A hot air balloon ride

July 23rd, 2014

flying a hot air balloon

I dreamed of flying in a hot air balloon long before I met a pilot, became a pilot, or moved to an airport. If you’re on Instagram with me, you saw that my dream came true! And it was awesome!

The pilot was scoping out the area, trying to decide where he’d like to offer commercial flights. You know I’m not the only one who’s had “fly in a hot air balloon” on my bucket list forever.

“I’ve got a seat open,” he said on our answering machine. “You guys want it?”

Ummm… yes!

hot air balloon ride

We took off at 6:00 AM and floated across the sky for 90 minutes. Was it amazing? Yes. Would I tell everyone to do it? Yes!

Niklas is just hoping they need to do a second test flight…!

first hot air balloon ride

Other incredible flights: my 200 mile solo flight (still gasping over that experience!), flying over the Grand Tetons, flying over Yellowstone National Park, flying a glider in Germany.

How I balance work and parenting an infant

July 18th, 2014

work life balance with an infant

No one ever said that balancing work and parenting would be easy. Just take a look at this NY Times article I read last evening. Whew! It’s a crazy time at our house on the airport. Summers are busy with flying and Martin working with various pilots in one form or another. We’re doing some major projects for Gadanke. And of course, our most important job now is being mom and dad to Baby Niklas.

We’re seven months into being work at home parents. Of course it’s just the beginning! But I thought I’d share what is working for us right now. This list is both for you and for me on the days when I think I’ll never be caught up.

Balancing work and parenting. What’s working:

1. Let go of some tasks when you need to.

Yes, for me that was this blog for a short time. I hated being away from you. I tried to jump back in, but the truth is that I don’t have time to do everything. My to-do list has to be around 1/3 of what it used to be if I want to be realistic. By blogging a little less, I was able to write a few articles for magazines. (I’ll share those when they’re in print!) I also started writing a monthly column about being an entrepreneur and mom over at Life Your Way. I certainly have enough crafty, lifestyle, and home project ideas to write daily again, though I haven’t quite decided how much I want to do that as really fabulous opportunities present themselves (all because I had been blogging for so long).

2. Keep a realistic to-do list.

I stopped keeping a daily to-do list. What a sanity saver that has been! Instead, I keep a running list of projects I’ve got going. I include the steps I need to do and highlight what’s urgent. When nap time comes, I’m not scratching my head, wondering what to work on any longer. I just pull open the Pages document and scan what’s highlighted.

3. Know the difference between awake work and nap work.

There are a thousand little things that I could easily fill those precious nap hours with. This is where that project list comes in handy. It’s full of things I do during nap time. (Like this blog post!) Then when Niklas is awake, I can steel away a few minutes here and there to post something on Facebook. (And isn’t the Gadanke Facebook page becoming fabulous?!) Or I pay bills, catch up on a few customer emails, or write a quick letter.

4. Realize some days will be great work days, and some won’t.

I quickly saw that there were some fabulous days where I could accomplish a lot. I’d naively think that the next day would be exactly the same. Surely Niklas would sleep in, take long naps, and not go through three pairs of pants again. Oh how every day is different. When I accept this reality and embrace its beauty, my days are better. I know that what really matters is that we’re all fed, rested, and smiling at the end of the day.

5. Ask for help.

I currently have two assistants at the journal shop, Gadanke. They’re really awesome ladies that help me fulfill orders and get them to the post office. They make funny faces at Niklas, and he makes them back. They help keep me prioritized, and I’m just so thankful for everything they do. None of this is possible without them. But I was lucky, too… I asked for help.

6. Do something FUN together.

Niklas and I rock out together at music class every week. We’re always dancing and playing patty cake at home. But being in a weekly class with other babies and their moms is an absolute highlight for us both. There are no distractions except that cute little baby girl that keeps flirting and reaching for Niklas’ hair!

Work-life-balance. I don’t think there’s such thing. But there is something about feeling fulfilled and happy, and that’s exactly where we are. Have a great weekend, folks!

Kites in the hangar

July 14th, 2014

As many of you know, we built our home in the back of an airplane hangar. What you may not know is that we decided that we eventually need to make this place more fun. (Well now that we’ve got a little boy in the house, you probably guessed that!)

Here’s step one. Each morning when we walk out of the house and into the hangar, we’ve got something new to look at:

kite decor

Kites!

Last summer, we knew that this hangar needed to feel more fun. We bought a few kites from an awesome little kite store in town and flew the kites a few times. But we never quite knew how to make our ultimate goal happen: we wanted those kites on the hangar ceiling.

hanging kites

There’s been a bit of construction going at another hangar, so Martin asked the crew if we could borrow their lift. By some miracle, they said yes!

Martin has been using it to do random maintenance projects around the hangar. Tightening bolts, caulking windows, updating the electric system on the lights (because that’s what engineers do!), and hanging our kites!

sparrow kites

We got three sparrows. They don’t fly very well since they’re most decorative kites, so we hung them permanently.

Niklas is giving his nod of approval from beside the door to our house. He’s all about making this place more fun.

kites in hangar

The fourth kite is called a ghost kite, and it looks beautiful in the sky. We hung it with a few pulleys from Ace Hardware so we can easily get it down and take it flying.

ghost kite

You know… in an effort to have more fun.

P.S. We feel so lucky to have a kite shop and true kite geek in our tiny town. If you’re looking for a perfect kite to hang or fly, call him up. I want to make the best effort I can to support our local folks, so I’m sharing.