I am done.  Ann Kaiser Stearns 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fredrick and Margot

Because every child has some fears at some point, meet Fredrick the Fearless.  He is not afraid of anything, in fact most things are afraid of him.  Especially monsters.  It is the stripes.  Monsters are terrified of stripes.

Fredrick can kick monkey butt, chase scary noises away and otherwise protect children for anything they are afraid of.  Fredrick is a special gift for a special friend's new baby.  It goes along with the blanket that I showed you yesterday.

Fredrick in pieces....

Monster's beware, Fredrick is here.

Another friend of ours loves Angellina Ballerina.  Her birthday party is in a couple of weeks, and I wanted to give her a special gift, just from me.  She doesn't get that it is ok to be friends with adults, so I wanted to give her this.  I hope she likes it.  I hope Hannah doesn't take it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Knitting pics...

Hat for three little girls.  It matches Hannah's coat perfectly, which was why the yarn was selected to begin with, but some friends wanted matching ones.

Momma needed some sheep socks.   

Love this colorway.  These socks make me happy, and isn't that what it is all about?

Mom, my head is cold.  The hood on this new coat isn't very good.  Is that not the siren call for a mom that knits?  Kid needs a hat.  He loves it by the way, even though his sister is modeling it.

Dang it, it is cold here, a girl needs wool socks to wear with her Doc's!

Baby blankie for a dear friend.  I can not wait to give it to her.  She is so knit-worthy.

Teacher gifts.  Didn't make it for the dreaded December holidays, Valentines Day is more my style anyway.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


You can do your very best, and still not have things work out the way you want.  Take this most recent Superbowl.  I am sure that the Steelers worked just as hard and wanted it just as much as the Packers, but guess what, things didn't work out the way that the Steelers wanted.

I read an interesting blog post about letting go of the outcome.  Because in spite of how hard you try, things may not turn out the way you wanted.  If you give it your all, try your best and are comfortable that you really did everything you could, hang on and enjoy the ride.  It boils down to "Give it your all, and let go of the outcome."

This idea really resonated with me, as I am trying very hard to banish negative thinking.  I want to stop being my own worst enemy.  Remember most of the negative things said about us, is said by us.  I like the idea of doing your best and not stressing about the outcome.  Rather embracing the outcome.  Because it is something that really is outside the span of my control.  Sometimes the unexpected outcome take us places we never expected.

My Dad used to tell me to not worry about things that I can not control.  I used to wonder about that.  I used to think, but everything is in my control.  Oh the follys of youth.  As I get older, I have begun to understand that really most things are outside of the span of my control.  All I can control is my reponse to the outcome.

This isn't about not taking responsibility or not caring about things, it is about not beating yourself up because things didn't go the way you wanted them to.  I am all about taking responsibility and owning your actions.  It is about eliminating stress and worry from your world.  Stress has its place in our lives, but worry, like fear, can enable us to make bad decisions and think ill or ourselves.

We perform better when fear and worry are not part of the picture.  So, today, give it a try, do your absolute best, give 150%, and let go of the outcome.  The moving parts will sort themselves out.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Random Thoughts

I haven't done this in awhile, but today I feel random:

1)  The Ladies having coffee in Panera were very interesting to listen to.  Sitting there and eavesdropping was much more entertaining than I expected it to be.   Can not wait until it is my turn for computer programming again.

2)  If you want the kids to walk to school, it is helpful if you do not expect them to walk in the parking lot where the busses are driving around.  I am glad I am walking everyone on Monday.

3) "Life is boring." My 5 year old is very astute.

4)  Karma is a bitch.  It is interesting to watching things play out.  Enough said about that.

5)  Spring soccer starts in about 8 weeks.  This means that the 30" of snow on the practice field will be gone.  This seems sort of fantastic and improbable.  But is most likely the case.

6)  If I had a penny for evertime I said no soccer in the house, I would be a very wealthy woman.  To that end, NO BALL IN THE HOUSE.

7)  Next time there is 24" of snow, it is all you baby.  All you.

8)  It is never ending. 

9)  Knitting still makes everything better.

Friday, February 4, 2011

12 Steps to a Healthier You

Last month, I talked about trying to eat more veggies.  I think for the most part we succeeded in that goal.  Sure, there were times when we slipped back and didn't have very many.  We did try a lot of new things and have even added a few new favorites to our list.  They are packed with veggies! 

Our new favorite is larb.  It is ground chicken with red curry paste.  Well, if you are grinding something, there is lots of opportunity to add veggies.  We added carrots, mushrooms, and even tofu to our larb, with no negative impact.

This month's healthy goal is to move more.  I think we are off to a good start, after shovelling for 4 hours yesterday, I feel like I am definately moving!  Granted it may seem like a hard goal when the weather is so yucky, but I like to take the kids sledding and walking around in the park during the winter.  It is a very different experience.   Now that we have so much snow, maybe some snow shoeing is in our future.

I look at this goal as more than just going to the gym, something I do 3 - 4 times a week, but rather a lifestyle change.  DO. NOT. SIT. ON. THE. SOFA.  When I am trying to move more, I try and adopt the attitude of "Just Do It."  Don't think about putting laundry away, just do it.  When I get in this mode, the house is cleaner and I am healthier.  It is a good thing.

So, our healthy resolutions are:

1) Eat more veggies
2) Move more

Tune in next month when we see what March will hold!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowmaggedon, Snowtorious BIG, Groundhog Day Blizzard, the untold story

It was a dark and stormy night.  (I always wanted to use that line from Peanuts and actually have it make sense.)  The winds howled, the electicity flickered and went off.  Just as we inhaled our gasps of horror at the prospect of hunkering down in a blizzard without out precious electricity everything flickered back on.  Our inhales became exhales of relief.  At that point, driving to a place with power was out of the question, and our house was not going to stay warm enough to be habitable overnight.  It was an indescribable relief to have the power stay on.

As a precaution, we cranked the temps up over night.  It was a tropical 67 degrees in our house over-night.  While we were more than snug in our beds, the aforementioned winds howled and snow blew and blew and blew.  Creating a 5 foot drift blocking one of our back doors. 

The front didn't look much better...

So, we have established that the house is blanketed in snow.  We are trapped inside.  What will we do about this little problem?  We will snow blow, and snow blow we will.

A commemorative picture of my husband engaging in some snow blowing.  He had 30 minutes before he had to go to work so, he thought he would get the driveway cleared.  If you are interested in an autographed copy, let me know.

After 30 minutes he cleared the part between the angle and the cars and then came in.  He told me at 10:30 he would get back to it and finish up.  As time ticked away, and 10:30 turned into 11:30, with sub-zero temps looming I text him and ask when he is going to get back on it.  He answers, I have 45 minutes at 2:30.

My neighbor and Sam helped me and we did this.  The war about clearing the driveway continues.  I thought, ahhah today he will do it because even he can't get his car out.  But, no.

While this shot doesn't show it very well, the sidewalk was done as was the walkway to the front door. 

Divorce lawyers have not been contacted, our neighbor has a loaf of bread in the oven and a bottle of wine on the counter, and my back hurts.  Otherwise, it is all normal at our house.  How did you survive?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Closed due to weather

Blog closed today due to snow.  Tomorrow we will provide full and detailed coverage of the Blizzard of 2011, aka Snowtorious BIG.

For your viewing pleasure.