Summer is one of my favorite times of year for so many reasons. This summer has not disappointed that is for sure. I have taken some time to reflect on June and July and what I have learned. I hope these lessons are meaningful to you as well.
1. Family pictures are worth it even when no one is looking.
Even though no one was looking at me when I was attempting to take a family photo I love it any way. I did finally get the shot, but this one shows my daughter’s striking profile, my oldest son actually looking at my daughter with wonder instead of contempt, my husband and youngest son looking out for something my son is eager for my husband to see, and my middle son with candy in hand watching the street behind me in wonder. Family photos are worth it, each and every shot you take.
2. Road trips are the best.
Now don’t get me wrong I didn’t drive the 816 miles, my husband did, but I still think road trips are the best. Our family spent 4 days total driving – two on the way out and two on the way back to visit family and attend my cousin’s wedding. It was one of the best vacations we have had so far.
The kids were on cloud nine because they could play video games and watch movies to their heart’s content. My husband and I shared some good conversation and I read two books. We had snacks and fun pit stops.
Road trips are a great way to spend time as a family. We also stumbled upon Hot August Nights in Reno, NV.
A super fun exhibit of restored cars from just about every era. The kids got to watch the opening night parade and catch candy from the passing cars. They thought it was just as fun as Halloween.
Plus if you are ever in Truckee, CA you have to try the Squeeze In – super yummy breakfast and I am sure lunch is good, too.
3. Read, Read, Read.
Whenever you have the time or the chance, read. Reading is the best escape for me and it is just a great activity with so many benefits.
This summer I read…
Sycamore Row by John Grisham – two thumbs up
Woman of Ill Fame by Erika Mailman – two thumbs up
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – one and a half thumbs up
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – two thumbs up and then some
3 a.m. by Nick Pirog – two thumbs up
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens – two thumbs up
The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth – two thumbs up
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King – one thumb up
Hopefully this last two weeks of summer I can get in two more books. Fingers crossed.
4. Comfort regardless of size.
These past few weeks I have worked on seeing my own beauty regardless of my size. This has been a difficult one; especially when I visited my family and the majority are in really good shape or very thin. I put on my bathing suit any way and enjoyed a day at the pool with my kids. I tried to look in the mirror and not condemn my appearance, but instead praise what I liked. It is a work in progress, but it definitely feels better than the reverse that I have done the last six months. Baby steps.
This blog post circulated FB and other social media sites as well as Huffington Post and it is well worth the few minutes it takes to read it. This mom was caught on the beach by her son taking a picture of her. He thought she looked beautiful and it took him seeing it for her to see it to.
5. Birthday Parties should be low-key.
I have spent almost ten years trying to play Martha Stewart at birthday parties. We have had jump houses, Jedi Training Camps, Balloon artists and face painting, turned our garage into a dance room complete with disco ball, and I always attempt fancy cakes or cupcakes. See some of the proof below…
Exhibit A – Jedi Training Academy complete with Luke and Princess Leia
Exhibit B – Star Wars cupcakes, there were also airplane cupcakes and Mickey Mouse cupcakes as all three boys had their birthday party together and a Frankenstein cake for my daughter’s birthday which was a Halloween Costume Party.
Exhibit C – Face paint artist giving tattoos to the adults,after the piñata and treasure hunt the kids are counting their candy, and fancy spreads with tons of people.
This summer I went low-key for the kid’s birthdays – no fancy goodie bags – just gift cards for ice cream. We ate pizza and had a sleep over with just a few boys. The family party was separate and I just did snacks and ice cream cups that I bought from Safeway. We played Pin the Tail on the Donkey and had sack races.
It was nice to actually have the chance to visit with everyone that was there and have little stress. It was fun and the kids enjoyed the party just as much as the other ones. So all the frill really doesn’t make a big difference.
6. Write anyway…
In seventh grade my English teacher had a GREEN BOOK and she would add quotes to it from all the great writing that she would come across from students in the classroom. I never made the GREEN BOOK. That same year, I submitted a short story to a local college magazine to be published. It was rejected.
For a long time I quit writing. I didn’t even write in a journal any more.
Now here I am 23 years later, writing any way. I am not the best at forming grammatically correct sentences, my vocabulary is not as robust as most, I use a passive voice more often than not, and I am sure I use prepositions when I shouldn’t, but I write any way.
My content is sometimes over the top or a little much for some and I write any way. The feedback I get sometimes makes me want to crawl under a rock and stop writing again, but I remember what it felt like to stop and I write any way.
Whatever your dream may be – don’t let excuses or others get in your way – do what you love any way.
7. Just when you think you should give up…DON’T.
Doing this whole medium side business thing has been a great deal of work and I know anything worth having is a lot of work. However, there are times I think it may not be worth it and I should just go back to having weekend mornings and my evenings free. And then along comes someone who reminds me that I am supposed to be sharing this gift, that it is helping others; regardless of who may not believe it; it is making a difference for the people I do the readings for and that is all that matters.
So you need to set your doubts aside and move forward if you know you are doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do.
It is not a good idea to light all the sparklers at once – they will go off in one big flash and then you have no sparklers for the kids. Just a FYI if you ever attempt that trick. Also, foot long sparklers are really the way to go; just keep children two feet apart on the side-walk or street while in use.
9. Last but not least…
If the kids are asking “Are we there yet” one too many times and you are about to lose your mind, just tell them you will get there when it is dark or light depending on your driving time and that they can ask you when it is dark/light because that is when you will be there. It worked great on our road trip. The kids didn’t ask for hours because they were waiting to ask again until it got dark.