This fall is for Family

The colorful, inviting signs are up on every corner. The push is on. To join. And participate. To get on some/any ball team. After discussing possible options, Mainbain and I decided that this fall is just for family.

While we had a wonderfully fun and full baseball season, I felt my tail feathers dragging at the thought of gearing up for another round of scheduled must-show-up activities. When 4 kids play anything other than a backyard scrimmage, it becomes your other job. You know the one you weren’t sure you wanted but figured must be good for you, somehow. So, we are reallocating the sign up fee (x4), estimating all the gas money it would take for practices (x4) and games (x4) and gear (x4) and using it for different kinds of family fun.

Here are 10 things we will be doing as a family instead of driving countless miles for practices, hunting for cleats and standing on the side lines cheering.

After supper walks and bike rides : We have so much relaxing fun simply being together. It is something to make memories tootling down our little dirt road aimlessly chatting about our day.

Going to visit friends and Family: There’s a wedding here, grandparents and friends there, cousins and Aunts and Uncles all over and this fall our family will have and resources to go visit. There are important memories that need to be made, but we’ve got the show up to make them.

Kickball: Just because we aren’t playing sports, doesn’t mean we aren’t playing. I love that the baintrain loves this easily adaptable game. We bought a playground ball (remember that boing-y sound?) and use various scraps of wood as the bases. If you can walk, you can play. We will include some of our younger cousins/neighbors as well as grandparents in our standing Sunday afternoon family game.

Nothing: which could include, but doesn’t have to: lego, wii, drawing, reading, and impromptu acting, fiddle, piano and guitar performances. Might even throw in a little laundry to keep things interesting. Again with the being together.

A Family Character study: I’ve had this little gem on a dusty shelf for a few years – great time to break it out. The surprisingly fun and brief lessons engage 13 year old stringbain right down to 5 year old butterbain.

DIY projects: Bottom line: they are old enough to help. There are some things we aren’t going to do ourselves, (putting down groovy new cork floor in the kitchen), but we can use-or learn to-paintbrushes and enjoy working together. Just like learning to cook, I think they need to learn and practice basic fixerupper skills. And the kitchen really does need painting.

Day trips: Living at least an hour and a half from civilization makes it hard to take advantage of local entertainment. Entertainment can be defined lots of ways, but with a free schedule we’ll be able to plow through interesting museums, wander around zoos and barrel down rollercoasters at amusment parks.

Making stuff: I am not crafty, but for the last few years I’ve wanted to make most of what we give away. I’ve even prepared a list and made most of the items for us to try, but there’s never been time to assemble the gifts. Now we’ve got time to brainstorm about gift baskets and figure out what we can do together.

Saying YES!: When we’re all geared up for organized sports our schedule remains rigidly tight. There’s not time for a late night movie, or lost shoes, or jumping on the trampoline before bed – we lose almost all spontaneity. One memory I hope to make more than any other is an emphatic YES! to those last minute possibilities.

Date Night: Surely the necessity of this needs no explanation. If you’ve ever been at a field 3-4 night a week, the last thing on the adgenda is getting ready to go somewhere else – even if it is with your main squeeze. This fall, when Friday or Saturday night rolls around, I’m looking forward to putting on something other than my pajamas.

Like Em said, this is what we decided will work for our family this fall. Doesn’t mean I never want to see them boot a soccer ball into a goal or slam a stand-up double again. It’s just time to do something different. We’ve sacrificed sanity to coach, and lost our cool getting everybody to a field to play a game on time.

It’s time for a change. This year what we’ll be joining and participating in is our own team.