Our school district gives days off for Rosh Hashanah, so we just finished a 4-day weekend. In my last blog post, I wrote about our Thursday excursion to Ricketts Glen State Park, which did not quite go as planned, thanks to the bull dog incident. That seems like ages ago now, though, because this weekend was so full (not busy! I don’t like that word. Full.)
On Friday morning I got up and ran a 5k, and then did some work, which was an unplanned bonus (I had assumed I would be waking up in a hotel with the big kids, and then doing another hike). During the long drive back from Ricketts Glen on Thursday night, to staunch the whining about not staying in a hotel, I had agreed to take the big kids to Chuck E. Cheese’s for lunch (sadly, my daughter is now old enough that she no longer calls it Chuck E. Jesus, which never failed to make me giggle). We went, and I had one of those “I have big kids now!” experiences. I simply handed the three children their swipe cards, and I sat at the booth, waiting for the food. I read my book. Occasionally they came back to hand me various tickets for their piles. But it was truly not that bad. Indeed, since Chuck E. Cheese’s has wifi, I could see working there if I needed something to entertain the kids. But only the big kids. The same experience with a 2-year-old would turn Chuck E. Cheese’s back into the circle of hell Dante forgot.
Anyway, we came back to the house, and I took the 5-year-old and 2-year-old (who had just gotten up from his nap) into the pool. It was gorgeous, and when they tired and went inside to play, I had the pool to myself for a glorious 20 minutes. There were playdates for other kids going on elsewhere during this time, and then in the late afternoon I took the 5-year-old (and 10-year-old for company) to her karate belt graduation. We had thought she was getting her Little Ninjas purple belt, but in fact she tested up to the next age group. This meant she got an orange striped belt. I was a little worried there would be a meltdown (because, I’m sorry, orange stripes are not as cool as purple if you are a 5-year-old girl) but the karate instructor handled it brilliantly, telling her she had tested into something way cooler (by virtue of turning 6 soon). After, we met my husband and the 7-year-old (in his last day as a 7-year-old!) at Legal Sea Foods. It was their oyster fest. The oysters were great, if I didn’t get to linger as much over my surf and turf as I wanted, because the kids were whiny. My husband then took them to the Lego Ninjago movie. I went home, took over with the 2-year-old, and spent the next 2 hours trying to get him to sleep.
Saturday, I got up and ran 7 miles along the Schuylkill River Trail with Jane. We did the 7 miles in about 70 minutes (she had just run the Rock n Roll half marathon last weekend, and may have been going easy on me). I stopped by the grocery store to pick up the birthday cakes, and came home to find a major pie making operation going on, as my husband was going to enter an apple pie in his office picnic pie baking contest. Our sitter (J) came at 10:30, and came with us to the picnic at Franklin Square Park, so my husband and I could chat with people and deal with the big kids while she entertained the 2-year-old on the carousel and the bouncy house that had been rented for the occasion. I played miniature golf with the kids and got a hole in one on the last hole (and in fact, I realized, as with arcade games, I may have a hidden talent for boardwalk amusements). I took off with J and the 3 younger kids early to make it back to the house to pick up the cakes, drop J and the 2-year-old off (he was asleep in the car) and head up to Oaks for my son’s birthday party at Arnold’s Family Fun Center. Of course, both legs of this drive involved driving on I-76, which was a madhouse. I made it to the party 5 minutes before the official start time, but almost none of our guests were there. They wound up starting us officially about 30 minutes late because everyone was stuck behind the same accident on the highway.
But then — go-karts! Laser tag! Arcade games! It was a blast! We were co-hosting with another family whose son was born on the same day. Enough of the same kids would have been coming to both parties that it seemed best to combine, especially as it was a long weekend and a lot of both kids’ friends were away. The Minecraft creeper cakes went over well. We wound up staying for a long time as the kids played in the arcade. Finally, we made it home around 6:15, sent J home, and took a family dip in the pool before watching the (taped) Texas A&M football game. I passed out at 10 p.m. with all the kids still up. I assume my husband put them to bed eventually.
Sunday, I got up with the 2-year-old and ran a mile on the treadmill while he was watching Go Diego Go on TV. This is a milestone, that I might be able to run without another adult actively caring for him. He did wander down to the basement when I had 0.2 miles left to go, but he was OK playing Legos while I finished. We played together for a bit, then I got ready, and got my now-8-year-old ready to come with me to church (my husband would be taking the other 3 kids to a fair somewhere else in PA and they would leave before we would be home from church).
The church choir is actually quite a commitment of hours. Rehearsals are 7-9 on Thursday evenings, but I joined the chamber choir too, to do some master works, so it will be more like 7-10. And then it’s 9-11:15 on Sunday mornings. I would normally be there from 10-11:15 on Sunday for church, so in theory that’s not anything additional, though my attendance record isn’t perfect. So, 5 hours a week. But everyone has been very nice and helpful. I put my 8-year-old in the back of the rehearsal with my iPhone and some headphones, and he was happy as a clam watching videos of gamers on YouTube (he wants to film videos — I need to figure out a way to do that with no video of his face — just screen shots I guess). He went to Sunday School during church itself. I got to sing Stephen Paulus’s Pilgrim’s Hymn, and Aaron Copland’s The Walls of Zion, both of which are favorites of mine, so yay for singing.
After, I took my 8-year-old to the grocery store to grab birthday donuts. Then we hung out at the house for 30 minutes, and took off for the Eagles-Giants game. I had bought the tickets at the nursery school silent auction last spring as a birthday present for my son. They were pretty good seats — club level, on the 50-yard line. I was worried that we’d be miserable in the 88 degree temperatures, but within the first 30 minutes the sun moved enough that we were in the shade, and we were then in the shade for the rest of the game. So it was lovely. And the Eagles won on a last second field goal! Alas, getting home literally took 90 minutes with all the traffic (it should take 30 minutes without traffic). When we got home, the others weren’t back from the fair yet, so I let my 8-year-old watch more gamer videos and I went in the pool again — solo! — as the sun set. It will be my last time in the pool this year. It’s being closed today, so summer is officially over, I suppose. But it was nice to go in one more time.