Pumpkin Season!

What else would we do in Fall and during Halloween season but go check out the pumpkin farms right?? 
OMG! We had such an awesome day!
First, it is always much more fun when you go with friends! We arranged to go with some friends. Fern and Stanley introduced us to a family with 3 lil kids and our kids get along real well. So we all, including auntie Fern and uncle Stanley, came along for a Saturday morning with pumpkins. So the boys really had a lot of fun running around together.
It’s funny that initially Irfan felt conflicted about his new friends. He told me he couldn’t play with these new friends because he already had his cousin Mik as a friend. He was afraid of betraying their frienship I think- everyone say awwwww….I explained to him that Mik wouldn’t mind if he made some new friends…Right Mik???

We had some options to choose from and we chose Krolls Farm, a small family owned farm about 40 mins from where we live. It’s known more for being a more traditional farm with a simpler fall festival. There are a lot of more commercialized farms with more activity, but you know *ka ching* everything needs $$$.

I was given the responsibility of where we would go and I decided that given this is my kid’s first experience at a pumpkin farm, that I should definitely not raise the bar too high. If we went to a flashy farm with bouncy castle, rides, etc. then they”ll expect ALL pumpkin farms to be like that right? So decided for cheaper option. Which really ended up to be a wonderful experience!

There was a small petting zoo, enough to get the boys excited but not too big that they go totally nuts! We also went on a tractor ride (not too expensive) and the tractor was driven by Mr Randy Kroll, the owner of the farm. He was quite amazing, telling us fun facts about pumpkins and gourds and he was funny and entertaining. It was nice to get driven around by the owner of the farm.

Did I mention it was a beautiful day? We were very lucky. The boys already miss the pumpkin farm, and we may go back this season just for fun. =)

Maggie Daley Park- More fun times!

” In 2012, the Chicago Park District began transforming the northeastern part of Grant Park into Maggie Daley Park. For many decades, an expansive surface parking lot occupied this site with a portion of the Illinois Central’s sunken rail yard extending along the northwestern edge. In the mid-1970s, the Chicago Park District replaced the old park lot with the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza, a complex that provided a new 3700-car underground garage with major recreational facilities. Dedicated to Chicago’s former Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902 – 1976), the facility included a new fieldhouse for indoor recreational programming as well as several outdoor amenities such as tennis courts, an ice skating rink, picnic areas, and Grant Park’s first playground.”

Oh boy, weren’t we happy to discover the Maggie Daley park. Free too, yo! (Although we paid a whopping $33 for parking- but it was worth it la! Must tell myself that right?)

The boys had such a great time at the park. There were several play areas and all very well-designed. My photos do such a poor job at showing how well designed this place is- adventurous, exciting but at the same time, very safe. I promise to take better pics the next time we go!

I was interested to learn when I checked out its website that they made the effort to do some public consultation during the design process– focus groups, meetings and surveys. I think it paid off.  I do hope we can make another trip there, while the weather is good.

So parents with kids, come to Chicago, and come visit us ok? =P

More pics from our day out at Millennium park, which is right next door!

Being present and owning my journey.

I’m supposed to be finishing up some work for school but I had to just stop and blog. I was in the middle of reading some chapters from Immunity to Change- how to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and your organization (Kegan and Lahey, 2009).

Chapter 9 is about Cathy who identifies her very emotional, wears-her-heart-on-her-sleeve characteristic as an area for development. She feels it gets in the way of her being effective in her team environment because her emotional reactions, to things that go wrong or unexpected, spills over into her interactions with others.

Sound familiar? Sounds very like me. Can’t remember how many ex-bosses have told me that I need to be less emotional.

Going back to Cathy. Her exploration and journey into this change, following a framework that Kegan and Lahey features in the book, makes her realize that it isn’t her emotions that is an issue, but instead the high expectations that she holds for herself, especially. For example,  a good Cathy in her book gives 150% percent of herself (she only expects 115% from other team members).

“It doesn’t take much to imagine how a belief in this level of personal effort leads to extremely high stress (self-imposed though it may be), which increase the likelihood of becoming emotionally over-whelmed. Everything is high stakes when your performance expectations are so high”.

Digging deeper, it’s this fear that she’s not good enough. A lack of confidence and self-belief in her that drives this high performance expectations. A fear of disappointing herself, a fear of failing others.

I received a text this morning from an angel from across the pond. She read my recent blogposts and said “You are an amazing woman, mother and wife and are not defined by the jobs/education we have or participate in.  Own YOUR journey and be happy in each moment as this is your life.”

Delighted to hear from her, I replied to say thank you for her encouragement, and didn’t think about that message until I came across Cathy’s story in the book.

Her boss’s feedback to Cathy- “Your value isn’t tied to what you do. It’s your special insights. You value is you. It’s the way you are present in what you do.”

I couldn’t get past that line. It was almost exactly the message my friend had texted me not 12 hours ago.

It’s what I’m doing right? Have you noticed? I haven’t. Part of this habit of blogging, is not just about sharing my experiences, it may as well be, a channel by which I have been communicating my insecurities. It’s really my way of trying to assure myself that I am a good mother, a good wife, a good responsible student, but at the same time beating myself about it and tearing myself down, because I don’t want to end up disappointing myself, disappointing you. So everything is laced with this negativity, masked as humility?

My friends, the ones who know me well, I think they can see it, spot the patterns. See the insecurities. even where I am not able to.

It must be why I’ve been cooking like crazy right? To prove something to myself? To try and make myself believe that I’m as good as I want and hope to be, in all aspects of life.

But what do i lose? I lose being in the moment, being present fully in what I do.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging…. should i? …no i love it too much… or i won’t until it gets clearer to me that i should? …It just means I have a better, renewed, transformed perspective of what I’m doing and how i’m doing it…

( u know it…if this was written parchment paper, you’d see tear marks everywhere…)