Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Choices We Make

Life is all about choices, right? Good choices lead to good outcomes; bad choices lead to bad consequences. But some choices are equivalent in nature....and the outcome, either way you choose, is simply an outcome.

Last weekend, Kellie-Laine had a choice to make for herself that proved to be very difficult when the city league basketball team she plays for entered an out-of-town tournament. This was the team's first tournament, and to be honest, the parents didn't have our hopes too high that the Trekkers would make it very far. Don't get me wrong....the girls have made significant improvements through the duration of the season, but with only two wins under their belts, the prospect of taking a tournament victory seemed slim.

So....we ventured to Mart, Texas, for a two-day tournament, which happened to fall on the same weekend as the Central Texas Fatherhood Initiative, Father/Daughter Ball. Kellie-Laine and Cody have attended this event for two years now, and it's an amazing experience for fathers and their daughters. Imagine prom....but for dads and daughters. Cool, huh? Here's a photo from last year's ball:

There were three girls on the basketball team who planned on going to the ball as well, and so heading into the tournament we knew that, depending on our wins, there was a likelihood that we'd have to bow out of the tournament to get to the ball.

You know what they say about the best laid plans.....the Trekkers exceeded our expectations and made it to the semi-finals. Playing the semi-final game meant missing the ball....not just showing up late or making part of the ball. Missing the whole thing completely.

We had all of 10 minutes to deliberate on Kellie-Laine's choices. She was crying huge crocodile tears as she struggled with the choice, and I could see the conflict inside her. I simply expressed to her that the decision was hers to make and there was not a wrong or right decision. Her coaches came by and gave her their blessing to go to the ball, "You'll have other tournaments" they said, "go have fun." Her teammates also gave her the go-ahead, "We'll call you and let you know how it turns out," they said.

Still crying, she expressed remorse that we had already purchased tickets to go, bought a dress, and that Cody probably really wanted to take her (did I mention we also managed to squeeze in a manicure in between games?). So we called and talked to Cody, and he, too, gave her the blessing to stay and play the tournament.

And with that, the decision was made.

The Trekkers played their fifth and final game and lost by 7 points. Afterwards, Cody gave Kellie-Laine a consolation prize: the beautiful corsage he had ordered. "We didn't get to go to a ball," he said, "but you played some hard ball tonight!" There was no remorse on Kellie-Laine's face for the decision she had made.

Afterwards, I had some time to ask Kellie-Laine what was going through her mind when she was making her choice. She told me that she saw several of the girls leaving the game to go to the ball and that made her realize how much the team needed her. She's always been an amazing team player, and that night she proved how far she was willing to go for a chance at a victory.

Even though the victory eluded us, I felt victorious watching my daughter make such a mature, heart-wrenching choice. I was proud that she was willing to give up something fun for herself for a commitment to her team. I was touched that she was concerned about hurting Cody's feelings if she didn't go to the ball and that his feelings mattered to her. And I was glad that even though her team lost, Kellie-Laine was satisfied with her choice and didn't have any regrets. Decision making is part of life, and I think she handled this one beautifully.

The next day she called her best friend, Phoebe, to get the scoop on the dance. I held my breath as she gave me the report, hoping not to sense any regret, "Phoebe said it was fun and that they had lot of candy. But it was pretty crowded and they didn't dance that much." With a shrug of her shoulders, it was over...gone....and forgotten.

Just tonight, Kellie-Laine removed the last remaining evidence of the father/daughter ball....the french manicure. She seems, however, rather proud of the three large bruises and jammed index finger she received from her basketball games this weekend.

I am so proud of her. I love you, Kellie-Laine!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Little Brit Humor to Make You Smile...

If this doesn't make you laugh....nothing will. I'm thinking of moving to England just so my kids will start talking like this.

Monday, February 18, 2008

How 4-Year-Olds Identify Mothers

As I was driving to Bible study this morning, Landrie spotted a cat sunbathing on top of a car.

"Oooh, look at that mudder (mother) cat sitting on the car. She's a nice kitty."

Then after a few moments Landrie stated the obvious,

"She's a mudder cat because she has a big, wide bottom."

If a cat is idenitified as a mother by its' big, wide bottom-- I'm scared to ask what Landrie thinks of mine.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Being Busy Sucks.

Sorry for being so blatant. But being busy does suck (that's as close to a curse word as I get). The past two weeks have been extremely busy with random-type activities, and I'm not getting much sleep which makes me really cranky. The first reason for my busy-ness is this:

I hosted a Trends Between Friends sale at my house (a.k.a Boutique Beeler) this week. This really is a good idea, so I'm sharing it with you in case you ever decide to do it.

It started with a friend of mine who switched careers and was left with a closet full of clothing she could no longer wear. She asked me if I wanted to look through her clothes and if I had any friends who might want to do the same. She priced a ton of clothes, I emailed a few friends, and Boutique Beeler was born! My friend made about $600 dollars, and my girlfriends and I purchased some high-end clothing for a pretty reasonable price.

If it works, keep doing it, right? I hosted Boutiqe Beeler for a second time this week, but on a larger scale. I enlisted 4 of my sharp-dressed friends to give me the overflow from their closets, and held a two-day shopping event. We emailed the above invitation to many, many people, had appetizers, shopping hours, a preview party--the whole shebang! And so for two days I was pretty much tied to my house with two very bored little girls who could care less about keeping the house straight, not touching the items for sale, and the presence of strangers strolling about our house. I'll be honest and say that the first Boutique Beeler was waaaaay more successful than the second time around. Still, I think with the right clothing, right date, and right price....this is a really fun thing to do. I just need to make sure my kids are, like, in college before I do this again.

So on top of the sales event of the year, I got blind-sided by Valentine's Day. This tends to happen year after year after year. I suck at Valentine's Day. Really, I do. Landrie's teacher gave us an "at home" project to make our own Valentine's box for the school valentine exchange. She suggested that we do this project with our child because the kids really enjoy the crafty-ness of the project. She then suggested that we be creative with this project. I'm sorry, but in my world being creative with my child is akin to giving myself a hair cut and letting my kids hold the scissors. It's ugly, messy, and a big ol'disaster waiting to happen. So late one night, I made the box myself and left a few details for Landrie to complete. Okay, let me be honest here....I completed the whole darn box minus the stickers. I let Landrie stick on the stickers. Big whoop. Yep, that's what I did because first of all, SuperMom doesn't know how to let others have much, if any, control of anything. Secondly, I had an idea in mind for what the box should look like, and my idea didn't have anything to do with letting a four year old hold glue or scissors.

Things got even better when I asked Kellie-Laine to give left over candy as a Valentine's gift to her friends....a day late. Candy left over from Boutique Beeler. (I am soooo putting you moms to shame, aren't I? Just stop by this blog any time you want to get that daily dose of "At least I'm a better mom than her!")

As for my husband...well, I think you pretty much know where this is going. He, too, got the raw end of the deal. I meant to talk to him all week about not doing anything for V-Day for each other because, well, it just was too much for me to think about. Like I said, I meant to talk to him, but I forgot. So he, of course, does the awesome husband-thing and surprises me with a photo session with my favorite photographer! What did I have for him? Zero. Nada. Zilch. (Don't try to be like me, people. I'm at a level you can't even possibly attain.) I think I managed to salvage the day by ordering a Baskin Robbin's ice cream cake for him, but it was a futile attempt to save a week that was already spriraling towards hell. I was too busy. Too preoccupied. Too distracted. And to be honest, too selfish.

Finally, my eldest daughter had been complaining of a sore throat and running fever off and on. The doctor's appointment on Thursday proved strep, no flu. So off to school she went on Friday so that she wouldn't miss the Valentine's skate party. Basketball tournament that evening (the third game of the week).....and then we got a call from the doctor's office. You guessed it. Strep test culture came back positive. After we had infected 116 friends and family.

I vow never to be busy again. (Yeah, right.) Being busy sucks.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Torch Fuel? That's Nothing.....

Compared to this.

Or this.

Doesn't dog food taste bad?? Or rather...shouldn't it?? According to Emerie's standards (which are obviously pretty low) it doesn't. In fact, it must have a pleasantly pleasing taste, one that kids prefer, because I could not keep the child away from the dogfood. She would fuss at me as though I were taking away a delightful snack from her.

Now you just nevermind the fact that getting the photo of the dogfood consumption was of greater importance than getting it out of her mouth. I don't want to hear one word about it. I did it for the blog, people! For you. Thankfully, we did not have to get the poison control involved.

In other random news, I hosted a small playgroup at my house this morning. Here is a photos of my friend, Amy, and the kids on the trampoline. The weather was amazing, and the little tykes had fun jumping on our no-safety-net trampoline. We like to prepare our kids for the real bumps and bruises of life by letting their little hands and feet get mangled in the springs of the trampoline. It makes them stronger really. I'm sure Kellie-Laine will look back one day and say, "Remember when you and dad let me fall through the springs of the trampoline and my hair and hands would get stuck and pinched and my face would be all dirty and sweaty with tears? But you would tell me to keep jumping, no matter how bad I wanted to stop. Remember those times? I really appreciate that you were teaching me that life is hard and that I should suck it up and keep on going. It has made me who I am today."

I can't wait to hear her say that.

We've also been consumed with this:

Playing on three baskteball teams equals approximately three games a week, two practices a week, $9 in entrance fees, $30 in babysitting fees, and has cost me additional money for my shameless bribing of Kellie-Laine. Bribing is not beneath me. And I think I'd rather use the term "incentivizing" or "motivating."

What led to the bribing was when Kellie-Laine began playing with the select city-league team, she faced many other girls her age who were as good, if not better, than her. Instead of rising to the challenge and playing harder; she played with fear and timidity. Our "big fish in a little pond" became a "tadpole in an ocean" and crumbled. I was not going to have that, so I resorted to shameless bribes, er I mean, incentives. Unfortunately, the gifts of motivation didn't work so well, but you know what did?

1. Me backing off and only yelling positive things during the game. (It also helped that her coach had a little talk with me about not coaching from the stands. Yep, it's true. She said it lovingly, of course. But the coach was right, and now I've resorted to cheerleader-esque yells: you can do it! way to go! woo-hoo! clap-clap, stomp-stomp)


2. Kellie-Laine had a couple of great games on her two other teams; ones in which she totally dominated the floor. This gave her an extreme boost of confidence and she began playing full force once again.

Who knew? Who knew Kellie-Laine would rather hear encouragement than receive gifts? Who knew my non-paid position as a sideline coach would be detrimental? Who knew that Emerie would have a fascination with eating all-that-is-inappropriate? Who knew I would raise a child who likes to mime bathroom activities in the sanctuary? Really. You can't make this stuff up, people. It's better than reality TV.

Welcome to the life of a SuperMom...... in all its splendor and glory.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Too Racy? Too Raunchy? Or Just Right.....

I've posted some new TV commercials in two separate posts below (uploaded from YouTube, of course...gosh I love that thing!!). View them first...then let's talk.

I am a mother. I am a consumer. I am also a Christian, and perhaps this very reason alone is what makes these commericals so offensive to me. It is no wonder our kids are confused about sex, sexuality, Christianity, morality, and a host of other issues that haven't come to my mind just yet. We, as Christian parents, tell our kids it's a gift saved for marriage while the world tells them it's for everyone...even cartoons!

I am appalled at the nature....the sexual nature....of these commercials. And I want you, as mothers, as consumers, and as Christians, to be appalled with me.

It has never been harder to raise godly children than today. Conversely, it has never been more important to do so. There are days I feel like I'm doing pretty good at sheltering and protecting their bubble of a world (and, yes, I choose to keep them in the bubble as much as possible). Then there are days when I feel like he world's influence has penetrated my girls' very soul. I know Satan wants us to feel defeated, frustrated, and powerless. But I know a victorious, patient, and mighty God who will fight for me and for my children.

I came across a verse the other day that I had never read before but I now love so much. Exodus 14:14 says, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Oh, how I love knowing that the Lord is fighting for me, my family, my kids and that His victory has already been determined. I also love how this verse serves as a reminder that I need to be still (read: get out of His way) and let Him do his thing!!! Praise God.

I'll be blogging pretty soon about ways in which to talk to your kids about s-e-x. I happen to have a little experience in this area a since I have a 12 year old. This is the one question I get asked most from my should I do it? when is the appropriate age? what should I say? I don't have all the answers, but I do have what has worked for our family so far. I'd like to think we've been successful in this area, but only time will tell.

Check back soon for that topic!

New Levis commercial

Red Bull commercial: College (2008)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Keep This Number Handy, People

I hope you never have to use it, but keep it handy just in case.
With each child you bring into this world, you realize just how different he or she is from your previous offspring. I know, that's a profound statement that I'm sure none of you would ever have thought of. It's true, of course, and there are moments when these differences come rocketing up to the surface of reality. Today, one of those rockets hit us square in the face.
Emerie is our third child. She is, for the most part, lovely and easy-going. But lately she's been pretty irritable due to teething. One molar, one incisor. Being outside is one of the few things that keeps Emerie decently happy, so we played outside. I was unloading groceries, and Cody was watching her pitter-patter around the backyard. But of course, as adults it's hard to just watch our children play. We adults like to find things to do that need to be done while the children play. We adults like to call it "killing two birds with one stone" or "efficiency" or "using our time wisely." Whatever.
So Cody appears at the doorway, handing Emerie to me, and mutters something about "I think she just drank Citronella Oil from the tikki torch." He immediately goes outside to investigate the tikki torch, trying to decide how much oil was in it and how much oil Emerie might have ingested. I began wiping Emerie down, and stuck my nose in her mouth. Sure enough, the strong scent of citronella oil filled my nostrils. It's probably fine....she's not acting like it's bothering her, was my first thought. This is often the thought process present with most third or fourth children. Us Mothers of Many don't get out of sorts too frequently. We rely on previous experience, and my previous experience was telling me that I've weathered a multitude of true emergency-type situations: stitches on a chin, goose-egg sized bump on head, torn frenulum (look that one up), choking, lost child, car wreck with newborn, croup, etc. These situations cause panic and worry. The guzzling of citronella oil only caused borderline worry.
Still, I thought of my Poison Control magnet on the coffee pot, and I took that as a sign that I should call. Just to be on the safe side. I also decided not to light any candles around the house. (Good thinking, Angela.) As I'm talking to the Poison Control technician, he immediately curtails my fears by saying that the ingestion of the oil alone isn't that harmful. The breathing in of the vapors is what could be bad. It could burn her lungs, air ways, esophagus, etc. As we continued to engage in phone diagnosis, I was fairly certain we were in the clear. That is, until Cody comes running into the house with the bottle of oil. It didn't say Citronella Oil. What it said was TORCH FUEL WITH CITRONELLA.
Okay, so this is where the panic began to set in. My eyes scanned the label and rested on the words: fatal if swallowed. The Poison Control technician was still talking so I quickly took over, only as a mother bear could do, and stopped him mid-sentence by using a rather loud, stern, commanding voice and said, "Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt you but I need to tell you something important. My daughter did not ingest citronella oil, but rather TORCH FUEL." Man, I felt like a loser. But I was also weak in the knees waiting for his response. Are you readers weak in the knees, too?
The news was good. And here is the lesson that all of you with children need to learn. If your child should happen to drink any kind of gas: kerosene, lighter fluid, citronella oil, or even TORCH FUEL, the most harmful thing part is the vapors that may burn the insides of their bodies. The amount ingested is a big factor, as well. And luckily, we were able to determine that it would have taken some mighty strong sucking power for Emerie to have ingested enough to warrant a trip to the ER. The liquid itself can cause nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach.
Here's another lesson I learned today: Emerie is different from Kellie-Laine and Landrie. KL and Landrie were not curious or explorative. I never had to child-proof my cabintets. A simple "no touch" was enough for them. But Emerie is not Kellie-Laine or Landrie. She is a climber. She is a fighter. She likes to explore things with her mouth. And apparently she has an affinity for drinking TORCH FUEL from tikki torches. I cannot rely on all of my previous parenting experiences with Emerie because some of them do not apply. I need to monitor her better. To pay more attention. To allow myself to worry or panic in certain situations beacuse I'd rather worry too much than not enough.
Emerie is fine, and I am so thankful for this event for many reasons. I'm thankful that God is a great and mighty protector. I'm thankful for the nice man at the Poison Control center who was patient and kind and informative, and called me back a few hours later to check on Emerie. I'm thankful to have been reminded of how precious our time here on earth really is because sometimes we blink and it's over. And I'm especially thankful that I'm never too old, too wise, or too experienced to learn some very important life lessons.
Keep this number handy, people. You never know when you might need it, but I pray that you never will.
As a side note of humor, Emerie's poopie diaper tonight had the strangest, strongest sulphur smell. Better stick to a "no candle" policy at the Beeler household for a while.