End of Year Field Trips

Our daughter is finishing up Kindergarten, which I can barely believe. She’s had an amazing year with a wonderful teacher. Each year at her school, they go on a trip to the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum in Commerce, Texas. If you’re ever in this area, I highly recommend this place! We were only there for about 2 1/2 hours, and Katherine could have (and has before) stayed there all day. It’s a 501(c)3, and admission is $6 for kids and $5 for adults.

Katherine riding on the train

They have plenty of options, all of which require plenty of imagination from the kids. There’s a stage with costumes, a train with a station, a bank, a pizza parlor, a grocery store, a pirate ship and many, many more areas. Katherine’s favorite may have been the bubble room!

        Inside of the bubble!

I remember as a child how important these field trips were to me and how many memories I made there. I’m so thankful to have been able to go to see Katherine and her friends at hers.

Garrett and I took off the week of May 14th through the 18th to celebrate our anniversary (which is May 14th). We also decided that for two of the days, we’re go our separate ways (absence makes the heart grow fonder and whatnot). He headed off to Oklahoma, while I stayed more local for a couple of small “daycations,” one of which we took right after her field trip!

Maybe a future banker like her parents?

I can’t wait to share our other trips with you soon!

Getting Outside

Did it just suddenly seem to go from cool to hot where you are? It absolutely did here in east Texas. The only benefit is that we can now officially use the pool we put in! We entertain often, and staying outside during the summer can seem fun in theory, but it’s often too hot to just sit around.

Aside from the pool, I absolutely love to play yardzee…it’s just a much larger version of Yahtzee!

This one has a reusable score board, which makes it fun to truly play. If you’re crafty with tools, you could also try to just make it on your own.

We also enjoy playing corn hole with the kiddos and friends during the warmer months. This set that I found on Amazon is much less expensive than any of the others. I’m not sure it’s regulation size, but it seems to be full size and not a table-top size, which is really all I personally care about. I don’t plan to go pro any time soon.

What are your favorite things to do outdoors?

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Happy (Early) Mother’s Day

I decided to go ahead and publish this post on Friday instead of Sunday just in case you’ve forgotten what Sunday is – Mother’s Day!

I haven’t experienced anything more life changing than becoming a mother. Every emotion I was capable of, I think I experienced. And it’s wonderful. Truly, it is. If I’m being 100% honest, though, I also mourned the “old” me. The “me” who didn’t have the weight of a thousand worlds suddenly thrust upon her. I remember the first time the realization hit me that I was completely and fully responsible for a small, innocent human. I went out to my granny’s house and sat with her for the longest time. I remember her looking at me for a while before speaking. She only said, “Being a mom has aged you.”

Now, she wasn’t referring to the dark circles that has appeared the same time my baby girl did. There’s an innocence that is lost when we become parents. That moment shifted our relationship into an even deeper place. It was also the moment that made me realize that we don’t achieve those deep relationships without the valleys. The all-nighters, incessant crying and constant neediness has formed a bond between my daughter and myself that you simply cannot manufacture. You have to hit those lows to come out on the other, wonderful side.

I’m grateful to all of the moms in my life.

To my mother-in-law, who raised me husband, I’m so thankful you look at me like a daughter and truly love my kids.

To my grandma who would stay up late with me eating peanut butter toast watching Disney movies while everyone else slept. Thank you for cultivating my connection with past generations of our family.

To my granny who taught me more during her life by simply being the loving person she was. Plus, she had the kindest laugh.

And to my mom, the one who would make me a glass of water in the middle of the night because it “tasted better” than when I made it and who has always shown true, unconditional love.

 

Business Etiquette Series, Part 3

Welcome back, readers! I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am. I’ve had a lot of feedback from business owners, so today I really want to focus on Business Owner Etiquette. This is just as much for employees of businesses, though, so even if you don’t own a business, keep reading!

The most important part of business etiquette is consistency. The reason Starbuck’s and other chains do so well is that people know they can go there and get the same thing in Dallas as they can in Chicago. Even if you’re a one-location operation, make sure your customers know they will get what they expect. This extends so far beyond food, though.

Keep your hours consistent. The number one complaint I get about small businesses is that customers say they never really know when they’re open. If you have “ish” following a number that is intended to indicate when you’re open, I highly recommend you lose the “ish.” It isn’t cute. It’s confusing. If someone takes the time to drive to your place of business, and you’re not there when they expect you to be there, they likely will find an alternative.

Particularly with small businesses, the profit margin is small. However, sending home employees at 2pm when you’re scheduled to stay open until 4pm because things are slower than you’d like will lose you future business.

Staying on the path of consistency, make sure what you offer remains consistent. Especially as a parent, it’s very frustrating when I order something for my child expecting, say, a sandwich, fruit and chips (because that’s what I’ve received before when I ordered the same thing), and you bring only a sandwich and chips. If you bring something extra, make sure you state it’s extra. Otherwise, it becomes expected.

It takes time for people to adapt to change. Don’t be too quick to pull the trigger when trying out new hours or menu items. Make sure you advertise it well before simply deciding that change doesn’t work. People don’t know what they don’t know.

Keep in mind that your employees are your living, breathing brand. Choose them wisely. Employees should be willing to help and engaging with the customers.

No matter what type of business you run, if you rely on customers, you are in the service industry. Treating your customers with respect and dignity will always give you an edge on your competition.

 

Making Every Day Special

My granny had a talent for making every day special. Even though I was 12 when she and my aunt built a new home to move into, I associate most of my childhood memories with her in her old home, which she and my pappy moved into when they were married.

It was a simple white frame home with well-loved wood floors. There were also three points of exit, which probably caused gray hairs for my granny when she was watching me. The home didn’t have central heat or AC, so windows were regularly open, and the smell of honeysuckle permeated the air. She was an avid pie maker, so it was a regular occurance to see a cocount meringue pie in the kitchen.

My granny always told me that she cooked simple meals. But they never felt simple. Even a sandwich lunch in the heat of summer was special there. She pulled out all of the stops, and, as a mom, I wonder where she found her energy. For sandwiches there were always multiple varieties of meats and cheese in the Brookshire’s deli bags. Variety never stopped there, as there were options for every topping I could think of. She’s usually have a cantelope or other ripe summer fruit that she had cut up earlier, and tomatoes were both a topping and a side, sprinkled with a bit of salt. While her favorite chips were Lays potato chips, those were never the only ones she had. Even in the absence of one of her homemade pies (which never lasted long), Little Debbie treats were there following the meal. She still made it an experience.

I was thinking about these meals recently. I think too often we add unneccesary pressure on ourselves. While I do not (and will not) ever think it’s acceptable to just grow lazy and do the bare minimum, I also don’t think it’s prudent to add extra work just to add the extra work. She never felt pressured to make seven-course meals. She knew how to keep things appropriate.

My granny made sandwiches special. She enjoyed doing more than throwing a piece of meat and cheese on a slice of bread. That’s where I find much of my motivation. The meal never cost much, but, even as a 31 year old, I remember those meals vividly.

To me, this sums up etiquette so well. It doesn’t have to cost much. It just has a way of making the ordinary special. Don’t let fear hold you back from making each day special. You don’t need to work yourself silly. Invite friends over for sandwiches. I can guarantee those memories will last.

My daughter, my mom and I are the next generations of my granny’s legacy.