My week ahead is looking pretty insane and pretty great:
Dinner with MZ at Hoosier Mama Pie Co (tues)
Hazel’s First Christmas Pageant* (wed)
Team Holiday Party - Champagne Tasting @ Bin 36 (thurs)
NEXT - Bocuse D’or (friday)
Kankakee Valley Performance Choir Christmas Show (sun)
*This is, hands-down, the event I am most excited for this holiday season! I can’t imagine anything that will bring me more Christmas spirit than seeing my nugget stand on “stage” in her frilliest red dress “singing loud for all to hear.”
**Next and Schwa in the same weekend? RIDICULOUS, I know! At about 11:45 pm last Wednesday, Simon decided on a whim to call Schwa - just to see if we could even get through. Almost impossibly, someone picked up….and when we asked about a Saturday night 4 top, his response: ”sure, why not.” We are taking my mother in law for her birthday…and I am pretty certain we have no idea what we are getting ourselves into, but I can’t wait!!!
Hazel and I were having a discussion about Rock of Ages (the musical) and she said to me (in her most exasperated voice):
Those guys are so enormous!
I was almost certain she meant to say annoying (cause let’s be honest - they totally are…annoying, that is.) And then last night when asked about the height of our tree, she confirmed my suspicious by stretching her arms high above and exclaiming “it’s annnnoying!”
November has been insane. We knew it was going to be. We did everything we could to prepare ourselves (emotionally and logistically :)
Even so, the past several weeks have been a whirlwind! 4 work trips. 7 offsite meetings. 2 speaking engagements These things require a fantastic amount of prep. I needed more hours…so I found more hours… I traded in weekend time and sleep time and food time and general self-care time for work. It was an effective, if not exhausting, strategy. Our hard work paid off. I love what I do.
Quality time with my kiddos was compressed. Not ideal, but we made our time together count. Big adventures out of little things:
1. An after-dark exploration of the Abandoned Three Arts building. I told the girls it was haunted…we peeked in the dusty windows and examined the padlock on the front door. 2. A visit down to the Greats to to play in a pile of leave thisssssssss high! 3. Friday night trip to Chicago Water Tower (Hazel thought it was Cinderella’s Castle. I went with it!) then to the plaza at the base of the Hancock to let the girls explore.
Fee is now nodding yes to everything. That’s super fun! And Hazel started insisting that she holds the shopping basket at plum market. That is not as fun. :)
While shouldering a work load of his own, my husband took the lead on more than his fair share of domestic duties. I love my guy from the bottom of my heart.
Mom H. came in for a few days. She is a life-saver. Mom A. was there too….being her ever-supportive self. When they said “it takes a village,” they weren’t kidding. I have no problem admitting that there is no way we could do this two career/two kid thing without our support system.
I am really looking forward to this holiday break. Time to unplug & unwind And be with the people for whom I am most thankful. I can’t think of anything better.
At work, things are busy. My November Sundays have all been spent in the office. Today, I brought a buddy.
When Felix went down for her nap, Z & I grabbed our bags and headed to work. An hour earlier, she called out: I’m packing for a meeting, while shoving leg warmers, a plastic stethoscope, 2 dozen books and her piglet into a suitcase.
We got to the office and had to sign-in with Security. I used my ID to badge us onto my floor. She was mega impressed. A quick visit to the cafe: I made my coffee. Hazel preferred tea. Then we got down to business..she drew some pictures and wrote some checks (her words, not mine) before cuddling on our team’s red couch to watch a movie.
We also watched as the storms roll in. The sky got as dark as night. The lights in my office are on a motion sensor meaning they go dark regularly when the office is still. This afternoon, I got to teach Hazel the arm wave dance I always do to turn them back on. She laughed. So did I.
That was a fun thing to share with my girl.
Hazel capturing the exact look I was giving to some Data today.
I rolled into work a couple of hours early to get a jump start on another full day. My manager was in already and after a few minutes of catching up - she asked me to close the door to her office…and then she told me that I had been promoted! I got a promotion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cried. Happy Tears. My manager smiled so big and said delivering this sort of news is one of the best parts of her job. A few minutes later, my director called me in and squeezed me right. She told me she was proud of me. I may have shed a few more happy tears.
I knew that I had been nominated for promotion this cycle, but since I have only been in my new gig a few months - I thought the odds of actually getting it were slim to none. This year I have had the opportunity to take on a dream role with the best team in the company (I am totally biased :) and manage big strategic clients….hoping for a promotion on top of the professional goodness I have been blessed with seemed almost greedy. But, MAN! I am so happy I got it!
In my organization, a promotion indicates a level change (not a role change) and with it, increased responsibility…among other things. I am ready for the challenge!
I called my dad first. Then my mom. I wanted to share the news with Simon and the girls in person - so I kept it underwraps all day. That was a long 8 hours.
Telling my husband was the best. He is so immensely supportive of my career, it felt like a shared win. Z + Fee had no idea what I was talking about but when I explained that it was sort of like “getting picked to go from the 2’s classroom up to the 3’s,” Hazel understood it was a big deal. Felix just smiled along…because that is what she does.
To celebrate - Simon and the girls took me out: Charcuterie & Neopolitan Pizza at Spacca Napoli….then ice cream sundaes at Margie’s. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.
Last Friday was a really great day…. One that I have been working for and dreaming about for a long time.
I am on my way to NY for a few days. Our team offsite. Tonight, dinner in Little Italy and awards will be given out (Awards! I love awards!) Tomorrow, a full day of content…and bonding… and talk of 2014 strategy. Our activity for tomorrow night remains a surprise but knowing our leadership team, my money is on Kareoke.
As far as business travel goes, this is the best type.
No high pressure client pitches. No decks to prepare. My job for the next 2 days is to learn and grow. I couldn’t be more excited! I get so much out of these types of internal meetings - offsites like this make me a better employee.
Having said that…
This trip marks the start of what will be an insane November.
5 business trips in the next 4 weeks. I will be gone as much as I am home. Even though I am excited about every single meeting on my calendar and thankful for the opportunities - this month won’t be easy.
Not easy on me. or Simon. or the Girls.
We will make it work, obviously, but it isn’t ideal.
This morning Hazel asked me not to go. That’s the worst.
I often grapple with how I can be so sincerely excited for these professional opportunities while at the same time dreading being away from home. 2 sides of the working mom coin, ya know.
It was a wet one yesterday But the drizzle didn’t dampen spirits…
The girls loved their costumes - handmade with love by grandma h. and the idea of ringing doorbells for candy.
Grandma A & Papa boom graciously took candy hand-out duty,while Simon and I made our way up and down the lane with our Madelines.
They were absolutely precious. So sweet.
It was a fun night to be a parent.
(Huge thanks to Mom H for the costumes and Mom A for the pictures. Halloween takes a village! Love you both!)
In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines In two straight lines they broke their bread And brushed their teeth and went to bed. They left the house at half past nine In two straight lines in rain or shine… ― Ludwig Bemelmans, Madeline