Week 4: Creating Family
You've made it to week 4! If you're just joing find get caught up on week 1, week 2 and week 3. So far we've learned how to take better care of ourselves, our spaces and our spouses, and now, now we are ready to bring it all together to create family. But before we get into it...can we take a little jaunt down memory lane? Man, those years of 3 little babies went faaast. Don't get me wrong, the days were long, but there is a part of me that misses those simpler days. As such, I'm reminding myself that in 5 years I'll miss these years. Trying to soak it in. A few snaps from those years...
Baby Max was a total wild man...this was a normal occurrence, scooping him up and shrugging my shoulders.
Other than that, he was a total dream boat and quickly had us all wrapped around his finger.
Liv and her broken foot...I was mother-of-the-year and didn't take her to the doc until the next day because I didn't think it was broken. oops.
Christmas Eve...Scot was busy putting together a swing set
Collectively, this might have been my favorite space in time.
then boom. We're here...with a crying baby no less.
Many years ago, I found myself at my childhood cabin. It was a modest cabin I grew up going to each summer as a child, built by my grandfather, the stories and memories of the place are priceless. I remember making the long drive home & lamenting that my kids would never know childhood like I did, because they wouldn't have Bear Lake.
The idea sat for quite some time and my initial thought was that I'd just have to build my own cabin asap...let's remember I had 2 kids and was still in my 20's. A cabin was not happening anytime soon. And so I thought some more and the more I thought, it wasn't really about the place, it was more about the people & the pace of life. Everything slowed down at Bear Lake. Books were read in hammocks on the lawn, dinner was always on the patio & each night ended around the fire pit. None of those things were married to Bear Lake...they could happen anywhere.
So this week I want you to spend some time thinking through what your ideal childhood/family looks like and feels like. Is it taking in Broadway plays and going to tea? If so, pursue it. Mine looks more like lazy afternoons on the lawn with popsicles. Saturday mornings full of yard work, followed by lunch by the pool. Summer days where we stay in our bathing suits all day & family movie nights before bed. It involves bedtime stories and running to catch the morning bus to school. It's big breakfasts on a Sunday morning and stops at the gas station after soccer games.
What does it look like for you? Begin putting it in your mind. What do you want childhood and family to look like in your home? How does it feel? Who is there? What are the traditions? Keep turning on it, keep refining it until it is crystal clear. Then set about creating that.
This week I'm only going to give you one challenge, that's it, just one. Then, I'll give you a list of helpful ideas and you determine how they should fit into your week and your home. Anything you pursue this week should support that ideal you're working to create in your mind.
Sunday: Spend 15 minutes writing down a 10-year plan for your family....a bucket list of sorts. Think through how old each family member will be and where you think they might be in life. What do you hope your family looks like in 10 years? What goals or experiences do you hope to have together? Write it all down. It can be messy and not in chronological order -- free flowing thoughts, ideas and impressions you might have. Write them all down. Then read it and refine it some more. Adding more thoughts and ideas as they come to you. Put it in a bathroom drawer where you'll see it often.
Now that you've done that, write some things down that you can do this week as a family to help support those ideas. Here's a few things we do at my house that help and support our 'ideal.' Before we get started, let's just denote that the ideal happens in between the non-ideal. You know what I'm talking about, the name calling, fit throwing moments? Yes, those are happening, just ignore them best you can and try to get to an ideal.
Family movie night
Eat dinner outside -- really this takes the edge off if it's been a day
Play your favorite game together -- here's a few of our favorites
Go around the dinner table saying what you each appreciate about each other
Send love notes in lunch boxes
Work together -- rearrange a room, clean up the yard
Invite friends over for a game or bonfire or swim or snowball fight, whatever it is you do
Go to bed early
Have a lazy morning
Bring the kids into your bed first thing in the morning
Make a big breakfast together
Go out to dinner together
Go on a family bike ride or walk
Prepare after school snacks
Lay in bed with a child that needs it -- rotate through each child
Make their beds for your kids without getting after them
Tell each family member why you appreciate them & what their special gifts to the family are
Play an outside game together, catch, basketball, jump on the trampoline
Spread out a blanket on the lawn and just sit -- see what happens
Put your phone away at 6 pm
Build a fort together
Dance party after cleaning the kitchen
Bake your favorite cookies together, don't worry about the mess.
Work out together
As you're doing some new things this week, if you like them, think through how you can create an environment where they could happen more frequently in an organic way.
For instance, we do bonfires quite regularly. I found it a good way to unwind on a weekend night, usually Sunday. For it to happen more often, I had to make it easier. First, I bought a TON of firewood, like an embarrassing amount, so lack of fire wood would never be an excuse or a hindrance. Next, I literally always have stuff to make s'mores. I probably have no less than 4 bags of marshmallows in my pantry -- they work well for Rice Krispie treats too ;) . Because I know I have everything I need, its not uncommon for me to text a family or two and say, 'Bonfire in 15 minutes, you can only come if you're in sweats.' For reals, that is what I text, because the goal isn't to have a gourmet spread of s'more options. The goal is to have a casual night catching up with friends and enjoying each other's company. It has yet to disappoint me & is perhaps one of my favorite routines around here.
Try it and please let me know what you did this week to bring your family closer together. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect. The goal of all of this is to love better, more pure. Be sure you're loving yourself that way. Be sure you're as gracious with yourself as you are with others. You're doing a mighty work within the walls of your home, building and shaping little human minds. It's worth your time, your attention and your efforts.
Thanks so much for joining me on these 28 days...you really made this so fun for me to get my home and myself back on track.
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.