Switching things up

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I had been meaning to talk with Tabitha about our evenings. I felt like we, as a family, had gotten into a bad habit of not interacting / watching television every night. Some of our passivity I understood, the Texas heat zaps you. Summer needs to end! But I felt like we could be more purposeful with our time.

Tabitha ended up approaching me first with the idea that we needed to turn off the TV. I had to have surprised her when I agreed. We then sat down and hashed out how our evenings will look moving forward. During the week:

  • Boardgames
  • Drawing lessons
  • Playing
  • Reading aloud
  • Family Devotions
  • Anything else non-electronic we can do together

We agreed to reduce our family television time down to one night a week. The weekends, we decided, will be more lax with screen time. Sunday afternoons are tailor made for movies and/or video games.

The Game of Life – Pirates of the Caribbean edition… Tab and I picked this up at Walt Disney World on our honeymoon. Game features ship-to-ship battles and a solid piratey theme. Makes the regular version of Life seem boring.

Loot

Somehow we ended up with a pirate themed game night. Loot (the card game above) was different.

Our first week was a success! We set aside a night for family devotions (10 minutes); we dove into some different boardgames (evidence above).

I picked up the first book in John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series to read aloud with Wyatt. We read two to three chapters a night before Wyatt heads off to bed for his own reading time. I’m trying to introduce him to new authors/series to feed his voracious reading appetite. Wyatt has also always loved Tab and I reading aloud to him (I hope this never ends). If I have learned anything as a dad, you can share your love of reading with your children. Just gotta read!

This week, I’m looking to try out a new devotional book for our devotional time: Marty Machowski’s Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What do your evenings look like with your family? Does the TV reign supreme? Ever thought of shaking things up? Let’s talk in the comments below!

From Across the Net – “The best parenting decision I ever made”

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Love this. Reminds me that I need to start up Boy’s Club again with Wyatt. Be purposeful.

When I was growing up a man in my church gave me perhaps the greatest gift I have ever received…weekly, uninterrupted, quality time. Mr. Zechman was a busy guy. He had four busy and successful daughters of his own. He was involved in our church and community in all sorts of ways. He had a demanding job and was a public figure in our town. He was the kind of guy who should not have had time for a goofy ninth grade boy like me. And yet he made time.

You can read more here

Spider-Man

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Marvel's Spider-Man

Spider-Man is a game I kept waiting to see fail. And yet, every story beat pushed the game to new heights. Had my wife and son not been sitting with me, when I finished the game, I think I would have cried. May’s talk with Peter, at the end, almost did me in. One of those moments, as a parent, where you know you have done a good job raising your kid.

Can’t wait to pick up the DLC and continue Spidey’s adventures!

Developer Insomniac wisely chose to focus the game not on Peter’s romantic pursuits but more on the qualities that enable us to relate to Peter Parker.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

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You ever play something that just hits you wrong?

My wife and I are in the process of adoption. Don’t Nod Entertainment’s The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit reminded me of our foster/adoption training classes. A chunk of the stuff that parents get their kids taken away for = present in this game. As is:

  • The parent who is trying and failing to succeed/live life.
  • The kid who is alone, even though the parent is physically present (drunk/passed out), and has to take care of himself.

The superhero story veneer and child-lens softens the blow of what is a super depressing and potentially abusive situation. I’m thankful the game didn’t last long. Sad that kids have to deal with stuff like this when all they crave is stability and love.

Snowman showdown.

Never know what is going on inside a home.

Outside of his drinking, the dad in this story clearly cares. Check out the treehouse!

Because.

Never quite figured out what happened to the mom.

Seriously, I’m good.

From Across the Net – “What Does Your Dad Do?”

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This one is worth the read. Reminds me that the more I’ve learned to see/love my dad for who he is, the better my relationship with him has become.

Photo by Revolver Creative Company on Unsplash

My dad was a truck driver. Gone for a few days; home for a few days. A hard worker.

In an exhausted world that measures our worth by our performance; I want to learn to ask better questions. After all, what we do is not always an indication of what we’re like. Our output and achievements are not a reflection of our inner heart and character. Outward success does not necessarily equate to generosity, wisdom or courage.

You can read more here

Adoption Update – Level One A

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I was telling Tabitha last night that if adoption were a video game, we have finally reached the first level. The tutorial and character creation process were the initial first steps:

  • PRIDE Training (40 hours of state-mandated classes)
  • FBI Database Fingerprinting
  • Fire Inspection
  • Health Inspection
  • Home Study

With our home study approved, we are now certified by the State of Texas to adopt. We can now put in interest requests through the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE); we can also now go to meet up events (where you can interact with kids available for adoption) as well as have our caseworker alert us to children available for adoption who are not listed online.

The adoption process is weird. A mixture of buying a home and speed dating. Level One A, of the adoption game, looks like:

  • Looking through pictures of children in an online database
  • Going to a meet up event
  • Our caseworker notifying us of a potential match

After initial inquiries are made, which includes our caseworker “selling” another caseworker on our family via telephone conference (home buying), we then enter the speed dating phase. Level One B includes:

  • Our family driving to whichever region the potential child is located in and then going on a day outing with the child.
  • The following weekend, a follow up over night visit (probably in a hotel room, especially if the child lives out of town) with the child.
  • The following weekend after that, a day trip/overnight visit again?
  • Eventually these visits shift from being on neutral ground to the child coming to our house.

The biggest hurdle of Level One A is going to be finding a match. We have to agree on the match; our caseworker has to agree on the match. Already, we are learning that:

  • It’s good to have a caseworker who says no and is looking out for our family (versus just trying to place a child and move on).
  • That descriptions of children, on TARE, do not include all the details. Sometimes even surprising our caseworker…
  • That there are not a lot of younger kids (ages 7 and younger) up for adoption online.

Bottom Line: We know that God has a child in mind for us. We just have to wait, trust, and talk, as a family, through the adoption process.

I’ll keep y’all updated. Maybe not so much in this Level One A stage… but more IF we make it to Level One B. Prayers are appreciated.

Bryan