Adventure with Engagement AWE · Family travel · Perfecting Dysfunction

1000 Words or Less

Every family trip photograph deserves a comment.  “In 1000 words or less, tell us about this photo.”    A 2-D shot doesn’t begin to tell the story of what’s being said while that photo is being captured. And unless you use descriptions, you cannot see the whole story.  Our videographer’s photo of Tyler and Trenton in the Roman Forum tell the story of how sick the boys got of being photographed.  This was allowable contempt, because the guys are mostly so respectful.

forum boys

Traveling through the marble and bronze antiquities of Rome,  gave us entirely new ways of looking at things, thanks to the boys’ reactions.

The photo below shows Romulus and Remus, twin brothers given credit for the beginnings of Rome, who were supposedly abandoned by their father by the Tiber River around 750 BC.   It is said female wolf raised the boys.  Romulus killed Remus in a family squabble so the city was named for him:  Rome, not Reme.

romulus remusThankfully the boys kept their comments on Romulus/Remus statue to themselves.  But their ‘eye rolls’ and stifled giggles were unforgettable.

funnt sculptureWhen somebody offered to take my photo in front of the Vatican sculpture of the priest Laocoön and His Sons being killed by sea serpents, I overheard this comment: “This is a church.  Why don’t they put some clothes on those things?”

And no matter how Ron and I tried to educate them with interesting facts about Michaelangelo’s 17-foot marble sculpture of David, we still fielded the kid’s hysterical one-liners.

Forum parkThe 1000-words or less photo capture Colton utilizing his keen business skills as he came up with the money-making Roman Forum idea: “Make this grassy area into a Jolly Jump Inflatable Playground for kids to enjoy while the parents walk around looking at the really old stuff.”

Whoever said ‘children should be seen and not heard’ was WRONG!!

Every photo deserves a comment.  1000 words or less.  Or more.  Your choice!

Dawn

 

Adventure with Engagement AWE · Family travel · Parenting

The Almafi Acci-dent

My dad can bench press 350.

Nuh, uh!!

Uh Huh!!!

My dad can rip the top off a camper without losing his cool.

. . . . . you win.

When a parent commits to 180 full-time days with your kids touring the world, you open yourself to 5K resolution.  Intense scrutiny.   Errors.  All amplified!  You’re watching your kids every moment; but even scarier, they are watching you!

Ron, the boys, a videographer and I were traveling in a 25’ rental camper, down the very narrow Almafi Coast road. Our camper was sucking wind going uphill and we were  carefully governing our weight going downhill, causing a traffic problem.

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The Italian’s drive small, fast cars for a reason.  They are not known for their patience, nor do they bridal their passions.  We were getting the benefit of horns, hand gestures and passionate verbal assaults. Ron considerately would pull over from time to time, and let the cars behind zoom by before he headed out again.   But this is very difficult on  the Almafi Coast highway which is exactly 2-lanes wide with no shoulders or pull-offs.

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In order to let some very colorful Italians by, Ron pulled off and in haste failed to see the large restaurant awning just above us.  Ripping metal is a sound you never forget.

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 Tyler looked up at what used to be the camper skylight and ceiling and now was clear sky and said: “Oh no. . . dad’s not going to like this.”

skylight

Where there once was an awning and a skylight

Stepping out of the camper to assess the damage, Ron faced an angry restaurant owner screaming in his face and the Almafi Coast Fire Department and Police asking questions.  One lane had closed which allowed the travelers more time to do their drive-by smirk.  And there stood my husband, under the scrutiny of strangers and the watchful eyes of his three boys and wife, in total control and composure as he watched the awning being extracted from the top of his rental camper.

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The roadside restaurant after the Hirn Family visit!

men after accidentSilence after humiliation is salve for the soul.

Ron showed us all his interpretation of true strength.  Nothing you can say to your kids will teach them more than your example.

I like the quote by Dave Willis:  “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.”

Double-check your behavior.  Your kids are!

Dawn

Family · Parenting

Mothers vs. Motherboards

Motherboards, made up of silicon components, are the main circuit control boards within a computer.

Mothers are made of flesh and blood, patience and love for the purpose of control within her family.   (Silicone components are optional.)   

Simply said, a computer’s motherboard connects all its other parts together.

A mother connects all of the family parts together.

Everything that makes a computer work:  CPU, RAM, hard disk etc.,  are processed through the motherboard.

Everything that makes a family work:  schedules, dirty clothes and diarrhea, homework and healthcare,  food and fun, social directing and safety,  taxi service and transport,  are processed through the mother.  

A motherboard turns a pile of components into a computer.  It cannot adapt to change without reprogramming.

A mother turns a pile of components into a family.  She adapts to changes, no reprogramming necessary.

You can’t hug a motherboard.  A motherboard doesn’t laugh, cry, cheer you on, correct you when you mess up.   But on the plus side,  a motherboard doesn’t get eye-rolls and ‘lip’ when she routes one of her components in an undesirable direction.

road school 2

road schoolStrict road school schedules.

A mother is usually softer and more attractive than a motherboard.  She can change her appearance but her heart keeps the link between her and her components strong.

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Dawn & Colton -London

A motherboard is built for absolute control.  A mother knows she will never be completely in control of another human being; but, she leads  by example and gives it her best as only she knows how.  She has been given an internal power beyond technology:  Love.

And love is more powerful than any computer that has ever been or will be built.

Takes the byte out!

Dawn

Parenting · Perfecting Dysfunction

Camera

One of the greatest reasons to travel with your kids is the time you get to spend knowing them.  One of the worst reasons to travel with your kids is the time you get to spend knowing them!   For the good and the bad of it, there is an adventure in finding out what is on your kid’s mind.  And one thing for sure:  teenagers rarely tell you what you don’t want to hear.

There is a subtle way around information gathering — and I’m not talking about dogging your teens on SnapChat, Instagram or Twitter.  Give them a camera. When we traveled the world, I created a ‘road’ school class of photo journaling. Each boy had to take some pictures every day, post their “favorite” to their Tumbler account each night, and write 3 full sentences or a paragraph describing the photo(age length). It was a challenge but worth while. Here’s what we discovered:

Tyler has a good eye for photography.  Even in dense smog he pulled out a great Taj Mahal photo. And he patiently waited for evening light to grab one more photo. (The key to being a good photographer is patience!)

Ty's mom 2Despite how my sign language, hugs, and rough attempt to speak to everyone seemed to drive my sons crazy, down deep they didn’t actually mind it at all.

Parenting lesson #1:  “Teach a good lesson even if you don’t talk.”  We all became better huggers after this world trip!  Take THAT to the diplomatic table!

Food prep in other countries will bring home a touch of reality to any American kitchen.  Trenton’s photos of this kitchen in India, spoke volumes about his heart. We hoped this photo would be a gentle reminder each time he or either of his brothers opened our refrigerator at home to say: “We have nothing to eat in this house!”

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This is a shot Colton took but that’s another…

upside downAnd finally one of my personal favorites which pretty much explained how each of us felt from time-to-time on our trip. Of course, you can pretty much correct anything in Photoshop if you know the problem.

And you can pretty much correct anything in the training ground of hands-on parenting,  if you are willing to see the problem!  If you don’t have a clue where to start, give your kid a camera!

You will discover a whole other side to your child’s vision of his world.

Dawn

Encouragement · Perfecting Dysfunction

The moments in-between

France!  Toward the end of our trip, we were barely in control. Since we had all(not Ron) vowed not to cut our hair the entire 7 months, it was no surprise that it had lost the battle several weeks  before.  We hadn’t come to do the things other families do, or to send home the photos others send home.  And that was a good thing.  Because we were having too much enjoyment out of photo failures.

They missed the assignmt.Some of my favorite French moments  . . . . say fromageWhat’s ‘fromage’?fr. wall walker

Somebody once said: “when you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.”  And I get it.

I know I drive them crazy with schedules, lessons, practices, studies and all but it is how we function.  And when I say “we” I mean “me”: it’s how I function.    I have to have plans, goals, milestones, and objectives.  But we all need ‘free time’ and occasionally ‘me time’ to explore, let our minds wander, and sometimes just sit in each other’s company just waiting for the gems to pop out of their mouths, into our minds.

“What did we love most about our world trip?”  I guess I would have to say, the moments in-between.

And just when you think you cannot get it right, no matter what, the accidental Christmas Card photo appears!

great fr, family photo

Have a great weekend!

Dawn

 

education · Encouragement · Parenting · Travel

To the teachers

Legs BP logoTeachers!  They are the ones that walk beside us, behind us, and in front of us leading the way, so that one day they will step into our shoes and be the teachers.

boys walking holoc.The boys seemed to sense the reverence of these war memorials in Poland and Germany, and were certainly affected deeply by the remnants of luggage, shoes and clothing left behind.  But I wonder if anything touched them as deeply as the talk their father gave them about the concentration camp introductions? (check out Youtube.com and our facebook today for the video)

When we were in Japan, we also were touched by the museums and affects of the bombing of Hiroshima.  But things become more personal when a name or photo was attached to the story.  Ron took the time to read to the boys as they bedded down on the floors of the hostel in Japan. He chose the story of Sadako Sasaki, who was just 2 when the atomic bomb dropped in her city.  At 12, she was diagnosed with leukemia from radiation — referred to in Japan as the ‘atom bomb disease.’  Sadako took on the task of folding 1000 paper cranes, according to the Japanese legend that 1000 paper cranes would allow a wish to be granted.  Her wish was to live. Although Sadako only folded 644 before she died, her life is a legacy and tribute thanks to her friends and family who exceeded her task, raising a statue in her honor, publishing a book of letters about those who died from result of the A-bomb and placing her paper cranes of hope at the NYC 9/11 Memorial, at Pear Harbor, the Museum of Tolerance, in other places of honor.

“At the foot of the statue (of Sadako) is a plaque that reads:  “This is our prayer.  This is our cry.  Peace on Earth.”

Sadako_and_the_thousand_paper_cranes_00Make history come alive for your child.  It takes time.  It takes creativity.  It takes knowledge.  It takes love.  Be a teacher.

Dawn

Adventure with Engagement AWE · Family · Perfecting Dysfunction

Seek the Treasure

Here we go — only a couple more months and they’re back in school.  WHAT??

No one would be calloused enough to say that out loud the first week of summer vacation,  but I know at least one mom that secretly wonders ‘how long’ this 24/7 Social Director/Cook/Supplier-of-All-Needs/and Boredom-Conqueror-Job will last.

But I beg you, don’t let this summer get away without a plan.  Your family needs some time together spent more creatively than at home or at the pool.

It’s summer vacation.  Don’t fill it up with busyness, but make some plans.    I’m not talking about jumping off big – just a little dip into the strange and wonderful world of family adventure.  We call it AWE – Adventure With Engagement, because after all, everything goes off pretty smoothly in life until you add the people.  And then, it’s the wild west and you are slinging around your sassy lip and six-gun trying to control things.

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New friend in S. Africa

You don’t have to jump right into a world trip like we did, but unless you take a step toward AWE, you will look back at the summer of ’17 when you stayed stuck.  There are so many close-to-home things to do with your family to drum up AWE:

At the beach, (or near a stream, lake or river) rent a salt-water metal detector and at low tide push your way onto the shoreline. There is nothing quite as exciting as hearing the sound the detector makes when you find a treasured ‘thing-a-ma-bob.’  Better yet, seed the earth with weird little hardware to be found by young kids.  I know a lady whose favorite beach vacation activity is to plant hidden treasures for early morning seashell hunters.   She gets up at dark-thirty and “seeds the beach” with store-bought oversized conch shells.  From her front row beach chair, she sits with her morning coffee and shares the adventure with complete strangers as they find treasures.

IMG_0803Bamboo Raft Thai?

Make a family plan before the summer is over.  Hike a different path, get mud and gook under your fingernails, climb a hill or a tree because it is there, offer your family’s help to a Camp for underprivileged kids, feed the hungry, seed the beach.   Love to hear your quirky ideas.

Seek the Treasure.

Dawn