So…I don’t want to put Shaun T or Jane Fonda out of a job, but I think I’ve found the most effective workout routine.

Play with your kids.

Michael has deemed this summer a summer focused on our family.  We need it.  Our kids have sacrificed a LOT of time with us because of seminary and our crazy schedule.  We’re saying ‘no’ to things that don’t fall in line with our summer theme.  We’re dating our kids.  We’re dating each other.  We’re loving one another extravagantly and specifically.  Our focus is each other.  Fall will come and bring demands and pull us away to things that are important and urgent and worthy of our time, no doubt. But for now, we are focused on our family.

Last week at the pool I was sitting with a friend who had let her children bring those squirter toys.  You know the ones…that shoot water 47 feet across the pool.  Parents hate them. Kids love them. Anyway, her kids and their friends were playing with them and they were getting a bit rambunctious.  She called her son over and said, in a conspiratory kind of way, “Hey….fill it up with this ice water from the cooler!  You’ll really freeze him out!!”  Then she giggled like she was 8.  My jaw dropped.  I thought she was going to scold him.  I would have scolded mine.  But why?   They were just having fun…and the kids thought it was hilarious.

I love her.

She’s always doing things like that.  She lets her kids jump in puddles in their good clothes.  She makes movie night a big deal, projecting the movie super big so it feels like a theater in her home.  She plays with her kids.

So, the beginning of this week came and I really didn’t have too many things scheduled.  I do a summer program at church, so that was Wednesday.  But other than that I just had the kids at home.  Michael had a few extra shifts, so it was going to be long days for me.  And in keeping with our summer theme,

I decided to play with my kids.

It was an actual decision.  Playing with my kids doesn’t come naturally.  I like being a grown up.   I always have, even when I was a kid.  I’m not very good at playing.  Michael is good at this.  He does things like this:

IMG_2971 IMG_2676 IMG_2582 IMG_6369 994455_10151672022631041_80371903_n

And I sit and fold laundry and laugh happily from the sideline.  I like the view from there.  It’s safe.

So I think I took my kids a bit by surprise when I did a cannonball into the pool this week.  Actually, Nolan said, “Are you trying to be dad?”  Geesh.  Harsh.  “No, I can play too!” I squawked like a kid left out at recess.

I chased them.  I played in every one of those jumpy houses on our Wild Wednesday to Safari Nation.  I did the maze.  I did the obstacle course and the slide.  I did the zipline. Twice. I played ball tag.  I shot balls from air guns. I ran.  I swam.  I jumped off the diving board.  I tickled them.  I boosted them.  (I don’t know if you know what that is. In our family it means that we pick the kids up over our heads and throw them as hard as we can in the water.) I boosted them 148 times.  I told a story in the hammock, the crisis of which was resolved with a ‘fart pack’ which catapulted the character to safety.  They laughed with such delight.  They laughed all week long.


And truth be told…I had fun doing it.  As I swam underwater (hair and all Mamas…you know that is a big deal), I remembered what it felt like as a kid to go to that imaginary place where nothing bad could happen.  I squealed with excitement during ball tag, anticipating from which direction my chaser would come.  I laughed with abandon at the fart jokes, disgusting as they were.  And I enjoyed my kids.

And I am the sorest I have ever been.

I have done the insanity work outs, and I am not kidding, I’ve never hurt this bad.  Last night Michael took me out on a date and I could barely lift my arms to curl my hair.  I had to rest and take tylenol by 4 p.m.  I felt like jello.  One day this week I told the kids we were going to play ‘survivor’.  They were in charge of the food all day.  Hey, I can either feed them or play with them.  Turns out, I can’t do both.

So, FREE, not 3 easy payments of $59.95, here’s how to get in shape.

Want great arms? Boost your kids.

Want great abs? Laugh with your kids.

Want great legs? Chase your kids.

I guarantee it will be the most rewarding exercise you ever do.

Go PLAY!!!

4 thoughts on “PLAY

  1. I just love so much about this post. I, too, am not a naturally playful mom, but when I do stop and take time to play, I get just as much out of it as my children do! My husband is a minister, so our summers are more family-oriented as well, since the school year brings a busy church schedule. My favorite thing is the small easy-set pool we purchased last year. I love to swim (although in this pool, it’s more like crouching and splashing) and so do my children. It’s a playful activity that we all enjoy, one I’m happy to indulge in. Thanks for this good reminder to enjoy playing with our children! 🙂

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