Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Her fifth Halloween

Lots of candy and Dr. Who.
So great.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Winning

My beautiful girl,

We had such a great time at your school's fall festival tonight, so it broke my heart that when we left you were crying because you "aren't a winner." You had won a bunch of games and then lost your streak and became so sad and frustrated. I am proud of you for listing the things that made the night great on the way home, though.

Losing is so necessary. I hope it won't be long before you can see the value in it.

You will always be the must amazing person on the planet to me, sweet girl.

Love,
Mama



Saturday, September 15, 2012

Flying Lessons

BWS tips button

So excited to start this next week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthday Party!

Look what we made:


Sarah let me help out with AJ's birthday again this year. We had so much fun!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap


Here is my postcard for the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap!
This was so fun. I am swapping with Glynis from the UK, which is so exciting.

The theme this time was "Discover." When I was thinking about the theme "discover" I kept hearing the word "within" along with it. So, this is what came to me. More paint than stitching, sorry! Glynis, she is on her way to you :)

See all of the postcards on the Flickr page.

Here is the one Lorelai painted while I was making mine:


Sunday, July 29, 2012

We are so lucky to be women and those men are so lucky to know us.

"We are so lucky to be women and those men are so lucky to know us." 
Marianne Williamson from A Woman's Worth



Today these women sat around our kitchen table and ate cookies and made each other laugh and cry. I feel so grateful tonight to know these women and so many more smart, funny, beautiful, loving, exuberant, fun, nurturing and impressive women. As I look back on the grandmothers, aunts, teachers, bosses, co-workers, classmates, friends, acquaintances and random other women that have helped me along the way I feel proud to be part of this group. More so, I am so grateful that Lorelai will have strong women to watch and consult as she grows. I am also, in so many ways, grateful for the men that have brought us together and helped us learn about ourselves. And given us a lot of material for laughter!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Being a Woman at Work

I have always been a work-outside-the-home mommy, and now I am a single mommy going to work everyday. This wasn't necessarily the plan, but it is where we are and trying to make the best of it. I have always thought about the struggles that women have in relation to career and since becoming a mom, those seem magnified. Growing up, I always planned to have a career and I had the Barbie with the briefcase to prove it. I slowly found my way through college and got a degree in accounting. As I started working in my field I quickly noticed how most of the departments I worked in had a male boss and a lot of female underlings. I started to feel the pull of wanting to be home baking and not sitting in a cubicle. I started to view my "career" as a necessary evil to get home to my real life. I started to wonder whomever came up with the idea of "balance" in work and life. It never seemed to tip in the direction I wanted. I started to feel bitter about it.

I think my lesson this year is about reframing, so I have tried to be more open to new ideas and ways of viewing the world. I recognize that a great way to do this is to be around people that are experiencing the world the way I would like to. People who are looking for the good, the positive and want to share it.

I am very lucky in that I work in a place that does try to help women share ideas and find mentors and I got an email about a workshop that would have panel discussions from women who had become leaders at the university. I have to be honest, my initial reaction was that it would be superficial and that I would leave feeling like the people on the panel were acting superior. I don't know why I thought this, because I honestly haven't had that experience, but there it was. Then I caught myself and decided that this was a perfect opportunity to learn something on my lunch break, so why not try it out?

I am so, so glad I did. Many of the ideas that were shared by other women are things I have heard before, but for some reason in that setting I could open to them. So, here I will share them!

First, I should add that men were welcome to attend and I wish more had, there were just a few. So it was not a sexist workshop. (disclaimer over.)

Some quotes from the panelists (paraphrased):

- "Networking is an area where women can have an advantage, but it isn't easy. Networking needs follow up, but it is worth the time and effort." I have seen this with successful people. When they meet someone they are interested in, they ask them to lunch. It seems so simple. The next part is key, though: offer to help that person, if you can. Don't just see your own opportunity.

- "Build relationships before dealing with issues. Know people's names and where they came from." I once worked for an elected official who always called me by the wrong name. It made his effort to be friendly and use my name make me feel even more unrecognized and unimportant.

- Be invested in the organization. I have to say this one really struck me because I have been so resistant to showing any loyalty to the university I work for. I blame it on the pep rallies in high school. I just never understood the "my school is best because I go there" attitude and I am not a big sports fan. But I realized that if I am honest, this place has been good to me and I have gotten a degree here now, so would it really hurt me to wear a polo with the mascot on it or feel some pride about the good things happening? I am not actually too cool for school. I love school, and that is ok. One of the panelists said "If you work at Ford you don't drive a Toyota." I get that now.

- "Know what you can do and make decisions based on what you feel is right."

- "I feel empathy for men because they are socialized that it is not acceptable to lead in a sympathetic manner." We have become so accustomed to ideas that managing (rather than leading) people has to be harsh and strict. I love the idea of trusting people first and allowing them to find their way a bit. I know I am a better employee when I feel like my boss understands my frustrations and lets me help solve them.

- "Mediocrity is not an option." Amen, sister.

- "Volunteer at work. Show what you can do." I really like that this is coming from a positive spirit, rather than the more common "That isn't my job, so I won't do it" attitude. Sometimes the things I end up enjoying are those that are not in my job description and if I take it for that I won't be so invested in whether or not anyone notices or rewards me for it.

- "Be the best at what is worst about the job. If you have to let people go, be the most compassionate and transparent."

- "Your intentions are not always others' perceptions." I think this is really about another of my lessons for this year, listening. I am really trying to listen to what people are saying and this is the only way to know how they are interpreting what I am saying.

- "Women are given tremendous responsibility but not given authority." So many heads were nodding when she said this. Her solution was to recognize that you need to negotiate that authority.

- On balance they recommended multi tasking. "Don't let balance be one more thing to have to accomplish, it is a day to day decision. Answer emails while you watch the T-Ball game, then know when it is time to turn off the phone."

- On feeling like we are perceived as too "pushy" or "arrogant" when we speak up, they said
'Know that what you have to say is important." If you don't believe it you can't expect anyone else to.

The most striking thing to me was how often the word "relationship" came up. When asked for the most important advice they wanted to share, one said "I value relationships above all." I do believe this is the most important aspect of life, and work is part of life. Even if we think we have to "balance" the two, they coexist. This may not work for everybody, but it feels right to me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Play!

Tonight when we got home we had Turkey dogs in the kitchen, then Lorelai asked me to color with her on the floor of her room. I took a second to stare at the various things I "should" have been doing, then quickly realized it would be stupid to clean when I could play.

After we colored we sat with our feet touching and rolled a ball back and forth and sang The Ants Go Marching. Eventually we were laughing and then the laughing made us laugh more. When we started to regain composure Lorelai would freeze, starring at me in her most serious face, which made us both crack up all over again.

As the laughing tapered out she said "I just love giggling."

That girl teaches me every day.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vacation

We are at the beach and Lorelai is loving it. Started the day with the three cousins, then played in the ocean and made sand castles, then frozen yogurt. What else could we want?




Monday, June 4, 2012

Do What You Love


I am half way through the e-course by Beth Nicholls at Do What You Love. When I was deciding whether to sign up, I was searching for reviews of the course and found it a little difficult to find. Now that I am doing it, I see that it is likely because a lot of the course is based on each person's own personal journey, and posting much about the exercises would be difficult without revealing Beth's content, which obviously has many hours of work and experience behind it.

I just wanted to say that I have already gotten more than my money's worth and it has inspired a lot of personal reflection and creative exercises that I hope to share soon in my own way. Like anything, the more work you put into it, the more you will get out of it. The other women in the course are very interesting and having their responses to the exercises has added a layer of knowledge and inspiration as well. If you are able to get into a future one, I highly recommend it. I am just hoping I will be able to attend her next retreat - meeting such an inspiring woman in person would be amazing, as well as an awesome reason to travel!