Monday, March 23, 2009

Riding the Free(dom) Train

This weekend I was able to use my love of free stuff for the good of someone else, namely my son. He with the enduring love of all things Thomas the Train.

Where Sammy first learned about Thomas, I have no idea. He might have been born with the knowledge. In any case, it has always been. We have plenty of Thomas videos, and in a pinch, there’s always something on the On Demand menu. He has great affection for many characters, particularly anything Pixar-related, but to Thomas, he is tried and true. He always comes back to the little blue train.

The Christmas after he turned one, Santa brought him a toy train set from Ikea. I thought it was so cool – old school wood with little magnetic train cars, nondescript and ripe for imagination. He ignored it for a year. Suddenly, it became the go-to toy, especially since we added expander sets and Daddy started building more and more elaborate track arrangements. One day around that time, we were shopping at Sam’s and I picked up a Thomas video that had a bonus train in it. That was it. The train (I believe it was Edward, but it didn’t matter at the time – it was Thomas!) fit the Ikea tracks, and it was kismet. Since then, he’s acquired several train cars, of which he knows them each by name from across the room. We even got him a train table to try to contain the growing locomotive family.

These trains, small as they are, and made of TREE, do not come with an inconsequential cost. Occasionally, we run across DVDs that come with bonus trains like the first one, and that’s how we get most of them – 2 for the price of 1. But this weekend, my mom found a coupon for a free train (choosing 1 of 4) at Toys R Us. Hallelujah!

Off we went on Saturday. I had this big plan of Chris and I splitting up, in case they were snippy and only wanted to give 1 per family. This was not an issue, and they really didn’t care. We got 3 trains (one for each of us, save Sabrina, who probably could have gotten her own, but I didn’t want to press my luck), a Thomas, a Percy, and a Sir Handel (or blue, green, and another blue as I remember them). Woo hoo – free!

(You know nothing is completely perfect for me though, and part of me wishes we’d spent the rest of the day going from store to store, collecting train after train. But kids get tired, and husbands get tired, so we took a break. By the time we hit another store, they were out. Oh well. I’m happy with what we got.)

Sammy is thrilled. Now imagine how spectacularly his head will explode when we take him to actually RIDE the real Thomas next weekend.

In other news:

My Aunt Betty has been visiting for the past 2 weeks. That’s meant lots of family together time, which I love. And not just because since there are other people keeping their eyes on my kids, I don’t have to be so vigilant. But that’s nice.

Sabrina is full-on walking now. Dear God Help Me.

Sammy had a follow-up with his ENT today. His hearing is back in the normal range, and his ears are free and clear of fluid. Huzzah!

(Oh yeah, it was my birthday. Whoopee.)

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