Earlier this week I shared on social media the sad new reality of our family’s monthly calendar update for April — blank and boring while sheltering in place to combat this coronavirus.
Since about the only “event” left on the calendar are mom and dad’s nights off, it sparked some interest. Let me share these with you and how much I love them! I look forward to my night off coming around ever week.
We started these nights off when Mr. 7-year-old was a baby and it’s been a tradition ever since. The person with the night free is off the hook from making dinner, cleaning it up, and putting the kids to bed. Typically, we are free to leave the house and do whatever we please or lock ourselves in the basement and binge watch Netflix or play whatever video game.
Why once a week? It works for us. Typically we share evening duties at home, and it’s a weekly chance to take a break. I know myself. If it’s not scheduled, I’m not going to take time for myself. It’s a way I hold myself accountable.
Of course, we’re flexible. Typically there’s one Friday night a month that I get to hang out and drink wine with my neighborhood friends for ladies night, so we switch off. My husband recently took a weekend off to binge play Dungeons and Dragons, which was completely fine.
These nights off have been particularly important for my mental health now being trapped here homeschooling and working what feels like 24/7. I think I’ll use my next night off to go to bed early!
It’s really Friday? All of my days are blending together, one a repeat of the other as we continue this social distancing effort. Our kids are officially not returning to the classroom for the rest of the academic year, which takes us to mid-June. That’s three months of a new normal of attempting to balance homeschooling or just generally keeping the kids alive with working. So far, it’s working out with my husband’s support. I don’t know what we’ll do when he has to go back to the office.
But, for now, it’s Friday. My family is all together and healthy. The weather is beautiful. And there’s two days on the horizon that I can just focus on the family instead of work too.
With every event under the sun cancelled for the foreseeable future, all neighborhood and family egg hunts have been called off as well. We’ve had our own egg hunts throughout the house, but then decided to start spreading the love to our neighbors. We took all of the supplies we had of little Easter toys and stuffed them in the couple of dozen eggs we had around the house.
We then spent the afternoon hiding them in a couple of neighbors’ front yards. We even got to watch (from a safe distance) some of the kids go on their hunts because my kids were caught hiding the eggs. Apparently, my kids are impossibly loud, making it difficult to sneakily hide eggs.
Anyway, it was fun and hopefully brought some joy to the neighborhood. I know my kids enjoyed it!
The coronavirus is dominating the news and watercooler conversations these days. I’ve generally been keeping my head down and not worrying about something I can’t control (Though I did have the whole family using tons of hand sanitizer when we were in the ER last weekend.)
Apparently it’s been a topic of conversation among the kids at school though. Mr. 7 Year Old is my anxious kid as it is, and the news of the coronavirus reaching the US has bothered him. And then I saw this comic come across my social media newsfeed and had to share it. It’s a comic geared for kids explaining the coronavirus. Check it out!
Mr. 4 year old asked this week, “If Daddy wants to play with me and you want me to help you with work, would you cut me in half?” Such a wacky, but innocently sweet, question from my little man. (We’ll gloss over that daddy is perceived as the fun one and I’m the one working around the house.)
It’s not unusual to have these dilemmas about sharing in our household though, whether that’s who gets the treasured “truck spoon” pictured above or who gets to open the garage door. Cutting a person or object in half is rarely the answer.
I don’t have room in my brain to remember if big brother got the blue cup last time or not. I don’t know whose turn it is (and I frankly don’t care), so I solved the issue with a simple rule. Odd days of the month are for Mr. 7 year old and even days are for Mr. 4 year old. Now the kids don’t argue over whose turn it is. Instead, they see that they disagree on something and ask what day it is. The victor celebrates the win while the other pouts but quickly moves on. (And, bonus, my kids quickly learned about even and odd numbers!)
You may be thinking, “That’s great, Stephanie, but you are favoring odd days. Many months have 31 days, giving Mr. 7 year old more days than Mr. 4 year old.” Nope! The 31st (and Feb 29 this year) are mommy and daddy’s days. We get to open the garage door those days.
My kids are currently obsessed with these two-minute toothbrushing songs you can find on YouTube. They have ridiculous songs and animations showing you how to brush your teeth, along with a countdown timer to encourage little ones to brush for a full two minutes.
I love that the kids get excited to brush their teeth with these songs and will follow along with the video to get every section of their mouths. Mind you, I’m dealing with one of my kids who, as a toddler, I basically had to tackle to the ground to brush his teeth. Toothbrushing used to be a nightmare.
Apparently I’m in the wrong line of business though! I could have been rolling in the dough with videos like this that kids are encouraged to watch two times a day. Some of these videos have over 100 million views!
Tis the season for the kids to pick out and give away valentines to their classmates. Every year I’m impressed by the creativeness of the valentines some kids give out. There’s always some non-food gift in original, homemade packaging and a clever little note, like giving away bouncing balls and saying, “You are a BALL to hang out with.”
But, my Friday Fav is the antithesis of these cute valentines. I’m all in on the bulk, store-bought valentines with TV and movie characters with stickers or tattoos as giveaways. They are easy! And, bonus, my kids love them!
I’m don’t begrudge anyone who takes the time to make homemade valentines. You do you and all that. I’m just not that person who wants to spend my time being crafty in this way, and I have no guilt in “outsourcing” the creation of valentines and buying the store-bought ones.
Living an intentional life is not about all work and no play. It’s about making time for play and really enjoying the time our family has together. That’s one of the reasons I love family movie nights.
About once a week, during the cold winter months, we have a family movie night either Friday or Saturday night. I love snuggling with my family under a blanket with a slice of pizza to watch a feel-good, family movie. Our kids are a hoot to watch with though because anything suspenseful is immediately “scary.” They really get into the shows we watch, and they’ve been a good avenue for us to discuss different characters’ perspectives and motivations.
The trick is, I am not the kind of person who can watch the same movie over and over again, so I’m always on the lookout for good movies to watch as a family. Lately we’ve been on a live-action kick, watching movies that my husband and I grew up watching. We’ve seen Rookie of the Year, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Freaky Friday.
I’m on the hunt for more entertaining, family-friendly movies, so let me know which ones you’d suggest for easily scared four and six year olds. So far we’ve stayed away from Ghostbusters and the Marvel universe, though we’re super excited to show them these movies when they are a bit older. What do you suggest?