Just My Opinion - by Mary Kilen
The holidays have come and gone. The house is quiet. The presents have been opened. It’s about time to start taking down the decorations. All of that comes after having had our Christmas last weekend with our family.
Amanda and the kids came with their dog Hank on Thursday afternoon. Zach and the other dog, Judd, came on Friday. We opened gifts before supper on Friday so that the kids would have time to play with them before going to bed.
A few years ago, we switched from the large pile of presents to a more purposeful approach. While the stockings are filled with candy and one toy, the presents under the tree now include one gift of clothing, another of books, a toy they can play with and a bigger gift.
This year, the kids all got some sort of electronic toy. Abie, the youngest, got a vintage style video game to go with the electric scooter. He was feeling left out when they go camping with the older two having hover boards and scooters. That made that gift an easy choice.
Jozie reminded me she was eight this year. That meant that she could now get a Nintendo Switch because Carter got his when he was eight. Makes sense to me, I guess. That one is a list keeper. She keeps track of who gets to do what when they come for their week to visit. It should have come as no surprise to anyone that knows her that she was expecting the same gift at the same age.
Carter got an Oculus. He was very excited and immediately started looking at what kind of games and experiences he could download to play. He started out with a roller coaster experience. I did not try it out, but it looked like fun. There was some debating, but I believe the next games will be Star Wars related. He and his dad love Star Wars.
Saturday, though, was about the board games. There was a rousing game of Sorry. I thought I was going to win, but that was not to be. That was followed by Monopoly Junior. After supper it was back to the board games with Uno, more Monopoly Junior, and a game of Life. I forgot how long Life can take to play. We started the game late enough that it meant the littles actually saw the New Year come in. Sunday was more board games before the kids headed back home.
Electronics are great fun when used properly. Amanda is pretty careful about monitoring how much screen time her kids have and I’m proud of her for that. It’s pretty easy just to hand a child a screen of some type to entertain them. We’re all guilty of it. I find myself allowing maybe a little more than I should when the kids are visiting and I’m trying to get some work done.
Board games, though, are a great way to spend quality time together. We are playing together, laughing, sometimes crying, and sometimes gloating over a win. More than anything, though, it is about the time we spend as a family enjoying time with each other.
I also love buying books for the kids. Each of the kids are avid readers. Carter and Jozie go through so many books that sometimes it can be hard to find new books for them. Thank heavens that Amanda always has a list for me to choose from. Abie is still the one that wants you to read to him. He really likes the five minute stories and if they are superhero related it is even better.
I, too, am an avid reader. I use an e-reader, mostly because the stacks of books around the house were getting a little out of control. Instead, I now have dozens of books that I have downloaded and haven’t read. Sometimes, though, I have to pick up an actual book to read. I love the feel of a book in my hands and the turning of the pages.
I hope that all of our readers were able to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends. I hope that the joy we experienced having our family with us was something you were all able to experience.
And A Final Thought
As I was scrolling through Facebook last week, I found this one a friend shared from IntelligenceForourLife.com.
“If you want 2023 to be your year, don’t sit on the couch and wait for it. Go out. Make a change. Smile more. Be excited. Do new things. Throw away what you’ve been cluttering. Unfollow negative people on social media. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Be fierce. Show gratitude. Do things that challenge you. Be brave.”