• Christina Rice

Summer Blowout!

This week felt a little like a summer blowout sale since school is set to begin in T-minus 9 days. We were all over Southern California in a short window of time, and it was satisfying. Yeah, we stayed local but took in each moment like tourists.

Driving with the windows down while the Backseat DJs rocked the mic, we headed south for dinner, cocktails and a self-guided tour of the Queen Mary. We took advantage of the hotel robes like Obi-wan, and after breakfast, we watched the black-tip sharks devour their lunch at the Aquarium of the Pacific. We browsed every inch of that gift shop. Yes, we did add yet another plush eel (green this time and most-likely a moray eel) and an impressive black-tip to the shark collection. My boys love sea life a lot. We headed back home and ordered Tony's New York Pizza. I was not about to cook.

The boys' week-long, but only a half-day, day camp was starting the next day, and I had work projects that needed attention. But wait! I had road-trip-hangover and begged for just one more day to slowly transition back into real life, and..well, that didn't happen.

But, I'm probably better off for not taking a day. I had some decisions to make about which direction to take the business, and it weighed heavily on me. It was blocking my creativity, and it was even making me second-guess some recent business and life decisions. I had to tackle that beast head-on, so onward I went.

As it turns out, half-day, day camp was a hit with the kids. A friend and I gave each other free time while the other watched all the kiddos. This was a much-needed time to get some work done without interruption. Thank you! When it was our turn to take the kids, we had a great playdate and finished the evening at DojoBoom.

Life was getting back on track, but I still felt like I was at a crossroads and needed to decide which direction to head. I needed some help in making a decision so, what did I do? Got out and played!

We packed up after camp, and we headed to the Ventura County Fair. Honestly, I'm a small town girl who looked forward to experiencing the county fair every year growing up. Like parents do, I too like to share the experiences that I loved as a kid with my kids. I was not about to miss the County Fair.

We rode the Ferris wheel, played some games, toured all the animals, watched a few shows and ate fair food. The boys enjoyed it all so much that they were both asleep in the back seat for the entire drive home. Yes! This was the perfect opportunity to have a stay-at-home-date with my husband. We watched a movie, that wasn't action nor animated, and getting lost in a love story was the perfect ending to a perfect day, even if I did cry at the end.

I find comfort in play. It inspires me to be in the moment, which in turn allows me to be true to myself. Playing brings out my creativity, which is vital for my sanity.

I found a solution to what had been weighing heavily on my mind for days that evening. The little, black rain cloud that had been parked over my creativity had disbursed, and all was good in my world again.

And, I can't credit play enough.

Oh, summertime, I will miss you. I enjoy the thrill of going all-in on even the smallest of our family adventures. Our family connects with a different energy. We all share the excitement that comes from absorbing all this new information. It's even better when we're so moved by something we've learned that we bring it into our normal-paced life and dive in deeper.

This week I think we'll slow it down a little and take some time to reflect on the experiences we had this summer.

I've been starting to feel autumn. It's a favorite season of mine. It's interesting how I begin to feel a shift at the end of every season. It's instinctual. I feel it in my body before I ever think about it. This happens every year a the end of every summer. I look forward to the deep yellows and oranges in the foliage. I crave scents like cinnamon, roasted nuts, apple, and vanilla in the baked goods that accompany fall. I long for darker nights, cooler breezes, and homemade soups.

I enjoy the intimacy that comes with the fall and the laser focus we find for our work or school projects. Don't get me wrong; we will have great adventures and play in the fall. Fall play is just a little more intentional and focused on weekend activities due to school.

Playing has helped me to clear my head, solve problems, define myself and connect with my family. I encourage you all to play more.

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