Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lessons from Disney Princesses part 3

 If your family is like ours, you've lived through the princess craze from Aurora to Cinderella to Belle to the newest sisterly dynamic duo—Elsa and Anna. You've watched the movies, heard the songs and dressed your daughters in miniature gowns and tiaras.

What kind of role models are these princesses to girls today? Or do girls even give any thought to them. After all, Snow White and Aurora are far removed from our lifestyles today.

A while back I posted about the Disney princesses. Basically I gave my version of their stories. I've included that in this post too. That part is in italics. I'm going to attempt to add to it but giving my thoughts on what girls learn from these princesses—and really, a lot of that depends on the parents.

Hopefully you watch the movies with your children and they serve as a springboard for important discussions on values, goals, motives, relationships and so on. If children watch movies, who knows how they may interpret the values, if at all.

Remember, the italicized part is what I wrote in my original post here 

Part One is here 

Part Two is here

Tiana is a beautiful, hard working young woman living in New Orleans in the '20's who wants to open her own restaurant. When both she and the handsome, but lazy, Prince Naveen are turned into frogs, they set out to find someone who can change them back to humans. That's not as easy as it sounds or it would be a very short movie. But in the end, love prevails and Tiana's dreams all come true proving that hard work and persistence does pay off.

Tiana was a hard worker with a dream of owning a restaurant. The dream was extra special to her because it was shared by her father, who died before seeing it happen. This independent young lady didn't need a prince to rescue her. She used her brain, cooking ability and physical labor to make her dream come true. And the obstacles and hard work didn't make her bitter, she remained a vibrant, passionate princess throughout.

Living the lesson: Tiana had a dream, and she was willing to work to make it come true. Having a dream is good, but it's not worth much unless you are willing to work for it. Be sure to think, plan and pray about your dreams, then work hard to achieve them.

Key verse: May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4
Resources for today's girls:
The Creativity Book by Nancy Rue

The Christian Girl's Guide to Being Your Best by Katrina Cassel

Rapunzel doesn't know her true identity as she lives in a tower with Mother Gothel. And although kept secluded in a tower all her life, she's perky and intelligent, finding ways to amuse herself. When a handsome stranger shows up, Rapunzel finally gets her dream of seeing the floating lights. When she realizes she's the missing princesses, she has a show down with Mother Gothel, and of course takes her place as princess and marries the reformed thief, Flynn/Eugene.

Like Tiana, Rapunzel had a dream. In fact, by singing about it, she gets others to acknowledge their dreams too, some more realistic than others. Rapunzel's dream was to see the floating lights, but more than that, it was to have an adventure and do something new. So this spunky princess trusts a complete stranger (which is not a good idea in real life), holds on to her dream and gets what she wants in the end.

Living the lesson: Rapunzel had a dream. She took a chance and it paid off. In real life, it's not a good idea to entrust your safety to a stranger, but it is a good idea to talk to others about your hopes and dreams. They can help you plan. As with Tiana, be sure to think, plan and pray about your dreams, then work hard to achieve them.

Key verse: Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. Proverbs 19:20
Resources for today's girls
The Uniquely Me Book by Nancy Rue
The Christian  Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book by Katrina Cassel

Merida is a refreshing change from some of the earlier princess. Red haired and fiery, she is the only princess not to have a love interest during her movie. Her mother's desire to see her become a proper lady and marry a suitable man clashes with Merida's independent nature and her desire not to be tied down in marriage so young. She would prefer to ride her horse and shoot archery instead. When her mother is turned into bear, Merida has to find a way to break the spell before Mom is mistaken for the bear that tore off the king's leg and is killed for revenge. Working together to get Mom transformed back into a human helps Merida and Mom form a bond and understand each other better. The movie wouldn't be the same without the mischievous brothers.

Merida's Disney page says, "Merida is a princess by birth and an adventurer by spirit. She spends her days practicing archery, riding her horse Angus, and exploring the world around her. She loves her family, but she wants to control her own destiny."

Living the lesson: Wanting to choose your destiny is good, but remember that God has the perfect plan for you. He's given you all you need to live it out. So keep your heart in tune with God so you won't miss out on what he already has planned for you. Chances are, it will be more amazing than anything you would have thought up.

Key verse: You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Psalm 73:24

Resources for today's girls
The It's My Life Book by Nancy Rue

A Girl After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

Elsa and Anna are the newest Disney princesses as Frozen was the first movie to have two princesses, and both are loved and adored. The song "Let it Go" has become the new anthem for today's girls. Although the princesses have a rocky start with Elsa setting off an eternal winter, the sisters eventually find that love is the answer to a frozen heart. Add in a lovable snowman with lots of personality, an ice delivery man named Kristoff and a reindeer named Sven, and you have a movie that is a hit with all ages.

Elsa and Anna are most often grouped together, but they are two very different princesses. Elsa, more serious and mature, kept herself secluded from her younger, more energetic, even hyper, sister. Elsa was probably the kind of girl who spent her time studying, fulfilling obligations, trying hard to please everyone and live up to all the expectations on her as the oldest. She also had to hide her frozen touch. (Like the Midas touch, but it all turned to ice not gold). Anna was impetuous and all about fun. She's the child you can't get up in the morning, who loses her homework and has a pile of dirty clothes shoved under her bed.

So on one hand we have the reserved, elegant older sister who is guided by a strong sense of duty, and the younger carefree sister who follows her emotions and whims. Yet Anna proves herself loyal and willing to sacrifice herself for her sister.

Elsa seems to be the preferred princess since her costume and doll has so far outsold Anna's. And of course she gets the "Let it Go Song." But to me she's cold, both literally and figuratively, while Anna is warm and accepting. And while Elsa has a super power, Anna has to sort things out with no magical powers, just the help of friends. And friends are something Elsa seems to be lacking.

The sisters are definitely different, but different can be good. Sometimes siblings' strengths and weaknesses compliment each others'. So if they can work together, problems can be more easily solved.

Living the lesson: If you have a sister or brother who drives you crazy, look for his or her strengths. Find out how you can use your individual strengths and weaknesses to help each other.
Key verse: Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:13-14
Resources for today's girls
Everyone Tells Me to Be Myself but I Don't Know Who I Am by Nancy Rue
Faithgirlz Handbook

Anyone have a good book for helping siblings get along?

And for all the princesses in your life:

See it here

So, this is my list of princesses and my own version of their stories. Some princess are stereotypical and some are spunky. Some do exactly as they're told, others disobey but have a happy ending anyway. They are loving, kind, brave, and sacrificial. But some also have wrong values and wrong means to get what they want. So the question is, are they positive role models for our girls or not? What positive and negative values do you think they teach?

Who is your favorite princesses? Has that changed as each new movie is released?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Jasmine and My Adventure

How it started: Jessica and I are writing an underwater crime scene investigation series for teens. She is a diver, I was not. 

I decided to take a two hour intro to scuba class to get a feel for it. I have never tried it before because I am somewhat claustrophobic, and I do not breath well through my nose. When doing snorkeling as a lifeguard I was not able to clear my mask. But I figured I could handle this intro class.
 The class is for anyone ages 8 and up. So Jasmine and Kaleb agreed to try it with me.

Chase helping me out. He's 21. His older brother Mike also works at the shop.

 I figured Jasmine would be very fearful and not able to complete it. She struggles with fear a lot. (I wonder if that is genetic?) Anyway, I was wrong. Jasmine did fine, and Kaleb panicked. 

We were only in six foot deep water, but he would not stay under. Every time we went down, he gave the up signal and popped up. We were able to complete clearing our masks and regulators, which were the only two required skills, in about three feet water, but that was it. We were not able to actually do the dive part (the deepest would have been seven feet) due to Kaleb. 

That is okay. That just means he is not ready to scuba dive. Kids 10 and up can get their junior basic PADI certification.
John, Jasmine, Chase and Alex

After the two hour intro, Jasmine and I went over to the shop and signed up to start basic the next day. I was so surprised she actually wanted to do it. This is the child who clings to me when we snorkel.

We started by watching a couple of intro videos at the shop, and then we went to a pool to work on basic skills.

The class is set up so you can do it three consecutive days, but that would not work for us. It meant testing out on all the skills the first time in the pool. And three days was definitely not enough time to read the whole manual and be ready to test. So we set up to do it four weekends in a row. Two at the pool and two open water.
Second week in the pool. We repeated the skills from the previous week and all the new ones.
We had to flood our mask and clear it under water, take off the mask and leave it off a full minute underwater breathing only through our mouths with the regulator and finally swim the length of the pool with no mask breathing only through our mouths. I was afraid my nose would get mixed up, and I'd breath through my nose. But that didn't happen. It was like my body was programmed to stop breathing through my nose when I pulled the mask off.

We had to do regulator recovery and buddy breathing, and take off all the gear and put it back out underwater 
 The third week we did our controlled open water dives. I had the lighting set wrong on my new underwater camera. (I was able to get the camera thanks to my brother) So the pictures were red. It was set for deep water and you lose color there so it adds the red. But in the shallower water, all my pictures were tinted red.

Today were our official open water dives. However, the current was really bad, and it was red flag so we couldn't go "over the wall" (jetties) so couldn't go to 40 feet. However, we were able to go deep enough on both dives to certify and stay down over 25 minutes each dive.
 Jasmine and Alex. He was really sweet with her. He's 25 and has a six year old step daughter. He let her hold his hand some of the time.

 Jasmine and Alex
 Alex trying to do a three way selfie. Jasmine didn't realize so didn't look that way.

 Jasmine and me somewhere between 12 and 20 feet deep

Jasmine had trouble with her ears, so I need to get an appointment for her. We both certified, but Alex wants to do one more dive with Jasmine next week to see if her ears will clear better.

Kaleb gets to redo the intro class for free since he freaked out on the last one. I have signed Kayla up to do it with him. She doesn't know that. I don't want her to sabotage.

Who knows. If everyone else is going to be diving, maybe Rick and I will rent tanks and do our first together dive. He hasn't been diving in almost ten years! Tyler either, but he's not home for another few weeks. 

And of course Jessica can no longer dive until she has the baby.

So that's the brief version of our adventure.

What is one activity you share as a family? What have you done that has been out of your comfort zone?

(And scuba is now in my comfort zone. I love it and so does Jazzy. But that's because our water was so clear today you could easily see to the bottom).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

End of Baseball and Dance

This week marked the end of Kaleb's first season of baseball and Jasmine's 9th year of dance.
He is still scared of the ball. He didn't get a hit all season. He got walked a few times so got to steal bases and score points. But at this last game he swung at anything even the ball that hit the ground three feet in front of the white line. Maybe it will all come together next year.

They all got baseballs to get each other's signatures.
They were first place in the league but I think all the teams provided participation trophies anyway.

Ready for the recital.

With dance friends

With her hip hop teacher.

There's a program with all the class pictures, plus you can purchase a whole page, half page or quarter page to dedicate to your dancer.

There were 56 dances!! So it was over three hours long.

We have lots of plans for this three day weekend, but they all depend on having good weather. Here's hoping!

I'm seeing on facebook that a lot of people are out of school for the summer already. We started around August 18 and end June 5. What about the rest of you?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Countdown to the End of Middle School

So much is happening these last couple of weeks before school ends for the summer. And a lot of them have to do with  "lasts" for Jasmine.

On Tuesday, Jasmine had her last middle school concert, and they decided to have an awards ceremony after the concert isntead of a separate banquet due to going to the competition at Universal. No one felt like spending much more money or having another night out.

Yes, she danced across the stage! :)

Adam couldn't make it, so we  stopped by to see him. And of course he gave her free chicken strips and mac and cheese.

On her way to dress rehearsal, homework in hand. Hard to keep upwith homework when she comes home, changes and is right back out the door to concerts, rehearsals etc.

Trophy for nine years of dance. She has not been a serious dancer, never interested in being in company. She just likes jazz or hip hop. She did one year of  ballet when she was much younger and two years of tap. But then only jazz and hip hop. This year hip hop was the only class to fit in her schedule. This is her last year to dance as a middle schooler. We are not sure if she will be in dance at all next year due to Monday night County Christian Youth Choir, and Tuesday/Thursday after school band pratices. Band meets every day before school too because there is not room in the schedule for band. They are on the block system. 
I hope she is able to take at least one dance class next year, because she really enjoys it. And it's nice when kids can do the things that come more naturally to them. She struggles so much with school, but singing, dancing and percussion are things she enjoys, so I'd like her to be able to develop those talents.

So much still ahead for all the kids, but this is it for this post. Tonight is Kaleb's last baseball game for the season and his party if it doesn't rain.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Busy Week...and This Week Holds Even More

Last week was a crazy busy week and this week will be even more so.
Mother's Day. Rick took me to Chili's in the evening, and by then it was almost empty.
Kaleb had games last week, and next week is the end of baseball. The final game is this coming Thursday and it's awards day too. His team is tied for first place. He is still afraid of the ball. I want him to try another season. Adam is going to try and make time to work with him this summer.

I realized there is a walking path around the pond at the baseball park. It's not where our teams usually play, so I didn't know this.

We have had a lot of shoe drama the past few weeks. I have one child who intentionally destroys shoes. Thankfully the teacher caught on to this and doesn't think we are just being negligent about shoes. Five pairs in one school year.  While we were talking about shoes, I traced feet to check sizes. Kaleb has the smallest foot. Jasmine has the next to smallest foot. Kayla, who is four years younger, has a larger foot than Jasmine. Jasmine's feet are actually two different sizes. That is because on her right foot, the large toe lays sideways against her foot due to missing toes. So she always has one shoe that fits and one that is too big.  My foot is the largest one on the paper. 

Jessica had an exciting announcement for us!!

I got to give her the first baby gifts. (I was ready for the announcement!)

The twins turned 10 on Friday. Kaleb got to pick donuts at Krispy Kreme.

Unfortunately, the day was a little marred by an incident on Thursday. Most of you know that Kayla has had nine disciplinary referrals for aggressiveness toward younger/weaker kids and multiple detentions suspensions. She missed Battle of the Books last Monday due to In school suspension for assaulting another child.

We talked a lot about kindness, how to deal with it when you feel like being unkind (walking away, redirecting your anger--although these have all been unprovoked for the most part--talking to an adult about feelings etc) and I felt like she was listening. Wednesday night I rebeaded her hair and used the time to reminded her that Friday that was both her birthday and field day. The very next morning she injured a first grade child in the bus and got two days out of school suspension before the school day even started. I think field day may have been canceled so she might get that anyway, but she didn't get to take her birthday treats. And she will not get a chance to redo that.

She and Kaleb had already planned separate celebrations and hers had to be changed. We made a big deal of her birthday, but at home, not a girls' night out as planned.

We had pizza, a cake for just for Kayla and gifts. Then we watched movies at home.

Look at Kaleb's face. He couldn't believe they got Kindles. Loaded with 23 appropriate books and parental controls in place.

The kindles were a hit.

Blowing out the candles.
Poor Max was missing for two days and then came home with the side of his facing looking like there was a golf ball in it. He had a bad abscess.

The tube is stitched to his ear. They had to put him under, drain the abscess and put in a tube.  He was born July 7, 1999, and we've had him since 6 weeks old. I had originally posted a picture of the underneath of his chin, but then realized it was a little hard on the stomach seeing it if he's not your baby.

Jasmine hand fed him tuna.
 Jessica and I went to the mall and rode wild animals!

And I bought her first maternity outfit even though she won't need it for a while.
Saturday morning we had a 5K

We all finished. I hate doing a 5K in the sun on a track. Prefer my park! We had signed up ahead and ordered shirts. Everyone else signed up that morning. Instead of sitting our shirts (preordered!) aside, they gave shirts out first come, first serve. So Kayla ended up with an adult M. Next year we'll send one person ahead way early to get our shirts!
Kaleb's party was Saturday afternoon

Then Jasmine and I went to a high school production of "Into the Woods" that was really good, but really, really long.

Ty David and four others from Job Corps were sent to Washington and Jefferson National Forest in VA to help with a fire, but it was out by time they got there. So they did some routine cleaning and made $17 an hour for it. He's disappointed he didn't get to fight the fire, but glad for the pay. Hopefully the group will get to actually help with one next time. He has a chance to get more fire training, but is not sure if he wants to delay coming home in order to do it. I think it should because the chance might not come along again, but it has to be his choice.

Jasmine and I continued our adventure yesterday, plus she had dress rehearsal for her recital which is Friday.

This week's schedule:
today-Haitian Flag Day
Tuesday- Jasmine's final middle school concert and awards reception
Wednesday-full dance dress rehearsal
Thursday-last baseball game and awards
Saturday-not sure yet
Sunday--adventuring with Jasmine, moms over for Liz Curtis Higgs DVD hopefully
Monday-jet skiing for the first time this season if the weather is good. Right now we are forcasted for rain.
Lots of appointments for all three children--one eye, two ADHD, one physical, three dental, one urology (me), two vet (Max)
Last day of school-June 5