Side note for readers: First off, I know it isn’t Christmas yet but because our whole family is in North Dakota, we spend actual Christmas break/vacation splitting our time between both sides of the family. This means if we want to have a Christmas with just our family, we have to do it before we start travelling to see our extended family. This year that means December 19th is our family Christmas.
Back to Tim.
To my Husband,
I know that this year we promised not to buy each other anything but since you let me buy an external flash for my camera so I can take family portraits in my parents’ dimly lit cabin, I thought it only fair that I got to spoil you a bit too.
I know. You don’t want anything. You hate “stuff” I know. I know. I know. I have heard the monologues about how all you want is to get rid of stuff. I listen patiently as you rant and rave and curse over a hurt foot because you stepped on yet another little plastic “piece of crap” toy. I get it. I agree. We have too much stuff.
Guess what? The kids agree too! They think we have too much stuff and they admit that it is more fun when we (Dad and Mom) can play with them instead of spending all our time cleaning the house. SO that is what we did. In the spirit of giving you the only thing that you want and with the theory of less is more in mind, the kids and I were inspired to purge the house.
Of course, I didn’t just leave it at that. We took it one step further. I know you are eyeing the wrapped gift that is sitting at your feet and thinking, “They still don’t get it. I don’t want anything. There has to be something in that gift bag.” First of all, Mr. Grinch. Relax. Yes there is something in the bag just keep reading.
The kids and I have worked hard and long AND I have to add, in secret, to clear out all their unused toys and clothes that don’t fit. The toys that were mismatched but still in usable condition were donated to our favorite thrift store.
The kids donated 2 garbage bags of mismatched toys and we were able to throw another garbage bag of broken toys away.
Let us pause a moment to celebrate that. Three less bags of stuff!
But there is more… so much more!
The kids were willing to part with even more toys. We SOLD the toys that could be grouped or were in full sets. The kids helped me gather up said toys, arrange them for photo taking and then I posted them on various Facebook Garage sale sites and on Craigslist.
Remember earlier this week when I snapped at you and you couldn’t figure out why I was mad at you? It was because 4 different people stood me up while I was trying to sell all this stuff. I am sorry I took that out on you but I was frustrated and trying to keep a secret from you is so so hard and it makes me a bit anxious.
Here is what we were able to sell.
Lincoln Logs for $35
Cardboard Blocks $10 and the Angry Birds stuffed toys were all donated to Ms. B in the Autism Resource Room at the boys’ school!
Paris Book ends and box $20
Imaginext $40 Yes. The boys said we could get rid of all the Imaginext toys!
Clothes, coats, boots, hats $110
Oh and since I was on a roll, those dining chairs you can see in the background of the above photo? Those are gone now too. I donated them to the local charity that helps battered women and children set up their own new and safe homes.
The trike that has been unused for over a year? It has been donated to Elise’s preschool. (It is hard to sell bikes in December in Minnesota)
The puzzles were donated to Elise’s preschool too!
Yeah. That is right. We made some serious cash while purging our house of toys the kids don’t play with, clothes that don’t fit and a potty chair that will never be used again because all of our kids use a real toilet (cue the angel’s chorus!)!
The stuff we couldn’t sell but still had some life left, went to our favorite local charities or organizations that have been good to our family.
What did we do with all that cash? Don’t worry, we didn’t just buy more stuff. It took way too much work and time. Plus it cost me too much of my sanity to go through all that again any time soon. We didn’t go out and replace all the old stuff with new stuff. I promise.
But there is a gift in front of you… wrapped in that package is not more stuff, it is a promise and a pledge.
You are right. Life isn’t about stuff. Life is about experiences. We only get a short amount of time as a family before the kids are grown and gone. The house feels lighter with this stuff gone and I find myself looking around for more to donate, throw away or sell. It feels good having less. That is my promise and pledge to you. We will spend more time collecting experiences and less time collecting stuff.
To kick off this new way of thinking and living, the kids and I decided that instead of playing with Imaginext dinosaurs we want to see dinosaurs. Instead of testing the laws of physics by stacking mounds of toys in the corner of the basement as high as they can go before the pile topples over, we want to learn why things fall. The kids decided that they are past wooden peg puzzles and are ready to solve some real puzzles. Elise wants to know WHY she had to grow out of her favorite dresses and WHY they don’t fit any more.
The kids and I decided that we want to spend more time having fun as a family and less time cleaning as a family. The kids and I decided that the most fair way to spend this extra cash would be to spend it on something for the whole family. So that is what we did and this is our gift to you.
We bought a family membership to the Science Museum of Minnesota!
With the cash raised Elise and I were able to go to the museum and buy the Darwin Level membership. Elise was excited to see “Rexy JUST LIKE IN NIGHT TIME AT THE MUSEUM!” when we walked in.
We paid for the museum membership in cash and had enough left over to buy what is wrapped in that package for you AND a muffin and an overpriced cup of fresh fruit as a snack.
One thing that the kids don’t know about is that there is something in that package for them too.
Open the gift!
I love you husband. Thank you for being patient with me and helping me remember what is really important. For the record, next time I earn cash purging stuff from the house all the money goes toward Alice renovations because now that the garage is cleared out we can begin work on Alice!
Won’t it be great to have an escape from the chaos of renovating Alice? A place to go to let the kids play, learn and explore?
I love you Tim.