A List Maker's Life: September 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Creating a Family Mission Statement

Hanging in our entry is a framed picture of each of our family members hand in hand.  Beneath the picture is the quote, "The M___ Family: Where each lives for the other and all live for God." I've always considered it our family mission of sorts, or a charge for the day as to how we should treat one another.

As part of the Family Forward retreat we attended in August, Mom It Forward released a series of ebooks about Becoming a Super Family.  The entire idea of the series is right up my alley, and an appropriate extension to the research I've done about creating family traditions and teaching family values.  Before leaving for Family Forward, I read through all of the books and set up a plan to work through one book a month as a family during the new school year. Inspired by the introductory book, The Road Map, we could not wait to kick off our super family study, and did so during our last camping trip of the summer.  We lit a giant campfire, roasted our marshmallow treats, and spent time brainstorming a family mission statement.  The suggested prompt question we used: What Does Your Family Value.  Kevin and I listened and recorded as our kids came up with this amazing list.  It was heart warming to hear what really matters to our little ones Eventually we will work to put these ideas into a family mission statement, but at this point an eye catching list which we can display in our home will encourage us as we write a summary of these values and use the list to determine some family goals.

Do you have a family mission statement? What does your family value?
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Birthday Pleasures

He woke up much earlier than necessary this morning and hustled in to our room. Hopping up into our bed he snuggled in and giggled, and giggled.  Finally verbalizing his inner delight, "Today is my birthday.  Now I'm 3..."


We planned out our day with the intention of including something special Gabe chose for all of us to do.  He was pretty certain Crazy Bounce would be the perfect way to celebrate...

...and Cupcakes!

He wasn't quite as confident about Crazy Bounce once we checked in, changed everyone into their bouncing socks, and hit the giant slides. Yet, he patiently watched the kids play before warming up enough to join them on a slide or two.  It was less than an hour into his special event when he announced, and his sweet siblings immediately changed back to shoes to accommodate, he would rather go to "Bad Guys and Fries..."

...then Cupcakes!

While opening his presents he kindly smiled and hugged the giver of each of his specially chosen new toys. He spent the most time appreciating the coloring book given by his favorite sister and explaining the scenes and characters on each page while his captive audience listened.

After dinner we lit three candles and counted down to the birthday song.  He started in loud & strong with our off key sing along.  "Wait! That's silly. I don't sing on this day." He clapped for us as we finished and gave his candles a strong blow.

The highlight of his day, baked by his brothers and carefully self-decorated with pink frosting, loads of sprinkles, and an abundance of fingerprints...

...the Cupcakes!
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teach Them What to Carry

Today we take our new shoes out of the boxes and tie them on for the adventure.
Came more quickly than we wished.

Take these shoes, 
Make them fit

Commitments we have accepted in the last year have changed our family dynamics, changed the amount of time we have together, and changed the time we have to devote to activities and projects we most enjoy. These commitments, while they seem important, sometimes leave us feeling as if we were wasting precious time click clacking down the dead end streets.

With the dawn of a new school year just creeping up to the horizon my heart and mind are awake with thoughts of all to come.  Dreams and goals for my three school bound babes. Dreams for my time alone with "the babe."  Dreams of making a difference.

Take these hands, 
Teach them what to carry 
I pray

This time of year always feels like a fresh start,
more than the New Year
this is a new year for scheduling and prioritizing.

Teach me Father to fill my days saying "Yes" to the things most important:
to my husband, to our family
to Your Kingdom.

It is time.

May I pick up
and hold tight,
to love, kindness, and Light.

Take this heart
And make it break

Yahweh by U2

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Summer 2013

geo caching~glow in the dark bubbles~ring toss~candle transfer art~
pick berries~sandy pines~universal studio
 farmers market~exploding stick line~bonfire~nature center~state park sunset~
swim in a pool~foam dough ~tiger game~meijer garden
 picnic in a park~movie in a theatre~pentwater~st.joe~south haven
orange leaf~summer reading club~great wolf lodge
 park in jenison~shell creations~splash pad~zipline for toys~
zoo~vbs~festival~day camp~make sea glass~ao.wa.kiya~captain sundae

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Building & Recognizing Super Families

In reviewing several aspects of the Family Forward retreat here in the last week, I thought it would be most important to end our recap with a bit about the main goal of the conference - 
Building Super Families!

A the sessions, hosted by National Geographic Kids, engaged our whole family in a communication and team work activity to identify our family’s strengths and the characteristics that make us a Super Hero Family!  

After a summer of amazing activity, over-indulging our senses, and spending a lot of time together I was truthfully a bit frustrated with our family's lack of super delightful powers.

The session began with our family reading a series of short articles about special creatures in the animal kingdom and relating their super powers to characteristics found in each of us.  We quickly recognized the lion cub's playfulness as one of Gabe's super powers.  Kevin is a lot like a cheetah who gets up early to provide food for his family and moves quickly on his feet as he works.  Gavin enjoys music as a language, just like a dolphin.  We continued the list comparing our family to individual animal families and encouraging each other with the connections we made...although, I'm still not quite sure if comparing me to the Queen Bee was a compliment ;).

Long after the session was over I found myself focusing on the super powers my kids were demonstration, which I was afraid might have been taken over by the kryptonite that is summer vacation.

Super Patience
The drive time alone was a test of patience for our young children.  The theme parks also demanded patience as we waited in lines.  As engaging as all of the sessions were for families, it still takes patience to listen attentively when the world of characters and roller coasters are just outside the door.  For some of our family members just waiting for the pool to re-open after the daily afternoon thunderstorms was a test of patience.  Their display of patience in all of these situations was exceptional.

 Super Imagination
It was a delight to watch the kids demonstrate their super imagination power as they played in Curious George's ball factory, created toy props out of duct tape, made up stories about each of their special Kukui beads, and entertained themselves on the car ride to and from Orlando.

Super Gratitude
During each of our activities one of our kids would share a random, "Thank You!" "Pinch me!" "Are we really doing this?"  "Is this really for us?"  "We are so lucky to try this."  "I can't believe we are able to be here." It does a momma's heart good to hear the kids express their thankfulness in whatever words fit their experiences.

Super Endurance
Despite the long days, late nights, and a few games that put us WAY outside of our comfort zone, everyone stuck with it with smiles.  

As we move into a new school year, new routines, and new challenges I will continue to remind myself how important it is to recognize and encourage the super powers it takes for my small heroes to shine! 

Your kids are super too!  I know it!  
What super powers have you recently appreciated in them?

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