Inspirational People

I needed this today.

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Twists and turns. Ups and downs.

The one question you need to ask yourself every day…”How am I living?”

All it takes is one minute, one word, one action, one story, to make a difference in the world.  A friend of mine sent me this incredible commencement speech by Rick Rigsby. His humor, enthusiasm, and gratitude shine through captivating his audience and no doubt inspiring them.

The themes that permeate his speech are undeniably ordinary and extraordinary all at the same time. I needed this today.

Love, Heck Yeah! We can.

*video submission courtesy of Steve Barry


Violently blend…that’s the magic!

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I can’t stop laughing at this video. From now on I think this guy should be the only one allowed to post makeup tutorials. If you’re looking for me I’ll probably be violently blending so I can bring some magic to my face!

Love, Heck Yeah! We can. 



Are we ever too old for the lessons we learned on Sesame Street?

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Did you know that Sesame Street is almost 50 years old? I grew up watching this show, and it will always have a special place in my heart.  Their role in creating positive child-centered preschool programming was a game changer for children and parents globally.

When I was teaching, we always started the year building a community in our classroom based on respect and kindness. Music, movement, and games were an integral part of our day, and having fun was encouraged. It’s a fact that students who feel comfortable, safe and celebrated tend to try harder and learn more…I have 16 years of experience to back that claim up.

One year I found this video and although Sesame Street was far too young for my 1st graders they loved it because it was silly and fun, but more importantly meaningful. It was always so sweet when I would hear my students going through the day humming this song. Are we ever too old for the lessons we learned on Sesame Street?  I don’t think so.

So today I have some homework for you…

  1. Watch this video. I promise it will make you smile.
  2. Think about “What You Are” and comment below so we can celebrate you!
  3. Lastly, go forth and show everyone your awesomeness. 

Love, Heck Yeah! We can. 


Inspirational/Interesting Places

Cherry Blossom Fever!

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Photo: dszc/Getty Images

What to Do in D.C. During the Cherry Blossom Festival

Many moons ago as an awkward, hormonal teenager, I went on a school trip to Washington, DC. Hailing from a small town in Minnesota I might as well have been traveling to another planet.  Giddy with excitement I couldn’t wait to hop on that plane and experience our Nation’s Capital in all its glory.

I remember all of the sites, history, and fun of course, but the cherry blossom trees were my absolute favorite. They were in bloom during our visit and I will never forget their majestic beauty. I recall being mesmerized as beautiful cherry blossoms soared through the air in an almost snow-like fashion. It was one of the most glorious things I’ve ever witnessed.

Now almost 25 years later (wow…that flew by) I live here and I’m ready to experience these magical cherry blossoms once again. DC has a whole line-up of fantastic events that I plan to hit up as well in honor of these beloved blooming trees. Once again I’m giddy with excitement…I can’t wait!

Have you ever experienced the National Cherry Blossom Festival? Do you have any suggestions?

Love, Heck Yeah! We can. 



Small. Simple. Significant.

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When Emmett was little, he adored his big sister. Olivia doted on him and smothered him with love. She was a fabulous big sister.

Then things changed.

Around the age of three, Emmett revolted against Olivia’s mothering tendencies. This friction caused a tremendous amount of fighting. I’m not joking…almost five years of bickering. It was constant, and frankly, it nearly drove me crazy.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking someday. Someday they’ll get along. Please?! Please?! PLEASE!

Then things changed again.

September was a big month. Olivia moved to Middle School, and somehow that shift allowed them a little breathing space from each other.  Nowadays I experience more harmony between them than dissonance…hallelujah!  Don’t get me wrong they still have their moments, but I am doing a happy dance celebrating their progress.

This past week Olivia was on the hunt for the perfect birthday present for Emmett, and of course, she nailed it. She put a lot of time, effort, and thought into her decision.  Initially, she had a number of more expensive items picked out, but she put them all away when she came across a box of Lucky Charms.

When she gave it to him she stated her reasons:

  1. Mom never buys this for us, and I know you love it.
  2. St. Patrick’s Day and your birthday are in the same month…you can celebrate both with this present!
  3. I got it on sale…it was only $1.96! I saved $4!

As you can see he was elated!




Sometimes siblings just get each other. 

Love, Heck Yeah! We can.

P.S. Emmett has asked Olivia to get this for his birthday every year going forward.  He also thinks she’s brilliant for getting such a great deal. Best gift ever!



Inspirational People

Cheers…it’s International Women’s Day!

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Happy International Women’s Day! Today we celebrate all of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements women have made. I can’t imagine a more fitting way to celebrate than taking a moment to honor some strong and amazing women in my life….

Martha Carter: My mom, but more importantly my first female role model. She’s a certified badass. I hit the Mom jackpot! She inspired me to be a confident woman and to stand up for what I believe in. When she wants something done, she makes it happen. She raised four children that are still in awe of her strength and adore spending time with her. She championed the value of education, and although she never had the opportunity to go to college, she made sure all of her children did. She is one of my favorite people to talk with because she is open-minded and even if she doesn’t agree with someone she is respectful. You will never convince my Mom to do anything she doesn’t believe in or want to do…she’s a strong woman!

Laura Kiser: Your selfless and giving spirit inspires me more than you know. You take time to enjoy life, but you never back down from fighting for something you believe in or someone who needs help. Everyone who meets you adores you instantly!

Michelle Bauer: You inspire me to share my opinion and be bold. You are a fierce advocate for yourself and others, and I admire that. I am convinced I got my love of decor and design from you. I love your creative flair!

Sarah Lucca: Your kind heart and ability to connect with others is inspirational. You celebrate students at every stage in their learning journey, and you never give up. I can always count on you to be there for me. Being vulnerable and real helps you bond with others, but in the process you also know how to have fun.

Rachel Hennen: You inspire me to laugh. Your laugh makes the whole world seem brighter! Perfection is never your goal (which I love), and you are genuine and real with people. You have a kind heart, and you stand firm in your convictions.

Sarah Aldrich: You inspire me to be intentional, rational and grounded. You have a clear sense of yourself, but I can always count on you to be goofy as well.

Cheryl Peterson: You are the “hostess with the mostess,” and your nurturing spirit is like none other. Your passion, pride, and thoughtfulness shine through in everything you do. I couldn’t ask for a better mother-in-law!

Laurie Johnson: You inspire me with your confidence, intellect, and strength. You are fiercely loyal and hold your own with everyone you meet. Your ability to make others feel welcome is 100% refreshing!

Karen Molnar: You are one of sassiest people I know. You are energetic, funny, and thoughtful. You inspire me to try new things and never back down. I can always count on you for a good laugh and loads of fun!

Lucy Barry: You are posh and sweet, but fierce all at the same time. Your quiet strength is an inspiration. Although you were never able to teach the Americans (including myself) “the Queen’s English” you never gave up on us…kudos on your effort!

Emily Bergstrom: You have a unique ability to connect with others, and your nurturing spirit always shines through. I love your design style and creative side.

Tisha Chrobak: You are one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Your compassion and kindness towards others speak volumes, and I always have fun when we are together.

Shireen David: You are one of the most giving people I know. Working together was one of the best things I experienced in India. Your kindness is contagious, and you always know how to make others feel comfortable and welcome.

Ruhi Chauhan: Your confidence and fun personality make you a joy to be around. I could always count on you for advice on how to navigate my way through India, and you have the best treats available in the blink of an eye.

Moushumi Gupta: Your enthusiasm, creativity, and intelligence are unmatchable. You have a quiet strength that everyone gravitates towards, and your passion shines through in everything you do.

Frances Carter (aka Giga): You inspired me with your love and kindness. Life wasn’t always easy for you, but everyone wanted to be around you because you were genuine and fun. Your ability to connect with others was undeniable, and although you’ve been gone for 16 years your spirit still shines on.

Olivia Delly: You inspire me every day. You have confidence and strength that I never imagined when I was 11 years old. Kindness, love, and patience are pillars of your personality, but you also have a fantastic sense of humor. I feel blessed every day that I am your Mom.

Thank you to all the strong and amazing women in my life. My list could go on and on. Who do you want to recognize on International Women’s Day? Comment below…you have the ability to make someone’s day even brighter!

Love, Heck Yeah! We can. 



Lego’s Initiative Causes Self-Reflection

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Lego’s Initiative

A few days ago I read an article announcing that Lego is in the process of producing brick pieces from plant-based plastic sourced from sugar cane. Sugar cane?!  Bravo Lego!  The newly formulated bricks will go on sale later this year and their goal is to transition to 100% sustainable materials in their core products and packaging by 2030. I applaud companies that are taking a step towards being more environmentally conscious, and I for one want to support them. If you’re interested in reading more about Lego’s initiative here is the link: Lego Will Sell It’s First Sustainable Pieces Later This Year and a short video.


Global Perspective

When we moved to India 3 years ago I was shocked by the overwhelming amount of rubbish that polluted the streets of Bangalore. At one point Bangalore was known as the Garden City of India but clearly overpopulation, lack of regulations, and an unorganized recycling/trash system has taken a toll on this vibrant city. It is devastating to see such a beautiful place in this condition and it’s not just happening in India.

This made me ponder our situation in America. Trash is quickly whisked away from my house twice a week by our trusty garbage company, and the recycling truck comes once a week.  As Americans we are blessed we have these systems in place, but are we just better at hiding the trash we produce? I know the answer is yes.

We have landfills full of things that will still be here thousands of years from now. I am guilty of contributing to this problem. We have fewer people and more land so we have the luxury of having ample space to deposit our rubbish. We’ve got systems in place, but are we doing our best to reduce our environmental impact?


Being aware is the first step so when we returned from India I felt a sense of urgency to take action.  My family produces an obscene amount of garbage so here are some steps we have taken to decrease our amount of trash and recycling:

  1. Reusable Water Bottles: We invested in quality water bottles that we take everywhere (we started in India and we continue the practice here). I rarely purchase bottled water unless we are desperate.  This practice helps save money and reduce waste. I was pleasantly surprised that places all over DC encourage this practice. You can bring your water bottle into almost every attraction we’ve visited.
  2. Ziploc baggie reduction: I’m not going to lie we still use them from time to time, but most often we use reusable containers. It’s an easy switch.
  3. Plastic straws are almost always banned in my family: When we go out we don’t use straws (some exceptions apply). My kids don’t always like it, but it’s such a waste…you literally use it for 30 minutes and then you throw it away! At home we have reusable metal straws (from Norwex) that we love! We use them every day.
  4. Soda Stream: We love sparkling water so we make our own. The reusable bottles are great and we’ve purchased smaller ones so when our kids pack a lunch or we go on a picnic we have ones that fit inside a lunch bag. We have reduced our recycling drastically with this small step. When we were buying cans of sparkling water we each usually had two per day…that adds up to 56 cans in our recycling bin every week. Now with our Soda Stream, our recycling bin isn’t overflowing anymore.
  5. Reusable Cloths: My family made a big shift late this summer to using Norwex clothes for just about everything. They are specially designed to clean without using any additional cleaning agents (window sprays, disinfecting sprays, etc). There are so many upsides to this change, but the biggest ones are Emmett’s asthma/skin condition has greatly improved, we save money because we don’t have to buy additional cleaning agents, and we reduce our trash output because we only use paper towels for a few tasks.  It’s really great!
  6. Reusable Grocery Bags: I keep my reusable grocery bags inside my car at all times in case I need to stop and pick something up. Once I empty them they go right back in my car. From time to time I use plastic bags from the grocery store because I put them in our garbage cans in our bathrooms, but I no longer have hundreds under my sink.
  7. Meatless Mondays: Okay so this doesn’t always happen on Monday’s but we try to have at least one day per week where we go meatless. Don’t get me wrong…I am not a vegetarian. I have nothing against meat, but I know that my carnivore ways take a toll on the environment so instead of getting all dramatic and eliminating it completely I’m taking a few small steps to decrease my consumption and give the environment a little bit of a break. In the future, I hope to move to two days per week. If you’re interested in a little light reading  on the impact eating meat has on environment here is a link : How Does Meat in the Diet Take and Environmental Toll.

Where do I want to go from here…

The next big issue I want to tackle is packaging…it’s ridiculous! When I order something online the amount of packaging they use is absurd. I’m not sure how to address this problem, but it’s something that frustrates me beyond belief. I know I need to do something about it, but I’m not sure what. That’s okay…the first step is being aware.


I know that this is a touchy subject and not everyone feels the same way, but I think we can all agree we want clean air, clean water, and we don’t want trash to overtake our lives. My family still produces plenty of rubbish, but these small steps are decreasing it significantly. We don’t strive for perfection, just progress. What steps are you taking to reduce your environmental impact? Comment below and give us some more great ideas!


Love, Heck Yeah! We can. 



Stealth Pooper Wreaks Havoc in DC Suburb

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I woke up yesterday ready to slay the day. Franklin (our new little puppy) had a fairly decent night and I was feeling refreshed. I was busy patting myself on the back because we’ve only had this little guy for a few days and I’ve already figured him out. Cue applause. As my exhilaration exuded from every pore in my body I got a little cocky. I needed to run upstairs so I asked the kids to watch him for a minute while I grabbed something…that was the kiss of death.

After my mini errand (2 minutes tops) I floated downstairs to send Olivia off to school. Then Emmett and I geared up to take Franklin for his morning stroll. Emmett forged ahead and took him outside to do his business and I tidied up the floor quickly before skipping out the door. Life was good.

On our walk Franklin was distracted so we cut it short. Emmett and his friend wanted to stay outside with Franklin so I told them they could, but I was going to head in for some coffee. Everything was perfectly fine when I entered the house. The Roomba (our robotic vacuum) was zipping around cleaning the floor and I was so happy I had set it to run before we left for our walk. Yay me!

I grabbed the coffee pot and just as I was pouring that hot delicious liquid in my cup I heard a sound. Within seconds the house filled with the smell of a massive poop bomb. For a minute I was confused. The window was open (puppies are stinky) and I thought maybe Franklin did his business right outside the window, but sadly I was mistaken.

Suddenly it hit me like a ton of poop filled bricks…the Roomba found poop and it was attempting to pick it up. NOOOOOO! Frantically I darted around trying to find it, but it took me what felt like an eternity to locate it. Finally I spotted it. I ran towards my target and I literally tackled it…not the best plan, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. I struggled to turn it off and of course encountered poop galore caked on parts of the Roomba I didn’t even know existed. In the process of my impressive Roomba tackle I managed to skid thorough the massive poop streak left behind by our trusty little vacuum.

Poopie Roomba in hand I was trying to figure out what to do with it, but then I heard Emmett crying outside so I rushed to his aid. Franklin was chewing on something and when Emmett tried to get it out of his mouth he got nipped. Oh the joys. Did you know it’s really hard to console a child when you’re covered in poop? Luckily, the skin wasn’t broken and Emmett was just a little scared. Not thinking I tried to give him a little hug to make him feel better and he politely declined…can you believe that!?

When we finally got back inside I kenneled the stealth pooper, changed clothes, and got Emmett off to school. Then I settled in for an exhaustive deep clean. I replaced all of the parts that I could just throw away (the filter, side brush, and the rollers underneath) and I am happy to report the Roomba, Franklin and I will live to see better days. I am thankful my morning coffee addiction brought me in the house and I caught it in time.There was only a small area on the rug I had to deep clean but the rest was on our wood floors. I can’t imagine if I wouldn’t have been there…I probably would have had to move. Poop is gross.

There are many life lessons to be learned:

  1. Franklin is a stealth pooper…he can’t be trusted.
  2. A Roomba stinks at picking up poop, but it is amazing at smearing it around.
  3. Don’t let your guard down with a puppy…this is no time to get cocky people!
  4. Puppies are cute for a reason.
  5. I should sign up for rugby or football…I am super awesome at tackling things.

Love, Heck Yeah! We can. 


Inspirational People

A Work in Progress

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13 years ago I met an extraordinary young woman named Megan. She was studying American Sign Language and I had a student in my class that needed her help. Truth be told I needed her help. I wanted to reach this talented kindergartener, but I was unable to do so with my words. Megan stepped in and transformed our classroom into an accessible place for this student to learn and in the process she helped teach our whole class new things.

The following year we had the opportunity to loop up to 1st grade with some of our students and it gave us another chance to work together. Megan brought a tremendous amount of joy and personality to our classroom. She was hired to work with one student, but she managed to make everyone’s learning experience even better. These days I only get to catch up with Megan on Facebook but she has remained one of my favorite colleagues of all time.

Now many moons later Megan is a mom of two young children and she continues to conquer the world with her positive vibes, vulnerability, and passion. Like everyone, she has gone through her own ups and downs, but she’s figuring it out. The other day Megan sent me a story about being a mom. She found it on a friend’s Facebook page and it resonated with her.  She wrote,

“WE build people up or WE tear people down (even if we don’t do it outwardly). I am guilty of this. To see other’s “faults” and to think I’m doing things better…WOW. This message hit me in the gut. I am admitting to you all that I AM a work in progress (I AM sorry)… I AM working on lifting others up! Kindness first! Judgment never!” ~Megan 

Her sentiments are spot on. We are all in this together. Judging others never makes us feel better about ourselves. We can make someone’s day or tear it to pieces by what we say or how we act. You never know what someone is struggling with so do you best to be kind and less judgmental.  Perfection isn’t that interesting anyway. Here’s to all the mom’s out there…

Love, Heck Yeah! We can. 

***Original poster Unknown***
[ @jadebeallphotography] found on @momlifekeepingitreal

To the mom who’s breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, or any amount of time that you can manage! You’re a good mom.

To the mom who’s formula feeding: Isn’t science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn’t produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You’re a good mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You’re a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it’s excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You’re a good mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn’t easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who works: It’s wonderful that you’re sticking to your career, you’re a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it’s fantastic. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you’re too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You’re feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren’t complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You’re a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a home-cooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they’re learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You’re a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can’t run around. You’re a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don’t they? We’ve all been through it. You’re a good mom.


***Original poster Unknown***
[ @jadebeallphotography] found on @momlifekeepingitreal

A day in the life...

Our Newest Staff Member

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We are excited to announce that we are expanding our team at Heck Yeah! We can. On Sunday, February 25th, 2018  Franklin officially joined our team. His references are glowing and we are certain he is a perfect fit.  Currently his list of accomplishments include cuddling, playing tug of war, and occasionally making it to the bathroom outside (on his resume he may have overinflated his success rate with this skill, but we’re going to let it slide for now). We have high hopes for his continued growth. His contributions to our team are already beyond expectations.

Love, Heck Yeah! We can.