Tag Archives: summer timeline

Monday Musings: Make mountains out of molehills

31 Mar
So true!

So true!

Good friends of ours recently had a baby. As we are friends on Facebook as well as in real life, it’s been an amazing, heart-warming experience to watch their daily postings of experiences and photos as they journey through their baby’s first days and weeks.

Yesterday however, our friend posted this page from a book, which when I clicked through to the photo, attributed it to  “William Martin – from “The Parents Tao Te Ching.”

When I read what the page said, I immediately wrote and told her I loved it, but the words stayed with me all day.

As parents who are now more than a decade into this journey, these words really resonated with me. I have always found that making a big deal out of the  little things in life not only taught our kids an appreciation for those small things, but also gave us a new appreciation for them. Additionally, it made those things seem extraordinary and we always joked that in many senses of the word, we did in fact, make mountains out of molehills.

And, as this page in the book says, the extraordinary things do in fact, take care of themselves, for as often as we’ve made a big deal out of enjoying small things, we’ve had some pretty big things happen as well.

I look at our summer vacation months as a perfect example. When people say to us, “Oh do you have big plans for summer,” or something like that, I always say “No, nothing much,” but I clarify that the time goes by and the days fill up and before we know it the summer has passed. I look at our Summer Timeline as an illustration of just how many exciting events do fill our summer, but yet they’re simple pleasures, things like packing up homemade dinners to eat on the beach, bike rides nearby, night time walks through our neighborhood with flashlights, lemonade stands in our driveway that cause a traffic jam in the street, or visits to free events and happenings that take place throughout the summer. None of the things we do are generally costly or “exciting” at first glance, but they are priceless in experience and prove to be memorable for our family. They provide us with together-time, first and foremost, but they also provide us with an appreciation for the little things around us. And at the end of the summer, our timeline is full, wrapped around two walls of our living and dining room and we love nothing more than to look back on those days as fall begins.

Our February vacation week is another perfect example. We generally plan nothing that week other than the yearly eye exams or dentist appointments. But yet, by Friday, we’ve had a full week with a playdate here or there, a family dinner out maybe, or a movie. A good friend said to me this year, “You guys really know how to fill up a week!” And she’s right, leaving our week as a blank canvas really let us fill it with whatever came our way with no expectations to reach for. Nothing big, nothing expensive, and yet everything was fun, (other than the dentist,) but at the end it was hard to decide which thing we’d done had been the most fun of all.

Yesterday in church, part of our priest’s sermon included a challenge to us, to think about the lenses through which we view the world, and as part of his talk, he spoke about thinking of how we’re viewing the little things and making sure we don’t miss those little things as life goes by.

I hope that as our friends continue on their journey as a new family of three, that they too, get a new appreciation all of the little things in life as they show their little one life through their lenses. I hope that they too will enjoy making mountains out of molehills for their daughter as she grows. I know that it’s been a valuable practice for us as parents and I know that our kids have a true appreciation for the little things in life as well.

It’s like the age-old saying, “Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make all the difference.” It’s true. It’s the little things that are the most priceless of all.

 

What we’re doing for fun this summer: Summer Memories Timeline

25 Jun

If you’ve been a reader of my blog since last fall, you may remember my post about our Summer Vacation banner. It was not something I’d started on purpose and it turned out to be so much more than I expected. The kids loved it.

I had not thought of doing anything like it this summer, but then a few weeks ago I was reading a blog and clicked from that blog to another blog, and saw something that caught my eye: a summer memories clothesline-timeline.

Only problem is: I can’t find that blog I’d landed on, anywhere. I didn’t think I was going to do it, so I didn’t save it. I’ve searched the internet like crazy but can’t find it.

Anyway, after seeing this, it stuck in my head and as I drove around these past couple of weeks, it kept popping into my head. (When I drive from story to story, place to place, I drive in silence–I get a lot of thinking done this way.)

I decided to try a summer timeline for my kids, I thought they’d love it, but I didn’t want to use a clothesline because I didn’t think I could put it up very well in our house nor could I store it well afterwards. (I save everything.)

Instead, I chose to use banner paper ($1.99 roll of Doodle Paper from Christmas Tree Shops) and decorative packing tape ($2 at CVS) along with some little square pieces of paper for them to write their events on the timeline ($1 at CVS).

They saw me buy the Doodle Roll last week before school ended and right away they knew something was up. Alex asked me every day why I bought the Doodle Roll. They wanted to know when they’d be let in on my Top Secret project.

Finally, the last day of school came. With my work schedule I only had one hour in which to create my timeline but I’d planned it out pretty well so I knew what I wanted to do.

Here’s how it looked, I know you’re dying to see it, right?

Our timeline: a blank slate ready to be filled up with a record of our summer memories.

The only disappointment was that I wanted to print out a photo to put on the timeline of them from that morning on the last day, but my printer was broken, not working AT ALL so I couldn’t. However, the “blank slate” aspect of their timeline seemed very appealing to them; the fact that they had this entire space to fill up with things we were doing, places we were going, people we were seeing.

When they walked in on that last day of school, they gasped and ran up the stairs–it’s right at the top of the stairs– to see what the new project was. (We’re a very project-based family!) They were immediately so excited, and I was so thrilled.

Their biggest concern: what if the timeline isn’t big enough? Then what? My solution: we can easily add a section to it and remove the last square I put at the end as an example. They were pleased with that answer.

So we’re off and running with our timeline. Throughout the summer I’ll try to remember to post an update so you can see how it’s looking.

I have no idea how it will turn out, but isn’t that half the fun?