Our first snow. Its beauty almost took our breath away. As I snuck away early in the morning, before the perfect blanket of powder was compromised by tire marks, snow boots, sledding runs, and the sun's rays that would surely melt away the big pillows resting on the tree branches, I was struck by how incredibly quiet it was. The snow not only brought beauty but complete silence and stillness. It caused everything to pause.
This Florida girl was so giddy as the snow began to fall the day before. We couldn't get our phones out fast enough to document what we had NEVER experienced and share with friends and family. With inflatable pools and boogie boards, these Floridians braved the 8 inches of fun and soaked up as many hours as we could out in the snow. And then, days later, it was gone. And we missed it.
Rewind to about 6 years ago. I was a few weeks shy of my due date with my first born son. The anticipation was mounting, my to-do list was getting smaller (probably the last time that happened), and my husband and I were nothing but excited (okay, well, maybe I was a little anxious about my "plans" to birth naturally).
If you would have asked me then, what kind of mom I was going to be, I guarantee I would have said I was going to be the mom who never yelled, who never spanked out of anger or frustration, who would always put my child's needs ahead of my own, and would love every moment of every day at home with my kids (its okay to roll your eyes).
And then, I became a mom.
Family Fun Nights have become a staple in our family's weekly routine. Our kids look forward to it as the busy week comes to a close. Not only are we spending intentional quality time together while our our children are young, but ultimately, we are hoping to instill a love for coming together around the table as they grow up.
I am a firm believer in starting kids off young with structured games and activities. They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. Our first son, at 2 years old, could legitimately beat us at a game of Toy Story Memory (or Toy Story Matching as he called it), however, it wasn't until our second son was 3 years old that he became interested in structured games (despite being the very reason we started Family Fun Night's to begin with). Every child's interest level for these types of activities will be different, and I'm not suggesting to force something on them that they aren't ready for or enjoy, but I would encourage you to periodically revisit certain activities that your child may not show interest in initially.
I can't take credit for bringing all these awesome games into our home, as many of these were gifts from our thoughtful family members, but we have made them our own and they have all become our absolute favorites. We don't always play by the rules. We don't always finish each round. But we are smiling, laughing, high fiving, and bonding with each game we play.
**This list is compiled with children ages 5 and under in mind. It also contains affiliate links.
"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Phil 4:8
"When my days are gripped with doubt, and your truth keeps slipping away, God I know you are for me, but it's so hard to trust in this pain"
Does this describe your heart this morning? Are you in a place where doubt has grabbed hold of your thoughts? I plead with you to listen to this song and allow it to minister to your heart.
"For those who are weary: May this song be an encouragement that our Father is always present, always working, and always loves us. Even in the hard, He is holding us and offers unending grace. We can either choose to live in fear or choose to trust Him and rest in Him." -Written by Matt Collins (who Ryan and I had the pleasure of serving with in the worship ministry at our church, Christian Family Chapel, in Jacksonville, FL)
When I first heard this song, it took me immediately back to the place I was almost a year ago, as we were in the midst of making a BIG DECISION. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but I chose to TRUST Him, and continue to choose, daily, that He knows what's best.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
Psalm 139: 7, 9-10
"In Your words sweetly spoken over me in a Father's embrace, I can rest here unafraid"
Throwing "Easy" and "Comfortable" Out the Window : 5 Questions We Asked Before Making A BIG Decision
Decisions are impossible to avoid. Immediately upon opening your eyes in the morning, they begin.
Simple decisions like how many times to hit the snooze button (if you still have that luxury...kids don't have a snooze button...I checked), what to wear and eat for breakfast, and as the day goes on, more come; respond to that text, answer that call, take advantage of that awesome online deal (I need this, right??)...they just keep coming.
Then there are the decisions that should be easy, but aren't, because you're indecisive, and you just want someone else to make the decision for you (that's me).
And sometimes, out of no where, a big decision presents itself and you not only have to make that decision, but you also have to decide what to dwell on in the midst of it.
The weight on our hearts can be great, and the pressure can be high on our family, but if we decide to respond and rest in the truth of the Bible, & ask the right questions...
"WHO can give us wise counsel?
WHAT could God could do in our lives if we follow?
WHEN is it the "right time"?
WHERE is God leading?
WHY is He asking us to do this?"
...we will come out on the other side with a story that can be glorifying to the Lord.
The following is our story...and it's still in the making...
Raise your hand if you love Fridays!!!
I'm guessing most of you moms are raising both hands, if you're anything like me.
Early on in motherhood, Fridays became just like every other day of the week.
I still had to do all the same things that I did every other day, and no break was in sight.
But this Momma needed a break! I needed something to look forward to!
So, Friday's became our family night OUT!
My husband and I, and our little guy would head out to a family friendly restaurant...no planning, no cooking, no cleaning...perfect!
We actually really enjoyed these nights out as a family of 3.
People would come up to us and comment on how great it was that we were exposing our young toddler to public places.
We kindly nodded in agreement, but really, we were thinking, "yeah, we're doing this for more for us...he's just along for the ride."
Then, enter child #2....we were determined to keep our tradition going.
So, for several months, we powered through...
through the crying,
through the bouncing,
through the rocking, the shushing, the nursing in the booth,
through the glares we got from others trying to enjoy a meal in peace.
No one was coming up to praise us now...
Finally, we'd had enough. This was not fun anymore.
Something had to change...but I still really wanted to look forward to Fridays and all that it represented.
SO, enter Family Fun Nights.
STRESS FREE FAMILY FUN that happens in our home every week.
No worrying about meltdowns, bedtimes, running out of snacks for the little ones, or ruining anyone else's evening meal.
Just family time!
Now that our kiddos are older, they are just as excited as we are that it's Friday!
Most Friday mornings, we are greeted with their cheers of, "Yay! It's family fun night tonight!!"
It makes my heart overflow with gratitude that we have these moments together as a family, and as our kids grow, our activities will look a little different...but the purpose will be the same!
We are together!
(note: affiliate links included in this post.)
Welcome to Dwelling Well Mom! I'm so glad you are here! I'm Christi, wife, mom of boys, Christ follower, picture taker, DIYer, chocolate eater, and coffee drinker. Born and raised a Florida girl, now braving the mountains of Boone, NC, I'm on a journey to find peace in the midst of my mundane. Join me!