Lately with Tuck.

by Beth Anne on April 11, 2014

tucker 300x300 Lately with Tuck.It started this winter, our girl looking stiff as she stood up after a nap on the floor.

We noticed she didn’t hop up on the couch or bed with ease anymore & so we started her on glucosamine pills every morning. Two pills that she took happily, thinking they were treats & oblivious to us watching her hips with care. The cold nights seemed to be the worst & we bought her a dog bed for the first time in 8 years & covered her with blankets. She was stiff at night but comfortable & chased a ball in the backyard on the pretty days.

Then four weeks ago, she didn’t greet me at the door & her back feet touched when she hobbled over when I called her name. I took her to the vet immediately – it was a Friday afternoon & I lifted her 55 lbs into the car & she yelped from pain. The vet looked her over, tested her legs & couldn’t find damage but confirmed what we’ve known for several months – arthritis. We left with big pills that combined an anti-inflammatory & pain med. For 2 weeks she was better & when the pills finished, per the vet, we waited to see if the pain would return. For 2 more weeks she seemed fine & we wondered if the diagnosis was wrong, if maybe she had sprained something before & now it was all better.

Yesterday she woke us at 5:30 am crying at the foot of the stairs. I poured a cup of coffee & sat with her & we waited for the meds to kick in. Last night, Doug carried her up the stairs for bed & the worry showed on both our faces. She spent the night whimpering.

This morning I took her down the 4 stairs to our front yard & when we headed back to the house, she screamed in pain up all 4 stairs. I sank to my knees beside her & cried & Harry stood at the door wondering what is wrong, is Tucker okay, why did she make that noise?

She has her medication & is finally resting quietly & I’m sitting here with her on a Friday morning because nobody should be left alone when they’re hurting, even a dog. She’s only 8 years old & that keeps going through my mind as I ruffle the red fur on her neck. She’s only 8 years old but when we got her, all we had was a marriage license & a hand-me-down plaid couch. She’s only 8 years old but that’s 8 years with her at the foot of our bed & 8 years of her little face peeking out of the windows when we pull into the driveway.

She’s only 8 years old & she’s not just a dog.

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How to Use Pinterest Without Going Insane

by Beth Anne on April 3, 2014

I am a huge fan of Pinterest, if you couldn’t tell by the 3,350 pins I’ve drooled over in the past year or even the blog posts I’ve written on Pinterest strategy for business. For years I catalogued things I loved or admired in journals & on Tumblr & magazines clippings pinned to my corkboard & recipes stuck on my fridge. Then Pinterest came along & offered me a single place to keep all that glorious inspiration.

I’ve noticed over the past year that some of my dearest friends have walked away from Pinterest – it’s too competitive, too keeping-up-with-the-Jones, too materialistic. I understand those feelings because I’ve seen how blogs & birthday parties & Christmas decorating have changed since the birth of Pinterest. It’s easy to lose perspective in a sea of Martha Stewart perfection. It’s easy to forget that the perfectly coordinated outfit is edited & the decorated living room is freshly dusted. So when I log into Pinterest, I keep in mind that I am there for eye candy – pretty things to make me forget about my piles of laundry rather than pressure to create the perfectly organized laundry room. For me, Pinterest is about escape & inspiration, rather than a hand-book for how to be a woman.
bethannepinterest1 How to Use Pinterest Without Going Insane

I like to use it to learn how to style my new, shorter hair. I’ve had long hair for so long that I admit to being a little lost with hair that brushes my shoulders. There have been so many times that I’ve jumped onto Kate’s board to find a quick upgrade for my weekend ponytail. I’m not very good at “being a girl,” so Pinterest is the perfect way for me to discreetly try to learn how to do my hair & more importantly, pull up easy reference when I’m attempting it for the first time (or second or third, let’s be honest).

I use it almost daily to gather ideas for how to organize my small guest bedroom & office combo. My ideas for the office have run the gamut from being shoved into a walk-in closet to building a corner desk to just buying a Pottery Barn knock-off. So while we’re in planning mode, trying to figure out how a double bed & big desk can live together, I catalogue color schemes & art work that would both inspire me & please the overnight guests.
bethannepinterest2 How to Use Pinterest Without Going Insane

I use it to pull inspiration for work. I constantly create content for my clients, which means I need a constant source of inspiration. Pinterest is pulled up to my desktop throughout the day to help spark ideas & plays on words & make me laugh when I’m so frustrated that I want to cry. I use it to be a more fun & creative mom because on my own, I’m dull as brown rice. I love to follow boards like Disney’s The Pirate Fairy (based on the all-new Tinkerbell movie, The Pirate Fairy now available on Blu-ray and Digital HD) because crafts! food! games! all in one place. On my own, I would never think to make pirate sandwiches & pirate pops or help Harry create pirate ships from egg crates, but by pulling ideas from moms who are far more craft-inclined than me, I can provide easy fun for my kiddo.

piratefairypinterest How to Use Pinterest Without Going Insane

I use it to dream about the future & the past. I pin beautiful nurseries on days when I think of another little one in our arms & on the days when I wish I could get married all over again, I pin cotton boutonnieres & fluffy white dresses.

I know Pinterest can seem intimidating & trivial but I think if you remind yourself that life isn’t lived inside a DSLR & Lightroom, it can be the most powerful tool for creating a beautiful life.

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The Reluctant Runner

by Beth Anne on April 1, 2014

running The Reluctant Runner

I love the sound of running shoes, the muffled hit of rubber when my stride is just right & I often run without headphones just to hear it & my sweat seems to drop with my breath. I love aching legs & burning lungs & the mental focus to stay steady. I adore running.

It’s just a shame that I’m so terrible at something I love.

Over the years I’ve attempted to create a habit of running, dreaming of half marathons but there’s always a voice that tells me I’ll never be able to do it & then I fail. I hang up my sneakers & fold my running tights & sit back down on the couch. I’m just not good at running.

In the fall I promised my little family that this winter would be different than the past few, that I wouldn’t retreat into myself with the waning daylight. I sat under my sunlamp throughout the work day, 6-8 hours per day. I took Vitamin D supplements. I picked my running shoes, logging miles on the treadmill several times per week. Running became medicinal for me & that kept me going for months.

PicMonkey Collage The Reluctant Runner

Running Epiphany #1

As 2013 turned to 2014, I became incredibly frustrated with my runs. I capped out at .75 mile of continuous every single time – run .75 mile, walk .25 mile, run .5 mile, etc despite the treadmill reading a 12 minute pace. I asked my friend Rici for advice & she kept encouraging me to go just a little farther each day. The first few .80′s were victories but they waned until I had a new “stuck.” Then on a rare beautiful day in February, I opened Nike+ & went running through our neighborhood trails at my usual stride. At .75 with aching legs, I looked down & saw I was running a 9:35 mile.

A quick Google search confirmed that most treadmill readings are wrong & I’d been running a sub-10 minute mile for months. Problem was that my body wasn’t ready to handle that speed (fat & bad asthma lungs) & I needed to learn how to slow myself. (You should have seen the actual hand-to-forehead smack I gave myself for being so dense.) So I headed back to the treadmill, letting the ability to set my speed re-train me, a running sensor in hand. The first day of keeping myself at an 11 minute mile, I ran 1.25 miles non-stop easily. The second run was sub-11 minutes at 1.5 miles non-stop. Slowly over the past few weeks, I’ve been ignoring the treadmill & listening to my own stride & pace.

I’ve made more progress in 2 weeks than I made in 4 months.

Running Epiphany #2

Last week the sun shone & temperatures soared into the 70s, a welcome change from the long & cold winter. I took my shoes to the pavement, determined to soak up the last rays of the day & run 2 miles non-stop, using the change in scenery & beautiful day as motivation. Half a mile in, my shins started to throb. At a mile, they hurt so badly that I stopped to stretch. I walked them out, shook them, & the moment I picked up my pace, they exploded in pain.

Shin splints are a bitch.

& I find nature more distracting than inspiring while I run. Probably because I’m trying not to trip.

The truth is, I’m a treadmill runner & it feels like a shameful secret to tell. Real runners don’t run solely on treadmills, do they? Runners love trails & outdoor races & those little water bottle fanny packs. But I don’t love any of those things. I love the steady treadmill, the ease on my joints, not worrying about the weather. Being surrounded by others at the gym inspires me & yet I’m still alone, headphones blasting. Also this:

abae1a4507cc4fa1fee17456a73096ff The Reluctant Runner

So I might be running my 5K on a treadmill, but I’m still running it. I think that’s worthy of running shoes.

I’m so eager to hear your own running stories. Are there any other treadmill runners out there? Or maybe you have something that you love to do that you’re just inherently bad at?

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Building Forts & Imagination

by Beth Anne on March 28, 2014

blankets2 edit 905x1024 Building Forts & ImaginationWhen I was a little girl, I was a princess locked in a tower & Indiana Jones looking for treasure & a girl living in a tent all within our yellow playroom. On Saturday mornings, my older brother would shake me awake & we’d spend the morning piling pillows & draping blankets, stealing sheets from the beds & sometimes using thumbtacks to hold the blankets that just wouldn’t stay. We’d create massive forts that spanned the entire room, complete with separate “rooms” & holes to poke our head through to watch for villains & monsters. For years, a yellow playroom draped in twin flat sheets was our playground. My mother never seemed to mind – I think she was thrilled that we played well together, sequestered up in the far corner of the house. As long as we weren’t burning the house down, she was game with piles of blankets. Sometimes she let us sleep in our creations & those are the nights I remember best, camped out on the floor with my entire childhood stretched before me.

When Harrison was three, we started making little forts – just a blanket draped over two chair backs or couch pillows tilted at an angle. He loved these little magical adventures, pretending he was a puppy dog or a pirate or train going into the sheds, so I began collecting flat sheets. As my mother cleaned out her linen closet, I snagged the flat sheets from the pile of linens being donated to the local animal shelter. When our old jersey sheets became so misshaped in the wash, I folded the brown top sheet & added it to our pile. Slowly I’ve created a “Fort Kit” of flat sheets & laundry pins that rivals anything I dreamed of as a little girl.

Now we create castles & pirate ships, fairy trees & battle bunkers. We bring in milk & snacks & piles of blankets, making our own flags & secret passwords on rainy weekend afternoons, watching Peter Pan & soon, the all-new Tinkerbell movie, The Pirate Fairy (out on Blu-ray and Digital HD April 1) from our own pirate ship with flower-printed sails. We create our own everyday magic, where Harry becomes a pirate & I become his best friend & even fairies can be pirates.

In a digital world that often tells him how to pretend, how to imagine, how to dream, building pirate ships of vintage sheets are the magical piece of my childhood that I pass down, allowing him to make his own adventures.

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plumbing My dining room may be fabulous but the plumbing sucks.

Last night I helped Harrison out of the shower & turned off the water. (He was mad because he likes to turn off the water but you know, sometimes I forget & act on habit like all moms.) I toweled him off & the water kept trickling from the shower head because sometimes that happens for a few minutes when you own a 20-year-old house that was a misused rental for a decade.

But after teeth were brushed & jammies were put on & a fast book was read, Doug & I stood in our bathroom side-by-side staring at the shower. The water was still streaming, despite multiple attempts to shut the faucet off completely. I tend to get really stubborn when I can’t force an inanimate object to do exactly what I want, so while Doug turned off the water by the knob in the downstairs toy closet, I stayed upstairs still flipping the handle up & down, up & down to no avail.

For the first 20 minutes, we convinced ourselves it was water leftover in the pipes but at more than a trickle, leaving it be for the night was like watching dollar signs stream out of a 20-year-old faucet. Doug started getting the OMG-THIS-HOUSE crazy eyes that make him do insane things like rip fire alarms out of ceilings & remove all the mulch from our front flower beds.

The crazy eyes make me feel guilty because let’s be honest, it was me that fell so hard in love with this house. So I try to diffuse how he’s 2.5 seconds away from ripping the house apart board-by-board by finding a solution, which usually involves watching DIY YouTube tutorials.

“We need to turn off the water at the street!” I announced & Doug’s looking at me like, no shit, I said that 10 minutes ago. So there we were, throwing random items of clothes on top of our pajamas & trudging through our front yard at 10pm with flashlights & wrenches. It looked suspect at best. Doug popped open the little metal underground box that houses the water main thing & he gets the wrench on &…nothing. The darn thing doesn’t move, thanks to a complete lack of torque & 20 years of properly paid water bills.

After 5 minutes he’s like, “This isn’t working” & starts heading to the house to find another tool & I’m like THE HELL IT ISN’T. Like I said, I tend to get angry at inanimate objects. So I grab the wrench & it must be all that Body Pump I’ve been taking in the evenings, or maybe it was the stream of profanity that effortlessly fell from my lips in that moment, but the darn thing turned like a charm.

(note to self: send apology notes & a box of cookies to the neighbors.)

This morning we had no ability to flush toilets or make coffee, which briefly impacted my quality of life. We paid a plumber $125 to come look at the shower & sure enough, the handle & valves were so corroded that they couldn’t turn all the way & now the whole thing has to be replaced by going through a wall in the closet, starting tomorrow.

I know our house gives Doug the crazy eyes & I admit that sometimes I get the same twitchy feeling, but it’s ours & it’s where we’re building our life. Squatting in our front yard in mismatched pajamas, looking like fools, I realized that there’s still nobody else I’d rather be on this adventure with.

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