I am beyond delighted to be today's stop on the Catholic Family Fun Book Tour! Read on to find out about Sarah Reinhard's fantastic new book!
"Mommy, come play me!" This is the call of my two-year-old, as he makes a beeline for the backyard the minute we walk in the door.
I am still dressed from work. Dinner is not on the table. But those big green-brown eyes are pleading not just for play, but play with me.
I'll be the first to admit that I try to do too much. I want to provide fun and meaningful play opportunities with my son (have you seen my Pinterest boards?!). I want to get down on the floor and play with him. I struggle mightily with balancing that desire with the other things that pull at my heart - building a deeper relationship with God (and fostering my son's relationship with Him); tending to my marriage - and demand my attention - practicing law (and running my own law office); serving as the family cook, the resident errand-runner, the well-intentioned housekeeper, and the laundress.
So when I heard that one of my favorite Catholic bloggers, Sarah Reinhard, had published Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless (the emphasis is mine), I sat up and took notice. And when I received Sarah's book in the mail, I immediately keyed in to the part of the Appendix entitled "Activities Organized by Prep Time." (Sarah also has ultra-handy reference lists of activities organized by duration and cost!)
Moose is an outdoorsy kind of boy (there's a redundant phrase, if ever there was one!), so in order to give Catholic Family Fun a true "test" and to coincide with celebrating Earth Day, we took to the backyard to try out Sarah's Nature Hunt Creation. We scouted out a rock (to make a Pet Rock) and some newly-fallen rose petals (to make pressed flowers). We talked about the birds' beautiful songs (we have a lot of visitors in our backyard right now). The Moose tossed the rose petals in the air over and over to fall on his head. Keeping in mind Sarah's suggestions for a "Faith Angle" in her activities, I casually reminded my giggling Moose that wasn't it nice of God to make all of these things for us to enjoy.
He stopped mid flower petal throw, looked at me, and said, sure-as-can-be, "Jesus loves me."
"Yes, Sweetheart, He does!"
And the petal tossing recommenced, but now accompanied by an only slightly off-key rendition of "Jesus Loves Me".
Because Moose's 29 month-old attention span is, well, the attention span of a 29 month-old boy, we didn't get to the "creation" part of the Nature Hunt Creation, but our rock, rose petals, and Sarah's ideas are ready and waiting for the next time he wants to sit still at the table and "make art" - along with a host of wonderful-while-not-overwhelming ways to add fun to our time together.
But there's something deeper and more wonderful going on in Sarah's activities that I realized while I was reading through the book and during our nature hunt: while I am responding to the call of "Mommy, come play me!", I can also strengthen our whole family's bond and sow the seeds for the Moose's own faith journey. It is not simply a matter of multi-tasking, and, in fact, it shouldn't be. It doesn't matter if his Mass bag is the best on the block (it isn't - at least not for him in this hurricane season of his little life). What I should be doing is inviting God to our moments of play, our meals together, and our dealings with others - even when we're not at church. Sarah's book reminds me that all the things I am called to do are not compartmentalized, but part of God's whole plan for me, my son, my family.
Thank you, Sarah, for giving me a new (and less stressful) way to look at the way I share my faith with my family, and for putting together such a wonderful resource - both the Catholic Family Fun book and in the additional resources on the book website! I am looking forward to realizing all the ways that Sarah's activities can grow with the Moose, and give deeper roots to our whole family's faith.