Talking about diversity with our kids

Talking about diversity with our kids

I had originally written this post about diversity in November 2017 but given all that has happened after the death of George Floyd, I thought it would be appropriate to update this post with additional links and resources for those of us who are working hard to raise white children who are actively anti-racist.

Are you ready to talk to your kids about diversity? I didn’t think it was going to happen at only 3 1/2 years old but it did. If you follow me on Instagram (please do! @nuggetlands), you probably saw my InstaStories about an unexpected talk I had with Big Nugget.

The conversation

At lunch last week, we were eating our burgers at Habit and people watching. Out of nowhere, she tells me “Mom we have the right skin color. Ours is the normal one and the right one.”

? I nearly choked on my burger. 

I asked her what made her think that? And she said it was something that she decided. I asked her then what about Ms Tika and Ms Missy (her school teachers who are African American and Latina) and she said their skin was ok and that she loved them.

We kept talking about it and I was trying to probe her more on where she heard something like this but she just kept saying “I decided that myself”.

Meanwhile, all that is going through my head is that racism is learned….who is teaching my child these things? FREAKING OUT. We chose her preschool because it was so diverse. We don’t talk that way and I’d like to think that our actions and words show her acceptance and empathy.

The Diversity Lesson

She now understands that no one has the right skin color and that everyone has different skin colors and hair colors and eye colors and each and everyone is perfect for that person. Just like the rainbow, the more colors that we have around us, the more beautiful it is. She loves rainbows so I think that really resonated with her. I said God made everyone perfect and different and that it’s ok. She asked about Jesus and what color he was and I said that he had dark skin like Ms. Tika.

She started to lose interest in our conversation at this point because, well, she’s 3 but I wanted to drive home the most important point to her, that saying something like that is not only untrue but hurtful.

I know this is just the beginning of educating her and making sure she is accepting and inclusive but HOLY HELL. I was blindsided.

Talking to teachers about diversity

That next day, I spoke with her preschool teacher about our conversation. At first, I had some doubts that I should bring it up. I didn’t want her to think that we were horrible parents and some sort of racists. She was very thankful that I told her about it and said that she hadn’t heard anyone of the kids saying anything like that but that she would be a little more vigilant in what she overhears. She gave us a book to read over the weekend and she said that she would incorporate it into class next week as well.

Let’s face it, having these conversations, both with our children and their educators, are more important than ever. It can be awkward or uncomfortable but not talking about it just makes it worse. I saw both of those conversations as opportunities to learn and grow, not just for my daughter but also, for me.

5 Ways to Raise Anti-Racists

  1. Read diverse books, both with your children and on your own.
  2. Provide diversity in your toy selection
  3. Talk to your school about how they plan to address diversity and inclusion – especially if you live in predominately white areas.
  4. Be the adult you want them to grow up to be – speak up with your peers say something racist.
  5. Educate yourself so that you can explain things to them at age-appropriate levels. Don’t rely on your POC friends to do this for you.

Diversity Resources

This is a great article for parents on how to talk about diversity.

This is a comprehensive anti-racist book list for kids from Ideal Bookshelf is fantastic.

I ordered a handful of books from Amazon for us to read at home. Karen Katz is one of my favorite children’s book authors, I was really excited when I saw she had this book.

I found this YouTube video about this book and decided to order it.

Finally, a classic book with a great message.

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Returning to work is all about planning

Returning to work is all about planning

Returning to work after being home with a baby can be intimidating, scary, exhilarating and sad. When I was laid off from my marketing position in the summer of 2017, I was given an amazing severance and knew that I wanted to make the most of it and spend time at home with my girls. I also knew it wasn’t a long term arrangement. Fast forward to the fall of this year and I realized it was time to start looking for my next career move. 

Here is my complete guide to land the job you want and how to prepare to make the complicated transition of returning to work easier. 

Envision what you want

The first step I did was to reflect and write down what I wanted in my next job. I envisioned the role. The office. The people. The work. I knew the two most important things for me this time around were flexibility and stability. It really helped me prioritize opportunities.

Take out a piece of paper and write down where you want to work next. What does your day to day look like? Where is the office located? What kind of office is it? Open concept and modern? Or traditional? 

Tell people

I’ve been laid off quite a bit in my career, it’s the nature of being in marketing departments, so I’ve gotten pretty good at finding a new job. I’ve used all the big job boards and have gotten limited traction there. Where I’ve found the last few opportunities is through my network. I told everyone that I knew that might have a lead on a new position that returning to work was a priority for me. Ultimately, my new role came from responding to a post from the CEO of the agency I’m joining on LinkedIn. He mentioned they were looking for someone and I emailed him to get the ball rolling.  

If returning to work is something that you want to happen in the next six months, go make sure that your LinkedIn profile is current. Then tell the world what you are looking for! Write an article about your job search. Post an update with what you are looking for. Interact with people that might be helpful in getting you in the door for your dream job. 

Practice

I had quite a few interviews before I had the ones that ultimately led me to my new job. I’m incredibly thankful those opportunities didn’t work out. I needed the practice. I was so far removed from tapping into that side of my brain that it took awhile for me to feel “back”. After each interview, I would write down what their questions where and formulate better answers so that the next time, I would be a little more on my A game. It was such a great exercise for me. 

If you are starting to apply and interview for roles, I encourage you to practice answering some sample questions. Here are the ones that I used: 

  • What are your top 3 strengths? 
  • What are your top 3 weaknesses? 
  • Top 3 professional accomplishments?
  • What are you looking for in your next company/role? 
  • What makes you unique? (Read my answer here)
  • If you were going to drop the ball on something, what would that ball be? 

Returning to work emotions

Once you find that role and know that it’s going to fall into place, allow yourself to start to grieve. I had a really hard time with this because the emotions that came up were big and raw. I left my new office after my final interview, job offer in hand, and I sobbed. 

One weight was lifted and another immediately took its place. There was immense relief that I found the right role and the right company and that I could start contributing again to our family’s finances. It was quickly replaced with the gravity of managing this transition of returning to work, finding someone to take care of my girls, and dealing with the emotions of not being with them all the time. Sure there were days when I couldn’t wait for this to happen but even in those rough moments, I knew I would miss it. 

I keep trying to keep the big picture in mind, returning to work is not the end of the world, just a change in seasons. There are plenty of season changes in motherhood, this was just one of them and we are all going to be just fine. 

Prepare

Now that the start date is set and returning to work is a reality, it’s time to GET to work. Literally. 

First things first, figure out your childcare situation. Whatever the right choice is for your family – nanny or daycare – getting that in place will allow you to take a big deep breath. Help to prepare your kids for any changes in their schedule by talking about it with them, even if they are toddlers. Little Nugget is in a phase where she likes to run through everyone in our family and tell me where they are. “Dadda at work. Sister at school. Mama, home” So I’ve started to tell her that soon I’m going to go to work also and that she was going to be just fine. I also took the girls with me when I dropped off my signed offer letter. It gave them a chance to get a visual of where Mommy is when she goes to work. 

Second thing is your wardrobe. I found myself scrambling to pull together outfits just for the interviews. Now I’m going to need a few new pieces because I highly doubt yoga pants and a hoodie will be acceptable. I’ve relied on my trusty friend Ebates to make sure I’m getting the best deals. Most of my shopping has been online cause trying on clothes with a toddler in tow is one of the levels of hell. 

Third essential item you need is a family planner. Life just got a little more complicated and having a system to keep everyone on the same page is crucial. I’ve been using these Erin Condren planners for the last four years. They work so well for our family and I love having a book of activities and milestones to look back on. 

Fourth item is to start to meal planning NOW. I think there is a common misconception that meal planning is this arduous process that takes forever  but it’s so not the case. Meal planning can be as simple as jotting down what you are going to have for dinner and making sure that you have the ingredients you need. I used to use my Erin Condren planner to track all of our meals for the week – and that system worked great. Then my friend Erin developed this meal planner and I love it. It keeps the whole year together so you can easily reference back to previous weeks for ideas AND it has tear out grocery lists. I also keep a master list with our favorite dinner ideas and a handful of my favorite cookbooks so that I can plan quickly.

Be Proud

This is probably going to be the hardest part for us Mom’s – setting aside the guilt and the to do lists and be proud of what you accomplished. Being a stay at home mom was never on my radar, never something I thought I would want to do when we started our family. However, I was given this unexpected gift of time with them and I will forever be grateful for that. We’ve all grown in so many ways and quite frankly, the fact that we all survived is a damn miracle. 

I’m also proud to be returning to work and to model some new behavior for them – one of a woman who loves her family and puts them first but has ambitions and a career. That’s always been important to me and I’m proud of myself for putting that on the back burner for awhile and equally as proud to be taking this leap back into the workforce. 

Make sure to take care of yourself throughout this process. I started work on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon, my body started to wave the white flag. I was exhausted and achy. The stress, anxiety and emotions had all caught up to me once the first day was done and I knew everything was going to be ok. I got through it enough to get dinner made and the kids bathed. Once I put Little Nugget down for the night, I walked straight into my room and got under my weighted blanket and slept. I woke up Wednesday morning and felt human. Ready to tackle this next chapter. 

Returning to work after baby can bring on a whole host of emotions. Whether you’ve always been a stay at home mom or just took a break, this guide will help you in each step. Job search tips, interview prep, how to manage your transition and your family so that you can feel ready to tackle this next chapter.

Keeping a Loved One’s Spirit Alive

Keeping a Loved One’s Spirit Alive

I lost my Dad almost 6 years ago. The pain is always there. Most of the time it’s a dull ache, a whole in your life that you can’t fix. Sometimes that pain will turn sharp and smack you in the face. You expect it on milestone days, weddings, holidays, and birthdays. It can happen without notice too. Hearing a song. Seeing a stranger that reminds you of that person. Or buying Father’s Day cards at Target.

I lost him before I got married. Before I became a Mom. It seems like he’s missed so much already in that short amount of time. I feel an obligation to keep his spirit alive, not only to my Dad but to my girls. They missed out on knowing a great guy and he would have adored them. I think it’s still possible for them to get to know Papa Pete, even if it’s just through me.

It seems to be that time of life where my friends are starting to lose parents as well. It’s transformed conversations from catching up on life and kids and jobs and husbands….to remembering loved ones and sharing how we are all dealing with our grief.

I was having one of those conversations with my friend the other day – who had lost her Mom – about keeping a loved ones spirit alive. We both were struggling with how to do that and if we were doing a good enough job with it.

This is what we do that makes remembering loved ones easy and natural.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

Remembering Loved Ones

Display their pictures – I’m not saying build a shrine and it doesn’t have to be fancy. I have a picture of my Dad and I on the fridge and Big Nugget will often reference it while we’re making dinner or hanging in the kitchen. We have a gallery wall and there is a picture of my Dad and I from when I was about 3. It’s one of Little Nugget’s favorite pictures to point and look at.

remembering loved ones fridge

Tell their stories – When I was young, I loved sitting around and listening to my aunts and uncles tell stories about when they were growing up. My kids are no different. And we have some epic family stories to share. It’s fun to relive those happy times and see how my kids react to them. Big Nugget will even bring them up on her own – she especially likes talking about that time we drove through a zoo in our van…

Casually incorporate them – Someone asked me the other day how to help their sister in law who lost her father during their families Father’s Day celebration. I said just acknowledge him and her loss. Maybe make his favorite food to have at the celebration. Bring them up, tell a story. Remembering loved ones doesn’t have to be a sit down formal occasion. We talk a lot about Papa Pete and his love for sports on the way to t-ball or hockey. It feels natural and makes him a part of our every day routine.

Keepsakes – I have some things that my Dad loved around our house. I have his collection of mini classic cars hung up in our guest room. I also have a few amazing blankets and a quilt that my cousin made for me. She incorporated some of his old clothes into the design and it’s something that I will treasure forever. I know my girls will too. Check out her Etsy shop too!

remembering loved ones little nugget logo

Be open with your own emotions – grief is a nasty nasty unwanted friend that likes to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Regardless of whether the pain is new and raw or dull and familiar, it’s important to be honest with your kids when it affects you. Let them see it and see your vulnerability. You are modeling behavior that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Brene Brown talks a lot about this in Daring Greatly and it really resonated with me.

remembering loved ones 5 easy ways

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday

It’s hard to believe that we just celebrated Little Nugget’s first birthday. She doesn’t actually turn one until this Saturday but we did the party a week early since we had family in town.

I said wasn’t going to go crazy, and I actually think I kept myself in check this time around. The guest list was small and I kept the menu simple since it was a mid morning gathering. I started to look for ideas on Pinterest and Etsy – at first just for some pink and gold party supplies. Then I found a “Wild One” birthday banner that was adorable and then I saw some ideas for a Where The Wild Things Are theme. Sold, that book is one of our favorites, especially big sister.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used.

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Elements

For Big Nugget’s first birthday, I did a time capsule for her with notes from everyone at her party. I wanted to do the same thing for Little Nugget and found an adorable Where The Wild Things Are piggy bank to hold all the notes from our loved ones.

time capsule 2 wild one birthday

I added photos of the Little one to the mantel and reused some gold letters that I had from Big’s birthday. I figured I had saved them for this long, I was going to find a way to incorporate them.

This blurry picture is typical of that morning for Little – early wake up, short morning nap and super clingy. At least her outfit was festive. I found the onsie and leggings from two different Etsy shops – linked below. Not the girly-est outfit but adorable nonetheless.

outfit wild one birthday

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Menu

The birthday party started at 10am so I did a brunch menu. Fruit, PB&J sandwiches cut like crowns, baked ham and swiss rolls, donut holes, fruit and the best cinnamon rolls – the same ones I did for our Holiday Craft Brunch.

food spread wild one birthday

Food close wild one birthday

These jello cups were super easy to make and so adorable. I saw a similar picture on Pinterest and tried to recreate it.

Jello Boats Wild One birthday

First time eating jello, I think she liked it.

jello treat wild one birthday

When I think of my own childhood birthday cakes, I think of yellow cake and chocolate frosting. This cake tasted as good as it looked. The smash cake was a little healthier and was a spiced banana cake with a cream cheese frosting.

chocolate cake wild one birthday

smash cake wild one birthday

Safe to say that the birthday girl was a fan of her cake. She is such a ham. There were so many cute pictures of her and this cake that it was hard to choose just two to share. Big Nugget was not interested in her cake at all at her first birthday so it was fun to see the Little one so into it.

Last year I used Two Sugar Bees for party favors and loved giving away something cute and edible. They really did a great job with the theme and the cookies taste amazing.

cookies wild one birthday

After the cake smash, birthday girl got changed into her Carole the monster onsie. It didn’t last long since she got soaked playing in the water tables.

carol shirt wild one birthday

We had such a great time celebrating our Little Nugget with family and friends. We are all still coming down from the sugar high.

family wild one birthday

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Party Resources

Recreating this Where The Wild Things Are birthday party would be super easy. Some of the items for the party I made myself, like the moss food tags and boat sails in the jello, but a lot of it I got through Etsy. I love shopping there because not only am I supporting small businesses but I also get 1% back on my purchases through Ebates. If you do any sort of online shopping and aren’t using Ebates, you’re missing out. I got close to $500 cash back last year from my online purchases. Sign up through this link and you will get $10 to your account. Get the browser plug in and it will let you know if there are any deals available when you go to your favorite websites OR you can browse their site to find the best deals.

Ok, Ebates rant over. Here are the spots where I found some of the party supplies, if there is something that isn’t listed, shoot me an email.

Onsies:  mi cielo

Leggings: Tiny Feathered Arrow

Garlands: Jordyn & Grace and Paper Confetti

Piggy Bank: MMIM

Where The Wild Things Are birthday printables: BGC Designs

Cake Topper: Brides 2 Babies

I did order a couple things from Amazon, the Crowns and Vines. They vines do have a strange smell to them so make sure you have time to air them out.

Where The Wild Things Are Birthday Cake

 

Checking In – The Challenge Begins

Checking In – The Challenge Begins

This post contains affiliate links.

I said that I was going to be checking in once a week with how I’m tracking on my goals for the year and I missed last week. Good thing one of my goals wasn’t to remain consistent. HA! I did have family in town for the last week and our routine and schedules were somewhat thrown into the wind. PLUS we celebrated Little Nugget’s first birthday Saturday so I was all consumed with that – stay turned for more pictures and a full party recap. But it’s a new week and I’m back on track, at least with my check in’s.

Cake Smash

Health

Even with my family in town, I still managed to get to the gym a couple times. What I’m most excited about though is that my gym’s 6 week transformation challenge started yesterday. I did it last fall and while I worked my butt off and was really happy with my results, I had to adjust my nutrition to keep my milk supply going. This time around, I’m not as worried about it so I’m excited to see the results. The kick off includes a fitness test, getting weighed and measured at the gym and setting 3 goals for ourselves during the six weeks. At the end of the challenge, we will do the whole thing over again and see how we measure up. It’s a great challenge and my Fit Mill family is so very supportive of everyone at every fitness level.

I also got my body fat tested by getting tanked with The Body Fat Test. I did it last time and it’s the most accurate way to measure your body fat and lean muscle mass. Jolen, the owner, breaks down your activity levels and caloric needs taking into account your activity level and weight loss goals. I was pleasantly surprised that despite the holidays, I’ve actually gotten leaner since my last test at the end of October, not a lot but I thought for sure that I had gained since I didn’t really track calories.

Blog

I signed up to attend The Influential Summit in Carlsbad February 8th and 9th. I’m super excited to learn and grow my network. It was also the kick in the pants that I needed to design and print my business cards. I feel so official now.

Reflection

So far so good on the journal. I’m really enjoying that it’s only one line a day. Here is a link to the one that I’m using and it’s currently on sale.

Digital

Removing myself from my phone has been a lot harder than I thought. I did make a conscious effort to not be on a lot when my family was in town and it was a nice break that I need to continue.

Diet

Lots of dinners out with family and making two birthday cakes really put a dent in my diet. BUT – it’s a new week and the remaining cake has been thrown out and meals have been planned.

IMG_1581

Monday – Chicken Avocado Soup

Tuesday – Turkey Meatloaf and cauliflower mashed “potatoes”

Wednesday – Chicken Enchiladas and Cauliflower rice

Thursday – Turkey burgers, roasted broccoli (Mac and cheese for the kids)

Friday – Pizza night

Clutter

I made some headway on the closet that is my goal to get organized this month but it came out of a moment of desperation to find a missing tap shoe 20 minutes before we needed to be in the car on the way to dance. A frantic purge began and I ended up emptying out the closet and cleaning while we searched….and by we I mean me while my oldest “helped” by moving the same couch cushion and saying she couldn’t find it. I was about it give up when I saw my Hunter boots by the front door and thought to look in it. Sure enough, there it was. The work of an eleven month old. Why did I think to look there you’re wondering? Because the day before, I stepped into said boot and found a teether with a half melted ice cube in it.

What wins did you have last week???

 

 

Checking In – Serious Fangirl Moment

Checking In – Serious Fangirl Moment

This post contains affiliate links

I’ve decided that I’d check in once a week to see how I’ve done so far on my goals for the year. It will keep me accountable but will also give me a chance to update on anything I’ve learned. I’m also sharing our meal plan for the week.

Have you heard about the one word for 2018 trend? I decided that my word for 2018 is ‘grow’. It encompasses what I want to get out of my Detox and Deepen and my friend from Sweet Lilac Prints did this amazing hand lettered graphic for me. Check out her page, she’s so super talented.

One Word Grow

Health

I didn’t get a run in this week but I did make it to my gym 3 times. Win.

Blog

I had a really great call this week with Dawn from Live in Your Light. I’ve worked with Dawn before after the loss of our baby. She really helped me heal and I wanted to get her perspective on my new venture. It was a call that left me energized and motivated and ready to welcome and build new opportunities.

Reflection

I’m 6 for 6 in writing in my one line a day journal. It’s surprisingly easy and I’m really enjoying it. The hardest part was to remember to keep a pen at my bedside table. I’ve also been meditating every day. I’ve been using the Simple Habit app and they have some wonderful 5 minute guided meditations, most are free.

Digital

I haven’t fully kicked my cell phone out of my bedroom yet but I have cut down on my phone time quite a bit. So much actually that I finished an entire book this week. Sister’s First is written by the Jenna and Barbara Bush about their family, upbringing and bond as sisters. It’s a great read. I tweeted about it when I finished and Jenna responded back to me this morning. Total fangirl moment.

Tweet from Jenna Bush Hager

Diet

I may or may not have eaten a handful of chocolates this week. BUT, we stuck to our meal plan and had some really healthy dinners and lunches. Here is our meal plan for this upcoming week:

Monday: Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese

Tuesday: One Pot Sausage Pasta

Wednesday: Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Thursday: Turkey Burgers/Mac&Cheese/Use up veggies

Friday: Pizza

Clutter

I haven’t started on that coat/shoe closet yet, I’ve been thinking about it though so that counts right? I feel like I’ve actually been adding to the clutter in the house because I’m getting things ready for Little Nugget’s first birthday party. Where did this year go? I’ll be sharing some sneak peaks of the Where the Wild Things Are theme and the decor I’m making/buying so be sure to follow me on Instagram – @nuggetlands. Here is my first idea board for the party…

WTWTA inspo