Friday, November 10, 2017

Maclyn Lawrence Barber- Two years

You are the most planned surprise.  Your creation was planned by me, you and obviously God.  There is a belief that gut feelings and the whispers a person feels that never seem to go away are messages from God.   You were that message.   

From outward appearances our family was complete, but something kept telling me it was not finished.  There was a place at the table that needed to be filled, a voice that wanted to be heard, and a soul that needed to be known.  
It is hard to explain a gut feeling or a longing to people, the hardest is usually yourself.  The second hardest is the person that needs the most convincing.  Your father was especially hard to convince.  It took agreements, power point presentations, and years of long heartfelt discussions.  The winning mixture contained a healthy dose of Vicodin, tears and your father’s undeniable proclivity for trying to make me happy.   

 In February 2015, after a particularly dramatic scene, we made a deal that we would start trying and if we did not get pregnant by July the door would be permanently closed.   This was actually a compromise on our part because the thing that not a lot of people understand is that getting pregnant when you want to is not as easy as it sounds.  It took six to 8 months of actively trying to make a baby for your older two brothers.  (When you are 30 and a graduate from Harvard Med we can discuss what that entails but for now we will just say actively praying.)  Maclyn for you it was one prayer.   I was surprised and your father was astonished that you answered our prayer so quickly. 

The worst part for me about having a baby is pretty much the entirety of being pregnant.  Luckily you will never a meet your pregnant Mommy, because she is not much fun or nice.  It is hard to be nice and fun when you don’t feel good and I rarely felt good.  The best part of having a baby is getting to meet part of your soul face to face.  You and your brothers are not just my DNA mixed with your father’s DNA.  You are everything.   Our heart, our dreams, our pleasure and our pain.  You are the answer to our prayers, the lost puzzle piece.  

Today you are two years old. You add such a bright light to our home.  I am sorry to say that your future significant other is going to have a lot of work cut out for them because you are overly adored in this house.  Your two big brothers are wrapped around your finger.  I melt when you say, “I Sawwry” for everything except when you should be sorry and when you say “Bwess you” anytime someone sneezes.    Your huge belly laugh gets everyone going and you give the best kisses.   You have a great arm and this is cute when you are throwing a ball but not cool when it is your food every single time you eat.  Every.Single.Time. 

That brings us to your father. To say that you were his greatest planned surprise is an understatement. The way he looks at you is hard to describe.  There are photos of him staring at you or smiling at you that explain it perfectly.  You are his little buddy and he is yours.  The adoration is completely mutual.  You light up when you see him and scream when he leaves.  While traveling or around strangers you prefer him over me hands down.  He is your Daddy lounger and you crawl on his lap sit back and make yourself comfortable.  

Life is a beautiful mess Maclyn.  There will be times when it is hard and times when you feel like you do not belong or fit in, but just know that you will always be the perfect fit in our family.  Every day, I am grateful that you chose us to be your family. I am grateful that I listened to the ache in my gut and the whispers in my soul and I am so profoundly happy you did not stop whispering. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do you wanna know a secret???? I bet you do....

Today I was the guest star on my husband's YouTube channel for his work and I surprised him with two BIG announcements....... Watch to find out for yourself.

You will not be disappointed. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Beautycounter: Daring to branch out... Why I chose to become involved.

 An overriding theme I have discovered when I tell people that I have started a new business as a Consultant, now Senior Consultant, for Beautycounter is wonder.   Most everyone wants to know why… Aren’t you an attorney?  Don’t you have enough on your plate?     No, seriously you are a Federal Attorney and now sell beauty products too?  Hmmphhhh 
The answer is unapologetically, absolutely.   Now let me tell you why.  

First and foremost, I adore my job at the FAA.  My work is important, interesting, and fulfilling.  My co-workers are like my family and I am on an upward track and plan to keep it that way.  Notice I did not say glamorous… keeping the airways safe is important and interesting, but definitely not glamorous.  

In my quest to make the world more beautiful and safe, I fell into Beautycounter. I have always loved products.  My purse is heavy with lips glosses, lip sticks, etc.  I have various lotions going at all times.  When I was in high school, I used to mix nail polishes together for a new shade.  I love all things girly and being the mother of two boys has limited my ability to indulge in all things pretty.  It is fun to use new products that work and share with friends.  I do it naturally anyway, when I am talking to my loves about the new face wash I just adore or sharing a super fun lip gloss. 

 I first heard about the company when my friend Laura started selling it and I saw her posting about it on Facebook.  Laura, is my husband’s best friend’s wife (also my close friend), and they live in Fishers, IN.   I have known her for over 15 years and we have even vacationed together.  The fact that Laura was selling this product gave it instant credibility.   Laura is not just a wife and mother, she was a founding member of a medical testing lab that ended up being so successful she was able to sell the business and retire.  She is in her early 30’s.   I respect and trust her business sense plus she did all the necessary research.  

The decision to become a Consultant was one that my husband encouraged, in fact it was his idea.  He has crazy mad respect for Laura and he happened to be at their house when she came back from a social.  She told him all about it and he came home and told me that he thought I would be really good at it and to look into the company. After hours on the phone, online research, and an opportunity call with some of the leaders of the company, I decided that I wanted to lean in and give it my all.  It helped that the articulate and passionate women who was speaking was also an attorney with little kids.

There are two components of this venture that I really found worthwhile.  The products themselves coupled with the mission of Beautycounter, the second component was the business opportunity for myself and family. 

Beautycounter’s mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. We are actively trying to change the laws regulating the ingredients put into personal care products.  The United States currently bans 11 ingredients.  While other countries have almost 1400 ingredients on their banned list.  The laws in the US have not been changed since 1938 and the companies are changing the ingredients in their products without having to inform the consumers that are purchasing and slathering the products all over their skin.   The more I learned about the company the more I wanted to help.  People should not have to compromise their health to get results from a product.

 I also loved the fact that Beautycounter is a B-Corporation.  Which means that the mission of Beautycounter is more than just profit.  A B-Corporation or “benefit corporation” is a type of for-profit corporate entity, legislated in 28 U.S. states, that includes positive impact on society and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals.  Among the factors that classify Beautycounter as a B-corporation one thing that struck me was that when any person signs on as a consultant or a member, you donate $10 to one of the partnered charities.    

The products are designed in a way that is completely transparent.  They are carefully developed to be both safe and effective.  The packaging is simple, sophisticated and elegant.     I have loved every product I have used.  The spa like quality of each product makes me feel like I am really pampering myself in my daily routine.   After coming out of a long bath “testing all the products” I proudly informed my husband that I just got done “working” so he needed to get the kids to bed.

The business side is also what ultimately led me to sign on and it did play an important part into my decision making process.   I researched the market in my area.   In my immediate area, Beautycounter was an untapped market.  While the market is not saturated with a large group of people all selling the same product, the challenge is to spread the word.  I love a challenge.    I know that with my work ethic and a great team, we can really help get these safe products into the hands of more people.     

 That being said I am focused on growing my team and offering this opportunity to equally determined, passionate women who want to contribute more to their family’s bottom line and help people at the same time.  Win/Win.   I looked at how much people in the company were making and liked what I saw.  The founding members were averaging staggering amounts monthly, but even the newer consultants were able to make a profit in their business within a short amount of time.   Most new businesses take months to years before making back the investment, let alone start profiting.  
On a personal level, I have financial goals that I would like to accomplish and this gives me the opportunity to maybe surpass those goals.  For example, paying off all our credit cards, student loans, helping my kids with college.  Have I mentioned braces are coming up?  My son plays hockey, one of the most expensive sports.   Also a trip to Disney World, when I looked up the prices I about passed out.   What could you do with an extra $500 a month, an extra $1000?  

I made the decision along with my husband, as I would require his support, to go for it.   In listening to other people in the company I have found that the most successful people are the busiest people.  The women who are rising to the top are the Consultants who have successful careers, who are work at home moms with 5 kids, doctors, lawyers, and teachers, nurses.. basically everyone who works at it and does not let fear get in the way.   There is no definition for who or what makes someone successful and I love that anyone with a powerful drive and a strong work ethic can succeed in this type of business.    It is not easy but it is fun. 

Fear held me back at first. When selling a product you put yourself in a vulnerable space. My least favorite place to be, no likes to feel vulnerable.  But putting yourself out there is how leaders and successful people are built.  Fear is powerful and has had me questioning lots of areas of my life.  I fear rejection, being embarrassed, failure, etc.    I just decided that it was my duty to push it aside and do it anyway.   

To answer the question of Why?    My short answer is………. Dream Big, I always have, why stop now?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Family Meeting: And why I am not sure it worked.

As much as I think I am completely different from all these crazy boys I share a life and home with, there is one quality that all four of us have in common, we all have big fat mouths.    

 The answer to the age old question about what happens when an attorney and a radio DJ fall in love and make babies is that two people who both talk and argue for a living make two other people who are mouth monsters.  I do not mean literally, I mean that the stuff that they say and argue about is unreal.   It is horrifying, sometimes mean, and often impressive. 

     My boys are nine and four.  They are good, smart, hilarious, imaginative, talented, and have a ton of other amazing qualities, so please do not get me wrong, I am not raising monsters, well some days that is debatable, but that is a whole other blog post.    In fact, most of the time that they get in trouble it is for their sass mouths.    My oldest has turned into a little attorney and pretty much just argues or negotiates his way through my patience.  He also thinks he is our co-parent for the youngest so that is fun.

The four year old has issues with just plain saying mean words.  His go-to bad words are, "stupid" and variations of "poop" and "butt".   If you are really lucky you may even get a "stupid poopy butt."  I have heard a smattering of the really bad words but his old standbys, his signature words, are the ones listed above.

Here are some of the tactics we have taken to try to get the verbal assignations in line.

1. Time outs---- Ummmm that is a joke.  The oldest will accept punishment with drama and negotiation.  The youngest will wage an all-out war on the room, house, and your soul.

2. Washing the mouth out with soap-- The oldest told me to shut up a total of one time.   We were at my Mom's house and I calmly (huge victory for me) walked over to the sink, poured the soap in my hand.  

 I said you have two choices:

 1. Lick this soap off my hand or

2. Lose your XBOX for a month. 

 I had no idea what was going to happen, I was busy concealing my rage and quietly being proud of myself for not losing my mind on him.    He ate the soap and then proceeded to lose his mind.    The youngest pretty much hates it, and cries and runs away but it has not been enough to make him stop calling people poop head.

3.  Hot Sauce. -- The same effectiveness as the soap, plus I just think they kind of like it because Dad does.

4.  Taking away stuff-- this tactic is usually the most effective.  The problem is that the oldest is not allowed to play with electronics during the week already so that leaves little that he actually cares about to take away during the week.    The youngest…. It just makes him go into a spiral of four year old obscenities and hysterics that rage on until he is decides he is nice again.

5. The Spank—my hubby and I are not huge fans of corporal punishment.  We have had discussions, I read books, and before we became parents we decided  it was just not our way of dealing with discipline.  We never spanked our oldest, I even crafted a super cute time out chair.   

 Then we had our youngest.   He was a good baby. A beautiful perfect boy.  A sweet guy. My snuggler and lover.  Once he turned into a toddler, he changed.  We secretly call him Sybil.  He will go bat shit crazy and then flip the switch and give you sweaty tear soaked kisses, telling you he is sorry and "woves" you. I am not proud to say that both my hubby and I have spanked him.    I am also not proud to say that I cried in my pillow after and pretty sure he was more pissed than hurt, thus it did not work.

A couple of weeks ago the boys were just out of control.  Every conversation was either was an argument or a negotiation.  These boys were mouth terrorists.   I was already at my wits end when my oldest, who is usually more the negotiator/arguer was just straight rude and disrespectful in front of my sister in law and best friend after his football game.  Also keep in mind, at this point I had given up my entire Sunday and had to run the stupid clock at his game, which I had no idea how to do because I only fake liking sports for him, also it was hot out and I had on jeans.   At any rate, I was super embarrassed and hurt.  

The hubby and I had a conversation and we had the family meeting.     The TV was off.  Two kitchen chairs were pulled out and put in the middle of the room.   We sat the boys down and I started.  I was fabulous.   I gave the best closing argument of my life.   They were attentive and respectful.  The youngest even raised his hand several times to make various points of his own.  Hubby talked and made his points.

The short version is that we are done.  Things will change or life will be harder.  If we take away a train it is forever.  An IPad is not gone for a week it is forever!!!  FOREVER!!!!    It was going great.  I was feeling heard and vindicated and maybe even a little bit respected.  In my head I was secretly applauding us for being great parents.   I was thinking that our kids are going to be awesome, no more verbal assignations, bath time is going to happen without a meltdown, and homework will be done without many lengthy discussions.  We were all calmly discussing the situation and having a real family meeting.   I mean we were really making some progress here, everyone was on board.  

AND THEN….. Just as the hubby was making another clearly amazing well thought out point, the youngest screams…..

“ALL RIGHT, WE GET IT, THIS IS DONE NOW” with his little sticky four year old paws punctuating each point like an old Italian mobster.   The oldest eyes looked like saucers, I was stunned, he totally snippered our family meeting. It came out of nowhere.

 Let’s just say, the calm discussion was over and I once again said to myself for the 15 millionth time.       Good thing these two freaks are cute.