I admit it, I am not a huge social media person. I forget to take pictures every Saturday to help with Mike’s blog post. I have less than 100 pictures on my Instagram. The pictures I do take are not perfect. They usually are crooked. I don’t pay attention to backgrounds. If I do edit them, I just touch the magic wand on the screen and call it a day. So you can imagine the whole family was a little nervous when I announced I was going to write a guest post while Mike was away running the Ragnar event in New Hampshire with the Soles.
We had a good set of report cards this quarter. Cecilia especially showed measurable improvements since Christmas. This gave me the perfect opportunity to give all the credit to flash cards. Cecilia was a bit more skeptical. I was only half kidding.
One my biggest learnings in the past fews years is the best performers, whether it’s sports, school, or career have the basics down cold. How? By constantly doing reps. If you don’t repeat the simple foundations of whatever you are trying to achieve you’ll never reach your full potential. End of story.
This is what I told Cecilia. To stay great, to keep improving, you need to keep that curious beginner’s mind. If you ever find yourself floundering, go back to the basics. Ask the simple questions. Do the reps.
“So I have to keep doing the flash cards?”
I am officially adding a decent pub to burritos and good pizza on the list of things that are difficult to find when moving out to the suburbs. For the last two weeks of these constant slate colored days both of us have been wishing for warm comfort food and dark beer. The kind of place that smells gently of bitters and fry oil with fogged windows that shield you from thinking of what’s outside.
Or, basically nothing we could find within a 20 mile radius of our house.
There are certainly places to drink out in the ‘burbs, but most are faux-authentic chains trying so, so hard or dark paneled Legion halls steeped in the smoke of unfiltered Winstons. Not places you want to bring the kids or kick back and finish the crossword puzzle that the fish and chips came wrapped in.
What to get someone for their 30th birthday? I’d used up my quotas of photobooks and custom made art prints for awhile and none of my ideas seemed to match up with the significance that seems to get dropped on these deca-milestone birthdays? To add fuel to the fire, the present also needed to work for someone that’s nine months pregnant and a house already stuffed with newborn paraphenalia. And I’m just smart enough to realize this present should probably be more about her and less about the baby. Which brings us back to the original question. Jewelry wasn’t totally jibing with our pending addition and therefor more frugal ambitions. What was a guy to do?
Unlike me, Michelle is not a big hobby person which can present some challenges, but still I could think of a lot of smaller gifts that would work, but nothing that seemed big enough for the occasion. Cruising the online gift shops, I stumbled over Norwood Arts’s countdown boxes. While I didn’t want to do the baby gifts, maybe I could borrow the concept. Use the smaller gifts, en masse and make the presentation part of the experience. For my milestone birthday a few years ago, Chelle purchased tickets for three Red Sox games because she wanted the present to be more of an experience than a thing. I was hamstrung by the pregnancy (an experience in itself) on the experience front, but getting ten birthday boxes to be opened one each day might be memorable.
Seven days in and I think the birthday boxes are a success. I bought a number of sizes and styles from the Container Store, printed up some stickers and filled the boxes with a variety of gifts, some small trinkets, others a bit grander in nature. The best part is that after a long day dealing with a baby banging on your ribs, sometimes having a present waiting at home can help make it all a bit better. That and leftover birthday cupcakes, of course.
The beginning of April means Michelle’s birthday which also means starting to plan for her requested strawberry dessert. This year, for the second time in a row, we are opting for the cupcakes over the layer cake. Last year’s cupcakes were quite good. After baking as many cupcakes as I have over the past few years, if one still makes me sit up and take notice, it’s probably worth a repeat. So, after conferring with the guest of honor, we decided to do the vanilla cupcakes with strawberry filling and strawberry studded buttercream. The only catch was that I’d misplaced the recipes that had proven such a success last year.