Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping Family Together

I’ve been a little MIA from this blog because stuff in life has gotten in the way, like that migraine I talked about a couple of weeks ago (my back is still outta whack because of it). And then there was a case of strep (Tukey caught it but thankfully didn’t pass it to anyone else), and now Ajers is recovering from having his wisdom teeth removed. We thought he’d be better in time to go to school. Surgery was on Friday. Here it is Tuesday and he’s still home. He hates missing school so it’s been a bad recovery.

My parents were also here for 10 days and they just headed back to Florida this morning. You know, to get back to the good weather, since we’ve had crappy weather here in AZ. Haha! I always love when my parents come to visit, and my kids especially cherish the time with Nana and Papa. Seeing them together and the bond they’ve created just gets me every time.

They’ve never lived in the same state together, except for the first 10 months of Ajers’ life when we all lived in Illinois, until we up and left them and moved to Pennsylvania. Boy, that was a heart-breaker. So, in being away from grandparents so much, we have to do what we can to keep the bond strong. And as the kids get older, and more socially busy (friends, sports, movies, sleepovers, babysitting, other activities), it’s hard to find things for everyone to do together.

Interestingly, during this trip, I watched though, as all of my kids found some fun things to do with both Nana and Papa. I stood back and watched. I kind of have to thank the iPad for some of the bonding. Nana has an iPad. We don’t. But damn that iPad did a good job of bringing everyone together.

Diva and Nana, and even Tukey clocked many hours playing Words with Friends, and then there’s this App where you can make pottery. Diva’s quite the artist and they were creating some cool stuff, so much so that Nana bit the bullet and splurged and bought the $5.99 App so she could create even more intricate pottery! Yep, she got suckered into it! It was funny to watch because Nana would ask Diva, “What colors do I mix to make brown?” and Diva would go over and help her mix the pottery colors. 

Then *I* got sucked into this STUPID Word Whomper game with these groundhogs that pop out of the ground where you try to spell a bunch of words and beat a clock. So Tukey, Nana and I were playing THAT game. I kept saying, “THIS SUCKS, I’m DONE, onemoregameplease!” Addicting!

And Nana was showing Ajers a bunch of old Carol Burnett youtube videos with Tim Conway as the Dentist because Ajers had his teeth pulled. Papa and Tukey had a few rousing games of checkers. I’m telling you, there was some serious family bonding happening, all because of the stinkin’ iPad. We loved every minute of it.

One thing that ALWAYS happens when my parents leave is that my mom always puts individual secret notes hidden in the house for all of us to find. The kids left for school this morning and when they come home, they will know to go to their rooms and search for their special Nana Note hidden in their room.

It’s a special tradition we’ve got in our family, one that makes the saying goodbye less difficult for all of us. I love this ritual – it’s something we’ve come to look forward to and expect. I keep these hidden notes as treasures from my mother, and I know my kids love to get them too. They keep us fortified throughout from the times we can’t be with my parents, and we always talk about the funny and sentimental notes she leaves around the house for us. 

Family rituals are great. When my kids were little, the Balloon Fairy used to visit their rooms on the night before their birthday – they’d wake up to a bedroom full of balloons all in their room. That one has since dissolved – the fairy’s lungs couldn’t handle it much longer, but it was fun while it lasted – what kind of family rituals do you all have set up in your house? I know that darn Christmas Elf on the Shelf will be here very soon – he’s been a big hit the past few years.

There are tons of special ways to make family rituals in your own family, and here’s a few that’s shared on Subway’s Fresh Takes site. If you’ve got some family rituals of your own that you’d like to share over there, feel free – it could get you $50 worth of subs (which, by the way, was the first REAL food that Ajers asked for when he felt he could eat after his wisdom teeth surgery!). So, go on over and share your fun rituals and you could also be featured on the Fresh Takes site as well!

Take care! And before Thanksgiving, one of you who entered in the Fall Fab Book Giveaway could be winning a boat load of books – that’s a ritual that I’ve started here on MaNiC MoMMy that I’m happy to continue here for all of you book lovers!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.


robynn78 said...

Love this one.. made me smile! :o)

Katie said...

Technology is a funny thing! :) Glad you guys had a great visit. I tell you the Ipad saved from dinners for us this year on vacation with my nephew.

buttah said...

That's awesome that your parents are down with technology and are able to use it to bond with the kiddos! We have a tradition of going to a Christmas tree farm every Thanksgiving Day after lunch to pick and cut our tree. Has been a tradition since Hubs and I have been together...15 years, and it has been even better since we had little man, it's even better! He loves to run through the rows and rows of trees to find the "perfect" one. Of course he always runs straight to the one that is 20 feet tall and says this is it!!

Mom said...

Well! I must say that I love this post! We can all learn from each other. I didn't realize that just doing ordinary things together really do impact us all. Reminds me of an old song..."Little Things Mean a Lot". (Probably Doris Day). To quote one of my favorite people, Ellen, "I'll just take all this love and put it in my pocket". 1-4-3

Hally said...

Steph - SO GOOD to 'see' you back to blogging. :)

Elf on the Shelf is going to be in full effect here shortly at our place as well. I actually have been scoping out new ideas on Pinterest for where he could hide out this year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!