Saturday, November 29, 2008

i've got woo, how 'bout you?

Have you heard of the StrengthsFinder? It is an assessment tool created by Gallup to help you discover your strengths, the things you do naturally, the things you can't NOT do.

When you buy the book ($12 on Amazon) and take the assessment you get your Top 5. My Top 5 are: Woo, Maximizer, Communication, Empathy and Adaptability. The job that I have right now is as a Strengths coach, which means I meet with people and help them understand what their Top 5 means for them and how it plays out in their life and how best to utilize and leverage these strengths in their daily lives. I absolutely love it and feel like I've finally found a job that doesn't feel like a job.

I've realized lately that I am pretty happy with my insides. I'm not so pleased with my outside right now but the happiness I feel for who I've become makes up for it (mostly). I think the reason I feel good about myself has a lot to do with learning and living my strengths. I've got more confidence in who I am and what I am good at. And I've realized that what I bring to the table is unique and special and that I need to use these strengths in my daily life. I've also become content knowing that there are areas that are not strengths for me and probably never will be. For example, instead of wishing I was more disciplined, I've learned to embrace my Adaptability strength and appreciate the ability it gives me to just roll with it. Doesn't mean there aren't times I wish I could be disciplined but I know it will never be a motivating factor in my life and I'm okay with that.

I highly recommend the StrengthsFinder. I wish I had taken this when I was in college--I think it would've helped me figure out what direction I should go a lot quicker.

If you've taken it, tell me your Top 5! I am totally fascinated by all this.

Friday, November 28, 2008

so thankful

Quick story about my little man:

We were finishing up dinner yesterday (not our "real" Thanksgiving dinner but that isn't the point) and Ethan said "Excuse me, I have a question". Usually that means he will interrupt to ask some question about his Happy Meal toys or to ask for yet another toy. I usually feel immediately annoyed when he interrupts like this although I am pleased he doesn't just bust in like he used to.

Anyway, we give Ethan the floor to ask his question. Much to my surprise and delight he asks me what I am thankful for! I believe he asked this unsolicited and he really seemed interested in my response. Once I said what I was thankful for he moved on to Jay, and then Em, and then continued around the table. He listened to each answer before moving onto the next person.

Then we asked him what he was thankful for. His answer: my parents, my sister and my dinosaurs. Maybe not in that order. :)

It was just so sweet and made my heart smile. My little man is growing up so fast! I was watching his hands tonight for some reason and was suddenly shocked to see how they look like boy hands now--no longer that slightly chubby toddler hand.

I am so thankful for so many things. God has blessed this family in so many ways and those are so apparent to me in this moment. I hope that I can remember this feeling of thankfulness in the moments when I am struggling as a wife and as a mother.

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday weekend!

Monday, November 17, 2008

i'd like a bailout as well, please.

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. First we bail out banks for making stupid decisions. Now we are supposed to be on board with bailing out Detroit for making stupid decisions? When do I get bailed out for making stupid decisions?

On Detroit, new poll is up. Do you think they should get a bailout due to the fact that they employ loads of people and it would rock the economy even more if they should fold? Or do you think they should quit their begging because they were unable to adapt to the changing car market and have been pumping out cars that consumers don't want for too long? What do you think?

P.S. 61% of you don't listen to NPR at all and 38% of you listen but don't contribute. None of us contribute. Now I don't feel so bad. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

mullets removed for free

So I finally broke down and trimmed Olivia's mullet off. I kept thinking I should leave it and then my dear friend Angie told me to chop it--it makes the growing out process much prettier.

She was right! Olivia is looking less like a hockey player and more like the sweet girl that she is.

She was a lazy fairy princess for Halloween--she got pushed around in the stroller the whole time. Her net for the night? A partially chewed up Snickers bar (still in the wrapper), two Starbursts and three leaves.

Kitchen update!

We are on the home stretch with the kitchen. It is fully functional--we just need to put the finishing touches on it. It was quite a job getting everything put away; many thanks to Katie and Andrew Nelson for spending a Saturday night helping us put it all away. And yes Katie--my spices are still organized! ;)

Yes, those are Electrolux appliances you see! Since we saved so much money by getting IKEA cabinets we decided to splurge on the appliances. They are well worth the money--totally awesome! We've been having fun trying to learn how to use them this week. We have broiled steak in them twice now and I've baked a cake and several batches of cookies.

I started dreaming about this kitchen last May. I wasn't sure it would be possible to relocate a kitchen. Turns out that it isn't that big of a deal at all. It has been so cool to see the vision become a reality. All those hours I spent dinking around with the IKEA kitchen planner paid off! There were a few bumps in the road but for the most part things went well. We are using the kitchen about two months after we demolished the old one which I think is pretty good considering we did quite a bit ourselves. Now comes the hard part--finding the motivation to finish the little details that don't detract from the kitchen's usability.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

does anyone else do this?

I still check on my kids each night after they've gone to bed to make sure they are still breathing. Anyone else do that? Ethan is 4--I don't honestly believe he'll stop breathing but it is a habit I picked up when he was a baby and I just haven't shaken it.

One of my favorite things to do each night before I crawl into bed is to check on both kids. I go to Ethan's room first, give him a kiss and smooth his hair. Then I go to Olivia's room and rub her back for a moment. Only then can I crawl into bed. I don't think I could sleep if I skipped this step and when the kids aren't there at night, this is the time I miss them the most!

I think what I am really doing is enjoying their sweet quietness--it prepares me for another day of craziness.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Need help from you!

I need to find a carpet installer that would be able to restretch a corner of carpet in our basement. If you know anyone who can stretch carpet, please send me their phone number! I'm trying to stay away from calling the big box stores in the hopes that an independent person might charge a little less.

Muchos gracias!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Loyal opposition

Congrats to President Elect Obama! While I did not vote for him I do believe that the next four years will be interesting and I am looking forward to being proved wrong in my decision not to vote for him. It's not fun to be on the losing team; however, my bro-in-law JT put it well: I am first and foremost a patriot and will support our president no matter what party he is from.

It disappoints me that people feel the need to bash our current president. You may not like him but he is still your president and as long as you are an American citizen, I feel there is a certain amount of respect that should be given. That is why I did not use this post to bash Obama or the Democratic Party. You can engage in loyal opposition to be sure but the open hatefulness is inappropriate and uncalled for. I think we as a country are forgetting that we are the UNITED States of America--we are not just Democrats or Republicans. There is way too much "I" out there, not enough "We".

That said, what would your ideal America look like? I thought about this a lot during the election. I don't fit in with all the tenets of either party but find that I fall more to the right mainly due to economic issues.

Here is what I would love to see in this country:

1. A government that treats my tax dollars as precious gifts to them and proceeds to use them as efficiently and effectively as possible.

2. Health insurance that is not tied to employers. It prohibits people from busting out to do their own thing. I want to shop for health insurance like I shop for car insurance. This would no doubt subject us to more annoying commercials on TV but I think it would work. We could start shopping for the best doctors for us instead of being told who we can see. I definitely DO NOT want socialized health care--that is a nightmare scenario.

3. A gradual end to the war in Iraq. I don't like war as a general rule; however, I do have immense respect for the good soldiers (note that I said "good"--not the crazy ones) that put themselves in danger in order to serve their country. I wouldn't have the guts to do what they do. I don't think an immediate withdrawal is in our best interests or the Iraqi's best interests. I think that could prove to be a bigger mess than the war itself.

4. Changes in the tax code. I do not want a "redistribution of wealth". I don't want a person who works for their money to give their money to someone who doesn't work.

5. Changes in the welfare system. Welfare is good in theory. In reality though it becomes oppressive and prohibits and unmotivates some people (not all) from getting off welfare.

6. A move to personal responsibility in this country. It isn't always someone else's fault. Sometimes we have to own up to our situations and realize we made a bad choice and move on. It is not (in my opinion) the government's job to fix my problems. That is the main reason I do not vote as a Democrat.

Before you comment back refuting each of my ideas, let me tell you that there was no research involved in this whatsoever. This is simply what my dream America would look like.