Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blackout Night: Triumphant Return

We finally pulled off a real Blackout Night again! It has been a long time - at least before Christmas - since we did it right. I was quite determined to turn out all the lights tonight, and also to not cheat. So, no-energy dinner? Check. Lights out? Check.
One more thing. We are trying to add a little family exercise into our routine. This is really hard to do when you have legs of all different lengths and skills of all different levels. But we have, nonetheless, settled on walking together. And a walk fits nicely into the rules of Blackout Night, so we've decided to make that a regular feature. I mean, we'll walk on other days too, but at least we can mostly be sure we'll walk on Blackout Night.
The only problem is that today, it's super cold. The coldest air of the season is moving in tonight. It'll be 26 degrees in my shocked back yard. What orange blossoms I had left after the last freeze will certainly be gone after tonight. Seriously - two hard freezes in the same year? That never happens here.
I digress.
I was quite ready to chuck the idea of getting our walks going tonight because I'm cold. But it's been almost three weeks since we decided to start walking again and we still haven't walked. It's always something, isn't it?
Chris called me after work, though. He said to bundle up the kids and we were going to go for it anyway. But bundling up is tricky. We hardly own any of the right stuff.
While Chris looks kinda tough in his warm jacket and the hat I made him for Christmas (I have no idea what he's telling Andrew to do in this photo),

Emma and I looked sort of, uh, creative.
She had on a stripey tunic with a dressy ruffle at the bottom, her school hoodie that made the ruffle look a little silly, an old scarf I bought at a thrift store several years ago and ankle-length yoga sweats.

With legwarmers underneath.

And I...looked like a hobo. A long sleeved shirt under a pullover hoodie under a zip-up hoodie and the only scarf I had left. With sweat pants, white socks and one of Chris' hats. Oh my.

We actually trotted around a lake downtown looking like this. Which is okay because most other people looked were dressed just like us. And it was all good until I remembered that I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home for some croutons to put in our salad for dinner. Lettuce and tomatoes alone didn't seem substantive enough after such a vigorous and chilling walk.
So I went to the grocery store looking like a pink-cheeked hobo.
And some guy dressed like a hobo checked me out.
So there.
We came home and the boys covered up all our plants and brought in the potted ones (we've started a few pots of veggies and herbs to try our hand at the whole food-growing thing) while Emma and I put together salads.
We ate by candle light.
We cheated a little bit by brewing some decaf. Flavored creamer turned it in to a nice dessert.
And we read by candle light until it was time to put the kids to bed. We're reading The Hobbit together. I've actually never read it, so I'm really enjoying the experience. I have to stop every now and again and translate what's happening for Emma. It's a little over her head, but I think she's still interested.

And I think that this will sort of be a Blackout Night routine for us. Walk, salad, candles, reading. I can't come up with something new and fresh every week. But I'm pretty sure I don't have to do all that for it to be special.
It was still soothing and quieting, it still focused us on each others' faces. We had good conversation. Candle light engenders conversation of a deeper nature. We all say things we might not say when we can be fully seen.
And even though the kids are in bed and my face is illuminated by the glow of my computer screen, we have left the lights off and the candles burning. The ticking of my living room clock and the quietness of the house are conspiring to make me sleepy earlier than usual. I think I will take advantage of that.

DAILY BLISS: laughing at the funny things my children said as we walked around the lake, watching the geese and ducks huddling together against the chill


Mary said...

I love blackout night. Kris and I read the Hobbit together in our pre-TV days. It was our first time to read the Hobbit and I loved it. We did a lot more reading back then and I miss it. Your blackout nights remind me of those days when there was no option to be sucked in by the boob tube. I will say though, I am often too tired to read these days and allowing someone else to entertain my brain for me is relaxing. When the boys are a little less dependent I'm sure we will return to less TV around here.

Amy said...

That sounds like the *perfect* family night. I love it when we all take walks together. And I'm going to give you big kudos for walking when it's that cold. I'm sure I wouldn't have. Chris looks like a tough guy in his jacket and hat. Although I know he's not...
Love the hobo clothes...too funny...

claibornes corner said...

I think all of you look cute all bundled up - it was cold here too and I love it....

mindy said...

i went running that night, too!.... we're so hard core. ;-) congrats on making the commitment and sticking to it.....btw, i love the outfits. i think the hoodie-within-a-hoodie may actually catch on.

Julie said...

What does it say that we typically dress like that to go out -- and we do have cold-weather clothing? The light saber is the perfect accessory too.