Vancouver Family Magazine Blog
This past weekend, my family and I visited the North Clackamas Aquatic Park for the first time. Our kids are just the right ages (7 & 10) to enjoy the "big kid" stuff like a diving board and water slides. Aside from the attractions themselves, I also appreciated, as a parent, the layout of the facility--I could see my kids from just about anywhere in the water park. My husband and I even had the luxury of relaxing in the hot tub for a few minutes with our eyes on the kids.
The visibility of everything makes for great people watching, in addition to child supervision, and I couldn't help but notice the diversity of families attending the water park. Most ethnicities, genders, and ages were represented, but I found the most satisfaction in the fact that many of the women (presumably mothers) in attendance didn't have bodies that even remotely resembled the models on the glossy women's magazines. They were real women who refused to let body image stop them from a play day with their kids. How many times has an insecurity stopped you or me from participating in something that could have enriched your family? I say a big thanks to women who know they aren't perfect, and who play and participate anyway. It gives the rest of us courage to forget about the outward in order to cultivate the inward.
Ready to dive in? Check out a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for North Clackamas Aquatic Park in our November issue, out now. Find a copy at these locations and more: www.vancouverfamilymagazine.com/findacopy.html.
The State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has announced the 2014 Washington State Teacher of the Year, Katie Brown of Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham. Brown, a graduate of Fort Vancouver High School, has taught at Shuksan Middle School for 11 years as both a classroom teacher and and ELL Specialist. As a state award recipient, she will go on as a national award nominee, in hopes of following fellow Washington teacher and 2013 national teacher of the year, Jeffrey Charbonneau. Other national award recipients from Washington state include Andrea Peterson of Monte Cristo Elementary School in Granite Falls, and Johnnie T. Dennis of Walla Walla High School.
State teacher of the year nominations for 2014 are now closed, but nominations for 2015 will open in January 2014. Nominations are processed through Washington’s educational service districts and tribal schools, who each select a regional finalist. The state selection committee then reviews an application and interviews each finalist to make its decision. For information on contacting a regional coordinator about a nomination, visit www.k12.wa.us/educationawards.
The one thing you don't want to hear when you're floating down the river in a sturdy inner tube with your 7-year-old daughter is a pop, followed by a pppppddddffffff-ish sound. It occurred to me, as my daughter panicked and I struggled, mid-rapid, to the riverbank with her and a quickly deflating tube in my arms, that there were a few things I could have done better to prepare for a fun float along the East Fork Lewisville River from Lewisville Park to Daybreak Park, both north of Battle Ground.
My dad mentioned Steve Martin in a speech he gave at my baby sister's wedding luncheon last week. He admitted that when I, his first child, got married 12 years ago, he behaved just a tad like Martin's character in "Father of the Bride." Thankfully no permanent family relationship damage was done, and we all laugh now about his grumpiness at the time. But in his speech last week, he talked about how this time around, due to a decade of extra parental seasoning (and three other sibling weddings between this sister and me), he has felt no reservations about giving his daughter away. He complimented her choice of spouse and wished them the best. And I feel exactly the same way about my new brother-in-law . . . now. Six months ago it was a different story altogether.
- What are your political leanings?
- What are your thoughts on disciplining children? How did your parents discipline you?
- What are you schooling and career plans?
- Tell me about your latest relationship breakup, and how you contributed to the relationship's demise.
It would seem that nothing good comes from tragedy. It's heart wrenching, confusing, maddening, and has the potential to turn even the brightest optimist into a cynic. But consider the good that can grow from disasters. Case in point: Crestline Elementary, destroyed by fire on Feb. 3, has brought the community together in a wonderful way. Teachers from the school, who are now teaching their classes at various other locations while the school's damage is assessed and repairs begin, have recently begun to pick up donations that have poured in from locations throughout Vancouver. Spanky's Consignment Clothing, for example, recently donated proceeds from a full day of business to the school. Other businesses and private citizens jumped in as well. While we wish tragedy on no one, it seems to be the best catalyst for displaying the best in each of us. And a life without witnessing good will would be a cynical one for sure.