Being Grateful: The Beauty of Fall

The crisp air of the fall has set in on us in Park City.  I love all things that come with fall.  

  
 Yellow leaves.

Sweatshirts.

Wearing boots.

Football.

All things pumpkin.

Dark mornings.

Mountain biking on top of the leaves.

Soccer with our kids.

The first fire in the fireplace.

The first frost on the mountain lawn.

Red wine returns. 

Transition.

School routines begin.

The first snow in Park City.   

What I love most is that I live in a place where we not only experience it, but where it is majestic. Where the beauty of the season turning helps you to recognize the passing of time, and be thankful for what you have lived.  I am grateful.  

What Advice Would I Give My 24-Year Old Self?

Today I was doing an interview with someone about being a female leader in marketing and in the staffing industry and was asked an interesting question….what advice today would you give your 24-year old self?

Oh my.  Lot’s of advice, much of which is not mentionable on a blog titled “Marketing Meets Motherhood.”  As I reflected for a moment on this, I thought a lot about Joe Haynes.  Joe was my first boss at Procter & Gamble.  He was a Finance Manager when I was a Cost Analyst.  Joe taught me a lot, and in reflection was a very influential person in my own journey as a leader.

So, what was the advice I would give 24-year old self?  It was one of the lessons that Joe taught me – to be authentic and inquisitive.  Joe lived a life of authenticity.  From the day that I met him, he was who he was with no apologies.  He told me early on to be comfortable in what I know, ask questions about what I don’t, and always be good with either.  I wish at many points in my early career that I would have listened to him more.  When I finally learned that I should and I could do this, I became more comfortable in my own skin.

images

It is a lesson that I wish that learned earlier, and often one that I need to remind myself of today.  Each time I either succeed or fail at being an authentic leader, and trust me there are both, I think of Joe.  We are rarely in touch today, but I imagine Joe, retired from P&G, living a life of authenticity.  He may not ever know how influential this was for me, or even that he said it.  Joe, I hope that our paths cross again.

10 Years of Memories – Leaving our First House

We are in major transition as a family.  About 14 months ago we started building a new home, and we are in the final steps of the construction project.  In preparation to  move to the new place, we put our current house on the market and it sold, and quickly.  So today, we moved all of our stuff out of the old home and moved into temporary living until our new house is done.  It is crazy…this home is the first that Jon and I have ever owned.  I love that both Jon and I, and our kids, have grown up here.

Ten years!  It is hard to believe.  What an amazing ten years it has been.  I thought I would share just a few of my favorite moments.

  • The day we found the house.  We had just moved back to Utah and were driving around the Park City neighborhoods.  We drove by our house, and new it was a winner.  Later that day, after our realtor took us inside, we confirmed it was the one…bad decor and all.

IMG_1002

  • The projects!  Over the first few years, it was a never ending projects.  From the little ones, like adding cabinet hardware, to the full house painting project, we did it all ourselves.  It was hard work, but a fun set of memories, including painting the monster green wall!
  • Buying our first furniture together.  These were huge decisions often taking months of research.  Seems funny today, as it would be luxury to have months to research a couch.  But, the research served us well.  As we leave the house, we are selling/giving away a lot of our original furniture, well worn and full of memories.
  • Snow!  Love it or hate it, Blacksmith Road has gotten some doozies of winter storms over the years.  We love it.  I am sure that our new place will be just as much of a winter wonderland (assuming global warming doesn’t make the snow go away).

DSC_0002 (2)

  • Dinner parties.  Jon and I love the dinner party.  Our deck and our dining room had many a fun party over the last ten years.  Some of the most memorable were our east-coast ski visitors flying in lobsters or crab cakes to bring a little of the east coast our way.  Or the endless burger-press grill outs, including many a Cutthroat.
  • Leaving the house for Phoenix in 2008, and putting it on the market.  What a great time to put your house on the market, huh?!?  So lucky that it never sold.   I remember vividly driving away from Park City for the first time.  Some bittersweet memories.
  • Coming home, finally.  When Katharine was three weeks old, we moved back to Park City from Phoenix.  I remember when I brought Katharine into the house for the first time.  Jon was driving up from Phoenix, and I had made the journey, bravely, with our three week old on an airplane alone.  The peace I felt as I walked into the house was refreshing after the two year crazy-land we lived in in Arizona.

IMG_6668

  • Bringing Matthew home from Park City hospital as a newborn.  Katharine trying to help carry Matthew into the house as the strong-willed little two year old.

IMG_1177

  • The moments with our kids.  From Katharine’s first steps, to her first bike rides without training wheels, to sibling love and fighting, to Matthew’s recent crazy dance moves, our kids started their lives in this house and I will never forget how we all grew up together.

IMG_2713

  • Moments with our friends and family.  The beauty of living in a ski town is that people come to visit.  We have had so many visitors over ten years stay with us, ski with us and laugh with us.  I hope that continues in our new place.  There is more fun to be had!
  • Jon.  My life is better because of him.  Ten of our thirteen married years were in this house, and I love him and our life more today than I did the day we crossed our fingers and signed the papers to buy this place hoping that we weren’t in over our heads.

IMG_2744

What a wonderful ten years of memories.  I am sad to leave, but happy for the next step.  I can’t wait to great 10+ more at the new place!

Saturday Morning TV – Good Parenting?

I now understand why there is Saturday morning television (okay – now it is Netflix versus Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid).  Our kids come bounding into to our room this morning at 6:40am, letting us know that it was time to get up.  They crawl into bed next us and we hope for a snuggle.  They have other ideas in mind including playing games that involved burrowing down under our sheets and jumping on each other and us.  Where.did.sleeping.in.go?  The solution so I could wake up slowly, have a lazy morning and enjoy my coffee-put them in front of Netflix for some Saturday morning television.  

Why do I sit here, in bed, drinking my coffee with parental guilt?  I should be relaxing, sippping my coffee and enjoying the few moments of peace and quiet before our crazy day filled with soccer games, bike riding, and house-packing commences.  Instead, guilt.  I should be out there, playing with my kids, reading them books, coming up with art projects.  Instead, I am allowing the television to act as my babysitter.  Good parenting, right?

I remember Saturday morning cartoons as a kid fondly though.  After a long week of school, playing with my friends and homework, waking up to watch some Saturday cartoons was something to look forward to.  Did it scar me?  No.  I recognize it is all about perspective.  Today, “screen time” is so prolific for our kids.  We try desprately to adhere to the no more than two hours a day, but in the land where we look at our iPhones and iPads for news, texting, reading a book, blogging and Facebook it is really hard to enforce.  Often times, what they do on our screens are play cool, educational games.  Is that bad?  or rationalization?

What is the balance?  The downside of it all is that television whether it be on Saturday or not, too much screen time makes our kids crazy.  At some point, they become whiny and demanding, wanting more.  We hold the line, and it becomes a battle that neither one of us want.  Jon and I look at each other and say, we have crossed the line. 

Anyone out there have the silver bullet?  If so, please share.  For now, I am laying in bed listening to the Octonauts in the background, blogging and drinking coffee. 

Back to the Blog – The 5 Things That I Love About Blogging

Summer is officially over.  Kids are back at school finishing the end of their 3rd week. Time to get back writing the blog.  I have missed it, but with the busy schedules of the summer it was a nice break.  One of my goals this summer was to be outside as much as possible, and taking a break from the chains of my laptop was a big help in making that happen.

I am refreshed after three months.  I have overcome my lack of ideas which was plaguing me in June.  I have created a mental list of “breakthrough” content and I can’t wait to pour it onto the screen.  Oh wait, when I open the WordPress template this morning, and try to figure out where to start, nothing.  Nothing at all.  How can this be?  Where did all of those late night ideas go, or the ones I had while on the mountain bike trail this summer.  Lost in the land of writers block.  Nothing.

So, the only place for me to start is by reminding myself why I do this.  Here are my top five reasons why I blog.  Let’s hope that this helps me remember that I do love it.

  1. It makes me grateful for what I have in my life.  When writing, I often step back and think about all of the good things around me.  When I am going at 100mph daily, it is so easy to overlook the all of the good around me.
  2. It allows me a vehicle for creative expression.  I have an amazing team at work, and because they are so great, I don’t get to play in the work as much.  Good problem to have, but the blog becomes necessary.
  3. It is something that I do for me.  Given my job, my kids, my husband my family and my friends filling up the time in my life, I rarely do things just for me.  I am realizing this may be a little ironic assuming that someone out there is probably reading this.
  4. It allows me to think further out than just about today.  Often in reflecting about what to write, I take a longer view of life than normal.  When writing, I am not worried about today or tomorrows schedule but instead focusing on something in the future.
  5. It helps me to open up.  I was reading an article today about 5 Habits That Are Destroying Your Ability To Lead.  The first one of these is about “Isolating Yourself.”  Isolation as a leader can take many forms – from physical to mental to emotional.  I never intend to isolate myself from my team, but sometimes schedule makes it happen.  I find that when I write, it helps me become ready to be open with my team and takes some of my personal walls down.

So, it is worth it.  It is worth the writers block and the frustration associated with ideas not flowing.  It is worth directing my small amount of personal time this direction.  At least, that is my conclusion for now.  Stay tuned as I am sure that over the next few weeks as I get back in the swing of things, you may find me writing a blog titled the “5 things I Hate About Blogging”.  But, for now, my commitment is to stick with it!

Summer Vacation

So for those of you who have noticed, I am on summer vacation from the blog.  I figured one of the best things to help me sustain writing this in the future was a little break.  Interestingly enough, I find myself missing writing.  Good sign I guess!

Four more weeks left of summer vacation.  We will see if I can hold out.

#everybodyneedsabreak

Being Grateful: Preschool Graduation

Time is such a hard thing to keep in perspective.

IMG_1582

Sometimes you wish it away, like those moments you are sick in bed with the flu and you just want your sickness to be over with.  You hope beyond hope that time will pass faster so you can get back to normal.

Sometimes you wish to relive it, like those moments you reminisce about your past.  The “remember when…” moments that seem to grow in frequency as you get older.

Sometimes you wish for more of it, like those moments when your list of things to do is longer than time allows.

Sometimes it moves slow, but for me most times it moves fast.

After watching Katharine’s preschool graduation yesterday, I am simply grateful for the time I have had being a mommy to this precious little one.  It is amazing how she has grown and what a wonderful caring, little person she has become.

Taking Pride in the Journey

K2_Nordseite

A few weeks ago, I heard Chris Warner speak.  Chris is one of America’s most renowned mountaineers having summited five of the worlds’ tallest peaks including both Everest and K2.  He also is an entrepreneur (the founder and President of Earth Treks, Inc.), publisher and speaker sharing the lessons that he has learned on leadership through his many expeditions.  In 2007, he led the Shared Summits expedition successfully summiting K2 and proceeded to produce an Emmy award-winning film about the expedition.

His message in his talk was a good one.  He spoke in reference to his journey to the top of K2. Other athletes on other teams abandoned some of their friends, didn’t help others succeed and even stole equipment from his team. Alternatively, his team’s approach was different. They helped others to succeed and stay safe. Some of these choices to help others along the way caused additional hardship to Chris’s team. But, in the end, they completed a successful climb that they are proud of until this day.  My favorite quotation was:

Don’t get to the top of the peak you are climbing and not be proud of the way that you got there. – Chris Warner

There are a few reasons why this resonated with me so much:

  1. Often times as a goal-oriented person, it can be easy to see my individual choices and actions as a means to achieve the end goal.  Instead, what I constantly have to remind myself is that the journey is what I will remember and learn from. It is what builds my life. Without remembering this, I can get too focused on the end and not enjoy the process of getting there.
  2. My gut instinct is so often right.  In my life, there have been moments where I didn’t feel good about a decision I made.  My gut often times was telling me in the moment to make a different decision, or to reverse my course.  Sometimes I listened, sometimes I didn’t. Luckily, these decisions were small and time passed with no consequence.  However, despite the lack of consequence, I have regretted not trusting my instinct and reversing my course if for nothing but the knowledge that it would’ve been the right thing to do.
  3. I only have one life to live.  How I live this life, or in Chris’s case how he climbed K2, is the ultimate reflection of my character. I try my hardest to do what is right at every turn, to make choices that I would be proud of my children knowing that I made.

Confessions of a “To-Do” List-aholic

We are in the middle of a relaxing beach vacation with our kids for the very first time.  Sunday was both of the kids first time playing at the beach.  Katharine was beyond excited.  As she played in the surf, giggles, an occasional squeal and moments of “this is amazing,” were what filled the air.  What a moment this was for her!  Her happiness filled our faces with joy just being around her.

11150855_10153286341561796_120957318230566639_n

I sit here while the kids are napping after another fun filled morning thinking about my list of things to do both back at home and at work.  How in the world did my to-do list begin to creep back in my head?  Instead of heading upstairs to relax, or reading a book, I pull out my computer and begin down a path of checking email…almost out of habit.  Has my busy lifestyle made me incapable of just relaxing?  What the hell am I doing.

Today, I am confessing.  In hopes to not make this my path for the afternoon, I am writing this blog instead of doing my work email (oh damn- the notification of another email just popped up….hold strong).  I am choosing that a “to-do” list shouldn’t run my life, despite how busy I am.  I am choosing that by confessing, I am taking back control.  Working too much is not a forgone conclusion.  I refuse to accept that my email and my work list can control my life.  It starts today.

My commitment for this week is to get back on vacation, and stay there;  to start squealing with my kids on the beach when the surf touches my toes; to a margarita (or two) for lunch; and to a nap snuggling with my beautiful little kids.  I will be back next week!

I Want Peace

“I just wanna make you laugh.  I just wanna see that smile.  Babe, we’re only here, oh, for a little while.  I just wanna hold you till we fall asleep.  I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, I want peace.” – O.A.R.

We have been fighting sickness in our house for what feels like the entire winter.  One of us gets sick, then the other, then Mom which takes everything down.  On this late-April weekend in Park City, rain and snow have graced us with their presence waking up to a 3-4″ layer of white on everything, including our spring tulips.  We decided to take it as a weekend just to hunker down in our house and be at “peace.”  No commitments to anyone, no plans, just each other.

This morning as I prepared some bacon and eggs for breakfast, Matthew was building a whole scene in the living room – Dusty Crophopper was being rescued by the Fire and Rescue helicopter while Katharine was preparing for class at her art table.  She was a 13 year old that can drive to school, and is practicing her cursive writing.  In this land of pretend, O.A.R’s song “Peace” came on our stereo and both kids starting belting out the above lyrics almost subconsciously.

What a good memory to capture on my blog.  I am grateful to have the life that I have.  Today it isn’t marketing meets motherhood, it is must motherhood and being at peace.