Friday, September 18, 2015

Kidz Bop 29 and 30

My kids are big fans of Kidz Bop.

We listen to the radio sometimes. But like a lot of us, my kids prefer to not chance what may or may not be on the radio. They like to choose the music they're going to dance and sing to!

Kidz Bop 29 was our summer jam:

Shut Up And Dance is probably our favorite song. Well, Teagan would disagree. She's a huge fan of Sugar. But Zach and I totally get down to Shut Up And Dance!

Kidz Bop 30 is going to be released soon! Just the other day, walking through Target, Teagan asked if 30 had come out yet. And then she wondered how long Kidz Bop would go on. She hopes they're still around when she has kids!

Teagan is my child who is very sensitive to what is and is not appropriate. She gets very uncomfortable when friends show her videos on YouTube that she thinks are too mature or too violent.

I want to hold on to that sense in her for as long as I possibly can.

If she prefers the "cleaned up" versions of the popular songs, I am all for it.

Kidz Bop 30 will be released Oct 16!!  I'm eager to hear Kidz Bop very first original song - Make Some Noise! The kids will be very excited - this album has a lot of their current faves on it. Bad Blood, Fight Song, and Watch Me.

All opinions are my own. I am provided with free copies of these CD's. 

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cat Advice from Morris the Cat! #MorrisFeeds

Move over, Dear Abby... 9Lives' Morris the Cat is here to reveal advice on the issues you really care about, like yarn unspooling, feather chasing, and more. 
A bona fide celebricat since he began doing commercials in the 1970s, America’s favorite ‘charmingly choosy’ feline has launched a “Dear Morris” column to help cats and humans alike make the most out of playtime. What’s more, Morris is also giving Eternal Lizdom readers the chance to win a one-of-a-kind, customized 9Lives bean bag toss game at his website:

From Morris’ Mailbox:

Dear Morris,
I’ll be the first one to tell you I’m a playful guy. I like yarn, stuffed mice, boxes… you name it. But my human is never in the mood. Something about ‘work’ or ‘being tired,’ blah, blah, blah… meow, meow, meow. I try to tell her that a piece of string doesn’t wiggle itself! Alas, since my human will not play with me, I’ve taken to reading Proust… and trying to catch my own tail.
Furry and Frustrated
Dear Furry and Frustrated,
I’ve seen your case all too many times. Humans are often tempted to blame their unplayful attitude on ‘being too busy,’ but that’s rarely true. (Even the president plays golf!) What many humans don’t realize is that we cats don’t require a long, drawn-out play period. We like small bouts of play interspersed with two of our other favorite activities, resting and napping. So gently remind your human with a head-boop or a soft meow that you’re ready for some action—she can start off slow with Level 1 of my “Official Guide to Amusement, Entertainment, Playtime & More”( Also, tell your human to be on the lookout for when your tail is in an inverted “U” shape (like in the photo below). That’s a tell-tail sign (get it?!) that she should bring out the toys. Remember, fun is contagious... once your human sees what a blast you're having, she'll likely take some more time to enjoy herself as well.
Yours truly,
Morris the Cat
Dear Morris,
I recently went to the pet store and came back with tons of new toys for my cat, Marvin. I was so excited to share some quality playtime with him that I could hardly wait for him to eat dinner! After he finished his 9Lives Plus Care (he’s a huge fan, by the way), I started waving his new toys around, but he just stared at me blankly—I got zip, zero, zilch! Morris, where did I go wrong? Does Marvin not like playing… or worse, does he not like me??
Thank you,
Confused in the Catskills
Dear Confused in the Catskills,
You’ve got nothing to worry about. I’m sure Marvin loves playing and I know he loves you. This was merely an instance of poor timing. You see, cats are often reluctant to play after mealtime. No one wants to jump around on a full stomach... even if you’re eating healthy with 9Lives Plus Care! The best time to play with Marvin is after he’s had a nice, long nap, and if he loves napping as much as I do, you’ll have many opportunities! And remember to make time for fun human games as well, like checkers, cards—or my personal favorite—cat's cradle. The two of you will have mastered Level 5 of my “Official Guide” in no time. 
Yours truly,
Morris the Cat
Dear Morris,
I’ve always considered myself a “cat’s cat.” I’m a champion napper, an expert invisible bug chaser, and my hairballs? I can cough one so big you could use it as a toupee. That’s why I’m so distressed by what I’m about to tell you: I’ve never once caught that feather that dangles on the end of a stick. I see it, I lunge for it, and just when I think it’s within paw’s reach, it darts away again. It frankly has me questioning my cathood. What should I do?
Purr-plexed and Paw-ndering
Dear Purr-plexed and Paw-ndering,
It’s not your fault you haven’t caught the feather. What I’m about to say may come as a shock… there is a human on the other end of that feather, manipulating it like a marionette. It’s a conspiracy of gigantic proportions. You’ve never caught the feather because your human has never let you. If any of you humans out there are reading, please let your four-legged friends ‘win’ some of the time. It's great to have a competitive streak playing a board game or on the ball court, but let us felines experience the sweet taste of victory (it actually tastes a lot like 9Lives). Besides, catching the feather, ball, or string will get your cat one step closer to their ultimate goal: world domination.
Yours truly,
Morris the Cat
For more Morris tips, including his “Official Guide to Amusement, Entertainment, Playtime & More,” go to And, if you tweet #MorrisFeeds, Morris will donate a bowl of delicious 9Lives cat food to a hungry kitty at the ASPCA.

This is a sponsored post. I don't have a cat due to allergies but I do love cats just the same. 9 Lives sends me cat food when I share these posts and I donate that food to local rescue groups in the Indianapolis area. Plus, the posts really are fun!

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

I'm Broken.

Learned a tough lesson today.

We've been considering getting a dog for several months now. We've had a few serious attempts. But today, we found a very well suited dog for us. Small, laid back, playful at time but mostly just wants cuddles.

And when it was time to make the decision and make the commitment - I couldn't do it.

It tore me apart to finally realize what my problem has been.

I haven't really mourned or healed from losing my Sassy. Even after 2 years.

If you aren't an animal person, this might not make sense to you. Heck, I am an animal person and this has totally surprised me.

We picked this 6 year old little chihuahua mix named Bandit. He is an amazing little dog and would be a great fit for our family. This was the perfect logistical time- a long holiday weekend to spend a lot of time at home with him as he adjusts to us.

We were ready to do it. We were going to hit the bank for cash for his adoption fee and then the pet store for basic supplies. And something clutched my heart, tightly, and wouldn't let go.

And I was frustrated because I couldn't place the feeling. I didn't know where this anxiety was coming from.

It hit me.

I'm afraid to love another dog because I know I will face his death. And I miss Sassy. More than I've admitted to myself. And I just can't open my heart right now. Not until I really can let her go.

Sassy was my first dog. I got her in late 1998, she was 8 weeks old. She went through my first marriage, my divorce, my remarriage, the births of our babies, the sadness of our miscarriage, multiple moves. She was my baby for 16 years. And she still owns my heart.

She was small and had a little bit of a fiesty streak to her - just enough sassiness to let you know when she wasn't happy. She won the heart of any person who met her. People afraid of dogs weren't afraid of her. She could sense if someone had pain - she would have been a great therapy dog.

And not having her - and now realizing how much I miss her and loved her and never really grieved when she passed - I am feeling this hole in my heart and it is painful.

I'm crying big sad tears a lot today. I feel like a failure as a mom because I set my kids up for the excitement of finally having a dog.

But realizing that I've locked away this sadness... is making me realize that I've had a lot of stuff locked away. I've put up some serious walls around my heart. And I need to pull them down and feel stuff in big ways like I used to.

Here's the amazing thing about this hard and sad day.

There is love and compassion and support streaming from my kids. Teagan has cried. She is heart broken and disappointed. But more than that, she is feeling my sadness and I am feeling hers. I hate that this is hurting her and I am determined that I will fix it.

Teagan has been so brave and loving and tender. To me. It's been incredible. She has every reason to be mad at me, to stomp and get angry and pitch a fit. But instead, we are holding hands and hugging and staying close.

Zach has been sad. But he has also brought his sense of humor in at appropriate times to bring joy and laughter to our tears.

Jeff has been my rock. He has been the voice of reason - even if, like me, he didn't know what the reason was.

Our time for a pet will come. But for now, we have each other and we are proving how strong we are, what love really means, and realizing our priorities.

I'm broken and need to fix it. And I am blessed with a family that will help me and will fill me and will love me through this.

I also have to give props to Heaven After Hell Rescue. Amazing volunteers that we really connected with and who helped us through the process. And staff who understood when we came in with tears and broken hearts. We made a cash donation to support their work. They understood and will hold on to our application and suggested maybe being foster parents when the time comes. If you feel so inclined, you can make a donation to support their work.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Blue Belt Motivation

It's been about 1 year since our family got involved in tae kwon do. We had thought we'd found a sport for Zach but it ended up being Teagan who took the plunge. We had met this TKD school at our local Farmer's Market on a day geared towards what the community has to offer kids. Zach broke a board and seemed really excited about it so we signed up both kids for a private lesson.

I was out of town, Jeff took them. They still both loved it. He didn't sign anything that day since I was out of town. When I got back home, I called to find out about pricing and was invited to an open house happening in just a couple of days. We went... and that's when Zach backed out. He realized that other people would be in class, other people would see him and that was just too far outside his comfort zone. But Teagan was still all in!

So for the next 2 months, we all went to class and fell in love with the school, the Masters, and everything Teagan was learning. In early November, I signed up for a free 4 weeks of classes.

And 4 weeks after that, the entire family became full on TKD students with a goal of becoming black belts.

It's really hard to quantify everything that I've learned in this past year - about myself, about my husband, about our family culture, about my kids, about TKD, about Korea.

And now we have finished the lower belt program. We are all "high belts" now and that carries additional responsibility.

And work.

It's been made clear that now that the family class is divided into low and high belt times (meaning you won't have low belts and high belts in class at the same time), the high belt family class will be harder. Because the expectation is higher. We have the foundation and now we have to work harder to learn higher level skills.

But here's the thing.

While I've certainly made the commitment to regular exercise - we attend class 3-4 times per week for a 50 minute workout that includes stretching and a lot of sweating and cardio activity - I haven't made any dietary changes.

I've lost a couple of pounds but not because I'm trying.

My flexibility has improved. I am seeing that I am stronger and more flexible because of the consistent exercise.

But I'm still fat and old and out of shape.

If I really want to excel as I continue to proceed through the belts, I have to find the motivation to start making some serious changes to my healthy living. I need to be active on my days off from TKD - walking a couple miles, finding a yoga class. I need to make smarter food choices. I need more fruits and veggies and less fast food drive thrus. I need to drink my morning coffee and then stick to water or unsweetened iced tea.

I know the change I need to make. I've done it before. I have a reason to do it - so I can become better at my sport.

But my willpower is still weak.

How to you carve out motivation???

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