Monday, August 30, 2010

Something like a Mission Statement

I know I wrote about doing a mission statement back in January for our family. Ben and I have continuously worked on it, but never really felt a sense of accomplishment through the process. It seemed like it took more & more time without ever writing a family mission statement to date. And if you're family looks anything like our family (which my guess would be the majority of families around), then my guess is you don't have much time to devote to many sessions of answering questions, brainstorming & compiling a mission statement, which seems like you couldn't ever achieve.

So what do you do? Well, we both read this fantastic book (for me as the not so active reader--I read it in a 24 hour period) entitled, The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni. The book is written in story format, making it easier to read, digest & follow. Then, Lencioni concludes with spelling out the Big 3 Questions even further for application.

Things I liked about this approach versus Covey's 7 Habits or other "mission statement" idea are:
  1. It was straightforward.
  2. It was separating objective versus subjective, realistic goals vs. idealistic goals, tangible time lines vs. ambiguous time lines.
  3. It doesn't take FOREVER to brainstorm or apply it.
  4. There is only one major goal or "rally cry" you as a family work on at a time.
  5. There is a set time (2-6 months) to see your specific rally cry achieved.
  6. You meet as a family (or parents or yourself) 10 minutes once a week to discuss how the rally cry is coming along.
  7. The mission statement isn't suppose to be eloquent or fancy. It is written in your words that describe the uniqueness of YOUR family (not mine or anyone else).
Ben & I worked on Question #1 yesterday, which is "What makes your family unique?"
I like this question, because it doesn't ask you what you want your family to look like (that's not a bad thing); rather, who is your actual family. You actually embrace who you are. In order to know how to answer this question, sit down and brainstorm some ideas.

1. Core Values: These are those traits that you can't hide or run away from. They're inherent in who you are as a person. And most likely, these are the values that attracted you to your spouse. Brainstorm a list together of a couple values. These shouldn't be aspirations or ways you wish you were, over spiritual's simply you. As you can see from our list below, it's not that we aren't loyal or stand up for what we believe, it's just not as high on value list as the final three. Pick two or three of your brainstorming values.

For example, here was our brainstorming values:
  • sense of humor
  • loyalty
  • serving others
  • hospitality: making others feel welcomed & worthy
  • Generosity
  • standing up for what we believe is right
We narrowed it down to:
  • Sense of Humor
  • Hospitality
  • Generosity

2. Strategy: This is another way to differentiate what makes your family unique. What the strategy looks like is two or three purposeful decisions your family makes to carry out it's week by week, month to month lives. You will want to brainstorm all the things, which are true about your family. This list can be big as you make it. Once you've made your list, identify any themes throughout and jot the theme down.

Here is a sampling of our list:
  • Two young girls
  • family of four
  • mom stays home, dad works out of the house
  • mom likes to bake and blog
  • mom and dad work out at the same gym
  • like spending time with our family
  • like funny tv shows and movies
  • like good food
  • children love strawberry shortcake
  • mom enjoys music
  • involved at church
  • dad likes watching sports
  • dad likes reading
  • mom likes cookbooks
  • females enjoy farmer's market
  • enjoy being outside, not rugged
  • we enjoy vacations
  • we value harmony in our relationships
  • enjoy laughter
  • veronica doesn't like chicken mascots or train noises or ronald mcdonald
(Aside from some of the above that were added for comic relief) here are the themes we found:
  • eating good food
  • spending time with one another,
  • finding time away without our children

From there....we took our three Core Values & three Strategic themes to answer Question #1 (written in our words): What makes your family unique?

We are a family who enjoys spending time with one another and makes laughter a focal point of our time together. Eating good food, experiencing new food and cooking are important to us. We actively practice generosity and hospitality in response to the abundant generosity and hospitality God has extended to us in our lives.

Questions 2 & 3 to come...

Dress Shopping

Veronica and I went to a little party on Wednesday for our church's worship team gathering. It was at one of my fellow musician's home. They live on the lake and I wasn't even thinking about water & swimsuits (much to Veronica's dismay). However, she was quickly appeased by her ride in the boat with mommy. She had a pretty serious face for the most part and I commented to a friend, "do you see how her face is in a deadpan?...(yes they replied) She will be talking about going on this boat ride for days, she's taking it all in." And that she did, observe-study-take it all in and chatter on & on about the whole ride home and the next day. Consequently, I let her have a s'more and that boosted this child's system into overdrive. We had fun just the two of us. And as we were driving there I asked her if she'd like to go dress shopping for Auntie Mimi's wedding (because Grandma wanted to buy a dress for her)?
Considering she is the epitome of sugar & spice & everything girly, she responded, "Yes... I'll have a pink dress, Cadence will have a purple one & mommy will have a white dress (I'm sure she was accessorizing in her head as well).

We went to the mall, where all things are stuffy and shipping sounds more comforting. Now, if you're one of these moms I'm about to describe--bless you. However, I have wondered about the mom who has a toddler (or more) in tow proceeded to scour the sale rack (& then some), while the child(ren) are whining or crying, making it miserable for everyone involved. Well, I thought that until Cadence threw herself on the floor, because she had to take the store shoes off (I was becoming that mom).

As you can see...I bought them. But before I bought the actual dresses we took home, we went into another dress store first. Veronica was in what she calls "beautiful dress" heaven. The dresses were fancier than fancy and we found one, which was your idyllic fairytale princess dress. We went to the dressing room to try it on; however, it was too big. But V still wanted to see herself in the mirror and then proceeded to walk towards the door. I let her know thr first it was too big & we wouldn't be buying it. Secondly, even if we were buying it, we would need to pay for it. Third, we would then gave to get closer to the most untypical person ever working in a children clothing store. He was like a Vulcan or something and I seriously had my doubts.

What I also realized was Veronica's understanding if the dress store was singular. She was thinking if we left Vulcan man's shop than she wouldn't be getting a dress. I reassured her and settled at the Gap (don't know what teenage Kamille would think of that). And what do you know? I called Veronica over to see a dress not only in her size, but Cadence's as well, which made V even more happy. She was the easiest, most satisfied female shopper this world has seen. We tried them on & she was sold. She diligently carried both dresses around the store and was slightly disappointed that she couldn't try on shoes like Cadence due to her braces. But a sparkly, glittery pink headband sufficed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Life in August

One of our outings was at Hovander Park in Ferndale.

Today is beautiful. The sun is in full shine & the pre-autumn morning quickly subsided. We had a staycation two weeks back, where we did a little exploring in terms of new restaurants & new parks for the girls. Another new was going camping for the first time. Our philosophy on camping is such:
  1. No need to start off big.
  2. No need to travel too far.
  3. No need to spend more than one night.
  4. No need to pass up Grandparents wanting to join.
At the end of our staycation is when G&G Scellick came up (about 15 miles south of our house) with their trailer to camp. We joined them Saturday morning and stayed till Sunday afternoon. It was perfect as there was a swimming pool there, which made V overjoyed. In fact, Veronica was the one lighting the fire behind us to get going in the morning. My daughter who is typically the more methodical one in the bunch was the primary motivator to get out the door. She was the first to wake up and was quick at asking for her suitcase to pack. She had been long awaiting to see G&G and her beloved puppy.

This was Ben's puppy when he was a little boy and now it's Veronica's puppy.

Grandma Scellick made Puppy's Adventure into a book. Veronica said, "Oh, look! The book is like the video!"

Cadence relaxing & enjoying a special box of animal crackers from Grandma.

Veronica was a little disappointed to find out that she wouldn't be sleeping in the trailer with G&G, but was well over it the next morning when Grandma made hot cocoa with a marshmallow on top.

I think the highlight of it all was the swimming. Veronica went three times in just over a 24 hour period. This girl is proving to be a water monkey.

In other news:
I've joined Jogo Crossfit as well, which has been really good for me. It's been hard, but very good and I can tell the difference in my overall energy & health. As for my personal health and recent posts on anxiety & what not...well, I'm still in a slump. I've been meeting with my counselor again on a weekly basis and I think it's going to take some time. I'm not sure if I have obtained a food allergy or not, or if it's just stress. It's hard to find out. I know there is a lot of stress still and I feel like my joy has been robbed of me (and it's not all back yet). It will be a process and I can see hope though.

I've also been working on our families' nutrition by creating my own starter. I've simply been caring for it and I thought I had killed it last week. But today it's full of bubbles & life. Super excited about working with it and sharing a bit of what I've learned. We bought a half of a cow in July and will be buying half of a pig this week. It's great to know where our food is coming from and how the animals were raised, especially amidst so many e.coli break outs over the past years (did you hear about the big egg recall?). And can I just say this, I'm angry with how the government is allowing these things to happen. It makes me think of the Jungle by Upton Sinclair and the unsanitary practices in the meat industry in the early 20th century. Sinclair was writing about the effects primarily upon the working class and I don't think it's been absolved. I could probably go on and on, but I'll stop there.

Next week we will be getting Veronica tested to see if she qualifies for Special Needs preschool. I'll fill you in more about that later, along with looking at what Sensory Processing Disorder is and how it specifically affects our little girl. Cheers to you on this week!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pickin' Some Berries (and eatin' a couple too)

We went berry picking a couple weekends back. I remembered this little organic/no-spray berry farm out in the county, just didn't fully remember where it was located. Lucky for us, especially the girls, we found it. Veronica set off picking raspberries and putting them in her basket she picked out and brought from home.

And, well, Cadence looks like she's going to join in the picking; however....

....I don't think any made it to her basket--just straight to the mouth.

Veronica must have been inspired by Cadence.

Going berry picking was a delight, while this mama was the work horse in the picking department, which is the only reason we brought any home. But, I was more than glad to share my bounty, because how could I not with such beauties.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Angry Mama Bear

A couple weeks back we went down to our beloved Auntie Mimi & Uncle Bob's house to spend the night, in order to avoid added stress of doing all the driving in one day. We went to the Bite of Seattle on Sunday with my in-laws, which was pleasantly relaxing. I'm not one for taking my daughters to big crowds in general, especially when they're not child friendly. Yet, with Cadence falling asleep in her stroller for the first part, it alleviated some of the potential stress (especially considering she can be quite the monkey).

I also got to meet Tom Douglas, which was pretty neat. If you're not familiar with him, he's a famous chef with a handful of restaurants in Seattle. Well, that's a side note.

We were planted on a spot on the lawn. The girls came back from listening to the Gospel Choir with G&G. Veronica sat on my lap, while Cadence sat with Ben. Eventually, Cadence came over to me sitting half on my lap and half on the blanket. Then, in a hasty blur with two worlds colliding, one in front of me and the other behind me. In front, Cadence shrieks with that high pitched pain cry holding out her finger, while I'm looking to see what happened. Then, the mama bear comes out as Veronica smiles and I realize that as Cadence was laying across, her finger was near Veronica's mouth. Meaning the obvious: she bit her sister's finger.

Meanwhile, the raucous noises behind me are mixture of crows cawing & people screaming, because a crow had fallen out of the tree. There was another crow in the tree cawing, while the one on the ground was suffering. So whenever a person would walk past the crow on the ground, the crow in the tree would swoop down trying to snap at them.

However, I was still angry mama bear and handed Veronica over to Ben, while I consoled my hurt young. Grandma was trying to get us to move, because the crow in the tree didn't look too good. And that's what's happening in the picture.