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Last Friday night we had our first "lights out" night. The plan, as I mentioned in a previous post, was to set aside one evening where we went sans electricity. It was a HUGE success.. with a few funny stories along the way.

Shiela doesn't work on Fridays.. so she headed out with the boy to get some supplies. You know.. a few pillar candles, a huge Diego coloring book.. popcorn. Important items. They picked me up at work and we headed to the park before heading home.

Given that this was our first attempt at going "lights out" with a 21 month old who is severely addicted to Thomas the Tank Engine.. we utilized our time before the sunlight faded to prepare as much as we could. We came up with a few caveats for the night. First.. the bathroom is a free zone.. lights and functional plumbing are items that we're not interested in losing in the potty room. This will be particularly important as Ben moves toward potty training. I'm not hauling a candle into the bathroom. The kitchen is also a free zone.. although we tried to avoid it as much as possible. Battery powered lights were fair game.. that included battery-operated tea lights (that Ben could handle) and a few flashlights.

Short pillar lights in mason jars worked GREAT!

Ok... so as the sunlight faded in the evening sky (how poetic).. we lit a half dozen or so candles that could be located in toddler-safe zones. We also had 4 or 5 battery operated tea lights for some smaller candle holders that Ben could help with. He promptly found a second use for one of the candle holders.. it was a perfect bridge to drive Thomas under!

We were sitting at the dining room table.. coloring and talking. Pushing some thomas trains around the table. Enjoying one another's company. All "Kum Ba Yah" and crap.

So in a classic "doh" moment.. shiela starts humming a tune. Gotta fill the silence, right? It's hard not to sing/hum/whistle when the tv/computer/etc. are all turned off and it's quiet. The kicker? She sings.. "oh demand.. or on tv.. day or night and online too.. sprout is always there for you"... OH CRAP! It was the theme jingle to the OnDemand programming for the Sprout Channel.. the portal to Thomas episodes that one red headed boy knows all too well.

He smiles. Pushes back from the table. Says "all dah" (all done) and then starts yelling to get out of his booster seat. I unhooked him and he climbed down and ran right over to the rocker and turned to point at the TV and giggled while saying "gah gah" (that's how he says "Thomas".. i have no idea why.. the kid can say "Vitamin" and "Fishies" and yet "Thomas" comes out like he's clearing his throat.)

Shiela crumpled.. I laughed my butt off. It was the funniest thing..

We managed to change the subject from the TV to playtime. I flung myself onto his beanbag chair and he started to climb all over me. Shiela took some pictures but I will NOT be sharing these as they all make my butt look HUGE.

As an aside.. this was my first evening with my new little Nikon point-and-shoot camera. It was great.. especially the part where you can take nice clear pictures in extremely low lighting.. the down side to that is that all of the pictures I took don't even hint that we had the lights out. You'll have to take my word for it!

We had a "picnic" style dinner of sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches and a huge bowl of popcorn. Both were a huge hit with the little guy.

We rounded out the evening with some dancing to mariachi music (long story) and then it was bedtime for the carrot top. Shiela and I moved back to the living room where we sat and talked for a few hours. We had all intentions of staying "lights out" through our own bedtime.. but in the end we were too keyed up to relax.. so we allowed ourselves some TV in bed.

All in all.. a huge hit. We are going to do it again.. maybe tonight.. but we have plans to hit a mexican restaurant with some friends first.. so we'll see if we have enough time to make it worth it. I'll let you know if we get away with it twice!


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