Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Artist in the House

Asher is our resident artist. He spends hours drawing and painting ..... it is really quite remarkable to someone like me who has no interest or ability. After he finishes a drawing, he often photographs it (see image above), because he knows I don't like extra paper around the house.

After a long search, I found these great drawing books by Ed Emberly for him. And I am happy to report I can now draw a killer cat and a cute caterpillar, too!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bringin' Home the Bacon

I asked Asher what I did for work the other day. He answered that I write emails and talk on the phone. Yep, that about covers it.

Me and another associate director launched an after-school program to piggy back our popular summer program. We have created it and promoted it with little interference from the owners. It is like our own little start-up (without the risk, but without the upside as well). We launched robotics and filmmaking classes this fall and winter with plans for more offerings next fall.

Do you remember the TV commercial that was popular during the late 1990's Internet bubble? The setting is an Internet startup and all of the young employees are gathered around, anxiously waiting for their first orders to come in. And then the orders start, and just keep coming. The employees get increasingly wide-eyed and finally someone says, "Now what?"

That has been my life over the last few months. We had a pretty good idea that there was a demand for our programs in the schools. However, we could not have predicted that so many schools would be banging down our door to get these classes.

The learning curve has been so steep, some days I walk into my office and actually see a hill leading to my desk. It is never ending....and along with some success.....I have had more than a few debacles.

These are the lessons I have learned so far......

1. Sometimes problems do go away when you ignore them. (I tended to micromanage the project at first.....but quickly learned it is usually better to let people who are directly dealing with the problem solve it).

2. I can be a pretty big bad ass when I need to be. (My MBA profs often accused me of being too soft. However, the employee that I fired last week might have a different opinion of me. Maybe I am overcompensating....)

3. Starting a small business requires carrying a lot of stuff around in your car. (Asher LOVES when I bring home robots. Luckily nothing in my car or my house has been broken or otherwise damaged).

4. People who don't have a set work schedule tend to work more than those that do. (At least that has been my experience). In the summers, I work a basic 9-5 schedule as a director in the summer program and it is so nice to leave work at work and enjoy my evenings with the kiddos (and Ed, when he is not working). As much as I love this project, it has a schedule of its own....and I find myself working all days and hours to keep pace.

5. Never assume anything, always double-check. (It took a couple of debacles to figure that one out).

There really isn't a job as good as working for yourself. I learned this lesson early in my life as I watched my dad grow his business. And even though I do not own it, I have been given so much autonomy with this start-up that I sometimes have to remind myself that it's not mine in the end. I do see the day I have my own business, but am realistic even to know that it won't happen until the kids are much older.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring?

"Mini-Asher" Snowman made last month

Playground last week (Asher is sporting whiskers from his
National Reading Day, Cat in the Hat costume)

This part of the year is always a little torturous for me, when the weather can't decide what it wants to be. Asher is doing a "weather project" for school, where he has a March calendar and must decide if each day is a "lion day" or a "lamb day." We often spend time debating the merits of each label for any given day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mormon Culture Meets the East Coast

A couple weeks ago I got my hair cut. I must say, I love my hair stylist and the only reason I pay $60 for a haircut (besides the fact that she does a fantastic job and my hair looks least until I wash it), is that I really enjoy talking to her. Our small talk quickly turns into heart-to-heart discussions. Motherhood, working out, balancing marriage and kids with a career .... these are all things we discuss in length during my therapy mean haircut.

In all of our time together, my religious background had never come up....until my last appointment.

The conversation went something close to this:

Hair Therapist: So are you guys going to get away for spring break?

Me: Yes! I'm really excited....we are headed back to Portland for my little sister's wedding.

HT: How fun! Do you like the guy she is marrying?

Me: I think so .... I've actually never met him.

HT: (look of surprise) you aren't very close with your sister?

Me: Oh yeah .... I'm close with all of my brothers and sisters.

HT: How many do you have?

Me: Four. Two sisters and two brothers. I'm the oldest.

HT: (even more surprised) Wow. long have they been together?

Me: A little over two months.

HT: (surprise has turned into eye-popping shock) You mean they've only been engaged for two months and they are getting married in April?

Me: No. They've only been dating for two months. They got engaged last week.

HT: (trying to recover...) Wow. That's really fast. (She mulls this over for a few seconds). How old is your sister, anyways?

Me: She's 25 (I thought by this point she would put it all together and figure out the religious/culture connection. She didn't.)

HT: That's really quick AND young! I hope they at least wait to have kids! (I bite my lip and decide against telling her that this is actually my sister's second marriage and she has an adorable 3 1/2-year old son.)

And that I was also married at 25 and Ed was 23. And at 25, as ridiculous as it sounds, I think many in my congregation and my family had lost hope that I would ever get married.

I know that even in Mormonland, the kids are waiting longer these days to get married, and IMO that isn't necessarily a bad thing. But the disconnect between Mormon culture and the rest of the world can still be pretty startling!