Thankful This Thursday: The Sun

Posted on January 28, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , |

I love the sun.  I am not one of those Midwesterners who would “miss the seasons” if I were to move somewhere warm.  If I were never to see so much as a snowflake again, my life would be PERFECT!

The sun puts me in a good mood.  It gives me a reason to leave the house.  It makes my skin flawless.  A slight tan makes me look slimmer.  Good music sounds so much better when playing loud in the car with the windows down.

Braden and I have loads more fun going for walks, blowing bubbles, playing at the park and going swimming than we do inside.  And I’m not the build-a-snowman-go-sledding-make-hot-cocoa mom.  I’m the just-walked-from-the-driveway-to-the-house-make-hot-cocoa mom.

So while I’m visiting my parents here in Florida, I am soaking up the sun.  It’s not even all that warm here… for Florida.  But I’ll take 68 degrees over 8 degrees any day!  And I may just not make it back.

This Thursday, I am thankful for the sun.

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Thankful This Thursday: Security

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , |

How is it Thursday again already!?

This Thursday I am thankful for shelter, water, food, freedom from injury and disease and knowing that my loved ones are safe and sound. 

Short and sweet this week, but in the wake of Haiti, anything else would seem petty.

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Parental Job Sharing

Posted on January 20, 2010. Filed under: Single Mom | Tags: , , , , |

Let’s face it.  Some things are just easier to get done without children in tow (i.e. errands, working out, doctor appointments, bra shopping, home organization projects, grocery shopping, etc.).  Households with two adults typically figure out a system that works for them (a la you go to the gym in the morning while I drive the kids to daycare; I’ll go to the gym in the evening while you pick the kids up).  Single adult households, however, are missing out on the swap-op.

…but we don’t have to be!

Put on your business hat for a minute.  When companies have to cut cost, one option to consider is job sharing.  Essentially, two people accomplish the same amount of work that one would, but exhaust less resources.   If you think about it, running your home is much like running a business.  Money comes in, money goes out, you aim for profit (savings), you manage your staff (spouse and children), you maintain your facility (home), you service your clients (family, friends, pets) — and in tough times you downsize (get divorced).  And when that happens, much like with business, the help and the cash flow decrease, but the workload does not – so you absorb it.  Well, it’s time we stop thinking about running our home like a business, and actually start running our home like a business!

Parental Job Sharing – Get on Board!

It doesn’t take a revolution for women friends to help each other out.  I’m not claiming that I have a novel idea here.  But I am proposing that we look at it from a new perspective.  Now, I’m sure if you really needed a sitter, you could call your sister or best friend and they would help you out.  Right?  But I would venture a guess that you spend your babysitting favors wisely.  Just as you wouldn’t buy an ugly pair of pants because they’re there and you need pants, you’re not calling in a sitter so you can go to the grocery store.  That baby’s in your back pocket for a night out on the town!

So why don’t we take a cue from corporate America and start job sharing?  Why are we duplicating efforts?  Why are we missing out on yoga class?  Why are we chasing our little dressing room escapees through the department store in our bra?  Because we’re not job sharing!

Why not form your own Parental Job Sharing Circuit?  Find other moms in similar situations as you and collaborate to improve efficiency in your homes.   Here are some ideas how:

  • One of you watch and feed the kids while the other goes to Tuesday evening yoga class, and then reverse roles on Thursday evenings.
  • Call your job sharing partner before running to the drug store, with or without kids, so that you can grab whatever she may need.
  • Perhaps you both like cosmetics from Sephora and books from the library.  Put one of you in charge of restocking the makeup bags and the other, the book shelves.
  • Form a large circuit and swap Saturday afternoons “off”.   Half the moms host a playdate together with all of the kids while the other half go to the mall to get some shopping done, and switch roles next Saturday.
  • If you’re making lasagna on Sunday night, make two trays rather than one, and bring one to you job sharing partner.  Next Sunday, switch.

You get the idea.  If you form a group and create a system, you all benefit, and no one feels like their need is too petty to call a sitter.

When it comes down to it, I just don’t want to bundle up and strap in my four-year-old just to go get a bottle of cough medicine.  Five minute errand?  POOF!  Thirty minute ordeal.

Won’t you job share with me?

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Thankful This Thursday: My Sister

Posted on January 14, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , |

She’ll probably never even read this post. (!!!!?!????) Half the time I wish she came with a mute button. That’s not very nice to say, I know. But the girl literally speaks every thought that pops into her head. You know how you could be walking down the stairs and think to yourself, “there’s a red string on the stair; I should pick that up…later”? She says it out loud. And the game “20 Questions”? That’s just a warm up for this girl!

But my sister is a part of our family, and by that, I don’t mean she is a part of my family because she is my sibling. I mean that she is a part of Braden and I. Braden expects to see her at our house on Wednesdays. If I haven’t talked to her in a couple days, I wonder what she’s up to. When I’m watching a movie, I want her to be watching it with me. I buy my groceries with her in mind. I want her to read the same books I do so we can talk about them.

We are two incredibly different people who rarely agree on anything, but we would be lost without each other. She drives me nuts, but at least she is in the vehicle with me!

When I found the keepsakes in the garage back in November, I came across a folder full of sweet things my sister wrote to me while we were growing up. To give you an idea of how much my sister has always loved me, here are some titles and some content of the letters, poems, cards and notes I’ve saved from her:

  • “A Birthday Poem from Me to You” (A very sweet poem written when she was 13.)
  • “It’s Your Birthday, Sister – I’m always telling other people how great I think you are. Today I’m telling you. Happy Birthday.” (A Hallmark card.)
  • “You’re the Greatest! Happy Valentine’s Day, Sis!” (A homemade construction paper card.)
  • “Laurie, You Are the Coolest Sister!” (A colorful sign drawn on the computer to hang in my room.)
  • “dEAR LORIE, You are nice, You are nice, You are funny, You are pretty. You are good at nintendo especially california games, I love you. You are good at school. love, your little sister.” (A note she typed and printed on a dot matrix printer.)
  • “My sister is the greatest thing I’ve ever had.” (A poem to make amends, written when she was 14.)
  • And my personal favorite: “18 Golden Things About My Sister!!” (A list of 18 things she loved about me, written for my 18th birthday on December 18th.)

After a particularly rough day of third grade, I came home to my mom video taping my sister playing with the dog in the yard. I guess I snapped at her when she tried to greet me, because the video shows her cute little pig-tailed head coming up to the camera, “Mommy! Laurie called me a idiot!”

An idiot, she is not. My inspiration for this post is her natural ability to relate to Braden in ways that I am lacking. She can get him to talk about events and emotions in more detail than he shares with me. She has this way of turning every encounter into a teaching opportunity. For example, we have a list of house rules on the bulletin board. Braden and I read them out loud together most days, and I refer to the list when I need to enforce a rule.
But what does my sister do? First time she sees the list, she reads the beginning of each rule aloud, so that Braden can finish it. Then it’s all high fives every time he gets one right. Amazing!

I actually go to her for advice on how to deal with behavioral problems and discipline challenges because she simply has a knack for it.

When she does have kids of her own, I imagine they’ll either be very smart and well-behaved, or very smart and absolute tyrants in their rebellion. And I’m certain they’ll ask a lot of questions.

This Thursday, I am thankful for my sister. She is my soul mate.

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Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’m running out of the physical kind of energy.  Y’know, the kind that your body needs to stay awake and be productive.  But I just have to write this post tonight – the title for which has been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks.  How to pull this all together in a meaningful way will be a test of my writing skills…

As any of you who have been hanging around MLI for a while know, I have a real passion for life in general, but writing, making a meaningful contribution, parenting and connecting with others, more specifically. I’m learning that I thrive in life when any combination of those elements is present.  It is when I shine the most, personally and professionally.  I also feel strongly that positive energy welcomes positive things.  It’s a “when it rains, it pours” philosophy — without the negative connotation.

So here is the series of events that led me to this post: First, I’ve decided that MLI needs a custom design. In discussing that with a friend at work, I was put in touch with a woman he thought could help.  In one short phone conversation, she and I agreed that she isn’t the person to meet the original need, but that we should meet anyway just to see if she can add value in another way. I had no idea what to expect, but thought eh, what the heck?

Fast forward two weeks to this past Saturday.  I’m in the shower, thinking about the blog and decide I need to develop my personal brand.  I start to envision the platform, the design, the content, the brand.  And suddenly it hits me.  A brilliant book idea.  By the time I finish blow drying my hair, I’ve written an entire book in my head. (Now, I’ve never intended for my blogging adventure to lead to writing a book, but who am I to tell my brain no?)

Sunday, the creator of the Ning group I belong to and write for tells me she’s going to start advertising in the newsletter and share any profits with me.

Monday, I meet with the above-mentioned woman.  We hit it off instantly and spend the evening bouncing ideas around.  The meeting turned out to be mutually beneficial, and rather than me hiring her, we agreed to barter services.  Additionally, she’s interested in hiring me to write a weekly blog post on her website and possibly write her web content as well.  We also discussed other possibilities and opportunities.

She leaves, I check my email and find that my application has been reviewed and I have been offered a gig as Chicago Co-Parenting Examiner at

What is going on here?

Tuesday I have a conference call with a friend of a friend who is just starting as a freelance writer as well.  We share ideas and discuss possibilities and networking opportunities.  My excitement is rising.

This morning, I check the status of my Suite 101 application and find out I have been accepted there as well.

Why am I telling you about all of this?  Because when I wrote my About page on Day One of My Life, Incomplete, I meant what I said: “I have a dream to write professionally. I am starting here, but hope to one day get published in a magazine and ultimately (don’t laugh) run my own…”  But I added in the “don’t laugh” because I thought I sounded ridiculous.  Today, I can see my magazine out there, in the future, waiting for me to come and get it.  I’m on my way!

The energy created just by getting started launched me into motion.  It seems the more I focus on the elements in my life that I am passionate about, the more those elements multiply.  And to tie it all together – a quote (by unknown) that a friend posted on Facebook today: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you will fall into someone else’s.  And guess what they have planned for you?  Not much.”

What’s in your life plan?  What are you waiting for?

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