16 July 2011

Simple Family Treasures

Life moves so quickly, doesn't it? Our children change and grow a little each day. Our parents age. We age. We move to new places, start new careers, have babies, leave friends behind, lose family members. We experience financial valleys and, if we are being good stewards, financial peace. We lose and gain weight. We change our lifestyle. We travel to new places and enjoy familiar places. It all happens so quickly that, if we aren't careful, we don't even realize as time whizzes by our windows. Don't you want to pay closer attention? To notice the last time your child mispronounces caterpillar? To be aware when he is old enough to dress himself? Ride his bike around the block unchaperoned? Choose her own clothes and have them actually match(We haven't really experienced that yet...heehee)?

I have chosen to not be one of those people who misses it. I have chosen to be one of those people who notices each little thing that happens. I know I still miss a thing or two, but I am putting forth a conscious effort to notice life as it happens, to have time to do so, to enjoy each moment and make special memories out of the little things in life.

Over the years I have created little traditions that cause us to slow down and enjoy family life together. Two of these activities have become ultra-important to my kids, and, though we aren't legalistic about making sure they happen every single weekend (life happens), they happen most weekends, and I know that we will all remember them. These things came about during the time when Eric was working part-time, and even though he has a fantastic job now, we're sticking with them. 

So what is the big deal all about? Saturday brunch and Sunday movie night. Yep. That's it. Simple family memories are being made with these two, old-fashioned, as simple as it gets activities. Today we enjoyed eggs scrambled with potatoes and cheese with freshly baked whole wheat cherry scones (CLICK HERE for recipe). I sipped a cup (or three) of hot tea. I smiled as Lukas tried to like the scones and giggled with Ava after she told us one of her crazy quips. I paused and looked around and found that there is so much happiness to be discovered when a family comes together and enjoys a meal together at the dining room table. 

I noticed this past spring when we were looking for a house that some newer houses are being built without dining rooms. I find this to be so sad. It isn't about the food. It's about the time spent in that room, and it's about taking the time to eat a meal in a healthy amount of time rather than chowing down and moving on. It's about making the most of life's simple pleasures. I hope I always have a dining room.

Sunday movie night is another highlight of our week. We watch all kinds of movies. Recently we've enjoyed Pollyanna, Enchanted, and An American Tail. Some of our favorites have been The Swiss Family Robinson, The Princess Diaries and Mary Poppins. I just reserved Babe on our Netflix account to watch next weekend, and I think we're going to reserve the original Parent Trap movies next. I almost always make a living room friendly meal like homemade pizza, fajita bowls, salad or stew, and we snuggle on the couches and enjoy some down time. The movies are not always guaranteed to be great, but the memories are.

Sunday drives, family dinners and gathering around favorite television programs used to be the way memories were made. Sunday drives cost a little too much these days, but a family walk in the park sounds just as great, doesn't it? It's great exercise too. Combining simplicity with memory making...it is what we do, and I'm so glad that we do it. I hope that I have enticed you to do the same thing. When your kids start asking on Friday what you're serving for Saturday brunch, or they start asking on Monday what movie you'll get to enjoy the next Sunday, you'll know that you're on the path to making life-long memories with your children, no matter what age they are. It is so worth it. A house filled with love, giggles and happiness is something to remember forever. I pray that my children cherish these memories forever and enjoy this kind of simplicity with their own families.

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