Friday miscellany: Spring fun updates and videos of many sorts

We’re closing in on summer here. The weather forecast calls for 90 degree temperatures this weekend (though things will get cooler again after that). So I thought I’d post an update on the Spring Fun List.

Overall, I did fairly well, at least on the big items.

See the cherry blossoms. Yep, I took two trips to Washington DC, one of which was a solo journey on the absolute peak day. The row of pink cherry blossoms in my new yard was indeed gorgeous for a week or so. It’s so fun to see what comes up here while actually living here.

See the tulips at Holland Ridge Farms. Just as with the cherry blossoms, we went once as a family, and I went once on my own. I took many photos! (You can see many of them on Instagram @lvanderkam.)

Take an adventurous spring break trip. I took my big kids to Paris! We saw a lot and made a lot of memories, even if some of it was a bit challenging.

Visit NYC. I took an overnight trip in April, and while I didn’t see many spring blossoms (it was kind of cold…) I enjoyed myself nonetheless between dinner with a friend and an in-person speech to an appreciative audience.

Listen to spring music. I listened to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring over and over again in the car, before branching out to Rodeo and Billy the Kid. I now feel like I know this piece of music incredibly well, and it definitely made driving around more enjoyable. Maybe next spring I will also focus on one particular piece of music. Frankly, this doesn’t even need to be seasonal! Choosing one piece at a time is a great way to get to know something.

Go on a family bike ride. Nope. Hopefully summer! Organizing seven people and their bikes is tough.

Take photos of flowers and print some up. I took many many photos of flowers between the DC trip and Holland Ridge Farms and my own yard, but I have not printed any. Mostly that’s because we don’t even have our old art work hung up yet, so creating more means it will just be added to the pile. Eventually.

Read a spring-themed book. Not really.

Go outside after dinner. We have done this a fair amount because the new swing set is here and it is amazing! It was not cheap but I feel like it is already worth the money in terms of giving the kids a good place to go and play together outside. The 2-year-old was wary of the slides at first, but now he can climb the ladder and loves the “turvy slide.” (The spiral aka “curvy” slide.) It’s only a matter of time before he can handle the swings.

Turn my Instagram feed into a flower show. I definitely followed a lot of floral accounts but oddly I don’t seem to be seeing many of them in my feed. I do not understand the algorithm at all.

Anyway, it’s been a good spring. The summer fun list will come soon!

In the meantime… My Medium column this week looked How To Plan (Since Life Doesn’t Go As Planned). Blog readers already know my mantra to hold the near future tightly, hold the far future lightly. We can plan the next few weeks in full detail. We can create a workable (if resilient) plan for the next 6-12 months. Past that, though, it’s best to think in terms of “intentions” and “desires” rather than plans.

Friend of the blog Dorie Clark had her TED talk on “The real reason you feel so busy (and what to do about it)” posted on the main TED page this week. Please check it out!

And in other video news…

In advance of my book launch this October, I want to shoot a series of short videos about the Tranquility by Tuesday rules. Ideally these videos will feature someone talking about a problem in their life, me talking about how a TBT rule can help with that, and then a follow up showing what the rule has accomplished. The videos would only be a few minutes long but would be professionally produced.

I am looking for potential subjects who ideally live within an hour or two of Philadelphia (that’s where I live) who might be up for taking a few hours to do this. If this describes you, and one of the TBT rules has been helpful for you (or you’d be willing to try it out for the next few weeks with that as the goal!) please let me know (laura at lauravanderkam dot com) so we can chat through what this would entail. As a reminder the rules are:

1. Give yourself a bedtime — go to sleep at about the same time every night unless you have a good reason not to.

2. Plan on Fridays — think through your weeks, holistically, before you’re in them.

3. Move by 3 p.m. — do some form of physical activity for ten minutes in the first half of every day.

4. Three times a week is a habit — things don’t have to happen daily to become part of your identity, and “often” can be more doable than “always.”

5. Create a back-up slot — make a resilient schedule where your priorities still happen when lie doesn’t go as planned.

6. One big adventure, one little adventure — each week, do at least two things that will be worth remembering.

7. Take one night for you — commit to an activity you love that is separate from work and household responsibilities.

8. Batch the little things — keep most of your schedule clear from unimportant tasks.

9. Effortful before effortless — do active leisure activities before passive ones whenever time opens up.

4 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Spring fun updates and videos of many sorts

  1. Here is how my list panned out:
    1. Road trip: 6 states, 6 weeks, 6 baseball stadiums with my husband. Kids are grown and I just retired, and after 2 years of pandemic house-bound-ness, I am ready to carpe diem!
    Update-we are on the trip now-just reached the halfway point yesterday. It has been great. One unexpected bonus has been the ability to use reciprocal museum membership privileges. Before leaving on our trip, I got a Friends and Family membership at the Saint Louis Art Museum-it provides reciprocal free admission at over 900 other museums. So far, we’ve been to the Henry Ford, Greenfield Village, DIA and the Wright Museum in the Detroit area, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. You can find reciprocal membership deals for children’s , history and science museums as well as gardens. Sometimes, the free admission gets you into free special exhibits as well.
    2. Go to New York to see a play-booked with my sister, daughter and niece. Update: Saw Hadestown, enjoyed our time together, and did a NYC Tenement Museum tour as a bonus.
    3. Continue hiking. I was in a Wednesday afternoon hiking group that switched to evenings after the time change. I don’t want to do evenings, so I did some research and found a Tuesday afternoon hiking group. Invited 2 new friends from my Wednesday hiking group, and they are going, too. Update: Hiked every Tuesday this spring that we were not away.
    4. Do some sort of outdoor evening activity. I found one for this Friday night-our local nature center is having campfires, astronomy and nature talks under the stars. Going with friends-a bonus. Update: Nope. The nature center canceled some of the planned activities for the evening, so we all bailed.
    5. Would love to check out Holland Ridge Farms, which is a half-hour away from me, but the website says that you can’t get tickets yet. Update: Nope. Never figured out how to book this.
    6. Meet a friend in Philadelphia for lunch-happening next week. Update: Done-we ended up eating takeout at a really pretty small park that my friend located.
    7. Meet up with a college friend for lunch whom I have not seen in about 5 years-we had spoken about making plans a month ago, but when I texted him to firm up said plans, he had just landed in Cartegena, Columbia for a last minute vacation. Never fear, parents of littles-you will someday get to do this kind of spontaneous travel stuff. Update: Not yet, but another college friend who I have not seen in a while just invited us to meet up with him at the Museum of Natural History in NY or at gardens in Westchester-he is a tour guide at both.
    8. Go to the movies. In a movie theatre! Update. Nope.
    9 .Plant veggies. Update: Planted what we could before we left on our long trip. We have a friend coming by to water.
    10. Finish reading Joyce Maynard’s latest book. I have been reading her work since I was in college eons ago. Last summer, we were at the beach at the Jersey Shore for the day and I randomly discovered that she was doing a reading from her new book that evening at a library a mere two towns away. On a Sunday night! We went, of course, and I got to meet her. Update: Finished the book.

    1. @Beth – these are great! Sounds like the trip is going well and great advice on reciprocal museum admissions. Not only are you seeing a lot you’re saving money too!!

  2. Your goal to take an adventurous spring break trip and have that be Paris is…wonderful. I know you encountered some challenges along the way – especially with the return COVID testing – but I think it’s delightful your older kids have this memory with you!

    Probably my all-time favourite poem is Loveliest of Trees by Housman (if you’ve never read it, I think you’d enjoy it very much!), and your post about cherry blossoms in DC was an impetus for me to pay more attention to the beautiful ones in my hometown.

  3. I’d love to hear a BoBW episode on listener ideas for big and small adventures. It’s always great to hear/read what you and your family have been doing, but because options depend on location/season/budget, perhaps a deep dive episode or gathering listener suggestions could give an even broader range of possibilities for inspiration. I need to make more effort with this one I think!

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