Category Archives: Fun

I Hope You Feel Uncomfortable 

My best friends (chosen family) do something very interesting each new year. They sit down together, take stock in their lives, and work to create good habits for that year. One of their habits (I really hate the word resolution) is to make a point to do something outside their comfort zone. Their thought pattern has rattled around my head since early January.

Just the other day I announced to my friend that I am boring. Of course her response was “you are anything but boring.” Ok so I may not be boring to the people closest to me, but I feel  boring. Not the I’m going to run out and get a sports car boring, or I’m going to climb Kili boring. It’s not about shock factor or the you-did-what factor at all. It’s about challenging myself and making myself feel a bit uncomfortable.

Recently my family traveled to Washington, DC. We were having dinner in a great little spot that had a piano bar upstairs. While we ate we were serenaded by people singing karaoke in the piano bar. There were some incrediby talented people singing who must sing all the time, as well as a few who obviously do not need to quit their day jobs. I sat there joking throughout our dinner that I was going to try my voice at karaoke. My 12 year old and I began to mull over choices for my debut. Should I attempt Beyoncé, or stay with something less booty shaking? Perhaps Elton John would be more my speed, or something classic like Gladys Knight. Knowing full-well that it was just a hypothetical scenario we began to narrow down my choices. Tiny Dancer it was – seeing as how I frequently belt it out in the car! We both had a great laugh at the mere thought of me singing our beloved Sir Elton John! 

“Next up, Sally!” I looked around very amused for the other person named Sally when my husband said, “You have been talking about stepping outside of your comfort zone and I thought you needed a little push.” Yeah, off a cliff!!! I was paralyzed. My daughter’s jaw was hanging wide open as I made my way to the microphone. What did I have to lose? Maybe a little dignity. I would never see another soul in this place again! 

Note the guy in the back snickering! That’s his she’s-going-home-with-YOU grin.

I’d like to say it was a drop the mic moment. It was awful. I did it though! I sang every lyric proudly. There were some claps and cheers, and NOT from my family.  I. Did. It. Thanks to my husband I was exhilarated, and I showed my daughter (and myself) that it is absolutely OK to do something completely out of your comfort zone despite how embarrassing it might be. I did not feel at all boring that night.

Recently I stumbled onto the blog of a former co-worker and discovered that she and her husband had given up the comforts of “home” and purchased an RV. A couple of years ago they took it all over the United States and experienced some amazing things. Of course it wasn’t all glamorous and it was daily life…in an RV…with pets. The key here is that even though it is daily life there is some level of uncertainty. Low and behold they are heading back out for a new journey in 2016. I will be keeping up with their adventures and daily living. 

Some message is being sent to me – I’m convinced of it. I happen upon the blog of someone I haven’t even thought about in years, and then I’m hit with the movie trailer for  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot over and over again. The BFF and I had added that to our list of movies to see even before I began feeling this tug. I’m not talking about running off to  Kabul like Tina Fey’s character, but I feel like I need to be experiencing something more. My personality is one where I need to have security, and know where I am going to lay my head at night. I am a planner, but I should be a little uncomfortable – Tiny Dancer uncomfortable. 

I read an interesting article on Cosmopolitan about Shonda Rhimes. If you’ve been living under a rock – Shonda Rhimes is the amazingly talented creator behind Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. In this article she suggests doing what scares you and celebrating daily. All of this is part of her new book, Year of Yes. Her words in this article are exactly what I am talking about, and what my friends set out to accomplish at the beginning of 2016! 

I’m going to try. I can’t promise I’m going to succeed, but I am going to look for opportunities to step out of my comfort zone, do what scares me, and celebrate. My attempts may not equal setting off on the great American RV adventure, or traveling to war-torn countries. Singing my favorite songs in front of complete strangers may be more my type of uncomfortable. Whatever your speed, or your type – I hope YOU feel uncomfortable too. 

1 Comment

Filed under Fun, Great Ideas, Inspirations, Life, Sally

Timehop Gratitude

I love how Timehop pulls photos from over the years and throws them back at you. I am often amazed to see my girls from five and six years ago! Time truly marches by ever so swiftly.

Much of the time we have great laughs at pictures we completely forgot…hairstyles or situations give us a lift…it’s a little photo story reminder of our lives. Today it was all about gratitude and compassion. When I am covered in worry and anxiety, it is incredibly nice to be jolted back to what really matters.

Timehop, thank you for the reminder!

 
  
  

Leave a comment

2015 · 5:26 pm

The A to Z Summer

The end of summer is in sight, and unlike many of my contemporaries I hate the return to school. Our summer days are not always filled with rainbows and unicorns (after all she IS a hormonal tween),  but I soak up every moment with my daughter. 

I begin to feel the pangs of dread come over me the moment I see the “Summer Fun” sections in stores give way to “Back to School” madness. Ice cream makers are replaced with miniature dorm room coffee machines, and bubbles are removed to make way for bright yellow No. 2 pencils. As the school supply lists begin to appear in emails I find that I just want to hit the delete button as fast as they surface. These last weeks always make me take stock in the past months, and survey the quality time spent together.

Nothing has been more real to me than middle school staring me in the face. A friend commented just the other day on how she sees the teen trying to break through in my 11 year old. Of course, being one of the oldest in her class, she is mature for her age and also carries the influence of a much older sibling. I still see the warm, compassionate, young child inside that exterior comprised of eye rolls and “Mother” comments. When, at the end of the day, she still wants to curl up with me I gladly sink into that familiar position without pause. 

I tried hard to live this summer with intention and awareness knowing our world is going to change as her life gives way to middle school, activities, and friendships (as it should). Together we created the A to Z Summer in an effort to do some fun things together. The letter activities did not have to be something epic in nature as much as it was time spent together. 

We went on Adventures and enjoyed several days at the Beach. She had some great fun at Camp, and reached her Swimming goals with Meets and dropped times! She was productive with her Reading lists, and volunteering with Fifth Street Ministries. There were even some quirky experiences like the Livermush Festival…yes, there is such a thing! Together we perfected our Pound Cake recipe, and sampled homemade Ice Cream at an interesting drive-in. You get the picture – there are 16 more letters represented (and some letters even have multiple activities). We have just a few more letters to mark off our list before school begins. Several of our friends are making suggestions for the more difficult letters, and we are certainly open to suggestions! We’ve contemplated awarding a prize for the more creative suggestions.

Middle school is breathing down our necks, but I can say that our summer together has been filled with quality time. As I begin to purchase all the back-to-school supplies (including a calculator bigger than her head), I’m going to be fulfilling the remaining letter activities. In just a few weeks the house will be silent through the day, and full of chatter in the evenings.  The yearly rat race begins with homework, swim practice, youth group, and social fun. I imagine I will see glimpses of the teen trying to break through, but for now I hold tight to our A to Z summer before the madness begins.

    

 

(I know she’s a math whiz, but does she really need a college level calculator in 6th grade?!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun, Life, My Girls, Sarah

I’m Going To Explode

I seriously cannot contain my excitement and I am pretty sure my family thinks I am losing it. It’s vacation time!

20140718-101755-37075702.jpg

It has been so long since I have been able to get away for total enjoyment, though this time will not be without its challenges. I have tons of family surrounding me for support and I am READY! All of our road trips and extended stays  have been to Baltimore for medical specialists. THIS trip is about me, my family, fun and frivolity, and Vitamin Sea! I’m not a sun goddess by any means, but simply being out of my bubble is all I need.

My  attempt to recharge for three days at the beach last year resulted in a nasty sun/medicine reaction  after the first day. Lovely. For this attempt I needed a place that was an easy car ride away, and had more to it than just sand and surf. Voila…my old friend, Hilton Head Island. A beautiful place in South Carolina with trees, beaches, sound, harbors and SOOOO much more.

HHI1

Currently I am fascinated by the wildlife at Hilton Head! One famous animal has kept me entertained for some time now…Mary Lee. Mary Lee is a great white who is 16 feet and weighs over 3000 pounds. Gasp! She’s been tagged and “pinging” all around the SC coast. Just today my app reports she is near… and, Oh, she is preggers! For a while she was not pinging, but made a special visit to the surface to entertain me. Some are wondering if she has finally given birth.

Just the other day a fascinating article appeared about great white sharks sticking around SC coast. I love how they refer to Mary Lee and the area of Port Royal:

“I suspect she was making that move to drop off her pups somewhere,” Fischer said. “We know how prolifically vibrant the Port Royal Sound is, and it appears to be a hugely important hot spot for sharks in the Atlantic. If you’re a big shark, all of the estuary, inshore coastal area is just fabulous to drop off your baby shark, so it can gorge on (all the sea life).”

Guess what area of Hilton Head we are staying? Port Royal, of course! I will be adhering to my rule  of toes in the ocean – body in the pool.

Mary Lee being tagged. Courtesy of OCEARCH.

Mary Lee being tagged. Courtesy of OCEARCH.

Hilton Head Island’s alligators are also a prosperous lot! Just this week a 12 foot alligator walked right out of the surf. It is pretty much guaranteed that numerous gators will be spotted. It’s a look only scenario people!

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

There are also way less menacing creatures that call  Hilton Head home – dolphins galore, and sea turtles as well. Not to mention egrets, herons, osprey, and white-tailed deer.  It will be interesting to see what photos come from this trip and what I am able to report. You can rest assured that I will be making my way to Port Royal Sound to see what I can see – safely from land!

It’s VACAY COUNTDOWN and I am like a kid on Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun, Life, My Girls, Sarah, Simplistic Beauty

Eat My Bubbles

I was in the water every SINGLE day of my childhood summers. I simply cannot recall a time when I was not swimming (other than one summer when I had a horrid case of tonsillitis and was out for 2 weeks). I woke up and put on my bathing suit, and went to sleep with the next day on my mind.

We were very fortunate and had this ahhhmazing club that was essentially in our backyard. The Swim & Racquet Club truly felt like one big family, and we were treated as such. Our group was mostly comprised of neighborhood kids and other close friends whose parents all played tennis and socialized together. It was a world that used to exist when we all watched out for one another. The lifeguards were as much a part of this circle and we adored them as we would an older sibling.

We all waited until the day we hit that magic age and we were able to take a swimming proficiency test. It was like the Holy Grail for us and would give us the freedom to come and go without a parent. Simply put – it was AWESOME. We were preteens and had a taste of freedom to do something we loved. Each summer day my brother and I would walk down the hill to swim – only returning for dinner. It was the perfect childhood summer. My hair was green from the chlorine and my freckles were prominent from the sun.

Later in my teens I would take my lifeguard training there, work and continue to hang out with this same group of kids. I watched over other young kids who were experiencing that same incredible feel at our pool home. It was only natural I would be on the swim team and continue to spend most of my time in the water – even outside the summer season.

You can imagine my horror when one
of my children developed a tremendous fear of the water! It was a fear caused by an unnecessary event . Let’s just say my youngest experienced some rough-housing in the water and leave it at that. I place no blame, but watched as my daughter began to become more and more fearful. She would ONLY go in water where she could safely stand, and even still insisted on flotation devices. It was one careless act that caused her to fear something I loved greatly.

I knew better than to push her – 1)That is never a smart move for you or the child. 2)There IS NO pushing this child and making her do anything she does not want to do! Call it red-head personality! Instead, I talked with her about all of my memories in the water and the freedom it brought me. I rationalized with her that swimming with friends is one of the most awesome ways to spend her time. Eventually she cracked and chose to do one-on-one swim lessons with an incredibly patient instructor.

She completed two months of lessons, and on the last day she was asked a question by a guy at the Y. “Have you ever thought about swimming on the swim team?” He was impressed with her height and build and saw that she had a heart for the water. Never once had this crossed her mind other than a far off thought we had both shared. As she started lessons for the first time I simply said, ”You never know…you may be on the swim team one day.” It was a fleeting thought merely used for encouragement.

She was not quite ready for the swim team after only six lessons, and began working with the coach one-on-one for two more weeks. Her determination and drive came out in a most impressive way. She wanted this and wanted it badly. My 10 year old went from a child who could not swim and would not swim to a kid who never wanted to leave the water…IN TWO MONTHS TIME!

Fast forward a few weeks and she is working her tail off…on the team! She is swimming hard and long for her age. She is also doing so with great heart and even more determination. Practice was tough yesterday. I’ve never witnessed her working so hard – most importantly I’ve never heard on single complaint from her mouth. She wants to be in the water and wants to be perfecting her strokes. She listens and studies others and wants to be a true swimmer. Apparently she told a cousin just the other day, “You can swim, but you are not a swimmer.” Apparently this is a big distinction in her 10 year old mind. Not only can my child swim, she IS a swimmer.

Bubbles2

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun, Inspirations, My Girls, Sarah, Uncategorized

The Great Snow of 2014

20140218-075408.jpg
The picture of Little Red says it all! It is my favorite picture of this season. This time last week we were obsessively watching all weather sources in anticipation of a big southern snow. “NOAA says…” started almost every conversation for days!

I am well aware of the constant jokes regarding snow and the south. I also poke fun at my fellow southerners who run out for milk, bread and TP at the first sight of flakes. The truth is – we used to get quite a bit of snow when I was a kid!

There is something in this picture that takes me back to my childhood. Perhaps the palpable excitement of my child stirred something in me. As we watched the snow start, then the complete white out set in, I began telling snow stories.

There was nothing more exciting as a kid than waking up to many inches of snow on a January morning. My brother and I would leave the house and gather with neighborhood kids for the entire day. We would meet armed with sleds, inner tubes, and snow discs. I remember the conversations about how to pack the snow just right for maximum speed, and how high the jump should be (yes, there were injuries). Snow forts would be constructed and a stock pile of snowballs would be made. Eventually we would return home, peel off our wet clothes, and drop…then it would all begin again the next day. It was glorious!

Sarah sat and listened to all the stories of busted lips, extreme speeds on hills, fights over who lost the Storm Troopers in the snow (we found them scattered throughout the yard like little dead bodies once the snow melted).

When Sarah headed out to play in the foot of snow, I saw that same gleam in her eyes I know I had at 10 years old. She was out there for hours!!! There was even a snow picnic because she didn’t want to come in long enough to eat. Forget snowmen – she built a massive igloo that took hours (it remains almost a week later). I watched as she just laid in the snow and giggled. “You can either shovel, or make snow angels” became the mantra for the day. We chose snow angels!

Later that evening she laid down with me and whispered, ” I have never seen so much snow in all my life. My face hurts from smiling. This was the best day EVER!” And it was.

20140218-085824.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun, Sarah

It’s Like Fight Club

Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!

There are a handful of people in this world who have seen me in all my glory. Most of the situations cannot be understood by the outside world.

Over the past few weeks I have been met with many “remember when moments.” We speak of these times in code and snorts of laughter.

At 10:30 one evening I received a text with the message “Are your ears burning?” My mind went through the catalog of possible stories that Jules could be discussing! John already knows everything and he was present for most events. What poor stranger was brought into our world?

There are friends you have in life who can transport you back to a certain place in time. You hear the sounds, and recall the moments. On this particular evening I found myself snorting and barely able to respond to her texts.

A friend like Jules is rare. The things we share cannot be understood (and most cannot be discussed). It’s like fight club.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fun, Life, Sally