Why the HECK is it so hard to have FUN family time!??? AND, a challenge!

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I like to GO, GO, GO.  Weekends fly by because we go from one activity to the next.  Papa Harry LOVES me for this…(actually he does not, it drives him crazy because his idea of a family fun weekend is hanging around the house chillin’).  BUT he loves me and the kids and he goes along with my crazy plans most of the time.  So we do all of these fun Harry Up and GO Adventures regardless of the fact that sometimes, its CRAZY!  I know all of my posts probably make it look like rainbows and unicorns.  Um, we are just like everybody else and have difficulty getting out and doing things.  Especially since we have a lot of kids – it’s like it multiplies the opportunities for “issues” on our adventures.  And there are “issues” before we even get out the door – which is why many times, my well intended adventures don’t even happen. So WHY, why, why, is it so hard to have fun family adventures?  Well, here you go:

Its expensive!

Even though I am the self proclaimed master at finding free or inexpensive things to do with the fam, most of the really fun things cost money.  Times seven of us = LOTS of money.  I get it.  Lets talk about a trip to Hershey Park.  For all 7 of us to go for one day, it costs $297 just for tickets.  Then $15 for parking.  Then food. Then games that the kids beg for and you just want them to stop asking so you give in.  Then souvenirs.  We are well over $300 for ONE DAY.  Geez.    Big trips need to be planned and saved for, or they don’t happen.  Even smaller scale adventures add up quickly.   So its so important to seek out the actually free or very cheap adventures for good fun.  Even though we do LOVE a great day at Dutch Wonderland, or Hershey Park…some of our most favorite adventures have been the days that we all strap on our bike helmets and ride our bikes down the hill to the Smoothie King in our local shopping center.  Or that one time we explored Cape Henlopen State Park at low tide during the summer (Ok that was not free – $5 for the carload).  I hope to share as many free and low cost adventure ideas as I possibly can on www.harryupandgo.com for my wonderful readers!  So please keep checking back!  And don’t forget…make sure to check for Groupon deals before you go ANYWHERE.  You can save a TON of money that way! (If you are shopping Groupon, pretty please go through my ad links!)

It takes planning!

Does this sound familiar?  You have a free day…maybe the kids are off school, or a weekend day that is actually not scheduled with anything.  No sports, no birthday parties, no church activities, no work to be done around the house (ha!  who are we kidding there – there’s always more work to be done!)…So you want to do something fun as a family on this day…but you cant figure out what! you check Facebook & nothing looks good.  Or maybe you find something to do that starts in 25 minutes, but you live 35 minutes away.  Or you need to pack  lunch for the whole family and you just don’t feel like it, or there’s not enough time.  This kind of stuff happens to me all the time.  And then we end up doing nothing.  We stay home and its just like every other day where Bubba is dumping an entire box of cereal on the floor, the older kids are glued to Netflix on their individual devices ignoring their rooms that need to be cleaned, and I’m fuming inside because I really wanted to be out of the house to have a fun adventure DARN IT!  Family adventure time takes planning on some level.

This is a scene from an actual Harry Up and GO dinner...I wonder how much the server hated that night?!
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This is a scene from an actual Harry Up and GO dinner…I wonder how much the server hated that night?!

Because KIDS

Lets face it, sometimes things don’t go as planned because of the kids.  Here are some actual reasons why we had no fun on an adventure: The kids argued for a whole hour trip over the movie they would watch in the car.  One of them threw up all over the car seat 10 minutes before arrival.  Missy sliced her finger with a steak knife at a restaurant then asked the server who was fetching her bandaid “why are you so fat?”  (OMG! – most embarrassing day of my life!).  Somehow I forgot to put a diaper on Bubba and he peed on the ground, then proceeded to lie in the pee (think snow angel style) and rub it all over his clothes.  He went the rest of the day in a diaper only because I had no extra clothes.  One time we went to the zoo and realized one of the kids forgot to bring shoes. Ok that has happened lots of times.  How about every time we go to a store, at least one child BEGS to buy something.  Here’s a trick:  Have very low expectations for the amount of actual fun that is to happen on your adventures.  Chances are, those super bad ones will be few and far between and your kids will only remember the fun of the experience, even if you, as the parent, are remembering the chaos.

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I *could* say that drinking massive amounts of alcohol is a good way to have fun on family adventures, but I am not going to say that.

Busy Schedules

Sports, birthday parties, working late, scouts, volunteering commitments, church activities, that Pampered Chef party your friend is having that you feel like you have to go to because she went to your Stella & Dot party, picking up that extra shift at work, preschool pick up, the Chuck E Cheese fundraiser for the PTA, the side job you need to do pay the bills, the list goes on and on.  And that’s not even the list of everyday things that get neglected because of all the other commitments we get ourselves into: laundry (OH laundry how I loathe you!), dishes, lawn cutting, cleaning the bathrooms, fixing that leaky faucet, getting the oil changed in your car, doing the grocery shopping, taking the over-due library books back.  Again, the list goes on and on.  Lack of time is a major hurdle to get over if you want to make family fun time a priority.  Something has to give, because there will never be enough time in the day to do everything you want to do.  Prioritizing is key.  When you make your family time the priority and not an afterthought, amazing things happen to your  family dynamic.  I look forward to sharing some of the ways we, the Harrys, make our adventures THE priority.

Lack of sleep makes it hard to plan family adventures for sure!
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Lack of sleep makes it hard to plan family adventures for sure!

Just DO it!

So yes, I know it can be hard to create those fun moments with your families..  We struggle, as all families do to fit everything in.   But here’s the thing…we can NEVER get these years back.  Every time I go to the grocery store, older moms and grandmas say, “They grow up fast”, or “Don’t blink it goes so quickly”.  (Well the first thing they always say is, “Are they ALL yours?!) I know its cliche and just something to say.  BUT, it is true!!  I don’t want to look back at these short years with my kids and say, “I wish we would have done more as family”.  I think if I took a poll and asked moms and dads, “What is the most important thing in your life?”, family would be at the top…so why do we constantly put off family time for all of the reasons above? Are we putting making money above our family life with work?  Are we allowing the tough stuff of raising kids to rule our days?  Are we putting our schedule in front of the family?

Sometimes, just SOMETIMES, our adventures create moments like this. And it make everything worthwhile!
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Sometimes, just SOMETIMES, our adventures create moments like this. And it makes everything worthwhile!

The Challenge

So even if it’s a family walk around the neighborhood, or a trip to get donuts after church…I challenge everyone reading this blog post to go on one adventure with your family this week.  Try to make it something new that you haven’t done before or in a while.  I’m not going to promise you that it’s easy…but I am going to promise you it’s worth it!  So Harry Up and GO to a new playground, or a pumpkin patch you haven’t checked out yet.  Harry Up and GO to a trunk or treat, or go on a hike at your local state park, whatever you can come up with.  Come back and share with us your adventures with the #harryupandgo on Instagram or on our Facebook page.  Snap a picture so you can share and remember.  I can’t wait to hear of your own adventures and I’ll be sharing mine as well!

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2 thoughts on “Why the HECK is it so hard to have FUN family time!??? AND, a challenge!

  1. Mandy, check out the Richard Nixon Park – it’s in Pa. just north of the Amish Mart. It’s really a great place for kids – and free. LOVE YOUR BLOG ~~~

  2. Well said! I am looking forward to the challenge. I second the Groupon message. I never go anywhere without a coupon. They make trips to super fun family places like Great Wolf lodge, or even renting things for the family to enjoy affordable.

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