STAYCATION

Over Spring Break, the kids were home with me all week.  Actually 10 days.  That’s a long time.  I still had to work, a lot, but they were home.  Michael was working and had projects to complete.  So I thought of a few things to do throughout the week….to reduce the amount of violence that would be sure to ensue being that it was a cold and rainy week in March.

Here are a few premises about the week.  Our budget is tight, and got tighter recently due to a car repair and some unexpected expenses.  So the goal was to make the week fun for not a lot of money.  Kind of my goal as a mother in general.

So here is an account of those days.

Day 1: Thursday: Mom and I picked up the kids from school and took them shopping for their Easter outfits.  I have 3 boys.  They care nothing about shopping.  I never go shopping with all of them.  Never.  I have never been a mom that strolled around the mall with that giant stroller/carseat system.  I tried one time.  I got so frustrated with folding that ridiculously large monstrosity of a transportation system down to fit in my tiny car, that I forced it closed (I know, Michael, never force it…) and it broke.  I immediately replaced it with a $10 umbrella stroller that I used for the rest of my stroller years, which are now behind me.  Which brings me to why I never take them clothes shopping.  They roam freely.  And that is dangerous in stores where they expect you to look and not touch…  But nevertheless, we took them shopping.  And it was relatively painless.  We found cute outfits quickly, and they actually were excited about being there to help pick them out.  At dinner, Zachary left his gum on the seat and it stuck to my mom’s pants, which she spent the rest of the afternoon trying to dislodge from the fabric.

Day 2:  This was Good Friday.  I felt it necessary to observe a 3 hour technology fast from 12-3.  We read about the crucifixion, and talked about what it meant for Jesus to take on our sin.   The weather was actually nice this day, and we spent the afternoon outside after dying Easter eggs with my mom.  I took the boys down to the creek, and they explored and climbed, and enjoyed nature.

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Day 3: This was the Saturday before Easter.  My cousins came for a family dinner and we put on an Easter egg hunt for the kids, made ‘resurrection rolls’, and ate and enjoyed one another’s company.  We are a family that is good at drinking coffee and having deep, meaningful conversation, but not so good with scheduling activities like Easter egg hunts….  This is how it went.  My mom stuffed all of the eggs for the 8 children in different colored eggs. (This is the thing to do now, you know..so everyone has an equal amount.  We’re breeding socialists folks…)  Anyway, she couldn’t remember what color was whose.

“Let me think,” (while kids are anxiously standing with baskets ready to go),

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“Haven has purple and orange eggs, and Ava has pink, Josiah has..blue, no yellow…..” and so on she went through all the kids.   Then Jason (holding up an egg), “Seriously, y’all, is this pink or purple?”

“Pink” one of us yelled at the same time another person yelled “Purple”.

Dinner was fantastic.  It always is.  My mom and aunt are exceptionally wonderful meal makers.

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My vegetarian cousin Kim stood over my cousin Jason as he attempted to slice the ham, but kept getting distracted.  She stood over him with a look of disgust because we were about to enjoy an innocent creature who died for our dinner (kind of the theme of Easter Kim!!).

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Then, at the end of the day, at bedtime, after the kids had had sugar from candy, bunny cake, and resurrection rolls, we attempted to get a picture with all of the kids and Granddaddy.  (It was as difficult as it looks.)

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Day 4: The kids woke up to their Easter baskets, and the treasures therein kept them entertained in the afternoon following church.

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Day 5: This day I took the kids to the dollar movies with a friend, then to the park with ice cream from McDonald’s. My kids have only been in a theater a few times and this was a real treat.  Nolan laughed incredibly loud (similar to how loud my brother Jonathan laughed when he saw The Great Outdoors for the first time in the theatre, and how loud he still laughs when he watches The Office).  

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Day 6: This day I was sick and declared a ‘stay at home day’.  We had movie time and toy organization time.

Day 7: This was redemption day.  I had tons of unused gift cards/coupons that were about to expire.  We went to the bowling alley (free coupon), Barnes and Noble (gift card) and McDonald’s play land (gift card).  I also declared it teamwork day, and made them work together and encourage each other every opportunity they had.  They played along and we had a really good day.

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Day 8: I had to teach all day on this day, and the boys spent this day with Michael.  I am not sure what they did.  Boy stuff.  Important stuff.  They probably worked out, fixed things, and drank smoothies, and talked about how awesome it is to be a boy.  Zachary told me  recently that “boys are way, way, way, way awesome, but girls are just way awesome.  Only 1 way.”

Day 9: This day we went to an indoor water park.  It was was the grand finale.  We met our friends and the kids had a great time.  So did everyone else in Charlotte.  The entire city was there.

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That night, Michael and I went on a date.

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We were exhausted.  We got our pager and took a seat to wait.  We were grateful for a relaxed evening.  Almost as soon as we sat down, we both leaned our heads back against the wall and sat quietly, finding comfort in just being near one another.  A beebopping 21-year-old girl walked by, stopped, and said,

“How long have y’all been waiting???”

“Forever” was my reply.  We have waited forever for a quiet moment.  But it had only been 4 minutes. (Of course Michael was keeping time.)  We laughed a long time at how pitiful and old and we must have looked, and that we were terrible at hiding our exhaustion.  We talked and laughed for hours that night.  We really treasure those moments together, fleeting as they are.

I have to admit I was dreading that week.  But we made the most of it and got to spend some great quality time together.  And now I am really looking forward to a summer of relaxed schedules and more time to get to know my family.

They are changing everyday.

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