I started this long long ago but sort of abandoned it in favor of regular email updates - but now that my whole family seems to have jumped on the blogging bandwagon, I guess I'll try again!
It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks of swim lessons (down at our pool 4 days a week with Ana and Cam and some other friends' kids), art camp for Ashton and detective camp for Ash and Ike (turned out to be a total waste of time and money but oh well), and SafetyTown camp for Ike and Ana. We had Kimberly and her kids (as in Adam Eyre's wife) visit overnight and it was great to see her and have the kids all play. We had Grammie for a weekend to see Ana in a little kids' production of Annie. I had youth conference to go to and we had birthday parties going on (one of Isaac's Latino friends from Dixie Downs had this crazy all-out party complete with bouncy castle, DJ, a singer, an enormous pinata and amazingly good homemade Mexican food - I want to help them open a restaurant!). Ashton's been doing baseball (last game last Tuesday - he really improved and learned a lot!) and Eliza had her little Joy School graduation.
We've been hiking with friends and had lots of friends over. And to top it all off, we had a great day Saturday watching Jared compete in a triathalon and celebrating Father's Day with lots of great food and sweet homemade cards and treasure hunts from the kids. I can't believe it's been a month since school got out - time has flown by!
The triathalon was quite an adventure for Jared. This iron-man husband of mine is good at a lot of things - but he's not a swimmer - nope, never has been - he pretty much sinks due to his lack of body fat and overabundance of muscle. So that 1/2 mile swim was a real feat for him and I was so proud that he did it! He was one of the last out of the water (but he also started towards the end of the group) and apparently did a lot more distance than most thanks to some serious zigzagging with his backstroke. I was glad to see him finally get out of the water and know he hadn't drowned! He got right on his bike (a mountain bike when what you really need for a triathalon is a light-weight road bike) and somehow missed the turn-around for the sprint course and did almost the full Olympian distance on his bike before he realized his mistake (22 miles of serious hills on the wrong bike after all that hard swimming). We waited and worried when there were NO more bikers left coming on the road and were so glad to finally see him arrive, sunburned and super tired but a pretty remarkable BIathalete. Next time he'll go for the full triathalon and pay better attention to the signs. We're all proud of him!
This week we have no camps and no swim lessons and no visitors and I'm excited to read with the kids and get some much-needed projects done around the house and teach the twins new things (they're at that great age where they're learning new words and gaining new abilities like crazy every day) and do a daily pool excursion. We are so so so so grateful for the pool down the street in this hot hot hot weather. And now that the kids are becoming great swimmers (including the twins who hop right into the deep end with their water wings on and swim like little champs), the pool is really fun. It was always a scary prospect last year with the twins.
I'm trying to do a special date every week with one kid at a time - got a nice girl who lives nearby to babysit the other kids while I do this. I've realized there's no getting out of getting a babysitter from time to time, even though we can't exactly afford it. I just feel like a bad mother (and I probably really am not doing what the kids need) when I have so many kids around me all the time and I really cannot meet all their needs for individual attention or really listen to all the things they want to tell me.
I took all the kids to the grocery store last week because we were really out of everything and we had stuff going on every evening and Jared's way too busy at work these days to ever spell me off. It was a NIGHTMARE! Started off bad when this probably well-meaning but very annoying older bagger guy told me I couldn't put Eliza in the part of the cart where the food goes - pointed to the label on all the carts that says not to do that. I nicely explained that I have three small kids who have to ride or they'll get lost and do wild things and two kids who need to walk and there's no other way - have to put the babies in the truck cab on the front of the truck carts and used to put Eliza in the child seat on the back but now they have these new carts that only have the truck cab place, no child seat, so I had to put Eliza in a place that isn't ideal but she had no shoes and I couldn't keep track of 3 wandering kids plus two crazy babies who can easily get out of their seatbelts in the truck cart. He wasn't exactly understanding - kept pointing to the sign and saying that's the rule, no kids in the basket of carts. I got pretty mad - "What is your suggestion? Are you saying I should just go home and not shop? I need groceries and I can't think of another way to keep my kids safe while I get a few things, can you?" He said fine but I just need to know that it's my responsibility if anything bad happens to Eliza and I was so annoyed and the kids were wide-eyed watching me get rather loud and firm with this guy - "Of COURSE it's my responsibility!" I said and marched off with a cart overflowing with kids.
Then once I had a few things in my cart, Isaac proceeded to wander off and Eliza said the cart was hurting her bum and the twins started wailing uncontrollably and it was really a disaster scene - people were really staring - and giving me looks of pity - and a nice lady offered to take Ashton and Isaac to the service counter and get some balloons for all the kids which they did but the twins were beyond help and I almost abandoned the cart and went home, but I needed the cart to get to the car with the kids and I couldn't take it without paying for the groceries so I tried holding both twins to try to console them and having Ashton push the cart (he's not very good at it!) as we headed for the checkout stand and then Ollie got away from me and headed out the front door and I had to chase him with Si literally screaming by now about something totally un-understandable to me. I stuffed both twins into the truck cart, somehow paid for everything and had one of the baggers walk me to the car, a twin under each of my arms, wailing away. The bagger guy said, "Maybe you need to take them home and lock them in some basement room for a while, huh?" Anyway, I'm NEVER taking all the kids to the store again. Once in a while I do it and it's totally OK - but I was shaking like a leaf by the time I got out of there and I don't think I'll show my face at Lynn's Market again anytime soon!
So anyway, I need more time to really be with my kids individually and I had a great time last week with Ashton, taking him to the art museum and out to lunch and then doing a quick Costco run. Now that's the sort of mothering I need more of - teaching my kids about things I love and really listening to what they want to say. Wow, my life's a roller coaster!
Sorry so long. Got to run clean up strawberries all over the kitchen floor. Got to get a lock for the refrigerator door - the constant food messes from the twins are getting old!