!mpact: Great Leadership Changes Everything [Book Review & Giveaway]

I might have been a little crazy when I signed up to review a book last month. Let me remind you: I am in the throws of raising a two year old and I have an infant. (Thus the lack of activity with random frequent posts.) But I just couldn't pass the opportunity up to review a book on a topic as old as time and which will be around as long as the Earth still spins on it's current axis: leadership.

Sometimes we talk about it bluntly. Other times we seem to be talking about nothing in particular, yet leadership really is weaved into the fibers of the conversation. Yet, whether out in the open or under cover, many of us are always searching for ways to make a lasting impact. And we want to avoid the horrid mistakes of leaders whose demise has flashed all over every form of media we have. Honestly, I feel I am daily in a position where my leadership is challenged and will affect the future for better or worse (aka parenting).

In his book Impact, Dr. Tim Erwin discusses how "in the pursuit of making an impact, we inevitably collide with barriers" (p. 7). He delves deep into what is so different about the leaders who have risen to the top, only to fall, and those who have left a powerful legacy behind. And he acknowledges a fact many wish to ignore: we are all capable of leaving a powerful legacy or of shattering any hope of ever making a mark on society worthy of accolades.

With that point in mind, Erwin dissects his thesis: every human has a core and it's from the core we lead. Thus the book focuses on maintaining the integrity of the core. But he writes in such a way it captures your attention. There are so many stories throughout it hits home on a personal level. I even found myself grateful for the many tips he gives and wanting to share them with those around me in an effort to maintain a strong core.

I'm  not usually one to read books on leadership, especially considering they usually focus so much on being in a coroporate work environment, and while Erwin's overall tone is for the corporate world, I still found I could relate to it and use it within my own profession of mothering. Will some of it need to be adapted to my particular situation? Of course! However, I don't know of a single self-help or business, as in this case, book which may need some minor adaptations to perfectly fit into the situation you're if you are not the bulls eye audience. Though, I did find what he wrote related well to my past experiences with a corporate job in a medical facility, which left me enjoying what I read and thinking everyone, no matter what their vocation, should take time to read Impact.

(I know I kept it short and sweet, but I honestly I didn't want to give away too much as Erwin says it much better than I would.)

As I read, I was constantly contemplating a question I was asked to ponder by the sponsor for the giveaway: "Do parents make a difference in preparing their children for the workplace?"

I whole heartedly believe the answer is "YES!" We have the ability to take time to help our children learn solid character qualities. We are in a position to teach our children integrity or deceit, laziness or diligence. We train our children how to handle social interaction. We help our children to believe they should only try so hard because their is only so far they can go or the sky's the limit. And all of it plays into how they will do in the work place, whatever that may mean for them.

Now, on to your chance to win a copy! (Yay!)

I have one copy of IMPACT: Great Leadership Changes Everything to give away. The giveaway is open to US residents with a physical address (no P.O. boxes, sorry!) age 18 and up. It begins today, Friday, April 25th CST, and will close on Thursday, May 8 CST. The only mandatory entry for the giveaway is to leave a blog comment; I would love if you'd answer the same question I was asked: "Do parents make a difference in preparing their children for the workplace?" The winner will be randomly selected via random.org. They will be announced in an addendum at the top of this post within 48 hours of the giveaway's close. I will also contact them via e-mail. (Please ensure you use a valid, working e-mail address to enter with when you comment and/or leave your e-mail address in your comment.) The winner will have 48 hours to contact me via e-mail at mylifestidbits@gmail.com to claim their prize. I will need the winners full name and physical  address to forward to the giveaway sponsor so they can mail the winner their prize. For any other information regarding giveaways hosted on my blog, please visit the official giveaway page.

Happy reading!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


2 Months Old

As time continues to fly, I'm beginning to realize the speed at which my children grow is beginning to surprise me a little less, though it still elicits a shake of my head and a little disbelief. I think it always will. Something I am grateful for, though, is how, with time, I am learning to cherish each moment given me. I'm actually finding myself soaking in the little moments.

And it's a good thing too because I feel Aubrey is growing at a more rapid pace than Zoë did, probably because she is bigger than Zoë was at 2 months. (Ha! And soon I will be needing to post a 3 month post. I'm also behind which makes her feel much older.)

(I'm so bummed! I looked at the pics when I took them, but I must have been really tired because they are none as good as I thought I'd captured with my little point 'n shoot. Boo!)

2 Month Stats
  • You weigh 12 lbs 11 oz (84 %ile), measured 24 inches long (98 %ile), and your head circumference was 15.5 inches (85 %ile).
  • You are fully on a schedule now, and though you're a pretty flexible baby, you prefer to stick with your schedule and will find ways to get back on track if I'm not paying attention. Here is what your typical day looks like:
- wake around 7 am and nurse
- down for a nap around 8:30/8:45
-wake somewhere around 11 and nurse
-down for another nap between 12:30/12:45
-if you sleep well, I usually have to wake you around 3 and you nurse
-you either fight this nap and I nurse you at 5 or you go back down for a nap around 4:30/4:45
-either way the rest of the evening becomes crazy because you usually want to nurse when you wake from the nap around 5:45/6ish (I prefer to keep bedtime between 7/7:30, but you won't always nurse well if you eat at 6) or you want to be held the rest of the evening
-bath every other night
-swaddle and nurse while we read and sing with you and Zoë around 7
*note* This "schedule" is more what I aim for and have found makes you most content when we can get it - as noted above that you will try to get back to it if I've somehow managed to get off track. However, there are many days this just doesn't even come anywhere close to being the outline of our day. C'est la vie!

You're my little chubby baby! Those cheeks! I kiss them all. the. time!
  • Speaking of nursing, you're a drowsy nurser, but you like your milk so much that you've managed to figure out how to nurse anywhere from 10-15 minutes/side (sometimes less!) and get everything you need. You almost always look like you're coming out of a milk-induced coma when you're finished because you've partially fallen asleep and usually have a little bit of milk on your chin.
  • You aren't much of a fan of having a wet diaper, to the point I have to change you before the liner is really even completely wet most of the time.
  • Everyone asks who you look like, and while you have many similarities to your older sister, you are also uniquely you, which I love! For instance, your lips are different. And though I can't always put my finger on it, there are just features which make you, well...you!
  • You LOVE to snuggle! There are moments I have thought you were asleep because you weren't moving and had nestled right into me. But when I look, I see you're not even tired, just enjoying being held.
  • You hate tummy time, though you're beginning to tolerate it more as you're able to pick your head up more and more.
  • You hold you're head up really well most of the time. Sometimes you lose control and bang your head into my clavicle or jaw...those moments aren't so pretty, though sometimes I'm more phased by it than you.
  • You started smiling right before your two month old birthday. However, we've noticed you smile with your eyes and will try to not smile with your lips sometimes. It's really cute to watch you and I always wonder what is going on in your mind.
Your first "See How I'm Growing" picture
  • You love, love, love your sister. You enjoy watching her, smiling at her, being next to her. Well...most of the time! You're not a fan of when she is trying to share take over my lap while I'm nursing or holding you. Though I can't say I blame you, as that usually means her comfortable position is uncomfortable for you and I'm maneuvering both of you to keep you from being squished and her happy.
You even allow the torture of an empty bottle. I'm pretty sure she thinks you're her baby doll :)
  • Oh, you're in 3-6 month/6 month size clothes. And though we don't use them that much, you're in a size 2 diaper. If you keep growing at the rate you are, my guess is we will have to buy new clothes for you because the seasons won't match up.
  • You love to work on building leg strength by us holding up you and letting you stand. Sometimes you'll stand for several minutes before you decide you need a break.
  • We tried to get you to take a paci, but with no success. You have a high enjoyment of sucking on your fist, but I guess because you take the bottle like a champ, you expect a paci to put out. And when it doesn't, you squint your face into a "I don't like this" contortion, and promptly spit the paci out. I can only hope you don't start sucking your thumb...
  • We are having a time coming up with a nick name for you. Daddy wanted to call you Bear, but I just don't find that sticking. 
Obviously, this isn't from your 2 month old pictures, but because I took it not much later than your 2 month pics, I had to share it. Such a happy baby with a sweet smile!
My Sweet, Sweet Aubrey,

Though I'm so glad you're healthy, I'm no fan of how rapidly you're growing. The tiny, curled-in-a-fetal-position infant doesn't happen much anymore, though I am grateful you enjoy cuddling. I am so grateful for you! Though I can slightly remember what life was like before you joined us, I do not miss it at all. You already add so much to our little family!

While you seem to be very laid back, you are not shy about telling us what you need. You are very adament about your dislike of a wet bum or telling us when you're ready to change scenery or even if we've kept you up too long. 

I am loving getting to know you more every day! I can't wait to see how your personality unfolds!

I love you!


2 years old (What?!)

I could also title this post "Mom Is Only Capable of Keeping Us Alive Right Now".  As witnessed by the lack of blogging these days. Though we are thoroughly exhausted, I can't blame it on a child who isn't sleeping: she is already sleeping through the night and I'm getting to go to bed, usually no later than 11:30 as I give her a dream feed somewhere between 10 and 11.

I had every intention of getting Zoë's 2 year old post up no long after we went for her check-up, as it was already several weeks past her birthday, but that just didn't happen. (As I type this, I'm reminded of how much I enjoy feeling the weight of the keys give to the pressure of my finger...I gotta get back into some of my "loves" so it's more than pure survival over here...) However, all that being said, I am okay with the fact I am only able to keep myself, a two year old, and an infant alive at this time. I know the time like this is short lived in the grand scheme of things and when I look back, I want to be able to have no regrets when it comes to my children. And so blogging, amidst a plethora of other activities, have fallen on the back burner for the time being.

Anyway, this post is about the little cutie patootie pictured. The girl who has turned my world upside down and left me not wanting it righted.

I seriously cannot believe we are full on into the throws of toddlerhood. She didn't need to hit two for me to say that, either. And while the days are long, the nights are short, the years seem to be slipping through my fingers and all I can hope is that if she can remember this time in her life, she will be left with many happy memories over my many failures which seem to creep up on an almost consistent basis.

My Sweet Zoë,

Life seems to be moving so, so fast. Too fast for me to even remember writing down some of the amazing parts of life you are learning. For instance, just two nights ago, as we were sitting in the rocker talking (When did you get big enough to have a mini sized conversation?!), you formed a 5 word sentence properly. It was a cute one too. (Well, I think almost everything you do is cute.) But, honestly, it really was and yet I can't remember what you said for the life of me.

These past couple weeks have been rough as you've needed Mommy a lot, and in my exhaustion, I have become highly irritable. While my heart hurts when I don't love you the best way I can and I fall short of the way you need, I am able to catch small glimpses of the HUGE personality you have: you are so quick to forgive with a kiss on my cheek, sometimes even snuggling into me as if to say "It's going to be ok." And it will. We survive. We start afresh the following day. But it doesn't take away me wondering at times how we will survive these rough years of your discovering and testing the boundaries.

Oh, how you love to test the limits! Your will is strong. While I am grateful you have a strong will, because it will mean you are going to assert yourself, I also find myself on my knees asking God to help me mold that will so it is used for greater purposes than self. For the time being, there are many times you get this lovely little gleam in your eye as if to say, "Do you really mean what you're telling me?"

You LOVE to play! You pretend play a lot these days; one of your favorite activities is talking on the phone. And though I don't get to talk to her much, you're favorite person to call is Aunt Sarah. I'll be in the kitchen, turn to check on you, and see this scene unfold: you pick up the phone, place it to your ear, and say, "Hello, Aunt Sarah!" You'll then start walking around the living room and tell her a few things, most of which I can't make out, and finish with "Good-bye!" and shut your phone.

You have also mastered the art of stacking several blocks, putting shapes into the shape sorter, imagining certain shapes out of almost anything (and sometimes even I can see the shape you're depicting), singing several songs - Jesus, Loves Me, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, ABCs, Old McDonald, Skidamarink (You call it Dink a Dink), The Bare Necessities (Just the beginning; you call it Bare Cessities) -, and climbing up and down stairs. 

You also are enthralled with everything silly. This is nothing new, however. You have loved to make people laugh and searched to find or make something, anything, funny for a long time. And the way you go about this changes as you get older. But whichever way you can capture the attention of those around you and engage them in laughter, you will find it and then repeat it until it no longer works.

And you are possessing the role of big sister like a champ! You absolutely love to help with anything related to Aubrey and, though I'm only guessing off of how you act, I'm pretty sure you can't wait for her to grow up so you guys can play together. You want to share everything with her. You even want to share your food with her. (Thankfully, you are starting to wrap your mind around the concept she's too little for many of the things you love and want to share.)

I am so thankful for you, Zoë! And so, so glad I get to call you mine!!