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3 Ways to Slide Sweetly into 2014

January 5, 2014

The other day the kids and I stumbled upon an outdoor ice skating rink. Not real ice but the faux plastic stuff. The kids begged to go so we paid our $5 donation for skate rental and geared up. Since our puppy Stanley was with us, I didn’t skate. I found a nice bench where I could watch and Stanley could terrorize  innocent children sit obediently at my feet.

It was fascinating to watch the kids’ approach to (faux) ice skating.

They stood strong and ready to start…

ice skating

We’re gonna rock this rink.

Hudson, ever sweet and cautious, gently walk-skated her way around, making sure she did everything “right.”

Raleigh, having never skated before without one of us holding her up, jumped on the ice like Dorothy Hamill and was pretty much doing double axels within minutes.

Briggs, our seasoned HOCKEY player, looked just like Bambi on his birthday with limbs flailing and eyes wide open while he repeatedly bit the (faux ice) dust.

This shot caught the three approaches in action.

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3 kids with 3 very different approaches.

A couple more that really captured the moment.

Raleigh

Ready to wedge cut her hair and prep her 2022 Olympic routine.

Briggs

Again. And again. And again…

Noting that Briggs is a fairly experienced (real) ice skater, it was fascinating to watch his continual crash and burn. He stayed enthusiastic, but 20+ times he attempted to implement his tried and true approach to (real) ice skating and 20+ times he ate poo. It took him a (really really) long time to figure out that (faux) ice skating and (real) ice skating are similar in name only.

I pictured Tony Robbins with his big perfect smile, gently shaking his head saying:

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Briggs ultimately adjusted his technique and sort of figured out how to (faux) ice skate. He left filthy, bruised, and ego-checked.

Although I’m not a committed New Years Resolution-er, this is the natural time of year to focus on the coming 365 days. As my brain inventories the swirls of thoughts, dreams, hopes, & goals, I find myself reflecting back on the kids on the ice.

Where in my life do I “walk-skate” through things? Where am I appropriately cautious, slow and steady, and successfully completing the task at hand?

Where do I glide through with ease because I have limited experience and no expectations? Where is it best to jump first, think second? What comes easy? And if it is easy, do I know the difference between easy meaning I-could-push-myself-harder and easy meaning enjoy-the-ease-of-this-and-double-axel-and-dance-and-smile-and-be-ignorantly-blissfully-happy.

Where do I keep doing the EXACT same thing getting the EXACT same result? Where am I living Einstein’s definition of insanity by “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” versus where is my consistent approach working for me? Getting up early to workout – yes absolutely! Arriving 10 minutes late for EVERYTHING because I always fit in “one more thing” before we leave – not so much.

Thinking about the fresh year in these terms is giving me a lot to chew on. Perhaps you will find these prompts helpful or maybe you have some of your own that gear you up for the next 365 days (if so, please share!!).

2014 is sure to be a year full of many (faux) ice and (real) ice adventures. May you slide into it sweetly!

P.S. I guess Raleigh comes by her Dorothy Hamill talents naturally. At least from the ears up.

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Rocking the official Dorothy Hamill lid, circa 1979.

 

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Sock It To Me Sweetly

December 11, 2013

22: socks officially missing right now

15: weeks since our cross country move

10: seconds it will take to toss the whole pile

66: dollars required to buy replacements (avg 3$/pair?)

1,000: hours I will spend wondering where the fargo they went

Several single socks on table.

The singles scene.

Moving was a time of deep cleansing and purging. I am 84% confident we only moved socks in pairs, so essentially we hit a reset button in August. Barring an insatiably hungry dryer with a penchant for socks only worn on the left foot, how is it possible our family is losing an average of 1.5 socks per week?

This stash of loners has been sitting ominously in our room for days. At first the hope was getting through a complete round of laundry would sift out their missing mates, but that ship sailed (twice) and the pile is still staring me down.

The obvious areas have been scoured and I briefly considered Stanley since he has the highly suspect combination of mischievousness and a love of housekeeping:

Dog sleeping in dishwasher.

No sign of a 22 sock blockage…

Clearly we all have enough socks to go the 2+ weeks these lone rangers have been taunting me, so what am I waiting for?

As I churned on it a bit, I realized I haven’t called off the search yet for three reasons:
1. I’m cheap
2. I’m waiting for the RUSH I will feel when I find them
3. I’m troubled by unexplained phenomenons

In response to Reason #1, I did some research and found an entire world of suggestions:
For the crafty: WTF Is a Mommy To Do With All These Single Socks
For the resourceful: 40 Things to Do With Your Old Socks
For the entrepreneurial minded: How Old Socks Led One Woman to a Million Dollar Business

While I like to think I’m a little of all three, the reality is none of these are going to happen any time soon. Perhaps I can stash the socks for dusting but most likely I will forget, dust with a kitchen towel, and a year from now the socks will still be sitting there. Funny thing is, I will probably think I found the “missing” socks and get the rush referenced in Reason #2.

Speaking of…Reason #2 — rush smush. I’ll grab some scratch lottery tickets at 7/11 to get a rush. In college I won $100 on a single ticket bought while filling up my well-loved Mazda affectionately known as the Sharkcruiser. The rush of that day made me forever a scratch ticket fan.

It’s Reason #3 that’s the deal breaker. My curious obsessive nature just can’t let go of the “where the fargo did they go” part. Like picking my dry cuticles and drinking too much coffee, I realize I habitually obsess over unexplained situations. I like answers and closure and resolution. And if I can’t get them, I (often subconsciously) hit replay on the details until I’ve clogged up my mind and driven myself nuts.

The soulful Danielle LaPorte recently wrote about the practice of leaving open space in our psyche, allowing room for the things we want, the things that matter, to enter. Read the complete nugget of poetic wisdom here. (*Thanks for sharing P!)

So back to the friggin’ socks…they’re outta here. Like the cookies out the Sharkcruiser window following a particularly colorful college night, I’m TOSSING them. It may be a small step, but that’s what big growth is made of, right?

The good news is that summer will be here before we know it and we can all wear flip flops.

Have you checked your dresser lately? What socks do you need to toss?

The Sweet Adventure of Life

October 31, 2013

Definition of UNEXPECTED:

“not regarded as likely to happen

Life is full of unexpected stuff.

Whether it’s running into your old boyfriend in line for a pony ride (for his kids, not for him, because that would be creepy & I’m talking about unexpected, not creepy, even though it’s Halloween…) or learning that the red bumps assumed to be infected mosquito bites were actually fly larvae building a love nest (unexpected & creepy & unfortunately true but I’ll spare you the details), unexpected stuff happens.

What I am (slowly) figuring out is the way we choose to view an unexpected event is what defines the effect of the event on our life. This applies to all events equally – when it’s silly (like pony ride run-ins and fly eggs) and when the poo gets real.

Over the last couple of years a light bulb has been turning on (dimly perhaps) as I realize that the adventures we seek for fun are really just awesome training opportunities for the twists and turns of life. Training for the unexpected. 

Here’s what I mean —

Definition of ADVENTURE:
“participation in hazardous or exciting experiences”

When we participate in something, isn’t it the allure of the unexpected elements that make it an adventure? The thrill of not knowing if it will be hazardous or exciting? Going to haunted houses, trying new foods, travelling, or even shopping at TJ Maxx – we are propelled by the curiosity of “what will happen?”

We go into an adventure expecting the unexpected. We are ready to buckle up and enjoy the ride of the unknown becoming known. Regardless of outcome, the experience nourishes us with knowledge, strength, and confidence (and maybe even the perfect shirt for $14.99, regularly $49.99).

Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could choose to see everything in life as an adventure? From important to trivial, relationships to a Target shopping trip during the holidays, approaching something as an adventure allows us to naturally shift to expecting the unexpected and be energized by harnessing our fear of the unknown. The beauty is you don’t win or lose on an adventure. You explore. You listen to your instincts. You rely on the resources around you. You push. You evolve with each step a bit closer to the best possible version of yourself.

Life is really just a string of adventures, isn’t it?

A few months ago an incredibly unexpected opportunity presented itself, giving my adventure approach a meaty chance to test its wings. It was a scary proposition, but the details were intriguing and our guts screamed “go for it” (even with all the heartache, sniff sniff). So we chose to buckle up, settle into a deep acceptance of the unknown, and set off for a new adventure.

It looked something like this –

family porch

Honoring a decade of sweet memories.

packing

Packing kids. *Look closely.

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Loading our life.

sanitas

Soaking in friendships and the Mile High sun.

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Heading east.

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Seeing red in Nebraska.

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Cherishing QT in Iowa.

windy city friends

Loving special friends in the Windy City. xoxo

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Making emergency stops in Indiana.

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Embracing the surreal.

inspired

Seeking inspiration.

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Exploring the neighborhood.

The adventure has definitely lived up to the definition – rich with hazard (mostly emotional) and excitement for our new (sorta) normal and new (sorta) neighbors in the big White House.

Through all of this transition, much action has been taking place behind the scenes exploring what this means for Sweetlife Adventures. Continuing adventures in Colorado while expanding on the East Coast is the plan. The sweet model for how this will look is taking shape thanks to a great team of Adventure Hosts and committed partners. *If you’re interested in learning more about hosting an adventure, click here to contact me and we’ll chat. 

The 2014 Adventures will be shared soon but in the meantime, you will hear from me now and then – random adventure ideas, sweet nothings pondering the meaning of life, or tales from the wilds of the Boston/DC area (I’m East Coast geographically challenged).  I’ll also be asking to hear from you with your sweet thoughts on what types of adventures interest you, what makes your life sweet, and more.

Special note – wild rides are great but they aren’t for everyone – as Raleigh will attest after we took her on her first roller coaster this summer. Oops. 

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Before shot. The After shot wasn’t pretty.

I completely understand if you don’t want to hear about our wild ride. Please unsubscribe if you find this babble less than sweet.  After completing a massive purge during the move, I have a restored commitment to unsubscribing from things that don’t add value – physical, emotional, and electronic. 

Here’s to continued adventures – expected and unexpected.

Sweetly,
kristi

Not Naked But Sweetly Afraid

July 19, 2013

Could you survive Naked & Afraid? That’s what the Discovery Channel wants to know.

From the Maldives to Costa Rica — this show gives viewers the down and dirty of what happens when a man and woman are dropped off NAKED, in EXTREME conditions, WITHOUT supplies for 21 DAYS.

Once I got past the blurred crotch shots, the Adam & Eve set up, and the freakin’ snake scenes (holy sssssssss&$%@), I decided this was a sweetly-awkward-yet-somehow-appropriate show to introduce to the kids.

We are LOVING every (edited) minute of it.

I’m a big fan of Alison Teal from Alison’s Adventures and she first talked about filming the show last spring. She shines in her episode where she and big, strong, crybaby sunburned Jonathan survive on a brutal island in the Maldives subsisting on nothing but coconuts and an eel. (Sidenote: If you haven’t checked out Alison and her incredible parents, I highly recommend watching this. *Allow time for daydreaming.)

The other night we watched three episodes:

alison and jonathan

With fire & some washed up ocean treasures (his panties, her tunic) Jonathan & Alison ultimately formed a strong partnership.

naked and afraid

Kim & Shane struggling in the Costa Rican rain forest.

clint and laura

Laura & Clint teaming up in Panama’s harsh conditions.

Lauras feet

Laura’s feet by day 3 in Panama. Luckily she finds medicinal leaves to soothe them.

We’re officially obsessed. To the point that when we went up to get ready for bed one night, Briggs spotted an escaped cricket from our fire belly toads’ recent feeding and decided to “hunt” it and eat it so he could “practice his survival skills”.

As he walked to the kitchen with his kill (with perhaps a bit of “oh fudge, what am I doing” setting in) he started asking if he could dip it in something or swallow it with a drink. We settled on a dab of Nutella with a Coke chaser.

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Chow time.

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Adios Mr. Cricket.

Uhhh, what did I just do?

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Taste like chicken?

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Send THAT to Discovery Channel!

Briggs wasn’t naked and was only mildly afraid, but he was really jazzed about catching and eating that cricket. The girls and I were even considering joining in for a second course (emphasis on “considering”) but opted out.

What I love most about the show is the curiosity it stirs up in the kids, and in me too. Why did they do that? What would happen if they couldn’t find water? What’s the difference between a crocodile and a caiman? Where exactly are the Maldives? Healthy curiosity keeps us observant, engaged, and constantly growing. A life of questioning is sure to lead to adventures of all kinds – physical, mental, and emotional. And it prevents us from ever finding something boring. In our house, if someone says they’re bored, they prep themselves for my (annoying) reply of “Bored people are boring.”

Naked & Afraid provides a hearty launching pad for conversation, exploration, and valuable just-in-case knowledge. We can’t wait for the next episode – Sundays at 8 pm. In the meantime, you can check out previous full episodes online here.

*Note to parents – while they blur obvious body parts, they do show full booties. Lots of them. It took our crew about 3 minutes to get over that part by being so absorbed in the intended content. Previewing may be good.

The Low Down on Nature’s Sweet Slow Down

July 13, 2013

Last Saturday afternoon, while all of us were lounging on the couch recovering from July 4th celebrations, we talked about how we wanted to spend our Sunday together. After tossing around a few ideas (pool, work around the house, nothing because we’re kinda tired…), camping was thrown out and the conversation was over. Let’s do it – before we overthink it. 

We are definitely not camping gurus. We love it once we’re there, but often the idea of figuring out location, gear, & food combined with sleeping on the ground & the possibility of less than sweet weather leaves us saying “maybe another weekend.” But these impromptu, minimally planned trips hit the sweet spot every time.

By Sunday at 11 am, we had gathered the basics –

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Nothing fancy – tent, sleeping bags, chairs, hot dogs…and boxed wine. Of course.

We chose Golden Gate Canyon State Park because the campground section is fortunate to only be under a Stage I fire ban right now, which meant we could have a campfire in the park provided pits.

Sidenote: When we stopped in Golden to grab wood and ice, we happened to drive by the home the Sweetlife women had worked on with Habitat for Humanity last year. It was so wonderful to see it full of sweet life!

habitat house

Home sweet home.

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Awesome team of volunteers & Habitat for Humanity staff!

Back on the road, we arrived at our beautiful campsite in the Aspen Meadows area of the park. Everyone was assigned a job and by 4 pm, tent was up, fire prepped, and fishing gear organized. We walked the 1/2 mile trail to Dude’s Fishing Hole, sweet with the beauty of columbines, lupine, & other wildflowers working their magic.

Ready to fish.

We spent a few hours casting, reeling, and bobber-watching. Pure beauty and relaxation. The few successful catches were bonus.

Daddy’s happy place.

Quiet QT felt so great.

As the sun set, we walked back to camp, enjoyed a campfire dinner & s’mores, and snugged into our sleeping bags by 9:30 pm. The next morning over coffee & hot chocolate around the fire, Raleigh announced “My favorite thing about camping is it is just our family together.”

fam pic

At our campsite.

Raleigh was spot on. Beyond the surface fun of our quickie trip, the real gift was being completely present. Unplugging from the (mostly sweet) noise of our daily life allowed us to fully plug into one another, ourselves, and the beauty around us.

Mother Nature has a way of making time slow down when you play in her playground. And it’s not just pixie dust.

There’s loads of research exploring the connection between nature and happiness, health, success, & beyond. You can read here about the studies exploring how “nature is essential to the physical, psychological and social well-being of the human animal” and here to see the links experts have discovered “between time spent outdoors and cognitive, physical, and emotional development.”

And then there are the physiological benefits of getting dirty.  Simple Mom captures some of the highlights here including how dirt activates neurons that produce the natural anti-depressant serotonin and it boosts our immune system. While she is talking about little kids, us big kids need a layer of brown grime covering our pedicures much more often than most of us get it.

I definitely wasn’t thinking about the science side while we were there. I was simply enjoying the calm and my heightened senses, marinating in the smells of the campfire while staring up at the brilliant night sky.

On the way home, the kids asked if we could go camping once a week. Might be a bit ambitious (unfortunately), but we are going to be happy campers as often as possible.

The key is keeping it simple. And the boxed wine.

Any big campers out there? Do you have a favorite spot? Or any special tips for how you make it happen? Please share so we can all follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice –

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, and breathe the wild air.”

Sweet & Colorful True Love

July 3, 2013

You know that feeling when you miss a moment the minute it’s over? You’re still savoring the sweetness while the heartache of nostalgia is setting in.

That’s how I felt Sunday.

My mom married Mitch two days before. It was everything she wanted it to be. Hawaiian. Happy. Real.

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Feeling the love in Monet’s Garden.

I get teary every time I look at the photos. Sweet tears at the beautiful and pure love between Mom & Mitch. And sweet tears for the very colorful weekend – far beyond the dresses.

It was a little less Norman Rockwell, and a little more…Modern Family. (*Said with TOTAL LOVE)

Wedding go-time was 11 am Friday. The scene at our house around 8 am was dubious. And yet it was so fun when everyone including Ned (just home after a week away), Uncle Doug (arrived at 2 am), and Aunt Patty (unexpectedly arrived without sweet Uncle Tom because he wasn’t feeling well) jumped in to help with the last minute needs –

Even Raleigh chipped in, serving a breakfast of Frosted Flakes. Perfect.

My (step)brother Nick walked Mom down the aisle. She GLOWED – with the love for the man waiting down the aisle and the blessing from the man smiling down through the sunshine (who we lost far too early but who brought Nick and my sister Jen to our family).

mom and nick

Floating down the aisle.

Ring Bearer Briggs scored the winning goal.

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Great shot, caught by (new) stepbrother & fellow hockey star Cole.

Brother Jeff officiated beautifully.

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A few tears, lots of laughs, all love.

Mitch serenaded his bride with the first of many memorable karaoke moments.

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Rocking it, even before lunch was served. Such a catch!

Sister Jen, the GOOD EGG I wrote about here, brought her perfect mix of calm & goofiness.

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Raleigh looooves her Aunt Jen!

I took a moment to soak in all the love in the reception tent. It was electric – the full circle of support for the union of two people who truly bring out the best in each other surrounded by so many flavors of family & friends. It would take a flow chart to map out the variety of traditional and nontraditional relationships that lead back to Mom & Mitch.

But all that mattered was the collective sway of pure love during their first dance.

mom singing

Singing to her man.

The lovefest continued throughout the weekend – including fun for all ages…

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Game of Headbanz even after the kids went to bed.

patty doug and stephen

Aunt Patty with Uncle Doug and his sweet boyfriend Stephen who came all the way from Hawaii.

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Although not wedding guests, Ron Jeremy & friends had the entire 6th floor of the hotel. Favorite quote: “If the 6th floor’s a rockin’, please come a knockin’!”

Seriously, Hollywood writers couldn’t have scripted it better.

A weekend complete with the pure beauty of a modern fairytale and the hilarious insanity of a Modern Family episode. Sweet laughs and true love. This one says it all –

mom and mitch

#mom&mitch4ever

The Sweet Impact of Daddy

June 17, 2013

Ned spent the day with Hudson today.

They talked. Like REALLY talked. About EVERYTHING.

The 10 years of love, involvement, and communication Ned has put into their relationship set them up for this day. Their connection has run deep since the beginning.

first father's day ned and hto

First Father’s Day – 2003

And held strong over the years.

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Daddy/daughter date night – 2012.

Ned said this was exactly the Father’s Day he hoped for. It wasn’t easy, but it was pure & honest & impactful. I was so lit up while he told me about it.

It got me thinking about the recent visit from my dad. Even though I’m two decades into being an adult, when my dad is around, I’m still a little girl, wanting his love, approval, and support. Our relationship, perfectly imperfect as it is, has been and continues to be ripe with impact on my life.

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My Dad – 2013

Ned has started commuting for his new job. A traveling daddy is new for our family and he makes a special effort to stay in touch with each of us. Today in particular I am warmed by the realization that these Google Chat calls mean so much – even when they get silly.

google chat with Daddy and briggs

Ned & Briggs discovered the Google Effects feature.

And so, on the close of Father’s Day 2013, I celebrate the sweetness of all the men who have and are currently making an impact on the sons and daughters in their lives. Your love and commitment mean so much.

No pressure….but keep it up.

The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog

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