What I didn't envision was having a child with Down Syndrome. A child society would label not so perfect. Truth be told, his birth diagnosis felt like a prison sentence.
Thankfully, that feeling of dread only lasted a few hours. It didn't take long for Liam to capture our hearts, and we were able to see him as a beautiful person, not just a diagnosis.
My family is not the traditional family people envision having. The "special needs" aspect is unappealing to many. But we can't picture a more perfect family than the one we have. Liam made us stronger.
As parents, Grant and I really focus on teaching our kids just how important family is. We teach them that it's important to love each other despite any flaws, cheer each other on, and stand up for each other. I do believe our lessons are sinking in, because they all have an incredible bond. Their love for each other is evident in every picture I take.
Grant and I believe in making family time a priority. Of course we do the mandatory eat dinner together at least 5 nights a week thing, and discuss our days while doing so. We also go on many fun adventures with our family and friends. All the time we spend together makes our family bond even stronger.
This year, we added to our family time by having Family Movie Night once a week. Each week, one family member got to choose a movie, and we all curled up on the couch after dinner to watch it. We rotated through our family, so each person got a chance to pick.
We often turned to Netflix for inspiration!
We laughed our way through Night at the Museum, rediscovered old favorites from Grant's and my childhood (Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, The Dark Crystal, The NeverEnding Story), and discovered why Lily loves Tangled and Frozen so much!
Eventually, we moved on to watching series. We recently flew through the Harry Potter series and the Back to the Future Trilogy. What started out as a weekly event, turned into a twice a week event!
Tonight, for Family Movie Night, we're taking a break from our traditional family movies and streaming the Planet Earth Collection on Netflix. Grant and I watched these when they first came out. This documentary covers all of Planet Earth, from the oceans to the mountains and everything in between. The footage is absolutely breathtaking! I know the kids will learn so much just by watching this series!
While raising our family is incredibly important, it's just as important for Grant and I to strengthen our relationship. Enter Netflix Date Nights! These occur 3-4 nights a week after we tuck our four kids into bed!
We grab snacks, curl up next to each other, and work our way through TV series that are no longer on the air. Some of our favorites, which featured some awesome families (and some framilies!), were Cheers, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, and The Office. We're currently working our way through the Gilmore Girls for the third (or is it fourth?!?) time. Rory and Lorelai are not your typical family, but their love for each other can't be beat. We're nearing the end of the series, and just like each time before, I know I'm going to feel sad about it being over!
Here are a few more Family Friendly titles to stream on Netflix:
For your little kids:
2. The Tigger Movie
3. Guess How Much I Love You: S1E5 Big Like You
4. Angelina Ballerina: Superstar Sisters
For your big kids:
2. Life with Boys
3. Spy Kids
4. Russell Madness
For teens and adults:
2. The Fosters
3. Gilmore Girls
4. Life Unexpected
What are your favorite movies/shows to watch with your family?
There is no such thing as the perfect family. I happily embrace the family I was given, and feel nothing but pride and overwhelming love when I think of them!
*I'm a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam. All opinions are my own. I was given a free year of Netflix Streaming and promotional items in exchange for my monthly review.