Hola! How’s it going out there? I have been a little quiet lately. We’ve been traveling (for work and fun). And we’ve just been so busy living.
Not only has blogging been low on my list of things to do, so has scrapbooking. I’ve done little to no scrapbooking the last 12 months. Scrapbooking in general has taken a backseat to all my creative endeavors. I’m in a bit of flux right now. But I’m not even sure why I am and how or if I want to change it. Anyway, I did manage to create a scrapbook layout.
This layout is all about when Mike and I did our first Whole 30 in August. We’re planning on doing another starting next week (after Thanksgiving). I really felt so much better eating such a clean and healthful diet.
This layout was create for Simple Scrapper using an Nov. 2015 story starter. The Premium Membership at Simple Scrapper provides skills and shortcuts to help you simplify and find more meaning in your memory keeping.
We just took our kids on vacation. Since Mike is an accountant and does all the the tax work for his firm, we don’t travel from January to late May. He’s just too busy during those months, so it’s next to impossible to get away as a family.
The last few years we’ve taken a family vacation in the fall. This year we had planned to take the kids to Disney World, but just as we started planning, one of my brothers announced he’d be getting married in November at Lake Tahoe. We decided to scrap our Disney World plans and do something that could incorporate going to my brother’s wedding.
At first, the kids were disappointed. They’ve never been to Disney World and the shininess of it was alluring. But we assured them they’d have a great time on our trip despite not going to Disney World.
Since we were staying on the west coast, we decided to drive and mapped out a 9-day road trip with stops in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco and Anaheim (for Disneyland).
There were lots of yummy dinners. There was the world’s biggest Ferris wheel. There were sightseeing tours and ferry trips. There was breakfast with Mickey Mouse. But guess what? If you ask my kids what the best part of the trip was, it wouldn’t be any of these things. Their favorite part was simple: seeing their cousins. Sure they had fun doing all the awesome things along the way, but the part that mattered the most was spending time with family and playing with their cousins.
This got me thinking. Why really matters? Is it the shiny, expensive stuff? Nope. It’s the stuff that expands our heart. It’s the simple stuff. I spend a lot of time obsessing of things that really matter. Hearing my kids declare cousin time as their favorite part of our trip was a sharp reminder that I’m placing my focus in the wrong spot.
Once again, my children are the teachers and I’m the student. It’s not the fancy, exspensive things that matter. What matters most is family. What matters most is the time we spend together. As we head into the holiday season, I hope to keep this lesson at the forefront of my mind and heart. Less stuff and more time and family … That’s what really matters.
My younger brother is getting married today. As I think about love and marriage (thanks to his impending nuptials) , I’m so grateful for my husband. When we first started dating, it was all about romance and spontaneity. But as the years pass by, our love has deepened to something I never thought possible. Mike is my best friend and through all the trials of life, our relationship has grown and flourished. It’s so much better today than it was at the start … even without all the excitement of newness.
I made a scrapbook page from Simple Scrapper about you love thanks to a small slip of paper. I carry it in my wallet and have for years. I went with simple, muted colors since it’s a page about Mike and I wanted it to feel more masculine than most of the pages I create.
Ten years ago, Mike slipped this little paper under my keyboard at work. I’ve carried it in my wallet ever since. Two babies, an out-of-state move, two house … lots of changes, but I still love he & he still loves me
The Premium Membership at Simple Scrapper provides skills and shortcuts to
help you simplify and find more meaning in your memory keeping.
For the last week or so I’ve been driving a fully-loaded, 2015 Suburban. My car is getting some warranty work done and GM gave me a rental car. They have a policy of only giving GM rental cars and the car should be similar in size to the car it’s replacing. The rental agency only had one GM vehicle: this huge, tricked out Suburban. Both Shelby and Cooper immediately started oohing and aahing about how awesome the Suburban was and how we should trade up and get one for ourselves. Mike on the other hand kept saying how embarrassed he feels driving it.
We were driving to the kids’ Oktoberfest and he tried to explain to the kids why he was embarrassed by the car. It’s too big, much bigger than we need as a family of four. It’s way too expensive. We’d rather spend our money on other things, like family experiences or helping others. It’s not the most environmentally friendly vehicle. The image of this car doesn’t align with out values like being frugal and smart with our money and loving and protecting the environment.
Even with this explaination, both kids were still pretty star struck by the Suburban.
Saturday night Shelby and I were driving home from her friend’s Halloween party. We made a quick stop at a clothing donation bin a block from our house. We had cleaned out both kids’ closets that morning and had seven garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. A woman approached us and said, “I see you’re donating clothes. I’m homeless (pointing to a car filled with everything she owned). Can you help me?”
I had no cash on me. I apologized and Shelby and I headed home. As soon as we pulled away, Shelby said, “Mom, I get it.”
I had no idea what she was talking about. She went on to explain, “I feel icky. This car is too flashy. That woman has nothing and we have so much. She sees us in this car and it feels icky. I want our old car back.”
We talk about it a little more and when we got home she went to tell Dad about what happened. Before I knew it, Shelby came to me and asked if I’d drive her back to the where the homeless woman was. She had a wad of cash in her hand. Dad had given her some. She went to her piggy bank and got some too. Inspired by her generosity, I dipped into my secret stash. And then we went to Cooper and asked him if he wanted to help too.
“Dad, we have a situation,” he said. “There is someone who is really poor and needs our help. I want to give enough money for a house. Can I take some money from my Give Piggy Bank?”
We took the $4 he’d saved up just for giving to others and added it to the pot. And the kids, in their jammies, jumped in the car with me and we head back to the homeless woman.
When we pulled up, Shelby rolled down her window and gave a bag of money to the woman. I think it was about $25 or $30, not a ton, but something. The woman immediately burst into tears and thanked Shelby and Cooper. It’s one of my proudest mom moments. Ever.
I don’t tell this story to brag. I tell this story to illustrate the importance of talking to your kids about being compassionate and living your values. Even when you think they aren’t listening (or watching) … they are. At eventually, they’ll get the message. Just keep talking and modeling compassion. Mike kept reiterating why this Suburban wasn’t right for us and why it embarrassed him. Even when the kids disagreed with him, he kept talking. Eventually, it sunk in.
Capitalizing on this compassionate moment, Mike suggested we take some of our Christmas budget to help others. Each of us get to pick a charity we want to support and we’ll give them some money. We haven’t decided how much we’ll be giving, but we’re going to give something. We really want the kids to think about what’s important to them and how they can be of service, so we’re going to spend the next few weeks talking about this and researching ways to help.
Until then, we’ll keep talking. And we’ll keeping hoping they’ll hear and understand the lessons we’re trying to teach them.