That’s what Daddypotamus said yesterday as we talked through the events of the last two weeks. Since you have the internet (and are therefore not living under a rock), I know you’ve heard about the U.S. “housing crisis.”
We had too, but it was nothing more than a conceptual problem until we put our house on the market. We got an offer almost immediately, but turned it down in hopes of getting something better. After months of showings without offers, reality had sufficiently slapped us in the face. We developed a painfully clear understanding of what it meant that 30% of our competition were foreclosures priced way below market value.
Two weeks ago we got a verbal offer. It was so insulting I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. We threw out a ludicrous counter offer just to see what would happen. Surprisingly, they responded and inched up over the next two weeks.
Throughout the negotiations I felt violated. It may sound silly, but I did. They manipulated, they insulted us, they asked for more than was reasonable . . . and then asked for more (Can we throw in our refrigerator?? Seriously???).
These people knew I was pregnant. They were trying to use it to their advantage to pressure us, but in the end it backfired on them. Because you know what happens when you make a full-term pregnant woman angry? Something. It could be one of many things, but something is gonna happen.
Since they never submitted a formal offer and we weren’t bound to anything, I called a woman that had seen our house a few weeks before. She was the person I “saw” in this house. Her sister and nephew live in our neighborhood (ya’ll know how I feel about having family nearby) and she was just the spunkiest, sweetest lady I’d met in a long time.
So, like I said I called her . . . and sold the house right from under the other buyers feet! Do I feel bad about this? Nope.
When I was in the corporate world we had this guy come in and do a seminar on teamwork. He divided us into groups to play a game called “Get The Most Points.” The objective was, obviously, to get the most points and win.
Is this two faces or a vase? Like many things it’s a matter of perception. The game was called “Get The Most Points,” not stop the other teams from getting points. Not “Make Sure Everyone Else Wallows In Misery and Lack So You Can Upgrade Your Lifestyle.”
Ironically, the best strategy would have been for each team to work together to achieve the highest number. But peoples perception is that in order to win someone has to lose, and no one saw the other possibility (except me, and I was too chicken to speak up).
After the president of the company led his team to victory (because who would be more skilled at crushing opponents and rising to the top than him?), the teamwork coach pointed out the obvious fact I had seen earlier. We tried to thwart each other’s success because we inherently believed that would lead to more success for us. Not only is that untrue, the OPPOSITE is actually the case.
That day in the boardroom changed my life. By keeping silent I had contributed to a culture of intimidation and exploitation, and that needed to change. I began looking for win-win situations. I buy my cloth diapers from a local momma who gives me a great price. Win-win.
I buy my meat from local ranchers that use environmentally friendly methods. I win because the food is more nutrient dense, the rancher wins because he doesn’t have to pay middle man costs. The environment wins because no chemicals were used and less gas is needed to ship locally. The local economy gets a boost, which is good for me! Win-Win-Win-Win!!!
I want to engage in as many win-win transactions as I can in my life. What made me so angry about the first potential buyers I mentioned is that I felt cornered into that old system of exploitation. That’s not how I want to live my life.
I’m happy to say we ARE selling our house to the woman I’d envisioned here. The contract was finalized last night. Although we are only breaking even (or maybe taking a slight loss), we love this woman because she is helping us get to where we need to be, and she loves us because we are giving her a fantastic deal. No one had to lose their dignity. No one had to feel powerless.
Ten seconds after we finalized the contract Katie gave her yet another hug and kiss and then we prayed over her. We prayed that her move would go perfectly with nothing broken or missing and that she would be blessed here, in this house where we have spent all our married life and where two of are children were/will be born. It was a gift to both of us.
The night ended with me promising to email her my blueberry muffin recipe, which I served the night before. (Of course I couldn’t direct her here! Can you imagine her reading this about herself???) She reciprocated by inviting us back to our former home if our children ever want to see where they entered the world.
It was a big win-win moment for me. In the words of Michael Buble:
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling goooooood
Wouldn’t you like YOUR business and life transactions to end with warm hearts, good results, and blessings all around? If we stopped always trying to get the “best deal” at the expense of the other, how much better might our lives be? I love good deals and I’m not about to stop. I buy used items off of Craigslist when possible, which puts money in regular peoples pockets and keeps perfectly good stuff out of landfills. It doesn’t take tons of money to start making win-win transactions, only a little forethought.
Confession: I planned our last family vacation around a health food store. Our family was desperately in need of some time to restore body and spirit, and that doesn’t happen when we eat junk.
Well-nourished bodies + sleep + beach time = happy familyRead More »
When I am down on the floor playing “dress up dah-wees (dollies)” with Katie I sometimes find myself trying to subliminally imprint the experience on her. Remember, this moment, Katie. Forget about all the time I spend cooking, cleaning, on the computer and running errands. Remember THIS. Pleeeeeaaaaaase.
The truth is, though, I spend much less time dressing dollies than I do keeping my home. Statistically the odds are not in my favor. At least that’s what I used to think. According to Drs. Les and Lesley Parrott, though . . .
I have thousands of memories of my parents. Some are mundane, others are painful, sweet and/or hilarious. I have memories I know they went to great lengths to create, like trips to Disney World and the Caribbean. Despite their intentions, what really stands out is who they were, not what they did. Even in the most perfectly orchestrated Kodak moment, I most vividly recall my fathers reserved emotions and my mothers warmth.
In The Parent You Want To Be, Les and Leslie Parrot challenge parents to shift their focus from trying to “make memories” to intentionally becoming memorable. The goal is more than immortalizing ourselves in our children’s eyes. I’m sure we would all like that, but the idea of this book is that who our kids become is not accidental.
Can you think of a time when your child totally embarrassed you by doing something they learned by watching YOU? I have. Though it’s no fun, I try to think of it as a needed reminder that my child is learning how to “be” in the world from me.
Your traits matter because your child is watching you more closely than you know. A haunting reminder of just how powerful we are as parental role models is found in the Harry Chapiun classic “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Written in 1974, this song depicts the tale of a father with his newborn son. The first time we hear the chorus, the dad is saying:
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, Dad.
You know I’m going to be like you.”
But by the end of the tune, which has followed their relationship through the boy’s tenth birthday, his college years, and finally the father’s retirement, the chorus is bittersweet. It seems the son, who has moved away and started his own family, picked up the one quality his father hoped he wouldn’t pass along – the quality of being too busy for relationships. The father has called his son to see if the two of them can get together. “I’d love to, Dad, if I could find the time,” answers his son. In the final chorus, the father’s words ring true:
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
“A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.” ~Francois Rabelais
When you think of your son or daughter as an adult, what do you see? Do you hope they’ll be insightful, authentic, or visionary? If you’re anything like I was, you might think these traits are too conceptual to model in everyday life. This book changed my mind.*
My children will be grown before I get the hang of the traits I’ve selected (I picked patience as one of my traits). In the spirit of authenticity (hmmm. . . is that another one?), I admit that I fail daily. But having something to aim for has helped me make small changes. I return again and again to this book when I am discouraged or lost when it comes to parenting. While this book doesn’t tell me how to gracefully pry my tantruming two year-old off of Barnes and Nobles’ floor, it reminds me why I endure public humiliation, sleep deprivation, and a myriad of other discomforts.*Note: The Parent You Want To Be was written by Christians so it has some themes in it that may not interest everyone. However, I believe the vast majority of the book would appeal to any parent. Read More »
On campus was hanging out in the coed drinking soda and watching movies, my college roommate was installing our cappuccino maker while the voice of her favorite Italian tenor serenaded our entire wing. I’m tempted to rummage through storage and find a pic to post here, because you would not believe this unassuming 90 pound blonde was really a spitfire with brains.
It was funny, really, to watch people encounter her. Her open expression and elegant gestures were disarming, but this girl dominated class debates and left bewildered students wondering what hit them. By our junior year she was working downtown in an $800 designer suit.
I . . . was a waitress.
While we took most of the same classes and made the same grades, our lives could not have been more different. She had vision. She knew how to make life happen. I didn’t.
Toward the end of our college careers (I believe it was the semester she was interning as a lobbyist in Washington), I began slowly trying to figure out what to do with my life. A patron of our school had just donated $1M so that students could take the Johnson-O’Conner Aptitude Test for free, so I signed up.
The tests were crazy. I left the 3-D puzzle about 90% unfinished (which is why I’m not an architect) and failed to identify most of the “what’s different about this picture” elements (not a detective, either). However, the nonsensical words that flashed up on the screen like indecipherable alien advertising was a cake walk. I was fluent in gibberish within the hour.
At my post-assessment conference I got some of the most important and damaging information I have ever received. On the one hand, I was good with words and ideas. “Go into teaching or marketing,” the guy tells me. “You’ll be really good at it.” Awesome!!! Then he adds, “But teach at the college level. You’re not cut out for working with young kids.“
That my career as a mother flashed before my eyes and then died a slow, bloody death. After seeing all the sacrifices my mom made to care for my sis and I as a single parent I already had my doubts about whether I wanted children. But to think that I would be so lousy that they wouldn’t want me . . . why bother?
That was how I felt for years. I obsessed over every late period, terrified that I was pregnant. Then out of the blue a desire more powerful than my selfishness and insecurity awoke within. Children means being on-call all the time, I said to myself. It means giving your life to people that will become teenagers and tell you how uncool you are and then foregoing the beach house to help them pay for college. No fun, I said.
But you want to and you know it, replied the voice deep within. And I did. So we did. And here she is:
And she has been such an incredible gift, we got a little greedy (that’s baby #2 below).
I’ll bet you can rattle off a list of women you know that are “natural born mothers.” Nurturers filled with patience and insight into how little hearts and minds work. I’m not on anyone’s list when it comes to that, not even my own.
There are things I’m not cut out for and I’m okay with that most of the time. But motherhood? It’s too worth it. Remember the movie Rudy? It’s the one about that little guy that wanted to play football at Notre Dame. Most of the time I feel like the Rudy of motherhood. We probably ALL do at some point.
Even when the playing field is level, like it was when my roommate and I made the same grades, personal vision and purpose make all the difference in how things turn out. That’s why one of my all-time favorite parenting books is not a book about techniques or telling you what kind of children to raise. It’s a book about gaining a vision for your family. It’s about becoming the traits you want to see in your children.
Whether you are a natural mom or playing catch-up like me, this book has something for you, so come back tomorrow.
Please tell me: How do you inspire yourself when you’re not feeling the “motherhood groove?”Read More »
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!Read More »
Last night may have been our last house showing. We won’t know for sure until Friday, but even though it is not 100% guaranteed I already feel like jello. I feel better than if I’d just received a two-hour massage, all because there’s a possibility I will soon get to stop planning my life around real estate. For the past few months I have:
Speaking of food, our misadventures in trying to sell our house has not deterred me from my sacred mission to find new and interesting things that Katie will eat. I have found that one of the most effective strategies is to let her help select the produce at Whole Foods (this week she picked out some deep purple heirloom cherry tomatoes), but sometimes it takes a little more creativity. Here are my two latest loves, humbly offered to your child’s palate for approval ; – )
Maybe you are thinking to yourself: “Wait! She already covered popsicles!” And you would be right. But the thing is, that was just one recipe. It took me awhile to start making them myself because I wanted stainless steel popsicle molds, but they weren’t in my budget. When I found these cheap BPA-free ones from Bed Bath & Beyond I decided to compromise, and boy was it worth it!
I discovered just how versatile popsicles can be. You can blend kale into them (or in Katie’s case, raw calcium and a daily dose of supplements) and kids think you are giving them a SPECIAL TREAT. I love that my daughter oozes with gratitude and affection when I hand her a nutrient-laden pop. She enjoys it, and I enjoy getting those supplements into her without having to make a huge production of it. Maybe I can finally put those tap shoes away now.
Plus the Texas summer heat lasts until mid-October, so we have plenty of time to enjoy the new recipes I’ve run across. Here’s my new favorite from a book I recently reviewed called Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers. Oh, and just FYI, Anni is coming out with a whole new book just devoted to popsicle recipes!
Rigel’s Rockin Fruity Veggie Pops
Other great recipe ideas:
Nature Mom’s Blog has two recipes: The Almond Banana Smoothie (which is sweet enough without the honey), and the Green Pineapple Paradise (which I haven’t tried).
As I mentioned in my other post, there’s also The Nourishing Gourmet’s Homemade Creamy Tropical Popsicles
I’ve mentioned the benefits of seaweed before, but I wanted to bring this particular brand to your attention for two reasons. First, the way it’s packaged makes it very portable. I keep one in my purse at all times ; – )
I know it sounds crazy, but kids like these! When I pull one out for Katie at my mommy group on Wednesday morning kids start swarming. I kid you not.
Second, my friend Esther just showed me how to save some money ordering in bulk, which drops the price from a measly $.99 per package at Whole Foods to a super-measly $.67 – $.79 per package with FREE SHIPPING TO YOUR HOME on Amazon! Why do I feel like I just did a mini-Geico infomercial with that statement?
To get the best deal, order two cases of 24 (to get the free shipping) and sign up for autoship. You can set the intervals anywhere from 1 month to 6 months, so it’s not like you’re going to end up with way more than you need. Or you can pass on the autoship and still save money without having to make a trip to the store. It’s a win-win!
So what have I missed? Please share your toddler snack ideas in the comment section!
Related Posts:Read More »
In almost every spy movie or tv show I’ve ever seen, someone at some point has to diffuse a bomb. Jason Bourne, James Bond, or Jack Bauer deftly cuts the blue, red, or black wire right as the timer hits 1:00 minute left. The clock stops. Everyone in the theater exhales the breath they didn’t realize they’d been holding. And then the clock starts counting again, only more quickly than before. Oops, wrong wire! What now?
There are so many reasons I would make a terrible spy. I am the type of driver that gets lost 20 minutes out of my neighborhood, not the kind that “loses” the bad guy while speeding off in my super fast Aston Martin. I am probably the last person you know that learned to text, so I’d have no luck with all those fancy spy gadgets. But the biggest reason I would be a terrible spy is that I don’t think clearly under pressure.
Which is unfortunate, because that would be a nice talent to have right now even if I’m not actively committing espionage. What the heck am I rambling about? I’m talking about the fact that I thought I had more time. My plan was to write an ebook, finish a series on Real Food for Busy Moms and another on Real Food for Less, prep for another giveaway and write a few inevitably controversial posts here and there. Four to six weeks is enough time, right? Apparently not.
That ticking clock that I’ve been keeping rhythm with sped up over the weekend. Or was it me that slowed down? I think it’s the latter. I went to bed at 8:30 pm on Saturday night and slept for 12 straight hours, THEN managed to take a two-hour nap a short time later! How am I going to get it all done on THAT kind of schedule, especially when daily life also means cleaning for house showings, trying to dig our baby stuff out of storage, and driving to the ends of the earth to find a glider/ottoman set? The short answer is that I’m not.
So . . . please bear with me. I love blogging and I miss you guys like crazy when a day goes by and we don’t chat about one subject or another. But some days I am just going to have to live with that and get ready, because this baby has given me a few warning contractions just to prove he/she is serious about this whole birth thing. So if posting is a little light here and there, it is only so I can finish researching for a few posts that really matter to me (and hopefully to you).
Speaking of posts that really matter, here are the ones that you made matter with all your awesome comments and debates! If you want to pick up any of the debates feel free ; – )
Oh, and I am still doing the giveaway! Details coming soon.
Top 8 Most Commented On Blogs:Read More »
This has been such a fun contest! I’ll admit I did quite a bit of lurking on your facebook pages to get to know you better, and all I can say is this: Ya’ll are an incredibly diverse and interesting bunch! There’s Rena, whose post on the awkwardness of manners had me laughing and thinking of how Katie says “Oh yes please. That would be WONDERFUL!” Then there’s Julie, a self-described “childless by choice” New York lawyer who never fails to impress me with her analytical prowess and willingness to lovingly engage with people who don’t necessarily share her views. And of course there’s Nara Walker, a professor of Mathematics (how cool is that??), who happens to be our giveaway winner!
Congrats Nara! Both you and Cindy Haggerton (who told you about Mommypotamus) will receive your very own copy of Anni Daulter’s Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers!
For those of you that didn’t win, don’t worry! My next giveway is totally unique. I’ve never heard of another blogger giving one of these away, but I think you’ll like it!Read More »