Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Halleluiah! Noah’s Graduation from USC

Two years ago Noah and Kristi took a big plunge when they decided that it was important for Noah to start a two year program to get his Master’s Degree in Business. Since they lived in San Diego  (the second year they moved to Ladera Ranch in Orange County) the University of Southern California was a logical choice. 

There were just a few other things going on in their lives when Noah went back to school: Noah was the Southern California Area Manager for Imagine Learning, a terrific company and a highly demanding job with an enormous quota for his area. PLUS four children. In additions, wonderful Kristi, not long after Noah started school, was pregnant with Number 5! That was taking courage the extra mile….or maybe ten!

But with faith they pressed forward and gave up evenings to homework. Free time and weekends were spent in group meetings, writing papers and preparing presentations. To make matters just a little more complicated, they discovered fairly early in the pregnancy that the baby had some very serious heart issues which would require surgery at birth. Half way into the program at USC, the baby was born and doctors were able to open a valve and place a stint in her heart in order to be able to get an adequate amount of oxygen from her heart into her lungs. That procedure required two catheters, one inserted at her neck and other through her groin for the doctor to navigate. INCREDIBLE!

There’s lots more to the story but suffice to say that they survived this stressful two years with grace and a strong belief that they were going to make it work! Noah graduated with stellar grades, a marriage and family strongly intact and the love and respect of his classmates and professors as well as family and friends.

It took two to accomplish this garganuous task!  What an extraordinary power couple! I don’t think Kristi ever complained for one minute through all those sacrifices to take a lot of the responsibility for the kids while they accomplished their dream!


Imagine doing all that with this cute little crew of five! So hard and so fun!


The actual commencement exercises were that morning and it was raining like crazy. Luckily the graduates had little square umbrellas to keep their heads dry but not much else was dry:



The ending was exciting when they released about 200 white doves over the audience. I LOVE graduations (except for the walk-800-people-through-the-line-while-you-wait-for-your-ONE part)!


Before Noah’s college’s commencement we had lunch at a special restaurant for a special reason:


McKay was delighted to see his name plastered all over the restaurant (apparently the name also belonged to a famous USC football coach). Even though it wasn’t on the menu, the servers were able to talk the chef into cooking up McKay’s favorite meal….Spaghetti and meatballs. He was pretty delighted!



One of Noah’s favorite things to eat is a good burger….so we got him a pretty good one

He deserved it!


I think he liked it!


We like him too! What an incredible guy!


We finished our tour of campus, changed our clothes and set off for the business college reception.



The reception, which we thought would just be a small gathering of his particular group turned out to be a mob scene. People were shoulder to shoulder and Grandfather and darling Sherri, a lifelong friend who had come to help them celebrate took cover and hunkered down to keep the kids together on the steps, not far from the madding crowd!


It was fun to meet Noah’s friends, especially the people in his small group with whom he spent a hundred hours working on papers and on a final project. One of them was in the armed services and had been deployed before graduation. 



This was his group:


What a grand day we had! Thanks so Noah and Kristi for their astonishing survival techniques and for being heroes to have accomplished such a marvel!

We LIKE this family too! 


We had one more day to enjoy the kids on their new trampoline, McKay at his baseball game (they were in the playoffs) and Cubby at his T ball game. Every minute with this family is pretty exciting!



For more information about their baby’s miraculous birth check Noah’s blog here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

GLC and Dinner on a Baseball Diamond

We have had the pleasure of working with a terrific organization for the past 15 years which attracts successful entrepreneurs from all over the world. Successful, not only in creating businesses but also usually successful in creating stellar families and just being terrific human beings! 

We were lucky enough to be invited to present classes on Raising Responsible Kids in an Affluent Environment and Avoiding the Entitlement Trap for this organization’s Global Conference which included members from 46 countries. It was so fun because we found many old friends whom we had met as we have presented at meetings in their own countries. It was a delight to see them and to meet new friends as well!

besides excellent training sessions and general sessions, they had two really fun events for their that in included all their 1100 attendees in San Diego, the city of grand weather and beautiful yachts!  The first was a water park where we were entertained by world-class surfers in a million-gallon tank of water which simulated waves. It was pretty amazing to see their “tricks.”



Meals were usually served outside in the beautiful weather along the shore of the bay where incredible yachts were parked (owners could actually walk to the harbor from the airport).



Eli and Julie, see that little Crab Shack in the background on the right where we had lunch with you and Julie’s parents during the wedding festivities?


The final event was pretty spectacular. Our hotels were right next door to the Petco Baseball Stadium so we had the rare opportunity to have dinner in the stadium, on the field!  Dad/Richard was over the moon to see that magnificent stadium from the ground!




We loved that they always had a lovely selection of Indian food along with the traditional fare.


Fish taco station:


It was a night and an event to remember!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Annual Power of Moms Retreat at our Park City Home

There was lots going on after I got home from my grand experience with the newest member of our family in NYC!  Richard had flown home to SLC just as Julie got home from the hospital in NYC so he could greet Jonah and Aja and their five who were spending the night in SL before they took off for their grand Nine Month European Adventure! (If you are interested in following this amazing family on Instagram you can go to AllWeHaveAreSandwiches).

It also just happened to be Jonah’s birthday so I had left cake and Ice Cream in the freezer. Even as Julie and Eli were beginning a new era, so were Jonah and Aja family as well as the Tal and Anita Family who had just recently moved to Switzerland. Our family is on the move!

Two days after I arrived home we were delighted to host the annual Power of Moms Board Meeting, sleep-over and Retreat. The board always arrives the night before the retreat to catch up on the big picture of what is happening at Power of Moms and keep the others updated on their particular area of expertise. 

This board is astonishing! Packed full of busy, articulate, brilliant moms who volunteer their time to edit articles, take care of the Instagram account, create video and audio, do book reviews, write articles and a plethora of other things this board, under the direction of Saren and April, keeps the powerofmoms.com webstie growing in leaps and bounds. Nursing babies come along and get passed around with glee. It’s astounding. Love these wonderful women (sorry…blurry but you get the feeling of power nonetheless)!


We always love our two days annually with the Power of Moms crew and are so thrilled with what Saren and April have been able to accomplish along with these dynamic women in the past seven years as a result of endless hours of hard work and a passion for helping Mothers.

This year was a special treat as our daughter Saydi flew out from Boston for a special presentation during the conference called Enjoy it Because it’s Happening.  If you want to hear an excellent recap of her exceptional speech and research showing that being in the present is a good indication of our level of happiness, go to this link on Power of Moms Radio where she interacts with Saren on this important topic.


How delighted we are to have these two remarkable sisters be together for this exciting event!



Eighty five Incredible moms came from all over the country this year for job training for Motherhood, the most important career!  They often divide into small groups during the day long- retreat and learn as much from each other as they do from speakers who encourage and inspire!

Saren and April each brought a daughter to help with the festivities. Twelve year old Eliza and thirtenn year old Grace (whose birthday it was) were darling to help with the serving and making this special:






I had such an inspiring talk with a young mother there who was blind, had a husband who was also blind and who, along with him was managing two little children. She explained how they had adapted and what a delight their family was to them! It was such a great day of learning, gratitude and wonder! Everyone went home girded with new ideas, mostly their own ideas of how to apply good principles to their own families.

Richard and I had a 10 o’clock flight that night for a speech in San Diego and and 48 yours after the retreat Saren was leaving with her five children for a two week trip Bulgaria and Italy! I don’t’ know if was something in the water or something in the genes, but suddenly, four of our  children (including Charity and Ian who are on an around the world tour before Ian begins work in August) are now out of the country.

It’s a wonderful world!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Rest of the Story and An Extraordinary Week in NYC

Next to giving birth myself, being in the room when a new baby emerges into the world is the closest I’ll ever get to heaven. And being with this little boy, born in the heart of New York City in a room full of love was no exception.


The name that Eli and Julie chose for this baby was a lovely surprise. Almost 55 years ago to the day this baby’s great grandfather, Dean Eyre passed away at the age of 39 with colon cancer. He was beloved by all who knew him and and that love has passed down through the family all those years to us who never knew him!  He was a noble man who adored his darling Ruthie whom he had to leave to raise their five children ages 15-3 on her own. Grandpa Dean, though dead is a living legend in our family. As you might have guessed this sweet boy’s name is Dean Eyre. His middle name is Haslam (Julie’s maiden name) and everyone is thrilled to have Baby Dean Haslam Eyre to remind us of the outstanding  attributes of this great man and the stellar Haslam family. 

If you get a chance,  go to Eli’s blog post here with these beautiful pictures, copied from his post and the full story of Dean’s dramatic entry into the world.  Can you tell these pictures are a titch more professional than my regular iPhone renditions? Is this a gorgeous child or what?



The morning after the birth I got Zara ready to meet her new brother, grabbed a cab in front of their apartment building and soaked in every moment of that grand first meeting!  Zara was pretty delighted to see who came out of that bump on her mommy’s tummy. As you can see, it was Love at First Sight!


Here we have the first of many pokes in the eye that Zara administered and continued to bestow upon unsuspecting Baby Dean.



Richard and the Shumways had driven down from Boston, which was a scheduled trip that just happened to be perfect timing!  We all adored that little boy!




You can almost tell by the expression on Baby Dean’s face that he knows he is going to have” Big Sister Manhandling” to deal with! This picture: priceless!  


Eli’s and Julie’s neighbors down a couple of floors in their building just happen to have their own baby the day before Dean arrived and the mom just happened to reside two doors down on the same floor of the Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital. 


Julie had intended to give birth in the Birthing Center at the hospital but since it was such a panic to get there, her room wasn’t ready and she ended up in the mainstream with the challenges of a roommate and no place for Eli to stay overnight. Just a small glitch that they worked through like champs!

So after staying 48 hours instead of the 12 hours they expected, home they went!

And Zara began pouring out her abundant love for Baby Dean, covering him like hot lava out of a volcano….exploring her new brother with abandon!





Anybody who has had a two year old and a newborn will probably identify with the following little series of pictures (you can think of your own captions).  Daddy ready to protect:


For a good reason….








I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed these legos as a distraction from mauling the baby! Hooray for legos. The familiar crashing sound of her pouring out her huge stockpile every morning was the sign that she was ready to play!


Having said that, Eli and I did our best to keep Zara “on the streets” and “at the playgrounds” and Dean out of danger while Julie and Dean slept .Our walks were a kick! Zara scooted along on her little scooter happy to stop at the interesting sights on the streets of Manhattan on the way:



We stopped to enjoy the wonders of the tulip festival a few blocks from their apartment on the way to the playground:






This ride is even better than the scooter!  She was a pleased as punch to be headed for the playground at Central Park.  We saw lots of playgrounds and observed many mothers, which were outnumbered by nannies, watching over the kids while they played! 


I have to say that I could live in NYC! I don’t know about the five story walk-up except I wouldn’t have to worry about getting on that elliptical every day because this would do it for my exercise by the time I went up and down four lights of these babies two or three times a day (note the strollers in the back there).


How these guy will be able to get up and down these stairs with a two year old and a baby (their next door neighbors have a 4 year old, a 2 1/2 year old and a 5 month old) is beyond me! 

BUT it is a delightful neighborhood! Everything you could need is within easy walking distance and even better….delivery service! They can shop at Trader Joe’s (about six blocks away) and have their groceries delivered to their door for six dollars! They send their laundry out and it is returned in neatly wrapped packages on the same day. They can shop at Costco online and have it delivered for a small fee within hours. Amazon also has a new service where you can shop for anything they need and have it delivered to your door within two hours. As I said, I could live here!


The best delivery service of all….Warm cookies until 3 a.m. (the shop just happened to be less than a block away!)  There’s nothing like a warm cookie delivered to your door while you’re nursing a baby at 2 a.m. Smile.  (Look at that sign in the lower left.)  Although I think Julie would rather have Strawberry Pie…didn’t see any of those deliveries. 


Several mornings I took a little run (a block and a half away) to one of the greatest gourmet shops in the world. It’s big mish mash of everything you could possibly want in the line of fabulous (though expensive) food! 


Then I stopped at the fruit market just outside their door where fruit was fresh and beautiful and cheaper than I could possibly get in the a grocery story at home! It was run by a great guy from Istanbul who always threw in a few extra free grapes just to be nice!


From there I jogged back home and Eli helped me prepare some fun breakfasts that we enjoyed together.


On Saturday night Jeff and Saydi (who had come for a concert for Jeff’s sister-in-law who is an opera star) joined us for a fabulous Japanese Noodle dinner at a restaurant about 50 steps from Eli and Julie’s front door (not counting the stairs). Eli used to have to take a subway ride to enjoy this place since he got addicted to Japanese noodles while on his mission in Japan. Just a few weeks before, they had opened a new one practically next door!


On my last day, after Eli had already taken a three mile run through the park, we walked over a mile each way to the incredible Central Park Zoo. 


Just in time to see the feeding of the sea lions!  What a fabulous 1st class small zoo right in the middle of the park…and the city!






With….among other animals, white pandas and bears!



After the zoo and since it was my last day, Eli gave me with one last birthday surprise…a lovely lunch at the top of a beautiful building overlooking Columbus Circle, Broadway and Central Park. It was amazing to see the park we had been walking around in all week from the top with its canopy of green trees.



Eli somehow finagled a table right by the window even though the hostess had said that it usually requires a reservation four months in advance!  It was a spectacular view, food to die for and a engaging conversation with our stellar youngest son. Thanks Eli!  That’s a lunch I’ll never forget!

This was my lunch….


And this was Eli’s….PLUS the literal icing on the cake!



It’s a week I’ll never forget. A joyful beginning of a new era!  And Thanks to Eli’s incredible eye for photography, he caught a few priceless pictures just before I walked out the door to grab a cab to head for home.




What a fabulous memory and an exciting new life! 

For Eli’s well-written details of the birth and terrific photography click here.