We're all enjoying lots of reading this summer... Kenny is now sounding out his letters and reading so well! And Kas has zoomed thru all the Magic Treehouse books we've got and wants to order more. Stephen is on Lord of the Rings... he can't wait to finish them so we can watch the movies together. I'm on "The Walking Drum" - I see why little Sterling enjoyed this one so much! One of my favorite passages is from the main character Mathurin Kerbouchard ~ a scholar/warrior/pirate with an insatiable desire for knowledge:
"The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen, health and strength may fail, but what you have committed to your mind is yours forever."
So true. It re-lit my fire for learning French. Since it's summertime, I'm not around as many French-speakers as everyone's on vacation, so it's easy to fall into our own English-speaking routine. But we get up each day and do Rosetta Stone together - even though the kids know more than me now, I can carry my own in a conversation. We had one of Kenny's cute friends from school over, and her mom came too. We talked for over 2 hours, almost entirely in French! She knew a few words in English, but I can pretty much make out everything she's saying in French. I felt so accomplished! I'm coming to love this language. It was also fun to discover that this cute lady is married to the Mayor of Crassier - turns out they live on this huge farm up the hill with acres of land - 30 cows, a plethora (Jefe, do you know what a plethora is?) of cherry and apple trees, chickens, the whole works. She invited Kenny back over to their place to watch Rio, and she gave us huge zucchinis from her garden, fresh eggs (they tasted unbelievably good) and fresh apple juice. We baked her banana bread the next day.
I was re-reading Lynn Robbins' April Conference talk and loved how he said "The most important way to teach 'to be' is 'to be' the kind of parents to our children that our Father in Heaven is to us." So true... if we want our kids to do what's right, we have to do what's right too. This was so profoundly shown to us last weekend while camping. We have all agreed as a family to be more careful about not eating sugar... (so very difficult here in the land of all that is deliciously chocolate; yet so necessary, with our family history of both diabetes and cancer). So as we were all sitting around eating our campfire smores, I asked Kas if she was planning to stick with the no-sugar pact (she's probably our child who loves sugar the most). And she looked at me and said "Well I can't FOLLOW you if YOU'RE not doing it!" It was so well-said... I just thought - wow. That applies to EVERYTHING. How can kids watch and learn from our examples if we're not setting a good one?? Yes, it quite reaffirmed my resolve. I've been juicing like a madwoman ever since! And bit by bit, the kids are getting more used to the healthy veggie juice. It's just plain easier if you don't keep the bad stuff around... when they go looking for the chocolate, I pull out the apples with peanut butter. It works. Plus - hello - the fruit here is just out of this world crazy delicious. A friend invited us to enjoy some blackberries from their humongous backyard bush - I have NEVER. Like heaven - so sweet. Here's Kenny enjoying his favorite fruit...