June and July Lessons 2014…

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

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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.

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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

 

December 2013 lessons…

Ah December – this month is always a time for regenerating. I don’t know about you, but after the holiday craziness, I always get real quiet and stay cozied up at home.

This month I have learned a lot and I thought I would share. Hope you find some nuggets of wisdom in my truths.

1. Sometimes I just need to chillax and watch some Jimberlake.

If you aren’t familiar with Jimberlake it is the combination of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. I was so thankful they were on Saturday Night Live this month. Here is one of my favorite skits from Jimmy Fallon’s show.

2. Zone in

I am a professional, top of the line, best ever zoner outer. I can zone out anywhere, anytime. It is something I developed in my sports days. I guess it isn’t truly zoning out because I just have extreme focus on one thing – like TV or writing or reading, but I can’t hear or sense anything else going on around me. While that is good, many times I zone out to the extent that I catch myself just going through the motions. You know how you drive somewhere and all the sudden you catch yourself and you think; whoa I don’t even remember the last stoplight or you pass your exit – sometimes I feel like I do that through life. There is so much going on day-to-day that sometimes I just don’t have the energy to focus on everything or everyone that comes my way, so I just go through the motions. I need to choose to zone in and really focus on all the things that come my way whether I have the energy or not. It will pay off in the long run.

3. Having the same shirt in multiple colors is never a mistake.

Okay, you heard me right I said never – so don’t hold me to this one. But you know how you go shopping and you get a shirt and you LOVE it and you think to yourself, man I wish I had got another one of these? Well I am here to tell you I finally did that and it was SO WORTH IT! I got the sweatshirt below in peach and gray and I have already worn both multiple times. Next time splurge for both or all three; it is totally worth it.

click photo for original source.
click photo for original source.

4. I am an obsessive reader.

This is just a weird tid bit if you needed any more random knowledge about me, but I can’t be alone on this one. So for example, I read the Hunger Games Trilogy in 3 days. I know I am late to the Hunger Games party, but I read a book a day. Then I had to go on Netflix and watch the movie and maybe just maybe I can get to theaters to see Catching Fire. I did the same thing with Fifty Shades of Grey – I read all the books in just days. I read every Harry Potter within days of them coming out and the kids and I read every Percy Jackson book back to back as quickly as we could. Same with the Spiderwick Chronicles. Maybe there is something wrong with me or maybe I just love books, when I find one I can’t put down and it is a series I just zip through them like Mario Andretti on the race track.

5. I am so grateful for modern technology and fantastic ER staff

One of my little guys had a horrible case of croup over the holidays. Poor little guy was wheezing something awful and nothing we were doing was making him any better so my husband said, “he needs to go tot he ER.” So I took him to the ER. They rushed us right in and got him several doses of EPI and some steroids. We spent just about six hours there, but they were amazing. They even got us into a room where there was a door and they shut of all the lights so each of us could get some sleep while they watched him after the last dose of EPI.

Plus the nurses and doctor were fantastic. The doctor made everything seem like it was no big deal. She had the best voice and was so calm. Of course my little guy was a trooper, never cried or got upset. He really disliked the nebulizer but her listened to the nurse letting him know he had to use it because he needed the medicine.

Just such a blessing that we can so easily get the medical attention we need to help our children or ourselves.

5. Duck Dynasty Bobble-Heads are a MUST have

Okay so I know Phil Robertson has created controversy lately, but I am not even going to touch on that. I just have to say I love these little bobble heads! They make me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY! Seriously, listening to Jase and Si spout wisdom while I work is FANTASTIC.

“If you don’t know what you are doing you better do it quickly.” – Jase Robertson

photo 1(13)

6. Living out loud has its setbacks.

So if you have read my blog you know I am doing my best to “live out loud” which is really just being my authentic self out in the real world. 99% of that is great. I feel better about myself, I have more fun, and I worry less…most of the time. Occasionally when I am talking to someone and since my filter is set on wide open, things will pop out of my mouth that can be taken as hurtful. Twice at our team meeting I said something to someone that could have been taken the wrong way. I apologized right away and even again with a phone call later, but that is the hardest part for me, having the filter set to wide open and then sometimes the things I say just come out wrong. My therapist says if I apologize right away and correct my mistake then all is good, but I am still having a hard time with that part. I know it is okay to be imperfect, but I absolutely detest with a passion hurting someone’s feelings.

7. Quick internet shopping can lead to cheetah print shoes.

Yup, I asked for Cheetah print Nike shoes for Christmas.

So my dad asked me for ideas for our family for Christmas and I knew something for everyone else, but I had a hard time thinking of something for me. I quickly thought – running shoes, I could use a new pair. So I looked online at the running shoes from Nike and saw a cute black and pink pair. Sent the link over to my dad who responded “are you sure you want that color?” And I thought, um yeah what’s wrong with black and pink. But I just replied with yes, please. Any way, I opened them on Christmas to reveal these little beauties.

photo 2(13)

So from the side they look black and pink, but in light they have a reflective cheetah print. Maybe they’ll make me faster…I’ll keep you posted.

My husband recently told me about a quote he heard – “I am winning and learning”. So here’s to winning and learning my friends –

M