family olympics

several years ago sean & i came up with the idea of family olympics for his side of the family.  we alternate holidays with them so we always do it the day after thanksgiving or the day after christmas, depending on which holiday we’re all together.  really, it was our secret ploy to get his whole family to commit an entire day together, without the pull of other family or friends.  for the most part, our plan has worked… heeheehee ;)

each year the olympics change, but a few things stay the same.  we always start by dividing into 2 teams, trying to find an equal balance, and splitting up couples.  then we choose super wacky names.  this year we let the youngest team members choose the names and they came up with “team popsicles vs team starburstses”.  and team rivalry is big!

family olympics

we always start the same.  we gather in the park across the street from his parents house and begin by singing the national anthem.  its pretty loud & obnoxious!

then uncle vito leads us in extremely unconventional stretching (think finger stretches and breathing exercises).

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we all contribute ideas for games.  bring back favorites and introducing new games is so much fun!

here’s the round up of this year’s games:

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basketball free throws

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bowling

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swing long jump

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balance beam/”log roll”

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soccer penalty kicks

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most lacrosse passes in 2 minutes

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flying a quad copter & landing it closest to the mark

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gift card shoot-out (not necessarily part of the olympics, but something the adult children do in lieu of a gift exchange)

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name that tune

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fast track shoot out

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vaseline on the nose, picking up pompoms

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tictac shake – can only shake side to side, first to empty both cartons wins.  you MUST see this video!

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tossing cheetos onto shaving cream covered shower cap – most cheetos wins!

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musical chairs

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narrowed down to sean & i – i won!

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mini golf

we had a few other games i didn’t get pictures of – oops!

this is an ALL-DAY function for our family and its so fun!  we usually start late morning at the park, head back to the house for lunch, then do more games until dinner time.  we usually end with pizzas and once we even headed to the bowling alley after!

do you have any fun family rituals you do?  share!

The Hardest Peace

Do you remember when Kara wrote here on my blog awhile back?  Her story is hard to hear.  Sometimes I selfishly plug my ears when I hear stories that are too hard to take in, too much to process.  Because I always put myself in their position, in the hard position.  And when I imagine myself there, I CAN’T DO IT.  I can’t see myself getting through the hard, the difficult.

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But Kara’s story of hard has been eye opening for me.  She’s doing it beautifully and honestly and gracefully.  Beyond the ways that she views her battle with stage 4 metastatic cancer is even more beautiful how she walks her children through it with a vision of heaven and filling them with her love (and KNOWING her love) before she goes.

I had the privilege of reading Kara’s book The Hardest Peace over the last couple weeks.  i am not a reader.  But this story had me longing for more, picking it up during breakfast and lunch to just sneak in a few more pages, excited to sit for the hour during swim practice 3 days a week because i knew i’d be able to read even more!  Not only is her story well-written, but i felt like i was learning lessons over and over – feelings of “yes!” and “I need to hear this”.  I also had several occasions in public where i was reaching for tissues or popping on my sunglasses to cover my teary eyes.  This is a beautiful love story – between Kara & her husband, between Kara & her children, and between Kara & Christ who is walking through the hard with her and teaching her a peace she would only know through this experience.

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I was reading Kara’s blog, Mundane Faithfulness, and trying to figure out a way to describe the book in a neat little package.  My words were failing me – “It’s a book about a mom with 4 kids who has cancer…” no, its so much more than that!  Then i found this paragraph that Kara just wrote after snuggling her youngest and whispering about heaven: “The hardest peace is to walk through and not around what is hard. But peace is present. It is so painfully present- I am able to imagine heaven with my baby with wonder and not bitterness. It’s beautiful really. I go to sleep thankful.”  

If you have a chance, pick up this book.  Then share it.  Also, head over to Kara’s blog and dig in.