Scenes: The Red Shovel

“Mom can I go outside and play?” Big E asks.


“Yes! Of course,” I reply as the dish I’m washing falls from my hands like a hot a potato. It’s been hard to get my little homebody outside to play. I can’t say as I blame him, considering the past couple of days have been as cold as the Arctic. With weathermen warning that extreme exposure could make your face freeze off in less than a minute.


But today it was nice. The sun was shining the temperature a balmy 30 degrees, it was a veritable heat wave for Iowa.


I’d been trying for hours to get Big E to play outside, but of course the more I pushed the less enticing my request became.


Finally, I had stopped asking {nagging} and he willingly decided to go.


I was so excited my hands were shaking as we gathered all the winter accoutromone that accompanies an Iowa outdoor excursion in February.


Clunky snow boots, brightly colored gloves and hat, puffy snow pants, a cozy winter coat and the red snow shovel.


The damn red shovel.


Each winter we dive into the depths of the shed looking for it, finding it buried under winterized flower pots and bags of unused mulch.


It’s not much to look at. Constructed from cheap plastic that was made for scooping fake movie snow not the tough, brittle snow of Iowa.


Because of this we’ve had many red shovels find their way to the shovel graveyard. The space is filled with broken scoops, snapped handles and a lone wooden stick that once donned a bright red scoop.


“Can’t we just throw these away?” I plead with the boys.


“No mom we need them,” they reply. “We won’t be able to build without them.”


So there they sit.


Why are the boys so attached to this damn shovel?


It’s ironic considering they hate to actually shovel. I’ve tried numerous times to get them to use their red shovel to clear the driveway. They vehemently decline, opting instead to move small bits of snow from one place in the yard to another. Their plan of attack firmly locked in their brains.


I imagine their little minds dreaming of pretend scenerios in which they are moving mountains and creating castles. Any obstacle that dare block their progress is quickly disseminated by the red shovel’s power.


In reality, they are simply removing bits of snow from the yard. Revealing small grassy patches that otherwise would have stayed buried till May under a thick blanket of graying snow.


They are unfazed by the struggle of lifting each scoopful of snow. The large drifts scattering the yard don’t intimidate them in the least. Even when shoveling the driveway would have been much easier.


Instead of choosing the easy way, they chose their own way. No matter how difficult.


Eventually, I peek my head out the door hollering into the crisp air, “How’s it going? Ready to come in yet?”


“Good mom. Can I have a couple more minutes?” He replies with rosy cheeks and bright eyes.


He’s creating, working and having fun. Even in the face of a cold so bitter it freezes your eyeballs and nose hairs.


I admire his tenacity. They have no inner voice telling them “They can’t” or “That won’t work”.


All he has is that damn red shovel and the willingness to try.


Maybe it’s time for me to buy my own red shovel.

Be the next James Bond with Wearable Tech

This post is part of my partnership with the US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.

US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade

I was alive during Y2K, yes that means I’m old, but it also means I’ve seen my fair share of tech.


As the calendar turned into the 21st century, there were visions of flying cars, Jetson’s type housekeepers and James Bond type watch phones.


While there aren’t any flying cars just yet, and I’m still [im}patiently waiting for my housekeeping robot, technology has brought about wearable tech.


A recent survey from U.S. Cellular found that 63 percent of smartphone owners check their mobile devices every hour, so why not have it right at your wrist?


Per a recent report from ABI Research, wearable health and fitness devices are expected to hit 169.5 million, a sizable increase from the almost 21 million devices sold in 2013.


Whether you’re a business professional, fitness fanatic, or even a James Bond wannabe there’s a wearable for you.


US Cellular has compiled a list of the hottest wearables for 2015:


Apple iWatch


The new Apple iWatch.
Apple’s first wearable gadget allows users to access emails, texts, social media updates, apps, navigation, Siri and more right from your wrist.  Wearing this device means users won’t have to constantly take out their iPhone 6 to check notifications. It also features health sensors and notifications for easy, hands-free fitness tracking. This iPhone-compatible watch works seamlessly with iOS8 devices, and will be available in early 2015.




The Moto 360.
Motorola is bringing functionality to the wearers’ wrists with this new device.  They are available with either leather or stainless steel bands and a Corning® Gorilla® glass face to help prevent scratches.  With the Moto 360 you can take hands-free calls, listen to music, track mileage, take pictures and videos, and check your texts, emails, and social media.




For anyone interested in fitness, the Polar Loop Fitness Band for Apple is one of the hottest accessories for 2015.

You can use this custom fit device for 24/7 tracking of daily activities such as calories burned, steps taken and even sleep cycles.  This device gives great feedback on daily, weekly and monthly goals.  The device is water resistant so it is suitable for swimming as well.  It is also compatible with Polar H6 and H7 Bluetooth Smart® heart rate sensors.


All these wearable devices empower people to simplify their To Do Lists, improve their lives, and have a little fun while they are at it.


Disclosure: Through the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some more of My BETTER MOMENTS as a US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade Ambassador. All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer.


Tech to keep You {and me} on Track in 2015

US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade

This post is part of my partnership with the US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. Instead I pick One Word, or in this year’s case two words, to guide me through the new year.


This year’s One Word is Brave Healing.


As the end of January approaches I felt like I need a little more help.


Technology plays such a huge part in my life that it seemed obvious to find ways in which it could help me with my Brave Healing throughout the year.


In fact, recent survey findings by Prosper Mobile Insights indicate more than one in four U.S. smartphone or tablet owners plan to use their smart mobile device to help them keep on track with their resolutions or One Words.


US Cellular suggested some apps that can help you stay on track:




The Runtastic Six Pack app is great for those looking to lose weight or get in shape. This free app allows users to work out from home by creating custom work outs with a virtual personal trainer which will show users the proper way to do new exercises.


The Runtastic Six Pack and its 50 workout videos can also be paired with the UP by Jawbone – a fitness wristband. It can track what you eat, any activities throughout the day and your sleeping habits, then suggest small changes that will help you reach your goals.


Getting organized is part of my Brave Healing journey, and we all know how hard it can be. The Any.Do app is an award winner that’s perfect for enhancing any to-do list. The app allows you to create lists of tasks that need to be completed and organize them by category and importance. You can set alarms and also easily sync your tasks from your mobile to your desktop to help stay on top of any to-do list, no matter where you are.


Stay connected to my family is an integral part of my Brave Healing without them I would be lost. The GroupMe app allows everyone in the family to stay in touch and make plans, no matter where in the country they are located. This app allows users to create several groups in which each member can share events, photos, videos and texts.


Financial healing will play a part in my One Word. According to a 2014 U.S. Cellular survey, 43 percent of smartphone users made the resolution to save money in 2014. In 2015, smartphone owners can accomplish this task with the Check app. The free app allows users to link bills, bank accounts and credit cards. The app then notifies users of when a payment is coming up and even lets users set up automatic payments.


U.S. Cellular’s [4G LTE network, with speeds of up to 10 times faster than 3G] [high-speed network] combined with the iPhone, iPad or Android can help you {and me} conquer the New Year.



Disclosure: Through the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some more of My BETTER MOMENTS as a US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade Ambassador. All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer. 

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