Wednesday, March 28, 2007

family fun

In the evening, at some point during the hour-and-a-half between dinner and bedtime, the noisy boys like to have “family fun.” This consists of anything “fun” done all together as a family (or as much of our family that’s home). Sometimes we go for a walk or play a game; sometimes we listen to music and dance together; sometimes we color pictures or play I-spy. So much of life is busy and work-focused. Phrases like, “I’ll help you with that as soon as I’m done loading the dishwasher;” and “get your shoes on, boys, we need to do a few errands” are commonly heard at our house. Family fun is a concerted effort on my part to make sure that for some part of each day we’re simply enjoying each other’s company.

I’m a big proponent of fun in general. Last night, we had fun having a restaurant supper. We didn’t go out; instead we turned our kitchen into a restaurant. First, the noisy boys colored menus listing all of the food choices. Lots of options last night: mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, artichoke pasta, sesame-ginger turkey tenderloin, mexican rice, chicken enchilada (only one), and roasted cauliflower. Never mind that Mom was cleaning out the fridge and calling it supper, the noisy boys were thrilled to act as “waiters” and take our orders. Twin A. insisted on turning the lights off and lighting a candle for atmosphere, and both boys enjoyed coloring a picture while they waited for their food (since that’s what you do in a restaurant). The only thing missing was the busboy to clear away the dishes. Well, that and the bill.

Do you make fun a priority in your family? Do you laugh together often? I’m nowhere near perfect in this area, but I do love to have fun—and I’m glad it’s rubbing off on the kids.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I thought that the busboy did show up. At least everything was cleaned up when I got home from the walk around the block with the boys.

It was like magic!

Llama Papa

Maria Dodson said...

What a great idea to formally add to the day. My son isn't quite old enough to ASK for family fun time. But we have time where he rolls around on the floor and it's can be a great family fun time. The baby thinks it's magical!

WilyHacker said...

I'm rarely idle, and so I find myself often saying "Later" or "I need to do this first." I have every intent at getting better at giving them my attention, but when I am ready to give them my attention, they are very happily playing with their sisters and I let them be.

Of course, it might be easier if I was asked to build with Legos instead of playing Polly Pockets even though I now have my own boy Polly.

spaghettipie said...

Time fully present with my daughter is something I try very hard to do. It's so easy to get caught up in other things when she's content to play by herself. And when I'm playing with her, I try to remain focused on her and not thinking about the 8 million other things that need to be done. These times go by so quickly, I don't ever want to look back and say, "I wish I had spent more time with her..."

I love the idea of playing restaurant. I did that for my parents a lot when I was just old enough to cook. They still recall times waiting...and waiting...and waiting for dinner to be done. Thankfully, I'm much better at timing now!

Your house does sound like a lot of fun!

Craver Vii said...

I'm glad you brought this up. And Wilyhacker's lego comment reminded me of a time last year when my little guy wanted to play legos. I said yes, and we built some awesome space ships. But then, he wanted to role play. That was too much like dolls for me, so I didn't. (Bad daddy!)

I love to have fun with my coworkers, church and blogging buddies, but am I as fun with my own family? Hmmmm... Probably more like chief disciplinarian/task-master.

Thanks for the good word.

Llama Momma said...

Llama Papa -- thanks for dropping by. It was fun hanging out as a family last night! Thanks for being so enthusiastic about a candlelit dinner of...leftovers. Marry a guy like that. ;-)

Maria -- Never too soon to start family fun. Family fun at our house started out as "naked time." The boys would get grouchy in the evening, but we found that if we took all of their clothes off, they would laugh and laugh. So, for about twenty minutes, we'd let them roll around naked. Sometimes it backfired, but usually it worked out okay! ;-)

Wiley -- I hear you. But with a BOY polly pocket, well, you really have no excuse. At least the weather is getting rides, hikes, and kite flying here we come!

SP -- Playing "resteraunt" is a great way to make leftovers fun, and get rid of all of the little bits in the fridge!!

Craver -- For so many of us, I think, the temptation is to give our family the "leftovers" of our time, humor, and attention. But it does us all so much good to do the opposite! Really. Play a silly trick on your kids tonight and tell them the llama momma made you do it! ;-)

It's all about making memories. I still remember as a little girl the night my mom announced that it was simply too hot to cook, so we'd have to make do with ice cream sundaes for supper. Thirty-some years later, it's one of my favorite childhood memories.

23 degrees said...

I heard it said that being mature is knowing WHEN to act like a child. LM, I am lovin' the post and can feel the enthusiasm come through. This restaurant supper sounds great! Naked-time cracks me up—love these ideas!

When we lived in CA we home-schooled and I had more time to interact having my studio on premises. I spent much more time playing with Nerf guns, Leggos, rounds of king-of-the-cushion and sometimes just stomach-down on the back porch racing Hotwheels.

We took lots of trips to Halfmoon Bay and Yosemite, and made up stories along the way (Stinky-Toe Jim, Kooblaka) and filled sketchbooks together of monsters fighting, fast cars, and fantastic air-contraptions.

Mrs. 23 Degrees is very good at keeping fun alive now that I often get stuck in corporate mode (although I have been known to blow bubbles over the cubicle walls with my desk fan.) We tie-dyed socks a few weekends ago and today she shrugged and said "it's non-toxic" as I watched the fruit of our loins gluestick feathers and grass to her face like some native from PNG.

We actually had a night called "family fun night" where we would play games all together (with a 14-year old and a seven year old it's a challenge to find good activities) but it fizzled out.

Thanks to you LM and Mrs. 23 for the reminder to make fun a priority and not a leftover.

Madeline L'Engle says, "We must play!"

Llama Momma said...

23 degrees - I'm cracking up at your not-so-little one and the feathers glued all over her face. She is a free spirit, isn't she?

Fun isn't just activities, either. It's an attitude.

Why would God make laughter if not so we could laugh?

Andrea said...

That is a great idea. Family fun. We do things like that, but I like that you make it a part of every day. It's easy to get lost in the day and go on auto-pilot, and realize that you haven't really spent time together as a family. Good for you for making that committment.

Llama Momma said...

Andrea --

Thanks for stopping by.

I think one of the noisy boys coined the term awhile back, but it has been helpful to "name" family fun. Some days family fun is shorter than others, but we always try to squeeze something in -- even if it's just cuddling on the couch and talking about what we did that day.

Blessings to you and your family!

I need some coffee said...

Mr. 23 degrees said that our family fun night has fizzled out mostly because we have a 14 year old and a 7 year old. It is hard to find things they will do together right now.
One thing we have been doing almost every night is watch "funniest home videos" together. It just started happening and now I instigate it more. We all sit as a family and laugh our heads off, even the 14 year old. When it is over I turn the tv off and we are all in the same room and talking starts, casual like. I don't even think the 14 year old or 23 degrees realize that I now plan this time.
Well, now Dad knows :)
Mrs. 23 degrees

Llama Momma said...

I need some coffee -- Ah, the sneaky family fun approach! Perfect! We love the "funny show" too. So good to laugh together!!

And I truly cannot believe that your son is 14. I still remember him at my wedding, shyly asking for a kiss. Next week is our ten year anniversary, so he must have been just 4 years old. This remains one of my sweetest wedding memories. :-)