Brooke came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon and since then, it has been an emotional roller coaster in our house. We just cannot believe how fast Luke has grown and that now we are a family of four. We are so thankful for everything we have and yet sometimes it doesn't seem like enough. If only there was a way to stop time, at least for a little bit. But we all know there isn't, and that life keeps moving forward. Our children are going to continue to grow up and we're going to continue to get older. So as we cried ourselves to sleep last night (tears of joy of course), Todd and I decided that we really need to slow down some and just enjoy life. We work so hard for what we have, yet sometimes the sweetest things don't cost a dime. We've also worked hard to be in the financial position where we can enjoy the money we have earned and we decided there is no better time than now to really start doing that. So we decided to come up with a list of 10 things we want to do/accomplish in Brooke's first year. Sure, she probably won't remember any of them, but it will just be a new thing for us.....spending more time as a family, putting aside things that "have" to get done, and enjoying life. So here is the 10 things we put on our list:
1. Have a picnic in the park. Todd and I started saving money for our first house just a few months after we started dating, when we were 16. People thought we were crazy, but we just knew. Anyway, we'd often go on picnics instead of going out to eat. One of our favorite spots was the top of an ampitheater near our current house. We'd go there when there wasn't a show, set up a picnic, and look out over the town. Now we'd like to take our own kids there, bring dinner in a basket, and then play at the playground afterwards as a family. Just a nice relaxing night AND it wil give me a chance to try out some of those picnic recipe ideas in the Real Simple magazine this month.
2. Go to the zoo. This one probably seems dumb, but Luke really loves animals. For over a year, we've kept saying, we really need to take him to the zoo. Yet, somehow, we never have found the time. Well, we decided we just need to put an end to this. There are many other places we want to go to too, like the Boonshoft Children's Museum, the Aquarium, etc. but the zoo was the one place we've kept saying we needed to go and never have.
3. Make a family stone for the backyard. Luke is really getting into arts and crafts type projects and I thought it would be great to spend time as a family making something that would remind us of this great time in our lives. So I thought a stepping stone with all of our hand prints would be a great idea.
4. Find a volunteer opportunity to do as a family. We are big on not wanting to raise spoiled children that become brats. Growing up we weren't very thankful for what we had, but we don't want our kids to follow in our footsteps. We each volunteer, but we'd like to find something that we can do together, as a family. We think Luke is old enough now to understand giving and sharing and helping others, so we're going to look for something that we can all do together.
5. Enjoy a week long vacation without worrying about money. We had decided to skip vacation this summer. We had a lot of projects around the house, Todd's business has been booming despite the slow economy, and I'm already having to take mostly unpaid maternity leave. But the more and more we think about it, we need that week to just spend time as a family and enjoy ourselves. Normally on vacation, we watch our money very closely and don't allow ourselves to get dessert when we go out to eat, buy a t-shirt from the trip, etc. But this year we decided we just need to enjoy time as a family and not worry about anything else. So if we want dessert, we'll get it. If we want a souvenir to remember a special day trip by, we'll get it.
6. Visit the Cincinnati farmers market and then make dinner as a family from the produce/meat we bought. I love to cook and I love when Todd helps me. My dream is to cook with my kids as much as possible. My mom didn't cook much, and when she did, I wasn't really allowed to help much because I'd make a mess. This is something I want to chance with my kids. I also think that Luke will have more of a love of fruits and vegtables than Todd and I did if we allow him to pick them out from places like a farmer's market or grow them ourselves. So I thought it would be fun to visit a local farmer's market I've wanted to go to for years and then cook up our produce all together.
7. Camp out in the backyard. Todd and I both "camped" out with our dads when we were kids. Ours usually consisted of sleeping bags in the basement and staying up late and watching movies, Todd's consisted of tents in the backyard. So until we can go to family camp outs when the kids get a little older, we figured the back yard would be a perfect place to set up a tent, roll out our sleeping bags, and even make dinner and some smores for dessert over a fire. Hmmm, just have to build that fire pit first. =)
8. Dance in the rain. Is there anything better?!?!?!? Luke LOVES water and worms and splashing in puddles and everything that goes along with a rainy day, but we've never let him hang out in the rain. So next time it's warm and raining on a Sunday, you'll find us dancing in the rain!
9. Throw a party just because. Todd hates entertaining. He just feels like it's a lot of work and is just for "impressing people." I on the otherhand LOVE to entertain. I think it's just a fun way to get to know people better and to share my love of food with others. It also doesn't hurt to hear my (fill in the blank here) was delicious and they'd like the recipe. Okay, okay, not the point, I know, but it is flattering. Anyway, I got Todd to agree that over the past couple years, our lives have really changed and we've changed. Our old friends just aren't the same and there are some new friends that we'd like to get to know better, but haven't had the time or the opportunity. So why not throw a party......a just because party. Who knows, we just might all have fun!
10. Tell each other one thing we are thankful for each and every day during dinner. While we do eat dinner, at the table, together every night, we sometimes just talk about our day and not the important stuff in life. So we decided to start saying something we are thankful for that day. Luke doesn't exactly have the words yet to say what he is thankful for, but he defintly understands. I figure by this time next year he'll be able t come up with something each and every day and truely understand what he is thankful for.