Family Friday: Another sprinkler Friday

Yes, today we spent the evening letting the kids run through the sprinkler again. And why wouldn’t we? The weather is perfect, the family time is ideal. When things align, we go for it!

In the summer the sprinkler can be one of the simplest pleasures for children. And while, as parents, we might initially resist because we may feel pulled to do something else, it is really an enjoyable thing for us too. If you are ready to run through the sprinkler yourself, your kids will think it’s awesome and hilarious. If you choose to sit and watch, your children will enjoy having an audience and will ask you to watch all their new tricks.

Today our two oldest kids were granted the opportunity to spend the day with their grandparents. This meant they were exhausted when we picked them up, but they wanted so badly to play in the sprinkler. Additionally, since our youngest had to spend his day with boring mama, he was so ready to play with his siblings. So we got them changed and set them all loose in the backyard. Our youngest was so excited to play in the water, and kept going despite his shivers. It was adorable!

My hubby and I sat there and watched them galavant through the sprinkling water. We heard countless “watch this” calls, and shouts of excitement. We laughed many times watching all of them enjoy their time.

I encourage you, before your summer runs out, take a little time, regularly. Let the kids be kids, and play in the water. It will make their souls sing, and will create so many lasting memories. Go jump through that sprinkler!

Family Friday: Let’s talk firework safety

On this Family Friday I feel my nursing education and emergency department background shining through. As well as everything I learned from my childhood years of watching my dad as a firefighter and paramedic. Today I want to talk about the important stuff we try to ignore this time of year.

Fire and firework safety is often overlooked in an urgent desire to have fun and celebrate. But all too often skipping these reminders can be detrimental and have lasting effects. So today I put my motherly nursing hat on to share some reminders as you prepare to have a blast this weekend!

1. Children should NEVER light fireworks. Until you are older than 21, sometimes 25, you don’t have the cognitive ability to really think of safety over enjoyment and showing off your “skills” for others. There is no clear understanding of when the firework might fail, or when it might be a slow reactor. Also, special awareness is limited in children and teenagers, with the desire to get much closer than ever necessary.

2. Have your kids stay a safe distance from all fireworks! Do not let them run around on the street. Have them sit in their chairs or at a safe distance for watching. Don’t expect your children will automatically know this either. Talk to them, explain that the beauty can also be dangerous, and fireworks are for watching only.

3. Lead by example – don’t tamper with potentially failed fireworks. If the firework isn’t working the way it should, stay away. Simple as can be. And after quite some time, 10 minutes at least, approach after spraying it down and dunk it in a bucket of water where it can remain for the night.

4. Alcohol and fire do not mix! Obviously I cannot convince the world to not drink alcohol on the 4th of July. But, I encourage a safe limit to avoid inebriation. Also, do not put alcohol near fire. It will lead to further explosions that will result in massive burns.

5. Keep a bucket of water available and a hose on and ready. You can even be extra cautious by spraying down your lawn, plants, brush, house, whatever can lead to fire spread should a firework go wrong.

6. Sparklers are not for young children. They do not understand that fire cannot be touched, and cannot understand it has to be let go when too hot to hold.

7. Mortars are not for neighborhoods, nor for people who don’t have training in pyrotechnics. Yes, I realize this is a point of contention, but it is reality. Many injuries come from the misuse of fireworks. Just as many house fires come from those who shoot off mortars in neighborhoods without the proper equipment.

8. Burns need immediate care. If you get burned and there’s a break in your skin, go be seen by a medical professional.

9. Protect yourself and protect your children. If you are unsure about something, don’t do it. If you feel a sense of hesitancy, listen to it.

10. Have fun. Be safe. Make great memories!

Family Friday: Splash party

There are many forms of Family Friday, from movie night to pizza night. But the great thing about Family Friday is there are 52 each year, which allows for variations. Some may be planned, others may be spontaneous.

This Family Friday I am talking about fun in the hot summer sun (even if the heat doesn’t last, because likely it won’t). And a little time to let the kids have a wild and crazy splash party, because it brings them joy. And when they are happy, well, our parenting souls smile.

Today we had a splash party! We blew up our little pool and let our kids splash, play, have water gun fights, and eat outdoor snacks all day. They loved it!

What an amazing gift to watch your children experience the same amazing times you did as a kid. To just soak up all that summer and childhood has to offer.

I heard several times today, “This is the best day ever!” Anytime a kid says that, you know it’s a good day! And with COVID limiting our outings, we have to make our own exciting adventures at home.

Cheers to a great Family Friday! I do hope you had a wonderful one.

Family Friday: End the school year with a bang

Well, today was the last day of school for our kids here in Washington. Yes, even though we have been home for months, it was a milestone worth celebrating. And just like that, we have a first grader!

J’s school had a reverse parade for all the elementary students. So we loaded up in the car, rolled down our windows and drove through the school parking lot at snail’s pace to wave to the faculty. The masked teachers waved and shouted, surrounded by balloons and bubbles. It was fun and yet, so surreal.

I think with offering education at home we can forget to take time to celebrate these milestones. So today I’m offering the reminder to have a little family happy dance.

This year we celebrate our children moving forward. But we also celebrate navigating the unknown, learning how to homeschool while managing our own career stresses. We shared our vulnerabilities in navigating a pandemic, then a revolutionary movement. And we grew as families all over our nation.

Remember an all too famous quote, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. Thanks to Kelle Clarkson we can even sing this quote and dance along. But this is so true! We are stronger than we have ever been.

This Family Friday, make time to celebrate all your successes, big and small. Give your kiddos a high five and hug, because they have learned how to embrace change well. You have all done a great job!

Family Friday: Make funny faces

I think some of the best memories come from making funny faces with our kids. They are so expressive! And they love to be silly.

Sometimes we just need to have little moments to bring enjoyment and happiness into our lives. Moments don’t need to be grand or take a lot of planning or time. They just need to be genuine. And making silly faces at each other is a good way to strike up an entertaining moment where you can also connect with your child or children.

Have you noticed how people will engage in conversation on social media regarding a kiddo making silly faces? How about those baby GIFs that make us all laugh? It is because we all enjoy the silly moments and the expressions that bring joy. So why not incorporate it into your days with your kiddos?

This week, try to have some silly face contests. Or moments of making funny faces at each other. You will create some good memories and connect with your kids. No matter how silly, you will feel great. In fact, the sillier the better!

Family Friday: When frustration sets in – recenter

Do you ever have weeks that just knock you down a little each day? And when Friday hits you suddenly realize you are snapping at your kids because they asked for something simple, like a glass of water?

This was the truth in our home this week. Usually it is either my husband or me, as if we take invisible turns with rationale and frustration. But this week has gotten to us both. At dinner I felt us both getting frustrated for no reason. And when our oldest turned to me and asked, “Why does Dad always say no?” I realized we needed to switch course immediately.

Thankfully me and my husband are comfortable with pointing out our pain points. We have created a safe zone where we can call each other out so we can immediately recollect ourselves and move forward better. I pulled my husband aside and told him we were both being too short with the kids and saying no without actual reason. And together we redirected our course to better behavior.

If you experience hard days, or worse, hard weeks, I encourage you to find a way to give yourself grace and find ways to recenter your attitude to a more positive one. Likely your children aren’t being as difficult as it feels they are. Perhaps they are just being curious kids.

Give yourself grace. Give your kids grace. And choose a more positive note to end your day with. You’ve got this!

Family Friday: Cousin time

Our cousin time has been limited lately, with almost all interaction via FaceTime and Skype for months now. But as our world adjusts back to a new normal, we are trying to find ways to get the kids together, even briefly, for cousin time.

Of course, we take all cautions, make sure everyone is healthy, and not a risk to others. We don’t take our opportunity for granted, because we know so much effort has gone into preventing illness. But family is so important, and we miss them.

Today the kids got to see one of their cousins. They played together for hours outside. They had a blast! It made them all so happy and so grateful. It was sweet.

We can’t wait to do more again soon. To have sleepovers. To see the cousins who live in different states. To reconnect and spend quality time together again. For now we take what we can get.

Don’t take family connection for granted. Today, reach out to those loved ones you are missing. We will hopefully all be together again soon.

Family Friday: The drive-thru, take-out, night out

Today is a day we are feeling confined. Restricted by all the regulations still in place in Washington state. This holiday weekend we would like to be going camping, or traveling to some fun destination to enjoy with our kids. But we are unable to.

When we were notified our drive-up and go grocery order was ready, we decided to make it a Friday affair. We aren’t able to go on a vacation, or go to a restaurant for a fun family night out. But we are able to go for a drive and pick up some of our favorite meals.

If you need an adventure, even small, make an event out of picking up food from drive-thru, curb-side, or take-out options. It will feel good to get out of the house, and your kids will enjoy it immensely. Also, it’ll give you an opportunity to support local.

Family Friday: Sometimes it’s pizza

Friday marks the end of our week, typically. After many years of being in an untraditional work week schedule, we currently are lucky enough to live in the traditional sense of what marks the start of the weekend.

But, along with the weekend comes the exhaustion of another work week wrapping up. By the time our household gets to Friday evening we are spent and ready to start family time! And sometimes this means breaking a week of healthy choices, and ordering pizza.

As my hubby and I age and realize foods that contribute to fatigue and pain, we tend to steer clear of our once youthful food group, pizza. But sometimes the simplicity, and the delicious carb covered cheese treat is exactly what our family needs. And our children love it too.

Sometimes celebrating with a pizza night is exactly perfect for Family Friday. If you have the means and need a break, maybe tonight is your night to indulge as well. Happy Friday!

Family Friday: Sunshine and roses

At our home this Friday we are outside, because it is almost 76 degrees and absolutely beautiful. So today I’m inspired by the sun and landscape.

A great way to decompress and focus on family time is to get outside, put the devices and electronics away, and simply spend time with family. And the fresh air and kiss of the sunshine can do wonders for mental health.

Today is simple, and truly a micro post. If you can, get outside with your family. Put the focus on the time you have with them, and enjoy the beautiful weather.