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Lessons from Paris

A couple of weekends ago, Chloe and I had the most wonderful time in Paris. I realized that a lot of our mini-adventures from the trip could easily be recreated in our hometown, so sharing my favorites: Go on a tasting tour. We tried chocolate from 8 different stores and rated them to pick our favorite. Then we went back and bought a box there. Play games in coffee shops. We bought a new card game that we played religiously in cafes across town. Have a day of ‘yes.’ One day w

What would you do with an extra day?

I’m pretty psyched about Leap Day on Saturday. I’ve decided to start a new tradition where we treat it as a bonus day: no chores, no to-do list, just fun.   If the weather holds out, we are going to hike a trail we’ve started twice before, but had to abandon due to lack of time. We plan on spending all-day to go the 5 miles, so we can leisurely stop for lunch, play wherever it looks interesting, and make it through the full loop.  What would you do if you were given an extr

The Power of ‘Your Best Year’ Vision

Last week, I sat down and crafted what was needed for 2020 to be my best year ever. Looking at my previous best years, I realized that I wanted an amazing summer of adventure and travel with my kids: road trips, shore-time, and camping. I can work from anywhere and my kids can go to camp anywhere, so why not take advantage? Last week, a well-known startup accelerator asked me to apply to their summer program. Normally, I would have spent days torn on what to do. (Yes! No! Agh

Weekly Emails to Kids

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some “Dad hacks” from a Marc Picket, who is raising two young kids on his own. I love his approach and hope it can help us all see a different perspective. Maybe the bigger benefit of pomodoros is that they also help on getting me to do things that I might procrastinate. One example is every Tuesday morning, I set a pomodoro and write an email to my kids. Neither of my kids can read yet, but these are meant to be for them when t

Free classes for rainy days

Now that it’s winter, my go-to entertainment of nature isn’t as reliable. The good news? So many stores offer free kid entertainment. Here is a round-up of our favorites: Home depot has a monthly craft project that involves nailing and real wood on the first Saturday of every month. Make sure to register in advance Lowes offers monthly building classes, usually, on the second Saturday of every month. Michaels offers almost free craft classes almost every weekend. Disney holds

Throw a regular event

My family and I just hosted our 4th kid’s NYE party. We have a balloon drop at 6:30pm, so the kids can all be home in bed by eight. The best part is that each year gets easier. You can recycle menus and invite, supply and todo lists. You learn what works and what doesn’t, so can iterate and simplify. And, you start building a community around it. So pick a regular event to throw. Here are some ideas to get the juices flowing: Game night with a few families Potluck picnic in a

Kids have pretty low expectations

It’s easy to forget that everything is new for kids. The other night, I wanted to take the kids driving to see Christmas lights. Joe and I struggled to research the best ones near us and almost didn’t go. Instead, I had us all hop in the car and drove. I told the kids that they had a super-special mission—point out all the lights. They got excited over all of them, even the simple white ones. They didn’t need to see an over-the-top, extravaganza synchronized with the latest p

Assume Positive Intent

I recently came across the best piece of advice that former Pepsi CEO and badass working mom, Indra Nooyi ever received: My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From him, I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you're angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you

A new tradition

This year, my kids and I created a new tradition. Leaving a bag of toys under the tree for Santa to give to other kids. Over the weekend, they went through their current toys and gathered up all the ones they didn’t want anymore. My house is decluttered and better yet, my kids are starting to associate the holiday with giving, not just their lists. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, a similar practice can be integrated into birthdays or other holidays. What simple ways do you

How to maximize each season of life

This week I had an eye-opening chat with Bill Perkins, author of Die with Zero, in which he helps you make the most out of each season of life. Seasons might be major changes like your switch to being a parent, or minor ones like your kids outgrowing playing a favorite game with you. You die many deaths, not just one. I will never be a college student again. I will never not be a mom again. I will never breastfeed again. In order to maximize life, you need to match the experi

Visualize How Little Time We Have

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some “Dad hacks” from a Marc Picket, who is raising two young kids on his own. I love his approach and hope it can help us all see a different perspective. The first dad hack to help fix my mindset is to realize that with kids 3 and 5 years old, I only have them both in the house for 13 more years. That's 676 weeks. I made a chart showing what this looks like. If every O is a weekend, then this means I have this many weeks with

Go on a listening walk

Over the past few weeks, Rowan’s Pre-K class has been going on ‘listening walks’ around the school grounds. His teacher encouraged us to try them at home. On Tuesday, we turned our walk to school into one. All of us were quiet and paid attention to the sounds around us. I heard so many birds, planes, and cars. Shockingly, all my other senses also perked up. I noticed things on my street that I’d never seen after two years of living here. When we debriefed on what we heard, th

Is your family normal?

The only normal family is the one you don’t know that well. So today, lean into your family’s weirdness. Encourage your little ones to be their kooky selves. Embrace your oddities. Hell, I’m pretty sure my family will have a dance party tonight during which Rowan will moon me. Chloe will continue to pronounce marbles as mar-balls no matter how many times I correct her. (I mean, they are balls.) And, I will keep taking my kids camping in the rain or 34-degree weather. For a la

Ride the rides

Last night we went to Zoo Lights at the National Zoo. We went last year, and the kids had fun riding the rides while Joe and I watched. This year was more crowded, so with spare tickets, Joe and I joined in. What a difference. I screamed on the tube slide. Rowan and I had a special moment on the carousel. I felt much more alive than when we stood on the sidelines. So in life, ride the rides. Use your kids as an excuse to tap into your inner child. Trust me, it’s way more fun.

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No gifts. No decorating. Just friends, family, food, and football. I also love the message— give thanks. So before you get swept up in all the cooking and wine, take some time to write down what you are thankful for right now. Get your kids to do the same. Here is what my family is grateful for: Kari: All of the people who continually help me grow this business by making introductions, giving me advice, or just being rocks for me to

More Ideas for Connecting While Traveling

Thank you for sharing ideas on how you stay connected with your kids while traveling. Wanted to share some of my favorites: I draw a calendar, so my son knows what I'm doing each day we’re apart and draw an airplane when I’m flying back home. Inés de Uriarte I used to write notes for my son to open each day I was gone. As he got a little older, he wrote notes for me too 😭. Shanna Hocking There was a commercial on the television about a little girl who put her special littl

For My Foodie Mamas

Joe and I love going out to great meals, but taking kids is stressful, and babysitters add up. Enter Nibble + Squeak—dining experiences for families. You get a multi-course meal from one of the top chefs in your city in a setting where it’s totally OK for your kids to run around or have a meltdown. The kids have a blast with their own kids' meals, complete with sippy cups and kids flatware, plus added bonuses like sing-a-longs or mini photoshoots. Everyone is happy. Don

Own It

Recently I had dinner with Emeka Ofodile, VP of Marketing at ESPN, who coined the phrase "work-life ownership." I love this. Ownership is empowering. You can’t expect your company to hand you balance. You need to claim it for yourself. I found this to be true in my own life. At Google, for years, I had no balance. Then I realized I set these unreasonable expectations myself. I decided to ask for what I needed. No work late at night, minimal meetings in the mornings when I was

Create a Go Bag

I decided that I want to go camping with the kids most weekends. Being outside destresses me, and I’ve been making life-changing memories with the kids. The trick to doing this without stress was to make it incredibly easy. I store the camping gear in my trunk between sessions. That way, all I need to do is back a few clothes and some food for each adventure. I joke that it’s my version of a ‘go bag.’ What activity do you love doing (with your kids or not)? Can you make

Discover a New Culture in Your Own Backyard

I’m obsessed with travel and exploring new cultures, which is obviously much more difficult post-kids. My favorite things to do when I travel internationally are to check out grocery stores and local spas. I get so much insight into their culture by digging into daily life. This week I went on a mini-vacation. I drove the Korean suburb of DC, spent a few hours in the Korean spa, and had a long, leisurely visit to H-Mart (a Korean grocery). I came home with tons of fun

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