Monday, October 8, 2012

30 Memories in 30 Days Challenge

Last week I took the boys to visit their cousins, and together we went on a couple of fun yet educational field trips.  It was so nice to be out of the classroom, exploring, questioning, visiting and counting, counting, counting the kids to make sure we were all together and no one was left behind.

During one afternoon, while the kids rambled around the pumpkin patch, Steve's mom, sister and I couldn't stop mentioning how glorious it was to watch the kids soak in fall.  All afternoon they ran about in the cool brisk air, enjoying nature, exploring, creating their own games and adventures.  Each little person found contentment, smiling, laughing, happy, rosie-cheeked and free.

{WARNING: The following paragraphs are a little soap-boxy. } 

Contrast that image with the typical one of our children being escorted every day from one scheduled activity to the next.  Classroom hours take up much of their day, then it's home for homework and off again to music lessons, sports practice, doctor appointments, and the list goes on.  There is little "down" time for these young souls.  And, when there is a moment of free time, I think I would be safe to say that most kids aren't rushing outside to play or over to the couch to curl up with a good book.  They unplug by plugging in - video games, television, internet, i-pods.  Perhaps it's because they see us do the same, we are setting the example, the standard for relaxation.  How many of us unwind in front of the television or computer? It's an easy source of entertainment. When electronics entertain our children, then we don't have to, right?

The next time you go out to eat, notice how many people sit down and put their cell phone right beside their plate.  They carry on a conversation with an occasional glance toward their phone.  Some even talk or text during dinner. Being plugged in is an addiction. In our efforts to stay connected, I would argue that we are more disconnected from people now than ever. Kids bring their gadgets to the table too.  Both parents and children missing out on valuable time to engage in conversation.

I about passed out when I read that children ages 8-18 years old spend an average of 7 hours per day using entertainment media of some sort.  7 HOURS??? No wonder they hate to read, or can't read for that matter.  If you really want to increase your child's hand-eye coordination, how about some guitar or piano lessons?? Now, before you go all crazy on me, I'm not saying that I'm totally against tv, video games or i-pods, I'm just saying that I'm against 7 hours of it (go ahead, call me preachy).  Why? Well, you can do the research on this one yourself - there are plenty of documented studies out there of the negative effects of media on our children. But, setting all statistics aside, lets just focus on the fact that YOU are supposed to be the Numero Uno influence on your children.  They need you and want to spend time with you, whether they act like it or not.  And, every minute that they're plugged in is a minute of lost opportunity for you to be with them. Every minute you're plugged in is a minute of lost opportunity to show your children just how important they are to you.
One day our kids will be walking out the door to discover all that life holds for them.  We only have such a short amount of time to spend with them, to know them, to appreciate them, to listen to their hearts, to share their dreams, to shoulder their fears, to hold them close.  I think it's time to take them back, both the kids and the hours.  It's time to make some memories, and to make the moments with our kids count.

So, here's my challenge to you: 

My wonderful sister-in-law came up with this one, and once I heard it, I said, "YES! That's Genius!"
At the end of the challenge you will have 15 hours (or more!) of memories with your child/children to savor!  The goal is NOT to do crazy big things. (If you have to buy concert tickets or bags of craft supplies you probably won't take the challenge.)  The goal is to do small, economical, ordinary things with extraordinary love.  Wouldn't it be great if at the end of the 30 days the memory making becomes a habit? A way of life?

Your kids will be a great source of ideas, just ask 'em, "What would you like to do together?"  If you need a few of your own, here's my short list for getting started:
1.  Get in the kitchen and make a meal or bake together.  Take it a step further and deliver the meal/cookies to someone in need of a treat.

2.  Write up a list of questions for each of your children.  Use the list to interview the child/children and record the interview on audio or video.  Kids love to see/hear themselves.  It will be a great memento when they grow up!

3.  Play board or card games.  I know this is obvious, but kids love to play games.

4.  Go for a bike-ride together.

5.  Buy a package of bubble gum and have a bubble blowing contest.

6.  Play hide and seek in the house or outdoors (even the big kids get in on this one).

7.  Make chores fun, they can be positive memory makers, too.  Hide a bunch of buttons around the house in every area that needs dusted.  If they find the all of the buttons at the end of the chore, they get a treat! (Take from the book All of a Kind Family).

8.  Read to them, let them read to you.

9.  Research the most common constellations, then go star gazing.

10.  Turn on music and dance.  The boys love to listen to songs from the 80's and 90's, songs Steve and I listened to growing up.  They just jump around and act silly with us!

So, are you up for the challenge?? I would LOVE to hear from you - your ideas, your experiences, your feedback.  Please share it with us! I will add your ideas to the list each week, and share them on Facebook!
Today after lunch, while everyone else was in the Lego room, I found Henry sitting on the couch using the Tag Reader.  I asked him if I could sit with him and learn something too.  We spent the next 30 minutes together as he explained how you don't eat a sea cucumber, and he demonstrated how he can almost turn his head completely around like the Great Horned Owl.  He also reminded me that if I'm ever on the bottom of the ocean I should not sit on an anemone or it will bite me. Ouch! I didn't know that he knew so much! Memory #1 happily made!
We have a lovely apple tree just outside of our house that is producing lovely green apples.  The boys love to go out and pick them for a snack.  Today, I thought I would incorporate the apples into their school work. We read One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert.  The illustrations in the book are gorgeous! Then, after our lessons, we baked a pie.  They did a great job, and had fun making something yummy for dessert!
Today I took the boys to town to do a little birthday shopping for Andrew.  Benedict loves sports.  He's so interested in every aspect of training, all the way down to the gear that the athletes wear.  I had a great time walking around Hibbits Sports with him as he showed me all of his favorite things, explained why certain products are great for certain sports, and carefully selected something for his brother. I had no idea that he knew so much! 
Andrew's 10th Birthday was on Thursday, so spending quality time with him, and really with all of the boys was pretty easy since we had so much to celebrate! Steve even took time out of his busy work day to show Andrew how to safely shoot his slingshot.
 Today I was gone, so quality time was up to Dad! I knew he could do it - a little wrestling after supper and some story time before bed.  Simple things, but things we will always remember.
 Watching our Wildcats play football is becoming a favorite family event.  Since the boys are getting older, they can really get into the particulars of the game.  Mom supplies the food, drink and questions.
After church on Sunday we came home for lunch and naps. Then, wanting to take in the beautiful weather we decided to get out the clay thrower and have a family contest to see who could hit the most clays.  You might guess that I did not win.  Not even close.  But, I had fun watching the boys!


  1. Hi there! I am a little late getting back with everyone from the Weekend Walkabout blog hop. Wanted to thank you for co-hosting and let you know I am now following you via GFC. I would love it if you could visit my site and follow back--I would be very grateful if you could. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. OK, so I could definitely use some down time with the boys as we are always on the go! So I will look for the 30 minutes of fun (even 15 would work!). Love this idea! Thanks :-D

  4. What a fabulous challenge! I'm in!


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