Thursday, December 27, 2018

Keeping it Fun

As we're getting into these short, dark days, it's hard to keep spirits running high. The holidays are over. There are no more advent calendars to open, no more free for all on Christmas movies and sweets, and as much fun as it is to play with new toys and wear new clothes and shop with gift cards, the anticipation is down. Driving TO a Christmas party at Grandma's is exciting. Driving home, less so.

In fact, January is probably one of my least favorite months. It's cold. It's dark. There will probably be ice or snow that wrecks plans. You're in the doldrums of school. The girls are in the "cleaning" portion of dance - the dances are learned, but competition is still a little ways off, and cleaning rehearsals are frustrating and not exciting. Yes, playing in the snow is fun, but playing in the ice is less fun. Not to mention that adults everywhere are making those efforts to improve themselves, which may mean extra cleaning and decluttering and purging the unhealthy December treats. Which can make people cranky.

So how do we keep it fun?

Somtimes it's board games (we have a few family favorites right now - like Boggle, Yahtzee, Sorry), or card games (we recently discovered Anomia, and it's AMAZINGLY fun), but honestly what's kept our winter evenings fun is this (probably destructive) ongoing, cutthroat game of Monkey in the Middle. It started because Adam got one of the giant inflatable exercise balls, and now it's become this MASSIVE game ball that is someday going to break the picture frames on the piano. Once spring hits, we'll take it outside, but in January? I'll allow it. The giggles and squeals are totally worth it. We also have some epic games of hide and seek that have everyone scurrying around, trying to be as quiet as possible. Love it. Game nights are fun, but out of the box, silly family game nights are even better.

Adam and I are both CHAMPION show bingers, but what's been fun is using Amazon Prime or Hulu or Netflix to binge stuff that all four of us like. That may be old but that the girls haven't seen. American Ninja Warrior, Masterchef Jr., World of Dance. Actually the four of us love watching Love it or List it and trying to figure out how it'll end. Reagan in particular is always so MAD when she thinks it should have gone the other way. And both girls were actively rooting for their favorites in World of Dance and Masterchef Jr, and devastated when their favorites were eliminated.

Now is the time to dive into the indoor stuff. We drove an hour to a mall that has a carousel and an indoor play place and spent a day there. The goal wasn't to shop, it was to get out of the house and have fun. We went to a Harry Potter day at the science museum. We used our reciprocal membership and went to an aquarium. We've been to an indoor ropes course. This is the time to get out and do all those fun indoor things!

And yeah, we keep doing school. After a two week break, I'm sure we'll come back with fresh eyes. We'll do some science projects we put off in December. We have a few books to read together. The girls will keep practicing dance. And we'll do those cleaning and organizing and purging jobs, fitting in the new Christmas things.

So although January isn't my favorite month, we've got the plans to make it fun.

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