In my efforts to use weekend time well, I’ve been dealing with a certain schedule complexity. The kids have a lot of activities. No one is individually over-scheduled. I just have a lot of kids. If four kids are in two activities apiece, that is eight for the family. I also value doing family activities, particularly during these peak fall weekends where it’s still nice to be outside. There are the various one-offs like birthday parties and playdates, plus general life maintenance stuff like grocery shopping. So I wind up doing a fair amount of weekend time strategizing.
However, the good news is that much does still fit. I was reminded of that this weekend. We had various things that needed to happen at certain times. We hosted my daughter’s birthday party on Friday afternoon at a paint-your-own-pottery place. We had an appointment Saturday mid-day for the 12-year-old to get his second Covid shot. We had a soccer game on Saturday afternoon, I was singing in church on Sunday morning, and then there was a host of Sunday afternoon things: a 3 p.m. Cub Scout meeting, a 4 p.m. baseball game, a 5 p.m. tennis lesson.
Looking at this, I saw that there were still two fairly open stretches of daylight time: Saturday morning, and Sunday between church and the 3 p.m. Cub Scout event.
So we decided to go to the Boo at the Zoo on Saturday morning. Only the 10-year-old dressed up, but everyone collected candy + snacks (including the toddler who discovered a new love of yogurt-covered raisins). My husband had gotten us tickets to a bird feeding experience, so that was memorable — we all held out our meal worms and got to see the birds in action up close.
Then we proceeded to get stuck in a wretched traffic jam leaving the zoo garage. But! We just all went together to the 12-year-old’s appointment instead of stopping by home, with several of us going to the nearby grocery store and then all meeting up there. The 10-year-old was unhappy that this change of plans meant she only had 30 minutes at home before I took her to her soccer game, but I reminded her that she had from 4 p.m. until bedtime as relaxing time. That’s not exactly a small amount! I ran for the first 30 minutes (during her pre-game practice) and then watched her make several saves as goalie. We made it to the car approximately 30 seconds before the rain started pouring down.
As for the window between church and Cub Scouts, this was enough time to go for a bike ride (an item on my fall fun list!). We did part of the trail in Valley Forge (across the river from the main part of the park). This family activity did not exactly go perfectly either. Somehow, the original process of loading bikes on the bike rack and into the trunk of the other car did not involve counting bikes. When we got to the trail, we discovered that the 10-year-old’s bike had not made it into either car. But! In a stroke of luck similar to the soccer game timing, we had thrown two bikes into the car for the 6-year-old because he was throwing a fit about riding the bigger one that now fits him (which has pink on it…because it had been his big sister’s). So he and she both rode bikes that were slightly too small for them but were serviceable. We did about 8 miles in perfect fall weather through lovely leaves, with only a little bit of unhappiness (someone slipped on a muddy patch).
This upcoming weekend should be easier because all the activities are concentrated on one day, leaving the other mostly open. As for this past weekend, even if parts did feel a bit full, there was still open space, and it was nice to have memories of zooming through those fall leaves even with everything else going on.
Photo: Enjoying some weekend downtime