Saturday, June 20, 2020

Personal System Reboot ~ Free Boho Printable

Free Boho Life Changes printable below

I have become slack in my habits lately. Working at home, combined with attempting, very poorly, to educate my kids has led me to sort of letting things go. After a harrowing dream which involved administrators, fellow teachers, my kids, and finally ended when a coworker left me locked in a hospital room with a classroom full of preschoolers with special needs I felt ill-equipped to handle to drop out the window and  rediscover her youth with a convertible full of boys, I woke up and decided the same old, same old wasn't going to work.

Honestly, it's been awful. I haven't been for a walk in over a week, we practically lived on sugar cereal and dinner food because I didn't feel like facing the store, and my patience has been nearly non-existent. I have been a grouchy momster.;) My natural inclination is to dive into my feelings and figure out why I am acting that way, and really feel and understand them, but...screw that. While it is vital to understand why you feel the way you do, after recognizing and naming what you feel, it is time to move forward. Not time to dwell, not time to share, because misunderstandings run rampant when you start sharing your feelings and feelings change, anyway. It's not time to think and overthink. Turning something  around and around in your mind feels productive, but you rarely really get anywhere. Your knowledge is limited. You can only guess why someone does what they do or how they view you. And the weird thing is, the harder you try to control everything, the more it slips out of your hands. 

I was looking up my boutique Pinterest account this morning, and one of the suggested groups was for successful women. I looked through the pins, first of all, felt a little overwhelmed, but then I started reading those little memes full of good advice people make until I felt filled and strong. And then, I got up and decided it was time to head back to the track. 

It feels like growth and self-improvement is a tango-a series of steps forward and steps back. As soon as you feel confident in your changes, you get lax and things start to slide. It can be frustrating, but I think really true change is just HARD. It's hard to drink water when it seems gross. It's hard for me not to share my thoughts and feelings, or rather, it's hard to find the balance between expressing myself and oversharing.  It is easier to lay in bed and stop believing that meditating makes a difference, or stop having a relationship with a greater power. It is so much easier to just slide through the day without thought-or perhaps without discipline. 

With these thoughts in mind, it is time to take action. Again!

Step One: More Water
I noticed a bit of a lower back ache, and since I am prone to health issues from drinking only coffee (it is all I ever want), I had a big glass of water. I haven't been buying any lemons and water without lemon is sort of gross to me in the morning, but I pushed it down anyway.

Step Two: Self-Expression
Writing a blog post several times a week, but not one of my confusion and feelings and angst. That's what journals are for, and I need to use mine more. But any form of writing forces me to categorize and organize my thoughts,  and that is useful.

Step Three: Refresh the Spirit
Continue my normal spiritual practices. I have been sleeping in more and letting them slip away, but I have found an organized method of expressing gratitude, communing with God, and setting intentions for the day has a more profound effect on my life than a thrown together in the moment plea.

Step Four: Movement
I just have to move more. Whether it is a daily walk, or getting out to real stores (not Walgreens), or just doing more house and yard work, I need to put in at least 30 minutes of movement. According to my phone I move at least 60 minutes a day, but I don't like keeping my phone on my body, and I don't think that incidental movement is the same as sustained physical movement.

Step Five: Better Parenting
I need to get my boys back on a strong schedule. We started last night by enforcing bedtime and closing the doors, even when Alec puckered up. And they were asleep fast! 

Truthfully I could write about a lot more, but I have listed five things I need to focus on, and five is plenty.

If you want to try a Personal System Reboot, I high suggest choosing 3-5 areas you want to work on and focusing on them in depth. It may be you have let your regular system slide and just need to oil it and tighten the bolts a little. Or it may be that you need an entire overhaul and some big changes. 

Writing down the areas you want to improve makes a huge difference. If nothing else, you will stumble upon the paper later and be re-reminded of the promises you made to yourself.

What steps do you need to take to reboot your own system?

And here it is:
Boho Style Life Changes Printable

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Watching The Book Thief-Are sad films hygge?

As the credits rolled on The Book Thief film, my husband and I listened to the haunting music and wiped our tears, faces screwed up. I felt a deep feeling of contentment while my husband said incredulously, "That's cozy?" I had been in charge of choosing a cozy film, so I choose The Book Thief because I think it's beautiful and cozy. I love the run-down house, looking so tidy and clean. I love the sadness and the narrator and all the other characters and just...I enjoy it. My husband agreed it was good, but to him it was depressing and not cozy.

I find myself wondering...what do you think? Do you find beauty in the sad? Do sad movies make you feel better or worse? 
A list of my favorite movies shows I definitely love films which tug at my heart. Out of Africa, The English Patient (though that episode of Seinfeld forever makes me self-conscious for liking it), and many more top this list. If I don't ugly cry-is it even good? I am exaggerating of course. I like many movies which don't make me cry. But the movies which stir my soul (and honestly, The Book Thief is only good, not a favorite), are the ones in which joy and sorrow are intertwined like shimmering golden and silvery threads accenting the fabric of life, creating the richness and depth of experience which is life itself (which by the way, was not a very good movie).

Saturday, June 13, 2020

"Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One"-Reading now

Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash

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My most serious book this month (meaning I am going through it carefully, rather than skimming through for nuggets of help), is the book: You Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One, written by Raphaelle Giordano. I am listening to it on Audible, which means it is taking me awhile to get through it because I tend to forget about my audiobooks.

It is a self-help book, written in fictionalized form. Sort of a like a Sophie's World in self-help.

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Another book it reminds of is ... I can't remember. Basically it was a fictionalized book with a simple romance built in and a genie who told the woman how to lose weight in small steps.

In no way are you going to be fooled into thinking this book isn't what it is, a thinly disguised advice book. The character is a little too perfect-good career, 10 pounds overweight (clearly European because 10 pounds is just a barbecue away here, make it 30 pounds and I will believe). She only has one child, which makes her a little hard to relate to for me. I mean how can you complain about raising kids when you only have one?  Anyway, she meets this man who agrees to take her on as a client and give her advice to help her change her life. 

The book does what it is supposed to: helps you imagine the steps to making changes in your life. First you have to decide what you want to change, then you have to start taking baby steps towards those changes. I found myself initially disappointed, because the book came highly recommended from my online book group people, and it is pretty basic. However, I can recognize the genius in writing this way because it does help the lessons to stick a lot better than a dry step-by-step advice book. Fictionalizing it makes it memorable. 

And finally, I haven't finished the book yet. Maybe I am totally wrong, and there is a plot twist making it a true work of literature. But I doubt it.

Camille is sort of the Bella of the self-help world. She is basic and her feelings are pretty stereotypical meaning most women are going to be able to relate to her. We all have fights with our spouse and feel like everything falls on us. We all would rather have a snack and glass of wine than go for a walk in the evening. We all get bored with our kids and feel the pressure of getting stuff done rather than bonding with loved ones.

If I sound negative, it is only in my disappointment in thinking the book was something else. It is definitely useful in accomplishing its purpose: to teach people how to change their lives in a simple step-by-step way. I do recommend it if you are trying to shake up a dull existence and reach for something a little more. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

I made a business decision!

Photo by Sarah Shaffer on Unsplash

I have decided not to close my business. Now Dagney Taggart might not approve (but we don't like her anyway, do we?), but I get a lot of pleasure out of choosing clothes and sharing them. What I will do is scale way back on advertising and call it what it is: a hopeful hobby. 

I may put a little money into advertising, but I plan to focus on slowly growing my online presence while also signing up to work vendor fairs when I can. I think it will be fine. 

I get a huge amount of pleasure opening the clothes and repackaging them for others, and I am not ready to deny myself that yet. 

I feel very at peace with this choice!

Now granted as soon as I came to this conclusion I was flooded with a remembrance of You've Got Mail,  when Kathleen decides the right choice is to close her beloved children's bookstore. After sharing this, one of her employees, an older woman who had known her mother, stated, "Closing the store is the brave thing to do!" This has always stuck in my mind (and others because when I looked it up to make sure I had it right, others had put it in their own blog posts). And I wonder, am I not brave? Of course, Kathleen  was an ISFJ and they much more practical than I am. And I also wonder, if Birdie would have said the same thing had Kathleen opted to keep the shop alive a little longer. 

One wonders.  Either way, I am happy with my choice and quietly open and waiting for a new and more profitable idea to enter my head. Universe, I await you! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Day in the Life of an Online Summer School Teacher

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

For the last quarter of the school year and for the month of June, I have been teaching online. I wanted to share a bit of what that looks like on a daily basis.

Rise and Shine!

5:05 a.m. My alarm goes off. I might get up. I might not. If I have K-cups or set up the coffee maker the night before, I am much more likely to get up. Let's assume I do get up.

I typically head downstairs and pour a cup of coffee, black please. Then I take my phone into the library (front "formal" livingroom). Depending on the day, I will either sit on the loveseat to listen to something inspirational on Simple Habit, or sit on the floor and begin stretching. It really depends on how tired I feel.
After listening and meditation/stretching for 10 minutes or so, I might decorate a room on Design Home or check up on Facebook to see if anything exciting happened overnight. 

Sometimes I am feeling the need to reach out to people, which I do by blogging about my feelings. Because what else draws people in like a big emotionally driven post about nothing, right? If I am under a lot of stress, I will pray or write in a private, handwritten prayer journal. It has more of the truth, but it is still censored-I mean, I am going to die someday and someone is going to read it.

If the weather is really nice I might sit out on the back deck and enjoy my second or third cup of coffee. 
Around seven, I put my contact (I only have one left) in, and do my makeup.

Work Begins

 As soon as my makeup is done and my hair is pulled back into a ponytail, I do my short daily video announcements for my students. I make conference meeting times and email those links out to my classes. My public school district uses Canvas and we supplement the learning with great educational games like Prodigy for Math. In addition, we are using Scratch and Tynker for my online coding class. 

Then I start getting the kids up and dressed. 
Usually I eat breakfast, I love a good fried egg, bread, and a cutie in the morning. 

Goodbye Kiddos!

 8:30 my oldest daughter comes and picks up the kids. During the spring, she had been watching them from about 8:00 to 11:30, but since the addition of my second class she is watches them from about 8:30 to 1:50. I hold my one oclock meeting then rush to get them and hurry back for the 2:00 meeting. 

Keep on working

I spend a lot of time going over the lessons the students have completed, calling and emailing parents whose child isn't attending or logging in, and grading lessons. I compile information from Prodigy and determine what my lesson will be like for the day. At 10 a.m. I hold a lesson for students who want extra time with a teacher.  
At 11:00, I have my regular class meeting. Often it is the same kids who showed up at the 10 a.m. meeting. We chat a little, go over the assignments, and everyone gets a chance to share if they want to talk. 

Not sure about the schedule just yet

After this meeting, I had been taking a break to get the kids, however, since my second class was added, I need to be ready for a class meeting at 1:00. So I eat lunch, prepare for the meeting, and then at one open the room. This class was late getting assigned to me and just started two days ago. Attendance is quite low, so I spend a lot of time, messaging and emailing parents to try and get them on board.
We talk about the lessons and I give them a chance to share. After that I close down the meeting room and rush to get my kids. At two I come back to prepare for the afternoon extra help meeting, which hasn't been attended yet. I think I may push that back to 2:30 and take my break from 2:00-2:30 from now on.

Step away from the computer. I repeat...

Around 3 or 4, I step away from the computer. If I don't have a headache, I call it a good day. 
Honestly, I love it. I wish the class meetings were attended more, but I love getting to know the kids and often the parents are there, too, and just the general feeling of pride in being entrusted with youngsters by the community. 

That Family Thing

Dinner for me is around 4. I am counting calories after a big slide over the spring, and usually starving. I generally chomp down some salmon or chicken breast and a bag of cooked broccoli. Yeah. I don't love it, but it does work, if I can avoid snacking.

I try to have dinner for the family ready around five. At this time, the boys are usually playing with neighbors, and Alec is going from my phone to out back, to sneaking out the front and running away if I let myself get preoccupied. 

Of course, I work again

Sometime later in the evening, I check my email and classes for messages and make sure I know how to do the work for the next day.

And I relax

 If my husband is in a good mood I might go out for a short drive to listen to music, center a little, and maybe let myself think about the things I need to think  about. Or I might take a long, hot bath, if I am really feeling extravagant. I climb into bed around nine, or as soon as Alec is in bed. Alec doesn't believe in going to bed when it is light out-and I get it. We are also training him to sleep with his door open now. Usually by 10:30, I have played my last Words with Friends games and I am tired. I will put the phone away, make sure my contact is out, teeth are brushed, face is washed, and small fan is on. Then it's sleepy time!

When do I shower? If my hair is dirty I will shower either in the evening or first thing in the morning. Otherwise I usually take baths. 

I realize there is little husband time in there. It usually depends on if we are into any TV shows. If we have an ongoing show, we spend a lot of time doing that. Right now we don't, so our interests are very different (he likes music and I like quietly reading). We sort of manage the kids and do our own thing. Sometimes, we do sit out on the deck or build a fire in the firepit in the yard, too. 

Obviously, I am doing laundry, handwashing dishes 2 or 3x a day, and spending time with the boys throughout the day, as well. I just don't have a set time for that.

Online Education Learning Opportunities

Personally, I love doing distance education. As a parent, I find it difficult to get my kids to do their own work, so I understand what some parents may face. However, for some of our kids learning online through educational portals and educational games with the support of a teachers is fantastic option. I would have loved the ability to do middle school at home. 

Welp. There you go. I think this may be the most boring thing I have ever written. But now you know!

Monday, June 8, 2020

A Little Late to the Game-The Five Love Languages

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I know the picture is odd to this post, but we took it in South Dakota (with my daughter's superior camera) and it is just so peaceful.

 I know, I know. The book has been out forever. It is just so Mars and Venusy, I don't wanna be like everyone else and read the book. But I have been thinking of the miscommunications issues I have been having with my spouse and I thought, welp, I will give it a look.

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I just started thinking that maybe the way I was interacting isn't quite the what he was needing.
After taking a short quiz online, I discovered my number one love language was Acts of Service, followed by gift giving/receiving, followed by quality time. And that is true. I love it when my husband does something sweet for me. I love it when he runs a bath, or thinks up a solution to my problems (not always, sometimes, you just gotta listen to me whine), or buys me a little surprise gift. 
However, he might not feel the same. He hasn't taken the test yet, but I am predicting he will score high on words on affirmation and physical affection. Two areas I score really low on. I am curious to see what he scores, and will update this when I know for sure. 

I think however, it may explain why the things we do for each other aren't received like we think they will be. I look forward to finding out!


So my original hypothesis was right. My husband's high scores were physical affection and words of affirmation. I guess it is true what they about men wanting to feel "respected." 

I think this is interesting, because the it gives us each insight into how to make the other feel loved. I feel like he should feel loved because I usually make (granted a mediocre and cheap-I'd rather spend my money elsewhere) dinner and do his laundry. But he'd rather snuggle and be thanked for the things he does and the work he does. Meanwhile being told I am amazing or do so much for the family, while nice from time to time, too often feels like groveling to me and makes me feel weird. Give me a bath, time alone, and some sushi, champagne, and chocolate if your goal is to make me feel special.

Which is also interesting. When I imagine love, I imagine the physical aspect and the amazing words. But when it comes to every day life, I want you to do things for me and buy me things. Ha! I don't know what that means!

Gaining Perspective Doesn't Mean a Painless Life

Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

Every now and then, after days of pondering I will have a new perspective shine a light on my thinking, a glorious A-Ha! moment. Gaining perspective, as I call it, feels wonderful, illuminates my struggles, and shows where the true beauty of whatever I am going through or struggling with lies. I think, however, sometimes I expect once I have gained perspective, or been enlightened, or woke up, the lessons will stay forever. But the world is dizzying and ever-present and always works to lull us back into an easy sleep. Being asleep is easy, but it is deceptive. Being asleep means accepting the status quo, following the lessons of anger and selfishness the world boldly suggests, and viewing everything through the tunnel vision someone else has planned out for you.

It is hard to stay woke, folks.

One of the problems I am struggling with though, is as I struggle to stay woke, I become so disenchanted, so disillusioned, when a struggle comes my way. 

"But, but..." I tend to sputter in disappointment. And oh! How disappointing the world can be. I created this blog to be  teacher and mentor, but have been quiet lately, because what I thought I would be doing: giving advice, and leading people spiritually, isn't who I am meant to be at all. I am not the woman who stands up with a clear path and says follow me. I don't even TRUST those people. I flounder. I fall. I cry bitter, disappointed tears into my pillow. I let people down. I get petty. I want what I want when I want it, and yet don't have the persuasive powers to get it. Who am I to lead? But slowly it dawned on me, leadership isn't always a "do this!" endeavor. Face it, only the weak like those kind of leaders. Sometimes,  we lead from the back of the room, quietly sharing our perspective. The truth is, I don't care so much if people follow my path. I care that they find their own path. I care that they ask themselves the difficult questions, and are able to be open, yet kindly, honest with themselves. And I care they make a life they are proud of, which fill their soul with a warm joy at the end.

I struggle with candor. Now, I am not going to lie and say I am always honest. I am learning, learning the value of a lie. But I tend to be open and honest as much as I can (except when I am nervously sputtering crap to throw IRL people off track), and you know what-it hurts people. It gets me in trouble. I know it is just childish naivete which thinks I should be admired for honesty, but I still think so. I have watched as people laid verbal traps for me, my gut screaming to shut up, but my head wanting to be open and honest falling in, anyway. I have watched the mirth spread across people's face as they put out the bait, knowing the idea of injustice towards them would get me stirred up and vocal, and then watched as they used it against me. I don't hate them. They seem so asleep.  Not to say I am not. I fall asleep with the rhythm of a magazine article, a misplaced pep talk. I am no better than them. 

My candor has hurt my husband. He is more from the camp of little white lies to avoid hurting people, and I am of the belief that if I can't be known for who I am, what is the whole point? We stand at this impasse, I longing for self-expression, and he whitewashing pain until it becomes unbearable and he explodes. Maybe we are both wrong. Maybe I should practice washing my words first and he should practice saying what he really thinks more. A well-constructed argument is better than an unhappy life.

And I have to remind myself that as long as I am breathing, I am going to mess up. I am going to say the wrong thing, or fail to act because I am overthinking, and someone will be hurt. I am going to be honest when I should have been wisely quiet. I am never going to attain the perfection I expect of myself. 

Gaining perspective doesn't mean a painless life. Asking God to guide your footsteps and lead you where you are intended, doesn't mean the valley of the shadow doesn't suck ass. Sorry. that isn't very ladylike. The thing is, my identity and self-worth is tied up in my career, and I don't like where I am. I think I am in a position where I need someone who is willing to help me and give me a hand to move on to a better fit, and I can't find that person. This causes me a lot of pain because I am extremely work-oriented. Having babies can distract from the disappointment and pain, but three kids is really my limit at one time. And I am 46.

 My life isn't painless. I am closing my online business and closing the door on all the unexpected dreams which arose from it. Reba McEntire songs are running through my head currently and unfortunately. 

So as I work to stay awake, to see life through the correct lens, I find myself staring at my mistakes, mouth gaping in horror.  The words I need to express to understand the problem are hurtful to others. And I don't know how to fix that without losing myself.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Quiet, unassuming, metallic: The taste of failure

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash
My body wants to fall into itself, curled on the floor, just resting. All the pressure of weight is falling on my spine and my eyes feel dry, yet teary and heavy. My hair is heavy in its boring daily ponytail.

I am going to close my online retail shop.
When I started I wanted to support my daughter, but being an all or nothing person, it wasn't long until I was all in. I put money in over the past year. I endured the humiliation of peddling to facebook friends, the anger of my husband over the money spent, and the entangling of my dreams with the outcome of the shop.

At first, I wanted a bit of money. Then I wanted enough money to quit my job. Oh, I would be classy about it. I would use my extra money to help support the school with air of benevolent superiority. I would open a brick and mortar store, and spend days decorating a shop and selling and budgeting and planning. I would eventually make enough to get "real" and hire buyers and creative people and plan my own line. I'd have China calling me. But alas, the realities of a flooded market, lack of investment capital, and just trying to figure out how things work have prevailed.

I will take my dull-tipped pencil and lightly add this to my list of failures.
My big failures...getting married when I didn't want to at age 19. My inability to choose a major until I ran out of choices. My fear of science, even though it is what I wanted to do. Too many hours reading on my bed which should have been spent building a community for my children. Shyness. Extreme introversion. My inability to get a regular education job. My inability to get any other teaching job. It doesn't matter if I would be happier or not. What matters is facing the challenge and winning. And I am not. And now, so much money later-so much money I could have had a kickass wardrobe-or a trip for two to Europe-I could have SEEN those Swiss Alps, and I have to just stop.

There is a current order out. An order which I will lose about $3 on once I ship it. My business requires orders of about 4 items to profit (or 4 items combined from different customers).  If my discount sales of desperation would have drawn people in, I could have made something, but they never did.

I am unsure how to view myself at this point. I mean, it's a totally flooded market, and I knew that going in. But when I see other people who are successful, I just want to be petty. But that's silly. If one believes in destiny, then one has to learn to breathe and let go.

But the joy I found in hours and hours of choosing and planning and hoping are going to be big empty spaces in my day.

But truly any feeling is a little delicious, isn't it? Just something to experience and ponder.

And happiness...Happiness is a steaming cup of strong coffee in a darkened room at 5:08 a.m. Happiness is a deep bath with a candle burning and something interesting to read. Happiness is the dimple in Alec's right cheek, a clever thought of Liam's, a spiritual lesson from Gabe. So I'll drink that coffee and wash down the taste of failure. I will run that bath and let the tears fall as they will. I'll drink in the spunky, snotty, sweet souls, wild and untamed as my children tend to be, and just wait for the next idea. It will come. And I will jump.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Traveling During Covid-19: How We Chose to Safely Roadtrip

My Idea of a Vacation

One of my absolute favorite things to do is to leave this state and go "on vacation." Now my vacations tend to be short and sweet and busy. While lying on a tropical beach with a cool drink in my hand and just napping to the sound of the waves sounds incredible, when I bring three boys with me, that isn't going to happen.
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How to Travel with Children

Note: I absolutely recommend inexpensive handheld gaming systems which run on batteries. They aren't fancy pants systems, but if your child isn't too into the world of more sophisticateds systems, they will eat away at some of that boring ride time.
This affiliate link is similar to what my boys get to play with on car trips:

South Dakota or BustImage may contain: 2 people, child, outdoor, nature and closeup

So on a whim, because time was passing quickly and I needed to keep spending to a minimum, one of my daughters and I took my boys up to South Dakota to sightsee. This was THE perfect social distancing vacation. For one thing, there aren't that many people in South Dakota! The only time we ran into crowds was at Mt. Rushmore and even there, everyone clumped in their own little groups.
Driving through the Black Hills and Custer State Park was a pretty solitary adventure, as was the Badlands.

Cleaniness in the time of Covid-19

Although using public restrooms is a necessity when traveling some thorough handwashing and hand-sanitizing had us car ready. Keep a box of disinfectant wipes in the car, and you can wipe down handles, steering wheels, and oft-touched surfaces on a regular basis and keep it safe and as germ-free as possible. Now, I didn't have the wipes and periodically poured hand sanitizer on a napkin and wiped down surfaces. It is also recommended to wipe surfaces in your hotel upon arrival.
I definitely recommended stocking up on spray hand-sanitizer to keep in your car!
This affiliate link will have you stocked for months!

Making Memories

We spent three and a half days in the car. While I wouldn't call having three young boys in the back of a sedan relaxing (or quiet-they fight!), we saw some amazing sights and in the end, that is what we will remember.

I will remember the fresh pine and the towering rocks along Needles Highway in the Black Forest. Custer National Park was worth the $20 per car entrance fee to see the wildlife and wide open spaces. My boys were SO excited to see buffalo and they chased prairie dogs across a section of the park.
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The Badlands were simply spectacular. As the quiet warm wind whipped around us, I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the early pioneers traveling by ox and wagon across that desolate landscape. What did they think and feel? Were they in awe or overwhelmed? We went to the Badlands on Memorial Day and the $30 fee was waived, I assume due to the holiday. But how amazing! We spent 3 hours in the park driving, hiking a little, climbing some simple hills. It would absolutely have been worth the money.

Image may contain: 1 person, child, tree, outdoor, nature and closeup
One of the scariest parts of the trip was when we were two hours outside of Rapid City on our way there. A huge thunderstorm had been lighting up the sky for awhile and we drove right into. Lights flashed all around us, nickel (and up to quarter) sized hail fell around us, and we slowed down but kept driving. We saw very few people on this stretch of the highway on a Saturday night. Strangely, we didn't hear any thunder. Eventually we got through the storm and arrived late to our hotel in Hill City.
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The worst part of the trip was an encounter with bedbugs at the dive hotel we stayed in a barely there town in Northwest Missouri on our way home. I felt too tired to continue driving so I stopped at questionable Super 8, and unfortunately, after a couple of hours, my daughter awoke me with bites across her face and back. Thankfully, we hadn't brought much inside and just shook out what we wore and hit the road. Everything was quickly washed and dried once we got home a few hours later.

If I had to do it over again, I would add one day of planning in and get a cooler full of fresh foods. Even kids burn out on McDonald's and gas station food after awhile. Also, we learned my 3 year old gets carsick, and Benadryl does appear to help some with that. I would stock up on the medicine before we hit the hills next time.

Self-Quarantine after the Trip

Overall, though I felt it was the refreshment my soul needed before starting the online classes I am teaching this summer. Seeing new places (well, I had been there before, but it had been 15 years), and just breathing in the air of "elsewhere" was soul-lifting. While we are now 9 days of mostly isolation, and I know the boys are dying to play with the neighbors after the next six days, it was well worth it.

Just Do It!

Depending on which area of the country you live, it is likely there is somewhere beautiful within a day's drive from you. If you can swing a short mini-vacay (or even just a day trip), I highly recommended getting out and doing it, especially those of you who are still working from home like me. With a few precautions you can remain safe and still make some memories!

What about you?

Are you planning a trip this summer? How do you plan to keep safe if so, and if not, what are your plans for beating those summer blues? I would love it if you'd drop me a line and let me know what you think.


I always pack a jacket or sweater when I travel because you never know what surprises Mother Nature will throw at you. While I wore a hunter green light field jacket, this cute vest would be perfect for chilly mountainside memories in the mid-summer!

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