Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer kickoff

Last weekend we kicked off summer with our first trip to Roosevelt, Washington. Located on the Eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge, Roosevelt is a small town (population 79) out in the middle of nowhere that just happens to have predictable, steady, consistent wind. It also happens to have a river front park referred to as 'Rosie' by our friends and 'Rose-a-belt' by Maren.
We love to go to Roosevelt during the summer. And by 'we' I mean ALL of us. Kirk and I go to kite board. Sorry, when we are kite boarding I must be too busy to take pictures, but here is a photo so you get the idea...
The girls go to play. The park is full of grass and shade trees. The beach is sandy and shallow with plenty of places to explore. The kite boarding is excellent. There is no TV, no homework, no chores, weeding, or laundry. We do have to eat, but I try to keep it simple. It is great for our family to spend plenty of time enjoying each other and relaxing. We have several friends that we have gotten to know as they come to the park on a regular basis.
There are always kids there and the girls look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. We have also been fortunate enough to have lots of family join us. This past weekend Keith and Jenny came from Rexburg. Kirk's parents often join us from Kennewick and sometimes we even get Kirk's sisters Kelli, Verna or Kim and their families to come out and enjoy a day in the water and sun. Kirk's Grandma even stopped by on her drive from Seattle to Kennewick to see what we were up to this past trip. Paige talked her into giving a knitting lesson after we enjoyed dinner together.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pleasant Suprise

Sometimes your kids surprise you in the most amazing ways. We've been having trouble around our house lately with communication. It seems that everyone is having a tough time speaking to each other with love and understanding. Instead, there has been a lot of yelling, frustration, stomping around and general grumpiness. So I came up with a brilliant idea (if I do say so myself). I stumbled across a publication from The Church entitled:
'10 Ways to Improve Family Communication'.
I introduced it at Family Home Evening last week and then assigned each person one of the 10 steps that they must present in a Family Home Evening lesson. Hannah was assigned to present tonight. I gave her the pamphlet last week and suggested that she look over it and plan her lesson - offering to help if she needed. I didn't notice her looking at it all week. When she came home from school, anxious as usual to get her chores and homework done as quickly as possible so she could play with friends, I asked her how her lesson was coming. She ignored me. Then she played around, did a few chores and a little homework, played around some more. I also noticed a lot of bad communication going on while the girls were I was starting to plan an alternate lesson. Hannah came downstairs for dinner complaining and whining that she didn't have time to play and didn't have time to get the lesson ready because she is SOOOOO overloaded with chores and jobs, etc. (Of course, her chores would have taken a whole 10 min. if she stayed on task) She was being unusually dramatic about it. I played it cool and said I'm sure she could decide how best to use her time. We finished dinner and were gathering for Family Home Evening. I was wondering what we were going to do for a lesson. When Kirk called for the lesson, Hannah surprised us all by whipping out a two page, written lesson. She did a little discussion, question and answer period about her topic (thinking before you speak). Then she had written a skit where everyone had their own part. Paige narrator, Dad the brother, Hannah the sister, Me the Mom, and Maren the horse - who was cued to say Neigh whenever Hannah said the word 'slipped'. It was brilliant. She had us perform the skit twice. The first time the family handled the problem with poor communication (not thinking before speaking). The second time around the family handled it with great communication (thinking and speaking kindly). It was great, creative, involved everyone and taught us a great principle. I was so impressed. Hannah had a real talent for writing and using her imagination. She is growing into such a great person and I love to see her develop her talents. These moments are so rewarding as a Mother!