Yesterday I woke up well before the crack of dawn. 3:30 am was the start to my day, unfortunately, but it meant I got up and running early. I had three loads of laundry folded before anyone else was awake . . . although it was last week’s clean laundry, which had sat in a Clean Laundry Mountain all week because I had to work all last weekend and all I could manage was washing and drying it all. Then I picked out the week’s menu, made a grocery list, and made it out to the grocery and back before 9am. As soon as I got home the Professor took the Middle Child to get his hair cut, then took the car to an oil change. Meanwhile, the Oldest Child stayed behind and helped me do some chores, and was actually helpful for once. He put groceries away – carefully dividing everything in the pantry into piles of Stuff Jack Likes and Stuff Jack Does Not Like So Don’t Put It In My Lunch, Mom. He stacked the beer and juice boxes in the beverage fridge. He swept the bathroom, which was full of sand from some little boys’ shoes. He shifted the Laundry Mountain from the floor to my bed so I could fold it without bending over. He made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for us to take on our errands out that day, and also packed lunches for everyone. I mean, really, I could get used to this.
At about 10, I put Jack and Craig into the car and we headed off to pick up the Professor and Liam from the oil change place. We headed off down the road, and after an hour and a half cruise through rural Alabama, followed by a five minute bumpy drive down an unpaved red clay road, we pulled up to a small family farm with a hand-painted sign advertising a “haunted corn maze.” A few minutes later we were straggling, parched and sweating, through a dry and dusty cornfield maze full of pretty cheesy decorations – scarecrows holding plastic butcher knives, fake plastic skulls, a Halloween trick or treat pumpkin suspended from a stake in the ground – decorations that even in their cheesiness still freaked out my oldest child. Slapping at the clouds of midges around our heads, we shuffled through the red clay dust on the narrow path as the sun beat down cruelly on our bare heads. The tall stalks of dead corn blew in a merciful breeze, rustling and crunching in our ears. Corn mazes in Lower Alabama are definitely more fun in theory than in practice in the hazy late summer temps of a Gulf Coast October. Nevertheless, we go every year. Because, you know. October.
After feeding the chickens and perusing the rows of jams and jellies, we headed home, the van’s trunk piled high with five pumpkins (the fifth pumpkin cracked right in half, a casualty of Liam’s enthusiasm and small wingspan – it was a small local farm so I felt like we had to pay and take it). Then we came home and washed our faces, and then Jack and Craig and I headed straight back out to an outdoor Frozen-themed birthday party, where Jack ate a cupcake, a piece of birthday cake, ice cream, a cookie, a rice krispie treat, and a lollipop. Only one of these treats was mom-sanctioned. He also received a cup full of candy as a favor. Hooooo Lordy. I mean I’m all about going to excess once in a while, but I tell you what . . . for the rest of the day his energy level was, shall we say, over the top. Just thinking about that makes me feel a little sick.
After that party, we three came home and washed our faces again and then headed out in costume to a street party at a friend’s house. By this point I am kind of over it all and just want to put my feet up, but the street party sounded awesome and I needed to have at least one opportunity where we could all be in Star Wars costume as a family. (I won’t be here at Halloween, so Darth Vader and the Stormtrooper and wee little Yoda will be missing their Leia that night). The street party was very cool, and I would have enjoyed it very much if I was childless. They blocked the whole residential street on both ends and get kegs and a band to set up in the road – each house contributed what they could, and they could each invite as many people as they wanted. As it was, we had fun enough – but it was the kind of fun that occurs in 10% of your brain space, while the other 90% is doing a constant monitoring of the status of the children and trying to keep them from destroying the home in which we were guests. The host has one very well behaved 2 year old kid who was up and awake, but none of the other people at the party brought
hellions children. Children had been expressly invited to this party – so though my kids were allowed and welcomed, I very much hated being the only ones who had brought any along. The Childless Folks were totally cool about it, of course, and gamely continued to engage us in hollered conversation peppered with interruptions as I ran to fetch Craig from Certain Death (he’s at that age where seeking out Certain Death is his raison d’etre), to redirect poor choices of the older boys (stacking every single piece of furniture in the nursery in order to have something tall to jump off of was not a great plan), to referee fights with the two year old whose house this was and whose stuff my children kept touching and messing with and who was just way too TWO YEARS OLD to deal. But it’s hard to navigate getting-to-know-you small talk when you get interrupted so often. Kids can be isolating. Thank God for blogs. I’ve been interrupted approximately seven million times since beginning this blog post, but you readers will never know the difference!
So the boys danced in the street, and I ate a vat of cheese/corn/jalapeno dip, and the Professor and I took turns “babysitting” the room full of boys, giving the other parent a chance to chat and drink beer out of a blue solo cup. One time when Craig spit up on the porch, the two year old host immediately marched in the house and got some paper towels, which made us all laugh and high five his mom for having him trained up right. We left at about 9 – waaayyyyy past the boys’ bedtime – and after they were all put to bed I slipped into the hottest bath, drank a heavenly glass of wine, and literally woke up in there about ten minutes later. I have never fallen asleep in a bath before!
Now it’s Sunday and we skipped church, because after yesterday’s Fun Times, we still have all the bazillion chores to do that a 2-earner household has to squeeze into the weekend, before work comes and steals all our daily hours away. We’re marching the laundry on through, doing dishes, and I’m about to make the week’s meals ahead of time (as much as I can), the Professor is dropping off our recycling and cleaning up the weeks’ leftover mail, etc. etc. The boys are cleaning their room. Craig is squawking unhappily from his exersaucer, where I deposited him after we caught him eating dog food. At least today it’s cooler and we have the window open, cleansing chilly-ish air blowing through our stuffy house. I’m off to start cooking the below – see what you think.
- Sunday: Coconut curry fish with rice and green beans
- Monday: Quinoa Fiesta Enchilada Bake
- Tuesday: Black Pepper Chicken and Rice
- Wednesday: Turkey spaghetti bolognese, salad and whole grain ciabatta
- Thursday: Frozen pizza (everybody’s gotta take a break sometimes)
- Friday: Healthy Italian Winter Soup with multi grain rolls
- Saturday: Buttermilk baked chicken strips and baked sweet potato fries, with old Zaxby’s sauce that we’ve had in the fridge a while