Wow, we can’t believe it’s really been 4 whole years for Treehut! It’s flown by and we’ve loved making so many truly special connections with our customers. We’ve been feeling especially warm and fuzzy thinking about you. Yes, really. You and the rest of our diverse community, and all the personal stories we live for. Without you we simply wouldn’t be where we are.
On our way down memory lane, we looked back at some of our very first social media friends and found some really heartwarming and nostalgic posts that we had to share!
This post, from Michael (aka @msimonsny) really touched us. It so well embodies the human story behind all of our customers and is so much of what we love about getting a unique gift from someone we love. A kind thanks to Michael for his time chatting with us, and of course, to his wife Laurelyn for being his Treehut connection. You truly make our day! We’ve all changed so much in the last few years!
Going off the caption of your original photo, who was “Santa” in 2014?
Santa was my wife, Laurelyn. We've been married since July 2001, and we both loved the style and look of the TreeHut watches.
Where has life taken you since December 2014 when you were gifted your first TreeHut watch?
In December 2014, we were just a few months into opening a brand-new high school, where I teach, in Corning, NY. We merged two rival schools — West and East — and brought 1,600 kids under one roof. I teach technology, design, and media classes there, and advise the award-winning Tesserae yearbook and its staff of 45 kids. It's hard to believe that we just released the kids' fourth book in the "new" building — things haven't slowed down one bit, and we can't wait for year five. My own family life is plenty busy too - we have four kids, 12, 10, 7, and 5... Two boys, and two younger sisters.
What’s your favorite memory?
One of my favorite memories is the birth of my first daughter, Mira. She's seven now, and like her brothers and her younger sister after her, she was a midwife-assisted water birth. The boys were at a birthing center at a local hospital, but with Mira, we decided that Laurelyn would give birth at home. It was an incredible experience, as were all four of our kids' births, but Mira came out just a little twisted up in her umbilical cord, and the midwife's assistant was standing behind me — such that when the midwife needed an extra hand, I helped unwrap her in a brief moment of urgency. She breathed fine on her own from that point, no complications, but it was magic - if just slightly alarming for a moment.
What’s your happy place?
A happy place.... My family and I enjoy camping, and canoe camping in particular, when we have to pack in all of our gear, squeeze into a few boats, and strike out across a lake or down a river. One favorite destination is Forked Lake in the Adirondacks — we took all four of the kids there a year ago for our second trip there, and fell in love all over again. My wife and I enjoy travel, and our kids — wherever we are together, I'm happy there. School and advising the yearbook can be stressful and often dominates my schedule... it's important to keep a good focus and balance, and with our kids getting older, it's more important than ever.
Who, or what, inspires you?
My mother, Kathe, inspired me to be a teacher — specifically, a special education teacher, which I was for the first eleven years of my career. I moved into technology and media full time in 2012, but she still serves as an inspiration for excellence in education and making a difference in kids' lives. My father, Al, is the most loyal, dedicated, selfless man I know — if I can be half the father to my own kids that he is to my sister and me, I'll be able to call myself a successful dad.
Words to live by?
Not my original sentiment, but one that impacts my work with students every day: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
There's very little I've achieved in my life that I did on my own. Nearly every step of the way, I've been walking this journey with someone, or have been supported & coached by a mentor, or tackled a task with a partner or team.... and in my personal life, I wouldn't be any bit the father I am today without my own parents as guides, nor without my wife as a partner in this journey.
Which watch style is Mike selecting for himself this time around? The Nova Denim Blue. His engraving? The names of his wife and four kids, of course. In his own words: “to honor my family”. Shop Mike's new watch here.
Thanks Mike, for being such an awesome part of our history and continuing to support us now. Your words are an inspiration and we’re thrilled to know you!