Thursday, August 23, 2012

Strategic Planning

It's what I am doing at work right now. Collecting data. Setting goals. Building tactic tables. Thinking about return on investment formulas.

I always chuckle this time of year when I think about all the planning that goes in to my work life. And how little goes in to my family life.

I rationalize that I will get fired if I do not plan at work. Quite the opposite at home. Good luck firing me here. And sometimes I try really hard! Alas there is no employee code of conduct. No hierarchal ladder to climb. No HR department to vent your grievances.

In fact, we do not have quarterly reviews in this house. Or annual merit increases. No bonuses. Feedback usually happens sometime between "pass the potatoes" and "get the fork out of your sister's hair."

Mother and wife are the two titles I hold most dear. But without question the areas I spend the least amount of time planning for or measuring.

Or so I thought.

Truth is I DO PLAN.

The plan doesn't live in a Power Point presentation. But it absolutely lives in my head. I have long-term plans for how we'll celebrate milestones, save for college and build character in our children. I have short-term plans that get us through each morning and every night. Often, the plans come together in the car or during a meeting. And they live on lists all over the house and on sticky-notes attached to my work folders. The process may not be pretty, but it happens.


The output of my efforts can be measured in countless ways:
- clean sheets and folded towels
- school clothes laid out every night
- play dates, weekend activities, birthday parties
- college savings plans
- the menu for our back-to-school dinner

But the best measure of all are the smiles, hugs and kisses I am blessed with every day. At home, the coaching moments are more rewarding because they come from the heart. The "professional growth" and opportunities of being a mom and wife are endless. The office politics and art of compromise are a little sweeter here because the payoff is much more important. The conference rooms are much cozier and usually come with blankets, pillows (and toys for creativity).

How truly lucky am I to contribute and be a part of two work places? Two teams. Two organizations trying to make a difference in this world.

And how lucky am I that at least in one of those places, I get to be the boss:)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What brings me back.....

I am back to the blog, the keyboard, my family's journal......why?

Because Ben now dances to Flock of Seagulls tunes in his big-boy underwear and Lily is producing her own fashion shows, complete with a fancy British accent! How did I let so much time slip by?

I love that friends and family stop by this blog to check in on us (Hi everyone!). But the true intention of Happy Stones is to record the miraculous and mundane of this little life of ours. Down the road when I want to remember, I won't easily recall the time when Ben the magician would wave his wand, say "abba kadaba" and roll down the car's automatic windows. I will probably forget when Lily read her first words from the book "Chores, chores, chores."

So I had to come back, find time, sit still. And type.

It's been eight months, so here is the speed round:
- Ben had his second birthday and is now the proud owner of a red ryder tricycle
- We enjoyed our first snow in Blowing Rock, with hot coffee and krispy kreme donuts in hand
- Lily graduated from Pre-K and was the shining star of the school program
- We moved into our new home and got our mattress of the ground, ahhhhhh a king size bed!
- Summer brought Lily's first dive off a diving board, sparklers in the back yard and slip-and-slide races
- Lily turned 5 and we celebrated all week long
- The Zipfels visited and we sold cupcakes to cute boys in the front yard (and donated .60 to the church)
- We took a tour through Florida to visit our grandparents, eating ice cream and taking in the views
- Grandma introduced Lily to Barbie movies (and we will not elaborate on "glittergate")
- Ben has a sizable dino collection, and loves "tisses" "tookies" and "tars" - no speech therapist need yet, grandma!
- and we have 5 days left before Lily starts Kindergarten and Ben begins his new school.......

That brings us to tonight. Buck just returned from a run (he golfs now too). I am ignoring the laundry pile - and the never-ending work emails. And the kids are sharing a blanket, parked just beneath the TV watching old-school Scooby Doo.

How could I not return to the blog?

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