Strategic thinking in the Target parking lot, and eating peaches and cream

photo-383Overall, this was a good weekend. There were things that worked OK now that I can see will be better in years to come.

My weekend sort-of started on Thursday afternoon with the trip to the art museum. Friday is now a non-work day for me, so I hosted a playdate, and spent some time in the pool. The major event on Friday, though, was my 8-year-old’s try-out for a local competitive swim team. He and my husband had been working really hard on this, going to the YMCA together many nights to work on strokes. The good news is that he made it! The somewhat mind-boggling news is that they practice four times per week. I’ll write another post later about the logistics of that. We were very proud of him, and also of the 5-year-old, who got his “green band” at the Y. This means he can now go down the water slide! We have a bunch of little fish around here.

We went out to eat Friday night at Outback Steakhouse. My husband had a drink with an upside down bottle of beer in it. No one had a meltdown. On one hand, it is sad that we have to eat in mediocre chain restaurants, but on the other hand, they are well set up for small kids — which we have a lot of. It was not relaxing, but it was not awful. After the Mexican restaurant two weeks ago, this is progress.

Saturday we drove north to the Carbon County Fair (not far from Jim Thorpe, which is the town my fictional Cortlandt in The Cortlandt Boys is based on). As with Outback Steakhouse, it was a mediocre fair, but the kids got to go on pony rides and ride a kiddie roller coaster. We now have more carnival game prizes. What made this trip more worthwhile was that we drove up to Blue Mountain ski resort, and found the trailhead for a segment of the Appalachian Trail. We went 35 minutes, which hardly counts as real hiking, but the kids really liked it, and it made me hopeful for future hikes. My husband and I went on some epic hikes when we were childless, including a 20-mile 2-day hike in Vermont on an offshoot from the AT, and a 3-day backcountry hike in Yellowstone. We think that’s where kid #1 was conceived! I’d love to be able to hike as a family. And this weekend we did! (if briefly).

We did an in-home date night lobster dinner after the kids went to their rooms.

Sunday started badly, with middle-of-the-night feedings and an alarmingly early wake-up. I handed the baby over to my husband at 7 a.m. and, instead of going running as planned, I went back to sleep until 9 a.m. I really needed that. I took all four kids to church, solo. The drop-offs are logistically complex, but for the bulk of the service I’m only with one kid, the 8-year-old. He does fairly well, enough to get compliments from people in the pews around us, though he had asked me if he could bring his Kindle with him (no). In the afternoon we took a family trip to the Y for indoor swimming. The water slide was as awesome as my 5-year-old had hoped.

This brings me to the title of this post. We stopped at Target on the way home, but the baby had fallen asleep. So I sat in the minivan with him while my husband took the other 3 into the store. I didn’t have my phone (I’m generally trying not to have it on weekends) so I thought through some things for the week while making notes with one of the kids’ colored pencils. It was a fairly chill moment, all things considered. We came home, I got a run in, and cooked a Moroccan chicken stew from Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine. It was pretty good, as were the raspberries and peaches with homemade whipped cream I made for dessert. I walked that off (well, pre-worked it off) pushing the double stroller around the neighborhood for a nice evening walk with the youngest two. Walking with that Phil and Ted double stroller made me oddly nostalgic. We bought it for two different kids than those now occupying it! The kids who first occupied it are now big boys who make competitive swim teams and race down the water slide and up the rocky hills on the AT. The others will be there soon, even if it doesn’t seem that way when I’m up with a baby at 4 a.m.

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