Take Heart: Family Game Night Will Save Us All

stock-vector-vintage-summer-postcard-vector-illustration-106391222.jpg

We have just finished our first day of summer at this house. Here are some highlights:

1. One child woke up at 6:40 am. Never in the history of forever has he woken up at 6:40. But today, he did. I heard him start to thump sleepily down the stairs just as I sat down with my coffee and bible. Impeccable timing.
2. The other kid slept until 9 am and then demanded to know what he had missed, like we had all jetted off to Vegas while he was gone.
3. Boredom is the great leveler. Both boys found themselves tortured with boredom by 10:00 am, and were forced to ACTUALLY PLAY A GAME together.
4. I’m not gonna make it to June, y’all. Pray for me.

This whole summer thing is interesting. We love it, in theory. You know, pools and sun and trotting around in sleeveless tops and fifty-thousand baseball practices, and so on.
But, in reality? My arms are still floppy from the baby weight (the baby is now seven) and the sun gives you wrinkles.

I don’t think my children think this way. They are not concerned about the wrinkles. Bless their unwrinkled hearts.

Red and Blonde are of the opinion that every summer day should be Big Fun. It is my job to vanquish this dream, and I think today did the job.

However, there is hope. There is something called:

Family Game Night!!!!!!!! Woop Woop!!!!

Here are the rules:

  1. Dinner is popcorn, apples, cheese, and milk. Sometimes I totally go all out and make chocolate milk. This momma plays hard.
    2. Games are selected based upon playing time (cannot exceed bedtime) and are nixed if there was crying the last time they were played (Monopoly. It’s always Monopoly)
    3. Dad has to play. He is the comedic relief. He is always comedic relief.
    4. The cat will try to lay on the game board. This is essential.
    5. We stay up late (because we always break rule #2), laugh a lot, and forget that earlier that day one kid tried to teach the other kid how to burp. (Oh, yes, they know how to burp, but now it can be cued.)
    6. There will always be a Royals baseball game on the radio. If the Royals are not playing, then we are allowed to cue up our funkadelic Toby Mac station on Pandora, but there is always a Royals game on. Always. It’s magic.

I know Family Game Night is not a new idea, in terms of fun family activities. I know it’s not really imaginative or has cute, Pinterested crafts involved, or involves a trip somewhere fabulous.

But that’s just the point. It’s simple. We drag out our Jenga and Life, and the other games that we forgot we had, vote on our favorites, and play. Democracy in action!

And, did I mention? It’s really fun.
The one thing I will never forget about this weekly tradition is that there is never any clamoring for screen time, or tablets, or anything, essentially, that has buttons to push. Well, we play Outburst Kids, and that has buttons, but you know what I mean. Our kids would rather just be with US than anything else. We are even cooler than Lego Star Wars on the Wii.

Who knew? I am cooler than Lego Leia who jumps straight up a lot, and can never shoot anything with her light saber except the useless potted plants*

Last week’s Game Night was a rousing marathon of Sorry, which lasted about five hours. Sorry has an apt name, my husband and I have decided. As in, “This game will last about five hours. Sorry.”

f71ac92aff13b381d971bf475413a80f.jpg

Well, of COURSE the British made up this game. So polite. So apologetic. And, evidently, with lots and lots of time on their hands.

Finally, FINALLY, at the end of all the Sorry-ing, our youngest, Red won the game. He popped up, wiggled his hips in a Macarena sort of victory dance, and I considered throwing the yellow flag, calling a penalty on the play for celebration. But, it was cute so I let it pass. And as we finally pried the children away from the popcorn and mess, and managed to get them both into bed without too much chaos, Blonde reached out and grabbed my neck.

“I love you, Momma,” he said. And all was right in the land.

“I love you too, sweetie.”

“And next time I want to play Uno.”
I twitched a little. Uno is also the game called, “Wait, What? Whose Turn is It?” because it makes my synapses itch. All that switching around! Reverses! Skipping players! This kind of stuff is not good for a woman who has been multitasking all day and her brain is tired.

pureflix2.jpg
By the way, sometimes we do watch screens. We are great fans of a movie night, especially if it is also paired with popcorn for dinner. If you’re interested in a great Christian movie resource, I recommend Pure Flix. It’s got a kajillion movies, shorts, and shows for the whole family. Also, Pureflix is partnering with Convoy of Hope, helping to feed Americans in need. It’s a great cause.
* It’s possible that Princess Leia only hits plants because her handler, Momsie, CANNOT PLAY THIS GAME. IT’S HARD. User error. It is what it is.

Leia.jpg

I kill plants, not people.

This was not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Guys, you know I’ll tell it to you true. 🙂

I Know You Missed Me.

Well I’m baaaaaack!! (Waves fervently hello). I KNOW, right? You had it on your calendar that I would be returning this week, didn’t you? (Looks expectantly, out there, to the great interweb audience in the sky.)

I am staring at this screen like for some reason the words are going to come jumping out at me.

My goodness, the words are so not jumping.

This writing thing? It’s not like riding a bike. You have to keep at it, or the words just slump around, like surly teenagers.

Me: Hey kids! How are you? Anyone wanna snack? I’ve got Teddy Grahams.

Words: *eye roll*

Me: Sooooo, how was your day?

Words: Ok.

Me: So… anything else you want to share? I can’t write a blog that’s monosyllabic.

Words: *eye roll*

Me: YOUR FACE IS GONNA STICK THAT WAY AND YES I KNOW “OK” IS NOT MONOSYLLABIC.

Words: *mutters and slouches off*

Me: Ok, well, bye! Love you! Bye! I’ll be here, uh, waiting for actual interaction.

I missed writing. I missed it so much that I kind of forgot how to do it. That’s what happens when you love something and you don’t do it for a while. The love gets all smushed up and then it feels sad and it wanders off and forgets it exists.

Ok, that might be a bit over the top, but writing with sublety has never really been my thing.

So, I’m going to go and try to find some way to get the words to stop playing video games and saying things like, “Like whatever.” and shrugging so much they might pinch a nerve.

I’m going to keep at this, and hopefully the next post will be more inspired. It won’t be Pulitzer worthy, but it will be something.

Something to share, and something to spread a little laughter, and something that hopefully, HOPEFULLY, gives your day a little extra light. Because, that is my thing.

Words: Uh… little help?

Me: What’s wrong? Why are you walking funny?

Words: I over-shrugged. I did it too long and now…

Me: It’s stuck that way?

Words: It’s stuck that way.

grumpy-cat-ii-i-miss-you-fix-it.jpg

 

 

 

 

I Tweet, Therefore I am.

6edf23771437fddb0fb300e25a03c6ae.jpg

Y’all. I’m supposed to be fasting from social media right now.

See? See how well that’s going? This is me… fasting.

Allow me to explain:

When I started the Congo fast because my evil friend Kate suckered me into it without my full knowledge, comprehension, or understanding, and I did it out of the goodness of my heart and because I am totally spiritual and my goodness this is all a load of hooey.

ANYHOW. When I started the Congo fast w/ Kate for our Sunday school class… I thought… Well. Food. I have to fast from food for 40 days. That’s nearly impossible and as we all know I have caved like a Neanderthal about twenty times in the 40 days, but who’s counting?

As God is my witness, I thought the tortillas were going to be it.

But, as Kate has so patiently reminded me, also about twenty times, the Sunday school class does exceed 40 days. So, what are we gonna do for the other portion? Just sit around and talk about how fabulous we were for fasting?

Ok, so along with Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table, we read this gem:

41PSauik+aL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I use the word “gem” because I have so few of them now, BECAUSE JEN KEEPS TELLING ME TO GIVE STUFF AWAY.

Ok, seriously. Here’s more explaining: We decided to also tackle, along with food the other items that Jen mutinies against. There right there on the cover for you: clothes, spending, waste, stress (har har har), waste, and MEDIA.

MEDIA.

YES IN ALL CAPS.

Guys. You can take my clothes and help me recycle and give me a budget and make me eat corn tortillas ’till the cows come home (that we can’t eat)

BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY MEDIA FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.

Here is the very real conversation I had with Kate about this whole media thing, yesterday:

Kate: I’m fasting from media and it’s going okay. How about you?
Me: *leans forward to the microphone* I cannot recall.

That’s a pretty fabulous Ollie North, right? And for those of you who are too young to understand my cheap mimicry of the general and his memory recall issues, what I REALLY said is something like this:

Me: NOOOOOOO. This is so HARRRRRRD. I’m eating rice and beans – you can’t make me NOT watch Netflix TOOOOOOOOOOO.

The wailing, I tell you, was heard one county over.

I ask you, what about all my quips? Where will the quipping go, if I cannot post about it? It will be like I don’t even exist.

Really. How can I live without the tweetings?

What if my children do something adorable? (rare, granted). Or the cat? What if the CAT does something adorable (hourly). How will I live without talking about it?

So, here is my announcement: Our Congo fast and its 40 days is over this Sunday. After that, I will be walking away from my computer for a week.

I will miss you *she waves weakly* Don’t you worry about me… *fading away* I’m sure I’ll be… just… fine *drops to the floor in a heap and makes sure her pose is flattering for a selfie*

Social media, y’all. It’s addictive stuff. I mean, really. If a tree falls in the forest and no one takes a picture of it for Instagram, does an angel lose his wings?

Or something like that.

Now, the only people I have yet to tell are the children. They’ll be joining me in this fast. No Netflixes. No Wii Rockband.

The cries will be heard from two counties over.

Pray for us.

Save

Birthday Boy

Sucess-Kid-Paleo-Birthday.jpg

My son just asked me if we could build Tatoinne in our living room.

Also, I am now looking up on the youtubes how to put the buns in the sides of mah hair. Because Princess Leia, you know.

Also, Darth Vader will be coming over, Saturday. I do hope the house will be tidy enough. He likes a tidy house.

Also, I am now trying to staple Yoda ears to the dog.

Ok, just kidding about that last part but the doggie Yoda ears are sooooo cute and they will not STAY ON because preshums doggums keeps shaking his doggie head.

HE IS MESSING WITH MY PLAN.

Birthdays follow a basic template. It goes like this:

Screenshot_2017-04-13_11_45_59.png

I can’t help it. I have this weird propensity to always say, “Let’s just keep it simple,” and then something in my brain sort of snaps and fizzles and I start creating a Death Star out of paper mache and hope. Red’s birthday is Saturday and I’ve been tweeting at Harrison Ford for TWO days now to make a surprise appearance and he STILL hasn’t gotten back to me.

Here is the culprit behind all this:

d:Screenshot 2015-09-10 12.03.38

The bat costume is there because I was in a hurry and couldn’t find a picture of him without a costume. Also, we do costumes a lot around here. Keeps it real.

But, the cuteness? Don’t let it distract you. He’s a master at manipulation.

I must go. Tatoinne wasn’t built in a day, you know.

hanawesome.jpg

Say You’re Sorry.

 

Did you know? When you are surrounded by other humans, there is often trouble.

It’s a rotten world.

Ok, that might be a bit of an overstep. I mean, we have wonderfulness, here in this world. We’ve got purple Spring flowers. We’ve got funny cat videos. We’ve got chocolate. We’ve got people who are kind and loving and generally peaceful.

But also? There’s rottenness. I’m sorry, but we all act rotten every once in a while. You know you do. Don’t argue.

The other day my husband came home late from work. Dinner had been served. The dishes cleaned. We had “moved on with our lives,” and he was not too happy about this. Also, I think he was hungry, so you know. That doesn’t make for a good behavior sometimes.

Anyhow, he came into the living room where I was participating in my nightly ritual of folding ten million clothing items, and asked, “Is there… food?” He tilted his head towards the kitchen. “In there?”

I smiled and said, “We already ate, but I’m sure there’s something.” And he responded with this gem:

“WHAT. LIKE AIR? ” And stomped off.

The husband. A master at the one-liner. I snapped a pair of underpants and felt my insides simmer.

Now, granted, usually I have leftovers. But tonight’s meal had BEEN leftovers and we had hoovered them. All that was left was a sad carrot stick and some… Air. So, perhaps I should have, as the Dutiful Wife, made him something. Yes. Totally,  I should have done that because that would have been the nice thing to do. I totally didn’t. I forgot because my brain gets wispy after 7 pm.

But also? The AIR comment was a bit uncalled for. Don’t you think? I mean… how rude.

Sorry-ness usually happens because two people are involved. Usually. It doesn’t occur all alone. I mean, rarely does a rude tree in the forest and everyone else around him heard it, because RUDE.

Ok, I don’t really know if that analogy works, but bear with me.

My POINT (thank goodness, I know) is that … Brian felt tired out. He came home late which means, work, you know. I think he goes into that building sometimes like it’s one of those Roman coloseums. Except no real lions or spears or death. That’s a plus.

But, I could have at least left him some applesauce. Everyone deserves applesauce after a hard day at the coloseum.

So, later the husband approached. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m grumpy.”

“Me too,” I responded, vaguely. This kind of answer is totally superior because it doesn’t really elucidate if I am SORRY or I am GRUMPY, therefore I have TOTALLY STILL HELD ONTO NOT HAVING TO APOLOGIZE.

And so therefore…

I WIN THIS ROUND. I TOTALLY WIN. I WIN AT BEING MARRIED!!!!

Ok, now that THAT’s out of the way, it’s possible I also muttered,
“I’m sorry too. I love you. Here’s some applesauce. And I put some cinnamon on it.”

AND WE ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Until the next opportunity for saying “sorry” occured. Which was probably within a twenty minute time span. That’s how we roll.

Also, I must share with you this little preshusness:

IMG_6473.JPG.jpeg

 

I found this in Blonde’s backpack. It seems his buddy had the HORRIBLE AUDACITY to correct my eight year old on cultural relevance. Therefore… I think there must have been an argument.

An eight year old version of an argument goes like this:

Blonde’s friend: Sate Patrc Say. YOU DON’T KNOW.

Blonde: Yes, I do.

See:

YOU. DON’T. KNOW.

IMG_6475.JPG.jpeg

I know. It’s totally got you on the edge of your seat, doesn’t it? This could be a script for The Good Wife, I tell you.

So… Blonde’s friend wrote him a little apology note. Which is adorable.

We can learn a lot from the eight year olds. They get mad, about holidays mainly, I think, and then they are over it.

I’ve watched my six year old go through all five stages of grief about some horrible thing his brother did to him in thirty seconds. Seriously, you could feel the wind off of those stages. He whipped through them. It was awe inspiring.

But perhaps… this just sums it up best.

relationship-love-dating-sorry-apology-ecards-someecards.png

The End.

Spring Break and Netflix. Oh yes, you bet they go together.

 

 

42b9d40d00e26c58e44786c512e252d3141e33c5371bb98411522a1b36d92b9e.jpg

 

Parenting. When what you expect and what actually happens NEVER MATCH.

This also is the case for a lot of our silverware, all of our socks, and my six year old’s fashion choice today.  So, at least we’re consistent.

Last week was Spring Break. I kept thinking I would write THIS post when it WAS actually spring break, because Momsie is so relevant and timely, but good gravy. Spring break nearly broke me.

It all started with the take home math packet.

So, just so you know, I blame it all on my children’s teachers. They are out to get us.

I don’t even remember for sure which boy got the math packet. But I do know that when I spied it, all smushed in his R2-D2 backpack, that I felt a little flutter of excitement. It’s that Mom Buzz that I get every time I think I might have a Positive Learning Experience with one of my spawns. “Lo! Here is a math packet!” I crowed. “And, we shall learn all the things over break! This shall be a break from technology! We’ll take nature walks! We’ll work puzzles! I think I might try to learn another language! Besides Pig Latin, which is so big at our house right now!”

And on and on. Momsie went off the rails on the whole Fun and Educational thing.

At about two o’clock Tuesday afternoon, I decided to put a stop to all things educational and considered playing the Quiet Game for the rest of the break.

Anyhow.

What I did instead was realize, as I have so often before, this wonderful nugget of information:

TELEVISON. TELEVISION FIXES EVERYTHING.

Relax Moms. It’s not like we watched it from Tuesday on. But we reveled in the popcorn movie night (as one of Momsie’s favorite thing ever is her couch, and popcorn, and nighttime. They go together like constant fatigue and sweatpants, I tell you.)

And on those movie nights we didn’t watch movies. Nope. We watched… (drumroll)…

Somewhat Educational Stuff.

Which really means I just picked stuff that I like and told the boys it was that or a bath. So, they learned something, AND avoided personal hygiene. Winners all around. (?)

The kids and I watched two gems from the mighty Netflix.

Here’s the first one, that is NARRATED BY A BRITISH GUY AND YOU KNOW HOW I AM ABOUT BRITISH THINGS:

 

:5d31f49961bc0d9c382348a89e0e5893cc849c9f.jpgthe

In this series, The British Guy (Kevin McCloud) presents to us a strange breed of people who are “self-builders.” This means, they take strange old buildings, ones that aren’t really supposed to BE homes… and they make them into homes. Like, they “self-build” themselves right into an old movie theater.

Or, aherm, that’s theatre, if you’re British.

And, it’s bloody brilliant.

First of all, the builders usually have about five children and are obviously nutty as a fruitcake to even attempt this. But they DO attempt it, and they do so with that typical British cheerful oblivion to discomfort and mess that we Americans cannot even try to fathom. So, it’s like House Hunters International plus Property Brothers plus The Great British Bake-off when someone’s Victoria sponge slides off the table but no one even bats an eye and …oh you get the idea.

But wait, there’s more.

Netflix-Abstract-The–Art–of–Design-Abstract-Logo.jpg

Holy smokes, y’all. People are so smart. Did you know this?

Abstract: The Art of Design reminds you that the world is smushed full of really cool, innovative, interesting, creative people.  And you guys? I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I REALLY NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS.

We watched the episode on automative design. And then I sent the cherubs to bed and binged on the one about architecture, and graphic design, and illustration, but had to stop because the husband wasn’t home and I knew this was one of those Family Shows to Watch All Together kind of things. I showed great self-control and watched only two more.

Or three. I lost count after the one about stage design.

Look, I know Netflix is there for you for your guilty pleasure. It’s got your Grey’s Anatomy. It’s got your kids’ Ninjago.

lloyd____by_forever_ninjago-d7ap3yv.jpg

If you have boys, then you know.

It’s got Santa Clarita Diet which I really want to watch but am also kinda scared. I’ll keep you posted.

 

But, Netflix also has stuff that inspires and makes us dream and imagine, and just zings with creativity. These are the kinds of shows I watch and then, when I’m not watching, I’m thinking about them. They make me… percolate. As a writer, this stuff feeds my soul.

Oh, and back to my children? They’ve been drawing up plans for flying cars for ninjas all week. So, you can thank me later, automotive industry. Two semi-brilliant thinkie types are coming your way.

All because of Netflix. 🙂StreamTeam_Red&White_BlackBackground.png

Walk Away from the Quinoa

Guess what day it is????

It’s FRIIIIIIIIIDAY! And you know what that means, don’t you???

Linking up with my Five Minute Friday with the lovely Kate Motaung today. There’s no place I would rather be.

Today’s theme?

abandon-600x600.png

There’s some options with this one.

I could go all grim and literary and “ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE” ish. It would be literary, I guess. But heck, I don’t really feel like going for Dante’s Inferno today. Life is hot enough.

Or, I could go all biblical and talk about living life with Jesus with abandon, and then providing seventeen thousand memes from Pinterest on what that means. Some of those memes will have a smiling woman with perfect hair smelling daisies in a field, because this is what you do when you start living your life fully. You smell daisies in a field. And you get good hair.  Or, there will be at least one with a kitten trying to do something heroic, like facing down a rottweiler, “with abandon.” The cuteness will touch our hearts and almost all of you would NOT envision the kitten becoming kibble in the next frame.

But I would.

So, we’re going to skip these ideas and go for the best option:

Abandon the quinoa.

Ok, bear with me here. Let me explain.

Last night’s dinner involved me opening a package of bean burritos. This caused me some guilt. I felt bad as I ripped the bag open and all those frozen bricks of poor nutrition spilled out on the cooking sheet. And, as I stared down at them, the dejected lumps of beans and carb overload, I thought,

“I must make this right.”

I know. In the spectrum of bad choices frozen burritos might be perceived wearing white after Labor Day bad. Which, to be honest, I am not even sure is a thing anymore. But, still. Dinner was highly uninspired. So, I thought…

QUINOA! QUINOA WILL FIX THIS! IT FIXES EVERYTHING!

RyanG1.jpg

I was under the supposition that it’s super healthy. It’s the kale of grains. It will, with one healthy spoonful, make my meal so off the charts good for you that my family will start glowing with vim and vigor, and recruiters will show up at the door to enter them into Olympic events.*

Alas, it was not to be.

Quinoa, as my son put it, “Tastes like cat litter.”

I have to say I agree. Quinoa is little balls of despair. If virtue had a taste, it would not be quinoa.

If sand had a healthy big brother? Quinoa.

Sand and litter aside, I tried to make the quinoa better. I added so many ingredients to it that by the end of my manhandling of the quinoa it was whimpering, “Just leave me alone… ” and I was considering adding beef jerky to it. Or bacon. Because, as we all know:

BACON! BACON WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

Instead, I made everyone eat one bite and I acted like I did too. And then I threw the little granules of edible Quikrete into the trash. Wanna know why? Because in this case…

TRASH CAN! TRASH CAN WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

walk away from you, quinoa. You are not worth all my dreams of healthy meals and phytonutriants (whatever those are) and glowy children who are the next superstrain of humanity. I will no longer feel guilt that my dinners, sometimes, are out of a frozen bag. The next time I reach into the freezer for inspiration I’ll just start humming “Let it go…”

The cold never bothered me, anyway.

And now Frozen’s in your head, isn’t it? You’re welcome.

frozen-meme15-1.jpg

*Possible Olympic Events that My Family Could Do:

  1. Nonexistent washing when washing hands.
  2. Sudden-paralysis walking when cleaning floor.
  3. Power-smashing the brother.
  4. Interpretive Dance with those ribbon thingies (that’s the husband. He ROCKS the interpretive dance, I tell you. Ask him about it! He’ll be thrilled to show you!)
  5. Snark.