Thursday, January 29, 2015

Monday Fun-Day: Donuts & Dancing

A few years ago I decided we as a family needed to reclaim our Mondays. For too long I had dreaded the first of the work week; wishing it away like most people tend to do. My pastor always says that if you hate Mondays then you hate 1/7th of your life. Every time I hear that it sucker punches me in the gut. I don't want to hate any percentage of my life, especially 1/7th of it.

I was driving home from work one Monday while all of these thoughts of not hating Mondays were percolating in my brain. I needed to do something to make my family look forward to Mondays, not dread them. That's when I had this thought, "Monday Fun-Day." What if we set aside every Monday evening to do something fun together as a family. It was simple, but I was excited to share it with my wife, Patience.

I got home and told her my idea. As usual, she was very supportive, and so we announced to our two children at the time that from that day forward every Monday would be known as Monday Fun-Day. Sawyer and JulieAnna were jumping up and down with excitement. You throw the word "fun" into any phrase and they would probably support it no matter what. Nevertheless, we went out for ice cream that night and came home and had a board game showdown. It might not sound like much, but it was fun, and we all enjoyed our time together.

As soon as my head hit the pillow that night I was dreaming up ideas for Monday Fun-Day's to come. We've done popcorn and movie night. We've made crafts. We've built the biggest blanket fort this side of the Tennessee River. We have even gone hiking, and on picnics, and scavenger hunts, and playgrounds, and on any other adventure we could conjure up. That was almost three years ago, and let me tell you, our family no longer dreads Mondays. We all look forward to spending quality time together doing something we enjoy.

I have to be honest though, after three years of Mondays it has become increasingly difficult to come up with original ideas. Some Mondays I plan ahead, and then there are Mondays that we just wing it. This was a wing it kind of Monday, and I was racking my brain as to what we could do together. I had been given a giftcard for Dunkin Donuts, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that, but I wanted something a little more too, and I wanted it to start with the letter "D." (I'm a big fan of alliteration!)
After arriving home from work I told Patience that I wanted to bring the kids out for donuts, but mentioned I was struggling to think of anything else to do.
"What's something that starts with the letter D that is fun?" I asked.
Patience repied without a moment of hesitation, "Dancing."
Dancing was obviously nowhere on my radar, but I thought it was perfect. And so we gathered the crew in the kitchen to announce the news.
"Tonight's Monday Fun-Day will be... Donuts and Dancing!"
The kids squealed with delight. Wesley had no clue why they were happy, but he joined along in their elation.
After dinner, we loaded up in the car and made our way to Dunkin Donuts. Once there, we let the kids pick out a dozen mostly sprinkled, jelly-filled, and colorful donuts. Now, before you get concerned, they were only allowed one donut a piece, and only ate two a piece, and Wesley pretty much picked all the icing off of his. So, probably not the healthiest Monday-Funday option, but they were yummy!

After consuming pretty much an entire day's worth of calories in one sitting, we headed back home to dance the fat grams away. If you have never experienced Dance Central on the Xbox 360, you really should. If you are not a fan of dancing (like me) it is actually more fun to watch than to play. The game is simple in theory, just follow step for step the dance routine of the character on the screen. You can choose the difficulty level and even the song of your choice. The sensor on the game system reads your entire body and will give you points for every right move. We chose the head-to-head challenge, which alternates two players and tallies both scores to find the better dancer. So we cranked up the volume and proceeded to dance the following hour away. We laughed a lot. Mainly because Wesley kept dancing in front of the sensor and messing everybody up, but he was so cute no one really cared.

You may be thinking dancing and donuts sounds a little underwhelming, and for most of us you would probably be right. But what I have learned over the past few years is that children see and experience things differently than most adults. They don't require something outrageous or over the top. Some of the simplest ideas have created the best memories. The bottom line is that we were together. We ate together. We laughed together. We danced together. We had fun together.
I challenge you to do the same. Take your Mondays back and make the most of them. Have some fun and make lasting memories with your family.

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