This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. This winter is relentless. There’s been snow on the ground for months, and it’s part of the permanent forecast these days. You know there’s a lot of snow when your son’s Nordic ski team can’t practice because they aren’t able to get up the mountain. It’s that... [Read More]Read more
This year I’ve implemented a new-to-us idea for our kids leading up to Valentine’s Day. You’ve probably seen the idea of love notes floating around social media. The idea is to write a note with a different thing you love about your child every day from Feb. 1-14.
I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. I’d much rather be surprised by chocolate on a random Wednesday “just because” than on Feb. 14. My husband surprised me with coffee when he arrived home from work yesterday evening. I needed that coffee something fierce and appreciated the thoughtfulness, which wasn’t forced on him by commercialization.
The act of thinking about the little things I love about our kids and putting it on paper has given added meaning to the “holiday.” I love the tangibility of the written word. I say lots of things to my kids each day and am never sure what’s sinking in. I’ve enjoyed unraveling the unique things I love about those four people. I’ve enjoyed the act of putting pen to hand-cut hearts to share my feelings. I’ve written one each day for them to find after school. It’s been a simple act, but one I know they’ve appreciated.
Each day they come home from school and eagerly check for their love note and then share it with each other. All four have kept each hand-written note and stashed it away. Maybe they’ll pull them out to read when we’re not getting along so well. We don’t like each other all the time. I have a teenager who I butt heads with quite often these days. Maybe those hearts will bridge the gap on a day we just can’t seem to find common ground. Even when we don’t like each other, we still love each other.
Maybe they won’t keep the notes to read over past Valentine’s Day. The notes served the purpose of reminding them they are loved, even if it was for only a moment. Sometimes a few simple words is all it takes to lift a person’s spirit. It’s seems I’ve found a new tradition.
I was recently verbally slapped for my 8-year-old’s choice of heroes. They are, for the most part, athletes, and another adult expected better from me as the parent. I was told it should bother me he didn’t name a scientist or teacher or former president. It doesn’t. As he matures, his list will change and those larger-than-life people he sees on TV and in the news will no longer dominate his thoughts, but stay firmly planted in memories of his... [Read More]Read more
We started geocaching as a family hobby several years ago. What started as a fairly inexpensive way to add to our family travels has become much more. People participate in geocaching by using a handheld global positioning system (GPS) to locate hidden “treasure” (caches) placed by other geocachers. Caches are found by navigating to the longitude and latitude coordinates of their hiding places. There are several types of caches from “micro” that consist of nothing more than a small strip... [Read More]Read more
This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. We had a bucket list of places we knew had to be included on our driving route for our Epic Road Trip to Florida last summer. One of those near the top of the list was Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. We’ve visited several National Park... [Read More]Read more
I’m awful at recognizing my limits. I knew I was approaching my stress threshold this week, but kept pushing. Yesterday, I reached my breaking point. My self-induced pressure to fix a situation was causing me stress which was making my household miserable. I couldn’t be done with yesterday fast enough. I needed a start over something fierce. Today was not a day for emails, meetings or phone calls. Today there were surprise cupcakes at elementary school lunch and coffee with... [Read More]Read more
Last week was riddled with heavy parenting. I felt all the feelings from burning anger to heartbroken sadness to mind-numbing frustration. I lost sleep and had to remind myself numerous times that literally pointing my finger at someone or shaking them until I believe they actually understand what’s happening are not acceptable behaviors. There were meetings, emails and phone calls. I shed tears on multiple occasions and listened to one son lament about school in a way no parent wants... [Read More]Read more
This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. Capitol Reef National Park is located in a remote area of Utah. We visited several years ago (March 2011) over spring break and essentially had the park to ourselves with only a handful of other visitors to share the over 240,000 acres. I’m a sucker for rocky... [Read More]Read more
I’ve been slow to warm to 2016. Normally new beginnings invigorate me, but this new year finds me tired and sluggish. I feel burdened by decisions and the rigmarole of the day-to-day. My system feels overloaded to the point of shutdown. I’ve struggled the last few weeks with the restart of school to establish a rhythm. Nothing seems to click. I seem to be one step off my game and forcing my way through the daily. I thoroughly enjoyed my... [Read More]Read more
Most nights I find myself awake long past any reasonable bedtime hour. I unwind reading on the couch until I begin to doze off. Only then do I know I’ll fall asleep and stay that way until morning. My late nights lend themselves to a lengthy list of read books each year. The following 5 books top my list of books I read in 2015: All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — Those who know me well... [Read More]Read more
The month of December is full of emotional landmines for me. The pressure I place on myself to make the Christmas season a joyous, memory-filled time is enormous and exhausting. Without family in town, I can feel lonely one day as we move through our traditions. The next day I’m savoring the joy of time spent with the five people who love me best. My emotions are a roller coaster of highs and lows with self-sabotage right around the... [Read More]Read more
The last time I made a traditional gingerbread house was years ago. Everything was chugging along smoothly until the three boys realized their were only two sides to the roof. The fun was sucked right out of house decorating. The best part of a gingerbread house is the roof for my kids. My job became referee. Heaven helps us if one brother had more design input on the roof than the other brothers. We finished the house, and I vowed... [Read More]Read more