Influence

Recently I heard something that has really stuck with me.  I want to give proper credit but for the life of me cannot remember where I heard this.  Maybe the Raising Girls and Boys Podcast, Maybe Beth Moore or Sally Clarkson- they’re all my virtual friends I esteem highly?!

The comment was essentially “In spite of all the worldly influences in our daughter’s lives, especially social media, music and their friends voices… You, as their mother, are still the most significant influence/role model in their lives.  Whether they admit it or not, the number one person they long to emulate when they become adults is their mom” 

It may look like they aren’t listening to you, but not only are they listening to you but they are watching you.  That is dually refreshing and daunting all at once! 

The good news is that we DO have influence and we are not out of time! Our daughters are watching us.  

That thought has really been powerful for me and inspired me to be even more intentional. What is my attitude like, how do I speak to others, what music do I listen to , what books am I reading, how do I handle hard situations, communicate my faith, how do I treat my body?  

We may not always get it right, but we can’t give up trying.

Becoming

Reflections on Michelle Obama’s Book Becoming

I listened via Audible while traveling to Orlando for AADOM conference.  Overall, I enjoyed the book.  It was a book that I feel Audible upgraded.  Sluggish in parts, I may have abandoned the physical book.  Hearing Michelle’s voice felt like a friend riding along in the car with me.

This book successfully did what I feel a good book should- it caused me to ponder questions/topics I had not ever considered.  I most enjoyed how it reminded me how connected we all really are.   Despite our cultural backgrounds, all of our stories, triumphs, struggles, life experiences and losses are surprisingly similar!  

I could especially relate to her struggles and challenges as she strived to be a good mother, wife and employee.  Open about how serving in the White House was never her goal, Michelle put her dreams aside to support her husband and his dreams.  She esteemed the institution of marriage above her own ambition.  She successfully communicated the gravity of the roles of President and the First Lady.   At times the emotion and weight of the story and her circumstances overwhelmed me and I cried.  I could vividly imagine how she must have felt.  Prior to “reading” this book, I had not ever considered the sacrifices a family must make to serve our country in this capacity.  

Overall, I have a new respect for her!  She is testament to what determined women and luck crossed with opportunity can do.  The  intentionality she brought to her role as First Lady is admirable.  While no job description existed, she knew that this was a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in our nation and humanity that she would not squander.  She knew the role came with tremendous power and influence and she wanted to wield it for good.   I appreciate her and President Obama’s intentional and unwavering commitment to ethics, honor and integrity. 

Family Chore Chart

As a working mom, daily chores were a task that I found overwhelming! I could not get it ALL done. Yall, the Family Chore Chart saved my sanity! I implemented it about 3 years ago and have not looked back.

It is not completely hands free. You do have to “inspect what you expect.” And… I do. Ask the kids, even if they are in the van ready for school- I will ask them to get out and complete today’s chore. After doing that I few times, I have found they “forget” to do them less.

I’m often heard saying “Many hands makes light work.” It is so true, these are baby chores I am asking them to do. It takes them so little time, and when everyone pitches in, my life is so much better for it. When grumbling ensues, I belt out “ We are Family!” Insert the laughing emoji, wondering why can’t I blog in emojis?

There are a million reasons why children can benefit from pitching in around the house. It fosters self-esteem and makes them feel like an important part of the family. Chores also teach them responsibility and teamwork. Psychology Today believes chores cultivate a sense of gratitude among kids. All good things!

Here is our Real Chore Chart currently on the fridge. No Pinterest Mom here, but most importantly- it works.
Gaines (age 6) is required to empty all of the bathroom trash cans into the kitchen one and feed Brooks on Saturdays. I need to update the chart and give him additional chores soon.

Podcast Favorites – Business

Podcast Favorites – Business

I think I might love podcasts as much as I love books!  Cannot get enough of them.  What I love is how I can squeeze one in while driving to work, carpooling kids, doing chores around the house and while putting on makeup in the morning.

Podcasts make the drudgery of housework, really any mundane task, more bearable.  I’m not much domestically inclined and a good podcast gives me just the motivation I need.

I pop in my air pod dupes ( or occasionally steal my husbands noise cancelling Bose headphones), turn on a great podcast and get to it! I can have clothes folded or dishes washed in a flash!

Below, I’ll highlight my Business Fav’s.  However, I listen to a variety.  I just select the next one based on my mood.

  1. Tim Ferriss

I’ve been listening to Tim’s long form podcast the longest and most faithfully.  Safe to say, he’s how I got hooked on podcasts. His interview style is amazing! I’m always blown away by how effortlessly his interviews flow and his guest feel comfortable with sharing it all.  He interviews world-class top performers then digs deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that his listeners can use.

My recent favorite: Seth Godin

2. How I Built This

Surprisingly, my 14 year old daughter introduced me to this one.  Super interesting how Guy Raz interviews leaders from the world’s best known companies.  They describe “how” the business came to be.

Recent favorite: SoulCycle

3.  The Smart Passive Income Online Business and Blogging Podcast

Wow! What a long name, ha!

4. The Productive Dentist Podcast

Hosted by Bruce Baird, I love listening to tips/tricks/mindset from “America’s Most Productive Dentist.

5. Work and Play with Nancy Ray

Nancy is just a breath of fresh air! I love her calming voice and I always conclude her podcasts feeling like “work” is put back into its rightful place/perspective.

I can’t wait to hear from you! Which podcasts are you loving these days?

My Travel Essentials

One of the MOST important things I’ve learned traveling by plane with kids is to- Never check luggage!

We all pack super light and carry one single rolling carry-on bag and one backpack.

More tips for traveling with Kids here.

1.) Tumi Carry-On  This is the carry-on I use and LOVE.  Unfortunately, it is super pricey!  I got lucky and had mine gifted to me. This looks pretty similar and way more budget friendly.

2.) Packing Cubes  In addition to the carry-on, I use these packing bags.  I organize like clothing in separate bag, less rummaging through my bag at destination. Think pjs in one bag, leggings grouped together, etc.

They do seem to allow me to cram more into my luggage- which is super important since I’m not checking luggage.

3.) Contigo Coffee Traveler I forgot this when we traveled to Montana. Huge Bummer! I love my coffee and this traveler keeps it hot on the go for hours. Life is too short for cold coffee.

4.) North Face backpack I always carry a backpack as my one personal item in addition to my small cross-body purse that I can place inside the backpack if any of the airport personnel require it (although thankfully they never have :).

5.) LectroFan Micro Wireless Sleep Sound Machine Do Not underestimate this little gem! It’s a winner. I use it as my sound machine when traveling and that I don’t have to sacrifice luggage space to carry it. Apparently, you can use it as a blue tooth speaker also but I never have. It’s earned a spot on this list just for the nighttime noise cancelling it does.

6.) Bose QuietComfort Headphones I don’t have my own pair, but my mom kindly lets me borrow hers when I’m traveling 🙂 These are such a luxury while on the airplane. Without fail, I end up in the very back of the plane where the motor is super noisy- these headphones cancel all of that. I turn on my favorite podcast (be sure to download before boarding plane when you have wifi) and I’m a happy camper.

Disney Cruise Vacation

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Random thoughts and tips from our 4  night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral:

As soon as possible, get your Disney Cruise account set up and your reservations linked. Go into your planning dashboard and complete all of the information. Specifically select the earliest boarding time possible

Plan to arrive at the port around 10:30 so you can hopefully board after 11:00 am. Wear swim gear, cover-ups, etc and go straight to the pool. Don’t go to your room. Go get chairs, lunch, etc.

You will drop luggage off at the port when you arrive. They take luggage to your room.

We got off the boat at both Nassau and Castaway Cay. However, the only excursion we pre-booked was the day at Blue Lagoon. It was beautiful. The local food was -meh.

We didn’t do Atlantis, I just felt the cost was super steep and you don’t have that long off the boat, by the time we traveled to Atlantis, we would have only had a few hours.

I didn’t plan anything for Castaway Cay. This is the best day. Plenty of seating, food on the island, etc.  However, it is crowded. We did break down and rent the kids inter tubes here.

Kids clubs are all free. You don’t need a reservation for any of that. Gaines (age 5) LOVED kids club, Campbell too (age 9). They couldn’t get enough “club.” I had to encourage them to leave and hang with us. However, my older girls were way less interested. There just weren’t that many kids in the clubs for their age ranges (12-14). That was the biggest disappointment to all.

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Character experiences do not require a reservation, except for the princesses. We didn’t meet any characters. My kids were too old, disinterested- sad!

It was hard to make myself do it, but one night Keith and I dined at Palo. I put the littles in club and the older two just wandered the boat. Our meal at Palo was ah-mazing!! Seriously a dinner to remember. If you can possibly make it happen, do it.

Be prepared for Pirate Night. This is normally Nassau day, but your planning dashboard in the account will tell you. You will want to eat w the kids this night and not at adult dinner. Everyone does dress up and it is super fun. We just ordered cute pirate t-shirts off Etsy and wore the pirate bandanas left in our cabin.

I didn’t pre-purchase the photo package. If you have any photos you just love, you can buy them at Shutters on the ship (we did not).

There will be a ton of rooms with door decorations. These need to be magnetic and can be found on Etsy. You will see tons and they are helpful for the kids to find their door down the long hallways when all look similar.

There is a popular fishhook activity on the ship. You trade treats and trinkets with other families on the ship. We did not participate and my kids never seemed to notice.

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Definitely get the Disney Cruise Navigator app on your phone. This will be great while ON the ship. This works in airplane mode and you and your family can use it to message with each other while on the boat. This will also have the daily schedule of shows, character meet and greets, movies, etc. 

I loved the second dinner seating. It is pretty late, but the main time is SO early. You have to get everyone ready for dinner so early.  The one major plus to the second seating is that the kids club will come and get the kids from dinner when they are done eating and take them to the kids club. They do not do this at the early dining time.  We typically ordered room service nightly to snack on (the cheese/grapes tray specifically) while showering and getting ready for the later dinner.

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Have Fun!