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Traveling Smart with Bridgestone Tires

Melanie and Kids in CarYou know, as a mom of four, I have to come up with some pretty creative ways to keep the kids entertained over the summertime. During the early weeks of summer it was easy enough. All of the kids were thankful for those first days home from school once summer vacation started.

But after the novelty wore off, the “I’m bored” complaints set in. That’s when I started to make plans that included day trips to area attractions that would captivate the kids’ minds and silence the “I’m bored” comments that were driving me mad.

Luckily for me, my family is rather portable. The kids love an adventure and I’m happy to give them one. But even though I was more than ready for a summer adventure, my car was not. I blush to admit it, but car care is not my strong suit. I know precious little about tire pressure or tire maintenance which is rather crucial for safe summer travel.

So when Bridgestone asked if I would be an ambassador at this year’s BlogHer conference, it was a no brainer. Of course I want to learn more about keeping my family safe while on the road. Isn’t that what I’m here for?

And when I heard that they wanted me to take part in their DriveGuard No Pressure Zone that they are hosting at BlogHer this year, I was excited to learn more about the fuss-free care tips from the team at Firestone Complete Auto Care.

Not to mention that they invited me to take part in a drive and learn opportunity that will have me driving around a cones course in a car with a flat tire to learn how the DriveGuard tire line from Bridgestone can protect my family. Did you know that DriveGuard tires allow you to travel up to 50 miles at up to 50 mph if a puncture or loss a pressure were to occur*? I didn’t either. I’m going to learn all about that at BlogHer this week!

Cape CodWith all of the travel that I write about here on this blog, it makes sense that I learn more about tire safety. So I’m pretty excited that I will have the opportunity next week to learn more about tire care and safety which of course I will share with all of you!

Shannon on BeachEven though I still have a lot to learn, I have learned a few things over the years. Here are some tips that have helped me make traveling with kids safe and less stressful:

  • Snacks! Be sure to pack foods and drinks that will not destroy the interior of your vehicle. Trail mix, real fruit leathers, granola and clear juices/water are a few examples of foods I pack for road trips that almost guarantee that I won’t spend too much of my time cleaning my car after the fact. Have you ever given your kids yogurt in the backseat? I wouldn’t advise it.
  • Pack a first aid kit. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have gotten blisters while traveling. A first aid kit goes a long way in making a day trip more enjoyable. A fresh stock of bandages and antiseptic sure beats stuffing tissues into your kid’s shoes. Been there. Done that. It doesn’t work.
  • Have baby wipes on hand. Even if your kids are teens or tweens, baby wipes in the back of your car can be a lifesaver. I always keep a tub handy because you never can tell when you might have a llama or goat licking kibble off of your kid’s hands. No joke. We’ve left a farm only to search for the nearest restroom to wash off llama spit. I wish I was kidding.
  • Keep a bag of change handy. I can’t tell you how many tickets I’ve gotten nailed for not paying parking meters when I should’ve. Now I always keep a baggie of change in my vehicle. Sure beats paying a $25 fine.
  • Toilet paper. Keep a roll in the trunk. I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes kids just have to go. And when kids have got to go, they mean they had to go ten minutes ago. Keeping a roll handy means that you are prepared no matter when nature calls. Just keep it legal.

Traveling with littles is never dull. The most important part is keeping it safe. I’ll be reporting more about my experiences at BlogHer with Bridgestone, but until then you can feel free to follow them on Twitter @BridgestoneTires and @FirestoneAuto. And you can visit them on their Facebook page for more info and tips!

* Repairability of DriveGuard tires depends on the tire damage, amount of pressure loss and vehicle operating conditions. Contact a Bridgestone retailer for details.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bridgestone DriveGuard tires. All opinions are my own.

A Pair of Jeans

Melanie JeansI have a pair of jeans. Actually, I’ve been in possession of  them for a decade. These jeans are tattered. Eased over hips that have born four children but the denim does not acknowledge that. It does what fabric is required to do. It covers. It conceals what I command it to hide. My imperfections. My fears. But at the same time it accentuates what I require it to.

The jagged edges of my hip bones. The bones that brought forth five children although only four survived. Those bones are solid . They speak of strength. Of fortitude. They jut out in defiance.  Challenging fate to bring what it will. But at the same time they swing softly to the music. Acknowledging that they too can be seduced in moments of weakness.

The denim also hides the scars of child abuse. The wounds etched deeply into the undercarriage of my youth. Scars that only the closest to me understand.

Fabric is forgiving that way, is it not? What is the purpose of fabric, exactly? Is it not to accentuate? To conceal our weaknesses?

And then there is strength. My legs. I recognize that my legs have been an asset. While some women have been gifted with long flowing locks, slim cinched waists and petite upper bodies, I have been given the power to stand tall. On slender but strong limbs that hold me steady. To weather whatever is laid before me. Maybe that is why I rarely cover them?

The strength to forge forward through hard times. A living testimony to others that they too can navigate through this perilous journey called life.

Melanie Jeans

Over the years these jeans have witnessed more than they should’ve. The death of a baby. The total annihilation of its owners bones. A broken heart. A shattered spirit.

But yet the the fabric still fits. Worn in places, but still whole. Soft to the touch but still strong enough to resist harm.

A garment that not only clothes, but protects. Fabric that not only conceals, but magnifies the strength of a woman. And even though there are holes, places where the fabric has worn perilously thin, the woman still prevails.

When this pair of jeans was purchased, they were stiff. Creased at the knees and dyed a deep indigo blue. Completely unaware of what was to come. But with time they were weathered. Softened by stress, heat and water. Washed away to a soft baby blue.

But today as I pack things away, as I contemplate what stays and what should go, I can’t help but hold onto these jeans. Even though they are threadbare. Even though the hems are frayed and unraveling…

These jeans are as much a part of me as my beating heart. A testimony to the journey I have traveled. A testament to the fact that even though life can be harsh, I am softened by the pounding waves that crash upon the rocks of my foundation.

So as I decide what to keep or what to giveaway of the garments of my life, these stay. If nothing more than as a reminder of how far I’ve come. And to remind me that I am no better than a piece of cotton. Woven the same as a garment of denim. And that I should be as lucky to be worn away to a soft baby blue while I protect and cover those I am here to serve for as long as they will have me.