Tagged with "travel"
4 Jan
2018
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The Greatest Showman and Big Dreams

Christopher Reeve dream quote

We were 30 seconds into the motion picture, The Greatest Showman, when I knew this movie was not like all the other movie dates I’ve been on with my children. I stole a look at my children during the opening song. They were leaning forward in their seats completely engrossed with whatever was about to happen on that screen and their faces reflected the magic of what would become one of our favorite films. It was exactly what the movies should be and feel like they fall short of more often than not: original. It was pageantry, fantastic cinematography, choreography, music and magic.

The movie is about a period in the life of P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus fame. I’m not interested in him necessarily (although I do plan on reading more about his life) as much as the message that came through with the movie.

Theater, whether live or film, has always held a special place in my heart. I’m a dreamer with my head a little in the clouds — ideas and adventures constantly tugging at my sensible side. Sometimes I follow through, but mostly they stay in dream form with the risks outweighing the need to jump into an idea. Books and theater have always fed that dreamer in me and nothing grabs my imagination quite like a musical. How I wish life included breakout scenes of choreography and singing instead of talking.

We attempt to show our children that this world is so much bigger than our little nook in it. All the books piled around the house and our traveling are geared toward that lesson. There is so much you can do and be that you can’t see from where we live. The faces that stared at that movie screen were the same ones several years ago who stood awestruck watching street performers in Key West, Florida. They were doing seemingly unreal things, just like P.T. Barnum. I’m not looking to raise anyone with a tilt toward scoundrel, but I do want big dreamers. I remember our oldest telling us he was going to be one of those street performers and “thinking over my dead body.” But that’s not what I told him. This is your one life. Choose well for you, but be prepared for the road to be full of obstacles whether you’re literally jumping through hoops during sunset celebrations for tourists or working a corporate desk job. Nothing changes if no one is willing to look outside the box and take a chance. Be the chance-taker.

I worry about these children like it’s my career. I don’t want them to be hurt, be sad, be in trouble, or make bad choices which has happened and will again and again. I don’t want them to face criticism or money problems. I also don’t want them to regret not doing something simply because there were risks. I’m not saying take unreasonable risk to endanger their lives, but don’t be afraid to love big, dream big and possibly fail big.

I left that theater with chatty children who got the message so beautifully conveyed. It doesn’t matter how or where you start from. You can have a dream and bring it to fruition, even if the world tells you you’re crazy. Dream. Imagine. Change the way people see the world. You won’t get anywhere just sitting there. Believe in yourself. There is nothing like a musical when all the parts and pieces click together. We’ve been listening to the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman for days now on repeat. It’s stuck with us, proving the film cast made something special.

I didn’t even really want to see the movie, even with my love of musicals. I hadn’t heard much about it, but my musically athletic dancer children saw parts of themselves in the trailer they watched. Their imagination was already captured after less than two minutes of a teaser. I asked one of my boys what they enjoyed about The Greatest Showman, and he said, “That they were all so different, and it didn’t matter to the ones that truly loved them.” Find your people because you won’t be for everyone, but there are people waiting for you who will love you for who you are, quirks and all. Just be uniquely you and believe in the possibility of those dreams.

It’s odd how this specific movie affected me. We watch a lot of movies, but this was refreshingly different. The lyrics for the songs speak to me at my mothering roots. I think of those actors, the director, producers and everyone that worked to put that film together. Could they even imagine that in a small theater in the middle of the least populated state in the United States a mother watched her children watch that big screen and saw their imaginations on fire? Did they know how grateful that mother would be for all the time and energy that went into making her hopes for them into an anthem on a big screen? Probably not.


 
Take a Trip: Boston
By     |    Oct 2, 2017
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Take a Trip: Boston

Go visit Boston, sooner rather than later. Trust me on this one. We’ve visited an array of U.S. cities…Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Chicago, Savannah, and Louisville to mention a few. None of the American metropolises have won my heart quite like Boston. She’s unique. We visited Boston this summer as part of our epic road trip to the East Coast. Cities are not my favorite vacation destinations. I prefer mountain tops and beaches to sidewalks and buildings.... [Read More]

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Joys of Back to School Shopping
By     |    Aug 31, 2017
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Joys of Back to School Shopping

Every August I look forward to back-to-school shopping for clothes and shoes for our kids, and every August I’m reminded how taxing the actual shopping excursion is in reality. We try to make a weekend trip away from home to a larger city to make the sometimes tedious shopping more enjoyable. At least in a larger city there are more food options to help in coaxing good behavior. This year with high school football a new part of our schedule,... [Read More]

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Total Solar Eclipse Debriefing
By     |    Aug 22, 2017
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Total Solar Eclipse Debriefing

I woke up this morning with the post-total-solar-eclipse doldrums. I’m sure it’s a thing. The kids and I ate breakfast with a ho-hum attitude. Attending athletic practice and playing at a park seem lackluster compared to the moon and sun show yesterday. It’s akin to the first day home after vacation, or the day after Christmas. We spent months being inundated with all things eclipse related. We live directly on the line of totality and a lot happened in our... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Niagara Falls
By     |    Jul 26, 2017
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Take a Trip: Niagara Falls

We didn’t fully prepare our children for what we’d find at Niagara Falls in New York. We read books about the history of the falls, from its discovery to crazy stunts performed there. I didn’t make it clear that Niagara Falls is a money-sucking tourist trap. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful and a wonder to view. However, it’s also overrun with people, casinos, restaurants and kitschy tourist-driven businesses. When we began planning our epic road trip, we went back... [Read More]

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Cuyahoga Valley: An Urban Park
By     |    Jul 20, 2017
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Cuyahoga Valley: An Urban Park

I had predisposed ideas about Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. I knew it was large with an extensive trail system, waterfalls and a covered bridge. What we found was the most urban national park we’ve visited. The park, our first major stop on our epic road trip, is not far from both Akron and Cleveland. It’s a refuge for animals and people alike in the bustling urban sprawl. We visited on a weekend, and the park was busy. The... [Read More]

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East Coast Road Trip Debriefing
By     |    Jul 18, 2017
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East Coast Road Trip Debriefing

5,905 miles. Three weeks. 21 states. I can guess what people will say each time I recite theses details about our most recent epic road trip. People think we’re “amazing” to take our children on an adventure of that caliber, but cannot fathom doing anything similar. We’ve been called crazy. People think there’s some trick for getting our children to travel for weeks and swear their families would not survive the journey. This was the second time we’ve been on... [Read More]

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Fighting Through Travel Anxiety
By     |    Jun 16, 2017
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Fighting Through Travel Anxiety

I’m at the point in vacation planning where I think it’s best to cancel our plans. This happens every time we travel, whether we’ll be gone for five days or three weeks. I’m overwhelmed by the planning process and dreading the packing. My anxiety has me worrying about everything from flat tires to lost hotel reservations to vomiting children to terrorists and everything in between. I can’t even think about the crowds of people and lines we’ll encounter. We’ll stay... [Read More]

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Five Favorite Family Vacation Destinations
By     |    May 25, 2017
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Five Favorite Family Vacation Destinations

My list of places to vacation is extensive while the allotted vacation days are finite. I like picking the brains of fellow travelers for tips on destinations we have planned and will talk your ear off if you venture to ask for ideas of places to visit. This is the time of year I’m asked quite often for vacation ideas. Most of my suggestions are for outdoor lovers and those who don’t have a fortune to spend on vacation. We’ve... [Read More]

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Big Push to Finish School Year
By     |    May 4, 2017
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Big Push to Finish School Year

The month of May is one of my favorite and least favorite months. Summer is right around the corner and the weather is improving. There are 22 days of school remaining and 50 days until we enjoy another much-anticipated epic vacation. But May is also the month when everyone has everything on every day…all month long. It’s inevitable with four children that our evenings will be full of recitals, concerts, track meets and practices. It’s never one thing at a... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Badlands National Park
By     |    Apr 3, 2017
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Take a Trip: Badlands National Park

We visited Badlands National Park for the fourth time this weekend. After several friends mentioned not knowing about the park, which is four hours from our home, I thought it needed some love. Our first three visits to the park were in the summer months when it’s crowded and hot. A spring visit was much more to our liking. There were no crowds. We didn’t have to circle around for a parking spot at the visitor center or any trailhead.... [Read More]

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Joy in a Staycation
By     |    Mar 27, 2017
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Joy in a Staycation

My preference is to leave town whenever possible. I like to explore and discover new places. We’re on a staycation this spring break, and I was dreading it. I longed to spend our five school-free weekdays somewhere other than here. We’re stockpiling vacation days for an upcoming summer road trip, so home is where we are for the week. Technically we have small getaways planned for the weekends buffering spring break week and a small excursion mid-week. We’re only partially on... [Read More]

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