Such a week

Wow

My week was crazy – how about yours?

You know when sometimes you are super busy and all of a sudden another major thing comes up?  That happened to Lars and I this week.  It is actually a really good thing, just something I needed to change my days and nights to work around.

Do you think appliances know when you are too busy and decide they want attention too?  Yes, that was us.  Sink refused to be a sink, it preferred to be a water holder.  So so glad that the fee for a plumber won’t cause too much stress and now our sink is back to draining like it is its job.

How about when you get a request to be a volunteer in your child’s class in August and you pick a random day in the future and sign up.  Yup, that was this week too!  It actually worked out really really well because I’ve been gone so often for VoteYes meeting that I needed some time focused on the kids so I did class work for the morning and then had 3 lunches in a row.

I also got to talk to a few people in the schools in person, saving myself tons of emails so it was a win-win day.

The VoteYes campaign is like a full-time job.  The kickoff went really well, it is always good to do public speaking in front of a group that you know agrees with you.  We did plenty of ‘trusting the emergent process’ because some details were not planned until the day of but things just kept evolving and I’m glad we could roll with it.  For some reason, in my head, I put that kickoff as a goal and didn’t really put too much thought into the next day.  Just like a due date for a baby – on the day after their birth you realize they were so much easier in than out.  Yup, now I’m the proud manager of a ‘live’ squawking and needy campaign.  I had a minor panic attack about handling it all and then realized that I do know this word ‘delegate’ and lucky for me a few of the others were just sitting there waiting for me to hand them their piece of the action.  I’m still busy, I will be for weeks, but I don’t feel like I’m doing it alone (because I’m not!).  It is still a volunteer group so I am dealing with the nuances of that but that is nothing new to me.  At least it is understandable when life etc gets in the way for volunteers, it is maddeing when it happened at work (and boy did it happen)

Not to devolve into weather, however, we are in a heat wave so we are doing this all in 90 degrees…  Today we are apple picking because that is what you do in late September!  I guess we are just doing it in shorts.

There is more to share, I just don’t have more time now.  Zoe has a birthday party and I’m still trying to keep the house clean-ish so delivery of child and gift is next on the list and then exciting exciting bathroom and sheets day.

For me, busy is happy so I’m *overjoyed* right now.  (ps. I can only handle this level of joy so long, hopefully, I can last another 5 weeks)

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Checking in

Hi again

Yes – still here.  When I realized yesterday that I had not even called my mom in a week I know that I’m behind in communication.  I’ve definitely been doing things though, I feel like I’m living a dual life – the mom/wife/friend part and the voteYes campaign leader.  Working them around each other is a trick, but not harder than any working mom and maybe easier because I really do believe in this cause.

VoteYes – I have a meeting 2 evening a week and various impromptu meetings in the day to plan.  Like any meeting, I leave with a giant list to get done or follow up.  Good thing I have experience with projects because this one is just like many other.  There are really good people I’m working with and people that I need to pry info out of and people that turn on a dime.  Once you get the feel for whats going on predicting isn’t that hard but it is a job that will eat all the time if you let it.

The biggest thing that I’m loving about running a campaign is that I’m finding out about a whole new world that has been around me the whole time.  I’m meeting all sorts of people and learning about what they are doing to help the town or the city or the world.  I joke that I’ve bought into a social-positive investment fund where people who love schools meet people who love the police and people who love sidewalks and parks.  I never thought that I would be having a conversation about how to help our town while floating on what may be the coolest water craft for 100 miles.

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On the home front; I’m actually on top of laundry!  That is like my litmus test for how things are going and with some extra time in the day and some self-motivation, the house things are actually getting in order.  I’m chunking the garage into 1/2 hour forays and attempting to keep a running list of what needs to  be done.  The positive for staging our house and having half the ‘stuff’ in storage is that it is actually pretty easy to get everything put away.  The negative is that I miss that stuff and need it!  I have a date that I’m actually looking forward to with vacationMom to reorg the storage unit so we have access to what we might need and then we go out for sushi.

Kids; I feel that I’ve outsourced my kids.  They are at school and loving it.  There are complaints but nothing out of the ordinary and they hop out of the car joyfully every morning.  I can see each of them growing more into themselves.  Niamh is a blend of extremely independent but still, needs us.  Zoe is seeing more and more of the big picture.  Fiona is getting to the point where she knows how things are going to go and that fits are not really getting her anywhere.  With jujitsu 2 nights a week, they have more dad time than ever and good thing because that is when I’m sticking my voteYes meetings.  They are also still a little crazy.  Fiona finally checked the family bucket list of ‘cut your own hair’, it isn’t the worst but she does have a bit of a scissors compulsion.  She is also enamored with tattoos and likes to make them on herself with a sharpie.  Again, could be worse, she is at least drawing stuff you recognize.  img_4121

SCA; with everything else I’m not sure how, but, we are more active than we have been in years!  Lars took on a new group of students, all are awesome people (who also come with spouses and families we like too) that I’m happy to have around so half to support them and half motivated by them we are doing more again.  It certainly helps that the kids are getting so much better at managing themselves at an event AND we have our borrowed teen who we bring with and she is the 3rd set of eyes.  The SCA is also a drama fest at times, I don’t love all the things that get tossed around on facebook but a dynamic group is made of lots of types of people.

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A bunch of our SCA crew took on valley fair and it was great!

Workout; Thanks to vacation mom we are actually doing a couple workouts a week.  Right now I’m running to the Y.  Might as well while the weather is nice, and, we still live close enough.  I’m not lifting as heavy as I was, its a process, and I’m happy to have the company doing it too.  We are also doing a great little arms workout, we will see if we have results someday.

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Moving; on semi-hold still.  This weekend talking to builders while also taking the opportunity to spruce up our siding thanks to some fun hail in July.  I am glad we are in a state that won’t see a hurricane ever, hail is nothing in comparison!  I think we are also getting a roof?  Talking to insurance…  Always a fun topic and great for my adult points for the week.

Prima; The dog is still a dog, she is still a mini and loves to be treated like a stuffed animal.  The kids carry her, she sleeps in my lap, she comes to school every morning and is adored by many many children.  She isn’t the best at learning stuff, we are currently working on sit.  On the bright side, she can’t jump high enough to get onto the furniture so that is a plus all around.img_3927

That is about it for this week.  I’m so busy all day I fall asleep almost instantly!

 

 

I love time hop and ‘memories’ on FB

Yes, we should all live now and all look to the future but I really love seeing what we have done.

Today memories on facebook popped up a picture of me at a wedding from 5 years ago.  I was 3 months post-Fiona birth, I had just started staying home full time.  The wedding was for my husbands BFF who was marrying a woman I kinda knew.  We had been living in MN for long enough that while he and Lars were still great friends, they had each grown different social groups and this wedding was an exercise for me in meeting 90% new people and seeing a few faces I knew from when we lived on the east coast.

Looking through the pictures today, 5 years later, soooo much has changed.  The obvious ones I didn’t need Facebook or Time hop to show me; there are pictures of my girls at 0, 3 and 5 – the youngest in those pictures is the same age as the oldest was.  I’m in better shape now, Lars didn’t have a beard, every adult looks a shade younger….

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Niamh; 5 Zoe; 2

The really cool thing about this string of pictures is that now I’m WAY closer to so many more people in those pictures.  When the couple ended up moving here to MN from NJ we got to know them again and that cascaded into finding relationships with people in those pictures that I probably never would have seen again.  I didn’t even know the brides parents at the wedding, now I’ve had Thanksgiving with them 2x and seen them for a handful of other events.  People in the crowd I remember having a passing acquaintance with are now people I’ve hung out with every day for a week multiple times, or, just ended up friends with them on Facebook and ‘know’ them now.

There are sad parts too.  There are at least 2 sets of people in those pictures we just don’t ever see.  Their lives went a different way and there were a few bad interactions such that it isn’t really worth the effort to repair or keep up.  I’m a little sad by that, but, I still feel the positive balance since I have grown to know so many others because of this wedding.

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It was actually an extra big memory weekend because that first wedding will always be linked to the other wedding of friends from here who married a month after, and, this weekend was their first son’s baptism.  There was the same great feeling of actually knowing people that are in someone else’s family.  I can’t claim real friendship with some of their friends because they are from their past and they live far away now, but, I have seen them often enough to be happy when I see them now and I’m really glad I know them at all.  They represent our ‘new’ friends, people we completely met after we moved and had no link back to the east coast.  New is a relative term though because I’ve known the both since before Lars and I were married, since before any children.  At one time we saw them every weekend and now with kids things changed but we still see them pretty often.

This is kinda a sentimental review of the weekend but it works.  We also went to the zoo, and to keep with the theme, we sat there and reflected how awesome it was to go to the zoo with zero gear.  No stroller, no bag of snacks, we didn’t need to keep track of any lovie and we didn’t need to keep our eyes glued to them since they are really great at playing in an area and coming back when to check in.  Our Zoo is basically half playground with animal exhibits interspersed but that is fine by us – a great way to spend a few hours on a gorgeous late summer afternoon.

Today is Labor Day.  A random holiday that a least has very little traditional hoopla for me so generally enjoyable.  There is no school and I had no real plans but my oldest daughter must have been learning all the while; she created a party for the day.  She actually gave good thought to inviting people for her sisters too so it is a massive group play date. She text invited everyone (I did confirmation and follow ups).  She has a treasure hunt she wants to do and a menu and if I could get her to actually tidy the house for guests this would be almost no work for me.  I see that in my future though, there will be parties in my house that I’m a guest at.  To limit the ‘fun’ I put a 2-hour limit, if things go longer when parents come back for their kids that is fine, but, baby steps into the party planning.

I hope your weekend, holiday or not, was great and don’t poo-poo the memory apps, you never know what will pop up.

ps. here are a few other pictures from Aug/Sept 2012, I did a few photo shoots that month..

A weekly update

I have not blogged in a week

Want to know why?

Nobody wants a blog about a spread sheet, an action register, dishes that need to be cleaned or have been cleaned – ditto with laundry and all other things.  Just know that all those things have happened

We  did actually go to a fun thing last weekend!  We went down to a lovely little event about 3 hours away.  It was small enough I think I talked to everyone there and totally enjoyed the experience.  We actually went because Niamh was getting a children’s fighting award and she was super excited for the recognitation.  It is hard to totally love camping events because the fun is always bookended with packing, setting up/taking down, and laundry to recover.  This event was on the damp side.  Great weather in the day but the dew was soaking so every hem, cuff and shoe were soaked.

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Last week I felt virtually corporate with all the meetings and follow-ups but I think that was the biggest planning week for the campaign and after labor day it is rolling out and my job is to make sure other people do the jobs.  I’m really really lucky that the heads of the groups all seem motivated and talented so my job is going to be fun.   The meeting yesterday though had me awake at 5am thinking about everything so I’m back on the work super early routine so I can do my volunteer work and my paid work and last of all my house work (ha!).  With the kids in school, I am actually making headway on the project list but never as fast as I wish.

Today we have girl scout plans, tomorrow more meetings, Thursday a school board meeting and Friday plans to visit friends.  The weekend is supposed to be a ‘holiday’ but we have no big plans.  We might do a dance practice and that will be new and different…

That is what is going on over here while the kids are all enjoying school!  They are enjoying it by the way, totally love most of the stuff and even ok that the school is still mid construction so not as easy to get around as normal.

I need to get back to the lists.  We had hail damage so next up is finding someone to do siding and roofing – yippie!

More important, the second day of school

My kids started school yesterday.  All of them.  I’m going to let that sink in because there are people reading that probably remember when I had 3 under 5 and the thought of school was like a distant mirage…

On one hand, I’ve gotten pretty used to having them around – managing the fights and redirecting the energy to something useful.  Them going to school now is like I’m actually losing some helpers!  I can totally understand the LIttle House books that have 7-year-olds staying home to mind the kids so parents can work in the field.  The right 7-year-old, that is a true consideration.

 

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Niamh is actually happy to go to school, her face is because we insisted she brush her hair and wear shoes.  She also couldn’t find her shoes, shoes she was told to find the day before… so had to wear different ones

 

On the other hand, I really like the routine of school.  It isn’t just that they are ‘gone’ it is that there are predictable times.  I can work with any schedule really but the summer was all about constant change schedules and being spontaneous is fun for a while but I’m happy to know that at 8:40 we walk out the door and at apx 3:45 they will be back.

 

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Zoe was up and dressed at 7am, she loves her custom backpack

 

I have had kids in school for years so I have been easing into this but last year Fiona was 3 days a week, so, that first day didn’t feel odd but the second – this feels weird.  Don’t worry, I’m not at loose ends, I have project lists both big and small and this week my goal is to get all of the things I’ve been letting slide get done.  Massive piles of laundry, finding the garage, putting away the bits and pieces of summer.  Next week I need to look at what is in storage and figure out how to not undo all the staging but also live in the house in winter.  Finally, there are a few bigger projects for the house I need to research and actually do.  I assigned Lars some youtube homework to learn how to do a few little things we need for a minor bathroom redo.

 

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Fiona can spell her name really, but, is very focused on doing a lowercase ‘a’ and therefore forgets about the rest of the word.  She gave up the quest for a sabertooth tiger backpack when she fell in love with the $12 emoji backpack.  Thank goodness for impulse love.

 

The other reason for the title is that the first day has so much energy that it can’t help but be good.  The second day of school is much more telling.  Zoe and Fiona loved everything, Niamh is still not so sure since 4th grade has some more changes but she will get it.  I am really glad they are generally positive, it will make the rest of the year easier if they like to go to school.

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and now I can’t deny it, I’m not a stay at home mom – I’m a housewife!  I need to go wife the house some 🙂

 

Using my degrees – all of them

When I was little in elementary school we were presented the standard options for jobs; Teacher, Lawyer, Doctor, Fireman.  I spell badly, don’t really like blood or fire so I put myself on the lawyer track.  Funny enough, that early ‘you will be’ declaration never really left even when I knew by my teens that there were infinite varieties of other jobs and as a college graduate I looked at all the jobs I had never heard of and now as an adult I do a job that didn’t even exist then…

Before college, I had thought about what I would do with my law degree and I had the dream of doing international relations.  I looked at schools that had that as a major and there were two and both schools got off my lists for different reasons and at 18 I dialed it back from international relations just to the more general political science.

In college, I took the general government/pre-law track that was Political Science.  I figured that a solid knowledge of government and politics would do me well even if I didn’t go into law (because even as a freshman I had a suspicion).  I double-majored in History, a very natural double major and ironically minored in English because it is less about spelling and more about reading and by being a bad speller I’m actually a really good reader because minor errors never bother me so I can read translations and older versions of English and be just fine.  During college, I worked at a law firm in NYC and while I had a great time there and didn’t even mind the work, the partners and associates that told me every day to “save myself” and “don’t do this!” while probably half joking were a cautionary tale.  The fact they also slept in their offices, had food in their desks because they didn’t leave, and had extra suits in their closets actually were more telling and I wanted a life a tad more than a law career.

I graduated with honors, but in reality, the thing that matters is that I graduated since nobody since then has ever cared that I had a nearly perfect GPA.  With a degree doors opened and I took one that led me into purchasing and logistics and I really loved my time organizing and streamlining and getting things at perfect as possible for the different companies I worked with.  The ‘dream’ of law and politics went into the background as I had real word situations to work on.  My international relations came true in the form of overseas supplier and customers and knowledge of law is woven into all business so I’m glad I had a foundation.  I went on to my MBA and learned even more about how systems of business work and how to use what I know to make a company better or more effective.

In the back of my head, I have always loved law and politics but had put it on a shelf because of ‘real life’.  Until now… This week I accepted the Campaign Manager position for a local levy and bond and I’m officially in the world of politics.  I like that my hard hours of study about political demographics and parties are paying off because I know exactly what the analyst is saying about the best way to run this campaign.  I think I’m in this position not because of my undergrad level of knowledge of politics but probably because of the MBA that is basically a masters in being bossy and orginized – both things that make a good campaign.  I feel like I’m jumping into the deep end but there is a team that believes in me so I owe it to my self to have the same level of self-confidence.

I’m working on a campaign for a thing, not a person.  Technically I’m working to get money so our kids and schools can have a fighting chance.  I’m willing to give up my time so my kids and their peers can have a class under 30, supplies without begging, and the support staff to let the teachers teach not do everything else.  The budget in our district has been cut yearly, jobs lost, programs cut, but still, the school performs.  There is something special that keeps the teachers and administration keep working and doing a great job.  I can’t imagine what they would do if they were fully funded!

This is a sprint of a campaign, only 2 months, but there is a team and a plan and guess what – I get to lead it!

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