Monday, July 22, 2013

Bear Lake and Thoughts on Blogging

The packed-in fun of the formal reunion is over and we've been enjoying the more mellow aftermath involving relaxing days full of swimming and waterskiing and wakeboarding and running and reading and chatting and coming up with creative meals using the random leftover reunion food supplemented by little trips into the grocery store. There's also a lot of messes to clean up and kids to tuck in bed and bodies to slather with sunscreen. Sometimes the sheer number of people (most of them very little kids) and the accompanying noise and logistics gets a bit much but oh, how I love this place and these people!

We've been at Bear Lake for the past couple weeks and my computer time has been seriously and purposefully limited. It's been great to take a little break from the blog and just do the most necessary Power of Moms stuff (which has been a fair amount given that we're finalizing edits on our second book plus there are all the regular things that need to happen to keep the website humming along).

I'm working on not feeling so beholden to this blog. I love keeping a record of our family's adventures and my ideas and thoughts and I'm so glad that what I write here seems to be enjoyed by lots of people. But when I get caught up in feeling like I need to record everything, this blog starts to feel like a burden and probably gets pretty boring to those who read it. I feel better about life and about the blog when I don't force posts when I'm not feeling it and when I don't try to catch up. I've come to terms with the fact that blogging when I'm in the mood and when I feel that I really have something to say and/or just throwing in a bunch of photos when I've got some beautiful memories I want to capture is what works best for me. So sometimes there's a lot. Sometimes there's a little. There you have it.

I did write an article at the close of our family reunion last week about keys to making family reunions great. Noah and Kristi were our reunion chairs this year and they did a fabulous job! Check it out here if you like:
Three Tips to a Great Family Reunion

And I'll be sharing some favorite photos from this year's Bear Lake fun when I have some spare moments. But today, I want to savor ever last moment before more and more of my siblings and their families have to head back to their far-away homes.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

4th of July 2013

Thanks for the great ideas on teaching kids the real meaning of Independence Day. Here's the post I ended up writing with your helpful suggestions:

Helping Kids Understand the Real Meaning of Independence Day

And along with watching lots of great video clips about the Declaration of Independence and the Founding Fathers and all that and having a good talk about what we'd all learned in the car on the way up to Grandma's house, we celebrated here in Ashton, Idaho with Jared's family in the usual way and it was wonderful.

We decorated a pickup and the kids rode in that in the parade (they were a bit overzealous with their candy-throwing and ran out about a block down the road but we gave them the candy other people in the parade threw at us and it all worked out just fine).

As always, the parade had all the great must-haves for an awesome parade in my book.

There were a bunch of fire trucks - this vintage one was our favorite:
 There was a full-on cattle-mover semi truck:
 There were cub scouts on decorated bikes:
 There was high school royalty:
 There were airplanes zooming overhead:
 There were horses:
 And pooper scoopers:

And along with all the people riding in trucks and on tractors or minimally-decorated flat-bed trailers, there was this one pretty awesome float that captured some of the great things about Ashton: Mesa Falls in the background, grain elevators, a big potato to represent the 1000's of acres of potato fields, a husky dog on a little sled since they have dog sled races here in the winter, grain for all the grain fields, and of course, the iconic Frostop root beer mug that dominates the tiny downtown. Nicely done.

After the parade, we ate tasty burgers and listened to excellent live music in the park while the kids did one of their favorite things in the world - played on the old merry-go-round there. I loved these things as a kid and yes, I know, they're dangerous - but so are so many things in this world and I wish this wasn't one of the very last playground merry-go-rounds in the world. I think we're too careful about some playground equipment and other active outdoor activities for kids and not careful enough about things like how much time our kids sit in front of screens. But I'd better not get going on that stuff right now...

Then we headed out to the cabin for a beautiful afternoon of playing in the water and enjoying the scenery and just chatting. Ashton took me for some great wave-runner rides - he's a great driver - makes it fun and gets some serious air but keeps it safe. Oliver and Silas both pulled up on waterskis for the first time and were SO excited and proud.

Hanging out with Max - dogs make everything more wonderful for the twins.

There's water at the cabin this year! For three or four years, the dam was messed up so there was hardly any water here. So great to be able to enjoy the lake again. Love the colors and beauty there so much.
 Silas practicing his waterskiing stance:
 Fun in the boat:
 Jared helping Silas get ready to give it a go:
 Last pointers:

He's up!
 Smiling the WHOLE time:
 Then Oliver tried and got right up as well!
 Big smiles from Oliver as well:
 Love the look of triumph as he got back into the boat:

As I bundled shivering Oliver into a towel, I told him how proud I was of him and he said "I just new I had it in me." Pretty cute.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when I was out on a waverunner with Eliza and Ashton and we stopped to admire the scenery in the perfect late-afternoon sun. The skies were a beautiful blue, the Tetons were crisply in view, the grain fields were waving. I taught them "America the Beautiful" (they had some vague knowledge of it) and we sang together: "Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plains..."

We ended the day with a great fireworks display. Jared's brother found some really amazing fireworks this year and we all sat on Grandma's back porch oohing and ahhing.

Perfect day.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Fourth of July Ideas???

So, quite suddenly, it's the 4th of July this week. Totally snuck up on me.

For most every holiday, I've written up "deliberate mother's guides" on Power of Moms offering ideas for making the holiday meaningful and fun with our kids. But every year, we seem to be travelling during this time and I haven't gotten around to doing a guide for the 4th of July. We typically have a great time up in Ashton, Idaho with Jared's family enjoying the wonderful small-town parade and old-fashioned celebrations (watermelon-eating contest, gunny sack races, three-legged races, etc.) and ending the day by putting on our own fireworks show. But I have to admit, I haven't done much with my kids as far as helping them understand the real meaning of the holiday. They've got some great points of reference since we saw the original "Old Glory" flag at the American History Museum in DC and the very balcony where the Declaration of Independence was read in Boston along with lots of other wonderful historic stuff during our recent road trip. But I'd like to bring it all together for them, somehow, and help them feel more gratitude for this great country we live in and the sacrifices of those who helped make it great.

Anyone got favorite links and ideas to share with me? I'd love suggestions of good websites/movies/etc that can help children understand a bit more about our founding fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc.

When I was looking for an interesting podcast to help me keep going on my long, hot run this morning (it's SO HOT here! And the air conditioning isn't working well. Great...), I found this great podcast that helped me really think about the beauty and challenges of our Constitution. Super interesting if you want to listen to it:


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