Thursday, July 9, 2009

FREE time

You can walk down any street these days and see signs of the times. More "for sale" signs, huge houses sitting empty after bank foreclosure, strip malls nearly empty with store after store closing down. Jewel is slashing prices, car companies are offering to take back cars if you lose your job and can't make payments.
The other day after we returned from Wisconsin to find our cupboard bare, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat. After that we were driving past a pet store when Tim said, "You wanna go look at puppies?" My first reaction was to say no, and the reasons why started scrolling through my head: The baby was fussy, she'd need to be fed soon. The suitcases were still sitting in the living room. I had tons of laundry to do. I was tired. The kids were tired. We just got home, and on and on and on. But for some reason, I said "Sure."
Can I just tell you that that hour was one of the most fun hours I've spent with my family in a long time. This little Jack Russell Terrier pulling on the hem of Finley's sundress and yanking it back and forth like a chew toy as she squealed and laughed was one of the funniest things ever. Piper stroking this yellow lab with enormous paws and looking at it like it was the best friend she'd been waiting a lifetime for was so sweet. I realized several things after our trip to the pet store. Number one, we are not getting a puppy right now (not that we were even thinking about it.) Number two, we will someday get a puppy. The look on both Tim and Piper's faces when they were loving up this yellow lab made me realize that my husband loves dogs and my kids should be allowed to experience having a family pet even if I end up being the one who does most of the work. But what I ultimately took from the trip came as we left. Piper looked at Tim and asked, "Dad, did that cost anything?" It got me thinking about how the best things in life really are free. We get so hung up on bigger and better, and when the economy tanks we're left faltering. But no one can take the simple pleasures from us. So on that note, I'll share some of my favorite (Free) time activities with you and encourage you to share yours with me.
1. Go play with puppies at a pet store
2. Go on a picnic
3. Play scrabble
3. Let your kids play in the rain (and take pictures)
4. Have a bonfire
5. Play hide and seek
6. Let your kids do your hair (or if yours is short like mine, let them do your sister-in-law's.)
7. Feed your kids lunch with the samples at Costco (that one's for you Nana!)
8. Take a "nature walk"
9. Go to a new park
10. Bake something with your kids.

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