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Thursday, May 21, 2015

What Are You Thankful For?

 There are so many things in my life that I am thankful for. It seems like once I became a parent I truly realized the abundance of blessings that I already had in my life. I guess a new perspective and a significant multiplication of blessings will do that to you. Right now what I am thankful for is very simple and it's something we've developed as a family over the past four years. I am extremely thankful for the bedtime routine, or lack thereof, that we have established in our family of four.

Many families have a rigid bedtime routine that they adhere to practically every single night. They have a set dinner time and bath time followed by teeth brushing (hopefully), some version of story/prayer time and lights out at a specific time. This routine is rarely altered.


I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this type of approach but it's just not the way we choose to do things. Perhaps this will change once our kids get into school, but as for now our bedtime routine basically consists of dinner and bath in no particular order, followed by teeth brushing and...

A.) snuggling on the couch with one or both parents watching football, basketball, hockey or baseball depending on the season. Right now we are in the midst of the Stanley Cup playoffs so we're watching a lot of hockey at "bedtime." We are a big sports family and its the perfect opportunity to show them that watching sports as a family is important to us. Plus, they usually lose interest and fall asleep rather quickly.

B.) story time on our older son's bed. (we currently have a 4 year old and a 2 year old: both boys). We snuggle them up on the bed and read a few books. When we're all done we usually just turn out the lights, say goodnight and walk out. Our two year old who is still in a crib usually whines for about 30 seconds and then they either fall asleep or start talking to each other (which is always great entertainment listening over the monitor). We leave him in the bed with his big brother to fall asleep and we move him over to the crib later when we come in the room to check on them. This works out well. He never gets out of the bed as long as his big brother is there with him. The transition from crib to big boy bed with our first son was kind of a nightmare. He was always getting out of bed. So far it looks like we won't have to worry about that the second time around. This also provides a good opportunity for some classic pictures.

C.) On Friday nights or special occasions we'll all just pile into our bed for a movie or a few episodes of Fixer Upper or a good family talk. The boys love this and  they usually get a little rowdy but we only do it on nights when we don't have to wake up for anything in the morning. The quality time is definitely worth it although I end up having to lug them to bed at some point in the middle of the night.

Regardless of how we decide to do bed time on a particular night there is always one constant and that is prayer time. Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you to do prayer time with your children if you don't believe in God (although it couldn't hurt) but I am going to advise you to do what precedes prayer time in our house because you don't need to believe that your blessings come from God to be grateful for them. Every night after story time or after we pause the television, we ask the boys what they are thankful for. They answer with an array of "blessings" ranging from favorite television shows to family members to friends names to favorite toys to animals to chocolate fishing rods. 

When we first started doing this they didn't have much to say. That's when my wife Daphne and I decided to ask each other what we are thankful for so we could set an example for them as to how the question should/could be answered. 

"I'm thankful for the roof over our heads" 

"I'm thankful for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep."

"I'm thankful for two healthy and happy boys."

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to make good choices tomorrow."

This is also a good time to show your kids that you love, respect and appreciate your spouse with answers such as "I'm thankful for the job Mommy does at home with you boys" or "I'm thankful for Daddy's hard work every day." After seeing this a few times their answers went from a blank stare, gibberish or "I don't know" to something meaningful. Sure, sometimes their answers are pure silliness but I can really see them developing an appreciation for the things in this life that they have. 

Now that we've been doing this for a while we get them to tell us at least three things that they are thankful for each night. My 4 year olds current go-to is, "I'm thankful for you, Daddy" which melts my heart every single night, of course. He usually follows that up with a shout out to his Mom and his little brother. 

Although my two year old typically likes to just give us a run down of his favorite TV shows, he's developing a reputation of thinking of people in his life who he is thankful for other than his Mom and Dad. When he randomly mentions our friends Adam and Amy or my buddy Leroy or Mrs. Janet from church, I know his wheels are turning and we're doing a good thing. They are understanding what gratitude is more and more each day. They are learning an appreciation for blessings. Even if most of the blessings they are grateful for are toys today, one day those blessings will be something more and they will be sure not to take them for granted. I can only dream of where they will go from here.

What about you? Do you have any routines or traditions that the rest of the world just has to know about? Feel free to share. In the mean time I will leave you with this video from a few days ago of my boys telling me a few things they are thankful for. Enjoy!


  1. Who among us isn't thankful for chocolate fishing poles? That how you catch the Easter Bunny!
    Great job teaching your boys to be thankful for their blessings. I usually ask my kids the same thing and I get the same range of answers.
    Keep raising those boys right! :)

  2. This is wonderful! You are never to young to learn to be thankful! I adore your pictures too :-)

  3. We have slacked off in the prayer department in our house. But we definitely enjoy allowing the kids to take time to share what they are thankful for. This morning the kids played "I love you because" they spun a spinner and whoever it pointed at they shared what they like or love about that person. It was pretty cute and fun.

  4. I agree once you become a part things change and you realize all the blessing you have in life. Bedtime does change when they start school by knowing the hr you want to do things. We tried for so long to have a routine but with the 5 kiddos, nothing is ever as it is planned. So now I know 7 is pj and brush teeth, 8ish is bed and so on.

    1. oops I meant to say parent. See what happens as you write and 5 kids are talking to you at once. LOL.

  5. I love that you have your kids doing this! What a wonderful habit to acquire, appreciation! #BigTopBlogParty

  6. Hey Casey,

    It's no big secret that I'm not a huge fan of chocolate BUT a chocolate fishing pole would be AWESOME! I think he may be onto something there! ;-) Your boys are so incredibly adorable and it's great to get a glimpse into your life through the videos you share. I am rather impressed with Fletcher's vocabulary! WOW! What a smart kid! And Mr. Cooper is just precious!

    I am thankful for blogger friends like you that make us think about the important things in life and to be grateful for what we DO have instead of what we DON'T have! As always a wonderful and heartfelt post!

    Wishing you another precious prayer/thankfulness moment tonight!

    Much love,