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Why Our 2016 Summer Vacation Didn’t Suck

For a long time, I resented you and your family vacation. I didn’t really have a quintessential family growing up, think broken home and raised by wolves, and there were no vacations to be remembered. Your pictures of yearly fun at the seashore and by the lake house were just a reminder of my lack of a life like yours.

But then I created a chance for a Mulligan, a history do-over. One where I had my own family and my own kids. I knew that ever elusive family Summer vacation was one of those must-haves for my children as well as for me to heal and begin again.

Fast forward a few more years and we have just returned from our 2016 Summer beach vacation. It was a pretty big hit for the littles and big both.

Mark and I were in a chillaxing mode on the way out-of-town. We’d both gotten our homework done and were ready to just unplug. That set the tone for all of our unrushed choices for the next three days. The meals, the unlimited cartoon cable network watching, And the swimming swimming swimming all the time time time.

I wasn’t blogging yet I wanted to have an outlet to do something creative for me, so I told and posted our unfolding story on my Instagram feed. If you are not a social media user or an IG follower, I have included those posts from our beach visit in the order I posted them so that you can feel caught up. It’ll make you feel like you are there with us. Almost.

Just so you understand how special our time here at the beach is for me, I didn't get vacations as I kid. I barely got a childhood. And although I've risen like a Phoenix from those ashes, it means more than the beautiful Solstice moon to me that my children have this memory. And that my husband and I can weave it for them with calmness, good humor, no anxiety, and generosity to ourselves and them. Driving here I said to Mark, "Imagine what it would be like to have someone anticipate your every physical and comfort need. That someone cared enough to get your favorite things for you at the store and cheer you on at every endeavour." He said Yeah, Wow, and I said ,"When you grow up, that person is you. You are your own parent. Whether you are a good one or a bad one depends on how you value your inner child.". You know what she loves, when she needs firm comfort, and when she needs a pass. Be a great parent to yourself and you will reward yourself with trust. Love to all of you who wished us well on our vacation. You are dear to me, each and every one of you. #OceanCityMaryland #fionamariepeach #poolside #atthebeach #taleswithfriends #Soul_selfie

A post shared by Shalagh Hogan (@shalaghhogan) on

Here’s to hoping for the same fun vacation next year for these kids and for their parents who deserve a break too. There’s nothing wrong with knowing where you’ll be, what you’ll be eating, or where the best arcade games are. And it’s fun to discover new stuff every year.We found there was a sushi place nearby and a Chinese carry out that had Indian Food ! And although they built a Starbucks across the street from our hotel, we still had our traditional Dunkin’ Donuts’ morning coffees courtesy of my early bird husband. Such predictable goodness!

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Achievement Addiction on Hiatus

My husband and I are from the same camp of hard work. In fact I’d say we’re both addicted to the feeling of accomplishment we get after completing our projects and tasks. So much so that to not be crossing off items from a to do list may feel slightly like failure. There’s no doubt, we’re achievement addicts.

We apparently have forgotten about the “being” part of human being in our drive to do. And thus, there will never be enough “done” to get the feeling we matter. It’s a hamster’s treadmill of promises we overachievers get caught on. It will all be perfect after this project gets done.

And then along comes Summer.

Summer is a concept/mode in which you are asked to relax. It demands you become a relaxed outdoor person with nonchalance and a tan. You are supposed to stop focusing on your list and unplug. Really? Yet, As hard as it is to let go of the “going going” and “doing doing”, I secretly sigh with relief because when Summer comes because it’s just the excuse I need to give myself permission for some long thwarted relaxation.Outdoors person on Shalavee.com

This year I saw Summer coming and prepared myself. I took care of all my self-care items to begin to prepare for the mandatory mood shift, all while still accomplishing my list. Proactivity at its finest. And then I invited friends over to christen the start of the relaxing and celebrating season with an all day chat-fest. And that felt like I’d accomplished a lot for the group of us. We all needed it.

I’d taken care of all my chores in preparation for the gathering. My floors were vacuumed, my shopping done, and my laundry caught up. And I was able to allow for me to do something I wanted to do and not just something I had to do.  I sat all day and laughed and drank and entertained and I was a Being. And I’m thinking this is the way to do Summer alright.My tribe in my backyard on Shalavee.com

So for all you Doers, who are reading this and thinking you probably need to do more for you. You do. I told my husband the other day that you can’t get more work out of a dead mule. Let Summer give you permission to have a seat and not do laundry today. Or ask someone else to make dinner (call for carry-out) and go chat with an old chum on the phone for hours. These are messages to yourself that you are worth more than the sum of you check marks. You get to enjoy and relax just as much as the rest of the world on holiday.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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A Heads Up For Oncoming Summer

I thought I’d write a little fair warning for myself for next Summer seeing as how June hit and I was blindsided by the inevitable craziness, again.  I promised myself I’d republish it this May. It’s June. I hope I’m not too late.

July 18, 2015

Dear Shalagh,

Just a little reminder about what you may be in store for if you don’t take some heed from previous Summers and get onto some pre-planning. The word of this year’s Summer is Proactive. The opposite of “ignore the inevitable and be very very sorry you did that” reactive.

If you have already signed Eamon up for his Summer camps, good for you. But just remember to write them down on every loving calendar you have. Last year’s oopsie with soccer camp nearly had you missing it. And make sure you buy a new bottle of Neutragena Ultra Sheen sporty sunscreen in a can and put it right in the car with the extra obnoxious baby sunscreen stick for faces. Eamon’s blistered nose last year will hopefully be another bad memory. Maybe in the Winter, have the kids come up with little recipes for fun un-bored Summer Days. Make recipe cards for them and make a special anti-boredom recipe box. Like “pack a picnic lunch and a craft and go to the park and ask a friend to meet us there”. Or “let her draw all over herself with washable markers and then Fill the Hello Kitty pool with pink bubbles and let her get a bath”. Well worth the advanced effort in entertainment and photo ops.

Bicycles on the tennis courts on Shalavee.com

Hopefully you have updated your Summer Supplies at the end of last season. New bubbles, freezie pops, bathing suits, and some other toys to pull out on the day when everyone’s bored. It’s never too early to put rendezvous and day trips on the calendar. Wednesdays at the beach is a great tradition and also request guest appearances from helpers. And send out pre-notes for play dates to see who is interested and ready to book.

sharing ice cream on Shalavee.com

Plan out some Meals for July when the fruit and veggies kick in. Sundays and Mondays worked out good for cooking double meals. Gazpacho, fish tacos, grilled meats and fruit salsa. And truly make sure there’s at least 3 things that are either already made or easy DIY for breakfast. Because Summer means you can have a break too. In fact, let go of the notion that everyone has to show up for breakfast at the same time. Vacation mode means it would be nice but whenever is good too.

Fiona the bathing beauty on Shalavee.com on Shalavee.com

Schedule a pedicure and a wine drinking friendship night right off the bat so you have something to look forward to. Wear your friendship bracelet, tell everyone to come over to your house and throw a party if you can’t get out. You need to be with your people more than once every 3 weeks.

And lastly, you need to ask that husband to pick a day and a half every week that he’ll be taking the kids. Away preferably. It’s nothing personal, it’s just a daft guy thing. And have him figure out a lovely date night for the two of you and arrange the childcare. OK?

sparklers on Shalavee.com

The biggest favor you can do for yourself, if nothing else, is to relax the schedule. Let the kids stay up, let them sleep in. Make it OK to take a little more time to get up, cook or not, clean the kitchen, and get out. And know that this way, when there’s no way in heck you are even making it to the gym for even a second workout this week, that’s OK. Because you’ve got two kids and something has got to give. Might as well let the Summer schedule give back to you too.

Good luck and I hope with a little forward thinking and mapping, your Summer will not be even half as stressful as the last two have been.

Take care of yourself please,

Love,

Shalagh

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Summer’s Conclusion

As Summer is finally coming to an end, I offer up a few thoughts, memory bits, and photos of us squeezing the last drops of fun we could have.

First, a poem sent to me with a lovely card and feather from a new not too far away friend. The connections continue.

Card from a friend on Shalavee.com

Summerfest last weekend was the perfect celebration to an August we truly enjoyed.

Summerfest on Shalavee.com

belly dancers at Summerfest on Shalavee.com

volunteering for Summerfest on Shalavee.com

Eamon was a volunteer for the festival and got to play with legos while hanging out with the marvelous Judge Karen.

Afraid to go in on Shalavee.com

Fiona was terrified and would not go into the bouncy thing on this day, Friday. But the next day, I had a heck of a time trying to get her out.

Overcame the fear the next day on Shalavee.com

peach pie on Shalavee.com

Oh did I mention I made a sumptuous peach pie which we scarfed down before the fireworks?

Fireworks at Summerfest on Shalavee.com

The fireworks at the end are always such a treat. Fiona’s hands were glued to her ears but she didn’t cry.

Destroying the sandsculpture on Shalavee.com

And then there’s the annual destruction of the sand sculpture. What fun to start your day this way.

In the pool with Barbie on Shalavee.com

And then one last dip in the Hello Kitty pool which has developed three fissures in its sides all plugged with plastic wrap globs.

The slip and slide on Shalavee.com

And then we pulled out the slip and slide I’ve had in the garage for like three years and had some more fun-e-fun.

laying in the sun on Shalavee.com

And then there was this. Laying in the Sun felt so necessary on this day.

Eamon kept saying we weren’t allowed to mention his going back to school because it was officially still Summer. And then we grilled hamburgers just to make sure we got the full Summer feeling in place.

Despite the rocky start my Summer had, I felt the ease I hoped for finally happened and we had a graceful bubble to occupy these last couple weeks before school started. I never felt sad or regretful because we did it the best way we knew how. And that id all you can do.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.


Summertime Doing

Certain elements feel like Summer. Are almost necessary for Summer to achieve Summer-ness.

Fiona and that face in the hello kitty pool on Shalavee.comon

There’s bubbles, fireflies, sparklers, s’mores, and “swimming”, which just means being in “woger” to Fiona.

ripening tomatoes on Shalavee.com

On the Shore here, Summertime means local food. Crabs, corn, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.

Maryland Blue Crabs on Shalavee.com

And all activities related to obtaining these yummy ingredients.

crabbing on the Eastern Shore on Shalavee.com

We went dip net crabbing once and had a blast.

A day at the blustery beach on Shalavee.com

Visiting the beach can be a challenge with the onslaught of traffic but well worth the effort for a Wednesday outing.

Adam's Market on Shalavee.com

Stopping back by the Adams market on the Delaware line for produce.

shucked corn on Shalavee.com

crabcake and corn salad on Shalavee.com

And then fondling, shucking, and cooking your treasures. Crab cakes, corn salad, and pita chips.

obligatory sunburn on shalavee.comAnd as always, there’s the obligatory sunburn at soccer camp.

Yup, chaos and boredom aside, I think we’re hitting some sweet Summer notes, grabbing great pictures, and actually having fun.

One month left. I think I may need a vacation from this vacation however.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you tremendously for your visit.

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