It was not until we turned our phones on airplane mode Thursday that I realized how much I wanted and needed this time totally alone with my family! We normally spend some time on the weekend without cell service but this was totally different and amazingly wonderful!
We spent 9 days on a house boat with 11 adults and 7 kids. Something I just love about having a big family is the fact that there is always someone to play with. When we weren't out on the water playing there were plenty of card and board games to choose from. It is times like these that really rejuvenate my soul. I really feel so blessed to have been born into such a great family, marry into an equally as amazing family, and create the perfect family with my husband and children! They are really what life is all about!
Baby Kate cracked me up, the whole time she was in the water, on a kayak, paddle board, or jet ski she was content and happy. The kind of content where she just phased out and watched everything that was going on around her. It was so funny to watch. Normally when I am around her she is wanting me to hold her, not here though. Honestly, It was kind of a nice break. This was one of the first times where I felt like an adult. I could do stuff all for myself. I would get up early or stay up late and go on a wake boarding/surfing trip and my husband and I got to go out on mini dates while our kids were taking naps on the houseboat. I'm not really sure how to explain it, and you might not understand what I am talking about unless you are a parent, but it was so nice to just be me for little bits of the day. I got to do stuff that I loved doing before I had kids. I always love sharing my passions with my little ones, but there was something really nice and refreshing getting to enjoy them for myself.
At Lake Powell a new, adventurous side of my oldest flourised. She tried so many new things and her confidence grew by leaps and bounds. In the past I have really struggled with how to parent her, I am mostly outgoing and love trying new things, my daughter is just about the total opposite. One sweet mama I connected with through instagram was so helpful and explained how to help my daughter in such a perfect way for me:
There are multiple rings for each of us, the center ring is our comfort zone, in this ring we feel safe but not much learning takes place, the next ring is our learning zone, this is where we are pushing our limits enough that we can learn and grow but fear does not control us, the most outer ring is the fear zone, in this ring fear takes over and learning can no longer take place.
This was amazingly helpful to me, as much as I hate to admit it I think I have pushed my daughter to the fear zone too many times in the hope that she will magically love what I love. With this new understanding of not only the different zones, but that we each have our own zones, I was able to help my daughter find them for herself and find the balance of challenging herself yet not letting me, or others push her too far where she ends up in the fear zone.
While we were at Lake Powell we had many experience that I truly feel have been turning points not only in her life but in our relationship. At one point we were out on the jet-skis, my husband had our 3 year old and I had Jane. Jane was not wanting to go fast or keep up with her dad. At first this annoyed me, I have always loved going fast on jet-skis and I just really wanted to let it fly. Then all the sudden I was reminded of the principle I just shared with you. I was reminded that my zones are different than her and for her to learn anything or grow from this experience I could not force her into the fear zone.
I slowed down the jet-ski, let her know that I loved her, that she was safe and calmly asked her what she was scared of. This was a game changer. I was not only able to learn how to best help her and ease her fears but she was able to speak up and know that I cared about her and that her opinion was important. Our children need to know that we care about their fears and concerns, they need to feel heard and that they matter. It is when we slow down and address these fears that they are able to grow and move past them.
The rest of the trip I could see her confidence grow and her trust in me flourish. Jane kayaked and paddle boarded by herself, swam with her head under the water, and even went cliff jumping. I am so grateful for this time we were able to spend together and all I was able to witness my daughter accomplish!
A couple weekends ago I had to privileged to take my oldest on a camping date. It was more fun than I imagined. Lately we have been butting heads a lot, I can't blame her, we are very alike in, but it has caused friction in our relationship. I know this probably isn't the best to admit, but maybe you can understand and have been there before.
Anywho! It was so nice to get to take her on a date where she had my undivided attention, not just for a few hours, but for an entire day. I was really surprised at how helpful and happy she was the entire time! I absolutely love that my girls have each other but is it so nice to have then one on one so that they aren't as much on high alert competing for attention.
I had my hopes up that we would go on long hikes, maybe out on the boat, or something exciting like that but alas, she wanted to play games in the tent. So we did just that. We played card games, told stories, looked at shapes in the clouds and just about anything else she could think of. I couldn't have been happier. We were actually getting to talk about a lot of stuff. She opened up to me about things that have been going on. I hope that I remember to make a special time with each of my girls to do nothing together.
If you have any questions about the gear we used or how we kept warm during the night feel free to reach out to me.