June and July Lessons 2014…

Hello August

 

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 when no one is lookingEven 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.

Loosey the Moose

Road trips are a great way to spend time as a family. We also stumbled upon Hot August Nights in Reno, NV.

Hot August Nights

 

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.

Reno

 

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.

Squeeze In

 

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.

click photo for source
click photo for source

 

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

Jedi Training Academy

 

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.

star wars cupcakes

IMG_1434

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.

292814_10150298135029983_338707205_n 163493_480160689982_6603895_n 2014-08-02_2251

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.

8. Sparklers…

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.

Sparklers

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.

 

Cheers,

M

 

7 thoughts on “June and July Lessons 2014…

  1. Michelle, I love your blog. Road trips with the kids – they’re the BEST! Especially with all the cool stuff they can do now to fill their time on the road. You hit the nail on the head with the first item – about taking pictures. Sometimes the un-posed shots are the best because years from now you’ll see what your kids “REALLY” looked like, and those pictures are precious because they weren’t staged. Thirty-some years later, I can tell you it’s true – the ones where the kids weren’t looking are the best. Thank you for the book list, will have to check them out – and DO keep on writing! Don’t worry about being grammatically correct – write from your heart. Also – I just learned recently about “Shebooks” (means “short e-books”) but the “she” is also important because it’s for women writers. Check it out if you’re not already familiar with it – it might be a nice stepping stone for you 🙂 Love-love-love the picture of the mom on the beach and the story behind it. As for your clairvoyant side – hey! That is truly a gift! Embrace it!!

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  2. I love it! Good for you that you have decided in so many parts of your life that perfect is not necessary. Really good life lesson.

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  3. Valuable lessons all!

    I am trying to keep things low-key for Jack’s upcoming birthday, as well. He’s only turning three and won’t remember the details, anyway. 🙂

    And I can’t believe you didn’t make your English teacher’s Green Book. Teachers should make sure they’re encouraging every student, not discouraging them by excluding them from something special. It’s a shame that it kept you from writing for so long!

    I think the true mark of a writer is feeling the need to do it, whether the feedback you get is amazing or not – so you MUST be a writer. Authenticity and the desire to write are more important than grammar and vocabulary, anyway, and I’ve found that the more I read and write, the more the technical stuff comes naturally, whether or not I know all the proper terms for things.

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    1. Julia I am so glad that we found each other’s blog. Your kind words inspire me more than you know. It means so much coming from a writer I enjoy so much.

      I agree the technical stuff is getting easier.

      Thanks again,
      M

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  4. So proud of you Michelle. Great family. You are making memories which is the most important thing as well as passing along the history of “things”. You are an outstanding mom, excellent wife, all you could ever hope for daughter, and a remarkable person for others to know and share. The world is lucky to have you. Love you immeasurably!

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