More memories. Less stuff.

So what are we doing posing with Ryan Serhant?  I have a story for you.

When my kids were younger, my husband and I realized that every year, we spent a bunch of money on Christmas presents that the kids lost interest in almost immediately.

They enjoyed what we gave them, but didn’t care deeply about any of it. They were onto the next thing shortly after the holidays.

The year our kids were 13 (Alex), 11 (Sammy) and 8 (Adam), we decided that instead of lots of toys and gadgets, we’d create memories that really meant something.  We decided to give them experiences that would last a lifetime.

That year, each kid planned the Ultimate Weekend with Mom as their Christmas present.

They each chose a place in the US that they wanted to explore.

We got to savor these gifts as we spent time planning, talking and getting excited about the adventures we were going to have.  It was truly fantastic!  Not only was the entire process of planning memorable, it opened doors to conversations about dreams, visions, money management and scheduling.

Alex chose Los Angeles, CA as her destination.  We stayed in Hollywood, visited the Chinese Theatre, saw the mansions in Beverly HIlls, went shopping at all the trendy stores. We ate at the hot spots and got our hair done by the guy who used to do hair on Entertainment Tonight.  Just the two of us.  We were silly together.

Sam, my little marine biologist, chose Florida. We swam with dolphins, searched for sting ray teeth and did a young biologist program at the aquarium. It was a spectacular, informational and intensely Sammy weekend.  She was proud to share her knowledge and incredibly excited to learn more.   We were getting smarter together.

Adam chose Nickelodeon Hotel and Disney World.  At 8 years old, his big idea of fun was seeing mom get slimed on the Nickelodeon set.  And that’s exactly what happened. The sounds of his belly laugh as he watched a pile of sticky goo plop on his momma’s head is something I’ll cherish forever.  We rode every roller coaster despite my stomach being in knots. We ate junk and giggled A LOT! We were being adventurous together.

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to create these remarkable memories with my kids. Memories that will forever bring joy and a smile to our faces.

My kids and I continue to create these adventures together whenever we can.

We’ve traveled the country, learned so much about each other and have had tons of laughs.

The latest adventure was a trip to NYC with my daughter Alex.  I had an opportunity to meet with Ryan Serhant, one of the stars of Million Dollar Listing NYC and star of his latest Bravo show, Selling It Like Serhant.

Ok, the truth is, I made this happen by pre-ordering some of his books under the same title (which I will be giving away as part of a contest for one of my businesses) and reaching out on social media.

Alex is really interested in real estate and this is one of those push-outside-your-comfort-zone experiences for her.  To meet someone she’s starstuck by and have to articulate her ideas was certainly something that would’ve made her extremely anxious in the past.

We spent the weekend really soaking in the city. The weather was remarkable, so we walked everywhere.  We stayed in SOHO, which was perfect. We had access to everything we wanted to see on foot.

Walking a city like New York is a huge part of the experience. The smells, the graffiti art, the architecture, the people, the noise, the grit…. and the massive amount of garbage – all part of the millions of stories that make up this huge city.  Alex and I talked about life, dreams and the future. We imagined what some of the people’s stories were and intentionally smiled and greeted almost everyone we passed.

Our feet throbbed and we loved every minute of it,

On Monday, we walked to Ryan Serhant’s office in SOHO.  The door sat under one of the thousands of construction supports throughout the city.

Something we both found amazing is the amount of construction going on. It’s like it never ends.

Ryan’s office is in an old building with creaky wood floors and lots of character.

Walking in, we noticed the slightly musty smell and layers of paint indicating this building has seen many come and go.  We jumped on the elevator and as we stepped out, there stood Ryan, leaning against the wall on the phone, locked out of his office.  Jordan, his assistant, was on the way to unlock the door.

He greeted us with a big smile, paused his call to shake our hands and politely wrapped it up.  We chatted for a bit outside as we waited for Jordan.  Ryan is a down-to-earth, genuinely friendly, welcoming guy.

We walked into what I would’ve expected in his office. Modern with character would be the best description. We met early in the morning, before his agents started their day, so the big, open space was empty but we could feel the energy there.

We sat in the glass conference room and chatted for over an hour.  Ryan listened to our stories and shared insights on his personality.

He described himself as a natural introvert with a tendency for shyness. Slightly socially awkward in high school. Not the popular kid you might expect.  Any anxiety Alex felt melted away as she completely related to what he was saying. She spoke eloquently and articulated her story so well.

Ryan shared that for him, as an introvert in a business that’s all about sales, he developed processes that provided the confidence and certainty he needed to move outside his comfort zone.  A strategy that has clearly worked, as Ryan is currently one of the top producers in the New York real estate market.

As we took a few pictures with him, and wrapped up our conversation, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everything that made these experiences and adventures with my children possible.

Gratitude is the main ingredient to having a healthy, strong mindset.

I’m a working mom married to a firefighter.  The time we spend with our children is not as frequent as a family with a stay at home mom and a 9-5 dad.  And that’s ok.  It would be awesome to have been there for every single moment.  However, it’s the moments we’ve had that matter and the unconditional, unwavering love for our kids that has given us strength as a family.

The adventures, experiences and memories we create with our kids are teachable bonding moments. We get to teach them, guide them, model for them and show them how to step outside their comfort zone.

Even if they struggle with severe anxiety!

There are so many benefits to creating experiences with your kids. It opens the doors for fun, laughter, teaching, guidance- and most importantly, real talk.  You’re opening up a window in time where you give room for them to share their inner-most thoughts and feelings.

Going on adventures provides certainty they can do all things- an important part of the parenting envelope I mentioned in my previous posts!

Next time you’re thinking about birthday, Christmas or other holiday gifts, consider doing something that’ll really stick.  Go on adventures together.

You’ll be so glad you did.

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