motherhood

Endings and New Beginnings

After a quarter of a century with AT&T, Mad Dog is shifting gears and will be moving his talents to a new company.  To all the family and friends who have remained loyal to the brand throughout his career, we appreciate you.  

Click here to see the announcement:

Welcome to AND Agency, Mad Dog!

We are Florida bound! 

It is hard to feel completely at ease moving during a pandemic, but we are taking the longview knowing in our hearts it is where we are meant to be; close to family, long-time friends and saltwater breezes. 

We have already found our Amelia Island home.  We can’t wait to be so close to the beach!

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Welcome to Siesta D!

When your life has revolved around one company for so many years, it is a lot to digest as the magnitude of leaving it behind settles in.  Mad Dog and I have met some of the most incredible people that we are lucky to call our friends. We are so grateful they will continue to be a part of lives as we move forward.

All this nostalgia got me thinking back to when I first met Mad Dog. Initially, I often wondered if we were compatible.  He was a quiet yet intense go-getter poised to crush the business world.  I was an empathic social worker intent on saving the world one troubled soul at at time.  Mad Dog sensed this divide, too.  At one point I remember him considering a leadership position with the American Cancer Society.  I knew the non-profit sector wasn’t where he belonged, but it made me love him all the more for his thoughtful consideration of this.

As I watched him earn his promotion as the youngest (at the time) GM of a call center, I started to see firsthand the scope of his leadership impact.  He expected excellence on the job, but he also encouraged accountability across all facets of life.  One of my favorite stories regarding this career-defining time of Mad Dog’s life, is how he mentored one of his coaches into becoming the first college graduate ever in her family.  These types of exceptional stories became the norm.

That’s when I knew we were meant for each other.  We both valued making the world better than how we found it.  It may have presented differently for both of us, but the theme of lifting others up was the common thread that ultimately wove our lives together.

For me, the debt of gratitude I feel for AT&T knows no bounds.  Not only in the beautiful life it has afforded us, but because of the outstanding medical benefits provided that allowed both our boys to have top-notch eye care and sight-saving surgeries.  I won’t go into detail, but if you would like to read more about these experiences, click the links below.

Eye Am Thankful

Once Legally Blind, Our Son Now Sees 20/25

The video below (Mad Dog starts speaking around the 3:40 marker), is the full circle culmination of where it all started for Mad Dog as he helped re-launch a high-tech, revitalized Chicago North call center.  This is the moment I am the most proud of in his career. The way he speaks to our experiences with our boys and their vision challenges as well as our gratitude for AT&T says it all.

 

While it is hard to say goodbye, as we look back it reminds us of all that has happened we never imagined would. That is why we can take this leap of faith with confidence.  In this new phase if we encounter even a fraction of the kind of awesome people and experiences we did with AT&T, then we are certain the road ahead will be paved with more wonder than we ever dreamed possible.

Thank you for reading and see you at the beach!

 

dogs, family, motherhood

In the Name of Love

I once read in a novel the amount of nicknames you give someone is equal to the amount of your affection for them. If this is true, Max is one of the most loved beings I know.

Here’s a list of some of his many names:

  • Maximus
  • Maximillian
  • M.Diddy
  • McGoogs
  • McGoogle
  • Maxaroni
  • Rage Monster
  • Buddy
  • Bud
  • Maxy
  • Maxseamus
  • Moodle Doodle
  • Best Friend
  • Maxwell Snugalugs
  • Mr.Snugs
  • Sad Kitty
  • Max Damon
  • Moo Goo Gai Pan
  • Baby Boy
  • Old Man
  • Mr. Max
  • Little Old Baby
  • Mr. McGoo

Like many of you, I am not quite sure how to make the world better right now. My heart has been a bit frozen from fear and general overwhelm. I often think, “What can I do?” Is there anything I can reasonably contribute that might help?

I have this blog so I intend to start writing more. Maybe I can channel some love into the world through this keyboard and maybe that’s something. It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s all I have to offer you.

All each of us can do is start where we are and love as much as we are able.

Moodle Doodle wholeheartedly agrees.

inspiration, motherhood

Maple Syrup Mountain

Somehow, after years of trudging my way through the trenches of motherhood, I have reached the ultimate pinnacle of triumph.  T.Puzzle and Full Speed make me breakfast once a week!  And not a sad, soggy, partially frozen waffle sort of deal, but a glorious, made-from-scratch, giant golden, fills-your-whole-plate kind of waffle situation.

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To be fair, they learned from the best.

Mad Dog used to frequently make us homemade waffles on the weekend.  Then, life got way too busy until everything came to a quarantined halt.  He took this pause in time to resurrect this beloved tradition and managed to teach the boys how to do it from start to finish. T.Puzzle runs point and Full Speed is the technical support (readies supplies, melts butter, perfectly times the bacon preparation).  Whatever they are doing is working.  The waffles turn out amazing and then the whole house smells delicious for hours afterwards.  

And then,…they clean it all up afterwards!  Sure, there are times that the waffle iron gets left on and the batter mix floats over my kitchen in an apocalyptic-sized cloud, but I’ll take it.

Now that I am at the summit of motherhood freedom, I’m sure T.Puzzle will tell you it’s a swift dive downhill for me into creaking old age.  And this may be so, but while I’m here taking in this fabulous view, I plan to party like a rock star and eat as many waffles as humanly possible.

motherhood

The Legacy of Beauty

In my dermatologist’s waiting area, there are a few areas of distinction.  The muted color scheme is lovely and soothing.  Then, there is this cascading water feature in constant flow adding to the serenity.  It all makes for a pleasant experience as you wait to be called in for your appointment.  That is, until you start watching their video feed.

In this feed, it shows you the additional services they offer besides skin care.  While I appreciate the ads for sunscreen, everything else I could do without.  According to this video feed, I could use help with my furrowed brow, crow’s feet, sagging cheeks, skinny lips, back fat, and let’s not forget, my droopy caboose. It was hard to sit there and watch as each successive product or service offered was like taking a bullet to my self-esteem.  I texted a friend during this ordeal for validation and support.  No sooner than I hit send, I looked up to see I also could use a “chin assessment”.  Apparently, the angle of mine is ‘wrong’.

As women, we are expected to uphold a ridiculous standard of beauty.  No one really talks about how insane it all is, but I imagine, most of us could rattle off ten to twenty things about our appearance that we don’t like.  If we had unlimited resources, I suppose each of us could spend our time fixing these ‘flaws’, but when would it stop?  Most of the options available are temporary at best.  Who has that kind of time for all that upkeep?

When I think about real beauty, the kind that is sustainable through years and transcends aging, I always think of my Mom.

To me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

She kept her hair short, rarely wore make-up except for the occasional swipe of red lipstick, and preferred jeans and t-shirts as her wardrobe staples.  What made her beautiful wasn’t her adherence to unrealistic cultural beauty standards.  Instead, it was the sparkle in her clear-blue eyes, the playful laughter that would rise from within, and a smile that lit joy into whatever room she entered.

That’s the kind of beauty I want in my life. The best part of this kind of beauty is that it isn’t earned.  It’s uncovered.  It shows its way through the cracks of our facade by living life.  It emanates from a soul that has weathered loss, but still finds the ray of sunshine peeking through the rubble.

It is intangible and perfect.

It does require upkeep, but not by spending hours and dollars at a doctor’s office. It shows up when we follow our hearts, love without limits, and let the stars of heaven shine through us.

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humor, motherhood

Fast Asleep

IMG_8767At a certain point in the day, I am over watching tv.  Especially on days I’ve clocked in a four-hour-plus baseball game. Sometimes I’m over reading, too.  When these moments happen, I just want to call it a day.  Even if I’m not truly tired I’d prefer to have dark and quiet.  Mad Dog isn’t always in agreement, but part of marriage is compromise.

“Are you planning on reading?” said Mad Dog as he finished up brushing his teeth.

“Nope. But I did think we could talk about our feelings,” I said.

“Great!  That will help me fall right to sleep!”

I do what I can, Mad Dog.  I do what I can.