Thursday, August 30, 2012

American Kids in a Third World Country

For the random strangers that do follow my blog, sorry for my lack of posts this past 6 weeks.  I've had a revolving door of company and my priorities shifted.  Although we had bits and pieces of Mommy school finding the time to document and post them was another thing I just could not make time for.  I will catch you all up on theses activities and projects very soon.  Many of my planed weeks went unfinished and I still have loads of fun activities to get through.  Pre-K starts next week so my plan is to play catch up on our free days.

For the majority of this break we had a very special family come and visit us.

This is my sister Heidi her husband Chris and their amazingly awesome kids
Larissa, Brailynn and Caleb.

My sister and her family are missionaries in Africa.  I only get to see them every 4 years so to my surprise my nieces have both grown taller then me and my nephew is no longer a little kid.  For the first time my girls were able to build relationships with their Aunt, Uncle and cousins and I think it really stinks they live so far away.

Before the girls met their cousins they had a skype relationship with them.  Basically my nieces and nephew would call and ask "Can we just watch the girls?" and so via skype, my girls would entertain the kids on the computer.  When talking to the girls about their cousins we would tell them they lived in Africa.  They could point it out on a map and tell us they wanted to go see them.  Of course I told them it was a very long ride in an airplane so they mapped out a better way, first driving to the Atlantic, taking ship across the ocean and then (making me laugh to hear what goes on in their little brains) A donkey all the way across Africa!!!!  

When the girls learned that they lived near the Nile Coppelia asked her Auntie, "Is it still all bloody?" (The girls are obsessed with the story of Moses and all of the plagues, it's their favorite story to act out.)

People often ask me about my nieces and nephew, what are they like being American kids living in a third world country?

Well, their different... 

In a GREAT way!

The only way I can describe them is by comparing them to American kids and that's totally unfair.

In some ways they are way more mature. They are more thoughtful, compassionate and self-less.  They have not been marketed by endless ways of advertisement and are uniquely themselves and not a reflection of our consumer happy world.  They don't know who or what is cool besides what they themselves have determined.

The typical child grows up WAY too fast now a days and unlike them they have not lost their ability to  play.  An example...

We had to take off for a few days and my 13 year old niece says to the 15 year old, "want to play dollhouse?" The 15 year old says "sure" and they did.

Some of you may think that's weird, but I think it's refreshing.  Look what growing up to fast has done to the kids of today.  

more examples of how awesome they are...

They played 5 hours straight of hospital

complete with mental institution 
and I found this note when cleaning up

They were teaching my kids their training in disaster/crises situations. 

they took every floatation device they could find and built a boat

When given cardboard Caleb made some seriously cool armor

Sure they have little arguments but I've never seen siblings lift up and encourage one another like they do.  Nobody else will ever know what it's like to live the way they live or experience the things they experience.  More siblings should take the time to build those relationships.

I'll probably never become a missionary or live in a third world country.  But I hope my kids can turn out as good as them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Perfect Toy

Have you ever walked into a Goodwill or consignment store and found the most perfect item?  That's what happened to me a few weeks back when I was with my mother.  We went to the kids consignment store and up high on a shelf sat a little theatre.  Along with the set came different backdrops, stage props, dolls and costumes, my Mom looked at me and said, "you have to get it!"  

It's been the perfect addition for our Mommy school.  I have been able to introduce the girls to new theatre terms like upstage, downstage and center stage.  We like to pretend the orchestra is warming up in the orchestra pit and the dancers are waiting back stage.  Although the set came with its stuffed doll they use it for their doll house dolls too.  One morning I woke up to find they had made stadium setting for all the dolls to enjoy the show.  The also use it for their ballerina's.  

Why limit ourselves with the props it came with?  A few Christmas trees, the fireplace we made with popsicle sticks and the stage is now set for The Nutcracker.

An amazing find that will be played with for years to come!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Garner State Park

 Isn't it great having family traditions?
My mother-in-law and her family have been coming to Garner State Park every summer 
since they were kids.  Then she met Daddy Joe, got married and the tradition continued.  This was the first year we were able to take the girls and we all had a blast.

Every time I go I feel like I've been transported to the 60's.  We ride our bikes everywhere, play games as a family and even play a bit of putt putt golf.

In the early afternoon we find ourselves at the pavilion, where we fill the jukebox full of quarters and practice our two step.

Here we are working on the steps to "Rockin' Robin"

Then of course we are all hot and tired so we need to take an ice cream break.

Then we head to the Frio, were we hang all afternoon.

Finally we all get hungry and head to our campsites for dinner.

We spend our days looking like average campers, no make up, ratty hair and dirty feet.  But when the sun goes down, everyone dusts off their cowboy boots and gets all gussied up.  

Because every night around 8 o'clock, everyone heads to the pavilion for the dance.  
Every man, women and child are out on the floor doing the two-step and everyone knows the line dances to songs like "wip it".  Everyone dances with everyone it's like a giant social.  You wont find any of the latest pop hits on the jukebox because thats just not Garner's style.  Even if your not a country music fan you most likely find yourself falling in love with songs and singing along all week.

Here is a video I found on youtube, notice how it gets more and more crowded.  By 9 o'clock the floor is packed. 

Here is a few pictures from the 60's

The only thing that has changed is the styles.

Then we ended our trip with a trip to the gift shop.

 Estee choose this shirt, it says,
"Sorry, I only like boys who two-step"

Thank you Mamah and Peapa for a wonderful family vacation once again and for keeping the tradition going.  We love you so much!