Black Plague. I mean Friday.

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When I was little, I used to LOVE heading to the mall at o’dark hundred on Black Friday.  I wasn’t a bargain shopper, I was a champion people watcher.  I found my seasonal spirit by being around lots of people.

As an adult, and particularly as a parent, I take a different approach to Black Friday these days;  

I avoid it like the plague.

I don’t want my kids anywhere near the crush of people, frantically looking for the best deal.  I don’t find anything spirited or even joyful about it.  It fills me with an anxiety that feels a lot like panic.

I’ve rebranded the day after Thanksgiving “Family Friday.”  The goal?  Spend as little money as possible while spending time together.

This year, we were in DC so on Family Friday we woke up and headed out to the National Mall.

Not this kind of mall

Image: Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’ve never been, the National Mall is a huge corridor of our capital’s finest museums and galleries.  You can tour countless monuments and landmarks AND tour the Smithsonian Institution, “the world’s largest museum and research complex.” (Source)

 

And the best part? It's FREE.

Source

The freedom to meander through a sculpture garden while on our way to the Air and Space museum, after touring the Museum of Natural History is what inspired this Facebook post:

 

I offer this in case you need proof that liberals can be patriotic, too.

 

One of the things I enjoyed most about our Family Friday was watching Peanut enjoy the day.  As I’ve described before, everything seems to be more enthralling to this 5 year old when seen through the lens of a camera.

Peanut loved taking pictures of ancient sea life….

Interesting tidbit...horseshoe crabs look EXACTLY the same as they did 400 bajillion years ago.

 

… exploring the many species of butterflies….

Can you believe a 5 year old took this picture?

 

…and cataloging their unique flight patterns.  Ahem.

"Sir, could you please ignore my daughter taking a close up of your crotch? kthanksbye."

She explored ancient bones…

I wanted to paint these talons so badly. Quick! Someone hand me some OPI!

 

… captured her companions…

Museum Mama

 

Loungin'

 

… and even marveled at some national monuments.

 

OK she clearly didn't take this picture. But I love it anyway.

The cost of our full day outing?

The museums and parking:  $0.

Hot dogs and drinks for the family: $12.

Avoiding Black Plague Friday?  Priceless.

 

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