Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Classic Black Pumps with a Twist

Everyone must have a pair of classic black pumps. I prefer mine with a twist! 

These ones from Cole Hahn are a recent purchase and they are awesome. Pretty comfortable for a pointy toe and I love that the material has a bit of texture. The twist part is the inside edge of the shoe is open, so think it makes them sexy too! They are completely appropriate for the office but can also be good for date night. If you like them as much as I do, you can buy them here

Yesterday when I was wearing them I came across this message on the sidewalk. A wonderful reminder. This is it. This is the journey. So rock on and enjoy it!! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Parents: What are we afraid of?

There are all sorts of parenting styles out there. We all come from different backgrounds, social status and have different lifestyles which all impact the way we parent our kids. One current topic buzzing around right now is "Attachment vs Independence." Until recently, I hadn't really thought about how my parenting was shaping my kids attachment and independence. The reality is, parenting has a HUGE impact on kids’ ability to form attachment with others and also have independence and a true sense of self. We all need both, so it is hard as parents to have this balance. 

In my experience (which is pretty limited) in this parenting gig... I observe a lot of parents. Some parents are those classic "helicopter" parents and they are constantly hovering and protecting their kids. Other parents are so removed from their kids that it literally seems like they are "running wild" and causing chaos. It seems each style of parent is highly critical of the opposite style. Interesting. 

I just read this article The Overprotected Kid written by Hanna Rosin for The Atlantic and she explores the safety of playgrounds. She explores this concept that "kids should face what to them seem like “really dangerous risks” and then conquer them alone. That is what builds self-confidence and courage." I agree with her thoughts here and the challenges these risks bring. I also get pretty nervous thinking about Harrison exploring spaces like "The Land" she references. He would absolutely LOVE a place like that. Why am I fearful of my kids exploring real things? 

When I was pretty young, maybe around second or third grade, I would hop our backyard fence and explore in a canyon with friends. We would be gone for hours. We would check out animal dens, dig in the dirt, play house in little tree clearings and climb mini rock formations. It was wonderful. Looking back it was pretty magical. I was trusted. I had a natural fear of coyotes, snakes and other wild things. I also knew my parents expected me home before dark so I always was. 

Will I let my kids explore the canyon near our house alone? How old is too young? How do I prepare them to be smart in nature? What if something happens? Why am I afraid of them playing in this natural space only shouting distance away from my home? 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Elevator Fun - Who's up to take the CHALLENGE?

When I was in college I took a lot of sociology classes. I have always been fascinated in the way people interact with one another, especially groups of people. This morning I remembered a particularly insightful lesson about social norms in elevators. 

Social norms according to the Dictionary are "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, believes, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit." In an elevator, these social norms are pretty obvious and really easy to mess with. 

Examples of social norms in elevators: 

  • Make sure anyone exiting the elevator can do so before you enter.
  • Enter elevators gazing down if there are people already inside. 
  • Position your body with approximately the same amount of space as the other people in the elevator. In other words, the amount of space should be equal between all passengers. As more people join the elevator, everyone adjusts their space to accommodate this. 
  • Stand facing the doors of the elevator. 
  • Any conversation is hushed unless everyone in the elevator knows one another. 
  • Eye contact is usually limited. 
  • People typically watch elevator buttons for progress. 
  • If there is a mirror in the elevator, people generally will only stare at themselves when alone. 

What I love to do in elevator rides is break some of the rules in a thoughtful way. I have found that an elevator is an extremely opportune with finite amount of time to create an "intimate" relationship. I have noticed that by breaking some of the social norms you and seeing the strangers reactions can open the doors to very interesting discussions. 

Here is an example: Instead of gazing down as I enter an elevator, I make direct eye contact and enthusiastically greet one person in the elevator. They either respond in kind or look down and mumble a response. If I get a reciprocal response, it is a great opportunity to dive into something interesting. 

In this approach, I have had conversations move to religion (around holiday seasons), business challenges, marriage problems and a whole host of other topics people rarely share with strangers. I think it is because the time frame of the relationship is pre-established as a few minutes. There is limited risk in over sharing. 

Business people often talk about the so called "elevator pitch" which I absolutely hate. Instead, I use a more personal approach to making my elevator time interesting and sometimes productive. Showing genuine interest in people's lives when you have a window for some forced "intimacy" can go a long way. I typically totally avoid my line of work discussion in an elevator and stay more personal. If there is a connection established that may be good for business, sometimes I will ask for a card or tell the person "I'll find you on Linked In." 

A few warnings: 

  • If you mess with social norms and the people in the elevator do not engage, revert back to social norms quickly. Otherwise it can get very uncomfortable fast. 
  • If you take the same elevator most days and see similar people or only people from your company, this is not a smart tactic. Typically those elevators will already be pretty friendly so just enjoy the small chat. 
CHALLENGE: Is anyone willing to try sitting in an elevator and letting me know what reactions they get from people???? I have always wanted to try this but have never been brave enough to actually do it. 

Happy Monday. Enjoy your next elevator ride! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sleeping Baby

Sleeping babies are the best. They are so sweet. Our little Hannah is an awesome sleeper which is wonderful and I am so grateful. 

Sweet Hannah sleeping in Belize. 

Only complaint is that she goes to bed for the night around 6 or 6:30 pm and wakes up around 7 am... so during the week I barely get to enjoy that sweet nugget awake. I get home from work around 5:45/6 o'clock and it is a pretty crazy time of day. The big kids are needy for my attention and have a ton of information to share with me. All of that couldn't possibly wait until Hannah went to bed. They need to release it all IMMEDIATELY when I walk through the door. 

At that moment, all I want to do is change my clothes and be alone with the "littlest Hoeck." Even 5 minutes would be glorious! In the same breathe, I am so lucky my kids are excited to see me and want to share their day with me. I know the day when they are 13 and 15 is around the corner and they will want NOTHING to do with me!! 

For now, thankfully it is Friday and lots of weekend snuggle time with baby Hannah is ahead. Also lots of time to explore the world with Hadley and Harrison. 

Cheers to that!! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recap: Lean In Webcast

PwC hosted a webcast today with Sheryl Sandberg and Rachel Thomas targeted at students graduating from college soon. It was fascinating. 

Even though I was not the target audience, I enjoyed the session and gained some new perspective on the “Lean In” movement. I still hesitate a bit about this movement and the pressure it creates for women. With that said I appreciate the motivation of Ms. Sandberg much more now. I love that she is challenging men and women to talk about gender differences and the impact in the workforce. To recognize it is real. To proactively engage in the topic to change it. 

Ms. Sandberg is very passionate about creating “circles” where small peer groups can encourage one another to continue to pursue aspirations. Anyone (male or female) can start a circle or join a circle. You can find out more about this at  

Ms. Sandberg was very clear with the lack of progress over the past 10 years with women in leadership. She stated that 15% of corporate level executive jobs, 17% of board seats and less than 6% of C-level jobs have been held by women for 10 years and counting. Virtually no movement. Staggering. Those statistics should make anyone wonder why. I assume her theory is that women aren't “leaning in” and men aren't actively mentoring women to these levels.

Here are some of the key items Sheryl specifically wanted the audience to know. Interesting to hear what she thought was most important for upcoming graduates.
  • “I want you to know you have choices.”
  • “Don’t leave before you leave. Don’t put the brakes on yourself. Don’t limit yourself.”
  • “70% of the people around the world work full time. This is about getting women equal pay to men.”
  • “Careers are like a marathon. As the marathon continues, the voices of encouragement get louder for men. The voices for women get louder too but the message is different. Women hear questions like “Are you sure your kids don’t need you at home.” She didn't have a specific way to address this, other than awareness of this key difference in the messages given to men and women as they reach the point in their career when they are ready to get to the next level.

Rachel Thomas, the President of Lean also commented during the webcast. She focused on 10 tips for graduates included in Ms. Sandberg’s new book “Lean In for Graduates.” These 10 tips really resonate with me even though I am 10 years into my career. I don’t think these tips are only valuable for new graduates or career people. I think these tips are awesome for anyone who has aspirations.

10 Tips from Lean In for Graduates 

  1. Adopt the mantra: “Proceed and be blood.”
  2. Shift from “What do I get?” to a “What can I offer?” mindset.
  3. Negotiated – wisely.
    • Girls out of school make 82 cents compared to a man.
    • You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
    • We expect men to be assertive. We expect women to be collaborative and communal. So it is important for women to use communal language. Talk about how you relate to your team.
  4. Break long-term goals into short term steps.
    • A good short term step has the following componets:
      • Concrete an measurable
      • Achievable in the next 12-18 months
      • A stretch for you but not too far that you won’t actually try to do it
      • Stay flexible and open to new paths
  5. Sit at the table.
    • Confidence – remind yourself you deserve to be there.
  6. Listen to your inner voice.
  7. Don’t ask “will you be my mentor?”
    • If you have to ask, the answer is probably no. Mentors select protégés based on their performance and potential. Peer input can be just as valuable as a mentor.
  8. Understand and challenge gender bias.
    • It’s a balancing act between being confident and nice. It is tricky to be assertive to be effective but there can be social penalties.
    • Awareness begets fairness. Women can advocate and support other women. Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.
  9. Make your partner a real partner.
    • 50/50 is better for everyone.
    • Research shows that families where parents split the work evenly there is less divorce. These couples are more likely to be happier and have more sex.
  10. Don’t leave before you leave. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Modern Woman Debates

This topic is by no means new but I feel the urge to explore it. It really troubles me. 

In the past couple years, there has been a lot of buzz about Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean In and the movement of Lean In, the concept of the "retro wife." Countless people and publications dove into this topic like: The Feminist Housewife explored by New York Magazine and a fascinating article in The Atlantic "Why Women Still Can't Have It All". So maybe this is a silly topic for me to breach.... but here it goes! 

Why can't a modern woman just be who she wants to be? Why is all there this pressure to "lean in" or to be such an amazing and full force stay-at-home mom? These extremes really are seriously stressful. 

I am corporate working woman. I want to be challenged by work and continue to succeed but I have no desire to be in the C-suite of my Fortune 500 organization. The lifestyle at that level is so dramatically different that it wouldn't support any quality time for my family life. I am okay with my concept of career success and career drive that isn't to the highest level. I know Sheryl Sandberg has great intentions about women recognizing they are limiting themselves and others but sometimes it is okay to "lean back" a bit. To enjoy life.To enjoy family. I don't think it takes away from my value at the office. 

The other extreme of this is the "retro wife" who puts full energy into the perfect home and family is also very unrealistic. Even for someone home full-time. It is virtually impossible to have happy kids, an organic dinner, clean home, clean laundry and individually decorated gluten-free cookies all the time. I see some of my stay at home mom friends with almost all of these things working in their households and it amazes me. But these amazing moms and homemakers seem to feel this pressure that all they are doing isn't enough. What??!! Being at home with little people or even teenagers is extremely challenging. There are just so many things to do. If these amazing moms who do so much at home and also are even a little involved at the kids' schools feel like they aren't doing enough... something is off. 

My hope is through all this exploration of the modern woman, the modern mom, is that we all find a way to be okay with our choices. To let some of the guilt go. To rock on with our daily grind in a way that makes us feel good. It is okay to not have everything. That is the beauty in life, we get to make decisions based on our opinions. 

Cheers to happy moms! 

PS -- Tomorrow I am dialing into a call where Sheryl Sandberg will be speaking hosted by PwC. I am very curious if her message has changed since her book was released last year. If she shares anything new or particularly insightful, I will be sure to pass it along. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Adult Temper Tantrum

Temper tantrums are completely normal and expected when there are little people in your home. I embarrassed to admit, the main event tantrum this weekend was by me. Totally unacceptable.

I'm not sure if it was the build up of the weekend activities, sugar and family dynamics... but I lost it. Last night I was a mess. I couldn't handle the kids at all. They were tired after a fun weekend of Easter eggs, splashing in the pool and lots of quality family time. So was I. I was completely exhausted. Drained. Every button I have was pushed. How do my kids know where all my "buttons" are hidden? 

Instead of recognizing that I was at the end of my rope and removing myself from the crazy I tried to carry on. In the end, I was the one apologizing to my little kids. Thankfully they forgave me. I was very grateful when Mike took over and put the big kids to bed. I took some time to settle myself and breathe. I did exactly what I tell my kids to do. And then I curled up the couch and did nothing. Even though I had been forgiven, I still felt shitty. 

Today is a new day. 

PS: When I searched the word Tantrum this morning, I came across this adorable mid-century modern kids shop called "TANTRUM". Check it out.  It is a much happier version of tantrum! This search also returned a lot of ideas on how to manage toddler's tantrums bu t no mention of adult tantrums... 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friendship Through The Years

Friends and a circle of support are one of the most critical pieces to my sanity and being able to "do it all." There is this saying "You can't find old friends, you either have to have them or you don't" and wow is that true. Maintaining friendships over long lengths of time and with lives changing constantly is really hard. 

I have a few really solid friendships that have sustained the time and the obstacles of life. One of them is my dear friend Heidi, who I met on the very first day of kindergarten. I was reflecting on our friendship after I went to Kindergarten Night for Hadley. 

Picture from Heidi's archives with the following caption:
"Ahhhh the days of only have to worry about our bathing suits filling with sand!!"

Heidi and I were best buddies in kindergarten. When it was time for us to move to first grade, I was held back. For most of my friendships, being held back meant my friends moved onto the big playground and I stayed on the "little kid" playground. Heidi was such a strong friend, she would come meet me at the white line separating kindergartners from the "big kids." This is just the kind of friend Heidi was and still is. She is an amazing friend to this day. My memories of that year are so strong. Her loyalty and effort for our friendship really meant a lot. 

Heidi and me at our wedding showers!
Through the years, Heidi and I always stayed in touch but honestly over time our circles of friends were just different. Thankfully we both recognized that didn't mean we couldn't stay connected. We both gave each other space to be the people we were. Our friendship has evolved as each of us evolved through high school, college, as roommates and into our adult lives with families. We are lucky to have kids at similar ages so we celebrate our kids together now. After reflecting a bit on this important friendship I realize how unique and valuable a life long friendship can be. 

Many friendships can't maintain through this evolution of life. In fact, many friendships break down when there is major change in one person's life. When I had Hadley, some of my friendships slipped away. I'm not sure if it was because they were still partying mid-week and they couldn't relate, if I didn't put in enough effort or if there was jealousy. It doesn't really matter. Still today, I have friends who I care about deeply but they aren't available to put energy into a friendship. When I was younger I may have been frustrated by this lack of effort but now I respect it. 

Life is crazy. Life is really crazy when you have kids. Then add on a husband, work, family obligations... the list goes one. Life is just busy. Sometimes people just can't swing it or prioritize other things. 

So no judgement here for people who have let friendships take a back burner. In the same breathe, all I can say is that my sanity is intact because of my friendships. Having women in my life who will listen and just be there in a moment of joy, fear or sadness is a necessity for me. My hope is Hadley will experience strong friendship as she enters kindergarten that will bring her to a fulfilling adult life. 

PS -- I can't believe Hadley is starting kindergarten in 4 months!!! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sale Over Sale!

Dual purpose fashion is one of my things. JCrew has a lot of pieces that fit the bill for me and right now if you go to one of their stores they are having a sale on top of the sale! Yep, anything on sale is an additional 40% off in the stores.
My picks from the JCrew sale!
I picked up this versatile sweater is great because I can wear to work with slacks or I can wear to a school function paired with white jeans. It also comes in some other colors but I love this buttery yellow for Spring. 

The flirty little dress is also a solid classic and available in black too. For the office I will wear some simple black pumps and a black cardigan. But this dress could also be great for a wedding or shower. For something fancy like that I would wear my gold strappy sandals and some jewels!! 

Mini Date with Harrison

Harrison and I had a mini date. He LOVED it. We went to Starbucks and he was so excited to pick a treat from the case. He picked one of those petite vanilla scones and a hot chocolate for the adventure. He seemed to cherish every bit of that itty bitty scone! 

During our little date, I tried to let him make the choices since this was a special treat for just him. He picked a table right by the window in the sunshine. Lovely. The topic of conversation... not so lovely but hysterical! 

All he wanted to talk about were people's bellies. I wonder if this is because I recently had a baby in my belly so he is fascinated with bellies. But kids say the funniest things! "Look at that belly!" or "That's a fat tummy!" and of course I did my best to counsel on appropriate directions to take the discussion... but he stayed focused on bellies. I tried to bridge the topic of being polite and kind with our words but for a three year old that is pretty abstract. Oh my. Good thing he's so cute!  

PS Isn't his cookie monster t-shirt awesome! Check out Old Navy for really cute boys graphic t-shirts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Smoked Salmon Platter

Over the weekend I attended a baby shower and they had this awesome smoked salmon platter. The platter it self is so easy but what made it amazing was the salmon! When simple is a key component to an item for a party it must be made with great ingredients. When I asked about what kind of salmon it was I was surprised. The hostess had gone to Whole Foods, picked out a specific piece of salmon, in this case fresh from the Pacific Northwest, and then had them custom smoke it for her. They had it ready for her to pick up the next morning. Pretty cool and so fresh! They paired the salmon with a cream cheese and dill spread, crackers, toastinis and sliced cucumbers. 

Cream Cheese with Dill Spread: My best guess would be 1/2 cup of cream cheese and 3 sprigs of chopped dill mixed together. It was also so simple. 

Another spread I like: 

     Smoked Salmon Spread 
     1 cup whipped cream cheese 
     1 tablespoon capers 
     1/3 cup chopped smoked salmon
     1 sprig of dill chopped 

     Combined all ingredients above and serve cold. Keeps for about a week in the fridge. 

For other ideas for what to do with any left over smoked salmon, check out these ideas from Whole Foods.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Missing Firsts

Yesterday I missed one of Hannah's firsts. She rolled over! I am so excited yet so sad. 

My mom was at the house with our nanny and all of the kids. They were all playing with Hannah and admiring her attempts to roll over. So everyone was focused on her. How wonderful is that? Her big sister, big brother, Grandma and her nanny all totally doting on her... and then she did it. She rolled! 

Apparently, Hadley was so excited she jumped up and yelled "She did it! She did it! She turned!" 

My mom said that was the best part; watching Hadley be so excited for her baby sister. I agree. My mom got to observe two firsts at once: Hannah rolling and Hadley's pure joy over Hannah's first. Observing a first, of any level, is so rewarding and so exciting. 

I recognize because I am a working mom, I will continue to miss many firsts. Logically, I understand this reality but emotionally it still stings. When I hear about a milestone being conquered without me my heart hurts. 

This morning when I was dropping Hadley and Harrison off at school and another mommy, Vanessa, asked me how Hannah was doing. I shared she was doing great and yesterday she had rolled over for the first time. I shared how sad I was to miss the first. In response, Vanessa said "Good thing she'll do it again" and smiled. She is so right. Hannah will do it again and I will get to experience it. Sometimes the emotion of a first is so big, but the reality is these firsts are just the beginning of many iterations of improvement. I may have missed the first roll, but I will get to see her get better and continue to grow. I can cherish each of those moments too. 

I can't be there for every first or every moment and may miss some really sweet ones, but I am forever her Mommy. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Awesome Easter Basket Tips...

If you are like me, you haven't started an Easter Basket gift collection yet. Yikes! Easter is this weekend. Here are some awesome ideas for this weekend from The Artful Parent: 25 Last Mintue Easter Basket Ideas

Things I think I am going to order... Washi Tape (why do kids love tape so much??!!) and marbling kit. 

TGIM - Yep... thank god it's MONDAY!!

Most people are so excited for Friday. I get it, the weekend is wonderful. But when you have kid(s) the weekend is exhausting!!! 

There is something about Monday morning that is brutal but also glorious. Lucky for me, our wonderful nanny arrives at 8:00 am to help get the kids breakfast and ready for the day. I can spend a bit of snuggle time with sweet Hannah before I head out the door to take Hadley to school. Meanwhile, Harrison is busy playing with trucks or trains and just waiting for the opportunity to seize the dirt!

Once my work clothes are on, I get into what I call "go mode." This my no nonsense mode where I loose any patience I might typically have. Not sure why my patience is correlated with my outfit but it is. On Monday, this transition is particularly strong. I am ready to get started. Ready to charge. 

Why is it I spend all week at work feeling guilty about being away from my kids but on Monday morning I am ready to CHARGE!!?? I can't wait to get away. Then as soon as I am away the guilt sets in. 

Cheers to Monday! 

Recognition: Art Wall

Recognition is a big deal in the world. Most of us love the feeling of being recognized. For kids it is particularly important when they work hard on something. Not every time they make a dot on a piece of paper, slide down the slide or say please or thank you. Recognition can get out of control these days. 

The important thing, is to recognize when kids actually put time, thought and energy into a project or learning something new. When they do, it is our job as parents to recognize it in a meaningful way. 

Our art wall, has become a way we do this without constantly praising them. When Harrison or Hadley are particularly proud of a piece of artwork, they share it. And then a day or so later, I hang it on the art wall in our kitchen. No words, just an action to show their work is meaningful. Sometimes they aren't proud of my favorite pieces, but that doesn't really matter. The art wall is about them and their mini accomplishment. Not about the art wall looking great. 

Note: Our art wall was made with these IKEA curtain wire sets but you could make one with nails, string and some clothespins too. I am just not the crafty type!! But if you are, rock on!! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Perfection Is A Myth

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."

Amazing photograph by Hadley Sia Hoeck! 
So true. Perfection is a myth. As a "perfectionist" I wish this wasn't true and I always seem to be disappointed. Drive for perfection has led me to be a highly productive person. Extremely organized but also highly critical. That critical piece is the hardest part to deal with. 

I saw this little art tile at a local shop and just loved it. I had big plans to take a picture of it and post it here to share with all of you. But Hadley beat me to the punch! Her version may not be in focus, centered or "perfect" but it sure is amazing. Just like her. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Date Night

Date night, the right kind of date night, is the most important thing in a marriage. Kids or no kids. Date night is a must have. 

Last night, Mikey and I did a great date night. Mike left while I was putting the kids to bed to scalp some tickets for a concert. After the kids were fast asleep my dad came over to "watch" them. He is a great babysitter for the late night date night! When I left the house, Mikey only had one ticket... so we weren't sure our grand laid plans were going to work out. But in the end, just as Foster The People was kicking off their show someone finally agreed to sell us the second ticket. We were in! 

We both bellied up to the bar and ordered a beer. It was like we were back in college again. When was the last time I ordered a beer? Coors Light especially... it was my go to during my Davis Days. Mike must have been a Bud Light guy in college. Beers in hand, we headed to the dance floor. 

Spontaneous fun is great. We danced. We sang. We didn't talk about kids. Or the house. Or work. Virtually no talking, yet I felt us reconnecting. Sometimes a date night just needs to be two people having fun together. No need for deep conversations or fancy drinks. Just fun. It keeps us young and feeling alive. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Am I Brave Enough To Embrace Grey?

Grey is coming in packs. No longer one by one... but packs of grey hairs are infiltrating my scalp. Most of the time it is kind of exciting. I have always wanted to embrace my hair as it changes to grey. I think it might be because my grandmother had such beautiful white hair. I always loved Grandma Emily. She was so lighthearted, joyful and beautiful. Here are some pictures by Vicki Topaz of other women embracing grey hair and looking amazing!

My mom is beautiful too. She just chose a different path. She still dies her hair. She would be so beautiful with her natural grey/white hair, but she just isn't ready. She may never be ready. For me, I don't really ever want to have to be "ready" or decide to "let it go." So I am trying to be brave enough to enjoy it changing. 

That is so much easier to say than to live. 

So far, Mikey is supportive of a natural evolution. I'm sure he would totally embrace some improvements, but at the same time, I know he likes me how I am. How lucky am I? Pretty freak'n lucky! On the grey hair front, we are kind of going through it together. He struggles with his grey hairs more than I do. But the reality is the pressure about going grey is less for men. Silver foxes are so sexy if you are a man. For a 30 something woman... not so sexy. Hopefully I will stay brave and embrace the grey! 

Here is a great blog post from Rebecca Wolf on this topic. She always says things in such a rad way. I love how she explores this concept of "letting it go" and the overall decisions women make about our look from hair tweezing, make-up to more drastic choices like surgery. 

Has anyone else read anything interest on this topic? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rant: "Working Mom"

Working Mom...I guess that is what I am. I really HATE that phrase. Humor me for a minute... Don't all moms work? Don't all dad's work? Why is there this phrase "working mom"? I've never heard of a "working dad." I guess you could say career mom, but maybe that means a mom who has decided her career is raising her kids.

Maybe we should just all call ourselves Wonder Woman!!!

Some moms have the luxury of choosing if they work. Some moms have to work because they are the bread winner, aren't married, or the family just needs both incomes. The sad thing is moms get judged if they are home with their kids full time or if they have left their kids to go to the office. Then there is this whole breed of mom who has a part-time job in or out of the home which must be basically impossible to juggle. We are all different. We all have value. We need to be nice to each other. Respect our family choices and support each other. We are all Wonder Women!!!

If another man asks me "How do you do it?" or "Don't you miss your kids?" I am going to shout at him... THE SAME WAY YOU DO!!! or DON'T YOU MISS YOUR KIDS???

Side Note: I know these men are trying to be nice. Trying to show interest. They just don't get how a question like can be kind of insulting.

End of rant. :-) 

PS - Isn't this mug awesome? It sits on my desk and always makes me smile. 

Reminder from Buddha

One of my favorite quotes: 

Perfect way to say focus on the important things in life. 

Monday, April 7, 2014


Snail mail is one of my favorite things! 

Since college, my friend Erin and I have been sending each other the notes via the old school mail. It has been a great way to stay connected in what I'll call an authentic way. It takes extra effort, thought and time. It isn't realistic for every friendship or business relationship but it really does make an impact. People remember getting a nice note in the mail. 

I collect cards as I find them in my daily routines so I always have the basics and some special occasions on hand. Examples for cards I need often: Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Baby Shower and of course blank for versatility. For thank you notes I pick up simple sets like this from Target because they are affordable and work for personal or professional situations. 

For business notes, I use personalized stationary whenever possible. Generally I like one sided flat notes so people don't feel obligated to keep it and I don't have to write too much! 

For kids birthday parties I have used a variety of options. My favorite is to up-cycle my kids artwork into a card for their friend. Here's an example from this weekend! 

Note: This option takes a long time if your 4.5 year old participates in writing the message! But a super cute way to spend time together and get something done. ;0) 

For super fast birthday party notes, I have seen some friends with custom stickers from their family. I love these. Anyone know where to get them from? 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

End of Day Tactics

Gratitude. I am practicing gratitude a lot right now and visualizing pretty places. 

Thankfully, everyday this week has gotten better. Work engagement feels good. The kids are adjusting fine and I am getting better at turning my different roles of a working mom on and off. Switching on and off was so easy for me before. But I am okay with the fact I need to put a bit more energy into it right now. 

Here are some things I have tried this week that seem to be helping: 
  • Using my drive time as my alone time. This has actually been great. I usually use the drive for work calls or personal calls. Right now, I can't switch gears very fast, so this time gives me a chance to decompress a bit and get ready for my kiddos. 
  • Turn off the radio. Might sounds strange but my thoughts are racing and kind of busy right now. So the noise was just creating this "static". Having some quite time has been nice. 
  • No pictures of the baby at the office. This is the opposite of what many working moms do, but for me, it helps me stay focused on where I am. 
  • Enjoy the "luxury" of putting the kids to bed on my own. Normally this is NOT my favorite part of the day. Right now, I am trying to change my attitude and look at bedtime as a wonderful time to connect with the kids. They feel the energy shift. Pretty amazing and it has been nice to read and cuddle with them. 
Here are some ideas people have shared that I am going to give a shot: 
  • Change into casual clothes before going home. Great idea! Now I just need to get organized enough to have casual clothes in my car. Sounds easy but it hasn't happened yet! 
  • Workout. Sounds so obvious and easy. But when???!!! Some do it before the kids wake up but this is not my program. Maybe lunch? Maybe skip lunch so I can leave early? Hmmmm. 
  • Anyone else have other easy ideas? 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Speed Shopping

I would love to go to the mall, wander around and window shop for hours. This is not my reality. Maybe someday. But recently, I just learned about something AMAZING! I call it speed shopping. 

I found out about this about a week ago. I needed a pair of new jeans that fit my "mom body" in a dark wash in a skinny or straight leg style. I had virtually no time before I needed to pick up Hadley, so I called Nordstrom to see if someone would do me a favor. They connected me to the TBD department and I asked the sales person if she would help me pull some jeans. She said "Sure, that's my job!" Why has no one ever told me this before!?!? Literally, the sales people there are so happy to shop for us! AMAZING! I told her I was on my way, which I thought would blow this whole deal... but she was excited. So in 10 minutes, I arrived and the dressing room was filled with seven pairs of jeans. She walked me through why she picked each pair based on my description. I tried them on and viola... found the perfect pair. I was in and out in under 20 minutes.

RESULT: Here is a picture of my "perfect pair" on someone else's perfect body! They are the DL 1961 "Coco" Mid Rise Straight Leg. I ended up going with a straight leg style so I can wear them casually and at the office on Fridays! Gotta love dual purpose fashion! 

Speed shopping step by step:  

1. Decide what you need (jeans, dress for a summer wedding, new suit, etc). 
2. Call Nordstrom and have them connect you to the right department. 
3. Tell the sales person what you need and when you will be there.
4. Show up, try on and purchase! 

FYI: Nordstrom also has a personal shopping specialist if you want to shop for a whole season of items or a set of outfits for a trip. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

First Day Back After H3

Yesterday was my first day back to full-time work after sweet Hannah (affectionately called H3) arrived.

It sucked.

I really wish it had been better. For H1 and H2 my first day back was pretty glorious. I had been so ready to be back to work. Back in action. Back in my corporate gear. Yesterday, I just wanted to put on jeans (let's be real, my yoga pants) and hang with my kiddos.

Why is it so different this time around?

I did my typical routine... bought a cute new outfit and shoes for my first day. Fit great. Fun color. Fresh. I stopped at Starbucks for my favorite pick me up... but by 10 am I was a mess. This has never happened to me before. I decided to take a mini break and walked out to our receptionist. She asked me how I was doing and I started crying. Yikes! I have never done this before. She said "You know this is normal, right?" and my response was "Not for me. I have never been like this before. It is so weird."

The thing is I am kind of stuck in this limbo zone.

So much of who I am is what I do at the office. My identity is wrapped up in my work. I have been here for 10 years and have always loved working; loved my firm. I still want to work. I don't want to be at home with my kids full time. But for the first time, I am really having trouble leaving home. Leaving my baby. Loosing the time with my big kids. They seem to need me so much more than H3. I thought it would be easier... that must have been a silly thought.

So here I am, day 2, writing an emotional rant on my new blog... is that a good or a bad thing??!!??