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. 🙂

Advertisements

Date Night

IMG_5137

Tonight we will be enjoying a lovely 2%, vintage 2016, for your dining pleasure. It pairs well with kids.  Note the tie.

Last Saturday night romance was in the air. It was intense, y’all. It was like we were on the Titanic and I was all Queen of the World, and then I got to make out with Leonardo DiCaprio, not long before I disallowed him room on my totally huge raft in the freezing North Atlantic. Very romantic. And yet, our evening was warmer.

Also, I would never make out with Leo. Nope. I am married, y’all. My husband completes me.

Of course, Leo didn’t grace us with our presence, but we had this blurry pic of another dinner guest:

IMG_5138

I am blurry. And furry. It’s how I roll.

There were roses. There were chocolates. Earlier that day, the husband let me take a nap, which is the universal, married I Hope I Get Lucky Valentine. But that is another post for another day.

There were also two small boys who had reservations with us for a night of fine dining. I  informed them that they had to come to dinner in ties. And they reacted as if I had asked them to lop off both arms, and then try to attach their ties.

They were informed, in a heavy French accent (I had to take on an accent. It freaks them out and I get to pretend I’m Catherine Deneuve.) “No tie? No food. Zees is Chez Momsie. Dress code, mes bebes.” They sighed heavily, with American accents, clipped their ties onto their Star Wars t-shirts, and showed up at 6:30 pm on the dot. Right on time.

We had a very swanky affair at our house on Valentines Day, and a tradition was born. I printed out menus (thank you, bad clip art!) Macaroni and cheese was offered as an appetizer. I poured the sparkling cider into tiny tippy glasses and no one spilled anything.

 

It was a Valentines miracle.

We ate strawberries and whip cream, the really fancy kind that you squirt out of a can. I offered table-side service for this, as I offered a shot of the stuff in the mouth to each patron. This was a real showstopper.

And we talked about why we loved each other.

“I love Blonde because he shows me how to play Legos,” says Red. He’s grinning like a maniac. This is all mushy and stuff, which is kind of right up his alley. His smile nearly lifts him out of the chair. He lifts his fizzy little glass with panache. “AND I LOVE THIS FANCY DRINK!” he yells. Evidently he thinks we are all in the other room when he speaks, because the bubbles in the drink had evidently made him quite giddy.

Blonde, the wisened 7 year old, has a bit of a tougher time with the mushy business. He is, in all walks of life, less forthcoming with the mush.

“I love Red because…” We all lean in a little.

“Because he is my brother.”

And there it is. The greatest law there is. We love because we are family. We love because we simply have no choice. We are for each other.

My boys are growing older and finding their own friends, their own ways they want to spend an afternoon. They are, however, still pretty inseparable. And what I have told them, almost weekly, is that they, as brothers, must have each other’s backs. They are the ones going to be left when the friends leave, when the family goes, when we get dementia and go into the home, your brother will be the only one left.

(I didn’t really go into the last part with them as I didn’t really want to stop and have to explain ‘dementia’ because depressing. Also, the one other time I sprang this word on them they kept thinking that I was saying, ‘Philadelphia.” Confusing.)

(As a side note to the side note: This whole dementia thing? Really possible because we had kids late in life and when they graduate from high school I’ll be using a walker and won’t be able to see or hear the thing because I will be OLD, y’all. I WAS AROUND BEFORE EMAIL. That old.)

But I digress.

We spent the rest of the evening looking up the bible verses that the husband had put on their Star Wars Valentines. The husband is super spiritual that way. I just shot whip cream at ’em. But he wins in the Jesus department.

IMG_5147

And then we all tried to massacre each other with a really cut throat game of Go Fish.

And that, my friends, is what I call the most romantic evening I have had in a long time.

I am wondering if it competes with Leo’s?

tumblr_ny80tjYG5R1sig1c0o1_1280

When Reality Hits, Give It a Timeout. With #Netflix #Streamteam

Y’all. Life is hard.

I pretty much fully realized this little nugget of wisdom when I realized that giving birth meant discomfort.

Here is a visual of how life is hard: (Don’t WORRY. No birthing pictures here. I am not that crazy.)

IMG_3748_1

Anyhow.

Our family had a great weekend.

I know, my leader set you up to make you think that this was going to be another post of misery and woe, because there are toddlers in the house, but it was actually not so bad. And I do realize they’re not really toddlers that much anymore, even though I insist on calling them so. And, why was our weekend so awesome?

The Wonderful Husband Played The Game of LIFE With Them for Three Hours Straight, and I just sat and watched.*

The Game of LIFE (this is how the boys refer to it – it must be called, full on, with much fanfare, The Game of LIFE. Much like that one dude has to be called now The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Or, how I refer to my twenties as The Time When I Could Eat Whatever I Wanted. The name matters, y’all.)

The Game of LIFE involves mortgages and buying things and basically putting yourself in crippling debt, and what five year old wouldn’t think this is a blast? They have no concept of reality, folks. Of course they don’t. Their job is to bludgeon US with reality.

The husband, sweet clueless blonde, decided to be a farmer for his profession. Thus, he lost his patience with LIFE around the time his crops were lost in a freak monsoon, and he was left with five dollars and a roller skate for transportation. But he bravely continued. It was his row to hoe. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?. I HAD TO.)

The two boys fared better. Overheard:

“I wanna buy another house! I wanna buy ALL da houses!”

“Is that the luxury model of dat car? Cuza I have no luxury model. I need it.”

“Baby! I have der baby! I’m all married now and I get a baby! Bring on da babies!”

“More! MORE MORE MORE MORE! Must have ALL THE THINGS!”

Screenshot 2015-04-27 10.29.33

Visa. IT’S EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE.

It’s a great little game. It teaches fiscal responsibility, how to deal with depression, and that babies can only occur after you hit the jackpot of MARRIAGE!!!!! on the Life Pod. This gadget replaced the original spinner. And, this game has CREDIT CARDS. For reals. Life just got rather real-ish. Nuthin’ says grownup like huge plastic debt.

I must admit, the baby one really kind of threw me for a loop. They were so terrifying thrilled with the idea.

After three hours, two bowls of popcorn, and rapid aging on the husband’s part, we were done. Blonde had won. He had finished the game with same amount of money as our national debt, plus three children.

Red was quick to point out that ending the game of LIFE pretty much meant they were all in heaven. Wow. That killed the moment a bit (AGAIN! I know, right?).

And the husband collapsed on the couch next to me, exhausted from all the bills and mortgages and car payments and career struggles.

Momsie, the eternal band-aid fixer of the family, remedied the situation with this:

1. Ice cream

2. Netflix.

Boom. All better!

After the boys were in bed**, we watched this:

Screenshot 2015-04-27 09.57.44

This little show is a gem. Better Off Ted satires the workplace in a way that I haven’t really laughed at so well since, well, the husband had to become a sharecropper. The main character (aptly called, Ted) works at Veridian Dynamics, a research company that creates… I’m not sure. And I don’t think the workers there know either.

Each episode of BOT (my acronym. Like GOT, but, not) gives us a glimpse at life, work, career, and just how nutball all those things mixed together can be, with sizzling accuracy.

I don’t often laugh out LOUD when I watch television. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s not demure, which I am, of course. Or it’s because there just isn’t much to laugh at anymore because, well, bad television,

But I LAUGH a lot with this show. It’s medicine for the soul, I tell you.

And if you don’t take your medicine… well then, you could lose your sense of humor when you end up on welfare, while playing a board game with your two millionaire children.

Watch the following. Why? Because it’s chock full of antibiotics, for your soul.

* Ok, I didn’t just sit and watch. I also: folded laundry, graded papers, and wrote this post. Moms don’t just sit and watch. It’s not in our contract.

** This show does have saucy bits, just so you know. The hubs and I accept the saucy bits. The Game of LIFE rather forced them upon us.