Let Me Tell You About My Other Brother

For awhile now, I’ve been sharing what’s on my heart about the tragic loss and aftermath of losing my brother Eric. But here’s the thing. God not only blessed me with one amazing brother, but with two. My brother Luke is five years older than me, and although we fought like crazy when we were young, I consider him one of my best friends now. And today is his birthday.

If I could turn back time, I would have a puppy party with him at sunset after finishing the dishes, share a bowl of ramen noodles in front of the wall furnace, fix a bowl of cockadoodledoo, watch back-to-back episodes of Star Trek (Captain Picard only, please), and sing every song in the Jungle Book sound track at the top of our lungs. These are only a few of the inside jokes and memories we share, and I realize now how lucky I am to have so many.

I love you Luke, and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have you for a brother. You’re one of the smartest, kindest, most generous people I know.

 

Happy Birthday big brother!

 

Then…

 

…and now!

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Hot diggity dog! Now I can be dainty AND write with my OWN pen!

Friends, I’ve got some great news. For years, I’ve been dreaming of doing just one thing…writing…with a pen. But up until now, I’ve had to labor away at the keyboard, unable to sign my daughter’s enrollment form at preschool, the loan paperwork for my mortgage, and the checks we give to charity. My husband, with his big masculine hands, has been the only one able to pick up a writing utensil.

But now, thanks to the brilliant minds at Bic, I have reason to rejoice. Finally…FINALLY…a company listened. For years, I’ve been typing correspondence to pen manufacturers begging them to please consider the majority of the population when making their products. After all, at only 5′ 10″, I’m somewhat of a weakling. I’ve only birthed two children, and just couldn’t muster the strength to pick up a several-ounce piece of plastic…until now.

Yes, writing is in your near future! Pay just slightly more than a “man’s” pen and it’s yours!

Ladies, meet the Cristal Ball Pen for HER. That’s right! Product features include:

– Elegant design – just for her!
– Medium 1.0 mm point, Black ink
– Thin barrel to fit a women’s hand
– Medium 1.0 mm point
– Black ink

Can I hear a collective “ooh” and how about an “ahh?” You know, only the kind reserved for opening gifts at wedding and baby showers? What? You’re not impressed? Well, truth be told, neither am I. I’m not angry, just perplexed. I mean, I’m supportive of the “feminization” of some products (t-shirts, hello), but pens, really? Really?! This is just silly. Super silly. What’s next? Declaring that a certain brand of diet pop is only for men? Oh wait…

(Turns out I’m not the only one perplexed by this. Read GMA’s story here. Also, make sure you read the reviews on Amazon. Hilarious!)

Tips for Taking Your Toddler to Work

Every great once in a while, it happens. You have an important client meeting, one that you’d rather not reschedule, and your childcare plans fall through. Now what? You could call and beg and plead with everyone you know to sit on your kid for awhile, but you did that last week, and you’re out of favors. Or, you don’t have any backup resources. So you’re faced with two options: reschedule or bring your offspring along for the ride. I chose the latter.

I strapped my sixteen-month-old into her car seat, and headed into town (her older sister had other arrangements). I was a little apprehensive about how my appointment would go, but I’m glad to report that there were no major glitches. I was productive, she was happy, the client was satisfied. Win-win-win! Now, I realize it doesn’t always go this way, and in fact, I have some horror stories of unsuccessful attempts to take my older daughter to work back when I had an office job. *shudder*

So, if you find yourself in this situation, there’s no need to panic (unless you’re an ER doctor or pilot or police officer or something and you can’t get away with this, then panic away).

1. Judge Your Child’s Temperament to See if They Can Manage This Scenario
I know my kids well. My youngest is your classic “easy child” and goes with the flow. My oldest creates her own flow and doesn’t easily adjust to new situations. I’m not sure I would have attempted this with my oldest, or it probably would have been a disaster (as it has been in the past).

This girl is always up for an adventure!

2. Inform the Client and Ask for Consent
The great majority of the time, your client will understand if you explain the situation. But don’t just show up and surprise them, and don’t be surprised or offended if they’d rather reschedule. It’s not personal.

Nobody seemed to mind my little helper.

3. Remain Calm. Remain Confident.
If you’re stressing out, your toddler will sense your mood. Keep your tone light, and act as if it’s just as exciting as a trip to the library or park. And once you’re in the meeting with your client, keep your chin up. Just because you have a child in tow doesn’t make you any less of a professional, and doesn’t diminish your intelligence. Work it momma!

4. Bring a “bag of tricks.”
It’s common sense, but absolutely crucial. You’ll need a goody bag stashed with books, toys, snacks, and any other diversion you can think of. Be prepared to cycle through them all.

Goldfish, dolls, books, we had it all!

5. Give them the Holy Grail. 
For some kids, this is your cell phone. For others, your keys. Whatever that object is that you rarely let them have, give it to them now (within reason. Don’t hand them your pocket knife of anything.) It’ll buy you some time. For my daughter, this was a lollipop (or two). We can’ t pass by a candy aisle in the grocery store without her yelling, “Pop, pop!” Baby wants. Baby gets.

Stain on the shelves matches the stains on her shirt. Oh well, the peace and quiet the lollipop provided was worth it!

6. As soon as possible, let them play.
After your meeting wraps up, find the nearest place your toddler can play, and let them go to town. I was lucky enough today that my client had a kid’s play area in the store. Genius. I released her from her stroller and set her free! It was only for 10 minutes or so, but long enough to satisfy her before strapping her in her car seat again.

She was happy to get out of her stroller and play with new toys.

While taking your toddler along as your mini-assistant might not always go smoothly, it’s worth trying. Will I do it again? Only if I absolutely have to. She was a doll, and while I enjoyed her companionship, momma needs her grown-up time once a week! :-)

This Blog is Going Big Time! (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

This is how excited they are about mommy’s big news.

Against your better judgment, you seem to like me. Well, maybe not me, but you like my writing. Well, maybe not my writing, but you’re related to me and feel obligated to read my blog. Okay, okay, enough with the self-deprecation. (Side note: I often have to catch myself from saying “self-defecation.” Different meaning ENTIRELY.)

Seriously, though, this blogging thing feels good to me. Natural. It excites me, fulfills me, and gives me a constructive place to squeeze out my brain juice every day. As a creative person, that’s important. So important. About the only thing it doesn’t do for me is pay the bills. (Well, indirectly, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.) And while I fought against the idea of monetizing (offering ad space for sponsors), I’m now ready to give it a shot. Initially, I didn’t want to “sell out” and end up writing for “the man.” (Just who is this man? He must be related to “they.”)

But I see it this way. If a girl with a guitar starts playing for friends and family, and they give her encouragement, she may want to play for a larger audience. So, she’ll play non-paid gigs just to get exposure and boost her skills and confidence. Then, one day, she’ll realize that while her tip jar may cover the gas money to and from shows, it’s not paying the electric bill. She’s spending a large amount of time pursuing this dream, and if it could also pay the bills (or at least some of the bills), how awesome would that be? And who could blame her?

So, I’m currently in the process of building a new blog, one that will accommodate a small amount of ad space (and also allow me to install some super-cool plugins). It’s now or never. I don’t want to look back and regret never giving it a shot. And even if I only make enough to cover the cost of set-up, I’ll be happy. I’m eager to reveal the new-and-improved look, and may be blogging here a little less often as much of my time will be dedicated to the new site. (I hope to launch in a month or so.)

Angel: Your blog will be awesome! Go for it!
Devil: Your blog sucks. You suck. Give up already.
(I’m pulling for the angel.)

I’m allowing myself to be optimistic about this, and not slip into my usual “Daria” mode. Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah…(Even though she’s awesome.)

What about you? Have you ever taken a leap of faith? How did it turn out? Are you glad you at least tried even if it didn’t go so well?