SLAYbour Day (a fun family film)

Kids loved doing this…

This was an off the cuff family “movie” made by my brother-in-law and all kids, cousins, parents.

Of course they handed me the footage and asked if I could put it all together. It didn’t take too much!! They had a blast and when they’re older I know my kids will love watching this one day.

Best Bike Hitch Mount for Family of 5: Allen Sports Hitch

Takes what you can throw at it…

My kids finally got old enough to all be riding bikes. Had to find some way to carry all those bikes and this hitch mount works great!

This particular version even locks so that no one runs off with the whole thing. Although, let me tell you…this thing is super sturdy because 5 bikes are HEAVY!

How to HANDLE the STRESS of MOVING your Family

Moving is one of the most stressful things in life…

Google “the most stressful things in life” and you get the below:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Major illness or injury
  • Job loss

It always blows my mind that moving is up there with things like divorce or job loss. But let me tell you, as someone who has moved his family a few times now…it’s true.

The Good and Bad of Living All Over the United States

An experience I wouldn’t trade…but…

It’s hard.

I just want to get that out in the open right away. If you come back here on Friday, I’m posting a video I made about handling the stress of moving your family.

Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

You can probably guess some of the good things though.

  • Living in a new area
  • Making new friends
  • Experiencing new parts of American culture
  • Traveling to places you may not have otherwise

Honestly, as a kid who was born and raised in California, I never thought that I’d live in states like Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Tennessee. If I hadn’t met my wife (from the east coast) I woudnt have spent as much time as I have in other states like Florida or New Jersey.

One of my favorite things about actually living around the US, is getting to learn about the different values that people have.

We are an incredibly diverse nation made up of almost countless experiences and backgrounds.

I love it!

California

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Right on dude!

In California, the vibe is different. The people and policies tend to be more liberal (for both better and worse in my opinion), health and wellness feels more front and center, and culturally it feels more like a melting pot with heavy influences of that surfer/outdoorsy vibe mixed with vibrant mexican culture.

I love California and I loved growing up there.

I miss it often…but honestly…I’m glad I don’t have to raise my kids there nowadays. There are things that are creeping in to the public school system that I am not a fan of. (I’ll leave it at that)

I wish I could give my family the same “live outside” lifestyle I had growing up in the Golden State…but I’ll make due.

Tennessee

Photo by Trisha Downing on Unsplash

Ya’ll come back now!

I had college room mates that were from Tennessee and Alabama and all I learned about the south was the accent and country music that I didn’t quite understand.

However, once I lived there, I started to get it. There really is a sense of southern hospitality that permeates through daily interactions with other people. You will hear sir and ma’am much more often than on the west coast, local food is more focused on flavor than “being organic” (southern bbq anyone?), and the summers are crazy hot…and humid.

Living in Tennessee was the first time I ever lived somewhere that I noticed the strong demographic differences of the locals. No getting around it…where I lived was primarily black and white. Not many other races or ethnicities to be found. (not in large numbers anyways)

This surprised me the most. I always thought that living in California I was used to the melting pot that is central and southern cali. However, living in the south was the first time I ever noticed it…and not (in my experience) in a negative way…I just noticed it. I’m not sure how else to put it.

Oh…and on Sundays…nothing is open before noon. It’s smack in the middle of the Bible Belt there. This was something I actually appreciated.

There was definitely a sense of pride amongst the friends I made that were from the area…they lived in Tennessee and they were proud of it!

Maryland

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

Rugby, sailing, and crab cakes.

My college years were spent in Maryland so I wouldn’t say I experienced it as much as if I was working and living there.

However, I can say it felt very “New England” for lack of a more succinct descriptor. This was my first time living anywhere with 4 distinct seasons…which for a Cali kid…was quite novel. It felt like the people who lived there either worked in Washington D.C., were wealthier people who owned a sailboat, or were locals who had a local crabbing license that was passed down through 3 generations of their family. (those are apparently very hard to get)

Being such a small state, my friends and I were often on short road trips to other colleges that promised a party and cheap alcohol (like many college kids). And there seemed to be A LOT of good colleges in the reigon.

Overall, I would say that if sailing and seafood are your thing and you don’t want to venture all the way up to New England, this is a great place to be.

Pennsylvania

By Nicholas A. Tonelli from Pennsylvania, USA – Endless Mountains Landscape (1), CC BY 2.0,

Beautiful hills, gritty honesty, and long winters.

I’ve been living in PA for about a year now, and there are a couple things that surprised me.

First, was how straightforward the people tend to be. I guess I should have expected this, as my wife’s family is from Pittsburgh, PA and they are very much like this…but it is quite evident that most folks here aren’t afraid to tell you what they think without sugar coating it.

Second is how long winter lasts…and how long it feels. Even though I am only about a 6 hour drive from where I went to college in Maryland, the winter here is no joke and much harsher than I expected. Where I live averages about 100 inches of snow a year, it gets cold in November and stays cold till May, and everyone has a story of “that one year we got 60 inches of snow in 24 hours!”.

And the summers….O-M-G…the summers are amazing. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a summer as nice we have in northwestern Pennsylvania.

You will definitely get an outdoorsman vibe here too (more hardcore than the REI style of California). Hunting and fishing is big here and those from the state, are proud of the history that is part and parcel of this very hilly countryside.

The family culture here is sort of similar to what I experienced in Tennessee…but more reservedly so. It’s tough to put my finger on it. I feel like the people here don’t shy away from “the grind” and that if 4 people from the states I’ve named here got in a fight…the Pennsylvanian would come out on top.

Others

While I haven’t lived in too many other states, I have spent a decent amount of time in other locations due to my work and extended family.

Places like New Jersey, New York, and Florida – to name some of the more common ones. And I enjoy aspects of each.

While my heart still belongs to my home state of California, I will say that I am a better person for the experiences I’ve had. Even as tough as it is to pick up and move every couple years, explaining to my kids why we have to move again, and the mountain load of work it takes to uproot a family of 5…I am glad to have this life.

It’s not always comfortable…but it forces me to examine what matters, what is truly important, and where I have yet to go.

As Socrates once said…

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Happy Early Father’s Day

To all the Dads…

I know that Father’s Day isn’t until the 21st, but since I’ll be out camping with my family that day…Happy Father’s Day!!

Funny enough I was talking to my mom recently and asked her about the first time I went camping as a kid…thinking we had started when I was about 7 or 8. She laughed and said that my younger brother was still in diapers when we first camped (we are 20 months apart).

My mother told me that she just stripped us both naked and we played in a creek for a whole day in the Sequoia National Forrest. And she got to read a book for the first time in 5 years.

Hearing that just made me smile and realize even more how much a part of being in the outdoors is a part of me.

Photo by Samy Santos on Pexels.com

Being with my mom and dad camping are some of my fondest memories of my childhood, so I am incredibly excited to start forming those same memories with my own kids.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you know that my handle is @patagoniadad (or a slight variation)…and I’m proud to have that dad part of me out there.

To all the fathers out there that are trying make sure they keep their kids alive, fed, happy, and socially well-adjusted…thank you.

Happy Father’s Day.