Blog, Friendship

Friends; Some of the Best Type of Family There Is

I got a card in the mail yesterday:


It came at the perfect time. After some amazing family time, yet being sick with a terrible cold-turned-sinus infection, ear infection and bronchitis; it was JUST want I needed to boost my spirits. And Why? Because these simple words validated me. It was someone who saw my struggle, as little and trivial as it is, and choose to take time to reach out to lift me up.

To have a friend who thinks of you, takes the time to put a simple stamp on an envelope, and hand-write a note, means more than I can ever express. It is the tiny things, to show each other that we care, that mean the most.

My thanksgiving prayer is that I am a better friend, every day, to those that mean the most to me. That I make a better effort to remember new jobs, big weeks, sad days, and happy days – and reach out with a simple call, text, and sometimes even a hand written note.

Thank you, Megan. You are truly a gem!



H Bloomer



We are on our way “up north” for Thanksgiving. Traffic is moderate. I’m trading in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade this morning for a string of undecorated minivans. We stopped at the gas station to fuel up on caffeine and the cashier let me have my English Toffee cappuccino on the house. Sweet! Now I’ve been holding it for the last 20 minutes and haven’t had a sip yet. I do not want my Thanksgiving dinner ruined by burning my tongue right now. I’m feeling good. Thankful for the random things. Like the Internet connection on my smartphone. We won’t be anywhere near a shopping mall on Black Friday, but I took care of some Christmas shopping online while in transit this morning. (Disney Store has a ton of stuff on sale plus an extra 20% off today!) Life is good. I can’t ignore the fact that I live a pretty privileged existence. Thankful for family, friends, health, grocery stores, clean water, running trails, a great home, my car, a budget that has some wiggle room, wine, chocolate, cappuccino, the Internet, my job(s), ability to choose how to spend my free time… I’m safe. I’m with the ones I love most today. There’s just so many reasons to have a happy heart today.

May may your Thanksgiving be peaceful and blessed!

A. Lockhart



Blog, Career, Friendship, Parenting, Risk

Why to be Brave

This week has been one heck of a week. So much good. So much gratitude. Yet struggling to keep my eyes open. Struggling to be brave. Searching for my courage. Freezing up when I normally don’t.

Have you ever had weeks like this? Between both of my children taking turns getting sick, not feeling well myself, having more tasks than hours in my day, and working lately in a few environments where stress is higher than average, I am DRAINED. How do we, as a person/mother/worker/leader/wife find the courage to still be Brave, when we are exhausted?

Courage: “The ability to do something that frightens one” “Strength in the face of Pain”

Brave: “Ready to face or endure” “Showing Courage”

I never realized how intertwined these two words were before having the vision to write this post. This week, there were so many times when I froze more than normal, where normally I would have been able to articulate; where I felt defensive and/or took offensive where otherwise I would have sought to show grace. However there were also some key times where I was able to pull up enough courage to be brave. And even with the pit in my stomach that was clearly showing it’s colors due to my impending fear as to how that bravery would be perceived – mixed with my already tired, sick self…it paid off in the form of helping others. Having that small acknowledgment come long after the bravery was shown, and knowing within that I did and/or said the right thing.

It has also shown me to provide grace and compliments to others who choose to be Brave, even if I disagree with them. Because being brave is just. plain. hard. But luckily, we can all do hard things, and we can love each other through hard things. I even had to give myself grace, as my post that was posted on Saturday, was actually supposed to be posted on Tuesday. 5 days late. But, I still got it done. And it was all ok.

So today – be Brave. Say something that’s full of love and truth, even if you aren’t sure of the reaction. Encourage someone else who does the same, even if you don’t agree or understand.


H Bloomer


Kitten Cuteness (madness?)

The Lockhart’s are pleased to announce the arrival of… Snuggles and Playful Tiger Lockhart! After weeks of delay, hemming and hawing, we finally took the big step. Our household is now complete and full of kitten cuteness.

I found the kittens on Craigslist and decided to respond to the posting. It’s scary sometimes. Those Craigslist ads. I honestly wondered at one point if this ad could be an elaborate ploy to lure me to some remote location with the promise of kittens only to end with a shovel to the head.

Thankfully, my overactive imagination was way off. The kittens were in a remote location, but the homeowner was nothing but kind. We drove one hour from home to get them from a farm in St. Michael, MN. Now I am learning all about how to welcome a kitty (or two!) into our home with ease.

Today, the girls and I visited the Target Pet Supplies aisle to prepare for the kittens. Here is my New Kitten Supplies Checklist:

  • Litter Box
  • Litter
  • Litter Box Liners
  • Scoop
  • Kitten Food
  • Kitten Toys (We chose fake furry field mice)
  • Catnip
  • Scratching post
  • Nail Clippers
  • Food Dish
  • Water Dish
  • Pet Bed
  • Pet Carrier

Something interesting I learned while perusing information online is that humans should never let kittens play with your fingers. This will encourage biting, which is a habit you do not want your kitties to get into. When kittens are young the biting doesn’t hurt, but when they get older, it will be a habit, and it WILL hurt.

What an adventure we are in for. The kittens are currently housed in our Master Bathroom so they can safely get used to their new surroundings. Since we got them from a farm they are in need of their shots and a trip to the vet to be spayed. We opted not to get them declawed after reading information from the Humane Society on how harmful this procedure is. If anyone has a recommendation for a veterinarian they’d like to share, we will be all ears. The plan is to have the this taken care of by mid-December.

We are loving how the kittens already seem to be mirroring our girls personalities. Snuggles belongs to my oldest who loves calm, snuggly sweetness. Playful Tiger (the orange one) is a little instigator who likes to pounce on her sister unexpectedly. In the feature image did you notice how Playful Tiger was basically standing in the food dish? That’s totally how her owner does it! They are a purrfect match.

Happy Day at our house!


Blog, Career

Giving Back

On Sunday night, Aaron and I enjoyed a night at Lakeview Hospital’s Gala. It was an amazing experience to be in the room full of people who are so generous with their time and resources – and to hear the stories of those Lakeview has helped.

This year, the gala was focused on supporting the Women’s Center Remodel Project, which my company, Avant Synergy, is engaged to Project Manage. These nurses, doctors and administrators truly care about the women and babies in Stillwater the the surrounding communities. Listening to patients, staff and practitioners talked melted my heart. It was an emotional evening filled with laughs, collaboration, and most of all, Giving for the Greater Good.

If you or your company are looking for a wonderful local cause, don’t hesitate to connect with Lakeview’s Foundation to learn how you could help.


H Bloomer


Age Appropriate Responsibilities for 4 year old

I finally got around to making a Responsibility Chart for my four year old. It’s not because I’m a “Type A” mom either. My daughter asked for one! The motivation? She desperately wants a pet. It is all I have heard about for the last six to eight weeks. Daily.

I’m delaying as long as possible. Thinking of every excuse I can offer her that will buy me time. For every reason I provide, she is creative in offering a solution.

I say, “They cost a lot of money.” She says, “I will work like you and earn money.” I say, “Pets are a big responsibility.” She says, “Teach me what I have to do.” It’s impressive… to hear her sound so grown up.

My biggest concern is that her pleading promises to love it forever and take care of it will last about a week once we get one. I know that I must be in a place where I really want a pet just in case my theory holds true.

The Responsibility Chart was created after daily questions of “What can I do to earn money?” Without a Responsibility Chart to keep her focused she was really starting to sound like a hustler. I think she offered to sell me my own car keys at one point.

I went to the craft store to see what kinds of pre-made Responsibility Charts I could find. The nice wooden ones with magnets were about $25. Though this was a convenient option, I reviewed the magnets and didn’t see a whole lot of tasks that were age appropriate or relevant to our household. Therefore, I decided to do a little research and create my own.

The Responsibility Chart has only been in use for four days, but so far it has been an amazing addition to our household. It has narrowed the focus to a few manageable tasks that reflect the priorities of our household. My daughter is so motivated to earn stars.

How we use it is: Each of the stars is worth one point. There is an opportunity for her to earn 98 stars in one week. 70 of the stars are from routine tasks. The additional 28 stars can be earned if her daddy or I notice her doing something special. Sort of an “I was caught being good” bonus. At the end of each week the stars will be tallied and converted to cash earnings.

1-21 stars = .25 cents

22-49 stars = $1.00

50-70 stars = $3.00

70-98 stars = $5.00

Like I said, we’ve only been using this for four days now and so far it’s going well. My eventual goal is to laminate it and use a dry erase marker so I don’t have to keep printing pages every week. I’ve included a free printable: Responsibility Chart Age 4. It is the one we are using. Feel free to steal ideas from it or modify to fit your own household priorities.

May your child never try to sell you your own car keys once they have a better understanding of how to earn money in other respectable ways.


A. Lockhart



Blog, Food & Drink, Parenting

6 Ways to Keep Your Kiddos Healthy

We have been hit by the “Cold Machine” at our house. Runny noses. Coughs. Sniffles. Hoarse voices. And tired, crabby, cute, lethargic kiddos. It reminders me why I love the summer – fresh air, playing outside, germs not so contained. What is a momma to do when her littles have school, she has work, and no one feels good? How can this be avoided, as much as possible?

According to, there are 6 key things to teach your kids, and to model yourself, that will help to keep those germs at bay. Read HERE to see why and learn more.

  1. Wash hands with soap and water
  2. Use proper hand-washing technique
  3. Use hand sanitizer when soap & water are not available
  4. Cough and sneeze into sleeve
  5. Use tissues only once before tossing
  6. Do not share a water bottle (or any other food or drink) with friends

After I read these suggestions, I thought “well, we already do these things and teach these things?!”. But then I realized that there are many times when my children aren’t with me, and they may forget without my reminding. Hence for me and my family, I am going to talk diligently about the importance of all of these key reminders. I will model it at home, and when we are out and about, and I will remind my family each day the importance of these guidelines. In addition to a healthy diet, and the right amount of sleep – we will tackle this winter and it’s germs head on! Why? Because these cute kiddos mean everything to me and I hate to see them feeling yucky!

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