Friday, May 29, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend

It was supposed to rain over Memorial Day weekend, but thankfully it didn't.

 The pool opened on Saturday, so we decided to go use our season passes for the first time. I've been wearing the same suit every single time we go to the pool, beach or anywhere else the past two years, so I pulled out an old suit I'd worn from 2006-2012 and wore it.

The straps felt worn, and I was going to tie a knot in them to tighten them for security sake but was in a hurry. The first couple of laps I swam went fine. Then I saw Jasmine talking to a friend from school and her mother. I surfaced. Part of my swimsuit top didn't surface with me. Jasmine did not tell me until the mother and daughter had fled the scene. Oops. Nothing like flashing her friend and mom! And who knows who else?

Jasmine is giving the sign for "peeing." She assures me she was not really peeing though. :)

At least I was all tucked in for the photos!

On Sunday Jasmine and I certified as PADI divers. You can read about that adventure two posts back.

On Monday we headed to the bay where we were joined by the Miller family, Jessica and Hunter, Adam and Deja plus Ish and two of Deja's siblings.

Unfortunately, I think the older kids were all bored. Last time someone brought a football. This time they didn't. Note to self: Bring toys for the big kids. Maybe some of those huge water guns and start a battle?

 We had two security type issues at the bay. First, we are in threatcon Bravo, and Rick dropped off the bins of life jackets and kayaks, then left to come home and get the jet ski. When I got to the bay, our pavilion was surrounded by security. You know, like in the airport where they tell you not to leave your bag unattended. But we've always left our stuff to come back for the rest. We register for the pavilion, so they know who we are. Oh well. Guess the ISIS thing has everyone in high alert.
The second thing that happened was that Jasmine was driving the jet ski, and I was on the back. We got pulled over by the "water police." There were new buoys, and I thought maybe we had violated something concerning them. But they just wanted to know how old Jasmine was. Fourteen is the age to drive a boat in FL so we were legit. They thought she was younger. She has driven previous years, and I've never worried about it because I can simple reach around her and take over at any time. She did panic a bit when the boat pulled right up to us with blue lights flashing, and she did not stop well. We talked about that later and practiced.


Deja and her younger sister



The Millers brought a watermelon. I think I'm the only one who doesn't eat any kind of melon.

We had lots of issues with Kaleb this week concerning a project about the state of Florida which was worth multiple test grades in both Social Studies and Language Arts. It was assigned May 1. He "lost" all the reminders about it and "forgot" about it until the night before it was due when the blank project pack fell out of his backpack--over three weeks after it was assigned. 

He finally turned it in today, a week late, still incomplete. Teacher said they worked on it in class the whole first week of May. After I found it and got him started, he would not focus on it, would copy straight from websites and have no idea what he wrote.

It was about 30 pages long and it would have been very doable in three weeks' time. One of his classmates came over to play while some of us moms watched a Liz Curtis Higgs DVD and confirmed they had time to do it in class and that the teacher reminded them every day to go home and work on it. Yet every day he came home, said he had nothing to do and played with Legos. From reading your blogs and fb statuses, I know some of you are also dealing with homework issues with children. 

Thank goodness there are only 4 1/2 more school days!

But Jasmine is in finals now, and that's never fun. Plus next week we have multiple appointments everyday. That's because when I scheduled them, the June calendar had just opened and May appointments were all gone.

If all goes well tomorrow we will all be diving. Kaleb is repeating the intro class due to freaking out last time. Kayla will be doing it for the first time. Jasmine is diving with Alex, our instructor, to see if she can clear her ears better, and Rick and I will be diving together for the first time. We will be in the same area as the others but without an instructor. I wish Jessica were able to dive but she's out until after Baby Woodruff is born after Christmas.

I really encourage all of you to start planning summer reading for your child. And of course I recommend my books :)  We are currently reading The Christian Girl's Guide to the Bible in circle time at night along with The Wizard of Oz. So they are learning more about the Bible and how to use their imaginations both! 

Order HERE

I hope to get to The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book this summer. It's probably the most fun one if you have a friend to do it with. Or siblings.

Order HERE
I've posted about some of my books in a summer reading post and will be posting about more of them soon. I also gave other recommendations for girls in my last blog post about the Disney Princesses.

Oh yeah, and if you have a swim suit "oops" story to make me feel better about flashing the pool, post below :)

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).