Epic Nest Fluffing and Magic Erasers……

Due to several situations way beyond the blogger’s control, today’s planned blog has been moved to either the weekend or Monday. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, Lulabelle was giddy over finding a random knock off Magic Eraser in the house and plans to partake in epic “nest fluffing” (this is a term she coined referring to housework. Feel free to use it so it spreads) this evening.

By the time the day is done, the chrome will shine, the sink will-hopefully-be rust-free and I may even venture outside to scrape the rest of the old paint off our backdoor frame and repaint it.

Ok, that last activity will more than likely not get done, but I will be doing some ‘sperimentin’ on what the Magic Eraser actually erases. And I will blog the results. Will our sink be rust free? Will our counter tops finally be one color?? Will our laundry get folded and put away??

Maybe there are some things that the Magic Eraser can’t fix.

Stay tuned!

 

Major Announcement and LAFF on Thursday…..

We are flip-flopping days today as my husband will publish a special piece on the blog tomorrow, so I’m writing my typical LAFF (Lulabelle’s Anxiety Free Friday) post today. But first, to a major announcement……

Many people resolve to get into better shape every New Years day as their new year’s resolution. I really hadn’t made a new years resolution in the last few years, minus the year I vowed to get married (We had already become engaged and I knew the wedding was set for later that year. 😉 ). Yep, reasonable goals are my jam. So when the Lord spoke to me and told me what I could resolve to do this year, I kinda had to take a step back and have a serious conversation with God. It went something like this:

God: This is what I want you to do this year.
Me: Whoa! Um, really? Dude, are you serious? (I believe in keeping my talks with God real, so whatever comes out, comes out 😉 )
God: Yes. You can do it.

So, what did God ask me to do? Well, ladies and gentlemen, this year I will be publishing a book. It’s a big goal that seems scary and insurmountable, but I’ve already started the process. I’ve joined book writing groups on FB. I have thought about the title and possible cover designs. Most importantly I’ve thought about content. And the content I’ll be using is my blog. Tomorrow after my blog uploads there will be 200 entries to choose from. I’m also in the process of refining my blog so it’s easier to navigate.

So there you have it. My goal for the year. If it doesn’t happen all this year, I’m not going to stress. I’m making smaller goals within the big goal and will approach things one step at a time. I do appreciate your prayers and good thoughts through this process. Oh, and if you’ve managed to get a book published? What was your experience?? Please fill me in in the comments below. Thanks! ❤

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And now on to our LAFF on Thursday! Facebook recently came out with a new activity. The task is to ask your children a series of questions about yourself and see how well they know you. As we only have 4 legged kids with fur here, I thought I’d turn this task on its head and interview our youngest. She’s currently not quite asleep on our couch behind me. The oldest one is out of commission though, snoring away. Let’s begin:

1. What is something I always say to you? Hey, no wiping your bum on the carpet!

2. What makes me happy? Daddy (awww!! 😉 )

3. What makes me sad? Something called Donald Trump. You talk about that a lot. He has funny hair.

4. How do I make you laugh? I don’t really laugh because I’m a cat. I can poot on command though. Wanna see? (No. Really, no. )

5. What was I like as a child? I don’t know. Probably smaller. I think you also had more fur and possibly a tail. (None of that is true except the smaller part)

6. How old am I? Seventy-eleven (I think we need to work on numerical concepts)

7. How tall am I? Probably taller than our house, but I really don’t know because I don’t like going outside so I’ve never actually seen the outside of our house.

8. What is my favorite thing to do? Write and watch TV.

9. What do I do when you’re not around? I don’t know. I’m either asleep or doing cat things. Alone.

10. What am I really good at? Being a mommy.

11. What am I not very good at? Being a cat.

12. What do I do for a job? You write on the computer. Sometimes you leave the house and then come back hours later, when it’s dark. When you come home, you smell funny; like other cats. And sometimes milk. (HA! this is true. I work in childcare and sometimes I am gone till dark. One of my clients has two cats. 😀 )

13. What is my favorite food? Anything that looks good that I can’t eat. You keep feeding me those brown pellets. I tried a banana pepper once. I think I liked it (She did NOT like it). I see those once a week at home. Can I have one? (No. No, furry gray squirrel. You may not.)

14. What do you enjoy doing with me? Cuddling on your lap and sleeping. Sometimes I stick my bum in your face. I don’t know why you don’t like it.

Here is our interview subject on the Fourth of July last year NOT enjoying fireworks.

phoebe fourth of July 15

 

To the Woman That’s Gone Through Her 3rd Change of Clothes for the Day…..

Good Tuesday to you all!! While both our girls are sleeping soundly, let’s get into the topic of the day!

Do you guys remember when I wrote that piece to the girl with Spina Bifida? Remember how I had said that was the most vulnerable I’d been on my blog? Well, after letting this one sit in my head for a month or so, I think it’s time to release it. Today’s blog will be the most vulnerable I’ve ever been, but I’m writing it in hopes of helping others dealing with the same thing. So, here it goes…..

My disability has changed my body in several ways over the years. I’m not able to move around as much as I could when I was a kid. I use my wheelchair more frequently now. My bladder has also changed. This has been one of the most frustrating changes.

As women age, their menstrual cycles sometimes shift to a heavier flow or more painful cramps. For me this change manifested itself by making my bladder gush forth several times a day during my cycle. This has gone on for many years. One benefit of this is that it is so consistent that I know my period will begin shortly after this occurs. But it makes it no less frustrating.

See, on the worst days of this, I end up changing clothes at least twice. Usually more. Any liquid that I consume races right through me. It gets to the point where I just sit at home, trying to keep my mind off things. I don’t drink much liquid on these days for fear of changing clothes again. I pretty much live in the bathroom on these days.

I have taken medication to fight off these bladder spasms. It worked well for years, but then my insurance company quit covering it and I had to switch to a new one. This new one works pretty well, but is not as long lasting as the first. And when I’m in the throes of a long day of changing clothes constantly, I can get so into my head that I forget to take it. (In Real Time: Can you believe just sitting here writing this I had a pretty sizable spasm? Calm down, bladder! 😛 )

On these days, I’m reminded why we (my husband and I) were chosen to remain childless. There is no way I’d be able to take care of myself and a child on these days.

So dear female, I know you are tired and frustrated from constantly visiting the bathroom and changing into yet another pair of clothes. I know you feel unattractive and less of a woman simply because your bladder doesn’t work the way it should. But here are truths you need to hang on to:

1. You are attractive

2. You are worthy of love

3. At least you have clean laundry 😉

4. This too shall pass

If you are currently going through endless bladder spasms and mountains of laundry, you are certainly not alone. I’m rooting for you.

Cheers!

Embarrassed spider image courtesy of cartoonstock.com

Blogging Milestone: On Handling Your First Troll…

There comes a time in every writer’s life when you stumble upon your first troll. How you react can set the tone for the rest of your career.

Unlike the trolls of our childhood that hid under bridges and harassed unsuspecting billy goats, these types of trolls you are unable to see. They hide behind their computers and can spout nasty verbiage that lands on the comment section of your blog. Trolls just don’t disagree with your written opinion, but often express themselves using name-calling and bitterness. Today I share some tips on how to deal with your first one.

1. Celebrate!: Ok, this seems a tad wrong to celebrate someone who has said not so kind things to you, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: trolls usually strike when they see elements of the truth in your writing or the words you speak (Now, in an effort to cover my bum, I just want to point out that sometimes trolls come out in defense OF the truth. I call them benevolent trolls. These days you can find them hard at work in the comment section of any article or video from Donald Trump 😉 ). If you never had a troll, that actually means that your writing hasn’t had much of an impact. Celebrate when you find one in the comment section of your blog and make the comment visible (as long as it’s not using bad language or threatening anyone. Moderation tools were created for a reason. Use them).

Honestly, I’ve been doing this blogging thing for not quite a year (my 1-year blogaversary is coming up next month), and I didn’t think I’d get my first troll so soon. I don’t even have that many subscribers (but I appreciate you all! Please share links to my blog with your friends, family, pastor, dog, and that random guy who stands on the corner and shouts incoherent babble. My current goal is to get into triple digits by February. 😉 )

2. Add them to your prayer list: At this point you might think I’m totally bonkers, but hear me out. These types of negative trolls are negative because their lives are not very rich or full of joy. Pray for them that they will find joy in building people up instead of tearing them down. Pray that they somehow are able to get out of their pit of darkness.

3. Ignore them: There is a quote in the new book by Jen Hatmaker (she’s basically like the MotherShip for the Christian blogging/author community 😉 ) that states:

“Don’t try to win over the haters (trolls), you aren’t the jackass whisperer!”

Ignoring/blocking a nasty comment from a troll gives you back control of your blog that the troll attempted to usurp.

Getting your first troll is in some ways a rite of passage for your blog. I hope you find these tips useful. But if they all have failed, try to dance along to the video below. I promise if it doesn’t help you feel better, at least it helped you burn off some calories! 😉

Remember, you are not alone!

Cheers!

 

LAFF: Lulabelle Reviews: Talking Babble Ball Dog Toy: Like a Teletubby for Your Pet…….

I know what you are thinking, “Lady, you don’t have a dog. Why did you buy a dog toy?” Fair question. Let me explain…..

A few months ago, Chad and I were at the grocery store and happened to pass through the pet aisle. I saw these small plastic balls hung on the shelf by another strip of plastic. I had yet to realize they were for dogs, but I was intrigued. Especially after just walking past them made them “talk.” Being in a crowded noisy store, I didn’t exactly hear what they said, but I realized they made a sound. I called Chad over to demonstrate them. After hearing them talk, we both thought it’d be a fun toy to buy to see what our cats would do. It was at this point that we realized it was a dog toy, but bought it anyway because it’s us and we occasionally like to push the boundaries of what is acceptable behavior.

So we paid for our items and put them in the car for the ride home. This was a quieter environment, but we still couldn’t make out what the toy said, but it kept going off every time we’d go over a bump or stop at intersections. Or drive around corners. Or drive straight.

It really was the most entertainingly hilarious trip home we’d ever had.

As soon as we came home, the ball came out of the package and we tried it out with the cats. They really couldn’t have cared less if they tried. When we realized they weren’t really into it, we had decided to gift it to friends of ours with a big dog (and a 3 yr. old). It was only then that we started figuring out what this ball was saying. According to my research (read: dropping the ball several times), it says about a dozen phrases. But some of these phrases are a bit, shall we say, inappropriate…….

I guess the most logical thing is to ask yourself in what context are the phrases, “yeah, baby” and “hey big daddy!” an appropriate way to talk to your dog?? Maybe there is something in dog culture we are missing! 😀

The Babble Ball can be purchased at your local pet store and through Jet.com for less than $10. According to their website, the phrases I mentioned above are slightly different than my interpretation, but I still stand by this review. Consider this to be like a Teletubby for your dog. We are all familiar with the weird nonsense they spout.

So I’d pass on this one unless you have a dog, but not a small child that can misunderstand electronic phrases and repeats the misunderstood words later during a Quaker meeting because the Spirit moved them. 😀

Happy Weekend!!

Inadvisable costume for your dog appears courtesy of Pinterest.com

A Letter to the Anxious Newlywed: You Are Doing Just Fine…

Blogger PSA: We are posting late today because the blogger’s oldest cat was quite needy and energetic, swatting at bloggers hand and arm when enough attention was not given. After this went on for almost 2 hours (seriously), normal activities could resume as the cat slept and snored on the couch. The good news is she has recently lost weight. The bad news is she now has boundless energy that can only be drained by kicking the snot out of the youngest and many rounds of ribbon toy play……While I have some free moments, lets get today started……. 🙂

Before our topic of the day, a follow-up to a letter I wrote about Pizza Hut. Last night we ordered pizza again. This time we wrote in the “special instructions” section to put the spinach underneath the cheese. They did it and it was divine!! Moral of the story is; when you want something changed, it doesn’t hurt to ask! 🙂


Last night I did some the housework. Ok, I lied. I only did the dishes. But I did them all till the sink was empty leaving behind only the rust stains in the sink from previous dishes that were forgotten for a long period (sidenote: anyone know how to get rid of rust stains in a white deep tub sink? Let me know-thanks! 🙂 ). Washing them till they are all clean is something that hasn’t happened a lot since we’ve been married (we lived apart till after we married). And I was pretty sure things would end up this way. We’ve been married almost 3 years.

See, I’ve known for quite some time that my anxiety makes it hard to transition to change. Actually I know now that it’s my anxiety, but my aversion to change has been noticeable for way longer.

I first noticed it in college when I’d leave campus for Christmas and then come back a few weeks later. Getting back into the swing of classes was challenging for me. My anxiety at the time manifested itself in the constant need to visit the bathroom–and there were plenty of times this need would come up so quickly I’d not have time to get there. This reaction to transition would go away after a few weeks, but it would be rough till I rode it out. Mostly in silence. My parents knew, but not my friends.

Then there was the semester that my bladder leakage issues triggered from transition changed to under eye twitching. I had never been so happy about an anxiety symptom in my life! Finally I didn’t have to worry about making it to the bathroom in time. This time I could just sit there and let my eyelid twitch to its heart’s content.

Years later when Chad and I were preparing for marriage, I brought this up. I told him that my body reacts weirdly to change and transition; the bigger the change, the bigger the response from my body. So far in my life, marriage has been the biggest transition I’ve gone through. And getting settled and figuring out how to be married and how things also get done around the house has taken time.

We’ve been married almost 3 years and I am just now feeling like we are finally grooving. We are starting to figure out a good way to get things done around the house, and find time for each other.

Dear newlywed (especially those with anxiety), it’s OK if you’ve been married several years and haven’t figured out how to get it all done. It’s normal that your home is not like those uber clean houses on TV. Doesn’t matter that you don’t have kids.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Do what you can and celebrate the little things, like when you finally get all the dishes done.

Remember you are NEVER EVER alone. I’m rooting for you. You can do this!

Cheers!

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**Affiliate link enclosed

A New Role: Strategies for the New Housewife

Before we get into our topic of the day, I wanted to tell you about what I discovered last night. A few blogs ago I reviewed Poo-Pourri toilet spray. While we had a so-so experience with it, I realized last night that this toilet spray does double “doody” (see what I did there? 😉 ) by working as a pretty great trash can deodorizer. Gently mist Poo-Pourri in your garbage can and yucky trash smells will drift away. You’re welcome 🙂


Our topic of the day deals with strategies for coping when you are transitioning from a traditional job to being a housewife. First off, this is not a step down position by any means. Taking care of the house is something that is desperately needed and a role that is very fulfilling. But there are some things to keep in mind to ease this transition:

1. Make sure you get out of the house as least once or twice a week. Whether it be a standing coffee date with a girlfriend or going grocery shopping with your spouse, it’s important that you get out of the house on a regular basis. This will help you keep in touch with your social circle beyond your house and keep your mind mentally healthy.

2. Take regular showers. I know this one seems like a no-brainer, but somedays it’s tempting to just stay in your pj’s all day (I’m definitely guilty of this one 😉 ). Some days that is what you need, but there really isn’t anything like taking a shower and feeling refreshed.

3. If you are a cat parent, housewife and blogger and your cat is interfering with you writing your blog; (read: the cat refuses to be anywhere else other than right between your face and the computer), take a break from writing and go do the dishes. (Full disclosure: This may be happening in real time 😀 )

4. Housework can be a bit boring everyday somedays. Making a habit of turning on music or the TV to keep you focused while you work helps make these tasks go by quicker. Alternatively, you can skip this step, do a chore and then reward yourself with your favorite TV show. I recommend watching it with a bag of chocolate covered potato chips. If you want to go healthy, they also make chocolate covered raisins.

Ok, I gotta get going. The cat is all up in my grill and before I inhale anymore of her hair, I should probably get up and finish washing the dishes. 😀 

Cheers!

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Doesn’t exactly go with our theme today, but it’s a personal mantra for my husband and myself. Seriously. I have a t-shirt that says this and we also have the phrase on a clock. In the kitchen. We are punny. (Although coffee does help my housewifery skills. Oh and this image appears on my blog courtesy of: pinterest.com ) 

Explaining Disability: The Girl With the Extra Accessories…

Having a disability my entire life, I’ve experienced my share of discrimination. Of people making snap judgements of my intellectual ability based on my appearance. But today I wanted to share a story that I hope encourages you to think differently if you have a disability and have experienced discrimination.

When I was in high school, I spent a week with my grandparents one summer. My youngest cousin lived close by so she’d come over to our grandparents house and hang out. One day we went to a movie and to Walmart. While at Walmart, we stopped into the bathroom. For some reason I didn’t take my manual wheelchair into the stall with me, so I parked it right outside the door.

As I was in the stall, I saw my little cousin get into my chair and roll it back and forth. I could see her little pink and white tennis shoes floating back and forth under the door. My grandma filled me in later on what happened next:

“When you were in the bathroom stall, a woman came out the stall next door and looked at Kristina in your chair. She then washed her hands and left. Kristina looked up at me and proudly exclaimed, “I think she thought I was handicapped!!”

Let me restate that. In the eyes of a young child, being labeled “handicapped” is a sign of pride and honor!

Dear employers, job recruiters and society; we are not a group to be pitied, avoided or fixed. We need respect and a chance to show you what we can do.  After all, being disabled basically just means that we come into the world with a few more accessories than the average person. 😉

Conquering A Sleeping Bear…..

This morning I woke up to sore muscles. See, last night I decided to finally take the plunge and walk on our treadmill. I know you are probably thinking, “Oh wow! She probably stayed on for like, 20 minutes.” But you would be wrong-o. 😛

2:00. I stayed on the treadmill for 2 minutes. Total. I stopped once.

I was pretty upset with myself for getting this far off the fitness track. Although I think, fingers crossed, part of the issue last night was the belt on our treadmill appears to be a skosh off center, so it was running a bit slower. Maybe.

But my ever encouraging husband still made sure I saw the obvious: “I’m proud of you babe. At least you tried. You did it!” And thinking about it the next day, it’s true. I need to feel proud of myself for getting on the treadmill and doing what I could. Even if I didn’t go for 20 minutes like I had wanted, at least I tried.

It reminds me of something I did this summer. I went with my family to Michigan. One day we took a trip to Sleeping Bear Dune. It’s one of the biggest dunes I’ve ever seen. For those of you unfamiliar, a dune is a GIANT mountain of sand that, in most cases, can be climbed by people. This particular dune, from top to bottom, is 450 ft. That’s roughly the equivalent of a 40-story building.

We went there for two reasons, Chad had wanted to see it for a couple years, and my 6-year old nephew was with us, and we thought it’d be a fun activity for him (read: climbing a 450 ft dune is a good way to burn off the natural energy of a 6-year old. It worked nicely as he slept the entire drive back to our cabin).

When we arrived at Sleeping Bear Dune, this is what lay before us:

Sleeping Bear Dune 1

What you are looking at is the ground level up to the first plateau. When you reach the top of the first plateau, it flattens out again, then inclines to a grove of trees at the very top. Those that reach the very top are treated to a spectacular view of Lake Michigan.

My nephew asked me to come with him and climb the dune. I swear I will do anything that kid asks, so we brought my wheelchair and crutches along to give me options. After plenty of sunscreen was applied and I chugged some water, our climb began.

I started out on crutches. After parking my chair at the base of the dune. But the heavy sand made it challenging, especially with the heat, so I gave up the crutches and continued the climb on all fours.

Sleeping Bear Dune 2

Sleeping Bear Dune 3

Now, admittedly this is not my most attractive photo, but I was getting it done, not worrying about what I looked like. The first thing I noticed when I switched to all fours was, “Holy Hannah Montana the sand is HOT!” I didn’t think to bring gloves, but that may have helped.

Now, before I started climbing I was a bit nervous. With a history of anxiety, one thing I’ve learned is that if I exert myself too much, I can be thrown into a panic attack (I know, it’s a lovely symptom 😛 ). I didn’t want to have one in front of my nephew, but I wanted to see how far up the dune I could go. Chad and I took it slow. My goal was to reach the top.

Little Eden Sleeping Bear Dune

After what seemed like hours, and many breaks, we stopped for a photo. It’s kinda hard to tell here, but we were 5 stories up, all at an angle. See that red circle around that black object? That is my wheelchair at the edge of the sand.

At this point I listened to my body and it told me I was done. To head back. I gotta say I was disappointed. I wanted to get to the very top.

But you know what? I freakin’ climbed a 5 story mountain on my own! I moved my body more that day then I had in a LONG time!

Dear friend, if you’ve made a goal and only have gotten so far, don’t despair. We are only 18 days into the New Year. You didn’t get as far as you wanted today? Try again tomorrow.

And be happy that at least you tried.

I’m proud of you!

Cheers!

 

 

LAFF: A Letter to Pizza Hut…….

Dear Pizza Hut:

At this point in our marriage, you are one of our constants. Date night is not the same without pizza and you have been our go-to for months now. In fact, if we skip a week, the next week you’ll ask if we are OK.

We appreciate the concern.

And we wanted to write to you and say we are really glad that you’ve stepped up your pizza game recently. I don’t know of any other chain that uses whole Peruvian cherry peppers on their pizzas. And the crust flavors you offer are amazing.

But you now know, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, that a gripe is coming. Here it is:

You need to up your pizza layering game.

Now, I understand, you’ve made a lot of changes to your menu, so your focus has been a bit frenzied lately. Like you just came home from work to discover that your spouse has invited their new boss and their entire department to your house for dinner, and so you are having to make a 15-course gourmet meal from scratch. In 30 minutes.

Being under that amount of pressure, of course there are gonna be some things that are gonna be less than stellar. The flan may be soupy, the homemade croutons may be burned, and the noodles may not be exactly al denta (you checked by throwing them against the wall and because they weren’t all the way denta they slid off. Now you have another mess to clean up).

When I open my pizza box, I expect to see a bubbly layer of melted cheese on top. What I don’t expect is seeing leafy greens. The main problem with putting spinach on top of the pizza, and not under the cheese, is that the leaves are loose. Seriously, if you were to tip the pizza even 20 degrees, the spinach would come sliding off the top. While I do appreciate a two in one meal, if I had wanted a salad, I would have skipped the delivery and made it at home. Probably. Although first I’d need to go out and buy the stuff for salad. Eh, who am I kidding? Being healthy is hard 😛

Maybe I am missing something in regards to the science of pizza layering. Maybe it’s not possible to put the spinach under the cheese. Perhaps when you put the spinach under the cheese, the heat from the cheese makes the spinach shrivel up and all but disappear. There’s $1 you’ll never get back.

Maybe next week I’ll cut out the middle man and order a salad. With shredded cheese and pepperoni.

Bon Appetit, ya’ll!

PS: Our oldest cat is also wondering if you’d consider “catnip” for your next flavor adventure. Also throwing in a free cat toy would be just swell.

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