It’s been a hot month in Modesto, CA so we decided to retreat to the mountains to escape the heat. We tent camped a few weeks ago for six nights at beautiful Lake Alpine. Our trip started out a bit rough having woke up to a burglarized trailer that contained all of our camping gear. You can’t let stuff like that get you down.
This is not a new realization, but I don’t get to spend enough time with my wife. My absolute favorite thing from this month was a hike that we went on together while camping. My in-laws took the kids for the morning so my wife and I could go on a hike. Though the hike was longer (about 8 miles) and steeper (about 1500 ft) than I would have liked, it was the best time we have had in a while. My body does not like elevation nor does it like climbing things (I’m old), but after a while, all I could do was enjoy our conversation and the exploring we were doing together. I miss exploring with my wife.
Quote of the Month
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~Aristotle
— Jerad Hill (@jeradhill) July 28, 2017
As I get older I realize that habits are hard to change. Whether it is breaking bad habits or trying to form new ones, it takes a lot more effort to repeatedly do something than it used to. This year has brought out some of those habits that need to go and also led me to realize that I have a few good habits that have worked to my advantage over the years.
4th of July
This is my favorite holiday! It’s not the fireworks or even the BBQ, it’s my love for the country I live in. This country is one of the few places in the world where there is limitless opportunity. It truly is a blessing to be here.
As I mentioned before, we went camping for six nights. It was a lot of fun and I have realized that there are a few things that we just can’t go without on camping trips.
The Zipline was a huge hit at the campsite. Kids have to check it out and before you know it, half the campground is hanging out. My kids enjoyed zip lining with new friends.
Last year we purchased a Standing Room Tent which mounts inside of a 10’x10′ canopy. We already had a canopy so it made sense to give one of these a try. It’s nice to be able to stand up inside of the tent. It also has big windows which let in a lot of air on warmer days. It is very easy to set up and it rolls up like a sleeping bag to store. We have had a couple of other tents and this one has been our favorite so far.
It’s Still Summer!
Last month I confessed to feeling like I was in “Summer Mode.” Well, I still feel it, but it’s coming to a close. Next month school will start back up so I feel that crunch to get a few more things in with the kids before schedules are more locked down. All three of my kids will be in school this year. Hopefully, we will have a chance to get a short trip or two in before school starts back mid-August.
Sounds weird, but a cast cover made life a lot easier this last month. My daughter fractured her left arm and has been in a cast since the beginning of this month. She only has a week left but we have not let a cast slow her down. This cast cover that was recommended to us has kept her cast dry through dozens of swim sessions and through the entire week we were at the lake. She swam in the lake, paddle boarded with my wife and even jumped off some rocks into the water and the cast never got wet. This thing was a life saver.
Check it out: DryPro Waterproof Full Arm Cast Cover
Blade of the Month
Check it out on Amazon: Tops Knives El Chete
The El Chete is the only way to roll into the camp ground. This monster can handle anything you swing it at.
Lightroom Mobile – I have been using Lightroom Mobile which is a simplified version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom which is a popular photo editing application for computers. Adobe recently added a camera within the app that captures RAW quality images in the Adobe DNG format. This is excellent because capturing images in RAW format provides more detail for photo editing apps to work with. Newer smartphones are now allowing images to be captures in a RAW format but being able to capture a photo in DNG format right in Lightroom Mobile is pretty fantastic. I plan to do a video on this soon over on photography education site Ditch Auto.
Newton Mail – This app is the best email client for smartphones. It is cross platform so when I switch between Android or iPhone I simply download and log into Newton Mail and everything is there. My email accounts are either Gmail or G Suite email accounts, but I like what Newton Mail has to offer over the basic Gmail app or the Mail apps that come on most smartphones.
Diaro – I have been trying to journal more. I mentioned this last month. I have tried journaling with a physical journal, but I hate carrying extra stuff with me. I also find it a pain to go through old entries to find something I was writing about. The Diaro app allows me to search old entries and add tags to entries so I can easier find journal entries on certain subjects. I paid for a Diaro Pro account, but you can use the app for free.
The Sony a9 is still my main camera. I mentioned last month that I got it right when it came out, but was unsure about it. I think it is the most innovative camera to come out this year. I will be making a new video for Ditch Auto soon talking about this camera.
Drones – I’ll be the first to admit that I have too many drones. My first drone was actually a pretty expensive one. I wanted a drone with a good camera on it but I quickly realized that it was not a very practical drone for flying for fun. I have used my technology YouTube channel as an excuse to get a couple of drones but I have narrowed it down to the Phantom 4 Pro being my favorite of them all. The Inspire 2 is a much better drone, but it’s not very practical. Unless you carry it in a huge case, it takes a while to set up. The Phantom 4 Pro can fit in a backpack and is ready to fly in under a minute. I prefer the Phantom 4 Pro over the Mavic Pro because the camera on the Phantom is fantastic and it has stronger motors which can deal with a small breeze. It does not take much for the Mavic to get knocked around. I will talk more in-depth about this on a new YouTube channel I am launching next month specific to drones.
Never Split the Difference – Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It: I have never liked the idea of being a hard and fast negotiator, but I have come to understand that knowing negotiation tools to use in different situations helps me understand my own needs and the needs of the other person. I feel that every situation should have a good outcome for all parties involved but there are some situations where you need to negotiate on your own behalf.
The Opposite of Worry – The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears: Over the years I have allowed myself to become a worrier of things. I never used to be, but add in marriage, children, and employees, and I have the worry. I worry about providing for everybody and a variety of other things. There are issues there that I am working through. I want to make sure that my children grow up with a healthy understanding of worry and that means making sure I have a toolkit to go to.
The Any.do reminder worked. To be honest I did not think about writing this post at all this month until the reminder went off. As I get older, I need these reminders because I don’t have the mental bandwidth I used to.
August is back to school month for my kids. All three kids will be in school this year so that should be pretty exciting.
What was one of your favorite things this July? Share it with me in the comment section below.