Is it possible to have too much family fun time? If there is, I think it happened to us this weekend.
Yes, yes, I love and adore my kids and I think my husband is the greatest. I'm just wondering if it's possible to ever again in my life enjoy a few hours alone. Or, even a single hour alone. Fine, several minutes alone?
The weather was beautiful, the kids were happy and healthy, several to-do projects were crossed off our list, and the weekend flew by. Family fun time is wonderful - not always relaxing - but wonderful. But, pretty please, though, I'd like to remember what it's like to relax kid-free.
Friday was Preschool Pals at the library, which the boys and Annalyse love. Yes, even Annalyse loves it. She lays on the ground kicking her legs and flapping her arms while watching the other kids sing and dance and read stories. Sometimes she's the center of attention and the other kids are more interested in her than they are the librarian. Oops.
Friday afternoon during naps, Grady Lee wrote numbers zero to one hundred. When he (finally) finished, he declared, "I'm ready for kindergarten now! I know every single number in the whole wide world. Take a picture of this, Mom, so we never ever forget how smart I am!"
So, after I praised him and snapped his picture, we had a sit-down talk on humility and understanding that he does not, in fact, know "every single number in the whole wide world;" and that yes, he is smart but we don't emphatically declare that to other people.
(But to me he is smart and darling and funny... most of the time.)
We also got a jump-start on Easter cards. Hand print rabbits with carrots and random shapes that were supposed to be eggs. Paint and glue and google eyes are always a hit - regardless of what the boys are making.
Friday evening the whole family headed out to run errands together. This is not, I repeat, not my usual idea of fun, but since Grady was willing to help I agreed.
The boys headed to Home Depot to do manly things like test-ride lawnmowers and look for light bulbs. Annalyse and I headed to the grocery store to do girly things like look for which kinds of ice cream were on sale.
After the van was loaded with bags of groceries, we came home, put kids to bed, and Grady and I kicked back with a movie and ice cream (um, Moose Tracks is my favorite ever). I can't tell you the last time we were home on a weekend and without plans. Sitting on the couch together was wonderful - kind of like cheap college dating all over again.
Saturday morning kicked off bright and early with Grady Lee's first soccer game of the spring season! He donned his cleats and shin guards and was ready and waiting by the back door before anyone else in the family even had their shoes out of the closet. He was just that excited.
His confidence level has improved significantly since playing in the fall and that's wonderfully exciting to see. His skill level has improved, well, not at all, and that's just fine. He has fun prancing around the field and watching his "feet run berry, berry fast!"
Micah is able to play this fall and can't wait. In all honestly, this kid could hang and keep up with the five year olds. It will be interesting to see how he and Grady Lee fare when playing together this fall.
And little Miss Annalyse, well, she's just the cutest cheerleader you can imagine. She was happy to be outside. Happy to be loud. And happy to have the attention of several other kids peering over the stroller to check in on her.
Grady opted out of coaching this season in hopes of helping Grady Lee learn to listen and obey when another adult is teaching. So far so good - Grady Lee thinks his new coach "is pwetty fun and good at kicking," two important prerequisites for coaching soccer, I suppose.
But, during water breaks, Grady was quick to whisper top-secret plays and encouraging tips to Grady Lee.
Saturday afternoon was get-the-yard-ready-for-summer day. Mowing, raking, fertilizing, and mulching - with the boys being kind-of sort-of helpers every step of the way. They were eager to be in on the action and I'm fairly certain that their helping hands added over an hour to the tasks, but I suppose it was worth it.
After getting cleaned up from a dirty afternoon outside, we enjoyed dinner out at Q'Doba. My boys think the only restaurants that exist are Q'Doba and Chick-Fil-A. Maybe someday we'll introduce them to something super fancy and special like an Applebee's or Chili's. (Ha!) Sit down with menus is anything but fun with them at this point in life.
The boys gulped down their quesadillas and chips in no time. While waiting for me to finish, Annalyse put on a dance show and had the boys laughing uncontrollably. She has no idea how cute - and dorky- she looked.
After dinner, Grady got a fire started and we took turns telling stories. The newest story-telling game goes like this: someone starts a random, make-it-up-as-you-go-story and shares a few lines. After a few minutes of story telling, the next person takes over and adds on to the story for a few more minutes. This continues around the circle several times until the story either fizzles out or until Grady and I have to intervene because the direction of the story is going unfavorably.
Grady Lee began Saturday's story with, "Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Micah. Micah was good little boy and always very curious. One day, Micah and the Man with the Yellow Hat..." (Sound familiar?)
By the time the story circled back around to Grady Lee, curious Micah had started a forest fire, dodged a police man, and was driving very fast and about to hit a little girl in the road who "if she didn't quickly move would get run over and be flat as a pancake."
Yes, this would be where I intervened and changed the direction of the story. Quiet stories around a fire shouldn't involve little girls getting run over. Just sayin'.
And, finally, here we are at Sunday. Spring forward alright... I sprung out of bed with a frustrated groan. Instead of hitting snooze when my alarm went off at 6:30, I turned it off and didn't wake up until 8:00 when I heard Grady getting ready to leave for church. I hate - hate - when days begin in a mad rush.
Grady had to be at church for some new member interviews, which meant I needed to put everything into high gear in order to get three kids fed, dressed, and to church on time. I am pleased to announce that in a period of 55 minutes all four of us were in the car ready to go. Whew!
I think that Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It's always one of the busiest, but it's definitely one of the best days of the week.
When I picked up Annalyse from the nursery, one of the volunteers nearly thrust her into my arms and sheepishly said, "My, she really is an active little one, isn't she?" I've served in the nursery long enough to know exactly what she meant: your kid is hyper and crazy-active all the time and didn't take a nap.
We got home and, lucky for me, she promptly fell asleep. I guess being cute and busy in the nursery is hard work after all.
Grady took the boys in the woods behind the house to collect firewood. The boys grabbed grocery bags and busied themselves stuffing them full with twigs and sticks and small logs. Grady was armed and dangerous with a saw and hammer - and I think he was bummed that he didn't need to use them when he discovered his knee worked just fine for cracking and splitting everything. Boys and their tools.
Dinner tonight was fantastic - one of my new favorites. Grady grilled salmon burgers and I popped some sweet potato fries in the oven. Yumness! My taste buds are still thanking me. The best part? The boys had no clue they were eating healthy fish - they just thought it was cool that it was "a pink hamburger!"
And now, now my friends, it's almost 8:00 and I'm going to go get two very sandy little boys from the backyard and put them in the shower. It's going on two hours that they've been in the sandbox so I know they'll need a good scrub.
Spring is here: playing outside, grilling dinners, playing till dusk... family fun time for sure.