"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

building a family, one wholesome activity at a time

I've come to absolutely love four day weekends. Just off a winter break, there are a couple between now and spring break.

Once, we ran crazy every afternoon of our lives. I'd spend an afternoon writing out a divide and conquer list. I'd call up Newel at work to see which stops he could make on his way home while I was making others and then we'd rush through homework, whatever we could find for dinner, and fall in bed exhausted.

I can recall one Saturday in particular. We'd all rushed through a breakfast. I'd hurried one child off to orchestra, dropped another at a swim team practice, run to a grab that one from orchestra to hit a play rehearsal, stepped into a competitive basketball game for five minutes .... said hello to Newel and waved at the player .. before heading off to do the rounds of pick-ups.

In a family our size, we were doing the impossible.

That night Newel put a stop to all of that craziness and suggested we cut everything for family centered activities we could work at and have fun with together.

Man o' man, did I have many a sleepless night worrying over my children not "doing" anything.

I'll say ... and I don't say this often ... he was right. ;)

The result after all these years?

We've loved family dinner.

Our grades are better.

The mom isn't crazy.

And the extracurricular activity fund centers around amazing memory building wholesome recreational activities ... for the entire family.

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of  
faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and 
wholesome recreational activities."
 --- The Family: A proclamation to the world.

I wholeheartedly believe that. Traditions are what bring a family together. This is ours.


  1. 1) Do you ever catch any flak from people who are sure your kids are going to suffer from not having been groomed to play college soccer???

    2) CL and I both want to know what your videos are filmed with, particularly the underwater shots.

  2. 1) Rarely but yes. The first time, it surprised me, but I've since realized ... Every time we say yes to something, we say no to something else. Great or small, significant or not. I've been asked to speak on several occasions about living simply. Then a year ago, a friend commented that our way of living with natural activity readily available here in the country was not everyone's prerogative. She felt her children needed constant stimulation of good activity choices to keep them busily out of trouble. I realized I'd been misinterpreted and that just as I wouldn't like being told my children weren't "doing anything", she didn't like insinuations that her family was over programmed. The truth of the matter is, every family needs to come up with their own definition and boundary of "wholesome recreational activity" in order for that "happiness in family life" part to work!

    2) Most of my videos are recorded with the video function of my Canon T2i and some with my iPhone 3, which isn't very great. However, the kids and I gave Newel a GoPro for Christmas for his sporting adventures. It has been buckets of fun, though it has inspired some kid creative danger that I've had to nip in the bud. All video snippets are uploaded to iMovie and stitched together as time allows ... which isn't much ;)

  3. Do you end up turning off the auto focus on your canon? CL& I both have problems (she has a canon, Ihave a nikkon) if we leave it on... Your video turned great!

    1. Sorry this has waited so long, Cindy. Yes, I can do it by turning off the auto focus. Either way, I adjust the focus manually on my lens while filming.

  4. Awesome Marlowe. Inspirational as usual.

  5. We have much the same system/routine here....although without the family ski trips! We do other road trips together...we just don't ski. The fact that we homeschool and say no to most outside activities makes people look at us strangely. The comments we get are usually started something like, "I thought your kids/you would be ___________ (insert things like - weird, anti-social, socially awkward), but you/your kids are so nice, respectful....and normal!" Always said with a bit of surprise. We also really like hanging out together.....even my big kids. Yes, they get annoyed with the little ones sometimes. I get annoyed with all of them sometimes....but the good waaaaaay outweighs the not so good times together. It is not a forced, hang out together, or else....kind of mantra....it is just who we are....and we like it that way. We all have friends. We all have things we are involved in....just not to the detriment of our family.

    1. You know, Kayla, I love that! And it doesn't have to ever be an activity that involves money like skiing. Why, for awhile there, I took my kids on a weekly quest to produce the perfect loaf of bread. Their "activity" was that they created a business they called "Caribou Farms" tagged after where we live. They took samples of their efforts around to neighbors and sold loaves for a weekly delivery. They ran their little business as their activity for about three years. WHATEVER it is that you surround your family doing ... a sporting event, domestic activities, family vacations or simply a tradition of supporting each individual in their current interest ... THAT is where family builds on wholesome recreational activity.

      I love your approach!!