Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Family Fun List 2017

One year, on New Year's Eve, I had a random idea. I decided we should have a "family fun list" for the next year, and we should write it as part of our family New Year's Eve celebrations. The kids and Mr. Snarky went along, and it was a big success, so much so that last year, when Pumpkin was asked to write about a family tradition in school, this is the one she picked. It may be my best parenting idea ever.

If you want to follow the entire history of the Family Fun List, you can click back one year at a time, starting with last year's list. The short version is: each family member gets to pick three things to put on the list. That gives us twelve things, and we try to do roughly one per month. Last year, we had a bonus item that we all agreed on, and this year that morphed into an item that we all agree on, but suggested by the person who had the fewest of their items done in the previous year. Because, yeah, we've never made it through the entire list. 

We came close last year, though! We just fell one item short. Here are the details:
  • Make a LEGO city in our living room (Petunia) DONE, in January.
  • Walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas decorations (Pumpkin) DONE, in December.
  • Visit the Friendship Park at the border (Mr. Snarky) DONE 
  • Ride a surrey bike (me) DONE, but there was so much whining that I no longer consider this fun and did not put it on the list this year, for the first time since the start of the list.
  • Get ice cream from an ice cream truck (Petunia) DONE
  • Go climbing at Solid Rock (Pumpkin) NOT DONE. We kept thinking we'd do it on a rainy weekend, and it didn't rain. Then we thought we'd squeeze it in before heading over to AZ for Christmas, but I got sick.
  • Go on a real train ride (Mr. Snarky) DONE. We took the Amtrak train up to San Juan Capistrano and had a very nice day.
  • Go out to brunch (me) DONE. We had brunch at one of the hotels on the bay, and it was very nice.
  • Go the train restaurant (Petunia- this is The Station, in South Park) DONE.
  • Have a picnic at a park (Pumpkin) DONE. I think we did this for Petunia's birthday, actually.
  • Go get a doughnut at a doughnut shop that isn't Krispy Kreme (Mr. Snarky wants us to try some new doughnuts, apparently) DONE. I am the only one in my family who doesn't love doughnuts and this means that every year someone puts something about doughnuts on this list.
  • Visit a botanical garden (me) DONE.
  • Bonus: Go to Boomers  DONE
I usually link to the posts I wrote about our fun things, but I didn't write any last year. I'll try to do better this year!

Here are some tweets from the fun list outings:

The kids' favorite part of the San Diego Botanic Gardens is never the plants:

The kids ran part of the way home from the doughnut shop outing:

The pit of corn was on the San Juan Capistrano trip. There  is a petting zoo near the train station, and they also had a pit of corn.

I can't believe I didn't write up a post about visiting the Friendship Park, so I'll put some pictures here. 

The beach on the US side is very empty! This is a popular place to go for a horse ride on the beach in San Diego county. There are stables nearby where you can rent time on a horse.

Here is the "friendship" part of the Friendship Park. Families and friends separated by the border can meet here and talk. 

Only a small number of people are allowed in past this first fence on the US side at a time.  The inner fence is where the people get to meet and talk. I hear that it used to just be a chain link fence. Now it is a tall, fairly solid fence. You can see through it, but you can't touch through it. We didn't spend long in the inner area, because there were people waiting to talk to people on the other side, and we didn't want to delay them.

This is the border meeting the sea.

On the Mexican side, there is an art project where part of the fence is painted so that it disappears. Someday, I want to go see that.

This is the border headed east.

For readers who have never been to the US-Mexico border, I'll mention that this is some of the more hospitable terrain. Inland from San Diego, it gets very rugged in places. If Trump really does build a big wall, it won't be cheap. But that is politics and for another post.

Now, on to this year's list:
  • Make a LEGO city (Petunia)
  • Walk around our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights (Pumpkin)
  • Go to Mexico (Mr. Snarky)
  • Try a new restaurant (me)
  • Invite [one of her friends and her family] to our local pizza place for dinner (Petunia)
  • Go to a botanical garden (Pumpkin)
  • Go to Dave and Buster's (Mr. Snarky)
  • Go to Legoland (Me)
  • Have an art competition, with [my sister] to judge (Petunia)
  • Paint our own ceramics at the paint-your-own ceramics place in Liberty Station (Pumpkin)
  • Go on a hike up a mountain (Mr. Snarky)
  • Take a bike ride along the river (Me)
  • Bonus: Art, Cuddles, and Doughnuts Day (It is our own holiday that the kids just invented. They saw a TV show in which the characters tried to invent a holiday... and this was their idea.)
As you can see, there are some favorites that were repeated onto this year's list. I put Legoland on the list because my kids are approaching the age where they won't enjoy it as much and I want to get at least one more visit in. We may be able to time it during a promotion where we can get two visits for the price of one, and then we'll go twice. I can always convince Mr. Snarky to go to Legoland. The only downside is that he usually buys himself a big set when we go.

So, here's to us having fun in 2017. Maybe this is the year we'll get through the list!


  1. Oh, hey, we did that train-to-the-petting-zoo trip, too--although from the opposite direction, because we started in Chatsworth. It was a fun day!

  2. I love this list. I think we need to try it, though we'll start slow with only 6 things a year. It's weird that I can commit to a ton of work but committing to 1 fun thing a month is too difficult. Also why does it take hosting guests or a crowbar to get us out the door to a museum that we like on a weekend morning? I'll never know why we'd rather just chase the kid around the house and read. Except I guess that's what I'd always rather do (read).


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