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Simple Summer Fun

July 7th, 2006 at 10:44 pm

What an incredible week. We spent the week at my folks place at Bear Lake. My sibs + families also came (except my littlest sis, who lives in Philly. She + spouse will be home on the 24th for 2 weeks. She's in dental school and doesn't have much time off at this point). Big Rich doesn't come up often because he works most weekends. It was great to have him there.

There are times in life where time goes at just the right pace, not too fast and not too slow. I think these times are linked to being close to nature. I've decided that I am happiest when I am on some sort of beach. It is truly when I feel at home. The water, the wind, the sand in my toes. I love it.

I'm sure it is mostly because my folks bought the place when I was four and we went there every weekend during the summer when I was a child.

But some other reasons are: there is usually a group of people surrounding me that I really enjoy spending time with. I love spending time with my sibs and their kids. The cousins all play for hours and hours up there without any battles. The beach is so vast, the water is so shallow, there are so many children, we have just the right toys. I've noticed the kids are never bored. There are endless variations to keep them busy. It also helps that there are so many eyes keeping track of all the kids. It gives me a little much needed rest and relaxation.

Another reason is I get away from the mundane things in life. We have a TV, but no reception. So we only spend time watching movies that we all want to see. Until very recently there was no phone. Even with one, the calls are few and far between. My cell phone won't get reception. There is no computer. I'm amazed at how many hours I spend in front of this box. I get a chance to rethink that while I'm gone. Basically there is no media, which I find refreshing. I think I am going to cut most media out of my life. It just isn't healthy for me. I spend lots of time reading, which is my heaven. I LOVE to read. There are no stores. The nearest town is 24 miles away on a dirt road. And it isn't any place you would go just for fun. So I generally don't spend any money while I'm there.

Which leads me to my main point, it is amazing how abundant life can feel when you are living simply. Why isn't I feel more blessed and peaceful when my immediate family is living in one small bedroom, and my entire family is living in a small cottage? Why are my kids so busy with the few toys that we keep there? Why do the simple family meals taste the best? Why do we sleep so soundly? It is because we are interacting with each other, talking, doing things together. I enjoy my kids so much more up there. There is no hurry to do anything, be anywhere. We can just be.

Today I took the Monkeys to the zoo. We have a seasons pass so it was paid for 9 months ago. We ate before we left and I told them I would buy them a popsicle there. The food is incredibly over-priced. We went through the new tiger exhibit, then the reptile house, went to the bird show, had our treat, went on the train and played at the playground. Sounds fun right?

The entire time my eldest Monkey complained that I wouldn't buy more treats, wouldn't go to the gift shop, etc. "Why do all the other kids get a hat, cotton candy, toy?" Really got the best of me. Even at the Bird Show, he was upset because people that were selected out of the audience to participate were given gift certificates for free ice cream from the sponser. He was freaking out that he never got chosen. Finally I lost it. I turned into "Mean Mommy" and lectured all the way home about gratitude and enjoying what we have, not what we don't have, living in the moment, spending time together is the important thing, yada yada yada, the fun is in the experience not in the stuff.

He replied that he has fun at Bear Lake. And we both realized it is because there is nothing to buy there. He can relax because he isn't being inundated with messages to buy, buy, buy. I find it incredibly sad that my 6 year old finds enjoying life hard because of the media machine. It just doesn't seem right. Even educational experiences aren't free from advertising.

So I am on a mission to simply our lives so that we can feel the same sense of peace at home that we do at Bear Lake. TV must be limited further. I'm going to be stricter about making sure that chores are done and allowances are only paid if the work is done. Toys and treats must be earned or paid for with their money. Eldest Monkey really needs to lose his sense of entitlement. Paid activities will be fewer and farther between. The Monkeys have enough stuff around here to entertain themselves and each other. They don't need me running around town every day to keep them occupied and entertained.

It is time to reclaim our contentment. Life is about peace, joy and love. Anything else is no longer welcome at my house!!

enough rambling for today.

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