Thursday, April 24, 2014

Back to Basics

I've always been fastidious about my personal finances.  For as long as I can remember, I have kept a monthly budget in which I tallied my household expenses, debt and savings.   Nobody taught me to do it, or even suggested I do it, but I just did.   Through more challenging years, this budget helped me feel more grounded.  It assured me month after month I was, in fact, getting somewhere.   

My goal was always to save enough to buy our next home.  With the baby and the move and the all around busyness of my day-to-day, I have recently got away from my budgeting.   While I always keep track of it mentally, the practice of updating the spreadsheet is good form and I need to get back to doing it. 

Recently, I've been enjoying the popular best seller, The Millionaire Next Door.  I'll do a write-up with my summary and conclusions once I finish it, but for now it struck me as interesting that the author reminds us, “Planning and controlling consumption are key factors underlying wealth accumulation … Operating a household without a budget is akin to operating a business without a plan, without goals, and without direction.”

Today I'll be getting back to basics.  Back to my household budget plan and back to a new "5 year plan".   It not only is effective in helping me achieve my goals but it provides me with a strange sense of calm too.  


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

17 months

Since the day you came to us, you've possessed a sweet soul.   I so often call you, "my little angel" because that's what you are.   When I hold you, when I'm in your presence the love I have for you overwhelms me.  I could just devour your perfectly soft skin.  The curve of your cheek.  

I call you angel and I call you rascal.  We call you "Bagunca", which is a sweet Portuguese word for "little mess".  Because you get into everything.  And we wouldn't want it any other way.

Last week as we were leaving music class, a mother I don't know commented "He's so cute.  I think he may be a priest or a therapist..."  The reason she said this is because, unlike the other kids, a trait that is truly yours, is your overwhelming sensitivity and awareness of those around you.   You deliberately "check in" on each kid in music - and you stopped to offer a hug to the shy girl who stayed on her mom's lap for most of the class.   You have a compassion that we have not taught but you simply arrived to us possessing....   It's one of the things that makes you so unique.  

Happy 17 months to my Littlest Angel.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Leadership Manifesto

Brene Brown defines leader as, "Anyone who holds her or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes."   With that definition in mind, we are all leaders.  The results of the people around us are a reflection of our capacity for leadership.   With that in mind - Brene's leadership manifesto.  As wonderful, in my opinion, as her whole-hearted parenting manifesto (which is going up in J's playroom).

To the CEO’s and teachers. To the principals and the managers. 

To the politicians, community leaders and decisions makers.
We want to show up, we want to learn, and we want to inspire.
We are hardwired for connection, curiosity, and engagement.
We crave purpose, and we have a deep desire to create and contribute.
We want to take risks, embrace our vulnerabilities, and be courageous.

When learning and working are dehumanized – when you no longer see us and no longer encourage our daring, or when you only see what we produce or how we perform – we disengage and turn away from the very things that the world needs from us: our talent, our ideas, and our passion.

What we ask is that you engage with us, show up beside us, and learn from us.

Feedback is a function of respect; when you don’t have honest conversations with us about our strengths and our opportunities for growth, we question our contributions and your commitment.

Above all else, we ask that you show up, let yourself be seen, and be courageous. 
Dare Greatly with us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This I believe...

I may have mentioned my love for the This I Believe series from NPR before.   I picked up the audio and have found it is the most perfect way to start my day.  Each passage is unique and I marvel at people's creativity and ability to articulate such broad themes into concise, thought provoking passages.

One day I will draft a version of my own.  I have grown to know a lot of things for sure but don't quite have my head around what I would write for this assignment.   For now, I'll continue to listen and enjoy the series.

Monday, April 14, 2014

In the yard...

We bought our house when in January, meaning there was a thick (2+ feet) blanket of snow and ice on the ground.  It stayed that way through our closing process and the first few weeks of taking ownership.  The seller told me that she is an avid gardener and the yard is a spectacle come the warmer months.  I, on the other hand, am not an avid gardener so whatever was there would be happily welcomed and whatever wasn't, likely never would be and I honestly just wasn't too concerned.

But here we are, a few weeks into April and the snow is finally gone.  The ground is beginning to thaw and the yard is starting to give us a sneak preview into what's to come.   I've noticed prickled, thorny bushes (roses, presumably?) and large dormant bushes that show remnants of hydrangeas!   What color - one can only guess.

It's exciting....!   The final thaw and early signs of spring are always filled with a bit of magic here in New England but this year feels a little extra special.  There are, quite literally, surprises blooming with each day that passes.  

Monday, April 7, 2014


Just a note here to catch up....  life has been a whirlwind.  Between the move, the rental unit, a new family dog, trying to unpack, decorate and the little ol' task of working full time and raising an active toddler, it's been hard to come up for air.   But as we learned in 2013, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, this too shall pass.

Spring finally arrived yesterday and wow, did it feel nice.  We spent the afternoon at the park and it just felt so wonderful to shed the layers and shake it all off a bit.  Here is Mother Nature reminding me of a lesson that I already know well.  Yesterday's high-50's temps wouldn't have felt nearly as revitalizing had it not been for a brutally cold and long winter.

And so it is, as always - the teacher will appear when the student is ready.   Seasons. People. Life... the only constant is change.

Friday, March 28, 2014


It's Friday, and although sometimes the week ahead feels daunting - here we are, wrapping up yet another one.   The pace is crazy these days.  I'm up earlier, home later and trying to cram in some fun social time too.  I know I'm burning the candle on both ends but hey - life is for living.  

The boxes will get unpacked and we will settle in.   Eventually.  

(via simple lovely)