Watching VH1's Top Ten music video compilations from week to week (or, sometimes, day to day) -- notable chart toppers: Meatloaf's I would do anything for love (but I won't do that), Tom Petty's Free Fallin' and Don't Come Around Here no More, Mariah's Fantasy, Seal's Kiss from a Rose, Blue's Traveler's Run-Around, TLC's Waterfalls.
Watching 7th Heaven, Full House, Figure it Out, and Friends.
Watching the following movies over and over and over: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Wayne's World, Wayne's World 2, Big, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Selena. I also frequently rented a Disney sing-along video from the movie rental place (where Mom would treat us to Bubble Tape and other candy treats).
Playing Dr. Mario (I was and still am very good at this game), Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong 1 and 2.
Watching my brothers play a particular Sega game, the name of which I don't know. I also remember eating iced animal cookies while doing this. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm.
(Um, yes, I did have a lot of screen time as a child. But I also played outside a fair amount and did my homework and read several books. So quit judging.)
Getting tickled mercilessly by my dad. There was (and still is) a very extensive vocabulary surrounding this activity. The most important one you should know is that to get Dad to stop tickling you, you must say "S-T-O-P STOP!" This is much harder than one might think to accomplish while you are laughing maniacally.
Assembling cow scrapbooks. Yes you read that right, and yes you have no idea what that is because I'm probably the only kid who did this. I went through a very long cow-collecting phase. Mainly people gifted me with stuffed animals cows, as well as various bovine paraphernalia (boom! I just spelled that correctly on the first try! Eat that, spell check!) such as a cookie jar, a coffee creamer pouring mechanism, candy, popcorn tins, etc.
But! I also made not one but TWO cow scrapbooks. I spent much time cutting pictures of real cows (from Country magazine) and figurine cows (from catalogs) and milk mustache ads and then gluing them onto colored construction paper (each page alternating through the rainbow, then repeating the pattern), then hole punching that paper, numbering the pages, and sticking it into 3-ring binders. I used to plant myself in front of the TV or the stereo and rubber cement my way to bliss. For hours. These scrapbooks are still at my parents house. Obviously. Who would toss such hours of labor?
Sometimes my fifth grade teacher would let us read all day at school. I loved those days. I still long for those days, and do my best to recreate them at home.
When we went on vacation, we always took our minivan, never an airplane. We would drive to DC or Iowa or around Colorado, and I pretty much enjoyed the destinations (DC was a little boring for my 7-year-old self, but we celebrated my birthday there which had its perks), but I always loved the car ride best. My older brothers sat in the back bench seat, and I would drive them crazy mostly but also gifted them with "The Giggle Hour," a time in which they could say anything and I would lose it. I always sat in the middle seat on the driver's seat, Riley in the middle on the passenger side. I would read, stare out the window, enjoy cans of Coke and Pringles and sugary candy (my parents fed us vegetables, I promise). I loved it loved it.
Doing math homework. I always did it first thing because I enjoyed it so much. It was an ease into the reading and writing (which I also enjoyed, but for sure had a love-hate relationship with).
Doing crafts. Cross stitch, latch hook, filling up pages of sticker books. Etc.
Jumping on friends' trampolines.
Babysitting, especially at night. What a thrill! And I made money! I divided my pay in half, to the penny, kept some at home for spending and took the other half to the bank. (I wish I could say I kept up that habit).
Checking email, and composing long responses to my friends who I saw every day at school. (I still love email). I also loved those email surveys that would circle around -- filling out my favorite color, book, etc.
Having sleepovers with various girlfriends.
Dr Pepper and Sunny-D (mostly during eighth grade I loved these things)
Walking through knee deep snow, cutting through backyards, from the bus to our house. With a backpack full of thick books and a trumpet case in hand (that, probably, my brother carried most often), my brothers and our neighbor would walk and walk. We'd get home, ditch our wet shoes at the door, grab a soda and chips and dip, and plop in front of the TV. We'd fight over who got to choose the show, but pretty much we'd stick together in the living room for a couple of hours anyway.
Talking to my friends on the phone.
Going on band field trips. Solo and ensemble competitions, playing at elementary schools, and competing in full-band contests in "the Springs" (Colorado Springs). I loved missing classes, wearing my cummerbund, playing cards on the bus with my friends, and stopping at Burger King or Fargo's Pizza for lunch. Pure fun, and made me feel grown up.
School dances. Yes!
The giant Super Bowl parties my parents used to have every year. I mostly ignored the game, watched some commercials, ran around with church friends, ate cheese dip and my mom's delicious brisket, and drank lots of soda. I always lamented when it was over and I had to do homework and was up so late on a school night, but the party itself was great fun.
Watching all of TGIF every Friday night, followed by 20/20 (oh, Hugh Downs and John Stossel)
Having the house to myself. A rare occurrence in a family of six, but sometimes it happened and it was glorious. I popped a CD into the living room speaker system, made macaroni and cheese, and just OWNED that house.
Church youth group events. And church retreats. Retreats!!!!! Loved. Still love.
Daydreaming about my crushes.
Going to amusement parks and water parks.
Playing and watching football.
Going on "Girls' Day Out" with Mom. We would drive to the Springs, shop for earrings and clothes at the mall, usually run some errands, and eat a special meal.
Going to the outlet mall in Castle Rock. Mom would set us loose and I would buy cassettes and CDs at the music store, jewelry and keychains at Claire's, and troll dolls at the Russ store.
The Wednesday night routine. During eighth grade, my dad was living in Missouri studying at the seminary, and my mom and brothers and I were in Colorado waiting for the house to sell. A dear church friend, Julie, was also a teacher at my school. On Wednesdays, she and I would leave school together, go shopping, eat dinner together, and then she'd drop me off at my mom's office or at the church for my confirmation classes. I still treasure those Wednesdays.
Hanging out at Mom's work -- the library. I would go to her office, grab some candy and cash, head to the café and get a soda and animal crackers, then scour the Babysitters' Club collection and do my homework.
Dubbing music onto cassette tapes from my brothers' CDs and the radio.
Oldies music. Also Christian rock.
Shooting hoops in our driveway and the neighbors'.
Running through sprinklers. Duh.
Guys, I'm going to stop. I could keep going. Super happy I had such a good childhood. Very lucky to have been so loved and cared for. XOX