Even though you're growing up, you should never stop having fun." -Nina Dobrew
One of our family values is having fun. I must admit I have to schedule fun, but my husband Bryan is the spontaneous, fun guy in the family.
As a busy family of six (plus 1), fun as a couple and family takes intentionality. As a couple, we schedule regular date nights to connect. We love concerts, movies, walks, and attending basketball games together.
We also try new things to see if we can find something new that we both enjoy. Bryan is definitely more adventurous with our date choices. For example, we've gone to the gun range and attended the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) tour for a date. I agreed to try both of these, but I quickly found that they are not for me.
I actually had an enjoyable time at the PBR tour, that is, until the bull won and stomped the man's head. That was it for me--I couldn't take the level of danger the men were putting themselves in.
As a couple, we work hard to make time for each other, and we must do the same for family time. My kids are involved in several after-school activities. We often go in opposite directions, so family fun must get planned on the schedule.
As a family, we love to laugh and enjoy each other. Every Friday night is movie night. This tradition started at the beginning of the Pandemic. It has been an excellent way for all of us to connect after a busy week of running around.
Bryan spoils the kids by bringing them Bubble Tea and ice cream. We also like to have fun at the pool or beach. The beach is one of our family's favorite places to relax and unwind.
Never ever underestimate the importance of having fun." Randy Pausch
And, of course, there's nothing like the family completing a 1000-piece puzzle, card, or board game. We love the competition and camaraderie that comes with having fun together.
How much fun have you had with your family lately? If you can't think of anything, don't worry. Plan or do something spontaneous today!
If you need help to think of something, here's a list of 101 ideas that you can implement.
Picking Celia up from the airport in September!
We had four months to prepare for our exchange student’s arrival. Celia arrived from Germany in September and will live with us for the entire school year. For her to adjust well to our family and avoid frustrations, I felt she needed to understand our family values, rules, and expectations before she arrived.
Our family values guide how we function, and I wanted Celia to understand what’s most important to our family. If you were to be a fly on the wall of our home and observe our family, I believe that you would be able to decipher the following values that we try to live by:
Love & Respect Each Other
If It’s In Your Power, Do Good for Others
Honesty & Integrity Matter
Service is Leadership
Watch Your Mouth - Use Respectful Language
Watch Your Eyes - Guard Your Heart by Filtering What you Watch
Use & Grow Your Gifts
Resolve Conflicts (Murray Court is Available)
Family Time is Important
Once we shared our values with Celia, I discussed house rules and expectations. Our family functions like a team, and everyone contributes to the house. We rotate chores and cooking dinners (I don’t cook on the weekend). When I buy groceries, everyone’s expected to come to help put the food up in the kitchen. Teamwork--common courtesy guides our family eco-system.
Obviously, education is expected to be completed at the highest level. All the kids are responsible for getting themselves up in the morning and crafting their schedules to complete their schoolwork promptly. I expect school work to get done on time and for each child to regulate their break sessions.
Sharing our rules, expectations, and family values have made Celia’s transition into our home very smooth. Before arriving at our house, she could decide if she could live by our ways, and she decided to join us.
So far, we’ve had a lot of fun and expect the entire year to go well!
Picking up Celia from the airport!
This school year, we welcomed Celia Grosß to live with our family as an exchange student from Germany. Celia is finishing her senior year in the U.S., homeschooling with my kids, and completing the college application process.
And yes, homeschooling is illegal in Germany, so it’s a good thing that Celia is now a dual citizen. It's awesome to be in a country that allows for educational freedom!
Homeschool Field Trip to the Botanical Gardens
It’s been enjoyable having Celia added to the family dynamics, especially since we dropped Jayda off at college this school year. She has filled in the gap of Jayda’s presence, giving me another child to help along the path of adulthood.
We often forget Celia was not raised in the U.S because she speaks excellent English with no German accent. In fact, not only did she learn English in school, but she taught herself how to speak like Americans by watching television shows like Nickelodeon. She is a very driven teen who has fully immersed herself in American culture.
Homeschool Field Trip to the Delta Fair
Another unique thing about Celia is that she is half-African American. Her dad is a U.S veteran that served in Germany. Although he did not raise her, she has always desired to connect to her African-American roots.
Being black in Germany gave Celia many challenging encounters with racism as she was usually the only black child in her class. I can often relate to Celia’s stories about growing up in a majority white space because I grew up in Oregon, where African-Americans were 1% of the population.
Celia's learning that I love to take pictures of everything!
I’m happy we can allow her to learn about Black culture and history. By living with us, we are giving her her first chance to live with a Black family that includes a father and mother--with three siblings.
And Celia is a quick learner--she is learning how to fend for herself in our big family.
I've been married to my best friend Bryan Murray since the year 2000. Now we have four incredible children and a super full life with extended family and friends.