Tag Archives: life

Get Clued In’s Year in Review – 2014

Last year’s review paints 2013 as a great year, both personally and professionally. This year has been both busy and ended with a lot of random illness sweeping through the house, and apparently our extended family’s homes.  Hopefully, 2015 sees the end of the bad juju of illness sweeping through all our homes.  We didn’t travel as much as last year, but we did our share of trips and had a great time.  I took a life-changing journey of taking a 100-day course, and it has been eye-opening.  I did a lot of promotions and even a big tech switch.

Here are my top posts for 2014, not necessarily because of traffic to the site, but because I enjoyed writing them and sharing with you:

10.  A Review of Samsung Galaxy s5 Active with Gear Fit –  In the area of technology and some changes, I went from an iphone 4S to a Samsung.  What a fun and different journey.  The iphone is great for some things, and the android is better in some areas.  They are both great, but I enjoyed writing this review, and I have enjoyed my free Samsung Galaxy s5 active and Gear Fit that I won at a AT&T blogger event.  What fun it’s been.  I passed down the 4S to hubby and he loves having a modern data phone, and shhhh, I still use my old iphone for some tricks I still can’t figure out how to do properly on my droid.

9.  Things I am still learning – You@TheCenter (R) $100 offer– I did a lot of fun promotions, attended some great blog events, but this was by far the most life-changing, beneficial perk I received as a blogger.  I took a course which has been life-altering, and as the New Year begins, one which I can take to greater heights through the amazing things I have learned and put into practice.  Here’s to 2015, and possibly better focus on things that matter: Me, and the things which are top priority for us.

8.  Magical fun showing our #DisneySide @Home Celebration – Another cool and exciting opportunity as a blogger centered on doing something fun with my kids, and yet another punch card list, action item met from the 100-day course.  We had a great time showing our #DisneySide and hosting a fun party, and it was also right around my birthday and my younger daughter’s birthday.  Can’t beat that!

7.  City Girls Visit a Farm – Right in line with spending quality time with the kiddos, I had the rare opportunity to attend a fun and educational field trip with my daughter’s Kindergarten class.  Not only was the cuteness factor completely exceeded, we brought home bags and bags of organic fruits and vegetables to share with friends, and cook up into great, healthy meals.  What a fun time, and I know memories we will cherish for a long time to come!

6.  From Philly to Washington, D.C.  – Independence Day in our Nation’s Capitol –  Our trips were fun too and always eventful.   Our trip in summer took us to the east coast for a wedding, and seeing family and friends from all over the world.  Visiting our nation’s capitol meant a lot to the girls, and the birthplace of Independence.   And, it was Independence weekend to boot!  How can you not love that.  From the Pandas at the National Zoo, to the liberty bell, and everything in between, we had a great time, and saw fireworks from a rooftop condo where we stayed.

5.  Florida- ahh – We also made two trips to Florida, one late in 2013 into New Year 2014, and then another one to shower my sister-in-law to welcome a baby in hot July and August of 2014.  Florida is far away, but it is full of family, and friends for us, and so many exciting things to do.  How can we not love Florida – ahhhh!  And if we time it just right, we can avoid those nasty Colorado winter sub-zero, arctic temps.

4.  Frozen at Hollywood Studios- “All good things” on a 110-degree day – The second time we went to Florida, we were all dripping and soaking wet from the sweat and heat – it was summer in Florida, but we were there for a good cause, and so we did what most tourists do, visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios and cooled off with the gang from FROZEN.  It felt great on a hot, humid, 100-degree PLUS day in Central Florida.  And we met the whole cast, and then some, and we sucked it up, ate a lot of ice cream and snow cones, sprayed water bottles on each other (with fans built-in) and made it all work.

3.  Milestones and Memories- Her First Sleepover–  Then begin the memories and milestones posts.  What an eventful year for our children, and so many firsts.  My eldest daughter went on her first sleepover.  May not seem like a big deal, but it so is!   Not just for her, but for all of us.  They just grow up so fast, so happy we have this blog, and so many other captured memories to help us remember how I felt, what we saw, and what we captured and remembered.

2. Perfect Moment Monday – Where does the time go?  My friend Lori hosted her last Perfect Moment Monday, and this was the final installment on Get Clued In!  Not only that, but it captured the weekend in February perfectly.  We had family in town, and celebrated by daughter’s milestone 5th birthday, and then enjoyed a date night – how exciting! Noticing is important, and capturing these moments is even more important.   Time just flies!

1.  Milestones & Memories — They are both in School!  Finally, our favorite milestone moment from 2014 – they both are in school!  Our youngest started Kindergarten, and now we have one drop, one pick up, and in August, a lot of anxiety from all especially mommy. How can she be in Kinderrgarten already? Letting go is hard, but they teach us, one small step at a time.  Our eldest is in 2nd and youngest in K, and now we struggle with camps during their breaks, and what to do during those random in-service days.  It is hard indeed, but with any milestone, we will overcome yet again and focus on the positives and blessings in our lives.

Here is to 2015 and many, many more amazing milestones and memories, and wishing you and your loved ones a Happy 2015 filled with goodness, happiness, love, success, and most of all – HEALTH!  Thanks, as always, for taking this amazing journey with me, with us.

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Do we ever look up?

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Image blurred to protect the “technologically innocent”

Do we ever look up anymore, or talk with one another? Or are our heads buried in our phones, smart devices, tablets, and readers?

Here I sit at the tire shop- my tires need replacing. I can’t replace just the one or two in trouble. I need to replace them all. The country song, “knee deep” is blaring on the radio.  One guy is eating a meal from Whole Foods and on his smart phone at the same time!  I’m engrossed in writing this blog post, another guy is watching movies and streaming Hulu with headphones on his smart phone.  The guy across from me is watching all of us on our respective devices and is laughing. He’s an older gentleman and doesn’t understand what all this technology is about.  He makes me uncomfortable because he is the only one looking for conversation, looking around, not reading or texting or streaming a movie.  Why can’t he just look down?  These are the thoughts in my head as I hum along to the song I recognize.  I keep typing this post because I love the idea … do we ever look up?  No, because it means we may need to interact.  That seems uncomfortable to me.

When did we stop interacting with one another? When did we become so crazy and addicted to technology? I was mouthing the words to “knee deep,” and this provided him an opportunity to talk with me.  A few awkward moments of conversation later, I look back down, and am relieved to be typing this post again.  Typing, on my itty bitty magical handheld device. This provides me comfort, provides me with entertainment. This passes the time for me. I look up and no one is looking up or around save for that one gentleman who has no idea what the fuss is all about.

As I write this post, another guy has now sat down with his ultrabook and began working on it. That’s 7 out of 8 of us in this repair shop with our heads down, our eyes going bad from focusing on small writing and letters. That’s 7 out of 8 of us shut out from the world, but comfortable, happy, and completely complacent in not making awkward, unnecessary conversation with one another.  Will we ever look up?  I have no idea, but it is nice to have something to do while waiting for my car to get fixed.

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Milestones & Memories – Memorial Day Weekend 2013

IMG_3327If you look at posts of past, every Memorial Day is generally a milestone weekend for us- wedding anniversary for us (we got married Memorial Day weekend 2005), birthday for my eldest and my brother (same day), and lots of fun events. Last year we spent it with family in Virginia, and this year add to the list: Kindergarten graduation!

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Fiesta Lunch – 3 Margaritas

Our eldest reached a milestone when she graduated Kindergarten this year, and turned 6 years old the day after.  We had her party on Saturday, and her graduating classmates were able to join in on the fun.  It was nice to have friends join in too!   What a truly memorable weekend.  Being in the military, Memorial Day holds a special place in my heart.  It is a weekend of reflection, prayer, and remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.  It is also a weekend of honoring those who still serve.   For our family, it is a special weekend because of all the milestones.  For us, it marks mid-year, and hopefully a renewal of spirit.

Perfect moments are shared so rarely, I wanted to share our perfect Memorial Day weekend- milestones and memories for a lifetime.  We hope yours was as memorable as ours– Happy Memorial Day 2013!

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Whale Done!*

*Disclaimer: the tile of this post is copyrighted by the author Ken Blanchard. This post is a book review and the author of this post does not claim copyright or creative rights in the phrase “Whale Done!” 

copyright Ken Blanchard
copyright Ken Blanchard

My husband checked out a book at the library and I did not think much about it until he told me some of the concepts in it.  So, as an example, I would say “ugh, what are we going to do, our daughter is being very difficult.”  His reply, “well, we need accentuate the positive and redirect her energy. That is what I read in this book….”  Needless to say, after several more conversations about different scenarios like this, I felt I needed to read Whale Done!  This book is not just about positive relationships at work and home but daily life.  It can help improve just about all relationships.

This book by Ken Blanchard is a quick read and explores “the power of positive relationships.”  What does this mean?  What exactly is a positive relationship and how do you go about implementing it?  The key concepts of this book are to focus on the positive in all you do and in everyone you encounter.  This really struck a chord with me because that is my resolution for this year- being more positive, and trying to stay on a more positive track- at home, in my career (all the jobs I have), and with life in general.  This book is written based on the concept of management in line with the style of training the whales at Sea World.  It addresses the basic concepts those trainers employ, and applying them to human interaction. The biggest difference between whales and people: We have the advantage because we can talk to one another.  The basic concepts are the same: “Build trust, accentuate the positive, and when mistakes occur, redirect the energy.”  (Blanchard, p.19)

One of the concepts in the book is accentuating the positive and redirecting when someone is on the wrong track.  For example, every day at home if I yelled at my husband about the dishes, or making the kids’ lunches, or dinner, or picking up his clothes off his home, will he want to be home with me?  There is a good chance that he will want to come home late, stay at work late longer, or just not want to be at home at all.  Who could blame him?  I would not want constantly want to be berated after a long day at work either.  Anyway, it is about expressing positive things about each other, in front of the kids, and to one another.  Instead of saying “this is the wrong bread- you always buy the wrong bread,”  you might try, “wow, hon, thanks for getting the groceries again- you are so kind to do so but remember, this bread is too thick for me so I generally buy X brand.  I am not clear on which brand it is and I know I never told you so I will get it tomorrow and show you the labeling for next time.”  There are essentially four kinds of responses to almost all actions:  “No response, negative response, redirection, and positive response.” (Blanchard, p.30).  Sometimes, sharing in the responsibility on why someone did something “wrong” or incorrectly helps the situation.  Also, don’t accuse, put down, or blame the person.  This would also not be a good time to bring up past issues.  Focus on the thing that was done incorrectly and move on.  The no response one is interesting- it is just ignoring the action you wish to not be repeated and a response is not really warranted.  So, when the 6 year-old throws a fit, promptly moving her to her room without a word and ignoring her whining would be one example.

Some of the examples in the book are with teenage kids, but you can apply almost all the lessons to any age.  For younger kids, you want to catch them doing something right and recognize right away.  So, when they are being quiet and reading, doing puzzles, join in and hug them and say “wow, you guys are really doing great… can mommy play too?” My 4 year-old for example does not need much to know I am accentuating the positive.  When she puts her toys away, I give her a huge hug, high five and say “OH MY look at this great job – you put your toys away!  Wow!  High five and good job!” This and a hug will make them realize that they get attention for doing the right thing.  Now, conversely when she does not put her toys away, then what?  Well, perhaps the approach would be to redirect her to the time when she did it right, instead of yelling at her which is negative.  Constantly picking on the negative and only criticizing her when she is doing something wrong accentuates that behavior and after awhile, you are just a mouth piece and no one listens anymore.  Trust is lost and the relationship suffers.

Obviously with my daughter, I do need to talk with her and address the behaviors that I want corrected, so the better approach may be to say, “hey, let’s put these toys away together so we can find them when we want them again… yeah I will help you and show you where they go, so next time, you can do it all by yourself and earn a high five and a hug.”   This response also takes responsibility for showing her in case she did not know where to put the toys back.  All of these same principles apply at work too.

Here is an example.  My boss in one of my jobs this past weekend gave me my mid-term feedback, and it was super positive, and uplifting.  He followed the book without even knowing it by providing words of encouragement, words accentuating specific examples of all the things I am doing right in the job.  With that, he also gave me some things I needed to improve on but did it in a manner to say, “maybe we can both learn together because this is a new system.”  I got it.  The next day at the job, I learned that new system inside and out.   He had motivated me and energized me so much this past weekend, it spilled over into my life, and other job too.  And, he does it every weekend I work with him- he accentuates and points out positives right when he sees them instead of waiting for a feedback.  Until I read this book I did not even realize it.  I just know that despite it being work, and being away from family, this job energizes me.  As a result, I feel needed, and indispensable to the organization.  And it’s not just me, he does it for every person in our organization.  I am not even sure he has read this book but, wow!  What an attentive boss who catches his people doing things right and saying something about it.  Now, keep in mind that one method to accentuate the positive will not always work with everyone.  Each person speaks a different language, so Whale Done! talks about finding out what motivates each individual.  What motivates employee X to do better will not be the same factor that motivates employee Y.  One employee will react better to words of affirmation, while another may need monetary recognition, while another may need you to “show them” through your actions.  Also, remember to give people specific examples of what they are doing right so it does not appear you are just being manipulative.  So, say to your teenage daughter, “when you cleaned up your room and the loft without being asked to the other day… wow, thanks so much – you saved me time and really helped me out a lot- I REALLY appreciate that – why don’t I go ahead and take your chores for Friday so you can go out with your friends that evening.”

This book goes on to to state that the traditional work environment is one in which a boss generally says nothing when things are going right [ignores you] and only talks with you when something is wrong- i.e. criticizing you, or stating the negative.  How nice would it be to get feedback early and often – at the moment you are doing something RIGHT.   How nice would it be to hear from your boss on more than the occasions in which you are doing something he or she perceives to be “wrong.”  Anyway, this book calls that system the “GOTcha” system.  In this system, all people want to do is do their jobs and not be bothered because they are afraid every time their boss speaks to them they are doing something wrong.  Wow!  Tragic.  I am so lucky to not work (in any of my jobs) in an environment like that.  That would not be fun at all.

Is all this a bit touchy feely for you?  Well, yeah, this book was a bit of that too.  But, great especially as far as my personal life is concerned because it is so important to build a healthy relationship with your spouse, a partnership rooted in love and respect, rather than one rooted in fear, anger, and discord.  The chain reaction is that when kids see a healthy, positive relationship between the parents, they themselves feel more loved, respected, and model the same respect for others and each other.  Whether you want to apply this all aspects of your life or not, I think there is a lot of value in recognizing the positives all around you and in the people in your life.  Simple concepts of accentuating the positives, recognizing that progress is a moving target, and just recalling the principles from this book when you are about to fly off the deep end with your kids and spouse can really help your relationships.  That is what the power of positive relationships is all about.

Whale Done! is a quick, good read.  Along with The Fred Factor, Lincoln on Leadership, and other self-improvement motivational books, I definitely recommend this one for all facets of your life to create positive relationships.

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A Decade Ago Today

Here’TheJourneyAheads to the Internet, here’s to a match making website a friend recommended to increase my chances of meeting “the one” while I got stationed all over the world. Here’s to countless disappointing dates, numerous guys who wrote me and let me down, a few relationships and those I thought “got away” before he wrote me.  Here is to an E-mail correspondence sent on April 6, 2003, from a guy 92 miles away.  I knew nothing about him, not even his name.  Here is to finding that E-mail three days later and recovering it from the trash can (thank you Hotmail(c) for not deleting it permanently).  I had deleted it there because I had recently ended a bad relationship and was done with relationships forever (spoken as a dramatic reading).  Here is to the end of that relationship and here is to my inner voice saying, “what the heck? I’ll write him back at least.”  Here is to writing, “Hey, I’d love to meet you – feel free to call me..” and here’s to not playing games and giving him my number.  Here is to him calling right away and not playing games either.  Here is to setting up a date right away.  Here is to taking that chance, and meeting in-person despite the butterflies deep down inside.  Here is to having no expectations, no regrets, and putting no pressure on the relationship at all.  And despite my asking him on the first date whether he was a Republican or a Democrat (don’t ask what party I was then-such a long time ago), here’s to him asking me out for a second date.  Here is to dating, the big proposal, and everything since… the good, the tough, the very tough, the great, the sweet, the sour, the blessings, and the miracles in the life we have made.  Here is to a decade gone, and the hope of so many, many more to come.

Here is to the journey, the destination, and everything along the way.  Here is to having no regrets but learning, growing, crying, laughing, singing, and dancing together and with our children- daily.

Here is to a decade ago today.

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