That House in the Neighborhood

When we first moved into out house in the suburbs, I wasn’t sure how I’d like living so far out from the city. Having lived in a city for the past, oh, 20 years, I was used to the hustle and bustle and living within walking distance to a variety of restaurants and bars.

Then came the kids and the “walking” to our local establishments became a process. It was still fun and convenient, but the ease part of that equation was now missing. And there is no, “go outside and don’t come in til dinnertime!” when you live on a busy main road. I mean, that my kids were 3 and 1 was also a factor, but I also didn’t see it as something that would occur in the near future. If my kids wanted to go outside and play, I would need to go with them.

So off to the suburbs we went. Now the prospect of throwing my kids outside and having them find their own fun was a reality. Except there were no other kids visibly outside for them to play with.

But then…a family moved in across the street with a similar, “go outside and don’t come back til the streetlights come on!” mentality.

I saw a girl near-ish Mahlie’s age, scootering down the sidewalk, by herself. No adult.

“QUICK! Get your scooter, go outside and introduce yourself!” The possibility of a partner in cul de sac crime was imminent.

Since then, a wonderful friendship has grown and my girls are out gallivanting with the neighbors with minimal adult interference. There has been the occasional pine cone throwing  misadventure leading to a poked eye, a less than pleased neighbor that received an apology note from my kids for all kinds of trespassing on her property, but overall my ideal neighborhood situation was emerging.

My husband and I always said we’d be fine with all the kids gathering in our yard. We’d know where they are and there would be someone else to keep them occupied.

Yesterday I had the picture perfect experience. My girls were super disappointed that mommy was no longer keeping her promise to go to the pool all day because oh my gosh long weekends are long. So we put out a sprinkler and I said all the neighborhood kids could come.

And come they did. A sprinkler on the law during the summer is like a Bat Signal to kids. They converged from up and down the cul de sac, lugging their towels, asking for goggles (for the sprinkler?) and squirt guns. Some parents came along and I got out extra chairs and we had an impromptu gathering in the driveway. Some parents looked at me in that knowing way and I immediately gave the invite; “feel free to leave them here- we’re good if you need to go do something.”

For 2 hours my kids had water fights and water chases and water battles. I got to spend more than 5 minutes sitting down.

I’m good with being “that house” in the neighborhood.

Have a great crazy day!

The Obligatory Posts

It’s that time of year. End of summer. Beginning of school.

WAIT A MINUTE! It’s OCTOBER!

Jeez, I started this post, then got busy folding up my daughters shirts that she had spread out all over the floor to use as blankets to “put her babies to bed” and the next thing I know, end of summer DONE, beginning of school, DONE.

And I never posted my summer or beginning of school pics.

What kind of parent am I?!?

I am the kind of parent that realizes September is the suckiest time of year for parents. My close friend and I had this discussion just recently- September SUCKS.

Back to school supplies, back to school clothes, back to school night, back to school permission forms, getting kids back into school schedules, getting up at back to school times, and getting into back to school arguments with kids about….everything.

September is not for the faint of heart when it comes to parenting. It is beyond busy. There are 100 different forms to fill out all asking for the same exact information. You need to get physical’s completed (oops) and permission for medication forms signed.

You have to sign up for PTA and Parent Teacher Conferences, and Back to School Night, and volunteer for room parent and book fair and ice cream social.

You have to decide if you should sign up your kid for language or drama or art or STEM after school extension activities.

And still go to work. And still get some sleep.

Doing all of that while having full on battles with your kids resisting the back to school everything.

So I am late to the party, y’all. Now it’s October and I am in the middle of pumpkin patching and ordering Halloween costumes. Here’s a question for you- if you didn’t post it on Facebook/instagram/snapchat did it really HAPPEN?

My kids are still funny, they still drive me crazy, SJ still likes to say “bagina” at inopportune times. I’ve got a treasure trove of stories to tell, and I promise they are coming. But right now, let’s just catch up, shall we? I’m going to flash back to the end of summer, consider this my TBT of posts.

First up, cousins are the best. Summer vacation included an OBX stay, which is always fantastic. Cousins are like mini-parents. My kids probably listened to them more then they did to me and their dad. You’re probably looking at the lone guy cousin and thinking he got a raw deal on this vacation- don’t feel bad. He was most awesome with my girls and what made it the best is that he GENUINELY enjoyed playing with them. He didn’t get annoyed, he didn’t shoo them away. All around great” big scary monster” (per SJ) cousin to have around. He also got 2 jet ski trips out of it, so a sufficient dose of fast and furious type activity thrown in there. And the older girls, they just doted on the younger cousins. Lots of love goin’ on there.

Obligatory beach scenes.

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Oh, this one.

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And this one.

A busy kid equals a sleepy kid.

For all of you that are experiencing the back to school chaos that is all-consuming, I feel ya. How do you deal in times of chaos? Might I suggest:

margarita

Have a great crazy day!

Take A Hike!

HuntleyMeadows4We are a hiking family.

Well, we ASPIRE to be a hiking family. At this moment in time, we are functioning at FLAT TERRAIN level of difficulty. Not just flat, but smooth, preferably paved or boardwalked (pretty certain that is not an adjective, but for today it is).

If possible, a scattering of benches for a brief respite would be preferable.

HuntleyMeadows2It would be unthinkable if we asked the little ones to hoof it for more than 100 yards without a break for their delicate feet and knees. What with tackling all that FLAT TERRAIN.

Sometimes mother nature obliges with a fallen tree.

HuntleyMeadows3And we get bored with just trees. So the hike should include some exciting sights, like geese. And squirrels. Nothing like a wild squirrel to get kids excited. Doesn’t matter that they have 50 bazillion in their backyard ravaging the birdfeeders and excavating my carefully planted green bean seeds. They are squirrels…IN THE WILD.

HuntleyMeadows5When all those things are present, our hikes go very well.

When any of those things are missing, the potential for disaster is at level “I BETTER HAVE SOMETHING GOOD IN MY BAG TO BRIBE THEM WITH OR I”LL NEED TO CARRY THEM ON MY SHOULDERS FOR 2 MILES”.

They say a rule of thumb is 1/2 mile per year of life. For my 3 1/2 year old, i can only assume she translates that to 1/2 mile per year. So, for the first hike of the weekend, everything went fine.

For the second hike of the weekend, not so much. There seemed to be some miscommunication as to her desire to go on said hike. Such as, she told my husband she didn’t want to go who then did not tell me that. She just thought we were going on a car ride with her cousins. The ride over to the park where the trail was was GREAT. It was the 50 yards into the hike where things fell apart. At that time there was a major disruption of nature while my cute patoot expressed how much she did NOT want to be on a hike. She needed to pee. She needed a snack. She needed to be anywhere then on that FLAT TERRAIN trail on that hike.

I naively tried to get her to catch up with our crew, who were now nowhere in sight. Then I realized all I was doing was increasing the distance I would need to carry her back to the car because this epic meltdown was not going to be soothed by CONTINUING TO HIKE.

We turn around, get to the car, and now she is grabbing herself, doing the pee dance, and yelling, “MY UNDERWEAR IS GOING TO GET WET!!!!”

I noted that there was a port-a-potty at the top of the parking lot. For a diva like my lil pancake, where the slightest hint that someone used the potty before her would send her running, this was not looking good. I get in and told her, “DO NOT LOOK” and just held her over the toilet. But too late, she was already yelling, “WHAT IS THAT STUFF???!!!”

We get out quick and I sent my husband an SOS emergency extraction text, telling him to come pick us up. His response:

“Seriously?”

It was not the, “Okay honey, I’m leaving immediately to come rescue you” I was looking for. My response to HIS response:

“Fine. We’re walking.”

Given I immediately got a, “i’m on my way” back, i can only assume that my mood was sensed through the phone.

So, what is the lesson in all this?

Give the little one up for adoption.

KIDDING. mostly.

Have a great crazy day!