(Maybe) The Best Kids’ Meal Toy Ever

In the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about what I saw at Starbucks, and I’ve been intentionally looking for ways to spend more time with my kids.

Now, you’ve got to know that I hate the toys that come in the Kids’ Meals at fast food restaurants. They are generally low quality junk that should (and often do) get thrown away within 2 hours of making it home.

I thought that until we recently got a pack of UNO cards from Arby’s (not an endorsement; just a fact). The pack is really like an eight of a pack of regular cards (they’ve gotta save money somehow), and they’re also about half the physical size of regular UNO cards (comes in handy after a few Draw Fours).

Something You Don’t See Everyday

I came to Starbucks this afternoon to finish up some work before the weekend descends upon us and we bask in the calm, relaxing time…who am I kidding? There’s no relaxing on the weekend. It’s just a different kind of crazy.

Anyway, I’m sitting in Starbucks and I see a guy with a boy that’s about six or seven years old. They obviously just came from school because the boy has his backpack and school uniform on.

They’ve both got a drink, and the guy takes a phone call. He says to the person on the other end of the line, “Well, I better go because I’m doing the usual Friday thing with _____.” Honestly, I wasn’t eavesdropping. I just overheard.

Then they pull out a deck of UNO cards and start playing. I went back to my work. Usually, I spend a good deal of time at Starbucks when I work. So did they. And they just played and talked and hung out.

I was impressed. Maybe humbled. I try to spend time with my kids. I even consider myself a good dad. But I’ve never spent hours at Starbucks just playing cards with any of them. Maybe I should.

I’ve been thinking about doing date days or nights with my kids, but I haven’t had a chance to actually act on it in a systematic way. Hopefully, I can execute the ideas I have. That would be awesome.

What about you? What do you to purposefully spend time with your kids?

I’d sincerely love to hear in the comments.

Get Your Kids to Read with Kindle Unlimited

If you’re like me, you want your kids to read. A lot. My oldest son has recently begun enjoying reading. He will stay up way past his bedtime and read in his bed. I hate it and I love it at the same time.

It’s hard to argue with him when he just wants to read, especially since he’s homeschooled and doesn’t have to wake up super early in the mornings.

His favorite books had been the Big Nate series, so we went to the library and checked out pretty much every single Big Nate book available. We even bought some used copies online. He and his little brother devoured those books. It was like a feeding frenzy. We couldn’t get them to go to bed at night.

Choose to Run Through the Rain

We took our kids out to dinner and a show last night at Universal Studios Citywalk. It was a blast. We went to see the Blue Man Group, which was 2/3 of our kids’ first time at a real theater show. The oldest one had seen something before on a field trip in Kindergarten. Blue Man Group is fun and pretty clean for the entire family. If you get a chance, it’s worth it to go see them.

After the show was over, we were leaving the theater when I noticed the familiar sound of raindrops hitting the Florida ground outside. For a split second, I thought, “No!!!!!!” Our car was a loooooong way away from where we were, and there was no way to stay covered and dry during the walk back. The crowd was standing under the cover, and we knew that everyone was calculating what we were…should we wait it out or make a run for it in the rain?

Do Something Together

I don’t know if you’re family is like mine, but we have so many distractions that it isn’t funny. If we are not very intentional, we will spend our entire lives on electronics.

I’m as big of a tech fan as anyone, but I want to use it to bring me closer to my family. I don’t want it to put us all in our own little worlds so we never have to talk to each other. My son will sit and watch Minecraft videos on Youtube while I check out Facebook or email or any number of other things, and my other son will play the Wii U all day if you let him.

I believe that to build stronger families we need to be intentional about spending time together.