Suzi Beech and Family

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

I’m no seamstress! July 2, 2009

I am getting ready for our Girl Scout troop to march in our neighborhood’s 4th of July Parade.  It’s going to be great fun, but there is one thing I am just dreading.  It’s probably not a big deal to most other people, but I’m just so not

The patch that took an hour to sew on

The patch that took an hour to sew on

looking forward to this one little thing…sewing badges on my daughter’s Brownie vest.  I am horrible at sewing!  The last time I sewed on a badge it took me over an hour…seriously.  One badge per hour is not a good ratio! My thread broke twice, my knots came undone and the badge ended up crooked, even though I tried to make it perfect!

Once upon a time, back when I was around 10, I took a sewing class.  I sat myself down on the rug at this class with my fabric pieces and my needle and thread. I worked so hard, concentrated, tried to get my stitches just right.  Then, when it was time to put our work into our bins for next time, I stood up and realized I had sewn my entire project to the carpet.  It was very discouraging.  I never went back to that class and my sewing is still pretty much at that level.

My pile of badges

My pile of badges

I usually save all our Girl Scout and Cub Scout badges and patches for when my mom or cousin come to visit.  They’re both expert sewers and don’t seem to mind sewing all of them onto the proper uniform.  They even do all the rest of my sewing, too, like putting buttons back on things or repairing split seams.  It certainly doesn’t take them an hour per badge, I can tell you that!

Front of Brownie Vest

Front of Brownie Vest

Our Girl Scout troop is very active.

Back of vest

Back of vest

During the year, when we’re working on all our try-its and badge-earning projects, I think it’s just great.  Now, though, looking at my pile of 19 badges that need sewing and the vest with limited space left, I’m rethinking our plans for next year!  Of course, Ruby wants the badges all on her vest for this weekend’s parade.  I don’t blame her, but I don’t know if I have 19 hours to spare getting them on there!

Advertisements
 

Defeating Infertility and Feeling Nostalgic June 30, 2009

Infertility Awareness

Infertility Awareness

I have been spending a lot of time thinking back about our battle with infertility and feeling very nostalgic lately. Certainly not nostalgic about infertility itself, but that solid, concrete, must-attain-goal of getting pregnant and successfully delivering a healthy child (or children as it turned out). I think it’s partly because my “miracle” babies are about to turn 8, but I know it’s also partly because I’ve been thinking a lot about goals and desires.

My struggle with infertility was an unexpected, life-changing, soul-searching roller coaster. I knew, from the time I was a little girl, that I wanted to be a mommy. That was my number one goal, my whole life’s plan. Everything else to me seemed secondary.

My husband and I met when I was 19 and started trying to get pregnant when I was 23. I wanted a bunch of kids and I wanted to have them while I was still young enough to have the energy to keep up with them all. After the first couple of months of unsuccessful trying to conceive, friends and relatives began giving their advice: gain weight; go out and get drunk; take a vacation; stop trying so hard; relax. As the years went on, the well-meaning advice slowed to a trickle and then stopped. No one really knew what to say anymore. Close relatives were afraid to tell me of their own pregnancies and friends were hesitant to invite me to their baby showers.  I was always happy for them, of course, but they were all very aware of our struggles to have a baby of our own.

I saw doctor after doctor, had many painful tests and procedures and spent thousands of dollars. During this time I went from being a student and food-server to a feature film production coordinator to a talent agent for cinematographers. I had found success in my professional life, but still hadn’t achieved my number one goal. So, while the professional part of my life was flourishing, the personal one was still stuck.

It was during this time that I happened upon one of the most supportive online communities I know of. It’s called Fertile Thoughts.  I stumbled upon the site while I was researching in vitro fertilization and endometriosis.

Fertile Thoughts

Fertile Thoughts

Finding the infertility forum was a real blessing.  I was able to talk with so many other women and men struggling with the same problems I was.  I made great friends with many courageous people.  I met some of them in real life and others were friends online only.  It was on one of those bulletin boards where I learned to apply one of my favorite sayings,  “keep your eye on the prize”, to my life. It was those six words that helped me refocus and regain perspective during what was one of the most difficult periods of my life.

I was so fortunate that I was, after eight long years of struggle and heartache, able to conceive my children and bring them into this world.  It wasn’t easy – the conceiving or the pregnancy (I will tell you all about my weeks on bedrest in another post) – but we did it.  These days, my twins are gearing up for their 8th birthday, their first time going to summer camp, their traditional California summer vacation and the 4th of July celebration.

I have been thinking long and hard about goals and achievements.  Those six words – keep your eye on the prize – are back strong in my life.  I am striving to deliver that prize once again.  Although my “prize” is different this time (I’m done trying to have babies, thankfully!), keeping my eye firmly on it is proving, once again, to be the motivation I need.

I hope you are able to focus in on your dreams and desires and continue striving to turn them into reality for yourselves.  It’s not always easy and sometimes might not seem likely, but maintaining focus is crucial to achieving all goals, no matter what they may be.

 

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

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!

 

Nothing Says “Summer’s Here” Like the Ice Cream Truck! June 10, 2009

Filed under: Personal Stuff — Suzi Beech @ 8:49 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
1st ice cream truck visit of 2009

1st ice cream truck visit of 2009

That’s right…school’s not quite out here in our neighborhood, but already that familiar music came drifting down the street yesterday afternoon.  I find it very  interesting that kids can hear the ice cream truck music trinkling from blocks away, but not hear me when I’m standing right next to them (shouting their name, repeatedly…).  Anyway, I wanted to say hello to you, welcome to summer, welcome to ice cream trucks, days of swimming and watermelon, the beginning of new seasons and new possibilities. Enjoy your day!

 

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!