Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

My Gymnastics Rings

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

This post has moved to http://www.lifetimegymnast.com/my-gymnastics-rings – please go there for gymnastics updates.

How to Hold a Handstand

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

This post has moved to http://www.lifetimegymnast.com/how-to-hold-a-handstand – please go there for gymnastics updates.

Empathy is the First Step in Making Up

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

This week I found the best video I have seen in a long time. It is a beautiful illustration of the power of empathy to change the world, one relationship at a time. The movie is called validation and is a bit of a play on words – the setting points to free parking validation but the main character validates people using empathy and compliments to help them smile. I enjoyed it very much, it is very uplifting for anyone that likes to be encouraged (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t!).


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I was inspired by the movie and attracted two different experiences that same day which emphasized the miraculous emotional healing that empathy can provide in relationships.

My wife Candice had been outside in the heat (yes heat, this is Phoenix in Nov) with one of our kids at a field trip with 47 1st-3rd graders that day (during her moon cycle), so she was a bit out of sorts. All the kids seemed to be asking her for things at once while she was getting dinner ready and she was trying to tell me about her frustrating day.

I really didn’t want to hear about it, but I made a conscious decision to show empathy by repeating what she had said in my own words – “You’ve been through a lot today and you just want a break, with some peace and quiet.”

Candice instantly lit up and gave me a big hug, then she didn’t say anything more about it – I was amazed!

Later while eating dinner Nickalus (who is 2) came to me crying:

“Bupaheay!
Bubahed!!
Bupaheyad!!!”

Finally I got the idea – “Oh, did you bump your head?”
“Yeaaah…” (as he nodded emphatically).
“That’s a bummer.” I replied, at which point he promptly calmed down and walked away. 🙂

It was as if I waved a magic wand and mended broken hearts with my words! Incredible!

I found an interesting book yesterday which uses empathy as part of the initial steps in the advice given to help people get their ex back. If you watch the first video on the page describing the Magic of Making Up, you’ll see how empathy is used in that situation – though it goes a bit further in agreeing with the other side of an argument, but the essence of showing an understanding of their position is really empathy at work – like magic.

Born to be Free

Monday, October 5th, 2009

We had a birthday party for our youngest child yesterday and something happened which reinforced the middle name we gave him.  Candice had bought a birthday cake that morning and I put it on the counter by the stove pushed against the back wall in a corner of the kitchen.  About an hour later, while I was outside cleaning up the yard, Candice came out of the house holding Hani out by his arms while he wiggled like the whirling dervish that he is, and said:

Hani - Born Free

“This is why you don’t put cake on the counter!”

While Candice was on the phone, Hani had come to her holding the cake upside down (luckily it was in a plastic container he couldn’t open) and shaking it, saying “Cake!  Cake!” – apparently he had moved a chair from the table across the room to the counter right where the cake was in the back corner, then just climbed up and retrieved his prize.

Hani’s middle name is Fungasa, which means “liberate yourself”.  I took his picture (above) a few days ago while he was practicing his Harley style of freedom. 🙂

You can get help finding your own freedom here.

How to get your kids to clean the kitchen table

Monday, April 6th, 2009

First let me provide some context for this story. As you can see below, we have a collection of messy eaters. We leave food on the table after meals because the kids may return to finish it later. In this picture I found Hani cleaning up after everyone’s breakfast (he was hungry that day). There’s a tablecloth on in this picture but Nickalus used to use tablecloths to pull everyone’s bowl to him (the ones that didn’t fall off the table on the way) before he learned to get out of his seat, so we stopped using tablecloths except for special occasions.
Hani Eating on the Table
As you can imagine the table gets layers of encrusted food (sort of like stalagmites) that get thicker over time and become very difficult to clean. One day when Candice was talking with a preschool teacher, she learned about a good way to clean up tables with shaving cream.
All Five Kids Cleaning the Table
I even saw Demitri’s kindergarten teacher using shaving cream on a table with the students so they could write letters in it at the parents night last fall. So we decided we would make a game of it and have all the kids clean the table one Sunday morning before breakfast. We put all the kids at the table and squirted a bunch of shaving cream on it and told them to play in it. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I got a few good pictures.

Nickalus having fun with the shaving cream
Nickalus got some on his face and decided to try and lick it off – luckily his tongue is not long enough to reach. He must have gotten into some leftover pizza before breakfast that day, which explains the red sauce all over his face.

Demitri wants to wash his hair
Then Demitri had the great idea to wash his hair with the shaving cream – which is fine since then we didn’t need to use shampoo later 🙂

Nickalus wants to wash his hair too
Then Nickalus wanted to be like Demitri – or was it Nickalus who started it? I can’t remember. But Nickalus’ hair is so fine that he didn’t need any water to make suds.

Table is so clean you can see your reflection
Finally, after about half an hour of “cleaning” the table and subsequent baths in the sink for at least a couple of the kids (the ones with shaving cream in their hair also got their hair washed), we wiped up the table and it was so clean you could see your reflection in it!