Motherhood

How to Save a Bad Week

Family Sleepover

We had a pretty comical string of bad days recently, with Anton’s hospital stays, extra long work days and a change in childcare. Then, last week, when we were barely hanging by a thread, Toby crashed down some stairs, sliced his lip, needed stitches and couldn’t eat or talk. Finally I was like, enough is enough. WE HAVE TO TURN THIS TRAIN AROUND…

Alex and I racked our brains: What could we do that all four of us would enjoy? That would pull us out of our bad moods? But also be affordable and very, very, very easy?

Since we’d read Ira recently, an idea suddenly popped into my head: We could host A SLEEPOVER. Alex and I would be the hosts, the boys would be the guests.

So, this Saturday afternoon, while the kids were at swim class, I picked up balloons and hot fudge from the store, while Alex ordered a pizza and pulled out the sleeping bags.

Family Sleepover

Balloons; veggie appetizers; juice in fancy glasses.

I actually had butterflies when the boys were on their way home! But when they arrived, they started jumping around with excitement. We ate dinner together, followed by make-your-own ice cream sundaes.

Family Sleepover

Lastly, we watched the first part of Paddington while cuddled up in sleeping bags. Afterward, the boys insisted on hauling their bags to our bedroom and finding cozy spots on the floor so we could all sleep together. (Of course, Alex and I tiptoed back out as soon as they conked out.)

Alex

A sleepover dry martini.

To my relief, the evening felt so fun and buoying. And the funny thing is, it was basically the same Saturday night we would have had anyway: dinner, half a movie, bedtime. But with a name and a few extras (sleeping bags, hot fudge), the experience suddenly felt magical.

Anton’s excited dance.

And we really, really needed that.

Hope you are doing okay today! Thank you so much for reading. xoxo

P.S. Home as a haven, and a handy trick if you’re feeling worried. Plus, what makes children laugh.

(Photos of us at home.)

  1. Abi says...

    you guys are the adorablest :)

  2. Aww I love this so much! Kind of makes me want to invite my friends over to do something similar!

  3. Such a sweet idea! This made me thought my family needs one of those soon! Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Sarah K says...

    I love how you are so real about what life is like—everyone has hard weeks and sometimes you have to either cry or laugh or both at once. It’s so wise that you found a simple way to set a different tone for your family in spite of the tough week. I need to practice that resilience in our family too. Right now we’re in a stage of baseball games every night, husband running a business, deep anxieties about a struggling child, potty training, and daily wondering what the heck is for dinner. We need to choose to cherish the fun parts and pull together as a team of people who love each other even on the hard days. Yesterday I realized we just need to eat dinner at 5, before baseball. It felt ridiculously early and it was very un-fancy food, but when we came home after the game and all snacked on popcorn and ice cream on the couch and spent some actual time sitting in the same room, vs me scrambling to cook something while everyone melted down, it felt “oh, this is our family again.” And that feels good.

  5. I love the lemons into lemonade mentality- truly! We’ve had much practice in this ourselves over the years with a daughter who required 16 years of medical treatment- sometimes you just gotta laugh and have fun! It says a lot about you when you choose to rise above a crappy week. Thank you for sharing the sweet story! These are the things we need to be reading!

  6. Michelle Palo says...

    This is so sweet, and I hope your week is looking up!

  7. Fiona says...

    When my honey and I get overwhelmed, we “book” a night at the “hotel” – the pull-out sofa in our living room. We don’t have a TV in the bedroom, and we never eat in bed, but we make mac and cheese and popcorn and a cocktail (the “hotel” has the greatest mini-bar), and watch movies snuggled in bed till we fall asleep! In the morning, we pick up the movie where we left off, have an irish coffee (we always get late check out), and finally, around 11 or so get around to putting the sofa-bed away. It makes for such a special evening, and such a great way to just unwind!

    • Jessica says...

      what a sweet idea! i hope to get to borrow it someday. :)

  8. J says...

    You guys, I have to say I never read the comments sections of anything but here I’d never miss it! So many amazing ideas.
    I have found more inspiration here than anything I’ve read. My new mantras are ‘aim for yes’ and ‘add water’ thanks to COJ.
    Can’t wait to have a surprise slumber party for our son!

  9. Erin says...

    This remind me of when I was kid and we would do movie theatre night at the house. We’d make tickets for the movie and take them as everyone entered the “theatre”
    (family room) and my mom found plastic popcorn container that looked like movie theatre popcorn bags and everyone would get
    one with microwave popcorn and a soda. It felt so fun and exciting, and just as much fun as going out to a movie. And there wa something so great about our mom and Dad playing along with the whole movie-theatre-at-home thing. Now as an adult I think it was just about all two tired parents could muster at the end of a long week, but we loved it and I cherish those memories.

  10. Jess says...

    Adore this! This is why I love A Cup of Jo. Its real and it resonates. And its always so hopeful and helpful. I’m now thinking I might have a sleepover party with my kids this weekend. Thank you!

  11. Lori says...

    This is brilliant, what an idea! My daughter is 8 and would love it but I’m afraid I missed my window with my almost 12 year old son. Not sure he’d want to sleep in the same room as us AND his sister anymore :( But golly, I’m going to try!

  12. Liz says...

    I love this idea. Each month I have a “slumber party” with my 4 1/2 year old, where we get in our pajamas right after dinner, go into the guest room and watch movies in bed. He gets so excited about it and he has also stopped asking to sleep in our room. Win win.

  13. Lauren says...

    I really liked your last sentence!
    It reminded me that some days it’s okay just to be okay not good or great. I hope you all are doing okay today!!

  14. I love this! My eyes just welled with tears. You are not the only one. I’m the parent of a T1D kid and another small kiddo and life just seems to be one thing after the next these days. It’s nice to know that not everyone else is just smoothly sailing along. Thank you for being honest. We might just have a sleepover ourselves this Friday night. Hugs to you and your family.

  15. A family sleepover sounds like a fabulous idea. I’m storing that away until I have a family of my own.

  16. Theresa says...

    I love this and plan to use it with my four year old!

  17. I’m so inspired by this. I really appreciate easy ways to elevate the ordinary, and I’ll certainly keep this in my back pocket.

  18. Anna says...

    I REALLY love this… Thanks so much for sharing a GREAT idea (that I’m definitely going to do with my family), as well as the personal photos and little video!

  19. Nicole says...

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s always great to learn from the practical brilliance of other parents.

  20. ceciel says...

    Genius

  21. This sounds amazing! We’re having a similarly bad week at our household (i wonder if there’s something going on in the stars/moons/zodiac? haha).

    We’re currently trying to save money, but – last week my partner’s phone broke and he had to rush to get a new one last week, our car broke down in the middle of the highway this past weekend, our dog was sick last night and we ended up having to take her to emergency care (although she’s much better now), and to top it off, we’re both flooded with work to deliver this week and need to travel for a wedding (more expenses) this weekend. He has a project due tomorrow, so we’ve decided to find a happy hour deal, and go out for drinks after his presentation as a mid-week break to get us through the rest of the week!

    Maybe I’ll suggest an adult (and dog) sleepover weekend just staying in bed for 48 hours after all this! :-)

  22. Alexa says...

    What a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing. We are in need of a reset for our whole family, and after reading this, I’m feeling a bit more positive!

  23. sara says...

    love this! anything with balloons = party for my boys :)
    just wondering what is inside the magnatile boxes next to their plates?

  24. Amanda says...

    Love this so much. Even for adults, a slumber party (or an all-but-sleeping-over party :)) really is the perfect, low-key escape from normal life! A few years ago when my sister was dealing with a serious health issue and didn’t have much energy for going out, a group of friends and I came over, built a sheet fort in the living room, made pizzas and other fun snacks, and watched movies from our childhood like A Goofy Movie. It was relaxing, giggle-inducing, and exactly the right amount of effort to make her feel loved without breaking the bank or taking tons of extra time. Plus, you can’t go wrong when the dress code includes slippers :)

    • Frin says...

      What a great idea! I’ll copy this idea, thank you very much.

  25. Lisa says...

    Dear Joanna,

    What a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, I love the New York piece you have on your wall. It’s the perfect size. Where may I find it please?

  26. K says...

    Growing up our Mom taught night school on Monday nights and even though our Dad was great – we were always like, “nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Moooooooooooooooooooooom!!!!!!!!!!” Then our Dad started letting us eat out of pots and pans for dinner and making incredible food like: hot dogs and corn. It got to be where we were chanting, “HOT DOGS AND CORN! HOT DOGS AND CORN!” while our Mom laughed and snuck out the door every week. Some of my favorite memories.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so cute!!

  27. K says...

    Dude, high give. It’s so so so satisfying to say: NOPE! Ain’t nuthin’ gonna break my stride! I will conquer this week through fun & kindness! I WILL! The best.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, I love that you’re reading Ira to your kids! That was my favorite growing up and I like to give it as a baby shower gift. Plus, who doesn’t want to imagine having a friend named Reggie?

  28. Maiz says...

    LOVE!

  29. Britta says...

    One REALLY easy idea, that you probably have to do no prep for, is “made to order milkshakes” at home! We always have a tub of vanilla ice cream in the freezer, as well as almond milk on hand for cereal, so I will find whatever other ingredients we have and make a fun milkshake flavor. Leftover brownies! Bananas & strawberries! Peanut butter and chocolate! I pop out the vitamix, keep crazy straws on hand, and it’s a dessert party.

    • Ana says...

      Such a fun idea!!

  30. Nadja says...

    When I was six, my friend Hannah hosted a “pretend” slumber party for her birthday – we played games, ate dinner, changed into pjs, got in our sleeping bags, watched a movie….and then were picked up by our parents and put to bed in our own houses. Best idea EVER. All the fun parts of a sleepover, with no risk of homesickness.

  31. Alison says...

    This reminds me of when we were kids and my parents would pitch one of those open half tents for us in the living room and we would “camp out” at home. I’m 29 now and cherish those memories and remember how much my siblings and I loved that! I’m sure your boys will feel the same when they are older too :)

    • Nancy says...

      Just when I was thinking that we never did anything quite like this when my kids were little, your comment reminded me that one time we set up a new collapsible ice fishing tent / hut in the living room to test it out and the kids thought it was so much fun, that they ended up sleeping in it overnight. I should have made fish shaped pancakes for breakfast.

  32. Emma says...

    I just absolutely love this post. What a wonderful trick to remember! Joanna — thank you for inviting us into your life, and for your honesty about the challenges and SUCCESSES of parenting. Best blog (and community of women) ever!

    • ceciel says...

      Yes!

    • Anna says...

      Yes! Totally agree! :-)

  33. Gillian says...

    Wow I like love this what great and most importantly simple idea!

  34. TNelly says...

    Just the tiniest bit of effort goes such a long way – sending warm thoughts to you and your family.

  35. Libbynan says...

    LOVE the happy dance! I’m dating myself and my entire family, but our dances were always “Snoopy ” dances. Even today we say our great-grands are doing the Snoopy dance.

    • Madeline D says...

      That is my go to dance move at weddings.

  36. jinna says...

    Sometimes I just feel so proud of you guys

  37. Kate says...

    Sometimes I feel like blog suggestions for ‘fun’ kids activities are so involved, and not at all genuine, like they are just done so parents can post the styling/results on insta.

    This feels so achievable and like it would actually be fun for the kids, and genuinely exciting for them. Thanks for posting! I’m going to do it for my 4 year old in the next month or two when we need a boost.

    • Amy says...

      I think Kate hit the nail on the head. I love the juice in “fancy” glasses. Those little details really have a way of making some thing, SOMETHING.

      I also like that you intentionally decided to de-funk. Sometimes, I just want to get through the funk and, eventually, I know the good will be back. This was a good reminder that it doesn’t take much to make our own good.

      Thank you for sharing something so simple, genuine, AND attainable!

  38. Autumn says...

    These are the memories you hold onto dearly. When I was younger, my family and I would go on “country rides” were my mom would make us sandwiches and we would drive to a Frontier town and get to pick out “penny” candy.

    • K says...

      Awwwwwwwwwwww, that’s awesome. What a great idea!

  39. BLG says...

    Right On Joanna Alex Toby and Anton! Way to make a go of it after a string of bad luck. This will truly be a cherished memory for the 4 of you, all for different reasons. Going to the hospital, tummy aches, getting stitches…the worst! Having a sleepover with your favorite peeps…the best!

  40. SR says...

    Growing up, we (my little brother and I) would have movie nights every Friday and they were the best way to end the week. The tradition statred after my dad suddenly passed away and my mom was in the throws single-motherhood. She would work a lot––needing to support us on her own––and wouldn’t get to spend very much time with us during the week. Most weeknights she would pick us up form after-school care and we would quickly have dinner and then bath and bed. But Friday movie nights were the best, we would be anticipating them all week. Our after-care teachers even knew about our tradition and they would get really excited for us!
    Three simple things: Pizza, a movie, and time with Mom made that rocky time of our lives more managable.

    • Amber says...

      This brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful way of being comforted.

  41. brianna says...

    This is awesome. Also, I loved Paddington.

  42. KarenJ says...

    OMG little kids are so easy to please! How awesome is that innocent pleasure in such simple little things. I so wish that I had those days with my son back but also that we all could carry that forward into adult life.

  43. Meems says...

    Aww poor Toby. Hope he is on the mend. Brave little man. Stitches…ouchie!

  44. Linda says...

    This reminds me of when we (brothers, sister and I) were kids – on Saturday night our parents would make pizzas, everyone would put on their pyjamas and we’d all dance around to my dad’s rock and roll records ☺️

  45. katie says...

    I gasped when I read the three little words “change in childcare.” We’ve had a few abrupt changes and they can be so hard to navigate. I feel you and I hope you’re hanging in there!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much! ours was a pretty dramatic/abrupt situation, too. and very tough for the boys. these things happen, and we wish everyone the best, though. hope you’re okay! xoxo

  46. Justine says...

    I have literally been reading your blog for YEARS and heard your voices for the first time. Is that weird?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha so funny!

  47. R.M. says...

    I am very close to my mom and I remember sensing when she would start to become very stressed out with homeschooling two kids, parenting a toddler, and the demands of farm life. So, I came up with the idea of putting her in “jail.” We made a comfy nest of blankets and pillows on the floor in my brother’s room and cordoned off the area with jump ropes tied to chairs. Then we gave sent her to “jail” with her favorite books and returned later with grilled cheese. She also had a bell to ring if she needed us so it was really more of a resort! Since then she has talked about how nice it was to have an excuse to take time off since she was playing the “go to jail” game with us. We all need time to reset, both children and parents!

  48. Jane says...

    This is just great! We also do a similar thing when after my son as been at his dad’s for his long 5 night stretch every second week; when he gets home, we have a celebration.
    Often, it is just putting candles in a slice of cake, switching out the lights and playing Kool and the Gang while e dance around, or else it is whatever quick “celebration” we can come up with (one highlight was a pirate dinner – salami, cheese and veges piled on a plate, we wore pirate hats and talked in pirate voices and ate with our hands!)
    The point is to turn that frown upside down – or make lemons out of lemonade – or whatever you want to call it. It’s making a tough day / week, into something a little more exciting – without too much effort!

  49. This is the sweetest thing. Also love reading all the quirky family traditions in the comments! When I was a kid, I had this nightlight that we would pretend was a campfire. Before bed, my mom, sister and I would sing a song and put a mini marshmallow on a toothpick and “roast” the marshmallow while we sung the song. Then eat it right before brushing our teeth and going to bed. Only now, looking back, do I realize the effort my mom made in creating little things to bring us happiness.

    • freya says...

      this is the CUTEST thing ever…

    • Hey, I also grew up roasting mini marshmallows on toothpicks over candles. It was the best- never mind that the marshmallows tended to pick up the scent of the candle if you weren’t careful. :D

  50. My husband does this about once a week with our oldest kid (since he stays up later than his little brother) and we call it “BOYS NIGHT!” Sleeping bags, pillow piles, and snack plates = infinite joy.

  51. Natalie says...

    I love hearing your laugh in the video, Joanna! Families finding joy in time spent together always makes me tear up!

  52. AJ says...

    Oh this is so good. Such a simple but genius idea – we all need a little nudge sometimes to hit pause and find some light relief, so thank you, I’m gonna share this with my sister who has two little ones and a lot on her plate :)

  53. Audrey Johnson says...

    What a wonderful idea. Love this. Memories you all will remember fot years to come.

  54. Lark says...

    Love this! Now I need to work on an equivalent version for my 3 teenagers…if I can get them to all stay home on the same night!!

  55. Adrienne says...

    A million times yes! These types of posts always seem to come at the perfect time :) This is why I love COJ so much and all of
    the great ideas that come from the comments!

  56. Susan says...

    Okay. That dance is amazing!

  57. Megan says...

    My little guy was bummed out when his nana had to postpone a sleepover this past weekend due to her getting sick.
    So we did something similar and gave our Friday night pizza night a theme: dance party!!
    He is always dancing so the night probably wasn’t any different than any other Friday save for a brownie for dessert but boy was he pumped!

  58. Betsy says...

    Watch Paddington 2 on your next movie night- it was really good.

  59. Tyler says...

    My mom did a variation of this most fridays when I was in elementary. Fridays were always special days, begun with a long, leisurely trip to Blockbuster (had to make the right choice because you’d be watching that same film 4 times throughout the weekend!!!) and topped off by my moms signature treat – a Coke float. Always the pick-me-up the family needed after a long week.

  60. Mish says...

    Bless!! You guys are such sweet parents!!

  61. Meagan says...

    What a wonderful, creative way to change the tenor of life! Making the ordinary feel extraordinary seems to be one of the hallmarks of solid parenting! Kudos to you for recognizing the need, doing something about it while keeping it reasonable and making it special. May the good vibes continue to flow your way.

  62. BD says...

    Lately, I’ve been building blanket forts with my son about once a week. We work together to set up the sheets and blankets, and we take over nearly the entire living room! I usually hang up a string of fairy lights, and we watch a movie inside while his younger brother naps. It is the MOST magical thing for him, and it makes me feel like a really good mom, too. ;) Plus, blanket forts are actually severely underrated in the 13+ demographic. I just made plans with some friends to have our own (adult) movie night inside a blanket fort.

    • BD says...

      Errr…not adult movie in *that* sense. I meant: a perfectly respectable blanket fort movie nights for grownups. Ha!

  63. You are such wonderful and fun parents. It is infectious. I think of you when I remind myself to make sure my son can see my eyes light up when I see him. Hope next week is better! xox

  64. Emma says...

    Oh I just love this!! What a wonderful idea!! I have a quick question… How do you make your dirty martinis? I have mastered my dry martini, but I would love to try a dirty martini. I love olives, so I imagine I would enjoy it. I am just curious what olives you use and the proportions of the remaining ingredients… Thank you!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      alex does 5 parts gin, 1 part vermouth, and then three olives on a toothpick. he’s very specific about the ratio, haha! :)

  65. Jess says...

    You guys are awesome, thoughtful and just cool. Thank you for this. Parenting two little boys is tough and magical and it’s so nice to see how others deal.
    Meanwhile the only thing getting me through this week is the royal wedding! Which is entirely lost on my boys, but I’m bringing out ALL the British things this week (my husband is English) and it will be watched before any FA cup viewing ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg how fun, jess!!

  66. Sophia says...

    This made me tear up with how sweet and simple this is. As a mom of a now one-year-old who is still incredibly sleep deprived, I am always glad to find out that having kids continues to get more and more fun. Thanks for sharing parenting stuff with us.

    • Isabella says...

      Sending you hugs, Sophia! I zombie-walked through my son’s first year and a half. It *does* get easier, and more fun! I hope rest is just around the corner for you!

  67. Robin says...

    This is so sweet and a reminder that just the slightest change in routine can make a big impact!
    My children are grown, but when they were small, we had just moved to a city unfamiliar to us so my husband could start his medical residency. We had no money, were just starting to make friends, and I had just had a baby. I had also quit my job and was trying to adjust to being at home with a new baby, and little girls that were 4 and 6-years-old. One day, I was feeling particularly down (did I mention that I rarely saw my husband who was working 12-16 hour days?) and I decided, like you, that I needed to “turn the train around”! I set up the girls’ plastic picnic table in the backyard, set it with tableware and freshly picked flowers from our yard. I made a sign for the table that said, “Welcome to the Happy Café!”. I then made little menus that offered whatever I had in the fridge/pantry (apples, strawberries, eggs, bacon, sliced cheeses, pb&j, etc.). They had a selection of beverages to choose from, too. They placed their “orders” and I served them!
    To this day, this is one of their favorite memories and one they bring up time and again. Honestly, I did The Happy Café more for myself at the time, and was surprised that it is such a great memory for them – and for me. The girls are now 24 and 26!

    • Kate says...

      I love this, Robin. I can relate. We just moved for my husband’s post-residency fellowship and I gave up my job (and friends) for our move and am now home alone with a toddler in a strange city. I’m glad to know spouses before me have made it through this difficult transition with some grace and creativity.

    • Emily says...

      I need to do this tomorrow to turn around my week. Beautiful idea Robin.

    • Eva says...

      Sounds so lovely and sweet, Robin!

    • Lily says...

      Love!

    • Sarah says...

      I love this idea! My son loves going to restaurants and cafes and ordering things. Love idea of doing it at home with what we have. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenny Ronan says...

      That is so lovely Robin, what a sweet idea :)

    • Ryann says...

      This is so so so cute. I am going to make this happen.

  68. Auste says...

    We’re moving into a new house in a couple weeks – taking notes for a fun sleepover the first night we’re in the house! I want it to feel really special for our two girls:) Note to self: buy cocktail ingredients beforehand!

  69. gb says...

    It is so interesting how “things” that cost relatively little or no money can bring the greatest joy. My son needed to borrow my 11 year old SUV to “haul” something on Saturday. My husband asked me if I knew what he was hauling. I told him I had no idea. He then said, “maybe he is picking up an engine for his car” (he is restoring an old Porsche). I said I certainly hoped not and thought no more about it. Later that afternoon, my son and daughter in law came over to return the vehicle. I walked outside and was totally surprised to find that he had detailed my old faithful, both inside and out. I was so excited and could not stop talking about how it sparkled. Made my day and was a wonderful gift from my son.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, gb, what a sweet moving story! i love that. :)

  70. Amanda G says...

    I always loved when I would wake up on a particularly beautiful off-season day, like an unseasonably warm Tuesday in December, and have my mom say “you know, it’s too nice to go to school today – let’s go to the zoo!”.

    Also, when my dad would be away traveling for work, we would sometimes eat breakfast for dinner. That was SUCH a novelty for a kid :)

    Now that my mom has moved further into the clutches of a horrible mental illness, I hold on to those good memories so tightly!

    • Bobby says...

      Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry to hear this. If you feel comfortable sharing the dx, maybe some of us have gone through this with loved ones (or ourselves) and can offer some kind of advice/suggestions/help?

      In any case, yes, hold on to those memories of going to the zoo.

    • Colleen S. says...

      My mom would let me stay up late and watch Danielle Steel movies that always seemed to be premiering on TV when my dad went on business trips. My best memories with my mom are the ones where we watched Lifetime TV movies, or just movies in general.

    • Maria says...

      Sending you a hug. I will have to use that zoo idea with my own kids.

    • Janet says...

      Such wonderful, precious memories Amanda! What a reminder to treasure the good days. X

  71. Leah says...

    Teaching your children about self care and taking a break is an amazing lesson to learn young. I’m still trying to learn that one myself. This post reminds me it is a lesson to pass on to my daughter.

  72. Courtney says...

    I have a good friend whose family had a tradition of “funny utensil night.” On this night, every member of the family had to pick something out of the kitchen utensil drawer and eat their entire meal with it – tiny corn holders, spatula, whisk, etc. I always thought this was a genius way to add some silly memories to family meal time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha how awesome!

    • Hani says...

      I had a good laugh imagining this! Haha!

  73. D says...

    We have sleepovers every other week when my stepson stays over. We only get two Monday’s a month (I know, it’s terrible and not enough!) so to make it moe fun my husband and I make a bigggg deal out of sleeping over. For little mans birthday this year he got new galaxy bedding, glow in the darks stars for his ceiling and even a new bigger bed. Plus we’re constantly buying new pjs because he’s growing at an alarming rate! We have our little routine but those Monday’s are always slightly more exciting because of the family sleepover – I’m just glad he no longer wants to sleep IN our bed!

  74. Sasha says...

    This is such a sweet, heart felt post, why I love COJ so much.

    This isn’t quite the same, but a similar intention, of just loving someone enough to want them to be happy. My husband and I drove home, 3 hrs, yesterday from visiting our daughter, who just graduated college this weekend, and even though we got to see her and hug and spend some of mother’s day with her, I was just incredibly sad to leave. I miss her so much. After we got home, my husband, out of the blue said “next weekend let’s do *challenging new and beautiful hike that he found* and stop for treats at *favorite summertime only old fashioned drive in along the way* after!!!” He knew just what would give me something to look forward to, and how loved I would feel at his thoughtfulness. It’s really awesome to have someone who knows how to turn the train around.

  75. Julia says...

    Your posts on “slow parenting” or “aim for yes” and this one today remind me to never get stuck in any kid-handling-routine. Last night, I intended to bring my 6 year old son to bed. He, instead, aimed for the door to go outside and take pictures with his new camera. Suddenly, I realized that he had in fact no school the next day, that the sun was still out and there was actually no need (except MY OWN impatience!) to force him into bed. So, I said yes to my surprised kid and we had such a lovely evening walk through the neighborhood – needless to say that everything went smoothly afterwards :-) Thank you, Joanna!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that julia! what a wonderful evening!

      (and i know that exact impatience for bedtime, haha. sometimes i’m like OK SEE YOU TOMORROW GOTTA GO!!!)

    • Sasha says...

      I bet he will remember that *yes* for a long long time. How fun.

    • Bridget says...

      This reminds me of going on sprinkler hunts. My husband travels for work a ton, so by bedtime, I am usually ready to say goodnight to my son. In the summer, though, after dinner walks are the best, and I was missing being able to go on them. So I started telling my son to put on his swim clothes after dinner so we could “hunt” for sprinklers. He got to get wet and have some fun, and I got my walk. Bed and bath were so much easier afterward!

    • Maiz says...

      That is so sweet. Reminds me of times when we could see that we were more ready for bedtime than they were, and we used to go on a “pajama walk” around the block.

  76. Marni Zarr says...

    what a great “using what you already have” way to reset.
    xo

  77. Ro says...

    I LOVE this! The idea and the whole spirit of it. Not just the making fun out of regular stuff part, but the needing to redirect energy part!

    I feel like this is such a nice glimpse into the slow parenting thing, too, which I would love for you to talk about regularly!

  78. Alice says...

    Martini in a sleeping bag – sold.

    You’re such a sweet mother, and the effort you and Alex went to is really touching. Thanks for sharing! What lucky kids your boys are (and I know you’re such a loving parent you’ll say you’re the lucky ones).

  79. Alyssa says...

    I love this. Sometimes you just have to trick your mind.

  80. kash says...

    I’m glad to hear this cheered Toby and Anton (and their parents) up!

    My mom had a ton of tricks for bad weeks–I got picked on a lot as a kid, and my little sister has a developmental disability, so we had a lot of tough little moments! One of my favourites was “backwards day”–we would eat UNDER THE TABLE (blew my mind then, honestly would still blow my mind today haha) and have dessert first and salad last. It was silly and fun.

    Sometimes, though, she’d do smaller things (like for dinner we’d have grilled cheese sandwiches that she cut with cookie cutters, so they were shaped like stars or hearts, or she’d paint each of my toenails a different colour). It made such a difference to a weird little girl like me!

    • Amanda G says...

      Kash –

      Your mother sounds like an amazing woman!

      Also, I would totally still be interested in doing a backwards day…and I have no kids :)

    • Maria says...

      This is so lovely, I’m moved! Sounds like a scene out of a movie!

    • kash says...

      Maria, it was so sweet–and Amanda, I want backwards day too, still! I think it was my mom’s kind of resourceful way of cheering us up? School wasn’t very much fun, but being at home could be fun.

    • Sarah says...

      So cute! I’m going to give this a try!

  81. t says...

    This is so sweet and brought me to tears. I am in such a funk and feel so overwhelmed and exhausted and just need a break. In theory this sounds great but I can just imagine my kids having a complete meltdown because they wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the living room and because I won’t let them do it the next night, etc.

    I think mother’s day really ruined my week. we were doing such nice things (sailing with the family) but the kids were so wound up over it being an effing holiday that they were acting like dicks. On the one day I have expectations that they will be a little more manageable. I think my holiday expectations and their holiday expectations were all a little off which ruined the day for all of us.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hear you, t! fwiw, our kids were total maniacs again the next morning. parenting really ebbs and flows. so sorry you feel overwhelmed. sending you the biggest hug.

    • Lana says...

      Yes! Mother’s Say is kind of always a letdown for me. I think bc I expect to have the day off, but moms never really get a day off. My husband never plans much bc he wants me to do whatever I want, but what I want is to not have to be the planner! I saw Kristen Bell put on her Instagram that she spent Mother’s Day like a dad, and webtboyt by herself. Next year that ms my plan! 😂

    • Just Another Mother says...

      Mothers day was hard at my house too. One thing a friend said that really resonated with me is “Mothers Day is still just a day”. I had to remember that multiple times throughout Sunday.

      It will get better T. No need to do a sleepover just now! It can wait (forever, if you want).

      With love!

    • Amanda says...

      I’m so sorry that you had a rough Mother’s Day and things have been hard. My toddler was being so difficult too. And she even pooped in the bathtub at the end of the day! I’m hoping that she gets a bit easier and maybe I can get out of the house next year. I wish the same for you. XO

    • Karen Kirsheman says...

      My girlfriends & I were just talking about this. I have learned to keep my expectations low. I bought myself some really yummy soaps for Mother’s Day & last year I bought myself beautiful white tulips for my B-day. We spent this Mother’s Day at a video game exhibit since my son’s b-day was Tuesday. Playing a few rounds of pac man was surprisingly awesome even though it was not what I would have chosen to do. Lol! I love that you said the kids were acting like dicks. Thanks for keeping it real.

    • t says...

      Thanks everyone. I feel much better today and appreciate all the support. I think it is smart to lower expectations and do activities the kids will have a blast doing. In our family there are a lot of local moms to juggle (my grandma, my mom (and truly it is only her day in her eyes), myself and my wife.

  82. Alissa says...

    This is so lovely – it’s the little things, isn’t it? My three stayed with my parents a few weeks ago, and my little guy talked for days about how they ate pizza and strawberries on the floor while they watched a movie.

    Also, the sleepover martini is the best! Years ago my husband and I started having “naptails” on the weekend while our crew napped – I highly recommend!

  83. Laura C. says...

    I think that both of you are great parents, Joanna and Alex. And please keep us informed about Toby too. Poor thing, my little Toby.

  84. Lisa C says...

    Great idea, thanks for sharing….it’s a jolly little community over here…feels good.
    Best, Lisa

  85. Maywyn says...

    Brilliant Yes!
    I feel like sleeping on the floor and making a fort.
    Tidbit info…around the New Moon, I have more bump intos, bruises, stuff falling out, over and on than any other time of the month. May 2018 new moon is tomorrow, 15th.

  86. Dee says...

    This reminds me of my mo’s version: in the winter when we were all cooped up, my mother might get out our summer picnic blanket and lay it out in front of the tv, and we would have an indoor picnic. No idea why but we found this naughty and THRILLING and also our mom would sit with us on the floor. We would reminisce about things past, like the bees that chased us away one summer outdoor picnic that were fixated on our jam sandwiches, or the time ants actually crawled up my sisters shorts. It was a nice idea of my mom’s.

    • Dee says...

      Mom’s, not mo’s, lol!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “and also our mom would sit with us on the floor” = i really think that’s part of it! i realized this weekend that the boys were SO delighted that we were watching the movie with them — laughing at jokes, etc. usually we let them watch it while we clean up, talk, etc., and it felt so good to them that we were invested in it, too. such a sweet thing to realize. xoxo

    • Alice says...

      We do floor picnics too, I don’t why alternative eating arrangements cause such excitement, but they do! I love the reminiscing about reminiscing, that’s a really beautiful memory.

  87. edie says...

    As a young girl, my mother had a habit of making little things very special. Ice cream after the dentist – oh, the sweet irony – was her best gesture.

  88. Helene Utz says...

    Reading about your sleepover adventure and the whole reason behind it brought back memories of our couple of „enough is enough” weeks. My daughter (2.5 yrs old) had the second pneumonia of her life – and they also gave her water into her arm – and while she was in the hospital I needed to go to the emergency care myself. After all that, we didn’t do the sleepover but I guess I’ll host one this weekend…

    • Bets says...

      Hope your little girl is doing better, Helene. Take care of yourself too, in any way you can. Sleep, a comfort food, etc. Be kind to yourself <3

    • Helene Utz says...

      Aah thanks bets! And yeah, my little girl has fully recovered. Sending you a hug from Switzerland…

  89. Abbey says...

    This is a great idea – but mostly I love how you made a choice to turn your crazy week around!!!

  90. JB says...

    THIS IS THE BEST EVER. Thank you SO much for this idea. We could use some buoying too and this is perfect ❤️

  91. Amelia says...

    This is so great! Random question: when you watch the first half of the movie, do you watch the second half the next night? Or the following Saturday? Was this an easy sell for the boys? (I feel like I would have a tough time stopping in the middle of the action!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, we watched another third last night, and we’ll probably watch another third tonight. they seem okay with it! we tell them ahead of time that we’ll watch 30 minutes. :)

    • Sara says...

      This! I’ve been wanting to start movie night on Fridays with my three year old, but a full movie is too long and I’m worried about causing a meltdown if I stop halfway through. I would love to know how you do it!

  92. Carrie says...

    We used to have sleep overs in my parent’s bedroom and I would always sleep next to my dad’s side. He would reach down to me, I would reach up to him and we would fall asleep that way, holding hands.

    • Kim says...

      This was so sweet, it broke my heart.

  93. MJ says...

    I love this idea!! One summer when my sister and I were fighting about who knows what, my mom snapped us out of it by letting us hit each other in the face with pies! She just sprayed whipped cream on paper plates, we put on bathing suits and went out on the lawn, and threw pies at each other. By the end we were hugging and laughing. It’s incredible what a little spontaneity can do!

    • Julia says...

      Wow! What an impressive mom!

  94. Adie says...

    Anton and I have the same “happy dance!”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yeah!!! :)

  95. Amber says...

    What a brilliant idea! So glad your week turned around. Sending love. xoxo

  96. Kelly says...

    you just helped me plan my Saturday night! thank you!

  97. SN says...

    Yes to this! My husband and I cleaned out our closets a few weekends ago and bit off more than we could chew for a Saturday afternoon. Our bedroom was in shambles and bed covered in clothes, so instead of haphazardly putting things away — we gave the closet clean a rest, and declared it ‘sleepover night’ in the living room . A fun excuse to give ourselves an out.

    Sometimes, branding is everything.

  98. Kim says...

    Brilliant!

  99. Robin says...

    SUCH a great idea! Love love love it.

  100. Heather says...

    Omigosh something about that ~*star heart star*~ on the sign is ICONIC sleepover, is it not?! love this!

  101. Bets says...

    That’s such a sweet idea it made me tear up.

  102. Heidi says...

    I’m not sure why, but this post reminded me of something my mom used to do. Unannounced on a school day, she would tell us we were skipping school to go to the beach! Excited, we would quickly don our swimsuits and gather our beach towels and sand toys and make that hour drive to the beach. We’d play all day in the sun, re-slather on sunscreen, jump waves and collect shells to take home. Then we’d stop for a burger in the car on the way back and she’d actually let us eat in the car. My sister and I shared a bed and at night, still feeling the warmth of the sun in our skin, we’d talk about how, after spending so much time in the ocean, we could still feel the waves pulling us back and forth as we lay in bed. When I think back, I suspect my mom must’ve needed a break and taken the day off of work to take us, because we did not go on holiday with everyone else: the beach was usually deserted except for a handful of people. Maybe this was just as much of a “resetting” for her as it was for us.

    • Laura C. says...

      Heidi, this sounds wonderful What an incredible mama you have.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that sounds incredible, heidi.

    • Seams says...

      I’m curious, because this is not the first comment that says “skipping school”. We *can’t* skip school. If kids don’t show up because they are sick, they need to bring a note from the doctor. Otherwise there are no excuses. Police will be not pleasantly surprised if they see a schoolkid out in the street or having fun at the beach on a schoolday. Parents can get a fine for not sending their children to school. School is mandatory. How does it work over there?

    • Tara says...

      In high school my parents would allow me one “amnesty day.” Usually, my friends would coordinate something so that we could all spend the day together. One year I organized a full-on party at my house from 8-3pm. A LOT of students had an “amnesty day” that day. It may not have been respectful to have a party, but I do cherish the memories and I’m thankful to my parents for providing space for me to have fun.

    • R.M. says...

      Seams, my kids aren’t school aged yet but this is how I remember it. We had a certain number of excused days each year for things that needed a note like drs appointments. Then we also had a certain number of “unexcused” days where we could be absent for any reason. Of course we weren’t supposed to use those days but obviously a lot of us did for family outings or what I liked to call “mental health days” when the grind just got to be too much. If all of those days were used up (and there weren’t that many maybe 3-5) then the school administration would get involved arranging meetings with parents and that sort of thing. As an adult I have worked with kids with poor school attendence and although I think technically the parents could get into some legal trouble if their kids was truent for a really long time that’s not how any of the schools I encountered approached it. The police would certainly never aproach a family on the beach to ask why the kids are not in school. Out of curiosity, where do you live?

  103. Rachel says...

    What a wonderful family! Such a good idea.

  104. What a WONDERFUL idea – I just might steal it to help pull a couple adults out of a funk of a Monday (ahem, me and my husband). Also, Anton’s excited dance is basically me at every wedding ever.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Anton’s excited dance is basically me at every wedding ever.” = hahahaha

    • My exact thoughts. This is such a great idea for adults – i’ve just announced to my husband on what adult sleepovers need (looking at Alex’s perfect recipe :D)

  105. Question for parents: at what age did you allow your kids to have a sleepover at someone else’s house? Or, at what age did you host another child for a sleep over? I have an almost 3 and 5 year old, and just curious. I know it really depends on the kid, but would like to hear what age parents felt their child was ready? Key indicators that your kid was ready? I remember my first sleepover. It was fun at first, and then it was time for bed, and I didn’t want to sleepover. In the middle of the night, I asked for my mom to be called and to pick me up. I knew this would be ok because my mom told me over and over: it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night, I’ll come get you. You don’t need any excuse, just say I want to go home.

    • Around 5-6 for us though the sleepovers were with trusted mom/baby group friends we’d had since the prenatal era. It was a natural progression from swapping out a few hours here and there during the day to swapping out early-ending date nights to ultimately letting the kids arrange their own sleepover plans back and forth. When they were school-age we followed a similar build-up of mutual comfort with families/homes before advancing to a full night sleepover. It was fun to have extra boys at our house and super fun when they both got invited out by their friends for the same Fri or Sat night and we had a spontaneous date night to ourselves. You have lots to look forward to!

    • My oldest two are boys, 8 and 11 and have never had a sleepover or hosted one. They’ve never really asked, and I certainly never initiated the idea because, like you, I never had all that much fun at them. I think it’s what you are comfortable with. And, obviously, make sure you know the parents really well–admittedly that factor creeps me out. I feel like everyone has more fun if they can just have a friend over, watch a movie, eat dinner, and then go home after.

    • t says...

      We let our twin 4 year olds both host a sleepover and go to a sleepover with a very trusted family. My daughter did cry in the night but the mom consoled her and all was OK. They aren’t feeling the need to do it again anytime soon though.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      such a good question! i was always asking to call my parents in the middle of the night at sleepovers!

    • Meg says...

      We have three ages 5, 8, 12 and made a family rule a few years ago that we don’t do sleepovers. Unfortunately, abuse, bullying and other terrible realities of life happen even with people we feel we know best. :( Not as a judgement to other people who do – I completely respect that! But for us, it just didn’t feel right. My husband had some bad experiences at sleepovers as a child and that was part of our decision. I’ve been so surprised to see how many others don’t do sleepovers either which makes me not feel so alone in that decision. We try and make it a positive by doing non-sleepover sleepovers often! We host parties where the kids get to have jammie clad friends over for movies, snacks, piles of pillows, games and staying up past bed time. You know, all things slumber party. But then… they all go home. :) We usually try and give them a couple hours past normal bed time so it feels really wild haha. When my kids get invited for sleepovers we let them stay late and take them back first thing in the morning (usually with donuts in hand) so they don’t miss any of the fun! Parenting involves so many tough choices but a mother’s intuition should be trusted – I’m sure you’ll find whatever is right for you and your babies! Your mama sounds lovely. I love her approach!

    • Emma says...

      Well, not a parent, but my parents made a sort of interesting decision with sleepovers–I was strictly not allowed to host or attend sleepovers at all… until I was about 15! My parents didn’t want me to be grouchy the next morning (from lack of sleep) or miss church if it was a Saturday-Sunday thing. The only time I slept away from home/parents at all until I was a teenager was very rarely with my grandparents, who live 200 miles away. That was kind of intimidating (especially the one time a bull wandered into their yard while no one was home!).

      Around the time a lot of parents were putting a halt to sleepovers, my parents became OK with it, although I had to provide copious information about where I was staying and who with and what we were doing. I’m a terrible liar and my group of friends in high school couldn’t be nerdier (see also: they were all members of the school robotics team). Also by that point my parents were just sick of driving me places and this meant that I could stay up late without them having to drive to get me at night. I did get “the talk” about every five minutes, though.

    • My little sister is 12 years younger than me, and I remember my mom letting her do “half sleepovers” when she was little. They’d bring pajamas, have dinner AND dessert, watch a movie with blankets, and get to go home “late.” This used to feel so special to her! She loved her “half sleepovers” :)

  106. Nicole says...

    This is just so sweet. Also, the view in that picture- your living room, the window to the street- super! Hoping that your sleepover set you up for a great week.

  107. Christina Lourens says...

    I love this!!!! My husband came back from a week away, he was tired when I picked him up from the airport. But I told him we were going to a guesthouse for the evening!
    We got home and “booked” into our own guestroom! I treated him like we were the guests! From sweets and small little travel toiletries and a welcome note on the bed! With dinner and wine and movies! We ended up staying in the guestroom for the whole weekend!
    Going away without going away!
    Amazing!!!!

  108. MJay says...

    My favorite memories as a kid were of our family “camping” in the living room. My parents would clear the furniture in the living room, lay down a picnic blanket and we roasted hot dogs and s’mores in the fireplace. We were not a very outdoorsy family but this was a great way to camp! It felt special and magical!

    • Laura says...

      I grew up out in the country I have memories of us camping out in our yard in a tent… a good childhood memory.

    • Kara says...

      I grew up in the ‘burbs, and we’d camp out in our backyard, too! Even into my teen years. It is one of my favorite memories, and I can’t wait to do it with my kids. If I close my eyes I can still smell it:)

    • Heather says...

      Yes! We would do this too and often times get the tent out. I have so many vivid memories from these campouts.

  109. Nathalie says...

    We’re renovating the upstairs so ALL of the bedrooms are out of commission. My family of 4 has been sleeping on mattresses on the living room floor for almost a month. While I’m itching to get back in a bedroom of my own, the kids are absolutely LOVING it!

    • Sylvia says...

      Maybe it could become a tradition for one night every other month or so, when the renovation is done and some time flew by. I imagine I would have loved it as a kid.

  110. M says...

    What a lovely, intentional mama you are! Thank you for sharing the delight. xox

  111. Jo says...

    Thank you for sharing one more mood-lifter.. Hope you all have easier days ahead.
    Recently, I asked my 6 yo to turn off his iPad which put him in a crank/pouty mood. I then invited him to go for a walk around the neighborhood. He grudgingly agreed saying that he “will be mad again once we are back home”.
    I then busted out the penny walk move. If we get heads we walk towards the path my son chooses. For tails, we walk the opposite side. Our goal was to reach a lake in the neighborhood. A series of tails led us away and away from the lake until we finally got 2 heads which put us back on track. When we reached the lake, we both felt jubilant and thrilled :)

    Thank you for sharing this idea.
    P.S: My son forgot to be mad once we got home LOL! He even told his dad that we finally beat the coin and reached the lake.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that, jo!!!!! and how you made a game out of it!

  112. Cynthia says...

    What a fun idea! I haven’t seen the Paddington movie, but I read the books when I was around 10 (54 years ago). My oldest daughter has a stuffed Paddington. Poor thing! He has moth holes in his hat and coat. I remember Daddy making popcorn on Saturday night and watching whatever was on TV back in the days of only 3 channels.

  113. First off — so happy you were able to successfully turn your week around. No easy feat, particularly with sick or hurt babies.

    Lastly — I love love love these little personal, “real life” interjections into your gorgeous, refined, curated (and often sponsored) blog. Obviously I can’t get enough of all the work your staff does, and the wonderful product recommendations and essays you feature, but I would welcome more little snippets of the everyday, seemingly mundane here on COJ. I’m sure I’m not alone! :)

    Happy Monday!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, stacy! this morning, i have to say, i was wondering, ‘is this too random to post? my phone photos are so yellow and grainy!’ i’m so glad you liked it :)

    • Totally agree!

    • Tracy says...

      I agree!

  114. Jenny says...

    This is so sweet! One of my favorite memories is when my parents sent us to bed and then unbeknownst to us they moved the furniture out of the dining room and laid down blankets and pillows. My dad then made his famous 1-2-3 popcorn on the stove. They came up to surprise us and we sat in a circle and passed popcorn and told “scary” stories in the dark with candles.

    • Ryann says...

      What is 1-2-3 popcorn?

  115. Emmie says...

    “A sleepover dry martini” lol

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      always and forever haha.

  116. This is so incredibly sweet! It’s amazing what some “branding” can do. ;) Here’s to a string of good days to follow!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes branding!

  117. Oh my gosh I love this so much. And you know whats funny? They will TOTALLY remember THIS. Ah I love it.

  118. Shelley says...

    Joanna, I’m not sure how you do it, but you always seem to time your posts to just when I need them most! I’m so glad I’ve found your blog, makes me feel I’m part of a tribe, it’s a safe place we can share ideas, feel inspired and know we’re not alone in this crazy adventure called parenthood. I love this idea and am already adding it to my arsenal of ideas when we’re having a tough week. Thank you for sharing your life with us, your readers and for inspiring us everyday. I hope your week gets better and while stitches can be scary (I’ve been there myself before), the scar will turn into a “remember when…” down the road, and a story he’ll share with others in the future.

  119. Hannah says...

    So fun! My favorite memories of being parented weren’t elaborate trips or amusement park days – it was movie night where we moved the kitchen table into the living room and ate snack foods for dinner (meatballs, chips and salsa, etc) and then made sugar cookies and decorated one for each member of the family. Something I’ll definitely continue when I have kids – we just all love a good theme night!

  120. Lindsay says...

    Oh boy! I’m so sorry you such a stressful week. I hope Toby is feeling better . (My son just tripped and fell FACE FIRST and hit his 2 front adult teeth. He’s fine but Uggghhh!!! What a day that was.
    Sleepovers and movie nights are the best. Just a bit different than the normal routine and it feels so special. Good thinking! Now, go wrap those boys in bubble wrap and have a glass of wine 😂

  121. Beautiful Jo! Well done! And inspiring. I’ll keep this simple trick in my back pocket too! Thanks for sharing! And high-fives and good thoughts on the full turnaround back to goooood!

    Love,
    Aimée

  122. Anni says...

    That is amazing!! What a lovely idea!
    When we have a rough day or the kids (4 and 6) were fighting a lot we sometimes make a „pirate‘s picnic“ for dinner.
    Put a blanket on the living room floor, fill it with delicious little healthy and not so healthy snacks and eat together sitting on the floor, pretending we are pirates on our ship (the blanket) on the wide ocean (the living room. Boom, the good mood is back :)

  123. Tiffany says...

    UGH strings of bad days (and bad weeks) are so so difficult! I love this idea of creatively breaking out of the negative mindset that can come with life’s regular hardships. I am totally going to use this idea next time we are struggling at my house.
    Hope both boys heal quickly!

  124. Giulia says...

    This is such an uplifting read! So truly glad for your simple and yet so sweet night. It made my evening better, and I was pretty happy to start with after a late afternoon walk in the sunny and gently windy countryside. And funnily it reminds me of once that we all had a stomach bug, when I was a kid, I was the first to get better and decided that the whole family needed open windows, fresh breeze, a flowery tablecloth and some nice fruit salad. Not sure what I made of it since I was a child but I remember it cheered up the family at least a tiny bit! Anyway, I really hope I have kids one day to do this kind of special things with them. Xxxx

    • Colleen says...

      fruit salad, that is so cute!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      also “a late afternoon walk in the sunny and gently windy countryside” sounds like bliss!

  125. Kelsey says...

    I hope it’s a better week for you all!

  126. Laura says...

    I adore this idea and might try it this weekend with my boys!!

  127. Lauren says...

    This is magical and SO lovely, yet beautifully simple. As someone who often cuddles my little one to sleep – I love the perspective change too. I think we might be having a sleepover at our house this weekend, to celebrate the last day of (pre)school!

  128. Kay says...

    This is the CUTEST. Definitely going to keep this in mind for when the babes are a bit older!

  129. Astrid says...

    Wow! Great idea!

  130. Kelli says...

    I love this idea, thank you for sharing! Wear are those adorable apple shaped trays from?

  131. Meg says...

    Gosh I was so stressed driving in to work this morning that this post just made me burst in to tears! What a glorious empowering reminder… we have the power to turn our bad days around. Thanks for that.

    Your boys could not be any more adorable!

    Quick memory… After a really tough few days of teenage/parent drama, my mother dragged me out of bed in the middle of the night on a school night to take me to a midnight comedy. I couldn’t believe it! It shocked my teenage system out of the funk and reminded me my mom really does love me and we are true friends even when we bug each other. It was so so fun to laugh and have a simple adventure together. What good a little recharge can do!

    • valeria says...

      Wow! I wish I’ll be like your mother when my kids will be teenagers!

  132. KGB says...

    Our two-year-old had an epic meltdown today about getting dressed for school. It wouldn’t feel so bad except today is the end of maternity leave for our second baby and I’m feeling pretty worried about how we will manage to get our kids to their respective spots and also somehow get to our jobs before 10 am. Parenting is daunting, and yet this little moment you shared reminds me that it is worth it, always. And that we are all in this together, even when it seems like I’m the only one struggling to navigate it all.

    • Kay says...

      I had the same worry this morning after my toddler threw the fit to end all fits when my partner & I tried to coax him into wearing something other than thick pants and winter boots (hard for little ones to adjust when summer finally arrives to frigid Canada!), and I was rushing to make it to an ultrasound for baby #2. How will I ever dress myself and two kids and work?! So no, you are definitely not the only one struggling through logistics and emotions :) seems like whimsical family moments are the solution!

  133. Allison says...

    How sweet! This night reminds me of the “tiny plates” reader comment you recently shared on Instagram; our perspective as parents (with the weight of the world on our shoulders) isn’t the only one that matters.

  134. Anon says...

    That little dance has so much reaction gif potential ! made me smile :)
    Can’t wait to pick up my baby from daycare after work..

    • Lily says...

      Lol i had the same thought!