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A Mom’s Book Review: Becoming By Cindy Crawford

September 30, 2015

When I was in high school in the 90s, I faithfully worked out to my Cindy Crawford VHS tape (what would now be considered ‘conditioning’ or cross-training for XC Running).  To this day, I still give Cindy credit for creating side crunches.

I remember begging my mother for a black spandex, one-piece farmer john style workout outfit to copy Cindy’s signature look. Yes, she bought it for me and I rocked it– no comparison to Cindy, of course, but it was enough to radiant confidence while struggling through those epic side crunches.

After Drew Barrymore, Cindy Crawford was the only other coming of age celebrity I admired.  Maybe it was because she didn’t seem self-conscious of her mole.  I had an authentic mole in just about the same spot, and I was self-conscious of it.  Note: that mole which I would later come to be kinda sorta okay with was later ripped off by my fourth child while breastfeeding (surely because I was so exhausted after extended breastfeeding, homeschooling, and raising four young children to remember to clip baby #4’s nails long before they turned into claws capable of shearing off a so-called beauty mark).

But I think the reason I most admired Cindy as a teenager was but because she seemed like someone who could positively influence women, as a leader to define themselves for themselves on their own terms–and to realize that that they can trust themselves in the process.

Becoming by Cindy Crawford

So, can you imagine how thrilled I was to learn that Cindy Crawford happened to be in my NYC backyard today (and I happened to be in NYC and not on the road traveling), launching the release of her new book Becoming by Cindy Crawford at Barnes and Noble on 5th Avenue with a book signing?

becoming crawford

After an outing to MOMATH (the Museum of Mathematics), the four kids and I were headed uptown when we discovered the seemingly reasonable Cindy Crawford book signing line outside of Barnes and Noble.  After buying a copy of the newly released book, we jumped in line.

Hello…Isn’t homeschooling amazing?!?  One moment we’re learning about hyperboloids, a few minutes later chatting about homeschooling with a supermodel–in the Big Apple of all places?

becoming crawford book signing

Wandertween waits in line on Fifth Avenue, NYC for the Becoming by Cindy Crawford Book Signing

While waiting in line, my 12 year old daughter jumped right into reading Cindy’s book and flipping through the pages of beautiful photography.  I read over her shoulder.  We both looked up periodically to respond to the one question people passing on the street wanted answered: Who are you waiting in line to see? 

The Book and On Meeting Cindy

Becoming is written in a lovely conversational tone.  From the first page, it’s apparent that Cindy speaks from the heart about her life and experiences in Becoming who she is: Cindy Crawford.  It’s apparent that she is a woman who has discovered comfort in her own skin and wants to encourage other women to find a similar comfort with their own identities.

Of course, as a mom I was most intrigued by Cindy’s chapter, The Balancing Act, in which she discusses balancing family, work, relationships, fitness, and philanthropy.  I read it immediately (and even asked her to autograph that page since it seemed totally fitting given circumstances).

Though she admits that balance is a big challenge, there is no mistaking that family is Cindy’s priority.

My sister once told me that one of the greatest things about having kids is that you don’t have to figure out your priorities anymore; you’re looking right at them.

When meeting Cindy with my four children in tow, she seemed incredibly humble, kind, sincere, and most remarkably, understanding of the challenging job it is to be a mom.  Even cooler was that she didn’t shy away from talking about homeschooling (her kids are schooled through a mix of homeschooling/independent school learning).

This humble, kind, and sincere theme seems to permeate her book–at least in what I’ve so far read.  My once teenage hunch that Cindy Crawford might be an inspirational woman to other women, not solely because of her beauty, may have been spot on.

As soon as the kids are fed, bathed, tucked in, given glasses of water and more water, and I finally find a quiet moment between planning tomorrow’s educational adventures, cleaning the house, and folding laundry, I will sit down and keep reading more from Becoming by Cindy Crawford.

* * * *

Becoming By Cindy Crawford: By Cindy Crawford with Katherine O’Leary
Release Date: September 29, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0847846191


Blog Camino de Santiago Destinations Spain

The Way: Can You Walk the Camino de Santiago with Children?

September 24, 2015

In 2012, I walked “The Way” of St. James, also known as the Camino de Santiago, to Santiago de Compostella with my four children, then ages 2, 5, 7, and 9.  The movie “The Way” with Martin Sheen had just come out.  Once I watched the movie, by the time the credits rolled, I immediately knew I had to walk the way. It didn’t take much to get my husband on board with the plan.

A short time later, our family of six landed in Spain, ready to begin our pilgrimage–an experience that would forever change everyone of us.

Can You Walk “The Way” with Children?

Absolutely.  In 2012, when our family walked the Camino de Santiago, it seemed like we were celebrities.  At that time, before the movie popularized the Pilgrimage, comparatively few Americans walked the route, and even fewer as a family.  When we arrived in Santiago, we were greeted by cheers and applause in the Pilgrim line.  It was an emotional finale.

camino Kids

So how did we do it?  I like to wing travel, with little planning.  We didn’t book hostels or rooms in advance.  We woke the kids very early each day, walking with headlamps until the sun made its appearance.  It was much cooler this way and made the adventure even more exciting for the kids–they still say their favorite part of the Camino was walking in the dark.  After lunch, we would begin looking for a place to stay for the night.  Only once were we turned away from a hostel/hotel–it was apparent the owner wasn’t thrilled with the idea of children staying on the property.  This treatment was the exception.  The Spanish LOVE, LOVE, LOVE children.

Is it safe to walk The Way?

Recently concerns have emerged about the safety of walking the famous Camino de Santiago, when a 41-year old American Woman, Denise Thiem, went missing and never made it home to Arizona.  Obviously, this is a scary, tragic, and very sad ending to what should have been an inspiring and positive experience.

However, the reality is that no place is immune from crime, and that anything can happen anywhere–at home, at the local grocery store or movie theater, or abroad.  Millions of people have walked and walk the Camino de Santiago without incident–and have come home with lovely stories of an experience that has permanently and positively changed them.

When we walked the Camino as a family, the only real concern I ever had was with dogs.  We did encounter two instances of vicious, unleashed dogs, and heard or saw many, many more behind property fences.  A cow also came out of nowhere while walking in a small farm town and almost ran into my oldest daughter–a close call, but all turned out just fine.

camino safe kids

Staying Safe when Traveling with Kids

Staying safe while walking the Camino with kids in tow means taking similar safety precautions that you’d take anywhere when you travel to a new, unfamiliar place.  Some of these precautions include:

  1. Keeping your valuables out of sight.  This means not being being flashy with expensive electronics.
  2. Keeping your passport and money tucked away in a secure spot.  This might involve wearing a passport pouch with your passport (and your child’s passport) around your neck, which you wear under your clothing.
  3. Making sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times.
  4. Never leaving your kids alone or unaccompanied.
  5. Creating a family plan in advance should someone get separated from you or your group.
  6. Giving someone (not traveling with you) your travel itinerary and checking with that person periodically.
  7. If walking at dusk or in the early morning hours, wearing appropriate reflective gear and headlamps (or carrying flashlights) for better visibility and so you can have a sense of what and who are around you.
  8. Don’t touch stray animals, including seemingly friendly dogs or cats.

If you are thinking about walking “The Way” with your children, it could be one of the most wonderful and exciting travel adventures you ever do.  With some planning and good common sense to mitigate risks, you will likely discover why walking Camino is truly, positively life changing.

If you have walked the Camino or hope to walk it with your children, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and tell us about your adventure!

Buen Camino!

Blog Destinations Oregon RV'ing 50 States USA United States

Sandboarding for Homeschoolers

August 28, 2015

When we were on the Oregon Coast, we squeezed in a sandboarding class at Sand Master Park in Florence, Oregon.  We had a fabulous instructor–his name escapes me now, but he is the instructor with wild, two-toned, fabulous hair–who was incredibly patient with the kids and fun. 

This is what our PE class looks like on the road.  Sure beats my public school gym class days, where girls were given a choice of doing aerobics via VHS videos or playing floor hockey (and yes, the girls were definitely encouraged to “try” aerobics instead).

sandboard homeschool

My kids are now hooked, especially since sandboarding makes a nice interim board sport until snowboard season.  They’ve actually asked if we could skip Yosemite and hit up Pacific Coast dunes instead.  Hmm… PE class vs. Science/History.  We’ll have to wait and see how this roadschooling thing unfolds.

If you’re anywhere near Oregon, make your way toward Sand Master Park in Florence.  You can even park your RV there overnight for $15.  Sandboard rentals are $16 for up to 24 hours.  That’s pretty sweet because after a lesson you can drive down US 101 South a few miles to Siuslaw National Forest/Oregon Dunes or Jessie M. Honeyman State Park for more hours of sand riding (or board sledding, as my kids opted to do after they got tired).

homeschool sandboarding kids

Happy Sandboarding!  Happy Wandering!

Know of an awesome spot to sandboard?  Won’t you please share it?  My kids want more sandboard fun and I’d love to know where to go!