When I chose to take the month of August off of social media, I did this to refocus my attention. It was a selfish choice, more out of experimentation than anything. I would like to say I came out of it with a renewed spirit, or better habits. I can’t say this to be true. What I can say is I missed my people and I missed my inspiration and I missed the story telling. I found many other ways to connect with my people right here at home, to pursue creativity, to actually experience my life instead of just documenting it. AND I missed the space and the creativity it brings me. Both are good. Both matter.
My next personal challenge is to make my moments in the social media space count, every one. Because your story, my story, our stories, each one matters. I don’t want to lose that. I want to make sure I am telling the stories AND living the stories that count. I’m certain I’ll keep making mistakes. That’s ok. It’s all part of learning new math equations.
Speaking of math, here are the numbers I counted during August…
5 States traveled through on our Great American Family Road Trip.
I was looking forward to this trip all summer and remarkably it did not disappoint. We explored the Black Hills of South Dakota and then made our way to our family’s cabin in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Long road trips are exhausting but getting easier and easier as the kids get older and get more comfortable with being in the car. This is my favorite way of family travel and we are already planning our next trips.
Other numbers considered in this category:
3 AM Time we left in the morning on our big family road trip. This meant we were 5 hours down the road before we needed to make the first stop at the Corn Palace. Cheesy road side stops in pajamas forever!
333 billboards read convincing us to stop at Wall Drug. For the record, it is worth the stop. And the water is indeed ice cold, and free.
2 National Park Junior Rangers sworn in. Also swore to never go to Mount Rushmore during a nationally recognized motorcycle rally (Sturgis is a thing in which we are now familiar)
2 Campsites, one by a lake minutes from Mount Rushmore, and one night spent in a teepee in Nebraska. We also learned teepees do not allow for great air circulation but they do allow for the entry of bugs.
11,921 Highest elevation climbed at Weston Pass by our family cabin.
1 rainbow trout caught to feed 6 people. Remembered how ridiculously delicious one hour fresh trout is, also remembered how delightful cooking over a wood burning stove can be, and also cooked one damn good batch of biscuits and sausage gravy that would make my Granny and Grandma proud.
6 hours listening to the Little House book On the Banks of Plum Creek as a family as we drove across the same prairies and grasslands told of in the story. I have heard nothing but good things about the audio books in this series and we delightedly agree.
34 hours spent in a driving vehicle and only a handful of those spent with whining. Mostly by the one year old. I say those are pretty good odds.
1 brother/uncle hugged in Fairplay, CO.
1 cousin hugged in Denver, CO.
Many, many trees hugged all over.
7 Years old for our oldest who celebrated a birthday this month.
This birthday was a special one. And one I want to devote an entire page to because the memories mattered to me but especially to her. But for now, I’ll say seven suits her.
50 Historic Train Cars explored at the Minnesota Transportation Museum.
This was Elliott’s second visit to this museum, but the first for the rest of us. Im not sure what was more fun—climbing in and out of the different train cars or watching Elliott’s face as HE climbed in and out of the different train cars. Usually a child’s interest in something wanes over time. This train thing is holding steady. But by far the best part of the visit was seeing how excited he was to experience this with his sister. He proudly took her through the different cars, delighted to show her each new experience. He loves his trains but he loves his people more.
40 Pounds (Complete guess based on internet research only) harvested plants from my garden.
The vegetable garden is insane right now. Just a wild mess of cucumber vines, heavy tomato branches, gone to seed arugula, and 6 feet tall cosmo and zinnia flowers. It is a mess. A beautiful rainbow mess. The kind that I could only dream of in April and I’m just giddy to see it all thriving and growing and keeping us fed. Give me all the tomato recipes! Also, anyone need a cucumber??
1 After dinner pajama bike ride and playground fun.
Usually evening play time, if we happen to be feeling spontaneous, will be spent at our beach until the days grow too cold. Unfortunately, due to an ecolli outbreak, the beach closed in early August for the REST OF THE SEASON. I was devestated. And then I remembered all the little things I always want to do in the summer but forget to leave time for. Like putting on pajamas after dinner and surprising the kids (and Dad when he drove up late) with a bike ride and playground pajama party. Summer isn’t just fun at the beach. Its the spontaneity that makes it the most memorable.
100 Books checked out at one time.
Reading does not slow down for us in the summer. I realized at one point that both my library card and Caroline’s library card had reached their 50 book limit. That’s a lot of reading. But don’t worry. We just got Elliott his first library card. So now there is more room.
3rd Experience of the Great Minnesota Get Together.
We are getting good at this State Fair thing. WE lowered the cookie consumption from the bucket to the cone. I kind of missed the bucket. And this year we got to do the Great Slide! WE went on the busiest day of the whole week and I still didn’t hate people. Love this tradition.
12 years of marriage celebrated.
Technically our anniversary is in September. But we celebrated at the end of August so I’ll give it the spotlight here. we biked away from our sleeping children, sipped spicy Margaritas, ate too many chips with our salsa, and then listened to new music that we weren’t cool enough to know. Nothing special, except also every bit special. I like doing life with this guy, every day better than the next, even when its not.
The days are growing shorter now that August has come to a close. I begin wondering when the last time will come for backyard play, before the Rainbow Beach Blanket is retired for another season. But for now, we are making every minute count.