Nothing like a Family Recharge Weekend

Thanksgiving and Black Friday took a toll on our household. After playing flag football, playing a few rounds of basketball, braving the Black Friday crowds, going to other family functions, and so much more, we were just plain wiped out. Add to that our normal routine of school, church, and work, and you have a very exhausted family. In fact, a week later, we were still wiped out. 

So we decided to recharge this weekend. We slept in on Saturday, cleaned up a little around the house, played some video games, and had some mac and cheese for lunch. I found this great, little-known playground online and took the kids to it. It was about six times the size of a normal playground, all crafted from wood into the shapes of castles, rocket ships, volcanoes- basically, everything that little boys love. So we played there for at least 2 hours. Then we went home for some hot cocoa. 

The rest of the day was hot cocoa, movies, and popcorn. On Sunday, we hung out in the morning, went to church, and then came home to watch Christmas movies. 

In short, it was the perfect, vegging, recharging weekend. When I woke up on Monday morning, I could not have been more invigorated. 

So, in this busy holiday season, don’t forget to relax and recharge. Also, don’t forget to do it with your family. You won’t regret it.

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Keep Your Mind on What Matters During the Holidays

With Black Friday looming last week, I spent a significant amount of time surfing through ads, trying to find the very best deals on the presents I would get for my kids and my lovely wife. This inevitably led to scheming about how I would outsmart or outmuscle the early morning crowds to secure the perfect gift. Along the way, I found myself catching glimpses of the things I wanted, too, and hoping that my wife would pick the right one. Before long, I couldn’t even focus on Thanksgiving. I had bigger fish to fry, bigger deals to reel in. Yeah, yeah, being grateful is good and all, but, if I planned things out well enough, I could come home Friday morning with a bounty of the best presents. I would be a hero come Christmas morning, I mused. 

I’ll admit it here and now: I got sucked into all the things about Christmas that don’t matter. And it was ruining my holidays.

Luckily, my wife brought me back down to earth after Thanksgiving dinner in her forthright way. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was getting caught up in all of this so I could be the best gift-giver around. It had become a form of self-aggrandizement. Also, I was slipping in a few items that I really wanted- and maybe my kids would like them, too. Somehow, I had turned what was supposed to be an act of Christian love and appreciation into an act of selfishness. Funny how we do that sometimes.

So I rethought all my grand gift-giving plans. Like Scrooge and Charlie Bailey before me, I reconsidered what the true meaning of Christmas is. And I made a big attitude adjustment. I would not let the retailers dictate my holiday cheer. Rather, I would make my actions reflective of the Man we celebrate at Christmas. I thought about a neighbor of mine who has been unemployed for several months now and recently lost his car. I thought about others in similar situations. I thought about my wife and what would truly make her happy. And I resolved to do something- something real- to help these people and to somehow lift their burdens.

This is my new mission for the holidays. Anyone can buy a video game. But it takes real Christian love to give a real gift.

Family History Road Trip in Summer 2010?

Thanks to last week’s family history blitz, in which we compiled literally hundreds of names from both my Hawaiian and Scottish sides and from my wife’s Scottish side, there is buzz going around about us taking a family history road trip next summer. Ideally, we would rent an RV and hit the road with my siblings and their families some time in July. We would drive straight through Arkansas, Tennessee, and then Virginia. Then we would probably head north into Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin before heading back west. Sounds ambitious, I know… and stressful and expensive and completely awesome.

Our longest road trip ever was moving from Utah to Virgina, pulling a small UHaul trailer full of our college stuff with our humble little minivan over the rolling plains of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa and finally climbing through the Appalachians to end up in Alexandria, Virginia. The fan broke on our radiator so we had to stop every few hours to let the engine cool down. We got a flat tire in Cheyenne. Worst of all, we had to listen to our kids’ preschool CD about a billion times to keep them placated. It was a challenge, to say the least. But some thing tells me this would be different.

We ant our family history to be a reality for us and we want to get more names- that’s our main motivation for going. We think that actually going to the places where our ancestors lived, we might unearth some new lines. More importantly, I think it will help our kids connect with their roots.

What do you think? Have you ever done some thing like this?

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