We have just come off an absolutely lovely 2 ½ weeks as a family and have been getting back into the school routine this week, amid entirely gorgeous weather—cool evenings and mornings, warm days—-aahh! I find myself using my car less and less. Most of what I do with the kids is within 2k of our house, so it just seems wrong in a way to use the car unless I really need to.
On days like this, where I still jog my 5ks in the morning, then walk Drew to school, then walk to playgroup and back home, then walk to and from school again to pick him up, I am beyond tired by the time evening comes! But, my logic is—if I were to eliminate any of it, it should be my jog, because the rest is practical exercise and helping to lessen our carbon footprint, saving us money, helping to teach my kids about a healthy lifestyle while living one to get around and go the places we need to go. If that makes me too tired to jog, than I should just get the exercise by walking and leave it at that.
However, the jog is my morning dose of mental health, my time to myself while the world is quiet and my family is asleep. It puts me in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day. In fact, today, I carried blessed Boston and my dear American brothers and sisters in my heart and found a strength and energy that I didn’t think I had as I headed into my final stretch. That time in the morning gears me up for my day, so I can’t eliminate that. So, I do it all and just know nothing bad can come out of it other than some tired legs.
Back to our blissful two weeks—we spent the four day Easter weekend (so great to have 4 days!!) just relaxing and enjoying family time, lovely picnics and get togethers with friends, one day at the beach—it was all simply wonderful and rejuvenating.
I worked the next two days, and working while Steve is home is just so much easier. There is no morning rush. No one to get out the door except me. So even those days were more relaxed and fun than usual.
Thursday we spent preparing for my little (big!) man’s 5th birthday and Friday the 5th was the day of the birthday itself! I was proud to have made my best cake yet—I just keep getting better! 😉 He wanted the shape of a 5, which was fitting for his golden birthday. It was an amazing day overall. He had asked for his first breakfast in bed and I made him a fruit, yogurt and homemade granola parfait in a fancy glass and he just felt like a king. He started to get too into it, asking his Dad to ‘serve’ him, in a server’s outfit no less! Of course, his sweet Daddy obliged.
He then opened thoughtful, loving packages from our Colorado crew with one especially well-picked gift coming from my brother’s family of a Lego kit to build a fire engine. He had Steve help him with it that day and I’ve gotten to build it this week with him. He loves it! I made his favorite dinner—macaroni and cheese (requested for the 3rd year in a row) and we had a family movie night that evening, complete with popcorn that I didn’t burn too badly (still trying to get a handle on all these less-expensive, made from scratch products and am not so good yet at popping the kernels in a pan on the stove!).
Steve and I put a lot of thought and effort into his gifts, because he didn’t want/need anything too expensive, so we got a few little things that we felt were very appropriate for him. One of them was a small table to set up in our playroom with a little chair and then we made one of the shelves in the room into his own art shelf, organizing all of our craft supplies on it, all within his reach at any time. He adores doing crafts (constantly) and this way, he can work on his own. I explained the significance of the shelf and workstation to him, along with the responsibility it comes with to keep it organized and clean, and his eyes almost welled up and he said, “I’m just so happy that I’m a bit sad.” I knew what he meant and it just grabbed at my heart—bless that child. He told me several times that day, “Mommy, this is my best birthday EVER!” Reminds me of his grandmother—she says that every year. I wonder if he will, too….
Drew’s feelings aside, the milestone of my baby boy turning 5 was a big deal for me! I was so sentimental and emotional during those few days. I just wanted to lay with him, hold his hand, snuggle and cuddle with him—it’s all going so fast! Thankfully, for whatever reason, he is really into me at the moment, and is eating it all up. Awww!
The day after the big birthday, we took the train for our first family trip to the main downtown part of the city of Brisbane for a live, free Dora show! The boys were very impressed that she came from Florida to Australia for shows! We shopped and had a picnic—it was a great day.
After my next two days of work, I got to take an hour and a half train ride down to the Gold Coast to meet up with the boys who had gone down earlier in the day with Steve’s parents. The loaned us their camper (or caravan out here) and drove it down to a campground (caravan park) for us to stay in for 4 nights. I was a bit nervous for my train adventure, but I caught the right one and had a nice, peaceful ride—in fact, I could have kept going for another couple of hours! 😉
The next day we met up again with our dear Colorado friends visiting their Mum on the Gold Coast and had a blast taking the kids to Sea World. Drew knew that was his big birthday present (instead of a party) and he was so proud. He just can’t say enough about it. He was so excited to be big enough to go on the log ride. Zach wanted to go too, but was just a few centimeters too short. Steve took him in line anyway, hoping the operator wouldn’t notice and told Zach to stand on his tiptoes if he was measured. He did! It was hilarious—he stretched his little self so high! Alas, he was caught, and denied the ride. L He is a ‘roll with the punches’ sort of kid, so after a sad moment, smiled and waved excitedly as we watched Drew and Daddy go under the bridge in their log on their way up to the big hill. Steve said Drew was so nervous and so brave and that it was a very precious moment to share with him (well, Steve didn’t use the word precious).
The rest of the few days we so enjoyed with our visiting friends, as well as time catching up with some others who live in that area. It was relaxing and fun, and a great memory; it just went too fast. One highlight is that we are now officially a diaper-free household—24/7! Zach just started waking up dry every morning, so we took him out of pull-ups and he is still staying dry—what a little champion! We are so proud of him. To that little dude, it’s not really a big deal though. 😉
This week we all started back to routine and while it was tough, as I said, the weather has been lovely and things are going well. Drew enjoys school—I think he is just realizing that he loves the weekends and wishes school wasn’t so many days every week. It’s a big jump from 2 days a week to 5, so we kind of take things slow. He just does not like to get up and go, and, at his age, I don’t feel strongly that he needs to. He has the rest of his life for that.
So far it’s calm and even-paced, as much as our little family life can be, and I am enjoying some time to focus on some projects I want to get done—namely finding some career direction in an area I am interested in. Lots of ideas—we’ll see what the future holds in that regard! I’m blessed that I have the opportunity to explore my ideas and still be at home with my guys the majority of the time.
To close today, I want to say again how much my heart aches for Boston and for Americans overall. I think about how the day after we got back from our trip last July, we woke up to news of the Aurora movie theater shootings. That’s been not quite 9 months ago and it seems that our amazing country has had a quite a rough trot since then, as a country and many people personally as well. It’s got to weigh heavy on all of our hearts. But I am continually touched by the way Americans have shown their resilience and commitment to love and community in the face of all this. Hang in there, dear ones—the world is sending you love.