My friend Irina and I went on a long hike Saturday, first thing in the morning. It was a beautiful trail in the woods and, importantly, was straight uphill for the first two miles. The second two miles were back down the same long hill. The weather was cool and cloudy and it was just wonderful.
Come at me, big ass hill.
After the hike I was texting with a friend about my plans for the rest of the day and I was saying things like "The kids have a bunch of events later today and I would like to be considerate of Ryan's time" instead of "OMFG I need a freaking break" and it occurred to me that PERHAPS, vigorous exercise and uninterrupted (except by my own labored breathing, see above: big ass hill) time talking to a friend was JUST WHAT I NEEDED. The change in my mental state was remarkable. I came to this realization standing at the iced tea tank at a breakfast taco restaurant and it was like a lightbulb went on. I'm not crazy, I just have four kids and a job and spend most of my time either sitting down and being frustrated, standing up and cooking while arguing with people, or putting people to bed while arguing with people. I hate to characterize my life, which really does feel happy and the good kind of busy most of the time, this way, but DANG, you guys.
After the hike and a breakfast taco, and a gigantic cold front that came through shortly after we finished the hike, dropping the temperature twenty degrees, I arrived home refreshed and ready to jump into the project Ryan and the kids were engaged in, namely digging the house out from three weeks of constant business, entertaining, and sloth. This involved scraping dried urine off every surface imaginable in the downstairs bathroom, running a small village-worth of laundry, and reshelving every single book in the family room, but I also suited up and waded into Charley's room, which had taken on hoarder-level conditions. Imagine my relief when he told me the huge box of trash next to his desk was his recycle bin AND that I could empty it. You never know! We cleared the entire floor, cleaned out the closet, made the bed, and pulled all the too small things out of his dresser. Since the door to his room is right off the main part of the downstairs, this has improved my stress-level IMMENSELY.
We all took an Olympics break in the early afternoon. In a pile on the couch, as you do.
And then all the pickups and drop-offs began and I made Ryan go buy me some beer and a family size box of mac and cheese at the store, the kind with the powder, I made sure he understood. I was asleep by 9:30. Pretty much the perfect day.
Sunday morning we had to be at church for THREE SERVICES, due to it being Children's Sabbath. Charley and Wes played the offertory and the prelude, respectively, at 8:15 and then all four kids sang in the children's choir at the 9:30 service. After they sang, we spirited everyone out and went to get some donuts down the street. On the way there I showed Ryan a radar image on my phone, because his parents were getting a crazy sleet storm. Charley got super excited and thought I was talking about where we live and when I told him it wasn't he exclaimed "OH CRAP!" So then Ryan and I were cry-laughing and trying to tell him he's not allowed to use that word. We all squeezed into a booth intended for a family of four at the donut place and when James's donut dropped sugar all over the table a Hunger Games-style street-brawl erupted with all four kids slamming their hands and faces into the pile of sugar from all corners of the table. It was quite the spectacle. I just sat there getting jostled while I drank my coffee and practiced mindful breathing so I didn't literally pummel someone right there in the middle of the donut shop. It was the world's most annoying game of Hungry Hungry Hippo.
They appear to be so calm.
And then we went back to church for the 11:00 service and second children's choir performance, during which Mary had a potty accident and began screaming. I swooped in and grabbed her, but she managed to screech "I had a potty accident!!" before we made it all the way out. She screamed and peed (all over me) all the way to the bathroom, where I stripped her down and considered my options. She has never been an accident kid and I had no extra clothes. Numerous helpful old ladies had followed me into the bathroom to see if they could help with the screaming child, but obviously none of them was carrying a pair of size 5 leggings in her purse. So I put her back into her skirt commando and carried her wet tights, undies, and shoes back into the sanctuary to watch the big kids perform. We stood in the back, but when I noticed Mary hiding behind a trash can I wrapped her in one of the fleece courtesy blankets they keep in the church and snuggled her into my shoulder. Later, a friend's daughter ran up to us in the parking lot with a pair of pants and some undies for Mary to put on. It takes a village!
Since the kids were obviously in need of a few hours of down time after the crazy morning, it was good that we had two concurrent Scout meetings and dinner plans scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The giant meltdown Wes had upon arriving home was certainly not unexpected. Amazingly we coaxed him to eat a hot dog (lying down on the runner in the upstairs hallway) and then he perked up because we had a freak thunder-sleet storm.
I managed to coax him into the car by telling him his Scout meeting was near the location of the huge sinkhole that opened up not far from our house and that maybe we could go check it out on the way home.
We had a nice dinner with our new babysitter and everyone was in bed asleep by 7:30. Olympics, cross stitch, and beer is a perfectly lovely way to wind down the day and I am really looking forward to this next two weeks.