To kick off the long holiday weekend, we decided to try something brand new - a movie! In an actual theater. With the children. We have been gradually working our way up from 10 minute Sesame Street segments to actual full length cartoon feature DVD movies. When we saw Shrek the Third was playing at the dollar cinema, we figured this was our big chance to test the movie theater waters without having to eat the $9 per person admission fee at our regular theater in case things went awry.
Surprisingly, the movie went over really well and was even kid friendly - they had special booster seats for the boys - a good thing since the kids don't weigh enough to keep the stadium seats down and kept getting folded up in their chairs. Cade lasted for about 45 minutes before he lost interest and Drew made it almost to the end. What surprised me about the outing was not how much THEY liked it, but how much I liked it. Our movie theater excursions of late have been pretty limited since when we actually get a babysitter and commit to an evening out, we try to spend it talking and catching up on what's happened since the last time we had a date. I was seriously so relaxed and happy to be eating my buttered popcorn and watching the big screen that I didn't even care that the leading man was Shrek instead of Brad Pitt. I truly didn't realize how much I have missed something as simple as going to the movies!
This realization led me to really reflect on how much my life really has changed over the past three years in terms of what we do for fun. And believe me, we still have plenty of fun now but in a VERY different way...a sampling of the differences between my pre-child days and now:
THEN: Scour Zagat's for top restaurants in Atlanta, alternating between hot new ones and old classics each weekend.
NOW: Scour Atlanta Parent Magazine for news of a different playground in the Metro area to hit each weekend.
THEN: Favorite restaurant: Canoe (riverside setting, amazing food, top-notch service)
NOW: Favorite restaurant: Vinings Chic Fil A (awesome indoor playground and free refills on Diet Coke)
THEN: Hit the running trails along the Chattahoochee early on Saturday mornings. Run 5 miles and stop to read the paper and drink Starbucks on the way home.
NOW: Get up on Saturday morning, drown a pot of coffee at home, get everyone organized and hit the trail by 11 am (hopefully). Walk 5 minutes and get remainder of exercise by lifting people in and out of stroller for the next hour, covering approximately a half mile total.
THEN: See all new movies in the theater as soon as they come out and excitedly await new releases featuring my favorite actors.
NOW: Get a subscription to Netflix and struggle to watch 1 grownup DVD a month. But watch the Wiggles frequently and mourn Greg the Yellow Wiggle's early retirement.
THEN: Drop $150 on dinner and drinks on a Friday night.
NOW: Drop $100 bucks on a sitter and $20 on burritos and beers on a Friday night.
THEN: Happy hour at The Grape, sampling wines from different regions.
NOW: Happy Hour at my house, sampling Barefoot Chardonnay because it was 2 for $10 this week.
THEN: Travel extensively, taking two vacations a year and several long weekend trips.
NOW: Travel extensively - up to Chattanooga, TN for the Thomas the Train day at the Tennessee Valley River Authority each spring.
THEN: Work out regularly - 3 to 4 times a week at the corporate gym.
NOW: Attend the gym regularly - 3 to 4 times a week at the Y. Work out the once or twice my children will actually stay in the childcare center without crying.
THEN: For fun in the water, take a trip to the beach and soak up the rays.
NOW: For fun in the water, take a trip to the pool and spend most of my time mediating fights over pool toys.
THEN: Attend Broadway musicals, sporting events, and museum special exhibits.
NOW: Purchase annual passes to the Children's Museum, Aquarium, zoo, and Kangazoom jump place. Rotate between the four each week.
THEN: Wait up to an hour and a half to eat chicken mole enchiladas at Nuevo Laredo Cantina on weekends.
NOW: Wait up to 5 minutes for the Joey Bag at Moe's.
THEN: Wake up on Sunday mornings, attend church for spiritual nourishment, stop for brunch afterwards.
NOW: Wake up on Sunday mornings, make it to church less than 50% of the time, attempt to be spiritually nourished while child runs Matchbox cars up my arm and over my chin and nose, drive through Dunkin Donuts on the way home.
THEN: Read 2 books a week. Real books. Well, OK - half of them were real books - the others were Oprah's Book Club.
NOW: Read Richard Scarry's Huckle Cat book 4 times a day (twice at nap and twice at bedtime).
THEN: Browse Ann Taylor and Banana Republic for clothes.
NOW: Browse Target for clothes because I am there anyway and am too lazy to unstrap everyone from carseats at a separate clothing store.