Our family is not spaced out in what most would consider the most “traditional” fashion. lol Those of you who have been reading Busy-at-Home for awhile know that there is an almost eighteen-year gap between our oldest child and our youngest. It was all part of God’s plan, for me to be able to keep our home busy, usually overflowing with chatter, and happily “alive” by creating so much space between the births of our kids, that I still have that joyful noisy way of life as part of my day-to-day experience. The kid’s ages are 30, 28, 21, 18 and not quite 13. This creates all sorts of interesting family dynamics and birth order traits. 🙂 For instance, our third daughter has, at different points in her life, experienced being the youngest, the middle and then the oldest child still at home. Our youngest daughter was still a pre-schooler when the oldest was married. Some would expect these unusual circumstances to have negatively affected the relationships between our children. By God’s great grace, however, exactly the opposite has been our experience.
They are close as siblings; and what’s more, they are friends — really, truly, sincerely good friends — friends who seek one another’s company and conversation — friends who will call each other out, in love; who will support each other and offer wise counsel when it’s needed — friends who gather to enjoy the latest PC game together until the wee hours of the morning, who laugh so hard together that their sides ache, tears come and they pee a little, lol. They’re the kind of friends who work and play alongside each other and who “get” one another’s snarky, sarcastic sense of humor. They’re protective of each other and would unquestioningly step between one of their siblings and anything that might cause them harm. They love each other — unconditionally – the end. The tears have started, just typing that, because it’s an overwhelming blessing, we surely don’t deserve, when you consider all the stupid mistakes we made as they were growing up.
Being the youngest, of much older siblings, caused even David and I to be slightly concerned that Larissa would grow up more like an only child. Our older kids have never allowed that to happen, though. As with all the other “youngers”, over the years, she has tagged along for much of what the older kids have done, spent time with their friends and enjoyed their company, laughter and conversation. All our kids always assumed they were 4 going on 27, due in large part , I think, to spending so much time with older brothers and sisters and their friends. We’re “verbal” people. (had you noticed?) 🙂 They developed more mature conversational skills, tastes and attitudes, for their ages, because they wanted to be “just like” the older kids and spent so much time with them. Larissa has been no different, and a great deal of thanks for that is due to our older children, who seek her out and include her in their family outings, or in “girls day” shopping trips and movies. She is near the ages of our grandchildren, and so, as THEIR “older”, she also gets to learn some of that responsibility and maturity, she might have missed if the birth orders had been any different. I appreciate how much the kids have loved on her and made her an important part of their lives. They’ve made strong efforts to be sure she “knows” them and they “know” her. One of the most beautiful examples of that is seen in watching the relationship between her and our second daughter.
Lacy and her husband, Eric, moved to California when they were married nearly three years, ago. Of all the separations she has experienced, growing up as the youngest child, that one was the one that Larissa took the hardest. 1,600 miles is a difficult distance to bridge and separation from those you are close to is always difficult, even more so when you are only nine. From the beginning, Lacy went out of her way to stay connected with our family and especially with Larissa. They have a regular Friday night “date”, each week, and it has been an amazing thing to watch as their relationship continues to grow and deepen and Lacy’s wiser, older influence has as much impact on the shaping of Larissa’s life as that of the siblings who are still nearby. The distance hasn’t cost them any of the things that truly matter. How have they accomplished this? Video games. Well…Skype and video games. lol
Every Friday night, at the appointed time, the miles get erased by laptops, cameras and software that allows them to see and talk to one another. They can watch a movie or hilarious videos on You Tube, together, or visit about the new baby whose birth we will be celebrating, very soon. They chat about life, create silly stories and they play online games. One of their favorites is Sims. That makes sense to me since both of them are motivated by things that help them express their creativity and individuality. I love hearing the laughter as they create characters, build families and homes and share tips and ideas for advancing in the game. That’s why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with #CollectiveBias on the #TheSims4 campaign.
The SIMS™ 4 takes creating a game character to a whole new level! You’ll get brand new, never-before-seen SIMS. These new SIMS are smarter and more responsive. They are bursting with personality and attitude that you get to help design into each unique character. They have emotions and they “know” they have them. You can select goals, traits and hobbies that will shape a SIMS’ personality and influence their behavior. I was amazed at how detailed and numerous the options for personalization were and I’m excited to see the storylines that will evolve from these dynamic personalities. lol
When the description says that the creative tools are more intuitive and that players can “sculpt” their characters by hand, they aren’t kidding! Every tiny detail is customizable, stretchable, shapeable. It’s fast and easy to create characters and with the help of a pre-release demo, I decided to create a couple characters to represent David and I, in a game, once the new Sims 4 is released on September 2. (You can PRE-ORDER the game, now, to be sure you get started as soon as it becomes available.) Maybe, our girls will incorporate us into their SIMS worlds! Yup! With just a few clicks, you will be able to share your SIMS or bring someone else’s into your own SIMS world.
Pre-order your copy of the new SIMS 4 and then get started on your own characters, while you wait to receive the full game. It’s easy to download the demo and build your own custom SIMS. Start on the demo page at http://www.thesims.com/create-a-sim-demo. Download Origin and then the SIMS demo. Select the gender of your character, their life aspirations, and character traits or skills that will be central to the formation of their personalities. Once that’s done you can sculpt a form that is representative of the character you envision and select their wardrobe for every day, for formal events, for sleeping and for sports activities.
You can get as detailed as changing the shape of ears or the length of a nose. Should the cheekbones be higher? You can do that. Do you want to be tall? short? thin? husky? athletic? a musician? You can do any of it, and so much more! The multitude of options for customization couldn’t possibly be detailed in a single post. After playing around with the program, I can’t imagine a scenario where anyone would ever create a duplicate of someone else’s SIM. The sheer number of variables make each one, their own unique creation. The demo only allows us to create young adult characters. I can’t wait to have the chance to create homes, scenes and families and see what extraordinary new opportunities for being creative, the new SIMS 4 will allow!
When everything was finished, I almost recognized David in the character I had just made! I understand, now, how Lacy and Larissa can spend so much time playing SIMS and all I’ve done is create characters. In the full game the story lines, homes, scenes and other things we will be able to create will open up even more opportunities for imagination, creativity and fun. We may have to get the whole family involved in Friday night game nights! 🙂
SIMS, and now SIMS 4, are definitely integral parts of a special connection between one of our older daughters and our thirteen-year-old. It allows them to enjoy time spent together, learning quirks and habits that endear one to the other, affords them plenty of time to visit, be creative and connect in ways that deepen their already strong and loving bond. I’ll never be a fan of kids locking themselves away from the world and spending endless hours engrossed in electronics. What I am definitely a fan of, though, is using those electronics and games as tools to find common ground, share time together as a family and have the kind of fun that creates lifelong memories. The time that Lacy has taken, spending her Friday nights connecting with twelve-year-old Larissa, have created memories that will be lifelong treasures for both of them and impacted the way Larissa will think about, and the priority she will place on, nurturing important relationships. What a blessing!
Can the latest PC game help families connect? I say, “Yes! Unequivocally, without a doubt. Used appropriately, they most certainly can!”
Have you ever used technology, creativity and online gaming as a way to stay connected with distant loved ones? How could the new SIMS 4 create some laughter, fun and memories for you and your family? Let’s chat about it!
PLUS, be sure to enter the SIMify yourself Facebook Contest here: https://www.facebook.com/simifyyourself. There are $8000 in prizes to be won including the grand prize where you could win a trip to Maxis studio in California! See the official rules here: https://collectivebias.box.com/shared/static/bgg20pn7ujnmkha77b6p.pdf