A Bit of a Funk

I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write this blog post.  I have to admit that for a while, things have been a bit hectic.  Work has been busy, life has been busy, and I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with everything.  One thing is is for certain, though, I miss blogging!

When I look back over the past year, I've realized that blogging has helped me manage life.  There are so many things that I do not want to miss; blogging/writing helps me to capture it.  When a thought comes to my mind, I blog, and can let it go...it helps me to de-clutter.  It's simply fabulous.

Over the past few months, I've been in a bit of a funk..overwhelmed...frustrated...you name it,  I think I've experienced it.   And I believe I've found the root cause: a delusion of time.  I have so many hobbies, so many things that I want to do...bottom line, I think I have so much more time than I actually have.

When it comes to hobbies, I love to blog, cook and sew and read.  I found a passion for running, love to play my piano yet overall, I want to be the best mommy and wife that I can be.  I've realized that somehow, my mind thought that I could achieve everything in a day, which is absolutely impossible.  I am not joking, in my mind, here's what I thought would be possible:

Wake up, shower, and get ready for work.  Wake up the kiddo, make him breakfast and pack the lunches for all of us.  Go to work, put in a good 8-10 hour day and come home to make a healthy meal (I hate meal planning, tho).  Eat, play with the kiddo and hubby, start the bedtime routine (bath, read books), put on the gym clothes and head to the gym.  Come home, tidy up the house, do a load of laundry, sew a bit, or read a book and then lights out - time for bed.

I kid you not, that is seriously what I think I can accomplish in a day.  Now that I'm actually writing it down, I realize how delusional this really is!

I was talking with a friend of mine at work and shared with him how I feel completely overwhelmed with life.  He suggested that I sit down and map out my day in regards to time, then take out a 20% reserve (a.k.a Management Reserve for things that pop up), and with the balance remaining, realistically plan out how I want to spend it.

There's not a chance in hell that I could accomplish everything above - but now that I know that, I'm hoping I can be more realistic about planning my time that I can alleviate the guilt of not doing it all.


Its Been A While...

Hello Blogger Friends!!

It's been a long time since I've written a post, well over two months. And although things have been busy, blogging has not been far from my mind.  Like most hobbies, and with the work/life balance, I've had to step away for a while, but am glad to be back!!

Looking forward to catching up with everyone!


When There is Doubt

Life has been extremely chaotic lately, between long hours at work, laundry, and daily household chores, little time is left for much else.  I've been thinking a lot lately about how life would be different if I stayed at home with Roland.  I can tell you...it would have been a long time before I taught him how to put his coat on all by himself.

A big thank you goes out to Miss Cheryl at daycare for teaching him some 'self help' skills and easing the load on Mom & Dad!

The trick - "Toes to Tags".  Check out the video and let me know if you have any questions!!


Interview with The President

A few months ago, I signed up to receive emails from WhiteHouse.gov.

I received an email earlier in the week that prompted the American people to submit questions to The President for a virtual interview to be held this Monday at 5:30 pm.  Originally, I was going to post a question on my frustration with how we are destroying the earth to mine natural resources to help us sustain our current way of living...but as I started thinking, I realized that I'm more frustrated at not knowing HOW to get involved...I would love to make a difference, but how do I take that first step?

This video was submitted at The White House You Tube Channel.  Here's a link to the video - I hope you enjoy! Your 'likes' are greatly appreciated :)

I'm also interested in your feedback and comments too!!


One thing I am learning as I continue down the 'Working Mother' path is to never be surprised by being surprised!

Last Sunday night, we approached the start of a new work week consistent with what was to be expected.  A bath on Sunday night, followed by books at 7:00 and bedtime at 7:30, and just enough time to spend Sunday evening relaxing with the hubby.  Around 10, Roland started crying.  Since this was not the norm for him, I quickly went to see what was wrong and was completely surprised to find that he had thrown up.  Immediately, the term 'medical doctor' was added to my domain of expertise as I tried to assess the symptoms...no fever, throwing up, severe congestion...perhaps the congestion and mucus is too much for his little belly and which made him sick?  Okay, let's stick with that.

We changed his clothes, quickly showered him (tub was out of commission since we were disinfecting it with clorox since he decided to poop in the tub earlier that night...), changed his sheets and put him back to bed.


Two hours later, we woke up to another crying fit.  Yep, he vomited again.  Poor baby!! This time, I questioned my diagnosis and started to think that perhaps dinner didn't agree with him.  The amount that he thew up just didn't make sense with congestion.  I made salmon cakes for dinner and he's had them dozens of times before, but perhaps it just didn't sit well with him?  Okay. We'll go with that.

Monday morning surfaced quickly and I found myself bound by the familiar 'Working Mother's' guilt. Work vs. family - what do I do?  Roland didn't sleep well, threw up, was severely congested.  Unfortunately, we have no family in the area so having someone babysit him was not an option. He didn't have a fever so technically he could go to daycare.  I decided to keep him home and work from home during his nap.

We sent him to daycare on Tuesday and at 3:00 I received the dreaded daycare call. "Roland woke himself up from his nap and vomited."  What could be going on?  I made a quick exit and let my team know know that I may not be able to attend a business trip in D.C. scheduled for the following day.

Since I was still unsure as to his diagnosis, we made a call to the pediatrician and scheduled an appointment for Wednesday morning.  Again, surface working mother's guilt...I was scheduled to be in D.C. for a meeting, but the little guy was under the weather.  To be fair, this is where you learn of those events you really need to attend, and those events you can delegate.  This was an event I could delegate.

Roland checked out fine at the Dr., so what could be causing the vomiting?  Turns out it was greek yogurt. After combing through the events of each day throughout the past week, the only common thread was the yoyo.  So, the yoyo was put back on the shelf for awhile.  Thankfully, the little guy fully recovered albeit passing his congestion on to Mommy and Daddy :)

Anyone else experience the working mother's guilt?  How about a sudden food aversion?


I'm Addicted to SEWING!

The one thing I DID NOT need this year was another hobby to add to what seems to be my endless list of things I LOVE to do...the more things I try, the more I like, which means I have to divide my time up even more.  Oh well...life's good!

My latest creation which I'm EXTREMELY proud of...  my second creation of the Amy Butler Sunday Sling pattern. The fabric is Caravan by Malori Wells for Free Spirit and Rowan Fabric Aboriginal Dot.  Love, love, love!

I started the bag last Saturday, and finished up the final blind stitch hem this evening.  Not too bad!!

I'm taking a basic quilting class at The Little Shop in Haddonfield so stay tuned for pics from that project!

Happy Sunday!


...and she Vlogs!

A new addition for 2012...an attempt at "Vlogging!"

I have been contemplating the concept of Vlogging for a while now and after visiting 'Modern Mommyhood (an adorable soon-to-be mommy), I must say, she makes it look so easy....


It's one thing to talk to an audience full of people, but talking into a video camera with no 'live' feedback is tough!  Forces you to stay on your toes, focus and make sure you can get your message across.  After 3 takes, this was the best one ;)

It's short, sweet, to the point...and my first attempt at posting weekly 'VLOGs'!!


Plymouth Yarn Scarf

Yes, after 1 year of intermittent knitting, my scarf is finally complete!  I was definitely inspired by the new Lion Brand magazine I received earlier this week!  But, I've decided to finish the current projects before starting any new ones! Well...it's a good thought...for now :)


New Year's Resolutions: Less is More

I've realized that when it comes to New Year's Resolutions, perhaps less is more.  

Last year, prior to starting 'The Diary of a Working Mother', I started a blog titled 'Expanding My Bubble, Expanding Yours' and one of my posts detailed my New Year's Resolutions for 2011.  

Did you go to the link? Did you read the post? I know...I'm exhausted, too! 

What I didn't realize last year, was that by having SO MANY goals, I basically set myself up for failure right from the beginning.  I had SO MANY goals in SO MANY different areas.  When I had even a thought of the chance of some free time, I found myself assessing my list and making sure I was doing something that was aligning to my goals.  Absolutely. Exhausting. And that's how 2011 ended up being...absolutely exhausting! 

Of the 10 goals I identified (not including sub-goals), I was able to complete one...to work on my book and 'The Diary of a Working Mother' by delivering a seminar at the Society of Women Engineers Conference in Chicago in October.  Yay! 

My biggest achievements came from items I did not plan: 

  • I decided to sign up for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and not being able to run even a quarter mile, trained up to 6 miles! Unfortunately, the pregnancy did a number on my core muscles, so I had to slow down and delay the half due to a muscle strain on my abs.  But, I do plan to continue to work towards completing that goal!  The endorphins released from running are amazing.  Week by week, I could see my accomplishments and was so proud! Additionally, the time spent running was my time...time I could use to meditate, clear my mind and de-stress.  It was fantastic! 
  • From the work aspect, I was able to lead a team to execute a successful technology demonstration in just under 3 months.  A huge accomplishment!  
So for this year, I'm adopting the 'Less is More' theme: 
  • Continue to work on my book/blog
  • Read as much as I realistically can - if I can shoot for 6 books this year, that's great
  • Complete one sewing project and one knitting project (I seriously have 20 started!) 
And that's it.  The one thing that stayed true from last year is the following: 

Quote from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland':
     Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? 
     Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
     Alice: I don't much care where.  
     Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go. 

You need a goal...something to shoot for, something to guide you along your journey.  Goals and objectives give you a clear path - you may achieve your objectives or you may not, but you will surely learn a lot about yourself along the way.  And boy did I learn a lot about myself in 2011!! 

"It's the journey, not the destination..." 

Happy 2012 Ladies! 

Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop!!

Kelley from Haute Mom made my day this morning when she notified me that my blog had been selected as the guest host for the Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop!  With my new relaxed, positive attitude, I smiled to myself knowing that 2012 is off to a great start!!

Kelley is a 'haute' mama to a beautiful little girl, a fellow working mama and an avid runner! Amazing how motherhood inspires us to achieve new goals and aspirations!

Haute Mom

The blog hop rules are simple!!

1. Follow the hostess,
Haute Mom and the guest hostesses. Be sure to leave a comment so that we can follow you back.

2. Follow the guest hostess (and I might mention, I love those comments!!)

3. Link up your blog for all of us to love.

4. Make an attempt to check out at least two new blogs. Don't know where to start? How about the two blogs above you? If you love the blog, become a follower and leave them a comment letting them know.

So link up! You don't have to post about the hop...but you know how we ladies work, the more the merrier. We would love it if you would help us spread the word and help Welcome Wednesday grow! One of you could be next week's spotlight guest hostess!

So grab a glass of wine, and relax into 2012 with outstanding Mom Blogs!! 

Thanks Kelly!! 


I AM...

...going to change the world, one step at a time.

I started on an incredible personal journey in August; the only catch was that I wasn't aware I had started one.  In late 2009, one of my colleagues suggested that I read "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn.  I was going on a business trip and thought that it would be a good time to give the book a read, plus, I was beginning to feel guilty about having the book so long.

I was very confused as I read the book and in fact, went back and forth on my opinion of the book for the entire duration of the read.  Part of the problem was that the book was forcing me to think critically of topics that I've basically taken for granted up to this point in my life.  (You can find my book review here.)  Topics that I haven't even given an ounce of thought about, or the impact that those topics had on my life.  The book awakened a part of me that wanted to do more with the world - have more of an impact...but the question was 'how'? How could I effectively make an impact?

I put that book aside and through one of my favorite mom blogs, found out about another book that peaked my interest: 'Work Love Pray'.  An online book club started in early November and I eagerly signed up to participate, but found that I had once again overextended myself and wasn't able to complete the assigned 3 chapters per week. The book peaked my interest for various reasons.  In my particular career field, it is not uncommon for me to be one of the few females among a sea of men in meeting after meeting after meeting.  Trying to find a mentor in an executive position who is a full-time working mother is hard to come by.  The book, in a way, acted as a mentor for me.  Diane Paddison talks about how she aligned her strengths, passions and relationship with God to navigate her career.  At face value, it is an excellent career-oriented book for young Christian professional women; I wish I would have had 'Work Love Pray' when I was just starting my career.  Once again, I found myself taking a deeper look into the book and found there was much more to be offered than career advice.  On a personal level, the past year has prompted me to take a look at many different aspects in my life - my relationship with God, my career and if it is truly aligned with my passion, and the difficulties of trying to effectively manage it all.  Diane cites Patricia Sprinkle, author of Women Who Do Too Much, "Our goal should not to become hyper-organized, highly efficient superwomen; our goal should be to spend most of our time on what we value most." Prior to reading this book, my goal for 2012 was to become a hyper-organized, highly efficient superwoman...this book brought that train to a screeching halt!

In the latter part of 2011, I found myself frustrated in that it seemed as though I had way to many "have to do's" which left little time for my "want to do's."  This year, I want to start simple, not overcommit and stay focused on my priorities.

In early December, I had lunch with the colleague who suggested 'Ishmael' and through our conversation, he educated me on the marcellus shale drilling/fracking process and I was immediately overcome with frustration.  He suggested I watch the documentary entitled 'Gasland' that details the impact of fracking on families in the area.  Due to the drilling, water supplies/wells are now becoming contaminated with natural gas, so much that you can put a match to the water and it bursts into flames.   This is the exact scenario Daniel Quinn was trying to enforce in 'Ishmael' - we are trying to exhaust the world of natural resources and in doing so, we are DESTROYing the world.

Visualizing where we are now and if nothing is done, where we might be in the future, I realized that there is a chance Roland will never get to experience the great outdoors that the hubby and I took for granted when we were growing up.  Lazy days lounging by 'Yellow Creek State Park' in western PA, fishing for bass, hiking the numerous trails - it could all disappear with the severity of the environmental impacts from this newfound drilling.  But again, what could I do about it?  What are the families doing that are immediately impacted?  Why isn't the government doing anything about it?

I watched the first half of the documentary with my father over the Christmas break.  My dad is a coal miner (not an environmentally nurturing career either) and when I told him of the impacts from the drilling, he said, 'Oh no, they are drilling so far in to the earth, there's no impact.'  And was quite adamant, citing conversations with others in his field of work.  Imagine his surprise when we watched the video - it was priceless - look up 'surprised' in the dictionary and you would see his face.

Okay, so now you are probably thinking how in the world  'Ishmael', 'Work Love Pray' and marcellus shale drilling have impacted my journey...well, at dinner this evening, I was expressing my frustration with the world.  There is so much that is going wrong in the world, between the financial crisis, mortgage crisis, marcellus shale drilling and the destruction of the world and I feel helpless in trying to make an impact.  I want to, but I don't even know where to start.  What can I do? I'm one little fish in a HUGE ocean.  Based on conversations with friends and family, people notice what's going on in the world, but they don't think they can make an impact, so they turn their cheek.  BUT THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT BY TURNING THEIR CHEEK, THEY ARE EQUALLY AS GUILTY. The question is HOW.  HOW can you get involved? HOW can you make an impact?  

Well, this evening, as we were winding down from the long overdue Christmas vacation, we decided to watch 'I AM', a documentary by Tom Shadyac focusing on two important questions:

What is wrong with the world? 
What can we do about it? 

(I hope you're beginning to see how everything is related :) )

I had chills for most of the movie.  In three hours, I went from feeling helpless, to feeling empowered.  I was looking at the problem all wrong and Desmond Tutu (archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa) said it best, "How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time" WE can all make an impact, and it can start now in our daily lives, the interactions we have with one another.  The human race operates at its best through compassion and understanding, working together to find the optimal solution.  Yes, there is survival of the fittest where competition reigns supreme, but that is not and should not be our prime focus in life.  As I see it, the government and lack of cooperation between the parties is the exact enactment of competition; the world cannot continue to prosper with that type of behavior.

As I was reading 'Work Love Pray', I highlighted the following passage taken from Charles Swindoll, Great Attitudes! 10 Choices for Success in Life:
"Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company...a church...a home" 

Attitude can make or break the world we live in.  This is my step one - hopefully educating and creating an awareness and awakening to all of you.  Together we can make a difference...a difference for our children!

Wishing you all the best as we embark on this wonderful new year together!