Two Working Moms

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What the RACE

I usually do several book reviews in one post but most recently I got the privilege of reading a book so special it deserved its own post.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.

It’s probably worth mentioning, I would likely have never picked this book to read for myself. There is so much drama in the world right now,  and I usually read a book to escape or learn…

But I learned SO MUCH from this book!


Since this is a book I most likely wouldn’t have picked up if it wasn’t for my awesome book club, Titles and Tangents, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of you would not either and that is why I wanted to write this post. Not to get you to buy the book, (but that would be awesome if you did,)  but at the very least I want you to be exposed to what I learned.

We are all privileged and if you really take a look at yourself you can do something powerful with that and make it a positive. What I like about this book is it doesn’t just tell the readers how and why we are privileged but actually give us something to do with it.


Step 1: Write down some of the ways you are privileged.

  • I was born and I live in America.
  • My skin color is white.
  • I’m employed and have a good job.
  • I have a car and can drive to work.
  • I can attend PTA and Parent Meetings at my kids’ schools.
  • I am happily married to a good partner.
  • My family has money and access to buy clean water and healthy foods.

Maybe your list looks different, maybe you feel safe running at night, or live in a good neighborhood, have a great group of friends, own your own home, know several languages, or are getting a college degree. No matter who you are we all have some advantage that we can leverage. Be honest with yourself and see how you are benefiting. Even a gay black woman who wrote this book recognized how she was also privileged.

All this said, I want to call out that this book just doesn’t talk about race, how we are privileged, what we are doing wrong, but also gives actionable things we can all do to make things better for everyone.

It is no longer just OK to ‘not be a racist’ but we need to be an ally, we need to be aware of the intersectionality we are placed in and use our privilege to benefit others.


Q: How can we do this?

At the PTA meeting and at school ask what the school is doing to around the school to prison pipeline? What their discipline procedures are? What is the school rate of expulsion for black, brown, and minority students? What is the school’s racial achievement gap and what is their plan to remediate it? As an ally and a white woman, I need to be asking these questions when I have the opportunity to be at the table as others might not have this privilege.


Step 2: Now take that list and make it actionable so you can be the ally to others who do not have this on their list.

To give you an example this is what mine looks like.

  • I was born and I live in America. So I can advocate for laws that help others who are not born in America have a good life here.
  • My skin color is white. So I am treated differently. I should use this to give others a voice and help elevate the issues around minorities that others might not be listening to.
  • I’m employed and have a good job. I can use that to help others get a job, network, open doors, and help them gain employment opportunities.
  • I can attend PTA and Parent Meetings at my kids’ schools. When I am there I can advocate for rules and regulations that support parents who can’t be there. I can suggest the meeting times be offered on different days or times so others can have the option to attend.
  • My family has money and access to buy clean water and healthy foods. I can buy snacks for the class, make food for others, and share to help people and families who can’t afford healthy foods.


Step 3: Educate yourself, listen, and be a true ally.

I get it, you aren’t a racist so why would you read this book. Because no matter who you are you don’t know the whole story. No one really does. So we all need to educate ourselves, listen without judgment, and be an ally to our fellow humans.

I’m not doing anything wrong, what more can I do?

It is almost Halloween and I’ve been there. I wanted to wear the sari I got in India for a wedding I attended. It’s beautiful and I love the culture and wanted to use it again. Thankfully a friend clued me in.

NO, it is not OK to dress up as a Mexican, African, Indian, or anything that is not what your culture is from and have the DNA in your blood. I know it is hard to think why your love for this culture is different and how you are not making fun of it but rather embracing it. I too have been there. The truth is you and your people did not suffer, you do not have stories in your family that make you cry about how they got treated. If you are not part of the hurt then you have no right to be part of the celebration. I see this now and I am happy Ijeoma mentions this in her book.

This is just a slice of what I found in the book and really hope you take the time to read it or listen to it. Educate, listen, and remember to think beyond yourself and how not being an ally is really just feeding the problem. It’s time for everyone to do more.

How are you doing more? Share in the comments and let’s be an ally. * L

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Free Easter Coupon Book Printable!

CaptureAre you like me and scrambling for Easter basket ideas?

Are you like me and putting in a Target pickup order online in between meetings to try to get this candy-filled madness to happen?

Are you like me and are broke like crazy because in addition to all the regular things, we’re also paying a massive amount monthly for graduate school? (it’s okay if you’re not like me in this.)

Then this free printable for you! And every other person out there who wants it.

This is a Coupon Book(please excuse the strange orange line that I couldn’t get rid of, and you know, Easter is coming up and I needed to finish this) so feel free to print it out, cut out a coupon book for your kiddos, and put in their Easter Basket.

There are some blank pages at the bottom for you to create your own coupons, so feel free!

Happy Friday!

xo – Kris

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Monopoly Morning

If you came to the Harmony 2.0 event earlier this month, you will have heard me talk about Laura Vanderkam and the idea of 168 Hours in a week. You would have also heard me talk about what a nerd I am that I listen to audiobooks on repeat in the car and at work. (I used to listen to NPR but let’s face it. There’s only so much politics you can take daily.)

My point is, I’m a true, nerdy believer in the 168 hours. In my re-listening of one of her books, specifically the “What the most successful people do before breakfast” (I warned you extensively that I’m a total nerd, so…), she talks about intentional time spent with the kids before breakfast. I don’t know about you, but my mornings with my boys look like this:

7:00am: The boys have climbed into our bed for the morning snooze. We hit snooze on the alarm clock.

7:10am: The real alarm goes off and the real frenetic time starts. I jump out of bed, run to the bathroom, and brush my teeth. My husband is in charge of getting the kids to the dining table by 7:25-ish, and I (still in my jammies) rush to the kitchen to make coffee, makes lunches for the boys, and make breakfast. THIS is when I listen to NPR.

7:30am: The boys are at the dining table and I RUSH to wash face/makeup/get dressed in 10 min. My husband rushes to pour the coffee and hustle the kids through breakfast.

7:45am: The yelling starts about how everyone is going to be late and no one can find socks.

7:55am: Their schools are half a mile away; we all leave the house and my oldest is already late for school (7:55am start). My youngest, oddly, since they’re both in public elementary schools, has a late bell that rings at 8:00am. I’ll take it, cause I take our youngest and I’m hardly ever late enough that he’s marked tardy.

Yes, I know that we should get up earlier, but my husband doesn’t get home until 1am usually, so that won’t happen. Yes, I know we should have a more relaxed morning, but honestly I’m just not organized enough to get everything done the night before. And yes, we should probably get to school on time.

But really, I’d like to focus on the 7:30am-7:40am time frame. I asked my husband, after Laura Vanderkam told me to have intentional time with my kids during the morning rush, to have intentional time while I got dressed. He fought me for a second, worried that I would get pissed if he was sitting with a cup of coffee with I was still rushing around, but then agreed. And I remembered:

One morning, 2 years ago, when my oldest son was in Kindergarten and he didn’t have to go to school until 9:45am (WTF really. Insane.). When one morning my husband couldn’t take him to school, so I took a late start at work to hang out with my oldest until school began. That morning I opened Monopoly for the first time, and my little 5 year old fell in love with it. He was late to school that morning, not because we were rushing, but because we were UN-rushing. We were just enjoying the time, playing this board game that takes literally years to finish, during a beautiful spring morning while the sun streamed into the house. He was late, intentionally, because we were happy being together.

This is what I remembered.

There’s no point to this, no real light bulb moment of how to make our mornings better. But there is a motivation, now that I remember that Monopoly morning, to make things intentional. Intentionally give them a big hug and a big kiss before rushing off to change my clothes. Intentionally being together, talking, and enjoying. Even if it’s just for 10 min, being intentional about it.

We can’t play Monopoly in the mornings now, but we can be intentional about giving them love. And in my opinion, it’s worth it if they’re a couple min late to school, if they feel a little extra loved.

xo – Kris

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Fantastic Friday Finds

Kris’s list:

  1. I have to apologize friends. I’m in finals week, and slammed at work. I attended a mindfulness seminar last week and learned all about the benefits of brain dumping…but now I just have a dozen brain dump lists of things I need to do. I did check out the Happify app though, which just makes me…happy. I recommend!
  2. There are so many people and female-driven companies that we would have loved to have had at Harmony 2.0. One of them is a female co-working space on Capitol Hill called The Riveter. Check out their events!!

Things Liana found this week:

  1. If you are not already following Systems by Susie on Instagram, you should be. Just learned this week a great new mama tip from her, using 3 words “try that again”. What a great tip to use on my 5-year-old to give both him and I an opportunity to do it over and say it better.Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 4.05.29 PM
  2. Learned some great organizing tips from Kammie at The Organizing Experts. Do NOT start with paperwork. You can literally do that all day. DO start with the floor and getting everything up and off the floor as your first step. If you ever get a chance to hear her talk or better yet look out for her book to come out this summer!!!
  3. I am loving this new bookThis is How it Always Is” by Laurie Frankel. She is a local Seattle Mom so it feels extra special to be reading it. Going to do a blog post on some of the books I’ve read recently so keep an eye out.
  4. This weekend I am looking forward to new craft projects and making some dream catchers with my kids. We already have string and beads and maybe a few other items we can use. Thinking we can find sticks outside and make part of the craft event a treasure hunt for sticks and feathers to use.

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Fantastic Friday Finds

Liana’s Fantastic Friday Finds:

  1. Better Together: 8 Ways Working with Women Leads to Extraordinary Products and Profits offers a rare and startling look at the business world through the lens of an expert looking in and plots out how ALL types of businesses can gain a competitive advantage and excel past competitors by simply nurturing an equal blend of men and women on leadership teams and staff.  I had the pleasure of hearing Jonathan Sposato talk about his life and experience that shaped this book.
  2. Looking for something fun to do in Seattle? Why not check out Dino Days at The Burke Museum?
  3. Saw this in my office bathroom and I love how women are supporting women!!! 28576099_10155595700287683_7452938280665874432_oWhat are other ways we can have each others back and be there for one another?
  4. Tea Collection is one of our favorites. Stylish and good quality garments. They are also a super cool company that does an annual school fundraising event. Click the link here at use our unique promo code: SDS18VICTORY in order to participate. Once the code is applied, we will receive 15% back of the final order total before tax and shipping, for each purchase using this code. 20180124_SITE_SchoolDays_NONPROFITS_FB_1.png

Kris’s Fantastic Friday Finds:

  1. I saw Black Panther yesterday, and it is simply astounding. I’ll leave everyone to make their own decisions about the movie, and to feel their own feels, but we’re (probably) mostly all parents on this site so I wanted to link to this article about Shuri – probably one of the best, most amazing role models that girls and boys can have. Having such a strong, brilliant, ethnic, and brave female character is the role model our girls need – AND our boys. As a mom of boys, showing them that  smart, strong, and amazing girls are the norm will destroy gender inequality as we know it.
  2. My husband and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary! We have been together almost 17 years, a feat that I never would have believed when I met him at 19. I feel a lot like Elizabeth Banks does in this article.  We’re going to this new-ish Speakeasy-ish bar called Pennyroyal. And it sounds amazing.
  3. To wear, I wanted the BCBGeneration dress I found through Le Tote to arrive, but it didn’t make it in time. Bummed.

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Yay for Time Managem—wha? What day is it again?

I have been on a time management kick my friends. I’ve been listening to audiobook after audiobook on my commute and at my desk, mostly Laura Vanderkam’s books. I’ve especially been favoring the book “I Know How She Does It”, because it’s all stories. Stories of women who have figured it out. Stories of women who are figuring it out. Stories of women who are kicking ass and taking names. Lean in indeed.

I want to lean in too! And I wanted to share with you my day, with some of the tips I’ve learned from my third go around of listening to “I Know How She Does It” (it’s not that impressive – I like to listen to it while I work, so I end up going through a book a day). There are certain things, indeed, that I found ridiculous (cue the story of the woman who wears a silly hat when it’s her “thinking time” so her coworkers know not to disturb her), but many I really loved. She had hundreds of women do a week time log for her, and it was amazing. I love the idea that we have enough time for everything. There’s enough hours in the week to juggle everything. One day I’ll actually do a time log of my hours for a full week, but to honor the idea, here’s a very basic one for today:

7:00am-7:10am: Snooze. I like sleep too much to get up any earlier.

7:10am-7:45am: Up, make breakfast and lunches for kids, make coffee, brush teeth, wash face, dress – out the door.

7:55am-8:00am: Walk tiny human to classroom

8:00-8:15am: Drive to get gas. Time Management Trick: While gas is filling – DO MAKEUP.  I usually do my makeup in the car in the parking lot of my office, but today I did it while pumping gas. Winning.

8:15-8:35am: Drive to work

8:35am-10am: Work, meetings

10am-11:40am: No meetings so I moved to the treadmill desk and walked for an hour and 40 min while I worked.

11:40-12:10pm: Gathered stuff for lunch and decided to drive the half mile instead of walk to save time. Wasted 15 min looking for parking because there were a million events at Liana’s work. Walking would have: burned more calories AND been faster.

12:10-1:00pm: Lunch with 2WM bestie. We discussed various credit cards and relationships. It’s like you know you’re getting older when topics of sex and credit cards can come up in the same conversation, with equal amounts of enthusiasm.

1:15pm-2:15pm: Back to desk

2:15-2:30p: Daily call with husband. We work opposite hours, so we talk for 15 min each day on his way to work.

2:30-4:30pm: Work

4:30pm-5:15pm: Leave work early and pickup kids from after school care (I need to do this once a week). After I pick up my 7 year old, he starts reading the case study that I didn’t read for class tonight. Time Management Trick! Kids can help you study! And he learns about advocacy and legislature at the same time!!

Drop them at our house where my in-laws are waiting to watch them while I go to class. I scrounge for 3 cans of soup and point to bread and peas, and scramble out the door for school. Drive to school.

6:00pm-9:00pm: Grad school.

9:30pm: Home, send in-laws away

9:30-11:30 pm: Chase a raccoon around the yard by waving a flashlight through the window. Pet and feed and scoop cat. Do 100 crunches. Do 50 pushups. Do 2 min of squats. Write this blog post. Email an advocacy organization. Get ready for bed. Check my calendar for tomorrow (usually I don’t take lunch in general, which makes up for leaving an hour early on Tuesdays. I’ll make it up the rest of the week). Think about the papers due on Thursday and Friday. Freak out internally. Try on a dress ordered from Amazon, immediately return said dress because I didn’t mean to buy a dress that made me gain 30 pounds.

11:30pm – 11:50pm: Husband is home early, so we have a glass of wine and chat. Then, decide it’s time to go to sleep, because tomorrow is Thursday.


Wait. Tomorrow is Wednesday. Dammit.


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Letting Go and Holding On

On April 1st 2016 my Father came to live with me to help give my Mom some time to regroup.  It is hard living with someone with dementia and I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I’m a planner so I prepared the house the best I could with visual signs for the bathroom, making it harder to get outside doors to open, and set up weekly daycare at a memory loss center during the week while I was at work.

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What I wasn’t prepared for was how to deal with his depression and the emotional rollercoaster.  Depression is new for my Dad and being around someone who is sad all the time wears on you like dark waves on a stone. Over time the hardest of rocks will wear down and over time your strength will wash away and you will feel small and powerless.

I guess I should feel lucky that I haven’t had to deal with something like this till now. I went online to see what I could find on how to deal with depression:

1. Minimize your time with them.

2. Be in groups so it isn’t 1:1 conversation.

3. Change the subject or don’t talk too long on topics that make them sad.

Sadly most information isn’t helpful when that person is living with you. Or when they have dementia and we have the same conversations daily. I didn’t know what to do, how to make it better for him, how to protect myself and avoid getting worn down.

I’m an introvert so when I am sad I cry in the shower to cover up my depression. Dealing with my Father’s depression has weighed so much on me that even my morning crying sessions in the shower didn’t work and I ended up crying while waiting for my shuttle at work, I lost it at my Dr. appointment when they asked how I was, and when I got home I couldn’t hold it together in front of my 2 year old son. What good am I to anyone like this? How selfish it is to be sad and self absorbed that I can’t see all that I should be thankful for. What kind of example am I to my son by being sad? What kind of wife and I to my husband who has already sacrificed so much for me and my family?

Dementia is a sad death because it happens slowly and it feels like the person you love is slowly disappearing. Naturally, I went to my Dad to help me in this difficult time of my life. It was and will be my last “real” conversation with him as his daughter. I went to him with tears in my eyes asking for help, telling him I didn’t know what to do, looking for advice, and opened my heart. I felt like he understood what I was saying and we held hands and cried together as we talked about his situation. At the time we didn’t come up with a solution but I felt heard, I felt better, and I knew my Dad was still there for me.

A few hours later my Dad completely forgot the conversation.

I ended up talking to his Dr. and they suggested putting him on depression medication. I’m not a fan of taking drugs to fix things, but in this case I want whatever it takes to so my Dad can enjoy the time he does have. I want to protect my family from his rage, his anger, and myself from the sadness.

After just a few days I noticed a dramatic difference. He wasn’t angry, wasn’t taking long naps, no longer paranoid about people stealing his stuff, and found joy in the little things and activities. I was happy my Dad got this new perspective but that was only half the problem. I now needed to fix mine.

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This new man wasn’t my father and watching him decline, slipping away, forgetting me and the life around him was heartbreaking.

I researched articles online about dementia and being a caregiver as a family member. I realized I was grieving. I was mourning the slow death of my Father and saying goodbye every day was taking a toll on me. I knew something had to change.

I found this great article that talked about letting go of who and what our loved one was so we can move on and love who they are now. When this happens we stop thinking of the loss, the death or who we once knew, but rather appreciate that they are moving into something or someone new. Someone we can still love, take care of, and appreciate for who they are. I love how the author says: “Dementia is not a living death. It’s an invitation to see how we can remain the same person yet take on new rather different characteristics”.

I am letting go of the perception I have of who he was or should be.

As a child, my Mom worked on Saturday’s since she owned a hair salon, so every Saturday I would spend that time with my Dad. We ate breakfast at a local diner and he always ordered eggs and hashbrowns with a small OJ. He would eat his whole breakfast and then drink his OJ at the end. Of course, I already finished my glass of OJ so he would share his with me. We spent the day in San Francisco, ice skating, watching a show, going to bookstores, visiting parks and having lunch at some little deli. Before heading home we would go to See’s Candy’s and hand-pick a bag of chocolates that never made it home.

My Dad was an engineer before computers and learned the new tools on his own at an older age. He was my inspiration for learning computers and instilled the importance of education. He was a Mason and I, too, followed in his footsteps and joined the Masonic organization once I could. My Dad was a provider and I never worried about money as a child or had to question if things would be OK. He was first-born French Canadian and traveled the world, read National Geographics and gave me the traveling bug and supported these adventures and dreams I had. In his 20’s he moved to the US, after finding a job via a newspaper. Later in his 50’s he bought a yacht we called “Odyssey” and we lived on it as a family for several years. Life was good and I love my Dad and I am thankful for the life he gave me and only hope that I can do the same for my children.

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I’m sorry if you are on this journey with your parent or loved one. I want to say it gets easier but it doesn’t. I want to say that my Father passed away at home in peace but he didn’t. It got really hard!!!

My Mom moved up to Seattle and we both had our own struggle to help my Dad and each other.  After being married to someone for over 40 years it is hard living a life without them.

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The system America has for health care and seniors care is broken. Once my Dad no longer knew us and needed diapers we ended up moving him into one of the nicest places for memory care in Seattle called Merill Gardens.  I visited just about every day and over time he really declined. I noticed he wasn’t being physically cared for and once I started to ask question or become an issue they started saying “this might be the best place for him”. Then one day the hospital called me and said my Dad was there and Merill Garden wouldn’t take him back.

In the end I was happy he got to hospice, listened to his favorite music, with flowers and my mom by his side.

Tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of my father passing away.  I am no longer letting go and now just hanging on to the memories. * L