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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Window Shopping for Purpose and Passion

May 26, 2011 7 comments

I have been a little MIA here lately.  I have written many posts… in my head.  Trust me, I have some brilliant thoughts at 3:00 am that I never put to paper (or keyboard) the next morning.  So what have I been doing instead of blogging?  Why am I up thinking at 3:00 am? 

I have been shopping.  Well, window shopping actually.

I have put a lot of energy into window shopping for my purpose and passion.

I am a happy person.  I love my life and feel blessed with the things in it.  I have a wonderful husband, two adorable children, a stable and rewarding career… but…

…I feel like I am wearing a shirt I love that doesn’t fit quite right.

…I feel like I am meant to do something else, something more in line with my passions and strengths.

…I feel like my happy life could be happier.

I feel like I am searching for my “purpose”.  Yes, I am a mother and wife, those things are paramount.  But when I take away relationship titles, who am I?  

Is this just a career search? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong.  I have a career, but does it speak to who I am?  I am not sure.  Does it capitalize on my strengths?  Not all of them.  The time we spend working is significant, shouldn’t it or couldn’t it represent us?

In search of quieting the questions in my head,  I have invested more time in my work while researching new careers.  I have been trying to gauge how much I love my job and if it is the right one.  I have been searching for the ideal job that fits multi-faceted me.

Then something great happened, a chance conversation.  A wise friend, who I respect very much, recently shared with me that he is trying to figure out what is next for him after he wraps up his current corporate gig.  He explained he might put more effort into a few small companies he runs, he might do philanthropic work, or he might do something totally different.  It sounded like he might dabble in several things.

As I reflected on our conversation, it hit me that I was trying to get all of my passion and purpose in a few places.  I realized that I have more than one purpose and I need to figure out how to prioritize them, not combine them.  I am the queen of multi-tasking, but you can’t multi-task life.  I think life is meant to be enjoyed and lived in separate streams.  Career, motherhood, charity work, friendships, hobbies – they are each deserving of their own time.  And I deserve to enjoy each of them without distraction (on the ideal days – don’t get literal with a woman with young children).

The other important thing I am figuring out is that I need to focus on the details and let go of the big picture.  No, I didn’t write that backwards.  I would like to better appreciate the happiness and passion I already have instead of trying to connect them to one purpose in life.  I read a quote by MeiMei Fox that I love:

The key to happiness is not enjoying every single moment of every day. That’s an unrealistic expectation that sets you up for disappointment. The key is to celebrate every tiny but glorious, extraordinary and surprising experience you have.  She goes on to provide the critical reminder that:

“When something miraculous takes place — and by miraculous, I mean any of the seemingly small yet phenomenal events that unfold all the time, from your child laughing in your arms, to your best friend calling in tears to tell you her mother has cancer — stop. Put down your smart phone. Watch. Listen. Taste. Touch. Show up.”

I sometimes often forget to stop and show up.  I over multi-task, I miss the passion, the purpose that already exists.  So I am still window shopping from time to time, but I am trying to spend more time just experiencing.

The restless feeling hasn’t completely left me, but now I interpret it as excitement and anticipation for the many blessings that I will experience in the moments, days, months and years ahead.  My personal challenge is taking them one moment at a time.

Do you feel like you know your purpose?  Do you experience life?  Do you show up?

Disney DEFCON

The National Enquirer reported that I was the first person ever to actually fall off the face of the Earth.  While it may have felt like that, it wasn’t entirely true (just like most articles in the National Enquirer).

It is true that I have not logged into my blog dashboard in several weeks – the last few blogs I posted we’re on an automatic timer, similar to all the lights in my mental and real house.

I have spent the last three weeks on business trips and vacation.  I am not even sure my bed at home feels like my “real” bed yet. 

But I am back – did you get a chill? It’s okay to lie to me ya know.

There are so many stories I want to share with you.  I wrote so many posts in my head, but never took notes on them, so they are as forgotten as my exercise routine.  Here’s one that really seems to want to be written, because it has been rattling around in my mind (that was the tin pinging sound you heard) for days:

DEFCON is the Defense Readiness Condition used by the Armed Forces.  After spending a week in Disneyland with my kids, I felt it was my civic duty to share the following:

Disney DEFCON

5 – Lowest state of readiness.  You haven’t told the kids you’re going to Disneyland.  Life is peaceful.

4 – Increased intelligence and strengthened security measures.  The kids know they are going to Disneyland.  Care must be taken to ensure that they do not injure themselves when bouncing off the walls.  You also now have the opportunity to throw the entirely empty threat of cancelling the trip if they do not behave on the long car ride.  Good luck with that…

3 – Increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness. You need a strategy for crowds, lines, food and the endless toy displays.  Here’s mine:

  • Crowds – The best defense is a good offense.  I started the week trying to avoid small children and other strollers.  After losing every toenail I own, I treated navigating Disneyland, during Spring Break, like a full contact, extreme sport.  Show no mercy.
  • Lines – Don’t be the sweet mom that stops to let the kids climb on sculptures, take pictures and play on slides.  Stick to the mission – rides!  Get them in early, then go back and take pictures with characters, play on the fake cars, ride the carousel and watch the shows while everyone else is standing in hour-long lines in the beating sun.
  • Food – Decide up front – are you a militant mom or a mom looking for a little peace?  I just wanted a little peace so I bought popcorn, churros and ice cream.  I also bought some food for my kids.
  • Toys – I decided before I left that each kid would get one toy/souvenir, period.  I even brought their tiaras and light sabers from home so I wouldn’t get hit up for those.  Before you second guess me, I did stick to the one souvenir rule, sort of.  They each got one thing – but each thing was bigger than I had planned.  I admit I am a sucker for a $65 Cinderella costume and since they didn’t have one in my size, I bought it for my daughter.  With my son, I had a rare opportunity to trump my husband and spontaneously buy a Lego for my son while my husband was getting the car.  I am usually the mean mom and it felt amazing to play the role of Disney Dad! 

2 – Further increase in force readiness, but less than maximum readiness.  DEFCON 2 hit on day 2 days 1, 2 and 3 for us. Be prepared for a scene, but take solace in the fact that your child’s screams will be drowned out by Disney music (I swear they have speakers as close as trash cans), the sound of the rides and 5,000 other screaming children.

1 – War is imminent. Proceed directly to California Adventure where they serve alcohol.

We hit DEFCON 1 on our final day in the park.  We still had planned to spend a few more hours there.  We went to California Adventure, drank two beers and left the park.  A full nuclear response was narrowly avoided.

Tell me a funny story from one of your family vacations.  And by funny, I mean one where I don’t look like the only crazy mom!

Thank You to My Parenting Village

April 8, 2011 13 comments

When it comes to parenting, they (whoever ‘they’ are) say “it takes a village”.  I whole-heartedly believe this is true.  As a working-mom, I rely on my village to make it all happen.  Carpools, playdates, meal swaps – my village works together to make sure our kids are dropped off, picked up, fed, have presents for parties and uniforms for games.

But not just working parents need the village.  Stay-at-home moms and dads need the village too.  They need a break from their precious darlings or they need back-up when they have four kids playing two sports each with games in different parts of the state.  Bottom line, all parents need a village.

What’s amazing about my village is how efficient it is, how seamlessly our villagers work to ensure the best for every child.  The other day, my son was standing in front of the school waiting to be picked up.  In the mere minutes that he waited, two of my friends checked to see if he had a ride.  They talked to the mother picking him up to make sure he was taken care of.  My son was not crying, he did not look distressed, but my friends in my village know the routine and they saw him in front a minute past when he normally is out there.  They made sure he was accounted for.

Having a village full of aware, considerate friends is more valuable than a job, a pay check or any other material thing.  My village watches out for my kids, shares tips and advice and picks me up on the low days we all have as parents.  We celebrate as a village too.  Lost teeth, passing the big test, learning to ride a bike; we rejoice as a village, thus making every celebration more monumental for our children.  The village, and the people of my village are amazing, unique and keep me balanced.

Thank you to my wonderful village, you make my heart full and my worries less.

What do you want to thank your village for?

My Son Has Hallmark Beat

March 31, 2011 11 comments

Yesterday was my birthday.  When my husband woke up at 6:30 am to make me breakfast (I am a lucky girl), he found my six-year old son already awake, working hard on this:

It read:

Dear mom, the hole family loves you, but the best part about you is eavin you loves yourself.  You ceap M and I rilly safe in this house and we all love you, nomter what.”

“Happy Birthday MOM!”

“MOM you are a star.”

I love everything about this card, especially:

  • The spontaneity, he did this on his own, without suggestion.  He couldn’t sleep because he was excited to write it
  • The fact that he values loving yourself.  If I helped instilled that in him, I am thrilled.
  • At an age where we discuss strangers, bad guys and monsters under the bed, he feels safe in his home.
  • The statement, ‘I love you no matter what’ has stuck with him.  I tell him this after I have to discipline him.  It warms my heart that he heard me.

My son loves to write.  He writes stories and illustrates them on his own.  I love that he has a passion for writing. 

I am humbled and touched that he so beautifully captured what I am trying to teach him.  Knowing that my parenting efforts are reaching him is the best birthday present I could receive.

What’s the best birthday present you have received?

Family Dinner, Hold the Blood

March 18, 2011 4 comments

It has been a tough week in my house.  The time change zapped my energy,  I worked long hours, my husband was on a business trip and my daughter slammed me against the mommy wall.  And in case, I haven’t said it enough, I am coping without alcohol or sweets!  (This makes for a very dangerous combination!)

All week I have struggled with getting my diva to eat dinner.  (You’ll note that I usually interchange diva and princess, but I have not seen the princess this week, just the diva!)  She has been averaging 90 minutes to consume a meal and I used up my last bit of patience on Monday.

I was sharing my struggle with my friend Sonya and she recommended that I set a timer and tell my kids that they have until the timer goes off to finish dinner.  Once the timer goes off, dinner is over and if they haven’t finished, there are no snacks and no treats. 

Tonight, as we (meaning my husband) put dinner on the table, I set the timer for 20 minutes.  My husband also set dessert in front of them – something we never do.  We told the kids that we would throw the dessert away if they weren’t finished by the timer went off.

We were hopeful desperate that this would work.  I feared that another 90 minutes dinner would result in blood shed.  No, not my daughters!  What kind of mother do you think I am?  Don’t answer that.  Please.  The blood shed would be from me repeatedly hitting my head against the wall, chewing my fingers, pulling out my own hair and sticking a fork in my eye! 

Hallelujah!  It worked!

The kids ate their dinner and the timer went off as my princess (note the name change) was taking her last bite!  I will be trying it again tomorrow night without the dessert.  But tonight, I am still recovering from my collision with the wall and my leprechaun all-nighter so I sweetened the deal.

Thank you Sonya for saving my sanity and what’s left of my princess’ toy collection!

And for those of you who are curious about the outcome of my near leprechaun fail…

My kids made their traps, no thanks to me.  I was swamped all day with work, so the nanny, who is far craftier, helped.  When we left for t-ball practice as a family, our nanny RANSACKED our house and put little green footprints everywhere!  My kids were OFF THE WALL EXCITED!  They raced around the house for 20 minutes admiring the mess. 

Then my son cried hysterically bawled for an hour that he did not catch the leprechaun and we did not get it on video…

Can’t win ’em all!

Un-Crafty Family Meets Green Potato

March 15, 2011 8 comments

My son had a school assignment to take a regular russet potato and dress it up as a character for a story he would write in class.  There was also going to be a prize for the best potato.  There’s a few things you should know up front:

  1. I am not crafty.
  2. My husband is not crafty.
  3. We’re both competitive.
  4. We started Sunday and it was due Monday.

We had the flier for the assignment in plain view all week, but just had not gotten around to it.  Sunday morning the pressure was on to deliver a potato character by Monday.  We agreed that my husband would take the kids to Target to buy supplies while I went to the gym. 

After my workout, I texted my husband to let him know I was on my way home and he called right back asking if I had my wallet.  I always have my wallet and my husband always forgets his…  True to form, he had forgotten his wallet and had no way to pay for the $36 in potato character supplies the Target cashier had just rung up.  Target is next to the gym, so I swung by and rescued the supplies. 

My son had decided that he wanted to make a leprechaun.  My son LOVES St. Patrick’s Day.  He is in the design phase of this year’s leprechaun trap…

Once bringing home the hostages supplies, my son announced we would paint the potatoes green.  Remember – my husband and I are neat freaks… So we proceed to cover the whole kids table with paper bags and newspapers.  We rolled up the kids sleeves and carefully doled out the green paint and brushes.

My wild child daughter had green paint on her, her clothes, the chair and the “covered” table in less than a minute.  I braced for my husband’s frustration with the mess, but he uncharacteristically laughed.  He had the foresight to buy washable paint! (I mean pick out, since he did not have the foresight to bring his wallet.)  This mess quickly spread to my granite counters and me.  But again washable, so we decided to live on the edge.

Next the potato needed limbs.  My husband suggested straws and I thought about toothpicks as anchors.  I whipped out my hot glue gun.

I must pause here – I only own a hot glue gun because I have pipe cleaner dreams of being crafty.  I think my neighbor has used it more than me, but HA, I now had a project for my glue gun.

Um, plastic straws melt when they meet hot glue. 

My son thought melting Mr. Potatoes arms was hilarious, but my husband rescued the idea by suggesting I apply the glue to the toothpick and waiting a second before placing the straws on the toothpicks.  I said I had a glue gun, I didn’t say I knew how to use it.

Next came wardrobe – my department.  We had bought a hat and fake mustache that truly must have been marketed with potatoes in mind… weird??  My son and I then fashioned a coat (more like poncho) out of a half of bandana and glue-gunned it in place – I was feeling very crafty at that point.

During this time, my daughter has helped herself to a bottle of purple paint and a container of googly-eyes – with my husband and I one foot away.  Apparently this craftiness took all of our energy.  So my husband helped the diva, while my son drew and cut our construction paper boots and hands, that I glue-gunned on. (Yes, I am going to continue to yap about the glue gun).

The piece-de-resistance was the pot of gold.  We took mini caldrons from our Halloween decorations and filled them with glass beads that you would use in floral arrangements (another thing I have a few materials, but no skill for).  We borrowed gold spray paint from a neighbor and voila:  The potato leprechaun had his pot o’ gold.

I am pleased to introduce you to Lucky:

 

A close up on the gold:

  

And what about my daughter’s potato?  Well… she’s three and had many “design-changes” mid-project.  I tried my best not to take over and make her a cute potato lass.  True to her artistic direction, we ended up with “Potato Ghost Goldilocks Leprechaun”:

 

This turned out to be a fun-filled, kitchen-wrecking, heart-warming, glue-gun wielding, family bonding experience.  This was more fun than carving pumpkins and everybody contributed to the finished product.  As long as there is washable paint, our family may continue to do Sunday craft projects until I accidentally glue the kids together!

The 12 Pounds of Christmas

December 16, 2010 24 comments

I am Paige and I have a problem.  My vices have become so debilitating that I cannot make it two hours, TWO HOURS, without chocolate or some Christmas treat!  And every night presents a new reason to drink.  (Okay, I can find a reason every night to have a glass of wine, but I’m talking about really good reasons like Christmas parties, holiday traditions and my feet were cold.)

So here it is – my 12 pounds of Christmas:

  1. The kids made peppermint bark. What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t eat it and tell them how yummy it was.
  2. Every year we have our favorite toffee shipped from Colorado.  WE ONLY GET IT ONCE PER YEAR – of course I ate it – I had to before my husband did.
  3. I attended my work holiday luncheon and drank white wine – hey it paired nicely with the heavy cream bisque. 
  4. After the lunch we had a morale event that was bartending lessons (and tasting) – it was a morale event, I had to participate. 
  5. Following bartending, we had an after party at another bar.  I am on the leadership team, I had to drink to make others feel like it was ok.  But because I am a manager, I didn’t want people getting too drunk, so I ordered everyone a bunch of pizzas.  I had to eat them too- you can’t have management passing out drunk.
  6. We watched Polar Express as a family – the kids drank cocoa, I drank cocoa and Bailey’s.  It’s a requirement.
  7. The kids made sugar cookies – again with the good mother thing.
  8. We made gingerbread houses – I had to “clean up” the left over frosting.
  9. One of the neighbors brought over chocolate covered pretzels – nobody can say I am a bad neighbor, I ate the pretzels.
  10. The kids made those peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kisses.  AND they used dark chocolate – my favorite.  Being such a fantastic mom to my lil’ bakers is becoming a problem.
  11. We had dinner at a friend’s house, they poured cocktails, I didn’t want to be a rude, so I drank three.
  12. We stood out in the cold to watch Santa come through the neighborhood on a fire truck, it was cold, I needed to stay warm, I prefer liquid heat.

So as you can see, in the spirit of giving, because I am a giver, and in the spirit of the holidays, I have done my duty as a mother, friend, neighbor, boss and employee.  I have eaten and drank nightly and CHRISTMAS IS STILL OVER A WEEK AWAY!  Does this mean I’ll stop now before Christmas?  Uh, no!  I want to be on Santa’s good list, and judging from his belly he rewards those who selflessly indulge, like me, over those who turn their back on holiday traditions.  At the rate I am going, I am pretty sure Santa is bringing me diamonds and a new car.

Eat, drink and be merry!