As a never-stay-at-home mom my kids have an expectation that we don't spend too much time at home. Even if we don't have anything planned on a weekend, they know that it's truly rare that we don't pack up and do something. Some of our favorite things to do to keep our family happy include packing up and heading to the park, stopping by the bookstore for a prowl or just going for a drive.
We try to rotate and do things that each family member enjoys most.
For Liam, he's fascinated by trains and cars, so his favorite place is actually in our local mall - one of the empty stores in the corner of the mall has been transformed by the local model railway club into a little boy's dream- five huge model train sets complete with stores, houses and even little cars and trolleys that run on their own tracks. One of the largest designs even has interactive buttons all the way down the table so that Liam can push one and make the train whistle, another starts the trolley moving and yet another works a ferris wheel in a State Fair set-up. The location works out for Robyn, who takes the opportunity to head to her favorite stores while we hang out at 'trains'.
Erik, even at just four months old, is a people watcher. His ideal trip out is to go anywhere that he can see and interact with lots of people - the park, the mall, just walking on a downtown street - they all make him happy right now.
Robyn, being nearly thirteen, is probably the hardest to please, but she jumps at the opportunity to head out to the bookstore or to drool over the latest Nintendo Wii and DSi games. She's also a pretty good sport about heading to the local playgrounds and keeping an eye on Liam while playing herself (it's cool to be there as a helper, but not so much as a thirteen year old playing, so she gets the best of both worlds)
Wayne is like Robyn, he likes to head for the bookstore. It's hard to find the latest book or magazine when you have help, but occasionally he is able to find what he wants... even with a trip to the train table and the teen section.
For me, it's all about getting out of the house and making memories together - I have to say that as much as I love my house, leaving it, even for the few minutes it takes to walk around the block, feels good. It may take as much planning to walk around the block as it does to go out all day, but it's totally worth it to see my kids walking hand in hand and helping push the stroller. It's even more fun when they spy a gecko or frog, see a bird flying across their path or even stop to inspect a ladybug.
The one thing that I've found that keeps everyone happy is making sure that we have snacks and drinks in the car so that we all keep our tummies full, without having to scavenge too far. It also saves the wallet to make sure I've brought things from home.
What do you do to keep your family happy?
Disclosure: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Farm Rich blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”