Sunday, May 25, 2014

WanYing Finishes Preschool

Last week held an important rite of passage - our Miss WanYing finished up preschool! I admit, I got a little misty-eyed realizing that our preschool days are over. I love watching this little grow and blossom - I just wish she didn't have to grow quite so quickly!

Question: What were your favorite things about preschool?

WanYing: Kitchen! In kitchen we cook, help Miss Robin.

Question: What was the best thing you cooked?

WanYing: Lemon cookies. It's cause they had lemon inside

Question: What else was great about preschool?

WanYing: My teachers are so great. They help us cook and learn. And they help us count by 5s (but I'm still working on that).

Question: What are you going to do next year?

WanYing: Go to Walden! I'll have fun and learn. I'll be in kindergarten!

(I was informed that the blog post is now done because WanYing looked at the page and decided, "that's a lot of words")

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Adventures in Employment

My long weekend of unemployment is complete and tomorrow I start my next adventure in employment at Qualtrics - the only constant is change! Yes, I know, most people are smart enough to take more than one day off between jobs, but I think that Steve is not-so-secretly glad that I'm back to work tomorrow.  Apparently I'm not so good at being unemployed (pretend you're surprised).

The last three years at Mozy have been marvelous ones.  I have worked with fantastic development teams, been a part of the best product management organization I've ever worked with, have made extraordinary products, and have forged surprising and resilient friendships. Saying hasta luego over these past weeks was tough indeed. Fortunately it's a small valley and a tight-knit development community, so there's no such thing as goodbye.

The Mozy gang sent me off in style with
a wrist-numbing three games of bowling (apparently none of us were too enthused about heading back to the office) and a very kind post on the Mozy blog. I sure am going to miss seeing those guys every day.

But, of course, this is a happy blog because I'm moving on to bigger and better things!  I am so excited to join the Qualtrics team, to grow their Product Management group and be a part of a fast-growing mid-stage startup that's really going places. And a great offer with offices only 1.8 miles from home and even closer to the kids' school sure did help to make this choice an easy one.

Qualtrics is the coolest company you've never heard of (and we're definitely in the process of changing that!). Here are a few very exciting articles about my new company and the ground we're breaking in data capture and analytics. Surveys have never been so cool.
So it's on to my next adventure in employment! Gotta go pick out the all-important first-day-of-work outfit!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My (Sam's) new glasses

(The below text is of Sams opinions and does not reflect the views of the entire morningstar household, namely Ben, because he thinks the glasses are nerdy)

Well, as the title said, I have a new accessory, and they ROCK! I totally composed this song for it:  ♪ I can see clearly now, the rain fog has gone! I can see something something in my way♪.
Above is somewhat like what I saw before the glasses(More or less), below is what I see now.
Well, as Porky Pig said: "dahoy  dahoy  dahoy, Thats all folks"

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Musings

Saturday was the day of my big Mother's Day celebration - my first full century of the season! Coach Tam (the kids' cross-country ski team coach) and I buddied up on Goldilocks 2014 and, I have to say, killed the course.  Keep in mind, of course, that surviving 100 miles is the same as total victory in our books. Extra awesome points for doing most of the last 45 miles straight into the 20 mph wind.

Yeah, we rock.

I love doing these big rides. I love pushing hard, having ample excuse to snarf down as many Oreos as possible, and feeling the satisfaction of doing something really tough. I love riding with friends and I love the hours of alone time to think and pray.

But you know what I love the most? My family's support for every training ride, every 6 am drop off, every sore muscle at the end of the day.

Steve and the kids were the Papa and Baby Bear organizers of the 55-mile rest stop and I have to say they were the cutest  bike rackers, bell ringers, and snack distributors (and consumers) on the course.  It was so stinking fun to look forward to seeing their smiling faces and coordinating shirts at mile 55.

I've been reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, an excellent book about women and leadership (I promise, this digression eventually leads back to bike riding).  My journey follows many of the same stages as Sandberg's (although my own story has been several notches less glamorous!) and I've become increasingly concerned with the gap in female leadership in our world's companies, governments, and institutions. How will we build solutions, policies, products, and systems that are fair and good for all with 1/2 of the population vastly underrepresented?

Over the past couple of years I've gotten more interested and vocal about the need for women in leadership and especially women in technology - I'm tired of being the only woman in every workgroup! And through work with NCWIT's Aspirations in Computing award, DevFest Family, SheTech Explorer, and others I hope to invite more young woman into the amazing, exciting, in-demand, super-fun world of technical careers.

But will those young women choose technology and, even more importantly, embrace rich and upwardly mobile careers that bring them into leadership roles?  Right now, the statistics say no.

And that brings us back around to this Mother's Day.  Today I bear a renewed gratitude to the partner who makes it all possible - the bike rides, the career, our true partnership in our home.

In Lean In, Sandberg writes a lot about marriage and the importance of a spouse's support in a career and at home.
Of the twenty-eight women who have served as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, twenty-six were married... Many of these CEOs said they "could not have succeeded without the support of their husbands, helping with the children, the household chores..."

Not surprisingly, a lack of spousal support can have the opposite effect on a career.  In a 2007 study of well-educated professional women who had left the paid workforce, 60 percent cited their husbands as a critical factor in their decision.  These women specifically listed their husbands' lack of participation in child care and other domestic tasks and the expectation that wives should be the ones to cut back on employment as reasons for quitting.
Sandberg goes on to point out
Studies from around the world have concluded that children benefit greatly from paternal involvement.  Research over the last forty years has consistently found that in comparison to children with less-involved fathers, children with involved and loving fathers have higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities.  When fathers provide even just routine child care, children have higher levels of educational and economic achievement and lower delinquency rates. Their children even tend to be more empethetic and socially competent.  These findings hold true for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds, whether or not the mother is highly involved.
I have to agree with Sandberg's advice in choosing a husband:
When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is... when it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated, and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.
This Mother's Day I am filled with gratitude - for my kids, the astounding home and life we're blessed with, and our history and future as a family.  And I'm especially thankful for Steve. I am so grateful for a man who celebrates my successes, loves (not just puts up with, but loves!) the fact that I'm smart and ambitious and driven, and truly does embrace his pivotal, irreplaceable role in our home. Sandberg is right - over time, nothing is sexier.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Family that Geeks Together...

Last Saturday was the first ever DevFest Family - a family coding and technology conference organized by the good folks at the Utah Google Developer's Group.We had such a great time geeking out together and Ben, Sasha, and WanYing even got to write their first lines of code!  An all-around great day. Oh, and the fact that we came home with around $400 worth of goodies definitely didn't hurt.

If you're in the area, whether you are technologically inclined or not, this is a fun, friendly, low-pressure, high-entertainment way to introduce your kids to the world of computer science.  Definitely mark the link, follow GDG Utah on Google+, like the Facebook page, and don't miss out on your chance to attend the fall event.

Ben writes his first code using Scratch.  He also successfully finished the Angry Birds Hour of Code - I know because I got an email congratulating me that my child "pig butt" completed the Hour of Code.  I'm proud on so many levels.
We had fun learning basic programming skills with Robot Turtles
And we got to design and decorate rockets!
Ready to launch...
...and off it goes!
As if our awesome tshirts, lunch, and fun classes weren't enough, every family also got a Raspberry Pi! This is our 3rd Pi and the boys are already plotting projects. WanYing was very interested in splitting the Pi until she found out that it wasn't "raspberry pie" - her enthusiasm plummeted after learning we had gotten a little computer instead of a dessert.

The whole day was great, but the highlight by far was Sasha winning a new Chromebook 11! DevFest Family was sponsored by a bunch of great local businesses and during lunch the organizers gave out a passport that included each sponsor's logo. Everybody who visited each sponsor's table was entered into a drawing for one of two Chromebooks and our Sasha was one of the two lucky winners!

Sasha was over the moon at her good luck and we are all pretty excited about the new family laptop.  A Chromebook is an excellent addition to the family technical arsenal, especially a free Chromebook!  Woo hoo!

DevFest Fam was a great adventure for the whole family.  We all had a great time, learned a little, played a lot, and got to spend a fun day exploring technology as a family.

We can't wait for DevFest Fam to come back this fall! Now to start plotting the classes we will teach...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Is the dishwasher dirty?

Actual conversation from breakfast:

Sasha: Dad, is the dishwasher clean or dirty?

Dad: Seriously?

Sasha: Should I put my bowl in the sink or the dishwasher?

Dad: Wait. Let me get my camera out. Ok, ask me one more time.

Sasha: Is the dishwasher clean or dirty?

You know you have effectively instilled the fear of God into your children about putting dirty dishes into a clean dishwasher when they are paranoid about putting their breakfast dishes into a completely empty dishwasher.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Riding for a Reason

Blue lips? Uncontrollable shivers?  Feet that don't obey simple commands like "walk" when unclipped from their pedals? Must be the start of the cycling season!

Last weekend was my first organized ride of the season, the Front Runner Century.  My good friend Josh (any friend who will ride in 45 degrees, a 20 mph headwind, and nonstop rain with you is a good friend indeed!) and I muscled our way through a tough day and managed to emerge with quite the sense of accomplishment and not even a sniffle to show for our day of wet feet.  The season can only get better from here, right?!?

So, given the punishing misery of some rides and why do I do rides like this?

  1. They're a lot of fun (admittedly, more entertaining without the hypothermia)
  2. I love to get out and ride with groups of fun, like-minded folks
  3. Almost all organized rides are in support of a very worthy cause. For example, the Front Runner Century raises money for Crohn's disease research. Several rides I'm doing later this year support the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake.
Want to be a part of the fun and fundraising?  Of course you do!! In June I'm going to attempt the Huntsman 140, a 140 mile ride from Delta, Utah to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

Riding 140 miles in a single day is an intimidating goal for me (I've never done more than 100!) but I've committed to do something big and scary in memory of my mother-in-law and to raise money to fund research for other people's big, beautiful, and scary fights against cancer.

Please join me in riding for a cure by donating something big or small to the journey. Donate and get more info at


Related Posts with Thumbnails