Danielle & Mae’s 10 Summertime Goals

Ladies and gents, my girl has made it through 1st grade!

I’ll let your mind wander and guess what it was like to get a 7-going-on-17-year-old to sit down on her last day and set summertime goals with me.

I mean isn’t goal setting what every kid wants to do on the last day of school?!?

I did bribe her with a trip to Sonic.

And a sleepover.

And a new puppy.

And a water park in our backyard.

(Just kidding about those last two.)

As much as I knew this wasn’t on her priority list, I wanted to understand what she hopes to get out of summer.

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Teaching Kids Goal Setting

I did think twice – maybe this was overkill.

But then I went for it. Why?

I think setting goals is a great activity (and sometimes a skill) that gets a bad, business-y wrap.

I am hoping setting goals together will:

  • help us spend our time wisely
  • serve as motivation for good behavior
  • maximize the FUN this summer

Watching her write down goals told me what she defines as fun (and helped me know what to prioritize and incentive).

It helped me think critically about what I hope to accomplish the next few months too.

Now I didn’t make sure they were SMART (spe

cific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely); although a lot of them were off to a great start.

I’m proud of how quickly she got her list made and pumped for the days ahead.

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Here’s what each of us wants to do this summer

So, what do we hope to do?

Over corndogs, tots and orange pop here’s what we each came up with…

(I tried to avoid adding too many “adult” things on my list, which was harder than I thought it would be!)

Mae:

  1. Play
  2. Pool
  3. Playdates
  4. Grandma’s house
  5. Movie theatre
  6. Get books at the library
  7. Make books
  8. Great Wolf Lodge
  9. New pet
  10. Eat ice cream

Mama:

  1. Read books
  2. Bake new things
  3. Road trips
  4. Hike
  5. Write my book
  6. Organize the house
  7. Exercise
  8. Visit St. Louis
  9. Art classes
  10. Movie theater

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Fortunately – there’s a lot of overlap here! We’ve got a lot of books and movies in our future.

Will you give me advice on summer schedules?

So – wish us luck!

If you’re a mom out there planning ahead this summer, let me know if you goal set with your kids too!

And – before we get too far – I need your help!

I’m not sure how to plan (or if I should) chart out our days.

Should we set a time to do things each day (like what she’s used to in school) or should we “wing it” since it’s summer after all.

Or a combination?

I need your advice! Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts for planning a summer for kids.

Saying Goodbye to “The Kids”

For most of my career, I’ve had the privilege of leading interns.

I love the wide eyes of hope when they show up for the job – eager to gain experience.

I love that most of them will roll up their sleeves and work for little to no pay just to learn.

I love their fresh ideas and energy.

Over the years, I’ve worked with some incredible interns. I won’t mention them all by name – but you know who you are. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to hire several of them for paid positions. Those days are the best.

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From Interns to “The Kids”

Several years ago, the Fight CRC communications team began to grow. My intern Shawna helped carve out a role, and when she transitioned to a different job, another intern, Andrew, jumped in.

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Andrew became my partner in crime, travel buddy and a regular around the house. We spent several “paid” holidays together getting campaigns ready to launch. We often say we “get” one another – which is why our 3 p.m. dance breaks to the 90’s song “Barbie Girl” never seemed odd to either one of us.

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We welcomed Elizabeth to our team a little over a year ago. She came in with a positive attitude, sweet smile and an uncanny way of always arriving on time (or a little early).

And for the past year or so, we’ve been a dynamic trio.

Some days we were so busy, we barely looked up from our screens to talk. But when we did, we’d laugh and share funny videos. We’d catch up on each other’s lives. We’d hunker down in my basement-turned-office and pour all of our skills into projects.

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Over time, it didn’t just feel like work. It began to feel like family.

I’d often find reasons to tell them stories from my past positions. There was never a shortage of “professional” advice, which they seemed to graciously receive.

One day I realized something:

Although they are 20-something young professionals, deep in my heart, I cared for them as though they were my kids.

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Hard Transitions

As you’ve probably seen from my past blogs, I am transitioning out of my Director of Communications role at Fight CRC and settling into a consulting role with the organization instead.

I’m excited about stepping back, spending the summer with Mae and reducing my hours to recharge.

But one of the hardest parts of the transition has been leaving my role as the leader of our team. The impact of my decision weighed so heavily on me, I almost didn’t go through with it.

But, I did officially make the decision. And this week we had our final day of working together at my house. We celebrated by eating donuts, going to lunch and exchanging gifts and cards.

It was sweet and special. Truth be told, I’m really going to miss this season.

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Goodbye and Hello

As Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, I can’t help but think about these two.

When I struggled with accepting  infertility and feared I’d never become a mom, I couldn’t imagine my longing being fulfilled in any other way than practically raising a child.

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But as I sit back and reflect over the past several years of leading “the kids,” I see that a mother’s heart often extends far beyond the walls of a home and branches of a family tree.

Mothers love, encourage, nurture and lead younger generations to experience all life has for them.

Moms create opportunities.

Mama bears dig in even when it’s tough.

And, moms learn to let go.

Mothers know that life is a cycle that brings about seasons; one must end in order for another to begin.

But moms also know that when we find the courage to say “goodbye,” another wonderful “hello” is oftentimes just around the corner.

How I started to look beyond the pain of infertility

I deeply struggled to accept infertility after my hysterectomy.

Not quite 30 years old, I elected to go under the knife once again. Two cases of colorectal cancer were enough. Although I hadn’t received the “official” diagnosis yet – doctors suspected I had Lynch syndrome which meant the next target for cancer was my female organs. If I could prevent another cancer occurrence, I was determined to do so. The 18-month-old baby girl crawling all over me who we’d adopted just a year prior was major motivation to stay healthy.

Yet in light of, maybe even despite of, the reasonable explanations for the surgery, it hurt. Going in for the procedure brought pain I’d not yet known. Physically, it was one of my easier surgeries. But emotionally, I could hardly cope with the final farewell. It was like facing an invisible grave in a situation that received no condolence cards or quiet procession. My female body would never, ever give birth to a child.

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The power of a post-abortion story

I’ll never forget the day I was running errands and my husband kept texting me.

“My parents want to come by this afternoon… will you be home?”

Normally this wouldn’t have been alarming, except texts like these were rare. My immediate “something’s wrong” radar went up. I tried to restrain my mind from wandering too far into the land of what it could be.

I made it home and the four of us sat in our living room on our brown sectional couch. We made eye contact and then awkwardly looked away. I prepared myself for the worst:  cancer. moving. divorce. But what came surprised me.

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