Lesson 1: The English language can be quirky. Have fun with it.
One day we were driving through an intense rainstorm, and my 7-year-old nephew Peter started talking about how not only was it “raining cats and dogs”, but it was raining “saber tooth tigers and golden retrievers”. Here’s a little video of the moment:
Lesson 2: To remember a new vocabulary word, use it in a sentence right away.
“Do you know the meaning of the word avast?”, Peter asked me.
Peter is a little walking dictionary and encyclopedia, which is very fun. He talks about characters in Greek mythology as if they were his neighbors, and knows the meaning of all sorts of words, even ones that his Aunt Cindy doesn't know.
Peter graciously taught me that "avast" means “stop”, and was often said by pirates. So we all did our best pirate imitations, saying,
The next day, I was pouring milk for 6-year-old Ada, and when she’d had enough, she forcefully said “Avast!” And, of course, I knew exactly what she meant.
Lesson 3: “No” is a very versatile word, useful on many different occasions.
Paul is 18-months old, and is a little sweetheart. He’s also a bit of a tease. He’s just learning to talk, and one morning when he was a little frustrated because he had dropped his water, we had this conversation:
Lesson 4: Often, it’s the small things that bring us joy.
I had forgotten how fun it is to wear curlers. And a tutu. And your favorite color, PINK. Six-year-old Ada and three-year-old Mary Joy reminded me of this.
They also reminded me how fun it is to ride around on a baggage cart.
And Peter reminded me how fun it is to wear stickers that come from supermarket produce on your forehead:
Lesson 5: Live in the moment.
One park we visited had a rope that was used to block off traffic, and the kids had the idea of turning it into a jump rope. I would have missed this fun moment without their influence.
I was impressed by the way 7-year-old Peter would buckle his younger siblings into their car seats each time we got into the car. Six-year-old Ada was also very helpful. Here she is helping her younger brother Paul:
Lesson 7: Express your affection to those you love.
Three-year-old Mary Joy obviously loves her baby brother Levi:
I loved seeing 18-month-old Paul running his fingers through his mother’s hair as we watched the LDS Church General Conference.
Lesson 8: If life doesn’t go as planned, adapt.
We had packed and planned for warmer weather, but some days were downright chilly. One way six-year-old Ada adapted was by layering her clothing, like this:
We also adapted by having lunch in the back of Randy’s car, which turned an ordinary picnic into a memorable adventure.
Lesson 10: A nap is always a good idea
We went to the timeshare office to use their wireless network to watch the LDS Church's General Conference. The office had wonderful window sills, perfect for a kids play area: or even better, a nap: