My goodness but it's been a long time. Lots of goings on since the great tonsillectomy of 2009.
Chad and his family came for a visit at the end of April. It was the first time the cousins had seen each other since the summer of 2007. They had a great time with the three oldest boys getting along famously and Charlie tagging along good naturedly. Oh that Charlie is just pure sweetness. In the days leading up to the visit, Jack was working out the sleeping arrangements:
Jack: I'll sleep in the middle and Charlie can sleep next to me in case he gets scared. Miles can sleep on the other side and Dean can sleep on the end. Dean? Are you going to be scared?
Dean: Well, I might be a little bit scared.
Jack: Hmm, I wish we didn't have 3 kids because I only have 2 arms.
It turned out that Jack couldn't fall asleep with three kids gabbing around him and wound up in our bed, at least for the beginning of the night. Still, considering how excited they all were about playing together and slumber partying, they all did really well.
We went to the observatory and the park on one day and then went for a hike in the Angeles forest the next day. Those activities were great but really, the best hours were spent in freeplay throwing the football at the park, climbing on the playhouse in our backyard and playing with the hose. It was a great weekend to reconnect and we're especially looking forward to our midwest trip this summer when we'll get to spend even more time together.
We went to San Diego last weekend to reward the boys with a trip to Legoland. They've been earning points for good behavior and we told them that when they got enough points, we'd go to Legoland. I have to admit that there were whole weeks when we didn't record any points - not because their behavior didn't warrant it, but because it's just one more thing to keep up with.
We stayed at a lovely hotel near the park and they shuttled us back and forth. Legoland is the perfect amusement park for 6 year olds. Every ride is designed for their age group so they can go on practically everything, sometimes accompanied by an adult, sometimes not. There are also several open play places with rope ladders, ramps, climbing nets and slides where the kids can just cut loose. We also lucked out with weather, there was rain in the forecast which seemed to keep the locals away but it stayed dry so it turned out to be a perfect day. Even kids get tired of an amusement park after 5 hours though, so we headed back to the hotel in the late afternoon. The pool at the hotel was heated to a lovely 85 degrees and the kids spent an hour and a half frollicking in it. When we suddenly realized that it was 7:00 and the kids' fingers were shriveled and pickled, we thought it best to get dressed and find some dinner. The boys were exhausted though and we didn't make it through dinner without Jack falling asleep and Dean almost melting down. Back to the hotel we went to get lost in crisp white linen and the luxury of king sized beds. The boys love hotels.
We were blessed with light traffic on the way home (on the way down, too but that's so 3 days ago) so we were home in plenty of time for me to do some laundry and the grocery shopping.
Dean wasn't feeling very well on Sunday. He was slightly feverish and complaining of a sore throat. It suddenly dawned on us (me and Tom) that he was a little cranky and whiny at Legoland the day before and of course, that's how he always gets in the day or two before he comes down with something. When will we ever learn? The next morning he seemed better but Jack woke up early and in a thick voice told me he didn't feel well. Sure enough, his glands were the size of golf balls. I kept them both home, the last thing I need is the school to think they have the swine flu! Later Monday morning I was advised by Dean's teacher that he is Student of the month! How exciting! Luckily, he felt better today and was looking forward to being honored at the school assembly this morning. He dressed in all black, wearing his new black converse shoes - one laced with a black lace and the other laced with white. He's a trendsetter that boy.
Jack is still sick today but has no fever. He slept until 8:15 - highly unusual. Tom and I were talking last night about how they even get sick differently - Dean always gets cranky and whiny at least a day before he shows any symptoms of being sick and we always wonder what in the heck is wrong with him, then ohhhhhh, he's sick, of course. Jack just becomes quiet and lethargic, content to lay on the couch and watch tv - something he rarely is when he's healthy.
And now. That pretty much brings you up to the present. Except that I haven't written about how hard the last few weeks have been. How I've lost my patience. I beat myself up, guilty of letting my worst self out rather than my best. And this is the worst part of motherhood. The expectations we place on ourselves to be perfect, the expectations that are put on us. I have gone over and over in my mind how I could have been better. Could I have done something different? Of course, I know what I could have done. Looking back without the emotion of the moment there are lots of better options I can see. Hindsight, you know. I went into the weekend in San Diego with the idea of it being the reset button. There were no timetables, no expectations, no work to be done. Just fun, just going where we wanted, when we wanted. The weekend of yes, sure, why not instead of not right now, maybe later, no. We need more weekends like that. I'm going to do my best to make that happen.
In case anyone's interested, I'm a purple stripe belt now - the 6th color belt. And yes, I still love it. I broke a board with my spear hand the other day. Awesome.
I'll try to write more so there won't be these long, rambling posts once a month. But no promises. I don't do well with promises.
One final note: Jack is sitting on the arm of the chair next to me as I type, absentmindedly running his fingers through my hair as he watches Spirited Away. I don't ever want to forget the sweetness of that.