You are in for a treat today!  I met Megan while we were both in college and we had such a blast together.  My favorite memory with Megan is being crazy youth group counselors together.  She was always so much fun and such a great friend.  I am so excited that Megan was willing to share how she strengthens her family.  She is not only a great friend and mom, but as you will find, she is an amazing writer.  I love her insights and family goals and know you will too, so here we are spotlighting:

The Lavin Family

I was a bit surprised Brittany wanted to spotlight my family. It still feels weird saying I have a “family” since we only have one child and are still adjusting!  Even though it’s been only 7 months since the two of us became a small family of three, we’ve enjoyed every minute!

I recently received her book and have been enjoying it.  I know many FHE, family activities, and games will come from her great ideas.  I met Brittany when we were both EFY counselors (a summer church camp). I was so impressed with the vivacious and happy character of Brittany.  She was like a bouncing ray of sunlight and was so happy and fun to be around.  It’s was no surprise to me she chose the major she did and why she thrives at it because she is a lot of fun to be around.  I’m glad talented people like her specialize in recreational therapy. It gives people like me, who tend to get wrapped up in what’s-for-dinner, a reminder to play with your kids and work on other things besides the daily grind!

I think traditions and family habits are important and give your kids something to look forward to.  Whether they be for summer–like always going to a favorite water park (like we did when i was growing up) or holiday traditions (like making homemade white chocolate suckers!  My fav!).  Let me share three traditions and family habits I’ve been working on with my little family that I feel will strengthen us and improve our relationships.

The first tradition that I have tried to start is reading the easy-reader version of the Book of Mormon (LDS scriptures) to my son each night as part of his bedtime routine.  I’ve heard how good it is for your children to be read to, so I figured why not instill two habits at one time?  Even though he’s only 7 months old we’ve almost finished the Book of Mormon reader twice!  I know he won’t necessarily remember this from such a young age, but I will.  If i make sure that I am used to doing this as part of our daily routine, it will have a much greater chance of sticking around for when he gets older and life gets busier.  I want to model a love of learning, reading and especially the scriptures for my son.  I want to show him God’s great works for his people back in older times so that he can learn that God is still there for us today.

The second tradition that I’ve really been trying to practice is just being silly.  Life is serious and hard enough.  My family growing up was quite serious and I really want to instill a fun environment for my kids.  If I am always serious I think that creating a fun environment for my children will be harder to do.  Why not start now, even though he’s so little?  I try to make funny faces, laugh a lot, make ridiculous sounds, dance and just play like a crazy person in front of him.  At first I felt a little awkward, but if I can’t be silly for my kids, who can I be silly for?  And the rolling laughter that I sometimes hear is worth any embarrassment. I want my kids to feel like they can let loose and have a good time, so I’ve got to show the way.

The third tradition may be cliche, but I feel like it’s very important to have dinner together.  While my baby isn’t off the bottle yet, I’m working hard to learn how to cook budget-friendly, tasty and health-conscious meals so that by the time he is eating I’ll be able to offer nutritious meals.  This is a daily habit that gives us a chance to come together, and catch up. I have many fond memories of eating delicious meals at the family table.  This connection point allowed us to stay current with each other when our lives were so busy.

There are of course, a million other things you can do to strengthen your family, but those are a few of the baby steps we’re working on lately.  But, for other tips, I’ll leave that to the pro: Brittany.

Megan Lavin is a freelance writer who loves to stay-at-home with her beautiful little boy.  She’s trying to figure out this thing called “motherhood” and loves to pretend she’s Giada DeLaurentis.  She honestly chronicles both her triumphs and failures with humor at her blog meganandclaudy.blogspot.com.