tonight, the dishes sat

Our evening routine usually goes something like this:

After dinner, I start cleaning up the kitchen (dishes, counters, etc.).  Hubby usually entertains S and C while I do that. They often end up going downstairs to the basement or somewhere other than the kitchen so I can work.

Then, when I’m done I either join in the play or pick up the house. (By the time the kids are in bed, we are so pooped that it’s nice to have the house tidy beforehand so we can just relax.) Hubby is usually still with the kids, sometimes outside. Then it’s usually time for C to go down – I warm up a sippy of milk for him and go fetch him to take up to his room. Hubby then usually spends some time with S (bath or play) until it’s her bedtime.

Today, S said to me “mama can you and I play until you have to put C to bed?” My first answer was “no, you should go play with daddy, mama has to clean up.” But I quickly took that back.  I said, “sure!” and she was shocked.

So we played. We did magna tiles. We played with a little horse/vet lego set she had just finished building. We colored. All the way until I had to put C to bed.

And you know what? We still had to clean up after.  We still had to do the dishes. But it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, I felt like I had a more fulfilled evening. I actually spent the end of the day with my kids instead of picking up from the end of our long day.

So yes, S (and C) – I vow to do that more often.  Play.  And let the dishes/kitchen/house sit and wait for me. It’s time well spent.

toy find – the aquadoodle mat!

Okay so my kids have been LOVING this thing so I wanted to share.

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It comes with a pen (or two, depending on which package you get) – and they draw with WATER. But the mats have different colored sections, and hidden letters…so it’s more fun! It’s big enough (as you can see) that both my 2 and 5 1/2 year old can play together, and best of all NO MESS. What they draw dries in a few minutes, so there is always room for another picture. Now that my daughter is reading/writing a little, she enjoys working on her letters. C is just thrilled that we gave him a “pen” that makes marks on something.

It looks like there are a few versions available now, but mine was the classic one (only came with one pen, so beware!). Extra pens are available.

Hope your kids enjoy this gem as much as mine do!

Date night

Hubby and I do a pretty good job with our date nights.  We try to go every other week when possible, and it’s something we both look forward to.

This past Friday we went to Flemings, one of our favorites.  A little nicer than we sometimes do, as we were celebrating our 11 year anniversary. It was nice. And, we’ve gotten to the point that although we discussed the kids (when should we start C in preschool? Do we want S to continue learning over this summer between kindergarten and first grade?), we also discussed many other things.

We’ve gotten pretty good at making the time “us time” on date night but it wasn’t always like that. When S was little and we first had our scheduled date nights, we’d spend the evening talking about her. Then gradually as we got used to the concept of heading out without her and using it as time to actually reconnect, we made a conscious effort to use the time to really talk to each other. So much of our day to day adult interactions are coordinating parenting tactics (can you take S up for bath? C didn’t eat well at dinner, let’s see if he will finish his milk before bedtime) that this time really helps.

So this date night, we talked about work, about our parents, about the recent vacation we had just taken, what we’d want to do for our next family vacation, and a bunch of other stuff. And it was nice!

What are your date nights like?

daily prompt – inkling

I think when you have kids, your sense of having “inklings” goes up dramatically. I was always an intuitive person…early on, I learned to listen to my gut. Whether it was fear, dread, or eager anticipation – I could feel it.

Now with kids, that sense is even sharper. Except it doesn’t always manifest itself in my gut – sometimes, it’s just a thought. Whether it’s that strange quiet that descends on the playroom when the kids are out of sight or that quietness that my daughter exhibits when something happens at school, I sort of know when something is up.

I think it comes with having kids. You develop this sixth sort of sense, that guides you. That tells you when your child is about to get sick. That tells you when something made them sad at school. Part of what being a mom is all about!

via Daily Prompt: Inkling

reindeer

This holiday was a little different for us. C will be 2 at the end of February; S will be 5 1/2 a the same time. The kids were at great ages to enjoy Christmas.  But most importantly, I think I was able to enjoy the holiday more through their eyes.
For example, Santa’s reindeer. S was VERY focused on making sure that the reindeer could find our house. She made reindeer food at a school party; she also had some reindeer food from a gift her Elf on the Shelf brought her. It was SO cute how she took her time sprinkling the food in our backyard.

It was a magical season for me as well. I cried during The Polar Express (I cry easily, but I think it was so just so sweet watching S wide-eyed at the movie). But I think most importantly, though the craziness of Amazon packages and wrapping and hiding – I stopped to enjoy the actual FEEL of the holiday. It was wonderful. 

She didn’t call for me

I tucked her in as usual….after a nice, full family Saturday. We had a great day…pancakes for breakfast, soccer, and fun outside with neighborhood friends in the afternoon.  
As I finished the dishes in the kitchen and watched the monitor flip between her and my 18 month old (yes, I still keep a camera in my 5 year old’s room) something stopped me. I realized that she hasn’t called me back after tuck-in in a few weeks. 

It used to be EVERY night. Sometimes twice. Three times. Sometimes she couldn’t sleep. Sometimes she was thirsty. Sometimes she had to go to the bathroom. It was one excuse after another. And I’d be lying if it said it didn’t get a little irritating as I wore a path up and down the stairs and to her room and back. 

But now that I realize she hasn’t called – I sort of miss it. Maybe because in a way it let me see her again before I’d miss her all night. Or maybe because I see this as a step towards independence. First getting on the bus to kindergarten…and now this. 

So tonight I’m a little sad. But proud of her. But I do feel her slipping away….just a tiny bit. 

I miss my kids when they’re sleeping

Is that weird?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. The quiet is nice sometimes. At the end of a long day, on a quiet morning like this when hubby and S are still sleeping and little C has had his milk and is playing in his crib for a few. 

I stepped out back just to enjoy my cup of coffee with the morning sun and before the neighborhood started bustling with activity.  My kids’ swingset sat all quiet, like something was missing. Like it missed something too. 

I get that feeling at night when I’m picking up the house after they’re in bed….their little toys, their little shoes, all the things they hold and touch and wear. And I miss them. 

But for now, knowing I have about 5 minutes to finish my coffee before my oldest comes down the stairs and asks for our Saturday bacon and pancakes tradition…I’ll breathe in the quiet. 🙂