17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Best Things In Life Are Free

I’ve been eyeing a new bedroom set for our new digs in D.C. DH and I still sleep in the double bed I’ve had since college that our monkeys have since broken....yes, by jumping on the bed. I’m really tired of our IKEA furniture constantly falling apart on us, but the cost of real furniture sends me into a cold sweat. I think I spent too much of my childhood with my depression-era grandparents and therefore have constant anxiety about money. I’d really like to get over it…so lately I’ve been thinking about all the things that make me happy in life….and I’ve discovered that most of them don’t cost a penny. Here is a glimpse of that list:

1. Finding the dictionary.com “word of the day” in my mailbox every morning. Today’s word was sang-froid \sang-FRWAH\, noun: Freedom from agitation or excitement of mind; coolness in trying circumstances; calmness.
Cool word, eh?

2. Watching my 3-year-old concentrate soooo hard to get all the motions right for the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song. Someday he’ll get it.

3. Warm towels. The radiator sits right below the towel rack in our bathroom so I have a warm towel waiting for me after my morning shower (and we don’t pay for our heat so technically it really is free). I guess this item only makes the list in the winter time.

4. Going to church every Sunday. The music, the talks, the lessons and personal testimonies, most always justify the early morning hours I spend destroying our apartment in a massive panic in order to get us all ready to go.

5. Makin’ mad love with dh. Yes, he looks like a nerdy newspaper editor from the outside…. Wait… what am I saying? This isn’t free… it has cost us two very expensive little monkeys.

6. My free ESPN. Our front window looks out to a fenced-in concrete playground. Any day of the week I can watch international soccer, street hockey, baseball, cricket….I tried to convince dh to cancel our cable….if only PTI broadcasted live from our front stoop.

7. Phone calls from friends who are just "checking in." That always makes my day. Especially when dh is away, and especially since I'm so bad about doing it myself.

8. Being hand-fed grapes (and if I'm really lucky.....Cheerios) from chubby, sticky 1-year old fingers.

9. Listening to dh play his guitar. He really is good. My favorites are his Mexican love ballads....lots of instrument....not a lot of singing. He is so busy these days, it's a rare treat to hear him play.

10. Afternoon dates with my mountain bike and a really muddy trail....or a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, sans monkeys. Ohhh baby, those were the days!

What's on YOUR list?


  • Great post! I agree that some of the best things in life are free.

    I love hearing the postal worker (it's a woman, so I can't call her a mailman) close all the mailboxes when she has finished depositing all the mail. Checking the mail is one of my favorite things in the day. I suppose taxes pay for USPS, but since we're too poor to pay taxes right now, it's free!

    I love welcome home hugs and gleeful shouts when I arrive. "It's Mom!" I love watching my boys sleep - they are all sweetness. I love finding a post here or on MMW that makes me feel an instant connection with a total stranger. I love it when dh wears blue dress shirt and cologne - not technically free, but it's in the closet and it's paid for, so it feels free.
    posted by Blogger Mrs. M at 2/06/2006 02:19:00 PM  

  • Erin,

    I loved hearing YOUR list! I didn't even think about mail and a man (well, my man) in a dress shirt and cologne...definitely count as free! Thanks for sharing!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 2/06/2006 03:29:00 PM  

  • I love hearing what makes other people's lists. My favorites:

    -Warm sun on my face
    -A big pile of new books from the library
    -Water (ocean, pool, bath -- mostly free, anyway, since I don't pay close attention to my water bill because I don't want to give up my baths)
    -Unexpected loves from my toddler
    -Talking with hilarious friends
    -Time spent with husband: he's cute, fun and he bakes. And he doesn't charge me for any of it.
    posted by Blogger Allison at 2/06/2006 03:43:00 PM  

  • Jen, nice bedroom set. Very grown up. I agree about IKEA, so today I only bought some bathroom stuff and cinnamon rolls.
    7. I was going to call you around 5 today because I haven't seen you in a while and you are LEAVING me...but then dinner happened, and poop in the tub happened, and DH coming home late happened, so...maybe tomorrow.

    My list:
    Pretending with Daughter #1
    Singing with my family
    Dancing with my husband

    And very specific moments in time that make me so happy to be who I am and where I am. Last week one of these was when I was trying on an outfit for an audition for my 3 year old and 9 month old, and the 3 year old very authoritatively saying: "It's good mom, it's good...you look good."
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/06/2006 04:07:00 PM  

  • Jen, I like the bedroom set - thumbs up.

    Here is what I love that is free:

    Rain (I ALWAYS go outside and play in it)
    When my children laugh and play together
    Saturday mornings when we make pancakes, blast Greenday and dance with the kids
    Playing Scrabble, Rook or Yahtzee with my dh
    Laying in front of the fire with dh (you figure out the rest...)
    Clean morning air
    My ds (age 3) says without prompting, "I love you mommy" - makes my day
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/06/2006 05:17:00 PM  

  • I hope this helps in getting your bedroom furniture closer to free....I just moved from D.C. to Richmond VA and have had the providence to find a Pier 1 Clearance Store in this area. I just bought the headboard for the Enise set for $179.00. So, when you get to DC, make a quick trip to Richmond for your new furniture (about 2 hour drive South). I actually really like it without the footboard because it looks very modern without being alienatingly angular. I know this doesn't respond to the "heart" of your post but thought it would be helpful for you nonetheless.
    posted by Blogger Maralise at 2/07/2006 06:53:00 AM  

  • topping the list today are:

    *any meal eaten together as a family

    *being given raspberries on the tummy by my ds (16m) and listening to him giggle

    * watching him give kisses to his new babydoll, not because he is prompted, but because he has love to give.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 2/07/2006 06:57:00 AM  

  • Great post! Really made me smile. My list is as follows:
    1. Laughter - I love to laugh
    2. When my little guy moves around and around in my belly and I just watch my stomach take different shapes - it's truly amazing
    3. When great things happen for my friends
    4. When I get to hear someone in my family bear their testimony
    5. When my husband's glance and wink totally catches me off guard
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 2/07/2006 07:09:00 AM  

  • 1--The smell of fresh cut grass. A luxury I haven't so much gotten here in nyc. Oh well.
    2--My kids in their room giggling their heads off when they're supposed to be going to sleep.
    3--Surprising busy/tired dh with a date after work. Even the babysitter was free--but not the movie.
    4--A newborn's involuntary (gas) smile that makes me feel like I got a free peek into their smiling future.
    5--My bed set. Yes--free! Just inherited it from a friend who upgraded to a King. Jen, your pick is SO COOL. Splurge. :)
    posted by Blogger Katie at 2/07/2006 07:23:00 AM  

  • The absolute best thing in my world that is free...
    The smiles and hugs that accompany those words can't be touched.
    posted by Blogger Peter at 2/07/2006 09:34:00 AM  

  • --Books by amazing authors
    --lilacs in early summer
    --sunset watching in Idaho
    --naps on Sunday (very rare)
    --Good, beautiful, flawless music
    --pianos. IN TUNE pianos
    --tickle wars with my kids
    --Brand new baby smell (okay, after the kid's had a bath...)
    --laughing stupidly with dh
    --Sitting in Primary and having a 4 year old give a talk so well and with so much faith that the Spirit overcomes me and I cry in front of all the kids...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 2/07/2006 12:58:00 PM  

  • Just a few random comments -

    Jen, I love #5, every time I read it I think, "Well, Superman looks like a nerdy newspaper guy from the outside too.." ;-)

    Cheryl, this is probably the third time you've commented that I'd swear you are my sister-in-law in disguise. I want to say "Joy, is that you?" but I know it isn't, you're not the right age and you don't live in the right place. Still, I feel like I know you, or at least there are parts of you that remind me of someone I know and love very much. Random, but I thought I'd share.
    posted by Blogger marian at 2/07/2006 01:35:00 PM  

  • Wow...my list keeps getting bigger and bigger...it's really fun to hear what everyone else thinks.


    Thanks so much for that tip...I've very excited to go down there and check it out. I actually already bought the set online, but I had some eye on some other stuff as well.

    Funny, my word verification last time was "shutit." Is this an not-so-subtle hint that I'm a blog hog?
    posted by Blogger Jen at 2/07/2006 03:43:00 PM  

  • Mine was just nudnz....very close to nudes if you ask me...maybe I will go find my superman.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/07/2006 04:32:00 PM  

  • Obey the word verification. . . it is a sign . . .

    (So I decided to see if the magic 8-ball of word verification would give me a sign, too. I went and inquired of the priestesses at the nacle's own Oracle of Delphi here. And they just gave me this sign:


    I guess that's a sign that I need to buy a vowel.)
    posted by Blogger Kaimi at 2/07/2006 05:12:00 PM  

  • -fortune cookies
    -eavesdropping on my husband singing a song
    -free days at the museum
    -a good conversation with a great friend
    -giggles from my children
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 2/07/2006 07:04:00 PM  

  • Jen...one last gem. Oh the shopping possibilities in DC and its environs! Ok...in Leesburg, VA (about 40 minutes West of DC) there is a Prime Outlets. It has a Williams-Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Storehouse, Gap, Old Navy, Ann Taylor, Need I go on! Hello...yes suburban shopping heaven. Plus an (albeit small) play area for the kids if that applies. The Storehouse is a Clearance store so it has the best deals. You probably already knew this but I had to share. Eastern Market is also fabulous for one-of-a kind items including furniture sold by the artisan, jewelry etc...they also have fabulous french toast, or so I've heard. Happy shopping!
    posted by Blogger Maralise at 2/07/2006 08:09:00 PM  

  • I have to say that I absolutely adore being hand fed anything from chubby, sticky baby hands...today it was potato chips.

    Primary children's faith, whether shared in word or song moves me to tears nearly each week.

    Valentine's flowers from dh a week early!

    A clean kitchen--if only for an hour.

    Sleeping in on a school day because dh has it covered.

    E-mail inbox full of family members checking in from all over the country (wink, wink ksl)

    A sunny spot on the bed to take a nap.

    A song on the radio that reminds me of our first kiss.

    "I love you infinty" each night from my sweet 7 yr old.

    Big fat juicy red strawberries in February--technically not free but driving by the beautiful strawberry fields knowing they're there is just as good.

    So Cal in January and February (and all the other months too!). Definately not free but that's where dh has a job.

    Thanks for sharing! Everyone touched a chord.
    posted by Blogger hdc at 2/07/2006 10:26:00 PM  

  • marian-
    Thank you so much! You totally made my day today.... :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 2/08/2006 06:19:00 AM  

  • What a great post!
    -My father's laugh
    -when husband gives me a break from the little one withouth being asked
    -getting mail
    -when my unborn fetus has the hiccups
    -friends who are genuinely
    happy for you when good things happen in your life
    -realizing the guy I fell in love with and was once engaged to is the same guy I'm married to.
    -a good workout
    -crisp, early summer nights
    -giving someone a home-made present
    -being needed by a friend or family member
    posted by Blogger Krista at 2/08/2006 11:55:00 AM  

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