new job

Happy last day to me!!!

You guys, I am so excited to be heading back to work for Parks & Recreation. Sam so lovingly calls me Lesley Knope from NBC’s series, Parks & Recreation. Over the past 2 years, I’ll admit to crying in jealousy over a few of the episodes as well as skimming old program guides and perusing the web of Portland Parks for the latest Summer Free for All line-up. Pathetic? I’m well aware. Just goes to show you how badly I wanted needed to be back with parks. Thank you to Lesley Knope for perfectly demonstrating my new job excitement :).

100 "Parks And Recreation" GIFs To Celebrate The Show's 100th Episode

So what am I going to be doing? I’ll find out soon! My title is Park Administrator. It’ll be a different experience from working in community centers but from what I’ve learned about my new position, I’ll be bringing special events to parks and handling the permit center. No matter what my exact job duties will be, I will be interacting with community and using my degree – double win & gives a bit of validity to my heaps of student loans! Oh, and goodbye commute! My new job is 20 minutes from my home!

I’m grateful for the job that I am leaving – it got us to Maryland, close to family and allowed us to become home-owners and for my husband to stay home with Ev. Maybe my intense desire to have my work be more than just work is a generational trait or maybe its having such strong motivation to be a part of something bigger than me and of a worthy cause that kept me motivated to find my passion again. Either way, I am feeling so thankful for all of the pieces that have fallen in place that have put me in a position to have a happy, healthy family where both my husband and I enjoy the work that we do. Not many people are fortunate enough to say that and I will not take these opportunities for granted.

A reminder for today – if you feel stuck in a rut and are not loving what you’re currently doing – what can you do to take a step forward in changing your happiness? Get motivated & take control. Before accepting this job, I looked into new degrees, stay at home options and opened my job search to things I had never considered before. When the right fit came along, I knew; although it took a lot of patience and many, many months. I’d suggest being patient but never losing motivation towards your goal. Keep the faith that your pieces will fall into place.

100 "Parks And Recreation" GIFs To Celebrate The Show's 100th Episode

Feeling very grateful and optimistic of my future & wishing you all the same.  {{Also – if you’re a park friend or anyone working in the public service field, stay tuned as I navigate the process of applying for the student loan forgiveness program! I’ll be sure to post helpful tips 🙂 or if you have any for me, please share! }}

(thank you buzzfeed for the perfect gifs) HAPPY FRIDAY, YA’LL!


a year in recap

Talk about abandonment! It’s been just over one year since I’ve sat down, cozied up and shared on this little space. There are many reasons for not writing, but none of them are valid enough to break my intention of writing a blog. When I first started, I used this as a place to update family and friends on major (& not so major) life events but really, when the tough events started popping up, I backed away and closed up shop. As mentioned in one of my last posts, there is always so much to say, its just been a struggle to understand the “whys” and the “hows” of current happenings in an articulate manner. This space just didn’t feel like the right venue to hash out said events for my family.

2013-12-08 16.09.16While we are still hashing, there are many good (& some not so good) updates to share. So, in a nutshell — Evelyn turned last December – her birthday present was us announcing her sister (she’ll understand and thank us for that present later, right?)! In February we had caving ceilings so we moved in with my mother in law, repaired ceilings, renovated our bathroom (still in progress:: yes, 8 months later..pictures to come!), and celebrated the lives of two very important people in our lives: Sam’s grandmother MomMom and my grandfather, Jerry. Both celebrations of life were tough and beautiful.

Pregnant in Costa Rica

In April, Sam and I took a honeymoon to Costa Rica. It was beautiful! Being five months pregnant put a damper on some of our planned adventure activities and the all inclusive benefits (just for me) but the time away to reconnect was wonderful.

And to the biggest & BEST event of the past year: we welcomed our beautiful, healthy baby girl, Eleanor ‘Nora’ Dianne Weinstock to the world on July 30th.

Nora Dianne

Evelyn adjusted so well immediately to being a big sister. When she wakes up in the morning, she says, “Daddy? Wyatt? Baby?” meaning these are the first cuties I want to lay eyes on each beautiful morning. She gives Nora kisses, asks to hold her and bossily tells me where to place her when either she wants to push Nora in the swing or wants Mom to grab a snack from the kitchen. Luckily, Nora is such an easy baby, I have not felt as though Evelyn has been neglected due to feedings or the baby’s needs at all. It’s been a really healthy mix of attention to both girls, and if anything, I’ve felt guilty for not getting to sit and stare at Nora for endless hours as I did with Evy. My 100 pictures of Nora each day would counter my guilt. SO thankful for my beautiful smiling baby who sleeps 8-10 hours each night and my helpful, curious and brilliant toddler who keeps life exciting 🙂 I’m one lucky mama.

As for Papa Weinstock, he’s still doing well. He’s adjusted to life in Maryland. He loves where he lives and he even has time to partake in his passion of photography through teaching a small class. He’s recently been shown an incredible amount of support from previous co-workers and friends which has been such a blessing to our family. We are so very grateful for the support.

To wrap up a year in updates, there is one more final significant life event in the works: I’m re-entering the recreation field aka my passion. This change, while seemingly “just a career change”, is much more than that. Working a job in which you make a difference in people’s lives (even through the simplest thing of bringing a concert to their neighborhood) is something I’ve been missing for almost two years. It was a major void in my life and I didn’t realize how unhappy & settled I’d become. Since accepting this new job, I have my enthusiasm back and I am excited to start in just over a week. There will be updates on all of the above mentioned over the next months!

With that, it’s good to be back 🙂


my unsolicited new job advice

I am very fortunate to have gone to college knowing what degree I wanted to receive (Recreation & Tourism), even more fortunate to land a part-time job during my first year of college which allowed me to gain professional experience (Winona Parks & Recreation), even more fortunate to graduate with said degree and gain a full time career in desired field (Portland Parks & Recreation) all spanning a 8 year time span. I had been prepared, well groomed and trained for the recreation field as a professional. Never had I planned to leave this career so when I did, I entered culture shock.

Starting a new career (trained or not) is intimidating. Starting a new career with no background or training in the new field is horrifying. You’re probably wondering, why on earth would you put yourself in that position – here’s why: 1) job moved us closer to family 2) salary allowed for Sam to be a stay at home dad 3) it was offered to me by a good friend who believed in me and 4) I believe challenge keeps the mind young while comfort allows for complacency. While I miss my recreation career daily, I do not regret this career change. After completing my first almost six months with my new career, I’ve been able to look back and reflect on some key points that helped make this transition successful (listed in no particular order):

1. Desire challenge. Know that your mind is never at max capacity and you always have room to learn a new skill.
2. Be confident in your ability to master a new skill.
3. Be patient with yourself when the new skill does not instantly come easily.
4. Work hard. It can be frustrating, but don’t give up and don’t be afraid to go down a rabbit hole with a method you think will work, even if it turns out to not go as smoothly as you predicted.
5. Socialize. Everyone has had a first day at work, or has been the “new guy.” Make a great first impression by taking the time to get to know your co-workers. That will make it easier to go ask questions when you get stuck trying to figure out the copy machine, or refill the coffee, or how to connect a printer to your network. Share things about yourself and truly want to get to know things about them. If you’re worried about crossing professional boundaries of making friends in the office, you don’t need to invite them over for dinner – just don’t be the scrooge of the office who stays to himself.
6. Ask questions. Nobody was born knowing how to put together a car, or write a proposal – it takes time. Don’t try to re-create the wheel so ask those around you if they have any examples of projects to work off of. It helps if you know their name before you ask so make sure to conquer #5 before you go mooching off their work as a reference.
7. Have fun. Be able to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake or it takes you all day to figure out how to cut out an object and give it a transparent background in Photoshop. The small victories will make you jump out of your chair and proclaim your Photoshop super-hero powers to the office (true story). This will also make you relatable with your co-workers and give the office a sense of cohesion where everyone likes coming into work to see their friends daily.
8. Be upfront. If you miss-understand directions or are afraid to ask a question because you’re afraid it will be taken the wrong way – it is always better to come out and be upfront with your concerns. If you make it a habit of keeping things to yourself and going on with your daily work hoping that you’re doing something the way it was asked of you or hoping that what you’re doing is within company policy, you’ll create a stressful work environment for yourself and could also end up getting yourself in trouble. Your boss and co-workers will understand and sympathize with you if you give them information and share concerns upfront rather than being called out for it later on.
9. Give it a chance. If your new job isn’t all that you thought it would be – find a way to make it enjoyable by adding in a bit of your own flare. Decorate your office/cubicle to inspire more creative work. Don’t make a hasty decision to hate your new job based on office environment, development of new skills, unfriendly co-workers. If you need to learn photoshop and it intimates you – think about the iphone photos of your dog, baby, spouse that you could enhance through photoshop and make learning fun and enjoyable rather than stressing about learning the program for a huge document you have to create for work. It is less intimidating when you make it personal and for fun rather than a skill solely dependent for professional growth.
10. Reach out. Look for resources to help you understand your profession (pamphlets, websites, company catalogs) or resources to help you learn new software (youtube, Lynda.com, teamtreehouse, etc)

Whatever your reason for a career change, trust in yourself and go with it. You’ll eventually be happy that you did and who knows what you’ll learn about yourself in the process. Be sure to thank your husband/loved one often during this time to accompany your happy transition with a happy household. It’s a transition for them too!

What lessons have you learned during a career change?


expectations of growing up

Now that I’m officially in my late twenties, it’s been hilarious to reflect on expectations I had to life as I know it now.  My girlfriends will often share articles re: you know you’re in your late twenties when…  or you’re a child of the 80’s if you can rememberor articles such as this post: early twenties vs late twenties


So I thought I’d jog my memory as to my expectations looking back to where I’d be today (just for fun).

Going back to my five year old self, if anyone would have asked me what I would be doing by the time I was 26, my response would go something like this:

I’ll be married with at least 2 kids (twin girls, because ya know – you can plan your kids however you want when you’re five).  I’d be a teacher in the rain forest (that was my dream job for the longest time).  I’ll have two Dalmatian’s (yes, in the rain forest with us).  I’ll be really happy.

Going back to my ten year old self, my response would be:

I’ll be married with 3 kids (twin girls and a boy).  I’ll be a veterinarian (to jungle animals).  My husband is a doctor and my kids will come to work with us and I’ll be happy. (I’m adding in the “I’ll be happy” because I always pictured my family in the picture-perfect framed photo on the wall – so we must be happy, right?)

Going back to my sixteen year old self, my response would be:

I’ll be married with maybe two kids (at this point, one seemed like a handful when I’d babysit).  I’ll be surrounded with lots of close friends.  I’ll do happy hours often with my girlfriends and going on glamorous vacations with my husband.  We’ll spend our nights sitting in a coffee shop like they do on friends.   No thought of career, necessarily. —  Hello oblivion.

Going back to my twenty year old self, my response would be:

I’ll be married with one child – one on the way (a little more realistic).  I’m a recreation coordinator who plans lots of fun outdoor recreational activities.  My husband likes to kayak, travel and hike.  We’ll take our kids wherever we go and we’ll most likely live abroad somewhere warm.  (….getting closer).

Going not so far back to my twenty- four year old self, my response would be:

If Sam and I are not married in two years, that’s it! (ha!) If we are married with one on the way, I’ll be happy.  I’ll be a successful recreational professional and Sam will be in school.  We’ll focus on travel and happy hours with friends.  We’ll take weekend trips, go hiking, camping and jet set back and forth between pdx>msp and pdx>bwi.  We’ll live downtown in Portland and always be on the go.

At 26, it’s fun to look back and see how my life expectations changed during different parts of my life.  Having a family was always the forefront of my expectations in growing up.  Next was career and then as I entered my early twenties, my social life became a large priority.   For whatever reason, 25-26 was always my mental milestone for becoming a true grown up.  I knew that by 25-26, I wanted to be married without a doubt.  I knew that I should or would want to have started a family by then as well.   While I am so incredibly happy with where my life has taken me (happily married with a gorgeous little 7 month old), I wish someone would have slowed my expectations of needing to be married with at least one child by the time of 25-26 down a bit and said, “HEY, your twenties are for exploring, adventure, finding yourself, freedom!”  What’s the rush?  My ovaries will not disintegrate at age 30 so why the urgent need to feel like I should have 3 kids by 28?

Sam and I were very fortunate to have traveled abroad to New Zealand and Australia together for three months early on in our relationship.  We were also very fortunate to have done many of the things I had expected: lived downtown, developed a strong social group with weekend trips, day trips, happy hours, hiking, camping, etc.  He focused on school while I focused on my dream of a recreation coordinator.  We were engaged when I was 24. Picture perfect and pretty much right on the mark for my expectation’s.  25-26 is when I sped up the list full speed to married, daughter, house, career in one year.  WHOA – slow down, Weinstocks.  However, many of the things on the late twenties check list are so true: l love naps, happy hours are more for the food than alcohol, a vacation is a babysitter for two hours so we can clean the house, excitement is the purchase of a ceiling fan versus a new purse and sleeping in is now 8 a.m. if we’re lucky.

I feel like now that I’ve hit the 26 year old mark, it’d be fun to predict where we’ll be at 30.  Within the next four years, I hope that:

  • Evelyn will have at least one sibling (Sam wants 2, I want 3 … for now 😉 )
  • Wyatt will have another puppy sibling
  • I’ll still be a technical writer but will volunteer for the Local Park & Rec while also teaching a few adjunct courses somewhere.
  • Sam will either be an apple genius, a history teacher or a coffee shop owner
  • I’ll have run at least one half marathon
  • We’ll be debt free (HA!)
  • We’ll spend at least one week in Wisconsin and one week in Portland every year.

These may seem like funny “goals” or predictions but hey – I use to believe I’d live in the rainforest and be able to take my kids to work with me every day.  I guess I’ve always had a glamorous depiction of where life will take me but it can’t get any more glamorous than my sweet Evelyn’s smile.  Life has been great to us so far, and I’m looking forward to four years from now and reflecting back on this leg of the journey.  It doesn’t matter if only one of the predictions above happens between 26 and 30, the ride will be sweet, the lessons will be impactful and the memories will be cherished.

Just to prove (even further) that we’ve entered the late twenties- our choices for this weekend would be the Irish Festival (beer, food, party) in Annapolis or the Tomato Fest (salsa, spaghetti, farming) in Richmond, VA — guess which one we’re doing? (…visiting our friend could have a little something to do with this, but still – HELLO TOMATOES!)



Let’s get happy!

With all of the changes that have been taking place in our lives recently, it’s no wonder that Sam and I are feeling a bit “blah.”  Sure, everything is very exciting but the main thing we have been slacking on in all of the chaos is focusing on things that are simple and make us “happy.”  The other day, I was thinking about this and because I am also married to my to-do list, I decided to make a little sheet on simple things “to-do” to keep our sanity & happiness in check. montra

Soon after I made this little reminder, I came across an article on yahoo about 7 ways to feel happier.  Now normally, I find many of these types of articles to be superficial, no-brainer, who really needs this type of advice and I often bypass them but turns out – I am one of those people currently who need these types of reminders so I read it.

Their 7 suggestions were simple:

  1. Get some sun – I’m looking quite ghostly so I’m thinking that’s a good idea.
  2. Exercise – haven’t done a thing since Evy was born and I’m feeling sluggish.
  3. Meditate – who has time for that?  Looks like I need to make time.
  4. Pay it forward – definitely need to practice this more – they suggest once a day.
  5. See your friends regularly – I’m going to refer to this as keep in touch since I have only two friends so far in the Baltimore area.
  6. Get a massage – YES, PLEASE!
  7. Be intimate with your man – hey honey 😉

I’m loving the idea of taking time out of each day to practice many of these things.  Currently, I’m listening to Justin Timberlake’s new cd (reaffirmed my 7th grade obsession) and drinking a cup of Steven Smith Tea – perfect start to my Tuesday morning. The beauty of a blog is to share these little realizations and moments of failure/triumph with whomever is out in the blogosphere so I intend to start working on these suggestions right away and will keep you posted. So to my friends, expect more emails; to mr. wyatt, expect more runs; to my husband, expect more date nights and to myself, expect more happiness.

Here we go!