February 24, 2014

Great Weekends Don't Just Happen

If Harley Rotbart, the author of No Regrets Parenting, did the math correctly, there are 940 Saturdays in childhood.  Each Saturday, I find it difficult to balance the need to run errands, keep appointments and tackle household chores with family recreation. Sometimes I think Tim Rice and Elton John wrote these lyrics about my family instead of Simba's.
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
I have such a hard time reconciling our weekly routines with the premise of Dr. Rotbart's book:  One day (sooner than you think) the nest will be empty, make sure you and your children are satisfied with the way you spent time together.

One goal I set for 2014 was to have a weekly "family game night".  I knew from the inception of this idea that we'd have to move this event offsite.  I cannot concentrate on a board game while sitting in my living room.  While the boys take their turns, I see shelves that need dusting.  While gathering snacks, I realize we are almost out of milk and begin to create the next day's shopping list.  When Liam asks me to help him during a potty break, I note how badly the bathroom needs to be cleaned.  I grab the rags and spray, telling the boys to take my turn and "I'll be there in five minutes".  Twenty minutes later I return to a toppled game board and quarreling brothers feeding snacks to the dogs.  

We did have one great game night early in January.  The next Saturday, after all the usual chores, I was too tired to leave the house at dinner time.  Same thing on the following Saturday.  And the next one.  In my defense, I did have a sinus infection that lasted seven weeks--I managed all our obligations while battling it, except for family game night.  Just when our "tradition" was in danger of becoming a one-time-only, remember when event, I made a brilliant save.  (It's my blog, I can say things like that.)

We are morning people.  Henry is up before six and Liam is not far behind.  Why not pack a bag of games and puzzles and head out for breakfast?  You know, before I actually realize how many errands and chores must be accomplished on my "day off".  

As you can see, the inaugural Family Fun Brunch was a hit!  Technically, it was during early breakfast hours but 'family fun breakfast' just doesn't have the same ring to it.  We played Spot It! and Scrabble Junior.  We also read Rescue Bunnies, a new picture book by one of our favorite authors, Doreen Cronin.  (One day I'll tell you how we've been skipping bedtime stories at least twice each week due to FES--Family Exhaustion Syndrome.)

Afterwards we ran two quick errands and then headed home for a much anticipated science activity.  Henry had been asking to create this colloid (aka Blue Goo) all week long.

In a former life, I was a preschool teacher.  Apparently having spent the past thirteen years in a middle school classroom, I've forgotten a few things.  Such as, it's best to use plastic mixing bowls during hands-on activities. 

The boys thought it was fun that I made them sit on top of the table while I cleaned up the floor.  What I do remember from my early childhood training is how important it is to always have a mega size roll of paper towels handy and, more importantly, if at first you don't succeed, to try, try again.

As if Saturday wasn't filled with enough fun, on Sunday we had a birthday party for Henry--eight friends joined him for pizza and cupcakes that were created by the talented daughter of a good family friend.  A great way to finish our weekend, if I do say so myself.


  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Family Fun Brunch idea. I might have to steal that myself. I've come to the conclusion that I'm a much better hands-on parent when we are out of the house because I also see the laundry that needs to be folded, the dishes that need to be done...

    I have a friend who had a family tradition that I've always wanted to do and I think I need to just get it started. They always had "Nibble Night" on Friday. Appetizers and the like in the living room instead of a more formal meal at the dinner table. I'm a sucker for appetizer type food so in addition to being fun, I would enjoy the opportunity for a different meal option! I'm not sure I can pull off Friday night but I could manage for Saturday or Sunday I think.

  2. I never would have thought to have a games night, (err or games brunch) at a restaurant but what a genius idea!!

    I have been trying to have 1 weekend day be for errands, etc & 1 for fun...doesn't always work...but does a lot.

  3. I love the idea of game morning bunch.. Its all in the idea of being flexible and what works for your family.
    I love that they have child scrabble JR now.. Wish they would have had that when I was a kid.. Do the
    boys ever play checkers? A game for two but can get competitive.. LOL
    I LOVE your video..Thanks so much for sharing that moment!