Suzi Beech and Family

This blog is about my family and my trials and tribulations as a work-from-home mom of twins.

Back to school…finally! September 14, 2009

back-to-school

I have to say that, although I love my children dearly, I could not wait for school to start again!  We had a wonderful summer full of parties, swimming, camps and vacations.  While all that togetherness was great, it was a LOT of togetherness!

I am lucky that I own my own business and can set my own schedule.  At the beginning of summer I tried to schedule work in the early mornings, late nights and when the kids weren’t home.  Just a few days into it and I was tired and crabby and realizing that they sure were home an awful lot!  After stressing myself out about what I wasn’t getting done, I rethought things.  I realized that this could be one of the last years they consider me cool enough to be seen with and fun to hang out with.  I decided, for better or worse,  to take most of the summer off and spend it with them while they’d still have me.  It went well, for the most part.  We had our battles of wills and our sibling clashes, but I don’t regret a minute of it!

Now that they’re back in school (big-time 3rd graders this year), I can get back into the swing of working again.  It’s really quiet a relief!  My mom used to tell me that going to work was easy, it was staying home that was hard.  I finally understand what she was talking about!

In the back-to-school spirit, I have also taken some classes on time management and productivity.   My first order of business is to set-up a daily schedule and block my time in 60 minute increments.  From there, I’m going to build it out into a weekly schedule.  I like order and predictability.  That’s just how I am.  I know there are people who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, but not me.  So, I’m off to begin building my schedule for the hours between 8 and 2:30, Monday through Friday.  I’ll be sure to set aside blocks of time to keep my blog up to date, as well.  I know I have a lot of summer pictures and videos that you’re just dying to see, so I’ll get them all posted very soon!

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Six Things You Can Do to Maintain a Positive Outlook June 17, 2009

I have decided that, no matter what, I am going to maintain a positive outlook on life.  Now, I have troubles, my life hasn’t all been a bowl of cherries, but I have learned that how I react to negative factors is really all that matters.   Sure, bad things will happen, it’s a fact of life.  On the flip-side, so will good.  I believe it’s high-time I start placing all my focus on the good and let the bad slip away.  Life isn’t going to be perfect, but enjoying all the goodness will certainly help!  So, in that vein, here are six things I’ve been doing that are helping me stay positive and focused on the good.

Try to remain positive!!

Try to remain positive!!

1.  Count your blessings.  Seriously.  Wake up in the morning and, if nothing else comes to mind, be happy with the fact that you’ve woken up to another day.  It sure beats the alternative!  Today is another opportunity to feel good and accomplish positive things.

2.  Look outside.  Is it raining?  (I live in Oregon, so this is a very common occurrence!).  Think how happy all the flowers and tress will be for the rain.  Is it sunny?  Think about all the good Vitamin D you can soak up free, thanks to Mother Nature.

3.  Read something inspirational.  This is my favorite sight for quotes:  inspirational; motivational; humorous; etc.:  http://www.great-quotes.com I often browse through them!

4.  Make a list of things you are grateful for and refer to it whenever you’re feeling down.  Keep it handy!

5.  Choose to look at the silver lining.  This is NOT always easy.  It is something I have to continually and consciously make an effort to do.  I can lean toward being a pessimist and work constantly on turning my focus to the positive, optimistic point of view.  This is an ongoing process – something I work on each and every day.  Like everyone else, I am a work in progress! 😀

6.  Surround yourself with the most positive people you can.  Negativity seems to rub off.  Conversely, positivity is contagious, too.  If you notice you have more negative influences in your life, try to seek out new relationships that will bring more positive energy into the mix.

This list is a small compilation of some things I work on and think about.  In the end, I believe that maintaining a positive outlook has to come from within.  I am striving to bring out the most positive aspects of myself.  I hope you can, too!

 

It’s only the 2nd day of summer vacation…really?! June 16, 2009

Filed under: Personal Stuff,Working from home — Suzi Beech @ 2:17 pm
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Today is the second day of summer vacation.  OMG!  Two days in and I’m going a little crazy already.  I’m sure Philip and I will work out some kind of schedule…at least we’d better.  I only have one of my kids home right now (and he has a friend here, keeping him busy) but it feels like everytime I sit down with the computer, somebody needs something:  food, towel, band-aids, the dog needs out, the cat needs in… Oh, you’re thinking “what on Earth

Recording in progress

Recording in progress

are they doing over there!”  The boys are outside.  They were playing with water squirters and got soaked, so I threw some towels and a can of root beer out onto the patio, told them to stay outside until they were dry, grabbed my computer and headed upstairs.  I even made myself a home-made “keep out or else” kind of sign…Not two minutes after my sign was hung was there some yelling at the door.  “Band-aid, we need a band-aid.”  Really? Already?  You guys were just sitting there!  I got up to make sure Philip was on top of it and I wasn’t needed.  He was.  Phew.  Back to the computer.  About 15 minutes has passed.  Gus’ friend was picked up, right on time, by his mom.  Gus has knocked on the door (right next to my neat sign) twice already.  The first time I told him to read the sign and take any requests downstairs to his dad.  He said, “Ok.”  Not five minutes later, he was back, knocking at the door again.  Ah.  It was an urgent announcement that the towel his friend was using will be returned to me later.  That’s a relief!  It’s a good thing I’m not really recording anything!  Is it really only the second day of Summer vacation?

 

Fishing Trip with the Cub Scouts June 12, 2009

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

Welcome to Horning's Hideout

I tagged along on my son’s Cub Scout troop’s fishing trip yesterday.  We went to a beautiful place in North Plains (Oregon, where I live) called Horning’s Hideout.  There were the two troop leaders, myself and 11 Cub Scouts.

Horning’s Hideout is a beautiful place about 25 minutes or so from Portland.  They specialize is outdoor weddings and have a couple of ponds for fishing, camping areas, paddle boats, Frisbee golf…all kinds of fun outdoor things to keep folks busy.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any decent pictures of the many pretty peacocks on the grounds.  Every time one of them would get close enough for a decent shot, my dog would try to get at them, so I had my hands full!  I did get a pretty picture of this butterfly, though.

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Two of the boys (brothers) had brought their own fishing poles and tackle boxes.  One of them wanted to use his stuff, the other chose to use the gear provided by Horning’s.  All the boys who used the rods and bait provided caught fish within minutes of tossing in their line.  Seriously, half the boys had already caught their quota (one whole trout!…each!…woohoo!) before the other half even got bait on their hooks.  The boys who wanted to use the fake, neon green “worms” out of the personal tackle box had absolutely no luck.  We waited and recasted and recasted…no bites at all.  Finally, even though they didn’t want to hurt the wiggly little wormies, we convinced them to use the live bait.  Minutes later, their fish had been caught, too.  It was a wild 30 minutes of lines flying, hooks being baited, fish flopping on the dock and much, much, squealing, yelling and shouting.  There were only a few hook mishaps and tangled lines – not bad considering the pace the fish were flying out of the water!  Those red hook-puller things did a great job of getting those hooks out of the fish.  I don’t remember

Nico tied up on the dock

Nico tied up on the dock

having those when I was a kid.  Very handy!

I had to tie Nico up on the dock so I could help the boys.  She didn’t like that very much and cried until some of the boys went over and played with her.  She’s such a baby!

Before we knew it, it was time to head back up the hill and clean our fish.  The boys were pretty much horrified, as was the one leader who had never been fishing before.  I like fishing and gutting the fish doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s not my favorite thing to do, especially with the number of fish that needed cleaning.  Luckily, our hostess at Horning’s came to help!  She was terrific and tried to get the boys interested in the fish insides.  She pointed out their “parts” like liver, gullet, lungs…I think our

How to Clean a Fish

How to Clean a Fish

inexperienced leader almost threw-up at that point!  They did have this helpful sign with instructions posted near the cleaning stations.  I thought they were pretty funny.  I was

Gus holding his big catch

Gus holding his big catch

surprised the Scouts were so standoffish when it came to holding onto their fish.  They all thought they were too slimy.  One boy told me he wouldn’t eat “that kind of fish.”  He only ate the kind from the grocery store.  It’s odd how out of touch they are with where their food comes from!  I hope the rest of the families enjoyed eating their son’s catches as much as we did (well, when I say “we” I mean Philip and I…Gus had a couple of bites Ruby might’ve tasted it, but that was it!).

It was a pretty exhausting couple of hours. Those boys are full of energy, let me tell you!  I was really glad I got to join them on the trip.  I spend so much time with the Girl Scouts, I was afraid my son was going to think I didn’t want to hang out with the Boy Scouts.  I am so lucky to be my own boss and have the flexibility to be able to take time to do these things!

 

The final week of school…my kids are almost done with 2nd grade! June 9, 2009

My monkeys at Field Day

My monkeys at Field Day

My twins are in their final week of 2nd grade. I know it’s true but I’m having a hard time believing it. I told Ruby at least three times yesterday, “Today is your last Monday of second grade, ever!” She was totally unimpressed and reminded me I’d already told her that. Well, forgive me for being a sentimental Mommy. Each year seems to be going by faster than the last!

I spent this morning at their school as a volunteer for “Field Day.” Field Day is where their whole school (Kindergarten through 2nd grades in the morning and 3rd through 5th grades in the afternoon) spend time outside, playing games and running around. It’s school-wide controlled chaos.

I was stationed at the obstacle course. I had two 5th-grade girls running the show, I was only there in a supervisory role. It was pretty incredible to witness the differences in all the grades. The little kindergarten students tripped over the hurdles, knocked down the cones, fell through the hula-hoops and laughed and laughed. They were all about having fun and didn’t take the whole thing very seriously.

I could tell the 1st graders were beginning to become a little self-conscious, but they were still willing to cheer-on their teammates in loud voices. When one of them would knock over a hurdle, they’d try to stop and “fix” it or right a fallen cone. They were more about doing things “right” than quickly.

Ruby & Miss Chamberlain

Ruby & Miss Chamberlain

The 2nd graders were having fun, but were definitely more self-conscious and a lot more competitive. The boys were all about making the best time, even if it meant they skipped obstacles or plowed right through them and they’d call for their time before they reached the finish line. The girls were very careful to clear each hurdle, zig and zag properly through each cone and cross the finish line, whether they were going fast or not. They were all about completing each task “properly.”

The 5th grade girls were excellent coaches and I really got to hang back and drink my coffee (lovingly supplied by the PTO…thank you!!) and cheer for all my little friends.

There was 45 minutes between completing all the Field Day activities and going back outside for a school-wide picnic lunch. I rushed home, packed myself a lunch (the two cereal bars and sleeve of Ritz I’d thrown in my backpack before leaving the house at 7:45 didn’t seem very appealing, after all!) and drove back to school in time to set-up our picnic blanket before the kids swarmed out.

Gus at Field Day 09

Gus at Field Day 09

It was a glorious, June afternoon by Oregon standards. Warm, but not hot, breezy not windy, with the temperature in the low to mid-70s. I got both my kids and a bunch of their friends to sit on my blanket with me to eat our lunches. I don’t know how many more years they’ll want to sit with “Mom” but I sure am glad they do now! After lunch and a few pictures, they were ushered back into class and I returned home…back to work.

I am sad my babies are growing up so fast. Three more days of 2nd grade, they’ll turn 8 next month, then a couple of months until the start of 3rd grade! Where has the time gone?

I am so very happy that I’ve changed my life so that I can earn a living while working from home around my kids’ schedules. I missed so many of their events and activities when I was working as a restaurant manager. If only I’d known then what I know now about network marketing, I would’ve saved myself a lot of stress and heartache. In either case, I am grateful for what I have now and am happy to lead the life I do!

 

I missed working over the weekend! June 1, 2009

View over the pond

View over the pond

I went camping with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop last weekend. It was a ton of fun, but exhausting. Imagine wrangling 12, 2nd grade girls into doing anything, let alone doing things like cleaning a campsite, and you’ll have a good idea of what I’m talking about. I think it was a great experience, not just for the girls, but for myself, my troop co-leader and the mom that came with us. I felt that I was able to bond with the adults and the girls more than I have in the past.

We worked on several great projects including creating bird feeders out of pine cones and solar ovens out of pizza boxes.

Solar Ovens cooking s'mores

Solar Ovens cooking s'mores

I learned to make something called “gimp” (aka lanyard, aka boondoggle) which are neat woven things made out of plastic lace. My co-leader is a master. I only aspire to become as good at it as she is, but I’m a beginner and am pleased that I was able to figure it out at all! (Anyone needing a 3″ long gimp key chain, you just let me know! I’ve made quite a few already!!)

Gimp keychains

Gimp keychains & link to instructions

Ruby practicing gimp

Ruby practicing gimp

The cell phone reception at camp was spotty, at best. Every once in a while, I would walk into an area with good reception and my phone would start downloading all my various messages. Bleep, bleep, bleep! The girls all thought it was very funny that my phone would randomly start chirping. The other two adults probably thought it was annoying! To me, it was an awesome reminder that work was being done, even though I was off camping. I don’t think I have ever had a job that continued to produce for me even when I wasn’t actively working on it. It is a very liberating feeling, let me tell you! I have gone from slaving away at a restaurant management job to working from home at a job that’s fun AND truly does continue working even when I’m not!
I know there are a lot of people who are skeptical about network marketing, but I am a believer. I know that what I am involved in is legitimate and rewarding, both personally (I meet great, supportive people and become friends with them!), and financially. Even though I was having a terrific time camping, I missed work! That’s a first for me! I hope the rest of you out there are as satisfied with what you’re doing as I am. I am truly lucky!

 

How to Find a Legitimate Online Business May 19, 2009

Award of Excellence Working from home is more popular than ever. The advent of the internet and modern computer technology has made working from home easier and more economical than in any other time. If you are considering becoming a work-from-home employee or starting your own business from home, there are a few steps you need to take to get started.

Search online. Start with a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Type in the kind of work you’d be interested in or are qualified for, such as sales, data entry, or marketing, to name just a few possibilities. Make sure to include “work from home” or “home-based business” in your search. Try to make your search as specific as possible using keywords that pertain to your experience or education such as “work-from-home administrative assistant” or “work-from-home tax advisor.”

Ask around. Your friends might have some good leads or words of caution for you. Someone you know might have just started an online business they’re really excited about or they may caution you against one you’re already considering. Remember to take everything they say with a grain of salt. You’re looking for the right business for you, which doesn’t always mean it would be the right business for them. Subscribe to online forums centered on the kind of work you would be doing. You can gain valuable insight into companies by listening to what those involved in them are saying.

Check with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure you are diligent in researching any companies you’re considering getting involved with. The BBB is a great place to start. You can type in the company name and see how many or if any complaints have been filed against them. In addition, you can see if the complaint was resolved or if there are many outstanding complaints.

Use your best judgement when moving forward. Search for a variety of companies and jobs. Talk with others involved or previously involved in areas you’re considering. Ask questions online or, if provided, call the company directly. Use the internet to your advantage and explore many potential companies and jobs before making a decision.