Thanks so much to everyone for your commiseration and great suggestions about How to Make Sundays Not Suck As Much. (If you haven't checked out the comments, you might want to--there is some good stuff there!) It does help me just to know that many, many of you are out there gritting your teeth too.
And now that we've addressed Sundays, let's talk about Mondays. (Also known as The Day Where Order and Sanity and Naps are Restored.) A couple of weeks ago, GH came home from church feeling all kinds of motivated (read: guilty) about Family Home Evening. The basic idea is that you set aside one night a week to be together as a family and to do things that will strengthen your relationships and your testimonies. The Church sets aside Monday night for this, and doesn't schedule any other activities or meetings that night, but you can do whatever night you want.
This is a thing we have not done for a long while. We are getting back into it now so that the Dark Lord knows this is something we do. Turns out, it's kind of awesome when you've just got one toddler because the whole thing can be over in 10 minutes.
The first week our "lesson" was to watch the "I Am a Child of God" Mormon Message & then show him pictures of Jesus. After that we threw a ball around and ate banana pudding (the Southern version, made with layers of Nilla wafers, banana slices, and vanilla pudding). I made this because it was one of my family's favorite FHE desserts. I topped the thing off with some real whipped cream because I'd used "reduced fat" Nilla wafers. Needed to restore balance, you see.
Last night we showed him our wedding album (theme: "Temple Marriage"). Then we played with his stuffed animals. After little Lord Voldemort was in bed, we ate leftover birthday cake from my sister-in-law.
So far I think the Dark Lord really likes Family Night, especially the part where we sing and play games together. It makes me feel a bit bad to realize this, but maybe we don't spend as much time as I assume we do just playing with him. In the 2 hours every evening when all three of us are home and awake there is cooking and dinner and picking up and iPads and television and computer and phone calls. We don't necessarily ignore him, but our attention is divided or we're trading off. Must think more on this.
After FHE, GH opened up his iPad. Instead of lunging straight for his dad's glowing screen of wonder like he would normally do, TDL picked the photo album back up instead and wanted to look through it again. At one point he recognized one of his grandmas and started smiling and patting her face and clapping. It was so very precious. And now that I know he will sit and look at it, I may start reaching for this one more often.
So. Back to calling on the wisdom of the collective. Family Home Evening activities for toddlers? Anyone? Anything you've really loved doing with your family?