Carpe Donut

Seize the donut! I can’t remember when this birthday tradition of treating myself to one of my favorite foods began, but it has stuck and I’m glad. This morning, I woke up with a bit of a dilemma. My husband and I have pledged to each other good health and a commitment to taking better care of ourselves. This means we are going to eat right, achieve our weight loss goals this year, and support each other on this journey. To help us along, we are joining Weight Watchers together and our first meeting is tonight. So, I woke up this morning torn between a new promise and an old tradition. Even one Boston Kreme donut is way more points than I want to consume on any given day. I asked myself, is it worth it? In my 45 years on this planet, there are some life lessons I have learned and cherished which helped me make the wiser and more responsible choice. After careful thought and good judgement, I decided – Yes, it is totally worth it. Here are some of these lessons which helped me resolve this problem. Live in the moment – All year long, I deny myself this treat when I walk into Dunkin Donuts for a cup of coffee. On an almost daily basis, I crave the donuts from afar and they call to me – pick me, pick me! I tell myself that it is a birthday present only and not a regular purchase. It is a splurge – if you will – and what better day to splurge than on my birthday. Live in the moment. Carpe diem! Or donut in this case. Practice generosity – You get a donut! You get a donut! You get a donut! I feel like the Oprah Winfrey of my house because not only is this my birthday tradition, but I take the entire family down with me. My birthday is known in my house as Boston Kreme donut day. Celebrating with my family and being generous enough to share my treat with them brings me great joy….which brings me to my next lesson. Do what makes you happy – A donut AND a blog post – what a great birthday! I love to write and although I have been neglecting this blog lately for many reasons I won’t go into right now, it is never far from my mind. And as luck would have it, this donut dilemma is turning into a great post- if I do say so myself. Perfection is overrated – This is a lesson I’m still working on. I am far from perfect, although I try hard to be all the time. I blame myself a lot for things that are often out of my control. I do the best I can and I’m finally starting to realize that my best is good enough. My house is not perfect. My kids don’t have to do things exactly the way I want it. Even my diet is not perfect which is how I like it. I need to have room for imperfection on special occasions. This is one of them. Be grateful – I am fortunate enough to go through this world with a loving family, caring and wonderful friends, and a great career. I have dreams and goals that I’m still working towards which keeps me young. I am incredibly grateful for this amazing life – one that includes Boston Kreme donuts.  

Cancer Sucks

This week, I will mark 15 years since I became a mom and I’m still figuring things out as I go along. This parenting thing is a wonderful gig but it is not always easy. When the kids were younger, I used to hate when people said to me “little kids, little problems” as I walked around in a constant state of exhaustion. I have such a visceral reaction to this phrase now that I refuse to say it to new mothers. No matter what stage of parenting you are in, we are all in the same boat. Some days are smooth sailing and others are filled with rocky waters. To the moms who have younger children, I’ve been where you are even though I may not be rowing along right next to you. Right now, I’m at the helm of the teen/tween cruise line where life preservers are required. Someday, I’ll be an empty-nester watching my children from the shoreline as they surf the waves of adulthood and try to stay away from high tides. I remember some of the times I think I would never want to go back to like Jenna biting other kids in her preschool and Andrew crying so hard when he was upset until he would throw up on everything (or everyone) closest to him. I couldn’t wait for them to grow out of these phases and onto the next one. And yet, I miss taking them music class and reading stories before bedtime.  

30 Minutes

Disclaimer: I am no expert at attaining work/life balance, but I work really hard at it. For me, it is all about time management. If I can find increments of 30 minutes to save throughout my day, I feel like a winner. Here are some examples of ways I find precious time in my day.

  1. I raise (somewhat) self-sufficient kids – Give your kids more responsibilities around the house as they get older. About a year ago, I declared my lunch-making days were over and told the kids to make their own. At first, it was a disaster. Someone ultimately forgot a juice box or a sandwich. But then, they learned to pack PB&J, a piece of fruit, a cookie and a drink. This saved me time at night to take care of other chores the kids weren’t ready for yet. Now that my kids are older, I’m teaching them how to do their own laundry. When they can do this without turning the entire load pink or leaving the random Sharpies in their pockets, my work/life balance will be that much more attainable.
  2. The 3 D’s – Delegate, Defer, & Do – I’ll tackle the first one here. Delegate things to your spouse or partner or others. Last week, I received an e-mail about the 6th grade chorus singing at the Philadelphia Soul game. It included a 5 page document on how to order tickets, medical/emergency forms and permission slips for the event and the bus. 5 PAGES! My husband happened to be home with the kids over winter break so I asked him to check with our son to see if he wanted to go. Then, I took it a step further and asked him to fill out the forms and order the tickets. Guess what- he did it. Another 30 minutes saved.
  3. Two words – Google Calendar – Besides the typical doctor appointments and kid schedules, I have some weird things on my calendar. Send can of tomato sauce to school with Andrew. Buy gift for Jenna’s friend. Pick up book on hold at library. Some people use Evernote or Siri to set reminders. I put everything in my Google calendar. It has automatic reminders and everyone in the family has access to it and can add things when they remember to do so. I refer to my calendar all day long, Like an adult security blanket, I’d be completely lost without it.
  4. Defer – Just like you, I receive so many e-mails and they all scream some level of importance. I have become quite agile at determining the actual DEFCON level of the e-mail and whether or not to defer it or better yet delete altogether. The time it takes me to deal with each one as it comes in saves me 30 minutes in the long run of going back and looking at them all over again.
  5. Do – Just Do It is a slogan I live by on a regular basis. Instead of putting folded clothes in a laundry basket that will ultimately sit in the hallway for days on end, I’ll try and skip the basket entirely and just put the clothes away. Before I go to the drugstore or the supermarket for a specific item, I look around to see what other things need to be purchased so I don’t have to go back out again.
  6. Friends Don’t Let Friends Watch Friends – I know Rachel gets off the plane. I know Phoebe has her brother’s babies. I know Richard tries to steal Monica back but she ends up with Chandler. I know Joey still loves sandwiches. I know all of this. So, why do I continue watching back to back episodes of Friends every night of the week?! Talk about a time-suck! I am taking back those 30 minutes (or 60 or 90) and doing something much more productive with my life – like going to the gym, reading a book or watching a new show on Netflix that I’ve never seen before. The point is find your time-sucks and then banish them. You will be surprised what you can accomplish!Okay, your turn. What is the one thing that helps you attain work/life balance?

My 2016 Word Of The Year

It is that time of year when my fellow bloggers come up with the one word that will guide them through the next 365 days. Last year, my word was coffee. (You can read the reasons why I chose this word here). I’m happy to report that I drank many cups of coffee with old friends, new acquaintances and family throughout 2015. Over those warm beverages, I was fortunate enough to have some amazing conversations with many of you. I felt a sense of connection to the wonderful people in my life and have deepened our relationships in meaningful ways. All of this has been a blessing to me and I am grateful for it. However, I’m doing a complete 180 in 2016. The word I have chosen this time may seem a little anti-social and self-serving and let’s face it – it is. But, if I want to see some of my own dreams come to fruition this year –and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger—I have to own this word. I have to live this word. I have to embrace this word. My word is “me-time”–and yes, if I hyphenate it, it counts as one word. Here is a little backstory. I recently took a Myers-Briggs personality test and the results were simultaneously eye-opening and not at all surprising. As an ENFJ, I take great pride in serving as a leader in the community. I found it quite humorous that ENFJ’s are most likely to work for religious-oriented institutions. It actually said so in the report! I guess I can check that off my list. ENFJ’s are passionate people who like spending time with other people working in harmony and in pursuit of cooperation for the greater good. We focus on helping others achieve their potential and get great satisfaction watching them grow and succeed. My fellow ENFJ’s are Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Barack Obama. I am humbled to be in any category with this caliber of people. But sometimes, ENFJ’s find it incredibly hard to take time for themselves. In the entire 12 page report that I’ve read and re-read to myself, one sentence rings so true to me – “As giving and caring as the ENFJ is, they need to remember to value their own needs as well as the needs of others.” Can I get an AMEN?! Yes, I do need to value my own needs and dreams which is why “me-time” is such a fitting word for me in 2016. I will carve out the “me-time” even if the guilt that will surely arise kills me. I want time to write in my blog and become an even better writer. I need time to go to the gym, make healthier choices and have the energy to give to others as well as to myself. I wish to take the time to learn new things and hopefully make a few changes in my life that I have been putting off for way too long. So, in this new year, I may say no to coffee every once in a while or I might let go of some things that no longer suit me. Please don’t be mad. It’s not you. It’s me. I just need some quality “me-time” to figure it all out. Happy New Year!

Totally Worth It

Parenthood is hard. When the kids are young, it takes a physical toll — nursing, carrying them around, and let’s not forget the sleepless nights. I used to hate it when people said “Little kids. Little problems. Big Kids. Big problems.”

Happy Holidays!

With all of the cooking, shopping and planning for the holidays, it is time for me to address the one question which plagues me every November. Am I sending out holiday cards this year? The short answer is I haven’t decided yet. Here is the longer answer: Yes, I want to send out cards because this is one of those holiday traditions that everyone–regardless of religion–partakes in. I love to wish my friends and family holiday greetings–although doing it in person would be so much better! Also, the thought of not reciprocating the dozens of cards that are delivered to my mailbox offers up the yearly dose of holiday guilt that I don’t wish to endure. I don’t want to send out cards this year because I know what is already on my to-do list and it is hard enough to fit in an oil change for the minivan, let alone a huge project such as this one. I’m just being honest here. And I can pretty much guarantee that while my family wants to send out holiday cards–the actual ordering, stuffing, sealing, address finding, labeling, stamping and mailing will be my responsibility. And the cards will sit on my kitchen table taunting me until every last one I ordered is out the door. Do I sound like a Scrooge yet? But wait, there is more… The thought of even selecting the card overwhelms me. As a politically correct, all-inclusive, never wants to hurt anyone’s feelings kind of person, do I order Christmas cards for my Christian friends and separate Hanukkah cards for my Jewish friends? Oy Vey! Do I order a generic “Happy Holidays” card and risk the war on Christmas voice mails and text messages that may result? Or do I play it safe and buy myself a lot more time by sending everyone of all faiths a Happy New Year card? As long as it comes out sometime in January – I’m good, right? And then, I need to pick a picture or two (or three) that represents every member of our immediate family in their happiest and most photogenic state. The thought of going through all of the pictures taken this past year and seeking approval of said family member gives me a headache. Can I get away with a collage of the hundreds of funny-looking selfies Jenna and Andrew took with my iPhone? It probably won’t measure up to the color-coordinated photos in front of the fireplace or on the beach that you will choose for your cards, but I might get points for originality. This is a big decision–one I obviously don’t take lightly. So, I’ll put it this way–you may or may not get a holiday card from my family this year. If you do, please know it was my pleasure to fit holiday cards onto my already bursting at the seams to do list and I send it to you with all the love in my heart. If you don’t get a card from us this year, It isn’t because I don’t love you. Really, I do. I just opted to go to Jiffy Lube instead. Let me just say to you all right now – Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a happy, healthy & prosperous 2016. Love, the Heismans 🙂gckids  

Girl Power

If anyone was looking for girl power in the City of Brotherly Love today, they didn’t have to look much further than joining the 8,000 women at the Convention Center. I was fortunate enough to attend the 12th Annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women and left with a sense of empowerment I have not felt in a long time. Some take-aways from today:

  • Start a meeting highlighting the positive instead of jumping into all the problem and sucking the energy right out of the room
  • When you try something new, you either succeed or you learn from it
  • Read a lot (check), increase your language skills, and know your audience
  • It is okay to admit you don’t know how to do something, but make sure you surround yourself with people who know can do it for you
  • Develop a daily habit for risk –
  • Trust your gut
  • Do nothing and cherish the downtime

 

26 Things About Me From A-Z

One of my friends posted these 26 things on Facebook, and I thought it would make a quick and easy blog post! 26 Things About Me A- Age: 44 B- Biggest fear: Not living my best life C- Current time: 9:30 PM D- Drink you last had: Chocolate Milk E- Everyday need: “I Love You’s” from my family and orange tic tacs in my purse F- Favorite song: I Hope You Dance G- Ghosts, are they real?: No H- Hometown: Sewell, NJ I- In love with: Scott J- Jealous of: Brand new kitchens and super-organized closets K- Killed someone? No L- Last time you cried?: Almost cried at work about a week ago, but I grabbed a drink of water instead and pulled myself together. Whew! M- Middle name: Michelle N- Number of siblings: 1 sister. She is awesome! O- One wish: Better gun control laws P- Person whom you last called: My daughter to tell her I was going to be late. Q- Question you’re always asked: It is a tie between “What are we doing today?” and “Did you publicize my event?” R- Reason to smile: Going to spend Thanksgiving with my sister this year. A rare treat! S- Song last sang: I Like to Move It Move it. In the car with Andrew T- Time you woke up: 5:30 am U- Underwear color: Purple 🙂 V- Vacation destination: Next vacation – LA/San Diego in the spring W- Worst habit: Repeating myself in a conversation …repeating myself in a conversation X- X-Rays you’ve had: Wrist (broken), ankle (not broken), chest (for pneumonia) Y- Your favorite food: Boston Kreme donuts on my birthday Z- Zodiac sign: Aquarius

A Balancing Act

Ever feel like the ringmaster in a 3 ring circus? Managing my career, my family and my house is similar to working as a tightrope walker, a lion tamer, and a juggler. I will take these things in that order. The Tightrope walker – As a working mom, it feels like I’m walking a tightrope. Every day, I start out putting one foot in front of the other and look straight ahead. And whatever I do, I try not to look down. By the way, I’m not walking the tightrope in sensible shoes. No… I’m walking in heels. Some days, I make it across to the other side (ta-da!). Other days, I make one false move and I’m face first in the tangle net. And I have to climb my way back up to the top again. The Lion Tamer – If you have teenagers or tweens or one of each (like me), I don’t need to explain this one to you. Some days the lions purr and love to cuddle with me. Other times, they are ferocious and all I can do is throw them a piece of meat and slowly back away from their roar. The Juggler – I juggle schedules which is so much more dangerous than knives and fire torches – okay maybe not the fire torches – but it feels that way, I used to think my busiest day was Tuesday when my son has school and then 3 activities – Hebrew at 4:30; scouts meeting at 7 pm and soccer practice at 8 pm. Now I know my busiest days are the ones ending in the letter “y”. On the four other days of the week, my son has swim practice, Weekends are crammed with soccer games, Sunday school, and choir practice. And this is all just for one kid! Tack on a few more activities and a social life with my older daughter and I’m throwing balls in the air left and right, doing a fancy spin and catching them all in the right order. By the time I get home at night, I’m throwing clothes in the microwave for dinner and food in the dryer. Wait, scratch that and reverse. See what I mean? I’m also taking a big risk this year. A death-defying sideshow featuring me trying to accomplish some of my own career and personal goals like writing more and losing 20 pounds. Can she do it??? Come January, I expect my momentum to kick into high gear as I have to start planning a bar mitzvah. I figure this will give me more to write about and less time to eat.

Shoes Matter

My parents taught me a lot of important lessons to remember in life. Be kind to others. Honesty is the best policy. Always wear clean underwear. Make sure there is film in the camera (while not applicable in today’s digital world…it is a funny family story for another time). The one lesson that took me almost 45 years to learn is this – shoes matter. Everyone looks at your shoes. I did not know this. Shoes were never a fashion statement for me until recently.I am probably one of the few women who has more pairs of earrings than shoes in my wardrobe. I just never cared about them. In the past, I would find a pair of shoes that fit and are comfortable and buy them in black and then purchase the same exact style in brown or navy. A practical, no-nonsense approach to shoe shopping without any serious consideration to style.   Carrie Bradshaw would be mortified if she read this. Apparently, I was wrong and now I’m making an effort to change my ways. I’m paying attention to the difference between Nine West and Manolos.    

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