Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Must not become relaxed I forget to pick up the camp kids

We're on Day 11 of magical family vacation time and I am having such a good time I can't even muster up any sarcasm about family "vacation" like I used to be able to do. I mean, this morning I sent three kids off to camp and took one to the library and then out for ice cream. She is napping right now and after doing a bit of work I am sitting on the porch with an absolutely spectacular view (the weather is sunny and warm--70 degrees warm, not 100 degrees warm like at home, which is nice because yesterday it rained all day and never cracked 65) and talking to you good people. Stay tuned, though, because today is only the third day Ryan has been back in Texas and there is PLENTY of time left for things to go south before he returns on Saturday.


Also, did I mention that we DROVE HERE FROM TEXAS? Obviously I have about a novel's worth of blog material from THAT experience, but that seems like a loud, fuzzy, fighty memory. Maybe I will go through the pictures and write that up in installments or something. Or maybe I'll have another noon-beer and do some writing while the kid naps. Time is fluid and weekends mean nothing. I feel like Lady Grantham.

I don't know what happened, but Mary turned fourteen somewhere between here and Tennessee.


Also, based on the marks drawn on the doorjamb to the dining room, Mary is as tall as Charley was when he was ALMOST FIVE. She is almost four, for those of you playing along at home. Sorry baby girl, jeans shopping is going to SUCK when you are older.

One foggy day we took the kayaks and a rowboat and paddled out to an island for a picnic.





These are the pictures I will hold dear when we are back in Texas and I am wondering if I am ruining their childhood by ferrying them from school to piano to the tutor to choir to homework to chores to bed.

Don't you remember when you rowed to a freaking ISLAND? Just DO YOUR MATH!

The next foggy day we went to Reid State Park, where Wes either went swimming or subtracted seven years from my lifetime, depending on how you look at it.


Pan out to the sensible younger sister, playing demurely in the sand while Wes hurls himself into nine foot ocean swells.


We had swimsuits in the bag, but whatevs.


Next stop: clam digging workshop.

To get to the clam digging workshop we had to go on a half-mile hike through sand and shallow water. Everyone else was apparently expecting this because they were not carrying multiple toddler-sized bags full of snacks, towels, bathing suits, and sunscreen along with two folding camp chairs like a couple of assholes.





Mary dug up five huge clams. She was ALL. IN.


It was so enjoyable. The day ended with James chasing Wes through a foot of water and screaming in such an extravagant fashion that I could not respond and stood frozen in my spot as James caught up and flung his body at Wes. James would make a great defensive lineman day, if I ever let him play football.

The first day we were here we rode a lobster boat out to tour a medical mission ship that sails around to all the islands in the area. It was a beautiful boat with a large meeting room where they gave us cookies and coffee. The captain spent half an hour answering Charley's nautical questions, pulling out reference books and showing him pictures. I eyed the woman whose job it was to ride around on the boat and make cookies for the locals and wondering when she would be retiring and what sorts of things I should start adding to my resume so I could apply. Because making cookies on a boat and making friends with people sounds like my dream job.

In between our outings we've been spending a lot of time jumping into the water from tall things, going out in boats, tubing, walking to the store, eating donuts, and hanging wet things up in the kitchen near the stove.


This is actually kind of a big deal for C. In fact I sent this picture to his doctor who said it "made her day." Made mine too!







Oh, and sailing!


And Mary ate a lobster!


Which was kind of funny because yesterday I took her to the aquarium and she pointed to a lobster in the touch tank and loudly exclaimed "MAMA! I ATE ONE OF THOSE YESTERDAY!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Family Photo Time

As I told Ryan this morning, it's a lot of work being the family historian, especially since I'm no longer sitting around my house while babies nap and instead am spending most of my time supervising four children in large, deep bodies of water. Doesn't lend itself to blogging in *quite* the same way.

Let's begin with *last Saturday*, I am realizing now that I am looking through the pictures on my phone.

We had tickets to In The Heights, another of Lin Manuel's musicals. That was all I knew about it, but MAN it was amazing. Also amazing, because I am an overplanner and because I allow WAY too much time for things, we had almost two hours to kill after we dropped off the kids with our kid-free twenty-something friends who were crazy enough to babysit for the day (for seventeen bucks an hour and their love for large families of insane people). This meant that after we picked up our tickets we had plenty of time to walk over to a brewery for beer and lunch.



Go see In The Heights. It was spectacular.


Their car felt TINY after our pair of giant mom-cars.


Sunday morning we woke up all relaxed and happy and spent a cozy morning reading the paper and coloring together (because Wes had lost TV for the whole family). It was so cozy! Until I got out of the shower and came downstairs to a disaster area.


After that we went to my friend's new church to hear her first sermon. It is an incredible place and it made me so happy just to BE there, let alone see MY FRIEND up there in front.


The kids loved it too. It has an awesome playground, a coloring station in the sanctuary, a Montessori-style Sunday School, AMAZING music, and Charley found a katydid.


After church we had lunch with the pastor (HA) and some friends at the hippy grocery store with the playground, which is five minutes away. This place!

A loud collection of kids:


Charley took James to the pond nearby and they came back muddy.


Later we happened upon and destroyed a cantaloupe sample station.


After lunch we went swimming in a spring-fed swimming hole downtown, which because it was Fourth of July weekend required some parking shenanigans. It was worth it and the boys spent most of the time on a SUPER janky-looking rope swing made of pallets, a piece of string, and a stick. Not pictured because I was busy treading water underneath waiting to rescue anyone who needed it. It was quite a workout.

Did a little errand running and swimming on Monday. The inevitable conclusion.


I woke up cranky on Fourth of July and managed to get excited about the Cub Scout float.


I mean, have you ever seen a more earnest Cub Scout?


They sprayed the kids with water, which is always really fun (but I really wish they'd spray the kids with high quality health insurance!)



We took the annual firetruck picture after the pancake breakfast.


I fought through my ambivalence and used my woman-brain to host a pretty kick ass front yard cookout complete with a slip and slide and wading pool, old neighbors and new neighbors.



And then we cleaned up and went to the city fireworks, because OOPS we moved to a neighborhood that doesn't allow fireworks. This was much cheaper and easier than our usual home fireworks, if you don't count the MASSIVE SCREAMING TANTRUMS that occurred after we told the kids.

I presciently bought movie tickets for the morning after the fireworks, which was GENIUS because for twenty bucks all my kids and two friends got to sit in a cool dark room for two hours NOT BITCHING ABOUT ANYTHING.


If you sense that this post has taken a turn for the cynical YOU'D BE RIGHT. I think the Fourth tipped the kids over the edge. It's been one long train to fight-town ever since then. Also, Mary has not taken the transition from hyper-orderly, calm, quiet Montessori school to, well, an extended version of her home-life, well. Yesterday Charley played Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Mary started screeching excitedly "THEY PLAY THIS AT MY SCHOOL! THIS IS MY SONG!!" I think she misses it.

Is there anything more pitiful (or infuriating) than a child bobbing in a pool/lake/river, SOBBING in a puddlejumper? I mean.

Couldn't manage to find Mary's shoes for Charley's therapy appointment, but we *did* find a tiara.


Annnnd then she and James had a loud screaming fight over a plastic maze toy and had to be removed to the porch.


This day started promisingly.



And ended with cozy movie watching.


But the middle was so stressful that I wounded up muttering swear words as I stomped up the stairs to bed at 8:30.

Saturday was a welcome relief for everyone because Ryan was home to break up all the fights between me and the children. Plus we had plans to go on a boat with some friends. THAT was some ridiculous fun.





And then I spent the afternoon working at a coffeeshop and also getting some headspace while Ryan, refreshed from a week of professional work, helped James make the lemonade stand he's been dying to set up. James earned four dollars and was gifted a piece of apple pie from a neighbor who said he was "clever and brave."

On Tuesday afternoon we start our drive north and by Saturday we will BE IN MAINE! None of us can wait. It's so exciting. Just need to get through the next three days. Should be NBD.