Category: Unrelated

Since You’ve Been Gone

Whoa, it’s been a hot minute hasn’t it. I am finding that after the 12 For 1 Diaper Drive I tend to take a break from blogging. It’s not really planned, but it tends to go that way. Which is a shame since we’ve had a lot of fun the past month! I’ll catch you up.

Mike had his first screening for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and tested just fine with no restrictions. This was great news to confirm, but we already had a feeling he was just fine.

Mikey started his 2nd year of preschool at the same place he was last year and over the summer. His favorite color is red and he wants to be an astronaut.

I started a temp job in Annapolis and this is my view – fingers crossed it goes permanent in a few weeks.

We took our first family vacation (where we didn’t stay with family) to Ocean City. Mike loved the beach!

He wasn’t too keen on the rides, but did jump on the boats for a spin.

Did I mention we stayed in a hotel? Mike loved letting either Mommy or Daddy sleep in ‘his bed’.

Oh yeah, #12for1 raced passed the 15K goal and went right to 22K diapers. No biggie 😉

Thoughts on Women’s Day from Sonjara’s CEO

Reposted with permission from Sonjara’s blog. I’ve worked for Sonjara off and on for a few years and have always admired Siobhan Green, the Co-Owner and CEO. I thought it was important to share her thoughts on Women’s Day. 

Sonjara was founded as a way to keep one woman – me – in the workforce, while also allowing my husband and I to raise our children the way we wanted to. As a result, we created a workplace with values focusing on supporting the whole person – embracing their gender, age, race, ethnicity, and outside responsibilities (such as parenting or school). Using what we call “radical flexibility”, we focus on productivity as our true measurement of performance.

I never wanted to be an entrepreneur when thinking about career goals. Dedicated to international development, I always saw myself as an employee – for non-profits or government providing ICT4D [Information and Communications Technologies for Development] services. But life intervened. My former company, while having wonderful policies, was unable to overrule the decisions of my direct boss when it came to work-life balance, especially related to having a newborn. Without really thinking it through, I quit and my boss panicked. Ultimately my boss hired me as a freelancer until he found a replacement and Sonjara was born.

A few years after I founded Sonjara, my husband Andy was able to join the company full-time and then we started hiring employees. We dedicated ourselves to providing policies and a culture that addressed many of the challenges faced today by women and men who are caregivers. While initially thinking these policies would help primarily women, who still are the primary caregivers of small children, we also found men were even more in need of work options with flexible hours and location and an understanding culture of parenting responsibilities. We then realized that everyone needed and benefited from what we now call “radical flexibility”.

Primarily virtual, Sonjara allows people high levels of control over their personal productivity, by managing where and when they work and giving them a lot of autonomy in how they get their work done. With modern cloud based systems, it is easier now than ever before to support flexibility while maintaining productivity, security and quality. While we see this approach as common sense, it also has the benefit of overcoming many traditional barriers faced by women – and others – in the workplace. At Sonjara, we also are passionate about supporting female entrepreneurs, female IT experts, and female leaders as well as making sure male and female entrepreneurs, IT experts and leaders are aware of unintended biases they may be unwittingly party to. We include gender in our user analyses, evaluation metrics, and design perspectives, and try to make sure data is disaggregated by gender. We try to keep up to date on the latest news on ICTs and gender, and how it intersects with race, class, age, and other factors so that we are not exacerbating existing inequalities by ignoring these differences.

We at Sonjara have decided to not stop our work on this day, but rather to double down on our work to improve the lives of women – our employees, our clients, and our beneficiaries around the world. We salute all those who promote gender equality around the world.

I wish you a Happy Women’s Day!

The One Thing You Need in Your Kitchen


 

I will be honest, I don’t make money off my blog. It would be nice, but I am too tired to figure it out. However, some companies reach out to me (or vice versa) for product reviews and if I feel like my ‘audience’ (all 4 of you, hi mom) would find value in it, I green light it.

When Brieftons wanted to send me a chopper/grater/slicer/mixer do-hickey my initial reaction was a eye roll. I have a very expensive, heavy and large blender/mixer/chopper thing we got as a wedding gift that I use once a year at best and is too expensive to get rid of. Our kitchen space is limited and I bet it’s a pain in the ass to clean. BUT. I am currently obsessed with chopped salads and they are pretty labor intensive. So what the hell. Send me your magic machine! 

Guys? Buy this. I am all in. It basically has three core pieces – the bowl (with a divider), the top with the rip cord and another top with a slot to put the right ‘slicer’ in. This makes it super easy to clean and store.  But … this is only about $25. It can’t do everything it claims that easily. So for the sake of my blog, I decided to try. I needed to clean out the pantry and had a box of key lime bars (oh DARN) so I made them. The mixer part of this thing is worth the money alone. It totally gives in to how lazy I am. I put all the ingredients (4 eggs, 1/4 water and the mix) into the bowl, put the mixer attachments in, secure to top, pull the ripcord a few times and voila! Perfectly mixed.

Next was veggie prep and it totally exceeded my expectations! It was SO easy to switch out the slicer plates, clean the bowl and get my chopped salad pieces done quickly. I was spending $3 on pre-chopped onions to save time, but I bought a $0.67 onion this week and chopped it in 2 minutes.

The only negative I can come up with is the ‘safety food holder’ which you stick on your veggies (or whatever) to protect your hand while slicing. It didn’t stay in the veggies well enough to be efficient. But otherwise it fits my criteria for being awesome – cheap, efficient, space saving and money saving.

Here are some before and after pictures if you don’t believe me. And forgive the carrot picture. All I had handy was baby carrots. It looks so sad!

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, the legal stuff. Yes, I got this product for free to try. No they didn’t pay me for a positive review, they can’t afford that. No, if you buy it off Amazon I don’t get paid. But I should. 

 

The Christmas Boot

I was talking to my Mom the other night about our lack of Christmas decorations. I feel like we talk about this every year, but I was really able to pinpoint what was missing – the warmth I felt of Christmas at my house growing up. I felt like things were special and different and cozy. I love my house, but it doesn’t feel cozy at Christmas time.

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After sharing this with my Mom she was, of course, happy I had that feeling and memory of Christmas’ growing up. But she also mentioned how in the early years she thought her Christmas decor was haphazard and mismatched. I disagreed with her and brought up some of my favorite items. Obviously the toy train set that we had under the tree, the collection of stuffed animals, and my Mom’s snowglobe collection she kept on the record player on homemade ‘lifts’. But what I most remember was The Boot.

I don’t know why I didn’t find it odd at the time, but it was a small glass Santa boot that had perfume in it at one time. It’s just one of those things that sticks with you. It took some Googling to find a picture to jog Mom’s memory, but then it all came flooding back; the big wax carolers and especially the wax sleigh. Mom remembers being so proud to have purchased those as a young wife and started her Christmas decor. Of course, the boot and other Avon treasure are long gone now and her decorating tastes have changed.

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But today, a package from EBay arrived on my step and it was a vintage Avon box with, you guessed it, a Santa boot filled with perfume. I might classify my Christmas decor style as ‘kitschy’ or ‘whimsy’, but that boot will always have a place on my mantle.

You never know what your kids will remember!

Dear Mike: Election Edition

Dear Mike –

You and I had an eventful morning! We headed over to our polling place to vote for the next President of the United States. We waited in line for over an hour and you were SO patient! I know at 3 years old you don’t have much of a clue what is going on, but this election is a really big deal. It’s the first time a female was on the ballot AND the first time a man with no political or military experience was on the ballot.  I didn’t think it would bother me, but I told Geema today – I am just feeling out of sorts.

I am so happy I have been able to take you to vote since you were born, even the midterm elections! It’s our right as Americans and one I don’t ever want you to take for granted. I want you to grow up watching the debates, asking questions about the issues and making an informed decision even if it is different than my decision. But for now I am thankful you are only 3 and you didn’t have to witness the nastiness that went on for the past 20 months. BUT if you were old enough to see what is going on, I would use this opportunity to talk to you about some heavy issues Donald Trump has brought forward.

 

{Locker Room Talk} Baby, I have never been in a locker room full of men, but from what I hear – the ‘locker room talk’ excuse is crap.  I know Daddy agrees. Real men do not about women as objects, they don’t call them names and  they certainly don’t stand for anyone else to speak that way either.  In our house BOYS WILL NOT BE BOYS. They will be kind people.

{Consent} Guess what? If someone, anyone, says stop – you stop. I don’t care if you are waving to them or engaging in intercourse. No means no all the time. You keep your hands to yourself. And we expect you to stand up for anyone who isn’t able to consent. This is going to be an ongoing conversation in our home.

{Bully Goat} We have been reading Llama Llama and the Bully Goat recently and that’s what Trump is – a bully goat. He likes to call people names, and make fun of them. He tells his supporters to do bad things to Clinton and wants to keep people out of our country because of the color of their skin. He says things about women that I can’t even bring myself to write, things that literally makes my mouth drop open. He is a bully goat. we don’t want you to EVER be a bully goat and we want to respect everyone regardless of their ethnicity, orientation or the color shoes they wear on Thursdays. We also hope you won’t stand to see other people being bully goats.

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The polls aren’t closed yet Bug, but Daddy and I are going to stay up late and see who wins this election – who will be our leader for the next four years. We are hopeful we wake up tomorrow with a President we will be proud of. We don’t have to think alike to love alike. And just like generations before me have said about my generation, I hope your generation is the one to get it right.

I’ll eat you up, I love you so –

Momma xoxo

Stay Silly

One day you will stop asking me to lay down with you for no reason but to talk about Batman and make silly faces.

I am thankful that wasn’t today.

stay silly

Nomo FOMOing

It usually happens around Wednesday evening. That dreaded question. What do we have going on this weekend? As a working mom, my weekends are considered a sacred time for being with S. and Mike and making memories. When it’s cold, we usually defer to the mall play area. When it’s warm, we end up at the local playground. But there is always something tickling the back of my mind. FOMO. The ‘fear of missing out’. It isn’t until Monday when I see on Facebook all the festivals, grand openings, free play events that we missed. How do these parents know what’s going on? Am I missing the newsletter? Did I not get the ‘things to do with a toddler’ website when Mike was born?

real hair wigs 

I decided to stop FOMO’ing and figure this out. I asked these well connected people where they get their weekend plans and now I am sharing with YOU so you can stop FOMO’ing, make memories, try something new AND have akid that take a nap on the weekend.

{Red Tricycle} S. loves the Red Tricycle emails! They have a bunch of cities, so he subscribes to the Washington DC email. They have a great event listings page. I feel like the featured events are very art-centric and that’s not a bad thing.

{Housewives of Frederick County} I consider the lovely ladies of HOFC to be among the blogging elite. While their event listings are more Frederick County focused (and free!), they blog about lots of stuff.  I really like the DIY section.

{Macaroni Kid} Like Red Tricycle, Macaroni Kid is a national site, but local areas are ‘run’ by local parent publishers. Our local publisher is very active in lots of groups and sends out a weekly event email. I really consider her a local ‘expert’ and have found some fun stuff for us to do on weekends.

{EventBrite} EventBrite is not just for kids! Anyone can sell tickets through EventBrite, so it isn’t focused on world tours or high dollar events. Think Girls Night Out, local expos and networking events. The cool thing is you can search your zip code, then narrow it down to type, price and date. It’s a great resource for planning a date night or finding a new group that has your interest.

{Moms with Tots} A great resource from another Maryland Blogger friend who posts ‘week of’ events. She also has the option to submit events, so there is a wide variety from exhibits to open play at local gyms.

{Local Facebook Group} Though this is last, this is where I recommend you start. I joined a ‘Moms of’ group on Facebook and these ladies are a wealth of knowledge. They all get different information from different places on local events and then are happy to share it with the group. Just search Facebook for your area.

Here’s to no mo fomo’ing!

Girls in White Dresses: BCPL Challenge

My goal for this year is to read 16 books so when someone shared the Baltimore County Public Library 2016 Reading Challenge I thought it would add a twist my reading goal and help me branch out a bit.  I tend to read what would be classified as ‘literary fiction’ and shy away from ‘science fiction’ or ‘fantasy’. And no. I have not read Harry Potter. I just can’t.

Here’s what the BCPL Challenge looks like:

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I am a huge fan of BookBub so I have a lot of really random books in my Kindle collection. I decided to start there and tackle ‘a book with a color in the title’ which led me to Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. I decided not to read the summary and had no idea what I was in store for. I finished it yesterday and if you ask me if I liked it, I would probably take a long pause and say ‘I’m not real sure’. Which seems to be pretty common based on the reviews.

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Girls in White Dresses follows a group of girls navigate life post college. Each ‘chapter’ is its own little mini-story from a different girls point of view. They suffer through bridal showers, drunken nights, boyfriends who are weird, boyfriends who are not weird, job loss and the general post college ‘what the hell is going on with my life’ moments.

I felt like I was watching an episode of Girls (which I gave up on after the first season). The characters were so … dramatic and immature most the time. I didn’t find them relatable because once I graduated college, I met S. a few months later and didn’t have the ‘never find a husband’ thoughts. And I lived in the suburbs in a world before Tinder. I didn’t keep in touch with many people from college, so perhaps I was missing that ‘everyone is progressing and I am still figuring it out’ mentality.

And the boys! In this book they were all so different, and I hated all but one of them. It was almost like the girls were trying to live this Sex and the City lifestyle and it came across as desperate and high school-esque.  If the guy is strange (like eating a box of macaroni and cheese out of a pot strange), just break up with him. Everything didn’t have to be so damn dramatic and difficult.  Of course, my parents might say otherwise. 

“Breakups are tough,” Isabella said. “But you got through it!” “I’m glad you’re over him,” Shannon said. “Now you need to go find another asshole to fuck with your head.”

There were some funny stories about family dynamics – Moms that used funny expressions and sisters who meddled. And my favorite story was about a boyfriend who was obsessed with politics and left his job to go on the campaign trail with ‘The Candidate’ (who was obviously Obama).

So all in all, it wasn’t a horrible book – but it’s the kind of book I will see in a few months, buy it because it looks good and forget I already read it until chapter 3. Borrow it from the library friends. Don’t buy it.

Peety Fecks

Dear Fourteen Year Old Jackie –

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I thought you should know – this morning your 2 year old son randomly pointed to the freckles on your chest and said ‘pretty’. Stop covering them up – they are pretty and so are you.

Love,

Old and Wiser You

 

A Winner or Five!

Guess what? You get TWO posts from me today! I am excited to announce the winners of a free Sago Mini download:

Cheryl B

Libby B

Kimberly M

Jennifer N

Caitlyn P

I’ll be emailing you ladies this morning with your download code. I can’t wait to hear how your kiddos like the game!