Growing up I was convinced of two things:

1) we had the best family ever

2) even though I thought my family was great, my Dad was a little too pushy about having so much mushy, gushy family time…I mean, sure, I loved to be with them…after all, in my mind they were the best. But where was the time for endless hours with friends and all my social plans for crying out loud?

Looking back, I realize that the second thing in a sense created the first. We became that family that I loved so much because we were together all the time. We traveled a lot, just our family. We lived in Mexico and Japan for a month each….oh, and camped out in Oregon for one summer while we built a log cabin. We lived in England for three and a half years (that extra “half” when I was a Freshman in high school made me cling to my sister for dear life). My Dad would always send our friends home so we could have family dinner…long family dinner on those hard kitchen chairs. I even had to turn down going to backpack around Europe with my friends before study abroad because my Dad insisted we needed more “family time.”

And as much as I thought those measures were extreme growing up…and I was bugged…and I wished my parents could just let me be, I’m SO thankful for them now. (Except for the “no-backpacking-around-Europe” one…that one pushed it a little too far.)

Anyway, I bring this up because I’m turning into my Dad…hook, line and sinker.

I hoard my time with our little family.

Well, Dave and I can’t pack us all up and go live in foreign lands on a whim like my parents did. (Although we’re still working on that…) But I can carve out time for us as much as possible.

This is a little tricky in a neighborhood where our kids have best friends on every corner (which I LOVE, by the way…and because of it I swear we can never move from this neighborhood, but it just sometimes makes for condensed family time).

And it’s getting trickier as they get older. I swear it was like pulling teeth to take my girls out on a special date on Saturday night while Dave took Max to his first Priesthood Session of Conference. They were getting pulled every which-way with so many options of fun things going on everywhere else. I’m so glad for all the positive pulls in different directions. They’re all good things. But I don’t get my girls to myself all that much. And I wanted them that night.

It was so worth “pulling those teeth.” We had such a fun time. I am firmly entrenched in the theory that sometimes you just have to force a good memory.

And I’m going to have to tell about it tomorrow because right now I HAVE to go to bed. (Six 0’clock comes way too early.)

to be continued…

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  1. "sometimes you just have to force a good memory."

    That sounds like, "WE WILL STAY HERE UNTIL YOU ALL HAVE FUN!" or "The beating will continue until the moral improves."

    Though we didn't do the same stuff you did growing up, my parents made sure that we made great memories with only the family. We look back at those memories now and see how they brought us closer together and keep us close.

  2. I came here via MMB. The way you write about your experiences is so heartfelt and beautiful.
    I really appreciated your thoughts on your daughter's illness. My sister recently had a baby with down's syndrome. We absolutely adore him!
    With this post, I can understand your desire to spend time together. It seems as little ones get older, you realize they are THAT much closer to leaving home. A good thing, but you gave birth to them! You want to have as much time with them before they begin their own adult lives.

  3. I don't know if I have commented before. I read your book and I enjoy your blog. Thanks for the reminder to push for family time. I had the exact same experience during the priesthood session, but I let the girls play with their friends. When I sat at home with my two year old I really regretted it. I won't make that mistake again!

  4. Love this! It totally reinforces my constant desire to "hoard" my little girls closer. Now with the advent of Kindergarten there are play date options galore, but we just don't do it that much. I don't know how I'm going to give any of them up when they REALLY REALLY want to chose friends over me. I'll have to remember you & your Dad!

  5. Such a wonderful thing you are turning into your Dad! Who else would want to go hiking with 8 little kiddos to Narnia and let 4 of those kids stay with your mom and dad for a week? xoxo

  6. I read your story from MMB and wanted to check out your blog. Our 2nd daughter was diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder called hypophosphatasia. Hers is the child onset one and it affects her bones and her baby teeth. I loved this post because I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately. It just seems as if the time with these precious little ones goes by so quickly. Thanks for the great post!

    I pray that you and your family will continue to receive answers in regards to the health issues that are before you.

  7. This is so me too. I savor our family times and really limit friend time. Like my sister always told me when I was young, "Your friends will come and go but your family will always be here." I've been using that a lot with my children — brainwashing. Ha. Sometime you have to have FFF – Forced Family Fun. My sister-in-law taught me that one. True at times, isn't it? Keep up the great work. Wish our children could hang out but that 4 hour commute is just too long on their bikes 🙂 Hang in there little momma.

  8. Shawni,
    Your family really is wonderful about carving out special "family" time and I think it is totally great. But I have to say, we really missed you on the backpacking adventure of 91. You are the best. I love reading your blog and keeping up to date with you and your cute family. What an inspiration you are! Have a wonderful day!

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