Saturday, July 28, 2012

Core Family Leisure Activities with Dad

I try to read the LDS Church News now and then in order to be a good little Mormon and to know more about the church beyond just my local congregational activities. Recently, I came across a great article: New BYU Study Examines Quality Time with Dad. It's nothing earth-shattering, but it is nice to see some research back up common sense. 

The gist of the article is that " the single greatest predictor of family cohesion, family adaptability and overall family functioning was when a father was involved in quality core family leisure activities" as opposed to balance leisure activities. Mothers have no significant effect! Okay, I made up the last part and am just kidding. But it is funny how sometimes studies, like this, come out and their results seem to indicate a silver-bullet solution to our problems just because the statistics can be shown to say so. But let's assume that they/we are just talking about a father's individual influence on their family. It is the core leisure activities (day-to-day), not the balance leisure activities (bigger, planned) that are more effective. So what are these activities? The article listed a few.

Examples of core leisure activities:
  • Eating a meal together
  • Playing board games 
  • Watching TV and movies 
  • Playing sports in the yard/park
  • Playing video games
  • Attending children's performances
  • Gardening
  • Reading books
Examples of balance leisure activities:
  • Eating out
  • Shopping
  • Sporting events
  • Vacations
  • Boating and fishing
  • Visiting the zoo
  • Camping
  • Hiking

It's not that the latter aren't good, but without the former they aren't very effective. I mostly wrote this because it hit home with me. That's why starting tomorrow we're eating out every meal, going camping every night, hiking everywhere we go, while on a continuous vacation. That's right, I'm making the balance and core leisure activities one in the same. Wish me luck! (Just kidding. I would never need luck.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Sailor and an Airman

So here I've been. All of July. At Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. Setting aside the fact that I miss my family, it's not a bad place. Word on the street is, this place doesn't get too hot or cold all year round. The mornings are cool and the afternoons are warm at most. Often there is a heavy fog in the dawn or dusk that makes it hard to drive. From what I've heard it doesn't get very cold in the winters either.

I've caught seen several coyotes and herons roaming around. 

My days, nights, weekdays and weekends are generally full of work. But I still find time to do a little laundry and grocery shopping.

The machine on the right is this old fashioned, mechanical detergent dispenser.
How did I choose my fruits? Every color of the rainbow. I wonder what Rachel's strategy is...
But it wasn't all lonely. My dear Rachel got a wild hair and decided to drive the 8 hours from Phoenix to Vandenberg AFB. Even though she was sick most of the week she was here, it was still nice to have some company. 

Here we are just before going to church. Doesn't Rachel look like a sassy sailor girl? A sailor and an airman. Who would've thought?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Trip to Arizona/California

Rachel and I and the kids recently flew from Virginia to Philadelphia to Phoenix. It is our second time flying with the whole family (my fourth with one or more of the kids). Our first leg of the flight put us along the back row (5 seats wide) and was pretty short.
The second leg had 3 seats together and one by itself (with Olive on one of our laps). I have to brag a bit here—I took on all kids by myself for the majority of the flight. At one point, I got Olive to sleep and was holding her, putting a diaper on Heber with my free-hand (The flight hurt their potty-training progress as they were essentially forced to wet themselves), and diverting Hannah's kicking legs. Meanwhile, Rachel laughed it up with some older gentleman. I wasn't jealous. Not really. Maybe a little. Pictures to follow.

I may have kept my composure, but the kids were nuts! This poor lady in front of Hannah was getting jolted from Hannah's constant kicking. She was sweet. I felt bad. But then this big, tough looking guy in front of us was being such a cry baby. He had his girlfriend consoling him and helping him through this trauma of hearing kids be kids (not even crying or whining, just being a little louder than the average person). I was secretly hoping he would flip out.

Well we eventually made it to Phoenix. I had to run to catch my flight to Santa Barbara, CA where I will be for the next month. Rachel's sister Amanda and husband Jeff picked up her and the kids. They will stay in Arizona, visiting family on both sides.

Filibertos Arizona Burrito that Amanda brought for me that I never ate. We don't get much mexican food in Virginia.