Blogmas | Games for the Holidays!

Hello!

I don’t know about you, but my family has never been into games.

The one thing I wished my family did more of was play games. We had a couple of years where we did in fact play Just Dance and Taboo, but they didn’t end quite well, which is probably why we never kept at it afterwards!

Now that I have Nolan and Kimber, I would like to bring in some old school games that I certainly enjoyed as a child. Nolan is very infatuated with technology and understands what a PlayStation and XBOX are–thanks in part to his daddy! However, as I’ve found out recently, he has a knack for Hungry Hungry Hippoes, so I may be right in my thinking that introducing some of these games I will be talking about in this post, will be something he might enjoy too!

Unfortunately, Kimber isn’t old enough to actually play with us, but I’m hoping watching the two of us would give her something to look forward to in the future. So, here were some of the games that I thought could be really good contenders for the three of us and maybe possibly your family too to play during the holidays.


Connect 4

Last September, while my sister was in the hospital, Nolan and I spent a good amount of time together and on Nickleodeon, they had some advertisements for the newest creation of the Connect 4 franchise; we were intrigued, Nolan especially, but I’ve always been more into the original setup, so I wasn’t too interested in this version.

I have many, many memories of playing this game in school. While I was in elementary, I took speech and every Friday we had a popcorn party, where we sat on the floor, ate popcorn, and played a different game (thus how this post came about!) each week. Connect 4 is a very easy game to understand as you have the structure itself and two different colored coins or chips, the objective is to not only block the other player, but you also have to connect four spots in a row in order to win.

Connect 4 is a lot like Bingo and Tic-Tac-Toe as you can go in many directions: diagonally, side to side, and up and down. As long as you win “fairly” then anyone at any age can be a master at the game itself.

Jenga

When I was in elementary school, I took Speech, and I would be in there for maybe 20-25 minutes a day and I specifically remember Fridays being the best day of the entire week because it was our party day. Our teacher was so sweet, and she would make popcorn for each class, and we’d play different games, but it was a ruse because we still had to do our lessons in between turns. She was a smart and sneaky like that! Anyways, I tried to rack my brain trying to figure out which ones we played, and I really hope that I can teach my nephew someday soon.

Jenga is very unique, it is made up of rectangle sticks and requires you to really think about the overall design, whenever it is your turn, you pick a stick from the very bottom of the build or a little higher. For most people, you rarely went from the bottom as you need good bones for everything to stay up and if you take one from that section and it turns out it was helping from breaking down the whole thing, you lose. My nephew has always enjoyed stacking things up and blocks in general, so toddlers would really love playing something like this because they’re always doing things with their toys.

Screamo

For this game, I learned it at the nursing home back in October. If these ladies ranging in age early 70’s to mid-80’s can play, anybody can do it. My nephew is four and he just loves playing this game anytime he comes over. It is usually the first thing he wants to do! What he doesn’t know is that he’s learning a bit of math too!

It is fairly simple once you figure out the steps. You have a paper with the numbers 1-12, two dice, and 12 chips or coins as my nephew prefers to call them. The main goal is to roll both of your dice and say it lands on a four and seven, this equals out to be seven but you’ve already covered up your seven with a previous play, so you have three options, that is if these other numbers are not already gone, you can lay down two coins on your four and three or exchange them with a five and two or six and one, which is even better because it is better to remove the number one as you can’t get a natural one with two dice.

UNO

I like a lot of card games, but my ultimate favorite–even if I’m not the best at it!–is UNO.

I have never been able to figure out how long I’ve loved UNO, but it had to come after middle school though. It doesn’t show up in my earlier memories and this kind of makes sense because I do remember playing an awful lot from 2005-2009 with my family and friends at slumber parties (do you remember those?!) and again, it is pretty easy to follow, but there are a few symbols that can be somewhat tricky, like the reverse and skip cards. These can be really annoying if you are playing with a large group of people and nobody really knows who is next in line, so to make things easier on yourself and the newcomers, I’d pick those guys out before you start the game entirely.

There is an episode of The Golden Girls where Dorothy is playing Gin Rummy with her mother Sophia, and she always loses the game and Sophia basically drives her completely insane after every round so she gives up and decides no more. By the end of the episode, you learn why Sophia chooses to play it with her daughter and they end up playing a round during the last few seconds of the show. I guess I’m the same way with UNO. I love playing it with my family the most, it’s where I have the most memories, and it doesn’t matter on the age because my nana was in her late 70’s when we taught her so it’s not all that difficult once you know what each card means while the game continues.


In a way, I am like Sophia because I like the talk and watching everyone’s facial expressions as they arrange their cards and it’s one game that being an observer can have its advantages… As much as I’d like to win a round or two, I am fine with seeing someone get excited instead. This is what I hope to teach Nolan the most; it’s okay to allow someone to win but you never, ever tell them afterwards, because then they’ll think you forfeited the game and they’ll want a rematch and that attitude doesn’t make good challenges, especially if they lose against you.

What are your favorite games to play during the holidays? Which one do you hope to teach your child or family member someday?

snowflake

Family Weekend

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Howdy!

This past weekend has been probably one of the longest weekends I’ve had in a while! I spent three days and two nights at my grandparent’s house! Blondie and Batman were still in Hawaii on their vacation and didn’t get back until Sunday evening! And our folks had one of their bike rallies going on this weekend too. Unfortunately, this rally has a bad terrain for my wheelchair, plus the fact that it stormed and got extremely hot so I’m glad I didn’t go because I probably would have been miserable! So as a backup, my nana would babysit me for a few hours until my Aunt Laurie, Uncle Mike and cousin Taylor came down from up north. They came down as a “summer surprise” as my nana called it!

I was alone with my grandparents for maybe three or four hours which is normal for us! We kept ourselves busy! Poor Papaw couldn’t decide if he wanted to be in the kitchen or in his bed.. so imagine trying to navigate in a somewhat small kitchen with three push wheelchairs. Not easy! My nana and I basically ate, chatted and baked a cake! She likes to get those cake mixes in a box, and usually she gets chocolate cake–she did have that but had a craving too! She had my mom get a Confetti cake this time around. My nana and I are trying to figure out more things for me to learn. I suggested maybe learning the measurements, like teaspoon and all that! Cooking stuff! I mean, I watch these food shows but they hardly show you what to use, you know? I took Home Ed in middle school but since I was in a wheelchair, I couldn’t reach countertops and so our teacher/aides had trouble showing us those types of things in class. So my nana showed me a bit!

Besides learning the equipment to use in the kitchen, I got to beat the batter in the bowl. My nana doesn’t have a stand mixer or anything, she does this by hand! In a way, she was happy to have an extra set of “feet” to help her out! I also helped put on the icing and sprinkles, she mostly did that though! She gave me an off set spatula and I did my best of spreading the icing like Ina Garten, even I was a little proud of myself! I didn’t make it all fancy, but it looked great! How this all started, why I got back into learning (and sometimes re-learning!) things was after my nana had the idea of maybe I could use her small vacuum cleaner. We figured out that I CAN use it! It hurts my toes but I manage! Laurie and Mike got their around 6:30pm and a half an hour after they arrived, I had Laurie get me out of the wheelchair. So I mainly on the floor, scouting on the carpet (in shorts!) the whole weekend! My hips handled it a lot better than I expected! My butt was another story!

Around 9pm, we were all basically bored out of our minds already! We weren’t exactly tired but getting close to it! I bought a deck of UNO cards with me and we played two games, plus a tournament! My nana and I actually won a couple of them too! I was very surprised at her, she was very exhausted that first day. My mom brought me over a little earlier than originally planned, so she didn’t get to have her nap in the afternoon before everybody came over! She still made up past 10pm so that’s impressive! I actually got better sleep than I thought I’d get on that couch. The next day, Taylor and I were the late sleepers, I got up at 10 something, which isn’t bad but my mom sent me a “good morning” text at 7:30 and I sent it back about three hours later! I was tired damnit! Leave me alone!

That morning was a little bit of a blur for me! All I remember of it was Laurie doing my nails for me. I brought my new collection of polishes to my nana’s. I used the green/teal on my toes and the very light pink on my fingers! My aunt was going to have Mike do her nails, but then I stopped her with “I can do them” I’ve done nana’s nails before! I’m not as clean as she was with me, but at least I didn’t spill it everywhere! She got the teal/pink on her hands. My Uncle Mike got pictures AND video of it all! If I could post it on here I would, but I can’t. After that, we had a couple of cinnamon rolls for breakfast and about an hour or so later the next batch of family came down from up north. My Uncle Rick and Aunt Linda came bearing KFC for lunch and it was so good! For the next hour, we sort of lounged in the living room. I had been on the floor since I got up that morning, my butt was already feeling sore from rubbing against the carpet about a hundred times! Ah, scouting! It was its good and bad points about it!

I think they stayed there for two hours. We all talked, both Rick and Linda helped nana with her laptop, and we showed off pictures! A little bit into the second hour, we had ourselves a surprise! My other uncle, David and Aunt Katt came down too. Apparently it was a long story and I wasn’t present in the telling of it! It was so much fun honestly having that many members together and it wasn’t a holiday get together! When Rick and Linda left everything becomes a blur once again. I was REALLY tired that afternoon! That evening we played UNO and Taboo. We finally figured out how to play Taboo thanks to Taylor for reading the directions and explaining it to a bunch of tired souls like us! It was a fun time, lots and lots of laughs! I was actually allowed to come home that night, my folks came back early from the rally and asked if I wanted to come home. I told them no, we still had to play a tournament! You remember the saying of “too much of a good thing?” Yeah, maybe I should have went home that night because I could not sleep in that house for the life of me!! I don’t know what happened, I was sleepy but my brain would not turn off! It was like past 1am when I went to sleep!

On Sunday, I got up at 8am, when I usually get up I stay up sometimes! That couch was starting to not be so comfortable anymore so I was more awake than I wanted to be! Mike placed their air mattress a few inches away from the couch, so I didn’t have my normal amount of room to truly get off the couch in a comfortable way, I just didn’t want to wake anybody up and I didn’t! I knew nana was up, because I could hear her doing the dishes in the kitchen. So I made my escape through papaw’s room on the opposite side of the living room. I went in there and found nana on her laptop instead. I got on my laptop and she managed to wake up Mike in the process, didn’t get to scare him. However, when Laurie got up she was surprised to see me on the floor leaning up against the chair! I couldn’t help but laugh! I used to be the master at this as a kid! I guess I still got it! Laurie made two different rolls this time around, regular and orange. I’ve never had those before and they were so good, but tasted like fruit loops! It has an orange glaze on it! My nana got a kick after calling it a “glaze” I watch too much of the cooking channel!

Do you remember a post I did last year about my great aunts’ collection of spoons? They went to different places in the Midwest and up in Canada to get these little guys? Well, they also collected teacups and saucers too! I’ve heard about these for years and I’ve been looking forward to Laurie coming down so I could see some of them and take pictures. Laurie took out quite a few and I had to be the one to take pictures. I used Laurie’s phone which was a disaster! It was too big for my feet/toes to figure out, the pictures I got were too close and blurry! It wasn’t all a bust though, I didn’t take 100 of them so that’s better than nothing! Majority of the ones she brought out were made in England, but a few were created in China and one we found said “made in Japan” so that was cool! The next time they come down, we’ll try to get more out of there and divide them up between Laurie and I because my nana is willing them to us! I’m hoping there’s an even number of them! I think I’m hoping a little too strongly here am I?

A little bit before my mom came over, family friend Brittany came over and visit with everybody for a little bit. She was up early mowing before it got too hot! Wish dad did that sometimes! My mom came over about a half hour after she said she would, which is becoming a normal thing in our family now! My dad’s an early person, and mom isn’t. The whole day we did nothing but play games, talk, eat, and laugh! Which is always great for us! We all pig out and have fun! Poor papaw thinks we’re going to disturb our neighbors everytime we get too loud but no police ever comes to the door so that’s good! My sister was supposed to be home around four in the afternoon, but she had a rough time with her plane that they didn’t make it home until like seven o’clock! Everybody decided to leave around six and when we drove up to the driveway, the cats greeted us! All of the babies were at my feet, literally! From what mom told us, when she and dad came home on the bike, when he turned off the motor they all came running up and I guess dad noticed it first and said, “look…. this is not right.” He can’t say it wasn’t sweet that they missed them though! When I got home, I basically got the same treatment! I was sooo happy to be back in my own bed again but I guess not happy enough that I could sleep like a baby! I couldn’t sleep that night at all!! I don’t know what the heck happened!

I’m still very sad that it’s all over. Blondie got to have a whole week vacation and I got three days. I should be happier and I know my grandparents are happy to have their house back to being nice and quiet without having all of us around now. Didn’t want to leave this post on a bad note, but I did anyways! My bad! That’s what happened on my weekend, how was yours?

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