Maybe the fact that we can't slow down time is not a bad thing

Often as my son heads back to school, I am reminded of the "what I learned on my summer vacation" assignment.  Since I am always looking for new ways to tell stories and learn lessons from my experiences and the experiences of those around me, I explored the question for myself.

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The answer might be a bit surprising, and I am excited to share it with you and to hear your thoughts.

What I learned on my summer vacation is this: maybe the fact that we can't slow down time is not a bad thing.

The speed at which time moves, which seems to feel even faster for parents, as we all can attest, reminds us that these moments are worth preserving, remembering and returning to for glimpses at what was and clues into what is to come.

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On our annual trip to Cape Cod, it struck me how much my son has grown over the year since we last visited our favorite place.  His observations, insights and interests have changed so much.  It made me nostalgic for the moments we have shared - the times when he needed to hold my hand on our hikes, the times before he was able to swim on his own.  At the same time, I felt proud to share this life with him, proud of who he is and who he is becoming. 

I can picture him now bringing his own family here, telling me stories and making me laugh, as he has always done so brilliantly.

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This is why, for me, documenting moments so that we are able to return to those stories, those jokes, those moving images of our lives up to this point is such a unique and beautiful gift.  All of those moments have led us to the here and now and they pave the way for the future.

As I celebrate change and look ahead to growth and opportunities for my family, I am all the more grateful to have small, treasured moments in time that I am able to view and to share.  I see now so clearly that our story is woven with what was, what is, and what will be, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave even one chapter of that story undocumented and uncelebrated.

Road Trip Tips for Great Conversations with Kids

Now that we have kicked off the unofficial start of summer, we are planning ahead for road trips, vacations, and summer travel with kids.  Travel with kids can be the perfect time to reconnect with them and to start meaningful, fun, creative conversations.

Our Portraits that Move Team put together three easy and fun road trip games that get the kids - and you - talking, sharing, and laughing.  We know that every moment matters, and we are here to help you enjoy and document yours.  Here's to good times, good talks, and a great summer!

I Spy a Story

Try this new take on a familiar game.  Have each person in your car take a turn describing something they see.  

The next step is where it gets really fun.  In addition to describing it, have your child invent a story about it.  When it is the next person's turn, have that person do the same, using the thing they spy as a new character in the story that you are creating together.

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If I were...

This is another game that involves taking turns, using imagination and telling stories.  Go around the car, to the right, starting with the driver.  

Have the first person say to the second, "If you were a..." and pick a person, place or thing.  The person whose turn it is then has to answer a series of questions from that point of view.  Ask three or four questions to each player.

Example:
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite food be."
Sam: "Banana ice cream!"
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite color be, and why?"
Sam: "Brown, because it matches everything and it makes it hard to play hide and seek."
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite song be?"
Sam: "Hmmm...."

Twenty Questions

This old favorite is a good way to build communication skills and to learn how your child understands the world around her.

Each person takes a turn thinking of something.  The other players ask questions (up to twenty) to determine what that person is thinking of.

All of these activities do more than pass the time while you are traveling with kids.  They help to connect you to each other by strengthening the bonds of communication.  You are sure to laugh, to go on some wacky tangents, and to discover new things about each other.  And isn't that what time away with family should be all about?

Connection, Discovery and Celebration: How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

Summer always feels like a unique and special time - a time for contemplating, for appreciating, and for enjoying life and the world around us.  A time when we try to take a few extra moments in a day or over the course of a week or two to reconnect, recharge and reclaim some of the beauty around us and within us.

In that spirit, we have rounded up some of our favorite posts that celebrate summer, vacation, and the families with whom we are privileged to share them.

Vacation Tips: Vacation Is An Opportunity For Connection

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When summer vacation time comes around there can be a sense of pressure to create an idyllic experience. When we think of summer getaways, we think of dining alfresco, swimming, long evenings, tons of play time, summer reading and many opportunities to soak up the delicious summer sun.

Read more.

Make Summer Memories Together

Lately, we have been wrapping up the week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with a reminder to our friends and followers to go out and make some memories.  It seems the desire to make memories is rarely as strong as it is in the summer months.  Thinking back, so many of the memories we treasure as adults were those that we made in the summer - backyard adventures, camp friends, vacations with our family.

 

Summer has changed quite a bit since we were kids, with parents feeling more pressure than ever to balance work with memory-making family time, and trying to keep some of the magic of summer alive for our kids in the midst of schedules that don't seem to take a break with the change of seasons the way we often wish they would.

Read more.

What A Multigenerational Vacation Taught Me About The Past And The Future

My son and my parents have always been close, and I am so deeply grateful that we had this extended time together. It is in the small moments of this type of time and space that the most important memories are made.

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My son did enjoy the miniature golf games, ice cream and sailing adventures, but if you asked him about the highlights of his vacation, he would cite reading next to my father, making ice cream with my mom and playing catch in the pond with me.

Read more.

We wish all families a summer filled with memories, love and discovery.  Share your vacation moments with us here and on Facebook and Instagram.  Happy Summer!

Make Summer Memories Together

Lately, we have been wrapping up the week on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with a reminder to our friends and followers to go out and make some memories.  It seems the desire to make memories is rarely as strong as it is in the summer months.  Thinking back, so many of the memories we treasure as adults were those that we made in the summer - backyard adventures, camp friends, vacations with our family.

Summer has changed quite a bit since we were kids, with parents feeling more pressure than ever to balance work with memory-making family time, and trying to keep some of the magic of summer alive for our kids in the midst of schedules that don't seem to take a break with the change of seasons the way we often wish they would.

Let's try, this summer, to plan some time (whether it's a day, a week, or a few hours) to connect with our kids, to invite them to explore something new, to spend time with extended family across generations, and to make, and treasure all the memories we can.

If you need a little extra help planning, check out our Tips for Planning a Memory Making Family Vacation.

Take Us Along with You

It is a joy for us to help families document and savor the memories that they make on vacation.  Learn more about our Vacation Packages, and choose one that is right for you.

Take a Break - Enjoying and Planning Vacation Time with Kids

It's vacation week for many families here in New York City.  Some of us are staying local and the kids are heading to playdates and activities, others are visiting family and flying to warmer climates.  Any time we escape our typical routines the days can have a special magic. Especially, when we take a little extra time to listen, to share our stories and to enjoy what makes each one of our children - and our families - so unique.

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At Portraits that Move, we encourage families to take vacations together, with grandparents and siblings, and to remember, whether traveling or trying out a staycation, to disconnect from stress and to connect with our kids.  Any time away from the daily grind, whether a week or a day, is time to create memories large and small, and to give our kids the space they need to talk, to listen, to share, and to love.

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This is also the time of year for summer vacation planning.  At Portraits that Move we are thrilled to offer our Vacation Video Package again this year.  This is perfect for families who want to document the beauty of their vacations. From the destination itself to the experiences they inspire, we are able to come along and document it all for you to come back to and enjoy for years to come, during the busy times when we need to remember the joy we find together.

What a Multigenerational Vacation Taught Me about the Past and the Future

We recently returned from a lovely two week vacation with my parents. It was incredible. We had amazing weather, the idyllic setting of Cape Cod, delicious food and many of the summer adventures and activities that one thinks of when they imagine a summer vacation filled our weeks.

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The best part of all, though, was spending that time with my parents. My family lives in Philadelphia and we see them frequently. Typically, though, it is just for a day here or a couple days there. This summer, we had the gift of more than two weeks.

My son and my parents have always been close, and I am so deeply grateful that we had this extended time together. It is in the small moments of this type of time and space that the most important memories are made. My son did enjoy the miniature golf games, ice cream and sailing adventures, but if you asked him about the highlights of his vacation, he would cite reading next to my father, making ice cream with my mom and playing catch in the pond with me.

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And with these actions comes a deeper knowing, a relaxation, an ease and a closeness. It is also with this time and its ordinary conversations that the deeper reveals happen.

My parents spoke to my son about their childhoods and mine. They imparted quiet lessons to him and most of all they just enjoyed each other and loved each other.

Frank Bruni wrote an op-ed piece about this in the New York Times and he took the words out of my mouth.

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While on this multigenerational vacation, I realized again how grateful I am for the technology we have and for our ability to document moments like these.

When my son grows up and thinks about this summer, we will have photos and videos to share, along with our memories. They are gifts that will keep on giving, they give my son and I the ability to return to the wisdom, the closeness and the love of his grandparents.  

Vacation Tips: Vacation is an Opportunity for Connection

When summer vacation time comes around there can be a sense of pressure to create an idyllic experience. When we think of summer getaways, we think of dining alfresco, swimming, long evenings, tons of play time, summer reading and many opportunities to soak up the delicious summer sun.

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For many parents, this can feel a bit intense and it can be difficult to disconnect and relax. I find that once I have arrive at my vacation destination, it takes me several days to feel relaxed. My body organically has two modes, off and on and the in-between, is hard to come by, even when I am on vacation.

This year, I decided to push myself to disconnect. While admittedly, I had trouble refraining from social media, I did ignore my email (for the most part) and chose to focus on only things that brought me pleasure and joy.

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The result was incredible - my vacation has been filled with fun, laughs and closeness. Here are some tips for creating a vacation that is worth remembering:

  • Abandon the schedule:  I usually make a plan for myself everyday and this year, I had no plan, choosing to take each day as it came - it was fun and exciting
  • Listen to your body: I slept more on this vacation and ate only when I felt hungry. Maybe the slowing down allowed me to be more in tune with what my body needed, but the result was wonderful
  • Do things that make you uncomfortable, especially if your kids want you to: I spent a great deal of time swimming on this trip - something I don’t love doing - but my son asked me to and we had a lot of laughs
  • Allow for pure downtime: Although we did have adventures every day, we also spent some time, reading, resting, drawing and just chilling out. There are so many fun things to do in the summer, but vacation is about rest, not the pressure to experience.
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  • Unplug: This is the hardest and the most rewarding. I limited my son’s screen time (and my own) even more on this trip and although he protested, we found things to do and things that we both enjoyed and that brought us closer together.
  • Make it multi-generational: Having down time that includes grandparents can bring a richness to the trip. I have been lucky enough to share this trip with my parents and my son and I have treasured the time we have had together.

Vacations are about time. Time to just be together, to enjoy, to make memories and to be present. Savor the time and celebrate the memories you make.