|This picture makes me want to laugh out loud every single time I look at it. Yes, she insisted on carrying that doll on our walk. And yes, she had a meltdown that she had to continue to carry that doll on the walk. Life can be so tricky like that.|
Today was one of those perfect days. Where you just want to keep pinching yourself to see if it really is real life. There was no school so we invited some friends over to come swim with us. I tried to think of all our friends that had kids in school normally, so it would be a fun break. Mckenzi and her two boys Liam and Luke, Nicole and her two girls Taylee and Brin, Brooke and her four (four! how is this possible? haha), and of course Tricia and Clarke. Between all of us that was quite a few kids!
What was so much fun was how well everyone played together. Every mom individually came up to me and commented on that. Taylee and Ruth played happily together for such a long time, and then Ruth and Aaron played really well. Will and Liam played for what seemed like HOURS laughing their heads off about sliding off of the kick board. It was hysterical. Our three little two year old girls followed each other around and jumped off the edge together over and over again.
There just seemed to be so much happiness and so little discord and bickering--it was heavenly. The sun was shining down, the kids were happy as larks. I felt like we were in a summertime movie and the camera was panning around at the smiles and laughs and splashes and water droplets and blue sky and sunshine. It just could not have been better. Thank you, October, for some fabulous pool time.
|This happy girl pretty much takes the cake.|
|These boys were hilarious all morning long.|
We kept things fun by heading over to the park (walking through the fence gate, it's not really a walk, it's right beside the pool) and pushing kids on the swings for awhile. Molly and Will put wood chips on a bench and made me 'cake' for quite a while, which was fun. I always love seeing them play so well together. I eventually convinced them to head back to the pool because I felt like I might liquify on the spot and I needed to cool off in the water, haha.
|Squirt gun fight! My kids were giggling away about this! They haven't ever used squirt guns, I guess, and they were a hit.|
After staying at the pool for as long as we could possibly put naps off for (Ruth has the shoulder burns to prove it, I always forget to reapply sunscreen for her! Moral of the story, don't give in when she doesn't want to wear her rash guard!) we headed home. I enjoyed the day off school by not going anywhere. I did not get in the van once. We walked to the pool and walked home. I did not run any errands. I did not strap any kids into carseats. It was the most perfect perfection, let me tell ya.
It was mentioned before that Sterling got a grill for his birthday, and here is the photo evidence to prove it:
Sterling has made dinner on the grill twice now, and both times it was amazing. We spent an FHE picking out the perfect grill (huge thanks to Mom B, Bridget, and Jenny for the greatest birthday/Christmas present ever! Sterling is over the moon!!) and then another few hours of family time putting it together. It was the greatest--Will still talks about how he helped with the pointy thing to turn it. "a screwdriver?" "Yeah, I helped with the screwdriver!" Yes, yes you did. And they did a great job. The kids stayed in the kitchen the entire time on the night we assembled the grill and they held parts, watched, and helped out and it felt like such good family time. I loved it!
So after our morning of swimming, I fired up the grill to cook some chicken (yay for sales!). I cooked about sixteen chicken breasts and then after they cooled I cut them all up to freeze. I AM SO EXCITED! I've been dying to do this ever since the dental conference I attended at BYU this summer. One of our speakers was a chef who then went back and got a nutrition degree. But what I loved so much about her was that she knew how to make GOOD food (chef) in a REASONABLE way (Utah working mom) that wasn't going to kill the bank or take up lifetimes. She had a lot of really sound advice for how to prepare healthy meals quickly. One of her main techniques was purchasing all meat for the month and cooking it all on one saturday. She sears all of her roasts and then freezes them, odd eh? but I guess I can't second guess a chef! Anyway, I wanted to grill chicken and freeze it because of all the ways she said she uses it (I have the powerpoint presentation with her recipes in my email if anyone is interested). So I'm super excited about this! Plus, grilled chicken really is a MILLION times better than boiled or baked (you have no idea how much of that bagged chicken I ate while cutting it, and all it had on it was a bit of salt). That grill done good.
|While grilling we saw this guy ambling about. He's not the biggest, but we still get a kick out of watching him.|
|She's been potty training, can ya tell? In her mind potty training is synonamous with bare-nakedness.|
The kids had a lot of fun running around the back yard with sticks (and some without pants and with purple high heels) while I grilled. Which made dinner seem much more like a family affair, and I was loving it. I hit that critical moment when there's been an accident that has to be wiped up, there's been a few too many screams from a few too many children, dinner is getting a little behind schedule, and the house is starting to look worse for the wear.....and I conquered it. I turned on some music, turned up the volume, danced around with that naked little 2 yr old and her soft little bum and enjoyed the craziness for a moment. I let the kids run in and out with all the dirt they carried with them. I let them smile and sing and let the door hang open even though the a/c was on. I ignored the two year old when she grabbed down a banana and ate it on the kitchen floor right before dinner and just picked up the peel afterwards. I laughed at Will's pronunciations and let Ruth spend forever and a day picking out each specific plate and cup and fork color for each person at the table. I tried not to mind when Will spent the majority of dinner trying to pick out the individual peas from his sugar snap peas and remembered to do our 'happy's and sad's' which the kids love-it helps them reminisce over the good things that happened each day, and today there was a lot! I let them take their kitchen toys into the bath tub and laughed at Will when he told me about the 'golden' spoon he was playing with (it was silver. He has the two mixed-up and I secretly love it).
There was a little tension getting out of the bath tub and into pajamas, because of course there isn't a night that exists with toddlers that goes exactly smoothly, but then I persevered and even did FHE without daddy. Molly chose Popcorn Popping and sang every word and held out the note at the end of each phrase, haha. Ruth had picked Queen Esther at dinner time, so I pulled out the big blue box (love you mom for giving that to me!) and we read the story on the back of the picture of Queen Esther. The kids loved it and talked a lot about bravery. "I am brave for spiders" "I am brave for wolves" etc., etc. And then we cuddled in some more for bedtime stories and songs.
I did it. I overcame Monday night without a husband. It may seem silly, but dinnertime without my hubby is really hard for me. It has been for the past two years of med school. Mostly because our kids are little and I've already had them all day and dinner time is full of spills and whines and trying-my-patience experiences. But also because I think daddy's should be home for dinner. It's important. It's important for the kids, it's important for me. I think at first I was resentful that he wasn't. Now, I guess I'm a more seasoned med school wife. He's not here because he's working so hard for us. But it doesn't make it any easier to put a smile on my face for another three hours of a difficult day. I can hardly make dinner on any given day, let alone make it through dinner AND bedtime in one piece. But lots of little thing that I have been working on a lot lately have made it worlds better and I feel pretty happy about tonight. Don't check in on us tomorrow night, because I might give in and have popcorn for dinner in front of a disney movie (hey, at least that's good memories, right!?) but tonight was successful. And oh so happy. And I can still see Molly and her banana and her little bum and Ruth's face and Will's laughter in our kitchen with the sunlight. I hope I remember it forever. And I hope I can continue to enjoy it. Because already I'm so sad at how fast it's all going.