As I write this, I’m sitting at the dining room table with the cat on my lap, drinking some coffee.

It’s raining lightly outside (Of course! It’s Oregon!). There are signs of spring everywhere.

The plum tree outside the window is full of white blossoms. Yellow and white daffodils are all around town. And the snap peas that I planted two weeks ago are popping out of the ground (you can see photos of these in Instagram, if you want to take a look!)

Yesterday I drove past a field of sheep and saw little baby lambs! Soo cute!

I love the springtime. The air is still cool and crisp. Everything feels fresh and new. And I’m thinking about what I’ve learned about being a parent during the past couple months…

We’ve been trying new things in our family too.

Recently, we realized that we had stopped doing fun things as a family.

It was a bit of a wake up call. I’ve been too focused on getting things done. Too busy. Too task oriented.

It’s easy for me to lose touch with the family. I forget about being silly together and doing things just for fun. Even our 15-year-old said recently, “Mom, I miss you. I want to spend more time together!”

John Gottman’s famous research talks about the 5:1 ratio… we need to have 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction for a relationship to be stable.

But sometimes, especially when I’m stressed, I can’t think of anything fun to do with my kids.

The solution?

I think of the fun things I did growing up.

What did you do growing up to have fun in your family?

Growing up, I especially remember the silly things that my mom did…

My mom would bring playfulness even to mundane activities. While washing hands with us, she would make soap bubbles with her fingers.

When she baked cookies, she’d let us lick the beaters and eat the dough (even though you can get sick doing this!).

During long car rides she would read Chronicles of Narnia out loud to us, even when we were old enough to read them ourselves. And she did voices for all the characters, of course!

She’d let us jump on her bed and roller skate inside the house.

She’d let us use the couch cushions to make a fort.

If dessert was ready before dinner, we would eat dessert first. My mom would call it an “upside down dinner”.

When “The Sound of Music” was on TV after our bedtime, we watched anyway and we all slept in the living room.

My mom would ride on the back of my dad’s wheelchair while in a parking lot or going down hills (my dad’s been in a wheelchair his whole life).

We would go to movies as a family and we’d get to the theatre 30 minutes early because my dad really likes to be “on time”. So we’d sit in the near-empty theatre and talk before the show started.

My parents didn’t take us on fancy vacations, but we went camping almost every year. Even when I was in middle school I could play with rocks, leaves, sticks, and a river for hours, all by myself or with friends.

Through high school, my mom would take us to the beach, even in the winter, and I would dig holes, make mud balls and sand castles. My mom would make the seaweed into a jump rope.

Growing up what did your family do for fun? Share in the comments section.

Let’s inspire each other.

Share your favorite family memory from growing up (or something that your family does now).