Wednesday, January 6, 2010


There is a Six Sigma management technique that is used to identify the root cause of problems called "The Five Whys." You start with an issue and continue asking why until you get to what the problem really is. Doctrine has it that it was developed by a guy in Japan at Toyota. I implore that it was more than likely developed by the mom of an inquisitive toddler who recently learned the word, "why."

Earlier this week we were in the car and Bailey asked a question. I gave a response, and she said, "Why?"

We were so excited! She hit a developmental milestone! This is big news! We need to log this stardate!

Three days later, and we are wishing she'd learn a new favorite word already. Every question and response is now reduced to a one word response.

Bailey: I have pockets in my dress?
Me: No, sweetie, there are no pockets in that dress.
Bailey: Why?
Me: Because the dress didn't come with pockets.
Bailey: Why?
Me: Because they didn't sew any on when they made it.
Bailey: Why?
Me: Because they wanted to save fabric to sew more dresses.
Bailey: Why?
Me: Because the person that designed the dress didn't think you needed them.
Bailey: Why?
Me: Because clearly the person that designed the dress didn't have a two year old of their own.

This sort of dialog continues for 30 minutes at a time. I've now clearly identified the root cause to the lack of pockets in girls' dresses amongst dozens of other earth moving revelations.

Need to learn the answer to word peace? Want to know why your DVD player isn't working? Just ask a two year old. Chances are, she's got all of the right questions.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Beginnings

"...For if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet."

It's a new year. Funny, I don't feel all that different. It's like having a birthday, you are technically one year older but yet you look and feel the same as you did the day before. But because of some mark on some calendar adopted by some Pope back in 1582, we get a chance to designate a particular day more special than other days. It's a day where we get to mentally wipe the slate clean and start fresh. We get to say, "last year I had some bad habits" or "last year some bad things happened" but "this year will be different." We start off the new year thinking this is going to be the best one yet, the one where you get everything in your life just exactly the way you want it to be. We have grand ideas of these great goals, but within two weeks 30% of us have already given up and only 50% of us make it three months. Which is exactly why only 40% of us even bother to set new years resolutions at all.

Those aren't great odds. But I'm going to do it anyway. The year 2009 was pretty much one of the worst years of my adult life. It was tough mentally, physically, emotionally. I am determined to take 2009 and learn from it and make the subsequent years all that much better. I took the bitter so that I can appreciate the sweet all that much more.

So in order to make 2010 better and make 2010 where I want to be mentally, physically, and emotionally, here are my goals that I'd like to share:
  • I want to get organized. I want to have every closet, drawer, and nook and cranny organized. I want everything to have a home and a purpose or it is gone. I don't want to have to rely on a housekeeper to keep my life in order.
  • I want to be healthy. I want to eat healthy and exercise at least five times a week. If that leads me to my wish of losing a gazillion pounds, that would be even better. But ultimately I want to make sure I am healthy so I am around for my family for a long time and I want to be happy and secure with what I look like.
  • I want to become a better photographer. I want to learn to use my camera better and take better pictures. I want to one day take the darn thing off of auto.
  • I want to document the life of my children and myself for posterity. This is simple, I resolve to blog more. There are a lot of reasons I didn't blog much last year. I'm taking all of those away so that I have no reason not to blog at least five times a week.
  • I want to have a work life balance. This has always been a struggle. I still haven't figured out my action plan for this one. I just know that I need to make sure I put more time and attention to my children and husband and less on my work. If I don't, I'll fail at my other goals.

It's a tall list, but I think it's reasonable. I just need to set aside a little time each day. We'll see how far I get. Hopefully I'll be one of the minority success statistics rather than the majority that give up after three months.

So, how about you? What resolutions or goals have you set for yourself? How do you plan to make this year better than the ones before?